Watch out for that copper in the golf cart!: Cities next victim of credit crunch
Twenty-four states are in the red this year, the Times says, quoting stats from the National Conference of State Legislatures. They're cutting the favorite targets of school budgets and public health benefit. Local governments are cutting back on services like buses or parking the bookmobile. Some places are cutting back on all the unnecessary grass-mowing. BusinessWeek says Stillwater, Oklahoma cut its mowing in half, letting parkland turn into prairie. Somewhere Lady Bird Johnson must be smiling.
As much as no one wants to cut back on public safety, for some districts it's inevitable. Cops around the country have to watch their gas spending. Some are switching to alternate vehicles, like golf carts, or just doing foot patrols. Cops in El Paso County, Colo., saw their gas bill climb from $160,000 in 2003 to a projected $700,000 next year, the Times reported, so they stopped car patrols, a move they say will mean they won't be able to catch as many drunk drivers. BusinessWeek says Arizona is going to boost traffic tickets from cameras -- how many speeding tickets can a cop in a golf cart issue -- and stepped up lottery sales. Earlier this year California hatched a new lottery plan and Colorado decided to increase ticket fees. Expect to see these schemes around the country.