Government Technology

NewsWatch: Cities and Counties Lose Tax Money as Phone and Cable Use Decline

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Cities and Counties

June 22, 2011 By

Cities, Counties Lose Tax Money as Phone and Cable Use Declines

The local communications services tax -- which ranges from 2 percent to 5.2 percent -- generates hundreds of millions of dollars every year for Florida's cities and counties. In Tampa, where the tax is set at 5.2 percent, it pumps an average of about $25 million a year into the city's operating budget to pay for police, fire and other municipal services. But as consumers ditch cable and phone service for Internet-based technologies, some cities and counties say that once-dependable source of tax revenue is drying up. Tampa Bay Online

Obama and Jobs Lost to Technology

Milton Friedman was once taken to see a massive government project somewhere in Asia. Thousands of workers using shovels were building a canal. Friedman was puzzled. Why weren't there any excavators or any mechanized earth-moving equipment? A government official explained that using shovels created more jobs. Friedman's response: "Then why not use spoons instead of shovels?" That story came to mind last week when President Obama linked technology to job losses. Wall Street Journal

When Will Your City Recover? (Map)

Although the recession technically ended two years ago, 48 metro areas – including Detroit, Reno and Toledo, among others – won’t return to their pre-recession, peak employment levels until 2020 or beyond, giving credence to the idea of a “new normal” in many parts of the country. Governing

Recount Confirms One-Vote Victory

A recount Wednesday of all the ballots cast in a runoff for a seat on Sugar Land, Texas, City Council has ended with the same result: Attorney Amy Mitchell won by a single vote. After four hours of counting the ballots by hand, the vote stood at 791-790, the same that had been tallied after the June 11 runoff for the District 3 post. Houston Chronicle

ICMA Congratulates 2011 Annual Award Recipients

Five individuals and 10 programs were honored with ICMA's annual awards for 2011. Presentations will occur at the organizations September conference in Milwaukee, Wis. ICMA

Seoul, Korea, To Blanket The City With Free Wi-Fi

South Korea's capital city is already the best connected in the world, so it's not surprising that the local government has announced a $44 million project to bring free Wi-Fi Internet access to every outdoor space and street corner city-wide. All buses, taxis, and subway trains will be covered, too. Fast Company

All America Cities Named

The National Civic League announced 10 cities as winners of its 2011 All America Cities competition. To be named an All-America City each community must describe three projects that to address serious challenges they are facing. One project must be focused on young people. The cities and summaries of the projects are available online.

Government Job Cuts Hurt Cities

State and local payrolls have shrunk by an average of 23,000 jobs a month over the past three months, according to a study by the Brookings Institution. Thirteen of the 20 areas that suffered the most since the start of the nation's economic troubles lost government jobs after hitting their economic peaks. They include: Bridgeport, Conn.; Cleveland; Detroit; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Las Vegas; Minneapolis; New Orleans; North Port, Fla.; Palm Bay, Fla.; Phoenix; Riverside, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif., and Toledo, Ohio. CNN

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