US States Budget Crisis

Michigan legislature defies popular vote against road tax hike

By Kathleen Martin, 23 July 2015

The state legislature is moving to enact regressive taxes to pay for the road construction efforts, in defiance of a popular vote in a referendum only two months ago.

Pennsylvania budget impasse threatens schools, social programs

By Douglas Lyons, 16 July 2015

Most social programs and the state’s 500 school districts have been operating on reduced funding for over 7 years and have used up any reserve they may have had.

Democrats, Republicans attack municipal pensions in Pennsylvania

By Douglas Lyons, 7 July 2015

Lawmakers are working to end, or significantly reduce, defined-benefit pension plans for all city and municipal workers.

Michigan cuts welfare payments for school truancy

By Kathleen Martin and Khara Sikhan, 29 June 2015

The law is one of a raft of vindictive measures throughout the country, which blames the poor for social ills caused by poverty in order to strip them of government assistance.

Pennsylvania government is preparing to destroy public pensions

By Douglas Lyons, 1 June 2015

Pennsylvania lawmakers have passed a comprehensive pension reform bill that will permanently end pensions for future workers and diminish the returns of current workers.

New York City public libraries face continued assault under de Blasio administration

By Robert Fowler, 27 May 2015

New York City’s three public library systems will see a continuation of budget cuts and the denial of necessary capital spending under Democratic Party mayor Bill de Blasio.

Public transportation in New Jersey faces service cuts and fare increases

By Philip Guelpa, 25 April 2015

The proposed service cuts and fare increases are a step towards eliminating unprofitable routes, with the ultimate aim of privatizing those that remain.

Drastic cuts to suburban Detroit school district

By Nancy Hanover and Jerry White, 18 April 2015

The suburban Detroit city of Hazel Park is laying off nearly a quarter of its school district staff and slashing the pay of the remaining teachers and support personnel.

Food stamp cuts hit Wisconsin poor

By George Gallanis and Marcus Day, 28 March 2015

Wisconsin’s most vulnerable residents are facing both steep reductions in monthly food aid and stricter eligibility requirements.

New York State budget proposals intensify attack on public education

By Philip Guelpa, 26 March 2015

The plan from Governor Cuomo and the state legislature continues the drive to dismantle public education through the expansion of charter schools and attacks on teachers.

Pennsylvania budget underfunds education, cuts taxes for the wealthy

By Samuel Davidson, 13 March 2015

Tax increases for the working class, including sales and income taxes, underwrite much of what is new in Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s budget.

Illinois Democrats concoct pseudo-legal justification for cutting public employee pensions

By Alexander Fangmann, 9 February 2015

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan will argue before the state Supreme Court that Illinois is entitled to use its “police powers” to overturn the state constitution.

Maryland’s new Republican governor unveils austerity budget

By Trent Novak, 31 January 2015

In his first move since taking office last week, Maryland’s newly inaugurated governor, Republican Larry Hogan, unveiled an austerity budget aimed at eliminating a $750 million shortfall.

Seattle workers to be hit by transit fare increases, cuts to service

By Christine Schofelt, 3 October 2014

A proposed two-tier fare scheme in Seattle is an effort to distract from rising rates and cuts in public transit service.

King County, Washington, budget proposes layoffs and deep cuts to social services

By Richard Vargas, 3 October 2014

A 10 percent cut at the public health department will lead to clinic closures and discontinued services such as testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Pennsylvania budget: Layoffs, cuts to education and pensions

By Samuel Davidson, 30 June 2014

Governor Tom Corbett is demanding pensions be cut and liquor stores privatized as part of any budget deal.

Massive cuts to education, pensions and social services expected in Pennsylvania state budget

By Samuel Davidson, 9 June 2014

The state is facing a $1.3 to $1.5 billion deficit for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Pennsylvania faces a $1 billion tax shortfall, setting stage for new budget cuts

By Samuel Davidson, 19 May 2014

In April, the state collected $495 million less in tax revenue than projected.

US sequester cuts gut scientific research

By Anthony Bertolt, 1 May 2014

Billions of dollars in sequester cuts to the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation will result in untold delays in life-saving medical and biological research.

Boston School Committee approves austerity budget

By John Marion, 31 March 2014

Teaching, paraprofessional and administrative jobs will be cut, while 7th and 8th graders are forced to ride public transportation to school.

Newark, New Jersey school official threatens to fire one third of district’s teachers

By Rory Dean and Sandy English, 20 March 2014

The layoffs are part of the drive to privatize public education in the state’s largest city.

State officials seek pension cuts in Pennsylvania

By Douglas Lyons, 14 March 2014

The governor and state legislators are seeking to cut pensions for hundreds of thousands of state employees and teachers covered by the two state pension systems.

Boston parents, students oppose public school budget cuts

By Kate Randall, 14 March 2014

Several hundred people turned out Wednesday for a public hearing to address the impact of cuts to the Boston Public Schools budget for fiscal year 2015.

New York governor proposes $4 million cut to public libraries

By Isabelle Belanger, 6 March 2014

The proposed cuts to libraries in New York State will leave funding well below where it was in 1998.

California governor pledges continued austerity in State of the State speech

By Dan Conway, 27 January 2014

Governor Brown signaled that nothing would be done to help the state’s workers.

Cutoff of jobless benefits caps year of attacks on US workers

By Andre Damon, 30 December 2013

The cutoff of jobless benefits for 1.3 million unemployed workers is the culmination of a year in which social programs have been slashed by tens of billions of dollars.

Inquiry gains momentum among workers

Detroiters denounce the widening social divide

By Tim Rivers, 23 December 2013

At a Chrysler plant and Detroit’s Eastern Market, workers denounced the looting of city pensions and the art museum, the mortgage swindle and the disappearance of well-paying jobs.

Budget deal intensifies attack on US workers

By Patrick Martin, 16 December 2013

The agreement between President Obama and Congress entails the cutoff of extended unemployment benefits and attacks the pensions of federal workers.

The US budget deal and the political conspiracy against the working class

By Andre Damon, 13 December 2013

This week’s bipartisan budget agreement represents yet another attack on working people in the US.

Thousands more New York City school bus workers face layoffs

By Philip Guelpa, 12 December 2013

With the opening of another 4,100 school bus routes for rebids and the closure of the largest school bus company, thousands more face layoffs, or wage and benefit cuts.

Nearly a quarter of Californians live in poverty, according to modified Census figures

By Dan Conway, 11 December 2013

New economic and sociological data reveal deteriorating social conditions for California’s working class.

Before Detroit bankruptcy Democratic Party-led task force demanded huge pension cuts

By Thomas Gaist, 11 December 2013

The 2012 “Report of the State Budget Crisis Task Force” makes the case for massive cuts to social benefits and social infrastructure.

US budget talks focus on entitlement cuts

By Patrick Martin, 9 December 2013

The talks have turned to discussions of a tradeoff in which cuts in entitlement programs such federal pensions would be substituted for cuts in discretionary spending.

Obama prepared to drop jobless benefits as part of budget deal

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 7 December 2013

The White House said Friday it would agree to a budget deal with the Republicans that excludes an extension of federal benefits for the long-term unemployed.

Cuts to federal food assistance hit Illinois workers

By our reporters, 13 November 2013

Two million people, or 16 percent of the Illinois population, are affected by the SNAP benefits cut.

Nearly one in five hit by food stamp cuts in Michigan

By Debra Watson and Mitch Marcus, 9 November 2013

Nearly one in five in Michigan, the 1.8 million people currently on food assistance, will see a substantial cut in their food stamp benefit this month.

Chicago mayor outlines class war budget

By Alexander Fangmann, 5 November 2013

Rahm Emanuel’s 2014 budget address to the city council outlined a series of job and benefit cuts.

As food stamp cuts set to begin

US budget conference committee meets to slash social spending

By Andre Damon, 1 November 2013

The bipartisan conference committee created as part of the deal to end October’s government shutdown met for the first time Wednesday.

Northern Virginia public schools face budget crisis, layoffs

By Leon Gutierrez, 31 October 2013

Cutbacks in the local school district are part of a broader attack being carried out by both Republicans and Democrats.

Philadelphia student dies from asthma attack after schools cut nursing staff

By Nick Barrickman, 22 October 2013

A Philadelphia student died September 25 from an asthma attack suffered at William C. Bryant Elementary School, which had no nurse on duty that day.

US budget deal sets stage for intensified assault on social programs

By Andre Damon and Barry Grey, 17 October 2013

The budget agreement passed by Congress Wednesday establishes the framework for a bipartisan deal to deepen cuts in social spending and initiate an historic attack on Social Security and Medicare.

Chicago mayor announces elimination of retiree health care subsidies

By Alexander Fangmann, 17 October 2013

Health insurance subsidies for 30,000 workers, as well as their spouses and dependents, will be phased out over three years.

Detroit emergency manager eliminates retiree health care benefits

By Jerry White, 16 October 2013

Nearly 20,000 retired municipal workers in Detroit will see their city-paid health benefits disappear as of January 1, 2014.

Amid government shutdown, Obama signals cuts to Social Security, Medicare

By Andre Damon, 9 October 2013

US President Barack Obama reassured congressional Republicans that he would agree to entitlement cuts if they vote to increase the government’s debt limit.

The real causes of the New York City Opera bankruptcy

By Fred Mazelis, 7 October 2013

Postmortem comments on the death of the New York City Opera ignore the fundamental issues raised by the collapse of the “people’s opera.”

Day three of US shutdown: Talks focus on cuts to Medicare and Social Security

By Andre Damon, 4 October 2013

There were more indications Thursday that the aim of both the Democrats and Republicans in negotiations to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling will focus on major cuts to entitlement programs.

San Jose, California moves to slash pensions

By David Brown, 30 September 2013

California’s third largest city is preparing to slash pensions for new-hires, current employees and retirees.

Detroit emergency manager to freeze city pensions

By Andre Damon, 28 September 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a plan Thursday to freeze the city’s pension plans, wiping out benefits for thousands of workers.

The class issues in the US budget crisis

By Andre Damon, 27 September 2013

Behind the largely stage-managed facade of “partisan gridlock,” the Democratic and Republican Parties are united in attacking the social conditions and living standards of working people.

Washington, DC living wage bill fails after mayor’s veto

By Adam Soroka, 26 September 2013

Washington DC Council failed to override Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act.

California governor strikes deal with the Labor Department over transit pensions

By Gabriel Black, 23 September 2013

Governor Jerry Brown has orchestrated an emergency agreement with the federal government that will restore $1.6 billion in public transit grants that had been revoked due to a dispute over Brown’s 2012 pension reform.

Court ruling grants bankruptcy protection to California city

By Dan Conway, 31 August 2013

Bankruptcy protection in San Bernardino, California will allow the city to drastically cut payments to the state pension fund.

Workers speak out against New York hospital closures

By Dan Brennan, 28 August 2013

Angered by layoffs and health care cuts in New York neighborhoods, workers and patients denounce the spate of hospital closures.

Defunding threatens school libraries throughout US

By Isabelle Belanger, 24 August 2013

Steep budget cuts accompanied by the damaging impact of standardized testing are undermining funding for school libraries and professionally certified school librarians.

Food stamps to be cut for 1.8 million people in Pennsylvania

By Samuel Davidson, 17 August 2013

Some 1.8 million people in Pennsylvania will have their food stamps cut in November. Another 110,000 families have been denied benefits since an asset test was started in 2012.

UAW head calls for restructuring Detroit on the model of the auto industry

By Shannon Jones, 15 August 2013

In the wake of the Detroit bankruptcy filing, the UAW is calling for sacrifices to be imposed on workers in line with the 2009 forced bankruptcy and restructuring of the auto industry.

Rhode Island workers’ pensions cut as hedge funds profit

By John Marion, 12 August 2013

While investing a large percentage of state pension money in hedge funds, Rhode Island is increasing the retirement age for state workers and cutting benefits.

Obama rejects federal aid for Detroit

By Jerry White, 30 July 2013

The president has rejected any assistance to Detroit in the midst of his bogus campaign to defend the “middle class.”

California pensions remain underfunded despite fiscal gains

By Gabriel Black, 29 July 2013

California state employee pension systems posted large gains in their portfolios, however, they remain massively underfunded.

Detroit firefighters speak out on bankruptcy

By Tim Rivers and Jerry White, 29 July 2013

Rank-and-file firefighters are seeking to mobilize opposition to the emergency manager’s attack on pensions and essential services.

AFL-CIO shrugs off Detroit bankruptcy

By Patrick Martin, 29 July 2013

The union apparatus will not lift a finger to defend Detroit workers.

Growing anger among Detroit workers against attack on pensions, services

By Usman Clemens, 27 July 2013

Opposition is mounting among Detroit workers to the drive by the city’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan governor Rick Snyder to use the city’s bankruptcy to slash social services and rip up workers’ pensions.

Michigan dissolves two school districts

By Shannon Jones, 26 July 2013

The Buena Vista and Inkster are being dissolved and their students transferred to other districts, in the latest attack on public education in the state.

The Detroit bankruptcy and the assault on democratic rights

By Jerry White, 26 July 2013

The bankruptcy filing by Detroit’s unelected emergency manager last week is the outcome of an anti-democratic conspiracy conducted by top political officials from both the Republican and Democratic Parties.

Detroit firefighters protesting bankruptcy discuss expanding fight against pension and budget cuts

By our reporters, 25 July 2013

Detroit firefighters with the Public Safety Workers Action Group (PSWAG) talked to the WSWS outside of the federal courthouse in downtown Detroit about the need to mount a wider struggle against the bankruptcy filing

Leaked emails reveal conspiracy to throw Detroit into bankruptcy

By Bryan Dyne, 24 July 2013

As far back as January there were backroom discussions on bankruptcy between Detroit and Lansing public officials and the corporate law firm Jones Day.

Oppose the Detroit bankruptcy!

Statement by D’Artagnan Collier, SEP candidate for Detroit mayor

24 July 2013

The SEP is calling on workers and youth to distribute this statement as widely as possible and build the August 4 campaign meeting at Wayne State University.

A call to action: Oppose the Detroit bankruptcy!

By Barry Grey, 23 July 2013

In city after city, preparations are underway to impose massive cuts using the mechanism of unelected officials and the legal framework of the bankruptcy courts.

Detroit firefighters protest bankruptcy, pension cuts

By our reporters, 23 July 2013

Detroit firefighters are picketing fire stations this week to protest the move to throw the city into bankruptcy and attack the jobs and pensions of municipal employees.

Detroit bankruptcy sets stage for national assault on public-sector pensions

By Jerry White, 22 July 2013

The Obama administration sees the attack on Detroit workers as paving the way to slash benefits owed to state and municipal workers throughout the country

Detroit workers speak on city’s bankruptcy

By Zac Corrigan, 22 July 2013

There is broad popular opposition throughout Detroit to the bankruptcy and the attacks being planned on the working class.

The Detroit bankruptcy

By Barry Grey, 20 July 2013

Detroit has been bled dry as a result of a deliberate policy pursued by the auto companies, the banks and the ruling class as a whole over a period of nearly four decades.

Detroit bankruptcy filing paves the way for assault on workers

By Shannon Jones, 20 July 2013

Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Kevyn Orr, the emergency manager overseeing the financial restructuring of Detroit, defended their decision to force the city into Chapter 9 bankruptcy at a press conference Friday.

D’Artagnan Collier end-of-election meeting in Detroit

No to bankruptcy! Mobilize the working class against the bankers dictatorship!

20 July 2013

D’Artagnan Collier, Socialist Equality Party candidate for Detroit mayor, will speak at 2 p.m. on August 4 at Wayne State University.

Emergency manager throws Detroit into bankruptcy

By Jerry White, 19 July 2013

The emergency manager overseeing the financial restructuring of Detroit filed a petition in federal court Thursday afternoon throwing the city of 700,000 residents into Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

The social devastation of Detroit

By Jerry White, 18 July 2013

Financial dictator Kevyn Orr is implementing an historic attack on the working class that will have devastating consequences for hundreds of thousands of people.

Illinois prepares savage cuts in public employee retirement benefits

By Alexander Fangmann, 16 July 2013

The state of Illinois is poised to pass sweeping attacks on public employee pensions as Democratic Governor Pat Quinn pushes the Democratic Party-controlled House and Senate to reconcile competing plans.

Wisconsin budget imposes austerity cuts, clears way for privatizations

By Catherine Long, 11 July 2013

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed into law a biennial budget last month that includes deep cuts to social services and public education, and plans for the selloff of prisons, public lands, infrastructure and university buildings.

Detroit seniors appeal for support to fight evictions

By Zac Corrigan, 8 July 2013

Tenants facing eviction have written an open letter to workers in Detroit to support their struggle.

Arizona wildfire exposes authorities’ lack of preparation

By Nick Barrickman, 4 July 2013

In the wake of the tragic deaths of 19 firefighters Sunday in Arizona, the wildfire, nicknamed Yarnell Hill, remains uncontrolled.

Detroit pension cuts looming

By Bryan Dyne, 4 July 2013

Using a few dozen high-paying pensions as a pretext, Detroit’s emergency manager is preparing to gut retirements of city workers.

Nineteen firefighters die battling Arizona wildfire

By Nick Barrickman, 2 July 2013

All but one member of the crew, known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots, died battling a blaze about 80 miles north of Phoenix.

SEP Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier speaks at candidate forum

By Matthew MacEgan, 2 July 2013

On Sunday, Collier participated in a forum held at the Second Baptist Church in downtown Detroit that gave residents an opportunity to question candidates running in the upcoming Detroit primary election

Downtown Detroit tenants hold meeting to fight back against evictions

By Zac Corrigan and Justin Knowels, 1 July 2013

Detroit residents facing eviction are organizing to fight back.

Detroit emergency manager terminates union contracts, transfers city lighting to DTE

By Bryan Dyne, 29 June 2013

Orr’s decision to cancel the contracts of 9-1-1 operators, firefighters and police officers is part of the thrust to privatize all city services.

State of Washington sends furlough warnings to 25,000 state workers

By Christine Schofelt, 27 June 2013

The state legislature is preparing for an impending July 1 partial government shutdown after failing to agree to a budget in a second special legislative session.

Proposed California budget to deepen attacks on public education and social programs

By Dan Conway, 26 June 2013

Despite the state’s fiscal surplus, the state budget promises continued austerity.

Detroit union leaders given their marching orders over pension cuts

By Shannon Jones, 24 June 2013

The fact that Detroit’s emergency manager absented himself from the meeting demonstrated his contempt for the unions, which have prostrated themselves before the assault by the banks and bondholders against city workers.

US fire marshals battle more wildfires as budgets are cut

By Nick Barrickman, 22 June 2013

With a severe wildfire season predicted in the US, dwindling resources will force ill-equipped firefighters to face deadlier fires at greater risks.

California pension fund in crisis

By Julien Kiemle, 21 June 2013

A new report suggests that California has massively underestimated its unfunded liabilities to pensioners.

Washington DC faces shortage of emergency response vehicles

By Trent Novak, 21 June 2013

A recent audit of the city’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department has revealed that many of the agency’s vehicles are inoperable or unfit for service.

Collier speaks with Detroiters opposing high school privatization plan

By our team of reporters, 18 June 2013

SEP Detroit mayoral candidate D’Artagnan Collier spoke with protestors at Northwestern High School to discuss the nature of so-called “self-governing” schools

Social counterrevolution in Detroit

By Andre Damon, 17 June 2013

Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr announced a plan Friday to wipe out the pensions and health benefits of current and retired city workers, condemning nearly 20,000 retirees and their families to poverty and poor health.

The dismantling of Pontiac, Michigan

A dress rehearsal for Detroit

By Esther Galen, 17 June 2013

Of 21 Michigan cities under emergency managers, none has yet faced as drastic cuts in public services as Pontiac.

Pontiac residents describe social disaster left by emergency manager

By our reporters, 17 June 2013

Workers in Pontiac spoke about their experiences under emergency management.

Detroit emergency manager meets with city’s creditors, presents slash-and-burn plan

By Bryan Dyne, 15 June 2013

Kevyn Orr met with Detroit’s creditors in a closed-door meeting to outline how he intends to restructure the city on behalf of the wealthy.

Detroit emergency manager prepares privatization of trash collection

By James Brewer, 15 June 2013

Orr’s office claims that the privatization will save the city $15 million a year.

Detroit workers and youth speak out against attacks by emergency manager

By our reporters, 13 June 2013

The threats to sell off city assets, particularly the Detroit Institute of Arts, has provoked widespread opposition across the city.

No to Orr and the bankers’ dictatorship! For a working class and socialist alternative to the looting of Detroit!

Statement of D’Artagnan Collier, Socialist Equality Party candidate for Detroit mayor

12 June 2013

This statement was distributed Monday, June 10 at the first public meeting of the Detroit emergency manager, Kevyn Orr.