Daily Digest - March 17
- Christie Seeks To Suspend N.J. Tax Rebate, Skip Pension Payment
- Garden State To Skip $3 Billion Pension Contribution
- 'I Borrow Money to Buy Food,' Says City Employee
- Working Families Onto Welfare Rolls in City of Detroit
- Vallejo Struggles To Keep City Safe During Bankruptcy
- ECB’s Stark Sees Sovereign Debt Crisis Risk Unless Deficits Cut
- National Debt Up $2 Trillion on Obama's Watch
- 'India Will Muddle Along Until The Debt Crisis Hits'
- Canadian Finance Chief Warns U.S., Others On Deficit
- U.S. Debt At No Risk Of Downgrade - Geithner
- German Defense Cuts Loom as Merkel Fights Record Budget Deficit
- Schwarzenegger Will Veto $1.1 Billion Gasoline-Tax Swap Measure
- 'Live Within Your Means,’ Citizens Tell City Leaders
- Feldstein Sees Greece Euro-Exit Pressures as Deficit Plan Fails
- CMS Cuts Could Mean Hundreds Of Layoffs
- Mayors Seek $50 Billion to Upgrade U.S. Water, Sewer Systems
- National Debt Easily Passes $12.6 Trillion
- Red Tape Complicates Postal Service's Fiscal Repair Plan
- Schools on the brink: Districts could run out of money
- As Economy Booms, China Faces Major Water Shortage
- IRS, DOJ Use Social Media Sites To Track Deadbeats, Criminal Activity
- IRS Comes Knocking … For Four Cents
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie proposed a $29.3 billion budget that would suspend property-tax rebates, skip the state’s $3 billion pension contribution and fire 1,300 workers next year. The plan would reduce aid to schools by $820 million, towns by $446 million and higher education by $173 million. Christie, a Republican who took office Jan. 19, also called for a constitutional amendment that would limit annual growth in the state’s highest-in-the-nation property taxes to 2.5 percent.
New Jersey won’t make a required $3.06 billion state pension contribution for the fiscal year starting July 1, Gov. Chris Christie said today.....The New Jersey Division of Pensions and Benefits said last month that the state pension system’s estimated unfunded liabilities climbed to $46 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, up $12 billion from the previous fiscal year.
City employees today urged Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to consider the plight of working families before making draconian pay cuts that will push them below the federal poverty level guidelines. "I borrow money right now to buy food," says Jackita Muhammad, a teller in the city's finance department. "I try to buy beans and other staples so I don't have to ask family for money, but the truth is that if the mayor cuts my pay, I will have to declare bankruptcy."
It was just about two years ago that the city of Vallejo declared bankruptcy and started hacking away at its public services. Just last month, in the wake of heavy cuts to Vallejo’s police force, a wave of violent crimes gripped the town, leaving cities all over the Bay Area wondering what toll budget cuts can take....Vallejo is finding that there’s no such thing as a good backup plan when a city hits rock bottom. How do you keep safe, clean, and healthy when you’re bankrupt? Other Bay Area cities may soon be asking these questions too.
European Central Bank Executive Board member Juergen Stark said the euro region may face a sovereign debt crisis unless governments reduce budget deficits. There is “a clear risk that we will enter a third wave,” which is “a sovereign debt crisis in most advanced economies,” Stark told lawmakers in the European Parliament in Brussels today. Any undue delay in reducing budget gaps will “have serious negative side effects on confidence and economic welfare,” he said. “The situation in Greece shows how important it is to strictly apply credible fiscal rules.”
The latest posting from the Treasury Department shows the National Debt has increased over $2 trillion since President Obama took office. The debt now stands at $12.6 trillion. On the day Mr. Obama took office it was $10.6 trillion. President George W. Bush still holds the record for the most debt run up on his watch: $4.9 trillion. But it took him over four years to rack up the first two trillion dollars in debt. It has taken Mr. Obama 421 days.
After all the budget euphoria, it is time for a reality check. Investor and venture capitalist Jim Rogers remains deeply skeptical of India's future. In an interview with S. Srinivasan, he argues that the country is sitting on a fiscal time bomb.
Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says other developed nations, including the United States, should come up with clearer plans on how they are going to get their weighty budget deficits under control. Flaherty also urged the Group of 20 leading and industrialized countries to step up work on financial reforms head of the annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington D.C.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner insisted on Tuesday there is "no way" major credit rating agencies will cut the gilt-edged rating they assign to U.S. debt offerings. His comments followed a report on Monday in which Moody's Investors Service said risks had grown to the credit ratings of the United States and other large Triple-A sovereign debt issuers.
Lawmakers cut net new borrowing by 5.6 billion euros on March 5, saying the potential for savings on labor-market programs such as jobless benefits has increased after Europe’s biggest economy exited its deepest recession since World War II in the second quarter of 2009. The overall budget deficit will swell to 5.5 percent of gross domestic product this year, almost twice the European Union ceiling of 3 percent, the Finance Ministry said Feb. 22 before lawmakers cut Merkel’s budget request. With spending now slimmed to 319.5 billion euros, the IWH economic institute yesterday predicted a deficit of 4.9 percent of GDP this year.
The measure sent to his desk was a revision of Schwarzenegger’s original plan to lower consumer prices while simultaneously helping close a budget gap estimated at $20 billion for this year and next.
“It has been nine weeks since I called a special session of the Legislature and, while the Legislature has sent bills to my desk that address $200 million of the shortfall, that amount represents merely 1 percent of the projected deficit,” the governor wrote in a March 15 letter.
At two of six public meetings on the city’s budget, ''live within your means'' – the exact words spoken by citizens – was among the advice given to Toledo officials trying to deal with a $48 million deficit. The advice is sound but it wasn’t something he needed to be told, Mayor Mike Bell said. Appearing at public meetings March 9 in council District 5 and March 11 in District 1, the mayor said his administration will operate with a conservative estimate of taking in only $136 million in income taxes this year. That’s $11 million less than former mayor Carty Finkbeiner projected when he submitted a proposed budget last November, before leaving office.
Harvard University Professor Martin Feldstein, who warned almost two decades ago that the euro would prove an “economic liability,” said Greece’s austerity plan will fail and the country may quit the single currency to fix its fiscal crisis.
“The idea that Greece can go from a 12 percent deficit now to a 3 percent deficit two years from now seems fantasy,” Feldstein, an adviser to U.S. presidents since Ronald Reagan, said in a March 13 interview in Geneva. “The alternatives are to default in some way or to leave, or both.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Peter Gorman said he's moving forward with a plan to lay off 841 employees, including more than 580 teachers.
The average U.S. household’s water and sewer rates may double or even quadruple by 2028 without additional federal grants and loans, the mayors said in a statement today, without providing specifics. Americans are likely to face more service disruptions as rising population, urbanization and aging equipment all help to intensify the burden on municipalities, according to the report.
A look at the debt history will show $12,575,678,862,901.61 on 3/12 and $12,636,662,956,140.07 on 3/15.
This year is shaping up as a $7 billion loss. So the Postal Service is seeking help from Congress for the fourth time since 2003 – this time for permission to close uneconomic post offices, drop Saturday delivery and abandon prepayment of pension costs.
Since 2006, the Postal Service has been required to prepay its pension and retiree health care costs – an average of $5.6 billion a year. Congress last year let the service postpone some of that requirement. Potter wants to go back to pay-as-you-go benefits, as with Social Security and Medicare.
A recent state survey indicates trouble for a number of school districts as tax collections and state aid shrink. "You will see some school districts literally run out of money," House Education Committee Chairman Cecil Brown said Monday. Brown, D-Jackson, suggested that as many as 10 districts could fall into the red in the coming months without the state's help.
The source of the water predicament is China's own economic success. A bigger economy means more factories and power plants, all prodigious users of water for processing and cooling. Big cities are getting bigger, using more drinking, shower and sewage water. People are eating better, and growing more food requires more water.
The 38-page IRS training document posted on the EFF Web site provides detailed tips to agents on how to conduct searches, locate relevant taxpayer information, narrow down and refine results, and save multiple Web pages using Adobe's Web capture feature. Among the social media applications mentioned are Google Groups, FaceBook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and Second Life.
CBS) With tax season reaching its peak, the IRS is looking for every cent it's owed … literally. A Sacramento car wash owner found that out when two representatives from the Internal Revenue Service showed up to collect four cents - four cents - in unpaid taxes. "[They] came into the car wash, handed my manager a bill, and it was from the IRS," Aaron Zeff, the owner of Harv's Metro Car Wash, told CBS station KOVR. "The amount was four cents, four pennies." In truth, after three years of penalties and fees, the four cents actually ballooned to more than $200, but the bill still prompted some laughter.