Category Archives: Economy

Older industrial cities are key to addressing rising regional inequality

Source: Alan Berube and Cecile Murray, Brookings Institution, April 23, 2018

The United States is about to enter its 10th year of economic expansion, dating back to the end of the Great Recession in June 2009. Job growth is robust, the unemployment rate is low, and median household income is at an all-time high.

Yet there remains a strong sense, punctuated by the results of the 2016 presidential election, that many parts of the country have been left behind in the rising tide.

Regional inequality is on the rise
The evidence backs this up. Almost four in five urban areas nationwide had household incomes in 2016 at least 5 percent lower than their levels in 1999. Many of the hardest-hit communities were small to mid-sized areas throughout the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast still feeling the effects of long-run industrial decline…..

Economic Development Tax Incentives Evaluation Act: Evaluation of “Motion Picture Production Tax Credits” – Tax Years 2013 through 2015

Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of Revenue Analysis, March 16, 2018

Part I: Introduction

Pursuant to Rhode Island General Laws § 44-48.2-4, titled Rhode Island Economic Development Tax Incentives Evaluation Act of 2013, the Chief of the Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA) is required to produce, in consultation with the Director of the Economic Development Corporation, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and the Director of the Department of Labor and Training, a report that contains analyses of economic development tax incentives as listed in R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-48.2-3(1). According to R.I. Gen. Laws § 44-48.2-4(1), the report “[s]hall be completed at least once between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2017, and no less than once every three (3) years thereafter”. ….

Part II: Benchmarking Motion Picture Activity in Rhode Island, Selected Comparison States, and Nationwide

An understanding of current and historical motion picture production activity in Rhode Island as well as in comparison states and the nation provides context to the economic environment in which the MPPTC program operates. First, the benchmarking analysis contained within this part presents information on the availability of tax benefits targeting the motion picture industry in Rhode Island and in comparison states. Next, this part presents data highlighting current levels and long-term trends in motion picture production activity and employment and evaluate Rhode Island’s relative performance and on key economic indices.

ORA focused its investigation of motion picture activity, employment, and availability of tax incentives targeting motion picture production in four comparison states. The selected states are two neighbors, Massachusetts and Connecticut, in addition to two national leaders in motion picture production, New York and California. Additionally, this report includes selected comparisons to national data to allow the reader to consider the state-level data in the context of national levels, trends, and cycles. ….

Part III: Report Data Description

Part IV: Evaluation of the Economic Impact of the Tax Credit

Part V: Discussion and Recommendations

ORA Recommendations
Finding #1: The statutory goals of the MPPTC are poorly defined and performance measured against statutory objectives is relatively poor. ….
Finding #2: Current data reporting requirements lead to inconsistent and unreliable data on program performance. ….
Finding #3: MPPTC program fails to breakeven; program has negative return on investment. ….
Finding #4: Credit usage is low relative to the annual aggregate cap of $15.0 million, suggesting that the program is out-of-touch with the motion picture industry, and making revenue impacts difficult to predict. ….
Finding #5: MPPTC does contain a sunset provision, representing a best practice of tax incentive design. ….

Related:
Study: RI taxpayers lost $1.8 million a year on film tax credits
Source: Ted Nesi and Steve Nielsen, WPRI, April 16, 2018

State Study Finds RI Film/TV Incentives Generate Only 27 Cents For Every Dollar Spent
Source: Ian Donnis, Rhode Island Public Radio, April 18, 2018

A Macro Analysis of the Return on Investment of the Rhode Island Motion Picture Production Tax Credits
Source: State of Rhode Island, Office of Revenue Analysis, Discussion Paper, July 24, 2008

Infrastructure Reality Check

Source: Sarah Crane, Regional Financial Review, Volume 28 Number 7, March 2018
(subscription required)

This article assesses the magnitude of needed U.S. infrastructure spending and compares it to current proposals. Further, it assesses the multiplier effect of such spending and finds that it is stronger during a recession and the immediate recovery period when there is considerable idle resources in the economy.

Waiting — and Waiting– For Corporate Tax Cuts to Deliver Those Wage Hikes

Source: Manuel Madrid, American Prospect, April 13, 2018

Though if you’re a CEO or shareholder, the new tax cuts are the gift that keeps on giving. ….

…. It’s been nearly four months since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law, and the good times continue to roll for shareholders and company executives. Corporate profitability is well on its way to hitting decade-long highs, and CEO pay, coming off of a record year in 2017, will be the cause of much champagne-popping. But if the new tax bill, which showered corporate America with an estimated $68 billion in savings, has been a party for Wall Street, folks on Main Street—the supposed primary beneficiaries of the tax-cutting bonanza, as Republicans told it—have yet to receive their invitations.

A new online database launched by Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF), a broad coalition of more than 400 groups championing progressive tax reform, tracks how corporations have responded to the new law. The ATF website, entitled “Trump Tax Cut Truths,” contains information on more than 800 companies, including the amount of tax savings those companies received along with details on planned bonuses, pay raises, and stock buybacks. The information is sourced from news articles, press releases, public corporate filings, independent analysis, and ATF research. ….

Will Corporate Tax Cuts Result in Higher Wages for U.S. Workers?

Source: Gordon Gray and Matthew Gardner, HR Magazine, Vol. 63 no. 3, April 2018
(subscription required)

Two economists debate the issue.

Gordon Gray: Yes. The benefits of the 2017 tax bill are just beginning. ….
Gordon Gray is director of fiscal policy at the American Action Forum in Washington, D.C.

Matthew Gardner: No. Trickle-down tax breaks will have little effect. ….
Matthew Gardner is a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington, D.C.

The Economic Status of Women in the States

Source: Julie Anderson, Jennifer Clark, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Fact Sheet, IWPR# R532, March 2018

From the summary:
This Fact Sheet presents findings from analysis of the Employment & Earnings Index and Poverty & Opportunity Index of The Status of Women in the States series, a comprehensive project that presents and analyzes data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The state grades, rankings, and data provided on these two measures of women’s economic status provide critical information to identify areas of progress for women in states across the nation and pinpoint where additional improvements are still needed. The state-by-state grades are based on composite indices first developed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in 1996. For a complete discussion of data sources and methodology, and to find fact sheets on the economic status of women in each state, please visit the interactive Status of Women in the States website at statusofwomendata.org.

Related:
The Economic Status of Women in the U.S.: What Has Changed in the Last 20 – 40 Years
Source: Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, Presentation, March 28, 2018

The Real Cost of Luring Big Companies to Town

Source: Sarah Holder, City Lab, March 29, 2018

A new economic analysis suggests that when cities and states offer tax deals for large companies, public education suffers and incomes eventually fall.

Related:
Who Benefits From Economic Development Incentives? How Incentive Effects on Local Incomes and the Income Distribution Vary With Different Assumptions About Incentive Policy and the Local Economy
Source: Timothy Bartik, W.E. Upjohn Institute, 2018

From the abstract:
As state and local governments have assembled lavish incentive packages to lure business such as Foxconn and Amazon, many have questioned whether these incentives are a good deal. In a new report from the Upjohn Institute, Senior Economist Timothy Bartik shows that the typical incentive package has only modest benefits for local jobs and incomes. Carefully targeted incentives can provide much larger local benefits, but those that draw money from public services such as education can significantly harm local economies.

Policy Brief
Executive Summary

Does County Form of Government Impact Economic Growth and Development Trends? The Case of Four States

Source: Stephanie A. Pink-Harper, The American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 48 no. 3, April 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Counties have expanded the scope of their activities in the economic development process. However, limited research exists of the factors that influence economic growth and development trends of these unique communities. The primary focus of this case study analysis is to determine whether form of government has an impact on county economic growth and development trends while controlling for environmental context and demographic characteristics in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington. To empirically test the impact that county form of government and environmental factors have on local economic growth and development trends, ordinary least squares regression is used. The results of this study show that form of government has only a marginal impact on county economic growth and development trends. County environmental factors are found to have a more substantive impact on the economic growth and development trends of counties across these four states.