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Joel Rogers | Dec 01, 2007
Category: Jobs & Skills, Energy
There is both elite and popular demand for doing something about climate change, and emerging popular demand that the clean energy economy be more equitable than the dirty one. Building retrofits, with their associated cost-savings for the working class and poor and “green collar” job opportunities, are a natural way to meet both demands. This opportunity is especially evident in cities, with their density of inefficient buildings, poor people, generally progressive politics, and leadership on climate.
Sep 02, 2007
Category: Jobs & Skills

The State of Working Wisconsin - Update 2009 provides a thorough review of jobs, wages, poverty, income, and job quality in the state on a bi-annual basis.

COWS | Jul 03, 2007
Category: State & Local Policy

Madison, Wisconsin, July 3, 2007 - A new report from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), Corporate Tax and Subsidy Disclosure: Policy Options for Wisconsin, highlights policy weaknesses and proposes a new tax and subsidy disclosure policy that would affect all publicly-traded corporations (“C” corporations) and their subsidiaries doing business in the state.

 

After reviewing other states’ current and proposed tax disclosure plans, the new COWS report recommends that Wisconsin adopt a policy requiring these companies to disclose, at a minimum, how much they pay in taxes to the state, how much business they do in the state, and how much financial help they get from the state. This information would then be made available to the public in a searchable database.

 

“This level of transparency is key for policymakers and the public to better evaluate the tax system and see if it is truly working in the economic interests of the state,” said Kate Gordon, lead author of the report and senior associate at COWS.

 

The report points to Illinois as an important example. Illinois has enacted one of the nation’s most comprehensive corporate subsidy disclosure laws. The 2003 Illinois Corporate Accountability Act requires companies receiving any number of state economic development dollars to report on their progress in achieving job creation, retention and wage promises made in subsidy deals.

 

“Illinois has developed a database that allows the policymakers and public to understand what investments the state is making,” Gordon said. “Something like this is feasible and realistic for Wisconsin as well.”

 

Additional transparency would benefit Wisconsin’s businesses as well, because it could lead to a fairer tax system. The fairer tax system would allow companies that shoulder their full tax burden under existing laws to be more competitive with those companies taking advantage of unfair tax loopholes and unchecked subsidies.

 

As the report points out, exposing the current tax and subsidy system to public scrutiny may well lead to fewer tax loopholes, and in turn to increased corporate tax revenues. The end result is more money flowing to state programs such as workforce training, education, infrastructure and other public resources that are highly valued by firms – more highly valued, by most accounts, than low taxes.

 

Corporate Tax and Subsidy Disclosure: Policy Options for Wisconsin, can be found online at: www.cows.org/pdf/rp-corp-tax.pdf.

Pablo Mitnik | Jun 12, 2007
Category: Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy

In spite of the extraordinarily high productivity of U.S workers, a large share of the country’s workers hold bad jobs. These low-wage workers are not mainly teenagers without economic responsibilities, as is often claimed. Most are adults, most are married or have been married, and there is good evidence that the low quality of their employment has deleterious consequences for their and their families’ welfare. Making the issue even more pressing, upward earnings mobility has become much more difficult than in the past, in particular for those without high-education credentials. As a result, a substantial share of people get trapped in bad jobs for long periods of time.

What can cities do to improve the quality of jobs? How can cities boost the access of the disadvantaged to the good jobs available in their jurisdictions? Building from policy innovations and experiences from all around the country, this report offers a menu of city policies aimed at improving job quality and redistributing job opportunities in favor of the disadvantaged.

The policies considered in the report are the following:

  • Using a city’s regulatory power to establish wage floors and other employment standards.
  • Using a city’s proprietary interests (i.e., its interests as a market participant) to establish wage floors and other employment standards, to protect workers’ right to organize, and to secure good job opportunities for the disadvantaged.
  • Using a city’s resources and regulatory powers to help enforce federal and state employment regulations.
  • Regulating domestic-employee placing agencies.
  • Implementing equal opportunity employment policies and disseminating information on good-job opportunities.
  • Curbing employers’ practices that take advantage of immigrant workers.

Additional Resources
The report refers to many city ordinances and resolutions, to proposed legislation, and to other texts. Most of these documents are available here:

Documents related to using a city’s regulatory power to establish employment standards

  • Albuquerque’s Minimum wage ordinance
  • Baltimore’s Minimum wage law
  • Chicago’s Big box living wage & benefits ordinance
  • Kansas City’s Stealing of a person’s labor law
  • San Francisco’s Minimum wage ordinance
  • San Francisco’s Sick leave ordinance
  • San Francisco’s Personal services minimum contractual rate ordinance
  • Santa Fe’s Minimum wage ordinance
  • Santa Monica’s Minimum wage ordinance
  • Washington D.C.’s laws regarding minimum wages, payment and collection of wages, attachment and garnishment of wages, seats for employees, overtime wage rate, split shift additional payment, and several other employment standards.

Documents related to using a city's proprietary interests as a basis for policy

  • Boston’s Jobs and living wage ordinance
  • Burlington’s Living wage ordinance
  • Camden’s Living wage ordinance
  • Cincinnati’s Living wage ordinance
  • Cleveland’s Fair Employment law
  • Detroit’s Living wage ordinance
  • Duluth’s Public investment and living wage law
  • Ferndale’s Living wage law
  • Hartford’s Living wage ordinance
  • Hayward’s Living wage ordinance
  • Lansing’s Purchasing, contracting and sales law
  • Los Angeles’ Living wage law
  • Madison’s Living wage ordinance
  • Minneapolis’ Living wage and responsible spending ordinance
  • Missoula’s Quality job and labor protection ordinance
  • New Britain’s Labor Standards in city contracting and purchasing law
  • New Haven’s Living wage law
  • Oakland’s Living wage ordinance
  • Pittsburgh’s Living wage ordinance
  • Port of Oakland’s Living wage and labor standards at Port-Assisted Business ordinance
  • San Jose’s Living wage policy
  •   Santa Cruz’s Living wage ordinance
  • Sonoma’s Living wage law
  • Staple Center CBA’s First source hiring policy
  • Tucson’s Living wage law
  • Warren’s Purchasing law
  • Watsonville’s Payment of living wage law

Documents related to regulating domestic-employee placing agencies

  • New York City’s Domestic workers and household employees law
  • New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs’ Statement of employee rights and employer responsibilities regarding domestic or household employment (English version)
  • New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs’ Statement of employee rights and employer responsibilities regarding domestic or household employment (Spanish version)

Documents related to curbing employer practices that take advantage of immigrants

  • No-match letter sample
  • San Francisco’s Resolution opposing the DH’s proposed rule on use of SSA “no-match” letters to enforce immigration law
  • Santa Fe’s Resolution declaring a policy of non-discrimination upon receipt of a “no-match” letter from the SSA
  • Basic Pilot Program’s Memo of understanding sample
Kate Gordon and Kyle Hanniman | Jun 04, 2007
Category: State & Local Policy

Madison, Wisconsin, July 3, 2007 - A new report from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), Corporate Tax and Subsidy Disclosure: Policy Options for Wisconsin, highlights policy weaknesses and proposes a new tax and subsidy disclosure policy that would affect all publicly-traded corporations (“C” corporations) and their subsidiaries doing business in the state.


After reviewing other states’ current and proposed tax disclosure plans, the new COWS report recommends that Wisconsin adopt a policy requiring these companies to disclose, at a minimum, how much they pay in taxes to the state, how much business they do in the state, and how much financial help they get from the state. This information would then be made available to the public in a searchable database.


“This level of transparency is key for policymakers and the public to better evaluate the tax system and see if it is truly working in the economic interests of the state,” said Kate Gordon, lead author of the report and senior associate at COWS.


The report points to Illinois as an important example. Illinois has enacted one of the nation’s most comprehensive corporate subsidy disclosure laws. The 2003 Illinois Corporate Accountability Act requires companies receiving any number of state economic development dollars to report on their progress in achieving job creation, retention and wage promises made in subsidy deals.


“Illinois has developed a database that allows the policymakers and public to understand what investments the state is making,” Gordon said. “Something like this is feasible and realistic for Wisconsin as well.”


Additional transparency would benefit Wisconsin’s businesses as well, because it could lead to a fairer tax system. The fairer tax system would allow companies that shoulder their full tax burden under existing laws to be more competitive with those companies taking advantage of unfair tax loopholes and unchecked subsidies.


As the report points out, exposing the current tax and subsidy system to public scrutiny may well lead to fewer tax loopholes, and in turn to increased corporate tax revenues. The end result is more money flowing to state programs such as workforce training, education, infrastructure and other public resources that are highly valued by firms – more highly valued, by most accounts, than low taxes.

COWS and WCCF | May 03, 2007
Category: State & Local Policy
A Robert Lynch study released today shows that the benefits of investing in high quality early education in Wisconsin would be more than 9 times the cost of the program in 2050. Total benefits -budgetary, earning, and crime prevention - would exceed $13 billion, more than nine times the cost to the state for universal 3 and 4 year-old programs.
COWS and Apollo | Apr 09, 2007
Category: Jobs & Skills

This report, a collaborative effort between the Apollo Alliance and Urban Habitat, is a reflection of their shared belief in the potential of the “green economy” to generate quality jobs in our nation’s low-income communities and communities of color.

 

The report presents an overview of key industries in the green economy, as well as discussions about the necessary workforce development infrastructure
needed to train workers to take advantage of these opportunities. Also provided are some case studies of Americans who are already employed in these jobs as well as strategies that cities can use to take advantage of this new economic development engine.

Mar 29, 2007
Category: State & Local Policy
An economic development plan that ensures broadly shared prosperity and an economy that works for all is important to Wisconsin’s future. Here we offer concrete policy ideas that will help build a stronger Wisconsin.
Mar 22, 2007
Category: State & Local Policy, Energy
Wisconsin is ripe for a far-reaching, comprehensive energy strategy that will move the state toward energy efficiency and independence.  The state depends heavily on three energy and fuel sources that are produced entirely out of state: coal, natural gas, and petroleum.  Importing all this energy comes at a high cost to the state—each year, Wisconsinites spend over nine billion dollars on energy imports, more than half of which goes toward petroleum products including heating oil, unleaded fuel, and diesel fuels.  These costs are likely to go up as a result of worldwide fuel shortages, natural disasters, and political instability in oil-producing regions.
Mar 22, 2007
Category: Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy
Improving access to training for working adults, building stronger linkages to the local economy and increasing adult basic education funding will help Wisconsin’s technical college system add even more value to the economy.