Funding for Shaker Library continues to be a concern even as we begin a new fiscal year with the State of Ohio and the promise of slightly higher amounts from the Public Library Fund. The difficulty is that the cuts and freezes that began in 2001 and got worse beginning in 2009 have stripped the “buying power” of those receipts by more than 50% in less than a decade and a half.
Library funding from the state reached its high water mark in the year 2000. Shaker Library will receive $700,000 less in 2014 than we did back then. That is a one-third cut in actual dollars. When cost-of-living is factored in, however, the dollars received in 2000 were worth nearly $2.9 million in 2014 dollars, whereas we expect only $1.4 million from the state this year. The overall decline has been continuous as shown in the chart below:
Looking further back, we can see that the 2014 funding from the state is virtually equal to the amount received in 1992—22 years ago! Again, with no adjustment for inflation. If the Library actually does receive the estimated 5% increase next year, it would only equal the state receipts of 1994. Put another way, we would have gained two years, but still be 21 years behind!
The “double whammy” of Shaker Library’s funding situation includes the “mortgage meltdown” during the so called “Great Recession” which has seen property values drop, and thus property taxes plummet, concurrent with the decline in state funding. Shaker Library’s property tax revenues reached a peak in 2009 but have fallen each year since. The loss of actual dollars per year has amounted to nearly $700,000 in a five-year period. When considering inflation, the loss in 2014 dollars is $1.1 million per year. Combined with the recent state cuts, Shaker Library has $1.2 million less in 2014 buying power than it did five years ago!