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In proposing to increase state government workers’ payments for their pensions and health insurance (read: cut their pay) and gut their collective bargaining rights, Wisconsin Gov.

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Which way are housing markets going? The recent national-level indicators have looked pretty bleak for housing bulls. Sales of new homes hit a record low in July. House prices in June topped their levels of a year ago but only, it seems, because of the now-expired federal homebuyer tax credits.  There’s a lively debate about whether housing prices will continue to fall, and David Leonhardt summarized the controversy nicely in his New York Times column last week. But this debate misses an important part of the story. Because housing markets are regional, not national, there may not be a single

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Check out the Intermountain West states on this map from the Metro Program’s “State of Metropolitan America.” Now look at the major metropolitan areas—Phoenix, Denver, Provo and Ogden, Albuquerque and others. Do you notice how most of the major metropolitan areas except Las Vegas, Salt Lake, and Boise have being seeing growing shares of their workers commuting by public transit? It’s but one finding among dozens in the extensive drill-down on what’s happening in U.S.

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A New Metro Map

Do you live in the “Rust Belt” or the “Sun Belt?” Are you a West Coaster, an East Coaster, or a resident of “flyover country?” Perhaps you’re a proud New Englander, Midwesterner, or Texan. More to the point, does any of that matter? (For the full-size map click here) Maybe not as much as you think. Our new report, the State of Metropolitan America, surveys the demographic landscape of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas over the 2000s. It finds that who metropolitan areas are is in many ways more important than where they are. In fact, my Brookings colleagues and I identify seven categ

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Has the great Mountain region growth machine broken down?

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The president’s proposed budget for FY2011 contains a few key provisions that will mean good news for low-income working families at tax time, even after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA/stimulus bill) runs its course. It also proposes to terminate an ineffective program for these families, but stops short of advancing a much-needed replacement. Top 10 States and Metro Areas for Increases in EITC Dollars due to ARRA Changes in Eligibility First, ARRA temporarily expanded two important tax credits for working families that the Administration now proposes to make permanent.

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In a nice phrase, the western writer Wallace Stegner called the Mountain West the “native home of hope.” However, for a while now at least parts of the region are also going to need another virtue as well: patience.

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