Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health say yes, using a sophisticated microsimulation model to predict impacts of the tax. In a report released last month, the Harvard researchers calculated the proposed soda tax in Philadelphia would prevent 2,280 cases of diabetes each year once the tax is fully implemented. The Harvard microsimulation model assumes lower consumption if the city implements the three cents tax per ounce of sugar-sweetened beverage, a 49 percent price increase.

It has been called the sharing economy, the peer-to-peer economy, the app-based economy, the gig economy. New platforms and businesses such as Uber and Airbnb allow individuals to make use of underutilized resources such as their cars and homes, keep their own hours, and pocket the earnings. But with these new platforms have come fundamental concerns about the changing nature of work that expose thorny questions not only for workers, consumers and the businesses themselves but for government at all levels, as well.

On May 17, President Barack Obama and Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced significant changes as to how employers will determine who is eligible for overtime pay in the future. The regulatory changes are to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and lift the salary threshold used as part of a two-fold overtime eligibility determination from $23,660 to $47,476 a year. According to the administration, this change will affect 4.2 million employees and increase payrolls $1.2 billion annually.

The job market is gaining ground again after a slow recovery from the Great Recession. The bulk of these new jobs are “good jobs”—high-paying positions the majority of which are full-time, and provide benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans, according to a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

CSG Midwest
One policy consequence of the Great Recession was a rise across the country in the use of these waivers, which lift limits on the amount of time that able-bodied adults without dependents can receive payments under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. If a state does not seek and receive such a federal waiver, its able-bodied recipients can receive food stamps for only three months over any three-year period.
The federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 temporarily suspended these time limits across the country, thus simplifying the process for states to secure a waiver. More recently, though, with jobless rates falling in many parts of the country, federal policy has reverted to pre-recession rules under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.
CSG Midwest
A new initiative in Indiana is looking beyond the state’s K-12 population as a means to increase the percentage of Hoosiers with education beyond high school. The goal of the “You Can. Go Back.” program is to encourage the 750,000 Indiana adults who completed some college, but left before earning a degree, to come back and finish what they started. Through a mix of strategic marketing and financial aid, the campaign hopes to attract 200,000 adults back to college by 2020, and help them complete an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, or a workforce credential.
“You Can. Go Back.” is administered by the Indiana Commission of Higher Education in partnership with the state’s public university system, but has also gained the support of nearly two dozen private institutions and a variety of businesses.

The agenda and materials from the 2016 SIDO Washington Forum 2016 are now available. 

Since 1963, every U.S. president has set aside a week to highlight the importance of small businesses and to recognize their accomplishments through innovation and growth. This year was no different. On April 29, President Barack Obama declared May 1-7 as National Small Business Week, an annual event organized by the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA

For many years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has published statistics on employment and other characteristics of the labor force by level of education. For example, we know from these statistics that in general, more education means a higher salary. For those that held a bachelor’s degree in 2014, median weekly earnings were $1,193. Compare that to median weekly earnings of $488 for those with less than a high school diploma. While these data are very informative, they didn’t give us a complete picture because they didn’t include statistics on nondegree credentials – like professional certifications or licenses (for example, commercial driver’s licenses, teaching licenses, medical licenses, information technology certifications, etc.).

State economic development organizations and U.S. companies were on full display last month at the Hannover Messe Industrial Trade Fair. As the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair, held annually just outside Hannover, Germany, Hannover Messe is an international meet-and-greet of sorts, providing U.S. companies and state international trade organizations the opportunity to meet prospective foreign investors and export partners from around the world.

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