October Updates for GRA Organizations

News from GRA

September Publications

Illinois Fiscal Policy Council and Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois

Summer 2013 Tax Facts
This issue of Tax Facts was dedicated to a primer on business income taxes in Illinois and how Illinois compares to other states with regard to apportionment and rate.

14th Annual Illinois State and Local Tax Conference
On September 19, 2013, the Taxpayers' Federation of Illinois held its Illinois State and Local Tax Conference. The annual conference focuses on technical tax and policy developments in Illinois and additionally provides updates to changes occurring in other states.

Civic Federation

Managed Competition: An Issue Brief
Managed competition is a form of alternative service delivery that requires in-house service units of a government to compete with external providers under a controlled or managed process.

The purpose of this issue brief was to describe managed competition, provide a short history of its use and results, identify managed competition best practices and review the forms of managed competition being used in selected jurisdictions including San Diego, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cook County, Illinois and Chicago, Illinois.

Other Publications:
The Civic Federation's two blogs had eight posts in September: and Subjects included a new law on economic development incentives passed by the State of Illinois and a summary of recent bond rating downgrades of local governments in the Chicago area.

Bureau of Governmental Research

BGR Reviews S&WB Reform, Jefferson Tax Renewals
In On the Ballot: October 19, 2013, BGR explains, analyzes and takes positions on three tax propositions on the ballot in Jefferson Parish and two proposed charter amendments in New Orleans, one of which would reform the Sewerage & Water Board.

Are Public Dollars Being Wasted on Excess Judgeships in Orleans Parish?
In Benchmarking the Bench: Are Public Dollars Being Wasted on Excess Judgeships in Orleans Parish? BGR presents data on the estimated need for judgeships in Orleans Parish. It also recommends steps for right-sizing the courts.

Citizens Research Council of Michigan

Michigan's Single-State Recession and its Effects on Public Employment
Michigan has been losing public sector jobs since 2001, in large part due to losses in the local government sub-sector.  This report analyzes the shift in employment trends, finding that K-12 education and public safety jobs declined significantly, while public higher education jobs increased.  State jobs were found to have increased over the same time period, in contrast to the large decreases at the local level. Ultimately, the report concludes that public sector employment will continue to decline unless local governments are allowed alternate, legal ways to raise revenue.

Blog Posts:
Higher Education Employment Bucking the Trend in Michigan
In this blog, the CRC drills down into the conclusions offered by its more comprehensive public employment report by showing how higher education job growth drives overall state job growth. Increasing enrollment has helped to spur this growth in higher education jobs, while decreasing enrollment at the K-12 level has contributed to declining local government jobs.  Overall, this analysis highlights the need to recognize variation in job growth within the many sub-sectors of state and local government.

Public Sector Employment Trends In Michigan and the U.S.
Further building upon its report, Michigan's Single-State Recession and its Effects on Public Employment, the CRC issued a blog comparing public employment in Michigan to trends nationwide.  Michigan's employment trends over the decade diverged greatly from the nation's because of dramatic changes in K-12 and higher education employment at the state and local levels.

Center for Governmental Research

Financial Viability of Public Nursing Homes: NY Isn't Only State Struggling
Building upon CGR's comprehensive report, The Future of County Nursing Homes in New York State, this blog compares the challenges faced by county owned homes in New York with challenges of county owned homes nationwide.  Similar to county homes in NY, county homes across the nation are struggling with financial instability-in part due to high employee compensation levels-and half of states had declines in the number of county homes from 2005-2009.

Canada's Economic Success Offers Valuable Lessons to Upstate
In an Op-Ed, CGR's Kent Gardner points out just how Canada's Golden Horseshoe Region outperforms Upstate NY economically. He cites as key factors: policy differences on immigration and business taxes.

Utah Foundation

Inspirations and Aspirations:  A Survey of 2013 Utah High School Graduates
The survey was designed to discern graduates’ attitudes, knowledge, and motivation about attending higher education, their influences towards pursuing higher education, and their understanding of financial feasibility.  These results are set in the context of raising the number of post-secondary degrees or certificates among Utah’s workforce to 66 percent in 2020 from 43 percent today.  A vast majority of survey respondents expect to obtain post-secondary degrees or trade certificates.  Respondents strongly indicated that they were pursing education to get a job later, learn new job skills, and learn about subjects that are interesting and challenging.

Public Policy Forum

Consolidated Fire Services in Milwaukee County's South Shore
At the request of municipal leaders in Cudahy, South Milwaukee and St. Francis, the Public Policy Forum developed this second report in a series exploring possibilities for sharing or consolidating fire services. The first report (published in September 2012) looked at possible approaches for a consolidated public safety dispatch operations. This report examined the demographics of the three communities and the services they provide and then developed three scenarios for consolidating services, with projections for each scenario's fiscal impact.

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