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  • Deep Poverty Among Children Worsened in Welfare Law’s First Decade
    Arloc Sherman and Danilo Trisi
    July 23, 2014

    Since the mid-1990s, when policymakers made major changes in the public assistance system, the proportion of children living in poverty has declined, but the harshest extremes of child poverty have increased.  After correcting for the well-known underreporting of safety net benefits in the Census data, we estimate that the …
  • Commentary: Chairman Ryan Needs to Play It Straight on Poverty Programs
    Robert Greenstein
    July 23, 2014

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will unveil a proposal tomorrow to address poverty and, in doing so, faces a choice: play it straight in making the case for his plan, or succumb to the temptation to mischaracterize key poverty data and research to paint the safety net as an abject failure. To his credit, Mr. Ryan has …
  • House Child Tax Credit Bill Leaves Behind Millions of Low-Income Working Families
    Chuck Marr, Chye-Ching Huang, and Bryann DaSilva
    July 22, 2014

    The Child Tax Credit (CTC) legislation that the House is slated to consider this week has misguided priorities:  it would make many relatively affluent families better off while letting millions of low-income working families become poorer.  The bill permanently alters the CTC by extending it higher up the income scale so …
  • Commentary: Policymakers Often Overstate Marginal Tax Rates — And Understate Trade-Offs In Reducing Them
    Arloc Sherman
    July 22, 2014

    Some Washington policymakers are increasingly focused on whether government benefits for low- and moderate-income people create disincentives to work — in particular, when these benefits phase down as the earnings of beneficiaries rise. That phase-down rate is often called the …
  • Chart Book: Social Security Disability Insurance
    July 21, 2014

    Disability Insurance (DI) is an integral part of Social Security.  It provides modest but vital benefits to workers who can no longer support themselves on account of a serious and long-lasting medical impairment.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the DI program. In December 2013, 8.9 million people received disabled-worker benefits …
  • Policy Basics: How Many Weeks of Unemployment Compensation Are Available?
    Updated July 18, 2014

    The unemployment insurance (UI) system helps many people who have lost their jobs by temporarily replacing part of their wages.  (See “Introduction to Unemployment Insurance.”)  Workers in most states are eligible for up to 26 weeks of benefits from the regular state-funded unemployment compensation program, although eight states provide …
  • Congress Needs to Boost Disability Insurance Share of Payroll
    Tax by 2016

    Kathy Ruffing and Paul N. Van de Water
    July 16, 2014

    Policymakers need to replenish the Social Security Disability Insurance (DI) trust fund by late 2016, but that necessity comes as no surprise and poses no crisis.  Although the DI trust fund is legally separate from the much larger Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund, both are integral parts of Social Security.…
  • States Likely Could Not Control Constitutional Convention on Balanced Budget Amendment or Other Issues
    Michael Leachman and David A. Super[1]
    July 16, 2014

    In the coming months, a number of states are likely to consider resolutions that call for a convention to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced federal budget, and possibly to shrink federal authority in other, often unspecified, ways.  Proponents of these resolutions claim that 24 of the 34 states …
  • Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks
    Richard Kogan
    July 16, 2014

    A balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution would be a highly ill-advised way to address the nation’s long-term fiscal problems.  It would threaten significant economic harm while raising a host of problems for the operation of Social Security and other vital federal functions. The economic problems are the …
  • Testimony of Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Before the Joint Economic Committee
    Jared Bernstein
    July 15, 2014

    Chairman Brady and Vice-Chair Klobuchar, I thank you for the opportunity to assess the current recovery and applaud the committee for taking up this important topic. The official dates of the last recession are from December 2007 — the peak of the previous recovery — to June 2009 — the trough of the downturn.…
  • Congress Considering Extending Harmful Ban on State Taxation of Internet Access Charges
    July 10, 2014

    The House is expected to vote next week on a bill that would cost states as much as $7 billion in potential annual revenue by permanently extending a moratorium on new state and local sales taxes on monthly Internet access fees and banning existing taxes, a new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report explains.  The seven states that have these taxes …
  • Congress Should End – Not Extend – the Ban on State and Local Taxation of Internet Access Subscriptions
    Michael Mazerov
    July 10, 2014

    The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA), enacted in 1998 and temporarily renewed in 2001, 2004, and 2007, imposed a moratorium on new state and local taxes on monthly Internet access fees while preserving (“grandfathering”) existing Internet access taxes.  The House Judiciary Committee recently approved a bill to …
  • Video: Community Eligibility - Making Schools Hunger Free
    July 9, 2014

    The school meals program has a new option, community eligibility, that allows schools with large numbers of low-income children to serve breakfasts and lunches free of charge. More than 28,000 high-poverty schools nationwide are eligible to participate. This 70 second video short highlights the …
  • Chart Book: The Legacy of the Great Recession
    Updated July 8, 2014

    The United States went through its longest, and by most measures worst economic recession since the Great Depression between December 2007 and June 2009. This chart book documents the course of the economy following that recession against the background of how deep a hole the recession created – and how much deeper …
  • Policymakers Should Reject Effort to Make “Bonus Depreciation” Permanent
    Chuck Marr
    Updated July 8, 2014

    The House is expected to vote this week on a Ways and Means Committee bill (H.R. 4718) that makes permanent a tax provision known as “bonus depreciation,” which lets businesses take bigger upfront tax deductions for certain new purchases such as machinery and equipment — and which, until now, policymakers have …
  • SNAP Error Rates at All-Time Lows
    Dottie Rosenbaum
    July 2, 2014

    The percentage of SNAP (formerly food stamp) benefit dollars issued to ineligible households or to eligible households in excessive amounts fell for the seventh consecutive year in 2013 to 2.61 percent, newly released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show.  That’s the lowest national overpayment rate since …
  • Implications of Community Eligibility for the Education of Disadvantaged Students Under Title I
    Wayne Riddle[1]
    June 26, 2014

    The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 created a new option, known as the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), for how schools can operate the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs.  Under CEP, free meals are provided to all students at participating schools for four years.  Community eligibility was …
  • More Than 28,000 Schools Can Become Hunger Free
    Zoë Neuberger, Becca Segal, and Mona Hussein
    Updated June 26, 2014

    The Community Eligibility Provision is a powerful new tool to ensure that low-income children in high-poverty neighborhoods have access to healthy meals at school.  Established in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, next year community eligibility will allow more than 28,000 schools in high-poverty neighborhoods to …
  • The Truth About Health Reform’s Medicaid Expansion and People Leaving Jail
    Judith Solomon
    June 25, 2014

    Some opponents of health reform’s Medicaid expansion have complained that it would enable many former inmates to qualify, citing an estimate that 35 percent of adults who would be newly eligible for Medicaid have been involved in the criminal justice system in the past year.[1]  Such figures, however, are highly inflated. …
  • Cuts in IRS Budget Have Compromised Taxpayer Service and Weakened Enforcement
    Chuck Marr and Joel Friedman[1]
    June 25, 2014

    House and Senate appropriators have begun considering the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) budget, which is part of the Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill.  While much attention will likely focus on certain policy issues, such as the IRS’s examination of tax-exempt organizations and its role in …
  • A Guide to State Fiscal Policies for a Stronger Economy
    Erica Williams
    Updated June 24, 2014

    Building stronger state economies that create jobs and expand opportunity will require sensible, forward-looking state fiscal policies.  States need to invest adequately in education, health care, transportation, and workforce development.  To do that, they need to make decisions about how to raise and spend revenues with …
  • Repatriation Tax Holiday Would Lose Revenue And Is a Proven Policy Failure
    Chuck Marr and Chye-Ching Huang[1]
    June 19, 2014

    Some policymakers are promoting another “repatriation tax holiday” to encourage multinational corporations to bring overseas profits back to the United States by offering them a temporary, very low tax rate on those profits.  In particular, some have described a repatriation holiday as a “win-win” that …
  • The Community Eligibility Provision: Alternatives to School Meal Applications
    Jessie Hewins and Madeline Levin, Food Research and Action Center and
    Becca Segal and Zoe Neuberger, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

    June 19, 2014

    “Community eligibility” is a powerful new tool to ensure that low-income children in high-poverty neighborhoods have access to healthy meals at school.  Established in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, community eligibility streamlines school meal operations and allows schools in high-poverty areas to offer …
  • Commentary: Is Congress About to Undercut Progress Against Childhood Obesity?
    Zoë Neuberger
    Updated June 17, 2014

    The Senate this week will consider the annual Agriculture Department funding bill, which covers the child nutrition programs.  The bill includes measures promoted by industry lobbyists that would undercut reforms designed to improve children’s nutrition and combat childhood obesity.  It’s critical that …
  • A Closer Look at Who Benefits from SNAP: State-by-State Fact Sheets
    Brynne Keith-Jennings
    Updated June 9, 2014

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program, reaching nearly 47 million people nationwide in 2013 alone. These fact sheets provide state-by-state data on who participates in the SNAP program, the benefits they receive, and SNAP’s role in strengthening …
  • Statement by Chad Stone, Chief Economist, on the May Employment Report
    Chad Stone
    June 6, 2014

    More than six years after the Great Recession and the worst jobs slump since the 1930s began, today’s jobs report shows that payroll employment has finally topped its level at the start of the recession (see chart).  Still, with essentially no net job growth since December 2007 but a …
  • Chart Book: SNAP Helps Struggling Families Put Food on the Table
    Updated June 4, 2014

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program.  SNAP reaches millions of people who need food assistance.  It is one of the few means-tested government benefit programs available to almost all households with low incomes.  For more detail on the program’s basics, see …
  • Policy Basics: Introduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    Updated June 4, 2014

    What Is SNAP? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program.  In 2013, it helped more than 47 million low-income Americans to afford a nutritionally adequate diet in a typical month. Seventy percent of SNAP participants are in families with …
  • Summary of Implications of Community Eligibility for Title I
    Zoë Neuberger and Wayne Riddle[1]
    June 2, 2014

    Nearly 16 million children in the United States live in households that have trouble affording enough nutritious food.  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 created a new option for schools in high-poverty areas to serve meals at no charge to all students without collecting meal applications, thereby expanding low-income …
  • SNAP Costs Falling, Expected to Fall Further
    Dottie Rosenbaum and Brynne Keith-Jennings
    Updated May 28, 2014

    SNAP spending, which doubled as a share of the economy (gross domestic product or GDP) in the wake of the Great Recession, has begun to decline, as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and other experts expected. SNAP spending as a share of GDP was stable in fiscal years 2012 and 2013 and is on track to fall substantially …
  • Why Some of the Proposed Medicare Part D Regulations Dropped by the Administration Were Sound
    Edwin Park
    Revised May 27, 2014

    In March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would not finalize certain aspects of proposed regulations related to the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Medicare Part D).[1]  Although one provision of the proposed regulations that wasn’t put into effect — scaling back a requirement …
  • House HUD Bill Would Cut Assistance to Low-Income Renters
    Douglas Rice
    May 22, 2014

    The House Appropriations Committee this week approved a fiscal year 2015 funding bill covering the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that makes disproportionately deep cuts in housing assistance for low-income families.  Congress is operating under tight spending limits set by the Budget Control Act (BCA) and the …
  • House Appropriations Targets Represent Poor Allocation of Insufficient Resources
    Richard Kogan and Joel Friedman
    May 21, 2014

    The House Appropriations Committee recently adopted its fiscal year 2015 funding allocations for its 12 subcommittees.  The allocations are consistent with the defense and non-defense discretionary funding caps set in last year’s agreement between Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray and House Budget Committee …
  • State Taxes Have a Negligible Impact on Americans' Interstate Moves
    Michael Mazerov
    Revised May 21, 2014

    Differences in tax levels among states have little to no effect on whether and where people move, contrary to claims by some conservative economists and elected officials.  For decades, Americans have been moving away from the Northeast, the industrial Midwest, and the Great Plains to most of the southern and southwestern …
  • Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession
    Michael Leachman and Chris Mai[1]
    Revised May 20, 2014

    States’ new budgets are providing less per-pupil funding for kindergarten through 12th grade than they did six years ago — often far less.  The reduced levels reflect not only the lingering effects of the 2007-09 recession but also continued austerity in many states; indeed, despite some improvements in overall state revenues, …
  • Policy Basics: The Housing Choice Voucher Program
    Updated May 14, 2014

    Created in the 1970s, the “Section 8” Housing Choice Voucher Program has become the dominant form of federal housing assistance. What Is the Housing Voucher Program? Low-income families use vouchers to help pay for housing that they find in the private market.  The program is federally funded but run by a network of about 2,250 state and local …
  • Senate Republican Health Plan Would Likely Result in More Uninsured and Fewer Protections for Consumers
    Edwin Park
    May 13, 2014

    Senate Republicans Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK), and Orrin Hatch (UT) announced in January a plan to repeal all of health reform except for certain Medicare provisions — and to replace it with an insurance system that converts much of Medicaid into block grants and creates a new tax credit for people to buy health …
  • Policy Basics: Deficits, Debt, and Interest
    Updated May 13, 2014

    Three important budget concepts — deficits (or surpluses), debt, and interest — are often misunderstood. Deficits (or Surpluses) For any given year, the federal budget deficit is the amount of money the federal government spends (also known as outlays) minus the amount of money it …
  • What Do OECD Data Really Show About U.S. Taxes and Reducing Inequality?
    Chye-Ching Huang and Nathaniel Frentz[1]
    May 12, 2014

    Critics of proposals to make the tax system more progressive or to take other steps to help lessen widening income inequality[2] sometimes cite a 2008 Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) report stating that the United States has the most progressive tax system among developed countries.[3]  The …
  • House Efforts to Make “Tax Extenders” Permanent Are Ill-Advised
    Chuck Marr and Joel Friedman
    May 7, 2014

    The House on May 7 is expected to consider a bill to permanently extend —and expand — the research and experimentation tax credit, the first of six bills that the House Ways and Means Committee recently approved to make permanent various “tax extenders.”  There is widespread bipartisan support for …
  • Online Services for Key Low-Income Benefit Programs
    Revised May 6, 2014

    Virtually all states have made basic program information on the five main state-administered low-income benefit programs — SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps), Medicaid, CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), and child care …
  • SNAP Online: A Review of State Government SNAP Websites
    Updated May 6, 2014

    All states make information regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program,[1] including their applications, state policy manuals or regulations, and general program information, available to the public via the Internet.[2]  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reviewed all the states’ web …
  • CBPP's Updated Projections Show Long-Term Budget Outlook Is Significantly Improved but Remains Challenging
    Richard Kogan, Kathy Ruffing, Paul N. Van de Water, and William Chen
    May 5, 2014

    Under current budget policies, the nation’s fiscal outlook is stable for the rest of this decade and then worsens gradually, according to CBPP’s new long-term budget projections. No deficit or debt crisis looms, and the weak labor market remains the nation’s most immediate economic concern.  But policymakers …
  • Chart Book: Top Eleven Tax Charts
    Updated May 5, 2014

    To usher in Tax Day, here are our top 11 charts on federal taxes, which provide context for debates on issues like tax reform and deficit reduction. Our first chart shows the sources of federal tax revenue. Individual income tax revenues have held steady for many decades at a little under half of federal revenue.  The share of federal revenue from payroll …
  • Statement by Chad Stone, Chief Economist, on the April Employment Report
    Chad Stone
    May 2, 2014

    Today’s mixed jobs report shows a big jump in payroll employment but a sharp fall in labor force participation.  The labor market is clearly much stronger than in the depths of the Great Recession but still far from the “maximum employment” goal that Congress has mandated …
  • States Are Still Funding Higher Education Below Pre-Recession Levels
    Michael Mitchell, Vincent Palacios, and Michael Leachman
    May 1, 2014

    Most states have begun in the past year to restore some of the cuts they made to higher education funding after the recession hit.  Eight states, though, are still cutting, and in almost all states — including those that are have boosted their support — higher education funding remains well below pre-recession …
  • State Higher Education Funding Remains Below Pre-Recession Levels
    May 1, 2014

    Higher education funding remains well below pre-recession levels in almost all states, a new CBPP report shows.  As a result, colleges and universities have had to raise tuition and make spending cuts that may diminish the quality of education available to students at a time when a highly educated workforce is more crucial than ever to the nation’s …
  • Media Briefing: Examining States' Dramatic Higher Education Cuts and Tuition Increases
    April 30, 2014

    The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities held a conference call briefing to discuss a new report that documents the deep cuts almost every state has made to funding for public universities and colleges, and explains how those cuts hurt students and state economies.
  • Policy Basics: Non-Defense Discretionary Programs
    Updated April 30, 2014

    Non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs comprise domestic and international programs outside of national defense that Congress funds on an annual basis.  (They exclude “entitlement” programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.)  NDD programs include a broad …
  • Commentary: Why Congress Should Empower the IRS to Certify Tax Preparers: The Debate Continues
    Robert Greenstein
    April 23, 2014

    The libertarian Institute for Justice’s Dan Alban recently testified before the Senate Finance Committee that Congress should not grant the IRS the authority to require commercial tax preparers to pass a test of basic competence in tax rules and stay current with changes in those rules. …

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