Economics and Finance

In Bank of America v. Miami the Supreme Court held 5-3 that local governments have “standing” to bring Fair Housing Act (FHA) lawsuits against banks alleging discriminatory lending practices. But to win these claims local governments must show that their injuries were more than merely foreseeable. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case on the side of the City of Miami.    

Miami claims that Bank of America and Wells Fargo intentionally issued riskier mortgages on less favorable terms to African-American and Latino customers than similarly situated white customers in violation of the FHA. Miami further claims these discriminatory practices caused foreclosures and vacancies which harmed the city by decreasing property values, reducing property tax revenue, and increasing costs to the city.  

Under Gov. Matt Mead, Wyoming has maintained one of the largest rainy day funds in the nation despite financial volatility in the energy-producing state caused by fluctuating gas prices. He has also focused on diversifying Wyoming’s economy through innovation and technology and by expanding business opportunities in the technology, renewable energy and manufacturing sectors. Mead said opening up the state to new industries combined with disciplined budgeting have kept Wyoming stable through the economy’s ups and downs.

How much states spend on children’s health, education, income supports and social services differs greatly according to a just-released Urban Institute report, titled Unequal Playing Field.

The top spending state – Vermont – charted per child expenditures of $13,430, three times as much as Utah’s per child spending of $4,594. The national average was $7,923. Spending in each state was  adjusted for the state cost of living.

According to a recent U.S. Census report, a majority of young adults (aged 18 to 34) lived independently in their own household in 2005. That is, they didn’t live with their parents or with roommates. This was the predominant living arrangement in 35 states. Just a decade later those figures have shifted dramatically.

By Brian Sigritz and Kathryn Vesey White
In December, the National Association of State Budget Officers, or NASBO, released the latest edition of its semiannual Fiscal Survey of States. According to data collected from state budget offices, fiscal 2017 is expected to mark the seventh consecutive annual increase in both general fund spending and revenue.

By Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene
With newspapers and scholarly reports full of discussion about states and their shortages—or surpluses—of tax revenues, it would be easy to focus exclusively on the dollars brought in through sales taxes, income taxes and so on. That kind of analysis misses out on the revenue elephant in the room, though: the money that comes from the federal government.

CSG Midwest
At least 20 states, including five in the Midwest (see map), have enacted taxes on the “streaming” of media, such as music, movies or TV shows.
CSG Midwest
As some leading lawmakers in Washington, D.C., explore potential changes to the federal tax code, one idea in particular — the creation of a border adjustment tax — is likely to get more and more attention from many Midwest-based firms.
CSG Midwest
Since its inception in the 1970s, the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) has enjoyed wide bipartisan support. Designed to encourage and reward work, a low-wage worker’s EITC grows with each additional dollar of earnings until his or her wages reach a maximum value — an incentive for people to leave welfare for work and for low-wage employees to increase their work hours.
And the EITC is refundable: If the amount of the credit exceeds what the worker owes, he or she gets a refund.
“For conservatives, the EITC is pro-work, it is pro-personal responsibility. Liberals like that too, but also it is directed toward low-income people, so you get that mix,” says Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Plus, it works. There is very rigorous research to show that it encourages more work.”
According to the IRS, the 42-year-old Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs. In tax year 2015, for example:
  • More than 27 million filers received about $67 billion in earned income tax credits. 
  • Four of five people eligible for the EITC claimed it.
  • The EITC and the separate Child Tax Credit lifted an estimated 9.4 million people out of poverty, including 5 million children. 
In the 11-state Midwest, more than 4.6 million federal EITC claims for tax year 2015 provided almost $11.2 billion in credits. The average refund was $2,343. (The maximum federal credit in 2016 ranged from $506 for a childless individual to $6,269 for a family with three or more children.)

Public pension reform is at the forefront of many state policymakers' agendas for 2017. Participants in this webinar will hear a summary of legal issues around public employee pension reform in layman's terms with a focus on constitutional concerns. We will cover which reform provisions have been shot down by the courts, which provisions have held up to challenges and any lessons a state leader can take away from the totality of those rulings.

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