Lobbyists keep Export-Import bank alive despite economists concerns about cronyism

By   /  July 7, 2014  /  Budget and Spending, Business, Economy, Federal Government, Finances, Issues, National, News  /  No Comments

TRUCK LOADS OF CORPORATE WELFARE: The Export-Import Bank uses American tax dollars to subsidize loans to foreign companies so they will buy American goods - but it's turned into a scheme to benefit politically well-connected companies.

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
For four years running, Gina Rinehart has been ranked the richest person in Australia.
This year, her estimated net worth exceeds $20 billion, though that’s down a bit from an estimated $29 billion net worth in 2012, according to Business Review Weekly, which tracks the richest people in the Land Down Under.
Hancock [...]

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State Senate takes symbolic step on pensions, further reforms left waiting

By   /  July 1, 2014  /  Finances, Issues, News, Pennsylvania, Pensions, State Budgets, State Government  /  No Comments

NO CHOICE: Under HB818, private insurers cannot offer plans that include abortion coverage on the state health exchange.

The state Senate on Monday approved a bill to create a new pension system for state officials, but it’s a symbolic step that will do virtually nothing to address Pennsylvania’s $50 billion unfunded pension debt.

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PA Senate discussing move to 401(k)-style pension plans

By   /  June 26, 2014  /  Finances, Issues, News, Pennsylvania, Pensions, State Budgets, State Government  /  No Comments

GETTIN PAID: It's well-known that state workers and public school employees get pensions, but employees at a nonprofit that lobbies on behalf of school districts get that perk too.

Republican lawmakers in the state House spent the past week trying to cobble together enough votes to overhaul the state pension system.

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Pension bill could get a vote next week, but it sidesteps funding issues

By   /  June 19, 2014  /  Budget and Spending, Finances, Issues, News, Pennsylvania, Pensions, State Budgets, State Government  /  No Comments

COULD BE A LONG SUMMER: Gov. Tom Corbett says he won't sign a budget until he gets a pension bill too.

House Republicans, urged on by Gov. Tom Corbett, hope to move forward next week with a plan to overhaul the state pension systems.

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PA lawmakers get stern warnings from three major credit rating agencies

By   /  May 5, 2014  /  Economy, Finances, News, Pennsylvania, State Budgets, State Government, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

DOWNGRADES AHEAD: Fitch and Standard & Poor's gave Pennsylvania negative credit outlooks - meaning a downgrade could be coming soon - just as lawmakers get ready to address the state budget and a $1 billion deficit.

By Eric Boehm | PA Indepenent
Once is a fluke, twice can be a coincidence.
But three times is a trend.
During the past two weeks, all three major credit rating agencies have issued stern warnings to Pennsylvania policymakers in advance of the coming budget season. Two of them, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s, say they may be [...]

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When it comes to campaign expenses, you can keep on truckin’ in NM

By   /  May 1, 2014  /  Elections, Finances, New Mexico, News, Politics & Elections, State Government  /  No Comments

CHUGGING ALONG: Candidates in New Mexico can count often use campaign funds to pay for repairs and upkeep on vehicles.

By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
SANTA FE, N.M. — It’s said you don’t ever want to get between country folk and their pickup trucks.
And in most cases in New Mexico, if you’re a candidate for statewide office, using campaign funds to fix and maintain your vehicle is considered an allowable expense.
For example, a glance at [...]

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