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Agenda for Detroit: What to do about revenues?

This is the fifth article in the series “Agenda for Detroit,” the purpose of which is to offer policy recommendations for a post-bankrupt Detroit. The series will culminate with the live stream event “Detroit: The Next American City of Opportunity,” featuring Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency …

Agenda for Detroit: Rebirth through entrepreneurship, a dispatch from the future

This is the fourth article in the series “Agenda for Detroit,” the purpose of which is to offer policy recommendations for a post-bankrupt Detroit. The series will culminate with the live stream event “Detroit: The Next American City of Opportunity,” featuring Gov. Rick Snyder and Emergency …

Agenda for Detroit: Government on a more human scale

This is the third article in a series Public Sector Inc. will be running over the next two weeks. The purpose is to offer policy recommendations for a post-bankrupt Detroit. The series will culminate with the live stream event “Detroit: The Next American City of Opportunity,” …

Agenda for Detroit: What role state government should play after bankruptcy

This is the second article in a series Public Sector Inc. will be running over the next two weeks. The purpose is to offer policy recommendations for a post-bankrupt Detroit. The series will culminate with the live stream event “Detroit: The Next American City of Opportunity,” …

Agenda for Detroit: It’s all about the tax base

This is the first article in a series Public Sector Inc. will be running over the next two weeks. The purpose is to offer policy recommendations for a post-bankrupt Detroit. The series will culminate with the live stream event “Detroit: The Next American City of …

CalSTRS at a crossroads

Reading California’s 2014-15 proposed budget, one could easily be hooked by proclamations of surpluses, rainy day funds, and increased contributions to schools. Unfortunately, the full story is in the details. One of the budget’s most important components is an unassuming chart titled “California’s Long-Term Liabilities.” …

The case for treating windfalls like bonds

Windfalls are, by definition, irregular occurrences, which disrupt state and local governments’ regular flow of finance. And because each windfall is, at least to some degree, sui generis, state and local policymakers can have a rough time of figuring out how to account for windfall …

Ranking the States’ Fiscal Solvency

In 1999  GASB 34 was issued, bringing greater clarity to public finances by improving the reporting of governments’  Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports – or CAFRs. By 2002 states began producing standardized and more detailed financial reports, allowing for the evaluation and comparison of state financial data …

Public Pension Reform: Benefit Design as the Key to Sustainability

The recent bankruptcy of Detroit highlights the dire straits state and local government pension plans across America find themselves in today. While the Motor City’s unfunded pension obligation is pegged at $3.5 billion by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, estimates of the nationwide public pension deficit range from $730 billion to $4.4 trillion, with many financial economists siding with the latter number. Most recently, a legal decision in Detroit has demonstrated that pension promises made to workers are not beyond the reach of bankruptcy court. .

“Competition works”: Why the rise of one-party rule in state governments is good for the nation

“Red, blue states move in opposite directions,” according to a late December report in the Washington Post.  In other words, the increasingly sharp political divide among the states is translating into sharp policy differences.
The piece’s author, Dan Balz, does a fine job of outlining some …