Inflation slowed in April, but prices continued their steady increase | KTBS

Inflation slowed in April, but prices continued their steady increase | KTBS

In The News

Inflation slowed in April, but prices continued their steady increase | KTBS

Inflation continued its steady rise in April, when the Consumer Price Index increased 8.3% over last year, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the month, the CPI rose 0.3%. That’s down from the 1.2% spike in March, but higher than analysts expected. The 8.3% increase over last year remains near 40-year highs, the bureau reported…

The Georgia Center for Opportunity’s welcomed the slowed inflationary number, but said supply issues continue to drive up costs for everyone.

“The fact that inflation ticked down in April is welcome relief, but the rate is still higher than what economists predicted and is still running super hot,” Erik Randolph, GCO’s director of research, said in a statement. “A contributing cause to inflation is disruptions on supply. … Economics 101 teaches that increasing supply means both lower prices (lower inflation) and more employment and economic growth. Increases in demand have a trade-off between prices and employment/growth. Therefore, anything state governments can do to facilitate job growth and business growth will help mitigate inflationary pressures. In other words, enhancing the productive capacity increases supply, putting downward pressure on prices.”

 

Read the full article here

 

Why Nonprofits Should Care and What to Do

Why Nonprofits Should Care and What to Do

Why Nonprofits Should Care and What to Do

mother and baby
Key Takeaways:
  • Welfare cliffs and marriage penalties are discouraging people from work and forming families.
  • The cliffs and penalties may mean that our clients are locked into poverty for much longer than they would be otherwise and despite our best efforts.
  • GCO has created a platform that allows anyone to see when a particular family can expect to experience benefit cliffs as they earn more money through work. 

Important Link: BenefitsCliff.org

 

If you work in a nonprofit serving the poor, you need to know that the government benefits your clients receive are likely discouraging them from working or forming a family, two things that research shows could lift them out of poverty the fastest. 

This is an especially tough problem for nonprofits, like GCO, that work to get their clients into good-paying jobs and strengthen their family relationships.

What’s going on?

These disincentives to work are often called “welfare cliffs” and the disincentives to family formation are called “marriage penalties.” Essentially, “cliffs” are generated any time a person receiving government benefits gets a raise at work that causes them to lose more in benefits than they will earn in additional income from the raise. These same individuals can face a similar financial penalty IF they decide to marry. In many cases, they will lose more in benefits than their spouse is able to provide in new income to the household.

While you would think (hope?) cliffs and penalties are rare, they are not. Instead, they are baked into the structure of nearly all welfare programs and many of the cliffs are severe. It’s also important to know that welfare recipients don’t face a single cliff or a single penalty, but they face cliffs and penalties at a number of different points as they have additional income from working or through marriage.

Why does it matter?

For nonprofit leaders, the cliffs and penalties may mean that our clients are locked into poverty for much longer than they would be otherwise and despite our best efforts. For workforce development nonprofits, cliffs could be the underlying reason why your clients don’t pick up additional work hours when they are offered or seem less than excited when they are offered a good promotion. In extreme cases, clients may quit jobs that seemed like a perfect fit simply because they panic when they learn they may lose a major benefit – like housing or childcare.

For nonprofits trying to help strengthen family relationships, marriage penalties may be driving behavior that is otherwise inexplicable, like seemingly happy couples refusing to marry or live in the same home. These dynamics can lead to stress for the couples affected and to a sense that a parent (usually the father) has abandoned the family when, if the system would allow it, he would be in the home. In these cases, children pay the biggest price.

What can you do about it?

Fortunately, we have created a platform that allows anyone to see when a particular family can expect to experience benefit cliffs as they earn more money through work. For nonprofits working with these families, you now have a tool (available for 10 states, with two more on the way) that will allow you to help your clients plan for the future. In some cases, knowing when cliffs are likely to happen will allow your clients to seek a larger raise that will help them bypass or leapfrog a cliff. In other cases, maybe the answer is seeking additional training or certifications that will get your client into a different payscale entirely – one that avoids the cliffs.

In the coming weeks, we will be adding a tool that will allow users to see the impact of penalties on couples who decide to marry. We will also be incorporating a solutions tool that will allow anyone to see how reforming our government benefit programs can actually eliminate cliffs and penalties entirely, giving recipients every reason to pursue work and form stable households.

For GCO, it is this last point – reforming the system – that remains the ultimate goal. In the meantime, we are looking for ways to mitigate the harm caused by the welfare system, so that as many people as possible can escape the system and break cycles of poverty now.



The Success Sequence provides an outline of how to reverse the cycle of poverty in our communities. GCO uses this as a framework for much of our work.

Randy Hicks on taking a bottom-up strategy to state policy reform | Overton Window Podcast

Randy Hicks on taking a bottom-up strategy to state policy reform | Overton Window Podcast

Randy Hicks on taking a bottom-up strategy to state policy reform | Overton Window Podcast

GCO’s CEO, Randy Hicks speaks with fellow think tank podcast, The Overton Window

Below is an excerpt from the Mackinac Center in Michigan. The Mackinac Center recently invited GCO’s CEO, Randy Hicks to discuss GCO’s take on State Policy Reform on their regular podcast,  The Overton Window.

Like many public policy advocates, the people at the Georgia Center for Opportunity research and write about public policy. What makes them different is that they try to bridge the gap between people working at the community level and the people working on state policy. I spoke with their president and CEO Randy Hicks about this for the Overton Window podcast.

 

“One of the things that sets us apart is that we actually spend a lot of time in the community working on those who we believe could be or are most affected by various public policies that we’re interested in,” Hicks says.

The dynamics between working on state policy and working at the community level are different, and state politics is not very conducive to collaboration.

 

Georgia Senate committee advances school-choice bill | The Center Square

Georgia Senate committee advances school-choice bill | The Center Square

In The News

Georgia Senate committee advances school-choice bill | The Center Square

The Georgia Senate Education and Youth Committee has advanced legislation that would allow Georgians to put taxpayer money toward the cost of private school tuition.

Senate Bill 601, the Georgia Educational Freedom Act, would create state-funded Promise Scholarships of up to $6,000 a year. Families of the roughly 1.7 million K-12 students in Georgia could use the money for private school tuition and other education expenses, such as tutoring and homeschool curriculum

“Promise Scholarships step far beyond a typical voucher by fully putting parents in the driver’s seat when it comes to their child’s education,” Buzz Brockway, vice president of public policy for The Georgia Center for Opportunity (GCO), said in a statement after the Senate committee approved the bill Tuesday.

“The funds could be used for private-school tuition, but there is added flexibility depending on each family’s unique needs, extending to paying for things like tutoring, specialized therapies, or homeschool co-ops,” Brockway said. “Passing Promise Scholarships would put Georgia at the forefront nationally of giving all children the opportunity for a great education.”

Georgia Senate committee advances school-choice bill | The Center Square

Could guaranteed basic income replace the welfare system? | Daily Citizen News

In The News

Could guaranteed basic income replace the welfare system? | Daily Citizen News

Georgia is the latest state to experiment with something called a “guaranteed basic income.” It will be interesting to see if these pilot projects can avoid the same pitfalls as the welfare system they’re intended to supplement — and might be better off simply replacing.

The premise of the guaranteed basic income is that there should be a minimum level of income for all Americans. Those who fall short with what they earn from their job would receive a monthly supplement funded by taxpayers…

My friends at the Georgia Center for Opportunity have done as much work on this particular topic as anyone I know. They call the traps built by our system “welfare cliffs,” because of the sudden, sharp drop people experience when they take a small financial step forward.

Georgia Senate committee advances school-choice bill | The Center Square

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Appreciating Republican response to COVID | Independent Advocate

In The News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Appreciating Republican response to COVID | Independent Advocate

All Iowans can appreciate the work done by the Republican government in the recovery from the pandemic.

As long ago as last September, Iowa had the third quickest rate of recovery from Covid-19 in the United States.

Last month, the Georgia Center for Opportunity measured the severity of the responses of the states to the pandemic and the effect the responses had on the economy and the pandemic.