Last Friday the City Council of North Las Vegas, Nevada’s fourth largest city just north and east of Las Vegas, voted unanimously to suspend part of its union agreement in order to balance its budget. With property tax and general tax revenues down by more than 30 percent in just the last three years, North Las Vegas was facing a shortfall of $30 million in its $500 million budget.
Under state law it must submit a balanced budget by June 1. Negotiations with three public employee unions, the North Las Vegas Police Officers Association (POA), the North Las Vegas Police Supervisors Association (PSA), and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), began in January but the unions refused to make the concessions necessary to keep the city solvent.
The latest report from the nonpartisan Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College was brutal in its assessment of the status of state and local pension plans and their ability to keep their promises to their beneficiaries and retirees. With public pension funds underfunded by half, those states, cities and municipalities — and their taxpayers — would have to double their contributions to those plans just to have any chance of them avoiding default on their promises to those depending on them for their retirement.
A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, commissioned by Sen. Tom Coburn (Okla.), is questioning the federal government’s $18-billion job training program.
California Governor Jerry Brown is calling for higher taxes as lethargic economic growth has left his state in fiscal turmoil. Brown also mentioned that California would have to implement another $6 billion in spending cuts on public schools and higher education if voters reject his call to increase sales and income taxes.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the purported founders of communism, established in the 19th century a government paradigm that transformed Europe and other regions in the eastern hemisphere, adding to an already expansive repertoire of political ideologies. And the seemingly farfetched assertion that communism could someday take control of America seems, quite simply, unfathomable. But is it really that improbable, or furthermore, has it already ensnared certain sectors of society?
Five hundred pages of redactions. Mostly blank pages. That's what the public gets to see in the transcripts of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FROMC) meetings for 2007-2010. The long-awaited transcripts, released on March 7, pursuant to a Freedom Of Information Act request by MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan Show, undoubtedly hold some very important information about the Fed's activities and decisions during and since the financial crisis, including to whom the Fed has given trillions of taxpayer dollars in "loans" and bailouts -- and on what terms.
Tax Armageddon, or "Taxmageddon," looms on the horizon, as $500 billion in tax cuts will all be expiring at the end of the year. While Americans were hustling on April 17 to complete their taxes, experts were warning about a much larger tax day — January 1, 2013. And if Congress doesn’t take action, American households will be hit with an average tax hike of $3,800, according to the Heritage Foundation.
When Hostess Brands, maker of Wonder Bread, Twinkies, and Ding Dongs, declared bankruptcy on January 12, it said it can’t make interest payments on its $860 million of outstanding debt and make payments into its unions’ pension plans as well. So it stopped making the pension plan contributions.
On Monday, April 16, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a procedural motion intended to move the so-called Buffett Rule forward. The motion, if agreed to by at least 60 votes, would invoke "cloture," stopping a Republican filibuster and allowing the Senate to proceed to a vote on the Buffett Rule itself.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke declared this week that too much borrowing and spending will eventually destroy the nation’s economy. Of course, a number of others have made similar assertions all along, but coming from the Federal Reserve chairman, who has seemingly attempted to mislead the public on the state of the economy, it is a surprising declaration.