Finance

As millions wait on food stamp approvals, feds tell states to speed it up

To adequately staff safety net programs, some states are boosting workforce funding, and others are investing in new computer systems to speed up claims processing. But food security advocates say recent backlogs are a symptom of long-term disinvestment.

Municipalities taxing stay-at-home workers during pandemic was OK, court says

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld a temporary state law that allowed employers to withhold municipal income tax irrespective of where their employees performed their work. The ruling sets a precedent in the state.

States turn up the heat on ESG investing

At issue is whether mandates about environmental, social and governance investment strategies infringe upon a state fiduciary’s duty to maximize returns.

8 states move to ban utilities from using customer money for lobbying

Utilities have come under fire for lobbying to stall climate policies and keep fossil fuel plants running.

No fare! Free bus rides raise questions of fairness, viability.

The strategy is especially helpful to lower-paid workers, but it might not be sustainable.

City extends police department’s ‘life changing’ 4-day workweek pilot

The decision comes after the data shows that the 32-hour workweek resulted in faster emergency response times and cost savings

More taxpayer money benefits pro sports owners amid ‘stadium construction wave’

Research shows stadium and arena projects are poor public investments.

Federal permitting hampers climate goals and natural disaster mitigation, counties say

Officials, who are calling for reforms, say environmental regulations shouldn’t lead to yearslong waits to build transmission lines or impede their ability to respond to natural disasters.

County officials lobby for internet subsidies

The FCC is currently turning away hundreds of thousands seeking assistance. If Congress doesn’t soon approve more funding, rural and urban county officials warn, millions will be plunged into “digital darkness.”

Corporate tax breaks are costing schools billions

A three-month investigation by The Conversation finds that tax abatements are coming at the expense of critical funding for school districts. But not all schools in a community are sharing the cash drain equally.

House rejects an increase to the SALT cap

Election-year politics derailed an effort to raise the amount in state and local taxes married couples could deduct. Local governments argued an increase in the cap would help “hardworking American families facing higher federal tax bills.”

How trusted are state and local governments?

Confidence in lower levels of government may be better than in the federal government, but it’s still not nearly good enough. And that stands in the way of state and local leaders’ ability to get things done.

Counties want more money for elections. Washington is unlikely to provide it.

“I just don't want anybody to walk out of here thinking that all of a sudden a massive flow of funds is going to come forward,” a House committee chairman told county officials.

As pandemic aid winds down, states scramble to fill gaps

COVID-19 left a lasting mark on a few sectors, with schools, public transit and child care providers facing fiscal cliffs as federal funding dries up. State legislators, many already grappling with shortfalls, are looking for solutions.

As concerns over gambling addiction mount, states are set to rake in millions from Super Bowl bets

Sports betting has spread to 38 states and Washington, D.C., over the past five years. In that time, states have also seen massive increases in calls to gambling addiction hotlines. Plus, more news to use from around the country in this week's State and Local Roundup.

The Senate wants states to recover the billions lost to unemployment fraud during the pandemic

A bipartisan proposal would let states keep a quarter of the funds they recoup. It is similar to a House proposal passed last year.

Border deal dies in the U.S. Senate, despite pleas from mayors

State and local leaders called for Congress to pass the proposal, but Republican Senators acknowledged it did not have enough support after House Speaker Mike Johnson declared it “DEAD on arrival.”

Halfway through ‘unwinding,’ Medicaid enrollment is down about 10 million

While many beneficiaries no longer qualify because their incomes rose, millions of people have been dropped from the rolls for procedural reasons like failing to respond to notices or return paperwork.

Power outages leave poor communities in the dark longer

Evidence from of a study of 15 million outages raises questions about recovery times.

States’ prescription boards tackle high drug costs

At least 11 states are developing drug cost review boards to identify and address costs of expensive medications.