The fundamental challenge in this recession is that the growth that preceded it was a mirage. Bubble era borrowing created a network of financial jobs, real estate jobs and construction jobs that collapsed with the end of the bubble. Many of those jobs will never return.
An extremely high proportion (75%) of job losses in this recession are permanent rather than temporary. States will need to nurture completely new industry sectors and the infrastructure to support those jobs, while the jobless will need retraining in new skills to participate in those sectors.
The Senate struggled to approve a $15 billion jobs bill
and has yet to enact additional fiscal relief for the states, but
lawmakers continue to approve trillions of dollars for wars and defense
appropriations. In fact, ignoring the almost $1 trillion spent on the
Iraq and Afghanistan wars, military spending has grown 41 percent since 1998.
If progressive leaders intend to reduce long-term deficits and ensure a
robust economic recovery, cutting inefficient and costly areas of the
defense budget should be a top priority.
In an effort to stimulate local economic growth and free up credit markets, New MexicoSen. Tim Keller and Rep. Brian Egolf introduced HB66,
which would require the state to give preference to community banks and
credit unions to manage the state's general fund operating cash
depository account. Currently, Bank of America holds the $1.4 billion account.
As we described last week in State Job Creation Strategies Part I: Finding the Money and Investing in Human Capital and Physical Infrastructure,
competing globally for jobs starts with policy makers instituting
fundamental investments in education, human capital and physical
infrastructure that make their state a productive environment for
economic innovation. The next step, as this Dispatch will describe, is helping the private sector leverage opportunities for job creation and technological innovation.
As this Dispatch will highlight, the first step is to fund jobs
that support long-term economic competitiveness, notably by investing
in people and physical infrastructure. While the economic climate for
profit-making business opportunities is more limited, investments in
education, health care, transit and energy efficiency can create
immediate jobs while strengthening building blocks for long-term
NEW YORK — Today, Progressive States Network (PSN) lauded
President Obama's decision to accept California's tough new 35.5
miles-per-gallon fuel emissions standards. The group hailed today's
victory as a landmark example of states' power to set national policy
by outpacing federal legislation.
Said PSN's Interim Executive Director, Nathan Newman, "The spin from
auto industry executives is that Obama's decision demonstrates the
wisdom of letting the federal government set a unified national
standard instead of a 'patchwork' of state regulations. In fact, the
complete opposite is true. If it weren't for California pushing to set
standards that outpaced the Bush Administration's pitifully low ones,
there would be no new regulatory framework to enact today."
One of the biggest topics of conversation in Massachusetts these days is the proposed additional 19 cent gas tax which would go toward roads, bridges, regional transit authorities and public transit improvements throughout the state. More than half of state and local bridges of 20 feet or longer are structurally deficient, while 82 percent of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's (MBTA) rapid transit rail cars are in poor or marginal condition, according to a report by TRIP. Furthermore, a 2007 report by the Massachusetts Transportation Finance Commission found that “the condition of our roads, bridges and transit systems are all in broad decline”¦we have no money for transit or highway enhancements or expansions without further sacrificing our existing systems and exacerbating our problems.”