Bay Area Financial Crisis: Oakland

By Sheridan Swanson
Like San Francisco, the Bay Area City of Oakland is facing major budget woes. Mayor Sheng Thao’s proposed budget for 2023-25 released last month reveals the city is facing  a $360 million shortfall, the largest budget deficit in Oakland’s history.  The proposed budget for FY 2023-24 and 2024-25 plans for total expenditures of over $2.1...

TAGS: Bay Area, Finance, Government Finance, municipal bankruptcy, Oakland, San Francisco

The Rise of Zombie Cities 

By Mark Moses
When the California State Auditor’s Office released its annual report on the “Fiscal Health of California Cities” in fall 2022, most city officials and journalists focused on the blunt financial risk rating results and the relative position of their city organization amongst the 431 cities analyzed. But there is more that we can learn from...

TAGS: artificial scarcity, economy, Finance, Government Finance, municipal bankruptcy

Rethinking Transparency and Accountability: Part 1

By Mark Moses
Virtually everyone in local government claims to champion transparency and accountability, but few attempt to define either of these terms or identify what conditions support and maintain them. Too often, municipal leaders rely on gimmicks and process to demonstrate that their government organization is meeting these laudable goals, rather than focus on building the culture...

TAGS: campaign finance, Government Spending, municipal bankruptcy, Transparency, Transparent California

Rethinking Transparency And Accountability: Part 2

By Mark Moses
As with transparency, accountability is championed in government settings. Government officials and employees must be accountable to the public for the decisions they make and the money they spend, but what is really meant by accountability, and how should we think about it in a local government context? The best description of accountability that I...

TAGS: accountability, campaign finance, municipal bankruptcy, Transparency

Desperate Hot Springs – Another California city teeters on the edge of bankruptcy

By Steven Greenhut
In what may be the most embarrassing California-related headline to appear in a while, Reuters announced last month: Tony resort city mulls bankruptcy, blaming wages, pensions. That supposedly “tony” city is Desert Hot Springs, on the northern edge of the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs. Though it’s certainly true that Palm Springs and many of its...

TAGS: Desert Hot Springs, municipal bankruptcy, public employee compensation

Scranton Faces Bankruptcy, Unions Want to Raise Taxes

By Mike Shedlock
It is truly pathetic watching politicians flop like fish out of water trying to prevent something that was clearly inevitable long ago. Please consider Moody’s warns of bankruptcy in Scranton as city faces $20 million budget gap.  Moody’s warned investors that Scranton could be facing the threat of default or bankruptcy thanks to a $20 million...

TAGS: Mike Shedlock, municipal bankruptcy

Ten Fallacies Used To Justify Opulent Government Pensions

By Richard Rider
There are many implicit rationalizations justifying paying generous government pensions. Here are my nominations for the top ten bogus excuses: 1. “Public employees deserve high pensions because of their low pay.” FALSE. Perhaps true at one time, but not anymore. In many instances, today’s government employees are earning 10%-30% more than their true private sector...

TAGS: municipal bankruptcy, Public sector pensions, public sector unions, Richard Rider