Rhode Island’s Remarkable Tax Credit Disclosure Report

Source: Citizens for Tax Justice, Tax Justice Digest, September 22, 2008

Last week, Rhode Island’s Department of Revenue Division of Taxation released a study detailing the tax credits and incentives that nearly 120 companies operating in Rhode Island received over the past year. The report is a result of recent disclosure legislation intended to reveal to the public and policymakers just how much money Rhode Island corporations receive. The release of the report is quite timely as lawmakers are coming to terms with a projected shortfall and may dip into the state’s rainy day fund. The disclosure legislation required the state “to annually report the names, address and amount of tax credits received during the previous fiscal year.”

State Child Care Assistance Policies 2008: Too Little Progress for Children and Families

Source: Karen Schulman, Helen Blank, National Women’s Law Center, Issue Brief, September 2008

The National Women’s Law Center’s new nationwide report reveals that states continue to fall short of providing low-income parents the support they need to obtain good-quality child care, despite modest gains in some areas.

This edition of our annual analysis, State Child Care Assistance Policies 2008: Too Little Progress for Children and Families, compares child care assistance policies in 2008 to 2007 and 2001 in four policy areas: income eligibility, waiting lists for assistance, copayment requirements, and reimbursement rates for providers. Some states have made progress since 2007, but most states continue to be behind where they were in 2001.

Wage Enforcement Can Be a Revenue Raiser for Strapped State Budgets

Source: Progressive States Network, Stateside Dispatch, September 22, 2008

One reason for this trend towards wage enforcement is that state governments lose billions of dollars in revenue each year by failing to enforce state wage laws. Instead of spending state money on costly, wasteful local enforcement of immigration laws, stepped up enforcement of wage laws will more than pay for itself. For example, a February 2007 report by Cornell University researchers estimated that 704,000 of the seven million private-sector workers in New York state were misclassified as independent contractors, costing the state $175 million in unemployment insurance taxes each year and undermining those workers’ rights. Another study by New York’s Fiscal Policy Institute estimated that due to off-the-book wage payment violations, the state was losing $26 million in unpaid income taxes in the construction industry alone.
See also:
Cornell University Institute for Labor Relations, The Cost of Worker Misclassification in New York State
California, 2007 Fraud Deterrence and Detection Activities report
2006 Fraud Deterrence and Detection Activities report
National Employment Law Project, Combating Independent Contractor Misclassification in the States

State Library Agencies: Fiscal Year 2006

Source: Barbara Holton, Patricia O’Shea, Cindy Sheckells, Suzanne Dorinski, and Michael Freeman, Institute of Museum and Library Services, November 2007

This report marks the first release of library statistics data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. It contains data on state library agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for state fiscal year (FY) 2006. The data were collected through the State Library Agencies (StLA) Survey, the product of a cooperative effort between the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS), the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the U.S. Census Bureau. This cooperative effort makes possible the 100 percent response rate achieved for this survey. The frame or source of the list of respondents for this survey is based on the list that COSLA maintains of state library agencies. The FY 2006 survey is the 13th in the StLA series. The data upon which this report is based are final.

California Governor Signs into Law New Whistleblower Protections for City and County Employees

Source: Whistleblower Law Blog, Employment Law Group, October 3, 2008

On September 26, 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a new whistleblower protection bill to extend whistleblower protections to city and county employees who report waste, fraud and abuse of government funds. The new law authorizes cities and counties to create and maintain whistleblower hotlines to receive calls from employees who have information regarding possible violations of state, federal or local statutes, rules or regulations. The new law also requires city and county auditors and controllers to maintain the confidentiality of a whistleblower’s identity throughout the investigation process. To read the bill, click here.

Museums and Libraries Engaging America’s Youth: Youth Practitioner’s Guide

Source: Mary Downs, Institute of Museum and Library Services, April 2008

Created for museum and library practitioners who are building, or wish to build, strong programs to reach and engage youth, this guide contains a variety of resources and references to critical works that have been gathered from the fields of youth and community development, education, and informal learning.

Projections of Education Statistics to 2017

Source: William J Hussar and Tabitha M. Bailey, National Center for Education Statistics, NCES 2008078, September 17, 2008

From the summary:
This publication provides projections for key education statistics. It includes statistics on enrollment, graduates, teachers, and expenditures in elementary and secondary schools, and enrollment and earned degrees conferred expenditures of degree-granting institutions. For the Nation, the tables, figures, and text contain data on enrollment, teachers, graduates, and expenditures for the past 14 years and projections to the year 2017. For the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the tables, figures, and text contain data on projections of public elementary and secondary enrollment and public high school graduates to the year 2017. In addition, the report includes a methodology section describing models and assumptions used to develop national and state-level projections.

The Unemployment Trend by State

Source: Emily Garr, Economic Policy Institute, Economic Snapshot, September 24, 2008

The national unemployment rate has risen to a five-year high of 6.1%, and many states are experiencing rates as high as 8.9%. This week’s Economic Snapshot features an interactive map showing the unemployment rate of each state in August, as well as the employment gains and losses incurred by each state since the economic downturn began in December 2007.