Tax Incentives for Retirement Savings

Tax Incentives for Retirement Savings. Urban Institute. Eric Toder, Surachai Khitatrakun, and Aravind Boddupalli. May 11, 2020

Federal tax law provides substantial tax incentives for retirement saving. These include the deferral of taxes on contributions to retirement savings accounts by employers, employees, and self-employed taxpayers and the earnings on these contributions until the funds are withdrawn in retirement for traditional retirement accounts; the exemption of investment income accrued within retirement accounts for Roth retirement accounts; and a retirement savings tax credit for low-income taxpayers. This chartbook explores the implications of current-law income tax incentives for retirement savings, illustrates alternative ways of measuring the tax benefits they generate, and analyzes the distributional impacts of alternative tax proposals to encourage retirement saving. We find that tax incentives for retirement saving provide the largest benefits as a share of income to upper-middle-income taxpayers. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 24 pages].

On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know About Gen Z So Far

On the Cusp of Adulthood and Facing an Uncertain Future: What We Know About Gen Z So Far. Pew Research Center. Kim Parker and Ruth Igielnik. May 14, 2020

One-in-ten eligible voters in the 2020 electorate will be part of a new generation of Americans – Generation Z. Born after 1996, most members of this generation are not yet old enough to vote, but as the oldest among them turn 23 this year, roughly 24 million will have the opportunity to cast a ballot in November. And their political clout will continue to grow steadily in the coming years, as more and more of them reach voting age. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Critical Care Surge Response Strategies for the 2020 COVID-19 Outbreak in the United States

Critical Care Surge Response Strategies for the 2020 COVID-19 Outbreak in the United States. RAND Corporation. Mahshid Abir et al. April 3, 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic is creating unprecedented stresses on hospital and health care systems. In this report, the authors present a list of strategies for creating critical care surge capacity and estimate the number of patients accommodated, given the number of available critical care doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists, ventilators, and hospital beds. They also document the development of a user-friendly, Microsoft Excel–based tool that allows decisionmakers at all levels — hospitals, health care systems, states, regions — to estimate current critical care capacity and rapidly explore strategies for increasing it. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 49 pages].

How States Can Support Shared Prosperity in Cities through Quality Jobs

How States Can Support Shared Prosperity in Cities through Quality Jobs. Urban Institute. Donnie Charleston. March 26, 2020

New technologies, economic shifts, changing demographics and continued racial biases are widening income inequalities and racial disparities in cities across the United States. As a result, economic opportunities are increasingly concentrated among a small share of the population and in a limited number of places. To combat increased economic and geographic inequality within cities, local leaders are launching new efforts to enable women, people of color and other underrepresented groups to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. But local leaders cannot address these issues on their own. In an era of federal withdrawal from investments in communities and the social safety net, state and local leaders must work together to advance shared prosperity. In this series of briefs, we articulate why the issues of affordable housing, job growth and upskilling workers matter to statewide shared prosperity. In addition, we explore how state and local governments can forge more effective partnerships, and we profile states that are leading the way.
In this brief, the authors discuss how state and local governments can more effectively partner to grow quality jobs in cities. They acknowledge that the complexity of the challenges requires more integrated and complimentary workforce development and job growth strategies. In an accompanying brief, they address more directly the human capital development strategies that should work in tandem with job growth and economic development approaches examined in this brief. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages].

Polling Shows Signs of Public Trust in Institutions amid the Pandemic

Polling Shows Signs of Public Trust in Institutions amid the Pandemic. Pew Research Center. Cary Funk. Април 7, 2020.

The ongoing effort to fight COVID-19 wins broad support, even across partisan divides

In the face of unprecedented measures to limit social contact at work, at school and on the main streets of communities across the nation, Americans give themselves good marks, with 86% saying people in their households are “reacting about right.” Most also say their local school system is reacting about right (86%), and majorities say the same about their local (74%) or state (72%) government. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): An Overview

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): An Overview. Congressional Research Service. Kelsi Bracmort. Updated April 14, 2020

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires U.S. transportation fuel to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The RFS—established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58; EPAct05) and expanded in 2007 by the Energy Independence and Security Act (P.L. 110-140; EISA)—began with 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2006 and is scheduled to ascend to 36 billion gallons in 2022. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has statutory authority to determine the volume amounts fter 2022.
The total renewable fuel statutory target consists of both conventional biofuel and advanced biofuel. Since 2014, the total renewable fuel statutory target has not been met, with the advanced biofuel portion falling below the statutory target by a relatively large margin since 2015. Going forward, it appears unlikely that the United States will meet the total renewable fuel target as outlined in statute.

[PDF format, 17 pages].

Electric Vehicles: A Primer on Technology and Selected Policy Issues

Electric Vehicles: A Primer on Technology and Selected Policy Issues. Congressional Research Service. Melissa N. Diaz. February 14, 2020

The market for electrified light-duty vehicles (also called passenger vehicles; including passenger cars, pickup trucks, SUVs, and minivans) has grown since the 1990s. During this decade, the first contemporary hybrid-electric vehicle debuted on the global market, followed by the introduction of other types of electric vehicles (EVs). By 2018, electric vehicles made up 4.2% of the 16.9 million new light-duty vehicles sold in the United States that year. Meanwhile, charging infrastructure grew in response to rising electric vehicle ownership, increasing from 3,394 charging stations in 2011 to 78,301 in 2019. However, many locations have sparse or no public charging infrastructure.

[PDF format, 22 pages].

Expanding and Improving Work-Based Learning in Community Colleges: Better Data and Measurement to Realize Goals for Students and Employers

Expanding and Improving Work-Based Learning in Community Colleges: Better Data and Measurement to Realize Goals for Students and Employers. Urban Institute. Shayne Spaulding, Ian Hecker, Emily Bramhall. March 3, 2020.

Work-based learning (WBL) as an important strategy for helping students prepare for and access good jobs. Across the country and at all levels of government, efforts are underway to expand and diversify WBL. Because they enroll diverse student bodies and providing career-focused education and training, community colleges are poised to play a role in these efforts. This brief explores the current state of knowledge about WBL in community college contexts and how it is measured. We find that 1) WBL models and definitions vary across community colleges; 2) the federal government, states and community colleges need to align systems of measurement to assess the effectiveness of WBL expansion efforts; and 3) an institutional commitment to WBL is vital to successful implementation and measurement. We recommend increased funding and common definitions of WBL at both state and federal levels and the integration of WBL elements into existing data platforms. We further recommend that community colleges incorporate WBL elements into their own data systems, and commit institutionally to WBL. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 46 pages].

A Majority of Americans Continue to Favor Replacing Electoral College with a Nationwide Popular Vote

A Majority of Americans Continue to Favor Replacing Electoral College with a Nationwide Popular Vote. Pew Research Center. Andrew Daniller. March 13, 2020.

A majority of U.S. adults (58%) say the Constitution should be amended so the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide wins, while 40% prefer to keep the current system in which the candidate who receives the most Electoral College vote wins the election.

Support for amending the Constitution has increased slightly since the period immediately following the 2016 election. In a November 2016 CNN/ORC survey, roughly half of adults (51%) favored amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College. And in a March 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 55% favored taking this step. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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Reducing Administrative Costs in US Health Care

Reducing Administrative Costs in US Health Care. Brookings Institution. David M. Cutler. March 10, 2020

The Problem

Administrative costs account for one-quarter to one-third of total health-care spending in the United States—far greater than the amount necessary to deliver effective health care. Excessive administrative burden results in higher costs for physicians, insurers, and patients alike.

The Proposal

Cutler proposes several reforms to the U.S. health-care system aimed at reducing administrative costs. Specifically, his proposal would establish a clearinghouse for bill submission, simplify prior authorization, harmonize quality reporting, and enhance data interoperability in the health-care system. Cutler’s proposal to lower administrative costs could save $50 billion annually. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 28 pages].