Lisa's Feed
Mar 25, 2011

What’s the timeline for U.S. health law?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Many deadlines for implementing the law championed by President Barack Obama to expand health insurance to roughly 30 million Americans are fast approaching.

Charged with establishing many key health programs, states have been sent into overdrive to meet these deadlines, some of which had already passed by the time the measure was signed into law a year ago because of the drawn-out process Congress used to approve it.

Mar 23, 2011

States face up to ‘new reality’ of U.S. healthcare

WASHINGTON, March 23 (Reuters) – Chris Molendorp, a
Missouri state legislator, actively opposed the federal
healthcare plan, even supporting a ballot measure rebuking the
massive changes to the U.S. health industry.

Recently, however, he has had a slight change of heart.

“I didn’t want the federal healthcare law. I lost. Let’s be
adult about it,” Molendorp said about his decision to sponsor
legislation for creating an exchange for buying insurance in
what is known as the “Show Me” state. “If the federal
healthcare bill is not struck down by the Supreme Court it will
be our new reality.”

Mar 16, 2011

Local officials plead to Senate not to cut grants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cities and counties are pressing the Congress to drop proposals that would slash funding for an almost $4 billion federal grant program they say creates thousands of jobs.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a vocal proponent of “Community Development Block Grants,” is circulating a letter signed by at least 29 senators that urges its funding not be cut, calling it “one of the most effective federal domestic programs.”

Mar 11, 2011

U.S. to rebid $2.4 billion in Florida rail funds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration will rebid nearly $2.4 billion in high-speed rail grants recently rejected by Florida, one of three states to conclude “bullet train” projects are too expensive in a tough economy.

California and several Northeastern states have expressed interest in the money, much of which came from $8 billion in rail grants from the 2009 U.S. economic stimulus package.

Mar 11, 2011

Senator close to “rebranding” Build America Bonds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Ron Wyden told a White House meeting he is ready to propose a new version of the Build America Bonds program that was part of the federal stimulus plan and that expired in December.

The very popular taxable bonds paid issuers federal rebates equal to 35 percent of interest costs.

Mar 10, 2011

U.S. municipal bond market now at $2.9 trillion-Fed

WASHINGTON, March 10 (Reuters) – The amount of outstanding
municipal bonds grew by $116.2 billion last year to end at $2.9
trillion, U.S. Federal Reserve data released on Thursday
showed, with almost half of that growth in the last quarter of
2010.

The taxable Build America Bonds program expired in 2010,
and in the final quarter issuers rushed to market to take
advantage of the steep federal rebate the bonds paid, which was
equal to 35 percent of interest costs.

Mar 9, 2011

NYC employees earn less than private peers: Comptroller

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York City employees are paid 17 percent less on average than people working in the private sector, according to a study released by the city’s comptroller on Wednesday.

The city is the 11th largest employer in the United States, with more people on its payrolls than Hewlett-Packard, General Electric and Bank of America Corp, the report from Comptroller John Liu found.

Mar 8, 2011

Public pensions will have to fight for funds-group

WASHINGTON, March 8 (Reuters) – Future state spending
probably will not return to levels reached before the U.S.
economic recession, forcing public pensions to compete against
other programs for every dollar, the head of a state budget
officers group said on Tuesday.

“If you ask a state budget officer what they think spending
will look like over a 10-year period going forward, they will
tell you the ‘new normal’ means a much lower rate of
year-over-year revenue growth and spending growth,” said Scott
Pattison, executive director of the National Association of
State Budget Officers.

Mar 4, 2011

Jobs outlook in public sector grows dimmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The jobs outlook is growing dimmer and dimmer for the U.S. public sector.

Federal employment data released on Friday shows that state and local governments are shedding thousands of jobs even as Republican political leaders say more layoffs are on the way.

Mar 3, 2011

Budget hardships continue for U.S. counties: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Counties across the United State are still reeling from the effects of the recession, slammed by declining aid from state governments and lower tax revenues, according to a survey by the National Association of Counties released on Thursday.

Almost one-quarter of the 500 counties surveyed said they have laid off workers, with all counties of populations topping 1 million having eliminated jobs, the study found. Counties are also reorganizing, delaying projects and using reserves.