City Budgets in an Era of Increased Uncertainty: Understanding the Fiscal Policy Space of Cities

City Budgets in an Era of Increased Uncertainty: Understanding the Fiscal Policy Space of Cities.  Brookings Institution. Michael A. Pagano and Christopher W. Hoene. July 18, 2018

 Cities in the United States are likely to shoulder additional responsibilities during the Trump administration, as federal leaders seek to cut the federal budget and workforce and reduce regulatory authority in Washington. Yet cities’ revenue sources and budgetary constraints vary greatly, shaping their ability to carry out new mandates or raise additional revenues. Some, like Atlanta and Miami, primarily raise revenues through property taxes, while others, like Kansas City and Philadelphia, are authorized by their state governments to collect sales and income taxes as well. Cities in Virginia and Vermont face no property tax or expenditure limitations, while cities in Colorado and California face severe limitations on both tax collections and expenditures. And state funding comprises more than a quarter of municipal budgets in states like Nebraska and New York, but less than seven percent of municipal budgets in Oklahoma and Texas. In other words, given their unique fiscal positions, cities will not respond uniformly to structural shifts—and potential devolution—within American federalism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 44 pages].


How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness

How FDA Approves Drugs and Regulates Their Safety and Effectiveness.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Agata Dabrowska, Susan Thaul. May 8, 2018

 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a regulatory agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, regulates the safety and effectiveness of drugs sold in the United States. FDA divides that responsibility into two phases. In the preapproval (premarket) phase, FDA reviews manufacturers’ applications to market drugs in the United States; a drug may not be sold unless it has FDA approval. Once a drug is on the market, FDA continues its oversight of drug safety and effectiveness. That postapproval (postmarket) phase lasts as long as the drug is on the market. Beginning with the Food and Drugs Act of 1906, Congress and the President have incrementally refined and expanded FDA’s responsibilities regarding drug approval and regulation.

 [PDF format, 31 pages].



Public Funding for Job Training at the State and Local Level: An Examination of Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington

Public Funding for Job Training at the State and Local Level: An Examination of Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington. Urban Institute. Kelly S. Mikelson, Ian Hecker. June 14, 2018

 To provide a more complete picture of federal, state, and local job training investments, this report describes public expenditures for three states—Massachusetts, Texas, and Washington—and five cities—Austin, Boston, Houston, Seattle, and Worcester. Compared with the federally-funded Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, state and local investments in workforce training and related services is substantial, in some cases surpassing federal funding. States and localities demonstrate six strategies to manage funding—seeking diverse revenue sources, leveraging public- and private-funding, braiding and blending funding, using dedicated fees for training, funding sector-based training initiatives, and collaborating and coordinating to fill training gaps. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 77 pages].

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation

Small Business: Access to Capital and Job Creation.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Robert Jay Dilger. June 1, 2018

 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) administers several programs to support small businesses, including loan guaranty and venture capital programs to enhance small business access to capital; contracting programs to increase small business opportunities in federal contracting; direct loan programs for businesses, homeowners, and renters to assist their recovery from natural disasters; and small business management and technical assistance training programs to assist business formation and expansion. Congressional interest in these programs has increased in recent years, primarily because assisting small business is viewed as a means to enhance economic growth.

[PDF format, 31 pages].

Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A Preliminary Analysis

Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A Preliminary Analysis. Brookings Institution. William G. Gale et al. June 14, 2018

 On December 22, 2017, Donald Trump signed into law the biggest tax overhaul since the Tax Reform Act of 1986. The new tax law makes substantial changes to the rates and bases of both the individual and corporate income taxes, most prominently cutting the maximum corporate income tax rate to 21 percent, redesigning international tax rules, and providing a deduction for pass-through income.

Other major changes include expensing of equipment investment; elimination of personal and dependent exemptions, the tax on people who do not obtain adequate health insurance coverage, and the corporate alternative minimum tax; and increases in the standard deduction, the estate tax exemption, and the individual alternative minimum tax exemption.

In “Effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: A preliminary analysis” (PDF), William Gale, Hilary Gelfond, Aaron Krupkin, Mark J. Mazur, and Eric Toder summarize the provisions of the bill and provide preliminary analysis of their effects. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

 [PDF format, 51 pages].

U.S. Farm Commodity Support: An Overview of Selected Programs

U.S. Farm Commodity Support: An Overview of Selected Programs.  Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Sahar Angadjivand.  April 17, 2018

 Federal efforts to bolster farm household incomes and the rural economy by providing support to producers of key crops has been a central pillar of U.S. farm policy since such programs were first introduced in the 1930s. Current farm support programs are counter-cyclical in design—that is payments are triggered when the annual market price for an eligible crop drops below a statutory minimum or when revenue is below a guaranteed level.

 [PDF format, 22 pages].

Federal Requirements on Private Health Insurance Plans

Federal Requirements on Private Health Insurance Plans. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Annie L. Mach, Bernadette Fernandez. May 1, 2018

 A majority of Americans have health insurance from the private health insurance (PHI) market. Health plans sold in the PHI market must comply with requirements at both the state and federal levels; such requirements often are referred to as market reforms.  The first part of this report provides background information about health plans sold in the PHI market and briefly describes state and federal regulation of private plans. The second part summarizes selected federal requirements and indicates each requirement’s applicability to one or more of the following types of private health plans: individual, small group, large group, and self-insured. The selected market reforms are grouped under the following categories: obtaining coverage, keeping coverage, developing health insurance premiums, covered services, cost-sharing limits, consumer assistance and other patient protections, and plan requirements related to health care providers. Many of the federal requirements described in this report were established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148, as amended); however, some were established under federal laws enacted prior to the ACA.

 [PDF format, 26 pages].