Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thursday, January 8, 2015

'Dynamic scoring' rule adopted; Oil price plunge could mean jobs lost; Gill: State Medicaid plan hurts the poor; and More students taking advantage of Course Choice

‘Dynamic scoring’ rule adopted
The House adopted a controversial rule Tuesday that requires the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to use macroeconomic scoring, or “dynamic scoring”, to measure the effects of tax cuts. The scoring method takes into account the economy wide impact of a piece of legislation, and Republican leaders claim that it provides a more comprehensive view of a bill’s fiscal impact. But others say the change amounts to politicizing a previously non-partisan agency by distorting the impact of tax cuts, making them look far more favorable to the economy and less destructive to the deficit.

As Chye-Ching Huang and Paul N. Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explain, Under dynamic scoring, the official cost estimates would incorporate estimates of how legislation would affect the size of the U. S. economy and, in turn, federal revenues and spending.  Incoming Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has said this change is designed simply to generate more information on the impact of proposed policies.[2]  In reality, however, the House would be asking CBO and JCT for less information, not more, and the new rule could facilitate congressional passage of tax cuts that are revenue-neutral only on paper.  CBO and JCT already provide macroeconomic analyses of some proposed bills as a supplement to the official cost estimates they produce.  These analyses typically present a range of estimates of the legislation’s impact on the economy. The new House rule, in contrast, asks for an official cost estimate that only reflects a single estimate of the bill’s supposed impact on the economy and the resulting revenue impact.


Oil price plunge could mean jobs lost
The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas is predicting that the plunge in oil prices could mean the loss of as many as 30,000 jobs in Louisiana if prices remain where they are for a year. Mine K. Yücel, senior vice president and research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, says this figure is by no means set in stone because the model used was meant to measure growth due to an increases in the price of oil, not decreases.

Yücel also said the drop in oil and gas prices creates “competing effects.” For example, oil and gas jobs may be at risk with plunging prices — crude oil sold for less than $48 a barrel Tuesday, down almost $60 in six months — but the lower fuel prices put more money in consumers’ pockets, creating an up side for retail and service sectors of the economy.


Gill: State Medicaid plan hurts the poor
The Advocate’s James Gill says Louisiana’s Medicaid program – which has some of the strictest eligibility criteria in the country – is no picnic for those who are lucky enough to get covered.

All states cap the number of doctor visits Medicaid will pay for, although Louisiana, at 12 a year, is among the least generous. Patients must pay for any treatment provided over the limit unless their state health department grants a waiver, which, in Louisiana, evidently makes getting blood out of a stone seem a cinch. Indeed, it is much harder than it appears to be from a reading of our state Medicaid plan.


More students taking advantage of Course Choice

The legislature increased funding last year for Louisiana’s Course Choice program by $7.5 million, a move which has allowed more 7 – 12 graders to access classes that would otherwise not be available. Enrollment in the program has increased eightfold, with students enrolling in 19,068 courses for the current school year.


“The increase in enrollment means more of our kids are working toward academic success in the classroom, and we won’t stop working to make education the best it can be for our children,” (Gov. Bobby) Jindal said in a prepared statement.                       


Number of the Day:

250,000 – the number of jobs that may be at risk in eight oil-producing states — including Louisiana due to the drop in the price of oil. About half of those job losses would be in Texas.

(Source: The Advertiser).