Tony Romm

Cities, States Wrangle Over Cuts to Local Aid

By: - August 26, 2009

In Minnesota, Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s cuts in state funding to local government forced cities and counties to consider their own round of layoffs, furloughs and benefit freezes. State reductions were so troubling in Massachusetts that three cities are now deciding whether to cancel their primary elections to conserve cash. And in California, the possibility […]

Sales Tax Breaks Erode State Revenues

By: and - August 6, 2009

As shoppers in 15 states rush to buy tax-free clothing and school supplies this August, some lawmakers are experiencing buyer’s remorse: Their “sales-tax holidays” are pinching revenues at a time when state coffers are hurting. Nearly all of the states offering sales tax breaks this month estimated they could miss out on millions of dollars […]

Minimum Wages to Rise in 31 States

By: - July 24, 2009

Minimum-wage earners in 31 states and the District of Columbia can soon expect slightly bigger paychecks thanks to the third and final installment of a federal rate hike that raises the wage floor from $6.55 an hour to $7.25 an hour effective Friday (July 24). The latest federal bump will enlarge roughly 4.5 million workers’ […]

Energy Stimulus Could See Lower Returns

By: - July 8, 2009

When Congress agreed earlier this year to shell out $3.1 billion in stimulus dollars to help states reduce energy consumption, it expected a major return on its investment. Since the 1970s, every federal dollar sent to states through the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program has produced more than $7 in energy savings – […]

Recession Ushers in More Tobacco Taxes

By: - June 17, 2009

Clipping away at a $590 million deficit, Rhode Island this April raised its taxes on cigarettes by $1 to $3.46 a pack – the highest rate in the country. With the backing of its governor, a former tobacco lobbyist, Mississippi in May imposed its first tax hike on smokers in more than two decades – […]