A tiny Alabama town is growing its police force by fining everybody in sight

JANUARY 21, 2022 | REASON | by Scott Shackford

By Scott Shackford, includes “Birmingham News columnist John Archibald reports, ‘In a two-year period between 2018 and 2020 Brookside revenues from fines and forfeitures soared more than 640 percent and now make up half the city's total income.’ According to the records Archibald reviewed, Brookside as of 2020 was arresting more people for misdemeanors than it has residents.”

New study measures financial transparency among state governments

NOVEMBER 16, 2021


Financial Transparency Score 2021

NOVEMBER 16, 2021

To encourage the publication of transparent and accurate government financial information, Truth in Accounting has created a transparency score for financial reporting by the states. 

Tax Foundation Federal deductibility is distorting tax liability in six states

NOVEMBER 1, 2021 | TAX FOUNDATION | by Jared Walczak

By Jared Walczak, includes “At the federal level, the state and local tax (SALT) deduction has emerged as a hot-button political issue ever since the deduction was capped at $10,000 under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017. The SALT deduction has defenders as well as detractors, but a peculiar inversion of it—a state deduction for federal taxes paid—exists in only six states.”

State budget leaders watch rising inflation, possible impacts


By Mary Sell, includes “Like Alabama families watching the rising costs for groceries, gasoline and other goods, state officials are monitoring inflation increases that could impact government budgets and buying power. … ‘One of the biggest problems with inflation is it brings an instability into factor,’ Albritton said.”

Majority of state finances worsened during beginning of pandemic

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021


Financial State of the States 2021

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021

Truth in Accounting's twelfth annual Financial State of the States report, a nationwide analysis of the most recent state government financial information.

Dale County moves forward with federal rescue fund plan

AUGUST 4, 2021 | THE SOUTHEAST SUN (ALABAMA) | by Michelle Mann

By Michelle Mann, includes “As part of the agreement, the county will appropriate a flat fee of 6 percent to ACCA for a five-year period for the services..."

Alabama considers how to spend $2 billion in federal aid

JUNE 22, 2021 | GOVERNING | by Mike Cason

By Mike Cason, includes “The Legislature will have to approve use of the American Rescue Plan money within guidelines set by the U.S. Treasury Department. State and local governments have until the end of 2024 to use the money. … A few weeks ago, the Treasury Department released 150 pages of rules on how state and local governments can spend the money. ”

Thirty-nine states ill-prepared for coronavirus pandemic

SEPTEMBER 22, 2020

The 2020 Financial State of the States report surveys the fiscal health of the 50 states prior to the coronavirus pandemic. This data is released today by Truth in Accounting (TIA), a think tank that analyzes government financial reporting.

State general revenue shortfall projections

JUNE 1, 2020 | by Bill Bergman, Sheila Weinberg

How large could the shortfall in state government general revenues be, amidst the coronavirus and related crises? 

High tax states are a sign of inefficiency

MAY 3, 2019 | BLOOMBERG | by A. Gary Schilling

The U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted at the very end of 2017, which limited the deduction of state and local taxes to $10,000, has focused attention on the vast differences among municipal levies.

Birmingham’s pension woes continue to compound

APRIL 29, 2019 | REASON FOUNDATION | by Raheem Williams

In the worst-case scenario, if Birmingham officials continue to ignore the Retirement & Relief Pension Plan, unfunded liabilities could ultimately drive the city into bankruptcy.

Pension burden forces Birmingham’s bond rating down

MARCH 29, 2019 | AL.COM (ALABAMA) | by Anna Beahm

“The City of Birmingham’s general obligation bond rating and issuer default rating (IDR) was downgraded … Fitch views the city’s underfunding of the pension as a form of deficit financing or liability deferral that creates larger future obligations on the city’s operating budget. … The Fitch report said ‘the city’s solid revenue framework and healthy fund balances” supports the A+ rating.’” (Note: downgraded to an A+. Hmm.)

Unfunded liabilities in Alabama’s pension system have increased 500% since 2003

MARCH 7, 2019 | YELLOW HAMMER NEWS (ALABAMA) | by Daniel Smith

“…It is clear that partial pension reform will not be sufficient to meet these liabilities. Our study points to several avenues for structurally reforming the RSA, including successful reforms implemented in Utah and Michigan. While legislators cannot – and should not – change obligations already incurred, they can reform the pension system for future employees and offer current employees the voluntary option to transition to a new system.” 

Alabama pension fund now sole owner of local newspaper chain


“Alabama's employee pension fund, with nearly 360,000 members and some $44 billion in managed assets, has become sole owner of one of the largest chains of local U.S. newspapers, the company said Thursday. … Financial details weren't announced. … Alabama's pension fund has other non-traditional investments including golf courses, airliners and the largest office building in New York City, 55 Water.”

Jefferson County finds bond market ‘very forgiving’ five years after bankruptcy

JULY 2, 2018 | ALABAMA NEWSCENTER | by Amanda Albright

For localities worried about facing big bond-market penalties if they go bankrupt, consider Jefferson County.

Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day: 1,166

JUNE 22, 2018 | BALLOTPEDIA | by Scott Rasmussen

The filing deadlines for candidates to enter state legislative races have already passed in 31 states.

Happy idea: Moving from defined benefit to ‘defined ambition’

MAY 9, 2018 | STUMP | by Mary Pat Campbell

Look, employees can’t be fully shielded from the risks borne in a pension plan. It’s not feasible.

In hard times, government watchdogs are often the first to get the ax

NOVEMBER 10, 2017 | GOVERNING | by Mike Maciag

The Pennsylvania Department of the Auditor General is tasked with keeping track of more than $30 billion a year in state spending.

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