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BUDGET TRANSPARENCY

Budget Transparency

Transparency, and the accountability that follows, is necessary for state's to fix their fiscal problems.  Citizens should now demand ready access to state and local government budgets, regulations, contracts, and contacts.  Absent transparency, there is far greater risk of continued failure, corruption, fraud, waste and regulatory abuse.

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    • HEADLINES: California

      Brown administration pledges to keep closer eye on special funds

      The Los Angeles Times | by Chris Megerian | August 10, 2012

      Gov. Jerry Brown's finance director spent nearly two hours Thursday assuring jittery lawmakers that the administration has the state budget under control in the wake of revelations about hidden money and loose accounting.

    • HEADLINES: Alaska

      New website helps public decode Alaska budget

      The Fairbanks Daily News Miner | by Matt Buxton | July 20, 2012

      The Legislature this week released a new website, titled "Understanding Alaska's Budget" at alaskabudget.com, that comes complete with slick graphics and animated videos explaining the state's income, spending, savings and the possibility of a spending gap.

    • RESEARCH

      State Budget Crisis Task Force Report

      State Budget Crisis Task Force | by Richard Ravitch and Paul Volcker | July 17, 2012

      State finances are not transparent and often include hidden liabilities as well as rapidly growing responsibilities which are difficult to control.  While state revenues are gradually recovering from the drastic decline of the Great Recession, they are not growing sufficiently to keep pace with the spending required by Medicaid costs, pensions, and other responsibilities and obligations.  This has resulted in persistent and growing structural deficits in many states which threaten their fiscal sustainability.

    • HEADLINES

      Fiscal Crisis in States Will Last Beyond Slump, Report Warns

      The New York Times | by Mary Williams Walsh and Michael Cooper | July 17, 2012

      The fiscal crisis for states will persist long after the economy rebounds as states confront financial problems that include rising health care costs, underfunded pensions, ignored infrastructure needs, eroding revenues and expected federal budget cuts, according to a report issued here Tuesday by a task force of respected budget experts.

    • HEADLINES: California

      Open government at heart of budget cut

      The San Francisco Chronicle | by John King | July 15, 2012

      California's 59-year-old Ralph M. Brown Act is meant to ensure open and accessible government. These days, it also shows how convoluted the state can be.

    • HEADLINES: South Carolina

      SC budget board seeks legal advice on pension fund

      The State | by Adam Bean | July 13, 2012

      At issue is who can read the investment contracts entered into by the state’s multi-billion-dollar pension system. those investment contracts now are subject to confidentiality agreements that bar outsiders – including State Treasurer Curtis Loftis' staff – from reading them.

    • HEADLINES: California

      The two-year budget: Cranking down the gimmicks and hype?

      Capitol Weekly | by Mandy Honeychurch | July 9, 2012

      The most recent and 12th initiative to gain a spot on the ballot, the two-year budget plan is dubbed Government Performance and Accountability Act.

    • HEADLINES: North Carolina

      N.C. budget deal receives final legislative OK

      The Associated Press | by Gary Robertson | June 22, 2012

      The House and Senate approved the $20.2 billion spending plan, which adjusts the second year of the two-year budget approved in 2011.

    • HEADLINES: New Jersey

      NJ budget progress stalls amid Democrats' uprising

      The Associated Press | by Geoff Mulvihill | June 22, 2012

      Some New Jersey Democratic lawmakers tried to put up a roadblock Thursday to passing a state budget, even as their colleagues were advancing a list of spending additions to the $32 billion plan.

    • HEADLINES: California

      Gov. Jerry Brown, Democratic leaders agree on welfare changes in California budget

      The Sacramento Bee | by Kevin Yamamura | June 22, 2012

      Gov. Jerry Brown and Democratic lawmakers announced a budget deal Thursday that imposes harsher consequences on welfare parents who cannot find work after two years and moves 880,000 low-income children into a cheaper state health care program.


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    • RESEARCH

      Federal Aid to the States 2008-2011

      by Kristen De Pena | February 21, 2013

      It is well understood that the federal government must make spending cuts-these cuts will most likely drastically change the amount of federal dollars that are allocated to the states. Unfortunately for most states, dependence on federal funding has continually risen since 2008.

    • RESEARCH

      Forecasting the Recovery from the Great Recession: Is This Time Different?

      The National Bureau of Economic Research | by Kathryn Dominguez & Matthew Shapiro | February 4, 2013

      Was the slow recovery of the U.S. economy from the trough of the Great Recession anticipated? 

    • RESEARCH

      State Budget Crisis Task Force Report

      State Budget Crisis Task Force | by Richard Ravitch and Paul Volcker | July 17, 2012

      State finances are not transparent and often include hidden liabilities as well as rapidly growing responsibilities which are difficult to control.  While state revenues are gradually recovering from the drastic decline of the Great Recession, they are not growing sufficiently to keep pace with the spending required by Medicaid costs, pensions, and other responsibilities and obligations.  This has resulted in persistent and growing structural deficits in many states which threaten their fiscal sustainability.

    • RESOURCES: Connecticut

      $100k Pension Club Includes 299 State Retirees

      In 2008, 175 former Connecticut state employees received pensions worth at least $100,000. That number rose to 299 people in 2009 and is expected to continue rising.

    • RESEARCH: Minnesota

      At a Crossroads

      Are students learning the things they need to know? Is there a healthy exchange of ideas? Are trustees upholding the public trust? Are taxpayers getting a good value for their money? These are the kinds of questions to which the people of Minnesota deserve answers. It is the goal of this report card to provide answers and to help Minnesota—a state rightly known for its passion for education—be a national standard bearer for excellence, accountability, and efficiency in higher education.

    • SOLUTIONS

      How Reality-Based Budgeting Can Permanently Resolve State Budget Gaps

      State Budget Solutions | by Bob Williams | November 7, 2012

      State Budget Solutions recommends that state legislators take action in 2013 to resolve the serious state financial crises by changing their focus from inputs to outcomes by redesigning budgets from the ground up based on priorities and performance.

    • SOLUTIONS: North Carolina

      A Blueprint for Budget Reform

      Civitas Institute | by Brian Balfour | September 12, 2012

      The ongoing state budget "crisis" strongly underscores the urgent need for North Carolina to adapt significant state budget reforms, including putting North Carolina taxpayers back in charge of approving new debt, and forcing legislators and state agencies at reasonable intervals to justify all spending, not just spending increases.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Transparency Key to Fixing State Budget Crises

      by Mike Barnhart | March 12, 2012

      Transparency, and the accountability that follows, is necessary for state's to fix their fiscal problems.  Citizens should now demand ready access to state and local government budgets, regulations, contracts, and contacts.  Absent transparency, there is far greater risk of continued failure, corruption, fraud, waste and regulatory abuse.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Creating a New Public Pension System

      The Laura and John Arnold Foundation | by Josh B. McGee, Ph.D. | December 5, 2011

      Sound pension reform meets four general criteria: (1) establish transparency with respect to the true cost of the benefits promised to public employees; (2) mandate that the pension plan sponsor pay the full cost of accrued benefits each year; (3) mandate that the pension plan sponsor pay down the unfunded accrued liability over a reasonable time horizon and (4) improve the generational equity, portability and security of benefits for public employees.

    • SOLUTIONS: South Carolina

      The South Carolina state budget is a mystery. What can be done about it?

      The South Carolina Policy Council | December 2, 2011

      The South Carolina state budget should be more transparent. There should be one document showing the exact amount lawmakers appropriated in a given year and the budget should reveal where all money is coming from.  The budget should list every program each agency is running, how much that program is receiving, and a description of the program.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Statewide Transparency/Spending Web Sites and Legislation

      National Conference of State Legislatures | July 20, 2011

      At least 34 states have passed legislation--often called Taxpayer Transparency Acts--requiring a centralized, searchable website that provides information to the public about state expenditures or state contracts.  They can all be found here.

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      2011 Texas Budget Solutions

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation provides a host of potential budget solutions for the 2011 Texas state budget. Their solutions cover a broad range of categories from education to tax policy. Take a look!

    • SOLUTIONS: Texas

      Make the Budget Process More Transparent: HB 2804 and SB 1653

      The Texas Public Policy Foundation | April 1, 2011

      Over the long term, one of the most important reforms the Legislature can enact to promote fiscal responsibility is to make the appropriations process more transparent.

    • SOLUTIONS: New Jersey

      The Crisis in Public Sector Pension Plans

      Mercatus Center | by Eileen Norcross, Andrew Biggs | February 11, 2011

      Case study of New Jersey's five public pension plans and exploration of possible solutions, including shifting all newly hired employees to a defined contribution pension model based upon the plan already offered to New Jersey's university employees and continuing current reforms lowering pension replacement rates and, if possible, extended to current employees.

    • SOLUTIONS

      Performance Audit Tools for Higher Education

      by Harry Stille | January 28, 2011

      The time has come for openness and accountability in post-secondary education. The best way to achieve this is through performance audits, which look at all facets of an institution-from student input/outcome data to faculty process data to all aspects of financial data. This project is to develop areas of process for a Performance Audit Guide used to evaluate how public (and/or private) institutions use student, public, and donor funds to meet the institutions' primary missions.


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