State budget crisis will hurt families, community groups

October 3, 2008

As the subprime mortgage crisis continues, newspapers and TV are flooded with stories of bail-outs of major banks, crashing stock markets and constant uncertainty. But how will this all affect smaller local businesses and non-profits? Who will bail them out of their financial woes?

Yesterday, Governor Patrick announced massive cuts in the state budget due to declining revenue, including a September shortfall of $188 million. The Governor has imposed a hiring freeze on non-essential jobs and suspended pay raises that were not in union contracts. His proposal also includes cost-saving measures like getting rid of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

There are approximately 36,000 Massachusetts non-profit organizations that currently employ roughly 14 percent of the Massachusetts workforce. Without security in the market, these organizations are at risk. Non-profits who rely on corporate donations and interest income from endowments for aid programs, day-to-day functioning and long-term sustainability will probably suffer greatly. What's worse is that with severe cuts in state budgets, these groups will have less funding for programs that meet community needs. Now, more than ever, is a critical time to show your favorite organizations some love - by spreading the word, volunteering and making a donation.

Speaking of state budget cuts, here's a quick plug to vote NO on Question 1 on the November ballot. Question 1 will eliminate the state income tax, cutting over 40 percent of the state budget. With Massachusetts in a financial crunch already, our communities cannot afford to lose any more funding. In the next few weeks we'll write more about why we believe Question 1 is an environmental injustice. For now, find more information at www.votenoquestion1.com.