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Robert E. Lee: (3) I think revenue to local governments will be hurt in the year ahead. Slower sales and declining prices are going to affect property tax revenue; assessed valuation won’t be increasing as it did when prices were skyrocketing, and in some cases will be reassessed downward. Sales tax revenue will also be affected. The home equity loan industry has already been hurt badly, so we’ll have fewer home equity loans taken out to buy cars, remodel, etc. Those loans fueled a consumption binge that boosted sales tax revenue, so a slowdown or even decline will hurt city and county coffers.

Tom Scott: Employment data is more readily available than payroll numbers. Employment surveys and taken every month of both households and firms. Thus, the employment and unemployment numbers come out every month. Payroll numbers come out less frequently. I think employers need to report that only quarterly.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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