Reports by Nicholas Johnson

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  • I-1033's Problematic Measure of Inflation
    Nicholas Johnson and Catherine Collins
    October 15, 2009

    Each year, the cost of providing health care, education, roads and other services rises. As a result, state and local governments have to spend more to provide the same level of services. Washington’s Initiative 1033 would dictate the amount of these increases in spending based not on the actual cost of those services, …
  • Correcting Five Myths About the Stimulus Bill
    James R. HorneyNicholas Johnson, and Lawrence J. Haas
    Updated September 23, 2009

    Some critics of the economic recovery law (or “stimulus” bill) that President Obama and Congress enacted early this year continue to mischaracterize how it was supposed to work and what it was supposed to do. For instance, some critics complain that, because unemployment has risen in recent months, the law is not working. Others claim …
  • Myths and Realities About How States Are Using Economic Recovery Act Funds
    Nicholas Johnson and Phil Oliff
    July 9, 2009

    Two major misconceptions about how state governments are using funds from the economic recovery law that President Obama and Congress enacted early this year are contributing to a broader misunderstanding about whether the law is, in fact, helping the U.S. economy. Evidence that includes a major new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) …
  • Tax Measures Help Balance State Budgets
    Nicholas Johnson, Andrew Nicholas and Steven Pennington
    Updated July 9, 2009

    With the recession continuing to widen the gap between shrinking revenues and residents’ increasing need for services, a growing number of states are adopting a balanced approach to their budgets that includes revenue increases as well as spending cuts. Since January 1, 30 states have raised taxes and another seven states are considering doing …
  • Federal Fiscal Relief Is Working As Intended
    Phil Oliff, Jon Shure, and Nicholas Johnson [1]
    Updated June 29, 2009

    As dire as the states’ fiscal condition is — with dramatic revenue downturns leading in some cases to unprecedented service cuts — evidence shows this bad situation would be substantially worse if not for federal recovery assistance. The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act package enacted in February included about $140 billion for states …
  • If States Fail to Use Stimulus Funds as Intended, Efforts to Strengthen Economy Could Be Undercut
    Nicholas Johnson and Iris J. Lav
    February 24, 2009

    A few governors and legislative leaders have suggested that their states might not accept the full amount of fiscal relief in the new recovery legislation or might use the funds to finance tax cuts or build up reserves, rather than spend them as Congress intended.[1]  Such actions could weaken the new law’s impact, and possibly even …
  • Funding For States in Economic Recovery Package Will Close Less Than Half of State Deficits
    Nicholas Johnson, Iris J. Lav and Elizabeth McNichol
    February 20, 2009

    The state fiscal situation is dire.  Revenues are declining, and the need for services such as Medicaid is rising as people lose income and jobs.  Before passage of the economic stimulus package, state deficits were projected to equal $350 billion over the next 30 months.  Because nearly all states are required to balance their budgets, states have begun to cut …
  • Most States Are Cutting Education
    Nicholas Johnson, Jeremy Koulish and Phil Oliff
    Updated February 10, 2009

    Note: Please see Most States are Imposing Cuts that Hurt Vulnerable Residents for updated information about education cuts in state budgets. Thirty-six states have cut education or proposed such cuts because they face massive, devastating budget deficits in this recession.  The combination of rising unemployment, declining consumer …
  • Converting State Fiscal Relief to Loans Would Render It Ineffective As Stimulus
    Nicholas Johnson and Iris J. Lav
    January 7, 2009

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s recent suggestion that the federal government give states loans, not grants, for fiscal relief would make the recovery package considerably less effective in stabilizing the economy and preventing the recession from becoming deeper and more prolonged.…
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