Research Roundup

Like too many property tax relief programs, the tax savings from the Florida "Save Our Homes" program, which may be expanded by a vote next Tuesday, have gone overwhelmingly to the richest state residents according to a new report to be published in the Journal of Real Estate Research. The result has been a tax bonanza for owners of multi-million dollar homes. Similarly, a new study by the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute argues that property tax cut proposals by Georgia political leaders would come at the expense of working families who would likely see higher sales taxes even as richer residents would see tax cuts.

The National Immigration Law Center has released Why States and Localities Should Not Require Employers to Participate in the Basic Pilot/E-Verify Program , which outlines the high error rates produced by the government database used to check citizenship status and the employer misuse of the program to punish workers who seek to collectively organize for better wages.

Families USA and Community Catalyst have introduced a new, interactive web tool, A Consumer Guide to State Health Reform, that walks outlines the wide variety of options available to expand state health coverage, including expanding SCHIP and Medicaid programs, building on employer-based health systems, better regulating the insurance market, pooling risk, and finding new funding mechanisms.

One key path to deploying high-speed Internet access if for cities and towns to invest in municipally-owned broadband infrastructure, as outlined in a new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The report explains how to approach the issue provides the options for communities seeking to expand broadband for their residents.

In The State of Sentencing 2007, the Sentencing Project analyzes how 18 states freed up prison space and took steps to reduce recidivism by changing parole policies, expanding inmate rehabilitation programs and improving other criminal justice practices. The study sees an important change in criminal justice policy in the states as rehabilitation and alternatives to mandatory minimum sentences are increasingly the focus of state lawmakers.