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2013 Digital Inclusion Survey Results Published

July 28, 2014 Comments off

2013 Digital Inclusion Survey Results Published
Source: Institute of Museum and Library Services, American Library Association, Information Policy & Access Center (University of Maryland), International City/County Management Association

Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), and conducted by the American Library Association (ALA), the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland, and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), this study conducted a national survey of public libraries that explores the digital inclusion roles of public libraries in four key areas:

  • Public access technology infrastructure resources and capacity (e.g., public access workstations; broadband connectivity).
  • Digital content, services, and accessibility.
  • Digital literacy (including languages in which instruction is offered).
  • Domains-specific services and programs (civic engagement, education, health and wellness, and workforce/employment).

Based on a national survey conducted in Fall 2013, our analysis provides insights into how public libraries help build digitally inclusive communities. In particular, we offer multiple products, including:

  • Interactive mapping tools that combine digital inclusion survey and community-level data. The map enables libraries to better understand their community demographics, education and learning, economic/workforce, and health contexts along with the digital inclusion services that they provide. We have also developed a state view of the interactive mapping tool found on the individual state pages.
  • State pages that provide an interactive state-level mapping tool and selected summary data that compares states to national data.
  • Issue briefs on key topics such as broadband, employment, e-government, community access, digital literacy, and digital inclusion.
  • National report that analyzes data from the survey.
  • Executive summary that provides an overview of survey findings.

These reports and other survey-based products are based on data collected from public libraries between September and November 2013. It may well be the case that libraries have added capacity (e.g., public access computers, more broadband, space) and services/programs (e.g., health information, engagement, training classes) since then.

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Pension Funding Policy; New guide provides key facts about public pensions for elected officials

April 10, 2013 Comments off

Pension Funding Policy; New guide provides key facts about public pensions for elected officials
Source: International City/County Management Association

The “Big 7″ state and local government associations and the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) have released Pension Funding: A Guide for Local Officials to provide key facts about public pension plans and a brief overview of the issues that state and local officials should address. The guide explores why developing a pension funding policy is essential and offers guidelines to follow when developing that policy.

Facts You Should Know: 2012 Fact Sheet — State and Municipal Bankruptcy, Municipal Bonds, and State and Local Pensions

February 24, 2012 Comments off
Unintended Consequences.

The mere suggestion that Congress should enact preemptive authority for states to file for bankruptcy is pernicious because of its predictable consequences. Any federal law allowing states to declare bankruptcy would only serve to increase interest rates, rattle investors and markets, raise the costs for state government, create more volatility and uncertainty in financial markets, and erode state sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

States Versus Municipalities.

The bankruptcy conversation further demonstrates a basic misunderstanding about the function and operation of state and local governments. The mechanics of bankruptcy are inapplicable to a sovereign entity. Bankruptcy is not a legal option for states, as constitutionally recognized sovereigns, because states have taxing authority and constitutional or statutory requirements to balance budgets. Alternatively, bankruptcy may be an option for some municipalities under Title IX of the federal Bankruptcy Code because municipalities are legal corporations, not sovereign entities. Eligibility for Chapter IX relief is narrowly tailored by several factors. States determine whether their municipalities, as “political subdivisions, public agencies, or instrumentalities of the state,” may pursue this option. One key eligibility factor is that a municipality must be insolvent and unable to meet its obligations when they fall due. According to Moody’s Investor Service, 21 states and the District of Columbia have not passed laws on municipal bankruptcy while 28 states either authorize or provide conditional or limited Chapter IX filings. Currently, only Georgia and Puerto Rico legally prohibit municipalities from filing under Chapter IX.

Coping with Crisis: How are Local Governments Reinventing Themselves in the Wake of the Great Recession?

February 24, 2012 Comments off
As the economic recession deepens, the nation’s local governments have moved beyond a “business as usual” approach to cutting costs and improving efficiency. The premise for this paper is that America’s cities, towns, and counties are currently in the process of reinventing themselves now that the easy measures have been adopted. This paper examines the scope of strategies considered by local governments using keywords from daily ICMA News Briefings from April 15, 2009 to April 15, 2011. According to the results of the research:
  • The majority of proposals were aimed at cutting expenditures rather than raising revenue.
  • Elected officials are examining the provision of core local services, but remain reluctant to enter into collaborative arrangements with other jurisdictions or private service providers.
  • Most of the responses collected were conventional and incremental as opposed to bolder, innovative strategies, though this could change in the coming years.
Full Paper (PDF)
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