The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that the national poverty rate fell from 15.0 percent in 2012 to 14.5 percent in 2013 - the first time the rate has fallen in eight years. The poverty rate for children under 18 also declined in 2013 for the first time since 2000 - from 21.8 percent in 2012 to 19.9 percent in 2013.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Many U.S.-based companies are in the process of reincorporating their headquarters to countries with lower corporate tax rates. This is commonly known as “inversions” or “expatriations” and takes place when a company merges or acquires a foreign company with the nearly exclusive purpose of paying lower corporate taxes.

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Every legislature and governor relies on a revenue forecast to build a state budget, but as a recent study shows, the process itself can vary considerably around the country. Indiana and Iowa were among the U.S. states that employ all five of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ “best practices” in revenue forecasting.
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With its cluster of farming, industry leaders such as DuPont Pioneer and John Deere, and a large land-grant university, central Iowa is already a hub of economic activity centered on agriculture and bioscience. But state, local, business and university leaders believe the region still has much untapped potential.

Their response: Join together on a new Cultivation Corridor initiative, which creates new partnerships among regional leaders in economic development, education and bioscience and aims to market central Iowa as the home of“science that feeds the world.”

If successful, the initiative will also help grow the entire Iowa economy by drawing new investments to the state and attracting and retaining talent and business.

Two cities in California—San Francisco and Berkeley—will be presenting voters with soda-tax initiatives in the upcoming November election. Soda and sugar-sweetened drinks such as sports drinks and energy drinks would be taxed, although infant formula, nutritional drinks, and diet drinks would not be taxed. Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in an article in the New York Times that the soda industry has spent over $117 million since 2009 to combat soda taxes in the United States and is now paying attention to San Francisco and Berkeley.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services’ (S&P) recent report examined the effects of the widening income gap in the US and concluded that rising share of income to the wealthiest Americans has resulted in less tax revenue for the states. The implications of rising income inequality for the states vary.  

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The State and Local Legal Center has filed an amicus brief in Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation, a case that questions whether a state discriminates against rail carriers, or railroads, in violation of federal law even when rail carriers pay less in total state taxes than motor carriers, or trucks....

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The U.S. departments of Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services hosted a National Dialogue on Career Pathways Sept. 23 that highlighted the importance of the Career Pathways Initiative and the implementation of Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Federal leaders provided information on the workforce initiative and stressed the importance of the program to shrink the skills gap and prepare individuals for in-demand careers.

The Department of Labor has awarded $14,837,785 in grants to six states - California, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and South Dakota - to improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities as part of the Disability Employment Initiative. The initiative awards grants to help increase the participation of adults and youth with disabilities in existing career pathway systems and other programs that bring together educational insitutions, the private sector and disability advocates. 

Researchers at the Center for American Progress estimate that hunger costs the U.S. at least $167.5 billion every year based on a combination of lost economic productivity, increased education expenses, avoidable health care costs, and the cost of charity. 

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