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  • A Minute With IGPA Economist Dan McMillen | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    Study Centers Office of Public Leadership Regional Economics Applications Laboratory A Minute With IGPA Economist Dan McMillen Years of soaring house prices have given way to a double digit tumble since 2006 with no end in sight Housing expert Daniel McMillen an economist with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois discusses the slumping market and when it might rebound Read A Minute with Dan

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/minute-mcmillen (2016-02-17)
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  • U of I Flash Index slippage continues in February | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    optimism in comparison to other states according to the author of the University of Illinois Flash Index The index which is the first monthly barometer of the performance of the state s economy slipped to 96 3 in February down from 97 in January reflecting the fact that Illinois is not escaping the effects of the global recession But U of I economist J Fred Giertz who compiles the Flash Index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs says there is some good news So far Illinois seems to have been affected less severely by the recession compared to the rest of the country Giertz said During 2008 Illinois unemployment rate rose 1 6 percentage points to 7 2 percent while the rate for the whole country rose 2 3 percentage points ending the year at 7 2 percent as well Even so the current recession is the worst since the early 1980s and it appears the low point has not yet been reached Giertz said It is difficult to predict the end of the recession which officially began in November 2007 he said Most recessions don t last more than 18 months but the current one is deeper than average The Flash Index has now spent three consecutive months under 100 which is the dividing line between economic growth and contraction The reading of 96 3 is the lowest since September 2003 when the index reached 96 2 As was the case in January real receipts for individual income tax corporate tax and sales tax the three components of the Flash Index were down compared to the same month a year ago Giertz said The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings consumer spending and personal income Tax receipts from corporate income

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/flash-index-feb09 (2016-02-17)
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  • Applications now being accepted for 2009-2010 Wolff Internship | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    and continues through May 2010 and is open to undergraduate juniors or seniors at any of the three University of Illinois campuses The Wolff Internship is a one year program that exposes an undergraduate student to the many facets of public policy development from academic research to real world politics with the goal of better preparing them for public or community service We are looking for energetic and committed candidates who have a keen interest in public policy and politics communications public relations or journalism Duties of the intern include keeping track of media attention to the institute drafting news letters press releases executive summaries reports brochures and fliers in addition to long term projects relating to major issues in current events or policy The intern will be a part of IGPA s programs and will have the opportunity to attend the talks lunches and awards ceremonies hosted or sponsored by IGPA Qualifications include good organizational skills attention to detail excellent reading writing and editing skills familiarity with Microsoft Office Adobe CS3 and good research skills Experience with designing or maintaining websites is helpful but not necessary To apply email a cover letter expressing why you are interested in becoming

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/wolff-applications (2016-02-17)
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  • Ending stimulus as important as launching it, economist says | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    and tax cuts would be a long term economic drag by compounding an already massive federal deficit said J Fred Giertz the interim head of the U of I economics department Deficits undermine the economy by increasing interest rates for consumers as well as the federal government which means more tax dollars are effectively wasted to pay down the nation s debt economists say While a fiscal stimulus leading to large deficits may be desirable in the short term the country needs to find a way to reduce long term deficits that will mount from the demands of an aging population relying on Social Security and federal health care programs Giertz said Just as it is important to get the stimulus package in place quickly it is important to stop it once the economy is in better shape Giertz says the stimulus plan being debated by Congress would likely provide a short term economic boost How quickly he says remains clouded by questions over how soon new spending programs could get under way and how much of temporary tax increases people would actually spend Temporary tax cuts typically provide less of an economic jolt because people tend to spend less than if the cuts were permanent Giertz said But he says the government cannot afford permanent cuts with hefty costs for aging baby boomers looming With those challenges ahead Giertz cautioned Democrats and Republicans to use the stimulus package only for a short term economic boost not as inroads to advance party goals The stimulus package should not be a back door way of achieving permanent tax cuts for Republicans or a larger sized government for Democrats since that would increase the long term fiscal deficit said Giertz a member of the U of I Institute of Government and Public

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/giertz-stimulus (2016-02-17)
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  • Jim Edgar to discuss Illinois’ future during talk at IGPA | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    Centers Office of Public Leadership Regional Economics Applications Laboratory Jim Edgar to discuss Illinois future during talk at IGPA Former Governor Jim Edgar will bring his unique perspective on Illinois and its politics to a discussion at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs on Wednesday Feb 11 at noon Edgar who is a Distinguished Fellow at IGPA plans to discuss the state s future during the talk which is part of the institute s Edgar Lecture Series The talk will be in the J Fred Giertz Conference Room at IGPA 1007 W Nevada in Urbana Now that the political turmoil surrounding the previous governor is mostly behind us I want to discuss where we are as a state and where we re headed said Edgar who joined IGPA after completing his second term as governor in 1999 We re extremely pleased that Gov Edgar has chosen IGPA as the venue for this discussion said Robert F Rich director of IGPA He holds a special place in the fabric of Illinois politics and his ideas on the future of Illinois and what we need to focus on will be an important component of the current discussion in our state Edgar a Republican is the last Illinois governor to complete two full terms He was elected in 1990 and was re elected in 1994 by the largest margin ever for an Illinois governor Since joining IGPA Edgar has continued his commitment to public service by sharing his experiences and expertise with students at the University of Illinois and across the state His Edgar Leader Series at IGPA regularly brings top elected officials from across the state and the nation to the University Those who wish to attend Wednesday s discussion are asked to register by calling 866 794 3340 or online

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/edgar-feb11 (2016-02-17)
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  • U of I Flash Index continues decline, drops to 97 in January | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    drops to 97 in January Recession s grip on the Illinois economy tightened in January as the University of Illinois Flash Index fell to a reading of 97 the lowest recorded since October 2003 The index fell from its December level of 98 7 and is down from a reading of 103 6 just one year ago If there were ever any doubts the January index shows that the state s economy is clearly in recession like the rest of the country said economist J Fred Giertz who compiles the index for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs The decline has been steep in recent months There are no signs that the decline is at an end The reading marks the second consecutive month the index has been below 100 which is the dividing line between economic contraction and economic growth The decline in the Illinois economy is part of the worldwide economic slowdown and has little to do with particular features of the state s economy or state government Giertz said However the implications of the recession for the state budget are extremely severe There are no bright spots in the state s revenue picture Giertz said Receipts from personal income tax corporate taxes and sales taxes all were down in real terms from the same month a year ago The Flash Index was below 100 in December for the first time since March 2004 as the state s economy emerged from the recession of 2001 During that downturn the index spent 35 consecutive months in sub 100 territory The Flash Index is a weighted average of Illinois growth rates in corporate earnings consumer spending and personal income Tax receipts from corporate income personal income and retail sales are adjusted for inflation before growth rates are calculated The

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/flash-index-jan09 (2016-02-17)
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  • IGPA Experts Comment on Transition in Springfield | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    the governor s leadership given both the serious criminal charges and his conduct of state affairs as shown by things like the Family Care rules episode The governor s unwillingness to obey settled Illinois law with respect to the administrative process and his inability to work with anyone in the legislature meant that state government had ground to a halt at a time when the state needs careful thoughtful leadership to navigate the financial crisis Removing him was the only course open to the Senate it was simply not possible for Illinois to continue with a governor unable to govern because he had no credibility left with anyone in the state Brian Gaines We re in uncharted waters It has been 40 years since we ve had a lieutenant governor succeed a governor in Illinois and Samuel Shapiro replaced Otto Kerner because Kerner had been appointed a U S Appeals Court judge so that transition was pretty orderly In keeping with Illinois s battered reputation for bad government however Kerner was later convicted on charges of bribery and conspiracy Governor Quinn is something of a wild card in Springfield and I don t think anyone knows yet just how much clout he ll be have in the General Assembly But even as an accidental governor he has a spotlight and an opening to tap into public unhappiness with stalemate and a lack of transparency He has different priorities from many of his fellow Democrats For example in recent years with almost no Springfield allies he pushed for recall and a constitutional convention unsuccessflly Suddenly he s been promoted and is much harder to ignore House and Senate Republicans meanwhile could be sidelined and ignored because Democrats maintain their sizeable majorities But all Democrats are likely to be nervous that the

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/impeach-comment (2016-02-17)
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  • IGPA economists weigh in on Obama stimulus proposals | Institute of Government and Public Affairs
    monetary policy that will determine what happens Richard Dye There are a number of related confidence problems policy effectiveness problems and sequencing chicken and egg problems I second Dan s point about the primacy of monetary policy in normal times but the ineffectiveness in a major downturn as we are currently experiencing I ve always liked the simile that in trying to use monetary policy in times like these is like pushing on a string As measured by short term bank to bank interest rates monetary policy is already very expansionary The other thing holding monetary policy back is the crisis of confidence in financial institutions and in assessing risk The old institutional arrangements don t apply The old risk assessment models don t apply So even with low rates for Fed supplied credit we still can t get low rate loans as consumers or business That leaves fiscal policy to increase spending It s a political rather than an economic judgment but including business tax cuts seems a wise move If businesses are unable to get credit because of the risk and uncertainty issues then increasing their cash flow with more immediate loss carry backs would allow businesses to spend when they otherwise would not be able to do so A more important motivation for business spending than the liquidity crisis is current and expected consumer spending businesses spend in anticipation of future sales and future profits This exposes the more fundamental chicken and egg problem consumer spending drives the economy Consumer tax cuts especially those targeted to lower income families do seem to be the best way to increase total spending and start an upward spiral but I remain very skeptical that even such a large and bold plan as this will get us out of the hole we re in within a year These are structural and confidence problems that are not amenable to short term correction Fred Giertz The old adage that there are no atheists in foxholes has been adapted to the current economic crisis to suggest that There are no non Keynesians in economic policy positions The traditional Keynesian prescription for an economic downturn on the fiscal policy front is more spending and or lower taxes and on the monetary front an expanded money supply and lower interest rates For good or for ill policy makers want to be proactive in regard to the economy Intervention not restraint sells politically No one wants to appear like the caricature of an impassive Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression It can be argued that Roosevelt s policies in the 1930s were not particularly effective but he clearly is remembered in a favorable light for his aggressive actions The problem with analyzing the stimulus package relates to a fundamental problem in economics the poverty of macroeconomics Economists do not really know what caused the current crisis and why it is so much more severe than recent downturns It is difficult to analyze the efficacy of a stimulus

    Original URL path: http://igpa.uillinois.edu/press/igpa-analysis-obama-stimulus (2016-02-17)
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