Speak Outs
Speak Out
How does the recession affect state and local governments?

Barely a day goes by that we don’t hear something on the news about the ailing economy. But the more you look around, the more you’ll begin to actually see effects of the economic downturn in your hometown.

In Philadelphia, large retail stores and small boutique shops are going out of business. High rent leaves those storefronts and properties vacant. This is echoed in the nearby suburbs and across the state of Pennsylvania, where large companies – such as the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Aluminum - are also instituting sweeping layoffs. Likely, you or someone you know has been affected by employers cutting their budgets. And whether it’s within the walls of the state capitol in Harrisburg, or in your own local municipal halls, governments are being hit just as hard.

The budgets of state and local governments rely on tax dollars - whether it’s income tax, sales tax or business tax - to fund their day-to-day operations. When the economy is in a downturn and businesses are doing poorly, that filters fewer tax dollars to the government; businesses that close cannot pay business taxes, people who are out of work cannot pay income taxes, and they cannot shop as much, which means less sales tax. And a decrease in tax revenue means a decrease in state or municipal services.

In Philadelphia, drastic cuts have had to be made to city services such as libraries, pools and snow plowing. Cuts were also imposed on the state budget, where legislators have instituted a hiring freeze and eliminated pay raises as a means of dealing with the recession.

What is a recession?

A “recession” (different from a “depression”) means that, overall; the economy is experiencing a decline in growth that lasts from a few months to a couple of years. These happen from time to time and are thought to be normal features of the economic cycle (we last experienced one in the United States from 2001-2003). A depression is a severe form of recession in which the effects are much more pronounced and last much longer - we haven’t had one of those since the Great Depression from 1929-1939.

Economic growth is measured by many factors, including rates of employment and the cost of goods. But the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the primary measure; the GDP is a gauge on the health of the national economy that represents all the goods and services produced over a period of time. Essentially, the GDP is the size of the economy.

When the national economy is in a recession, it generally means:

Fewer jobs are being created and more people are losing their current jobs.
Factories and industries are not producing as many goods as they were in prior months.
Banks lend less money to customers. This leads to difficulty in getting loans for homes, cars and other expensive items. Those industries begin to suffer as well.
As other businesses begin to feel the crunch, the GDP declines, and the growth of the economy slows.

When the economy is in a recession, you might find it harder to find a part-time job. Not only are many companies trying to cut costs, more people are unemployed and looking for work. If you do have a job, the prices of goods will likely go up, meaning that your dollar will not go as far as it did in the previous months

A State Perspective: how Harrisburg copes

In Harrisburg, lawmakers are facing a severe budget shortfall, and with no end to the recession in sight, it could keep growing. Gov. Ed Rendell’s initial projections of a $1.6 billion deficit have grown by an additional $100 million in the past months, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The problem is very daunting,” Rendell told reporters at a Philadelphia news conference. “Virtually every department will feel the pinch.”

The legislature has been forced to deal with the budget shortfalls through a number of venues. In order to cut costs, Gov. Rendell drafted a budget that eliminates pay raises for state employees during 2009 and imposes a hiring freeze across the board, leaving some 5,000 open positions vacant in various departments across the state. Rendell plans to seek aid from the federal government as well, but the one of the biggest ways the state hopes to save money is through cuts in specific programs and overall state agencies. Among them:

The Department of Community and Economic Development, with a budget of over $600 million, is seeing its budget slashed by 5.6 percent, the largest departmental cut. The Health Department will cut funding for smoking ban enforcement by 15 percent, or $300,000. The Scranton School for the Deaf, the only state-owned school for the hearing-impaired, will cut its budget by 10 percent, or $754,000. State cabinet secretaries were ordered to rope in spending by 4.25 percent; in the state tourism program, this amounted to $318,000.

The amount of cuts has expanded in step with the budget deficit, from $311 million to $464 million. Some state legislators, like Rep. Eugene DePasquale of York County, have protested, saying in interviews that some departments such as health care and education should be off the table when it comes to cuts.

But Rendell sees the cuts as a necessary evil in spite of protests. “We are going to do everything we can to get through this with as little harm as possible,” he said in a press conference. “But I also want to remind people that the cuts are coming, and I don't want to hear any whining.”

A Tale of Two Cities: cuts at the local level

On the western side of Pennsylvania last month, the Pittsburgh City Council, in a 6-2 vote, passed a budget that contained no tax increases, continued annual state-mandated reductions in the parking tax and did not drastically change any city services.

“We’re at an all-time high in employment for the region, higher than it ever was even during the war years,” said James Rohr, outgoing chair of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story. “We've done a remarkable job of coming back and prospering.”

This may change with the troubles of the Pittsburgh-based Alcoa aluminum, which recently announced that it would cut 13,500 jobs company-wide to weather tough economic times. But for now, the decline in the regional manufacturer has not trickled down to have a negative effect on the city budget. Not everywhere in Pennsylvania has been so lucky.

At the same time that Pittsburgh was debating its budget last fall, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced the drastic cuts that caused an uproar among residents and officials alike. The more contentious points in Nutter’s proposal included:
Closing 11 libraries and 68 municipal pools.
  • Cutting back on slow plowing for small residential streets.
  • Discontinuing collection curbside leaf piles, bulk trash and tires.
  • Reducing the number of new police department hires from 400 to 200.
  • Delaying the reduction of business and wage taxes.
  • Shrinking City Government by 800 positions.

Proportionally in Philadelphia, the city’s Office of Housing and Community Development is the hardest hit, with its budget shrinking by 40 percent in the next two years. The Streets Department is next with a 28 percent reduction, followed by the Free Library system, which will experience 20 percent cutbacks. Other departments, such as the prison system, will not loose funding.

“Make no mistake. This will be a mid-year revision of incredible proportions,” Nutter said upon announcing the cuts. “And because this recession will probably linger beyond (2009), we can't look for brief, one-time changes. We need real change, and we need it now.” Compared with the state’s other major metropolis, these cuts seem even more severe. But Rohr suggests that Pittsburgh, historically an economically troubled area of the state since the steel industry fell into decline, “has not maybe enjoyed some of the excesses that other regions had, so we're not as much at risk” by the economic downturn.

Some of the cuts in Philadelphia’s budget will be permanent, according to the mayor. Others cut programs may be reinstated if the economy improves. But Nutter won’t speculate on how soon that might occur.

“We always look to a brighter future,” Nutter said in an  Inquirer interview, “but we have to deal with the day that's in front of us.”

Higher taxes versus rainy-day funds

With plummeting budgets and economically-troubled citizens, it’s difficult to think of raising taxes. But that’s exactly what some economists say is the sensible thing to do in this financial climate.

The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, a liberal think tank in Harrisburg, suggested in a Times-Tribune interview that budget cuts in a bad economy are actually counterproductive.

“They draw money from local communities,” center director Sharon Ward said. “They reduce services at a time when demand for those services is likely to grow, and they put additional pressure on local governments and ultimately local taxpayers.”

Drawing out an example, Ward pointed to Rendell’s proposal to cut funding for a list of higher education institutions by six percent. This will make budgeting at those universities and colleges more difficult, possibly leading to tuition increases. Tuition increases could cause a drop in enrollment, exacerbating the school’s budget problem and ultimately trickling down the state’s budget in terms of tax dollars.

By comparison, Ward points out that the state income tax - 3.07 percent - is the second-lowest in the nation. The sales tax rate at six percent is “in the middle range of states.” It calls for an adjustment in the tax structure away from its current flat tax to a graduated income tax where tax rates increase in step with income.

But many officials are vowing to fight against heightened taxes in any form. “I don’t think it would be fiscally wise to hurt residents with more taxes at a time like this,” Rep.-elect Seth Grove of Dover Township told the Evening Sun. His views are echoed by Sen.-elect Richard Alloway of Chambersburg, who suggests the state tap its reserve of $750 million known as the “rainy day fund.” He favors using the entire fund if necessary.

Rendell has also called upon the legislature to dip into the rainy day fund, and Rep. Dwight Evans of Philadelphia has also urged dipping into the legislature’s own $240 million reserve.

“This is more than a rainy day, it’s a Hurricane,” Evans said in an Inquirer interview.

What do you think?

How should Pennsylvania and its cities deal with the economic downturn? Are deep cuts into programs and services the way to go, or should lawmakers consider tax increase? What about the state’s rainy day fund - should that be spent or preserved in case the economy gets worse? How has the economy affected you and your community? Join the discussion!
Join the Discussion
limited to 2000 characters including spaces  

Thank you for commenting.
Your comment is awaiting approval.
Click here to view all Speak Outs
Faulhaber/Sidney High SChool
It seems that Pennsylvania needs a pick me up so they can put out more jobs so that they can satisfy the people. Cutting out programs and other activities going on makes sense but I think it should be held to a very minimal cut as to keep them going. It would help to cut small amounts evenly out of many different areas than alot out of one specefic group so it is and equal impact. Taxing would be the way to go for a fix. Although there would be much unrest about raising it I think it should be done but at a very small amount. As to the rainy day fund I think it should be used to give the pick up that is needed but not deplete it then if neede to take small cuts and raise taxes.

No newspaper and no donation bin to save my money by donating at in my town.

Ledyard CT
Josh D.
Mr. G
The recession has affected state and local government in many ways. State governments have to cut programs in order to have enough money for their respective states. Sometimes important programs get cut, like education and healthcare. When these programs get cut, many people suffer. Local government is affected by recession as well. In a recession, many jobs get cut. For example in Philadelphia, the City Government shrunk by 800 positions. This means that 800 people in the local government lose their jobs and the jobs that they had to do most likely don't get done in the same fashion. If the work suffers because the person whose was supposed to do job got cut, the local goverment becomes weaker.

Ledyard CT
Anuj D.
How does the recession affect state and local governments: With all of the foreclosures in America state governments are having a hard time regulating taxes and trying to control welfare. As far as local government is concerned because of the taxes the local government has to cut funding. For example when a sports team in high school wants a new uniform but they cant afford it, it's because the funding has vanished due to these taxes.


Springfield Highschool, Springfield, Pa
I think that the recession is affecting everyone all over the U.S drastically. The recession is so bad that major stores and boutiques and companies are going out of business and libraries, pools and snow plowing are being cut in some communities. I think that Pennsylvania and its cities should deal with this by trying to save money like by giving everyone an equal pay, even though that doesn't seem fair it would help tremendously with the lack of money rather than giving someone a lot more money then you would give someone else. Although it would be easier I do not think that people should not stop hiring employees. Yes it might be hard to pay them, but a lot of people need jobs, and if they do not get them they have a chance of becoming homeless, considering they probably got laid off at their job before hand. The recession does not seem to be hitting my area, most people are still buying expensive things, and things that they don't need.


sadouglas, Phila Pa
im not really sure how pennsylvania and cities should deal with it but it affected me and mycommunity because small businesses are going out of business and my family members are getting laid off from there jobs


Trinity, w
a recession affects all aspects of government. their budgets are decreased and their is less money for them to work with. government leaders might lose their positions and new leaders iwll come in.


Isabella P.
p.m.a elverson , philadelphia, p.a
I believe we shouldn't do what was done in the past because those things led us to where we are now. The recession has made a major impact in my neighborhood and it has made it harder to find jobs around my area.


Greg B
Trinity high school, washington, PA
I believe America has been in a recession and the governments should do what they have done in the past. And personally i have seen the recession not affect where I live. People are spending normally and people with money are taking advantage of the low cost of things.


Riorge A
Nehs , Philadelphia,PA
I think that Pennsylvania should try to cut back on a few things but we're just gonna have to deal with it and roll with the punches on this one. The economy has definitely taken a toll on my community many stay home in order to limit their spending habits. But overall people still try to live their daily lives .


Tim M.
Trinity High School, Washington, PA
The recession is causing families to earn less money. This forces families to pay less in taxes. That causes the state and local governments to lose money and begin to suffer. It is a domino effect because of the recession.


Overbrook HS, Philadelphia, Pa
I think that stores should lower their price that way people can afford to spend some of the little bit of money they have. This way everyone is producing and it helps while fighting the recession.


Trinity High School, Washington, PA
The government should lower taxes so that people could have more money to spend at those businesses hit the hardest by economic problems, and then those businesses have money to buy supplies and the suppliers have money to buy materials and the material manufacturers have money and so on and so forth; it is a never ending cycle that would change the course of the economy for the better. My family has not been affected by the economy, but I see the aftermath all over the news and in the city.


Trinity, Washington PA
It hits both state and local goverments hard. Both of them have to make cuts in many areas including recreation, which makes some people mad but it must be done.


Sarah S
Springfield High School, Springfield, PA
The biggest issue in society today is definitely the economic recession. The recession is evident in everyday life within local and statewide governments. I have seen the recession hit home because my uncle was laid off of his job that he had for ten years. With the job market in such bad shape, there is no way for him to find work right now. It is like a vicious cycle, keeping the economy in horrible shape. People are laid off due to lack of money, these people can’t get jobs because there isn’t enough money to hire them. It’s a lose-lose situation. State-wide businesses are shutting down. Locally it is hard for high school age kids to get jobs. All the available jobs, even in retail, are being taken by adults who have been laid off from their careers. It’s trickling down to affect kid’s my age. This is making earning money nearly impossible. Pennsylvania should eliminate wasteful spending, and pump money into businesses so that adult’s can keep their careers.


Jamal E
Springfield High School, Springfield
The current recession has made a tremendous impact on the lives of everyday Americans. Living in Springfield we see the changes daily. Homes are being foreclosed as a cause to a lack of money to pay mortgage. Unemployment of the middle class has been drastically rising. Part time jobs usually given to students are now being filled and given to adults. Our current recession has also drastically influenced college discussions. College pricing has continued to rise during these hard times. Private schools have become almost an impossibility without financial aid. My family has adjusted it’s spending saving more money for me when I start attending college next year. To fix this problem I feel that Pennsylvania needs to illuminate its wasteful spending and find better ways to stimulate the economy.


Jamal E
Springfield High School, Springfield
The current recession has made a tremendous impact on the lives of everyday Americans. Living in Springfield we see the changes daily. Homes are being foreclosed as a cause to a lack of money to pay mortgage. Unemployment of the middle class has been drastically rising. Part time jobs usually given to students are now being filled and given to adults. Our current recession has also drastically influenced college discussions. College pricing has continued to rise during these hard times. Private schools have become almost an impossibility without financial aid. My family has adjusted it’s spending saving more money for me when I start attending college next year. To fix this problem I feel that Pennsylvania needs to illuminate its wasteful spending and find better ways to stimulate the economy.


Jamal E
Springfield High School, Springfield
The current recession has made a tremendous impact on the lives of everyday Americans. Living in Springfield we see the changes daily. Homes are being foreclosed as a cause to a lack of money to pay mortgage. Unemployment of the middle class has been drastically rising. Part time jobs usually given to students are now being filled and given to adults. Our current recession has also drastically influenced college discussions. College pricing has continued to rise during these hard times. Private schools have become almost an impossibility without financial aid. My family has adjusted it’s spending saving more money for me when I start attending college next year. To fix this problem I feel that Pennsylvania needs to illuminate its wasteful spending and find better ways to stimulate the economy.


Trinity High School, Washington, PA
This recession is having a great impact on many families, including my own. When the news of the recession first hit i didn't take it seriously. But now my father is about to lose his job and my mother is losing a great amount of money because parents can no longer afford daycare. If the government does not do something about this issue soon, it could very well turn into a depression and history will repeat itself.


Becky D
Springfield High, Springfield
The current economic recession has affected everybody, including Springfield. In my town, there are a lot of homes being foreclosed upon because people have lost their jobs and are no longer able to pay a mortgage. This current recession is especially important since I am graduating high school this year. I have been taking into consideration scholarship offers and how much I would have to pay in tuition to attend each University. The economic downturn has also influenced my family’s spending habits, especially since next year college tuition will be apart of our budget. I think that Pennsylvania can eliminate wasteful spending at a local level and try to stimulate job growth, but must cooperate with the national government to combat the economy on a more universal scale.


Pete G
S.A douglas, philly pa
We are not in a depresion yet we still have time to pull out of it


Douglas, phil.
They are cutting a lot of jobs, along with many public resources such as Libraries, fire houses, and public pools.


douglas, philly
I think Pennsylvania should stop wasting money by making people pay for a doctor's visit. They should cut down on pool's , after school club's that all cost money and they should save money for something that they need it for.


See I understand cutting libraries, and pools. But your also cutting more children education. Yes the money in water parks will raise. They will get what they want. And thats the money. But back to the libraries, where are kids going to go now when they have a project and need to check out a book? Or if they need to go online for info and they don't have a computer at home?


Azharuddin A. PD.2 SSADVM
Northeast hs, Phila, PA
They can stop wasting money on stupid things like football fields and other stuff, I don't know about me, but in my community everyone is complaining.


I strongly feel that the cities in Pennsylvania can help get rid of this recession by starting over and making the foundation of the state stronger and build Pennsylvania's economy from the ground up.The most important part of rebuilding is the foundation and for Pennsylvania the foundation should be creating jobs for people.In my community the economy has had a huge impact because due to financial problems many libraries have been forced to close this has had a major effect on school students who have no computer but need to get there work done.


Geoffrey rd4th
Nehs, Philadelphia
Stop spending money, start caring for the Individual, (not business) but people. All i think i could say is, think about the people as an individual. Or as an house-hold.


Nina S.
NEHS:Per 2, Phila/ PA
Personally, I wouldn't know how to begin to put this economy back together again. There are so many programs and organizations that are benificial to this state that knowing which ones to cut would be a task in itself. But I know I would rather have libraries cut than police funding and such, especially since I live in Philadelphia. They have already cut down on a few recreation centers in the city which help keep the kids off the streets. But who am I to say which programs, if any, should be cut? All I know is that the recession is making me think twice about the college I choose and this choice will affect me for the rest of my life. So, needless to say, we need to get this econimic crisis under control yesterday.


Kenny R
northeast high school, philadelphia pa
In my opinion it is in the best interest of our state to raise taxes. To be more specific on the people of a higher income level. Those people will not be drastically affected. Also their contrabution to raising the economy would greatly change the status of our states crisis level but over time off course.


Raven T.PDF5
NEHS, Phila.,PA
This recession has affected alot of businesses and a lot of homes. People are losing their jobs which is greatly affecting how their family lives. Families are cutting back on how much money they spend, from lavish vacations to grocery shopping. I think that unnecessary government expenses. Some things the city spends money on wouldn't kill the communtity if we didn't have them. It actually would probably save alot of money in the long run.


Clinton L PD 5
Northeast High School, Philadelphia, PA
Honestly I believe we are dealing with the economic downturn as best we can. I don't like the idea of closing the libraries because children need libraries. They are places kids can go for higher learning outside of school. Maybe we can find other public services that aren't really a necessity and cut them instead of doing things that affect future generations.


Trinity High School, Washington Pa
I think we gotta clamp it down and fix it! 1st step.. FIX 2nd step IT!! Repeat as necassary until its all FIXED! But on a serious note, we need to take all step by step and maybe set in another stimulant package. Also take the auto bailout slow as well.


Evan C.
Trinity HS, Washington, Pa
The recession has affected many serives throughout the state, snow plowing has been cut down and that's very dangerous for all drivers.


Peguy C. Pd. 5
Northeast high school, Philadelphia/ PA
Recession affects state and local governments because if people in those states are losing their jobs, it means that they cut back on their spending. Taxes are the state's form of revenue and if people are spending less, then the states have to cut back on a few programs just to stay on their budgets. We see it here in Philadelphia where the mayor is trying to cut back on programs like pools and a few libraries just to stay on their budgets.


John L. pd 5
Northeast High School, Phila. PA
The recession has affected me in different ways, from daily spending to trying to pay for college tuitions. Since the recession, the only thing that has been going up is the prices of everything. Mortgage taxes, gas prices (although it has dropped a little), grocery, etc. have risen but salaries have not, so everyone starts cutting down on spending which will hurt the economy. Rather than increasing the prices of everything, I believe that reducing them would actually help our economy because, for example, the idea of having to pay almost double the amount of money for a gallon of milk now than what it was in 2000, stops many people from consuming so much milk.


Giovanny J
Northeast High School, Philadelphia, PA
Pennsylvania like the other 49 states is really suffering from the recession we are having in this country. I think we are dealing with the recession the best we possibly can. Closing 11 of the most unused libraries in the city is fine to me. But I cannot possibly think of a better alternative and another way to help bring us out of this recession. I don’t think one state can do it I think we need to band together as a country and solve this recession problem as a cohesive unit. My community is affected because they can no longer afford to take days off of work, to buy a new car, etc. They are losing money every minute and some even lose jobs that’s why I think that the country as a whole needs to fix this disaster and keep it from becoming a catastrophe.


Ashely V. Pd. 2
Northeast High School, Phila, PA
Pennsylvainians and even Philadelphians have not take the idea and effects of the recession very well. As stated in the text, cuts had to be made to our city. A lot of citizens from Philadelphia have really put the blame on our mayor, Mayor Nutter. People don't understand that it's not his fault for the recession or cuts. Decisions had to be made, and it's as simple as that. Many students, current and prospective college students are suffering off trying to find an affordable instituition that won't kill them. Pennsylvania should be able to manage. It's not hard to cut back on desires instead of necessities.


Chad O. 2nd period
Northeast High School, Philadelphia, PA
I believe that Pennsylvania and its cities have a long way to go with dealing with our economic downturn. I think the first thing we should do is create as many jobs as possible. One way to add jobs in Philadelphia is to open casinos. Every day I see in the paper or hear in the news the percentages of unemployment and each day it rises. Jobs that are normally secure are letting people go left and right. I believe that if we just fight through this recession and individually don’t give up we will get through this before it turns into the next great depression. Because of the economy its going to be hard for me to get through college because of the high costs and lack of scholarship money being given. In Philadelphia there has been a decrease in spending and loss of jobs which are affecting another. But lately with the Phillies winning the World Series and Eagles about to win the Super Bowl everyone is buying Phillies and Eagles attire, which is helping our economy because of the spending and the hiring of jobs at sporting good stores.


Tatiana pd 2
NEHS , Phila, Pa
This recession definitely has a lot of people worried. This is a very crucial time for everyone across the country. Philadelphia need to cut back on things that are not necessary. The unemployment rate just goes up by the minute and people fret that they can’t support their families. Those who want to go to college also suffer because loans are harder to get and some people’s families can’t give them the money for college. Almost everyone now cuts back on traveling, shopping and other things. This recession hasn’t affected me personally and I thank God my parents have jobs and I do too, but I know plenty that have lost their jobs and are now stuck with bills they can’t pay. I personally think this is a hard time but we are managing to go through it as best as we can.


Marthe T. F. -- PD5
Northeast High School , Philadelphia/PA
The recession is affecting our state and local governments by putting alot of companies, stores, and people out of business. Because the state has to cut back on spending, a lot of places such as pools and libraries are closing. I don't think it's fair at all because we need our libraries. Some students uses the library to get homework and projects done and now it's going to affect them. People are losing their jobs and they have family to take care of and bills to pay. The prices off everything is getting high these days and I don't think it's necessary. Something must be done to help those in need and those that are being affected by the recession.


Shanekqua S. pd. 2
Northeast High School, Phila.,PA
The state of Pennsylvania and its cities really in my opinion have no real way of dealing with the economic downturn. If there was a solution to this problem it would have already been solved. All the cities arcoss the country are more than likely going though the same exact problems we are goin through. Businesses all over the country are bein forced to go out of business, so if it can not be resolved here then more than likely will not be solved anywhere else. In addition there are people in the government that do use the peoples money for their own personal use. If they were not so corrupt they would use that money to help the people they are suppose to be helping in the first place.I really hope our economy changes because we desperately need to be out of debt and pay other countries their money and end this war as soon as possible.


Qian W. PD2
Northeast High School, Philadelphia/PA
I can feel the recession is getting closer and closer to me; people around me are keeping saying one thing. That is they are scared of being fired, even they work more hours than they used to, they won’t complain about anything, as long as they still have the job. In our city, Mayor Nutter has to close 11 libraries because of the shortage of the money. If you notice, the robber rate in our city is rising much higher, I think it is probably too many people don’t have jobs, and they don’t know where to get money, so they choose to get it this way. To be honest, I feel unsafe to be living in this city, and I am sure most people feel the same way as I do. Every time when I see the worried expression from people, I am just sad. I don’t know what I can do to help the economy, or I can’t even make any help. But I just hope the recession could be over soon.


Vivian L. Pd.5
Northeast High School, Philadelphia
This recession has afftected everyone someway or another. As a senior in high school, hopefully, it doesn't hit me. Money is a big issue and those who lost their jobs or going to would face a major downturn. Which means more people would be in the streets with nothing to do and when they get desperate to get money, they would go to ends meet to get it, including robbery or theft. My friend's job hours has been cut back and going to be unemployed very shortly when the company goes out of business. People shouldn't be losing their jobs because at least having one helps the government in some way by paying taxes.This affected my mom and it hurts seeing her face when she has all these bills to pay each month. Her days has been cut back and her hourly pay wasn't good to begin with. We're struggling and I'm hoping for a change. This recession cause the closing of libraries, yes, but they're closing the ones that are actually useful to the community, the one around the corner from my house doesn't even have books and yet they're not closing that one down. Creating a casino might bring us money but that's destroying chinatown and center city as a whole. Honestly, I don't know how to help or if I'm going to be any help at all. I just hope that this recession would be over soon and this economy would only get better when Obama speak his plans.


Alex W.
Northeast High School, Philadelphia/ PA
So far the recession has affected me personally but in a small way. The only way it has really affected me is the fact that the recession has made it harder to find new jobs. For example I am going to college and if I have no job, then that means no money for college if no college then no education which means ill be screwed. I don't think they should shut down libraries, I think that the library is a necessity and people need it whether if they are a student or not. They should be able to go on the internet or read a book because not everyone can afford internet, so therefore they must go to the library. If they cut down on snow plowing that can cause more accidents and that means more medical care will be needed and not everyone has health insurance let alone for the whole family. I think the govt. should find other resources to take out rather than important things that most people rely on.


Henry P. (period 5)
Northeast High School, Philadelphia
Working for less to counter the economic downturn won't be possible for Pennsylvania government workes. The other solution as hard as it may sound, is closing public services that aren't needed. Between the choice of having a pool or, protection from fire and crime, I'd choose protection. To actually fix the problem, aside from using the bailout plan wisely is just regulate the economical flow. People are scared that if to spend, which means less taxes. So the government needs to invest wisely to create more jobs and trade. Personaly everyday life is still the same, for now. There are a lot local retailers going out of bussiness, job cuts and shutting down public services such as swimming pools and libaries.


Northeast High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The recession has been an economic decline in our economic activity across our country. Many factories have been shut therefore a lot of men and women have lost their jobs. Industrial production has been decreasing. There has been too much unnecessary spending and money has been lost. The recession has not really affected me personally because I am still young and I live at home where my parents pay my bills. I do know that it has affected others because even though my parents still have their good jobs, I know others who have lost their jobs and are now unemployed. I know students who really wanted to go to certain colleges but didn’t because of the fact that there isn’t much money to be given to them due to our economy. I think Pennsylvania should cut unnecessary spending. For example lower prices so then people would buy more and give more money. If some places like libraries and pools should be cut off then I agree. I think we should cut off the ones that are used the least. Pennsylvania should also work with other states in coming to smart decisions to strengthen our economy.


Northeast High School, Philadelphia
The recession has affected many stores to go out of business, and banks to go bankrupt. That also lead to lay off workers, causes the increase rates of unemployment. Then with the state's budget, our city had cut down many services such as 11 libraries had closed and public swimming pools too. I think the state of Pennsylvania should invest and contribute money wisely to deal with this economic downturn. In addition the state's government should cooperate and compromise with each other to make wise decision on government spending.


Stefany.C pd5
northeast highschool, phila
Pennsylvanians should deal with the economic downtrum by making jobs that can benefit everyone and stop the unnessecary spending. The economy has effected my commutiy in various ways. I see alot of stores out of business that were doing so great. There are robberies and home invasions because so many people lost there jobs and it's not right. Everyone needs to come together as a commuity and see what can resolved because one person cannot change the world.

Related News
Think tank weighs in on PA state cuts
The Times-Tribune

Rendell: Pa. budget shortfall more than expected
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Allegheny Conference sees region thriving
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Nutter makes deep cuts in Phila. services, payroll
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Related Resources
This Speak Out does not have any related resources