Voters in more than half of the states elected new governors yesterday — the first time that’s happened since 1938, according to Stateline.org. But one thing hasn’t changed: states still face massive revenue problems resulting from the recession. Next year will be states’ worst budget year ever. So what will the new governors do about it?
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
In this podcast we will discuss how in some states people will vote today on ballot initiatives today that will significantly affect public services. I’m Shannon Spillane and I’m joined by the Deputy Director of the Center’s State Fiscal Project, Jon Shure.
New York Times columnist David Brooks ridicules the Affordable Care Act provision tightening businesses’ reporting requirements to the IRS on payments for goods and services: “If you’re a freelancer and you buy a laptop from an Apple store, you have to file a 1099.” Brooks sees that as an “expensive interference in business life.”
A new report from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) explains that permanently extending all of President Bush’s tax cuts would be extraordinarily expensive — CRS estimates the cost at $5 trillion over the next decade alone. The report recognizes that Congress, in deciding the future of the tax cuts, will need to consider the current weak economy as well as our unsustainable long-term budget path. But, it concludes, letting the Bush tax cuts aimed at the nation’s wealthiest 2 percent of households expire on schedule at the end of December makes sense from both perspectives. Here are the key quotes:
“You’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Roy Scheider’s character announces in the movie Jaws when he sees the size of the shark they’re hunting. Today’s Commerce Department report on the economy is just the latest evidence that we’re going to need a bigger stimulus to address the Jaws-sized jobs deficit the nation faces.
As Americans renew their health insurance for the coming year, many are finding their premiums are going up. Insurance companies are raising rates — in some cases dramatically — and some are telling their customers that the new health reform law is to blame, as NPR reported this morning. But as the NPR story explains, health reform is hardly at fault for rising premiums.
Many low-income families living in public housing have to cope with crumbling ceilings, faulty plumbing, and other unmet repair needs, the New York Times reported Monday. The main cause is a lack of capital funding to repair and renovate the developments, most of which were built decades ago. Fixing this problem is critical to the long-term success of this essential program.
In today's Q & A, we discuss how states are continuing to feel the recession’s impact with Policy Analyst Phil Oliff.
Most of the attention in this election season is going to candidates, but ballot questions in several states will greatly affect these states’ ability to maintain public services. Some of the ballot measures would make it easier for states to balance their budgets without excessive cuts in areas like education and health care. Others would make it much harder.