Recent headlines indicate that the State of Oregon faces another $1 billion in deficits. The trickle-down effect of the financial crisis that started with Wall Street banks has now come to all our Main Streets across Oregon.
Ironically, while Wall Street is handing out ever- bigger bonuses, State employees will be handed pink slips. In parallel, the private sector has handed out its own round of pink slips as unemployment sits at 10.6% (and almost 20% if one counts those who are off the roles but have given up trying to find employment.). Thus many will clamor for cutting more out of the State coffers, but we must remember that State employees shop at local stores, pay mortgages, get their hair cut and otherwise are an intricate part of the dance between the public and private systems that create Oregon. There’s no way to separate them….they are interdependent. So while cutting back on State expenditures looks effective, it is far less so when you factor in how that cuts back on private businesses too.
We are not the only State in budget crisis. This is happening everywhere. The City of Los Angeles recently announced that they would need to fire 1000 City employees immediately else they would be filing for bankruptcy. But as one citizen said at a public forum on the issue, “If you lay off 1000 City employees, that’s 1000 mortgages that won’t be paid, 1000 people not stopping by our local businesses and eventually, we’re all filing for bankruptcy. When does this end?”
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