In July I wrote an update regarding the 2011-2012 California State budget crisis and how it is affecting state funding of critical library programs that serve our state’s most vulnerable citizens (http://wp.me/p1w9Ey-7Q). This update shows where things stand as of November.
At the beginning of this year, Governor Brown cut half of the state’s $30.4M in program funding, leaving $15.2M at risk for total elimination. In a revised budget plan that was signed over the summer, this funding was placed within the first tier of a two-tier “Budget Trigger.” Funding became contingent upon the state hitting a revenue target of $87,452,500,000 by December. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst just released its anticipated revenue forecast which unfortunately places revenues approximately $3B short of the target. If the Department of Finance, which is due to publish its revenue forecast in early December, shows a similar dismal revenue scenario, Tier 1 cuts totaling $600M could be enacted on January 1. This could completely eliminate all remaining state library funding as well as other important programs that fund UC and CSU budgets, In Home Support Services, preschool funding, and other programs.
The California Library Association and other library groups are working with the Department of Finance and the state leadership to try to “save libraries from the trigger.” Alternatives to deal with the state revenue shortfall are being explored, but the risk to critical library funding and Federal matching funding is very real.
The California Library Association urges concerned library professionals and citizens to write the Governor and request that he spare public libraries from the “trigger.” You can find out more information about how to communicate with our state leadership here: http://www.cla-net.org. Make sure to cc your senator and assembly member. I just dropped my letter in the mail!