The Community Celebration held
last Thursday to raise money for the Robert and
Ellen Sheldon reward fund added nearly $20,000 to
the fund according to organizers. This is in
addition to the $20,000 already pledged to help
find information leading to the arrest and
conviction of the person or persons responsible
for the deaths of Robert and Ellen Sheldon.
The total raised by the auction
and other activities at the Celebration was just
over $18,300 as of Monday morning. Donations are
continuing to be received and can be made at the
Southwest Missouri Bank.
Items auctioned ranged from
pies to art work donated by various artists in
the community. A painting by Bob Tommey drew the
highest bid of any of the items at $1,000.
Those that gathered at the
Fairview Christian Church, estimated at over 600,
were served barbecue beef sandwiches, chips,
drinks and dessert for no charge with donations
accepted. The meal was followed by fellowship and
the live auction.
IN TROUBLE FEDERAL ECONOMIC
FUNDS PROVIDING SOME RELIEF
The weak economy is generating
great fiscal distress among states. Combined
budget gaps for the remainder of the current
fiscal year and the next two years are estimated
to total more than $350 billion.
The American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act includes roughly $140 billion in
fiscal relief for state governments, enough to
close about 40 percent of state shortfalls. A
number of states are already putting the relief
to use to help balance their budgets while
minimizing harmful cuts in public services.
Before enactment of the
recovery package, at least 34 states cut services
to their residents, including some of their most
vulnerable families and individuals, to begin
closing their shortfalls. Because federal aid
will only close a portion of states
shortfalls, additional cuts are likely in the
coming months. Cuts to state services not only
harm vulnerable residents but also worsen the
recession by reducing overall economic activity.
States are also likely to enact
or consider tax increases or other revenue
measures. So far, at least 15 states have begun
closing their budget shortfalls by increasing
taxes or otherwise raising new revenue. Like
budget cuts, tax increases remove demand from the
economy, by reducing the amount of money people
have to spend. But tax increases can be less
detrimental to state economies than budget cuts
because some of the tax increases result in
reduced saving rather than reduced consumption.
Forty-seven states faced or are
facing budget shortfalls.
* In 42 states and Washington,
D.C., 2009 budgets have fallen out of balance
since their enactment, producing mid-year
deficits that total more than $53 billion (or
over 8 percent of budgets). These mid-year
shortfalls are in addition to $48 billion in
budget gaps that 29 states closed when enacting
their fiscal 2009 budgets, which began on July 1
in most states. Total fiscal 2009 budget gaps
equal 15 percent of these states general
fund (operating) budgets.
* Forty-four states already
project shortfalls totaling close to $105 billion
for fiscal 2010 (which in most states begins July
1, 2009). As the full extent of 2010 budget gaps
become known, shortfalls are likely to equal $145
billion (based on expected economic deterioration
and the relationship of state revenues to the
* Fiscal distress is highly
likely to continue into state fiscal year 2011,
with deficits exceeding those projected for 2010.
* These deficit figures show
the impact the economic downturn has had on state
budgets. In some cases all or part of the
shortfall for 2009 has already been closed
through a combination of spending cuts,
withdrawals from reserves, revenue increases, or
use of federal stimulus dollars.
At least nine states are using
fiscal relief to minimize cuts in public
* Arizona, Colorado,
Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Oregon,
South Carolina, and Virginia have already
advanced or enacted plans to use these funds to
reverse previously proposed budget cuts and/or to
balance their states budgets in a way that
mitigates potential cuts.
* Despite these changes, most
or all of these states are making other cuts in
their budgets, which the federal legislation will
be insufficient to reverse.
At least 40 states have cut a
range of services, including those aimed at some
of their most vulnerable residents. Also, 15
states have raised taxes.
* At least 18 states have
enacted or implemented cuts that will affect
low-income families eligibility for health
insurance or reduce their access to health care;
at least 18 states and Washington, D.C. are
cutting medical, rehabilitative, home care, or
other services needed by low-income people who
are elderly or have disabilities; at least 21
states are cutting K-12 and early education; and
at least 28 states have implemented cuts to
public colleges and universities. Also, at least
37 states and Washington, D.C. have proposed or
implemented cuts to their state workforce.
* At least 15 states already
have enacted tax increases, closed loopholes,
restricted tax credits, increased tobacco taxes,
raised tuitions, or implemented other
The state revenue situation is
* To keep pace with the cost of
services, state revenues must grow. But overall
revenues last year were essentially flat and are
weakening dramatically this year.
* Sales taxes are the hardest
hit so far, reflecting a fall in both personal
consumption and business purchases. But income
taxes and other taxes are also falling. Recent
stock market declines and continued job losses
will depress revenues further.