Chris Kahn
Associated Press
October 19, 2008

PHOENIX — The palm trees in many Phoenix neighborhoods will be left shaggy this year. The city can afford to prune the trees only on major streets.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

There’s also no money for children’s tee ball, or soccer, baseball or flag football. No money for a free shuttle service for the elderly. No money for most inner-city “fight back” programs that tackle blight.

Around the country, the mortgage crisis and the slumping economy are causing tax revenue and investment returns to plummet, forcing cities big and small to cut expenses.

“You’re going to start to see across-the-board cuts in services,” said Chris Hoene, director of policy and research at the National League of Cities. “Every service — police, fire, libraries, recreation — will see some cuts. And you start to see layoffs. You won’t see the same number of police on the streets.”

At the center of the financial meltdown, in New York City, officials expect 165,000 job losses in the next two years. Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered all city agencies to slash spending by $500 million now and $1 billion for fiscal year 2010. The city also is mulling new ways to raise money, like putting ads on the sides of garbage trucks and street sweepers.

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