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Old 09-14-2009, 03:08 PM   #1
lunged
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Philadelphia Free Libraries are closing :(

I didn't see this news anywhere on MR yet, so here it is:
http://libwww.freelibrary.org/closing/

"All Free Library of Philadelphia Customers,

We deeply regret to inform you that without the necessary budgetary legislation by the State Legislature in Harrisburg, the City of Philadelphia will not have the funds to operate our neighborhood branch libraries, regional libraries, or the Parkway Central Library after October 2, 2009."

Very sad indeed. As far as I can tell, they didn't have eBooks, but this is still important news for the community at large.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:05 PM   #2
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really

Like most things political, this is a ploy by the city of Philadelphia to embarrass the State Legislature into giving more money to them. This is the same thing as other cities stopping garbage collection during a funds shortfall. They could cut back on a lot of other things, but the voters wouldn't see those things, so they cut back on something that is really visible so they can get attention. Very transparent, not very original.
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:32 PM   #3
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Interesting take on it, and really, I hope you are right. I don't do politics, I do technology, so this kind of thing is news to me.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:04 PM   #4
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The issue is that the Pennsylvania State Legislature remains deadlocked over passing a budget. They managed emergency legislation to keep state workers paid, as well as funding a very few essential services. Everything else is up in the air.

What this announcement from the Philly Free Libraries means, in this context, is two pieces:
  1. It's an attempt to embarass the legislature into getting moving, by increasing public pressure on them to reach agreement.
  2. It's also an honest statement that without the portion of their budget that comes from state funding, they simply cannot continue to keep the libraries open.
There are lots of other public (and semi-public) organizations in similar situations at the moment. For example, lack of a state budget means that the state hasn't paid out any of the student aid for college students. Those students, their parents, and the colleges and universities all made (very expensive!) plans based on the promise of that funding. Now the money isn't there... So far, the colleges have bitten the bullet and have taken the students without billing them for the missing $$ from the state of PA. But sometime around December or January the hole in their budgets will catch up with them too.

Meanwhile, for our stubborn representatives in Harrisburg, I vote one giant FAIL for the whole batch of them!

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Old 09-14-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
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Yes, this is an obvious ploy to whip up public outrage, but it's also a fact that without funding, many public services will shut down.

yet voters continually shoot down any tax increases. Ya gotta pay for services somehow.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:28 PM   #6
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Yes, this is an obvious ploy to whip up public outrage, but it's also a fact that without funding, many public services will shut down.

yet voters continually shoot down any tax increases. Ya gotta pay for services somehow.
Yes, we continually shoot down tax increases because we are sick and tired of the corruption and mismanagement of the distribution of taxes we already pay.

This is happening all over the country, and people aren't falling for the "we need more taxes because we don't have enough money" card.
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Old 09-14-2009, 09:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Yes, we continually shoot down tax increases because we are sick and tired of the corruption and mismanagement of the distribution of taxes we already pay.

This is happening all over the country, and people aren't falling for the "we need more taxes because we don't have enough money" card.
Don't forget that it is all to "save the children"...
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
Yes, we continually shoot down tax increases because we are sick and tired of the corruption and mismanagement of the distribution of taxes we already pay.

This is happening all over the country, and people aren't falling for the "we need more taxes because we don't have enough money" card.
But the costs of running public facilities *are* rising every year. It's called inflation.
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Old 09-14-2009, 10:30 PM   #9
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You mean public facilities aren't immune to all those rising energy costs, grocery costs, minimum wage hikes, etc?

CRAZY!!!
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:01 PM   #10
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But the costs of running public facilities *are* rising every year. It's called inflation.
Since most tax rates are a percentage of the nominal (dollar) value of income, consumption, land, profits etc, as inflation drives up the nominal value of these quantities it will also drive up the nominal amount of taxes collected. So inflation doesn't explain why public facilities would be short on funds.

Last edited by RobbieClarken; 09-14-2009 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 09-14-2009, 11:49 PM   #11
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You mean public facilities aren't immune to all those rising energy costs, grocery costs, minimum wage hikes, etc?

CRAZY!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by doreenjoy View Post
But the costs of running public facilities *are* rising every year. It's called inflation.
We, as citizens are expected to pay our bills, and be responsible. If money is short, we pay the bills, and cut expenses. Its called "living within your means".

If you continue to raise taxes when wages stay static, jobs are being lost, and the economy is at its present level, fewer and fewer people bear the burden. What kind of sense does that make?

I see no reason our states/government cannot do the same. If it means less social programs, cut backs, so be it.

Our local school district knew before school started there would be serious cutbacks, because of the funding shortfall. They made those cutbacks, teachers took pay cuts, (administration didn't), mandatory off days, supplies were just about non existent, and we weren't even allowed to ask parents for lined paper. One case of copy paper (10 reams) was given to each teacher and it has to last until December. Did they like it? Hell no, but they gritted their teeth, and did it because they knew the money just wasn't there. They are paying for whatever they need themselves, and sucking it up.

Maybe we, as a nation, need to 'suck it up'. Maybe we need to demand better accountability.

Can you not see that raising taxes isn't the answer, managing better, cutting wasteful spending, and seriously punishing corruption is.

Perhaps our esteemed representatives could take pay cuts also, or even forgo those raises. Yeah, like that would ever happen.

Last edited by desertgrandma; 09-14-2009 at 11:51 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:14 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertgrandma View Post
We, as citizens are expected to pay our bills, and be responsible. If money is short, we pay the bills, and cut expenses. Its called "living within your means".

If you continue to raise taxes when wages stay static, jobs are being lost, and the economy is at its present level, fewer and fewer people bear the burden. What kind of sense does that make?

I see no reason our states/government cannot do the same. If it means less social programs, cut backs, so be it.

Our local school district knew before school started there would be serious cutbacks, because of the funding shortfall. They made those cutbacks, teachers took pay cuts, (administration didn't), mandatory off days, supplies were just about non existent, and we weren't even allowed to ask parents for lined paper. One case of copy paper (10 reams) was given to each teacher and it has to last until December. Did they like it? Hell no, but they gritted their teeth, and did it because they knew the money just wasn't there. They are paying for whatever they need themselves, and sucking it up.

Maybe we, as a nation, need to 'suck it up'. Maybe we need to demand better accountability.

Can you not see that raising taxes isn't the answer, managing better, cutting wasteful spending, and seriously punishing corruption is.

Perhaps our esteemed representatives could take pay cuts also, or even forgo those raises. Yeah, like that would ever happen.
Ditto x 3, desertgrandma! I couldn't agree with you more. The time is long overdue to cut spending, clean up corruption and operate within a budget on a serious diet. Enough of the double standard.
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:44 PM   #13
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Looks like they're staying open...

http://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/i...h=3&postid=952
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:59 PM   #14
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Just a minor addition.

Personally I think the biggest reason that governments, especially local governments get in trouble in lean times is what seems to be an institutional inability to plan for lean times (though in their defense, I have noticed many corporations and individuals have this problem as well). A few years ago when the coffers were over flowing in many (Though not all areas) due to inflated real estate prices, many state and local governments either increased spending to match their income or they cut taxes (It probably depended on the locality and what would be more popular with the local population). The problem is that both outcomes are hard to undo during lean times. If states start cutting too deeply during lean times, they can cause a cascade effect that makes the local economy even worse, thus decreasing revenues even more which results in more cuts and so on... if they raise taxes well, it gets people mad and also has the potential to hurt the economy.

Obviously the solution is that during times when they have excess income they should stash some of the excess a way so that they can build up a cushion for future down turns. The problem is very few people like those solutions.

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Old 09-25-2009, 06:01 PM   #15
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{snip}
Obviously the solution is that during times when they have excess income they should stash some of the excess a way so that they can build up a cushion for future down turns. The problem is very few people like those solutions.

--
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If every state would do that with, say ~3yrs worth of operating funds, I bet the economy would never have another down turn like we see now.

Here is California the deficit we have is actually about equal to the whole energy scam that happened a few years back...counting for inflation and interest on that original, I think it was $5 BILLION, in over charges and such it works out to pretty much the current deficit...and of course we never got any of that $5B back.

So, yup, your idea makes too much sense to work as a hedge against any number of problems. Also, i have a sense that many states might actually regulate and cap the total amount of funds that can be held in reserve.

Also, like SS funds (as I recall, those funds were never supposed to be touched for anything but SS...), you KNOW eventually someone will find a way to access any reserves "to save the children"....
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