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Managing public finance has become a demanding aspect of state and local government, especially as economic health fluctuates and outside forces create revenue instability. Articles on taxes, budgets, pensions and bonds help to bring insight to finance management at the state and local level.

Billions of dollars in tax-sheltered municipal bonds are sold to fund stadiums and arenas that enrich team owners while fueling federal deficits. Local politicians can’t say no, but Congress should.
Thousands of county officials came to Washington, D.C., to make the case with Congress that funding counties directly is the best way to improve lives across the country’s diverse rural and urban communities.
The Georgists advocated shifting the tax burden from buildings to land. Today that would face major political hurdles, but there might be variations on the concept that could spur housing development and discourage land speculators.
The new project aimed to modernize accounting, hiring and employee review, but for many, the overhaul has just added unnecessary frustration. The last time Idaho overhauled its processes to this extent was in the 1980s.
About 41,700 speeding citations were issued in 10 of the city’s school zones during the first three months of the program, which started in September. In one South Atlanta zone alone, more than 15,800 citations were issued.
State budgets are on track for modest growth even as federal fiscal recovery funds wane, pension underfunding persists and AI promises (or threatens) to change everything.
At least 19 states are directing money from Medicaid into housing aid and addressing the nation’s growing homelessness epidemic. Homelessness jumped last year to 12 percent nationally.
The top finance official in Massachusetts announced that the administration does not plan to downgrade revenue expectations through June or implement budget cuts, despite a recent drop in tax collections.
An analytic tool known as a long-term budget assessment can help states anticipate the fiscal challenges that lie ahead and change course in time to avoid them. Unfortunately, only a minority of states do this.
Washington provided $800 billion in pandemic relief. With most of that money spent, states now face major funding gaps for Medicaid, while school districts, child care providers and transit agencies are also struggling.
The state has settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of low-income students of color from Oakland and L.A. They claimed the state offered insufficient support for remote learning.
The industry paid the highest total of state and local taxes and state royalties last year in all of Texas history, breaking last year’s record by more than $1.5 billion. The taxes translate to $72 million daily for schools, roads, first responders and more.
Long-term financial incentives for investment success are commonplace in the private sector, but tricky to design in public retirement plans. The implementation challenges are structural, operational, methodological and, yes, political.
In 2022, Cook County, Ill., became the first local government to partner with the nonprofit group RIP Medical Debt to use private donor funds to buy up and forgive patient debt. Since then, seven local governments, including NYC, have joined the program.
Critics argue that schools are spending too much on administrative costs at the expense of instruction. One group found that administrative spending increased 6.3 percent from 2016 to 2021.
Locking up a California state prisoner for one year costs nearly twice as much as tuition at the state’s top private universities. The number surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, and remains high because of inmate medical costs and pay boosts for prison guards and other workers.
Providing guaranteed cash with no spending restrictions is massively expensive, and the public doesn’t support the idea. Policymakers should focus on reforms that maximize labor-force participation and make work more worthwhile.
The state ranked first nationally in 2022 with 458 hailstorms. Losses are most severe in Dallas County, which has $102 million in expected losses every year due to storm damage.
Nearly four years after the start of the pandemic, downtowns are still short of office workers and foot traffic. That's contributing to significant budget problems in some cities.
The governor wants to cut more than $1 billion from health-care services and eliminate 1,000 jobs, many of which are currently unfilled. DeSantis’ proposed budget falls $4.4 billion short of what state agencies and the Legislature have requested.
Previous funding that had been slashed from police, fire, sanitation and schools has since been restored. Meanwhile, costs related to migrants have been cut by 20 percent.
In a report released on Tuesday, Vermont state Auditor Douglas Hoffer concluded that the city continues to struggle to properly administer the infrastructure financing system. Burlington’s mayor contested one of the key findings.
To compete for winning investment performance in capital markets, the plans need to build stronger internal bench depth. Compensation is part of the picture, but they also need to beef up their training camps.
Due to an expected $1 billion shortfall, the Healey administration has wiped out $1.7 million in fire-fighting earmarks this week. Some towns will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding.
In a large majority of states, low- and middle-income residents pay an effective tax rate that's higher than top earners, a think tank finds.
So far, seven states have passed laws approving the use of Medicaid funds to pay for community-based programs intended to stop shootings. But unlocking the funds is complicated and it's unclear how much money will actually be diverted.
Across the nation, state transportation agencies are warning that public safety is at risk if lawmakers don’t overhaul how road maintenance gets funded. Some states are proposing new taxes and fees.
While home insurance rates and utility prices have increased across the country, Texas has been hit especially hard since its historical winter storm three years ago. Experts expect increases to continue.
More than $5.8 billion of the $7.8 billion in federal funds awarded to Illinois schools since March 2020 has been spent. In Chicago, the school system faces a $391 million shortfall for the 2024-25 school year.
As inflation and interest rates ease, 2024 will be a perfect time for overdue multiyear strategic planning and keeping up with breakthrough information technologies.
‘Are we going to revert back to “normal?” No, we will have a new normal.’