Policy Briefs & Reports
Policy reports and shorter policy briefs are integral aspects of our publications and often stem from our academic publications. These practitioner-centered works provide valuable insights into the policy landscape and promote actionable, evidence-based recommendations.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 51, December 2018, Laura Wheeler, Per Johnson, Katherine Townsend
The purpose of the report is to provide Fulton County officials with an inventory of tax expenditures and their values. In this way, these items can be tracked over time in a fashion comparable to a budget of direct governmental expenditures. The three main taxes levied by the county include property tax, local option sales tax, and TAVT (Title Ad Valorem Tax). Together these represent approximately 90 percent of Fulton County revenues for fiscal year (FY) 2018. This report is supported by a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
Technical Assistance -- City Feasibility Study, December 7, 2018, Staff
The Center for State and Local Finance completed a fiscal feasibility study for a newly incorporated city of East Cobb. This study provides a detailed analysis of the expected revenues and expenditures for the proposed city using generally accepted methodologies that the center has used for similar studies. The main purpose of the analysis is to estimate the ability of the proposed city of East Cobb to meet its expenditures with available revenue sources.
State Tax Notes, Oct. 29, 2018, Robert Buschman
In this viewpoint, the author examines the charitable contribution deductions for donations to Georgia’s scholarship and rural hospital tax credit programs before and after the enactment of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for both individual and corporate taxpayers. This article was originally published in State Tax Notes by Tax Analysts, a national and international provider of tax news and analysis.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 49, November 7, 2018, Alex Hathaway
As stewards of public money, governments must make sound fiscal decisions. This report outlines how Georgia gets the job done by employing certain best practices in financial management. However, the report also points out that Georgia, like all states, still has room for improvement. Topics discussed include budget forecasting, one-time budget, maneuvers, legacy costs, reserve funds, and fiscal transparency. The report is the sixth part of CSLF's Balancing the Budget in the Southern States series.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 48, October 9, 2018, Alex Hathaway and Jesseca Lighbourne
State officials may resort to budget manipulation approaches, such as using bond proceeds for general fund operating costs. Often used in response to economic distress, these one-time budget maneuvers are less transparent to the public than spending cuts and tax hikes and can push off costs for many years. This report examines these tactics, looking at their complications and use in the South. The report is the fifth part of CSLF's Balancing the Budget in the Southern States series.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 47, September 11, 2018, Bethel Habte, Alex Hathaway and Jesseca Lighbourne
Reserve funds, also known as rainy day funds, act as savings accounts to help states weather unexpected fiscal events. States use these funds as one-time measures, such as cyclical downturns and natural disasters. This report looks at the importance of reserve funds and the funding policies in 16 southern states, highlighting best practices and areas for improvement. The report is the fourth part of CSLF's Balancing the Budget in the Southern States series.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 46, September 7, 2018, Alex Hathaway
Long-term liabilities such as pensions and other postemployment benefits (OPEB) have become prominent public concerns, due to mounting obligations. Few states prefund OPEB like they do pension plans, but it can be beneficial. One place where this challenge is especially acute is the U.S. Postal Service. This report takes a look at the Postal Service's position and how it is attempting to fund the cost of OPEB and retiree health care. Their challenges may provide valuable insights for states.
CSLF Brief, Publication No. 45, September 6, 2018, Nicholas Warner and Emily Franklin
While educational attainment usually leads to higher pay, each additional year of schooling also represents additional public dollars spent to educate that student and increased tax revenues realized over time. This brief and accompanying visualization examine 12 typical paths through Georgia’s public education into the workforce. The report provides the cost to educate each student, the year at which each student’s taxes paid become equivalent to the amount to educate them, and the amount of taxes paid by age 65 above and beyond the cost of their public education. These estimates represent long-run fiscal impacts for the 2 specific and representative paths.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 44, August 28, 2018, Alex Hathaway
This report examines government retiree health care benefits in the South, namely the funding of other post-employment benefits (OPEB). States typically provide these benefits, primarily health care related, to government employees as part of the compensation package. The report specifically reviews the liabilities in 16 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Examples of states employing best practices, as well as states that have room for improvement, are provided throughout the report. The report is the third part of CSLF's Balancing the Budget in the Southern States series.
CSLF Report, Publication No. 43, August 14, 2018, Emily Franklin and Alex Hathaway
This report assesses transparency in state-level revenue forecasting for Southern states in fiscal years (FY) 2015 to FY 2018. States include Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. Examples of states employing best practices, as well as states that have room for improvement, are provided throughout the report. The report is part of CSLF's Balancing the Budget in the Southern States series and draws on earlier research gathered for the Volcker Alliance’s Truth and Integrity in Government Finance project.