Research Roundup: Cuts to Low-Income Families, Progressive Revenue Solutions, and More

Reports by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on state cuts to low-income families, the Economic Policy Institute refuting the idea that the nation is broke, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy on progressive revenue components of the recently enacted state budget in Connecticut, and the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy on how low-wage jobs have dominated New York City’s job growth since the bottom of the Great Recession.

Many States Cutting TANF Benefits Harshly Despite High Unemployment and Unprecedented Need – A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that states are implementing some of the harshest cuts in recent history to the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant. The cuts to TANF, which provides assistance to many of the nation’s most vulnerable families with children, will affect 700,000 low-income families that include 1.3 million children; these families represent over one-third of all low-income families receiving TANF nationwide.

We’re not broke, nor will we be – This briefing paper by Laurence Mishel at the Economic Policy Institute states emphatically the reasons why “it is clear that ‘we’ as a nation are not broke,” despite the protestations of pundits to the contrary, many of whom who seek to justify budget cuts. Statistics cited include that in the 30 years between 1980 and 2010, income per capita grew 66.4% and wealth per capita grew 73.2%, and that over the next 30 years, “per capita income is projected to grow by a comparable 60.6%.”

States Should Look to Connecticut on Tax Policy – A new report by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) highlights “mostly progressive” revenue components of the recently passed and signed budget in Connecticut and the fact that the state was able to “raise more than $1.4 billion in new taxes to mitigate cuts to core services.” Also cited as models for other state policymakers are a new 30 percent refundable Earned Income Tax Credit, increases in personal income taxes for the states’ wealthiest residents, and a corporate tax surcharge.

Low-Wage Jobs Dominate City’s Job Growth – This new Drum Major Institute for Public Policy report examines New York State Department of labor data to reveal “the startling extent to which recent job growth in New York City has been dominated by the city’s lowest-paid industries.” The report notes that, since the bottom of Great Recession employment levels in New York City, new job growth has been dominated by industries that pay lower wages. The analysis shows that the two leading city industries for job growth (accommodation and food services and retail trade) accounted for 52 percent of NYC’s net job gains, and the five lowest-paid industries made up 82 percent of all job growth over the past year.