New York's Outyear Gaps and New Report on Racial Equity Impact Assessments
A new research brief by The New School and the Brookings Institution looks at six cases of innovative racial equity impact assessment efforts.
"Racial equity audits" are a tool to identify and address discriminatory practices within corporations. The practice started following the murder of George Floyd in 2020. Now, communities are conducting these analyses to make budgeting decisions. Racial equity audits aim to bring accountability and sustainable outcomes by addressing systemic inequities. However, challenges remain, including the need for more precise instructions and how communities with limited resources can meet best practices.
A new research brief by The New School and the Brookings Institution looks at six cases of innovative racial equity impact assessments from localities around the country.
State Budget News
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CHIPS Act Investment
US chipping away at global semiconductor supply chains East Asia Forum
Who Will Make the Chips? Foreign Policy
In three months, New York State’s outyear budget gaps have doubled. In February, an $8.7 billion surplus from higher-than-expected tax revenue allowed for a variety of new programs, but things look very different now. According to the state’s recent report, tax receipts are expected to decrease by over $5 billion annually in comparison to the Executive Budget forecast. The main driver: weak April personal income tax collections, particularly the capital gains component. With a progressive tax structure that relies on high-income earners New York is highly susceptible to capital gains volatility.
Measuring What Matters for Racial Progress: Local and State Innovation in Racial Equity Impact Assessment The New School and Brookings Institution
Before making budgetary and policy decisions, racial equity assessments aim to evaluate the potential advantages and disadvantages that may affect communities of color and other marginalized communities.
Examples include Los Angeles County adopting equity principles and an equity funding formula to allocate federal funds, Dallas using a budgeting for equity tool, Chicago addressing racial and economic segregation in housing, New York City embedding equity impact analysis into land use reforms, California targeting resource allocation based on environmental justice, and Washington, DC analyzing proposed legislation for racial equity impacts.
The success of equity impact assessment relies on enhancing and tailoring tools, building government capacity, supporting sustained community engagement, and expanding accountability and impact.
Specific strategies involve utilizing detailed and specific data, coordinating efforts across agencies, committing resources to data gathering and analysis, involving marginalized communities in decision-making, and ensuring transparency and public access to analysis and tools.
Stay Away from StayNJ: Proposal Cuts Taxes for the Rich, Leaves Low-Income Seniors Behind New Jersey Policy Perspective
The proposed property tax cut for seniors, StayNJ, aims to assist struggling seniors in remaining in their homes, but its design would have the opposite effect.
StayNJ lacks an income cap on eligibility, grants larger tax cuts for more expensive homes, and does not provide any credit for renters. Consequently, it would result in a significant transfer of wealth and state resources to those who are already the most affluent. This would divert billions of dollars from vital investments in education, transportation, healthcare, and infrastructure, precisely as federal pandemic aid ends and state revenue declines.
Given the program's flawed design, high cost, and lack of a funding source, policymakers should explore alternative approaches to assist seniors in staying in New Jersey.
Analysis of select utilities passing fuel costs and risks onto customers Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy
Electric utility bills often include a fuel adjustment clause (FAC) charge, which can fluctuate to recover the utility's fuel costs (introduced due to coal price fluctuations during World War I).
The continued use of the FAC raises concerns, especially in areas with high energy burdens for vulnerable residents, as it transfers the risk of fuel price spikes to the customers.
To address the issue of high-energy burdens, one approach is to provide clean and efficient energy to households, reducing energy bills and freeing up household resources for other essential needs. However, our findings indicate that customers, particularly low-income households and those on fixed incomes, bear the risks of the volatile gas market, resulting in potential significant impacts on their electric bills.
Any opinions expressed herein are those of the author and the author alone.