Author Archives: afscme

Child Care Affordability Is Out of Reach for Many Low-Income Hispanic Households

Source: Danielle A. Crosby, Julia L. Mendez, Amanda Barnes, National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families, October 2019

From the overview:
Hispanic households tend to have both high levels of parental employment and low levels of income, making access to good-quality child care a critical need for these families. Child care has the potential to serve as a two-generation investment strategy, with both short- and long- term economic and social benefits, by supporting parents’ ability to work and providing enrichment opportunities for children.

Affordability is a key factor shaping families’ access to care. Even when communities have an adequate supply of good-quality child care that meets parents’ and children’s needs and families are aware of these options, care remains inaccessible if costs are beyond household budgets. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that child care be considered affordable if family out-of-pocket costs are equivalent to 7 percent or less of total household income. Yet in every state in the nation, the average price of formal child care (e.g., centers and licensed or regulated family child care) exceeds this recommended benchmark of affordability.

To reduce financial barriers and support more equitable access, several federal and state programs provide low-income families with no- or low-cost early care and education (ECE) options, including Head Start, public pre-kindergarten, and subsidies through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). While the reach of these programs has expanded over the years, funding constraints mean that not all eligible children can be served. In the absence of such programs or when co-payments are high, low-income families are often priced out of the formal, licensed care settings that tend to be more stable and of higher quality than more informal arrangements.

Envisioning the Future of Home Care: Trends and Opportunities in Workforce Policy and Practice

Source: Kezia Scales, PHI, October 15, 2019

From the summary:
Envisioning the Future of Home Care: Trends and Opportunities in Workforce Policy and Practice
This report identifies opportunities for strengthening the home care workforce and improving home care access and quality. The report has three parts: Part I describes the current and projected home care landscape, focusing in turn on consumers, workers, and the sector, while Parts II and III begin building a vision for the future of home care services in the United States. The report culminates with recommendations for achieving this vision.

Key Takeaways
• Fifteen million adults living at home in the United States require some degree of personal assistance.
• Home care workers provide more paid support than any other segment of the HCBS workforce.
• What are the main factors impacting the home care delivery system and workforce in the United States?

Women in the Workplace 2019: Five years in, the path to equality is clear

Source: McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org, 2019

From the summary:
• Women are less likely to be hired and promoted to manager: For every 100 men promoted and hired to manager, only 72 women are promoted and hired.
• Men hold 62% of manager-level positions, while women hold just 38%. The number of women decreases at every subsequent level.
• One third of companies set gender representation targets for first-level manager roles, compared to 41% for senior levels of management.
• We can add 1 million more women to management in corporate America over the next five years if women are hired and promoted to manager at the same rates as men.
• Together, opportunity and fairness are the strongest predictors of employee satisfaction. Across demographic groups, employees universally value opportunity and fairness.
• Only 6 of the 323 companies have a full range of best practices in place to support inclusive and unbiased hiring and promotions.
• 1 in 4 women think their gender has played a role in missing out on a raise, promotion or chance to get ahead.
• Everyone benefits from opportunity and fairness. Diversity efforts are about ensuring employees of all genders, races, and backgrounds have access to the same opportunities.
• Black women and women with disabilities face more barriers to advancement and get less support than other groups of women.
• Women with disabilities face far more everyday discrimination like having their judgment questioned, being interrupted, or having their ideas co-opted.
• Lesbian women, bisexual women, and women with disabilities are far more likely than other women to hear demeaning remarks about themselves or others like them.
• Commitment to racial diversity is similar to commitment to gender diversity: 77% of companies, 59% of managers, and 56% of employees say it is a high priority. Challenging bias in the workplace

What New Orleans Can Teach Other Cities About Reducing Homelessness

Source: Teresa Wiltz, Stateline, October 15, 2019

….After Katrina, homelessness skyrocketed, from about 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in 2005 to nearly 12,000 in 2007, according to Unity of Greater New Orleans (Unity GNO), a nonprofit designated by the federal government to lead the city’s efforts to provide housing and services to the homeless.

But in 2011, the city launched an all-out offensive on homelessness, slashing the number of homeless residents by more than 80%, from close to 6,700 in 2011 to fewer than 1,200 in 2018. Factoring in the city’s efforts to reduce homelessness since 2007, the overall number has been slashed 90%…..

….City officials did it by fighting homelessness on a variety of fronts: They adopted a “housing first” policy: providing homes and services to New Orleans’ neediest, without requiring that they resolve mental health or substance abuse issues first. They expanded a health care clinic for the homeless and started conducting weekly check-ins to connect more people to counseling and other services.

They designated 200 housing vouchers for veterans and set aside 55 units for them in a converted convent. They successfully lobbied Congress for 3,000 extra housing vouchers in 2008. And last year, the city opened a 100-bed, “low-barrier” shelter where people don’t have to be sober to be admitted.

In tackling the problem, the city relied almost exclusively on federal funds, according to Andreanecia Morris, executive director of HousingNOLA, a partnership of city officials, homeless advocates and dozens of nonprofits and public and private organizations…..

Making Sense Of Incentives: Taming Business Incentives to Promote Prosperity

Source: Timothy J. Bartik, Upjohn Press, 2019

From the summary:
In recent months, “Foxconn” and “Amazon HQ2” brought immediacy to a costly and lingering subject: economic development incentives. State and local policymakers regularly dangle tax breaks and other financial incentives as lures to attract and sometimes retain businesses and the jobs they say they’ll create. Oversight of these programs is often weak or nonexistent, yet tens of billions of taxpayer dollars are spent each year on these efforts. In the cases of Foxconn and Amazon, billions were offered for each project. Are these incentives worth the price? How do we know? Are they effective at promoting job growth? Is there a better way to grow good-paying jobs in a local labor market?

These questions and more are answered in a new book by Timothy J. Bartik, Making Sense of Incentives: Taming Business Incentives to Promote Prosperity (Upjohn Press, 2019). The book is relatively brief, straightforward, nontechnical, and just what state and local policymakers need to read. It is also available as a free download.

Bartik begins by explaining the basics: What are economic development incentives? Who offers them? Why are they offered? What are the political and economic considerations involved? Why are incentives often wasteful? He then delves into the recent trends in business incentives, including how generous offers have become and whether they threaten needed public services (especially K–12 education), which types of firms tend to receive incentives, and whether needy areas tend to be targeted.

Policymakers often tout the multipliers associated with jobs created via business incentives—e.g., for every one job created another two jobs will appear as a result. But Bartik shows that these numbers are often specious, and why, while providing more realistic estimates.

Then, based on his decades of ground-breaking research, he explains what policymakers can do to improve the use of business incentives. Bartik doesn’t think incentives should be ruled out, just improved, and he explains how this can be achieved. And in his chapter on how to evaluate the success of incentive programs, he describes the program details that need to be considered, and how to use them, in order to judge whether the benefits of incentives exceed the costs.

Update: We Found a “Staggering” 281 Lobbyists Who’ve Worked in the Trump Administration

Source: David Mora, ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations, October 15, 2019

At the halfway mark of President Donald Trump’s first term, his administration has hired a lobbyist for every 14 political appointments made, welcoming a total of 281 lobbyists on board, a ProPublica and Columbia Journalism Investigations analysis shows. With a combination of weakened rules and loose enforcement easing the transition to government and back to K Street, Trump’s swamp is anything but drained. The number of lobbyists who have served in government jobs is four times more than the Obama administration had six years into office. And former lobbyists serving Trump are often involved in regulating the industries they worked for…..

How the First Forty Years of Circuit Precedent Got Title VII’s Sex Discrimination Provision Wrong

Source: Jessica A. Clarke, Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 19-32, Last revised: October 6, 2019

From the abstract:
The Supreme Court will soon decide whether, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is discrimination “because of sex” to fire an employee because of their sexual orientation or transgender identity. There’s a simple textual argument that it is: An employer cannot take action on the basis of an employee’s sexual orientation or transgender identity without considering the employee’s sex. But while this argument is simple, it was not one that federal courts adopted until recently. This has caused some judges to object that the simple argument must be inconsistent with the original meaning of Title VII. In the words of one Fifth Circuit judge, “If the first forty years of uniform circuit precedent nationwide somehow got the original understanding of Title VII wrong, no one has explained how.”

This Essay explains how the first forty years of circuit precedent got Title VII wrong. It demonstrates that, rather than relying on the statutory text, early appellate decisions relied on their era’s misunderstanding of LGBTQ identities as pathological, unnatural, and deviant. The errors of the early cases persisted as a result of stare decisis, until the old doctrine was rendered indefensible by changing social attitudes, the rise of textualism, and the Supreme Court’s recognition that Title VII forbids an employer from insisting that men or women conform to sex stereotypes. This account has important implications for the pending cases, as well as for social movements that seek to disable prejudice.

ProGov21 – a digital library of progressive local government policies and practices

Source: ProGov21, 2019

ProGov21 is a shared resource for local progressive policy makers and advocates. This is a fully searchable on-line library of innovative progressive laws and practices used throughout the country, along with toolkits for their effective communication and advocacy.

To search for anything, simply type in the search bar above. You can put in a particular name, a policy area of interest, and much more. You can target your search by applying any of the filters that will then appear on the left of the screen, including level of government, state, year, kind of document, or policy area.

ProGov21 is a fully searchable digital library of progressive local government policies and practices as well as assists in their effective communication and advocacy. ProGov21 is maintained and administered by COWS but its contents and library are user generated from a broad array of progressive organizations.

States’ Use of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Funding Increase

Source: Patti Banghart, Carlise King, Elizabeth Bedrick, Ashley Hirilall, Sarah Daily, Child Trends, October 2019

From the summary:
In 2018, Congress appropriated an increase of more than $2 billion to support states and territories in meeting the goals and requirements of the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). View the interactive maps and state profiles on this page to learn more about how states are using or planning to use this funding increase and the challenges they still face.

In 2014, Congress reauthorized the CCDBG, setting new standards around eligibility for child care subsidies, child care quality, health and safety, access to child care, and workforce supports for early childhood educators. The 2014 reauthorization law included policy changes requiring states to:
• Set provider payment rates to promote equal access to the child care market for parents receiving child care subsidies.
• Implement family-friendly eligibility policies that help families keep their subsidy without interruptions.
• Enhance health and safety practices for all CCDBG providers, including health and safety training and inspections and comprehensive background checks.
• Expand consumer education, which includes increasing online access to information on child development and other financial assistance programs and creating a hotline to report safety concerns.
• Increase the amounts of set-asides that states must spend toward supporting the quality and development of the child care workforce.
• Expand access to child care for vulnerable families and priority groups whose needs and characteristics limit the child care options currently available to them.

Related:
National Maps
1. Use of Federal CCDBG funding increase
2. Implementing specific reauthorization requirements
3. Challenges to implementing reauthorization goals and requirements
4. Increased state funding for child care assistance

State profiles
Information on how each state has used, or plans to use, increased federal funds.

Data notes (XLS) »

Reach for Yield by U.S. Public Pension Funds

Source: Lina Lu, Matt Pritsker, Andrei Zlate, Kenechukwu Anadu, James Bohn, Federal Reserve Banks, FEDS Working Paper No. 2019-048, Date Written: June 27, 2019

There are 2 versions of this paper

From the abstract:
This paper studies whether U.S. public pension funds reach for yield by taking more investment risk in a low interest rate environment. To study funds’ risk-taking behavior, we first present a simple theoretical model relating risk-taking to the level of risk-free rates, to their underfunding, and to the fiscal condition of their state sponsors. The theory identifies two distinct channels through which interest rates and other factors may affect risk-taking: by altering plans’ funding ratios, and by changing risk premia. The theory also shows the effect of state finances on funds’ risk-taking depends on incentives to shift risk to state debt holders. To study the determinants of risk-taking empirically, we create a new methodology for inferring funds’ risk from limited public information on their annual returns and portfolio weights for the interval 2002-2016. In order to better measure the extent of underfunding, we revalue funds’ liabilities using discount rate s that better reflect their risk. We find that funds on average took more risk when risk-free rates and funding ratios were lower, which is consistent with both the funding ratio and the risk-premia channels. Consistent with risk-shifting, we also find more risk-taking for funds affiliated with state or municipal sponsors with weaker public finances. We estimate that up to one-third of the funds’ total risk was related to underfunding and low interest rates at the end of our sample period.