Tag archive for budget

State taxes not bringing budget relief just yet…

The Rockefeller Institute reports that state tax collections increased by 5.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, aided by one-time actions by investors who took capital gains at the end of the year to avoid having to pay higher federal tax rates in 2013. …

Pension costs squeeze PA. budget

Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office, a state agency, released a long-term outlook for the Keystone State’s budget that shows pension costs rising sharply to consume nearly 10 percent of state government’s general fund within five years. The office calculates that revenues will rise slowly amid a …

Falling down a fiscal hole

What’s being described as a fiscal cliff, the automatic expiration of a host of federal tax cuts, looks more like a deep fiscal hole for the taxpayers of some states. The Tax Foundation has estimated the average household impact of higher taxes in each state …

How many other states are insolvent?

The State Budget Crisis Commission has released a new report  on Illinois in which it chronicles the long descent of the state into fiscal chaos. As the report points out, reiterating what we’ve been saying for some time now, Illinois has used so many gimmicks …

California: Anatomy of an exploding government obligation

Troy Senik notes below a new report which determines that California’s debt is much larger than previously thought. The analysis includes a look at rising state debt from not properly funding  retirement promises to workers. Many readers have become familiar with the way in which politicians have used defined benefit pensions to promise workers retirement perks but not adequately fund them right now. The same process is taking place with promises of health care for life for government workers, because the temptation to underfund these is just as powerful. California illustrates the problem

No on 30 in one chart

Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, “The Schools and Public Safety Protection Act,” seeks to raise taxes on high-earners in California, which makes for bad public policy. This chart, prepared by the Tax Foundation for their report “Governor Brown’s Tax Proposal and the Folly of California’s Income Tax,” explains why.
Tax Foundation Revenue Volatility Chart.jpg

Scranton-omics

More than a few American communities have gotten into fiscal trouble because their elected representatives didn’t understand the math behind deals they were making, from risky bond deals to generous employee benefits whose cost public officials severely underestimated. But at other times, the bad accounting …

Chicago’s union problems

The City of Chicago recently released its Annual Financial Analysis 2012: 85 pages detailing the city’s awkward financial position. There are two sections worth highlighting. The first deal with public employees in general, the second has to do with pensions

California school district socks it to future taxpayers

San Diego County’s Poway Unified School District, which teaches 34,000 kids in 37 schools, has sparked controversy with the revelation that the district used an aggressive form of municipal debt offering to raise $105 million for school renovations. The problem: the deferred interest bonds are costly to pay off and will cost taxpayers $1 billion over the next 40 years.

Thumbnail image for poway_test2012.jpg

California’s public sector hiding billions in taxpayer dollars

Last week, I posted here about the burgeoning scandal in which California’s public parks were revealed to have hid more than $50 million in taxpayer money while pleading hardship to the public. It’s a revolting story in and of itself, but the scrutiny of state finances that it has invited has revealed it to be little more than the tip of the iceberg. From the Oakland Tribune:

A week after uncovering a hidden-funds scandal at the state parks department, finance officials are now trying to piece together why the balance sheets for similar “special funds” are off by $2.3 billion — money that appeared to be right under their noses amid California’s financial meltdown.