All eyes are focused on the presidential race, but it’s important not to overlook state and local races.’ States, counties and cities all over the country are considering ballot initiatives that’ will affect public and school library funding and services.
Some of the ballot measures directly address library funding.’ Others may deal with state and local revenue streams, which ultimately affect libraries and schools.’
Measure 3-310,’ Clackamas County, Oregon:’ ‘ On the ballot is a proposal to create a new tax district’ specifically for libraries.’ ‘ ‘ Currently, libraries compete with law enforcement, road maintenance, and other services for money held in a general fund; if passed, the proposal would create a library-specific allocation of money.
Question 1, Massachusetts:’ This ballot initiative would eliminate state personal income tax starting in January 2010.’ ‘ Opponents of the measure say that passage would cut 40% of the state’s operating budget and drastically impact funding for many public institutions, including public schools and, by extension, school libraries.
Mill Levy Election, Douglas County, CO:’ Douglas County is asking voters to approve a mill levy that would allow them to build new libraries and renovate existing libraries.
Issue 127, Cuyahoga County, OH:’ Voters are being asked to vote on a mill replacement/increase that would support collection funding, increase open library hours, and maintain library services.
Obviously, this is only a sampling of ballot issues being considered around the country.’ It’s worth looking closely at any and all tax and levy issues, as library funding comes from many sources.
Question 1 is completely nuts, particularly when Gov. Patrick just announced major budget cuts in state services as is–cuts to the Board of Library Commissioners 2009 budget include a massive gut to matching funds for public libraries who fundraise privately, and significant cuts for talking book libraries that are so vital to blind and disabled patrons throughout the state.
I urge Mass residents to vote NO on Question 1! (And, slightly off-topic, to vote YES on question 3, which would ban dog racing in the state.)
Question 1, if it passes in Massachusetts, will devastate libraries. Elimination of the state income tax would mean the loss of 40% of our state budget. Since bonds and federal mandates would be paid first, it means massive cuts would happen across many, many programs. The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners expects that ALL library line items in the state budget would be eliminated. That includes funding for aid to libraries, construction funds, our automated networks, and state funded databases. It also means our Regional Library Systems, which provide delivery of materials between libraries, additional databases, continuing education and a host of other essential services, would be eliminated too.
Teens have spoken out about the impact of Question 1 in Massachusetts, in a video produced by the Massachusetts Library Association Youth Services Section and posted to YouTube. Check it out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDNJNJC_wVk