In a New York Times op-ed, Chris Edley rightly warns that state budget cuts and tax increases are undermining federal efforts to boost the economy; that’s why we’ve recommended (most recently here) that Congress extend the state fiscal assistance in last year’s Recovery Act.
BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Those who are blaming states for their severe budget shortfalls and arguing that Congress shouldn’t provide much-needed assistance until states “clean up their act” (here’s a recent example) are wrong on both counts.
I recently wrote about new Congressional Budget Office data showing that over the past three decades, after-tax incomes jumped by a stunning 281 percent for the richest 1 percent of Americans, while rising just 25 percent and 16 percent for households in the middle and bottom of the income scale, respectively. The table gives the relevant dollar figures for different income groups. (All figures here are adjusted for inflation.)
Jon Shure, deputy director of state fiscal policy, appeared on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric to discuss implications of the budget problems states are facing in the recession, including the potential loss of 900,000 private- and public-sector jobs due to budget cuts.
Today, we sat down with Senior Advisor Iris Lav to discuss property taxes, and good and bad ways to address concerns about rising property tax bills.
“A Jobs Program that Works” is New York Times columnist Bob Herbert’s apt description of the TANF Emergency Fund, which more than 30 states are using to help create private- and public-sector jobs for nearly 200,000 adults and youth. The job market’s continued weakness shows why these programs remain important tools for boosting employment and the overall economy. But as I’ve warned, many states will begin shutting down their programs in the next few weeks unless Congress extends the fund.
This week on Off the Charts, we focused on the latest job numbers, explained the causes and proposed some solutions to coming federal deficits, fact-checked claims about the health reform law, and looked ahead to the new fiscal year for states.
The good news in today’s jobs report is that the private sector continued adding jobs in June — though, as expected, the economy lost jobs overall due to the scheduled reduction in temporary census jobs. The bad news is that private sector job creation must be much stronger going forward— at least 200,000 to 300,000 jobs per month — to bring people back into the labor force and lower the unemployment rate at the same time.
My colleagues and I have written repeatedly (for instance, here, here, and here) about the need for Congress to enact another round of stimulus legislation that would extend unemployment benefits and provide additional fiscal relief to states, both of which would help strengthen the fragile recovery.
Today, the Center’s Executive Director, Robert Greenstein, and Director of Federal Fiscal Policy, Jim Horney, testified before the President’s Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Here’s some of what they said: