Policy Snapshots - April 24, 2017

By Mississippi Center for Public Policy
April 24, 2017
Court: IRS must answer conservative group

 Lawsuit alleges IRS abused organizations that opposed Obama Administration


A federal judge has ordered the IRS to submit to discovery and depositions in a lawsuit filed by True the Vote (TTV) which alleges discriminatory practices and abuse against organizations which were politically opposed to the Obama Administration.

The Treasury Inspector General found in a May 2013 report that the IRS selected groups for special mistreatment if they who had "Tea Party," "Patriot," or "9/12" in its name or if they advocated conservative policy positions.TTV sued the IRS, but the suit was dismissed in 2014. An appeals court reversed that dismissal, saying the IRS had not taken sufficient steps to prevent similar actions in the future. The suit was remanded to District Court for a decision on the merits of the case.

Last week, the District Court granted TTV's motion for discovery, permitting TTV to discover the "past acts of alleged discrimination stemming from the alleged illegal targeting scheme" to ensure that the IRS has "eradicated the effects" of that scheme.

Source: True the Vote

24 states: half or more babies on Medicaid
Mississippi tied for fourth place with 64 percent in new study

In Mississippi, 64 percent of babies are born on Medicaid. That ties the state for the fourth highest rate in the country according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. Nationwide, 24 states report more than half of all babies born had their births paid for Medicaid. Mississippi is one of eight states in which Medicaid pays for more than 60 percent of all births.

Source: CNSnews.com

Arizona's big school choice victory
All students now eligible for enrollment in education savings accounts


Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law an expansion of his state's education savings account (ESA) program, creating a near-universal option for students and parents.

Arizona's previous ESA program could only be accessed by children with special needs, students in failing schools, children of active duty military or in foster care, and other limited criteria. Now, at the end of a four year phase in, any child will be eligible to enroll in the program, although there is a limit of 5,500 participants.

Instead of sending funding directly to district schools, and then assigning children to those schools based on where their parents live, Arizona's ESA program provides parents 90 percent of what the state would have spent on their child in their district school, with funds being deposited directly into a parent-controlled account. In Arizona that is typically around $5,300 for a student, annually, and closer to $14,000 annually for a child with special needs.

The family can then use those funds for any education-related service, product, or provider. Parents can roll over unused funds from year to year in anticipation of future education-related expenses.

[Editor's note: Mississippi also has an ESA program. It is available only to students with special needs. Based on the amount of funding the legislature has provided, it is capped at fewer than 500 students.]



Source: The Daily Signal

Population shifts
Birthrate and migration shifts the American landscape

In more than 1,200 American counties, people are dying faster than babies are being born to replace them. The U.S. population is growing older, and younger Americans are having fewer babies.

Washington Post blogger Christopher Ingraham took Census Bureau data and color coded the maps below. These maps reduce the coloration to a simple binary scale: red for losing population, blue for gaining it.


Americans are also moving, continuing a long-standing trend of migration out of colder c
limates and to places like the Sun Belt. But even in Southern states, the migration picture is mixed. An arc of red running from Mississippi up through the Carolinas shows net losses to migration in the counties of the Black Belt.


Combine the two maps above and you get the total net population gain or loss in American counties in 2016.

Population gainers include the Western half of the country, the entire Florida peninsula, the I-95 corridor from D.C. to New York, and the New England coast. Places like the Black Belt, the Rust Belt, the extreme upper Midwest and much of the central plains lost population. Overall the population shifts of 2016 marked a return to trends that had been common before the Great Recession: a movement of people out of cities and rural areas and into the country's suburbs, particularly in warmer regions.




Funding Students, Not Districts

Heartland discusses benefits & outcomes of decentralized school funding


What are the benefits and outcomes of allowing school funding to follow the child instead of being based on the school district? Listen to the answer on this Heartland Institute Podcast, where two experts discuss student-based funding, which allows parents a choice and provides students with additional educational opportunities.

Source: Heartland Institute



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