Tuesday, December 21, 2010
"The truth is that dozens upon dozens of city and county governments are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. "
Let's take a closer look at some of the state and local governments that are in some of the biggest trouble....
California is facing a 19 billion dollar budget deficit next year, and incoming governor Jerry Brown is scrambling to find billions more to cut from the California state budget. At this point, investors are becoming increasingly wary about loaning any more money to the state. The following quote from Brown about the desperate condition of California state finances is not going to do much to inspire confidence in California's financial situation around the globe....
"We've been living in fantasy land. It is much worse than I thought. I'm shocked."
Unfortunately, the economic situation in California continues to degenerate. For example, 24.3 percent of the residents of El Centro, California are now unemployed. In fact, the number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
The housing market in the state is also a major drag on the economy there. For instance, the average home in Merced, California has declined in value by 63 percent over the past four years.
The state of California is swamped with so much debt that there literally appears to be no way out.
The state government of Arizona is so incredibly starved for cash that it actually sold off the state capitol building, the state supreme court building and the legislative chambers. Now they are leasing those buildings back from the investors that they sold them to.
Arizona also recently announced that it has decided to stop paying for many types of organ transplants for people enrolled in its Medicaid program.
Illinois is widely regarded to be in the worst financial condition of all the U.S. states. At this point, Illinois has approximately $5 billion in outstanding bills that have not been paid.
According to 60 Minutes, the state of Illinois is six months behind on bill payments. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft asked Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes how many people and organizations are waiting to be paid by the state, and this is how Hynes responded....
"It's fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state."
The University of Illinois alone is owed 400 million dollars. There are approximately two thousand not-for-profit organizations that are collectively owed a billion dollars by the Illinois state government.
The New Jersey state budget has been slashed by 26 percent, a billion dollars have been cut from education and thousands of teachers have been laid off.
But even with all of those cuts, New Jersey is still facing a $10 billion budget deficit next year, and the state has $46 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $65 billion in unfunded health care liabilities that it is somehow going to have to address in the future.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has come up with a new way to save money. He wants to cut 20 percent of Detroit off from essential social services such as road repairs, police patrols, functioning street lights and garbage collection.
One Miami commissioner declared earlier this year that bankruptcy may be the city's only financial hope.
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento
Major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento have instituted "rolling brownouts" in which various city fire stations are shut down on a rotating basis.
The second most dangerous city in the United States - Camden, New Jersey - is about to lay off about half its police in a desperate attempt to save money.
Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer. The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.
Nassau County, New York
In New York, the country of Nassau (one of the wealthiest counties in the state) has a budget deficit that is approaching 350 million dollars.
America used to be viewed as the land of great economic progress, but that is no longer the case. Sadly, all over the United States there are signs that we are actually going backwards as a country.