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Homeless LGBTQ Youth

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Homeless LGBTQ Youth
Source: Urban Institute

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are over-represented among the homeless youth population. Researchers and practitioners are working to improve data on homeless youth, especially LGBTQ youth, across the country. This brief summarizes the findings on LGBTQ homeless youth counted during the 2013 YouthCount!, a federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. The brief also shares best practices on how to improve counts of LGBTQ homeless youth, and areas where policymakers can act to improve LGBTQ youth outcomes.

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Little Evidence of the ACA Increasing Part-Time Work So Far

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Little Evidence of the ACA Increasing Part-Time Work So Far
Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Urban Institute

Some reports have suggested that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is already triggering an increase in part-time workers. Is this true?

So far, the available evidence suggests those claims are false. This Quick Strike analysis by the Urban Institute suggests that there is “no evidence that the ACA had already started increasing part-time work before 2014.”

If the ACA was likely to have increased part-time work, how might it have happened?

Primarily in two ways:

  • Employers with 50 or more employees will be subject to penalties under the ACA if they fail to comply with the act’s employer mandate—the requirement that they provide adequate and affordable coverage for their full-time employees. In anticipation of the mandate, some suggest, employers are seeking to avoid or reduce penalties either by cutting employee hours to below 30—the threshold at which an employee is considered full-time—or hiring more part-time workers.
  • Employees, offered access to health insurance under the ACA—including subsidies for those with family incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty level—might be voluntarily choosing part-time employment because they no longer need the employer-sponsored health insurance available only to full-time employees.

Urban Institute researchers say their analysis offers more likely explanations. Their research indicates transitions between full-time and part-time work are consistent with historical patterns. Moreover, “These findings suggest that the increase in part-time work in 2014 is not ACA-related, but more likely due to a slower than normal recovery of full-time jobs following the great recession.”

Nonbank Specialty Servicers: What’s the Big Deal?

August 31, 2014 Comments off

Nonbank Specialty Servicers: What’s the Big Deal?
Source: Urban Institute

Following the crisis, nonbank specialty servicers rapidly expanded their portfolios of distressed loans. This has contributed to a significant market change: in 2011, the 10 largest mortgage servicers were all banks; by 2013, only five of the top 10 were banks, and the other five were nonbank servicers. The rapid growth and lack of a federal regulator have contributed to significant, heated regulatory scrutiny. This commentary discusses major concerns raised about the largest nonbank servicers, focusing on the three fastest-growing large nonbank servicers. We explore the regulatory and market framework driving their striking growth, then address the major charges against them, in an effort to elevate the debate and inform sound policy.

What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?

August 29, 2014 Comments off

What is the Result of States Not Expanding Medicaid?
Source: Urban Institute

In states not expanding Medicaid, 6.7 million residents will remain uninsured in 2016 as a result. These states are foregoing $423.6 billion in federal Medicaid funds from 2013 to 2022, lessening economic activity and job growth. Their hospitals are also losing $167.8 billion in Medicaid revenue. Every comprehensive state-level fiscal analysis that we could find concluded that expansion helps state budgets, generating savings and revenues that exceed increased Medicaid costs. Future federal cuts to ACA’s high federal match rate are unlikely. Of more than 100 federal Medicaid cuts since 1980, just one lowered the federal share of Medicaid spending.

Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2013

August 25, 2014 Comments off

Welfare Rules Databook: State TANF Policies as of July 2013
Source: Urban Institute

The Welfare Rules Databook provides tables containing key Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) policies for each state as of July 2013, as well as longitudinal tables describing selected state policies from 1996 through 2013. The tables are based on the information in the Welfare Rules Database (WRD), a publicly available, online database tracking state cash assistance policies over time and across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Databook summarizes a subset of the information in the WRD. Users interested in a greater level of detail are encouraged to use the full database, available at http://anfdata.urban.org/wrd.

Corporate Inversions

August 22, 2014 Comments off

Corporate Inversions
Source: Urban Institute

Recently, there has been a spate of corporate inversions, where U.S. multinational corporations have combined with foreign companies, arranging their corporate structure to locate the residence of the resulting corporation in a foreign country with an attractive corporate tax climate. Several features of the U.S. tax system provide strong incentives for corporate inversion: a high statutory tax rate, a worldwide system of taxation, and limits on income shifting. Corporate inversions allow more flexible access to foreign cash stockpiles and easier shifting of income out of the U.S. tax base. The recent surge in inversions has likely resulted from the large accumulation of unrepatriated foreign cash together with pessimism about the prospect of policy changes that would reduce the U.S. tax burden associated with cash repatriations. If unfettered, corporate inversions are likely to undermine the U.S. tax base, so swift policy action is likely warranted. Inversions can be effectively addressed in a targeted fashion.

VA Loans Outperform FHA Loans. Why? And What Can We Learn?

August 22, 2014 Comments off

VA Loans Outperform FHA Loans. Why? And What Can We Learn?
Source: Urban Institute

Veterans Administration (VA) loans have consistently performed better than Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans. In this commentary, we take a closer look at both programs to identify why VA loans perform better. We conclude that the residual income test may be a critical differentiating factor and suggest that regulators evaluate whether the test might be a good supplement to FHA’s current assessment of a borrower’s ability to pay.

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