Industrial projects that were approved for initial five-year property tax breaks prior to June 24 will be grandfathered in under the old rules when they come up for a five-year renewal, Gov. Edwards has decided. Edwards issued an executive order that clarifies earlier changes made to Louisiana’s uniquely generous tax-break program, which lets manufacturers forego paying local property taxes for up to 10 years. The governor’s initial executive order requires companies to get sign-off from local governments and provide proof that their projects will create or retain jobs before they are eligible for a tax break. The Business Report’s Stephanie Riegel has more.
Also last week, the (Board of Commerce and Industry’s) rules committee met to clarify the new regulations governing the program. Though the changes with respect to renewals don’t go as far as some had hoped, (Chairman Robert) Adley says several positive changes are codified in the rules that will make the program more accountable. Under the changes, applicants will be required to show job creation figures, local governments will have more say over whether to grant the tax breaks and by how much, and renewals will only be granted for three years and up to 80%. The rules will also crack down on the types of manufacturing activities that qualify for the exemption and will no longer allow the break for miscellaneous capital additions.
Are inner cities a “disaster”?
Donald Trump’s mischaracterization of America’s inner cities as dysfunctional war zones prompted a reasoned response from Paul Jargowsky of The Century Foundation. He notes that only 8.3 percent of blacks and 4.8 percent of hispanics live in neighborhoods with poverty rates above 45 percent – the figure Trump quoted in the last debate. Still, concentrated poverty remains a fact of life for many, and these high-poverty neighborhoods are not created by some flaw in the character of their residents.
At any given point in time, the state of the economy determines how many poor people there are. But business cycles come and go; over the long haul, policies regarding housing development are more important in determining how much poverty is concentrated at the neighborhood level. The number and location of high-poverty neighborhoods is largely driven by the policies, practices, and institutions that determine what housing gets built where and how well it is maintained. One of the most salient of these policies is exclusionary zoning, which, while ostensibly race neutral, disproportionately restricts the housing options of African-American and Hispanic households, who less likely to be able to afford large homes in affluent suburbs. As a result of this and other restrictive land use policies, residential segregation by race has remained high in the nearly fifty years since the passage of the Fair Housing Act and segregation by income is steadily increasing.
Student loan debt burden disparities
African-American students graduate college with an average of $7,400 more student debt than their white counterparts. But new research from the Brookings Institution found that four years after graduation the gap more than triples to nearly $25,000. For people of color, high levels of borrowing are exacerbated by predatory recruitment by for-profit institutions and lower average earnings in the labor market. Judith Scott-Clayton and Jing Li havethe numbers.
An important finding of our investigation is that the patterns we report above are largely specific to the black-white debt gap: they cannot be explained away by racial differences in parental education or income. It is certainly true that students from poorer or less-educated families accumulate more debt than those from richer or more highly educated families. The black-white total debt gap is five times bigger than the debt gap by parental education, and almost twice as big as the debt gap between those who received Pell grants as undergraduates and those who did not. It is important to recognize that reducing debt by simply discouraging or limiting student borrowing—at either the undergraduate or graduate level—is not a solution, and could well make educational disparities worse.
ACA premiums rise
Critics of the Affordable Care Act got some ammunition in Monday’s news that premiums are rising by an average of 25 for health plans sold through the federal health insurance exchange, before taking into account federal subsidies. As The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein reports, the increases are caused by sicker-than-expected people enrolling in the plans, which are sold on the individual markets. But most people won’t feel the sticker shock.
In disclosing the 2017 rates, officials played down the impact of higher prices on consumers. They said that more than 8 in 10 consumers will qualify for ACA subsidies that will cushion them from the effects of more-expensive insurance. And they noted that as premiums go up, more Americans will be eligible for the tax credits.
Also important to note: Only 7 percent of Americans buy their health coverage on the individual, non-group markets.
Number of the Day
356,603– early votes cast in Louisiana in 2012. Early voting starts today. You can find a complete list of all early voting places at the secretary of state’s website. [Source: NOLA.com]