Infrastructure

State and local governments account for the bulk of public spending on infrastructure. Infrastructure investments can ensure that we do not leave future generations a deficit of underinvestment and deferred maintenance of public assets. Such investment can create jobs and lock-in genuine full employment in the near-term and provide a needed boost to productivity growth in the medium-term. Large, sustained increases in infrastructure investment can increase aggregate demand and productivity growth, which provides the potential ceiling on how fast average income can rise.

Smart public investment should put the needs of the public first and should not undercut workers’ wages.

Publications

Who Really Pays: An analysis of the tax structures in 15 cities throughout Washington State

Many Washingtonians feel they are heavily taxed. They are – if they’re working class or middle class. Wealthy residents pay a tax rate many times lower than the rates other people pay. But due to our opaque tax system, it’s hard to understand how much we pay in taxes, or how much other people are.

This report compares the tax obligations of households at the $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, $150,000 and $250,000 income levels in Bellevue, Bellingham, Everett, Federal Way, Kent, Olympia, Pasco, Pullman, Renton, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Yakima. In Seattle, the combination of state and local taxes results in a system which relies much more heavily on taxes on the people least able to pay, while not imposing significantly higher taxes on the wealthy.

This report also compares job growth in states and cities with their income tax structures and effective tax rates on wealthy households. In neither case is there any correlation.

Impact of the Governor’s FY 2019 Budget Adjustments on Children and Families

  • February 20, 2018
  • Connecticut Voices for Children
  • Ray Noonan, Lauren Ruth, Ph.D., Ellen Shemitz, J.D., Karen Siegel, Camara Stokes Hudson, Nicole Updegrove, and Jane McNichol, J.D.

Connecticut’s long-term fiscal health depends on an economy that benefits all families, businesses, and communities. To achieve this objective, the state needs a strategic budget that balances investment with fiscal responsibility. In this report, we find that the Governor’s latest budget proposal would move Connecticut away from these goals. Under the Governor’s plan, the Children’s Budget, the share of state spending devoted to children, would drop to 27.2 percent, a historic low, down from 27.8 in the budget approved last November.

The Governor’s budget includes significant cutscompared to the biennial budget approved by the General Assembly last October. The proposal would reduce spending in health and human services by 3.9 percent, K-12 education by 3.3 percent, early care and education by 2.6 percent, and higher education by 1.7 percent. The report warns that fixed costs (pensions, debt service, and retiree healthcare), although slightly lower than in the previous year, will continue trending upward, potentially further eroding these programs.

In addition to the present budget cuts, the Governor’s budget fails to address the impact of four fiscal restrictions inserted into the budget implementer during closed-door negotiations. The combination of a newly defined spending cap, a bond cap, a volatility cap, and a bond lock diminish this flexibility, tying the state’s hands and making it more difficult for Connecticut to make the strategic investments necessary to promote equitable opportunity and inclusive economic growth.

The report calls on the General Assembly to prioritize repealing or amending these fiscal restrictions.Furthermore, we urge policymakers to modernize the state’s revenue system, eliminating loopholes and broadening the tax base, and to invest in Connecticut’s future, with a focus on child care, education, and healthy child development.

How Vulnerable is Massachusetts Transportation to Federal Spending Cuts?

A high-quality transportation system is important for our quality of life and the strength of our economy.1 Our state and federal governments work together to fund the construction and maintenance of our roads, bridges, rails, and public transit systems. In the coming months Congress is expected to debate proposals that could destabilize this partnership. This fact sheet examines the extent to which the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and transit agencies across the state rely on federal sources of revenue for their operations and capital investment. It describes the federal grants that are most vulnerable to near-term budget cuts and how larger sums of federal transportation funding could face cuts after 2020.

In general, most federal transportation funding to Massachusetts is more vulnerable to budget cuts in the longer term than the short term. Most immediately, federal cuts could eliminate or curtail some programs that have awarded grants to Massachusetts in the past for transportation improvements and expansions, especially for public transit and rail. Over the longer term, a lack of sustainable revenue for the federal transportation trust fund imperils the larger federal support provided for Massachusetts investment in highways, transit and other construction and repair projects.