Morning News Update 04.02.09 – The Inaugural

Today’s State and Local News Update is a special one – it’s the inaugural. To give you a brief understanding of how this will work, every day circa 8:30 A.M eastern, CivSource will provide the six to ten most important state and local stories from around the country. Hyperlinks to the actual stories will be provided in a b.l.u.f. (bottom line up front) fashion. Please enjoy.

State and Local Morning News Update, 04.02.09

As has been the case for many months, the number one issue for states across the country is the economy.

Stateline.org reports that partnership among state governments will likely increase as more states look to trim the bottom line. One case of particular importance is a potentially $10 billion saving partnership between Minnesota and Wisconsin. Govs. Tim Pawlenty (R) of Minnesota and Jim Doyle (D) of Wisconsin this week unveiled a 130-page report (PDF) that lays out ways the two states could save by sharing bureaucracies. Some of the cost-saving measures include outsourcing Minnesota’s milk production to Wisconsin’s prison milk producers, sharing over sized truck permits and combining efforts to fight “gypsy moth and emerald ash borers,” Stateline reports. On a more serious note, though, Stateline says at least nine states have introduced proposals to encourage different units of government to share services to trim spending.

In Arizona, the state is struggling between its Department of Revenue’s bottom line and its thirst for delinquent taxpayers. The Arizona Republic is reporting today that a recent reduction in state tax auditors could be costing the state a lot more than the money it saved by firing people like G.E. Howard, who claims he generated as much as $1.2 million a year from delinquent taxpayers.

Ben Goddard has an interesting op-ed in the Capital Hill publication The Hill, where he argues a host of states’ tax increases are creating a groundswell of angry voters who may ultimately turn against the Obama Administration once state leaders start pointing to their bosses at the federal level.

Now, on to the Technology News from around the Web.

Nextgov.com is reporting that state law enforcement agencies are fed up with the feds hoarding all the information. In a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment hearing, law enforcement officials from around the country testified they need more money to keep their “fusion centers” viable. “Fusion centers need to have sustainable funding from the fed government,” Leroy Baca, sheriff of Los Angeles County, said. “We can’t do this on local dollars alone.”

Detroit is lossing $25 million a week according to revenue projections from two months ago and the Detroit News is raising their collective eyebrows over a proposed $7 million technology upgrade (read: install Microsoft 2007) on the state government’s 57,000 computers. Kurt Weiss, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Information Technology said, “It’s not a real popular thing, trying to come up with the extra money when we don’t have enough money in state government. But we can’t put state government at risk of not being able to do the business of state government.”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting again about local “scofflaws.” Police at Mt. Lebanon have been using Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) technology since 2001. And now, the city of Pittsburgh announced last week that they’ll be purchasing 48 fixed cameras with ALPR technology downtown with the help of a DHS grant.

That’s all for now – but stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of CivSource’s Morning New Update.

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