Metro Policy

Budget 2011: Joined-Up Government
February 12, 2010

Last week we noticed the spread into multiple federal agency budgets of FY 2011 program proposals aimed at supporting regional industry clusters--the geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting organizations that play such an important role in enhancing regional economic performance. Yet that is just one spreading governance "meme" on display in the Obama administration's second budget.

Enhancing Venture Capital to Drive Innovation
February 11, 2010

To create the new jobs needed in our nation, and make sure our world-leading creativity and innovation ends up creating new businesses, we need deeper pools of venture and early stage capital. Nowhere are jobs needed more than in the Midwest manufacturing belt. A recent Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program report authored by Cleveland’s Frank Samuel suggests how we might better link new technology discovery going on in the ‘Rust Belt” to new firm creation. It turns out the industrial heartland reaching from Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and St.

New Governors Facing Transportation Quandries
February 10, 2010

The new governors that recently took office in Virginia and New Jersey are facing a challenging fiscal environment. Chief among thorny issues are the looming shortfalls on the transportation front for both states. Governor Christie is facing the reality that by 2011 all the revenue flowing into the New Jersey’s Transportation Trust Fund will be going toward debt payments. Virginia’s “three-alarm” transportation crisis is part of a $1.8 billion mid-year budget gap for fiscal 2010 that new Governor Bob McDonnell has to fix.

An Encore for New Orleans?
February 09, 2010

 The Saints’ victory celebration continues today as Coach Sean Payton, Drew Brees, and his teammates get feted at the Saints Super Bowl parade in New Orleans. The Saints’ remarkable win Sunday has literally served as New Orleanians’ proud cry to the nation: We are back! But, did you know that last Saturday they also elected a new mayor? Lost in all of the euphoria is another pivotal moment for the city.

A New Day for Export Initiatives in the 2011 Budget?
February 08, 2010

In his State of the Union address, President Obama announced the creation of a “National Export Initiative,” as part of an ambitious goal of doubling exports in five years. (The real value of exports typically double every 13 years, and a five-year doubling hasn’t happened since the years immediately following World War II, an anomalous period to be sure).

Changes to EITC in Proposed Budget
February 05, 2010

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.

Budget 2011: Driving Innovation Despite the Budget Cap
February 05, 2010

President Obama’s pledge to cap domestic non-defense spending in the FY 2011 budget did not mandate an across-the-board freeze, and nowhere is that fact more welcome than in the area of innovation investments. In lean times the new budget strongly favors basic science and applied research. Because it does, the budget represents an important step toward delivering on Obama’s signal commitment last spring to boost U.S.

A Budget 'Freeze' on an Empty Highway Fund
February 04, 2010

In his State of the Union, President Obama made reducing the budget deficit one of the priorities of the administration for next year. The announcement of budgetary caps and potential cuts in federal non-national security programs worried communities that rely on discretionary federal spending. The FY 2011 budget proposal released this past Monday shows the highly anticipated figures. For transportation, however, it is not a clear story. Part of the reason is the schizophrenic nature of the major surface transportation programs that hold contract authority.

Budget 2011: Stimulus Redux at ED?
February 03, 2010

In a FY 2011 budget that freezes non-defense discretionary expenditures, the Department of Education has attracted some attention for being one of the few places in the federal government that would attract an increase in funding if the plan is enacted. But the old stuff in the administration’s proposal is at least as interesting as what’s new. The budget foresees about a $3 billion increase overall for the department, a 6 percent rise over the FY 2010 request. More money for K-12 programs authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), more recently known as No Child Left Beh

Budget 2011: Creating Quality Places
February 03, 2010

For many, what makes a neighborhood or a community a great place to live is a mix of people, activities, and physical forms. Quality places are those neighborhoods and communities that have a range of housing types, so that people who live in small households or on tight budgets aren’t excluded; many transportation options, so that cars are a convenience, but not a necessity; and houses, stores, and offices interspersed and within easy reach of each other, again so that daily life doesn’t require getting behind the wheel.  Public policies, from local decisions about zoning codes to national