Lisa's Feed
Dec 5, 2011

Attempts to balance U.S. budget pose state risk – raters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Threats to the credit rating of the United States may have spooked political leaders in U.S. states, but congressional attempts to balance the federal budget pose more long-term dangers, the three top rating agencies said on Monday.

“It’s hard to know what’s going to happen at the federal level. It seems unlikely to be good,” Laura Porter, managing director of Fitch Ratings, said at a National Association of State Treasurers meeting.

Dec 5, 2011

Attempts to balance budget pose state risk: raters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Threats to the credit rating of the United States may have spooked political leaders in U.S. states, but congressional attempts to balance the federal budget pose more long-term dangers, the three top rating agencies said on Monday.

“It’s hard to know what’s going to happen at the federal level. It seems unlikely to be good,” Laura Porter, managing director of Fitch Ratings, said at a National Association of State Treasurers meeting.

Dec 1, 2011

As recession took hold, families sought cash help

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of families collecting cash welfare benefits rose during the longest and deepest economic downturn in the United States since the Great Depression, the U.S. Census said on Thursday.

Caseloads in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program had fallen in the 1990s and leveled off in the early part of the 2000s.

Dec 1, 2011

Fewer gaps in state budgets so far: legislatures

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The budgets of states are springing fewer holes this fiscal year, according to a report released by a state lawmakers group on Thursday.

Only four states have reported budget gaps so far in fiscal 2012, compared to the 15 that had deficits in the same period in fiscal 2011, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.

Nov 30, 2011

Congress steps into states’ scuffle over sales tax

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After the frenzy of “Cyber Monday,” members of Congress on Wednesday entered into a different scuffle over web shopping: states’ desire to collect sales taxes from Internet retailers.

“Main street retailers — local mom and pop stores in many instances, and even some of the big box retailers — suffer when they have to collect the sales tax but on-line retailers don’t,” said Michigan’s Rep. John Conyers at a hearing. “Fewer purchases at local retailers means less local jobs.”

Nov 29, 2011

Crawling toward recovery: U.S. state budgets improve

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Increasing demands for healthcare and other services, along with weakening in the national economy, could knock U.S. state budgets off their current path of slow, incremental improvement.

“We have growth, but it is slow. It is tepid growth. And, most importantly, we are not yet back … to pre-recession levels,” said Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers.

Nov 23, 2011

Not there yet: US states can’t meet revenue forecasts

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Revenues for
U.S. states may be getting better, but generally they are
still not good enough.

The early part of 2011 may have lured some states into a
false sense of comfort. Most began their fiscal years on July
1, using revenue projections made earlier, when the outlook
for the rest of the year looked solid.

Nov 18, 2011

U.S. debt deal has states, cities bracing for cuts

Nov 18 (Reuters) – State and local governments say there is
only one sure effect of the current U.S. deficit negotiations
on their budgets: cuts.

And with their tax revenues still not back to pre-recession
levels after being hit hard during the financial crisis, state
and local governments are keeping a careful eye on the events
in Washington.

Nov 15, 2011

Americans stay put as mover rate reaches record low

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The percentage of Americans changing homes in the United States fell to a record low last year, according to the Census Bureau.

“The record low mover rate was driven by a drop in the likelihood of people moving from one location to another within the same county,” Alison Fields, chief of the Census Bureau’s migration statistics branch, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Nov 14, 2011

Scenarios: What Supreme Court ruling could mean for healthcare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Monday to decide the fate of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law in the coming year, charting a course that will have an impact on the 2012 election campaign, the law, the healthcare industry and the states.

At issue is whether Congress overstepped its powers by requiring that all Americans buy health insurance by 2014 or pay a penalty, a provision known as the individual mandate.