State News Roundup

September 16, 2010

Here’s a look at some of this week’s most interesting, and consequential, budget- and economy-related issues in the 50 states:

Yesterday the Associated Press analyzed states’ cuts to their public pension systems. “Since 2008, New Jersey and at least 19 other states from Wyoming to Rhode Island have rolled back pension benefits or seriously considered doing do, and not just for new hires, but for current employees and people already retired.” Due to the financial crisis, most states are now in a position of simply not being able to afford the generous pensions they had once promised retirees.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Reform and Restructuring Committee recently recommended that selected state and local agencies switch to a four-day workweek to save money, reported the Richmond Times Dispatch. A similar plan was enacted in Utah in 2008.

In an editorial, the Denver Post applauded Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s plan to close the city’s $100 million budget gap, but also recognized that Denver needs “a much broader restructuring of how the city does business.”

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that if Congress allows the tax cuts to expire, thousands of small business owners in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky could face a crippling tax hike on January 1. “Everybody in the business world is scared about what taxes are going to do,” lamented a local business owner.

According to a statewide survey of local officials, “most money managers and top administrators of cities and counties across Virginia feel they can’t count on state government to fund core needs it has met for decades.” The Associated Press broke down the results that showed local governments sustained an average 2.7% budget cut from FY2010 to FY2011.

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