Recession Could Cause Large Increases In Poverty And Push Millions Into Deep Poverty – Stimulus Package Should Include Policies To Ameliorate Harshest Effects Of Downturn

Source: Sharon Parrott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, November 24, 2008

From the summary:
Like previous recessions, the current downturn is likely to cause significant increases both in the number of Americans who are poor and the number living in “deep poverty,” with incomes below half of the poverty line. Because this recession is likely to be deep and the government safety net for very poor families who lack jobs has weakened significantly in recent years, increases in deep poverty in this recession are likely to be severe. There are a series of steps that federal and state policymakers could take to soften the recession’s harshest impacts and limit the extent of the increases in deep poverty, destitution, and homelessness.

Deaths Due to Bloodborne Infections and Their Sequelae Among Health-Care Workers

Source: Sara E. Luckhaupt and Geoffrey M. Calvert, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Volume 51 Issue 11, November 2008
(subscription required)

From a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation summary:
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that health care workers are more likely to die from bloodborne infections and related illnesses than people working in other occupations, suggesting a need for efforts to prevent needlesticks and train health care workers in infection prevention, Reuters reports. For the study, which is published in the November issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, researchers from the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) analyzed data from the National Occupational Mortality Surveillance system between 1984 and 2004 on 248,550 deaths from HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The researchers also reviewed data on liver cancer and cirrhosis, both of which can be consequences of viral hepatitis.

Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers, 2008

The budget process is the arena in which a state determines public priorities by allocating financial resources among competing claims. The process used to develop the state budget has important implications on the final outcome. The authorities and restrictions on budget players influence each state’s ability to achieve policy and funding objectives within the budget. Budget Processes in the States highlights key budget issues, demonstrating the diversity in state budgeting practices.

Budget Processes in the States is divided into five chapters. The chapters are organized around particular topical areas: the budget cycle, budget requirements, budgeting tools, the budget document, and monitoring the budget. Each chapter begins with a brief summary of the tables.

This publication is updated periodically in an effort to keep abreast of changes states make in their budget processes and differences in how they implement and interpret budgeting conventions over time. Data for this report were collected from the fifty states during fiscal 2008. This edition of the report updates the 2002 edition.

Pension Collaboration: Strength in Numbers

Source: Danyelle Jann Guyatt, Rotman International Journal of Pension Management, Vol. 1, No. 1, Fall 2008

From the abstract:
Regulation is one way to minimize the harmful impact of financial markets dysfunction. This article argues that collaboration among financial market agents such as pension funds offers a powerful alternative and points to a growing number of successful examples of collaborative initiatives. Behind these real world examples are useful theories of cooperation and conventions. Together, the examples and theories lead to an eight-step framework for identifying and designing optimal collaborative initiatives among pension funds and their agents. The power of this framework is demonstrated by using it to address the specific problem of short-termism, which leads to a mismatch between the short horizon conventions of many investment agents and the long horizon needs of retirement savings owners. The framework helps shape carrot and stick collaboration strategies that will lengthen investment horizons to match savings owner needs.

Local Pension Plans As Well Funded As States’, According To Report

Source: American City & County, November 21, 2008

Locally administered pension plans are as well funded as state plans and have better track records for making their Annual Required Contributions (ARCs), according to the Washington-based Center for State and Local Government Excellence’s (CSLGE) eighth issue brief on retirement plans, released in October.

PTI offers citizen call center guide

Source: American City and County, November 18, 2008

The Washington-based Public Technology Institute (PTI) has released a guide to help local governments make the best use of citizen call centers. “Effective Technology and Management Practices for the Development and Implementation of Citizen Call Centers” covers the use of call manager telephony systems, CRM/work order systems and Web-based applications that can improve service delivery.

The guide presents an overview of call center implementations by five local governments and agencies: Corpus Christi, Texas; Greensboro, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; New York; and the New York City Housing Authority. It was developed as part of PTI’s Citizen-Engaged Community Designation program, which encourages more public participation in government performance management.

The New Squeeze: How a Perfect Storm of Bad Mortgages and Credit Card Debt Could Paralyze the Recovery

Source: Jose Garcia, Demos, November 13, 2008

A trend of tightened access to credit will only worsen–as banks and borrowers cope with the continued resetting of sup-prime adjustable rate mortgages, as the flow of available through lenders dwindles, and as financial institutions drastically change rates and credit requirements that will reduce access to vital home equity, small business and student loans. The report also examines the emerging problems of securitization in the credit card market.

The Winter Commission Report Revisited

Source: Supplement, Public Administration Review, Vol. 68 no. S1, December 2008
(subscription required)

From the introduction:
The featured authors cast considerable light on developments since the release of the National Commission on the State and Local Public Service’s report “Hard Truths/Tough Choices: An Agenda for State and Local Reform.” They note which of the various recommendations embedded in the report have taken root and which have not. They address the implications of Katrina and other new developments that the commission did not anticipate when we drafted our report. In sum, they provide a knowledge base that, in the spirit of the original commission, can help inform those committed to a new reform agenda.
Articles include:
State and Local Governance Fifteen Years Later: Enduring and New Challenges – Frank J. Thompson
Executive Orders and Administrative Control – Margaret R. Ferguson, Cynthia J. Bowling
Continuity and Change in Executive Leadership: Insights from the Perspectives of State Administrators – Brendan F. Burke, Chung-Lae Cho, Deil S. Wright
Strengthening Local Government Leadership and Performance: Reexamining and Updating the Winter Commission Goals – James H. Svara
Personnel Reform in the States: A Look at Progress Fifteen Years after the Winter Commission – Lloyd G. Nigro, J. Edward Kellough
State and Local Government Procurement and the Winter Commission – Matthew Potoski
From Measurement to Management: Breaking through the Barriers to State and Local Performance – Mary Bryna Sanger
The Evolution and Continuing Challenges of E-Governance – Sharon S. Dawes
Electronic Funds and Benefits Transfers, E-Government, and the Winter Commission – Maureen A. Pirog, Craig L. Johnson
State and Local Fiscal Sustainability: The Challenges – Jeffrey I. Chapman
The Challenge of Strengthening Nonprofits and Civil Society – Steven Rathgeb Smith
Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth: Challenges in Managing Philanthropic Support for Public Services – Charles Brecher, Oliver Wise
Learning from the States? Federalism and National Health Policy – Carol S. Weissert, Daniel Scheller
Federalism Revised: The Promise and Challenge of the No Child Left Behind Act -Kenneth K. Wong
Mega-Disasters and Federalism – Marc Landy

A Quiet Revolution or a Flashy Blip? The Real ID Act and U.S. National Identification System Reform

Source: Anna Ya Ni, Alfred Tat-Kei Ho, Public Administration Review, Vol. 68 no. 6, November-December 2008
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
In 2005, Congress passed the Real ID Act despite decades of stalemate in reforming the U.S. national ID system. Using John Kingdon’s policy streams framework, the authors examine the development of reform ideas, the opening of a policy window and the shift in the national mood after the 9/11 attacks, and the legislative tactics by the George W. Bush administration that led to the passage of the act. The analysis illustrates the significance of policy entrepreneurship in national crises but also raises questions about the permanency of policy reforms and the ethical responsibilities of public administrators in such times.