For Cities, Cutting Back May Simply Mean Streamlining

Tough economic times spell troubles for city budgets. One way to cut back on costs is to rethink operation of seemingly untouchable public safety services like police and firefighters, according to this column from Neal Peirce.

"Among America's 87,500 governments, only Washington can print money. In a pinch, the only real option for cities and states is to spend less-thereby taking money out of the economy and deepening recession. With more than 20 million employees, 14 percent of the total American workforce, states and cities are a significant part of the total national economy."

"This recession seems sure to be so serious, say urban finance experts, that many cities will be forced to go well beyond their familiar tight-times reductions in park and library budgets. A growing possibility: to cut into that historically inviolate sector–police officers and firefighters."

"Together, police and fire operations consume the lion's share of most local budgets. And the fire operations represent the most wastefully managed part of local government, according to municipal experts who spoke as a panel at a National Academy of Public Administration meeting said last week."

Full Story: In An Epic Fiscal Storm, New Strategies Sprout


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