What Does Open Mean?

Hey, have you seen BART’s new official app?

Nope, you haven’t. Know why?

They don’t need to spend money making their own apps. They just put all their data online in an open format and everybody else goes ahead and makes apps for themselves.

What’s more, these other people do it the way they want, so BART doesn’t have to guess at what features and format its… Continue reading

Another Voice: Fund Election Mandates to Ensure Fair Elections Statewide

During the budget process the Legislature, famous for passing the buck—or the bill in this case—reviews mandates it has placed on local agencies. By law, Sacramento is required to fund any mandate it imposes on local agencies but when the state’s coffers run dry the Legislature routinely suspends or repeals specific mandates and uses the money for something else. The state currently owes about $1.8 billion to local governments for state mandated programs.

This is not fair to local governments which are then are left with some tough choices. Do they suspend programs on which constituents have come to rely or just cobble together some dollars and run the program on a string? Continue reading

County Best Practices: Celebrating National County Government Month

California’s 58 counties are diverse in so many ways: population, geography, demographics, but they do share some commonalities — in that they strive to make a difference for the people they serve, and they do so in some incredibly creative ways. April is National County Government Month – and during this period, CSAC will be spotlighting a dozen innovative programs developed by California counties. Continue reading

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 cool in an “isn’t that crazy”… Continue reading

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 billion dollars, most of that ($721.7 million) due to the income… Continue reading