07/12/2010 - Cities and counties are in sorry shape. What's more, they may be among the last entities to feel like they've emerged from the recession.
Even as the economy makes what appears to be tentative recovery, local revenues are continuing to drop. The reason is that property taxes — the main source of local tax dollars — are typically readjusted over several years. That means assessments are just starting to reflect diminished home values, which have come down by 30 percent on average nationwide since the housing market’s peak in 2006.
"There isn't any way that this drop in values won't lead to significant property tax revenue losses," says Ethan Pollack, a senior fiscal analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, a labor-backed think tank.
"We don’t see evidence on hand right now that cities’ budget are bottoming out," says Thomas Ginsburg, who follows local finance for the Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based foundation. "I think they’re going to have to live with these problems a while longer."
Read the full article, Cities' Woes Will Linger, Thousands Of Jobs Will Go on NPR's Web site.