The Fiscal Link - May 2013

Your On-Line Connection to the Latest Fiscal Information in the States .

NCSL & National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices (NALFO) Updates

  • Registration is now open for the 2013 Fiscal Analysts Seminar! The Seminar will take place in Annapolis, Maryland, October 7-9, 2013. Get more information and register online here.
  • NALFO is inviting nominations for the NCSL annual Legislative Staff Achievement Awards.  Each NCSL staff section may give up to two awards to recognize outstanding legislative staff.  These nominations can be for individuals, project teams or entire offices.  The awards will be presented at the 2013 NCSL Legislative Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. Please contact Todd Haggerty for more information.
  • Upcoming free webinars for legislative staff
    1. Federal Tax Reform and the Impact on the States (Thursday, June 6, 2013). This webinar will feature a brief presentation on the status of federal tax reform, examples of federal-state tax policy linkages, and use a newly released report from The Pew Charitable Trusts on the mortgage interest deduction to illustrate the varying impacts of federal tax policy and reform on the states. More.
    2. Courteous and Effective Communication (Thursday, June 13, 2013). Emily Post will speak about using email and social media. Learn how to effectively use these tools, sharpen your writing skills, and get your points across, while understanding the responsibilities and potential consequences that result from the unprofessional or careless use of these tools. More.
    3. Legislative Oversight of Federal Funds: Contingency Planning (Thursday, June 27, 2013). In their constitutional role as controllers of the state purse strings, state legislatures must ensure that federal funds are spent according to the law. Jonathan Ball (NALFO Past-President and Director of the Utah Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst) and Eric Weeks (Deputy General Counsel, Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel) will explore the general and legal roles of state legislatures in the federal grant-in-aid system, and on improving the legislative oversight of federal funds. More.

State News & Reports

  • Michigan. The House Fiscal Agency issued a legislative briefing discussing the Michigan Public School Employees' Retirement System.
  • Oregon. The Legislative Revenue Office published a Research Brief examining timber harvesting revenues in Oregon, and the history of taxes on timber.
  • Texas. The Legislative Budget Board recently released issue briefs examining the President’s budget proposal for FY 2014 and health insurance exchanges.
  • Utah. The Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel published a Research Brief looking at the tax burden across different types of households in Utah.

Federal News & Reports

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City published a report on farm investment in the United States, and whether the sector could become overleveraged as it has in the past.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics published a “first look” at data on postsecondary education costs and degree awards collected in the fall.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York created a series of graphs highlighting student loan debt in the United States.

Other Items of Interest

  • The Tax Foundation published a chart outlining state taxation of unemployment insurance benefits.
  • The Urban Institute released a report examining state and local finances during recent economic recoveries. The report finds significant differences in state and local finances during the most recent recovery compared to past recoveries.
  • The Center for State and Local Government Excellence published a pension funding guide for elected officials, which provides tips and tools for lawmakers to manage pension fund policy.
  • The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College released a research brief examining job security for public sector workers compared to private sector workers.

If you would like to be added to the distribution list for The Fiscal Link, or know a legislator or legislative staff person who should be added, just ask Erica Michel or Todd Haggerty.

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NOTE: Links to external websites and reports are for information purposes only and do not indicate NCSL’s endorsement of the content on those sites.