Reports and Studies Worth Reading – January 21, 2013

Reports and Studies Worth Reading – January 21, 2013:

 

Detroit Future City: Detroit Strategic Framework PlanDetroit Works Project Long Term Planning Steering Committee

“In 2010 an ambitious effort to re-imagine a better future for one of the world’s most important and storied cities was launched. The project has been both an exciting and, at times, challenging journey. It has also been a collective journey,  inviting diverse input from technical experts within Detroit and around the world and, most importantly, the community experts and everyday citizens who would be most affected by its recommendations. Each has played a critical role in forming what we hope will become a living framework for change and development in Detroit.”

$3 billion General Obligation Bond Proposal: Los Angeles Emergency Local Street Safety and Traffic Improvement MeasureLA City Council members Mitch Englander and Joe Buscaino

“Street repair in Los Angeles was underfunded from the 1950’s to 1990’s, allowing many streets to deteriorate.  Funding of pavement preservation was steadily increased from 2005 to present, preventing further decline in road system quality.  Annual funding focuses on streets in A, B, and C condition.  The Los Angeles Emergency Local Street Safety and Traffic Improvement Measure is needed to finance repair of streets in D and Failed condition.”

Economic Outlook and Revenue Estimates for Michigan FY 2012/13 through FY 2014/15Michigan House Fiscal Agency

“This report includes a national and State economic forecast for calendar year 2012 through calendar year 2015.  It also presents preliminary final General Fund/General Purpose (GF/GP) and School Aid Fund (SAF) revenue for FY 2011-12., revised revenue estimates for FY 2012/13 and FY 2013/14 and initial estimates for FY 2014/15. Estimates reported herein will be presented to the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference on January 11, 2013 and will be used to facilitate the consensus estimating process.”

ASPE Issue Brief: Growth in Medicare Spending per Beneficiary Continues to Hit Historic LowsUS Department of Health and Human Services

“Medicare spending per beneficiary grew just 0.4% per capita in fiscal year 2012, continuing a pattern of very low growth in 2010 and 2011. Together with historically low projections of per capita growth from both the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary, these statistics show that the Affordable Care Act has helped to set Medicare on a more sustainable path to keep its commitment to seniors and persons with disabilities today and well into the future.”

NY Rising: 2013 State of the State  – Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

“Two years ago, I said we were at a crossroads; that New York needed to chart a new course and begin a journey to rebuild our state. It was imperative that we restore the public trust and renew the dream and reverse decades of decline. We started a New York comeback. The core elements of a New NY are: attract good jobs and economic growth; create a world-class education system that prepares the next generation for the future; establish fiscal integrity and discipline; and restore New York as the progressive capital of the nation.”

2013 is a Good Year to Repair State Rainy Day FundsCenter on Budget and Policy Priorities

“The last decade’s roller-coaster economy has highlighted the importance of state “rainy day funds” — budget reserves for when recessions or other unexpected events cause revenue declines or spending increases. States with rainy day funds were able to avert over $20 billion in cuts to services and/or tax increases in the recession of the early 2000s. Rainy day funds also helped states avoid service cuts and tax increases in the most recent recession.”

Financial Challenges Facing Local Governments: Federal and State Aid Shrink as a Share of Revenues NY State Office of the Comptroller

“From 2001 to 2011, total federal and state aid combined, grew at an average rate of 2.2 percent annually, slower than the rate of inflation (2.4 percent). To cover expenses, local governments have been forced to rely more heavily on revenues generated through sales taxes and real property taxes, which grew at annual rates of 5.9 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Federal aid to local governments grew by $932 million from 2001 to 2011, or by 3.5 percent annually on average. However, this increase is largely attributable to the infusion of temporary funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009.”

2013-14 California Governor’s Budget SummaryGovernor Edmund G. Brown, Jr.

“California today is poised to achieve something that has eluded us for more than a decade — a budget that lives within its means, now and for many years to come. We are in this favorable position both because of the huge budget reductions that you have made in the last two years, and because the people voted for Proposition 30. Under this budget, K‑12 school districts will see an increase in funds. School districts serving those students who have the greatest challenges will receive more generous increases — so that all students in California have the opportunity to succeed. This budget also focuses more responsibility and accountability on those who are closest to our students.”

Governor Brown Proposes Balanced Budget Highlighted by New Revenues, Investments in Education, and Expanded Health CoverageCalifornia Budget Project

“The Governor proposes to increase General Fund spending by 5 percent, from $93 billion in 2012-13 to $97.7 billion in 2013-14. The Governor’s proposed budget includes increased funding levels for K-12 schools and higher education and calls for the expansion of Medi-Cal, the state’s health care program for low-income families, as part of the state’s implementation of federal health care reform. The Governor’s proposal also includes a $1 billion reserve and pays down $4.2 billion in budget-related debt.”

 

Oakland’s American Indian charter schools one step closer to closure (Oakland Tribune)

EXCERPT:

January 21, 2013 – It boasts some of the highest test scores in the state, but Oakland’s American Indian Model Schools organization has failed to safeguard its schools from corrupt fiscal practices and should be shut down, Oakland school district administration has concluded.  Last year, state auditors examined the charter organization’s records and issued a report in June citing evidence that the founder of AIM Schools and his wife used public funds for the schools to enrich themselves. Auditors found $3.8 million in questionable expenditures, rife with conflicts of interest, from construction contracts and lease agreements.  If Oakland Unified School District does vote to yank the charter, the organization would have the chance to appeal to the Alameda County Board of Education and, later, to the state board.

Link to Full Article: http://www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_22414169/oaklands-american-indian-charter-schools-one-step-closer

 

Arizona Gov. Brewer begins Medicaid push, seeks support to extend coverage for 300,000 (Arizona Republic)

EXCERPT:

January 16, 2013 – Gov. Jan Brewer launched a campaign to expand Medicaid, appearing at Maricopa County’s safety-net hospital with health-care and business leaders to tout a federal law she once hoped to repeal. Brewer’s plan, if she can get reluctant Republican legislative leaders to go along, would extend health coverage to roughly 300,000 uninsured Arizonans by 2016. The federal law boosts funding for states that expand Medicaid to anyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $14,856 for an individual. To protect the state budget, the governor’s plan would pay for the state’s share of Medicaid through hospital assessments, or “bed taxes,” that would in turn draw down more federal funding.

Link to Full Article: http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20130116arizona-brewer-begins-medicaid-push.html

 

State audit rips California utilities commission for fund errors (Sacramento Bee)

EXCERPT:

January 17, 2013 – In a scathing new review of the California Public Utilities Commission, the Department of Finance found widespread budget errors and inaccurate fiscal predictions of various fees that state consumers pay each month. In June 2011, the utilities commission mistakenly told state lawmakers and the Department of Finance that $422 million existed that was not actually available in seven fee-supported funds, according to the report. Finance auditors believe that inexperience and understaffing were to blame, observing “general confusion and lack of knowledge” within the PUC budget office.

Link to Full Article: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/01/17/5120339/state-audit-rips-california-utilities.html

 

 

Opinion: Texas budget process is about as clear as mud (SA Express-News)

EXCERPT:

January 21, 2013 – State leaders are proclaiming their dedication to a clearer, more honest budgeting process, but their starting-point spending plans show they’ve got a long way to go. House and Senate leaders noted their respective plans show an overall spending decrease from the current two-year budget, once they pay this fiscal cycle’s lingering IOUs. But that’s only because they are moving $6 billion off the books. For more than two decades, patient payments to higher education institutions that provide medical care have been included in the Texas budget’s bottom line. This time, those payments won’t be included. There are reasons for the change: state officials don’t control the money, and other local university income is also off the books.

Link to Full Article: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/news_columnists/peggy_fikac/article/Budget-process-is-about-as-clear-as-mud-4209620.php

 

Editorial: Help California school districts by letting them raise their own tax revenue (LA Times)

EXCERPT:

January 17, 2013 – Gov. Jerry Brown wants to help inner-city schools at the expense of suburbanites. But there must be a better way to assist the disadvantaged than to trigger class warfare. And there is. It is to give school districts a better opportunity to raise their own tax revenue. That could involve reducing the voter threshold needed for levying parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55%. This idea currently is kicking around the Legislature. But so far it hasn’t been linked to Brown’s new school-funding proposal. Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, is proposing legislation that would allow school districts to raise parcel taxes for day-to-day operations by a 55% vote.

Link to Full Article: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cap-schools-20130117,0,7549216.column

 

Audit report shows Delaware River Port Authority efficiency suffering from outdated technology (So. Jersey Times)

EXCERPT:

January 17, 2013 – The Delaware River Port Authority (A3 / 246348FP6) and PATCO administrative officers are lagging decades behind current technology, according to a third-party audit of the organization released late last week. The review, released Friday and discussed at the DRPA’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, also revealed that poor communication between officials has created a “negative perception” of new policies among employees, and that the authority’s budget controls fail to address efficiency or effectiveness. The auditors made more than 100 specific recommendations to the DRPA board.

Link to Full Article: http://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/index.ssf/2013/01/audit_report_delaware_river_po.html