Leadership in Fiscal Crises

01.26.10 | Dr. Stephen Coleman | Comments[0]


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Far too many cities in the Empire and Keystone States face serious fiscal problems in the months ahead. The big challenge for local governments is to balance their budgets to avoid bankruptcy, state takeovers, and other economic calamites. This will call for leadership and some tough decisions by elected officials.

You see, there are a number of possible ways to deal with the fiscal crisis. Some involve generating revenue and others involve cutting costs, but each one will be a hit to someone’s wallet or pocketbook or way of life.

For example, one way to generate revenue is to raise property taxes, but this is something that will compound the economic agony that so many people are experiencing in these tough economic times.

Another way to generate revenue is to charge new fees or raise existing fees for municipal services. This would represent a nickel and dime approach to raising revenue and could put recreational and other opportunities and services out of the reach of the less well-to-do.

Cutting costs is another way for local governments to achieve fiscal stability. Possibilities here would include laying off public employees or cutting back on such things as road maintenance and repair. Another approach would be to furlough -- and not fire -- local public employees to cut costs.

Ladies and gentlemen of New York and Pennsylvania, at the end of the day local officials will probably use a combination of revenue generating and cost cutting methods to balance their budgets. Let’s hope and pray that these officials exercise responsibility, wisdom, and compassion.


cc-wetm - tv- Dr. Coleman also airs commentaries and a public affairs program on WETM 18 Elmira. For more information on these programs, go to wetmtv.com.

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