Shrinking Budgets for Local Governments, But More Responsibility
Every tax dollar counts for local governments. Mounting pension commitments, infrastructure in need of repair, and many other factors have tightened the financial vise. Post-recession, local governments saw state aid drop by 12.6 billion dollars between 2009 and 2010, while property taxes declined and 22 states saw a reduction in local government employees by up to 5 percent. While there’s been a slow rebound, funding and property tax dollars still haven’t returned to pre-recession levels in many states and provinces.
The legislative demand for improved accessibility, namely the need for citizens to access information online 24/7, continues to grow due in large part to programs like the US Federal Government’s Open Government Initiative. The financial picture is a bit different region to region, but the reality is local governments face a significant challenge — dealing with an expectation for improved service without any reprieve in budgetary pressure. The answer for many local government managers is to load additional responsibilities onto current staff — but how far can it go?
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