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.”



Cuomo Proposes “NY Green Bank” To Spur Renewable Energy Investments (Stateline)


January 15, 2013 – Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed creating a $1 billion “NY Green Bank,” a quasi-independent authority that would provide capital for energy projects, aiming to leverage scattered resources and open the door to projects that might struggle to attract investment on their own. “A Green Bank is a fiscally practical option in a time of severe budget conditions,” the governor stated. A similar $30 million program is currently under way in Connecticut, where it has helped fund several projects over the past year. Lawmakers in a few other states are considering it, too.

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Cuomo’s casino plan could leave out Buffalo and Rochester (Democrat and Chronicle)

January 11, 2013 – Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered some new details Thursday about his proposal to build three private casinos in upstate New York, and he suggested that the state wouldn’t infringe on existing gambling compacts in “good standing.” If so, that could take the state’s two largest upstate cities and their suburbs — indeed, almost all of western New York — out of the running for a casino. The Seneca Nation of Indians in 2001 was granted exclusive rights to operate slot machines from Wayne County to the Pennsylvania border, including the cities of Rochester and Buffalo. The Senecas operate three casinos in Buffalo, Niagara Falls and Salamanca. The “good standing” mention — said several times by Cuomo — signaled that to uphold the gambling compact, the Seneca Nation would need to end its standoff with the state. The tribe has withheld more than $350 million from the state.

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Seneca Casino

New York pension reforms are working – sort of (Crain’s NY Business)

January 8, 2013 – When Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveils his 2014 financial plan later this month, he will probably spotlight one piece of very good news. Pension costs are no longer eating up an increasingly large part of the budget. This is an example of how fighting tough battles in Albany can pay off. By raising the retirement age and other modest changes to public sector pensions for city and state workers, pension costs will grow less than the city’s revenues over the next few years. The Independent Budget Office projects that pension costs will increase just 1.9% in the next fiscal year to $8.1 billion and decline to $8 billion in 2015.

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DiNapoli: State’s High Debt Limiting Options (NY State Comptroller)

January 7, 2013 – State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today warned in an analysis that New York State’s heavy debt burden could jeopardize critical infrastructure projects and other capital needs. New York State has the second highest level of debt in the country and is approaching its legal borrowing limit. The state’s debt capacity is projected to dwindle to $509 million by the end of the next fiscal year. New York’s outstanding debt averages $3,253 per state resident, almost three times the national median. New York’s state-funded debt totaled $63.3 billion as of March 31, second only to California and 80 percent higher than New Jersey, the state with the third highest level. This represents an increase of $24.3 billion, or 62.2 percent, from state fiscal year (SFY) 2002-03.

Link to Full Press Release:


Storm Panel Recommends Major Changes in New York (NY Times)

January 7, 2013 – A new commission formed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, charged with figuring out how New York should adapt in the long term to cope with worsening storms amid climate change and population growth, has recommended an extensive menu of programs. Its broad 175-page study says the state should consider storm barriers with movable gates that would span the Narrows, at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, and endorses a variety of “soft infrastructure” investments like building dunes and wetlands and oyster reefs, which were more prevalent along New York’s coastline in the 1800s.

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New York’s Roosevelt Island: Parsing the tech campus (Crain’s NY Business)

January 6, 2013 – As the former site of a city jail, a lunatic asylum, a poorhouse and a hospital for smallpox victims, Manhattan’s Roosevelt Island has a checkered past. Now plans to build a $2.1 billion, 2.1 million-square-foot school on a 19-acre site near the island’s southern end are promising to give the place an entirely new cutting-edge image. Though the project enjoys the enthusiastic backing of the Bloomberg administration, many of those who live on the two-mile sliver of land between Manhattan and Queens have their reservations. Advocates for the poor and disabled are concerned about the fate of hundreds of patients at city-run Coler-Goldwater Hospital. According to the city’s Health and Hospitals Corp., the Goldwater facility will be razed to make way for Cornell NYC Tech.

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