This summer, the country was issued a warning. When Congress failed to deal with our growing national debt in a comprehensive and responsible manner, our debt was downgraded. We were lucky to get the warning. The country was told to come to terms with its spending habits, escalating deficits and growing debt burdens or risk a debt crisis that would do serious harm to our already tottering economy. Read More
The House Armed Services Committee recently sent President Barack Obama a report outlining cuts the military would have to make under the “sequestration” formula in this year’s Budget Control Act. Unless Congress and the president agree to an alternative long-term plan to reduce the deficit (supposedly coming from the so-called “supercommittee”), there will be automatic reductions in “discretionary” spending. Read More
BART is considering a new proposal to run its trains until 1 a.m. Saturday mornings, but the cost of all those extra drinks at the bar could leave the agency with a hefty tab.
The latest plan would extend Friday night service by 34 minutes and start Saturday service 20 minutes later. The plan also would include local bus service to carry commuters to nearby BART stations in areas without public transit options. Read More
State legislators have sent 600 bills to Gov. Jerry Brown, many of which he has promised to veto. One of those should be Senate Bill 202, which does two things that represent partisan politics at its worst.
First, it denies Californians the opportunity to vote in June on creation of a 3 percent reserve fund in the state budget. This “rainy-day” fund would help the state avoid the perennial budget crises that force it to issue IOUs when it runs out of money. Read More
BART may not be pros at handling protests, but it is pretty adept at keeping up a healthy budget.
At a time when transit agencies across the country were struggling with gaping operating deficits, BART actually finished the year with a $21.4 million surplus, according to the agency’s most recent budget revision. Read More
The next time you hear a Sacramento politician say that the state needs more of your hard-earned money, you might want to show him state Auditor Elaine Howle’s recent report, “Investigations of Improper Activities by State Agencies and Employees: Waste of State Funds, Misuse of State Resources, Falsification of Records, Inexcusable Neglect of Duty, Failure to Monitor Time Reporting, and Other Violations of State Law.” Read More
DIM BULB: Illinois is so broke that as of Monday, it won’t have enough cash to bury its indigent dead. A letter to more than 600 funeral directors around the state informed them there’s no more money to bury people who die while on public assistance. Illinois used to budget about $13 million to pay $1,650 each for some 12,000 annual indigent funerals and burials. But the 2011 budget only allocated $1.9 million. Read More
Mayoral candidate and venture capitalist Joanna Rees wants a look at The City’s complex departmental budget makeup, but hasn’t had any luck yet.In an editorial board interview with The Examiner on Thursday, Rees said she first requested the budgets from departments verbally, then with letters, and now she has filed Sunshine Act requests to compel The City to release the information. Read More
In a classic case of closing the barn door after the horses have bolted, newly appointed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and retiring Joint Chiefs chairman Adm. Mike Mullen held a joint news conference Thursday in which they decried the impending cuts to the defense budget made likely by the debt ceiling deal. Read More
Thanks to the debt-ceiling deal that sailed through Congress and was signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama, the federal government will spend slightly less on domestic discretionary programs in 2012 than it did in 2011. This will be the first such annual decrease in federal outlays since the Korean War. Read More