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State Budgets

The Brian Lehrer Show

No Light at the End of the ARC Tunnel?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Andrea Bernstein, WNYC reporter and director of the Transportation Nation blog, and Zachary Fink, state house correspondent for NJN News, discuss the possibility of money intended for a New York-to-New Jersey tunnel under the Hudson being redirected to New Jersey's roads.

What do you make of these developments? Are you an NJ->NYC commuter? How would this affect your day? Let us know!

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The Takeaway

Public Pensions: What Are a State's Responsibilities?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Earlier this year, the Pew Center released a study estimating that there is a one trillion dollar gap between what states had promised workers in retiree pensions and benefits, and the money they currently had to pay for it all.

In an attempt to remedy the gap, lawmakers in Colorado, Minnesota and South Dakota have voted to reduce annual cost-of-living increases on pensions. Not surprisingly, retirees in each state have filed lawsuits.

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The Takeaway

The Looming Debt Crisis for States

Monday, July 12, 2010

Long-term debt obligations. Bond interest rates. Pension liabilities. These words may make your eyes glaze over, but it might be time to sit up at attention. State governors from across the country met in Boston last weekend at the National Governors Association meeting, and their fiscal woes were at the top of the agenda.

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WQXR News

Republicans Claim Albany Shut Down Unlikely

Monday, June 14, 2010

Republican senators say government will not be shut down when the state’s temporary budget extenders expire later today, and indicate that they will provide enough votes to help Democrats keep things running.

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The Takeaway

Rhode Island, Other States Question the Real Value of Lieutenant Governor

Friday, June 11, 2010

“Abolish the office of Lieutenant Governor, save the state $1,000,000 per year”: That’s the campaign promise of Robert J. Healey, Jr., who is running for lieutenant governor in the state of Rhode Island. Healey, an attorney and former Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate, is running as an independent and says he could be endorsed by the state’s Republican Party. As states across the country struggle with budget cuts, some legislators are asking the question: “Do we really need a lieutenant governor?”

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The Takeaway

States Consider Expanding Gambling as Revenue Stream

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Many states across the country are struggling with billions of dollars in budget gaps and several of them are considering expanding some form of gambling to generate much needed revenue. Lawmakers in Massachusetts today are expected to begin debating a bill to license two resort-style casinos in the state and to introduce slot machines at the state's racetracks. Proponents of the plan say expanded gambling in Massachusetts could create as many as 15,000 jobs and reduce the state's buget deficit.

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The Takeaway

Budget Cuts: Detroit and Baltimore Brace for Impact of Severe Deficits

Friday, April 09, 2010

Across the country, dozens of cities are facing serious budget deficits, that are requiring officials to cut everything from swimming pools to firehouses. We're taking a closer look at two of those cities: Detroit and Baltimore. In Detroit, residents are worried that a shortfall of around $450 million may actually force the city to file for bankruptcy. Jerome Vaughn, news director at WDET joins us.

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The Takeaway

States Struggle to Adequately Fund Education

Monday, February 08, 2010

While the Obama administration's proposed changes to the No Child Left Behind law are grabbing all the education headlines, a new court ruling in Washington state highlights tensions brewing in many states capitals. A judge found that by not adequately funding education, Washington was not upholding its constitutional duty to provide "ample" education for all students. He ordered the legislature to figure out how to fix it.

 

 

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The Takeaway

Colorado Springs Tightens its Budget Belt

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Colorado Springs, Colo., has been hit hard by the economic downturn. After public demands for no more tax increases, the city has taken some drastic measures to curb its financial bleeding. City government decided to cut services that many would consider basic: many street lights will be shut off, fire and policemen will be let go, parks will go unmowed and unwatered, and some museums and pools will close.

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The Takeaway

Colorado's Growth: Rocky Territory for the State House?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Colorado's population has just rate hit the five million mark.  It is in the top five fastest growing states in the nation and its rate of growth has remained steady, even during the recession.  What is attracting new residents to the Rocky Mountain State and are all of those new residents a good thing for a state is dealing with a budget crisis?  Denver Post staff writer Burt Hubbard says there are certainly some growing pains that come with new residents moving in.  Rajeev Vibhakar and Chip Raches explain what attracted them to move to Denver.

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The Takeaway

$20 Billion Debt: Gov. Threatens California Welfare Cuts

Thursday, December 24, 2009

California is facing a $20 billion dollar deficit and is asking the federal government for roughly $8 billion to help stay afloat. The governor has threatened to cut back, if not eliminate, basic social services like the state's welfare program, if not granted some financial assistance. We talk with Dan Walters, political columnist for the Sacramento Bee, about what the state needs to recover.

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The Takeaway

Arizona Child Care Hit Hard by State Budget Cuts

Friday, December 04, 2009

In cash-strapped Arizona this week, a program that provides monthly subsidies of about $350 to help working parents pay for child care turned away their 10,000 child. Those 10,000 children are now on a waiting list, but Bruce Liggett, executive director of the Arizona Child Care Assocation, says  those kids will probably never get off that list. Arizona's budget woes are well documented: The Pew Center said this month that a massive deficit combined with a high foreclosure rate have given Arizona the dubious distinction of being the state with the second-worst fiscal woes in the nation. (Only California is worse off, says Pew.) We also talk to Sandra Hanner, director of A Kiddie's Kingdom daycare in Phoenix. She says her daycare is feeling the budget cuts acutely, and that she might have to start laying off staff.

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The Takeaway

Overhauling States' Stretched Unemployment Funds

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release November's unemployment numbers this morning; most observers expect unemployment to rise once again. Millions of Americans are either un- or under-employed, and many are making ends meet with unemployment checks. Some of the state unemployment funds paying those checks, however, are going bone dry. Carl Guzzardi, tax director for the Connecticut labor department, says the state is having to borrow billions of dollars. The Ford Foundation is helping many states overhaul their unemployment systems; Director of Quality Employment Helen Neuborne joins us to describe their efforts. And Georgia's Labor Commissioner, Michael Thurmond, discusses Georgia's attempts to overhaul their unemployment system.

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The Takeaway

Takeouts: War Funding, States' Funding, Ticketing Tiger

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich says now that President Obama has laid out his strategy for the war in Afghanistan, another war is beginning: the fight over how we're going to pay for it.
  • Business Takeout: Louise Story of The New York Times looks at the hard line on debt some governors may take, and tells us what trade-offs that means for cash-strapped state budgets.
  • Sports Takeout: Now that the Florida Highway Patrol has declared Tiger Woods' car accident a single-car accident worthy of a $164 ticket and 4 points, we ask Ibrahim Abdul-Matin how this will play out for golf's public image.

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The Takeaway

Deep Cuts: Colorado Medicaid Budget

Friday, November 13, 2009

We continue our series on the impact of state budget cuts, focusing today on Colorado, where there is a nearly $2 billion deficit right now. Proposed budget cuts would have an impact in many areas of the Rocky Mountain State. K-12 school funding would be cut 6% in the latest budget proposal; tax-credits would be rescinded; and there's even a "Twinkie Tax" on candy and soda sales. We're looking at one cut in particular: Medicaid funding. Even though it's not the biggest line item, it is hitting those Coloradans most in need.

Tim Everett, State House reporter for the Denver Post, is with us. Also joining us is Mitzi Moran, president and CEO of Sunrise Community Health, which is a community health center in Evans, Co. The center weathered a 14% funding decrease in the past year, most of it impacting their lower-income patients.

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The Takeaway

Deep Cuts: In Georgia, Not Enough Money for Executions

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A case brought to the Georgia Supreme Court this Tuesday might decide whether Georgia can afford to levy the death penalty any more. Jamie Weis has been sitting in jail for four years waiting for a trial because the state can’t afford to give him adequate representation or his Sixth Amendment-guaranteed right to a "speedy and public trial." Yesterday, Jamie presented a pre-trial appeal — drop his charges, or at least the possibility of the death penalty. 

To find out more we spoke with Emily Green, a reporter covering the justice system for Georgia Public Broadcasting, and Robert McGlasson, an attorney at law who represented a previous death-penalty defendant in one of the most expensive cases in Georgia history. (You can read other stories in our "Deep Cuts" series on states' budget shortfalls.)

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The Takeaway

Deep Cuts: School Program Cuts in Michigan

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hundreds gathered at Michigan’s state capitol in Lansing, Mich., yesterday to protest budget cuts to school programs. To help explain what's going on right now in Michigan, we're joined by Craig Fahle from WDET in Detroit, where he hosts the talk show “Detroit Today.” Also with us is Casey Christensen, a first-grade teacher in Roseville, Mich. It's part of our week-long series on the impact of state budget cuts.

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