“The US economy will slow sharply in the second half of the year and the risk of it going into recession cannot be ruled out, the OECD has warned.”
“Tremors from the housing market's slump are straining the budgets of state and local governments from coast to coast, sending officials scrambling to plug gaps.
Rising defaults on subprime home loans are boosting the inventory of unsold homes and driving sale prices lower. That's cutting into housing-related revenues from building-permit fees, taxes on contracting and recording property transfers, and even sales taxes.
As a result, legislators in Florida, which was at the forefront of the housing boom, plan a special session this month to consider deep budget cuts to offset a projected $1.5 billion funding gap. California forecasts a shortfall of at least $5 billion in next year's budget. And Chicago faces a $217 million gap in its $5.6 billion budget for 2008.
In the Kansas City, Mo., area, more than two dozen agencies that serve the homeless are likely to lose at least some of their funding this year. Meanwhile, the tiny town of Sultan, Wash., near Seattle, has had to lay off the janitor at City Hall, forcing office workers to take over bathroom-cleaning duties.”
Will even tighter state and local budgets force us to finally consider the more tax-effective crime prevention options than prison, or will we continue shorting our other public safety spending in criminal justice, public health, roads and bridges, etc.?
Guess we’re going to find out fairly quickly, aren’t we?