California January revenues $3.4 bln above budget thanks to increased tax rates (CA State Controller)

Excerpt:

February 8, 2013 – State Controller John Chiang today released his monthly report covering California’s cash balance, receipts and disbursements in January 2013. Total revenues for the first month of the calendar year were $4.3 billion above (39.1 percent) estimates found in the Governor’s proposed 2013-14 State budget.  “Last month’s revenues were by far the highest that California has seen in any January for the past decade. Along with increased auto sales, rising home values, and more construction, it signals that California may be entering an era where we can govern outside of crisis,” Chiang said. “However, given our state’s troubled history with boom-or-bust revenue cycles, this good news must be tempered with increased fiscal discipline in how we interpret and budget January’s collections.”

Link to Full Press Release: http://sco.ca.gov/eo_pressrel_13086.html

Link to California Controller’s February 2013 Summary Analysis: http://www.sco.ca.gov/Files-EO/02-13summary.pdf

Link to California January 2013 Statement of General Fund Cash Receipts and Disbursements: http://www.sco.ca.gov/Files-EO/fy1213_jan.pdf

 

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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.”

 

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

 

 

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

 

Editorial: California Gov. Brown’s “balanced” state budget doesn’t address huge debt burden (Oakland Tribune)

EXCERPT:

January 16, 2013 – Gov. Jerry Brown can rightly claim that California is on its most stable financial footing in more than a decade. As he enters the third year of his current tenure, he deserves much credit for more closely matching spending and revenue than either of his two predecessors who both proved too fiscally challenged for the job. To get there, Brown has had to reduce the state prison population; eliminate redevelopment agencies; substantially trim the state workforce; squeeze programs that serve the needy; and win voter approval for a temporary hike on sales tax for all and income taxes for the wealthy. It’s been a tough slog.

Link to Full Article: http://www.insidebayarea.com/daily-review/ci_22386002

 

California baby bust under way (Mercury News)

EXCERPT:

January 16, 2013 – After decades of simultaneously worrying about and cashing in on its ever-growing population, the Golden State now awaits a new challenge: too few children and, eventually, too few skilled and able-bodied workers. The number of California babies born each year began dropping steadily in 2007, according to state public health records, but the birthrate began slowing years before. The statewide fertility rate has slipped below 2.1 children in a lifetime, the rate that replaces the population, to 1.

Link to Full Article: http://www.insidebayarea.com/daily-review/ci_22359475

Cal Births

San Onofre to stay dark for now, new nuclear chief says (LA Times)

EXCERPT:

January 14, 2013 – The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission chief made her first visit Monday to the troubled San Onofre nuclear plant since taking office in July, offering assurance that the facility will remain closed until its safety is certain. The plant has been shut down for nearly a year because of unexpected deterioration of tubes in its four giant steam generators, replaced less than two years earlier. The NRC is reviewing a restart proposal that plant operator Southern California Edison submitted for one of the plant’s two reactor units, which entails running that unit at 70% capacity for five months in hopes that operating at reduced power would alleviate the conditions that caused the tubes to vibrate excessively.

Link to Full Article: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/01/nrc-chair-san-onofre.html