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In The Spotlight

LBP reviews the 2014 Legislature

The Louisiana Legislature wrapped up its 2014 regular session without tackling many of the state’s critical challenges, according to a new report by the Louisiana Budget Project. While legislators largely avoided the destructive cuts that have become the norm in recent years, they failed to address the state’s structural budget problems or take advantage of opportunities to help low-income families.

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The Daily Dime

Louisiana colleges will continue to be underfunded; What’s the matter with Kansas?; James Gill on the Jindal “surplus”; Private fundraising for public schools benefits affluent districts; and Recidivism programs pay dividends

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The Daily Dime is a summary of the day's news stories related to the state budget and issues that affect low- and middle-income individuals and families, compiled every business day by Louisiana Budget Project staff.

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Our Two Cents

by David Gray

New data released Thursday shows that federal anti-poverty programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also called food stamps) and unemployment insurance are lifting thousands of Louisiana families above the poverty line.

The new data comes from the U.S. Census Bureau and is called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). It is a different – some say, more accurate – way of measuring poverty. Unlike the official federal poverty measure, the supplemental figure accounts for the effects of major non-cash benefits, such as rent subsidies, tax credits and food stamps. The SPM also subtracts expenses like payroll taxes, child care costs and out-of-pocket medical expenses from family incomes.

Using these measurements, Louisiana’s poverty rate falls to 18.3 percent, compared to 20.6 percent using the traditional poverty measure. That translates to 104,000 fewer Louisianans in poverty. Continue reading…

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