Topic: Public Finance
News
Aug. 29, 2017

In April, the Indiana Supreme Court handed Kohl’s Corp. a victory when it agreed not to review a lowered property assessment that was awarded to one of Kohl’s stores because of the growing vacancy and dropping values of other shopping centers in its area.

The decision, which translated into a $219,000 refund for Kohl’s, was a sign of the drain to tax revenues resulting from the worsening retail real estate landscape for Howard County, the taxing jurisdiction, as well as other local governments throughout the country.

Retail sales and occupancy rates are falling in many parts of the country, partly due to oversupply of stores and competition with online retail. That has meant lower property values, lower tax collections and—in some cases—less to pay teachers and firefighters.

News
Aug. 27, 2017

Too many people go to too many locales to work, and, as housing prices have surged, many have moved farther way, which makes trains less practical, given the lack of a dominant job center. But in its desire to emulate places like New York, Los Angeles has spent some $15 billion trying to evolve into what some East Coast enthusiasts call the “next great transit city.”

The rail lines have earned Mayor Eric Garcetti almost endless plaudits from places like the New York Times. Yet, since 1990, transit’s work trip market share has dropped from 5.6 percent to 5.1 percent. MTA system ridership stands at least 15 percent below 1985 levels, when there was only bus service, and the population of Los Angeles County was about 20 percent lower. In some places, like Orange County, the fall has been even more precipitous, down 30 percent since 2008. It is no surprise, then, that, according to a recent USC study, the new lines have done little or nothing to lessen congestion.

Report

Crime in California, 2016 presents an overview of the criminal justice system in California. Current year statistics are presented for reported crimes, arrests, dispositions of adult felony arrests, adult probation, criminal justice personnel, citizens’ complaints against peace officers, domestic violence- related calls for assistance, and law enforcement officers killed or assaulted. In addition, statistics for preceding years are provided for historical context.

News
Aug. 25, 2017

Halfway through the new decade, California, widely seen as an irresistible force for the young and ambitious, is underperforming the state’s own demographic projections. Since 2010 the state’s population grew 5.3 percent from the 2010 census figure, 12 percent below the 6.1 percent increase projected by the California State Department of Finance. The population increased at below projected rates in all of the five metropolitan regions (combined statistical areas, or CSAs and metropolitan statistical areas MSAs, outside the CSAs) with more than 1,000,000 population, except in San Diego. 

News
Aug. 23, 2017

The state’s prison population has declined by more than one-fourth to comply with federal court orders, in part by diverting low-level felons into local jails via “realignment.”

Law enforcement officials and prosecutors generally opposed the new leniency, warning that putting fewer miscreants behind bars would inevitably increase crime. And the latest state crime report may point in that direction.

While property crimes such as burglary and car theft have continued to decline, down 1.9 percent between 2011 and 2016, violent crimes have spiked, up 7.4 percent during that period, with “aggravated assault” seeing the biggest jump.

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Nov. 17, 2017 / Andrew Khouri

Nov. 17, 2017 / The Editorial Board