Lisa's Feed
Feb 7, 2013

Education chief says rule waivers free up funds for states

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By waiving certain requirements in the education law known as No Child Left Behind, the U.S. government has been able to send some states an additional $2.8 billion in total for schools, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

“We’ve tried to free almost $3 billion in … money under No Child Left Behind that was prescribed by Washington,” he told the Education Committee.

Feb 7, 2013

U.S. education chief says rule waivers free up funds for states

WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – By waiving certain
requirements in the education law known as No Child Left Behind,
the U.S. government has been able to send some states an
additional $2.8 billion in total for schools, Education
Secretary Arne Duncan said at a Senate hearing on Thursday.

“We’ve tried to free almost $3 billion in … money under No
Child Left Behind that was prescribed by Washington,” he told
the Education Committee.

Jan 23, 2013

Union membership falls to lowest percentage in 76 years

By James B. Kelleher and Lisa Lambert and Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) – The percentage of workers belonging to unions tumbled to 11.3 percent in 2012, the lowest percentage in 76 years, led by dramatic declines in states where lawmakers have put organized labor in the political crosshairs, government figures showed on Wednesday.

The total number of union members fell by nearly 400,000, from 11.8 percent of the workforce in 2011, the Labor Department report on union membership said. The rate of 11.3 percent of the workforce was the lowest since 1936, when Franklin Roosevelt was president.

Jan 18, 2013

Mayors still waiting for economic boost

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The fiscal gloom hanging over cities and local governments will lift slightly in 2013 as the pace of spending cuts slows, according to an economic assessment presented on Thursday to a mayors’ conference in the U.S. capital.

Real state and local government spending will decline by 0.5 percent this year, compared to a 1.3 percent drop in 2012, said James Diffley, director of regional economics for IHS Global Insight.

Jan 18, 2013

U.S. mayors still waiting for economic boost

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – The fiscal gloom hanging over
U.S. cities and local governments will lift slightly in 2013 as
the pace of spending cuts slows, according to an economic
assessment presented on Thursday to a mayors’ conference in the
U.S. capital.

Real state and local government spending will decline by 0.5
percent this year, compared to a 1.3 percent drop in 2012, said
James Diffley, director of regional economics for IHS Global
Insight.

Jan 17, 2013

Mayors still worried about tax-exempt status of muni bonds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than two weeks after lawmakers reached a budget deal that preserved the tax exemption on the interest paid on municipal bonds, mayors from across the country remain worried the exemption could be at risk.

Muni bonds are critical to local governments, as they are used to fund project ranging from bridges to schools to hospitals.

Jan 17, 2013

U.S. mayors still worried about tax-exempt status of muni bonds

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – More than two weeks after
U.S. lawmakers reached a budget deal that preserved the tax
exemption on the interest paid on municipal bonds, mayors from
across the country remain worried the exemption could be at
risk.

Muni bonds are critical to local governments, as they are
used to fund project ranging from bridges to schools to
hospitals.

Jan 17, 2013

Report questions U.S. food stamp program’s effectiveness

WASHINGTON, Jan 17 (Reuters) – A report by a panel of
experts released on Thursday questioned whether the U.S.
government’s food stamp program adequately provides for healthy
diets for the more than 47 million low-income people who rely on
the benefit.

The report by the National Academy of Sciences found that
the aid for families to pay for groceries, officially called the
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, does not
factor in many barriers to finding affordable, nutritious food
by inner-city shoppers.

Jan 15, 2013

US cities short billions for public pensions-Pew

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – States are not alone in
racking up massive public pension bills: U.S. cities need
hundreds of billions of dollars to make good on their promises
of retirement healthcare and income to workers.

The Pew Center on the States surveyed 61 cities – the most
populous ones in each of the 50 states, along with those of
populations greater than 500,000 – and found a gap of $217
billion for all retiree promises in fiscal 2009. For pensions
alone, they were short $99 billion.

Jan 15, 2013

US governors still cautious despite improving budgets

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The natural gas boom has
brought fortune to Wyoming over the last year and lifted its
revenues beyond expectations, but in his state of the state
address last week, Governor Matt Mead pressed legislators to
cut spending by 6 percent.

Almost all U.S. states, including long-suffering California,
are in a position unthinkable just a few years ago: their
revenues are growing, and some are even running surpluses. But
governors are hesitant to use their states’ windfalls for
spending sprees or massive tax cuts.