Research Roundup

In a major new report on transit, A Better Way to Go, the US PIRG Education Fund highlights the environmental, economic and quality-of-life gains that increased investments in public transit can yield. The report emphasizes that such investments can play a major role in reducing dependence on foreign oil and global warming emissions.

In a book-length report, The Teaching Penalty: Teacher Pay Losing Ground, researchers from the Economic Policy Institute document that public school teachers in 2006 earned 15% lower weekly earnings compared to college graduates with similar skills. This earnings lag varies widely by state, with teacher salary in 15 states lagging more than 25%.

In a new policy brief, Providing Working Families with an Important Resource: Time, the Sloan Work and Family Research Network highlights state legislative activity from 2005-2007 that enables workers to manage better their work and family needs, including bills that promote flexible work schedules, part-time employment, remote work or telework, phased retirement, and family leave.

As a new policy brief by the Economic Policy Institute highlights, in the last twenty years, state spending on prisons has increased 127%, far outpacing the 21% increase in higher education spending in the same period.  

Even in high technology products, the United States has developed a record trade deficit, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress.  This deficit has grown because our national and state governments have failed to keep pace with global competitors in investing in local innovation, research and development, and upgrading skills in our workforce.

Good Jobs First has launched a new blog, Clawback, to document both abuses and reforms of state economic subsidy programs on an ongoing basis.  Recent items include new Wisconsin subsidy disclosure legislation approved last week, sweetheart subsidies for Major League Baseball by New York City, and the fight over retail tax breaks in Austin, TX.

Rebuild Ohio and Community Research Partners calculate in a new report that the public cost of vacant and abandoned properties is $60 million and rising in just eight Ohio cities.  That figure includes annual city service costs and lost property tax revenues in addition to weakened neighborhood housing markets.