Merton’s Winter Ball made £8,000 loss

first_imgMerton’s JCR and MCR are to cover the costs of last year’s Winter Ball, after it was announced that the event had made a loss of almost £8000.Oli Koo, Treasurer of the Merton Winter Ball, explained to the college at a general meeting that the losses were a result of problems with the ticketing system as well as communication issues amongst the organisers of the ball.The college also took a delivery of £6000 worth of Carlsberg beer the day after the ball, without the Treasurer’s knowledge. Incomplete budgets resulted in the Treasurer being unaware of required payments until after the ball. There were also additional problems with the ordering of champagne for guests.Speaking to Cherwell, Coo said, “It was a great pity that the ball ran a deficit, given all the effort and time committee members contributed towards its smooth running both in the run up to the event and on the night itself.”He added, “However, the two major factors which vitiated my attempts at accurate budgeting, highlighted in my ball report, were out of my hands”.The GM was told that confusion over the Ball’s refund policy made accounting difficult. Additionally, it was thought at first that more tickets had been sold than actually had been. This resulted in a £4000 hole in the budget.“I was told that we were legally obliged to refund all guests… This meant my budget was constantly fluctuating up to the day of the ball itself. An issue that was further exacerbated by the fact that we were still accepting payments on the day of the ball”, Koo explained.He further reported, “There was a technical glitch on the website. This meant that a significant number of unpaid ticket orders that exceeded the seven day payment window did not expire and were, therefore, counted as paid.“A secondary and related issue was that this glitch led to fewer sales than would otherwise have been possible; around week four, I had been told that we had sold out of tickets, whereas in fact there were many tickets that were available.” Chairman of the Ball Committee Tim Foot indicated that the lack of sponsorship was another contributing factor to the deficit in the budgets. “The lack of sponsorship meant that we were operating on a lower income, and with higher costs, than should have been the case,” he said.“Our Sponsorship Officer resigned at the start of Michaelmas term, at which point it was too late to seek further funds. We did negotiate discounts for our guests at Shepherd & Woodward and The Student White Tie Company, but this is the absolute minimum that could have been arranged, and sponsorship largely failed.”Foot went on to point out that committee members had instead gone to great lengths to make up for the dearth of commercial backing by negotiating discounts with suppliers instead.Other last minute and unforeseeable problems were remedied swiftly. When the company contracted to provide Dodgems for ball-goers was unable to deliver, Victorian carnival games were sought as a replacement.It was also suggested by the ball committee that the common rooms might recuperate significant funds from the ball’s headlining act. Crystal Fighters were contracted to play for a certain amount of time, but reportedly failed to fill the agreed time slot. The JCR may pursue legal action if the band declines to pay the £5000 which the ball organisers have calculated that the JCR is owed.“Whatever the outcome of the negotiations and potential court cases, I think it’s fairly safe to say Crystal Fighters won’t be coming back to Oxford in a hurry,” noted one second year. “But at least the money would go some way to cover the JCR’s costs though if we won”.The JCR and MCR are currently planning to split the costs equally.One first year historian noted that the JCR seemed to sympathise with the organisers. They added, “I think it would be a bit unfair to be too harsh on the ball organisers. The sponsorship was unfortunate and while some of the other hiccups were surely avoidable the committee had very little experience to draw upon – the previous ball organisers left them no information at all”.Plans to provide the next ball committee with more information have been drawn up.One undergraduate told Cherwell, “I think that Tim and co are forgiven despite everything. As long as the JCR still has enough funds to provide the free alcohol it does throughout the term, everyone will be happy.”last_img read more

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St Hugh’s JCR votes for “the alpacas this college deserves”

first_imgSt Hugh’s College JCR voted this week in favour of a motion entitled “The alpacas this college deserves,” which proposed to investigate the purchase of a college alpaca.The motion, which passed by 26 votes to four, followed from the Hugh’s MCR welfare reps organising visits by alpacas to the college.The motion stated: “Everyone in college at the time [of the visit] enjoyed the alpacas immensely, as evidenced by the number of Facebook posts and Instagram photos,” as well as noting that “alpacas are fluffy and cute and adorable and basically represent everything good in this world”.The motion supported the idea of a pet alpaca on student welfare grounds, as “seeing them on a daily basis would significantly increase student welfare”.The motion resolved to “mandate the JCR Committee to look into getting an alpaca as a college pet”, and “to look into the practical elements and care required for having an alpaca permanently on college”.The JCR Committee will report on their findings at the next JCR Meeting.Deborah Walnicki, the MCR Welfare Rep who organised the alpaca visit, told Cherwell: “We were inspired by an event that took place in Michaelmas term… we were able to bring four halter-trained alpacas for four hours.“The event brought together the MCR, JCR, and college staff in a unique way. Furthermore, studies have shown therapeutic benefits associated with spending time outdoors, as well as interacting with animals.”Many colleges already have college pets, ranging from cats and dogs to tortoises, including Regents Park College’s pet tortoise Emmanuelle, who recently celebrated her 114th birthday.Corpus Christi College even has a Facebook page entitled ‘The Corpus Christi College Tortoise’ which describes itself as ‘The official page of Foxe, the tortoise of Corpus Christi’.JCR President Ana Pavlova told Cherwell: “The St Hugh’s JCR passed a motion mandating the JCR Committee to look into the practical aspects of getting two alpacas for the college. The motion was proposed following an MCR-organised welfare event with four alpacas which prompted an alpacalypse of photos with the hashtag “#hughsalpacas” on social media.”Pavlova added: “The JCR believes that getting two alpacas to reside in St Hugh’s on a permanent basis would greatly improve student welfare and we also have some ideas involving expanding the range of college stash to include some alpaca-fur jumpers.”last_img read more

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Government announces student loan interest rate rises

first_imgStudents in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland will face interest rates on their loans of up to 6.3%, up from the current 6.1% for anyone who started studying after 2012.The change is a consequence of the increase in the retail price index (RPI) for last month to 3.3%, compared to 3.1% for the same month in 2017. The government links the interest rate on student loans to the RPI reading for March each year, plus 3%.However, the hike has seen renewed criticism for the methodology behind calculating the interest rates, and the student loan system more generally.Director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Paul Johnson, attacked the government’s use of the RPI on Twitter.Government should not link these interest rates (or anything else) to the RPI – a measure of inflation which is overstated, which has had national statistics status withdrawn, and which is so flawed that the National Statistician has advised it should not be used. https://t.co/cLJ7HSzbfA— Paul Johnson (@PJTheEconomist) April 18, 2018 Oxford SU told Cherwell: “Oxford SU is concerned about the effect that the rising interest rates will have our current, future and past students. Rising interest rates are particularly unmeritocratic as they penalise those who fail to pay off their student loans quickly, and will increase the number of graduates who cannot pay off their debt before the 30 years.“The rising interest rates are especially damaging to our current students, who will pay the higher rate of interest on their student loan whilst they study. Punitive interest rates are yet another consequence of the marketization of HE, and act as a reminder of the need to reverse the current government’s policy.”The National Union of Students (NUS) says that while the rise is small, it adds psychologically to the burden of debt for young people.NUS vice-president Amatey Doku said: “Interest rates at 6.3% represent an increase of 0.2 [percentage points], which, although a seemingly small degree, adds to the huge psychological burden that debt has on many students and graduates.“Absurdly high interest rates are only a small part of student debt problem – which already leaves students from disadvantaged backgrounds with up to £50,000 of debt, most of which is never paid off.“The current funding model continues to represent a poor deal for students, their families, and the taxpayer.”The government initiated a review of post-18 education earlier this year, which is due to conclude early next year. Ministers say the role of interest rates will be considered in the review.A spokesman for the Department for Education said: “This change in interest rate will make no impact on a borrowers’ monthly repayments and very few people are likely to be affected by the increase.“Once the loans are in repayment, only borrowers earning over £45,000 are charged the maximum rate. This ensures that they make a fair contribution to the system.”last_img read more

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Indiana House Democrats Propose School Safety Study Commission

first_imgBy Brynna SentelTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS—Following the Noblesville West Middle School shooting in late May, Indiana legislators began questioning what they should be doing to keep schools safe.Wednesday, Indiana House Minority Leader Terry Goodin, D-Austin, wrote a letter to Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma asking to add a permanent school safety commission to the roster of Interim Study Committees that review and propose legislation.House Minority Leader Terry Goodin, D-Austin. Photo by Quinn Fitzgerald, TheStatehouseFile.comIn the letter, Goodin recognized the work being done by Indiana Department of Education and the Secured School Safety Board to study the current state of school safety to make recommendations for improvements. But he said more people should work together and be involved.Adam Baker, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Education, said his team has not yet had a chance to review the letter. However, he said they are already making progress on improving school safety, which includes providing recommendations to Gov. Eric Holcomb and reviewing all district school safety plans.“I hope it’s a collaboration as far as trying to come up with the best policies for school safety,” Goodin said in an interview, stressing that everyone  affected should be involved, including parents, students and educators.Changes proposed will ultimately need to be considered by the Indiana General Assembly so lawmakers should be involved with the studies from the beginning, he said.“I think the legislature should have a say and actually have some input on what some of the best policies are,” Goodin said.Making sure the commission has people from different backgrounds on it will provide depth, he explained.“The number one goal is to make schools safer and that should be on top of everybody’s priority list,” Goodin said, “I think we are just not doing enough.”Bosma, R-Indianapolis, did not have a chance to review Goodin’s proposal to provide a comment.However, also on Wednesday, Bosma suggested lawmakers should review state statutes that require criminal defendants under age 13 be tried as juveniles. His comment followed the decision by Hamilton County prosecutors not to charge the Noblesville school shooter as an adult.“In light of the Noblesville West Middle School incident and the recent charges brought against the shooter, we are reviewing current state law in regards to juveniles being charged as adults,” Bosma said in a written statement.“Given the heinous acts that led to a teacher and student being seriously harmed, I think it’s important for us to take a thoughtful look at our criminal code and whether changes to the law are appropriate.”FOOTNOTE: Brynna Sentel is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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“READERS FORUM” AUGUST 9, 2019

first_imgTodays “Readers Poll’ question is: Do you feel that the Area Planning Commission should be reorganized?If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us at City-County [email protected] We hope that today’s “READERS FORUM” will provoke honest and open dialogue concerning issues that we, as responsible citizens of this community, need to address in a rational and responsible way.WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND TODAY? Footnote: City-County Observer Comment Policy. Be kind to people. Personal attacks or harassment will not be tolerated and shall be removed from our site.We understand that sometimes people don’t always agree and discussions may become a little heated.  The use of offensive language and insults against commenters shall not be tolerated and will be removed from our site.Any comments posted in this column do not represent the views or opinions of the City-County Observer, our media partners or advertise.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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City Council Meeting December 10, 2018

first_imgD.RESOLUTION C-2018-41 A Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Approving the 2019 Budget of the Downtown Evansville Economic Improvement District, Inc. Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver 12/10/2018 Notify: Joshua Armstrong, Downtown EID B.APPROVAL OF THE 2019 CITY COUNCIL MEETING SCHEDULE C.ORDINANCE F-2018-25 AMENDED An Ordinance of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Authorizing Transfers of Appropriations, Additional Appropriations and Repeal and Re-Appropriation of Funds for Various City Funds Sponsor(s): Weaver Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver 12/10/2018 Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver 12/10/2018 Notify: Russ Lloyd, Jr., City Controller R-2018-32 Attachment: XI.ADJOURNMENT IV.SPECIAL ORDERS OF THE DAY C.RESOLUTION C-2018-40 Adoption of the City of Evansville-Vanderburgh County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Sponsor(s): McGinn Discussion Led By: A.S.D. Chair Adams 12/10/2018 Notify: Marco DeLucio, ZWSW V.CONSENT AGENDA:  FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS R-2018-34 Attachment: A.ORDINANCE G-2018-32 An Ordinance Granting a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Operation of Taxicabs for the Year 2019 (PAST, LLC) Sponsor(s): Adams Discussion Led By: A.S.D. Chair Adams 12/10/2018 Notify: Bill Kramer, PAST, LLC IX.MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare E.ORDINANCE R-2018-34 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 1306, 1310 and 1320 SE Second Street Petitioner: Thomas J. Keith Owner: Rathbone LP Requested Change: R3 to C2 Ward: 4 Robinson Representative: Thomas J. Keith, Andy Easley Engineering, Inc. G-2018-32 Attachment: D.ORDINANCE R-2018-33 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 29, 31-33  and 35 Jefferson Street Petitioner: Evansville Brownfields Corp. Owner: Evansville Brownfields Corp. Requested Change: R2 to C2 Ward: 4 Robinson Representative: Kelley Coures, Department of Metropolitian Development I.INTRODUCTION B.ORDINANCE G-2018-33 An Ordinance Granting a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Operation of Taxicabs for the Year 2019 (Relaxi Taxi Co.) Sponsor(s): Adams Discussion Led By: A.S.D. Chair Adams 12/10/2018 Notify: Keith Kollker, Relaxi Taxi Co, LLC. C.ORDINANCE R-2018-32 An Ordinance to Rezone Certain Real Estate in the City of Evansville, State of Indiana, More Commonly Known as 1022 SE Second Street Petitioner: Evansville Brownfields Corp. Owner: Evansville Brownfields Corp. Requested Change: C4 to C2 Ward: 4 Robinson Representative: Kelley Coures, Department of Metropolitian Development VII.REGULAR AGENDA:  SECOND READING OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS TAX PHASE IN COMPLIANCE REPORTS Attachment: C.TAX PHASE-IN COMPLIANCE REPORTS:  Andrea Lendy, Growth Alliance G-2018-33 Attachment: City Council MeetingDECEMBER 10, 2018 at 5:30 P.M. at  the Civic CenterAGENDAcenter_img VIII.RESOLUTION DOCKET II.APPROVAL OF MEETING MEMORANDA F-2018-25 AMENDED Attachment: C-2018-39 AMENDED Attachment: III.REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS D.ADDITIONAL MISCELLANEOUS BUSINESS X.COMMITTEE REPORTS C-2018-41 Attachment: B.RESOLUTION C-2018-42 A Resolution of the Common Council of the City of Evansville Ratifying, Confirming, Authorizing and Approving an Agreement Between the City of Evansville and Fraternal Order of Police Evansville Lodge No. 73 Inc. January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2021 Sponsor(s): Elpers Discussion Led By: Finance Chair Weaver 12/17/2018 Notify: George Fithian, Administrative Services C-2018-42 Attachment: B.RESOLUTION C-2018-39 AMENDED A Resolution Approving an Agreement Concerning Legal Representation Sponsor(s): Elpers, Hayden, McGinn, Mercer, Mosby Discussion Led By: President Brinkmeyer 12/10/2018 Notify: Joshua Claybourn, City Council Attorney Agenda Attachment: R-2018-33 Attachment: A.THE NEXT MEETING of the Common Council will be Monday, December 17, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. 11-26-2018 MEMO Attachment: A.RESOLUTION C-2018-38 A Resolution Memorializing the 50th Anniversary of the Passage of the City of Evansville Open Housing Ordinance Sponsor(s): Robinson, Weaver Discussion Led By: President Brinkmeyer 12/10/2018 Notify: Diane Clement-Boyd, Human Relations Commission C-2018-40 Attachment: G-2018-34 Attachment: VI.COMMITTEE REPORTS A.ORDINANCE G-2018-34 An Ordinance Granting a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity for the Operation of Taxicabs for the Year 2019 (Dave’s Taxi Service) Sponsor(s): Adams Discussion Led By: A.S.D. Chair Adams 12/17/2018 Notify: David Goldblatt, Dave’s Taxi Service C-2018-38 Attachment: last_img read more

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Challenge to alcohol permit presents issue of first impression

first_imgJennifer Nelson for www.theindianalawyer.comA liquor store seeking to challenge the type of alcohol permit awarded to a Hamilton County specialty food store does not have standing to pursue judicial review under the Administrative Orders and Procedures Act, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled in a first impression case.21st Amendment Inc. objected at a hearing held by the Hamilton County Local Alcoholic Beverage Board in which Grapevine Cottage, a local specialty food shop that also sold alcohol, sought to renew and transfer its license. Grapevine holds a Type 115 grocery store alcoholic beverage permit; 21st Amendment has a Type 217 package store alcoholic beverage permit. It claimed most of Grapevine’s sales were in alcohol so it should have to hold a different permit and that granting Grapevine’s request would dilute 21st Amendment’s permit.21st Amendment claimed it had a statutory right to bring an action to abate the sale of alcohol that constitutes a nuisance. The Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission denied its petition to intervene, leading to the liquor store to file a verified petition for judicial review under AOPA. 21st Amendment claimed it had standing because it is a “permittee with a statutory right to abate a nuisance.” The commission filed a motion to dismiss, claiming 21st Amendment is barred from seeking judicial review under law, or lacks standing to do so. The trial court found the liquor store couldn’t seek to abate the public nuisance on a petition for judicial review and gave it 30 days to file a separate amended complaint on that issue.“At issue in this case is Indiana Code section 4-21.5-5-3(a)(3), which accords standing for judicial review if the party has ‘standing under a law applicable to the final agency action.’ While our courts have previously decided standing questions under the other subsections of the statute, it appears that our courts have not yet had occasion to address standing under Indiana Code section 4-21.5-5-3(a)(3),” Judge Patricia Riley wrote.“We agree with 21st Amendment to the extent that a party with ‘standing under a law applicable to the final agency action’ is not obligated to pursue relief under the separate statute; rather, judicial review under the AOPA is appropriate in those situations. I.C. § 4-21.5-5-3(a)(3). Here, however, we cannot say that the Commission’s issuance of an alcoholic beverage permit constitutes a final agency action to which the public nuisance laws apply,” she continued.“Rather, as the public nuisance statutes establish, it is the conduct of the permittee (i.e., Grapevine Cottage) or conduct otherwise carried on in premises where alcoholic beverages are kept/sold that may give rise to a public nuisance claim. See I.C. §§ 7.1-2-6-1; -2. As the alleged nuisance is not the result of the agency’s action, but rather the subsequent conduct of the permittee, 21st Amendment does not have standing under Indiana Code section 4-21.5-5-3(a)(3) of the AOPA. As the trial court found, 21st Amendment’s statutory right to abate and enjoin a public nuisance for improper alcohol sales must be achieved through a separate nuisance action.”The case is 21st Amendment, Inc. v. Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission, 49A05-1612-PL-2863. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Police Investigating Outside American Legion

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Police Investigating Outside American LegionAUGUST 28TH, 2017  CHELSEA KOERBLER EVANSVILLE, INDIANA One man is dead, three others are injured following an early morning shooting in Evansville.When Evansville Police arrived to the 1100 block of Chestnut Street shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday, they found one victim, Anthony Blaylock, laying on the side of the American Legion Building with multiple gunshot wounds. He was taken to Deaconess Hospital, where he died from his injuries.While police were still on scene investigating the shooting, they were told two other victims arrived at Deaconess Hospital, and another arrived at St. Vincent.Police are still investigating this incident.An autopsy on Blaylock is scheduled for today.last_img

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LAST CHANCE FOR OUR JUNE BIRTHDAY WINNERS TO COLLECT GIFT!

first_imgLAST CHANCE FOR WINNERS OF THE AUTUMN BARN FARMS POPCORN JUNE BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY DRAWINGWhen Chris Wintner and his wife, Kristy, settled in Evansville after leaving military service, he was disappointed to learn that Uncle Mark’s Popcorn had burned down and was not being rebuilt. Chris had always looked forward to his family sharing a tin of Uncle Mark’s popcorn during the holiday, the way he had done when he was younger. That gave the veteran an idea. He decided to build a business that would feature the same kind of high-quality gourmet popcorn that Uncle Mark’s had offered.That was in 2012. Now Chris and Kristy are the proud proprietors of Autumn Barn Farms Popcorn. They operate the business at 1442 N. Green River Rd. with the help of their two daughters. They offer 27 different gourmet flavors in three different sized bags and refillable tins that range from a half gallon to three-and-a half gallons. A discount is offered to weddings and parties of 50 or more. Chris offers an everyday discount of 10% to his fellow veterans and seniors.City-County Observer is proud to advertise all veteran-owned businesses, but we are particularly pleased to announce that Autumn Barn Farms Popcorn will be awarding 30 tins each month to lucky winners chosen randomly from those whose birthdays appear on our site for each month. Please send in names and birthdays of your friends and family members, so they can have a chance to win. Winners will receive a half gallon tin valued at $10, that can be refilled for $7. affWe will award 15 tins for this month and will announce 15 winners twice in July and the following months.The following Popcorn flavors available are: SWEETS: Kettle, Caramel,  Pina Colada, Cherry, Orange, Grape, Banana , Strawberry, Blueberry, Watermelon,  Cinnamon ,Tootie Frootie and Toffee.  SAVORY:  Butter, Ranch, Bbq. Chicago Mis, Cheddar Cheese, Bacon Cheddar, White Cheddar, Creamy Dill,  Siriraca, Buffalo Breach, Prizza,Honey Mustard and Chill.So go to Autumn Barn Popcorn Store and show your identity and tell them you won it in the CCO.They are::  Bob DeGraffenreid, Salome LaMarch, Steven Pirnat, Evelyn Maveety, Marcia Bivins, Tiffany Nunn Stepto, Robert Money, Nathan Bayne, China Phelps, Stan Levco, Jamie Fuchs, Joe Templeton, Breck Bitter, Chris Lantaff, and Melanie BozsaFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

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Why Taxing The Wealthy Can Be Trouble For States

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Why Taxing the Wealthy Can Be Trouble for States By Sophie Quinton As the gap between the rich and the poor widens, states are finding that taxing the incomes of the rich means living with unstable budgets.That’s because wealthy Americans are more likely to have investments in the stock market. When the market falls, so do their tax payments. Stock market turmoil can hurt state pension funds, too. But while it takes years for states to feel that impact, a dip in the markets — or a lackluster Wall Street bonus season — can create an immediate fiscal crisis.Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy announced budget cuts in September as the sputtering stock market lowered revenue predictions. State analysts now predict a more than $200 million deficit, and the Democratic governor is preparing to announce layoffs and program cuts. Last week, he cut payments to hospitals by $140 million.California is bracing for lower-than-expected revenue from capital gains this year, and economists have advised New York legislators to scale back their expectations for next year (New York’s fiscal year ends this month).Some states are adapting by tweaking their rainy day funds. Fundamentally, though, they’re grappling with a larger economic problem.Connecticut’s millionaires and billionaires file less than 1 percent of all residents’ tax returns but generate almost a third of the state’s personal income tax revenue, according to state records. In New York, the top 1 percent of taxpayers generate about 41 percent of income tax revenue.During a news conference last month, Malloy said that he’s long felt “nervous” about Connecticut’s tax receipts. “If you look at how we tax and how our income comes in, we are quite dependent on highest-income earners, and in many cases with passive income, to pay the tax bill.”Unpredictable MarketsState personal income tax revenue was three times more volatile during the 2000s than during the previous two decades, said Rick Mattoon, a senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. In a 2012 study, he found that the wild swings were driven by nonwage income, such as gains from the sale of stocks and real estate.While nonwage income typically makes up a small share of state budgets, the share is large enough in some states that unexpected shortfalls — or surpluses — can create multimillion dollar spending problems.States base their spending for each fiscal year on how much they expect to bring in that year from taxes and other sources. But because capital gains are swayed by the stock market, they’re very difficult to predict. That’s especially true this year: According to one analysis, the start of 2016 ranks as the third-most chaotic in the history of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.States can anticipate a couple of key events. Policy changes, for instance: many investors sold off assets in 2012 to avoid a looming federal tax increase. Or major public offerings: the year Facebook went public, California prepared for a capital gains bonanza as early investors and employees cashed in.But exactly how much these kinds of events generate depends on the whims of the market.Since 2010, Connecticut lawmakers have consistently overestimated or underestimated personal income tax proceeds — once by more than 11 percent — from payers with irregular incomes, a category that includes investors and some business owners, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis.Based on current receipts, that portion of income tax revenue is 4 percent below where it was last year, said Comptroller Kevin Lembo, “falling far short of the projections that were used to build the budget in the first place.”By the end of the year, the fiscal office estimates that tax payments from irregular earners will be 9.3 percent lower than was budgeted for this fiscal year. Income taxes withheld from salaried workers, a much more stable source of funds, are expected to be down 1.6 percent.Growing DependenceWhen wealth shifts away from salaried workers and toward the top 1 percent, market fluctuations have a bigger impact on personal income tax revenue.Connecticut has the widest gulf between high and low earners of any state, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank. Taxpayers in the top 1 percent of earners made about $2.7 million on average in 2012; the rest of the taxpayers averaged less than $53,000.Connecticut’s wealth — and capital gains — are concentrated in Fairfield County, home to bedroom communities for Wall Street financiers and most of the state’s 13 billionaires.Meanwhile, high-earning, salaried jobs in insurance and finance have dwindled and more workers are taking low-income jobs, Lembo said. His office’s March report on the state economy noted that Connecticut’s manufacturing sector, another middle-class mainstay, continues to shrink.Tax policy has further exposed some states to stock market risk, said E.J. McMahon of the New York-based Empire Center, a right-leaning think tank. New York moved its tax burden up the income scale in the 1990s, when it cut taxes for the middle class; and lawmakers keep extending a 2009 tax increase on wealthy earners, he said.States may be exposing themselves even further by failing to raise income taxes when the economy sours, and failing to lower them when the economy improves. Since the ’90s, states have left tax laws virtually unchanged despite economic swings, Mattoon found in his study.What Can States Do?States can make budgets more predictable by relying on more stable taxes, such as sales taxes. Seven states — Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming — refrain from taxing incomes at all. But by turning away from taxing the ultra-wealthy, states risk increasing the tax burdens on the middle class and the poor.Personal income tax payments comprise about half of Connecticut’s general fund revenue, according to the fiscal office there. Since 1991, Connecticut has taxed progressively — meaning that taxpayers in higher tax brackets face higher rates.Lembo said that progressive structure isn’t likely to change. Instead, last year’s budget requires the state to automatically deposit revenue that exceeds estimates into a rainy day fund, beginning in 2021. (The Pew Charitable Trusts, which also funds Stateline, lobbied for the legislation and has advised lawmakers in California and Minnesota on similar reforms.)McMahon argues that, rather than adjusting their rainy day funds, states should set aside capital gains and other volatile revenue sources for specific, one-time projects. That way they wouldn’t rely on the money to fund ongoing services.In any case, Connecticut’s rainy day fund reform isn’t helping the state now. And the drop in estimated payments from taxpayers with irregular incomes was so sudden this quarter that Republican lawmakers say something else must be going on.State Rep. Vincent Candelora, a supporter of the rainy day fund legislation, said he’s heard that millionaires are moving out of Connecticut to avoid the state’s high taxes, including the recently raised estate tax. “Many of our residents have homes in other states, so they’ll change residency to avoid the tax,” he said.The Hartford Courant speculated last week that a single man’s departure to Florida (net worth: $11.1 billion) worsened the state’s deficit.Other states haven’t reported a recent drop as sharp as Connecticut’s. Payments from irregular earners, however, were also lower than expected for both California and Massachusetts in January.New York will end its fiscal year with more income tax revenue from nonwage income than expected, according to Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2017 budget plan. But his budget director told lawmakers at a recent hearing that the state would likely feel the impact of the stock market’s gyrations next year — and that the market’s outlook wasn’t good.“There is broad agreement that New York state faces substantial risk given the nature of its revenue base,” said budget director Robert Mujica.Mujica warned of other forces that could weaken the economy, including the collapse of the energy sector and China’s economic slowdown. Right now, both those factors are driving uncertainty in the stock market. And that’s already enough to disrupt New York’s budget.last_img read more

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