The Economic Impact of Losing the Full Deductibility of State and Local Taxes in New York State

Source: Rockefeller Institute of Government and New York State Division of the Budget, May 14, 2020

From the summary:
Key findings are as follows:

  • The enactment of the cap on the SALT deduction reduces income available to New Yorkers. Each $1 reduction in personal income reduced total economic output in the state by $1.17.
  • If the 2017 SALT cap were eliminated, New York State’s economy would support 107,000 additional full-time jobs annually, on average, in the first seven years (2018–24). Most of the additional jobs would have been created in New York City (55,000) and the greater New York City metro area (45,000) compared with the rest of the state (8,000).
  • The employment losses are largest in the services, construction, and trade (wholesale and retail) sectors.
  • New York’s population would be 104,000 higher, on average, if the SALT cap were eliminated.
  • Total economic activity lost as a result of the SALT cap ranges from $14.4 billion to $24.5 billion annually depending on the methodological approach used for analysis.
  • Because housing prices and incomes are higher in New York City and the greater New York City metro area, these areas pay more in property and state income taxes, and take higher itemized deductions on their Federal taxes. As a result of the SALT cap, housing prices decline by 0.9 percent in New York City, 1.5 percent in the greater New York City metro area, and 0.2 percent in the rest of state on average in the first seven years.
  • The states that are most affected by the limit of the SALT deduction are those that annually contribute more to the Federal budget than they receive in program expenditures.
  • In 2018, New York ranked worst in the nation for its balance of payments, and bears the second largest increased burden as a result of the SALT deduction.

Takeaways from the Rockefeller Institute’s Webinar on Public Sector Management Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

Source: Joseph Popcun, Rockefeller Institute of Government blog, September 24, 2020

On September 10, 2020, the Rockefeller Institute of Government hosted a webinar with senior leaders from state and local government who reflected on the management challenges and opportunities that arose during the response to—and ongoing recovery from—the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The goal of the conversation was to understand how the public sector rapidly adopted new policies and adapted operations to meet new demands, particularly in support of a workforce that was able to work remotely to deliver essential services to constituents virtually. Based on their experiences over the past six months, panelists informed the audience of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers about dramatic changes to the public sector landscape—changes that may be features of the “new normal” for months and years to come.

This post explores some of the key themes that the panelists shared about how government was, and can continue to be, reimagined to ensure accessibility and continuity of services, as well as to attract and retain a workforce that makes government work for the people. The panelists discussed the “nuts and bolts” of how specific agencies devised new management approaches, leveraged remote work options, deployed public health and safety precautions for essential in-person work, and identified ways to improve resiliency and ensure continuity of their operations. These lessons are an invaluable resource to state and local governments throughout the United States as they continue to confront the challenges of COVID-19 and face a potential resurgence of viral transmission within their communities.

Framework for COVID-19 Recovery Strategies for States Facing Historic Budget Shortfalls

Source: Council of State Governments (CSG), July 2020

From the summary:
States plan for unanticipated events in the development of state budgets, but nothing could have prepared states for the shock the COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting on revenue and expenditures in such a short period of time. Based on the latest state-by-state estimates, states face an estimated $169-253 billion shortfall for the combined fiscal years ending in 2020 and 2021.

The Council of State Governments (CSG), with research and analysis support from accounting firm KPMG LLP, examined near-term budget impacts, the economic risk of ongoing pandemic effects and shutdowns, the resiliency of states to respond and strategies for fiscal recovery. CSG released its findings in the report, “COVID-19: Fiscal Impact to States and Strategies for Recovery.

Trump Labor Board Upends Special Status of Union Stewards

Source: Robert M. Schwartz, Labor Notes, September 9, 2020

And you thought it couldn’t get any worse!

On July 21 the Trump-appointed National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) eliminated the special legal protections enjoyed by union grievance handlers for the past 70 years. In the interest of promoting workplace “civility,” the Board announced that employers will no longer be restrained from disciplining or discharging stewards or officers who use profanity or engage in other “abusive” actions in violation of an employer’s enforced code of conduct, even when these actions happen in the course of heated meetings with management.

The new decision, known as General Motors, overrules scores of NLRB rulings permitting grievance representatives to engage in “zealous” advocacy.

The COVID crisis in community colleges — what does the data say?

Source: Kent Phillippe, Community College Daily, September 7, 2020

The novel coronavirus has affected all aspects of society and the economy. But what do the data say about the impact of the pandemic on community colleges?

Getting timely and reliable data on two-year colleges is challenging. Many of the key metrics are not systematically collected nor reported nationally. This article will look at some of the available data to get a sense of the effects of COVID-19 on this sector of higher education.

How States Can Manage the Challenges of Paying for Natural Disasters

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts, Issue Brief, September 16, 2020

From wildfires in the West to hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and along the Eastern Seaboard, natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe throughout the United States. Ensuring that public funding is available to respond to, recover from, mitigate against, and prepare for these events involves a complex relationship across all levels of government: federal, state, and local. The rising cost and frequency of disasters, as well as the fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, are putting pressure on budgets at all three levels, fueling debates that could affect the intergovernmental dynamics of the disaster funding system. This changing landscape has brought the critical but understudied role of states to the forefront.

In this context, research by The Pew Charitable Trusts has uncovered three actions that state policymakers can take to improve their understanding of the fiscal impact of natural disasters on state budgets and assess how resources might be better allocated for the long term:

Comprehensive tracking. States should track their spending on disasters across all of the agencies and disaster phases—response, recovery, mitigation, and preparedness.

Budgeting mechanism assessments. States should examine the budgeting methods they use to pay for disasters to determine if those approaches are meeting their needs.

Mitigation integration. States should consider how their spending and budgeting practices incorporate investments in disaster mitigation—efforts undertaken to reduce harm from future disasters; every mitigation dollar spent can save an average of $6 in post-disaster recovery costs.

Collective Action Is How We Shake Ourselves Free of Pandemic Isolation

Source: Barbara Madeloni, Labor Notes, September 30, 2020

The pandemic has made me see more clearly why it works when workers get together to solve problems collectively.

With no public health system to access and a disorganized, inept, and neglectful response from the government, individuals have been cast out alone to deal with the pandemic. Decisions about working—and risking one’s health and safety—have become individual.

School districts have surveyed parents and educators, asking what individuals wanted for themselves. Unions that simply let members fill out their surveys alone reinforced the message: you are on your own, do what is best for you.

Which is why the contrast when workers come together to talk is so pronounced and powerful right now.

Racism Is Not Enough: Minority Coalition Building in San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver

Source: Jae Yeon Kim, Studies in American Political Development, Volume 34, Issue 2, October 2020
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Scholars have long argued that the marginalized racial status shared by ethnic minority groups is a strong incentive for mobilization and coalition building in the United States. However, despite their members’ shared racial status as “Orientals,” different types of housing coalitions were formed in the Chinatowns of San Francisco, Seattle, and Vancouver during the 1960s and 1970s. Asian race-based coalitions appeared in San Francisco and Seattle, but not in Vancouver, where a cross-racial coalition was built between the Chinese and southern and eastern Europeans. Drawing on exogenous shocks and process tracing, this article explains how historical legacies—specifically, the political geography of settlement—shaped this divergence. These findings demonstrate how long-term historical analysis offers new insights into the study of minority coalition formation in the United States.

COVID-19 Economic Crisis: By State

Source: Michael EttlingerJordan Hensley, University of New Hampshire, Carsey School of Public Policy, September 18, 2020

KEY FINDINGS
Every state in the country is well down from its February employment levels. Thirty-nine states have lost over 5% of their jobs and the same number of states are still down more jobs than during the Great Recession.

Thirty-three states added fewer jobs in August than they did in July.

In every state lower wage industries have lost far more jobs than high wage industries.

Hard hit states with more COVID-19 cases in August saw worse job growth.

The Landmark Bostock Decision: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Bias in Employment Constitute Sex Discrimination under Federal Law

Source: Susan Bisom-Rapp, Thomas Jefferson School of Law Research Paper No. 3664374, Date Written: July 30, 2020

From the abstract:
On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States (Supreme Court or SCOTUS) issued a widely anticipated decision holding that the federal statutory ban on sex discrimination in employment includes a prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A landmark case in every sense of the term, Bostock v. Clayton County (Bostock) is important for a number of reasons. Besides being a significant victory for civil rights advocates, LGBTQIA people, and their allies, the 6-3 decision was notable for its discussion of an ascendant theory of statutory interpretation, the majority’s well-reasoned analysis of the principles of causation, and the fact that a conservative judicial appointee of President Donald Trump authored the majority opinion. The decision also underscores the value of a carefully constructed LGBTQIA rights litigation strategy that was decades in the making. Perhaps most importantly, Bostock lays the groundwork for nationwide protection of sexual minorities from discrimination in housing, education, health care, and public accommodations, among other areas.

Despite polls showing that a majority of Americans support civil rights for LGBTQIA people, reaction to the case, both for and against, has been strong. Strong partisan response is in part driven by the Trump administration’s agenda vis-à-vis the rights of sexual minorities. Indeed, one hallmark of Trumpism has been the continuous attack on civil rights advances for the LGBTQIA community, with a great deal of hostility aimed at transsexuals. Given the antipathy of the administration towards a vulnerable population, civil rights advocates see Bostock as a much needed course correction and cause for celebration. Cultural conservatives, on the other hand, argue that Bostock strikes a blow against religious freedom and constitutes usurpation by the Court of the federal legislative function. The fears of cultural conservatives, however, were likely assuaged somewhat by a pair of SCOTUS decisions, which were issued just three weeks after Bostock. While those cases may presage limitations on the reach of Bostock, and seem to prioritize religious freedom over other fundamental rights, this Dispatch cautions that the human right to be free of workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be safeguarded as the rule rather than the exception.