Tag Archives: state and local government finance

Infrastructure: Census of Governments Data

Note:  this is an obsolete post based on the 2012 Census of Governments.  Read this one, based on the 2017, 2007 and 1997 Census of Governments instead.  


Or, for decades of data on infrastructure capital construction for all 50 states, read this.


Continuing with the older post as written years ago.

The United States, based on press reports, is heading for an infrastructure crisis that today’s politicians are desperate to ignore, in the hopes that their generation can avoid paying for it and pass on before the consequences hit those coming after. In the suburbs and Sunbelt the post-WWII infrastructure, often built with federal money redistributed from older cities, is reaching the point where substantial rehabilitation and replacement will be required. But no one wants to pay. In New York State, one sees this in the financial drama over the replacement of the 1954-built Tappan Zee Bridge, and the insistence that tolls be kept far lower on the new bridge than in the Port Authority Crossings to the south, or the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority crossings within New York City.

Even where the infrastructure has been maintained money has been borrowed for past maintenance, and the interest on that debt now consumes revenues that were supposed to be reserved for transportation. There is no real money for the next MTA Capital plan, most of which is maintenance. Almost all the money being paid into the New York State transportation trust fund for roads and bridges is going to past debts, as is all the money going in to the New Jersey transportation trust fund. Twenty years of selfishness by Generation Greed politicians has come home to roost, and the wolf is at the door. And yet their more recent replacements – New York City Mayor DeBlasio, New York State Governor Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Christie, President Obama, and whoever will follow the indicted and should-be indicted members of the state legislatures and Congress – want to do nothing but close their eyes and hope it goes away. It is in this depressing context that the following post will review data on Infrastructure revenues and expenditures from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Census of Governments.

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Aid for the Needy: Census of Government Data

It was only a couple of decades ago that aid for the needy, and resentment of that burden by everyone else, seemed to be the biggest issue in public policy. It was an issue that swept the Republicans into control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994. With New York City widely believed to be America’s welfare capital, it helped to make Republican George Pataki Governor of New York State that year, one year after Republican Rudy Giuliani became the Mayor of New York City. This anti-welfare reaction followed by three decades the “welfare rights” revolution, a brief period during which the needs and problems of the poor placed a greater claim on America’s then-growing public resources.

Today, however, public discussion of the needs, problems and costs of the poor seems to have essentially disappeared. So what is being spent on the needy, in New York City and other parts of New York State, when compared with other places today? This post uses Census of Governments data to find out.

Note:  this post, based on data from the 2012 Census of Governments, has been superceded by two posts based on data from the 2017 Census of Governments.  The new posts should be read instead.



The older post continues below.

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