On the eve of its adjournment, New York’s state legislature provided a new opportunity to create thousands of jobs for New Yorkers. The new law, the Power NY Act of 2011 (AB 7006-A), establishes the first statewide “on-bill recovery” program — allowing charges for retrofitting a home or business to be included in a utility bill statement and paid over time, with monthly payments calibrated to include energy savings so that the loan doesn’t increase the bill. The passage of this bill is considered a next step to New York’s Green Jobs/Green NY Act, legislation that was enacted in 2009 to retrofit one million homes in five years and consequently create 14,250 full time jobs. The Power NY Act of 2011 comes at a time when most Americans believe that their government’s number one concern should be the creation of jobs.
The national debate over job creation has reached a new low in a labor dispute involving a Boeing airplane manufacturing plant in South Carolina — a debate that is playing out just as reports show conservative state policies have demonstrably failed to create jobs this year and have instead resulted in declining wages. In April, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed suit against Boeing for locating the new plant in the Palmetto State in retaliation against its union workforce for legal work stoppages in the past. A central tenet of collective bargaining law is that employers may not take actions to punish workers for taking legal actions in a dispute, such as going on strike. The NLRB’s suit would require Boeing to remedy its illegal action by relocating production of its 787 Dreamliner passenger plane to Washington State, where Boeing’s employees are members of the International Association of Machinists union (IAM).
As 2011 legislative sessions draw to a close, many states continue to wrestle with budget shortfalls. Some adopted responsible measures this session to rebuild prosperity through a balanced approach that included revenue generation, while others went down a destructive path relying exclusively on job-killing cuts. The same revenue debate that played out in the states is now coming to a boil in Washington D.C. as policymakers consider ways to raise revenue to address the federal deficit — including one misguided proposal that would result in more corporate welfare and provide little benefit for the nation’s economic security.
"I had a much higher opinion of our business community. Being paid for one's efforts -— the salary that’s agreed upon for one's work — is something very foundational to our whole economic system."
— Florida Deacon Peter Mazzella, part of a coalition of religious leaders advocating for Palm Beach County’s wage theft ordinance, on business opposition to the law.
Research Roundup: Anti-Immigrant Legislation Will Cost Your State, Alarming Facts on Recovery, and Best Practices for Health Exchanges
In this week’s Research Roundup: Reports from the Center for American Progress, Small Business Majority, and the Economic Policy Institute on the high costs of being anti-immigrant, some alarming facts about the economic recovery, and best practices for setting up health care exchanges for small businesses.
Your State Can’t Afford It: Remember, it’s expensive to be anti-immigrant — This Center for American Progress (CAP) report examines the high cost to Arizona as it continues to pay for SB 1070, as well as the price tag that states like Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina can expect for enacting SB 1070 copycat bills. Arizona has already lost approximately $141 million in lost conference revenue and cancelations since the passage of SB 1070 a little over one year ago. Georgia’s fruit and vegetable industry can expect a $250 million decrease in just one year thanks to its SB 1070 copycat bill. Undocumented immigrants in Arizona, Alabama and Georgia are responsible for over a billion dollars in tax revenue — all of which is jeopardized by SB 1070 and its ill-advised counterparts. Finally, defending anti-immigrant and unconstitutional laws in the courts is proving expensive for cash-strapped states and local governments. For example, Hazelton, PA has already spent $2.8 million defending its anti-immigrant ordinance. In addition, as Progressive States Network has previously outlined, Fremont, NE increased property taxes 18% to defend its anti-immigrant law — one which is currently on hold after a court challenge. This CAP report confirms that your state, like Arizona, cannot afford the economic damage of a SB 1070 copycat.
Ten facts about the recovery —This Economic Policy Institute brief provides ten alarming facts about the recovery from the most severe economic contraction the nation has experienced in almost 70 years. The authors conclude, “These 10 facts show that, while we have now officially been in a recovery for two years, the labor market has actually made little improvement since the depth of the downturn. Given this situation, it is extremely premature for policymakers to place their focus on deficits instead of jobs. It must be our top priority to do everything we can to stimulate demand and generate jobs.”
SHOPping Around: Setting up State Health Care Exchanges for Small Businesses: A Roadmap — This report from Center for American Progress and Small Business Majority provides a roadmap for states, policymakers, health reform advocates, and small-business leaders to create Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges. It includes an overview of the problems small businesses face affording health care and provides details of the SHOP exchange and how it will help.
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