The headline reads, “State budget deal depends on borrowing, accounting tricks, and gimmickry.”
Which state is it?
In this case, California; the headline is from the Contra Costa Times. On Monday night the state made a deal to close its $26.3 billion deficit; the package includes $15 billion in spending cuts, and $11 million in accounting gimmicks, borrowing, and overly optimistic assumptions. These include:
$2 billion borrowed from local governments’ property tax revenues (to be repaid with interest in 3 years),
$2 billion in cuts to local transportation and redevelopment funds,
$9 billion in payment deferrals to education, and
Deferring state employee’s paychecks by one day – essentially putting $1 billion in salaries on next year’s ledger.
The Washington Examiner reports that D.C. police are frustrated by new technology that allows drivers to pinpoint and avoid speed and red-light cameras. The technology, called PhatomAlert, streams to iPhones and GPS devices, sounding an alarm as drivers get close to cameras. Radar detection devices are illegal in D.C. and Virginia, but outlawing these devices may prove impossible.
D.C. police say their 290 cameras, first installed in 1999, have saved lives. Studies of the effectiveness of cameras on road safety offer conflicting data. The Governors Highway Safety Association says they’ve reduced violations and crashes. The Virginia Transportation Research Council says they increase rear-end crashes.