Category Archives: State & Local Finance

Nevada collects $69.8 million in tax revenue during first year of legal adult use sales—about 140 percent of what the state anticipated

Source: State of Nevada, Department of Taxation, June Marijuana Revenue Statistics News Release, August 28, 2018

$27.5 million in marijuana tax revenue transferred to the state Distributive School Account

With June’s marijuana revenue figures now on the books, Nevada closed out the first full year of adultuse sales with marijuana tax collections totaling $69.8 million for the fiscal year—about 140 percent of what the state expected to bring in. The last four months of the fiscal year proved to be the most robust months for marijuana tax revenue, with each month’s totals topping $6.5 million. At the end of June, there were 64 medical marijuana dispensaries open in Nevada, with 61 of those licensed to also sell adult-use marijuana. For the fiscal year, these state-licensed dispensaries and retail stores saw total taxable sales—which includes adult-use marijuana, medical marijuana, and marijuana-related tangible goods— of $529.9 million. Adult-use marijuana sales totaled $424.9 million for the year, generating $42.5 million in tax collections through the 10 percent Retail Marijuana Tax. The 15 percent Wholesale Marijuana Tax brought in close to $27.3 million for the fiscal year. Revenues from the wholesale tax, along with application and licensing fees, go primarily to education in Nevada, via the state Distributive School Account. With the closing of the fiscal year, the Department of Taxation transferred a total of $27.5 million to that education account. All revenues from the Retail Marijuana Tax have been distributed to the state’s Rainy Day Fund…..

Schools in Florida are spending thousands on active shooter insurance

Source: Sarika Ram, MuckRock, August 16, 2018

Recently released records show districts budgeting up to six figures on insurance policies, safety training, and police presence

High profile school shootings in recent years have offered enterprising insurance companies with a business opportunity – and burdened districts budgets with thousands of dollars in new expenses.

This school year, some Florida public school districts have invested in active shooter protection insurance policies and other security-related programming, such as active shooter response training.

According to the insurance policy obtained in a recent public records request, Palm Beach Public School District has paid a $100,000 premium to McGowan Program Administrators, a leader in the active shooter insurance industry, for active shooter protection this academic year.

The Financial Oversight & Management Board For Puerto Rico Special Investigation Committee Independent Investigator’s Final Investigative Report

Source: The Financial Oversight & Management Board For Puerto Rico Special Investigative Committee Independent Investigator Kobre & Kim LLP, 2018

As of May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico had approximately $74 billion of bond debt and $49 billion of unfunded pension liabilities. For an economy of Puerto Rico’s size, the burden of this debt has been catastrophic—it has been a financial, and ultimately a humanitarian, catastrophe. The toll it has taken on the people of Puerto Rico begs a pressing question: How did it happen?

This Report, like the Independent Investigation upon which it is based, aims to answer that question based on the facts. On the same basis, it offers recommendations for the people of Puerto Rico, and the policymakers who represent them, to consider in making sure they never have to go through all this again…..

Strategic interaction sequences: the institutionalization of participatory budgeting in New York City

Source: Isaac Jabola-Carolus, Luke Elliott-Negri, James M. Jasper, Jessica Mahlbacher, Manès Weisskircher & Anna Zhelnina, Social Movement Studies, Advance Access, Published online: August 6, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
An interactive approach to social movements highlights time dynamics in ways more correlational approaches do not, in that interaction and outcomes unfold in sequences as players react to one another. Some aspects of these engagements are shaped by institutional schedules, while others leave discretion to the players. Some institutional schedules, meanwhile, may be reshaped by strategic interactions. By examining the implicit trade-offs and explicit dilemmas that pervade strategic interaction, we see how some are tightly linked to time whereas others more closely reflect ongoing structural situations. Analyzing the case of participatory budgeting in New York City, we focus on two trade-offs, ‘being there’ and ‘powerful allies’, that appear when social movements attempt to institutionalize new policies and processes. These time-based strategic trade-offs complicate activists’ efforts to secure lasting gains.

Approaching a Tipping Point? A History and Prospectus of Funding for the University of California

Source: John Aubrey Douglass and Zachary Bleemer, University of California – Berkeley, Center for Studies in Higher Education, August 20, 2018

From the abstract:
This year marks the University of California’s (UC) 150th anniversary. In part to reflect on that history, and to provide a basis to peer into the future, the following report provides a history of the University of California’s revenue sources and expenditures. The purpose is to provide the University’s academic community, state policymakers, and Californians with a greater understanding of the University’s financial history, focusing in particular on the essential role of public funding.

In its first four decades, UC depended largely on income generated by federal land grants and private philanthropy, and marginally on funding from the state. The year 1911 marked a major turning point: henceforth, state funding was linked to student enrollment workload. As a result, the University grew with California’s population in enrollment, academic programs, and new campuses. This historic commitment to systematically fund UC, the state’s sole land-grant university, helped create what is now considered the world’s premier public university system.

However, beginning with cutbacks in the early 1990s UC’s state funding per student steadily declined. The pattern of state disinvestment increased markedly with the onset of the Great Recession. As chronicled in this report, the University diversified its sources of income and attempted to cut costs in response to this precipitous decline, while continuing to enroll more and more Californians. Even with the remarkable improvement in California’s economy, state funding per student remains significantly below what it was only a decade ago.

Peering into the future, this study also provides a historically informed prospectus on the budget options available to UC. Individual campuses, such as Berkeley and UCLA, may be able to generate other income sources to maintain their quality and reputation. But there is no clear funding model or pathway for the system to grow with the needs of the people of California. UC may be approaching a tipping point in which it will need to decide whether to continue to grow in enrollment without adequate funding, or limit enrollment and program growth to focus on quality and productivity.

Want a lower tax bill? So do Apple and Genentech

Source: Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2018

For-profit companies don’t typically downplay the value of their assets.

But when it comes to paying property taxes, some of Silicon Valley’s largest companies are going head to head with officials to try to prove that some of the equipment and machinery they used to become global titans are actually worth a lot less than what county tax assessors say.

In the Bay Area, Genentech and Apple are particularly aggressive in opposing tax assessors — elected officials who determine the value of property for tax purposes. Both companies are leading years-long efforts to recoup tens of millions of dollars they say they’ve overpaid in taxes on buildings, land, lab equipment, computers and other items….

…. There is nothing illegal or unethical about appealing assessments. Companies are entitled to contest property assessments they believe are done improperly or inaccurately. But the tactics taken by Genentech, Apple and other large corporations, county assessors say, border on abusing the system.

The practice, they say, forces local governments to hold millions of dollars in limbo that would otherwise go to taxpayer-funded programs like schools, roads and special districts, in case they have to issue refunds to the companies. ….

Related:
Apple argued building was worth $200 not $1B to lower tax bill
Source: Ali Breland, The Hill, August 14, 2018

Amid Legal and Political Uncertainty, DACA Remains More Important Than Ever

Source: Tom K. Wong, Sanaa Abrar, Tom Jawetz, Ignacia Rodriguez Kmec, Patrick O’Shea, Greisa Martinez Rosas, and Philip E. Wolgin, Center for American Progress, August 15, 2018

Note: The survey results can be found here. For more information on the survey, please contact Tom K. Wong.

Since it was first announced on June 15, 2012, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has provided work authorization as well as temporary relief from deportation to approximately 822,000 undocumented young people across the United States.

From July 16 to August 7, 2018, Tom K. Wong of the University of California, San Diego; United We Dream; the National Immigration Law Center; and the Center for American Progress fielded a national survey to further analyze the experiences of DACA recipients. The study includes 1,050 DACA recipients in 41 states as well as the District of Columbia.

This research, as with previous surveys, shows that DACA recipients are making significant contributions to the economy and their communities. In all, 96 percent of respondents are currently employed or enrolled in school.

….Several years of data, including this 2018 survey, make clear that DACA is having a positive and significant effect on wages. The average hourly wage of respondents increased by 78 percent since receiving DACA, from $10.32 per hour to $18.42 per hour. Among respondents 25 years and older, the average hourly wage increased by 97 percent since receiving DACA. These higher wages are not only important for recipients and their families but also for tax revenues and economic growth at the local, state, and federal levels…..