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Government Finance/ Operations

The Money Pit

I ran across this article on Sunday, and found it fascinating. It’s about the federal government’s retirement filing facility, which is housed in an old limestone mine in a small town in Pennsylvania. Yes, federal employees’ retirements are actually processed and stored in a big limestone cave. By hand! Pretty cool, right? I mean, pretty [...]

Tax Performance Continues to Amaze…Mostly

I remember a time, not too long ago, when the State Controller’s monthly report of cash receipts consistently induced shudders, giving us a collective chance to cringe at just how bad the fiscal situation was. No longer. Today’s report (narrative version, nerd version) states that California’s three major taxes beat recent estimates by almost a [...]

Thoughts of Gifts and Romance This Valentine’s Season

‘Tis the season of roses, chocolates and love.  CSAC’s research affiliate, the Institute for Local Government, is looking at such issues in a decidedly unromantic way on local officials’ behalf. In a recent piece entitled “Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places,” the Institute looks at the downside risks of elected official/staff romances.   The [...]

Thankful for Public Resources and Public Officials’ Wise Stewardship of Them

It’s “Thankful November” (#thankfulnovember) season on social media. The notion is to take time during this season of Thanksgiving to reflect on the various blessings in one’s life. At the Institute for Local Government, we are thankful for our local democratic institutions, through which communities pool resources and energies to provide necessary services and facilities [...]

Whither the Sales Tax?

I spent my childhood in the Central San Joaquin Valley where summers are hot. Not quite California desert hot, but it wasn’t unusual to have days-long stretches of 100-plus degree temperatures. Luckily, my parents had a pool and we did not hesitate to use it. In fact, we spent most of our summer days in swimsuits and, occasionally, sunscreen. My dad also spent a good amount of time maintaining that pool, dripping liquids into a plastic doodad to test the chemicals in the pool water. Then he swished in some chlorine, maybe, and brushed and skimmed. It was slightly interesting, but time-consuming, and remember, very hot out. I don’t know that he ever thought he had any other option, he just did it.