Feeling the pain

Feeling the pain

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Earlier this week, President Obama announced an executive pay cap of $500,000 for companies that received federal bailout money last year, following reports that they had given their top execs lavish bonuses.

Obama’s action speaks volumes about his character — and his background. How many others would have had the courage to call the financial fat cats on their “shameful” behavior?

It also speaks to his approach to leading the country and tackling the economic problems, a “we’re all in this together” mindset.

This is vastly different from hardcore capitalists and Libertarians, who espouse a laissez-faire/no government involvement/every-man-for-himself approach.

And considering the economic mess the country is in now, it’s a shame it’s taken this long to bring about change.

As the country’s financial woes trickle down, they affect the states, the cities and the local communities. In Philadelphia, some LGBT organizations are facing cuts in city funding. For HIV/AIDS organizations, funds come from the Centers for Disease Control and are funneled through the city, and should be safe.

But organizations that receive money from the city’s general fund may be impacted.

Two cuts that specifically affect the LGBT community were made last year: The first was a marketing grant for groups to promote their events, the second was a change in the way the city handles outdoor festivals.

For the marketing grant, the change appears to be two-fold. First, the city realigned the duties of the agency that had distributed the funds; second, the new agency ended the grant program because of lack of funding.

Local groups used the marketing grant to pay for advertising, signs and other promotional materials to drive business and attract customers. (Hence, the commerce angle.) Some groups relied heavily on this funding, others applied intermittently. For the former, the loss will be hard felt.

For organizations that host outdoor festivals, most are still sorting out exactly what the changes mean, what the financial impact will be and what they can do in the meantime. For instance, it’s still not clear if groups will have to reimburse the city for extra police presence or street cleanup, and it’s unclear if the city has a mechanism in place to collect such payments.

If the LGBT community holds to Obama’s “we’re in this together” mindset, then as Philadelphians, it has two specific concerns with regard to the city’s financial woes. The first is, what can we do to tighten our belts and keep the economy humming? The second is assuring that funding for LGBT groups and events is treated equally in all budget decisions, cuts or no.


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