Source: Tony Dutzik, Phineas Baxandall, Frontier Group and United States Public Interest Research Group, Spring 2013
From the summary:
The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over.
Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term. The unique combination of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom—from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation—no longer exists. Meanwhile, a new generation—the Millennials—is demanding a new American Dream less dependent on driving.
Transportation policy in the United States, however, remains stuck in the past. Official forecasts of future vehicle travel continue to assume steady increases in driving, despite the experience of the past decade. Those forecasts are used to justify spending vast sums on new and expanded highways, even as existing roads and bridges are neglected. Elements of a more balanced transportation system—from transit systems to bike lanes—lack crucial investment as powerful interests battle to maintain their piece of a shrinking transportation funding pie.
The time has come for America to hit the “reset” button on transportation policy—replacing the policy infrastructure of the Driving Boom years with a more efficient, flexible and nimble system that is better able to meet the transportation needs of the 21st century.
Source: J. Mijin Cha, Dēmos, May 2013
From the introduction:
…Since its adoption twenty years ago, the NVRA has successfully registered millions of eligible voters and led to important increases in voter registration among lower-income Americans. This brief highlights the key provisions in the act that were designed to expand voter registration opportunities, describes its impact on voter registration rates, and provides recommendations to ensure the act continues to expand voter registration opportunities for millions of Americans….
Source: Mike Maciag, Governing, Vol. 26 no. 7, April 2013
When a city’s economy depends on one employer, leaders will go to great lengths to make them happy. But to survive, towns need to attract new businesses….Some cities in similar positions live in constant fear that the big employer in town could pull up roots and take thousands of jobs with it. As a result, municipal leaders will go to great lengths to keep a major employer happy…. At root of the problem for many towns with a strong manufacturing base is a wage structure that creates an uncompetitive environment for new firms to grow, Erickcek says. Companies are hesitant to set up shop where another employer pays more for the same skills in a thin labor market, fearing they may simply become training grounds for larger businesses. …
….Some succeed by shedding industry labels and leveraging their specialties. Toledo is known as the “Glass City” because of its history of auto manufacturing, but it’s no longer just auto glass that’s buoying the Toledo economy. The area supports an increasing number of companies making glass for cellphones and other devices. First Solar Inc., for example, began manufacturing solar panels in Toledo in 2002 and now employs about 1,200 locally. In nearby Henry County, a Campbell Soup Company plant began producing beverages as sales of canned foods sank and the company’s other facilities laid off workers. Between 2009 and 2010, the area saw exports jump 17 percent, the nation’s third highest increase, according to a Brookings Institution study….
Source: College Board, 2012
Trends in College Pricing provides information on changes over time in undergraduate tuition and fees, room and board, and other estimated expenses related to attending colleges and universities. The report, which includes data through 2012-13 from the College Board’s Annual Survey of Colleges, reveals the wide variation in prices charged by institutions of different types and in different parts of the country. Of particular importance is the focus on the net prices students actually pay after taking grant aid into consideration. Data on institutional revenues and expenditures and on changing enrollment patterns over time supplement the data on prices to provide a clearer picture of the circumstances of students and the institutions in which they study.
Widespread concern about the high and rising price of college makes timely data on tuition increases in historical context particularly important. The increase in average published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities for the 2012-13 academic year is smaller than it has been in recent years — and below the average growth rate for the decade from 2002-03 to 2012-13.
But the news about what students actually pay is less encouraging. From 2008-09 to 2010-11, grant aid and tax benefits increased rapidly enough to cause the average net prices to decline, even in the face of tuition increases. Through unusually large increases in Pell Grants, grants for veterans, and federal tax credits, the federal government increased its role in financing higher education, relieving the burden on students.
In contrast, the average net price paid by full-time students enrolled in public four-year colleges increased measurably in 2012-13 for the second consecutive year. Average net price also increased for public two-year and private nonprofit four-year students in 2011-12 and 2012-13, after three years of decline…
Source: Melanie Evans, Modern Healthcare, May 11, 2013
As chief executive pay continues to draw heightened scrutiny in the wake of the Great Recession, compensation comparisons used by governing boards to justify the payouts to shareholders and regulators are coming under fire from critics. The practice, common in the healthcare sector, has drawn fire for years. Critics claim reliance on peer group analysis is flawed and artificially inflates salaries and bonuses. Their complaints are beginning to be heard, including by the healthcare sector. One of the largest publicly traded health systems has revised its executive compensation peer group, which considers the market in which companies must compete on pay to recruit and retain top talent. … The use of peer groups by board compensation committees in determining CEO pay has played a major role in driving those salaries upward, critics contend. Ira Kay, a compensation consultant and proponent of their use, says executives operate in a competitive market for top talent and incentives such as stock options, bonuses and generous retirement packages have successfully retained highly mobile executives….
Source: George I. Long, Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 136, No. 4, April 2013
From the abstract:
Union workers continue to receive higher wages than nonunion workers and have greater access to most employer-sponsored employee benefits; during the 2001–2011 period, the differences between union and nonunion benefit cost levels appear to have widened
Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that, on average, union workers receive larger wage increases than those of nonunion workers and generally earn higher wages and have greater access to most of the common employer-sponsored benefits as well. These trends appear to persist despite declining union membership. The National Compensation Survey (NCS) measures compensation levels and benefit provisions for many worker and industry characteristics. This article uses NCS data to examine some of the similarities and differences between union and nonunion compensation during the period from 2001 to 2011.
Source: Jonathan Walters, Governing, May 14, 2013
An initiative in six states seeks to stabilize the health and well-being of low-income families….
…Under the Work Support Strategies (WSS) initiative, a $25-million, multiyear program supported primarily by the Ford Foundation and administered by the Urban Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, six states — Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, North Carolina, Rhode Island and South Carolina — are working to design and test efficient and effective benefits systems that “improve the health and well-being of low-income families, stabilize their family and work lives, and enable them to progress in the workforce….”
States receive $250,000 in grants and access to a wide variety of free technical assistance under the initiative. The first progress report in this multiyear effort was released last month. It highlights key findings, benefits and accomplishments. Among the findings is that high-level executive buy-in is essential in implementing reforms….
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Traffic Safety Facts, DOT HS 811 746, April 2013
A school transportation-related crash is a crash which involves, either directly or indirectly, a school bus body vehicle, or a non-school bus functioning as a school bus, transporting children to or from school or school-related activities.
Since 2002 there were 355,834 fatal motor vehicle traffic crashes. Of those, 1,221 (0.34%) were classified as school transportation-related. Since 2002, 1,351 people have died in school transportation-related crashes—an average of 135 fatalities per year. Occupants of school transportation vehicles accounted for 7 percent of the fatalities, and nonoccupants (pedestrians, bicyclists, etc.) accounted for 21 percent of the fatalities. Most (72%) of the people who lost their lives in these crashes were occupants of other vehicles involved.
Since 2002, 123 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have died in school transportation-related crashes. Two-thirds (66%) were struck by school buses, 6 percent by vehicles functioning as school buses, and 28 percent by other vehicles involved in the crashes. There were 49 (40%) school-age pedestrians killed in school transportation-related crashes between the ages of 5 and 7…
Source: Alicia H. Munnell and Rebecca Cannon Fraenkel, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, State and Local Pension Plans,SLP#31, May 2013
The brief’s key findings are:
- State and local government employment dropped sharply during the Great Recession, unlike in previous recessions, and continues to decline even today.
- But this decline in public sector employment was less severe than that experienced by the private sector.
- Being a state/local worker reduced the probability of job loss by 2 percentage points, after controlling for education and other characteristics.
- While this relative job security is an attractive aspect of state/local employment, it is not enough to tip the balance of total compensation in favor of public workers.
Source: Center for State and Local Government Excellence, May 2013
From the summary:
This annual survey conducted by the Center and the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) finds that as local and state government workers head for the exits, human resource managers say their top concern is staff development.
- 33 percent report pay freezes, compared with 51 percent in 2012
- 18 percent report layoffs, compared with 28 percent in 2012
- 27 percent report hiring freezes, compared with 42 percent in 2012