Connecting state and local government leaders
Also in our State and Local Daily Digest: Expanding Baltimore's Howard Street Tunnel; a Michigan county bribery scandal; Dakota Access Pipeline arrests questioned.
Here are some state and local news stories that caught our eye ...
MINIMUM WAGE | Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday he would explore raising the statewide minimum wage. Such an increase would replace pay floor hikes that have been approved at the county level. Branstad, a Republican, did not offer a figure for how much of an increase he might back. Iowa’s hourly minimum wage is currently matched with the federal minimum of $7.25. [The Des Moines Register]
TAXES | Sales and property tax increases are needed to boost local government revenues in Wyoming, a group representing municipalities there says in a new report. “Wyoming municipalities have the absolute lowest local revenue capacity of any state,” the report says. Also noted: “Wyoming citizens receive approximately $30,000 worth of services and pay $3,000 in taxes.” An energy industry slump is hurting government revenues in Wyoming. But local government costs are also on the rise. Any move to raise revenues would likely be a tough sell among typically tax-averse state lawmakers. [Casper Star Tribune]
INFRASTRUCTURE | Built over a century ago, the Howard Street Tunnel has for decades been a bottleneck for trains hauling freight from the Port of Baltimore. On Monday, Gov. Larry Hogan vowed to find a way to pay for expanding the tunnel, a project expected to cost $425 million. Hogan predicted that the federal government would help cover a portion of that cost with the state and the rail firm CSX Corp. also contributing funds. [The Baltimore Sun]
CORRUPTION | A second Macomb County, Michigan, official has been charged with accepting bribes from trash hauler Rizzo Environmental Services, $7,500 to be exact, in exchange for helping them win a contract. [Detroit Free Press]
PROTEST | Standing Rock tribe Chairman David Archambault II decried the militarization of police near Fort Rice, North Dakota, after 127 questionable arrests were made over the weekend of protesters who established a frontline “no surrender” camp to block construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. [Grand Forks Herald]
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION | Halloween may be pretty scary for Philadelphia area commuters. SEPTA’s contract with its largest union is set to expire at midnight on October 31. As of Monday, union and management officials will meet every day until a deal is reached. [PlanPhilly]
MINIMUM WAGE | Louisville and Lexington, which both passed minimum wage laws higher than Kentucky’s, had their ordinances declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. [The Morehead News]