Interim Session was held this last week. Here are a few items we discussed in our meetings.
Intergenerational Poverty Study
The Department of Workforce Services which is conducting a study came and testified to our committee. This study is the result of a bill Senator Reid sponsored in the Senate and I sponsored in the House last January. The purpose is to identify practices that are occurring at the state level that are keeping the children of welfare dependent parents on the welfare roles.
The report we received is that the final numbers are being calculated and that we should receive a final report in the coming months once all the data is analyzed. They estimate that the percentage of children staying in a welfare lifestyle is about 30%. I look forward to the completed report.
Last year Senator Bramble sponsored SB129 which I sponsored in the House. The bill reduced unemployment insurance taxes by about $24 Million by reducing the the maximum rate from 9.4% to 7.4%.
At committee we heard from Bill Starks, head of the unemployment compensation fund, who is recommending again that we reduce the rate. However, this time it is proposed we cap a variable portion of the rate at its current level and prevent it from raising a scheduled .1%. So, this isn't really a "cut" as much as it is preventing a statutorily mandated increase. It's a small amount but every little bit that government keeps in the hands of the taxpayers helps.
In our Political Subdivisions committee we heard testimony relating to the topic of privatizing government operations. The folks testifying seemed to find humor in the setting as they said that the Hill has been discussing and researching privatization for over a decade with almost always the same result. It appears that there are specific and historic "friction" points where compromise and change are shunned and prevent privatization from occurring at city, county, and state levels. I am sure we will be discussing this some more.