Missouri Policy Journal
Number 1 - Fall/Winter 2013-14
Cover: Joe Cernik
America’s most recent recession has taken a toll on public agency budgets, including criminal justice agencies. More than half of U.S. states have had their corrections budgets reduced in recent years. Fortunately, crime has remained fairly stable during this same time frame, despite fears that unemployment and other social problems created by the recession would fuel crime rates. Yet the budget cuts are hardly without consequence. Correctional agencies have adapted with a variety of measures—layoffs, hiring and wage freezes, cutting treatment programs, eliminating or limiting non-essential services, releasing offenders early, and even closing institutions. All of these could potentially have an adverse impact on public safety. This article discusses recent and projected impacts of the current economic climate on Missouri correctional policy and practice. The complex relationship between crime rates, sentencing practices, and recidivism is explored, as is that between incarceration, deterrence, and politics, tracing these patterns over the past several decades. Finally, some strategies for long-term investments to reduce crime while managing costs, with an emphasis on prevention and reintegration, are presented and discussed.
Howard J. Wall
According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), the Missouri Quality Jobs Program (MQJP) will create 118 new jobs by 2020 for each $1 million dollars in tax credits awarded under the program. The claimed sources of these job gains are the direct increase in employment at the firm receiving the credits, and indirect increases at other firms due to spinoff and multiplier effects. Unfortunately, the DED’s estimates for these effects are based more on faith than on evidence. First, the DED rather naively assumes that all of the job gains at the firm receiving tax credits occur only because of the credits. Second, the DED’s projections of spinoff and multiplier effects are generated with a forecasting model that is incapable of an accurate accounting of negative substitution effects, such as the fact that many of the new jobs will be filled by people already employed locally. This paper summarizes new estimates of the employment effects of the MQJP using the actual, rather than the assumed, experience of local economies. What these estimates show is that after an initial net increase in employment following the authorization of tax credits, the net effect on employment becomes negative by the second year after authorization: Job gains in the county receiving the tax credits simply came at the expense of neighboring counties, who tended to have lost more jobs than the recipient county had gained. Finally, by the fourth year after authorization, the only statistically significant effects of the tax credits are job losses in neighboring counties.
Joseph A. Cernik
Employment is explored in the aftermath of the most recent “Great Recession”—the lingering effects are still being felt. Employment growth largely depends on what happens locally. This article examines the American Recovery and Revitalization Act (ARRA) often thought of as the Economic Stimulus Plan of the Obama Administration and its impact on two adjacent Missouri counties (Ste. Genevieve and Perry). County particulars are examined which impact how to understand employment in both counties. Furthermore, the issue of jobs created versus jobs retained is examined, as well as the difficulties of measuring the multiplier effect. Finally, Missouri tax credit programs are explored, again demonstrating the difficulties of measuring the multiplier effect as well as the cost effectiveness of these state government programs. Census data from the “County Business Patterns” are used to analyze local employment situations. Small Business issues related to local situations are addressed since they are essential to “jump starting” local economies.
The year 2014 marks the beginning of the implementation stage for the largest number of federal health care reform policies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, and Missouri policymakers, health care providers, health insurance companies, and government agencies alike find themselves desperately trying to navigate uncertain waters. It is no surprise that perhaps the two most contentious and far-reaching policies for states under the PPACA mantra, implementation of state health insurance exchanges for the medically uninsured and state Medicaid expansion, stand to generate the largest number of unintended consequences for Missouri residents and the state’s economic well-being. For example, with an estimated 704,000 uninsured individuals in the state of Missouri, Medicaid expansion alone would not only provide health insurance to more of these individuals, but, according to Joel Ferber of the Missouri Health Advocacy Alliance, it would also generate approximately $15.7 billion in federal matching funds to Missouri from 2014 to 2021, while only costing the state $806 million in state match. This organization is a statewide non-profit advocacy organization, which, as its mission states, is “dedicated to quality affordable health care for all.” This issue will be explored. Similarly, state health insurance exchanges are expected to provide affordable coverage to currently uninsured individuals with more moderate incomes, thus reducing cost-shifting to the insured in cases of medical emergencies.