Jennifer Burnett

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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.

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.  

There are now more Americans age 65 and older than ever before. About 1 in 7 people (15 percent) in the U.S. is now considered to be an “older American” or someone over the age of 65. Compare that to just 4.1 percent of the population in 1900 or 10 percent in 1970—and that figure will continue to increase in the decades to come. 

On November 8, voters in five states will have the opportunity to weigh in on the minimum wage in their state through ballot initiatives. All of the initiatives seek to raise the minimum wage, except one - in South Dakota, the Decreased Youth Minimum Wage Referendum is a veto referendum that could overturn Senate Bill 177, which decreased the minimum wage for workers under age 18 from $8.50 to $7.50 and provide that the youth minimum wage is not pegged to inflation.

Join the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) for a webinar on Thursday, November 10 at 3pm ET as they discuss their newest study on cybersecurity in the states. Participants will hear research results and implications for state governments as well as have an opportunity to ask questions. This is a complimentary webinar and no registration is needed.  

The federal mileage reimbursement rate in 2016 is 54 cents per mile, down 3.5 cents per mile over 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.

Only about half of workers participate in a workplace retirement plan according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. In other words, more than 30 million full-time, full-year private-sector workers ages 18 to 64 don’t have access to an employer-based retirement plan and most Americans aren’t confident they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement. States have taken notice and are taking action.

A new annotated reference guide to state budgets, financial reports, and fiscal analyses - State Budget Sources: An Annotated Guide to State Budgets, Financial Reports, and Fiscal Analyses, from the Volcker Alliance - is now available online. The report is designed to help public officials, policy advocates, journalists, academics, and concerned citizens fully understand the critical fiscal decisions that governors and legislators must make.

According to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections, state government tax revenue increased 4.8 percent from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015 – growing from $875.0 billion to $916.5 billion. It’s the fifth consecutive year states have seen their tax revenue grow.

The Obama Administration announced yesterday awards totaling $38.8 million for 29 economic and workforce development projects across seven states – Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia – to assist communities negatively impacted by changes in the coal industry.

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