State News Roundup

News Roundup | February 23, 2012

The New York Times today published an interactive map that allows you to view dependence upon government programs by county in the US. The map details the level of personal income from government programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and unemployment benefits. Overall an increase in the level of income from the government has risen from 8% in 1969, to 18% in 2009. More than doubling the amount of government subsidized income.

In Illinois, the state is facing spending cuts to decrease a budget deficit of $8 billion dollars. The state is closing 60 state officesand eliminating two prisons, totaling 1,100 layoffs for public workers. Even though these changes should result in $88.9 million in savings, the state’s finances are still unsustainable. Gov. Pat Quinn is quoted saying, “Today, our rendezvous with reality has arrived,’’ yet the governor proposed a budget this year that out spends last, with a total of $33.8 billion dollars.  Its predicted that without cuts to automatic spending measures – Medicaid and government pensions – the state will not be able to bring spending down to controllable levels in the near future.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta has released a new survey of regional businesses on the expectation of inflation in the short and long term. The Wall Street Journal reports, short term the survey found that businesses believed inflation would stay steady at 1.8%, below the 2% target for the Federal Reserve. Long term though the survey indicated that businesses in the region expect inflation to rise to 2.9% in the five to ten year range, slowing an economic recovery with increases in prices. While the survey is the first of its kind to highlight the worry of increased inflation rates in the long term, the Federal Reserve insists they have tools to ensure that inflation will not experience dramatic changes.

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