New Census Bureau Data Reveal More Older Workers, Homeowners, Non-English Speakers

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, CB07-CN.10, September 12, 2007

The U.S. Census Bureau today released annual data on key social, economic and housing characteristics for the nation, states, and geographic areas with populations of 65,000 or more. Covering topics ranging from language to education, from family size to work commute, the American Community Survey (ACS) provides annual data that help decision makers and
planners better respond to change.
Direct to Tables

Federal Funding for Public Health Preparedness: Implications and Ongoing Issues for Local Health Departments

Source: National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), August 2007

Federal funding received by local health departments for all-hazards emergency preparedness fell 20 percent last year, according to a new report by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The report says that continued cuts in funding provided through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) threaten important, hard-won advances made in recent years in response planning to natural disasters, bio-terrorism events, emerging infectious diseases, and other public health emergencies.
See also:
National Preparedness Month

Blurring the Line Between Charities and Businesses

Source: C. Eugene Steuerle, Urban Institute, October 09, 2007

The Washington Post, October 8, 2007–Do you ever wonder why more conflicts seem to flare between charities and businesses? Just last year, the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee began investigating questions ranging from whether nonprofit hospitals were really charitable to whether corporate-size salaries for some foundation board members and charitable officers were excessive. In the District, fights continue over the pending sale of Greater Southeast Community Hospital–initially a nonprofit, now owned by a money-losing for-profit and seeking to sell itself to another for-profit. The deal depends on millions in local government subsidies.

Expanding The EITC For Childless Workers: An Important Step To Make Work Pay

Source: Aviva Aron-Dine and Arloc Sherman, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, October 10, 2007

From the summary:
A number of bills currently before Congress would expand the component of the Earned Income Tax Credit available to low-income working adults who are not raising minor children. The most recent congressional proposal (H.R. 2951), introduced by Representatives John Yarmuth and Keith Ellison (and cosponsored by seven other representatives), is the most expansive of these proposals. Legislation to expand the childless workers’ EITC also has been introduced this year by Senators Barack Obama and Evan Bayh, and by Senator John Kerry and Representative Bill Pascrell.

See also:
A Majority Of States With Income Taxes Have Enacted State Earned Income Tax Credits

Towers Perrin Health Care Cost Survey Projects That Average Annual Per-Employee Cost for 2008 Will Exceed $9,300

Source: Health Care Cost Survey, Towers Perrin, 2007

From the press release:

STAMFORD, CT, SEPTEMBER 24, 2007 — As employers across the United States get ready to unveil next year’s health plan changes — and the costs associated with them to America’s workers and retirees, new data from Towers Perrin indicate that the average corporate health benefit expenditure in 2008 will be $9,312 per employee — an increase of 7% over 2007.

According to Towers Perrin’s annual Health Care Cost Survey, which for nearly two decades has offered the industry’s most in-depth, prospective look at the upcoming year’s health care costs for employers, employees and retirees, the 7% growth rate projected for 2008 is among the lowest of the last five years. While the trend is holding steady for the broad respondent group, the survey shows a significant cost differential for companies that are actively — and effectively — managing program performance. Those “high-performing companies” will see annual per-employee costs of about $1,500 less than low performers in 2008, a significant advantage in today’s intensely competitive markets.

Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of rising costs continues to produce record-high numbers for employer-sponsored health plans and employee contributions, and the burden is felt most acutely by lower-wage workers and those who retire before becoming eligible for Medicare.

See also:
2007 Health Care Cost Survey

State Child Care Assistance Policies 2007: Some Steps Forward, More Progress Needed

Source: Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center, Issue Brief, September 2007

The analysis, State Child Care Assistance Policies 2007: Some Steps Forward, More Progress Needed, compares child care assistance policies in 2007 to 2006 and 2001 in four key policy areas: reimbursement rates for providers, income eligibility, waiting lists for assistance and copayment requirements. States have made some progress since 2006 in the areas of income eligibility and waiting lists, the report found, but less progress was made in copayments, and almost no progress was made in reimbursement rates. Most states also continue to be behind where they were in 2001.

Workers’ Rites: What happens when an employee’s freedom of religion crosses paths with a company’s interests?

Source: Vadim Liberman, Conference Board Review Magazine, September/October 2007

From the press release:
What happens when an employee’s freedom of religion crosses paths with a company’s interests? A recent article in The Conference Board Review looks to answer this question. In “Workers’ Rites,” TCB Review explores how expression of religion in the workplace often challenges businesses to find appropriate solutions to employees’ requests.

“Obviously, you can’t fire someone just because her faith differs from yours,” writes associate editor Vadim Liberman. “But what happens when you face situations that aren’t so black and white-when the beliefs and practices of customers and co-workers come into play, not to mention the intricacies of employment law?” As religion increasingly collides with corporate policies and practices, companies are asking what is and isn’t permissible behavior — for workers and for themselves.

Last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 2,541 claims of religious discrimination in the workplace — almost 50 percent more than a decade ago. And according to the New York-based Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, 66 percent of employees report “evidence of religious bias at work.”

Looking at the each state’s pay for its governor and coaches

Source: Kansas City Star, August 26, 2007
(subscription required)

Alaska is the only state that pays its governor more money than its highest-paid coach. Of course, Alaska doesn’t have college football.

In most states, the top-ranking official is paid significantly less. Here is a list of each state’s governor and his or her salary (GOV), the highest-paid coach from a state-funded school (HPC) and the highest-paid football coach (HPFC), if he’s not his state’s highest-paid coach overall.

Health Insurance Premiums Rise 6.1 Percent In 2007, Less Rapidly than in Recent Years but Still Faster than Wages and Inflation

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation, and the Health Research and Educational Trust, 2007

From the abstract:
Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose an average of 6.1 percent in 2007, less than the 7.7 percent increase reported last year but still higher than the increase in workers’ wages or the overall inflation rate, according to the 2007 Employer Health Benefits Survey released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust. Premiums are up 78% over the last six years, with the average family premium now reaching $12,106. The study also finds modest enrollment in consumer-driven health plans among workers.

See also:
Press release
Summary of findings
Chart pack