The Fiscal Calculator
By John Merrifield, Ph.D., Michael Ford, Ph.D.
For legislators debating various school choice policies, fiscal impacts are one huge part of the equation. Because of this, fiscal notes typically accompany school choice legislation at some point in the legislative process. Most of these fiscal notes are not reliable because of common deficiencies. This paper examines those issues and makes recommendations for those who want to create clearer, more comprehensive fiscal notes for future school choice legislation.
In this report, you will learn:
Analysis of Seven Important Fiscal NotesThe authors evaluate the fiscal notes of seven school choice bills. The analysis gives background information about each bill, and explains the strengths and weaknesses of each corresponding fiscal note.
Common Fiscal Note DeficienciesFive common problems plague the examined fiscal notes: the use of jargon, the lack of specificity, hedging, insularity, and misuse of relevant experiences and data.
Differences Between Rejected and Enacted LegislationHow might better fiscal notes impact the success of future school choice legislation? The authors make suggestions on how clearer fiscal impact statements could positively affect legislative outcomes.
A New Calculator Simplifies Fiscal AnalysisAs part of this study, the authors worked with a variety of stakeholders to create an online calculator. By adding in variables, analysts, legislators, and even the general public can understand the potential fiscal impacts of proposed school choice legislation.