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John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development;
Consolidation of 9-1-1 emergency communications is a politically charged issue full of opportunities and pitfalls for state policymakers. Typically, consolidation reduces the number of locally managed Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) by combining operations of several communications centers.1 The process may also result in a reduction in the number of sites that dispatch police, fire, and emergency medical services (EMS) response units. If the process is handled well, it can lead to efficiencies and improved service for citizens. If not handled well, it can disrupt vital services and increase tensions among state and local authorities. As New Jersey leaders consider further consolidation of the 9-1-1 system, they should take into account the experience of other states.
This report is the result of the Heldrich Center's research on trends in consolidation. A central goal of this research is to throw light on different approaches to encouraging consolidation and lessons that may inform New Jersey's future strategy. Telephone interviews were conducted with officials in six states and two regions that have experience with consolidation of answering and dispatch points (See Map below). The states are Connecticut, Maine, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin.2 The two regions are Cook County, Illinois and Volusia County, Florida. In addition, researchers reviewed state reports and public documents. The methodology is described in the appendix.
The Heldrich Center's research yielded a range of findings on the experience of other states:
- States have tended to support local con solidation by providing financial incentives, setting standards, and providing technical assistance. There are few examples of state policies that require rather than encourage PSAPs to merge operations. In fact, none of the states in the study employs a direct mandate. Some states have played a limited or virtually no role in supporting local consolidation.
- The states and regions included in this study differ on many dimensions, but they share a common experience with consolidation of 9-1-1 services. State and regional officials cite the same barriers to consolidation and point to similar models of effective practices.
- Although states can play a role, consolidation is, in essence, a local process driven by local decision-makers. Local elected officials are likely to drive con solidation if they recognize the benefits. Governance and accountability are thorny issues that must be worked out locally.
The results of consolidation are not well documented. Examples of cost savings are more commonly cited at the state level than at the local level. Estimates of cost savings related to personnel are particularly elusive. State and regional officials strongly believe that consolidation leads to improved service, although it is not clear how improved service is measured.
National Institute on Money in State Politics;
Fund raising for the 2007 and 2008 judicial elections in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin fell in line with the national trend of increasingly expensive judicial races. Highly competitive and contentious contests in both states resulted in significantly more spending than in previous elections.
In Wisconsin, the two female Supreme Court candidates in the general election raised $2.6 million in 2007, double the $1.3 million raised in the previous most-costly judicial race, which took place in 1999 when another two female candidates vied for one seat.In the 2007 Pennsylvania Supreme Court races, contributions from individuals accounted for 39 percent of the nearly $9.5 million raised by Supreme Court candidates in 2007. Attorneys made up the largest share (more than $1.3 million) of the money given by individuals.Two of the seven Pennsylvania Supreme Court candidates in 2007 were African-American; both raised less than the other five candidates and were soundly defeated in the Democratic primary.Wisconsin's first and only African-American Supreme Court justice lost his seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, despite the fact that he raised nearly one-fifth of the money raised by all other Wisconsin high court candidates in 2007 and 2008.
Public Policy Forum;
Our latest report on early childhood education finds the original goals of 90s-era welfare reform produced state child care policies that had detrimental impacts on child care quality in Wisconsin and that may be difficult to reverse under the state's new quality ratings system.
We find that as the child care subsidy system became operational, certain policy decisions produced results -- many of which were unintended -- that ended up boosting child care costs for the state while reducing child care quality. Those include:
Creating a new, less regulated category of care provider, which was intended to allow parents broader choices in providers, quickly create jobs, and keep child care costs low for parents and the state.Sharing costs with parents by basing co-payments on the cost of care, as opposed to the parents' income, which would have allowed parents to opt for more costly care only if they wished to pay more out of pocket but which, ultimately, could not be implemented.Creating a more restrictive definition of "low-income," in order to serve the working poor in general, and not just those obtaining or seeking jobs as part of the W-2 program.Tying subsidy rates to prices in the private market, which was intended to provide low-income parents with access to the entire market while also relying on competition to keep the state's costs in check. Each of these four policies helped the state achieve its primary goal of providing a sufficient child care supply that would allow low-income parents to move from welfare to work, but at a high cost to the state and at the expense of quality within the child care market.
Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago;
The Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth (Midwest Study) is a prospective study that has been following a sample of young people from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois as they transition out of foster care into adulthood. It is a collaborative effort involving Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago; Partners for Our Children at the University of Washington, Seattle; the University of Wisconsin Survey Center; and the public child welfare agencies in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
The Midwest Study provides a comprehensive picture of how foster youth are faring during this transition since the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 became law. Foster youth in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois were eligible to participate in the study if they had entered care before their 16th birthday, were still in care at age 17, and had been removed from home for reasons other than delinquency. Baseline survey data were collected from 732 study participants when they were 17 or 18 years old. Study participants were re-interviewed at ages 19 (n = 603), 21 (n = 591), and 23 or 24 (n = 602). A fifth wave of survey data will be collected when study participants are 25 or 26 years old.
Because many of the questions Midwest Study participants were also asked as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, it is possible to make comparisons between this sample of former foster youth and a nationally representative sample of young people in the general population. These comparisons indicate that young people who have aged out of foster care are faring poorly as a group relative to their peers across a variety of domains.
The Midwest Study also presents a unique opportunity to compare the outcomes of young people from one state (i.e., Illinois) that allows foster youth to remain in care until their 21st birthday to the outcomes of young people from two other states (i.e., Iowa and Wisconsin) in which foster youth generally age out when they are 18 years old. The data suggest that extending foster care until age 21 may be associated with better outcomes, at least in some domains.
Safe Schools Coalition (Lifelong AIDS Alliance, a 501(c)3 is our fiscal sponsor);
Meta-analysis of quantitative research that explores the particular needs of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students and sheds light on the issue of anti-gay harassment in schools. The studies include six statewide surveys, two administered in urban school districts and one conducted in the schools of 55 American Indian tribes. The report looks at the three studies which had been done at the time in which students were asked about experiencing sexual-orientation-based harassment, at the rates as well as the correlates of this type of bullying and violence. It also examines and compares the findings of four studies in which students were asked their sexual orientation and five that asked proximal questions and then used them (alone or in combination with identity) to infer respondents' "actual" sexual orientations. Proximal variables included gender(s) of people with whom the respondent has had sexual experiences, gender(s) of people to whom the respondent feels attraction and/or expects to have sexual experiences, and gender(s) about whom the respondent fantasizes.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network.
The FA system served by America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin provides emergency food for an estimated 329,400 different people annually32% of the members of households served by America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2)36% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1)Among households with children, 73% are food insecure and 34% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 188.8.131.52)41% of clients served by America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1)32% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1)29% of households served by America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin included approximately 846 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 717 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 509 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter83% of pantries, 80% of kitchens, and 40% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1)Among programs that existed in 2006, 73% of pantries, 61% of kitchens, and 66% of shelters of America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1)Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 73% of the food distributed by pantries, 58% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 50% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1)As many as 95% of pantries, 88% of kitchens, and 83% of shelters in America's Second Harvest of Wisconsin use volunteers (Table 13.2.1)
In this paper we estimate the budgetary impact of the Cato Institute's Public Education Tax Credit model legislation on five states and present a generalized spreadsheet tool ("the Fiscal Impact Calculator") that can estimate the program's effect on any other state for which the necessary input data are supplied. It is estimated that, in its first 10 years of operation, savings from the PETC program would range from $1.1 billion for South Carolina to $15.9 billion for Texas. Illinois, Wisconsin, and New York are estimated to enjoy 10-year savings within that range.
Public Education Tax Credits reduce the state and local taxes owed by anyone who pays for the private schooling of an eligible child. Parents can claim credits for their own children's educational costs, and other taxpayers (including businesses) can claim credits when they pay for the education of someone else's child, either directly or by donating to a nonprofit scholarship-granting organization.
Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, this report provides demographic and economic information about same-sex couples and same-sex couples raising children in Wisconsin. We compare same-sex "unmarried partners," which the Census Bureau defines as an unmarried couple who "shares living quarters and has a close personal relationship," to different-sex married couples in Wisconsin.
Public Policy Forum;
Last December, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Coalition - a national organization of more than 600 groups representing knowledge workers, educators, scientists, engineers, and technicians wrote to President-elect Obama urging him to "not lose sight of the critical role that STEM education plays in enabling the United States to remain the economic and technological leader of the 21st century global marketplace." While that imperative appears to have resonated in Washington, has it and should it resonate in Madison? This report attempts to answer that question by examining the extent to which STEM skills are a necessity for tomorrow's Wisconsin workforce, whether our schools are preparing students to be STEM-savvy workers, and where STEM falls in the state's list of educational priorities.
Feeding America (formerly America's Second Harvest);
This report presents information on the clients and agencies served by The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. The information is drawn from a national study, Hunger in America 2010, conducted in 2009 for Feeding America (FA) (formerly America's Second Harvest), the nation's largest organization of emergency food providers. The national study is based on completed in-person interviews with more than 62,000 clients served by the FA national network, as well as on completed questionnaires from more than 37,000 FA agencies. The study summarized below focuses on emergency food providers and their clients who are supplied with food by food banks in the FA network. Key Findings: The FA system served by The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin provides emergency food for an estimated 140,600 different people annually43% of the members of households served by The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin are children under 18 years old (Table 5.3.2)54% of households include at least one employed adult (Table 5.7.1)Among households with children, 73% are food insecure and 27% are food insecure with very low food security (Table 184.108.40.206)49% of clients served by The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin report having to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel (Table 6.5.1)31% had to choose between paying for food and paying for medicine or medical care (Table 6.5.1)23% of households served by The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin report having at least one household member in poor health (Table 8.1.1)The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin included approximately 241 agencies at the administration of this survey, of which 239 have responded to the agency survey. Of the responding agencies, 161 had at least one food pantry, soup kitchen, or shelter61% of pantries, 60% of kitchens, and 57% of shelters are run by faith-based agencies affiliated with churches, mosques, synagogues, and other religious organizations (Table 10.6.1)Among programs that existed in 2006, 81% of pantries, 72% of kitchens, and 70% of shelters of The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin reported that there had been an increase since 2006 in the number of clients who come to their emergency food program sites (Table 10.8.1)Food banks are by far the single most important source of food for agencies with emergency food providers, accounting for 61% of the food distributed by pantries, 55% of the food distributed by kitchens, and 42% of the food distributed by shelters (Table 13.1.1)As many as 94% of pantries, 89% of kitchens, and 90% of shelters in The Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin use volunteers (Table 13.2.1)
Fiscal Research Center of the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies;
This paper uses a recent increase in the state of Wisconsin's tobacco tax as a natural experiment to measure the economic incidence of tobacco taxation. We estimate the economic incidence of tobacco taxation using micro level data on cigarette prices collected from retail locations in Wisconsin and states that share its border. We find that Wisconsin's $1.00 increase in tobacco tax was over-shifted to consumers; they pay the entire amount of the tax as well as a premium of between $0.08 and $0.17 per pack of cigarettes. We use geo-coded data to test if the incidence of the tobacco tax in Wisconsin is different for retail locations near another state's border (where taxation is different). We find that retail locations near another state's border still pass along the entire amount of the tax to consumers, but the premium charged over the amount of the tax is reduced by between 13 and 54 percent depending on the distance in question and the econometric specification. Working Paper 08-30