Economics and Finance

The federal reimbursement rate in 2016 is 54 cents per mile, down 3.5 cents per mile from the 2015 rate but up 9.5 cents over the rate 10 years before–44.5 cents per mile on Jan. 1, 2006. Thirty-five states have a reimbursement rate that is the same as the federal rate. For those 15 states whose rates differ from the federal rate, reimbursement rates range from 31 cents to 52 cents per mile. No state reimburses at a rate higher than the federal rate.

By Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum
Elder financial abuse costs older Americans $2.9 billion per year. In one year alone, reports of financial exploitation in Oregon increased by nearly 20 percent and represented almost half of all abuse investigations conducted by the state. That’s why fighting elder abuse has been a priority for me since becoming Oregon’s attorney general in 2012. Since then, I’ve worked hard to prevent and address the financial exploitation of older Oregonians.

This FREE CSG eCademy webcast centered on employment-related supports for individuals with disabilities with particular focus on issues of transportation and technology, including assistive technology and emerging technologies. In addition, experts discussed other employment supports such as health care, personal assistance services and housing. This is the third webcast in a four-part series presented by the National Task Force on Workforce Development for People with Disabilities in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy.

A Texas federal district court issued a nationwide injunction preventing new overtime rules from going into effect. These rules would have made it more likely states and local governments would have had to pay more employees overtime.

Twenty-one states and a number of business organizations sued the Department of Labor. The rules were to go into effect on December 1, 2016.

An update to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) will increase the threshold for workers receiving overtime pay. Under the new rule, salaried employees who make less than $47,476 a year will be able to receive time-and-a-half pay when they work more than forty hours a week. With existing FLSA regulations, only salaried employees making under $23,660 a year and hourly workers are eligible for overtime protections.

According to an annual survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), 7.0 percent of U.S. households were “unbanked” in 2015, which means that no one in the household had a checking or savings account. That’s around 9 million households consisting of 15.6 million adults and 7.6 million children. The percentage of the population that is unbanked varies considerably across states, ranging from a low of less than 2 percent in New Hampshire and Vermont to more than 10 percent in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Louisiana has the highest rate at 14 percent.

The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled on October 20th that cities do not have the authority to raise the minimum wage standard.

The last time legislation was enacted to raise the federal minimum wage was in 2007 when Congress passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act, gradually increasing the rate from $5.15 an hour to it's current level of $7.25, reached in 2009.

What is the best state for retirement and aging? If you ask this question, you are likely to receive a listing of states with more favorable and less favorable tax policies. Rifle through the state tax policies and any number of tax breaks will pop up. Some policies benefit everyone—the states that don’t impose any income taxes or sales taxes are examples. Then there are the specific exemptions for older taxpayers—certain types or amounts of income, including Social Security, pensions and retirement savings, property tax exemptions, and even some long-term care insurance deductions. While the fairness, value and efficacy of these tax policies may be in question, it is clear that tax policy, alone, isn’t what people who ask about the best states for retirement are really seeking. They are more likely looking for places with amenities and affordable services that will keep them comfortable and safe as they age.

Yesterday voters in five states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine, South Dakota and Washington) weighed in on the minimum wage through ballot initiatives. All of the initiatives were approved except one: voters in South Dakota rejected a measure that would roll back the minimum wage for workers under 18 from $8.50 to $7.50. That means that minimum wage earners in four states will see a raise in coming years.  

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