Rural America's fiscal challenge
Fiscal challenges at state and local governments are a potential threat to the economic recovery in rural America. Rural communities depend heavily on intergovernmental transfers from the states to provide local services. Many people in rural communities rely on the state or local government for their jobs and on Medicaid as part of their income. Thus, rural economies are highly susceptible to state budget shortfalls. As state governments cut spending in response to looming budget deficits in coming years, rural America's fiscal problems may also deepen.
COVID-19 Poses Risks for State and Local Public Pensions
If the coronavirus pandemic leads to a protracted recession, public pension funding could weaken further in the years to come. During the 2001 and 2007–09 recessions, investment returns failed to reach pension plans’ longer-term assumed returns, and shortfalls in state and local government budgets led some employers to temporarily reduce contributions. If pension funding falls during the current crisis, state and local governments may choose to adjust plan structures as they did after the Great Recession.
Update on Kansas and Missouri economies: Spotlight on industrial specialization in Kansas and Missouri
The Kansas and Missouri economies continued to improve during the winter months. Missouri employment growth was slightly negative, but employment growth in Kansas was positive throughout the fourth quarter of 2011. In both Kansas and Missouri, the unemployment rate fell, and there are indications that labor market conditions will improve in each state during the first quarter of 2012. Agricultural conditions were positive in the fourth quarter, and farmland values increased in both Kansas and Missouri.
What is behind the inflation numbers?
This issue of the Rocky Mountain Economist describes common measures of inflation and explores how recent trends compare to the policy objectives of the Federal Reserve.
Who offers tax-based business development incentives?
Many American communities seek to attract or retain businesses with tax abatements, tax credits, or tax increment financing of infrastructure projects (TIFs). The evidence for 1999 indicates that communities are most likely to offer one or more of these business development incentives if their residents have low incomes, if they are located close to state borders, and if their states have troubled political cultures. Ten percent greater median household income is associated with a 3.2 percent lower probability of offering incentives; ten percent greater distance from a state border is ...
Industrial diversity, growth, and volatility in the seven states of the Tenth District
State and local officials have long sought to diversify the mix of industries in their regions, hoping to reduce short-term volatility in their communities? economic growth rates and potentially boost overall long-term growth. ; While theory does suggest that industrial diversity can reduce economic volatility, views are mixed on whether and how industrial diversity affects long-term growth. ; Examining the varied landscape of industrial diversity across hundreds of counties in the Tenth District?s seven-state region, Felix finds that counties with greater diversity did see more economic ...
Do state corporate income taxes reduce wages?
Amid falling revenues and impending budget shortfalls, state policymakers must find ways to increase revenue, cut spending, or both. At the same time, they must develop policies that attract or keep businesses and jobs. Some policymakers may consider raising corporate tax rates because it avoids directly taxing workers who are already suffering the effects of this recession. But as states reevaluate their current tax policy, it is important to consider the effects of each tax component. One important question is: Who will bear the burden of the taxes? ; State corporate income taxes are ...
The importance of community colleges to the Tenth District economy
The recent recession and now the recovery have caused enrollment at many community colleges to soar as unemployed workers retrain for new occupations and students who might otherwise attend a four-year college choose to save money. In the Tenth District, the importance of community colleges is likely to rise even further as the economy continues to evolve and industries demand workers with new skills. ; Labor market projections over the next decade suggest that new jobs in the district will be filled more by workers with an associate?s degree or some college than by those with any other type ...
The impact of an aging U.S. population on state tax revenues
As the baby boom generation retires, the nation?s labor force participation rate is expected to decline. And since most people earn less and spend less during retirement, the aging of the U.S. population will likely reduce income and sales tax revenue per capita for state governments. Felix and Watkins draw from data on different age groups? earning and spending patterns to assess how projected changes in the age distribution across the American population are likely to affect earning and spending?and therefore state revenue from income taxes and sales taxes. They find that demographic change ...