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: Louisiana

      Louisiana state budget discussed by public

      The Times Picayune | April 14, 2014

      The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Louisiana state budget gaps start to come to light

      New Orleans Times-Picayune | by Julie O'Donoghue | March 18, 2014

      After a week of scrutiny, Gov. Bobby Jindal's $25 billion state spending proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is beginning to show some trouble spots. Elected officials and legislative staff said that some revenue the Jindal administration had baked into the budget wasn't necessarily guaranteed to materialize, and other obvious expenses don't have any revenue assigned to them.

    • HEADLINES: West Virginia

      The way West Virginia prices its bills is flawed, reports find

      Washington Post | by Niraj Chokshi | November 18, 2013

      Fiscal notes, legislative analysis, cost estimates — call it what you want, but the official price tags attached to bills are a key part of legislating at every level of government. Many states have dedicated legislative analysts, and virtually every state has at least some way of estimating the fiscal impact of proposed policies. But West Virginia’s methods may be seriously off the mark, according to a new report.

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Court ruling questions Jindal budget balancing technique

      Advocate | by Michelle Millhollon | November 13, 2013

      A Baton Rouge judge ruled Tuesday that the Jindal administration and legislators should not have balanced the state’s operating budget by grabbing dollars from a retirement fund for probation and parole officers.

    • HEADLINES: Louisiana

      Louisiana budget transparency is sought by legislative panel | by Julia O'Donoghue | October 17, 2013

      State elected officials have complained about the format and timeline for the budget, saying they have a difficult time getting the information they need in the financial documents provided.

    • HEADLINES: Alaska

      Anchorage tennis flap shows need for transparent state budget

      The Alaska Dispatch | by Dermot Cole | October 11, 2013

      Even with $100-a-barrel oil, the state is running a deficit because of declining oil production and the huge oil tax cut those same legislators approved this year.

    • HEADLINES: Washington

      Earmarks on rise again in Olympia

      The Seattle Times | by Andrew Garber | September 10, 2013

      Legislators steered more than $170 million in the state's capital budget toward special projects that largely sidestep public debate and detailed documentation. The list ranges from a college radio station to a monument commemorating a stranded ship.

    • HEADLINES: New Jersey

      N.J. tax report is incomplete; Christie criticized for not releasing monthly revenue data | by John Reitmeyer | September 9, 2013

      Governor Christie's administration did not include key information in its most recent tax revenue report, the first time in recent memory the public is without the figures needed to show if the state balanced its budget, a constitutional mandate.

    • HEADLINES: California

      Lawmakers to CalPERS: Let's talk about that pension database

      The Sacramento Bee | by Jon Ortiz | September 3, 2013

      The controversy that kicked up in July over CalPERS' plan to launch a online pension database has reached the California Legislature.

    • HEADLINES: Iowa

      Iowa auditor lauds state budget, but notes areas of concern

      Des Moines Register | by Jason Noble | August 7, 2013

      Iowa state Auditor Mary Mosiman lauded the state budget signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad earlier this year as an “excellent” spending plan that “serves Iowans well.”

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      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.


      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? 


      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: North Carolina

      Transparency and accountability in North Carolina's state budget

      The John Locke Foundation | by Joseph Coletti | December 2, 2010

      North Carolina should expand to provide transaction-level detail updated daily with spending and revenue for all of state government. Each state agency should provide easy access to its transaction information on every page of its website.

    • SOLUTIONS: North Carolina

      Spending reform in North Carolina

      The John Locke Foundation | December 2, 2010

      North Carolina should define government's role in each policy area. Some policy goals are better achieved by families, charities, or free enterprise.  It should post budget bills online 72 hours before the first vote and provide a five-year fiscal note with each budget.   The state should also expand the rainy day fund to 10 percent of General Fund appropriations in the most recent fiscal year.

    • SOLUTIONS: South Carolina

      10 Reforms for the S.C. Retirement System

      South Carolina Policy Council | by Simon Wong and Dr. Jameson Taylor | November 18, 2010

      Paper proposing 10 reforms that would facilitate funding the South Carolina Retirement System at 100 percent, keeping it solvent beyond 2024. The first nine ideas would streamline the existing system and provide for greater transparency. Adopting these reforms would not require a major overhaul of the existing plan. Reform # 10 looks to long-term changes that must be made to sustain the state’s retirement system.

    • SOLUTIONS: Massachusetts

      Out of the Shadows

      MASSPIRG Education Fund | by Deirdre Cummings, Phineas Baxandall, Ph.D., Kari Wohlschlegel | May 1, 2010

      In Massachusetts, quasi-public agencies perform vital government functions. They employ thousands of people and sometimes control billion- dollar budgets. Because they are not directly accountable to the legislature and exempt from many kinds of public oversight, these agencies should make their decisions and budgets especially open to public scrutiny.

    • SOLUTIONS: Illinois

      Budget Solutions 2011: A New Way Forward

      by Illinois Policy Institute | April 6, 2010

      A detailed, comprehensive alternative budgeting plan addressing Illinois' immediate financial problems focused on three key elements: spending reallignment, right-sizing government labor costs and pension fund reform.

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