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    Entries in Donald Trump (15)

    Tuesday
    Apr252017

    The Emerging Strategy for Capitalizing on Women's Unprecedented Interest in Politics

    Women have mobilized in large numbers to run for office before. Women-in-politics advocates want to make sure it's sustainable this time.
    BY  APRIL 25, 2017

    Jean Sinzdak could see right away that this year would be different for women in politics. For the first time in her 12 years of running a seminar for women interested in public office, she had to start a waitlist.

    Registrations for the “Ready to Run” program, run by Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), began pouring in after the presidential election. Whether it was Hillary Clinton’s loss or Donald Trump’s victory despite multiple sexual harassment accusations and a video that shows him brag about grabbing women, the election results have been a mobilizing force.

    “We had a lot of women who said, ‘I never considered running myself, but this year I woke up or I realized I had to do it,’” says Sinzdak, the associate director for CAWP.

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    Friday
    Apr212017

    The Week in Public Finance: Ballmer's Data Trove, Grading Pension Health and a New Muni Bond Threat

    BY  APRIL 21, 2017

    This Goes Way Beyond Open Data

    You might not peg former Microsoft CEO and current owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers as a government data geek. But Steven Ballmer stepped into that role in a grand scale this week when he unveiled his privately funded, years-long project to help citizens easily track how government spends their money.

    Called USAFacts, the website contains federal, state and local aggregated data on revenue and spending, as well as on debt, population, employment and pensions. Want to know about pension debt? Two quick searches reveal that unfunded liabilities in state and local retirement systems have more than quadrupled since 2000. At the same time, the median age in the country has increased by 2.5 years.

    As a businessman used to the corporate world, Ballmer wants to make government financial reports more readable. To that end, the site has introduced the first government "10-K report" -- the private sector's version of an annual financial report. It aggregates data from all U.S. governments and gives progress reports on government programs, provides financial balance sheets and gives data on key economic indicators.

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    Friday
    Apr072017

    This Infrastructure Program Ended Up Costing Governments Millions. Trump Might Bring It Back.

    States and localities are wary of the president's support for the Build America Bonds program.
    BY  APRIL 6, 2017

    A popular Obama-era infrastructure financing program may get revived this year as President Trump moves forward on his pledge to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure. But this time around, state and local governments might not be as excited about it.

    The program, Build America Bonds (BABs), was created in 2009 as one of many recession-era initiatives aimed at jump-starting the economy. Unlike tax-exempt municipal bonds, BABs are taxable, and, as a result, open up the municipal market to new investors, such as pension funds or those living abroad. But BABs are also more expensive for governments. So to defray the added cost, the federal government offered a direct subsidy of 35 percent of state and local governments' interest payments on BABs.

    But the program became a casualty of sequestration: cutbacks in federal subsidies promised under the program left state and local governments scrambling to fill the void. A recent estimate by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois found that so far Illinois and its localities have had to pay out a collective $70 million to offset the higher costs of BABs.

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    Friday
    Mar172017

    The Week in Public Finance: Trump's Budget, the CBO on Health Care and Accounting for Higher Ed

    BY  MARCH 17, 2017

    Trump’s Budget Cuts

    This week, President Trump proposed his budget and, as expected, it focused federal spending cuts on a narrow area that impacts state and local governments the most: discretionary spending. The cuts come by way of diverting more than $54 billion from various federal agencies to defense spending.

    The Takeaway: Paying for all these cuts would mean many programs beneficial to states and localities would be targeted. Under the plan, grant funding -- which accounts for 31 percent of state budgets and 22 percent of state and local spending combined -- takes an enormous hit. Specifically, Trump would eliminate the $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, which was started by President Nixon as a way to provide direct federal assistance to city projects.

    In transit, the president calls for a half-billion cut from the wildly popular TIGER grant program. He would also cut $175 million in subsidies for commercial flights to rural airports, eliminate funding for many new transit projects and discontinue support for long-distance Amtrak trains.

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    Friday
    Mar032017

    The Week in Public Finance: Oil State Woes, Why 401(k)s Might Not Be For All and More

    BY  MARCH 3, 2017

    Oil State Woes

    Oklahoma's credit rating was downgraded this week, making it the third oil state in just one month to suffer such a blow. S&P Global Ratings pushed Oklahoma's rating down to AA, citing the state's chronically weak revenue. The downgrade comes as news broke this week that the state is facing a nearly $900 million shortfall.

    "Collectively the state's financial position has deteriorated to a point that further precludes the state from building up reserves in subsequent fiscal years,” says S&P credit analyst Oscar Padilla, who adds the state is now more vulnerable to regional or national economic weakness.

    This is Oklahoma's third consecutive year with a deficit, and the second straight year of a so-called revenue failure, when collections fall more than 5 percent below estimates.

    The action follows downgrades in two other oil states last month: Moody’s Investors Service downgraded West Virginia and Louisiana one notch each. States that rely on oil and energy for significant portions of their economy have had to grapple with revenue shortfalls since the price of oil dropped drastically a year and a half ago.

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