Author Archives: afscme

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

Aggregate Demand and State-Level Employment

Source: Atif Mian and Amir Sufi, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, FRBSF Economic Letter, 2013-04, February 11, 2013

What explains the sharp decline in U.S. employment from 2007 to 2009? Why has employment remained stubbornly low? Survey data from the National Federation of Independent Businesses show that the decline in state-level employment is strongly correlated with the increase in the percentage of businesses complaining about lack of demand. While business concerns about government regulation and taxes also rose steadily from 2008 to 2011, there is no evidence that job losses were larger in states where businesses were more worried about these factors.

‘To quarterback behind the scenes, third-party efforts’: the tobacco industry and the Tea Party

Source: Amanda Fallin, Rachel Grana, Stanton A Glantz, Tobacco Control, Published Online First 8 February 2013
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Background: The Tea Party, which gained prominence in the USA in 2009, advocates limited government and low taxes. Tea Party organisations, particularly Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, oppose smoke-free laws and tobacco taxes.

Methods: We used the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, the Wayback Machine, Google, LexisNexis, the Center for Media and Democracy and the Center for Responsive Politics ( to examine the tobacco companies’ connections to the Tea Party.

Results: Starting in the 1980s, tobacco companies worked to create the appearance of broad opposition to tobacco control policies by attempting to create a grassroots smokers’ rights movement. Simultaneously, they funded and worked through third-party groups, such as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the predecessor of AFP and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic and political agenda. There has been continuity of some key players, strategies and messages from these groups to Tea Party organisations. As of 2012, the Tea Party was beginning to spread internationally.

Conclusions: Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests. It is important for tobacco control advocates in the USA and internationally, to anticipate and counter Tea Party opposition to tobacco control policies and ensure that policymakers, the media and the public understand the longstanding connection between the tobacco industry, the Tea Party and its associated organisations.

National Health Care Expenses in the U.S. Civilian Noninstitutionalized Population, 2010

Source: Kelly Carper and Steven R. Machlin, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Statistical Brief #396, January 2013

This Statistical Brief presents estimates of health care expenses by type of service and distributions by payment sources for the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population in 2010. Health care expenses, as reported in this Brief, represent payments to hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers based on utilization information collected in the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Household Component and payment data collected in both the MEPS Household and Medical Provider Components. Expense estimates include amounts paid by individuals, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other payment sources. All differences between estimates discussed in the text are statistically significant at the 0.05 level.