2018-02-17: Examiner: Blowing off Obamacare -- Idaho shows how -- Opinion
Idaho's Republican governor, Butch Otter, signed an executive order last year paving the way for non-Obamacare-compliant health insurance plans to be sold in his state, and Lt. Gov. Brad Little has since cobbled together what is sure to be the nation's most controversial healthcare initiative. Their principal intention is to give the people of their state a way of avoiding Obamacare's monstrous increases in insurance premiums. They want to put affordable insurance plans on the market again.
2018-01-26: Lux Libertas: Connecticut's S.O.S. - rising retirement costs
Connecticut mayors grappling with rising retirement costs and sinking economies this week issued a distress signal to lawmakers in Hartford: Save us from our public unions. Waterbury mayor Neil O’Leary, a Democrat, said his town's health care and pension costs make up 30% of its budget.
2017-11-20: JWR: Smashing the 'Blue Model' in Illinois, by George Will
This state's story, which lately has been depressing, soon will acquire a riveting new chapter. In 2018 Illinois will have the nation's most important, expensive and strange election.
2017-11-12: WT: Maine voters gave themselves an expensive Medicaid gift -- Editorial
The voters of Maine gave themselves a Christmas present last week, voting to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, and doing it by referendum to prevent Republican Gov. Paul LePage from taking it away from them. The governor had vetoed five such bills from the legislature because he said Maine couldn't afford it.
2017-10-02: WT: North Carolina a model for Federal tax relief, by Robin Hayes
As our congressional Republicans begin to shape their tax relief for hardworking Americans, they need not look any further than North Carolina. In the years after rolling out a bold tax relief plan that helps nearly all North Carolinians, the Old North State has become a bellwether model of how to cut taxes.
2017-09-13: Fox News: Undocumented Democrats get to vote in College Park MD -- OOPs, Not yet!
The city council in College Park, home to the University of Maryland campus, has joined six other towns that allow green-card holders, illegal immigrants and other non-citizens to vote in local elections.
2017-07-09: WT: Marching to the poorhouse (Illinois vs Kansas) -- Editorial
If Kansas is meant to scare Mr. Trump and congressional Republicans to surrender their attempt to reform taxes, Illinois is a stark reminder that it's the taxaholics who lead the way to financial ruin with their idea that raising taxes is the way to prosperity. Governments large and small should follow the simple wisdom of Thomas Jefferson: "Never spend your money before you have earned it."
2017-06-30: Fox News: Dem state officials refusing to cooperate with Trump voter fraud probe
Democratic state officials already are refusing to cooperate with the voter fraud investigation ordered by President Trump, saying they will not hand over the extensive "voter roll data" the commission is seeking -- including Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe. (Looks like a tacit admission that they're hiding something.)
2017-06-01: BW: S, Moody's Downgrade Illinois to Near Junk, by Elizabeth Campbell
Illinois had its bond rating downgraded to one step above junk by Moody's Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, the lowest ranking on record for a U.S. state, as the long-running political stalemate over the budget shows no signs of ending. Legislative gridlock has sidetracked efforts not only to address pension needs but also to achieve fiscal balance.
2017-04-02: WT: Rhode Island's successful Medicaid experiment, by Stephen Moore
In 2009 Rhode Island received a waiver from federal Medicaid rules in exchange for a cap on federal costs. The results have been better service at lower cost. By extension, block granting Medicaid to the states would likely add a new incentive structure to control costs while holding state lawmakers accountable for delivering quality care.
2017-03-14: WT: Retired Air Force captain demonstrates how to hold local officials accountable
Burnie Thompson is building a new model of local government accountability using social media to ruffle the feathers of the political establishment in Bay County, Fla., and hopes one day to teach others how to replicate the low-cost plan in their own communities. But it wouldn't be possible if he hadn't been fired.
2017-02-08: WT: California goes Confederate, by Victor Davis Hanson
California is becoming a reactionary two-tier state of masters and serfs whose culture is as peculiar and out of step with the rest of the country as was the antebellum South's. The state lashes out at the rest of the nation with threatened updated versions of the Old Confederacy's secession and nullification. Quite an irony given California's self-righteous liberal preening.
2016-12-04: WT: The blue state [economic] depression, by Stephen Moore
Of the 10 blue states that Hillary Clinton won by the largest percentage margins -- California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut -- every single one of them lost domestic migration (excluding immigration) over the last 10 years (2004-14).
2016-11-09: Slate: Maine First State to Enact Ranked-Choice Voting, by Henry Grabar
Maine became the first state to challenge America's first-past-the-post voting system, as voters approved, by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent, a referendum instituting ranked-choice voting for state and federal elections. It's a shift that could make third-party voting more viable overnight -- by eliminating the ability of third-parties to play spoiler.
2016-10-20: American Interest: Where Increased Education Spending REALLY Goes -- Pension debt
The vast majority of taxpayer contributions into teachers' pension plans are now used to pay down pension debt owed for past service rather than to pay for new benefits earned by today's teachers or for classroom supplies, equipment, and building upkeep.
2016-10-18: WT: Georgia's criminal justice reform saving lives and money, by Gov. Nathan Deal
In 2011, Georgia was spending $1 billion per year on its prisons. The recidivism rate was 30% for adults and 65% for juveniles. After creating accountability courts, improving the juvenile justice system and facilitating a smoother re-entry process for returning citizens, we've seen a 10.3% decrease in the state's prison inmate population.
2016-10-17: WT: Nevada endorses Educational Savings Accounts -- Why not in Virginia?
Last week the Nevada Supreme Court upheld the legitimacy of Education Savings Accounts. Nevada's decision is the latest to reject constitutional Blaine Amendments and uniformity clauses as potential legal barriers to expanding educational options for children -- the two challenges faced in most other states in school-choice litigation.
2016-10-13: ALEC: Unfunded Public Pension Liabilities Near $5.6 Trillion
While state pension funds continue to assume returns of more than 7.3 percent each year, legislatures are not willing to put more money into the system to cover the gap between expectation and reality. With an economic recovery at its most dismal level since World War II, the bloated projections are driving up the levels of unfunded liabilities nationally.
2016-10-13: Boston College: Will Pensions and OPEBs Break State and Local Budgets?
This brief, based on a recent paper, provides a comprehensive accounting of state and local government liabilities for pensions and other post-employ-ment benefits (OPEBs) and the fiscal burden that they pose.
2016-09-24: Examiner: An easy solution to the teacher shortage, by Robert Fellner
There's an easy way for any state to solve its teacher shortage: Stop forcing them to pay for other people's retirement, and use those savings to provide an across-the-board pay raise instead.
2016-09-23: Watchdog.org: Texas' pile of debt, and shadowy bond votes, by Kenric Ward
"Alarming levels" of local government debt are nudging Texas lawmakers to bring more transparency and accountability to bond elections. Much of the debt has been piled on by taxpayers who vote for bond issue after bond issue. (Gee, that sounds awfully familiar!)
2016-09-15: WT: Missouri passes 'stand your ground' gun rights law, by Andrea Noble
Missouri's Republican-led legislature has significantly expanded gun rights in the state, establishing a public "stand your ground" right and allowing gun owners to carry concealed firearms without a permit. Lawmakers overrode Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of the sweeping gun rights law.
2016-08-12: Bond Buyer: Why the Municipal Pension Crisis Will Worsen, by Robert Slavin
This article details the demographic shifts that now threaten to worsen the crisis as America ages. Subsequent installments focus on how municipalities have fared in court when they tried to cut pension benefits; political gridlock over pension reform; and bondholders' futility as they've squared off against pension funds in bankruptcy court.
2016-07-29: Watchdog.org: Feds confirm higher-than-expected Medicaid expansion costs
Six years after Obamacare became law, Florida has yet to embrace one of the law's core features: Medicaid expansion. Republican leaders have resisted federal funding temptations, to much criticism. But the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services now admits that Medicaid expansion costs are much higher than predicted.
2016-06-28: AMAC: New S.C. Law Ensures Students Will Study the Founding Documents
"This was once common sense throughout America, but now we are forced to fight to ensure that even the most basic texts -- the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence -- are taught." -- Arthur Milikh, The Heritage Foundation
2016-06-17: AMAC: How Does Your State Rank for Fiscal Solvency?, by Eileen Norcross
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks each US state's financial health based on short- and long-term debt and other key fiscal obligations, such as unfunded pensions and healthcare benefits. Top 5: Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Bottom 5: Kentucky, Illinois, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
2016-06-14: WT: Meet the Wisconsin 'cookie ladies', by M.D. Kittle
Blanchardville, Wis. -- Kriss Marion was an organic farmer, not a fighter. But Wisconsin's restrictive law on homemade baked goods forced this peaceful sustainable homesteader to fight back.
2016-06-10: Examiner: 10 states spend more on pensions than on universities, by Jason Russell
California, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania. "Like the insatiable Pac-Man, pensions are eating further and further into state and local education budgets, eating up dollars that could be spent on lots of other things." -- Chad Aldeman of Bellwether Education Partners
2016-06-08: Watchdog.org: Light rail runs at heavy price in Dallas, Houston, by Kenric Ward
Houston's Metro rail is catching up to Dallas' DART trains in ridership, but both systems are more dependent than ever on taxpayer subsidies. DART's government subsidies were nearly nine times the amount of its fare revenue of $71,012,000 last year. In Houston, each $1.25 Metro rail ticket is supplemented by $4.75 in subsidies.
2016-06-01: Mercatus.org: The States by Fiscal Condition, by Norcross & Gonzalez
The financial health of each state can be analyzed through the states' own audited financial reports. By looking at states' basic financial statistics on revenues, expenditures, cash, assets, lia bilities, and debt, states may be ranked according to how easily they will be able to cover short-term and long-term bills, including pensions.
2016-05-31: WT: California moves to criminalize undercover abortion videos, by B. Richardson
AB 1671, which has been backed by Planned Parenthood, would criminalize the publication of confidential interactions with state-licensed medical personnel, including abortionists and clinic staff, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine per violation.
2016-05-30: Watchdog.org: Property taxes outstrip Texans' incomes, by Kenric Ward
Texas property taxes have exploded in the past decade, leaving Texans’ household income in the dust. Trashing the Lone Star State's reputation as a low-tax haven, county property tax levies skyrocketed 70 percent from 2005 to 2014. City taxes climbed 60 percent during the period. Meantime, Texans' median household income grew by 26 percent.
2016-05-27: Watchdog.org: Georgia GOP voters eager for more school choice, by Heather Kays
The question on the primary GOP ballot read: "Should Georgia empower parents with the right to use the tax dollars allocated for the education of their children, allowing them the freedom to choose among public, private, virtual, and home schools? Yes or No." Unsurprisingly, three out of four voters said they support school choice.
2016-05-19: Examiner: School choice wins in Nevada court, by Jason Russell
A Nevada judge dismissed an ACLU suit challenging the constitutionality of the state's landmark school choice program, saying the program was constitutional because parents, not the state government, decide if they want to use the funds at religious schools.
2016-04-20: Tax Foundation: State Income Taxes Per Capita -- VA #9, by Jared Walczak
2016-03-23: AP: North Carolina reins in local governments, transgender rule
North Carolina legislators reined in local governments by approving a bill Wednesday that prevents cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination rules. Gov. Pat McCrory later signed the legislation, which dealt a blow to the LGBT movement after success with protections in cities across the country.
2016-02-11: Watchdog.org: Scott Walker's Act-10 saves Wisconsin taxpayers $5B, by M.D. Kittle
A Madison-based free-market think tank's report estimates taxpayers have saved $5.24 billion over the past five years, thanks to the Act 10 law pushed through by Governor Scott Walker. The savings breaks down to $2,291 for every household in Wisconsin, according to the analysis.
2016-02-07: WT: Police use of cellphone tracking goes to court, by Andrea Noble
A case with the potential to redefine how police use secret 'Stingray' systems heads to an appeals court this week, where Maryland prosecutors will challenge a ruling that found the use of such a device to hone in on the location of a shooting suspect was a breach of his 4th Amendment rights.
2016-02-06: Examiner: How bad government caused the Flint water crisis, by Kyle Feldscher
It all started when city leaders used the water fund as "a bank" to pay for more basic city services such as police and firefighters, whose unions refused to accept more cuts and often took the city to arbitration.
2016-01-29: Watchdog.org: Texas homeowners' plea: Do mess with taxes, by Kenric Ward
The Texas Legislature has cut property taxes four times and no one felt it. The reason? Local schools and governments aggressively hike property assessments every year, flouting market realities and making a mockery of "flat" tax rates.
2016-01-21: Watchdog.org: 7 articles for National School Choice Week
Nick Gillespie, editor of Reason.com, sees school choice as a natural issue for libertarians because it "fits with libertarian emphases on individual choice, autonomy, and responsibility. The traditional public school system, K through 12, which is a $600 billion a year industry, is filled with abuses, waste, and misdirected attention."
2015-11-21: WaPo: Residents in first majority-Muslim U.S. city tense about its future
In Hamtramck, Mich., long a home to Polish immigrants, the shift in everyday life is about to have its first effect on politics: It now has a majority-Muslim city council. Hamtramck became the first majority-Muslim city in the United States following the arrival of thousands of immigrants from Yemen, Bangladesh and Bosnia over a decade.
2015-11-16: Watchdog.org: Texans go naked as rates rise under Obamacare, by Kenric Ward
Higher insurance premiums are pummeling Texans in the age of Obamacare, and health-care analysts say ever-bigger increases are inevitable. Now Texans are getting out, opting to pay a penalty instead of digging deeper for coverage.
2015-11-03: WT: Voters elect GOP governors, nix 'bathroom bill', pot, by Valerie Richardson
In the election races across the country Tuesday, Houston voters rejected a transgender "bathroom bill", Ohioans torched legal marijuana, and Republicans captured both gubernatorial contest races at stake (Kentucky and Mississippi).
2015-10-26: Watchdog.org: Ohio Obamacare expansion keeps getting bigger, by Jason Hart
The Foundation for Government Accountability and other free-market groups warned against extending Medicaid benefits -- which come with no work requirements. FGA expects budget-busting enrollment in Ohio and elsewhere will deter more states from chasing Obamacare expansion funding.
2015-10-15: Watchdog.org: Democratic Party boss takes hit in Texas vote-fraud case, by K Ward
A client of Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa is facing 16 criminal charges of rigging votes in a Rio Grande Valley election. The criminal charges are a blow to Hinojosa, who has relentlessly criticized Texas' photo ID law and downplays the potential for election fraud.
2015-10-15: WT: Florida sheriff will keep "In God We Trust" bumper stickers, by Tom Quimby
Despite renewed demands from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen still has no plans to remove "In God We Trust" bumper stickers from his patrol cars or to pull videos with religious content from his office's website.
2015-10-14: WaPo: Rahm Emanuel reaps the whirlwind of Democratic rule, by George Will
During the past 84 years, the growth of the public sector has been mostly driven by the alliance between elected politicians and public-sector unions. This has made Chicago emblematic of the coast-to-coast crisis of the "blue model" of municipal and state governance. Rahm Emanuel, a product of this culture, must now take extreme measures to keep the city solvent.
2015-10-11: WT: California new motor-voter law encourages voter fraud, by Valerie Richardson
California has changed its Motor Voter law from opt-in to opt-out, thus automatically registering to vote all eligible voters when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses at the DMV. This amounts to state-sanctioned voter fraud, especially as the law exempts from penalties ineligible voters who wind up being registered.
2015-10-08: Watchdog.org: Texas charter network boasts 99.9% college-going rate, by K. Ward
Graduates of a charter school network in Austin, San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley boasted a 99.9 percent college acceptance rate this year -- roughly double the statewide average. Parents are lining up to get their children into the publicly funded, independently operated schools.
2015-10-08: CBS: Former CEO of Chicago Public Schools indicted on corruption charges
The former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, Barbara Byrd-Bennett, will plead guilty to charges in an indictment released Thursday that alleged she steered more than $23 million in no-bid contracts from CPS to her former employer, authorities said Thursday. The U.S. Attorney said Byrd-Bennett and others "entered into a scheme to secretly profit from schools."
2015-10-03: FCTA: Financial State of the States - 2014 -- data from Truth In Accounting
FCTA presents Truth In Accounting summary data plus links to the detailed information for these states in order of their rating for financial responsibility.
2015-09-28: Watchdog.org: Houston's pension crisis - Part 1 and Part 2, by Jon Cassidy
Part 1: Unlike most cities, Houston has no control over its pension terms, which are dictated by the state. Part 2: Houston is spending six times more on pensions than road repairs, and even that's not enough to cover the minimum payment on its ballooning pension debt.
2015-09-10: Project Veritas: Hillary team filmed violating Nevada election laws (video 8:18)
Hidden cameras capture Clinton campaign staff in Nevada not only skirting election law but mocking it. Christina Gupana, a Hillary campaign worker and Las Vegas attorney is caught by Project Veritas Action journalists advising her fellow campaign workers to "do whatever you can, whatever you can get away with just do it."
2015-09-07: Watchdog.org: School choice improved public schools in Milwaukee, by Paul Brennan
One of the most persistent is that school choice undermines public schools, making them worse. "It's not true. If anything, it works in the opposite direction. Giving parents choices about where to send their children seems to force public schools to improve their performance." -- John Witte, emeritus professor of political science and public policy at UW-Madison
2015-08-31: WT: Better school choices for less (in AZ, FL, MS, NV, TN), by Ed Feulner
Five states now have Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) that enable families to deposit their child's state per-pupil funding in an account that can be used for a variety of education options. If they want to use the money that would've been spent at their child's "assigned" school for a different education option, they can do that instead. Plus ESAs save taxpayer money!
2015-08-30: Watchdog.org: Three-fourths of NJ sheriffs double-dip, by Mark Lagerkvist
Three-fourths of New Jersey's county sheriffs -- plus hundreds of other public officials -- are taking advantage of pension loopholes to collect dual incomes.
2015-08-28: Examiner: The limits of pension reform, by Daniel DiSalvo
States that are serious about getting a hold on pension costs are increasingly introducing defined-contribution options or hybrid plans -- Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and New Jersey so far. As more states take this step, it will become less controversial and easier for other states to follow suit.
2015-08-28: Examiner: It shouldn't take a hurricane to create all-choice school districts
The progress made in all-choice school districts like the one in New Orleans should be celebrated, and the lessons should be learned across the nation. It shouldn't take bad academics or natural disasters to get cities to empower families to choose their children's school.
2015-08-13: Tax Foundation: How High Are Property Taxes in Your State? -- Va. is 37th
New Jersey has the highest rate at 2.38%. Hawaii has the lowest rate at 0.28%. (Virginia is 37th at 0.78%, but Fairfax County real estate taxes are growing at three times the rate of inflation and are currently running about 1.15%.)
2015-08-10: Watchdog.org: Tax breaks for Facebook raise hard questions, by Jon Cassidy
Depending on the ultimate cost of federal regulations, local officials may one day look at these giant, nondescript data centers found off their country highways, where nobody ever seems to enter or exit, and wonder why they ever paid for them to set up shop.
2015-08-04: Watchdog.org: Texas flunks school-choice test, by Kenric Ward
Metrics undermine the conventional wisdom that more public spending translates into better education. Per-pupil allocations have risen steadily in Texas -- growing five times faster than enrollment -- while SAT scores have remained flat. Outlays for non-teaching positions have climbed 172 percent. (Hmmm, just like FCPS!)
2015-07-27: Examiner: Louisiana's charter school solution after Katrina, by Jason Russell
Before Katrina, barely more than half of New Orleans students graduated. After Katrina, the city-run school district decided to reopen its first schools as charters. In the 2013-14 school year, three out of four graduated -- right in line with Louisiana's statewide graduation rate.
2015-07-24: WT: Texas Supreme Court suspends Houston's 'bathroom bill', by Valerie Richardson
The Texas Supreme Court gave Friday the Houston city council 30 days either to repeal a civil-rights ordinance allowing opposite-sex bathroom use or place it before the voters on the November ballot. The May 2014 city council ordinance added gender identity and sexual orientation to the city's equal-rights law, touching off a backlash over transgender bathroom use.
2015-07-22: Watchdog.org: Houston's debt passes Detroit's, by Jon Cassidy
When Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013, it had $19 billion in debt. Houston officially has $17.2 billion in debt, but that's due to comically understated pension debts of $1.1 billion. "They're using this funny math and their systems still look absolutely terrible."
2015-07-16: WT: States step back from lofty green energy goals, by Valerie Richardson
A half-dozen states have moved to scale back, freeze or eliminate their renewable energy standards in the past year, fueled by concerns over higher energy prices, the impact of the EPA's Clean Power Plan and the growing perception that it's time to take the training wheels off the wind and solar industries.
2015-07-16: Watchdog.org: Wisc Supreme Court shuts down John Doe investigation, by Eric Boehm
The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that Gov. Scott Walker's gubernatorial campaign and conservative groups did not violate campaign finance law during recall elections in 2011 and 2012. The majority opinion slammed the use of a special prosecutor by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's office to deny the unnamed plaintiffs their First Amendment rights to political speech.
2015-07-08: Tax Foundation: The Real Value of $100 in Each State -- $97.09 in Va.
Using price-of-goods data from the Bureau of Economic Analysi, we have adjusted the value of $100 to show how much it buys you in each state.
2015-06-24: WT: Judicial Watch files Maryland gerrymandering lawsuit, by Andrea Noble
Maryland's congressional districts have routinely been ranked as among the most disjointed and gerrymandered in the country -- with a federal judge once describing one district's shape as a "broken-winged pterodactyl, lying prostrate across the center of the state."
2015-06-15: Examiner: Public pensions about to crush taxpayers, by Steven Malanga
Over the years, legislators and state courts had granted unusually strong protections to government worker pensions, far greater than the kinds of protections that private workers enjoy. That has made cutting the cost of pensions difficult, if not impossible, in some places with the deepest debts.
2015-05-24: Daily Signal: Illinois Court rules taxpayers on hook for union pensions
The Illinois Supreme Court has overturned a state law that would help fix the state's notorious pension crisis. The justices basically ruled that the pension arrangements are iron-clad, although these pensions are on a course to bankrupt the state and imperil public services that Illinois families depend on.
2015-05-20: AP: Oregon to test pay-per-mile to replace gas tax, by Gosia Wozniacka
Oregon is about to embark on a first-in-the-nation program that aims to charge car owners not for the fuel they use, but for the miles they drive. Other states are also looking at pay-per-mile as an alternative to dwindling fuel tax revenues.
2015-05-17: AP: States saying 'NO' to cities seeking to regulate businesses, by David Lieb
In capitols across the country, businesses are increasingly using their clout to back laws prohibiting cities and counties from doing things that might affect their ability to make money.
2015-05-07: Examiner: Michigan conservatives defeat Big Business, Big Money, tax hikes ...
The pro-tax side outspent the anti-tax side by a ratio of about 30 or 40-to-1, but still suffered "the most one-sided loss ever for a proposed amendment to the state constitution of 1963" according to the Detroit Free Press.
2015-04-14: WT: Maryland seizes 'free-range kids' for walking alone in the park -- OpEd
It's kind of ironic that farmers get praise for 'free-ranging' their chickens and other animals, but the nanny state comes down hard when mere humans practice same.
2015-04-13: WT: The redistribution racket -- Stephen Moore on "Rich States, Poor States"
Five of the highest-tax blue states in the nation -- California, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois -- lost some 4 million more U.S. residents than entered these states over the last decade (see chart). Meanwhile, the big low-tax red states -- Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona and Georgia -- gained about this many new residents.
2015-03-23: WT: New Mexico ends the abuse of police seizure of private property
The legislature in New Mexico passed legislation over the weekend to abolish civil-asset forfeiture, which is nothing less than government crime, enabling police to seize private property and keep it without even having to charge someone with a crime.
2015-02-xx: JohnLocke.org: First in Freedom Index -- ranking the 50 states
The John Locke Foundation (in North Carolina) ranks the fifty states in (1) Overall Freedom, (2) Fiscal Freedom, (3) Educational Freedom, (4) Regulatory Freedom, and (5) Health Freedom. It furthermore goes into considerable detail, and provides the weighting metrics used to reach its conclusions.
2015-01-28: WT: Attorney general gives pay raises as Illinois goes broke -- A lesson here?
"No one in Illinois who works for the state government should be getting a pay increase right now," said Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of Illinois Policy. "It doesn't matter if they are union or nonunion. We are broke; there is no money."
2015-01-26: Reason: $25,000 per Student to Fix Camden Schools. And Nothing Changed.
... But all that extra money hasn't changed the fact that Camden's public schools are among in the worst in the nation, notorious for their abysmal test scores, the frequent occurrence of in-school violence, dilapidated buildings, and an on-time graduation rate of just 61 percent.
2015-01-15: Reuters: Arizona first-in-nation law mandates students pass civic test
Arizona's high school students will be required to pass the same civics test that immigrants must pass to gain citizenship, under a first-in-the-nation bill signed into law on Thursday.
2015-01-13: MarketWatch: The only state where less than half its civilians work -- WV
The labor participation rates and unemployment rates are posted for all the states.
2014-12-19: Examiner: Texas job growth outpaces rest of U.S. combined, by Jason Russell
The economic miracle in Texas continues. Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.2 million net jobs have been created in Texas. Only 700,000 net jobs have been created in the other 49 states combined.
2014-12-17: AP: Arkansas' private-option Medicaid experiment in jeopardy, by Andrew DeMillo
A wave of newly elected Republican lawmakers who ran on vows to fight so-called "Obamacare" -- including the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion -- has raised doubts about the future of a leading model for conservative states to gradually adapt to the federal health care law.
2014-12-02: Fraser Inst: Economic freedom among U.S. states -- summary from the detailed data
Texas and South Dakota have tied for the highest level of economic freedom among all U.S. states, with high levels of economic freedom helping to create prosperity and economic growth for working families. Other top ranked U.S. states are North Dakota, Virginia, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Nebraska, Delaware and Tennessee. (Examiner's report.)
2014-11-18: Streetsblog.com: Dark Side of Privately Financed Highways: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
This is a three-part series on the Indiana Toll Road. Part one discusses the use of private finance to build and maintain highways. Part two takes a closer look at how Australian firm Macquarie manages its infrastructure assets. Part three examines the incentives for consultants to exaggerate traffic projections, making terrible boondoggles look like financial winners.
2014-11-09: Examiner: How Larry Hogan used tax data to turn Maryland red, by Jim Pettit
Available IRS data shows who is coming and going to every state and county in the nation. Maryland's numbers were pathetic, yet were being ignored. "Change Maryland" simply put this data in a user-friendly format and made it widely available.
2014-10-30: Project Veritas: NC campaign workers encourage non-citizens to vote (video 6:57)
In this undercover video, a Project Veritas Action operative poses as an enthusiastic wanna-be voter, who also happens to be a non U. S. citizen. When she asks campaign managers and other campaign operatives if it is okay if she votes they all say yes, no problem.
2014-10-29: PJ Media: Massive Non-Citizen Voting Uncovered in Maryland
An election integrity watchdog group is suing the state of Maryland, alleging that it has discovered massive and ongoing fraudulent voting by non-U.S. citizens in one county, and is likely happening in every single county and subdivision across the state. The group believes that the illegal voting has been happening for years.
2014-10-28: Tax Foundation: 2015 State Business Tax Climate Index -- Va. slides to #27
"The annual ranking measures the impact of policies in place as of July 1 on five types of taxes on business activities, mainly considering the amount a state takes from its citizens but also the weight of its compliance burden ..." -- WSJ
2014-10-22: Project Veritas: O'Keefe films potential voter fraud in Colorado (video 7:45)
"Awesome" is a very common word used by Democratic operatives in Colorado when discussing potential voter fraud. Project Veritas Action went undercover in the Centennial State to reveal just how prone their mail-in ballot system is to likely voter fraud.
2014-10-21: WT: Ire over toll roads could bite GOP, including Thom Tillis' Senate bid in NC
CHARLOTTE - They spoke one after another at a tea party meeting at an upscale pub -- conservative voters and activists vowing to derail Republican Thom Tillis' run for U.S. Senate because, as state House speaker, he muscled through a toll road project.
2014-10-17: Dallas News: Texas breaks record for jobs added in 12-month span
The Texas economy added 36,400 jobs in September, according to data released Friday by the Texas Workforce Commission. Over the past 12 months, employers added 413,700 jobs -- the most ever recorded by the state.
2014-09-10: WaPo: Gina Raimondo reins in Rhode Island pensions, propelling a bid for governor
Gina Raimondo won the job as state treasurer in 2010, and got legislation passed to rein in pensions and set the state on a path to fiscal sanity. She is likely to win the governorship in the 2014 elections.
2014-09-04: FCTA: Financial State of the States - 2013 -- data from Truth In Accounting
FCTA presents Truth In Accounting summary data plus links to the detailed information for these states in order of their rating for financial responsibility.
2014-09-01: WT: Illinois to go bust as teachers get richer -- Excessive pension plans
The Illinois Teachers Retirement Service (TRS) issued a Labor Day report which found that more than 100,000 retired Illinois educators had been paid back what they invested into the system just 20 months after leaving work, costing taxpayers $2 million or more per teacher over the course of retirement.
2014-07-28: FCTA: Gov't Size in Maryland and Texas counties -- For comparison to Virginia
2014-07-25: WT: To fix America, copy Texas ... which not just survived, but thrived.
While the economy has struggled to show some middling signs of life, there is an example of a large slice of America that has not just survived, but thrived, in these punishing times, by employing conservative policies. It's Texas.
2014-07-24: Heartland: Retiree Healthcare Tops Unfunded Pensions as Fiscal Threat
Can anything be in worse condition than unfunded government pensions? Unfortunately, yes. The average state has $11.46 billion of unfunded retiree healthcare debt, compared to $10.85 billion of pension debt as of fiscal year-end 2012.
2014-06-10: WaPo: California Court Rejects Teachers Union Tenure
A Los Angeles judge Tuesday struck down teacher tenure and other California laws that offer job security to educators, a decision that is expected to trigger widespread challenges of teacher job protections nationwide.
2014-06-01: City Journal: Lawmakers Gone Wild, by Victor Davis Hanson
California's once-exemplary legislature now manages to be both trivial and destructive.
2014-05-29: ACT: American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) now in Oklahoma
A previous amendment (also known as SQ755), that forbade Oklahoma's courts from considering Islamic law (Shariah) in judicial decisions, was struck down in Federal Court. ALAC remedies the flaws in Oklahoma's SQ 755, and is facially neutral. It cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.
2014-05-14: Watchdog.org: PA cops can search your car without warrant -- State Supreme Court
The state General Assembly, meanwhile, is moving forward with a bill that would give cops the authority to arrest people caught with "secret compartments" in their vehicles, even if there is nothing illegal in those suspicious containers.
2014-04-30: WT: The Arkansas Obamacare bailout -- the so-called "private option"
The Arkansas private option does not represent flexibility from the federal government, does not represent a market-based alternative to Medicaid expansion, and does not represent affordable, patient-centered health care reform. The taxpayers who are likely to pay the consequences include everybody. Other states should take due diligence.
2014-04-24: MarketWatch: Most and least expensive states to live in the U.S.
D.C., Hawaii, New York highest; Mississippi lowest.
2014-04-15: Heartland: Utah Has Nation's Best Economic Outlook, New York Worst (VA ranks #11.)
For the seventh consecutive year, Utah has been ranked as the state with the best economic outlook by the authors of Rich States, Poor States, published by the American Legislative Exchange Council. New York was ranked 50th, with the nation's worst economic outlook. (Virginia ranks #11 this year.)
2014-04-02: NR: N.C. State Board Finds More than 35K Incidents of 'Double Voting' in 2012
... appear to have voted in states other than North Carolina in 2012. In some cases, votes were cast under names of individuals who had passed away before Election Day. (Ray Stevens gives us a spot of humor on this.)
2014-03-19: Watchdog.org: States still use unrealistic pension assumptions
Two years ago, Rhode Island passed legislation to reform a state pension system that threatened to bankrupt the budget, and hailed as an example for other states to follow. Now, Rhode Island pension issues have become an example of what not to do.
2014-02-27: PA Independent: PA Auditor General Warns of Pension Woe
Taxpayers' public pension nightmares are worse than they seem, and local governments face the prospect of tax increases or even bankruptcies caused by mounting levels of pension debt.
2014-02-19: Breitbart: O'Keefe Busts Illegal Voter Scheme to 'Turn Texas Blue'
In an apparent violation of state law, Battleground Texas officials are exploiting legally protected information to turn voters out to the polls as part of the Democratic party's quest to paint the Lone Star State blue, a new undercover video from James O'Keefe reveals.
2014-02-06: WT: Model Arkansas way of expanding Medicaid at risk
Arkansas' plan for expanding Medicaid by buying private insurance policies for the poor instead of adding them to the rolls was heralded as a model for convincing more Republican-leaning states to adopt a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. But now, as Republican lawmakers face election season and step up attacks on Obamacare, the state that pioneered the private option is on the brink of abandoning it.
2014-01-28: Examiner: Tax cuts are big for states languishing in economic doldrums
Eighteen states approved measures last year to cut taxes in efforts to improve their economic competitiveness and spark new growth, according to a report by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The results are explained graphically and in state-by-state detail.
2013-12-29: FT: US public finance - Day of reckoning
Chicago is tackling the worst pension crisis in the US. But methods that got it into its bind are still used across America.
2013-12-08: Fox News: Teachers complain about Common Core-linked lessons
Some of the biggest critics of new lesson plans aligned with the national Common Core standards are the people charged with teaching them. A growing number of teachers say the national standards, adopted by some 45 states, have combined with pressure to "teach to the test" to take all individuality out of their craft.
2013-12-03: Reuters: Illinois lawmakers pass long-awaited pension reform
Illinois' Democratic-controlled legislature on Tuesday passed a landmark pension reform bill, choosing to address the state's crumbling finances over strong public labor union opposition to cuts in retirement benefits. The bill addresses problems that have built up over decades in the nation's worst-funded state pension system, which is underfunded by $100 billion.
2013-05-29: Indiana: $5 million returned to public schools from voucher program
Indiana's voucher program could return just under $5 million to the state’s schools this year -- nearly $800,000 more than last year.
2012-09-xx: Governing: Are Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs) Useless?
For all their charts and graphs, CAFRs don't tell public officials -- or the public -- anything about fiscal sustainability or whether a locality's finances might be trending south. What actually sinks city and county finances is that slow, steady accretion of bad -- and hidden -- fiscal news that either nobody is getting or no one wants to hear, like bond and pension obligations.
2012-05-14: Latest studies show growing pension peril
Recent studies and data compilation by the U.S. Census Bureau and other institutions detail the continued deterioration and ultimate long-term chance of failure of public pension systems within the overall local and state government fiscal crisis.
2012-05-01: Galen Inst: Why states should not expand Medicaid, by Turner & Roy
States are being strongly pressured to expand Medicaid to families earning up to $30,000 a year, as the ObamaCare allows. While several high-profile governors have agreed to expand this broken program, many others governors and state legislators are cautious. They are correct to be concerned.
2011-11-02: Mn Free Mkt Inst: Suspend Pension COLAs? The Rhode Island Plan, by John LaPlante
A state can reduce its pension liabilities by reducing promises made to incoming employees. But Rhode Island has taken a more dramatic (and meaningful) step by reducing promises going forward for current employees.
2010-05-13: Ozarks Sentinal: Missouri has NO illegal aliens -- Editorial, by Nita Jane Ayres
Missouri's approach to the problem of illegal immigration appears to be more advanced, sophisticated, strict and effective than anything to date in Arizona. Does the White House appreciate what Missouri has done? So, why doesn't Missouri receive attention? Answer: There are no illegals in Missouri to demonstrate.
2010-01-14: Heritage: Expanding Medicaid - The Real Costs to the States, by Ed Haislmaier
House and Senate health care bills [for Obamacare] would increase health insurance coverage principally by expanding the federal-state Medicaid program. However, even with federal support, states would still face significant additional Medicaid costs.