Going to Extremes in the NYTimes is long on horror stories from all over the country telling us what happens when government services are withdrawn and disrupt lives of ordinary citizens, but short on ordinary citizens mobilizing to do something about it.
Faced with the steepest and longest decline in tax collections on record, state, county and city governments have resorted to major life-changing cuts in core services like education, transportation and public safety that, not too long ago, would have been unthinkable. And services in many areas could get worse before they get better.
The length of the downturn means that many places have used up all their budget gimmicks, cut services, raised taxes, spent their stimulus money — and remained in the hole. Even with Congress set to approve extra stimulus aid, some analysts say states are still facing huge shortfalls.
At least in Massachsetts we have a growing number of people fighting for 21/2 prop overrides in their own communities to protect their libraries for example.
And last spring regional ONE Mass members were able to convince their own Reps, nine smart souls to stand up for a progressive tax increase that would have raised $450 million to prevent some the devestating cuts that eventaully took place in the FY 11 budget. (Well we had to start somewhere, and we promise you there is hope if we fuel it with action by working together across the state.)
Crossposted on ONE Massachusetts on a beautiful Saturday morning in August.