Impact of Sequester: Economic Impact Estimates will Become Less Reliable and More Expensive to Produce

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) is planning to make significant program cuts as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Sequester of funding. One such program that is in danger of being cut is the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (referred to as RIMS II).

RIMS II has served as a critical tool used for economic analysis for decades. It is used to describe how changes in economic activity (spending) impact jobs, earnings and additional spending in a specific region. It is the basis for projecting changes in jobs, earnings, and tax revenues, resulting from projects such as major hotel and casino developments, airport construction efforts, chemical plants expansions, as well as the jobs and spending created by major events such as the Super Bowl or the Final Four NCAA National Basketball Championship.

Since the 1970s, BEA has collected and processed economic data in order to generate RIMS II and offer it to the public on a cost-recovery basis. RIMS II is a commonly used tool by universities, public agencies, and private business alike.

The BEA has announced that effective immediately, the RIMS product will no longer be updated. Furthermore, effective September 30, 2013, all current versions and historical RIMS products will no longer be available for purchase.

On June 19th, the BEA released the following statement about the production RIMS II:

“BEA will eliminate its RIMS II product, which currently generates products on demand as events warrant. The RIMS II program will continue to accept and process orders, which are fulfilled on a cost-recovery basis, through the end of the fiscal year. BEA will not build and develop the data needed to update the data set and fulfill orders in future years.”

The BEA intends to discontinue RIMS II by September 30 of this year and estimates that cutting the program will save $1.4 million. This represents only 0.00016% of the Department of Commerce’s total budget of $9 billion in FY13, yet it will gravely impact the ability of  public agencies and private businesses to demonstrate how projects and initiatives can benefit the general public.

RIMS as a Share of Commerce Department Budget

RIMS II will not be easily replaced by a private sector solution, since most of these alternatives have historically relied upon the BEA and RIMS II in their own development. Without the collection and reporting of the data from BEA, these private sector alternatives will no longer be based on the independent and verifiable information. These potential private sector alternatives are also substantially more expensive than RIMS II, which was produced on a cost-recovery basis by the federal government.

TMG Consulting has reached out to our federally elected leadership and have urged them to support any efforts that would allow the reinstatement of the RIMS II program within the BEA budget. TMG would also ask that any other parties that rely upon the RIMS II program do the same.

Contributed by: Eric Melancon & Bonnie Garrigan

Eric Melancon is an Associate for TMG Consulting who specializes in evaluating economic impacts of major developments and events. Bonnie Garrigan is the Manager of Economic Analysis for TMG Consulting. 

ericmelancon@tmg-consulting.net 

bonniegarrigan@tmg-consulting.net

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 Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

New Orleans Needs to Look Beyond Tourism

In preparation for the 2013 Super Bowl which will be hosted by New Orleans, the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center has donated $30 million to make tourist focused improvements to the French Quarter. Simultaneously, in the legislature, Sen. Edwin Murray has introduced legislation to create a “hospitality zone” which would levy taxes in the superdome and French Quarter area to enhance public safety, sanitation, lighting, and marketing in the area. (more…)

Economic Development: Invest in Transit

Source: www.ridemetro.org

Houston’s Light Rail, http://www.ridemetro.org

We at TMG have been working for months to statistically, economically or even anecdotally correlate good public transit to economic prosperity in a city.  Observationally, cities that support strong economies like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Boston have a transit system with good coverage and high frequency.  It is unknown whether good transit attracts economic development, or if economic development demands good transit.  We are still working to develop a successful index to correlate these two factors. Here is what we do know: (more…)

TMG Pioneers Development of Small Business Pilot Program for Baton Rouge Airport

TMG Consulting recently designed and developed a Small Business Program for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport.  This program, in compliance with recent changes in FAA regulations, includes new race and gender-neutral elements that would facilitate wider participation from small businesses.

TMG surveyed best practices of similar programs nationwide and conducted stakeholder meetings with small business advocacy organizations and professional trade organizations to gauge their response.  While many of the participants representing prime firms and sub-contractors expressed enthusiasm and support for this program, they also expressed concern about having to go through another certification process. The development of this pilot program has provided a great opportunity for the Airport to work closely with City Purchasing and to create a program that might be replicated across multiple public agencies.  This greatly benefits firms of all sizes by creating a uniform program – reducing confusion over the multitude of programs that exist and the cumbersome processes they entail, and most importantly allowing firms to bid on more opportunities.

Through the series of stakeholder meetings, TMG has found that there is great support for increased small business participation.  TMG Consulting will be submitting the program to the Federal Transit Authority for approval in the coming weeks, with the goal of a program kick-off in early 2012.

Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

DBE Master Tracker Program Implemented by TMG Consulting

TMG Consulting has been an expert on the DBE Program since the inception of the DBE regulations in the 1980’s. Since then, TMG has worked with public agencies to write, implement, and monitor DBE programs that are effectively diminishing the barriers that exist for small, minority firms to participate in large government contracts. TMG’s joint mission with our clients is to create a DBE program that is realistic and effective, yet simple to manage. To realize this mission, TMG assists clients in setting realistic DBE goals for federally funded projects, streamlining the bidding process, monitoring DBE participation over the course of a project, and providing reports to the Federal Government and the Agency’s Board.

Over the past few years, the DBE regulations have been modified to require more detailed reporting, including individual tracking of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. Additionally, Boards have expanded their mission to include participation by small and minority firms on state and locally funded projects, going above the federal mandates. TMG has responded by developing a comprehensive tracking system. The  “DBE Master Tracker” is a TMG exclusive product that monitors payments made to subcontractors (DBE and non-DBE) and Prime firms and produces simple reports that are available at any time to Board members, Federal Agencies, or the public. By creating a database that stores and analyzes DBE participation progress, TMG enables its clients to be confident that they are complying with their grant assurances, meeting the DBE missions of their Board and setting realistic DBE goals for future projects.  Moreover, as regulations and requirements change, Master Tracker can easily output customized reports in response.

Our DBE services include:

  • Developing new or updated DBE Programs
  • Drafting small and minority programs for state and local funds
  • Setting DBE goals
  • Reviewing bids and proposals for DBE compliance
  • Utilizing DBE Master Tracker program to monitor contract participation and to provide annual accomplishment report

A comprehensive DBE Consultant contract is complementary to your current DBE staff and can improve efficiency and confidence in your DBE Program within the parameters of sole source contracting.

TMG DBE Program Division Contact: Bonnie Garrigan, bonniegarrigan@tmg-consulting.net, or 504.569,9239 Ex. 29.