Local Governments Cut Services to Bone : Planet Money In an effort to hold their budgets together, local governments are cutting services to the bone. The trims include giving schoolchildren Fridays off, elminating healthcare programs and shutting down libraries.
NPR logo Local Governments Cut Services to Bone

Local Governments Cut Services to Bone

A California budget protest Steve Rhodes/Flickr hide caption

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Steve Rhodes/Flickr

When opening the library a couple of days a week costs too much, you know the local government is in a real jam.

That's what is happening in Camden, NJ, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The town is preparing to shut its three libraries and store, give away or destroy their books.

Across the country, in desperate efforts to hold their budgets together, local governments are going to extreme lengths. And there could be worse to come as tax revenue shows little sign of improving and the poor overall economy means more citizens than ever need assistance.

The New York Times reports that Clayton County, Ga., cut out its entire bus system; Hawaii public schools gave their students 17 Fridays off during the last school year, and Colorado Springs is auctioning off police headquarters.

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities sums up the bulk of the cuts in one spot including:

—in Oregon, eliminating a program that helps 2,000 residents with Alzheimer's or dementia

—in Mississippi, laying off 115 workers at a juvenile-justice facility

—in Florida, imposing a 15% tuition hike for the 2010-11 school year at state universities

—in Minnesota, eliminating state financial-aid grants for 9,400 students

Over the past two years:

29 states have cut services to the elderly and disabled

31 states have cut health care

33 states have cut K-12 education

43 states have cut higher education

43 states have tried trimming costs through payrolls— laying off workers, requiring them to take unpaid leave, and the like.

30 states have increased taxes