Sports cars for everyone! The story behind failed SBA ‘luxury loans’

By   /  July 17, 2015  /  Commentary, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments

Photo Courtesy

WASHINGTON,D.C. — The federal Small Business Administration’s mission statement says the agency was created “to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.”
So it’s disheartening to read reporter Art Kane’s “Luxury Loan” series.
Kane’s months-long investigation turned up […]

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Contest for controller’s office ugly but important for taxpayers

By   /  June 3, 2015  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Politics, Politics & Elections, Taxes, Transparency, Video, Wasteful spending  /  1 Comment

best from annual report presser - photo by Rachel Martin - cropped further

On primary election day, voters in Allegheny County decided they were concerned with how their tax dollars are spent. They re-elected a controller who’s insisted on not just checking the numbers, but also looking at efficiency.

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Innovative lending vs. taxpayer-backed loans: A look at two Pittsburgh restaurants

By   /  May 11, 2015  /  Accountability, Federal Government, National, News, PA Independent, Pennsylvania, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments

Photos by Rachel Martin

The Steel City has bountiful food options — and taxpayers may not realize how they’re helping make small businesses make it work, or that innovative options are out there.

While Kiva loans are different enough from traditional loans as to hardly seem related, they also boast a better track record. While taxpayer-guaranteed loans through the Small Business Administration have failure rate of 19.4 percent, according to a 2011 report from the Cato Institute, only 2 percent of Kiva loans fail.

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County’s fiscal watchdog sues county and police department to get access

By   /  April 23, 2015  /  Accountability, Budget and Spending, Finances, Misuse of funds, News, Pennsylvania, Politics & Elections, Transparency, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments


Police in Allegheny County say there’s no need for an auditor to keep tabs on how they’re spending the public’s money.
While she’s confident she has that authority, a judge will now decide.

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Are you transgender? Vermont Agency of Education wants to know

By   /  April 15, 2015  /  Education, News, Vermont, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments


As the governor and Legislature weigh cuts to close a $113 million budget gap, the Vermont Agency of Education is spending more than $23,000 to find out if Vermont school kids as young as 10 are transgender, among other things.

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Vermont School Boards Association exec: What consolidation means for schools

By   /  March 17, 2015  /  Education, Issues, News, Vermont, Wasteful spending  /  No Comments

Photo by Bruce Parker

As the House Education Committee’s consolidation bill gets ready to move over to the Senate, Vermonters are wondering what statewide restructuring would mean for schools and school boards. Stephen Dale, executive director of the Vermont School Boards Association, explains.

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