Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

La Follette School professors share expertise

La Follette School faculty have been sharing their ideas about poverty, the economy and career development.

Andrew Reschovsky comments twice in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in November about Wisconsin's budget and potential education funding cuts. "'The next biennium, starting July 1, 2011, is a really scary one from my perspective,'" he says in the newspaper's story about a Pew Center report that ranks Wisconsin's fiscal situation as ninth-worst, tied with Illinois. Reschovsky participated in the analysis

"The report pinned Wisconsin's budget problems, in part, on the loss of 140,000 jobs and one-eighth of its manufacturing workforce in the current recession. The lagging economy drove down tax collections 11.2%, comparing the first quarter of 2008 with the first quarter of 2009, according to the report," the Journal Sentinel says.

"Although revenues are predicted to bounce back somewhat in 2011, the spending commitments still outpace cash flow, [Reschovsky] said. Plus, the state won't be able to count on another $2.2 billion in federal stimulus dollars to fill the shortfall.

"'I tend to be an optimist, personally, but when I look at the facts it's hard to see where there's a budgetary silver lining,' Reschovsky said."

A few days later, the Journal Sentinel cited the economist's analysis that found that Wisconsin may have to add $1.55 billion to its 2011-13 biennial budget to make up for cuts in state funding of education in the current budget.

"Because an economic recovery is likely to be slow and the state probably will need more money than it will have to cover the gap, state leaders will have to choose to either raise taxes or cut spending in the next budget, Reschovsky said. Under the current system, cuts in spending at the state level translate into likely increases in local property taxes as school districts pass along more costs to local residents."

Reschovsky will present research on tax policy to increase homeownership rates among qualified minority and modest-income households at a November 20 conference at the Federal Reserve Board.

Menzie Chinn is quoted in a Wall Street Journal story about employment rates not recovering with the economy. Chinn expects unemployment to rise through the second quarter of 2010, given that economists expect gross domestic product to grow at less than 3 percent for several quarters. The recession is thought to have ended in June, but unemployment continues to increase.

Chinn also commented in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the national economy, noting that the federal Cash for Clunkers program fueled much of the recent growth in the gross domestic product.

Maria Cancian tells Business Week that encouraging people to marry will not reduce poverty. However, federal policies do help single women work and keep their families out of poverty. "The Earned Income Tax Credit and child-care and health-care subsidies help make work pay a reasonable return," Cancian writes. "Unemployment Insurance reforms, paid sick leave and family leave would make it possible for more mothers to reasonably support their families. Policies that both require and enable nonresident fathers to do their part are also key."

Cancian also received some airplay for her new book, Changing Poverty, Changing Policy, edited with Sheldon Danziger. She appeared on Business Matters, a Chicago radio station. The October 30 show focused on measuring and fighting poverty, and an MP3 podcast can be downloaded.

Bob Haveman discussed how career development can lead to human capital and economic gains at a University of Wisconsin-Madison's Center on Education and Work event on November 2. The center hosts the Afternoon Tea series to showcase informal conversation with authors and professionals about their work. The conversation between the interviewer and the presenter allows for in-person and online audience members to ask questions.

Outlook grim for schools, November 14, 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin budget rated in worst 10, November 11, 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Facing Facts on the 'Jobless' Recovery, November 6, 2009, Wall Street Journal

U.S. economy grows, with help from consumer spending, October 29, 2009, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Low-Income Women: Get Married—Con: An Emphasis on Marriage Misses the Point, November 2009, Business Week

Measuring and Fighting Poverty, October 30, 2009, BusinessMatters

Book examines poverty, policy reforms, October 30, 2009, La Follette School News

Faculty members appear in the news, October 29, 2009, La Follette School News