2014 February Budget & Tax News

Issue Date: 
February, 2014
Newspaper PDF: 

The February issue of Budget & Tax News reports on the approval of the first federal budget since 2009, noting it received a lukewarm response even from many supporters and outright opposition from many groups on the political left and right. “In two words: Ho Hum,” said John Makin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Also in this issue:

  • A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled Detroit may reorganize under bankruptcy law. The decision means holders of Detroit bonds could take losses, city workers and retirees could see wages and benefits cut, and other creditors could end up with pennies on the dollars owed.
  • Red-light cameras are supposed to make dangerous intersections safer. But at what cost? Recent data from Tallahassee, Florida show red-light cameras are costing residents of Florida’s capital city much more--in both human and financial terms--than they may realize.
  • A high-speed rail project championed by California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) and the Obama administration violated voter-approved safeguards against runaway spending and must draft a new budget and prove there is enough money available to finish the project. Key members of Congress followed up with calls for a review of federal agreements with the California High Speed Rail Authority in light of the court’s ruling.
  • Local taxpayers in Illinois, through local property taxes, pay $12 billion of the $20 billion it costs to educate kids in the state each year. State government chips in about $6 billion, and the federal government kicks in another $2 billion. But each year, public schools complain they do not have enough money. Instead of rehashing the annual fight over how much to spend on public schools, some lawmakers want to change how the state funds schools.
  • In one of the hardest-hitting Government Accountability Office reports ever written, Congress’s auditing organization has said, in effect, the TSA’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program does not work and should be defunded.
  • After receiving billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer largesse, Fiat, the leading Italian auto company, is buying its final stake in Chrysler from that other big bailout recipient, the United Auto Workers. Industry analysts say Chrysler profits will prop up struggling Fiat.

Newspaper Articles in this Issue