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Government is a big employer in rural areas. Schools, county governments, state jobs are important parts of the economy. So it’s probably not good news that the New York Times’ Mary Williams Walsh reports that Billings, Montana, hasn’t been able to come up with $70 million to build a new emergency room, and that Maine couldn’t raise $50 million for roads.
With the bond market frozen, so, too, is some public spending. Last year in September, government issued about $23 billion in municipal bonds. This September, they issued $15 billion — and all but $2.2 billion of that was in the first two weeks.
Shortage in bond money is compounded by higher energy costs that will have a particularly strong impact in rural communities.