Focus on State and Local Government

Focus on State and Local Government

Printer-friendly version
a a
Type Size: Small

On March 16, the Tax Foundation published the latest edition of its annual report on taxes in the states.

On March 14, the California state controller’s office released a new estimate showing that the state is liable for $60 billion in health costs for retired state workers over the next 30 years.

In a March 10 commentary, the Tax Foundation reported that Tuba City, Arizona, appears to have the highest combined sales tax rate in the U.S.: 13.725 percent.

A March 9 Gallup poll examined support for various options for balancing state budgets.

On March 2, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College unveiled a new database of state and local government pension plans.

On March 1, Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee issued a report on the cost of Medicaid to the states. It estimates that the Affordable Care Act will increase state Medicaid costs by $118 billion between now and 2023. That same day, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities criticized the report for failing to take into account cost saving measures in the Affordable Care Act.

A February 28 CBS News/New York Times poll asked people what their state should do to reduce a budget deficit. The number one option, favored by 40 percent of people, is to raise taxes, followed by cutting public employee benefits (22 percent), reducing funding for roads (20 percent), and decreasing spending for education (3 percent).

Also on February 28, the National Bureau of Economic Research released a working paper on the economics of state and local government pensions. That same day, the NBER also posted a working paper that examined the extent to which public sector labor unions are able to extract “rents” in the form of higher pay and benefits than economically justified.

On February 27, the New York Times held a roundtable discussion on reforming state and local government pension systems.

I last posted items on this topic on February 15.

Bruce Bartlett is an American historian and columnist who focuses on the intersection between politics and economics. He  blogs daily  and writes a  weekly column  at The Fiscal Times. Bartlett has written for Forbes Magazine and Creators Syndicate, and his work is informed by many years in government, including as a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House. He is the author of seven books including the New York Times best-seller, Imposter: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy (Doubleday, 2006). 

Bruce Bartlett’s columns focus on the intersection of politics and economics. The author of seven books, he worked in government for many years and was senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House.