Tax Incentives for Charitable Contributions

Tax Incentives for Charitable Contributions.   Urban Institute. Rob McClelland et al.  November, 12 2019

This Chartbook explores the implications of current law income tax incentives for charitable donations along with several alternatives for tax deductions that are more universally available. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages].

Technology and Equity in Cities

Technology and Equity in Cities. Urban Institute. Solomon Greene et al. November 21, 2019

Racial and economic inequities in the US are growing, and rapid technological change can either promote inclusion or widen this divide. City leaders can use technological innovations to manage infrastructure and improve services, communicate with constituents, and make better decisions. But they must also be aware of the challenges that come with the disruptive force of new technological advancements. This report, which is based on a literature review and interviews with experts, explores trends in four areas of technological change: smart infrastructure, shared mobility, civic technology, and technology-enhanced data analytics. The authors identify how those trends could exacerbate or mitigate inequality in cities, and we provide examples of cities that are leveraging these trends and innovations to advance equity goals. They also synthesize cross-cutting themes and recommend principles to guide local efforts to harness technological innovation and create more equitable cities. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 70 pages].

Social Security: Demographic Trends and the Funding Shortfall

Social Security: Demographic Trends and the Funding Shortfall.  Congressional Research Service. Barry F. Huston. November 4, 2019.

 The Social Security program pays monthly benefits to retired or disabled workers and their families and to the family members of deceased workers. Social Security, or OldAge, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI), is intended to operate primarily as a pay-as-you-go system, where program revenues cover program costs. The OASDI program’s revenues and costs are largely determined by economic and demographic factors. The Social Security program is experiencing rising costs and relatively stable income, a trend that is projected to continue for several decades. Although economic and program-specific factors affect the balance between program revenues and costs, research has shown demographic factors to be one of the leading contributors to the increasing imbalance between costs and revenues. 

[PDF format, 31 pages].

Rethinking Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Benefits

Rethinking Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Benefits. Urban Institute. Ryan Nunn, David Ratner. October 28, 2019

This paper addresses economic issues related to the unemployment insurance (UI) system, focusing on the worker- and employer-facing aspects of UI policy—i.e., the ways that benefits are provided to workers and that employers are taxed to fund those benefits. We outline principles for optimal design, grounding these principles in the relevant research literature. These principles guide the empirical analysis of the paper, which focuses on establishing the quantitative importance of the considerations that motivate those principles. This leads to several specific areas of investigation and policy recommendations: benefit structure, rules for eligibility, experience-rated UI tax schedules, and interactions of UI with part-time work, among others. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 38 pages].

Unemployment Insurance: Programs and Benefits

Unemployment Insurance: Programs and Benefits. Congressional Research Service. Julie M. Whittaker, Katelin P. Isaacs. October 18, 2019

Certain benefits may be available to unemployed workers to provide them with income support during a spell of unemployment. The cornerstone of this income support is the joint federal-state Unemployment Compensation (UC) program, which may provide income support through the payment of UC benefits for up to a maximum of 26 weeks in most states. Other programs that may provide workers with income support are more specialized. They may target special groups of workers, be automatically triggered by certain economic conditions, be temporarily created by Congress with a set expiration date, or target typically ineligible workers through a disaster declaration.

[PDF format, 19 pages].

Realism About Reskilling: Upgrading the Career Prospects of America’s Low-Wage Workers

Realism About Reskilling: Upgrading the Career Prospects of America’s Low-Wage Workers. Brookings Institution.  Marcela Escobari, Ian Seyal, Michael Meaney. November 7, 2019.

Every person deserves the opportunity for dignified employment that provides living wages and potential for advancement. However, for many in America today, this is far from reality, as they are caught in a cycle of low-wage work, earning poverty wages and unable to move up in the economy.

Local leaders, firms, and workers need to adapt quickly to keep pace with rapid technological innovation and its transformative impact on the U.S. economy. Using reskilling as a focal point, this report aims to provide policymakers with tools to do so by answering the following questions:

  • Who are the nation’s low-wage workers, and what are their prospects?
  • Where are the local opportunities for mobility, and how can policymakers expand them and help low-wage workers transition?

How can the reskilling infrastructure adapt to the future, foster inclusion, and address the needs of any worker seeking upward mobility? [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 17 pages].

Improving Chronic Illness Management in Harlem: Leveraging Community Health Coaches to Address the Challenge of Medication Management

Improving Chronic Illness Management in Harlem: Leveraging Community Health Coaches to Address the Challenge of Medication Management. Urban Institute. Elaine Waxman et al. October 24, 2019

Since 2012, City Health Works in Harlem, New York, has hired clinically supervised, neighborhood-based health coaches to support low-income patients manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and hypertension. Medication management is a major focus of this work. Here, the authors present the major reasons for medication issues, including those that required “escalations” to clinical supervisors. They also discuss the unique ways that community-based coaching can help address medication management challenges that emerge in patients’ daily lives (e.g., multiple medications or food insecurity). Finally, they recommend several action items for medical training and practice, aimed at improving the delivery of patient-centered care. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 34 pages].