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    Entries in management (9)

    Wednesday
    Jan112017

    Have States Reached Their Savings Limit?

    After several years of growth, the amount states are socking away in rainy day funds has slowed.
    BY  JANUARY 11, 2017

    Rainy day savings deposits appear to be plateauing.

    After six straight years of squirreling away money, budgeted figures for fiscal 2017 show a slight dip in rainy day fund balances across the 50 states. States now have a median 4.9 percent of annual expenditures saved for the fiscal year, down from 5.1 percent the previous year.

    What's more, four states -- Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey and North Dakota -- now show no budget reserve funds, up from two states last year. The overall shift is a signal that tighter financial times could be ahead for states as a whole.

    The findings are based on Governing's analysis of projected 2017 budget data from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Given that roughly half of states are now expecting budget shortfalls for 2017, budget reserve balances could dip more than projected.

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    Monday
    Dec122016

    To Prepare for the Next Recession, States Take Stress Tests

    No government can be fully prepared for every economic twist and turn. Still, some are trying.
    BY  DECEMBER 12, 2016

    The Great Recession was uniquely devastating for states and localities because it hit all three major tax revenue sources: income, sales and property. It was a scenario that few, if any governments, were really prepared to absorb. As a result, governments were forced to make massive budget cuts.

    Now, as the recovery trudges on longer than most, a growing number of states are making sure they aren’t blindsided by the next downturn.

    Enter stress testing. The idea, which was borrowed from the U.S. Federal Reserve, essentially throws different economic scenarios at a state budget to see how revenues would be impacted.

    “We’re in an environment where everyone is starting to think about the next downturn and what that’s going to look like,” said Emily Raimes, a Moody’s Investors Service analyst. “A stress test is a tool for states to think about what types of programs they should commit to and how much to save now.”

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    Friday
    Dec092016

    The Week in Public Finance: Federal Budget Chaos, a Bankruptcy Win and Pension Portfolios

    BY  DECEMBER 9, 2016
    Chaos on Capitol Hill ... and in Statehouses

    As state lawmakers begin preparing for their fiscal 2018 budgets, their biggest challenge is in the unknown. With Donald Trump’s election, the future for key state and local funding is almost anybody’s guess.

    With Trump in the White House next year, Stan Collender, author of The Guide to The Federal Budget, predicts that a Republican-controlled Congress will move quickly on making major changes before the 2018 midterm elections. But after this unpredictable election, few are willing to predict what exactly those changes will be. All we know now is what’s on the table.

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    Thursday
    Oct132016

    Privatization May Be Worsening Inequality

    A new study suggests outsourcing government services can disproportionately impact low-income users' finances, health and safety.

    BY  OCTOBER 13, 2016

    As state and local governments grapple with fewer resources for things like infrastructure or social services, many of them have opted to contract those responsibilities out to the private sector. But a new report warns that doing so may be widening the gap between the haves and the have-nots.

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    Thursday
    Aug252016

    The Story Behind San Bernardino’s Long Bankruptcy

    Unlike Detroit or Stockton, this California city’s insolvency can’t be blamed on debt or pensions.

    BY  AUGUST 25, 2016

    Four years ago this month, San Bernardino, Calif., filed for Chapter 9 protection. Today, it’s still in Chapter 9 -- the longest municipal bankruptcy in recent memory.

    Why so long? Many blame it on San Bernardino’s lengthy and convoluted charter, a document that gives so much authority to so many officials that it’s completely ineffective. “It gets everybody in everybody else’s business,” said City Manager Mark Scott. “And it keeps anybody from doing anything.”

    As a result, officials have spent the last two years trying to ensure the current charter is not part of the city’s future. A specially appointed committee is proposing to completely overhaul it.

    At issue is that unlike many California cities that either have a strong mayor/council form of management or a strong city manager government, San Bernardino’s is a hybrid, doling out authority to both sides. For example, fire and police chiefs are appointed by the mayor and subject to approval by the council, but report to both the mayor and city manager. This confusing structure played a role in the city’s road to insolvency. “You’d have to say,” Scott said, “the charter made it almost impossible to succeed.”

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