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The Recovery Package in Action, Why a Public Insurance Plan Is Essential for Health Reform, and Much More

The Recovery Package in Action - Six months after passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), this Economic Policy Institute report argues that it was crucial to reducing the effects of the recession, saving between 500,000 and 750,000 jobs during the latest quarter.  And with only 14% of the stimulus package injected into the economy so far, there is still stimulus in the pipeline to help communities continue to recover.

Budget Woes Take Toll on Views of State Governments - With the economy undermining state budgets, the favorability ratings of state governments have declined from a year ago based on this Pew Research Center study. Overall, 50% of the public now holds a favorable opinion of their state government, down from 59% in April 2008, although views of local government remain favorable and stable.

Why a Public Insurance Plan Is Essential for Health Reform - This Economic Policy Institute memo argues that lack of competition in the U.S. health care market is the major source of the uniquely high and rising health costs in our country. A public plan option would inject badly needed competition into the system and could result in windfall savings for employers and their workers.

Lenders Couldn't Buy Laws - Looking at the failure of the payday lending industry in pushing ballot propositions to overturn state restrictions on their industry, this Institute on Money in State Politics report examines their campaign contributions to Arizona’s Proposition 200 and Ohio’s Issue 5.  Despite spending more than 22 times as much as their opponents, the payday lending industry was defeated by groups like the Coalition for Homeless & Housing in Ohio, who spent far less.

Many Low-Income Working Families Turn to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Help - This Urban Institute fact sheet examines how states have implemented the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program (formerly food stamps).  It highlights how all states allow recipients of have more assets than under federal base rules, along with other improvements in the program under recent federal laws, including the federal recovery act.  Many states have adopted these new rules and by implemented electronic application systems that allow families to apply over the Internet.

Secret Recipes Revealed: Demystifying the Title I, Part A Funding Formulas and Interactive Map: State by State Education Funding Statistics - This report and resource by the Center for American Progress highlights that funding formulas under the federal program fail to live up to the law's goal of enhancing educational opportunities for children living in concentrated poverty. The formulas favor wealthier states, give disproportionate funds to states with smaller populations, and favor large school districts regardless of the poverty in those districts.  The report highlights the technical considerations that should inform a smarter, fairer approach to funding grants

The New Orleans Index Anniversary Edition: Four Years after Katrina - While rebuilding from the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina has cushioned New Orleans from the effects of recession, this report by the Brookings Institution blight, the high cost of housing and other remaining effects of the disaster still create major challenges for the metro area. The city has taken steps to put teeth in its master plan for redevelopment but new partnerships with federal and state governments are essential according to the report for long-term economic revitalization