Participatory Budgeting: not just for regular budgets

The Participatory Budgeting Project has a guide for communities that want to participate in decisions about the use of funds from Tax Increment Financing districts. The governance structure associated with Tax Increment Financing varies by state (and not all states have TIF), but there are potentially significant amounts of funding at …

Why is recovery taking so long—and who’s to blame?

We are enduring one of the slowest economic recoveries in recent history, and the pace can be entirely explained by the fiscal austerity imposed by Republican members of Congress and also legislators and governors at the state level. EPI’s Josh Bivens examines the reasons beyond our slow economic recovery (one …

From the annals of state austerity budgets…

To the Editor: Thank you for your editorial about Illinois and Kansas as examples of states where policy makers do more harm than good (“Sorry Tales From Two Statehouses,” April 25). Illinois’ record 10-month budget impasse is eroding much of its educational and social service systems. According to a poll …

Defending public pensions

I’ve written a lot about how public pensions came to be blamed for the fiscal crisis looming (or already “crippling”) many cities and states. The National Public Pension Project has been working since 2007 to change the narrative about the value of public pension plans, and has an interesting website …

Crowdfunding for the Public Good Is Evil | WIRED

Important article about the slippery slope from an underpaid teacher crowdfunding for classroom supplies to a bankruptcy city crowdfunding to clean up its parks. Crowdfunding is great when it funds new products that aren’t getting supported by more conventional forms of investment: Public necessities, by contrast, are not awesome; they’re …

When universities go bankrupt…

LSU and many other public colleges in Louisiana might be forced to file for financial exigency, essentially academic bankruptcy, if state higher education funding doesn’t soon take a turn for the better. Louisiana’s flagship university began putting together the paperwork for declaring financial exigency this week when the Legislature appeared …

The Glitch in Colorado’s Weed Experiment – NYTimes.com

To be filed under the “be careful what you wish for” category of fiscal policy. Colorado scrambles to avoid having to refund all of the revenue from marijuana sales, because, well because SMALL GOVERNMENT! As an April 1 report in The Times explained, Colorado’s tax revenues have recently surged, thanks …

The federal budget, battleground

So much to say about Obama’s budget, the geek in me actually wants to read the entire plan, but I have this pesky dissertation to finish instead. Budgets are inherently redistributive documents, in one direction or another. Obama’s proposal is being characterized as a bold effort to redistribute the benefits …

Greek voters reject austerity

The Syriza party wins a major victory in Greece, forming an alliance with right-wing opponents to austerity (or, more specifically, to following the orders of Germany and the EU). I wish I had time to read much more about what’s happening in Europe, so I’ll just have to save it …