Media Coverage of The Sycamore Institute

Lee’s budget proposal has sharp spending cuts, report shows

Center Square & 10 Other News Outlets | February 23, 2024

“A new analysis from non-profit policy analyst Sycamore Institute shows the largest recurring budgetary increases come from state personnel-related costs, school funding formula growth, subsidies for private school students and inflationary increases.”

Tennessee House report on federal education funding targets food waste in school cafeterias

Chalkbeat Tennessee & 7 Other Tennessee News Outlets | January 25, 2024

“The Senate report was cautionary, and much of it mirrored analysis from the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute. It highlighted the risks associated with rejecting about $1.3 billion in federal money and trying to fill the gap with state revenues.”

Report: Debt collection lawsuits remain prominent in Shelby, Davidson counties

Center Square &  20 Other News Outlets | January 19, 2024

“Nearly 200,000 debt collection cases were filed in Shelby County and 112,000 in Davidson County between January 2016 through March 2023, according to data from Sycamore Institute. The nonpartisan public policy institute looked at the number and type of debt collection lawsuits filed in the two counties, saying the ability to file those lawsuits provide safeguards that prevent the cost of credit from rising more than necessary but that the over- or misuse of lawsuits can involve tradeoffs for courts and defendants.”

Senate joint committee members file report on federal K-12 education funding

Center Square &  10 Other News Outlets | January 10, 2024

“‘These are more questions than definitive answers about what rejecting federal K-12 dollars could mean for Tennessee’s obligations because no state has ever done so,’ the report said, words that first appeared in Sycamore Institute’s October report on the matter.”

Research Suggests Medical Debt Drives Poor Health Outcomes and Worsens Existing Disparities | December 20, 2023

“For Mandy Spears, Deputy Director of the independent public policy research center at the Sycamore Institute, the question was how much those dynamics influenced each other. In ‘How Medical Debt Affects Health,’ Spears convincingly shows that medical debt, in and of itself, can drive poorer health outcomes. The implication is a health and debt spiral: Poor health causes medical debt, which worsens health — and so on.”

Federal K-12 funding in TN: 5 takeaways from second day of hearings on rejecting money

The Tennessean | November 7, 2023

“Brian Straessle, executive director of The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, and deputy director Mandy Spears presented key findings from their recent report on federal K-12 funding in Tennessee. While the report said the state could technically afford to replace federal K-12 funds with state dollars, it outlined several caveats — including how something like a major economic downturn may affect the state’s margins without a federal safety net.”

Research agency, area superintendents testify about rejecting federal education dollars

News Channel 5 | November 7, 2023

“The nonpartisan research group, the Sycamore Institute, did a deep dive study into the plan and testified on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill. “The federal government has not always fully funded its commitments,” Mandy Spears, the Deputy Director of the Sycamore Institute said.”

Can Tennessee afford to replace federal education funds? Yes, but with caveats, report finds

The Tennessean | November 1, 2023

“Can Tennessee afford to replace the billions in federal education funding some Republicans want to give up? Yes, but there are many unknowns still, including the impact on safety net protections in the event of a major economic downturn, according to a new report by the Sycamore Institute, a nonprofit Tennessee think tank.”

Report: Uncertainty if Tennessee rejects federal K-12 education funding

The Center Square & 10 Other Tennessee News Outlets | October 31, 2023

“No state has ever rejected federal funding for K-12 education, so when Tennessee looks at potentially doing that in a committee over the next few weeks it would be expensive and uncharted territory, according to a new analysis from nonprofit think tank Sycamore Institute. ‘The days of historically large surpluses may be over, but Tennessee likely still has room in the budget to replace federal funding at the expense of other potential investments,’ the report said.”

Report: rejecting $1.1B annually in federal education funds would present major tradeoffs for Tennessee

WPLN | October 31, 2023

“The analysis comes from the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute. It finds that Tennessee typically receives about $1.1 billion per year from the federal government for K-12 education programs. The report relies largely on pre-pandemic data since COVID-19 prompted unusually large federal contributions.”

Tenn. study on rejecting federal education funds has ‘no predetermined outcome,’ leader says

Chalkbeat | October 4, 2023

“Tennessee school districts that are most reliant on U.S. dollars tend to be rural, and have more low-income and disabled students, less capacity for local revenue, and lower test scores in English language arts, according to a recent report from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.”

TN may reject $1.8B in federal education funds. What would it mean for Memphis schools?

The Commercial Appeal | September 29, 2023

“In August, The Sycamore Institute, a Nashville-based public policy research center, released a report showing that Tennessee distributed over $1.1 billion in federal funds to its 142 school districts in fiscal year 2019, around 11% of the districts’ revenues that year. The Sycamore Institute’s report also noted that about 39% of the funding was for school nutrition programs, while 27% was for Title 1 programs targeting low-income students, and 21% was for students and efforts under the IDEA.”

Tennessee considers rejecting $1.8B in federal education funding

The Center Square & 5 Other Tennessee News Outlets | September 26, 2023

“A study from the Sycamore Institute showed that in 2019, before the COVID-19 increases in funding, $1.1 billion was sent to Tennessee schools with the state’s 142 school districts receiving between $314 and $2,500 per student in federal funds. The bulk of those funds went to rural districts with more low-income and disabled students that were judged to have less local revenue capacity and lower English Language Arts test scores.”

Tennessee legislative panel will look into rejecting federal education funds

Chalkbeat | September 25, 2023

“Last month, the Sycamore Institute reported that Tennessee distributed $1.1 billion in federal funds to school districts across the state — or about 11% of total district revenues — in 2019-20. The nonpartisan think tank also calculated that each of Tennessee’s 142 school districts received between $314 and $2,500 per student in federal funds, accounting for 3% to 20% of each district’s total revenues.”

Tennessee ranks among top 10 in nation for gun-related deaths

WKRN | September 14, 2023

“A study by the Sycamore Institute found that Tennessee’s death rate grew over 66% between 2011 and 2021, largely due to a spike in homicides, which accounted for 46% of firearms deaths in 2021. That adds up to an additional 623 deaths each year.”

Tennessee schools received 11% of pre-pandemic funding from federal sources

The Center Square & 7 Other Tennessee News Outlets | August 3, 2023

“Tennessee’s K-12 schools received $1.1 billion in federal funds in financial year 2019, the last before additional COVID-19 pandemic federal funds began, according to a policy brief from the non-profit Sycamore Institute. The nonpartisan group looked into what federal funding looked like at schools across the state pre-pandemic and found the state’s 142 school districts received between $314 and $2,500 per student in federal funds.”

Gunfire leading cause of death for TN minors in 2021, study finds

ABC24 | July 10, 2023

“The Sycamore Institute also shared that the majority of firearm deaths in 2021 across Tennessee were not minors — they were people between the ages of 19 and 64.”

Report: Breaking down Tennessee’s record number of firearm deaths

The Center Square & 9 Other Tennessee News Outlets | July 4, 2023

“Tennessee had a record 1,570 firearm deaths in 2021, with 52% of those coming by suicide. A new report from Sycamore Institute heading into an expected Tennessee special session Aug. 21 looked at the details of those numbers, with 80% of those deaths being men and 60% were white Tennesseans.”

New study finds that gun-related deaths are on the rise in TN, mirroring national trends

The Tennessean & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | June 28, 2023

“Gun-related deaths in Tennessee once again hit record highs in 2021, marking a decade-long increase largely driven by spikes in homicides. That was one of the findings in a report released Monday from the Tennessee-based Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy center.”

Study finds gunfire as leading cause of death for Tennessee youth

Chattanooga Times Free Press | June 26, 2023

“Gunfire was the 10th leading cause of death among Tennesseans in 2021 and reached ‘record highs,’ according to a report released Monday by the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.”

New State Law Aims To Help With Tennessee Traffic Congestion

Public News Service and 2 Other News Outlets | April 27, 2023

“‘In Tennessee, what they’re hoping is that this could address urban congestion problems, because ‘paid choice’ lines [sic] don’t make sense to go everywhere; they only make sense where there’s a whole lot of traffic,’ Spears Pellegrin explained. ‘That frees up our existing gas-tax dollars to address congestion issues and other needed road repairs.'”

State Legislature Prepares to Overhaul Tax Breaks

Nashville Scene | April 17, 2023

“‘As far as I can tell, [those who will pay more in taxes] would be the businesses that perhaps make the most in Tennessee but don’t have as much capital or employees in the state,’ says Mandy Pellegrin, deputy director at the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center in Tennessee. ‘And it will benefit the businesses that have very large physical footprints with lots of employees but maybe fewer sales and revenue in the state.’”

$20 million for Knoxville pedestrian bridge included in new state budget proposal

WATE Knoxville | April 5, 2023

“Lee has proposed an amendment to his original 2023-2024 Fiscal Year budget recommendation announced in February. According to the Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center, the amendment would add $260 million in net new spending and bring the total budget to $52.8 billion.”

Tennessee up $1.2B more than budgeted in taxes, fees at fiscal year midpoint

The Center Square & 7 Other Tennessee News Outlets | February 20, 2023

“‘Underestimating revenues creates unplanned surpluses which can be spent the following year or saved in the rainy day fund,’ Sycamore Institute Deputy Director Mandy Spears Pellegrin wrote in her monthly state revenue tracker. ‘The trade-off of a surplus is that policymakers may have preferred to either spend the money or reduce taxes in the current year.’”

Could vehicle-based mileage fees make up for shortages in Tennessee’s falling fuel taxes for roads?

Chattanooga Times Free Press | February 2, 2023

“The nonpartisan Sycamore Institute said taxes on fuel and vehicle registration are the largest funding source for transportation projects in Tennessee. Tennesseans and visitors driving through Tennessee who need to refuel here pay 26 cents per gallon for gasoline along with 27 cents for diesel.”

The week in politics: Could the state’s fight with Nashville roil bond markets?

The Tennessean & 2 Other Gannett Newspapers | February 2, 2023

“Tennessee ran a nearly $2.4 billion surplus last year, Mandy Pellegrin, the deputy director of Sycamore Institute, told the Senate Finance Ways and Means Committee earlier this week. The Sycamore Institute is a nonpartisan think tank that provides a yearly budget outlook report. The surplus continues a 12-year run in which the state’s funding board has underestimated revenues. But the surplus jumped into the multi-billion dollar mark over the past two years for the first time. ‘Historically large numbers,’ Pellegrin said.”

Tennessee Senate committee hears testimony on mileage-based vehicle tax options

The Center Square & 7 Tennessee News Outlets | February 1, 2023

“As Sycamore Institute showed in its recent policy statement on road infrastructure needs and funding, taxes on fuel and registration are the largest funding source for transportation projects in Tennessee. The state currently has a one-year moratorium on personal vehicle registration fees but normally charges $16.75 annually for most vehicles, $100 for electric vehicles and 26 cents per gallon for gasoline along with 27 cents for diesel.”

Two bills would begin court fines, fees reform in Tennessee

The Center Square & 7 Tennessee News Outlets | January 9, 2023

“The Tennessee system has been criticized for a lack of data collection across the state’s 95 counties along with a Sycamore Institute study showing the state likely collects less than 25% of the fines and fees assessed.”

Threat of Tennessee driver’s license suspension doesn’t help debt collection, report finds

The Tennessean |  November 8, 2022

“Court debt can come from fees, fines and other taxes, which can help fund local courts. Tennessee law authorizes more than 250 fees and taxes related to criminal proceedings, according to the nonprofit Sycamore Institute.”

Women of Influence: Mandy Pellegrin, The Sycamore Institute

Nashville Business Journal | September 25, 2022

“Mandy Pellegrin coordinates and oversees all research and analyses for The Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center focused on Tennessee. Pellegrin sets the research priorities and manages Sycamore’s research team, working closely with the executive director on organizational and strategic planning and often representing the organization in the community and media.”

How Inflation Hurts Local TN Governments

Public News Service | August 26, 2022

“Rising prices and less consumer spending could have an effect on local government services in Tennessee, according to a new report from the Sycamore Institute. The research showed rural communities are already hurting for bus drivers, sanitation workers and teachers, but when inflation increases the cost of running a town or a city, local budgets cannot keep up.”

Report: Tennessee budget policy has state well prepared for future inflation impacts

The Center Square & 15 Tennessee News Outlets | August 18, 2022

“Inflation impacts everything from governments to consumers, but a new report from Sycamore Institute shows that the Tennessee government is well prepared for continued inflation due to its primary source of funds, sales tax and its rising rainy-day fund.”

Tennessee collected $4.6B more than budgeted in taxes and fees for fiscal year

The Center Square & 17 Tennessee News Outlets | August 12, 2022

“‘Underestimating revenues creates unplanned surpluses which can be spent the following year or saved in the rainy day fund,’ the Sycamore Institute explains in its monthly tax revenue tracker. ‘The tradeoff of a surplus is that policymakers may have preferred to either spend the money or reduce taxes in the current year.'”

Would a new Lookouts stadium pay off for taxpayers? Studies are mixed.

Chattanooga Times Free Press | July 9, 2022

“‘Just about every researcher and economist that has looked at this issue, both for major and minor league sports, agree that stadiums for a particular sport rarely create enough new economic development and activity to offset the public subsidies that they receive,’ said Mandy Pellegrin, policy director for The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan research group in Nashville that studies state policy issues including proposed stadium subsidies for projects in Chattanooga, East Ridge, Knoxville and Nashville. ‘Many cite the new investments made around these stadiums, but they don’t take into account the costs associated with creating and operating a new stadium or the fact that you are often redistributing economic activity from other places or other activities.'”

Taxpayer funding for NFL, other pro sports stadiums grows exponentially

The Center Square & 7 Tennessee News Outlets | June 12, 2022

“Farren said that the rising sports stadium subsidies – the Tennessee think tank Sycamore Institute showed this week the Titans expect 68% public funding of its new stadium – are similar to the increasing subsidies for electric vehicle and battery plants across the country.”

Report: Officials across Tennessee plan to spend more than $1.8 billion on stadiums

The Tennessean | June 9, 2022

“As Nashville and Tennessee officials are poised to spend $1.5 billion on a new NFL stadium, the Sycamore Institute released a report on Tuesday showing officials made plans in the last year to spend $1.8 billion in public funds on sports facilities. ‘They are generally not very good decisions based purely on economics,’ said Brian Straessle, director of external affairs for The Sycamore Institute. ‘It’s those other factors that might come into play.'”

Report: Tennessee stadium’s proposed $1.5B public subsidy far surpasses any prior NFL stadium

The Center Square & 16 Tennessee News Outlets | June 8, 2022

“A new report from Sycamore Institute shows that the proposal for a new Tennessee Titans stadium includes the highest total amount of public subsidies for an NFL stadium at a proposed $1.5 billion while bringing limited public benefit in return.”

Tennessee court pilots new ODR platform to mediate medical debt disputes

ABA Journal | June 1, 2022

“As local and state courts across the country continue to face growing backlogs, one Tennessee small claims court is attempting to address this issue by piloting an online dispute resolution platform to keep medical debt collection out of the courtroom. … Tennessee has the 10th-highest rate of medical debt in the U.S., according to a 2019 report by the Sycamore Institute, a public policy research center.”

Tennessee looking at a potential $1B surplus, but the money can’t be spent until next year

Daily News Journal & 6 Other Gannett Newspapers | May 30, 2022

“Budget projections show the state will have a $3.4 billion surplus compared to initial budget estimates, according to a report from the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute. But state officials said that surplus would come out to closer to $1 billion because of various spending changes made during the legislative session to spend part of this year’s surplus.”

Rural health nonprofit partners with chronic care management company

Main Street Nashville | April 25, 2022

“‘Tennessee has higher rates of chronic disease and chronic disease-related mortality than the U.S. as a whole,’ according to the Sycamore Institute. About 460,000 Tennesseans are affected by chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while conditions such as arthritis, COPD and kidney disease are higher than the national rates.”

How Tennessee’s new education plan is changing the share of the pie for school districts

Oak Ridger & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | April 25, 2022

“Almost all 140 school districts would receive a funding bump, but 48 of them will receive a larger share of state education funding than they received under the current formula, called the Basic Education Program or BEP, according to The Tennessean’s analysis. The Tennessean conducted its analysis using numbers from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, that it received from Tennessee Department of Education on March 31.”

Views differ radically on local impact of new school funding formula

Daily Memphian | April 19, 2022

“Tennessee’s unique approach complicates the matter. ‘The way Tennessee calculates local fiscal capacity is a big reason our state has one of the most complex education funding formulas in the country,’ the Sycamore Institute explained. The state uses two models to estimate each county’s fundraising capacity.”

Tennessee governor’s education funding plan lands major endorsement

Chalkbeat | April 18, 2022

“The alliance also cited a recent analysis from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan research group, that said TISA is unlikely to lead to local tax increases. Leaders with several of the alliance’s partner organizations said their decision to support TISA hinged on their conclusion that it’s ultimately a better formula than the state’s current one.”

Men of Valor has been transforming lives for 25 years

Main Street Nashville | April 7, 2022

“Today, Men of Valor has a presence in every prison in the state through discipleship groups, recovery groups, evangelism and other events. The residential program for men leaving prison has grown from nine beds to 93 beds at the newly constructed Valor Ridge campus in Antioch. Tennessee has about a 50% recidivism rate, according to data from the Sycamore Institute. For participants in the Men of Valor program, it’s less than 15%, the organization says.”

Senate committee vote on Gov. Lee’s education plan pushed another week

Commercial Appeal & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | April 6, 2022

“The committee invited policy experts with the Sycamore Institute to testify after the nonpartisan think-tank published a report backing the education department’s view that TISA won’t lead to local tax increases. ‘TISA would likely require fewer school districts to increase local funding than the (Basic Education Program) might,’ Mandy Pellegrin, the policy director at the Sycamore Institute, told the committee.”

Report: New funding model beneficial to Tennessee school districts

Center Square & 14 Tennessee News Outlets | April 5, 2022

“An important element in the discussion for local governments is a term called Maintenance of Effort, which requires a local government to continue to spend at least what it currently spends on local education, ensuring that additional state funding will mean schools receive more funding rather than simply replacing local funding with state funds in the same budget. ‘It’s not that (local governments) have less financial obligation, it’s just that most of these local (governments) will have to keep what they chip in steady for a number of years,’ said Brian Straessle, director of External Affairs for Sycamore Institute.”

Tennessee collects $2.1B more than estimated in taxes, fees for fiscal year

Center Square & 20 Tennessee News Outlets | March 14, 2022

“‘Underestimating revenues creates unplanned surpluses which can be spent the following year or saved in the rainy-day fund,’ wrote Sycamore Institute Policy Director Mandy Pellegrin, who keeps tabs on the monthly totals on the group’s tax revenue tracker. ‘The trade-off of a surplus is that policymakers may have preferred to either spend the money or reduce taxes in the current year.'”

Unlike other big districts, Nashville schools won’t get much of a boost under the state’s proposed funding model. Here’s why.

WPLN | March 9, 2022

“‘While it benefits, you know, Hamilton County, Knox County, Shelby County, and even the counties surrounding Davidson, it does not have the same effect on Davidson County,’ says Mandy Pellegrin, policy director at the Tennessee-based Sycamore Institute. ‘And I think that just speaks to how complicated the current mix of calculations is.'”

Gov. Lee proposes $25M tourism grant as Nashville named finalist for RNC and World Cup

The Tennessean & Three Other Gannett Newspapers | February 13, 2022

“Still, the money could go toward just about any event, said Eric Harkness, the executive director of The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan policy research center in Tennessee that regularly analyzes the state budget. ‘The money could be to fund marketing initiatives in rural towns or to fund a RNC convention, and everything in between,’ Harkness said.”

Analysis details $8.9B spending increase in Lee’s budget proposal

Center Square & 14 Tennessee News Outlets | February 11, 2022

“Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s $52.6 billion budget proposal uses $8.9 billion more in general fund dollars than the state’s current budget, according to an analysis from The Sycamore Institute. The additional spending comes from multiple sources. A large portion is from excess taxes and fees collected over the past three years and an influx of federal funds.”

Make court fees and fines more consistent and transparent

Op-Ed by Brian Straessle in The Tennessean & Two Other Gannett Newspapers | February 10, 2022

“Most criminal fees and fines go uncollected, at least in part because many people who owe them don’t have a lot of money. These unpaid debts often lead to additional court hearings, supervision costs and even incarceration — all of which may turn this potential revenue into a net cost to taxpayers. Meanwhile, the time and resources spent trying to collect unpaid debt can become a drain on local budgets. Doesn’t this seem like an important thing to get right?”

‘Rural hospitals are drowning’: Exploring disparities in rural Tennessee healthcare access

News Channel 9 | February 2, 2022

“According to 2020 data from the Sycamore Institute, which we obtained from the Tennessee Health Care Campaign’s report on rural hospital closures, Sequatchie County is one of four counties in our Tennessee viewing area with no hospital. But there is a free-standing emergency department to help meet the needs of local residents, which is more than Meigs and Polk County have.”

New law places restitution ahead of fees in Tennessee court system

Center Square & 22 Tennessee News Outlets | January 6, 2022

“A recent report from The Sycamore Institute showed ability-to-pay rules for court fees are implemented inconsistently across the state. The report also said the state does not collect data across counties and sections of the criminal justice process to document how many fines and fees are assessed and how those fines and fees affect the ability for those convicted of crimes to complete their time in the system.”

New report says Tennessee courts inconsistently apply court fines, fees

Center Square & 16 Tennessee News Outlets | December 22, 2021

“Tennessee’s ability-to-pay measures throughout its court fee system are implemented inconsistently throughout the state, according to a new report from the Sycamore Institute. … ‘There is some intentional flexibility built into the code so that judges have some discretion to be able to make decisions based upon individual circumstances, but, at the same time, these standards are scattered throughout the code in multiple different chapters, so I think some of it is also just piecemeal policy making that’s happened over years, potentially decades,’ said Mandy Pellegrin, Sycamore Institute’s policy director.”

Report: State’s portion of school spending steady since current Tennessee funding formula began

Center Square & 23 Tennessee News Outlets | December 10, 2021

“The mix between state and local funding for Tennessee’s public schools has remained consistent since the current funding model was implemented in 1998, a new report from the Sycamore Institute shows. … ‘I think it’s fair to say that there’s a fairly common perception that the state has been contributing less over time and districts have been taking up more of the tab over time,’ Sycamore Institute Director of External Affairs Brian Straessle said. ‘But that kind of turns out not to be the case.'”

Tennessee lacks full data on criminal justice fines and fees, research shows

The Tennessean, 3 Other Gannett Newspapers, and Yahoo News | December 10, 2021

“They know what they don’t know. But without a lot of input from a decentralized, underfunded system, the researchers looking at Tennessee’s criminal justice fines and fees won’t be able to get a full picture of what’s going on statewide. A new report from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research organization based in Nashville, shows how difficult it is to find data on who is being fined for what, and for how much.”

Reports: Tennessee should collect, connect data on court fines and fees across state

Center Square & 23 Tennessee News Outlets | December 6, 2021

“Data from a Sycamore Institute study shows that counties collect just 3 cents of revenue from court fines and fees for every $1 that counties bring in tax revenue, meaning the fines and fees are not a huge part of county budgets. In its recent report, Sycamore Institute brought forward recommendations for Tennessee in the interest of improving the court fines and fees system. The group believes looking at recent reforms in Florida, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania could be helpful in the process.”

Experts tell Tennessee funding board to remain conservative in revenue estimates

Center Square & 19 Tennessee News Outlets | November 17, 2021

“The Tennessee State Funding Board was told Wednesday inflation will continue to rise quickly, sales tax revenue cannot continue at its current trend and the state should remain conservative in its revenue estimates. The board is in the midst of evaluating state tax revenue in order to adjust fiscal year estimates. The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan policy group, has estimated Tennessee could have more than $3 billion in surplus to allocate next year even after spending $884 million in incentives for Ford to open a facility on 3,600 acres of state-owned land near Memphis to build electric trucks.”

When COVID surged, so did anxiety in Tennessee

Axios Nashville | November 17, 2021

“Symptoms of depression and anxiety in Tennessee spiked following surges in COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to a new report from The Sycamore Institute. Why it matters: The report, released this week, highlights the pandemic’s widespread impact on mental health in Tennessee. The fallout sometimes had deadly implications, the report notes. Tennessee saw overdose deaths increase by 44% in 2020.”

Report highlights mental health issues, available funds in Tennessee

Center Square & 21 Tennessee News Outlets | November 16, 2021

“A new Sycamore Institute report shows mental health issues and drug overdoses had increased in Tennessee before the COVID-19 pandemic, and those issues have multiplied over the past 20 months. With $52 million in targeted behavioral health funding as part of the federal American Rescue Plan Act coming to the state, the Sycamore Institute, a nonprofit policy group, outlined the issues and available funding to combat a complex array of changes in Tennesseans’ overall mental well-being.”

Tennessee Republicans can’t stop Biden’s Medicaid expansion ‘workaround’ plan

The Tennessean & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | November 15, 2021

“Mandy Pellegrin, policy director at the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Nashville, said this additional step may present an obstacle for some Tennesseans, causing a few eligible people to get lost in the process of choosing a coverage plan.”

New report advocates for conservative budgeting limits in Tennessee

Center Square & 25 Tennessee News Outlets | November 4, 2021

“Tennessee reported a record $2.1 billion budget surplus last year, which helped pay for the $884 million deal approved in a recent special session to bring Ford’s electric truck plant to 3,600 acres on the state-owned Memphis megasite. Policy group the Sycamore Institute believes the surplus, which came after budget estimates were reconfigured halfway through the fiscal year, could be only the beginning. ‘Even after that deal, policymakers may still have at least $3 billion in unallocated funds to appropriate next year,’ a Sycamore Institute report said.”

“Socially Acceptable Chains”

Compass Knox | October 20, 2021

“The Sycamore Institute has spent months studying the role of fees and fines in criminal justice across Tennessee and hosting community conversations about the issue in its largest cities. Knoxville was the fourth, after Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga. ‘Defendants’ different economic backgrounds necessarily mean financial penalties aren’t felt evenly,’ said Mandy Pellegrin, Sycamore’s policy director, in giving a quick overview of the institute’s findings.”

State superintendents: Schools need more money, regardless of funding formula review

The Commercial Appeal & 3 Other Gannett Newspapers | October 16, 2021

“State money provides about 50% of all education funding in Tennessee, according to a recent report from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank based in Nashville. In fiscal year 2021-2022, the state is on track to spend $5.6 billion on K-12 education — the single largest expense in the state budget.”

Teacher pay will be issue in Tennessee public school funding review

Center Square & 19 Tennessee News Outlets | October 15, 2021

“‘Between [fiscal year] 2016 and [fiscal year] 2020, lawmakers enacted a total of $429 million in recurring increases for teacher pay,’ The Sycamore Institute wrote when Gov. Bill Lee proposed his budget plan for fiscal year 2022, which started July 1. ‘Since that time, growth in Tennessee teachers’ average pay has begun to catch up with inflation.'”

Lee commits to revamping Tennessee’s K-12 school funding formula

Center Square & 25 Tennessee News Outlets | October 8, 2021

“‘Tennessee has a pile of money to allocate from the influx of federal funds, a $2 billion surplus, and annual revenues possibly rising by at least $3 billion,’ said Brian Straessle, director of external affairs at the Tennessee public policy center the Sycamore Institute, which is examining the state’s funding model. ‘If their goal is to overhaul K-12 funding without shortchanging anybody, it’s hard to imagine better circumstances.'”

Lee, Schwinn announce ‘rigorous review’ of education funding formula

The Daily Memphian | October 8, 2021

“After adjusting for inflation, Tennessee’s K-12 education funding has more than doubled since 1992, according to the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. In that time, it’s increased by 3% per year on average.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee launches review of the state’s education funding formula

The Tennessean & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | October 8, 2021

“The BEP has long been a point of contention for educators and lawmakers alike. Adopted in 1992, it was last updated in 2007 by former Gov. Phil Bredesen. Under former Gov. Bill Haslam, parts of that update were rolled back. Since then, the amount of state spending has increased about 2.3% annually per pupil, or about $86 per student per year, according to a recent study from The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank based in Nashville.”

K-12 education funding has doubled in Tennessee since 1992

Center Square & 28 Tennessee News Outlets | October 1, 2021

“K-12 education is the top expenditure in Tennessee’s budget and has more than doubled, adjusted for inflation, since the current school funding plan began in 1992, a Sycamore Institute report shows. … Brian Straessle, director of external affairs at the Sycamore Institute, said the nonprofit will be looking more into K-12 education funding this year since the BEP has been subject to lawsuits and criticism over the years. There is potential to make changes to the BEP in next year’s legislative session, he said.”

Tennessee tax revenue beats August estimates by $268M

Center Square & 15 Tennessee Newspapers | September 20, 2021

“Tennessee’s revenue collection continues to exceed the state’s budgeted expectations. Tax revenue in August was $267.9 million more than budgeted estimates, reaching $1.4 billion. … Last year’s performance left ‘$2.1 billion that policymakers can allocate in future fiscal years as non-recurring funds,’ according to the Sycamore Institute, after the budget estimate was revised in April.”

What current employment levels say about Knoxville’s return to work

Knoxville News Sentinel | August 31, 2021

“‘Overall, the changes in employment in Tennessee followed national trends but at less severe levels,’ according to a report from The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center. In the state, the largest job losses occurred among low-income positions and hospitality, but those losses weren’t as severe as they were nationwide.”

Panel discussion highlights uncertainties of Tennessee’s Medicaid block grant waiver

Center Square & 17 Tennessee Newspapers | August 26, 2021

“‘There is still a lot of uncertainty on what these changes could actually mean for the state,’ Sycamore Institute Policy Director Mandy Pellegrin said. ‘We know it creates a new funding structure, we know it give us new program design flexibility at the state level, but whether this turns out to be good, bad, both, or neither is going to depend on a lot of moving pieces.'”

Medical debt is hitting hardest for people in the South

Marketplace | August 16, 2021

“Tennessee has one of the highest rates of rural hospital closures in the country. The cause, in part, is also attributable to higher levels of uninsured and underinsured people who can’t pay their bills. In some Tennessee counties, more than 40% of residents have overdue health care debts, according to an analysis by Mandy Pellegrin of the Sycamore Institute.”

Report: Economic Recovery Slower for Some Tennesseans

Memphis Flyer | August 5, 2021

“There were 40 percent fewer small businesses in Tennessee as of June 2021 than before the pandemic, according to a report released late last month by the Sycamore Institute. … Small businesses in the leisure and hospitality industries were hit the worse, according to the report.”

Investigators: Hospital policies offer extremely discounted, even free medical care

Channel 5 in Memphis | August 2, 2021

“The Sycamore Institute researches medical policies in Tennessee. By its calculation, one in five Tennesseans has medical debt with most being residents of color. The impact of living with that debt is significant. ‘Once you have medical debt on your credit report, it can affect your ability to get a loan, to get a mortgage,’ said Pellegrin. ‘It can also cause all kinds of stress that’s bad for your health. So, what the research shows is that folks with medical debt, and debt in general, tend to have worse health outcomes than those with a clean credit score.'”

A ‘perfect storm’ of economic hurdles choke business growth

The Tennessean & 4 Other Gannett Newspapers | August 2, 2021

“Employees have been slow to return to the pre-pandemic labor force, analysts said. The reasons cited include: increased government unemployment benefits; health and childcare concerns; reevaluated priorities and career changes; an increasingly aging population; and changing skills requirements with tech industry growth, The Sycamore Institute reported.”

Report: Many Tennessee economic indicators trend up, others mixed

Center Square & 24 Tennessee Newspapers | July 30, 2021

“How is Tennessee’s economy doing? A lot of it is doing well when compared to the COVID-19 lows on many economic indicators such as employment, a new Sycamore Institute report shows. But other items are troubling … ‘There are a lot of things going on here,’ said Brian Straessle, the Sycamore Institute’s Director of External Affairs. ‘There isn’t like one nice neat narrative of the economy right now.'”

Study: Residents Of Southern States Without Medicaid Expansion Have Far More Medical Debt

Nashville NPR (WPLN) | July 27, 2021

“Separate from the JAMA study, the Sycamore Institute has been conducting state-level research on medical debt in Tennessee and found massive disparities depending on the community. ‘Lake County, for example — 47% of people have medical debt in collections,’ says policy director Mandy Pellegrin. ‘Then you have to zoom out and think about what that means. It doesn’t include medical bills that people tried to pay with a credit card or a payday loan. So, it’s just really surprising how common it is.'”

Average annual Tennessee teacher salary eclipses $52K

Center Square & 19 Tennessee Newspapers | July 16, 2021

“Between [fiscal year] 2016 and [fiscal year] 2020, lawmakers enacted a total of $429 million in recurring increases for teacher pay,” The Sycamore Institute wrote when Gov. Bill Lee proposed his budget plan for fiscal year 2022, which started July 1. ‘Since that time, growth in Tennessee teachers’ average pay has begun to catch up with inflation.'”

How should Rutherford County use its American Rescue Plan funds?

Murfreesboro Voice | July 16, 2021

“The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury released a memorandum on July 9, 2021, regarding additional guidance on the American Rescue Plan Act. … Rutherford County is set to receive $111 million, according to the Sycamore Institute.”

Tennessee tax revenue eclipses $1.5B in May

Center Square & 25 Tennessee Newspapers | June 17, 2021

“‘With two months to go, that over-collection is more than double what lawmakers’ April budget revisions projected for the entire fiscal year,’ the Sycamore Institute’s analysis said. ‘That leaves a potential unbudgeted surplus of $1.4 billion and counting, which policymakers could allocate in future fiscal years as non-recurring funds.'”

Hamilton County Court Offers Online Negotiation For People With Medical Debt

Public News Service and Three Tennessee Newspapers | June 7, 2021

“A court in Hamilton County has set up a new pilot program, giving people with unpaid medical bills an option to negotiate online to resolve disputes without having to enter a courtroom. … According to a Sycamore Institute report, bill collectors can use a number of tools to recoup settlement money – in some cases, even seizing a person’s home.”

Study finds Tennessee collects $38M in court fines, fees

Center Square & 25 Tennessee Newspapers | June 4, 2021

“A new report from The Sycamore Institute shows Tennessee collects nearly $38 million annually in fines and fees through the criminal justice system, while county governments are collecting a shrinking amount in fines and fees. … The Sycamore Institute study found 360 fees and fines authorized in Tennessee law, from being charged with a crime to civil asset forfeiture to incarceration costs.”

Cooper: Settling your medical debt

Editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press | May 24, 2021

“Tennessee, according to the Sycamore Institute, has the 10th highest rate of medical debt in the country, with 93 of 95 counties reporting higher medical debt than the national average and one in four state residents saying medical debt has affected their credit history.”

TDOC: Monitoring violent offenders during pandemic poses difficulties

Fox 13 Memphis | May 19, 2021

“According to a 2019 Sycamore Institute report on criminal justice reform, 72% of Tennessee’s corrections population lived under community supervision in 2018. There were nearly 58,000 on probation, 11,000 on parole, and 8,000 in the Community Corrections program.”

Tennessee revenue collection tops $2B in April, continues record pace

Center Square & 18 Tennessee Newspapers | May 14, 2021

“Tennessee is on a record pace in terms of comparing revenue collected with what was estimated, according to an analysis from Mandy Pellegrin, policy director at the nonpartisan public policy research center Sycamore Institute.”

Cooper: Counties, cities ponder their cut of ‘rescue’ funds

Editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press | April 3, 2021

“What can they spend it on? According to Sycamore Institute, the funds can cover costs directly related to COVID’s health and economic effects, including assistance to affected households, relief for small businesses and industries hurt by the pandemic, and aid to nonprofits; premium pay for essential government employees; investments in broadband, water, or sewer infrastructure, and offsets in a drop in tax revenue from one fiscal year to the next.”

How private industry and government can team up to end prison recidivism

Joe Scarlett Op-Ed in the Tennessean | April 2, 2021

“Today, most of the incarcerated population leave prison with their personal belongings and a small amount of cash. It is not a stretch to assume that their destination is likely right back where they got in trouble in the first place, raising the odds that they could easily get back into the same old mess. According to a 2019 report by the Sycamore Institute, about half of the state prisoners Tennessee releases each year return to prison within three years.”

Why Tennessee’s public education system has failed to fully invest in its students

Tennessee Public Education Coalition & Pastors for Tennessee Children’s Op-Ed in the Commercial Appeal & 4 Other Gannett Newspapers | March 31, 2021

“The Tennessee Department of Revenue reports that Tennessee’s surplus for the current fiscal year, with five months still to go, is now over $1.3 billion. The Sycamore Institute’s recent analysis demonstrates that our lawmakers will have at least $3.1 billion in ‘excess’ or unplanned revenue to budget in the current cycle.”

Three Chattanooga men serve as models for plotting a course through life after prison

Chattanooga Times Free Press | March 27, 2021

“Each year in Tennessee, around 40% of the state’s prison population is made up of people going or returning to prison for violating supervised release conditions, according to a 2019 study by the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan, Tennessee-based research institution.”

Sexton says TennCare expansion does not have support in House

Main Street Nashville | March 25, 2021

“Under the American Rescue Plan stimulus, Tennessee would receive a $900 million bonus over two years if the state expands Medicaid. … About 250,000 uninsured Tennesseans would become eligible for government-paid health insurance coverage if the program were expanded in this state, according to analysis by the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute.”

Tennessee Republicans open to Medicaid expansion talks as Biden sweetens deal

The Tennessean & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | March 23, 2021

“Brian Straessle and Mandy Pellegrin, two policy experts from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Nashville, said Tennessee would become responsible for some new costs in the third year after expansion … ‘If you are on the fence about the policy, then the additional money could potentially tip you over to be in favor of it,’ Straessle said. ‘But if you just don’t think this is what a state government should be doing … then I don’t know if this is necessarily a slam dunk that is going to persuade everybody.'”

OUR VIEW: Tools available to improve your health

Editorial in the Crossville Chronicle | March 11, 2021

“After the pandemic is over, these health conditions will continue to persist in our state. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Tennessee, followed by cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease. A 2017 report by the Sycamore Institute found diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease cost Tennesseans about $5.3 billion in medical care, lost productivity and premature death.”

Mountain of Fees, Fines Trap TN Residents in Justice System

Public News Service | February 9, 2021

“Mandy Pellegrin, policy director at the Sycamore Institute, said residents have reported owing several thousands of dollars in fines and fees. ‘If you use a public defender, there is a fee for that service,’ Pellegrin explained. ‘You can face fees for things like a blood alcohol test or a drug test. You often owe a weekly or a monthly fee for probation or parole.'”

Lee defends conservative COVID response in his third State of the State

Daily Memphian | February 8, 2021

“The independent Sycamore Institute noted some positive economic trends last week, too: Tennessee collected more tax dollars than expected this year, and consumer spending declined less and rebounded faster than in other states. The state may have an extra $3 billion than expected, the nonprofit policy group reported.”

State of the State: Governor pushing broadband, guns

Nashville Post | February 8, 2021

“Lee also celebrated the promise that ‘when the dust settles on this year,’ combined state rainy day and TennCare reserve funds will total $2 billion — this as Democrats and others in Tennessee are clamoring for the state to spend more on the COVID response and the nonpartisan policy outfit Sycamore Institute estimates that the state could have as much as $3 billion in collections exceeding projections.”

Educators Push for More Funding

News 12 in Chattanooga | February 8, 2021

“Some educators are hoping that state legislators will invest a chunk of the state’s 40 plus million dollar budget into public schools. … The Sycamore Institute based in Nashville suggests the state has about 3 billion dollars in untapped funding. Senator Bo Watson, who serves as Finance Committee Chairman, confirms.”

TennCare explainer: A look at what changes

Daily Memphian | February 8, 2021

“‘From our view, this is not a block grant,’ Sycamore Institute policy director Mandy Pellegrin said of the new waiver at a press briefing recently. She also questioned whether ‘savings’ is the right word to describe the gap between what the state spends and the spending cap.”

Amid huge state revenue surplus, Tennessee teachers urge Gov. Lee to go big on K-12 support

Chattanooga Times Free Press | February 7, 2021

“The nonpartisan Sycamore Institute, a Nashville-based research institution, estimates Tennessee actually could have as much as $3.1 billion in revenues over estimates. That includes fiscal 2020, which ended July 1, and the first part of this year. It also includes a mixture of one-time and recurring revenue.”

Cooper: Consumer spending, tax revenues put Tennessee in better financial shape than most states

Editorial in the Chattanooga Times Free Press | February 6, 2021

“As for what Lee will have when he presents his budget later this month, the Sycamore Institute projects — according to the upper end of State Funding Board ranges — that he could have nearly $3.1 billion in additional General Fund revenue.”

Lee preps for third State of State, kicks re-election bid into gear

The Tennessee Journal | February 5, 2021 – Subscription Required

“As Lee seeks to build on a winning record, he should have the advantage of flush state coffers as several waves of federal stimulus money reach Tennessee. The nonpartisan Sycamore Institute estimates state revenues for the upcoming budget year could be a staggering $3 billion more than originally projected.”

Report: State Lawmakers May Have Extra $3B for Budget

Memphis Flyer | February 3, 2021

“Tennessee lawmakers may have an extra $3 billion to budget this year, according to a new policy report from the Sycamore Institute. State coffers declined less and rebounded faster than in other states, according to the nonpartisan think tank based in Nashville.”

Leaderboard: Pandemic aid in Tennessee

Chattanooga Times Free Press | February 1, 2021

“Tennessee was set to receive more than $25 billion in federal coronavirus aid by the end of July 2020. The five largest programs that make up over 90% of COVID-related federal resources for Tennessee … Source: The Sycamore Institute”

Knox County Board of Health bears brunt of anger over lack of help for ailing businesses

Knoxville News Sentinel | January 23, 2021

“You hardly see any difference between states that open earlier to states that open later,” said Chetty in a seminar with the Sycamore Institute. “Public health efforts are key to economic recovery at a broad level. If you can’t get people to be confident enough to go out and spend you can’t undo the damage that has been done.”

Sycamore Institute Report Examines the Cost of Criminal Justice

Memphis Flyer | January 15, 2021

“In their findings, they reported that there were nearly 360 public fees and fines authorized in Tennessee state law, a number that is higher if private acts are factored in. … The fee and fine system that exists within the Tennessee criminal justice system is not limited to those found guilty of a crime.”

Senate approves Medicaid block grant, paves path for House

Tennessee Lookout | January 15, 2021

“The Sycamore Institute sent out a statement Thursday pointing out Tennessee can get more federal Medicaid dollars without spending any new state money. TennCare also would be able to limit some prescription drug coverage, which has never been allowed by Medicaid, the nonprofit organization said.The institute said a new federal funding cap could pose less financial risk to the state than a renewal of the existing Medicaid waiver.”

Legislature passes Medicaid block grant

Nashville Post | January 15, 2021

“‘This broad power shift from federal to state policymakers will have significant effects on TennCare spending, enrollees and providers,’ said Laura Berlind, executive director of nonpartisan public policy research group The Sycamore Institute. ‘The ultimate impact could be positive, negative or mixed depending on what changes state officials decide to make.'”

Tennessee lawmakers race to vote on Medicaid block grant before Biden becomes president

The Tennessean | January 14, 2021

“These efforts could be effective in slowing the rollback of the block grant by the Biden administration, according to a review of the waiver by the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan Nashville thinktank. Sycamore said Thursday that CMS recently established a new process for ending Medicaid waivers that takes at least nine months and gives states ‘a window of opportunity to appeal.'”

Tennessee’s Medicaid block grant waiver approved by federal government

The Center Square | January 8, 2021

“Laura Berlind, the executive director of the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center for Tennessee, said the agreement would give Tennessee authority to alter or expand the Medicaid program without federal approval, providing unprecedented control over new populations and benefits and limits on prescription drug coverage.”

Cooper: Hamilton County falls in health profile, and the coronavirus likely will make it worse

Editorial in the Times Free Press | December 19, 2020

“The Sycamore Institute’s recently released 2020 health profiles report of Tennessee counties provides an updated baseline with which to track the state’s nearly 7 million residents. The organization, an independent, nonpartisan Tennessee public policy research center, bases its county profiles on four drivers of health — social and economic environment, health behavior, clinical care and physical environment.”

Report: Tennessee children less likely to out-earn parents

Lebanon Democrat | December 1, 2020

“Laura Berlind, executive director of the Sycamore Institute, said the data show the best neighborhoods for upward mobility tend to have residents from higher socioeconomic status, more married parents and high employment rates — regardless of circumstances in children’s own homes.”

Study: Upward Mobility Tougher in Tennessee and Memphis

Memphis Flyer | November 13, 2020

“It’s tough for Tennessee kids to earn more money than their parents. In Memphis, upward mobility depends a lot on your race and what neighborhood in which you grow up. Those are some key findings from a new report called Economic Opportunity and Upward Mobility in Tennessee issued Friday from the Sycamore Institute, a Nashville-based public policy research center.”

How Presidential Election Could Reshape Medicaid

NPR (Nationwide) | October 30, 2020

“The White House has offered to pay for Medicaid in a lump sum and let states figure out how to run it more efficiently. Tennessee is the only state that’s pursuing this so-called block grant. But as Mandy Pellegrin, a policy analyst at the Sycamore Institute, points out, Tennessee is asking for a block grant that would bring in more money for Medicaid, not less.”

Ballad launches new health program

Bristol Herald Courier | October 30, 2020

“Ballad Health announced a new program Thursday to bridge gaps in care, improve people’s health and reduce costly avoidable health issues by helping people without health insurance get the care they need without incurring a bill they can’t pay. … Levine said data from the Sycamore Institute and the Virginia Health Care Foundation show between 10% to 15% of the region’s population is considered uninsured.”

Medical debt on the rise for Tennesseans thanks to coronavirus pandemic

Fox 17 in Nashville | October 15, 2020

“Tennesseans went into the pandemic with one of the largest medical debt loads in the country. Twenty percent of all Tennesseans had some type of medical debt, and 25 percent of people with color carried debt. … The Sycamore Institute estimates there are an additional 120,000 uninsured Tennesseans, and 356,000 lost their employer-based care.”

Tennessee Voices, Episode 95: Laura Berlind, executive director, The Sycamore Institute

The Tennessean & 2 Other Gannett Newspapers | October 6, 2020

Laura Berlind spoke with David Plazas about Sycamore’s work on this episode of the Tennessee Voices podcast.

Cato’s misleading report gives TN poor fiscal score, does not factor revenue jump

The Tennessean & 4 Other Gannett Newspapers | October 5, 2020

“According to a report released earlier this year by the nonpartisan Tennessee-based Sycamore Institute, the state in recent years has amassed “some of its largest budget surpluses ever,” a result of Tennessee’s “conservative forecasts” of revenue collections and resulting in larger, one-time investments in certain projects and funds rather than budgeting for a number of new recurring policy initiatives.”

Analysis: Young And Black Davidson County Residents Disproportionately Need Unemployment Benefits

Nashville NPR (WPLN) | September 21, 2020

“‘The big thing is containing the disease,’ says Sycamore Institute executive director Laura Berlind. … Berlind adds that government policies can mitigate the disparities in the short term, by helping people who are unemployed get more education so they can enter a new field and connecting people to resources. She says in the long term, policymakers need to have a conversation about the root causes of the disparities and why they continue to persist.”

Rural regions of state see rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Nashville Post | September 3, 2020

“According to the Sycamore Institute’s Health Care Capacity Dashboard, the average number of residents per staffed inpatient bed across the state is 421 per bed. Most of the counties now seeing more cases and hospitalizations have fewer beds than the average.”

September Dialogue: Tennessee Employment and the Workforce Economy

Knoxville NPR (WUOT) | September 2, 2020

Sycamore’s Laura Berlind joined Chrissy Keuper of WUOT and UT’s Marianne Wanamaker for an hourlong conversation on jobs, unemployment, and what’s happening with Tennessee’s economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Evanoff: Memphis firms adapt to summer of the coronavirus

Column in the Memphis Commercial Appeal | August 20, 2020

“Looking out over the next dozen months, Sycamore analyst Mandy Pellegrin calls Tennessee’s economic outlook ‘uncertain.’ In a report a week ago, Pellegrin says: ‘Several federal programs helped boost consumer spending and state revenue collections, but some of those programs have expired or their effects have dissipated. At the same time, temporary job losses may become increasingly permanent the longer the pandemic goes on – which would have a negative effect on state revenues.'”

Some Tennessee lawmakers became full-time unemployment problem solvers during the pandemic

The News Sentinel & 5 Other Gannett Newspapers | August 19, 2020

“‘2001 was actually the last time that the maximum benefit was updated in state law to $275 per week,’ Pellegrin said in a July interview. She explained that the benefit did not increase automatically for inflation or wages. ‘Prior to (2001), the state had updated it about every two years.'”

Leadership Tennessee announces new class

The Tennessean & 5 Other Gannett Newspapers | August 17, 2020

Leadership Tennessee named Mandy Pellegrin, policy director at The Sycamore Institute, part of its next class of leaders who will engage in collaborative, non-partisan dialogue on issues of statewide importance.

Tennessee extends relief to more small businesses hurt by coronavirus

Times Free Press | August 14, 2020

“A study released Friday by the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute said one in five Tennessee businesses operate in the most at-risk industries: restaurants and bars, sensitive retail and manufacturing, travel and transportation, personal services, and entertainment. ‘Those businesses employed one in four private sector workers in our state, a population that earns 40% less than average and is more likely to be minority, young, and have less education,’ said Bryce Tuggle, a policy analyst at the Sycamore Institute.”

Plan seeks to reduce racial disparities in Tennessee courts

Associated Press | July 31, 2020

“A 2016 Sentencing Project study found that Black residents in Tennessee are incarcerated at nearly four times the rate of their white peers and a 2019 Sycamore Institute report found that 40% of prisoners are Black.”

Regional hospital bed availability drops to new lows

Nashville Post | July 31, 2020

“All of the counties surrounding Nashville have at least one hospital, according to the Sycamore Institute, and Middle Tennessee boasts the largest bed capacity in the state. Counties that border Middle Tennessee, however, such as Stewart, Lewis, Jackson, Clay, Van Buren and Grundy counties, all are without hospitals.”

Tennessee Supreme Court Unveils Plan To Reduce Racial Disparities In The Legal System

Nashville NPR (WPLN) | July 30, 2020

“A 2016 Sentencing Project study found that Black Tennesseans are incarcerated at nearly four times the rate of their white peers — 1,166 per 100,000 compared to 316 per 100,000. And a 2019 report by the Sycamore Institute revealed that 40% of the state’s prisoners are Black, even though they account for only 17% of the population.”

More than $25 billion federal COVID-19 relief funds have come to Tennessee

The Center Square, News-Herald, & Newport Plain Talk | July 28, 2020

“Tennesseeans have received more than $25 billion in total federal coronavirus relief funds, according to new analysis from The Sycamore Institute. The state of Tennessee received about $8 billion for disbursement, according to the analysis, with the remainder allocated directly to individuals and businesses through federal programs and stimulus payments.”

Report: Tennessee needs additional federal aid as COVID-19 persists

Nashville Post & Williamson Homepage | July 24, 2020

“The economic woes of the COVID-19 pandemic will persist along with the virus in Tennessee despite billions of dollars in federal aid, according to a new report by the Sycamore Institute analyzing the distribution of relief funds in the Volunteer State. … ‘The federal government ultimately spent $2.4 trillion to buy time, and much of that time has already passed,’ researchers at the nonpartisan think tank wrote in their report.”

Tennessee’s COVID-19 numbers are slightly better than its neighbors’, but it’s no reason to celebrate

The Tennessean & 6 Other Gannett Newspapers | July 20, 2020

“Health experts offer varied explanations for Tennessee’s relatively better standing at this point in the pandemic. The different and sometimes confusing data points illustrate the complexities of the ongoing fight against the virus. ‘It’s complicated, and I think we’ve had varied ranges of success implementing some of the policies and practices we know would work,’ Berlind said. ‘No single metric is really adequate to evaluate how Tennessee is doing.'”

Report: TN’s Unemployment Benefits Among Lowest in Nation

Public News Service – TN | July 7, 2020

“Tennesseans are filing for unemployment in record numbers, yet a new report from the Sycamore Institute says the state’s unemployment benefits and related employer taxes are among the lowest in the nation. ‘Over the last two decades, Tennesseans have been less likely than other out-of-work Americans in other states to get unemployment benefits,’ Pellegrin said. … ‘And at the same time that that’s been going on, the value of the benefits that Tennesseans receive from the program has fallen.'”

Tennessee Supreme Court Commits To Racial Equity Amid Protests Against Racial Disparities In Law Enforcement

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | June 25, 2020

“As far back as 1997, a report by the Supreme Court’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness found multiple examples of discrimination, including harsher sentences for minority defendants. Those findings are reflected in Tennessee’s jails and prisons: 40% of inmates are Black, though they make up just 17% of the state population, according to the Sycamore Institute.”

State lawmakers could consider cuts to TennCare to make up budget shortfalls

Local 24 Memphis | May 11, 2020

“During the 2007 -2009 recession, Pellegrin said instead of cutting the state’s portion of the TennCare budget, the state came up with creative ways to keep it funded, such as establishing new taxes on providers – which are still in place now, and could be raised to make up the shortfall. ‘Legally, there is room to increase some of those taxes on providers. But given the pressure on provider finances due to COVID-19, that would likely be very difficult to enact,’ said Pellegrin.”

Tennessee to test all inmates, prison staff after massive COVID-19 outbreak at Trousdale Turner

The Tennessean & 7 Other Gannett Newspapers | May 1, 2020

“The nonpartisan Sycamore Institute earlier this month reported that 60% of Tennessee’s local jails and state prisons were near, at, or over capacity at the end of February. Of 116 active jails, 46 had more inmates than beds, making it difficult to follow the recommendations of public health experts to slow the spread of the virus.”

Protesters Urge Officials To Release More Nashville Jail Inmates

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | April 24, 2020

“Still, Nashville’s jails are actually better off than many others in the state. The Sycamore Institute recently found that, in the weeks before COVID-19 made its way to Tennessee, 60% of jails throughout the state were near or above capacity. And the more crowded a jail is, the more difficult it is for those inside to practice social distancing.”

A COVID-19 Outbreak in Tennessee’s Prisons and Jails Is No Longer Hypothetical

Nashville Scene | April 23, 2020

“The situation is just as dire at the local level. A new report from The Sycamore Institute — a nonpartisan Tennessee public policy research organization — shows that 46 of the state’s 116 active local jails had more inmates than beds at the end of February.”

Online Learning a Challenge for Prison Higher-Ed Programs

Public News Service – TN | April 22, 2020

“Many colleges have shifted to online classes for the remainder of the school year, but for people who are incarcerated, distance learning remains a challenge. … According to the Sycamore Institute, a public policy research center, Tennessee’s state prisons housed more than 30,000 people in 2018, about 95% of whom eventually will be released.”

‘Difficult choices’ ahead for state government as Tennessee sees revenue drop from coronavirus

The Tennessean & 4 Other Gannett Newspapers | April 20, 2020

“Berlind said during the 2008 recession, Tennessee utilized three tools: federal aid, budget reductions or changes and tapping into the rainy day fund. … As states across the nation, including Tennessee, begin to focus on restarting their economies, Berlind, of The Sycamore Institute, said it is important not to lose sight of the public health crisis. ‘Chronologically both public health experts and economists will agree that the public health issue has to come first,’ she said.”

Tennessee, local governments to see $2.7 billion under federal CARES Act

Times Free Press | April 8, 2020

“The Sycamore Institute analysis also estimates that Tennessee could see at least $3.6 billion from the federal government’s response so far to the coronavirus pandemic as state officials and local governments battle expected twin crises in both health care and a looming economic recession.”

21 Tennessee counties have no hospital as Decatur County loses its lifeline

Fox 17 Nashville | April 1, 2020

“Decatur’s loss comes as other rural communities have already felt the loss of healthcare facilities. … In all there are now 21 Tennessee counties with no hospital at all. The latest estimate is that Tennessee has one hospital bed for every 73,000 Tennesseans, according to the Sycamore Institute.”

Uninsured Tennesseans will depend on safety net, charity for coronavirus treatment

The Daily Memphian | March 15, 2020

“The Sycamore Institute’s Brian Straessle could not comment on whether Shelby and Davidson hospitals will have enough beds to handle an influx of patients because of the number of variables involved, mainly how much the virus spreads. ‘I think it all goes back to trying to spread out the time frame in which you’ve got critical cases and then maximizing the resources that you have to deal with them,’ Straessle said.”

Hospitals making triage plans, preparing for uptick from rural counties

The Daily Memphian | March 14, 2020

“Hospital closings in the state have left 20 counties with no hospitals. This is significant here because Shelby County is surrounded by counties that have little or no hospital capacity. Neighboring Fayette and Haywood counties have no hospitals. In Tipton County, there is one bed for every 1,227 people, according to the Tennessee Health Care Capacity Dashboard created by the Sycamore Institute in Nashville.”

Worries about hospital capacity drive COVID-19 response

NewsChannel 5 | March 12, 2020

“At Vanderbilt, the hospital is converting a parking garage into an emergency screening area for people who think they may have the coronavirus. Patients will be diverted there from the emergency room. According to the Sycamore Institute, in Davidson County, there’s just one staffed hospital bed for every 212 residents. Down in Murfreesboro, it’s one for every 641 people – and up in Clarksville, it’s a thousand-to-one ratio.”

Four Reasons the 2020 Census Matters for Tennessee

Tuggle Guest Column in The Business Journal of Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia | March 10, 2020

“The 2020 census and subsequent annual estimates based on it will be used to allocate taxpayer resources, redraw legislative districts, and inform countless policy decisions over the next decade. Here are four specific examples of why that matters to you and your business.”

4 ways Census 2020 will hit our pocketbooks in Clarksville

The Leaf Chronicle | March 2, 2020

“‘The census is important to our community for both revenues and government representation. We want to encourage everyone in our community to participate in the census,’ said Regional Planning Commission Director Jeff Tyndall. The Sycamore Institute’s recent policy brief highlights four reasons an accurate count matters for Clarksville-Montgomery County and all of Tennessee.”

It’s Not Just Hospitals That Are Quick To Sue Patients Who Can’t Pay

NPR | February 19, 2020

“What’s surprising to Mandy Pellegrin, who has been researching medical billing in Tennessee at the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute, is that it was all happening at Nashville General — where treating uninsured patients is part of the hospital’s mission.”

TN lawmakers to discuss support for students from families suffering from drug abuse

WATE in Knoxville | February 14, 2020

“According to the Sycamore Institute, over half of adult Tennesseans reported at least one adverse childhood experience between 2014 and 2017. About 17-percent had experienced four or more.”

Tennessee reacts after reviewing new Medicaid offer

Associated Press | January 30, 2020

“‘It’s clear that the plan Tennessee proposed last year will not be approved as is under this particular set of rules. Based on our initial reading, there are a number of substantive differences between Tennessee’s proposal and CMS’ guidelines,’ said Brian Straessle with The Sycamore Institute — a Tennessee think tank.”

Cooper: Will your financial position determine your vote In November?

Chattanooga Times Free Press | January 22, 2020

“In Hamilton County, median income rose from $50,273 in 2017 to $53,035 in 2018, a climb of nearly $3,000 and good for 15th in the state, according to recently released 2018 figures compiled by The Sycamore Institute based on 2014-2018 estimates from the American Community Survey.”

Nashville Activists Renew Push To End Money Bail

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | December 16, 2019

“Nashville’s reliance on pretrial detention follows a statewide trend. The number of people jailed before trial in Tennessee grew by 336% between 1991 and 2018, according to nonpartisan policy research center the Sycamore Institute.”

Nashville’s Charity ER Has Been Suing More Patients Than Anywhere Else In Town

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | December 16, 2019

“What’s surprising to Mandy Pellegrin of the Sycamore Institute, who has been researching medical billing in Tennessee, is that it was all happening at Nashville General — where uninsured patients are expected to go.”

Tennessee Health Officials Ask To Revive Anti-Smoking Spending After Years Of Nothing

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | December 10, 2019

“In recent years, funding has come in bursts, with $15 million in 2013 to be spent through 2017, then $5 million for the next year. But according to analysis by the Sycamore Institute, the final appropriations bill in the legislature removed $4 million proposed by Gov. Bill Haslam in 2018.”

A Private Equity-Owned Doctors Group Kept Suing the Poor—Until We Called

MLK 50 | November 27, 2019

“Health care expenses have an oversized impact in Tennessee, where 1 in 4 residents has a medical debt on their credit report, the 10th highest rate in the nation, according to a report this year by the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan think tank.”

CDC trauma report: Spend now to help kids or pay later in hospital and prison costs

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | November 25, 2019

“The Sycamore Institute, a public policy research center in Tennessee, estimated that childhood trauma exposure ‘led to an estimated $5.2 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity from employees missing work’ in the state in 2017.”

Medical debt lawsuits are ‘flooding’ Tennessee, sending the sick and poor to court

The Tennessean | November 21, 2019

“The Sycamore Institute released a list of potential changes for Tennessee policymakers looking to address some persistent issues with debt lawsuits. For one, most people who are sued for medical debt don’t come to court.”

Revised block grant plan may allow state to divert money to health programs beyond TennCare

The Tennessean | November 20, 2019

“Sycamore Policy Director Mandy Pellegrin said she believe the original proposal was so vague the amended language had no impact. ‘The original one was vague enough that I think the door was already open to potentially spend those dollars in new areas that improve the health of enrollees,’ Pellegrin said.”

Lopez: To strengthen TennCare for future generations, reforms are needed

Op-Ed by Raul Lopez in the Memphis Commercial Appeal | November 11, 2019

“According to the Sycamore Institute, health and social services consume nearly half of all Tennessee expenditures in Fiscal Year 2019, and more than 25% of all state budget dollars.”

Breaking down TennCare’s Block Grant Proposal

NewsChannel 5 | October 30, 2019

Mandy Pellegrin from the Sycamore Institute joins OpenLine to discuss the details of TennCare’s new block grant proposal.

Block grant’s effect on rural hospitals uncertain

The Ledger, Knoxville Edition | October 25, 2019

“The term ‘savings’ is not savings in the traditional sense, says Mandy Pellegrin, policy director of the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan policy study center for Tennessee. Rather, it’s savings relative to a federal projection of spending that Tennessee has generally been under.”

TennCare work requirement still not approved as state seeks block grant waiver

Daily Memphian | October 24, 2019

“Mandy Pellegrin, public policy director for the Sycamore Institute, points out Tennessee’s block grant proposal and work requirement request are not connected, but she believes the chances are ‘pretty good’ the block grant plan will run into a legal fight.”

Medical debt a serious problem for Tennessee residents: Study

WMOT in Murfreesboro | October 21, 2019

“If you’re working your way out of debt resulting from medical bills, you’re not alone. … Pellegrin says so-called medical ‘surprise billing’ is common. She says even patients with medical insurance are frequently hit with large bills by practitioners they were unaware are considered “out of network” by their insurance provider.”

Report: Northeast Tennessee counties among hardest hit by medical debt in Tennessee

News5 in Bristol | October 16, 2019

“A new report on the impact of medical debt on patients found Tennessee ranks 10th in the nation for medical debt and Northeast Tennessee communities are among the hardest hit. … Mandy Pellegrin, policy director for The Sycamore Institute, told News 5 that medical debt can stick to your credit history for as long as 7 years. ‘Medical debt can be a factor that keeps people from getting ahead,’ Pellegrin said.”

Grand Divisions Episode 71: A discussion with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and digging into medical debt

The Tennessean’s “Grand Divisions” podcast | October 15, 2019

“This week, the nonprofit released a report which highlighted how widespread medical debt is – one out of four Tennesseans had such debt on their credit history – and what state lawmakers can do about it. Later this month, the nonprofit will hold a panel discussion on the subject, which is open to the public.”

One in four Tennesseans has medical debt, says report by The Sycamore Institute

The Tennessean | October 15, 2019

“The Sycamore Institute’s report outlines a handful of what it calls upstream, midstream and downstream ideas for lawmakers to consider. Upstream recommendations are largely preventative actions while downstream refers to mitigation efforts. … To decrease the number of uninsured people, the state could create state-funded subsidies, provide enrollment assistance and implement a state-level requirement for all Tennesseans to have insurance, among the reports suggestions. Another upstream idea the report suggests is being transparent when it comes to costs.”

Issues by the Numbers: Using newly released Census data, a Sycamore Institute study focuses on income, poverty, education and health coverage in Tennessee.

Knox Compass | October 8, 2019

“Incomes are up in the Knoxville metro area, but more people are going without health insurance, according to Census data examined by the Sycamore Institute. … In addition to income and insurance coverage, the study looked at higher education attainment and poverty.”

Governor mulls Camper request for Memphis block grant public hearing

Daily Memphian | September 26, 2019

“The Sycamore Institute published a brief on the proposal after its unveiling saying the ‘key takeaways’ are: The proposal would give state policymakers “unprecedented control” over changes to optional program benefits and provider payments without federal approval or oversight. Tennessee would take on more “long-term financial risk,” though overall proposed funding changes “heavily” favor the state. The shift in authority to state policymakers from the federal government could have a “positive, negative or mixed” effect on TennCare spending, enrollees and providers, depending on how state officials use their power.”

State Sen. Robinson: Governor gift-wraps refusal to expand Medicaid

Daily Memphian | September 18, 2019

“Robinson noted the Sycamore Institute conducted a study showing Tennessee is not equipped to handle the next recession when more people are likely to need TennCare while at the same time rural hospitals have been shut down.”

Tennessee unveils TennCare block grant proposal, pushes savings split with federal government

The Tennessean, Memphis Commercial Appeal, Knoxville News Sentinel & other Gannett newspapers | September 17, 2019

“Sycamore Institute Executive Director Laura Berlind said the Trump Administration has ‘sent strong signals that it wants to go down this road.’ She said the proposal is weighted in Tennessee’s favor but even if the block grant plan is approved, it’s likely to face legal challenges that will slow or halt its implantation.'”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee unveils controversial $7.9 billion TennCare Medicaid block grant plan

Chattanooga Times Free Press | September 17, 2019

“Laura Berlind, executive director of the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute, a Tennessee-based think tank, likened Lee’s proposed waiver to the ‘opening bid in negotiations with federal regulators over a TennCare block grant.'”

How one state agency recommends Gov. Bill Lee address the health issues facing rural Tennessee

The Tennessean | September 6, 2019

“Overall, Berlind said it is too early to grade the Lee administration in terms of health care in Tennessee’s rural areas. ‘They are looking at the right issues,’ she said. ‘We don’t know what this administration is going to do yet.’ But Berlind said by examining and fixing the broader issues — socioeconomic status, education and income, to name a few — the administration could improve the state’s health care overall.”

‘Clear link’ between childhood trauma and substance abuse, addiction doctor says

Johnson City Press | September 2, 2019

“A data analysis done by the Sycamore Institute — a public policy research center for Tennessee — earlier this year found that ACEs cost the state about $5.2 billion in 2017 from direct medical costs and productivity losses. The most prevalent ACEs in Tennessee are divorce, emotional abuse and substance abuse by a household member. ”

The Battle to Create Shared Facts – Laura Berlind from The Sycamore Institute

Laura Berlind on Yahoo! News podcast “The Long Game” | August 30, 2019

“When you’re in the room with somebody whose views may be 180 from yours…be profoundly curious and compassionate, and listen so you try to understand where they came from. Because they came to their views the exact same way you came to yours — through their teachers, their parents, their mentors, their good experiences, their bad experiences. If you respect that and really try to get a deep understanding of how they came to their views, then opportunities open up for progress.”

Childress: Old habits die hard, especially in Tennessee

Op-Ed by Kandy Childress in the Kingsport Times-News | August 8, 2019

“As a result, a half-million Tennesseans suffer from behavioral-related healthcare problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart and lung disease. According to the Sycamore Institute, our state has among the highest rates of behavior-related disease and associated direct medical care expenses, costing businesses $5.3 billion annually.”

Tennessee Study Finds Medical Debt Is Surprisingly Common

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | June 3, 2019

“Tennesseans shoulder more medical debt than the rest of the country, and the heaviest burden is where there are high rates of uninsured people, according to the latest in a series of reports from the Sycamore Institute. … But policy director Mandy Pellegrin says nearly every community feels the load.”

Vero: How to prevent and heal childhood trauma

Op-Ed by Bob Vero in The Tennessean | May 15, 2019

“A report from The Sycamore Institute says nearly 60% of Tennesseans have experienced one or more ACEs. That led to a $5 billion impact on our state economy through medical costs and lost productivity from employees missing work in 2017.”

Tennessee ranks 10th in nation for medical debt

News Channel 5 | May 14, 2019

“The study, conducted by the Sycamore Institute, found that the median amount of debt for Tennesseans is around $740. The group also found that one in four residents in the state had some kind of medical debt on their credit report in 2018… ‘The most surprising thing we found is how common this was … it’s something that is an obstacle to economic mobility,’ says Brian Straessle with the Sycamore Institute.”

See where Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia end up on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list of best states

Chattanooga Times Free Press | May 13, 2019

“Brian Straessle, director of external affairs of the Sycamore Institute, says the study underscores Tennessee’s conservative approach to spending and debt. ‘The state does have an excellent credit rating and our long-term pension liabilities are almost fully funded’ Straessle said. The rainy day fund in Tennessee also has grown significantly since the Great Recession but the purchasing power of that fund hadn’t necessarily kept pace so one of the things that the governor and the legislature did was to make a large ($225 million) contribution to the rainy day fund this year to improve its standing.”

Sohn: Tennesseans are mired in medical debt

Editorial by Pam Sohn in the Chattanooga Times Free Press | May 12, 2019

“Tennessee has the 10th highest rate of medical debt in the country. The median amount of medical debt on Tennesseans’ credit reports was $739… The research into Tennesseans’ medical debt was performed by the Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center for Tennessee”

Why A State Like Tennessee Would Even Want A Medicaid Block Grant

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | April 29, 2019

“Tennessee is angling to be the first state to switch its Medicaid program to a “block grant,” a lump sum to provide health care to those with low income. But it’s a tradeoff… Pellegrin says people should start paying attention and look closely at the details. “The primary reason that [Tennessee] would want a block grant is so that we could make changes,” she says.”

Sohn: Andy Berke right to challenge TennCare cuts, changes

Editorial by Pam Sohn in the Chattanooga Times Free Press | April 17, 2019

“Is it any wonder then that Tennessee is one of the unhealthiest states in the nation? We rank lower than national average for adult diabetes, poor mental health days, obese adults and low birth-weight babies, according to data provided by the Sycamore Institute.”

House approves bill to initiate TennCare block grant negotiations

Johnson City Press | April 11, 2019

“A Sycamore Institute analysis of how a block grant might impact TennCare determined the amount of federal funding for TennCare would depend on details that are not yet known, but would have to be negotiated.”

Short on details: Report analyzes what block grant proposal could mean for TennCare

Johnson City Press | April 8, 2019

“To provide some insight into the proposal, The Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center based in Nashville, released a report last week explaining what a block grant might mean for the state and how the missing details could affect the state budget, as well as the 1.3 million Tennesseans who receive health insurance from TennCare.”

A Public Health Issue

Chattanooga Times Free Press | April 1, 2019

“In Tennessee, childhood trauma was responsible for an estimated $5.2 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity from employees missing work in 2017, according to a report from the nonprofit Sycamore Institute.”

When A Shot Is Fired

Chattanooga Times Free Press | April 1, 2019

“The cost of housing pretrial detainees adds up, and it directly affects the pockets of local governments and their residents, according to a 2018 study by the Sycamore Institute, a public policy research center.”

State policy organization adds staff, directors

Nashville Post | March 11, 2019

“The Sycamore Institute, a two-year-old Tennessee-focused think tank, has added to its staff and board of directors. Davidson County judge, former Republican operative among additions.”

Tennessee’s budget may not be recession-ready

Op-Ed by Laura Berlind in The Tennessean | March 1, 2019

“Policymakers will have two options if our rainy-day funds run dry: cut spending or raise new revenue. Either one may prove difficult.”

How Childhood Trauma Is Costing Tennessee Billions — By Turning Kids Into Smokers

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | February 8, 2019

“Childhood trauma is costing Tennessee billions of dollars a year as those kids become adults with health complications. The Sycamore Institute has released a study showing a hefty price in medical bills and missed work, much of it caused by a familiar problem — smoking.”

Timothy Hill leading effort to pursue TennCare block grant program

Johnson City Press | February 7, 2019

“Hill said the funds being requested through the block grant are actually matching funds the state already pays into the federal medical assistance percentage program, also known as FMAP. … ‘Federal contributions under the FMAP are unlimited, and states cover the remaining portion of their Medicaid costs,’ according to a report from The Sycamore Institute explaining Tennessee’s Medicaid program.”

Adverse Childhood Experiences Cost

NewsChannel 9 in Chattanooga | February 7, 2019

Sycamore’s Laura Berlind discussed the economic cost of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in Tennessee with Chattanooga’s WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9.

One state. One year. (Partial) Cost of ACEs = $5.2 billion.

ACEs Connection | February 6, 2019

“In looking at the impact of childhood trauma, you can’t get much clearer than this: In 2017, ACEs among Tennessee adults led to an estimated $5.2 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity from employees missing work. That’s just one year, according to the new report, ‘The Economic Cost of ACEs in Tennessee,’ released on Feb. 1, 2019 by The Sycamore Institute.”

How Williamson County became an anomaly in Tennessee

The Tennessean | January 27, 2019

“A recent report on income, poverty, education and insurance coverage in Tennessee, released by the Sycamore Institute, reflects large rural-versus-urban differences among the state’s 95 counties. But the report also shows that Williamson County stands alone in numerous demographics.”

Plazas: Tennessee citizens can and should engage and influence their lawmakers

Editorial in The Tennessean | January 7, 2019

“Another issue is whether Tennessee’s budget is strong enough to withstand an economic downturn. The Nashville-based think tank the Sycamore Institute recently questioned if Tennessee’s budget was ready for a recession, calling attention to beefing up ‘rainy day’ reserve funds.”

A change in Hamilton County’s legislative delegation

Chattanooga Times Free Press | January 7, 2019

“Tennessee is ‘by and large in good financial shape,’ Watson said. But he said he and others want to put more in the state’s Rainy Day reserve fund in light of recent reports, including one by the nonpartisan Tennessee Sycamore Institute. It suggests the state doesn’t have enough money put back for a significant recession.”

Today In The Upper Cumberland: The Sycamore Institute

NewsTalk 94.1 in Cookeville | December 31, 2018

Policy Director Mandy Pellegrin and Stonecom President Larry Stone spoke extensively about The Sycamore Institute and the connections between public policy, health, and prosperity in Tennessee.

Cooper: Numbers offer educational cheer

Editorial by Clint Cooper in the Chattanooga Times Free Press | December 23, 2018

“It’s time to dwell for the moment — longer if you dare — on how well we have it here in our little corner of Tennessee. Thanks to recent information from The Sycamore Institute, based on the United States Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey five-year estimates, we can put our relative fortune into perspective.”

Thousands Of Tennessee Children Are Losing Insurance Coverage, Study Finds

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN)| November 29, 2018

“‘Research shows that children’s insurance status is often closely tied with that of their parents,’ says Mandy Pellegrin, policy director at the Tennessee-based Sycamore Institute. ‘It’s really no surprise that we’re seeing the same trend among children in Tennessee.’ The uninsured rate for Tennessee adults is also on the rise, according to analysis by Sycamore.”

Thousands Of Tennessee Children Are Losing Insurance Coverage, Study Finds

Knoxville Public Radio (WUOT)| November 15, 2018

“Tennessee kids are more likely to be hungry than average. The Sycamore Institute, a non-partisan Tennessee health research policy center, reports 24 percent of the state’s households with children are ‘food insecure,’ compared to 17.9 percent nationally.”

Report Reveals Tennessee Insurance Companies Made Sizable Profits Last Year

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN)| October 17, 2018

“Mandy Pellegrin, policy director for the Tennessee-based Sycamore Institute, says insurers may not have been aware how well they were doing when the state’s approval process began. ‘They were submitting prices for 2018 in the middle of 2017, so they didn’t actually know that 2017 was going to pan out that way,’ she says.”

Facts about Madison County you may not know

Jackson Sun | October 17, 2018

“On Tuesday, the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center, presented data on the economy, health and education in Madison County to the Chamber of Commerce after CEO Kyle Spurgeon asked for the organization to compile information on the area. … ‘Every governor except for Haslam, and Cooper in 1939, faced some sort of recession.”‘ Sycamore’s Executive Director Laura Belind said. ‘We have to prepare for there to be one in the next administration.'”

Roundtable at Nissan headquarters addresses Tennessee, Williamson County health impact on economy

Franklin Homepage | October 2, 2018

“On Tuesday morning, three dozen health and community leaders gathered inside Nissan’s North American headquarters to hear results from a health and economic impact study done by the Sycamore Institute. … ‘Health is one of the biggest issues facing our next governor,’ Gov. Bill Haslam said in a video at the presentation’s beginning. Unlike the connection often made between education and economics, Johnson said the connection between health and the economy is rarely noted.”

Tennesseans’ health is below average and it’s costing billions, nonprofit says

The Tennessean | October 2, 2018

“In the five years since the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness was created to help encourage Tennesseans to lead healthier lives, not much has changed. … Tennessee ranks worse than the national average for adult diabetes, poor mental health days, obese adults and low birth weight babies, according to data provided by the Sycamore Institute.”

A pediatrician’s point of view on the health of Tennessee

Op-Ed by Dr. Lisa Piercey in The Jackson Sun | September 28, 2018

“The Sycamore Institute estimates that our state’s higher-than-average rates of chronic disease cost us an additional $5.3 billion in 2015. Addressing chronic disease after it happens is essential, but if we begin to intervene earlier, we can reverse the trend of poor health outcomes and costly treatments.”

Local officials exchange ideas about confronting wellness crisis in Tennessee

The Jackson Sun | September 13, 2018

“Tennessee isn’t a very healthy state; in fact, it’s one of the most unhealthy states in the country, according to research data from The Sycamore Institute. … Chamber President Kyle Spurgeon said these facts have an effect on the business community of a town, county and region as well.”

Doctor says some Memphis kids can’t recognize some fruits and vegetables

The Commerical Appeal | September 11, 2018

“Laura Berlind with the Sycamore Institute, a public policy research center in Nashville, presented charts that showed that often-preventable diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure cost the state billions of dollars each year in medical care, lost productivity and premature death. And Tennessee is worse off than many other states in many aspects of health behavior. For instance, 22 percent of Tennesseans smoke tobacco, compared to 17 percent of people nationwide, Berlind said.”

Tennessee’s prescription pill addiction is getting better, but fentanyl looms large

The Tennessean | September 10, 2018

“Decreasing prescription overdoses but growing fentanyl deaths illustrates the evolution of Tennessee opioid crisis, as doctors and lawmakers crack down on prescriptions and addicts transition to more dangerous illegal drugs. … ‘If there were a magic answer, it would have been adopted by some other state, or Congress or our own state at this point,’ Pellegrin said. ‘Congress is looking at literally dozens of bills right now, which gives you an idea of how complex this problem is.'”

Reeves: How to build a great health care system

Op-Ed by Sen. Shane Reeves in the Shelbyville Times-Gazette | September 5, 2018

“The five counties that make up my district numbers roughly half a million people, which is equivalent to the number of Tennesseans statewide who have been diagnosed with the most common of chronic illnesses: hypertension, heart disease or diabetes. This has an impact on our state’s productivity, and cost us $5.3 billion in 2015, according to a study by the Sycamore Institute.”

Poor health costing Tennessee billions

Kingsport Times News | August 22, 2018

“In November 2017, the Nashville-based Sycamore Institute released a study that found Tennessee’s higher rates of chronic diseases cost to the state’s economy more than $5.3 billion in 2015. In May, Tennessee was named the state with the highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation and continues to rank in the bottom 10 states for health in America.”

State foundation: Tennessee’s health problems breaking the budget

Knoxville News Sentinel | August 21, 2018

“To demonstrate the economic effect of poor health, Laura Berlind, executive director of the nonpartisian Sycamore Institute of Tennessee, singled out three chronic health issues: diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Tennessee’s rates in all three are higher than the national average, Berlind said. To bring Tennessee’s rates just down to the U.S. average — which ‘isn’t even all that great,’ she said — would save the state $5.3 billion in lost productivity, direct medical care and premature death. Nearly half a million Tennesseans — 460,000 — would be affected.”

‘State of the State’s Health’ roundtable focuses on economic impact

WBIR in Knoxville | August 21, 2018

“Tennessee is one of the ten least healthy states in the nation. Knox County is ranked the 17th healthiest county out of 95 counties in Tennessee by the Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center focusing on health policy and the state budget. … Those in attendance included Pilot Flying J Founder Jim Haslam, UT President Joe DiPietro, Richard Johnson, the CEO of the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness, and Laura Berlind, the executive director of The Sycamore Institute.”

The opioid crisis has hit Williamson County. Why aren’t more people talking about it?

The Tennessean | August 16, 2018

“From 2012 to 2016, there have been 10.3 drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people in Williamson County, according to data from the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research center. That’s about one person every 17 days.”

Group to shine light on economic effects of poor health in Tennessee

The Tennessean | August 13, 2018

“Laura Berlind, executive director of the Sycamore Institute, a Nashville-based research center, will present some of the Institute’s findings during each of the six discussions. In November 2017, the nonpartisan organization released a report showing that Tennessee’s rates of chronic illnesses cost the state’s economy more than $5.3 billion in 2015.”

Vanderbilt study improved low income kids’ nutrition, exercise but results indicate more intensive approach needed to stem obesity

BirdDog | August 11, 2018

“In Tennessee an estimated 17 percent of households in 2014 were considered food insecure (meaning they don’t have access to healthy foods) compared to 13.4 percent across the U.S., according to the Sycamore Institute. Households with children are more likely to be food insecure than those without.”

Living urban comfortably is impossible for most, so let’s get radical

Editorial by David Plazas in The Tennessean | July 25, 2018

“On Tuesday, I called James Fraser, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University whom I had interviewed for the 2017 Costs of Growth and Change in Nashville series. … He said the affordable housing shortage has a negative effect on the mental and physical health of people, something confirmed by a 2017 study from the Nashville-based Sycamore Institute.”

Tennessee’s Obamacare market steps back from the brink of collapse

Politico Pro | July 20, 2018 – Subscription Required

“The situation in Tennessee is a stark reversal from just a year ago, when insurers were fleeing the state and premiums were skyrocketing. ‘Tennessee’s insurers got pricing really wrong early on and they seem to have worked that out,’ said Mandy Pellegrin, policy director for the Sycamore Institute, a non-partisan think tank in the state. Tennessee, which didn’t expand Medicaid or establish its own exchange, initially had some of the lowest premiums in the country — though its customers turned out to be among the sickest. … ‘Those lower premiums just really didn’t make sense,’ Pellegrin said.”

Tennessee insurers to cut Affordable Care Act premiums

WTVC in Chattanooga | July 12, 2018

“Tennessee’s biggest health insurers are cutting the premiums for individual plans under the Affordable Care Act’s health care exchange market for the first time. In filings with state regulators Wednesday, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee says it plans to reduce its average rate by 10.9 percent next year, while Cigna plans to reduce its rates by an average 4.8 percent. Read more: The top 3 takeaways from The Sycamore Institute’s analysis of the filings.”

Competition shakes up Tennessee ACA exchange

BirdDog | June 24, 2018

“Mandy Pellegrin, policy director of the Sycamore Institute, wondered if the rush to compete for business could somewhat boost overall enrollment numbers if there’s a marketing blitz that puts open enrollment, which starts on Nov. 1, on more people’s radar. … There’s a chance that prices stabilize since insurers spent years underpricing policies before finding a balance between claims and premiums, said Pellegrin.”

Medicare will be broke by 2026, officials say


“As alarming as a Medicare shortfall would be today, the impact is likely only to increase between now and 2026, said Brian Straessle, communication director for The Sycamore Institute, a health policy research group based in Nashville. Straessle pointed to a report by the state Commission on Aging and Disability that said the Tennesseans eligible for Medicare is expected to grow by a third by 2030. ‘Tennesseans on Medicare won’t see any immediate effects, but that could change if policy makers don’t find the way to make the math work,’ Straessle said.”

Why Health Insurance Rates In Tennessee May Finally Be Leveling Out

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN)| May 22, 2018

“President Trump is now allowing trade groups to provide health plans that don’t meet Obamacare standards. ‘What’s different about Tennessee is we’ve had these kind of plans here, available through Farm Bureau,’ says Laura Berlind, executive director of the Sycamore Institute, a public policy think tank. ‘So we may see the effect of the increased availability of those plans in Tennessee maybe less.'”

Tennessee leaps 5 spots, stays in Commonwealth Fund’s last quartile as obesity, mental health and vaccines plague the state

BirdDog| May 17, 2018

“The percentage of people with high out-of-pocket costs may begin to rise as data factors in the growing number of high deductible plans, Radley said. Tennesseans have seen deductibles in employer-sponsored plans surge from from 2002 to 2016, according to the Sycamore Institute.”

An opioid alternative: Vanderbilt doctor’s relief retreats give pain patients their lives back

The Tennessean| April 21, 2018

“Insurance often influences whether and to what extent individuals can afford treatment services, according to The Sycamore Institute, a public policy research center in Tennessee. Even insured individuals can have trouble accessing needed treatment.”

Tennessee Health Insurance Subsidies Grow 300 Percent Since Start Of Obamacare

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN)| April 18, 2018

“A nonpartisan analysis finds that the federal government is shouldering a much larger share of individual health insurance costs in Tennessee. Subsidies for those who buy their own insurance on the federal marketplace have increased by 309 percent since 2014, according to the Sycamore Institute. Premiums, by comparison, have risen 185 percent over the same period.”

Haslam: Tennessee’s health ‘a slow turning battleship’

BirdDog | March 28, 2018

“The state’s outsize share of diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease carries an extra $5.3 billion a year in health care costs, according to the Sycamore Institute.”

The TennCare work requirement bill isn’t just about work

BirdDog | March 21, 2018

“Laura Berlind, executive director of Sycamore Institute, said a slower economy could make it more expensive to provide support services to help people fulfill the work requirement as demand for them increased.”

Casada: Nashville should follow Tennessee’s lead on finances

Op-Ed by TN House Majority Leader Glen Casada in The Tennessean | March 9, 2018

“According to the November 2017 Sycamore Institute’s analysis of the Tennessee budget, 45 percent of our state’s total spending already goes to health and social services.”

Implementing States’ Medicaid Wishes Won’t Be Cheap

Governing | February 19, 2018

“When Tennessee implemented TANF work requirements, the state spent more than $70 million, according to the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan policy institute.”

Here’s How Tennessee’s Governor Wants to Spend Your Tax $

WUTC in Chattanooga | February 14, 2018

“The Sycamore Institute–an independent, statewide, nonpartisan public policy research center for Tennessee–has released a budget summary to help you better understand what Haslam is proposing.”

Health an economic development issue, Oklahoma City mayor tells Tennessee leaders

The Daily Times in Maryville | February 2, 2018

“Tennessee’s rates of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension exceed the national average. That difference alone costs $5.3 billion in medical care, lost productivity and premature death, according to a study by the Sycamore Institute.”

Health issues back in spotlight for Tennessee lawmakers

Chattanooga Times Free Press | January 13, 2018

“Health and social services make up the largest portion — 45 percent — of the state’s budget, followed by education at 29 percent, yet Tennessee consistently ranks in the bottom nationally on key health indicators, according to a health and budget policy report released this week by the nonprofit Sycamore Institute.”

Affordable housing experts: Nashville must talk less, do more

Editorial in The Tennessean | December 17, 2017

“Housing affordability is a great example of how social, economic and physical environments influence our health and well-being. Research shows clear connections between unaffordable housing and poorer health status, food insecurity and lower spending on medical care. — Laura Berlind”

High rate of chronic disease costs Tennessee $5.3 billion annually

The Tennessean | November 26, 2017

“‘We’ve come to accept that investing in education will lead to better economic output and better prosperity for the state,’ said Laura Berlind, Sycamore’s executive director. ‘We don’t yet talk about how better health and well-being will lead to economic prosperity.'”

Tennessee’s health issues hurt its economy, report says

Chattanooga Times Free Press | November 17, 2017

“‘I’m hoping that people can start to see the dots and connect them — health outcomes matter for the economic prosperity of our state,’ said Laura Berlind, executive director of the Sycamore Institute.”

State lawmakers tackle $5B chronic illness cost for Tennesseans

ABC News (WKRN in Nashville, WATE in Knoxville & WHJL in Tri-Cities) | November 15, 2017

“A Sycamore Institute study for the Governor’s Foundation for Health and Wellness found three chronic diseases–type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease–affect 460,000 thousand Tennesseans with a cost for the year 2015 of $5.3 billion in direct medical care, lost productivity, and premature death.”

Tennessee Planned For President Trump To Cut Obamacare Payments To Insurers

Nashville Public Radio (WPLN) | October 13, 2017

“‘Tennessee required the insurance companies, when they were submitting their premium rate filings — their proposed increases — they required insurance companies to assume this is exactly what was going to happen,’ says Brian Straessle of the non-partisan Sycamore Institute.”

What is the ACA subsidy Trump is ending? Here’s what it will mean for you

The Tennessean | October 13, 2017

“Fifty-nine percent of Tennesseans qualify for a CSR from insurers but the future of the payments could impact premiums for 70 percent of people who buy plans, according to the Sycamore Institute”

Op-Ed: The opioid crisis has outgrown Tennessee’s treatment policies

Op-Ed by Laura Berlind in The Tennessean | October 8, 2017

“The opioid epidemic has had a staggering impact in Tennessee: countless loved ones gone, higher health care costs, more drug-related crime, reduced work productivity, more children in state custody and a 10-fold increase in babies born with symptoms of opioid withdrawal.”

State Politicians in No Hurry to Fix Health Insurance

The Memphis Daily News & The Nashville Ledger | October 5, 2017

“Monthly premiums for a 55-year-old non-smoker in the Greater Knoxville and Greater Memphis areas would jump to more than $1,430 from $725, according to the Sycamore Institute’s analysis of federal filings.”

Tate tackling opioid crisis

Nashville Post | Sept. 21, 2017

“According to an August 2017 report published by the Sycamore Institute, in 2012 Tennessee had an average of 1.4 opioid prescriptions for every Tennessean — the second highest rate in the U.S. Prescription opioids have surpassed alcohol as the primary substance of abuse for treatment funded by the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.”

Drug overdose deaths in Tennessee jump to record high in 2016

Chattanooga Times Free Press | Sept. 20, 2017

“The Sycamore Institute, a nonprofit research organization, also reported recently that Tennessee has enacted a number of policies to limit the supply of prescription opioids by publishing prescription guidelines and regulating pain management clinics.”

Latest ACA repeal bill could hit those with pre-existing conditions

The Tennessean | Sept. 18, 2017

“It’s estimated that between 1.3 million and 2.8 million Tennesseans have a pre-existing condition, according to the Sycamore Institute, which analyzed the impact of an earlier repeal-and-replace bill on rural Tennessee and TennCare.”

Opioid addiction: Pregnant women recover in Humboldt

The Jackson Sun | September 5, 2017

“According to research from the Sycamore Institute, the number of babies born with withdrawal symptoms due to their mothers’ use of opioids during pregnancy has rapidly increased in recent years.”

Data-Driven Policy Making In An Age Of Anecdotes

Health Affairs | August 31, 2017

“As an independent public policy research center, the Sycamore Institute has the ability and agility to weigh in on rapidly evolving topics like how health reform efforts in Congress could affect our state.”

Tennessee’s new Sycamore Institute fills research void, policymaker inboxes

The Tennessean | August 18, 2017

“The Sycamore Institute occupies a space unto itself: Tennessee data focused on health, well-being and state’s budget.”

Stronger Penalties Alone Won’t Solve State’s Opioid Crisis

The Memphis Daily News & The Nashville Ledger | August 17, 2017

“The Sycamore Institute gives the state good marks for significant progress in cutting opioid prescribing and dispensing, in addition to making a few ‘targeted investments’ in substance abuse treatment.”

National opioid epidemic emergency declaration will save lives

The Tennessean | August 13, 2017

“Among Sycamore’s takeaways are the need to create a broad behavioral health-focused approach that works on prevention and treatment. A major barrier for people, though, is the cost of treatment.”

Bradley County works to heal, overcome opioid abuse

Chattanooga Times Free Press | August 12, 2017

“Although prescribing rates have decreased, opioid related hospitalizations and deaths in Tennessee continue to rise, according to an August report from the Sycamore Institute, an independent, nonpartisan public policy research center in Nashville.”

Opioid-related deaths, cases of neonatal abstinence syndrome increasing in Tennessee

WATE in Knoxville & WJHL in Tri-Cities | August 4, 2017

“A new study by the Sycamore Foundation looked at indicators of progress in the fight against the the opioid epidemic. While Tennessee has made significant progress in reducing opioid prescriptions and dispensing in recent years, the study found that has not translated in a reduction of opioid related hospitalizations, deaths or neonatal abstinence syndrome.”

Employers take the reins amid health insurance chaos

The Tennessean | July 30, 2017

“In fact, the average deductible for a family in an employer-sponsored plan rose 252 percent in 14 years — from $1,039 in 2002 to $3,662 in 2016, according to an analysis from the Sycamore Institute.”

For a Healthcare Fix, Tennessee Could Look North (Way, Way North)

WUTC in Chattanooga | July 26, 2017

“The Sycamore Institute suggests reinsurance could be an option for Tennessee. The Institute is a Nashville-based, nonpartisan public policy research center. … Brian Straessle, Communications Director for the Institute, joins us to explain how reinsurance works.”

Revised health care bill draws GOP praise

Nashville Post | July 14, 2017

“An analysis of the plan by the Sycamore Institute said the Senate bill’s approach ‘would likely result in lower premium options in the individual market [in Tennessee], creating more opportunities for healthier individuals to purchase plans that better meet their needs.'”

Health care fatigue builds as Congress mulls another ACA repeal bill

The Tennessean | July 14, 2017

“‘Congress is looking to give states more influence over health insurance in the individual market. If they succeed, the question for Tennessee policymakers becomes how to balance the public’s competing desires for lower premiums and guaranteed, affordable coverage of pre-existing conditions,’ said Laura Berlind, executive director of the Sycamore Institute, a Tennessee-focused nonpartisan think tank.”

Op-Ed: Understanding policy trade-offs in the health care debate

Op-Ed by Laura Berlind in The Tennessean | July 8, 2017

“Two of the Affordable Care Act’s primary trade-offs include helping the sick and elderly afford private insurance by mandating participation and increasing costs for the young and healthy and, secondly, covering more people through Medicaid by increasing federal taxes and spending.”

Health care changes could hit rural Tennesseans hardest

The Tennessean | July 6, 2017

“Since there are higher rates of chronic disease and the population tends to be older, people in rural areas could see higher out-of-pocket costs than other parts of the state if proposals change what insurers can charge based on age or pre-existing diseases, according to the Sycamore Institute, a Tennessee-focused nonpartisan think tank.”

Tennessee lawmakers still reviewing CBO report on Senate health care bill

Chattanooga Times Free Press | June 27, 2017

“Over a 10-year period, TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, which now covers an estimated 1.5 million low-income mothers and their children as well the disabled and the elderly poor, could lose as much as $3.2 billion, according to the Sycamore Institute analysis.”

Panelists believe Senate’s health care bill will harm Tennesseans

WKRN in Nashville | June 26, 2017

“’No policy is perfect,’ said Executive Director Linda Berlind. ‘Regardless of what you think about the Affordable Care Act or the American Health Care Act or the new Senate proposal, there are going to be trade-offs for everyone.’”

Senate health care bill ratchets up fear over losing TennCare services for people with disabilities

The Tennessean | June 24, 2017

“The Sycamore Institute found that since 2006, TennCare spending per enrollee grew faster than than general inflation at a rate between medical inflation and medical inflation plus 1 percent.”

How the Senate health care bill impacts Tennessee and other states

The Tennessean & The Knoxville News Sentinel | June 22, 2017

“Tennessee will be facing trade-offs under either the Senate or House bill when allocating funds and deciding benefits for people covered by TennCare, said Laura Berlind, executive director of the Sycamore Institute, a Tennessee-focused nonpartisan think tank.”

Americans speak out: They want quality health care

Editorial in The Tennessean | June 4, 2017

“The Nashville-based Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy center, reported that 36 percent of Tennesseans would be affected in some way by AHCA — 6 percent who buy insurance on individual exchanges, 19 percent on TennCare and 11 percent who are uninsured.”

5 ways President Trump’s proposed budget could impact Tennessee

The Tennessean | May 23, 2017

“TennCare, the state’s Medicaid program, is among the lowest cost programs in the country so any cuts that get passed either through the budget or the American Health Care Act — the House GOP health care bill — might not be felt immediately, said Laura Berlind, executive director of The Sycamore Institute, a public policy think tank in Nashville.”

Can ‘old Nashville’ and ‘new Nashville’ co-exist?

The Tennessean | April 30, 2017

“Panelists at the forum — Adriane Harris, who is Mayor Megan Barry’s senior affordable housing adviser; Jeremy Heidt, director of industry and government affairs at THDA; and Laura Berlind, founding executive director of the Sycamore Institute, a nonpartisan public policy research organization — all called for changing the conversation on affordable housing.”

House Speaker Beth Harwell to GOP Caucus on gas tax vote: ‘Try to keep personalities out of it’

Chattanooga Times Free Press | April 18, 2017

“‘The data shows that gas tax collections in the last two decades have been relatively stable from one year to the next,’ the Sycamore Institute says in its comparison of both sources of funding. ‘Automobile sales during the same period have experienced more overall growth with higher volatility. Lawmakers should weigh the trade-offs of both revenue sources when considering how they will vote later this week.'”

Study finds vehicle sales tax more volatile than fuel tax

Humphrey on the Hill | April 18, 2017

“The Sycamore Institute, founded in 2015 by former state Sen. Jim Bryson of Franklin and billing itself as a “nonpartisan policy research center for Tennessee,” has issued a 20-year comparison of state fuel tax revenue and sales tax revenue from vehicle sales taxes.”

Knox County scores higher than state as a whole on health and well-being index

WVLT in Knoxville | March 24, 2017

“The Tennessee Health and Well-Being Index, a new tool created by the Sycamore Institute, measures the drivers of health and tracks them over time. In a new release of the index, Knox County scored higher than the state as a whole in health and well-being.”

Waters: Obamacare, Trumpcare and people who need care

Columnist David Waters in The Commercial Appeal | March 21, 2017

“The AHCA’s proposed cuts in Medicaid could cost TennCare from $1 billion to $17 billion over the next 10 years, according to the nonpartisan Sycamore Institute.”

Haslam upbeat, but concerned, about federal Medicaid plan

The Tennessee Journal | March 17, 2017 (Vol. 43, No. 11) – Subscription Required

“A potential problem for Tennessee is that the baseline is fiscal 2016, which the Sycamore Institute, in a newly published analysis, describes in the context of a 10-year comparison as ‘a relatively low-cost year’ per enrollee when adjusted for inflation.”

TennCare chief: Obamacare replacement holds ‘serious budget implications’

The Tennessean | March 14, 2017

“If TennCare managed to sustain its targeted 3.3 percent growth rate that’s set as a goal in recent years, then for four years under the AHCA the program could net an extra $115 million a year until 2021. But if its growth exceeded that and came closer to the national average projected by the CBO, 4.4 percent, then the agency could be short $2.6 billion over the next decade, according to an analysis by the Sycamore Institute, a Tennessee-focused nonpartisan think tank.”

Op-Ed: Let data drive Tennessee transportation debate

Op-Ed by Laura Berlind & Jim Bryson in The Tennessean | March 3, 2017

“Our organization does not advocate for any policies or agenda. Rather, our mission is to provide lawmakers, journalists and the public with information and analysis that is timely, relevant, accessible and easy to understand. Our leadership and staff come from across the political spectrum, but we are united by a shared belief that data and evidence create the best foundation for effective public policy.”