Declining Local Government Resources in NC: Is it really THAT bad?

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The Pew Center on the States’ American Cities Project recently published a report that illustrates where North Carolina falls in comparison to other states in dealing with the “one-two punch” of the simultaneous decline of state aid and property taxes, which “together account for more than half of local revenues.” The results are not good.

North Carolina is one of the 22 states that experienced between a zero and five percent decrease in state aid from 2009-2010. Moreover, North Carolina communities have collectively shed their workforces by roughly 7.5 percent between December 2008 and December 2011, ranking them seventh (behind NV, GA, SC, AZ, MI and RI) with regard to local government employment reduction.

The full report is titled The Local Squeeze: Falling Revenues and Growing Demand for Services Challenge Cities, Counties, and School Districts. Though North Carolina is not the focus, the report provides information that provides an informative community-level comparison that offers insight into how other locales are operating in today’s shrinking economic environment.

The Community and Economic Development program recognizes that on a daily basis, local level officials have to confront the ever-shrinking options at their disposal to positively respond to the growing reduction in resources. Via efforts like its Development Finance Initiative, the newly created LGFCU Fellows program, and various training seminars, CED stands prepared to assist these community leaders as they attempt to navigate through these difficult times.

Kendra Cotton is a project director with the UNC School of Government

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