Author Archives: afscme

The Hidden Cost Of Offshore Tax Havens: State Budgets Under Pressure From Tax Loophole Abuse

Source: Jordan Schneider and Elizabeth Ridlington, Phineas Baxandall and Dan Smith, U.S. Pirg Education Fund, January 2013 
   
From the summary:
When U.S. corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government, it is an abuse of our tax system. Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets, infrastructure, educated workforce, and security, but they pay next to nothing for these benefits. Ultimately, taxpayers must pick up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increased national debt.

Tax havens are countries or jurisdictions with minimal or no taxes. Corporations and individuals shift earnings to financial institutions in these countries to reduce their U.S. income tax liability – costing the federal government $150 billion in lost revenues each year….

In 2011, states lost approximately $39.8 billion in tax revenues from corporations and wealthy individuals who sheltered money in foreign tax havens. Multinational corporations account for more than $26 billion of the lost tax revenue, and wealthy individuals account for the rest….
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Press Release

What are the Retirement Prospects of Middle-Class Americans?

Source: Barbara A. Butricia, Mikki D. Waid, AARP Public Policy Institute, January 2013

From the abstract:
Using The Urban Institute’s Dynamic Simulation of Income Model, Barbara Butrica and Mikki Waid project that workers today are less likely than their parents or grandparents to enjoy the living standards of their working years when they retire. Much of the projected decline is expected because health care costs are rising faster than wages. That is a central finding from this report from the Urban Institute and AARP’s Public Policy Institute, based on computer modeling of retirement prospects for middle-class workers under age 55 in 2012.
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Summary

Library return on investment: Defending the contingent valuation method for public benefits estimation

Source: Christopher R. McIntosh, Library & Information Science Research, Available online 29 January 2013
(subscription required)

Highlights:
► “Cost savings” approaches fail logically in benefits estimation.
► A learning design contingent valuation method (CVM) is more appropriate.
► The CVM likely leads to more conservative and consistent estimates.
► Evidence is provided to limit the usual concerns of the used methodology.
► Options to increase societal benefits from library services are discussed.

Measures of Retirement Benefit Adequacy: Which, Why, for Whom, and How Much?

Source: Vickie Bajtelsmit, Anna Rappaport, LeAndra Foster, Society of Actuaries, January 2013

From the summary:
The purpose of this study is to provide the basis for estimation of retirement income needs and adequacy. To that end, the researchers have developed a Monte Carlo simulation model of retirement cash flows incorporating a wide variety of risks and uncertainties faced by retirees, including longevity, inflation, investment, health, and long-term care. By varying assumptions, they compare outcomes based on decisions such as expense reduction, mortgage payoff, purchase of annuities and long-term care insurance, delayed and early retirement. They describe and justify the base case assumptions, explain the metrics used for reporting the simulation output, and summarize the alternative scenarios that are simulated. They also provide call -out boxes highlighting practical issues and key findings as well as a list of references that can be a handy source of resources on this topic.

The study describes three different approaches to measuring benefit adequacy from each stakeholder’s point of view as well as their limitations:
• Replacement Ratio – this is most often used by employers in not only designing their plans but also in comparing their plans to those of other employers. The study includes a discussion of the Aon /Georgia State Study, which is widely used and recognized in the U.S.
• Minimum Needs Measure – this is generally used by policymakers. The study uses the Elder Economic Security Index to outline national averages for various household types.
• Cash Flow Analysis – a detailed, personalized cash flow forecast is the best way for individuals to prepare for and manage their retirement needs.

Education Ranking Systems Are Based on Varying Measures of Success

Source: Laura Bornfreund, New America Foundation, Early Ed Watch blog, January 28, 2013

Three organizations recently released new education rankings of states. Education Week’s Quality Counts is a comprehensive analysis of states’ education policies and student outcomes, conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. New this year is a ranking report from StudentsFirst, under the leadership of former DC schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, which looks at how “reform-minded” states are, as defined by policies such as expanding the charter school sector and tying teacher and principal evaluation to student performance. The National Council on Teacher Quality’s State Teacher Policy Yearbook hones in on teacher preparation systems. An older, fourth report – the Foundation for Child Development’s Child Well-Being Index – puts all three new rankings in perspective, by taking a deep dive into a variety of factors that affect student learning, both within and outside of the classroom. …

Public Transportation and Its Impact in Indiana

Source: Ball State University, Center for Business and Economic Research, Janury 2013

Produced for the Indiana Transportation Association, this trio of studies examines options for public transit, methods of funding, and the impact of fixed-route bus transit in Indiana.
Article include:
Public Transportation in Indiana: An Analysis of Ridership Surveys by Dagney Faulk, Michael Hicks, Kevin Kroll
The Effect of Gasoline Prices on Public Bus Ridership in Indiana by Michael Hicks, Dagney Faulk
Fixed Route and Demand-Response Systems: Funding Methods, Benefits, and Costs in Indiana by Michael J. Hicks, Dagney Faulk, and Kevin Kroll

Reinforcing Regulatory Regimes: How States, Civil Society, and Codes of Conduct Promote Adherence to Global Labor Standards

Source: Michael W. Toffel, Jodi L. Short, and Melissa Ouellet, Harvard Business School Working Papers, HBS Working Paper Number: 13-045, November 2012

From the abstract:
In response to pressure from various stakeholders, many transnational businesses have developed codes of conduct and monitoring systems to ensure that working conditions in their supply chain factories meet global labor standards. Many observers have questioned whether these codes of conduct have any impact on working conditions or are merely a marketing tool to deflect criticism of valuable global brands. Using a proprietary dataset from one of the world’s largest social auditors, containing audit-level data for 31,915 audits of 14,922 establishments in 43 countries on behalf of 689 clients in 33 countries, we conduct one of the first large-scale comparative studies of adherence to labor codes of conduct to determine what combination of institutional conditions promotes compliance with the global labor standards embodied in codes. We find that these private transnational governance tools are most effective when they are embedded in states that have made binding domestic and international legal commitments to protect workers’ rights and that have high levels of press freedom and nongovernmental organization activity. Taken together, these findings suggest the importance of multiple, robust, overlapping, and reinforcing governance regimes to meaningful transnational regulation.

Municipal Equality Index

Source: Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign, ISBN 978-1-934765-26-5, 2012

From the abstract:
The Municipal Equality Index (MEI), the first ever rating system of LGBT inclusion in municipal law, finds that while many U.S. cities lag behind in protections for LGBT people, some of the most LGBT-friendly policies in the country have been innovated and implemented at the municipal level, including in states with laws that are unfriendly to the LGBT community.

The MEI rates cities based on 47 criteria falling under six broad categories: non-discrimination laws; relationship recognition; the municipality’s employment practices; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement; and municipal leadership. Key findings from the MEI create a snapshot of LGBT equality in 137 municipalities of varying sizes drawn from every state in the nation – these include the 50 state capitals, the 50 most populous cities in the country, and the 25 large, 25 mid-size, and 25 small municipalities with the highest proportion of same-sex couples. Seattle and other 100-point cities serve as shining examples of LGBT inclusivity, with excellent policies ranging from non-discrimination laws, equal employee benefits, and cutting-edge city services.
See also:
Full-length, detailed scorecards

Home Alone: Family Caregivers Providing Complex Chronic Care

Source: Susan C. Reinhard, Carol Levine, Sarah Samis, AARP Public Policy Institute, October 2012

From the summary:
This study challenges the common perception of family caregiving as a set of personal care and household chores that most adults already do or can easily master. Family caregivers have traditionally provided assistance with bathing, dressing, eating, and household tasks such as shopping and managing finances. While these remain critically important to the well-being of care recipients, the role of family caregivers has dramatically expanded to include performing medical/nursing tasks of the kind and complexity once only provided in hospitals.
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In Brief