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Tax Breaks and Economic Development, Prisoner Release, Medical Debt, Minimum Wage, and EITC

Reinforcing CFED's message that tax breaks are a poor road to state economic growth, a report commissioned by Kentucky's state government finds that tax breaks hadn't produced the number of new jobs state officials had previously claimed, while workforce training programs were far more cost-effective in creating new jobs.

To help communities deal with the increased number of people being released from prison and returning home in recent years, the Urban Institute has a new brief explaining how to use Reentry Mapping to better inform and improve community efforts to address reentry for returning prisoners, from the policy decisions of local governments to outreach from neighborhood churches.

One cost of our health care crisis is rising debt due to medical expenses, highlighted by a new Access Project report, that finds that 29% of households with credit card debt reported that medical expenses contributed to their debt and that their credit card debt was 46% higher than for families without those medical expenses.

Adding to the evidence that raising the minimum wage has no ill effects on the economy, the Fiscal Policy Institute reports that in the two years since New York state increased its minimum wage, 750,000 workers should have received a wage increase even as low-wage industries have grown faster in the state than for other industries and faster than comparable industries in surrounding states.

When low-income families earn just a little more money, they often see their tax bills explode as they lose state benefits. New Jersey Policy Perspectives highlights an example, a quirk of the state Earned Income Tax Credit where abrupt "phase-out" rules mean a married couple making $19,000 per year can see a $1414 increase in their state taxes if they make just $2000 more in income.