Great photographs of Detroit, saying so much. Above is a photo of the dividing line between Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit. As they say: location is everything. So much money on one side of the line, so little on the other. Detroit by Air – NYTimes.com.
SB Left – 2 Column
A city memo from this fall estimates a shortage of 16,000 affordable housing units. But resources to deal with that shortage have dwindled as well. In California, redevelopment funds from the state had been a reliable means of developing affordable housing, but when California was facing its severe budget deficits in the midst of the recession, its governor and Legislature did away with redevelopment programs.
Leslye Corsiglia, the city’s housing director, said that in 2010, the city received $40.6 million in redevelopment funds that could be used for low- and moderate-income housing. Now that money is spent. From all sources, federal, state and local, the city’s funds for affordable housing have dropped by a third since then, to $61 million.
Just last month, the City Council passed a housing impact fee requiring that developers of market rate rental housing pay $17 a square foot toward development of low-income housing. But revenue from that fee will not kick in until at least 2019.
Read: Few Options for Homeless as San Jose Clears Camp – NYTimes.com. (12/4/2014)
A great series finished last month on the Chicago Public Schools district’s engagement in complex bond deals, the lack of public oversight, and the high costs of many of those deals. I’ve been researching interest rate swaps for over a year, and I’m impressed with the thoroughness of the reporting here. THIS is why we need robust and well-staffed public newspapers.
Read: Watchdog: Borrowing Trouble – Chicago Tribune. (I’m not sure how much is behind a paywall)
Detroit — A widespread power outage Tuesday that caused evacuations of buildings throughout downtown is “another reminder of how much work we still have to do to rebuild the city,” Mayor Mike Duggan said.
Duggan, speaking at an afternoon press conference, said Detroit is in the early stages of a four-year, $200 million plan to upgrade the city’s electrical grid, which has not been modernized in decades.
The outage, which started around 10:30 a.m., darkened traffic lights and buildings on the city’s municipal power grid, including hospitals and fire stations. Nine hundred “customer locations” and 740 traffic signals were affected, the city said. The city did not lose 911 dispatch service.
All outages should be restored by late tonight, DTE officials said. They said the cable failure that caused Tuesday’s outages are not uncommon in large urban centers like Detroit.
“This situation is not going to slow down our efforts to … restore the city,” council President Brenda Jones said.
City officials said the city’s public lighting grid suffered a “major cable failure” that caused power to be lost at Joe Louis Arena, Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, the Detroit Institute of Arts and some buildings at Wayne State University.
Power has since been restored in many areas, including City Hall and Detroit Receiving Hospital. Hospitals, that lost power operated on backup generators, city officials said.
Beautiful and haunting photos of vacancies:
November 18, 2014 – RALEIGH, N.C.
North Carolina lawmakers are likely enjoying some downtime after the legislative session and midterm election, but experts predict a tough session waiting for them on their return to Raleigh. A report from the Office of the State Controller indicates tax revenues are down by almost $400 million compared with this same time last year – a six percent drop in revenue. Alexandra Sirota, director of the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center, says it’s not a problem the State Assembly will be able to ignore in January.
“This is a serious issue,” she says. “It’s self imposed in that policymakers chose to reduce our revenue. Now they’re going to have to make choices about some pretty deep cuts.”
There may be even bigger challenges coming. In addition to the likelihood the state will face another unpleasant revenue surprise in the spring, a pending court decision could obligate the legislature to add hundreds of millions of dollars a year to state aid to school districts. And bond rating agencies, which already downgraded the state’s debt this year, could be expected to react negatively to both of those events.
The tax cuts were the leading issue in the Kansas governor’s race this year, and in addition to re-electing Governor Brownback, voters expanded the Republican supermajority in the state’s House of Representatives. This was a clear mandate for the policy of deep tax cuts. What remains to be seen is how the legislature, once the rainy-day fund is exhausted, will deal with the spending pressures they have created.
BY ANNA YUKHANANOVWASHINGTON Tue Nov 4, 2014
Reuters – The International Monetary Fund ignored its own research and pushed too early for richer countries to trim budgets after the global financial crisis, the IMFs internal auditor said on Tuesday.
The Washington-based multilateral lender, concerned about high debt levels and large fiscal deficits, urged countries like Germany, the United States and Japan to pursue austerity in 2010-11 before their economies had fully recovered from the crisis.
At the same time, the IMF advocated loose monetary policies to sustain growth and boost demand in advanced economies, initially ignoring the possible spillover risks of such policies for emerging market countries, the Independent Evaluation Office, or IEO, said in a report that analyzed the IMFs crisis response.
“This policy mix was less than fully effective in promoting recovery and exacerbated adverse spillovers,” the IEO wrote.
The IMF advises its 188 member countries on economic policy, and provides emergency financial assistance to its members on the condition they get their economies back on track.
The internal auditor said the IMF should have known that the combination of tight fiscal policy and expansionary monetary policy would be less effective in boosting growth after a crisis. Evidence showed that the private sectors focus on reducing debt made it less susceptible to monetary stimulus.
In 2012, the IMF finally admitted that it had underestimated how much budget cuts could hurt growth and recommended a slower pace for austerity policies. But its auditor said the IMFs own research showed this relationship even before the crisis.