Above the Fold 04.24.09

States: We need some extra ‘cabbage’ to cover next year’s rent…Missouri GOP wants to give $1 billion in birthday presents…Cities begin tracking stimulus funds on the Web, some not sure what Web is…States need money to handle the money…If your from Wisconsin and you owe taxes, you may consider Minnesota or Iowa for your banking needs…Google gets flack for their health records…

The National Conference of State Legislatures said that states are looking to cut about $100 billion from their collective budgets, while the National Governors Association thinks the number could be $230 billion through 2010. To offset revenue declines and to cover the expected budget gaps, states have issued hundreds of new and higher fees Stateline.org reports. States will also be more forceful in applying traffic tickets and other code violations in an effort to get extra money.

At a time when most state governments are really hurting for operating budgets, Missouri Republicans are looking to give the state a $1 billion tax break, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Instead of applying budget stabilization funds to projects designed to make the state government more streamlined and efficient through computer modernization and infrastructure improvements around the statehouse, some republicans want to give the stimulus funds back to Missouri citizens in the form of lower income taxes. “Over half the caucus has said we overspent and are acting like Washington D.C.,” Richard, R-Joplin, told reporters Thursday. “They don’t want to spend money on this feeding frenzy that went on.”

Some cities across the country have joined the effort to make their stimulus spending more available by setting up Web sites, Federal Computer Week reports. Chicago, Denver, Detroit, New York City and Reno, Nevada are among some of the cities that have begun to track stimulus dollars online. But according to Carolyn Coleman, director of federal relations for the National League of Cities, the quality of some of those sites is debatable. “There is a range of content on the recovery Web sites; some are dynamic, and some are static,” Coleman said.

Yesterday the GAO released a 303-page document on how the Office of Management and Budget are doing with regards to guidance for the Recovery Act. Among one of the pressing issues for the states is the need to pay for audits and transparency efforts. Government Executive says directions on where and how that money may be tapped will be in followup guidance, due out in May from OMB. The Associated Press also got VP Biden and Sen. Lieberman saying that administrative money is on the way, but it may be June before that happens.

Banks in Milwaukee may be forced to help find delinquent taxpayers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Banks and financial institutions would get a list of Wisconsin tax evaders and then the banks would have to look to see if they had account balances tax collectors could go after. The change could bring in additional $18 million over the next two years.

Google has been getting a lot of flack the last few days over a story in the Boston Globe. Someone at Beth Israel Deaconess found a flaw in how Google was putting together its Google Health electronic health records that has resulted in some bad noise for the company and other similar offerings such as Microsoft Health Vault. The Globe’s editorial board says, “Cutting corners by using insurance claims data should be no one’s idea of a best practice in medical information technology.” Forbe’s.com weighs in as well.

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