Demand at Public Libraries up – Governor’s proposal deemed “devastating” – so are some of the other cuts
The proposed cut to the Public Library system by Governor Strickland to balance the deficit is meeting with quite a bit of non-support, as seen by many media reports including this one:
Demand for resources at public libraries across Ohio is at an all-time high – at the main library in downtown Toledo alone, circulation is up by double-digit percentages, and hundreds more people come through the library each day compared to a year ago.
However, libraries would be forced to drastically reduce services if Gov. Ted Strickland’s new budget proposal for 2009-2011 becomes law.
The budget proposes a 50 percent cut to the Public Library Fund which would, if approved, result in a 25 percent funding cut for libraries in Lucas County, officials said.
The library fund makes up half of the library system’s budget of about $30 million; the other half comes from a property tax levy.
“This proposal is extremely devastating,” Clyde Scoles, library director, said during a press conference at the Main Library yesterday with more than 20 library advocates from around the community standing behind him.
Mr. Scoles noted that the budget cuts, if approved, would come after public libraries have already had to reduce their budgets by 20 percent because of decreases in the state’s general revenue fund.
Library advocates urged Ohio residents to bombard state senators and representatives, as well as the governor’s office, with calls of concern.
The problem is going to come in as to what else is suggested as a cut to replace this though, Lucas County would not be as impacted as some of the other public libraries in Ohio, around 70 percent of the state’s 251 public libraries rely solely on state funding, Dispatch article on what has been proposed so far, many of these cuts will hurt those who can least afford it, one example is the cut to Food Banks, this article was earlier when the Public Library cut was proposed at 30 percent:
• One unspecified Department of Youth Services facility would close in the second year of the two-year budget, leaving the agency with five. Overall department funding would get shaved 5 percent from the version of the budget passed this month by the Senate.
• Various scholarships would feel the ax, none more than the Ohio College Opportunity Grant, which would drop from $395 million to $171 million (a 57 percent slide). However, the planned tuition freeze at four-year universities in 2010 would remain.
• Funding to Ohio libraries would plummet 30 percent.
• State subsidies to local governments for human services as well as health, developmental-disability and mental-health services would be chopped. Overall funding to the Department of Mental Health would fall by 17 percent.
• The Early Learning Initiative for preschoolers would be eliminated, and the children transferred to state-subsidized child care.
• The $12.2 million set aside for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education would be nixed.
• Funding for gifted students would be eliminated, and funding enhancements for special-education students would be pruned by 4 percent.
• Over-the-counter drugs for Medicaid recipients would be trimmed.
• State money to help prevent child and senior abuse would be hacked by 70 percent.
• All $7 million in funding for Ohio’s Second Harvest Food Bank would be eliminated.
• Access to some state park campgrounds and forests would be limited, but no parks would close. Stream and groundwater monitoring would be reduced. Funding to the Department of Natural Resources would be cut by 17 percent overall.
• Department of Transportation support for rail, mass transit and aviation would be whacked.
• Some overseas offices of the Department of Development would be sliced.
• The state schools for the blind and deaf would face cutbacks in supplies, maintenance and support staff.
• The Ohio Historical Society’s budget would be slashed by 21 percent.
• Reimbursements to counties to help pay for public defenders would be scaled back by nearly 40 percent.
• The Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services’ allocation would sink by 28 percent.
Source: Gov. Ted Strickland’s office
I also recommend this article that says in part:
About 14,400 low-income children enrolled in state-funded preschool learning programs would be dropped.
About 1,500 of Ohio’s 8,000 workers who investigate child abuse and neglect would lose their jobs — at least for now.
Community health-care centers would be forced to reduce hours, cut staff and eliminate services, while some county mental-health programs face shutting their doors because they would lose $1 of every $3 in state money.