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The Future of Finance

CalPERS has yet to recover the approximately $42 million in pension payments to 22,000 dead people, according to an internal audit. About 1,800 CalPERS recipients die each month, and the agency isn’t immediately notified.
The City Council has voted to redistribute funds from approximately 200 police officer departures and reinvest it in technology projects and other department needs. $3 million will be used for community-based public safety programs.
Despite predictions that COVID-19 would crush state tax revenues, most of them didn’t need megabillions in pandemic aid to balance their budgets. But for the most part they seem to be spending the money wisely.
Government chief information officers know that building an IT agency that can withstand any challenge means learning how to both do more with less and also exercise restraint when there’s a windfall.
The heavy rains and flash flooding caused by Hurricane Ida inflicted an estimated $8 million in damages to 28 buses, about 12 percent of all buses housed, at Staten Island’s Castleton Bus Depot.
The $95 billion pension has pushed back against an independent review that it has not been transparent when it comes to earnings and fees associated with alternative investments like hedge funds and equity firms.
With a 6-2 vote, the Texas city has overridden the mayor’s veto of issuing $96 million in nonvoter approved debt. As of August 2020, El Paso was Texas’ top-ranked city for outstanding certificates of obligation debt.
The state had hoped to announce COVID-related grants for broadband expansion, water and sewer projects and resident and business support by mid-October, but the timeline has been pushed back to early 2022.
Local governments lack the tax base for meaningful income redistribution programs, and they risk losing residents to lower-tax jurisdictions. The economics suggest that it’s a job for higher levels of government.
Holly Kim, the Lake County treasurer who is running for re-election next year, received a $3 Litecoin donation toward her political campaign, making her the first Illinois political candidate to accept digital currencies.
The $1 trillion infrastructure package makes no explicit mention of the state’s efforts to build a high-speed rail, but lawmakers are continuing to analyze if pockets of funding are available from other areas.
Labor market shortages and private-sector competition compel states and localities to get creative. Removing a major impediment to filling vacant jobs seems worth a look.
The lasting problems of infrastructure aren’t of need or construction, but of overbuilding, delayed costs and the challenges of thinking ahead.
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families was created in 1996 and was meant to create a system that no longer fostered dependency. While some believe that the overhaul did exactly that, others claim it may have made things worse.
The new cryptocurrency, which just kicked off last week, has generated nearly $1 million for the city. The creator of the new coin has said that using MiamiCoin could help incentivize civic engagement.
Governments can’t seem to stop offering huge incentives to corporations, even though it's clear they don't have much effect on companies’ decisions. Does paying $288,000 for one job really make sense?
Declining cable viewership means less revenue for local governments. Fort Scott hopes it can staunch the loss by making the streaming giants pay a franchise fee, something they currently don’t do.
Despite a record surplus, agencies have been told not to expect the extra money in their budgets. Republican legislators want to cut taxes while Democrats support expanded Medicaid and investments in education.
Local governments could turn to special assessment districts to cost-effectively assure safety improvements, bypassing occupants’ foot-dragging and dysfunctional homeowners’ associations.
The city wants to offer $100 million in pension obligation bonds, a move that both lowers pension debt and increases the funds’ earning power by providing more money to invest. But the sale is considered risky.
Due to high state tax collections and large amounts of federal aid, many state legislatures are experiencing massive budget surpluses. But some lawmakers want to start planning for the inevitable downturn now.
Organizations across the state spent $25.9 million on lobbying efforts, a slight increase from two years ago. The top lobbying group was pharmaceutical companies; PhRMA alone spent nearly $1.3 million.
A new report details the ideas, from gondolas to light rails to new affordable housing communities, that the New York City borough has proposed as ways to help stimulate the post-pandemic economy.
Congress should rewrite the ground rules to minimize nuisance lawsuits that can cost local taxpayers millions, while focusing civil courts on bad cops and blind-eye departments.
The county is beginning to develop plans for a new $500 million jail, but it remains unclear how officials will pay for the project. The building will be the most expensive and consequential in county history.
Congress continues to debate how to replace revenue from the long-term decline in the gas tax. Meanwhile, some states have upped the registration fees for EVs and a few experiment with a vehicle-miles-traveled tax.
The program, which will toll vehicles entering Manhattan’s central business district, has been in limbo since the Trump administration refused to OK the review process. It is expected to raise $1 billion in revenue annually.
As discussions around cryptocurrencies increase, fintech innovators are looking to receive direction on how to launch new products more easily while lawmakers focus on risks and volatility.
State lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom still have not agreed on a budget deal. A lot of time was used to determine how to allocate the state’s unexpected windfall. Placeholder legislation has kept the government running.
The federal government sent a lot of money to states to help with an anticipated COVID-related economic downturn. Turns out, states did not need that much money – but they may spend it anyway.