State News Roundup

News Roundup | June 21, 2012

Virginia’s House Appropriations Committee is currently investigating the $6.5 million in incentives approved by Governor Bob McDonnell to keep Redskin Park, the 160-acre practice facility and headquarters of the Washington Redskins. The committee argues that there was no need for the deal to be brokered and that Governor McDonnell approved the incentives without notifying the legislature. Four million will come form the state’s discretionary funds, $2 million from Loudoun County (where Redskin Park is located), and $500,000 from the city of Richmond (location of summer preseason camp).

A new report from the Pew Center on the States ranked Connecticut as the worst in saving for public employee benefits in 2010. The government had more than $71 billion in benefits owed, with only $24 billion set aside to cover them. State Governor Dannel Malloy plans to limit retirement benefits and increase state contributions to close the deficit. Connecticut is not alone, however. The states faced a $1.38 trillion gap in pension and health care benefits owed to the amount funded in 2010, up 9% from 2011.

In Alabama, the state is looking for ways to fund its $1.67 billion in general fund spending. Governor Robert Bentley is calling on voters to approve a revision to the state constitution that would allow the government to take money from the state’s savings account in an effort to avoid severe budget cuts and tax increases. If the measure fails, Bentley will call a special session that would “look at everything” from ending tax breaks and increasing fees, to 17% across the board cuts to state agencies. The state recently received $25.3 million in a recent settlement with five big mortgage companies over improper handling of mortgages. The settlement will be used for expenses in the attorney general’s office. This will free up $19.3 million in the general fund, which according to senate budget committee Chairman Arthur Orr, “helped the overall budget picture.”

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