Finance

In Two Blue States, Voters Back Democrats, But Show a Wariness Toward Taxes

In Colorado and Washington, residents this fall voted to either constrain state tax revenues or cut fees, even as Democratic lawmakers argue the money is needed to support education and transportation programs.

Some States Move Toward Financial Aid Based on Need Rather Than Merit

Merit aid programs tend to benefit wealthy white students.

Chemical Companies Are Building Their Plants Overseas and Shipping Them Back In. They Still Get State Tax Breaks.

Louisiana attracts chemical companies with one of the country’s most generous tax exemptions. The idea is to bring jobs to the state. Instead, construction often happens offsite, and automation has cut down on the jobs that remain.

This State Found $117,000 in Double Payments Through Data Analytics

Ohio developed a tool to review all state agencies’ payment transactions from January through September and found 56 duplicate payments worth more than $117,000.

Turning Gray and Into the Red: The True Cost of Growing Old in America

COMMENTARY | Too many people enter retirement without financial security.

Record Cyber Monday Boosts State Tax Revenue

Cyber Monday sales this year were up nearly 20% compared to last year.

Taxing Online Sales Won’t Save Cities From the Retail Apocalypse

The Supreme Court’s year-old Wayfair decision allows most U.S. states to collect sales tax from online shopping. Can cities expect a revenue bump?

The Economic Driver Next Door: Universities

COMMENTARY | Instead of placing big bets on projects like Amazon HQ2, state and local governments should look to institutions like universities to usher in economic productivity.

In a Booming State, Lawmakers Face a Looming Transportation Cut

“My focus is going to be about doing the best job of spreading the pain,” said one Washington state lawmaker, describing what lies ahead in an upcoming legislative session.

The Troubling Decline in City Revenue Growth

COMMENTARY | The economy continues to grow, yet cities anticipate revenue problems. How can both be true?

With Overall State Spending Up, Transportation Sees Notable Gains

At least 18 states raised spending on transportation programs by 10% or more in fiscal 2019, based on estimates in a new report.

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How One City Council Member Plans to Make Renting Less Expensive

Security deposits can eat up most of renters’ savings. One elected official in Cincinnati wants to offer a different option.

Boomer and Millennial Public Workers Agree Pensions are a Plus

No matter their age, most state and local government employees in a recent survey said retirement benefits are a big factor in why they stay at their jobs.

How Cities and States Can Stop the Incentive Madness

Economist Timothy Bartik explains why the public costs of tax incentives often outweigh the benefits, and describes a model business-incentive package.

A State Braces for Major Transportation Funding Cuts As Ballot Measure Nears Passage

Seattle area officials are vowing to sue over the Washington state initiative, which seeks to limit vehicle registration fees to $30 and impose new restrictions on taxes.

The Imperfect Art of Tracking Local Government Financial Stress

California is the latest state to launch a program to shed light on the financial conditions in localities. Systems like this can have benefits, but also limitations.

Farm Bankruptcies Rise in Over Half of States

Farm debt is also expected to reach its highest ever level in 2019.

Report: Georgia Towns Too Reliant on Fines and Fees as a Revenue Generator

A new study analyzes three towns’ reliance on fines and fees for their annual budget, finding they represent between 14% and 25% of revenues.

Big City Finance Officials See Recession on the Horizon

That’s one of the notable findings in a new survey of over 500 city finance officers.

The States Where Public University Tuition Rates Rose the Most After Big Budget Cuts

Tuition rates at four-year public colleges climbed 37% over the last decade as states have slashed education funding.