MuniNet Guide provides some of the more notable news stories relating to state and local government finance, including taxes, budgets, and pensions.
- U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2015 Survey of Public Pensions (U.S. Census Bureau) – The U.S. Census Bureau’s survey is a comprehensive analysis of the contribution levels and performance of state and local pension systems. Overall asset levels increased in 2015 by 3%, from $3.7 trillion to $3.8 trillion.
- Kansas Schools Will Remain Open After Governor Signs Bill (Associated Press) – Kansas has recently been under threat of public schools being forced to close based on a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that determined the Kansas Constitution requires equitable provision of a suitable education for all Kansas children. The Governor and Kansas legislature just diverted $38 million from other parts of the state budget to increase aid for poor school districts.
- Massachusetts Bill Set to Modernize Municipal Finance in the State (WWLP 22 News – Western MA) – The Massachusetts House passed Bill 4397 in an attempt to streamline oversight. Provisions included among the bill’s 218 section are repealing the state requirement of review of county treasuries, and increasing the amount cities may contribute to reserve funds from 3% to 5%. The bill now goes to the Massachusetts Senate.
- New Study Shows the Effectiveness of Diverse Revenues for Cities (Ottawa Citizen) – A new study by the Munk School of Global Affairs explores the ability of diversification of city revenue sources as a means to increase government revenues and provide relief to seniors who have high property taxes but low income.
- Disagreement of Union Concessions Puts Hartford Budget at Risk (Hartford Courant) – Hartford Connecticut is days away from a budget deficit, government layoffs, and potential service cuts. There appears to be little hope of an agreement before July 1, the start of the new fiscal year. An agreement between the mayor and public employee unions is the sticking point, with millions of dollars’ distance between the two sides.
- Madison School District Looks at Tax Increment Financing to Make Up State Shortfalls (Wisconsin State Journal) – The State Government of Wisconsin has decreased education funding. The Madison School District has struggled to make up for those lost funds. The city government has stepped up, giving the school district access to $9.3 million in TIF funds that were to be used for other purposes.