This week on Off the Charts, we talked about the federal budget, state budgets and taxes, health care, Social Security, and food assistance.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Yesterday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation that will increase the state’s personal and corporate income taxes to close a portion of the state’s budget gap (the rest will be closed with spending cuts). Governors Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and Rick Perry of Texas lost no time in chiding the state for the corporate tax increase in particular, claiming that it would make it easier for them to steal Illinois corporations away. Walker and Christie vowed to step up their efforts to do just that.
Some 43 million Americans are receiving help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) to afford a nutritionally adequate diet, according to the latest Agriculture Department figures. That works out to 1 in 7 Americans — and 1 in every 4 children. And the need for SNAP isn’t likely to decline significantly anytime soon, given the nation’s large jobs deficit.
In last week’s post explaining why block-granting Medicaid or capping its funding would be ill-advised, I noted that Medicaid costs per beneficiary have risen at about the same rate as costs across the health-care system as a whole (both public and private) in recent decades. Moreover, Medicaid actually costs less per beneficiary than private insurance, after taking into account differences in health status. This chart shows how much less.
Monday’s proposal from Susana Martinez, New Mexico’s newly elected Republican governor, to cut the state’s tax credit for film and TV productions by 40 percent is a smart move. It’s also noteworthy because New Mexico started the wave of these state subsidies that has swept the nation over the past decade.
In this podcast, we’ll discuss the new budget rules in the U.S. House of Representatives. I’m Michelle Bazie and I’m joined by Jim Horney, the Center’s Director of Federal Fiscal Policy.
Social Security benefits may be on the chopping block as policymakers tackle the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. But before sharpening the ax, policymakers need to keep five key facts in mind, as we explain in a new report:
The state and local government workforce — teachers, nurses, police officers, and others — continues to suffer from the 2007-2009 recession, even as the private sector slowly gains jobs.
Michigan’s new legislative leaders offered a distressing preview last week of how they might fill an estimated $1.8 billion shortfall in the upcoming budget year. House Speaker Jase Bolger insisted that “We cannot make it more expensive . . . to raise a family in Michigan.” Nevertheless, he and other legislative leaders from both parties would make it more expensive to raise families that are working their way out of poverty by eliminating or trimming the state’s earned income tax credit (EITC).