Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Chicago ticket and debt collection reforms … Denver minimum wage … N.C.’s hate crime increase … and an 18-year-old mayor’s agenda.
Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is homelessness and colder weather that’s set in across much of the nation, but scroll down for more news from places like Fort Worth, Texas; Yoncalla, Oregon; and Madison, Wisconsin.
HOMELESSNESS | With bitter cold weather sending temperatures downward across the nation’s midsection, cities have been scrambling to ensure they’re able to shelter their local unsheltered populations. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the city’s emergency shelter hasn’t opened yet as homeless advocates await moves by local service providers to finalize details of where it will be located. [The Gazette] … In Minneapolis, city officials who working to open an emergency shelter later this year are worried about tent fires in encampments as people living outside try to stay warm in the meantime. [KMSP] ... Airbnb has pledged $5 million in funding over the next three years for homeless services in San Francisco, joining other major tech companies like Salesforce and Twilio in supporting efforts to find long-term housing solutions for the city’s unsheltered population. [San Francisco Business Journal]
TRANSITIONS | In a unanimous votes on Tuesday, the Wisconsin state legislature approved a nearly $95,000 transition budget for Gov.-elect Tony Evers. That dollar amount is, according to the legislature’s budget office, is in line with previous governors-elect when adjusted for inflation. [Wisconsin Public Radio]
WORKFORCE | Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is proposing that the city increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for its own employees, a move that would impact “2,500 city employees, mostly election judges, recreation center staffers, parks and recreation workers, and administrative assistants at libraries.” [Colorado Public Radio] … The Fort Worth, Texas City Council on Tuesday postponed a vote on reforms to the city’s pension system until December. [KXAS / NBCDFW.com]
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT | With Long Island, Queens and the greater New York City area set to get an injection of Amazon HQ2 employment, some have been wondering just how far the economic benefits may be felt. In New York’s Capital Region, including Albany, the potential HQ2 impacts “stirs barely a ripple upstate.” Says a retired head of the Capital Regional Chamber: “My crystal ball is pretty hazy on that one." But higher state tax revenue generated downstate helps upstate as well. [Times Union]
LAW ENFORCEMENT | The number of hate crimes has increased in many parts of the nation, according to new FBI data released Tuesday. In North Carolina, there was a 12 percent increase in hate crimes in 2017. Overall, the FBI reported a 17 percent increase in the number of hate crimes nationwide. [The News & Observer] … The town of Shell Rock, Iowa, population 1,200, does not currently have a police department following the unexpected death of the local police chief on Monday, who was its only employee. [The Courier]
STATE BUDGETS | Good news for state budget planners in the Hoosier State. Revenue is “running ahead of expectations one-third of the way through Indiana's budget year.” [The Times of NW Indiana] … Also good news in Connecticut: Surging state tax revenue will help reduce the state’s projected budget shortfall. Budget staffers in Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office have found that “tax receipts for the current fiscal year should approach $16 billion—$87 million more than anticipated.” [Connecticut Mirror]
LOCAL GOVERNMENT | Chicago Alderman Ed Burke, who chairs the city council’s Finance Committee, “joined the growing chorus of leaders calling for reforms to the city’s ticketing and debt collection” on Tuesday, “introducing a measure to substantially limit the decades-old practice of seeking driver’s license suspensions over unpaid tickets.” [ProPublica Illinois / WBEZ] … The newly elected 18-year-old mayor of a tiny economically struggling and conservative community in Douglas County, Oregon has laid out his municipal agenda in Yoncalla: "A lot of people feel like they pay taxes here and don't see the value of what they're paying," Mayor-elect Ben Simons says. [Willamette Week]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.