Category Archives: State & Local Finance

Authority of State Legislatures to Accept Funds Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

Source: Kenneth R. Thomas, Congressional Research Service, R40467, March 25, 2009

This report analyzes the language contained in §1607 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), which provides that federal funds can be made available to a state by the federal government either after certification by a governor that such money will be requested and spent or after the adoption of a concurrent resolution by a state legislature. Although the language of § 1607 is arguably ambiguous, it does not appear likely that it would have the effect of significantly reallocating power between a state legislature and a state executive branch. Thus, once either a governor’s certification or the legislature’s acceptance has been made, § 1607 would have little or no apparent effect on the power of a governor, state or local official to choose whether or not to seek and administer these funds. Any interpretation of this language which did provide authority to a state legislature, by concurrent resolution, to direct the acceptance and spending of federal monies by state or local officials, would be likely to raise Tenth Amendment issues. Consequently, such an interpretation would be disfavored.

Recovery.org

Source: Onvia, 2009

Welcome to Recovery.org and Onvia. This site was developed to bring unprecedented transparency and accountability to recovery spending and ensure that every business, regardless of size, has equal access to the projects associated with the recovery efforts. On this site you will find real-time data, maps, and graphs detailing the spending activity associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Onvia tracks “every dime” of spending by Federal, State and Local government agencies, and Recovery.org allows you to explore these activities in great detail by State, by Congressional District, and by Community.

Stimulus 2009: Maximizing the Opportunity

Source: Bond Buyer, March 26, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 brought about more changes to the tax code pertaining to tax-exempt bonds than any federal law since the massive tax reform of 1986.

The stimulus package includes myriad new bond programs, alters for a time the tax status of certain kinds of bonds, changes rules for issuance and ownership, and — unlike its earlier transformative cousin — includes the unique feature of two-year sunsets for most of its important programs.

These programs give issuers another set of options to evaluate when making their bond sale decisions — sell tax-exempt or taxable bonds, offer investors a tax credit, or take a federal subsidy?

These options — along with the choices of the expanded qualified zone academy bonds and the new qualified school construction bonds, the clean renewable energy bonds, and recovery zone economic development bonds — give issuers and their advisers a lot to think about.

The groups that offer guidance on such things are scrambling to advise their members. We’ve assembled some resources on the last page of this publication that can help you find out what different states, agencies, and organizations have to offer. In the coming pages, The Bond Buyer has tried to assemble a variety of voices from the legal, regulatory, and issuer communities to offer ideas, guidance, and caution about the new tools available in this small window of time.

NJ State Workers: Pay Cuts Won’t Solve Budget Crisis

Source: Mischa Gaus, Labor Notes, April 2009

Glenda Simmons might default on her student loans. Jeneine Abernathy says her fellow child-welfare investigators live one paycheck at a time. Theresa Saunders has already exhausted her sick days recovering from chemotherapy. None of the three New Jersey state workers say they can afford a pay cut.

Jon Corzine plans to close a yawning budget gap in part by forcing them to forgo a pay raise and take almost three weeks of unpaid time off. CWA members are dogging Corzine’s steps as he travels the state, throwing picket lines up outside his events.

States Filling Budget Gaps With Alcohol Taxes

Source: Katherine Rogers, State Health Notes, Volume 30, Issue 537, April 13, 2009

The lagging economy finds a number of states considering increases in alcohol taxes. Advocates have been pushing for nominal increases–such as a nickel a drink–both to shore up state budgets and boost public health. But alcohol beverage producers say that tax increases will cost jobs.

State Finance in the Great Depression

Source: Ronald Snell, National Conference of State Legislatures, March 2009

The Great Depression of the 1930s forced significant change in the domestic role of the federal, state and local governments in the United States primarily because the Roosevelt administration adopted responsibility for stimulating the economy and addressing the crisis of unemployment in 1933. The lack of a federal structure to administer domestic policy and the need to act quickly meant that state and local governments became tools of the federal government. Before the Depression, state and local governments had a very narrow revenue base in the property tax, whose inadequacy in changed circumstances was apparent by the time the federal government offered matching grants for public relief to the states. The result was the adoption of new kinds of state taxes as well as the expansion of the activities of state government. Although by current standards the expansion brought only moderate growth in the role of government, it laid the foundations of modern federalism and the domestic role of state and local government.

Economic Stimulus Initiatives

Source: GovSearch, Carroll Publishing, April 2009
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Since the inception of our Economic Stimulus coverage, we are proud to announce new significant enhancements that are expanding this coverage.

As of March 24 of this year, the Economic Stimulus section has been expanded to include:

• 138 new Economic Stimulus News items
• 17 newly-created offices and positions
• 50 state/territory recovery websites
• 51 State Certifications signed by Governors, Mayors and other chief executives for transparency and accountability
• 29 federal departments and agencies recovery website
• Both the FY 2009 and 2010 Budgets via PDF
• Highlights of the “big ticket items” receiving major Economic Stimulus-related funding.
• Additional acts and Executive Orders from the President
• 327 official press releases issued by the federal departments and agencies- added daily.