This week on Off the Charts, we focused on SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps), state budget and taxes, health reform, the federal budget and taxes, and the economy.
On SNAP, we compiled a roundup of everything you need to know about the program, and Robert Greenstein criticized the House’s unprecedented move to separate SNAP from the farm bill.
On state budgets and taxes, Michael Leachman listed four ways states could modernize their sales taxes. Chris Mai pointed out that state and local jobs growth is stuck in a deep hole. Nicholas Johnson explained why states should be required to publish information on how tax changes will affect the after-tax distribution of income before lawmakers vote on big tax changes, and he reiterated why misguided policy decisions in North Carolina will make broadly shared prosperity in the state elusive. And in response to the New York Times “Room for Debate” feature on North Carolina’s tax and spending decisions, Johnson refuted the argument that a consumption tax is always better than an income tax for a state’s economy, and Leachman criticized the claim that massive cuts in unemployment insurance are the responsible way to pay off the state’s debt.
On health reform, Paul Van de Water clarified that an October 2009 CBPP paper criticized a version of the so-called “employer mandate” that’s very different from the one enacted in health reform. Judy Solomon explained that a recent rule change will not eliminate requirements to verify income eligibility for federal health insurance subsidies, and she emphasized that applicants’ income information will be checked against tax filings under the change.
On the federal budget and taxes, we analyzed how much deficit reduction is needed to stabilize the debt over the latter part of the decade. Chuck Marr explained why deficit-neutral tax reform would be a mistake. Sharon Parrott noted that a bill recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee illustrates the benefits of replacing sequestration.
On the economy, Chad Stone noted several key figures from the June jobs report.