This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the “fiscal cliff” deal, deficits and debt, state budgets and taxes, safety net programs, and health reform.
- On the “fiscal cliff” deal, Chuck Marr looked at its impact on income inequality. Kathy Ruffing examined the deal’s treatment of the estate tax and Supplemental Security Income, showing that it treats the super-rich better than the very poor.
- On deficits and debt, Richard Kogan explained why stabilizing the debt over the coming decade is an appropriate target. Chuck Marr noted that stepping up tax enforcement is essential but can’t take the place of raising more revenues to reduce the deficit.
- On state budgets and taxes, Elizabeth McNichol listed steps that states can take to fix flaws in their “rainy day” budget reserves. Phil Oliff cited Kansas as an example of why deep state tax cuts can be very, very bad for K-12 schools.
- On safety net programs, Stacy Dean pointed to our new state-by-state fact sheets on the impact of SNAP (formerly food stamps). Sharon Parrott debunked the claim that spending on safety net programs is out of control.
- On health reform, Jesse Cross-Call highlighted the growing support for health reform’s Medicaid expansion among governors of both parties.
In other news, we released a paper on why 2013 is a good year for states to repair their rainy day funds and state-by-state fact sheets on who benefits from SNAP. We also updated our backgrounder on the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available in each state.