American Economics Group, Inc. has demonstrated its expertise in many successful projects for both private and public sector clients. The following samples show the diversity of the firm's work:
Tax and Fiscal Analysis
Measured the Destructive Impact of New York State's Hotel Occupancy Tax. Undertook a large-scale study of the effects on tourism, employment, and state tax revenue of New York's statewide occupancy tax. Surveyed the hotel industry, travelers, and convention planners, and built a database of state-by-state hotel occupancies and room rates. Our multiple equation regression model accurately separated the influence of the tax, the recession, and the Gulf War on hotel revenue. Our input-output model and special tax models demonstrated a greater loss in other tax revenues than gained by the occupancy tax. Since this study, the tax has been repealed.
Calculated the Lost Jobs, Tax Revenue, and Bootlegging Caused by Carbonated Soft Drink Container Taxes. This study combined data from an extensive survey of soft drink bottlers, supermarket scanners, unemployment insurance, and income tax filings to model the beverage markets in New York State. Legislators wrongly believed the two-cent tax per container was being innocuously dispersed throughout the economy. Instead, these analyses showed the pressure of strong competition prevented manufacturers from shifting the tax to consumers and allowed a significant opportunity for soft drink bootlegging into New York State. The tax has since been cut in half.
Personal Income Tax Simulation Model Used to Reform State Income Taxes. Using the model's large database of household income, expenditures, assets, liabilities, and personal characteristics, we estimated state revenue changes from a series of tax proposals and revisions. By calculating and summarizing both fiscal impacts and household burdens, we helped design new tax law in New York State and other jurisdictions.
A Comparative Analysis of Life Insurance Company Taxation: Its Equity and Its Impact. This major analysis for the Life Insurance Council of New York helped change New York State taxation of life insurance companies. The analysis demonstrated that New York's dual premiums and income tax subjected life companies to much greater tax burdens than other corporations. It included information on the background of federal and state taxation of life companies, discriminatory and retaliatory taxes, taxes on competitors in the financial services industry, the economic importance of life insurance, and the state impact of federal tax changes. We also constructed a computer-based simulation model to estimate the state revenue impact of federal and state tax proposals for property/casualty insurers. The model incorporated survey data from a broad group of stock and mutual companies, large and small. The industry successfully used the study to counter official revenue estimates and achieve beneficial tax reform.
Analysis of Major Federal and State Excise Taxes for Major Trade Association. In separate studies, performed economic impact analyses for several proposed federal and state changes in excise tax rates. This included designing and constructing demand models of tobacco and alcohol products related to the demographic and economic characteristics of consumers, including location. In one study, measured income regressivity and price elasticity under a variety of conditions for products that various socioeconomic groups used differentially. Evaluated the consumption and revenue effects of legislative proposals as a whole and for individual population groups and locations.
Economic Analysis and Expert Testimony on Applying the Highway Use Tax to Intrastate and Interstate Commodity Hauling. Analyzed the movement of dominant farm and forest commodities in Arkansas to determine the appropriate application of the Arkansas Highway Use Tax. Developed a sophisticated color mapping system to demonstrate the division between intrastate and interstate hauls. Presented courtroom testimony that had a pivotal role in the case.
Complex Costing of Contract Provisions for the Internal Revenue Service of the United States. Provided economic consulting services, including strategic planning for contract bargaining. We performed unique and complex cost analysis of contract items to the IRS during negotiation and mediation. Work included costing of a "Flexiplace" for work-at-home proposal, the performance evaluation system, and the performance awards program, and the weighting of seniority versus productivity factors for the release and recall of employees during peak and off-peak times.
Analysis and Expert Testimony in Multiple Interest Arbitration Cases for Montgomery County, Prince George's County, and Anne Arundel County, Maryland. For various labor arbitrations, prepared comprehensive testimony on the fiscal condition of the municipality, the local economic base, and wage and benefit levels. Provided expert economic testimony during labor negotiations, arbitrations, and other related proceedings for major cities, large suburban counties, and other public employers.
Design of Alternative Super-fund Tax Mechanisms and a Super-fund Bond Issue. Prepared a major study for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which helped analyze and design a financing system for the state's Hazardous Waste Remedial Fund (Super-fund). The state will use this fund to remedy about 300 inactive hazardous waste sites at a cost of nearly $2 billion. The study explored the potential for using revenues from existing state funds and non-tax sources to fund an integrated tax system for the governor and the state legislature to consider. In the final report, we analyzed the economic impact of proposed industry waste-end and front-end assessments and innovative debt financing proposals to ensure enough revenue sources for site remediation while minimizing the burden on New York industry.
Economic Impact Analysis of Stream Reclassification on the Leather Tanning Industry (Federal Economic Use Attainability Analysis). Prepared an economic analysis to measure any "substantial and widespread" change in local economic activity following a federally mandated stream upgrade. This in-depth study focused on the incremental costs to the dominant group of industrial waste dischargers leather tannersfrom advanced water treatment by the municipal plant as well as pre-treatment capital and operating costs for the firms involved. Also estimated how much of the additional costs the local municipalities could bear for treating the water and supporting the welfare burden of displaced workers.
Economic Impact of Water Level Policy on Tourism and Recreation. For the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, measured the local economic impact of water level policy on tourism and recreational use in the area around Great Sacandaga Lake in New York State. Inventoried businesses and households; constructed a local economic profile including population, sales, real property values, employment, and income; compared with other tourist areas; developed a monthly index of recreation use; and conducted an economic impact analysis. Using the profiles, inventory, and data, determined the impact on the local economy of changes in the regulation of the water level.