An introduction

On my first day as a City Hall beat reporter in Glendale, Calif. in May 2009, I covered an all-day budget meeting. Faced with growing expenses and dwindling city revenues, city officials and council members were tasked with shaving millions from the city’s books while limiting the effects to the city’s nearly 200,000 residents.

In the more than two years that followed, Glendale saw two more years of multi-million dollar budget deficits, growing tabs for employee health and retirement benefits and arduous negotiations with the city’s employee unions. And as the reporter covering these developments, I saw on almost a daily basis the major influence that the national economy played on local government and its taxpayers.

So now, as a business and economic reporting graduate student at NYU tasked with creating a news blog, it seemed fitting to focus on what I know best — local government. Budget Crunch is aimed at looking at the implications of the recession on local and state governments throughout the nation. You can’t open a  newspaper without seeing headlines about the growing budget crises in governments of all levels, and I am hoping to zero in on what these problems will mean for the average resident.

In my opinion, a blog is all about the conversation it generates, so please: readers, don’t stay quiet. If you have a thought about a post, please share that in the comment section. And if you know of something budget-related going on in your town, city or state, please let me know. Comment on a post or shoot me an e-mail at mghicken@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing from you!

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