Economics and Finance

Economics webcast

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, an increasing number of states, including several in the SLC region, are focused on increasing accountability and transparency in the disbursement of taxpayer dollars. Performance-based budgeting—which focuses on efficiency and effectiveness in outcomes—has emerged as a viable tool for states looking for an alternative to routinely funding government operations on a pro forma basis. This webinar provided an overview of performance-based budgeting and highlighted measures initiated in Oklahoma and Mississippi to implement this spending strategy.

 

CSG Midwest
With the adoption of Public Act 239 in the summer of 1972, lawmakers in Michigan sought to generate new revenues in support of the state’s public education system by embracing a mechanism with a storied past in American history — the public lottery. In doing so, the Wolverine State became the first in the Midwest to establish a modern state lottery, following the lead of a handful of northeastern states and helping to usher in a new wave of interest in state-sanctioned gambling across the entire country.
CSG Midwest
In 1970, when they gathered to create a new constitution for Illinois, convention delegates decided to take on a fiscal problem that had been worsening for years. Pension obligations were not being met, and as a result, the unfunded liabilities of governments in Illinois were rising at an alarming rate.
The delegates' response: Establish a new constitutional clause that would not only protect the pensions of public employers, but presumably convince government leaders to meet the funding obligations.
Forty-five years later, this 40-word clause — which says in part that accrued pension benefits “shall not be diminished or impaired” — looms larger than ever in Illinois politics. In May, the state Supreme Court struck down a 2013 law designed to shore up the nation's worst-funded pension system by providing savings of more than $100 billion over the next 30 years.
CSG Midwest
The future of some states' decades-old prevailing-wage laws is in doubt this year, with one repeal already passed in Indiana and similar proposals under consideration in Michigan and Wisconsin.
CSG Midwest
With $84 million set aside in the new state biennial budget as incentive, Indiana is challenging its cities to work more closely together on projects that make their part of the state a more attractive place to live and work. In emphasizing collaboration over competition, the Regional Cities Initiative marks a new approach to economic development in Indiana. But as Rep. Ed Clere notes, it seeks to address an old problem. “The biggest economic issue we’re trying to address is attracting talent by improving quality of place,” he says. “Population stagnation has been identified as a significant threat to Indiana’s economic growth.”

Rural communities in the South continue to face serious challenges in getting highly educated students to return home after college graduation. Research indicates that education may be a cause and effect for this rural “brain drain” phenomenon, and also the key to reversing the trend. Studies have shown that efforts to improve rural education contribute to rapid economic development in those areas, while a more educated community can serve as a catalyst for business expansion and increased civic engagement. This complimentary webinar, presented by CSG South/SLC, highlights the impact of education on rural development and examines initiatives in rural communities to entice educated former residents to return and invest in their hometowns.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of Rural America’s death are greatly exaggerated.” In fact, at least four major trends are helping improve the future of rural America: broadband, telemedicine, job training and new methods to attract young people to farming all offer hope.

Forty-five states levy a general statewide sales tax, with rates ranging from 2.9 to 7.5 cents $1 as of Jan. 1, 2015. Over the past decade, sales tax rates have remained relatively stable, with few states making significant changes. Among the states that levy a sales tax, the average rate was 5.64 percent in 2015, up from 5.35 percent in 2005.

Forty-five states levy a general statewide sales tax, with rates ranging from 2.9 to 7.5 cents $1 as of Jan. 1, 2015. Over the past decade, sales tax rates have remained relatively stable, with few states making significant changes. Among the states that levy a sales tax, the average rate was 5.64 percent in 2015, up from 5.35 percent in 2005.

Econ Piggy

According to a recent report released by the Census Bureau, per pupil spending for the U.S. in fiscal year 2013 was $10,700 – less than 1 percent more than in 2012. New York spent the most per student - $19,818 – followed by Alaska ($18,175), the District of Columbia ($17,953), New Jersey ($17,572) and Connecticut ($16,631). Utah spent the least per pupil – $6,555 – followed by Idaho ($6,791), Arizona ($7,208), Oklahoma ($7,672) and Mississippi ($8,130).

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