June Updates for GRA Organizations

GRA Reporter for June 2012

News and publications for GRA organizations.

Alabama

Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama

The PARCA Perspective is a monthly e-newsletter that covers topics relating to state and local government in Alabama.  The May edition of The Perspective contained an analysis of how Jefferson County’s finances compared to other large counties in the state.  The results were surprising.  Link

The PARCA Quarterly, Spring 2012

Link
This report examines the college readiness of Alabama’s high school students, and the variables affecting those results.

Florida

Florida TaxWatch

Florida Tax Analysis of the Fiscal and Economic Impact of Amendment 4
Link
A proposed constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot would create Florida jobs, grow Florida’s GDP, and increase the personal income of Floridians.

A Review of Florida TaxWatch Government Cost Savings Task Force Recommendations Implemented by the 2012 Legislature
Link
A legislative wrap up on recommendations by the Governmental Cost Savings Task Force.

Greece, the Euro Zone, and Florida
Link
This monthly look at Florida’s economy assesses how Greece, with a GDP less than half of Florida, can cause so much volatility in world financial markets.

Briefing on Florida’s Top Ten Largest Public Employers by County
Link
An evaluation of public sector employment in Florida counties.

Florida Missing Opportunities To Take Advantage of Federal Programs for Energy-Saving Measures
Link
This report finds an opportunity for the state to take advantage of federal programs to recoup state dollars that have been invested in energy saving measures.

Illinois

Illinois Fiscal Policy Council and Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois
(The Illinois Fiscal Policy Council is the new name of the Illinois Tax Foundation)

During the legislative session, the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois publishes “TFI Report from the Capitol,” a weekly summary of legislative and administrative developments as well as recent reports on tax and fiscal issues.

Civic Federation

Status of Local Pension Funding FY2010
Link
This annual report compiles individual and aggregate trend data on ten local government pension funds in the Chicago area.

Civic Federation Position Statement on Senate Bill 3564
Link
In this position statement, the Civic Federation noted its opposition to proposed legislation that would have given the Illinois General Assembly administrative authority over the closure of state facilities. The Federation concluded that the bill would limit the authority of the executive branch to take actions to improve the State’s fiscal stability.

The Civic Federation’s two blogs had a total of nine posts in June: http://www.civicfed.org/blog and http://www.civicfed.org/iifs/blog.
Topics ranged from an examination of proposed legislation to reform the funding of Chicago’s sanitary district pension fund to an update on the backlog of unpaid Medicaid bills owed by the State of Illinois.

Louisiana

Bureau of Governmental Research

Comment Letter on Neighborhood Participation Proposal
Link
In a letter to the City Planning Commission, BGR examines the commission’s draft Neighborhood Participation Program for Land Use Actions. The letter calls for changes to enhance the integrity of the process.

Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana

Commentary on the 2012 Regular Legislative Session: Part I – Education
Link
PAR issues an end of session commentary on the education reforms passed by the Louisiana Legislature.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation

MTF Statement on House Health Cost Legislation
Link

The 2013 Budget Summary
Link
This report summarizes and contrasts the 2013 budget proposals of Governor Patrick, the House and Senate Ways and Means as well as final spending for fiscal 2010 and 2011 and the original and projected spending for fiscal 2012.

Massachusetts Health Reform Spending, 2006-2011: An Update on the “Budget Buster” Myth
Link
This study researches Massachusetts health care reform, showing that the state has attained near universal health care coverage with only modest additional costs to state taxpayers.

Boston Municipal Research Bureau

High Stakes for Final Teachers’ Contract
Link
The collective bargaining contract being negotiated between the Boston Public Schools (BPS) and the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) is one of the most important policy issues facing the City of Boston this year and one that will have a significant impact on the future direction of the BPS.

Worcester Regional Research Bureau

Worcester’s FY13 Budget: Post-Recession Observations
Link
This report offers a number of observations on Worcester’s FY13 municipal budget of $542 million. We conclude that while Worcester’s finances are stable as a result of serious reforms in municipal employee health insurance plans negotiated by the City Manager and the unions and level-funding of local aid because of improved state revenues, the City’s future situation remains uncertain.

The Research Bureau 2012 Annual Report
Link

The Research Bureau Angle
The Research Bureau has a weekly radio column every Monday between 12:50-1 p.m. on AM 830 WCRN. All past shows are archivedhere.

Michigan

Citizens Research Council of Michigan

Michigan’s Recall Election Law
Link
This report assesses the cost and frequency of the Michigan recall process. The process used in Michigan is then compared to the processes of other states. The authors find no evidence as to why Michigan seems to administer more recall elections than other states.

State Bailouts to Erase School District Accumulated Deficits
Link
The memo explains the implications of a state bailout of one struggling school district and calls for greater transparency and involvement of the state legislature.

CRC’s Column June archive shows 6 new posts in June: http://www.crcmich.org/column/. Topics include the state’s move to hand Muskegon’s school district over to a charter operator, the scheduled income tax rollbacks in Detroit and recent validation of a past CRC study on corrections policies in Michigan.

New York

Center for Governmental Research

Despite Difficult Economy, UR Economic Impact Grows
Link
This report details the economic growth of the University of Rochester and its beneficial impact on the regional economy, even during a recession.

CGR Outlines Regional High School Model for Ontario County
Link
Rising costs and decreasing enrollment prompted the 9 school districts in Ontario County NY to explore regional options to preserve educational offerings and save taxpayer dollars.

CGR’s Policy Wonk blog houses weekly “CGR Briefs” postings. http://www.policy-wonk.org/
June’s topics included the lessons learned through the consolidation of the township and borough of the two Princetons (NJ); NYS’s desire to regulate the salaries of nonprofit executives; the role of public sector unions in nursing homes, and the Greek reaction to the bailout.

Citizens Budget Commission

Taxes In, Garbage Out: The Need for Better Solid Waste Disposal Policies in New York City
Link
This report makes the case for a significant change in New York City’s solid waste disposal practices, a shift from heavy reliance on long-distance exporting to landfills to greater reliance on use of local waste-to-energy facilities.

The Citizen’s Budget Commission blog shows three posts for June 2012: http://www.cbcny.org/cbc-blogs . The call for statewide special education mandate relief figures prominently. Most recent post highlights the need to prioritize services to constituents in the negotiations about benefits for employees and retirees.

North Carolina

N.C. Center for Public Policy Research

49 Legislators Already Not Returning, Could Set Turnover Record
Link
This analysis predicts that turnover will be high in the November 2012 elections in North Carolina.

Rankings of Effectiveness, Attendance, and Roll Call Voting Participation for the 2011 North Carolina General Assembly
Link
The Center’s latest rankings are based on surveys completed by the legislators themselves, by registered lobbyists who are based in North Carolina and who regularly work in the General Assembly, and by capital news reporters.

Pennsylvania

Economy League of Greater Philadelphia

View briefing site for Toronto leadership trip: http://economyleague.org/gplex/2012

Pennsylvania Economy League/Allegheny Conference

Link
A brief summary of the adopted Pennsylvania budget, organized by the three major components of the Allegheny Conference’s 2012-2014 Agenda.

The PEL/Allegheny Conference blog: http://www.imaginepittsburghnow.com/

Tennessee

TACIR (TN Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations)

Dr. Harry A. Green retired his post as executive director of the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) on April 13, 2012, after 39 years of service to the State of Tennessee. The Commission’s new executive director is Lynnisse Roehrich-Patrick. For more information, go to https://news.tn.gov/node/8706

Appointment vs. Election of Utility Commissioners
Link
This is an analysis of bills that would change the utility commissioner selection method from appointment by county mayor to customer elections in utility districts in White and Lawrence counties.

County Veterans Service Officer Compensation Study
Link
This report studies the impact of a bill that would amend the law that governs the compensation of county veteran service officers.

Utah

The Utah Foundation

Partisan Politics, Polarization, and Participation
Link
This report studies the links between rising political partisanship and declining voter turnout in Utah.

Recovering From the Great Recession: Are We There Yet?
Link
This report assesses the impact of the 2007-09 recession on Utah compared to the nation as a whole, and it also takes a look at Utah’s pre-recession and post-recession economies.

Washington

Washington Research Council

Five Keys to Evaluating a Tax System
Link
Economic neutrality, administrative simplicity, stability, transparency and fairness are the five principles that the Research Council uses to evaluate tax systems.

Implementing Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange
Link
During this year’s session, the legislature passed a bill furthering implementation of the state’s health benefit exchange.  Some key provisions of the bill concern essential health benefits, insurance commissioner authority, market rules, and self-sustainability.

Characteristics of a Healthy Business Climate
Link
There is no “best business climate,” but common features in nine recent business climate rankings could help guide policymakers in the coming legislative session.

Wisconsin

Public Policy Forum

Milwaukee’s Protective Payee Program: Evaluating its performance and role in the larger case management system
Link
This report provides an independent assessment of a housing and financial security program for homeless adults with mental illness and other disabilities run by three Milwaukee nonprofit agencies.

Property Taxes and Values in Southeast Wisconsin
Link
In this annual report, the Public Policy Forum measures trends in property values and how those trends affect the revenue capacity of local governments in the seven-county southeast Wisconsin region.

Exploring Shared or Consolidated Fire Services in Southern Milwaukee County
Link
This report examines the potential for consolidating fire and emergency medical services among the cities and villages in Milwaukee County by modeling several possible service-sharing approaches for five selected municipalities.

The Public Policy Forum’s “Milwaukee Talkie” blog had three posts in June: http://milwaukeetalkie.blogspot.com/
Topics included the Public Policy Forum’s 20th Annual Salute to Local Government awards breakfast and summaries of the reports released by the Forum in June.