Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Want to learn about careers in PUBLIC FINANCE?


Join the Public Finance Association’s Women in Public Finance Committee as we welcome the Indiana Chapter of Women in Public Finance.

The discussion will be focused on issues of public finance, current career opportunities, and networking strategies.


Wednesday February 27th

6:00 pm

PV 274


Appetizers and desserts will be provided

Sponsored by the SPEA MPO

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Obamacare: Changes to Come

Spencer Mishelow – PFA Health Policy Committee Chair
In modern America, many sectors, industries, and policies are undergoing significant changes in regards to their framework and methods of operation.  Recently however, one of the most volatile industries has been that of healthcare.  Back in 2010 (when President Obama signed his healthcare law) the era where the major aspects would be implemented seemed in the distant future.  However, now that January 2014 is only a year away, the changes are encroaching. But what are these changes and whom will be affected?  The healthcare industry is comprised of hundreds of thousands of employees from diverse career fields including: nursing, doctors, lawyers, insurers, hospitals and more.  Therefore, altering domestic HC (healthcare) has widespread effects and accordingly is very complex and difficult to implement.  An article in the January 5th edition of The Economist stated: “Even without controversy, implementation would be complex. The law tries to reform a [healthcare] sector that accounts for nearly one-fifth of America’s GDP.  If you’re unfamiliar here are some of the goals and potential conflicts regarding Obamacare (The Economist; Jan. 5, 2013, page 22).
·         Beginning in 2014, insurers can no longer refuse coverage to the sick
o   The cost of insuring the newly insured sick will be paid out of insurance fees from cheap, healthy consumers—the law requires everyone to buy insurance or pay a penalty 
·         Extend Medicaid to all those earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level ($15,415 for one adult in 2012).
o   However, states may choose whether to expand Medicaid. 
·         Employers are contesting the law’s requirement that insurance should cover contraception, and the future of two main provisions, the health exchanges and the Medicaid expansion, is blurry. 

Extending Medicaid as this law intends will add an extra 21.3M people to the system by 2022.  This addition will require states to spend an extra $8.2B and the Federal Government to spend an extra $800B from 2013 to 2022. 
All young Americans should be concerned with this for many reasons.  First, this  means an increase in the cost of healthcare for all individuals is likely to occur and all current deficits and debts incurred will be our burden to fix.  However, I am not oblivious to the fact that many of those who need it most are unable to receive healthcare.  This is just one of our abundant dilemmas that we, as young American citizens/residents, will face in our future.  Lastly, an ethical dilemma that many have with Obamacare is that even though one may be a health consciousness person, they will be required to pay for the impacts of a life of unhealthy choices that many Americans chose to embark upon.  Obamacare may be rooted in equity, but there are still many imperfections that must be ironed out.  Unfortunately, a truly altruistic solution is unlikely to occur in the current bipartisan system where the opposing faction explicitly rejects change that furthers the agenda of their “rival” party.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

I have a job for you: Search for a career.

Work: we often hate it, but we’ve all got to do it anyway, right?
PFA Co-President Gregory Jasinski
Last week, PFA welcomed special-guest Stan Luboff to SPEA for a multitude of events. I had the pleasure of attending these events with Mr. Luboff, hearing him discuss in-depth his lengthy work history and his very successful career. As we celebrate Veteran’s Day this week, I note that Mr. Luboff is a US Veteran. After spending 6+ years in the Air Force, he began an amazing 28-year career with Bank of America in 1972. He has spent the last 10+ years working for the Illinois Division of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. According to Mr. Luboff, his mission there is three-fold: “1) to create jobs; 2) to create jobs; and 3) to create jobs.” That powerful phrase has resonated with me, which leads me to this blog-post.
As a student who will finish his Master’s degree in a few short months, I am pretty busy lately researching employers, writing cover letters, sending out resumes, and scheduling interviews. Nevertheless, I still do not know what I want to do or where I want to be after graduation, but whatever job title I end up with, I sure hope it’s the start of a great full-time, real-world career.

A career is not just lines on a resume; it is a lifelong development and pursuit of your passions, goals, and dreams. “I love this class” or “I love my job,” we’ve all heard the sayings. You even may have fallen victim to uttering them yourself at one point or another. But do you really stroll into class or waltz into work with a smile on your face every single day, thinking to yourself, “Wow, this is exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life!”? Of course not-- but if you do, congratulations (and keep reading). Often, a job or a class begins to feel like a chore that simply results in a paycheck deposited in your bank account or a grade recorded on your transcript. Why do you think that academic semesters are only 4 months long? Because such tedious obligations and mundane responsibilities begin to take control of our lives. Similarly, if you become mindlessly glued to the phone or lost in the computer screen (reading Twitter) on a daily basis at work, you’ll end up right where you started, in the seat you never left.

According to theorist Richard Florida, the average American changes jobs every 3 years; and those under the age of 30 changes jobs once a year! So transitions and jobs changes are a common part of life, but those jobs are all part of your career. For starters, an internship is a great opportunity to get a feel for a company, field, or industry. It is also the best time to begin networking and sharing advice and information with other. According to Mr. Luboff, there is absolutely nothing better than direct person-to-person human interaction in the real-world. Therefore, you must attend after-work or after-school events to meet new people and develop long-term professional relationships. Grab lunch with a boss, co-worker, or friend to catch up on life. Yes, take advantage of LinkedIn, but more importantly, keep in touch personally. Then, when you begin your first full-time job, make sure that you can take steps up the ladder in your career, because if this is not possible, you will seriously need to plan a step out the door. I guarantee you that once you start working you’ll often desire something different and you’ll always be searching for something more, be it a pay raise, a promotion, a new office, a change of scenery, or whatever. And if you don’t believe me or you don’t think you will, just wait until you have your (first) midlife crisis (or mid-midlife crisis).

Simply put, a professional or academic career is a journey of challenges and opportunity. A career requires commitment, hard work, and dedication. (Likewise, a little luck along the way never hurts either.) The rewards are certainly worth the effort, so take advantage of your skills and do GREAT things. Be bold and invest in an advanced degree. Take risks and become an entrepreneur. Have confidence and apply for a better job. You may not see your family or friends for extended periods of time, but you’ll definitely learn a thing or two about yourself and others as you grow older (and hopefully wiser). Finally, if anyone ever tells you “no” along the way with respect to something you truly believe in, just remember that with the right grammar and punctuation, the word “impossible” says “I’m possible.

Endnote- Make sure to check out http://www.vault.com when you have a chance. It is a very useful resource with lots of great career tips and other advice.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Women in Public Finance

By Taylor Paton
According to the nonprofit, Women in Public Finance, “The mission of Women in Public Finance is to advance women's leadership opportunities and potential by fostering relationships and networking, and providing educational and learning activities and forums.” That is, essentially, the aim of SPEA’s Public Finance Association’s Women in Public Finance Committee: to connect women who are interested in public finance. For some, that is all the explanation needed. Women thrive in with the support and presence of other women; however, I may be biased having attended an all women’s college for my undergraduate education. For others, the question may still remain, why have a public finance committee for women?
 The financial sector is seeing a slow in the number of interested women. In the 1970s and 1980s women were breaking into the financial industry in droves; however, today less young women are entering or even interested in the finance fields. In his article “Lost Generation: Young Women Flee Finance,” Kyle Stock states,
 “Between 2001 and 2010, the number of women over the age of 55 in finance fields…rose by 296,000 or 45.2%. This reflects the waves of women who joined the industry 30 years ago and stayed.”

Thus, in the same period the number of women between the ages of 20 and 24 decreased. So why did these women leave? Why aren’t more women entering into the industry like their mothers’ generation? According to Stock, “women hitting the workforce in the 21st-century aren’t driven by the same sense of purpose that their generation had—the mission of breaking into the boys club.” Stock concludes that women are avoiding financial industries to maintain a work-life balance. Personally, I believe that is nonsense, yet I will not disagree that there is a stigma that financial industries tip the balance in favor of work over life (See my plug below for PFA event coming in January). I agree more with Stock’s notion of the sense of purpose. Women are driven by a purpose, men too. As women, we need a cause, a reason to do what we do. Where is Mitt Romney’s “Binder of Women” when you need it?
 Well, Mittens, your binder decided to go to D.C. without you. Today’s headlines are filled with titles such as Newsday’s “Elizabeth Warren, Deb Fischer help set record number of women In U.S. Senate” and CNN’s “Women gain in the Senate” and “Women are no longer outsiders” and my favorite, The Daily Beast’s “Estrogen Feast: Key Women in the Race for Congress.” If you haven’t already concluded, today was an important day in politics for women. Hannah Rosin’s Opinion article for CNN earlier this evening explained that it wasn’t long ago that women were newcomers in Washington D.C. Rosin said,
“Workplace studies from the 1970’s showed that when women reached a third of an office population, their presence no longer seemed unusual. The Senate will be one-fifth female. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.”
Today is a great day to be a woman. Today is a great day to be in the public sector. Today is a great day to get interested in public finance. Public finance is the best of both worlds. If you want to know more about careers in public finance, have questions about work-life balance in public finance, or just want to hang out with some wonderful, inspiring women join us in January as SPEA’s Women in Public Finance Committee teams up with the state of Indiana Chapter of Women in Public Finance to discuss all of this and more. Ask your questions or just come to hang out. Watch your inbox for more info!
 Great articles mentioned in this blog:
 Abigail Pesta. “Estrogen Fest: Key Women in the Race for Congress.” The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/06/estrogen-fest-key-women-to-watch-today-in-the-race-for-congress.html
 Hannah Rosin. “Women less likely to be political outsiders now.” Special to CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/07/opinion/rosin-women-election/index.html?hpt=hp_t1
 Bloomberg News. “Elizabeth Warren, Deb Fischer help set record number of women in U.S. Senate.” http://newyork.newsday.com/news/nation/elizabeth-warren-deb-fischer-help-set-record-number-of-women-in-u-s-senate-1.4197674

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"How to Avoid a Mid Life Crisis"

"How to Avoid a Mid Life Crisis"
By Professional Development Chair Taylor Paton
There aren’t many 20 something year olds I know of who have contemplated a possible mid life crisis, that is, I didn’t know many before meeting Steve Langerud last weekend. Principal of Steve Langerud and Associates, LLC and DePauw University’s Director of Career Development, Steve had some interesting insight on how to find a sense of meaning in your career. In order to find your sense of meaning, ask yourself “Where can you do what you do well and care most deeply about?”
Most of us are asked what we want to be when we grow up from the time we can talk. For me, I told my mother at the age of two that I wanted to marry a bald guy who drove a bus. So when Steve said many of our truest ambitions stem from those first conceived career paths, I was a little confused. However, I gave him a shot and found that by asking “where” before “what” will ultimately lead to a career down I path I cleared myself. Self-reflection on your skills, the issues and people you want to work with, and the type of environment you want to work in will give you the ultimate job description perfectly tailored to you.
Now where do you find this mystical job that you just dreamed up? Ask my future bald bus driver husband… just kidding. You will have to find this job by getting out and talking to people. They will ask you what you want to do and you will tell them where you are going. Tell them the skills you have, the issues and people you want to work with, and the environment you want to work in. Steve calls this your “Ten Second Statement.” Chances are the person you are talking to may know someone who does something similar to what you want to do. Ask for that person’s information and see if it is, in fact, what you want to do.
Gone are the days of career paths laid out for you. The biggest take away from Steve’s presentation: Find someone who will pay you for what you love to do (Similar to Confusious’ quote, “If you choose a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”). And that, ladies and gents, is how you will avoid a mid life crisis.
Visit Steve’s website to find out about him, read his blog, and even send him an e-mail at http://stevelangerud.com/. Also, Depauw University also has a great page devoted to Steve called “Meet Steve:” http://www.depauw.edu/news-media/latest-news/details/24107/.
Afterword: This blog was in no way meant to harm the feelings of bald guys and/or bus drivers and/or bald guys who drive buses. Steve was somewhat right about my childhood career plans translating to my current ambitions. I plan to work in city management addressing issues of fiscal sustainability for the greater good of citizens, thus allowing bus drivers, even bald ones, to keep their jobs.

Editor's note: Taylor also serves as the Chair of PFA's Women in Public Finance Committee. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Importance of Understanding the Facts Behind Renewable Energy Subsidies
PFA Environment and Energy Chair Hank Hebel 

Finding adequate financing to fund renewable energy and sustainability can be an extremely difficult task.  Often, we depend on initiatives taken by the federal government to assist in providing those funds to support the accompanying investment.  Subsidies from the federal government are not a new phenomenon, yet campaign rhetoric can distort the facts and make things seem as though the government is “picking winners and losers”.  In regards to energy investment, the government has historically provided subsidies through tax incentives such as production tax credits (PTCs).  PTCs have been extremely important to the recent rise in wind production; however, these credits for the wind industry will expire at the end of the year.  Some may respond that an industry must be made to survive on its own without government support, and while this may be a valid point, it is important to understand the context of energy subsidization in the U.S.  According to a study by DBL Investors, coal, oil, gas, and nuclear industries have received a cumulative total of $630 billion in a variety of subsidies, such as land grants, R&D write-offs, and other tax credits, while the renewables industry has received only $50 billion in government investment.  Yet, much of the subsidization of the coal, oil, gas and nuclear industries is permanently written into the tax code, while many subsidies for renewable energy are appropriated on an annual basis.  Therefore, a true discussion about the government “picking winners and losers” cannot be seriously examined without these facts being fairly represented.  

Check out the DBL study here: 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Welcome to the SPEA Public Finance Association, 2012 – 2013!

PFA Co-Presidents Ashley Ames and Gregory Jasinski, along with our Vice President Alex Luboff, would like to personally invite you to join us and your fellow SPEAons at Yogi’s tomorrow night, Thursday at 7:00pm, for an informal social and call-out meeting.

Yogi’s is on 10th and Indiana Ave., just down the street from the SPEA building.

Please visit our website [www.indiana.edu/~pfa] and like ourFacebook page [http://www.facebook.com/SPEAPFA] for more SPEA PFA informationand details!