Well, What Do They Spend Their (& Your & My) Tax Dollars On?

January 17, 2015 Budget

 Triggered by some upstate mayors, there’s an interesting debate emerging locally in the City of Albany. And, it’s pertinent to many more cities than Albany. It started at a SCAA Forum on inequality (which was quite good, and to which I’ll return, but which is not the main subject of this post). Kathy Sheehan, Mayor of […]

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Clever Examples of an Indirect Measure

February 5, 2014 Analysis

Here are some terrific examples of measuring and visualizing without interfering with existing patterns or operations and without spending much time – and I suspect – without spending any money. Though I’m bicycle-biased, I’m not a transportation policy guy or an urban planner. Yet I’ve always admired those who figure out how to measure any […]

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Keeping Watch for Local Government Fiscal Stress

December 2, 2012 Accounting

New York’s Comptroller, Tom DiNapoli has issued a draft proposal for identifying local governments at risk of fiscal stress. An earlier report touches on local fiscal distress. And here, former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky discusses the earlier Comptroller’s report. It’s a good idea, and given the local governments that have already gotten themselves in trouble the […]

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The Tail of the Recession

April 6, 2012 Cities

Even though the most recent “Great Recession” is officially over and even though it appears we are slowly emerging from its aftermath, governmental finances have not escaped its gravitational pull. The recession was bad enough. Many communities, which were economically strapped to begin with, started with a small buffer and are just now running out […]

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Well, it’s Not Like Local Governments are all Flush. Krugman on the Economic Effects of Municipal Retrenchment

March 5, 2012 Budget

In Today’s New York Times, Paul Krugman writes States of Depression. In discussing the sluggish economic recovery, he says: But one significant factor in our continuing economic weakness is the fact that government in America is doing exactly what both theory and history say it shouldn’t: slashing spending in the face of a depressed economy. […]

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Intergovernmental Money Movement, Especially Downhill

November 29, 2011 Budget

Little considered or included in public discussions of property tax caps, or limitations on governmental expenditures are intergovernmental financial relationships. This is not merely a matter of mandates but recognition that very large sums of money flow back and forth between all levels of government. What is expenditure for one level of government is often […]

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