Economics

Learning from Experience: A Primer on Tax Increment Financing

Learning from Experience: A Primer on Tax Increment Financing
Fiscal Brief, New York City Independent Budget Office, September

Devine, T.
01/01/2002

To fund the estimated $1.5 billion extension of the No. 7 subway and perhaps other redevelopment proposals on Manhattan’s Far West Side, there has been increasing discussion of using a borrowing method known as tax increment financing, or TIF. The basic idea underlying TIF is that a city or town finances an improvement in a specific district with the property tax revenue generated by that improvement. While TIF has been used extensively throughout the country in cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., it has never been used here. This report provides a primer on TIF––what it is, key features of the laws that authorize it, the types of projects undertaken, some of the reasons for its popularity, and a review of how it has worked in some other localities. Among the lessons from our review: • While TIF has proven to be an effective and flexible financing method in a variety of settings, some municipalities have encountered problems with their projects, including insufficient revenue to pay debt service. • TIF has been used to finance a variety of public works projects, but most have been small-scale. Larger projects usually have been joint ventures, mostly with private partners. No TIF project has been as costly as the proposed No. 7 extension. The report concludes with a discussion of issues that will have to be considered before relying on TIF for financing the proposed subway extension. These considerations will be more closely examined in a subsequent IBO report that will look at the viability of tax increment financing for extending the No. 7.

Private Money/Public Schools: Early Evidence on Private and Non-Traditional Support for New York City Public Schools

Private Money/Public Schools: Early Evidence on Private and Non-Traditional Support for New York City Public Schools
in Fiscal Issues in Urban Schools, Research in Education Fiscal Policy and Practice: Volume One, Christopher Roellke and Jennifer King Rice, editors. Information Age Publishing.

Schwartz, A.E., Bel Hadj Amor, H. & Fruchter, N.
01/01/2002

The use of private money to support public schools in New York City captured the attention of the public in 1997, as parents in a Greenwich Village elementary school tried to raise private salary funds to prevent one of their teachers from being reassigned. While some heralded the parents for their commitment to their children's education and their willingness to fight to improve their public school, others lamented the action, citing concerns for funding equity between more affluent schools and economically disadvantaged schools. In the end, the Chancellor decided to maintain the teacher in question, but not to accept the privately-raised revenues out of a concern for setting a precedent for allowing parents to fund "core functions" rather than "enrichment" programs. Clearly, this concern stemmed, at least in part, from an underlying worry that allowing schools to seek and accept privately-raised revenues would pose a threat to the equity of schooling in New York City. Would accepting privately-raised money lead schools serving higher income students to have better funding (or better teachers, smaller classes, for example) than those serving lower income students? At the same time, privately-raised resources may also present efficiency concerns. Would curricula or programmatic offerings be chosen based upon the availability of outside funding, rather than the particular needs of the students? This paper explores both the equity and efficiency issues surrounding the use of privately-raised revenues to support public schools, and provides some evidence on the distribution of privately-raised support across public schools in New York City.

Rethinking Inequality Decomposition, with Evidence from Rural China

Rethinking Inequality Decomposition, with Evidence from Rural China
Economic Journal 112 (476), January 2002, 93-106.

Morduch, J. & Sicular, T.
01/01/2002

We examine inequality decompositions by income source and describe a general, regression-based approach for decomposing inequality. The approach provides an efficient and flexible way to quantify the roles of variables like education and age in a multivariate context. We illustrate the method using survey data from China. The empirical results demonstrate how sharply different conclusions can emerge for different decomposition rules. We explain how these differences reflect the treatment of equally-distributed sources of income, and we discuss implications for how results from inequality decomposition are interpreted. Copyright Royal Economic Society 2002

Working Together: Meeting the Challenges of Workforce Diversity

Working Together: Meeting the Challenges of Workforce Diversity
In Steve Hayes and Richard Kearney (ed.). Public Personnel Administration: Problems and Prospects. 4th edition. Prentice Hall: Englewood Cliffs. 2002, pp. 238-255.

Ospina, S. & O'Sullivan, J.
01/01/2002

This collection of original manuscripts-representing a cross-section of the timeliest scholarship in public personnel administration-explores the theme of "problems and prospects" in public personnel administration. The contributions are organized into four broad sections: The Setting, The Techniques, The Issues, and Reform and the Future. Section One focuses primarily on the social, political, economic, and legal trends that have served as catalysts in the transformation of public personnel administration. Section Two is composed of selections that summarize developments in the practice of HRM, with special emphasis on emerging personnel techniques and the ways that traditional approaches to the staffing function are being revised. Section Three discusses and suggests responses to some of the most troublesome or pervasive issues in modern personnel management. The final section assesses the probable trends in the field's future, and analyzes the efficacy of recent reform efforts. For human resource personnel looking to broaden their perspective in the field.

Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers' Involvement in Nonstandard Employment

Low-Income and Low-Skilled Workers' Involvement in Nonstandard Employment
Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute

Lane, J., K. Mikelson, P. Sharkey, and D. Wissoker
10/01/2001

The role of alternative work arrangements—temporary help, independent contractors, on-call workers, and contract company workers—has caught the attention of both policymakers and academic researchers alike. Current research indicates that 1 in 10 workers are employed in one of these four alternative work arrangements and employment in the temporary help services industry grew five times as fast as overall non-farm employment between 1972 and 1997. This growth is likely to have important implications for low-income workers, particularly since the establishment of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, authorized by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, which dramatically transformed the nation's welfare system. This welfare reform, in conjunction with a strong economy, has resulted in an increasing number of low-income individuals entering the labor force. Thus, alternative work arrangements, especially for those with limited work histories, might be expected to be a natural pathway to work for such workers. However, little is known about the prevalence of alternative work arrangements as a gateway into the labor force or the resulting labor market outcomes for low-income workers and those at risk of welfare dependency. The goal of this project was to examine the role of alternative work arrangements in today's labor market, paying particular attention to the effect of such arrangements on low-income workers in alternative arrangements and those at risk of being on public assistance.

Implementing Work Requirements in Wisconsin

Implementing Work Requirements in Wisconsin
Journal of Public Policy, vol. 21, no. 3 (2002). Cambridge University Press

Mead, L.
06/01/2001

When Western counties seek to reform welfare so that recipients have to work in return for aid, this poses implementation as well as policy problems. This study of work requirements in Wisconsin illustrates the challenges. It also confirms success of a top-down model of implementation. Wisconsin’s welfare work programs had little impact on dependency through the mid 1980s because work was not a priority and work programs were underdeveloped. From 1985–6, however, the state increased funding and built up the employment bureaucracy. It required that more recipients participate in work programs, enter jobs rather than education, and avoid welfare if possible. It attuned the bureaucracy to its goals through funding incentives. These measures along with strong economic conditions then drove the welfare rolls down, with largely good effects. Wisconsin’s achievement rested on its good-government traditions. Not all regimes have the same capacity.

Validation of the Revised CRISYS, a Contemporary Measure of Life Stressors

Validation of the Revised CRISYS, a Contemporary Measure of Life Stressors
Psychological Reports, 88, 713-724. June

Berry, C., Schalowitz, M.U., Quinn, K.A. & Wolf, R.
06/01/2001

The objectives of this study were to establish the validity of the Crisis in Family Systems-Revised, a recently developed measure of contemporary life stressors, using the same validation technique as in the original validation and to provide further evidence of construct validity by assessing its relationship to socioeconomic status and residential location. We conducted 124 in-person interviews with parents in three outpatient pediatric asthma clinics affiliated with an academic medical center. The design was cross-sectional and correlational. Total count of life stressors accounted for 19% of the variance in scores on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression. Respondents using Medicaid and living in the city experienced more objective stressors, but the proportions of stressors rated as negative or positive (Valence), and ongoing (Chronicity) were fairly constant across subsamples, as was the Difficulty rating. Psychologists and health and mental health services researchers are in need of constructs relevant to contemporary society and its issues and tools to measure these constructs. Life stressors appears to be such a construct and the Crisis in Family Systems-Revised a measure with considerable utility.

Spatial Lock-in: Do Falling House Prices Constrain Residential Mobility

Spatial Lock-in: Do Falling House Prices Constrain Residential Mobility
Journal of Urban Economics, May

Chan, S.
05/01/2001

Falling house prices have caused numerous homeowners to suffer capital losses. Those with little home equity may be prevented from moving because of imperfections in housing finance markets: the proceeds from the sale of their home may be insufficient to repay their mortgage and provide a down payment on a new home. A data set of mortgages is used to examine the magnitude of these constraints. Estimates show that average mobility would have been 24% higher after 3 years had house prices not declined, and after 4 years, it would have been 33% higher. Among those with high initial loan-to-value ratios, the differences are even greater.

Job Loss and Employment Behavior of Older Workers

Job Loss and Employment Behavior of Older Workers
Journal of Labor Economics, April

Chan, S. & Stevens, A.H.
04/01/2001

This article uses data from the Health and Retirement Study to examine the employment patterns of workers aged 50 and above who have experienced an involuntary job loss. Hazard models for returning to work and for exiting post-displacement employment are estimated and used to examine work patterns for 10 years following a job loss. Our findings show that a job loss results in large and lasting effects on future employment probabilities. Four years after job losses at age 55, the employment rate of displaced workers remains 20 percentage points below the employment rate of similar nondisplaced workers.

First Annual Status of Women of Color Report: Women of Color in New York City: - The Challenges of the New Global Economy

First Annual Status of Women of Color Report: Women of Color in New York City: - The Challenges of the New Global Economy
Roundtable of Institutions of People of Color

Women of Color Policy Network
03/01/2001

The first Status of Women of Color Report originated out of the need to provide data and research focusing on women of color. By drawing attention to the trends seen in income, unemployment, welfare, and incarceration for women of color in New York city , this report summarizes their achievements and lack of it during the 1990's.

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