|By PR Newswire||
|November 27, 2012 11:18 AM EST||
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- New research produced by Harvard's Institute of Politics (IOP), the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government and the American Education Foundation (AEF) finds state and local governments are carrying over $7 trillion in debt. The new 'State of the States' report also offers nonpartisan analysis on the FY 2011 finances and budgets of four U.S. states: Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania – and shows an end to federal fiscal stimulus is causing states to close widening budget gaps by cutting funding in education, infrastructure and other key programmatic areas. All information and full reports are available at: www.thestatesproject.org.
The report aims to stimulate conversation about the fiscal challenges of state governments at a time when U.S. states are struggling with budget deficits, falling tax revenues and strapped social programs. Based on The Annual Report of the USA, a publication of the Harvard Political Review – a top undergraduate journal on politics and public policy – the state reports offer reliable, clear, straightforward examinations of state budgets, public policy and the overall fiscal health of each state. Analysis addresses overall economic trends, including unemployment rates, the finances of pension programs and educational budgets – and offers a context for understanding how public policy affects all citizens.
"Our students were excited to work on the 'State of the States' project, an important effort to shed light on the true financial condition of our states today," said Trey Grayson, Director of Harvard's Institute of Politics. "In these tough economic times and uncertain future, promoting more openness and information between citizens and their government is a critical goal."
"Total state and local debt is now almost half of what the national debt is – but nobody talks about that," said 'State of the States' senior editor Alex Palmer '12.
"Health care is swallowing up huge chunks of state budgets, leaving less and less for states to spend on programs that help economies grow like education and infrastructure," said Meredith Bagby, Spring 2004 Harvard Institute of Politics Resident Fellow and Executive Director, AEF.
The report's key findings include:
- State and local governments are carrying over $7 trillion in debt. Over half of that debt is not reported in the official financial statements produced by state and local governments.
- Federal fiscal stimulus to states has ended. As a result, states have faced budget gaps totaling $55 billion in FY 2013. States are closing those gaps by cutting spending (largely for K-12 education, higher education, and infrastructure) rather than raising revenues.
- Twenty percent of Americans are on Medicaid. Medicaid has been the largest category of state spending for the last three years and its growth is outpacing inflation, largely due to the effects of the Great Recession.
- Medicaid is "crowding out" spending on other state priorities: as a percentage of state expenditures, total K-12 education spending has dropped 2% since FY 2008, while spending on Medicaid has increased 2%. Total spending on infrastructure is down 20% since FY 2009.
- As measured by independent economists, state pension plans carry roughly $2.5 trillion in liabilities; health care benefits carry over $600 billion. None of these liabilities are reported in state financial statements.
- States often manipulate their accounting rules to show a balanced budget, when in actuality a deficit exists. States can delay payments into future years (like tax refunds, or pension contributions), raise debt to cover the deficits (moving that debt off books using component units like transit authorities), and borrow from state funds meant for other uses (such as funds meant for infrastructure or environmental protection).
- The "fiscal cliff" is coming on January 1, 2013, meaning that the federal government will have to find trillions in cuts over the next 10 years. While grants to states make up only 16% of the federal budget, they make up 40% of the discretionary portion of the budget. State block grants will be a prime target for national budget cuts and states may pass federal reductions down cities -- the most vulnerable level of government, which rely on state block grants for 34% of their revenues.
The States Project has also published rankings of states based on fiscal stability, levels of debt, economic opportunity for citizens, educational attainment, and health and wellness. States which had the best overall fundamentals include: Virginia (#1), Minnesota (#2), New Hampshire (#3), Utah (#4), and Massachusetts (#5). The states that scored the lowest in the rankings were: Mississippi (#50), Nevada (#49), Louisiana (#48), West Virginia (#47), and Alabama (#46).
Harvard undergraduate and graduate students helped the project's small, elite team of economists, accountants, writers, and graphic designers to analyze data. Following publication, project partners will continue to promote the reports as an educational resource for a variety of constituencies including government officials and policymakers, the media, middle schools, high schools and universities.
The States Project is a joint venture of Harvard University's Institute of Politics, the University of Pennsylvania's Fels School of Government and the American Education Foundation, a nonpartisan 501(c)3.
For more information, or to read the full reports, visit: www.thestatesproject.org.
Harvard University's Institute of Politics (IOP), located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, was established in 1966 as a memorial to President Kennedy. The IOP's mission is to unite and engage students, particularly undergraduates, with academics, politicians, activists, and policymakers on a non-partisan basis to inspire them to consider careers in politics and public service. The Institute strives to promote greater understanding and cooperation between the academic world and the world of politics and public affairs. More information is available online at www.iop.harvard.edu/.
The American Education Foundation (AEF) is an educational nonprofit dedicated to inspiring students of all ages to become active citizens in the public forum. The foundation is dedicated to producing fair and accurate political information in a non-partisan manner and to helping students acquire the communications skills necessary to navigate the world of public policy. The AEF publishes the Annual Report of the USA. More information is available online at www.americafound.org.
About the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania
The Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania is committed to advancing the quality of public leadership. It accomplishes its mission by offering focused, practical educational programs that prepare students for public sector work; providing research and consulting services that improve the performance of organizations that serve the public; and bridging the worlds of practice and possibility through conferences, lectures, and discussions about public issues and public problem-solving. For more information, please visit www.fels.upenn.edu.
SOURCE Harvard's Institute of Politics
The pace of innovation, vendor lock-in, production sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and managing risk… In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Dan Choquette, Founder of RackN, discussed how CIOs are challenged finding the balance of finding the right tools, technology and operational model that serves the business the best. He also discussed how clouds, open source software and infrastructure solutions have benefits but also drawbacks and how workload and operational portability between vendors an...
Jan. 23, 2017 03:30 AM EST Reads: 5,105
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
Jan. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 6,169
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
Jan. 23, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 1,002
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:45 AM EST Reads: 5,415
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at Dell EMC, introduced a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organization...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 3,372
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jan. 23, 2017 02:30 AM EST Reads: 4,998
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
Jan. 23, 2017 02:00 AM EST Reads: 6,637
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Jan. 23, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 2,758
The speed of software changes in growing and large scale rapid-paced DevOps environments presents a challenge for continuous testing. Many organizations struggle to get this right. Practices that work for small scale continuous testing may not be sufficient as the requirements grow. In his session at DevOps Summit, Marc Hornbeek, Sr. Solutions Architect of DevOps continuous test solutions at Spirent Communications, explained the best practices of continuous testing at high scale, which is rele...
Jan. 23, 2017 12:45 AM EST Reads: 4,650
Containers have changed the mind of IT in DevOps. They enable developers to work with dev, test, stage and production environments identically. Containers provide the right abstraction for microservices and many cloud platforms have integrated them into deployment pipelines. DevOps and Containers together help companies to achieve their business goals faster and more effectively. In his session at DevOps Summit, Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and Co-founder of Jelastic, reviewed the current landscape of D...
Jan. 23, 2017 12:15 AM EST Reads: 5,147
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Jan. 23, 2017 12:00 AM EST Reads: 5,882
Due of the rise of Hadoop, many enterprises are now deploying their first small clusters of 10 to 20 servers. At this small scale, the complexity of operating the cluster looks and feels like general data center servers. It is not until the clusters scale, as they inevitably do, when the pain caused by the exponential complexity becomes apparent. We've seen this problem occur time and time again. In his session at Big Data Expo, Greg Bruno, Vice President of Engineering and co-founder of StackIQ...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:45 PM EST Reads: 7,924
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Jan. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,033
One of the hottest areas in cloud right now is DRaaS and related offerings. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Dale Levesque, Disaster Recovery Product Manager with Windstream's Cloud and Data Center Marketing team, will discuss the benefits of the cloud model, which far outweigh the traditional approach, and how enterprises need to ensure that their needs are properly being met.
Jan. 22, 2017 11:00 PM EST Reads: 4,569
Up until last year, enterprises that were looking into cloud services usually undertook a long-term pilot with one of the large cloud providers, running test and dev workloads in the cloud. With cloud’s transition to mainstream adoption in 2015, and with enterprises migrating more and more workloads into the cloud and in between public and private environments, the single-provider approach must be revisited. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yoav Mor, multi-cloud solution evangelist at Cloudy...
Jan. 22, 2017 08:30 PM EST Reads: 4,698