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TANF Emergency Funds, The Impact of State Income Taxes on Low-Income Families, Disparities in K-12 Education Revenues, and More

Event:  What the TANF Emergency Fund Can Do For Your Cash-Strapped State -  On Monday, November 16, CLASP will bring together leading TANF experts to discuss the latest federal guidance on innovative ways that states can draw on the TANF Emergency Fund and claim expenditures by third parties, such as counties, nonprofit service-providers, and even merchants. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions about the TANF Emergency Fund. Click on link to register online.

Economy Track -  The Economic Policy Institute has a new website featuring a collection of charts containing EPI's data offering a detailed picture of the recession and the current jobs crisis unavailable elsewhere.  It provides and interactive, easy-to-use format that lets users see the context behind the numbers by comparing the latest employment data to that from past recessions and allows them to parse the numbers by race, gender, region, and level of education.

The Impact of State Income Taxes on Low-Income Families in 2008 -  An analysis of state income tax systems by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities finds that in 16 of the 42 states that levy income taxes, two-parent families of four with incomes below the federal poverty line are liable for income tax and  26 states collect taxes from families of four with incomes just above the poverty line.  The report recommends creating or expanding Earned Income Tax Credits (EITCs), setting reasonable levels below which no tax is owed, and personal exemptions and standard deductions at levels adequate to shield poverty-level income from taxation.

Spending Is Up, and So Are Interstate Disparities in States' K-12 Education Revenues - States are spending more on schools, but differences in education funding have also been growing since the 2001 recession, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.  The current economic downturn seems to be worsening the gap between student need and resource disparities.

A Look at Community Schools - This Center for American Progress report details how “community schools,” a growing movement that capitalizes on schools' physical space and access to students and families, help deliver much-needed services in a central, accessible location. The report details best practices for how community schools partner with nonprofits and local agencies to provide students with health care, academic enrichment, mental and behavioral health services, and other youth development activities without burdening school staff.

Measure by Measure: The Current Measure v. the National Academy of Sciences Measure - A new report from the Center for Law and Social Policy compares state poverty rates under the current official federal poverty measure and an alternative measure based on the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Under the NAS alternative measure, poverty rates increased in every state.

Improving State Voter Registration Databases & Maintenance of State Voter Registration Lists - Two reports from the National Academy of Sciences and the National Association of Secretaries of State, respectively, give guidance and perspective on practices for voter registration database management.  The first gives a comprehensive overview of best practices in database management and the second gives an equally comprehensive treatment to the current practices in each state.