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What Fiscal Control Boards Do to Cities

Thursday, June 8, 2017
In This Issue: These States Want to Help Your Kids Pay for College ● Changes to Tax Credit Criteria Are Breaking Up Concentrated Poverty ● Request for Application Reviewers ● Jobs ● What Fiscal Control Boards Do to Cities
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Kamolika Das and Solana Rice, CFED
How would the trajectories of children’s lives change if they knew that their state, their community, and their parents were investing in their future success for as long as they could remember?

Creating Children’s Savings Account (CSA) programs is not just about addressing soaring tuition costs or putting away a few hundred dollars each year—it is about instilling the message that every child has the potential for academic success and economic mobility, regardless of where they come from or their family’s finances. Children develop expectations about their higher education plans as early as elementary school, and having college savings can increase their expectations for postsecondary graduation and future success.

CSAs are long-term investment accounts that provide incentives for saving, such as initial deposits or savings matches. They help raise . . . Read More
Carla Minet and Joel CintrĂ³n Arbasetti, Centro de Periodismo Investigativo

Regardless of their size, number of residents, or fiscal problems, U.S. cities under fiscal control boards have faced a formula that consists primarily of the firing of public employees, implementing pension cuts, increasing the cost of public college education, and a reduction in essential services, such as health. The structures, the laws that create them, and the names of the boards vary; the public policies they impose, not so much.

Despite the normalization of the boards and their commonly broad powers, the federal government and Congress lack control mechanisms, studies, databases, or any entity that actively monitors their impact or efficiency, the Center for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) in Puerto Rico has found.

“In the United States, there is no centralized information across states [about Fiscal Control Boards], said Deborah Kobes, author of the thesis Out of Control? Local Democracy Failure and Fiscal Control Boards, published in 2009. “There also isn’t a real definition about . . . Read More
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While recent news reports have highlighted the low number of affordable housing projects using federal tax credits that are built in high-opportunity areas, a recent examination by New Jersey Future has found that strategic changes in the way federal funds are allocated for affordable housing in the state have meant that many more affordable housing projects have been directed away from high-poverty neighborhoods and toward areas that offer greater economic opportunity.

To evaluate whether those changes had their intended effect, New Jersey Future compared affordable housing projects that received federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits between 2005 and 2012 with projects that received credits between 2013 and 2015, after the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA), which administers the tax credits in the state, made significant changes to the criteria it uses to award them. The agency made the changes with the specific goal of steering new construction of affordable housing away from areas of concentrated poverty and toward areas where public transit and major job centers existed, and that have higher-performing school districts.

Before the adjustment, a full two-thirds of projects near transit were located in . . .
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Request for Program Application Reviewers
Reviewers Needed for Community Economic Development Program Application Review | The Office of Community Services is seeking expert reviewers with a broad array of direct community economic development experience to help select grantees for the Community Economic Development program. Click here for info.
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The person in this leadership role works with the Board of Directors, executes the organization's vision, assures its overall program effectiveness, ensures the acquisition of sufficient resources, protects and projects . . . Read Full Listing
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The East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation offers an entrepreneurial CEO the opportunity to further the impact of a respected community development organization with a four-decade track record . . . Read Full Listing
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The person in this role will have knowledge of the mission, objectives, policies, and practices of non-profit organizations and affordable housing development, and will monitor fiscal data for multiple projects . . . Read Full Listing
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Two project managers, one in Baltimore and one in D.C., will have responsibility for the overall management of developments from acquisition and entitlements through completion of construction. This includes coordinating . . . Read Full Listing
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This position requires a well-organized leader who takes initiative, thinks strategically, favors a collaborative approach to problem solving, and has a sense of humor. S/he must be an experienced manager with strong analytic . . . Read Full Listing
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Bob Annibale, Citi ● Laura Barrett, Interfaith Worker Justice ● Murtaza Baxamusa, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC ● Michael Bodaken, National Housing Trust ● Bill Bynum, HOPE Credit Union ● Steve Dubb, Democracy Collaborative ● Jamaal Green, Portland State University ● John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service ● David Holtzman, newspaper reporter and former planner ● Josh Ishimatsu, National CAPACD ● Rick Jacobus, Street Level Advisors ● Daniel Kravetz, Freelance Writer ● Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress ● Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity ● Doug Ryan, CFED ● Josh Silver, NCRC ● James Tracy, San Francisco Community Land Trust ● Eva Wingren, Baltimore Community Foundation