Total charitable giving in the country fell 3.6% in 2009, the steepest decline since Giving USA began researching the topic in 1956. And a June survey by GuideStar USA found that 63% of nonprofits have seen an increase in demand for their services since the beginning of 2010. How will the current economy affect the charity of Louisianans this season of giving? And what does this mean for Louisiana’s nonprofit organizations and the people they serve? Join “Louisiana Public Square” in December as it explores “Louisiana Giving: Charity 2010” Wednesday, December 22 at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.
The week before Thanksgiving, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that in 2009, the worst year for the U.S. economy since the Great Depression, Louisiana’s economy grew by 2.5 percent. The same week, the Louisiana Workforce Commission announced that first-time claims for jobless benefits in the state increased by more than 250 from the previous week. This means 4,293 unemployed Louisianans filed for benefits just as the “season of giving” began.
The Commerce Department report doesn't mean that the state is feeling no pain. Louisiana’s private sector payrolls fell by 3.4% between 2007 and December of 2009. Statewide unemployment went from 5% in the fall of 2008 to 7.3% in the fall of 2009. And as The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge recently pointed out in an editorial "For the first time in a decade, the state has ended a fiscal year with an unbalanced budget.” Lower than predicted revenue from corporate taxes led to a shortfall of $108 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30th. After official recognition from the Legislature, Governor Bobby Jindal was given the authority to make those cuts from this year’s budget to pay for the shortfall. As The Advocate editorial mentions, “And as is typical with Louisiana 's problematic structure of government, the cuts fell mostly on poor people - through reductions in health care and family services…"
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Posted by Dr. Lise anne Slatten on 12/23 at 11:16 AM