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Stew21
02-09-2012, 11:06 PM
http://kalw.org/post/goodbye-state-funding-california-libraries



The bad news is that state funding for California libraries has been completely eliminated. There’s not really any good news about that except that it was expected. This past July, state library funding was sliced in half, and there was a trigger amendment attached to the budget that would eliminate state funding for public libraries at midyear if the state's revenue projections were not met. Needless to say, they weren’t.

I find this very sad, and I hope other states don't adopt this as a way to fix their budgets.

Snowstorm
02-09-2012, 11:39 PM
Oh, my. That is awful. Awfully sad, awfully infuriating.

All I can think of is, with California's storied high taxes, what the hell do they spend their money on!? (a venting, rhetorical question)

Celia Cyanide
02-10-2012, 12:21 AM
So sad that it has come to this. I'm glad to be gone.

Jess Haines
02-10-2012, 12:35 AM
That's it.

I already knew I was moving out of this crappy state. This just gives me a reason to do it sooner than I had planned.

colealpaugh
02-10-2012, 01:40 AM
The cuts have been extremely harsh in Pennsylvania as well ... except for the multi-million dollar library being built in Philly to honor and house the memorabilia and manuscripts of a "retired" Senator.

Carlene
02-10-2012, 02:22 AM
Yup, my hubby and I left California almost two years ago as we could see this (and worse) coming. I have no idea where all the money is going but...my sister-in-law used to teach tai chi part time in adult ed and was earning....$65.00 an hour! Yes, insane when Johnny is graduating high school and still can't read.

Carlene

Alessandra Kelley
02-10-2012, 03:10 AM
Foolish. Foolish. Foolish. Cutting library funding? Shortsighted.

jaksen
02-10-2012, 03:33 AM
This happened to many libraries in MA - but in individual towns and cities. In some towns/cities the removed funds have returned. In other cases libraries banded together to share resources, creating networks of libraries in towns/cities which are geographically close to one another.

The network on the Cape is called CLAMS and I love it. I can get a copy of almost any novel I want - if my library doesn't have it, they'll truck it in from a nearby town, or even the Vineyard or Nantucket.

LStein
02-10-2012, 04:54 AM
Awful. What are people thinking?

artemis31386
02-10-2012, 05:36 AM
Makes me glad I moved out of California when I did. They are having so many financial problems it makes me wonder where lawmakers are spending all the money from taxes.

robjvargas
02-10-2012, 08:09 AM
I have to be careful here, because my "radical libertarianism" (my term for it) has already got me booted from one forum.

I'll just put it this way: how many of us were demanding that our representatives plan for the lean times?

Susan Littlefield
02-10-2012, 07:49 PM
That is very sad. Libraries are essential, and often the only way some people can find books to read. Our County library has some excellent resources, including and history annex, genealogy resources, and many great programs.

Jamesaritchie
02-10-2012, 11:58 PM
It's happening all across the country, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It's easy to say states should keep funding libraries, but when the state is running at a huge deficit, cuts have to be made. No one wants to make cuts that affect them, and no one wants their taxes raised, even if they aren't actually paying any.

I don't know what it's like in California, but in my state. better than eighty percent of library patrons pay no taxes at all. Most of them actually get back more than they pay in, so their "fair" share amounts to less than zero. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

But in my city, patrons decided they were willing to pay to play, started donating their own time and money, and spent a lot of time soliciting donations from all over, and as a result, we have a library that's bigger and better than a city our size could have dreamed of before all this happened.

Most who complain don't even use pubic libraries, let alone donate time and money into keeping them open.

Celia Cyanide
02-11-2012, 07:04 PM
I don't know what it's like in California, but in my state. better than eighty percent of library patrons pay no taxes at all.

And how did you find this out?

PEBKAC
02-12-2012, 04:08 AM
If 80% of your library patrons are paying no taxes at all, doesn't that make the library service even more essential? I pay plenty of taxes, and if the library doesn't have what I want, I go buy it. It sounds like a huge majority of their patrons don't have that option if they can't fill their needs at a library.

Alison_Kale
02-12-2012, 05:31 AM
All I can think of is, with California's storied high taxes, what the hell do they spend their money on!? (a venting, rhetorical question)

I've spent one too many California dinner parties dissecting this question.

Also, while I like supporting my local library, I wish it didn't cost fifty cents to reserve a book. Wonder if they'll bump that cost up even more now?

James D. Macdonald
02-12-2012, 05:32 AM
It's happening all across the country, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It's easy to say states should keep funding libraries, but when the state is running at a huge deficit, cuts have to be made. No one wants to make cuts that affect them, and no one wants their taxes raised, even if they aren't actually paying any.



Given that the very bedrock foundation of democracy is an educated and informed electorate, I'd say that the state should cut funding for highways long before they cut funding for libraries.

And... what's the matter with raising taxes? If the top 1% can only afford two yachts and five mansions, that's just too bad for them.

Stlight
02-12-2012, 05:56 AM
Or maybe just closing the tax loopholes for the top 1%. That should cover the libraries and maybe a little bit more.

Medievalist
02-12-2012, 06:16 AM
If 80% of your library patrons are paying no taxes at all, doesn't that make the library service even more essential?

Yes. Especially given that the state legislature has repeatedly cut the library budgets of the state and community colleges, on the grounds that they could pair up with local public libraries.

A free, accessible, well-stocked library is a crucial element in freedom of the press, public education, and the long-term improvement of society for everyone.

Public libraries in California are the front-line measure with respect to free literacy education for adult learners, unenrolled teens, and ESL readers.

Public libraries are the only free public access to the Internet in California. Public libraries are the primary distribution and access point for books for the blind and visually disabled, and for the elderly and handicapped.

And I'm a former literacy volunteer, current HTML person, and life-time member of the Friends of Santa Monica library.

virtue_summer
02-12-2012, 06:28 AM
Can we also remember that libraries aren't just books? Books are great, obviously, and I love that they're there. But libraries have helped out a lot of people by offering computer access, internet access, programs that promote reading/literacy, academic tutoring, and more. They actually provide a lot of resources to their communities. And it might be true that a lot of library patrons don't pay taxes. So what? The poor are more likely to use the library because they're the ones most likely not to have computers, internet access, and lots of money for books, but who still need them (for education, for job hunting, etc) That's what it's there for, and I don't understand why when it comes time to find ways to save money it seems anything dedicated to helping the poor and aiding education goes first.

Sirion
02-12-2012, 01:07 PM
Given that the very bedrock foundation of democracy is an educated and informed electorate, I'd say that the state should cut funding for highways long before they cut funding for libraries.

And... what's the matter with raising taxes? If the top 1% can only afford two yachts and five mansions, that's just too bad for them.

Nobody has a right to determine who has 'enough'. Appropriating taxes in such a way is a full-on assault on individual liberty and private property--both fundamental aspects of human rights. Deciding how people should live is not a valid use of the tax system.

You could take every cent from every wealthy person in the State of California and it wouldn't solve their budget crisis, because the problem isn't taxes.

The problem is spending.

And I can think of a hundred different things California could cut before cutting libraries.

WriteMinded
02-13-2012, 08:43 PM
You could take every cent from every wealthy person in the State of California and it wouldn't solve their budget crisis, because the problem isn't taxes.

The problem is spending.

YES

Jess Haines
02-14-2012, 12:49 AM
You could take every cent from every wealthy person in the State of California and it wouldn't solve their budget crisis, because the problem isn't taxes.

The problem is spending.

And I can think of a hundred different things California could cut before cutting libraries.

QFT, bolding mine.

This isn't just a problem in California. What is it with the U.S. government spending money it doesn't have? If you live in the U.S. and want a few extra white hairs today, just look at the National Debt Clock (http://www.usdebtclock.org/). It's terrifying.

Celia Cyanide
02-14-2012, 01:12 AM
This isn't just a problem in California.

It is a much bigger problem in California.

MeretSeger
02-14-2012, 02:20 AM
OKay, I know that libraries are for other resources, too, but when I walk into my local library and there is a huge lounging area with comfy chairs, banks of at least forty computers, and one little teeny wall lined with books...

That isn't a library. It is an IT hub and a nap zone.

I love libraries, meaning, you know, a place for BOOKS. I mean, there are no BOOKS in my local library, anything I look up, they don't have. grrr.

Alessandra Kelley
02-14-2012, 02:42 AM
There are reasons (some of them even good ones) why Andrew Carnegie, a ridiculously rich robber baron of the late nineteenth century, funded so many free public libraries all across the country. Carnegie saw that it was vital that everyone have access to freely available books and information. He saw it as more important than hoarding his wealth.

Libraries are for everybody, but since the wealthy need them less than the poor (they can buy books; they already have computers and the internet), it's not surprising if library patrons skew towards those who are so poor they "pay no taxes at all."

Most libraries are starved of funding, so they have fewer books and amenities than the people who work there would like to be able to provide. Does that mean they should be eliminated as useless?

And if people need enlightened self-interest arguments: Which would you prefer, that the poor people who live around you have some access to books, information, education, and the chance to learn; or none? Which makes life safer and better for you?

Medievalist
02-14-2012, 04:08 AM
I love libraries, meaning, you know, a place for BOOKS. I mean, there are no BOOKS in my local library, anything I look up, they don't have. grrr.

Join the library board, or the FOL.

That's what got me to join—they were being pressured to go all digital for new books, and subscriptions.

And I knew as an IT person that that would be Very Bad.

kenthepen
02-14-2012, 04:16 AM
Hoarding all that wealth has become the global game of choice, and will probably stay that way until the peasants come with their torches and pitchforks. I'm waiting for a sale at Home Depot.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
02-14-2012, 04:55 AM
I couldn't believe how bad it was in California even when I visited back in 2006.

I'm a genealogist working on a huge history of my dad's family (Smiths-- I enjoy a challenge), and travel around to different libraries and archives in many states to view old newspaper microfilm of obituaries and news stories that can lead me to more information (living relatives, etc).

These budget cutbacks KILL my research. #1, hours of facilities are cut, making it really difficult to plan a visit with all the furloughs.

#2, equipment isn't maintained. The downtown library in Los Angeles must have had about 30 microfilm viewers, and maybe 1 or 2 w/print capabilities. NONE of the other 30 were usable, because they had not been serviced in ages and were not working. So there were a ton of us fighting over the few that were working.

#3- No staff to go and get microfilm, if it is kept in a back room somewhere. So you're kind of SOL for viewing it.

So many of the other states keep massive databases of information on what they have. California has some, but they're not even ACCURATE and need to be updated. I spent extra time on my last trip in Riverside. I visited with a cousin there, but I could have used one day doing that and moved on. The database told me there were newspapers I needed @ the uni there. They weren't there. I was PISSED I'd wasted a day because research trips are expensive and I can't afford to waste a minute.

James D. Macdonald
02-14-2012, 05:28 AM
Appropriating taxes in such a way is a full-on assault on individual liberty and private property--both fundamental aspects of human rights.

The current taxes on the wealthy are ridiculously low, and the number of loopholes they've had written into law for themselves are ridiculously high.

Back in the fifties, an era noted for its peace and prosperity, the top marginal tax rate was 91%. I don't see anything wrong with going back to that.

Stijn Hommes
02-14-2012, 12:45 PM
It's happening all across the country, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It's easy to say states should keep funding libraries, but when the state is running at a huge deficit, cuts have to be made. No one wants to make cuts that affect them, and no one wants their taxes raised, even if they aren't actually paying any.

I don't know what it's like in California, but in my state. better than eighty percent of library patrons pay no taxes at all. Most of them actually get back more than they pay in, so their "fair" share amounts to less than zero. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

But in my city, patrons decided they were willing to pay to play, started donating their own time and money, and spent a lot of time soliciting donations from all over, and as a result, we have a library that's bigger and better than a city our size could have dreamed of before all this happened.

Most who complain don't even use pubic libraries, let alone donate time and money into keeping them open. If that's true, I'm pretty sure illiteracy is going to skyrocket. Some things are worth investing in. States aren't supposed to have a revenue, that is a company term. States are supposed to look after the people who live there. By the way, with libraries and safe bike and walking paths receiving cuts, I'm wondering where all the money is actually going...

By the way, it's true something needs to be cut. I suggest we start with the ridiculous amount of money spent on the military.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 03:20 PM
By the way, it's true something needs to be cut. I suggest we start with the ridiculous amount of money spent on the military.

By the way, you could cut the military down to zero dollars, and that wouldn't cut California's budget by a single dollar.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
02-14-2012, 04:47 PM
By the way, you could cut the military down to zero dollars, and that wouldn't cut California's budget by a single dollar.

Yes, but states do get money from the federal government. We can thank Mr. Bush for bankrupting us so that can't happen.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 05:12 PM
Yes, but states do get money from the federal government. We can thank Mr. Bush for bankrupting us so that can't happen.

Or we could follow The Constitution and leave states responsibilities (and rights) to the states.


The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Interesting concept, that.

10th Amendment (http://www.gpoaccess.gov/constitution/html/amdt10.html)

My disagreeing with prevailing presumptions, however, has got me in trouble once already. I won't rock that boat any further.

Terie
02-14-2012, 05:12 PM
I don't know what it's like in California, but in my state. better than eighty percent of library patrons pay no taxes at all.

BS. Once again, JAR is making shit up.

Do they pay no gasoline taxes when they buy gas? No sales taxes when they buy taxable goods? What about excise taxes built into most retail prices -- are those removed at the cash register? What about payroll taxes -- do their employers not deduct those from their paychecks?

Just because someone doesn't pay federal income tax doesn't mean they pay no taxes at all; it merely means that they don't make enough income to pay federal income taxes. This is only a portion of the taxes people pay. Besides, it's been proven over and Over and OVER that poor people pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than wealthy people do.

And where does this 'better eighty percent of library patrons' come from anyway? Did someone in your state do a survey on the taxes paid by library patrons to come up with this figure? Or did it just come out of your imagination?

James D. Macdonald
02-14-2012, 05:27 PM
Or we could follow The Constitution and leave states responsibilities (and rights) to the states.



That problem was debugged 1860-1864.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 05:36 PM
That problem was debugged 1860-1864.

You've already trained me not to challenge the prevailing presumptions.

:Shrug:

Twizzle
02-14-2012, 05:39 PM
And where does this 'better eighty percent of library patrons' come from anyway? Did someone in your state do a survey on the taxes paid by library patrons to come up with this figure? Or did it just come out of your imagination?

As a former librarian, let me just say I have no clue if JAR is making shit up, but libraries do need to track and report circulation and reference help desk statistics, and it does impact funding.

So, we knew who borrowed what, who asked what, who utilized what, at all times. And this info is avail to the public (minus identifying info such as names), as it's reported. And I should add, we did do surveys-particularly come budget time. While ques such as do you pay taxes weren't asked, others such as "do you own a home in town", etc were...

Now, do these stats tell you what tax bracket people borrowing books are in? No. Not technically.

But they do tell you quite a bit. Quite. And yes, I live in town (and know it and its people well) so I suspect I could comfortably infer, based on our stats and funding rec'd, that the majority of our borrowers were probably federal and/or town tax payers, or members of households that were.

I would not, however, pretend that it was fact as I don't have access to their returns. But I'd feel pretty good slapping down some cash on a bet about it. A great wad of it.

Amadan
02-14-2012, 05:58 PM
You've already trained me not to challenge the prevailing presumptions.

Cry tears for the poor oppressed libertarian whose views are JUST TOO EDGY FOR THE SHEEPLE!

California's budget will remain in a state of ever-increasing fuckedness until they do something about Prop 13, which will happen approximately never.


It's happening all across the country, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world. It's easy to say states should keep funding libraries, but when the state is running at a huge deficit, cuts have to be made. No one wants to make cuts that affect them, and no one wants their taxes raised, even if they aren't actually paying any.

I don't know what it's like in California, but in my state. better than eighty percent of library patrons pay no taxes at all. Most of them actually get back more than they pay in, so their "fair" share amounts to less than zero. Sometimes you really do get what you pay for. Pay nothing, get nothing.

You really have no concept of what a "public good" is, do you?

Besides your blatantly pulled-out-of-your-ass numbers, the point of publicly funded libraries is to encourage a literate well-educated populace. Which, I realize, is not something you actually consider desirable, serfs being much more biddable when they can't read and all, but it's kind of a bedrock value for the rest of us.

Norman D Gutter
02-14-2012, 06:06 PM
So the State cut funding for local libraries. So what? If the local communities believe the library is a good investment, let them fund it. It will cost less in taxes at the local level than at the State level, and will assure local control.

Why is everyone so anxious to fund their things with other people's money?

Amadan
02-14-2012, 06:09 PM
Libertarians really come out of the woodwork to salivate at the thought of closing down libraries.

Terie
02-14-2012, 06:18 PM
Why is everyone so anxious to fund their things with other people's money?

What a silly argument.

I don't have kids, but I have no problem with my tax money going toward funding eduction. I get a lot of benefit over the long term by other people's kids getting an education.

I hardly ever use the local public transport system, but I have no problem with my tax money going toward funding it. When I see an old dear standing at the bus stop with her shopping bag and know that she can easily get to and from the supermarket, I don't begrudge my tax contribution.

As a matter of fact, according to the averages, I'm currently paying over £9,000 a year in taxes more than I'm currently receiving back in government goods and services, and I have no problem with that at all.

It's called 'community'.

Besides, some of the benefits are intangible. That doesn't mean they don't exist.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 06:18 PM
Libertarians really come out of the woodwork to salivate at the thought of closing down libraries.

Interesting. Not one post here even approximately celebrates the closing down.

But someone somewhere might be salivating over it, I guess.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 06:20 PM
What a silly argument.

I don't have kids, but I have no problem with my tax money going toward funding eduction. I get a lot of benefit over the long term by other people's kids getting an education.

Nor does he. Or was I the only one who noticed his first paragraph stating that local funding would cost less than state funding?

Norman D Gutter
02-14-2012, 06:24 PM
Thank you, robjvargas, for being a good reader.

Amadan
02-14-2012, 06:25 PM
Nor does he. Or was I the only one who noticed his first paragraph stating that local funding would cost less than state funding?


And the people in rich communities will have nice libraries and the people in poor ones won't have any, just like Robert HeinleinGod intended.

Twizzle
02-14-2012, 06:26 PM
So the State cut funding for local libraries. So what? If the local communities believe the library is a good investment, let them fund it. It will cost less in taxes at the local level than at the State level, and will assure local control.

Why is everyone so anxious to fund their things with other people's money?


Again, can't speak for every library and state out there but our library is funded by town, state, and federal funds, as well as with private donations and volunteers. It is controlled locally, for the most part, by an elected Board of Trustees and the town manager, who report to the elected Town Council.

So, as a taxpayer, donor, and volunteer (and I pay taxes both locally and federally), I personally help fund my local library. Am I anxious that other people's money be used as well? Damn skippy. I can't do it alone. As was said, it's called community and investing in ourselves.

I will say, however, our Board of Trustees and Director have dicked up the budget by overspending on her salary, among other items, and have cut open hrs to compensate, and I'm part of the effort to fight that. The funding isn't the main issue for us-though, it has been cut. It's the gross overspending and irresponsibility.

Alessandra Kelley
02-14-2012, 06:27 PM
Nor does he. Or was I the only one who noticed his first paragraph stating that local funding would cost less than state funding?

Why would it cost less if funded at the local level than at the state level?

And wasn't part of the argument that the poorest communities, who can afford them the least, need libraries the most?

Terie
02-14-2012, 06:30 PM
Nor does he. Or was I the only one who noticed his first paragraph stating that local funding would cost less than state funding?

Why gosh. Apparently you did not notice that I don't live in a place that has state vs federal funding. And yet (gasp!) I'm still allowed to have an opinion and express it regarding the line about paying for things with 'other people's money', which is applicable no matter where one lives.

Besides, the second paragraph (to which I responded) is not linked rhetorically to the first. They have completely different topic sentences.

See how reading comprehension actually works?

Norman D Gutter
02-14-2012, 06:50 PM
Why would it cost less if funded at the local level than at the state level?

The farther away your tax dollars go, the harder it is to keep track of them, to know what they are being spent on. So waste and fraud are more likely at higher levels of government. If the State funds a local library, they are getting the funds from people who live in the local communities. The State collects the money, subtracts a collection fee, and send the money back to the community. They probably make a slight re-distribution from wealthier communities to poorer communities, but even the wealthy communities will be crying out for the State funding, as if it's free money. So while it's nice to think we are helping out poor communities, the premium extracted by wealthier communities for that service makes it ridiculously expensive.

If the money is collected locally and distributed locally, it will be easier to track, and easier to bring an end to any mis-appropriation of funds. I testified in the criminal trial of a local mayor who added a water line serving his own undeveloped property to a larger, community wide water project. The mayor thought no one would notice the $30,000 or the line. But it was discovered when a citizen noticed the line under construction, knew whose property it was aiming for, and contacted law enforcement. Good-bye Mr. Mayor. Imagine trying to do that at the State level.

I'm a huge fan of libraries, and spend as much time in them as I can. If there is a way to help poorer communities have better libraries without breaking the bank, I'm all for it. But I don't think it can happen without the "me too" factor driving the price too high.

Best Regards,
NDG

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 07:02 PM
Why would it cost less if funded at the local level than at the state level?

Parfaits. Parfaits have layers. Nobody don't like Parfaits.

I'm having fun, but that's the key. Each layer of government is *at least* one additional layer of bureaucracy that has to be funded.


And wasn't part of the argument that the poorest communities, who can afford them the least, need libraries the most?

That's a fine response. My only point was a reply to someone else implying that without state funding, someone here was (apparently) calling for no funding.

Alessandra Kelley
02-14-2012, 07:15 PM
I testified in the criminal trial of a local mayor who added a water line serving his own undeveloped property to a larger, community wide water project. The mayor thought no one would notice the $30,000 or the line. But it was discovered when a citizen noticed the line under construction, knew whose property it was aiming for, and contacted law enforcement. Good-bye Mr. Mayor. Imagine trying to do that at the State level.

But surely that's an argument against local control of important social funding. Local corruption is far more damaging without federal oversight.

There are several suburbs of Chicago that have had notoriously corrupt government on and off for going on eighty years. I would not for one second prefer that the local town government be in charge of funding the libraries.

MeretSeger
02-14-2012, 07:18 PM
Cry tears for the poor oppressed libertarian whose views are JUST TOO EDGY FOR THE SHEEPLE!

California's budget will remain in a state of ever-increasing fuckedness until they do something about Prop 13, which will happen approximately never.



You really have no concept of what a "public good" is, do you?

Besides your blatantly pulled-out-of-your-ass numbers, the point of publicly funded libraries is to encourage a literate well-educated populace. Which, I realize, is not something you actually consider desirable, serfs being much more biddable when they can't read and all, but it's kind of a bedrock value for the rest of us.

I HOPE "they" don't "do" something about Prop 13! Do you have any idea what was going on to make Prop 13 necessary? Avoiding home loss due to freaking taxes was a big plus, and I could never have bought a home without Prop 13.

I love Prop 13. It was created BY THE PEOPLE and benefited the people. It was a true grass-roots movement.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 07:42 PM
Why gosh. Apparently you did not notice that I don't live in a place that has state vs federal funding.

Irrelevant. The person to whom you were responding said it. So your point was a valid British one (since you referred to pounds, I presume British). But this is about California, and was already in the discussion.


And yet (gasp!) I'm still allowed to have an opinion and express it regarding the line about paying for things with 'other people's money', which is applicable no matter where one lives.
Just don't be surprised when that "allowed to have an opinion" gets applied to a factually inaccurate portion of your own post.

Amadan
02-14-2012, 07:43 PM
I HOPE "they" don't "do" something about Prop 13! Do you have any idea what was going on to make Prop 13 necessary? Avoiding home loss due to freaking taxes was a big plus, and I could never have bought a home without Prop 13.

I love Prop 13. It was created BY THE PEOPLE and benefited the people. It was a true grass-roots movement.


It was a measure designed to do exactly what it's done - cripple public funding for services. California once had the best public schools in the country. Now they drop in rankings every year. The richer you are, the longer it will take for the pain to reach you, but California has some of the most expensive and least-taxed real estate in the world. What a surprise that when real estate began to slide, California -- also one of the largest economies in the world, richer than most nations -- began to go to hell.

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 07:50 PM
But surely that's an argument against local control of important social funding. Local corruption is far more damaging without federal oversight.

Is it? Anyone remember the "Bridge to Nowhere" at the federal level? That wasn't $30,000. That was $400 million (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravina_Island_Bridge).


There are several suburbs of Chicago that have had notoriously corrupt government on and off for going on eighty years. I would not for one second prefer that the local town government be in charge of funding the libraries.
Out of curiosity, have you heard of any of those governments actively hurting the town infrastructure? At least in this kind of context. I know there was a northern suburb that hid contamination of local water for decades. I live close enough to know who Betty Loren Maltese is.

As for local vs state: George Ryan? Rod Blagojevich?

Norman D Gutter
02-14-2012, 07:57 PM
But surely that's an argument against local control of important social funding. Local corruption is far more damaging without federal oversight.

There are several suburbs of Chicago that have had notoriously corrupt government on and off for going on eighty years. I would not for one second prefer that the local town government be in charge of funding the libraries.

The mayor got caught. When he realized he was going to lose he pled guilty and resigned. He paid the money back, plus the costs of the trial. Since then, no mayor has dared to try to steal something from the City. The local water department head was caught stealing parts from the City. He was caught, fired, pled guilty, paid it all back, and rode off into the sunset. Since then no other City employee has dared to take stuff. When has that ever happened at the State level? Swift punishment of criminals has proven to be a good deterent in this neck of the woods.

And if anyone thinks some suburbs of Chicago have corrupt governments, what about at Springfield? Haven't the last three governors been convicted of crimes? That's probably just the tip of the iceberg.

The thread has strayed into politics, which I'm sure the O.P. didn't intend (though maybe avoiding it isn't possible). Libraries are essential. I believe funding should be local to the greatest extent possible. If a community is exceedingly poor and can't in any way fund a library, I'm open to discussions on how to help them out. But I just don't think a widespread transfer of funds from the local communities to the State and then a redistribution back to the communities is the best way to go. Too many people are looking for "free money." Maybe a county-wide collection and distribution is a better way to go.

NDG

Celia Cyanide
02-14-2012, 08:00 PM
So the State cut funding for local libraries. So what? If the local communities believe the library is a good investment, let them fund it.

Because they can't freaking afford it. I have a Bachelor's degree, and 10 years experience in the medical records field, and I was living in poverty when I was out California.

MeretSeger
02-14-2012, 08:02 PM
It was a measure designed to do exactly what it's done - cripple public funding for services. California once had the best public schools in the country. Now they drop in rankings every year. The richer you are, the longer it will take for the pain to reach you, but California has some of the most expensive and least-taxed real estate in the world. What a surprise that when real estate began to slide, California -- also one of the largest economies in the world, richer than most nations -- began to go to hell.

No. It wasn't.

The people of the state of California rose up and put an end to the suffering of the poorest of us, in particular, the elderly who were losing their homes to tax liens through no fault of their own. It helped the 99% if you will. There was no conservative conspiracy. It was bipartisan and grass roots and predated the co-opting of the proposition system.

As for the school problem in California, it has very little to do with funding. I have 2 kids in there, I know, but that's another topic.

MeretSeger
02-14-2012, 08:08 PM
Because they can't freaking afford it. I have a Bachelor's degree, and 10 years experience in the medical records field, and I was living in poverty when I was out California.

Ain't that the truth. What would be wealth elsewhere is subsistence here. I've had to help someone find housing who relocated from North Carolina, and they were so happy they had a $500 a month stipend for housing. That happiness didn't last through Day 1 of apartment hunting.

No, we pay our taxes, and this is on the list of things the government is supposed to do: libraries, safety, infrastructure...we shouldn't have to starve to read in this country.

Alessandra Kelley
02-14-2012, 08:08 PM
No. It wasn't.

The people of the state of California rose up and put an end to the suffering of the poorest of us, in particular, the elderly who were losing their homes to tax liens through no fault of their own. It helped the 99% if you will. There was no conservative conspiracy. It was bipartisan and grass roots and predated the co-opting of the proposition system.

As for the school problem in California, it has very little to do with funding. I have 2 kids in there, I know, but that's another topic.

I am mighty shaky on California history, but wasn't California state college tuition FREE before Proposition 13 was passed in 1978?

Seriously -- free education from Kindergarten through college.

Is there not a connection?

Mclesh
02-14-2012, 08:23 PM
California is broke. The freeway that I travel frequently, the 10, is like a patchwork quilt of pieces of road patched together.

Our local library has had reduced hours and has been closed on Sundays for years. (Sundays -- never understood that.)

Any reduction in library time is unfortunate. To me, public libraries are one of our societies great equalizers. My son got his first library card when he was three years old and we've been going ever since.

Cut the libraries and we all suffer, but the poor will feel the cuts the most severely.

WriteMinded
02-14-2012, 08:46 PM
Cry tears for the poor oppressed libertarian whose views are JUST TOO EDGY FOR THE SHEEPLE!

California's budget will remain in a state of ever-increasing fuckedness until they do something about Prop 13, which will happen approximately never.
God - let's hope not! Before Prop 13, people were losing their homes because they couldn't pay their property taxes. The gestapo arrived at your door and assessed the value of your house and sent you a notice in the mail of what you were going to pay. You had no recourse. You got reassessed periodically and God help you if you made any improvements.

Shortly after prop 13, housing prices started to rise until they reached the astronomical level of a couple of years ago. Property taxes, while calculated on a lower percentage and based on the huge amounts now paid for a house, result in plenty of revenue. Now we lose our homes for other reasons. In an economy where people are being put out of their houses and/or struggling to pay their mortgages, you think it would be a good idea to raise our property taxes, too? Well, splutter, splutter . . . dirty word!

robjvargas
02-14-2012, 08:59 PM
Norman:

I'd pay $10-$20 a year for my library privileges. Maybe a quarter or a dime to check out a book?

My son is on a debate team that meets at the local library. I'd hate having to pay for the room his team reserves, but I'd do it in the name of keeping the library top-notch. As long as it doesn't reach the point of excluding the people it helps now (why the fees I propose are so low).

MeretSeger
02-14-2012, 09:04 PM
I am mighty shaky on California history, but wasn't California state college tuition FREE before Proposition 13 was passed in 1978?

Seriously -- free education from Kindergarten through college.

Is there not a connection?

Prop 13 was about property taxes. Prop 98 requires a set percentage of the State budget to go to education. Property taxes don't pay for the University system. (iirc)

See, the thing is in California, these cockamamie schemes come up that sound really cool and money from the budget gets pulled out. The BulletTrain comes to mind. Could that money be used for schools and libraries, and oh yes, pothole repair? Yes. But instead, we are building a train no one will ride to places no one wants to go. And our axles are getting broken on potholes the size of a meteor crater.

And every year, they can't pass budgets because the legislators can't agree on what nutty things to fund. Politics out here is a mess.

MeretSeger
02-14-2012, 09:08 PM
God - let's hope not! Before Prop 13, people were losing their homes because they couldn't pay their property taxes. The gestapo arrived at your door and assessed the value of your house and sent you a notice in the mail of what you were going to pay. You had no recourse. You got reassessed periodically and God help you if you made any improvements.

Shortly after prop 13, housing prices started to rise until they reached the astronomical level of a couple of years ago. Property taxes, while calculated on a lower percentage and based on the huge amounts now paid for a house, result in plenty of revenue. Now we lose our homes for other reasons. In an economy where people are being put out of their houses and/or struggling to pay their mortgages, you think it would be a good idea to raise our property taxes, too? Well, splutter, splutter . . . dirty word!

It is a struggle to pay our taxes right now. If they doubled even once like was happening annually on in the 70s, we would lose our home. Same with our neighbors.

California would be a blighted wasteland of deteriorating empty homes.

Norman D Gutter
02-14-2012, 10:10 PM
Rob:

Having those who are able to pay a library user fee pay one is one possible part of funding local community libraries in the face of cutbacks in tax funding. I too would be willing to pay a fee, even though I'm currently working for 2003 wages with 2012 prices due to salary cutback during this depression (it's not a recession despite what the Feds tell us) without deflation. I already pay fees for inter-library loan, and I'm fine with that. My writers group once used the library meeting room (at no charge), but we quit because the library hours didn't work for us. But, if that was our only option, I would be willing to pay a modest fee for that. I realize that despite salary cut issues, I am still not among the poor.

The question becomes how to fund libraries in smaller and poorer communities. My wife was born in a town of 800 people and raised in the next town over of 2,000. Both towns have pint sized libraries, especially the first. I'd love to have some multiple of $10,000 to be able to donate to them to let them expand. The students and adults in that town must need the same books available to me in a library serving 100,000 people and appropriately sized for that.

NDG

Mclesh
02-14-2012, 11:27 PM
Prop 13 was about property taxes. Prop 98 requires a set percentage of the State budget to go to education. Property taxes don't pay for the University system. (iirc)

See, the thing is in California, these cockamamie schemes come up that sound really cool and money from the budget gets pulled out. The BulletTrain comes to mind. Could that money be used for schools and libraries, and oh yes, pothole repair? Yes. But instead, we are building a train no one will ride to places no one wants to go. And our axles are getting broken on potholes the size of a meteor crater.

And every year, they can't pass budgets because the legislators can't agree on what nutty things to fund. Politics out here is a mess.

QFT

A while back, I heard California's budget troubles described this way: the state's legislature has always been screwed up, the state budget has always been a problem, but our state funds have generally been large enough to take it. In other words, there's always been wiggle room in the budget. Now that there's no money left, things are a mess.

James D. Macdonald
02-15-2012, 11:57 PM
If there is a way to help poorer communities have better libraries without breaking the bank, I'm all for it.

There is!

It's state and federal funding from tax revenue.

It's using our money to invest in our future.

If there isn't enough money, raise taxes.

robjvargas
02-16-2012, 12:51 AM
Federal money for local libraries...

Constitution be damned.

Norman D Gutter
02-16-2012, 01:14 AM
James:

I don't particularly want the Federal government to borrow my grandchildren's retirement money to fund libraries. I'm fine paying more taxes to fund my own community's public library, and helping helping poorer communities with their libraries. But do it at the county government level, not Federal.

robjvargas
02-16-2012, 09:53 PM
I'm fine paying more taxes to fund my own community's public library, and helping helping poorer communities with their libraries. But do it at the county government level, not Federal.

QFT. I'll go one further and say I'm ok with the states doing it.

This nation was founded on letting states have the primary say in how they run themselves. Not the sole authority, but the primary. And I think we very much made a mistake when we abandoned that idea.

Amadan
02-16-2012, 10:19 PM
This nation was founded on letting states have the primary say in how they run themselves. Not the sole authority, but the primary. And I think we very much made a mistake when we abandoned that idea.


Most state governments today manage a larger population and economy than the federal government did back when the founding fathers were handed holy writ on stone tablets from the angelshammered out a serviceable political compromise that was intended from the beginning to be interpreted and modified. Culturally, politically, and in terms of communications and travel, Washington, D.C. is now closer to every part of the country than most state capitals were to their remoter constituents 200 years ago. So this "states rights" talking point is at best historically naif and at worst a dog-whistle.

MeretSeger
02-17-2012, 12:10 AM
Local control of local issues is more than a lib-con debate. My local school has 30% new English speakers. It will test very differently than the Feds want. Is that the fault of the teachers? The school? No, they have to adapt to local conditions. WE, here, know these things. Travel cannot bestow immersion.

Our federal level representatives swoop in (talk about Moses coming down from the mountain), nod sagely as people talk, and then do whatever is most politically expedient. Maybe if we issued dog-whistles there might be a more sensitive response. in my experience.

Amadan
02-17-2012, 12:29 AM
Local control of local issues is more than a lib-con debate. My local school has 30% new English speakers. It will test very differently than the Feds want. Is that the fault of the teachers? The school? No, they have to adapt to local conditions. WE, here, know these things. Travel cannot bestow immersion.


NCLB was very much a conservative/libertarian brainchild, the end goal being the defunding of public schools. Just as libertarians will usually give a very particular list of things they personally approve of which are okay to collect taxes for, but everything else is an unconstitutional exercise of government power. If they got their dream (the elimination of any public service they don't personally use) I don't for a second believe any of them would actually contribute money to fund a local library, and certainly not for anyone else's library that they wouldn't be using.

robjvargas
02-17-2012, 02:07 AM
Most state governments today manage a larger population and economy than the federal government did back when the founding fathers were handed holy writ on stone tablets from the angelshammered out a serviceable political compromise that was intended from the beginning to be interpreted and modified. Culturally, politically, and in terms of communications and travel, Washington, D.C. is now closer to every part of the country than most state capitals were to their remoter constituents 200 years ago. So this "states rights" talking point is at best historically naif and at worst a dog-whistle.

Modified,yes. By the Amendment process. The other methods used since, that's a doorway to oligarchy.

Celia Cyanide
02-17-2012, 03:53 AM
James:

I don't particularly want the Federal government to borrow my grandchildren's retirement money to fund libraries. I'm fine paying more taxes to fund my own community's public library, and helping helping poorer communities with their libraries. But do it at the county government level, not Federal.

Los Angeles county IS a poorer community.

robjvargas
02-17-2012, 03:56 AM
Los Angeles county IS a poorer community.

Did I misinterpret, then? The way this story seems to have been portrayed, it seems to affect all California public libraries.

MeretSeger
02-17-2012, 04:26 AM
Did I misinterpret, then? The way this story seems to have been portrayed, it seems to affect all California public libraries.

No, you're right, it's all of California libraries. But it will affect the rural ones more because they have fewer other sources of funding.

robjvargas
02-17-2012, 04:53 AM
No, you're right, it's all of California libraries. But it will affect the rural ones more because they have fewer other sources of funding.

That begs the question why it's not proportionately distributed, then. Or maybe my thought is more of inversely proportional.

MeretSeger
02-17-2012, 04:57 AM
That begs the question why it's not proportionately distributed, then. Or maybe my thought is more of inversely proportional.

Fewer voters in rural areas, why bother?

uh-oh, my anti-establishmentarianism is showing... ;)