State spending, federal aid make for a shaky partnership

By   /  April 16, 2014  /  Affordable Care Act, Legislature, Medicaid, Mississippi, News, public sector, State House, State Politics, State Senate, Stimulus  /  No Comments

FLYING HIGH: Mississippi's state budget has the highest percentage of federal funds by any state, according to a recent report. PHOTO BY: CREATIVE COMMONS

There are two trend lines in Mississippi’s budgets from year to year. One is the ever-increasing amount of money the state government spends. The other is the percentage of the state’s revenues that come from the federal government that keeps going up.

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AARP working with state to sell government retirement accounts

By   /  March 27, 2014  /  Business, Economy, Minnesota, News, Pensions, public sector, State Government, unions  /  No Comments

RETIRE THIS: Should state governments be getting into the business of selling and administering retirement accounts for private sector workers? Photo copyright MN House of Representatives.

The state government may struggle to balance a budget and fix insolvent pension accounts, but that isn’t stopping it from thinking about hawking a state-run retirement savings account.

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Sioux City using traffic cameras to fund police and fire pensions

By   /  February 20, 2014  /  Iowa, News, Pensions, Public Safety, public sector  /  No Comments

TRAFFIC CAMERAS AND PUBLIC PENSIONS: Sioux City has been using revenue from it traffic cameras to funding pension for police and firefighters. New state regulations may dry up that money stream.

By Paul Brennan | Iowa Watchdog
DES MOINES, Iowa — Exactly what Sioux City’s automated traffic cameras have done to improve public safety is debatable, but the more than $1 million they’ve raised to fatten police and firefighter pensions isn’t.
Now new regulations from the Iowa Department of Transportation curbing use of the cameras on state highways [...]

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Vermont tied as one of the ‘least free’ states

By   /  January 3, 2014  /  Accountability, Capitalism, County Government, economic development, Economy, Free Market, individual rights, Labor relations, News, Personal liberty, Private property rights, Property Taxes, public sector, Taxes, Transparency, unions, Vermont  /  No Comments

FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: Vermont tied as one of the "least free" states

By Jon Street | Vermont Watchdog
The results are in and they’re not pretty.
Vermont is one of the “least free” states, according to a report on economic freedom in North America.
“It’s sad, but not surprising. What’s worse is we’re headed in the wrong direction,” said Rob Roper, president of the Ethan Allen Institute, a Vermont-based free-market [...]

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Less is more: ‘Shortage of staff’ at DOC cost Vermont taxpayers millions

By   /  December 18, 2013  /  Accountability, Budget, Corrections, Finances, Health Care, News, public sector, State Budgets, State Government, Top State News, Vermont, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments

LESS IS MORE: "Staff shortage" at DOC cost Vermont taxpayers an extra $4.1 million in prison health care costs

By Jon Street | Vermont Watchdog
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Vermont taxpayers will lose out on $4.1 million this year, and it’s all because the Department of Corrections had one less employee keeping an eye on the budget, says the state’s director of health services.
Vermont’s director of health services says the reason there was a $4.1 million shortfall [...]

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