Lisa's Feed
Feb 6, 2012

Waivers not enough, US states want new schools law

Feb 6 (Reuters) – Policymakers across the United
States are pushing Congress to pass a new education plan, saying
current law and recent measures undertaken by President Barack
Obama will not work in the long-term.

In a letter to members of both chambers, the National
Governors Association, the National Conference of State
Legislatures, the Council of State Governments and the National
Association of Counties ask for Congress’s “leadership and
urgency to fix and reform” national education policy.

Feb 3, 2012

Funding for transit in peril-groups, Democrats

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican-sponsored transportation legislation that would radically change funding for public transit advanced in the House of Representatives on Friday, leaving Democrats, city leaders and transit groups concerned that commuter systems could be imperiled.

The plan, approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, would make a one-time $40 billion deposit into the trust fund for mass transit and end its traditional source of revenue from gasoline taxes, which also support a trust fund for highway construction.

Jan 26, 2012

State pension assets, earnings grew in 2010

By Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – Bucking criticism about their financial performance, state retirement systems’ assets grew in 2010, with investment earnings rising for the first time since 2007, the U.S. Census reported on Thursday.

The pension funds’ cash and investments totaled $2.2 trillion in 2010, up 10.7 percent, or $213.9 billion, from 2009, when their cash and investment holdings fell by $610.8 billion.

Jan 25, 2012

Obama aims to use war savings on infrastructure

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama proposed plowing half the money America will save from the end of its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into high-speed rail lines and repairs to the nation’s creaking roads and infrastructure.

The plan likely will face an uphill battle in Congress where Republicans frequently point to high-speed rail projects as a waste of money at a time of tight budgets.

Jan 20, 2012

Cities look abroad for economic hope

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Whipped by the recession and financial crisis, U.S. cities are looking far beyond their borders to grow their local economies.

At a meeting this week in the U.S. capital, mayors from across the country have focused intently on the promise of exports for generating jobs and economic activity.

Jan 19, 2012

Public employees hit back in pension fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Public employees in the United States are striking back at what they see as attacks on their pensions.

Recently, U.S. states have begun making changes both small and large to the benefits they pay retirees in the hopes of closing a shortfall totaling at least $600 billion.

Jan 18, 2012

Obama education reforms advance as Congress falters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s administration is moving ahead in reforming U.S. education without the help of the Congress, and will soon announce which states can opt out of the national education law known as “No Child Left Behind.”

There are two bills currently in Congress to re-authorize the decade-old law that radically changed U.S. public schools.

Jan 17, 2012

Individuals at disadvantage in muni market -GAO

By Lisa Lambert

(Reuters) – Individual investors are at a major disadvantage in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal bond market, a place where information proves scarce and federal oversight is occasionally lacking, a federal watchdog agency said in a highly anticipated report on Tuesday.

The federal financial regulatory reform law known as Dodd-Frank required the agency, the Government Accountability Office, to survey the debt market that states, local governments, schools, hospitals and other authorities use to finance public projects.

Dec 20, 2011

Revenues up for state, local governments

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tax revenues of U.S. state and local governments rose in the third quarter, the U.S. Census said on Tuesday, marking the eighth straight quarter of growth and heralding the promise of continued economic recovery in areas where revenues collapsed during the recent recession.

Revenues totaled $292 billion, rising 4.1 percent over the third quarter of 2010 to their highest third quarter level on record.

Dec 14, 2011

State Medicaid spending soars

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Spending by U.S. states on Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, soared last year and will likely continue growing despite measures to contain costs, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Total Medicaid spending, excluding administrative costs, likely reached $398.6 billion in fiscal 2011, which ended in June for most states. That was up 10.1 percent from the year before, when spending rose 6 percent, the National Association of State Budget Officers reported.