State News Roundup

News Roundup | July 5, 2012

In California, officials are considering an unorthodox use of eminent domain to help homeowners who are struggling to stay current with their mortgages. By using eminent domain to forcibly purchase the property and homes from their current owners at the current value of the home, predictably lower than when originally purchased due to the housing crisis, the government would help shed large amounts of debt held by the homeowners. The city would then resell the property and home to investors and lenders, leaving the homeowners with a smaller mortgage. While this would be great for homeowners who would shed the burden of a large mortgage, the original lenders are likely to sue the state to keep this process from happening, because they may lose money during the transaction. “We think it would be irresponsible, given the size of the problem in our county, not to at least explore it,” said Greg Devereaux Chief Executive of San Bernardino County. Meanwhile, some say the program would do nothing to deal with the biggest problem of the state’s housing market, borrowers already in default.

North Carolina’s legislature has set a new record. It has overturned the democratic governor’s, Beverly Perdue; veto a record 11 times in the last two years. This time the veto to prevent shale and oil exploration in the state was overturned late Monday night. The state legislature had attached a provision to open up the state to shale, or fracking, exploration in it’s annual budget, but the budget was vetoed to keep the provision from passing. Overall the governor has issued a total of 19 vetoes in the past two years, far more than any previous governor. “It’s disappointing that the leaders in (the) General Assembly would allow fracking without ensuring that adequate protections will be in place for drinking water, landowners, county and municipal governments, and the health and the safety of families in North Carolina,” said Governor Perdue. No exploration in the state is scheduled until 2014.

The Authorities Budget Office reports a net increase of 63 new de facto local government agencies in New York. The ABO tracks the number of agencies started with specific purposes as a not for profit – government agency. Local development corporations are the most common type of these agencies and the ABO reported 61 new LDC’s, which it oversees, in a recent report. While LDCs maintain a de facto relationship as a government agency, the corporations are not held under the same accountability rules as a normal agency would be, leaving the voter with near zero say in how the agency operates. With so many agencies under its purview, Ray Gillen, Metroplex Chairman, said that the consolidation the ABO was seeking would require legislative action by the state, making it even more difficult to decrease the duplication of these LDCs.

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