Friday Roundup: School funding, manufacturing jobs, longevity disparities, planning dilemmas, fossil fuels and income tax preemption

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Education Next: “That’s Not Fair” (Charter public school funding disparities)

Students in public charter schools receive $5,721 or 29% less in average per-pupil revenue than students in traditional public schools (TPS) in 14 major metropolitan areas across the U. S in Fiscal Year 2014. That is the main conclusion of a study that my research team released yesterday

Twelve of the 14 cities have a disturbing charter school funding gap of more than 10%, which earned them a C grade or lower. Tulsa, Little Rock, Indianapolis, Washington, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Camden earned an F for funding equity since there is a funding gap of more than 30% between what charter schools received versus what TPS received per pupil. Camden had the largest per-pupil funding gap in our study, with charter schools students receiving 45%, or $14,771, less per pupil than TPS students.

National Association of Manufacturers: Job Openings in Manufacturing Increased Robustly in March

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that there were 394,000 job openings in the manufacturing sector in March, up from 364,000 in February. This matched the reading from July 2016, and each was the fastest rate since April 2006. In March, increased job openings for both durable (up from 209,000 to 229,000) and nondurable (up from 155,000 to 165,000) goods firms helped to lift the headline number, with the durable goods pace at levels last seen in July 2007. Overall, this report suggests that manufacturing leaders are accelerating their hiring intentions in light of recent improvements in the economic outlook, including better figures for demand and production. Indeed, job openings should be a good proxy of future hiring, and as such, it bodes well for improved employment data moving forward.

Seattle Times: We’re living longer–but just how long varies across Washington, study shows

The gap in life expectancy between Washington’s counties is growing, pointing to increasing inequality in the health of Americans.

If you lived in King County, your life expectancy increased by six years from 1980 to 2014, to 81.37 years, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.

But Cowlitz County residents gained only three years of life expectancy in that span and died at the average age of 77.51.

 New Geography (Steven Polzin): Deja Vu and the Dilemma for Planners

How in the world do we do long-range planning if we have so badly missed the mark about the future of mobility and housing choice?

Future plans are influenced by four characteristics of interest: planners’ aspirations, revealed phenomenon and behaviors, stated preferences of stakeholders and the engaged public, and innovation and change. Each is discussed briefly below…

So in summary, planners’ biases might be more relevant than in the past, our foundational knowledge of behaviors and relationships is getting shaky as the world changes in multiple dimensions, we often don’t know how to interpret the public’s aspirations, and the pace of technological change might be undermining our historically infrastructure-intensive strategy for dealing with transportation. So planners have some big challenges and important issues to address to insure scarce resources serve the public well. Responding to that challenge is a noble calling, to be sure.
On April 28, Cowlitz County and the Department of Ecology finally released the final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) project—more than five years after the project was proposed. The EIS is required under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA). As we’ve written in 2014 and 2016, Ecology has recently required select projects (including MBT) to undergo an expanded SEPA process that includes consideration of lifecycle and global greenhouse gas emissions associated with the product being exported (in this case, coal)…
If MBT isn’t built, that doesn’t mean the coal won’t be exported and used for electricity. But Washington may lose out on the jobs and tax revenues.

“Seattle has decided that they want to see if there is a loophole they can address,” said State Representative Brandon Vick. “If they can tax adjusted gross income, gross income, or capital gains or something of that nature. My bill takes the law and makes it clear. It removes the ambiguity. It says income means gross income, net income, capital gains, adjusted gross income, and it goes as far as to say to the courts to interpret this broadly. If anyone comes up with a cute idea, or vernacular to describe an income tax, that too is an income tax.”

Vick is a Republican representing the state’s 18th legislative district. He wants to pass a bill that will shut down any legal attempt that Seattle can take toward an income tax. He’s not alone. Republican State Sen. Phil Fortunato has his own companion bill to Vick’s. They plan to introduce them during the current special session.