Author Archives: afscme

Harvard Library Workers Resist Top-Down Restructuring and Austerity

Source: James Cersonsky, Labor Notes, February 12, 2013

With an endowment of $32 billion, Harvard is the wealthiest university in the world. Upon rebounding from the recession, the university is remodeling all its dorms, expanding its online course program, and constructing a new science center. Its library workers, meanwhile, have gotten the short end of the stick.

Workers beat back threatened mass layoffs last spring, but are now enduring the consolidation of their work in a new “shared services” model that translates into bigger workloads and fragmented work relationships. Now, along with the rest of Harvard’s clerical and technical employees, library workers are mobilizing for a fair—and long-overdue—contract….

State and Local Government Credit Headwinds Persist

Source: Christopher Holmes, Government Finance Review, Vol. 29 no. 1, February 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Moody’s Investors Service’s credit outlook for state and local governments over the next year is negative on a backdrop of persistent budgetary challenges stemming from macroeconomic risks, federal budget cuts, and uncertainty pertaining to looming federal sequestration.

Best Practices Optimize Debt Management

Source: Jonas Biery and Eric Johansen, Government Finance Review, Vol. 29 no. 1, February 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The GFOA’s 22 best practices on nearly all aspects of debt management provide a helpful resource for helping finance officers explain, document, and defend their debt-related decisions and recommendations to elected officials, staff, and the taxpayers and ratepayers they serve.

Striking it Richer: The Evolution of Top Incomes in the United States (Updated with 2011 estimates)

Source: Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Department of Economics, January 23, 2013

…From 2009 to 2011, average real income per family grew modestly by 1.7% (Table 1) but the gains were very uneven. Top 1% incomes grew by 11.2% while bottom 99% incomes shrunk by 0.4%. Hence, the top 1% captured 121% of the income gains in the first two years of the recovery. From 2009 to 2010, top 1% grew fast and then stagnated from 2010 to 2011. Bottom 99% stagnated both from 2009 to 2010 and from 2010 to 2011. In 2012, top 1% income will likely surge, due to booming stock-prices, as well as re-timing of income to avoid the higher 2013 top tax rates. Bottom 99% will likely grow much more modestly than top 1% incomes from 2011 to 2012….
See also:
The One Percent Gobbled Up the Recovery, Too / In fact, it put the 99 percent back in recession
Source: Timothy Noah, New Republic, February 12, 2013

20 Facts about U.S. Poverty and Inequality that Everyone Should Know
Source: Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality (CPI), 2011

Recession Trends

Source: Russell Sage Foundation and the Center on Poverty and Inequality, 2013

The ongoing economic downturn is the worst of the postwar period. It bears some similarity, at least as regards origins, to the economic catastrophe of the Great Depression, and it may well have similarly far-reaching economic and social consequences. The purpose of the Recession Trends website, which is a collaboration between the Russell Sage Foundation and the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, is to monitor and report on such economic and social effects. We do so by offering two main resources:

Recession Briefs: We offer 16 up-to-date Recession Briefs, each written by the top authority in the field, that document the effects of the downturn on wealth, consumption, the labor market, housing, poverty, the safety net, health, education, crime, attitudes, and a variety of other key domains. If you want the latest and best evidence on the effects of the downturn, click here to explore our Recession Briefs.

Graphing Utility: Have you ever wondered where to go to get the best and latest trend data on the social effects of the downturn? It’s here! We offer a simple-to-use graphing utility that provides customizable graphs on the key trends in each of our 16 domains. It’s the most comprehensive compilation of trend data available on the social consequences of the downturn. Click here to check out our Graphing Utility.

But that’s not all. We also offer a host of other resources for journalists, scholars, and anyone else interested in the social and economic effects of the downturn. We offer a series of recession-relevant podcasts, narrated by the inimitable Diantha Parker, on such topics as the destruction of household wealth, the growing number of disconnected youth, the effects of the downturn on politics, the big chill in consumer spending, the downturn in charitable giving, and much more. We also offer a clearinghouse of relevant research projects, working papers, and research summaries.

Nebraska Department of Revenue: An Examination of Nebraska Advantage Tax Incentive Programs

Source: Martha Carter, Kathryn Gudmunson, Clarence Mabin, Stephanie Meese, Performance Audit Committee, Nebraska Legislature, Committee Report, Vol. 18, No. 1, February 2013

From the press release:
A performance audit of four business tax incentive programs found that the goals Nebraska legislators stated for the incentives were too vague to permit useful evaluations of the programs, according to a report released Monday by the Legislative Performance Audit Committee. Businesses that qualified for incentives under the Nebraska Advantage Act—the major program of the four reviewed—used nearly $76 million in tax refunds and credits between 2008 and 2011, and earned as much or more in additional tax credits that had not yet been used, according to the report. Yet, whether these amounts, or key data from any of the other three programs, mean that the incentives are doing “’enough’” or that program costs are “’appropriate’” cannot be judged….

The audit also found that:
• The estimated cost-per-job for jobs created under the centerpiece Nebraska Advantage Act ranged from $42,747, considering only compensation tax credits, to $234,568 considering all earned benefits except the property tax exemption….
Nebraska spends up to $235,000 per job in tax incentives, audit report says
Source: Deena Winter, Nebraska Watchdog, February 11, 2013