February 8, 2013 – Los Angeles’ top budget analyst warned that the city could lose 500 cops and be forced to close jails, cut the Fire Department and make other public-safety cuts if a proposed half-percent sales tax doesn’t pass on March 5. Los Angeles is at a financial crossroads, City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana wrote in a detailed report released Thursday. Although the city has made significant budget savings in recent years, without new money, the city could have to reverse hard-fought police staffing gains. LA Mayor Villaraigosa said the report shows the progress that has been made in reducing the projected structural deficit from more than $1 billion to the projected level of $200 million this year.
Link to Full Article: http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_22544647/budget-analyst-warns-that-los-angeles-is-at
Link to “City at a Crossroads” Report: http://cao.lacity.org/Reports/City%20at%20a%20Crossroads%20Report%20020713%20-%20final.pdf
January 11, 2013 – There’s no shortage of evidence that the City of Detroit remains on a path to bankruptcy. If the city’s financial picture gets any bleaker, we’ll have to start inventing new words to describe it. Detroit’s most recent annual audit found that its budget shortfall more than doubled, from the $59-million structural deficit of the previous fiscal year to $121 million in fiscal 2012. This during a year in which the city operated under a reform-oriented consent agreement with the state, which made cutting costs and controlling the deficit job one. To eliminate its deficit without touching public safety, the city would have to cut general fund expenditures by about 30% over the next five years.
Link to Full Article: http://www.freep.com/article/20130111/COL43/301110039/1068/opinion
January 9, 2013 – The City Council on Tuesday approved a host of key measures to address Detroit’s fiscal crisis, including ousting the city’s top attorney and adopting four new restructuring contracts. Mayor Dave Bing said he hopes the moves will convince the state that Detroit is serious about fixing its budget. A state team that’s been reviewing the city’s books could recommend by Friday that the governor appoint an emergency financial manager — a move Bing said would be a mistake. The most surprising move was the council’s decision to oust Corporation Counsel Krystal Crittendon at Bing’s request, since members had previously resisted his efforts to remove her.
January 6, 2013 – Cash-strapped Wayne County (Baa2 / 944313DS1) spends almost $50 million a year on appointee salaries and benefits, providing its 288 appointed county government workers an average salary of $95,381, according to data obtained by the Free Press. The county’s benefit plans are calculated to cost 81% of payroll, pushing the average cost per appointee to more than $172,639 a year. An analysis by the Free Press shows Oakland and Macomb counties have far fewer appointees and spend far less. Meanwhile Wayne is fighting chronic deficits estimated by state auditors to run between $25 million and $35 million a year.
Link to Full Article: http://www.freep.com/article/20130106/NEWS02/301060266/1001/news
January 5, 2013 – Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and the City Council will begin negotiations next week on another round of cuts for city workers, including reductions in health care benefits and pay for employees of the legislative and executive branches and a pension freeze for many city workers. The mayor is calling for a one-year freeze on pension credits beginning Feb. 1 for employees under Detroit’s General Retirement System. He also would implement a 70-30 health care plan and furloughs equivalent to up to a 20% pay cut for staff of the City Council and mayor’s office through the end of 2013. Furloughs have been used in the past as a means to curb costs and were estimated to represent a 10% pay cut.
Link to Full Article: http://www.freep.com/article/20130105/NEWS01/301050113/1001/news
January 5, 2013 – In quick succession Friday, the Camden (Moody’s – Ba2) City Council and the state Department of Community Affairs approved a plan to lay off all of the city’s uniformed police officers, paving the way for a new county-run force to replace Camden’s 141-year-old Police Department. The approvals were given after the state Civil Service Commission last week gave the green light to the mass layoffs, set for April 30. City police unions have vowed to fight the layoffs in court. Critics of the plan call it a union-busting maneuver; city and county officials say the county-run force would operate less expensively and would put more officers on the streets of a city that last year had a record 67 homicides.
Link to Full Article: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/nj/20130105_Camden_City_Council__state_approve_plan_to_lay_off_all_city_police_officers.html
January 3, 2013 – The recovery from Hurricane Sandy may provide an economic stimulus in the months ahead, but probably not soon enough for New Jersey to overcome financial difficulties, the state Legislature’s senior budget officer cautioned today. At the current pace of revenue growth, the budget will have a $2 billion revenue shortfall, Rosen said. He cautioned that he was not predicting such a devastating outcome, but did say the shortfall was likely to be higher than the $700 million hole the state currently faces.
Link to Full Article: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/01/post-sandy_economy_spike_will.html