Unregulated Work in Chicago: The Breakdown of Workplace Protections in the Low-Wage Labor Market  - Surveying 1,140 low-wage workers from Cook County, the Center for Urban Economic Development found that 47% work in offices, restaurants or work sites where employment laws are routinely ignored or exploited. 26% of workers were paid less than the minimum wage and 67% of those working more than 40 hours per week did not receive overtime pay. As a result, workers lost an average of $50 per week due to forms of wage theft totaling a projected $7 million stolen from low-wage workers in the region.
Build America Bonds Will Save $12.3 Billion  - According to a new report  by the US Treasury Department, state and local governments will eventually save $12.3 billion from bonds issued in the first year of the Build America Bonds program compared with what they would have spent by issuing traditional tax-exempt bonds to finance projects. The Build America Bonds have appealed to a broader set of investors, including pension funds and sovereign wealth funds controlled by foreign governments, and the wider demand has probably helped drive down interest rates for the bonds, the analysis found.
Hard to Swallow: Do Private Food Service Contractors Shortchange New Jersey Schools?  - SEIU Local 32BJ commissioned the Clarion Group to analyze contracts and financial data of 10 school districts that outsource their food services to two companies, Chartwells and Sodexo. They found that the corporations overcharged the 10 districts by $320,000 and "if the approximately 378 New Jersey school districts using FSMCs are also being overcharged at the same rate, the total amount of taxpayer money being misappropriated would come to $12 million, or enough to pay the annual salaries of 186 New Jersey teachers." Finally, the report recommends greater transparency in the contracting process.
An Overview of State Campaigns, 2007-2008  - Campaigns for state legislatures raised a record-breaking $1 billion for the first time ever, according to a new report from the National Institute on Money in State Politics. The money raised in 2008 was 9 percent more than was raised in 2006 and 26 percent more than was raised in 2004 (the last comparable election cycle). The report also found that although nearly two-thirds of the legislative races were contested, just one-third of those races were monetarily competitive (where the winner raised less than twice as much money as his or her opponent).
Weathering the Storm: Have IDAs Helped Low-Income Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure?  - Low-income homeowners who participated in programs that used Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to purchase homes were two to three times less likely to lose their homes to foreclosure, according to a new report from the Center for Enterprise Development and the Urban Institute. Individuals in IDA programs, in which the government matched savings by low-income individuals, also obtained significantly preferable mortgage loan terms, with only 1.5 percent having high-interest mortgage rates, compared to 20 percent of the broader sample.
Reports on Health Care Implementation
- Interactive Health Care Calculator for Small Businesses: Small Businesses Will Gain Under New Health Reform Bill  - This calculator from the Center for American Progress helps small business employers determine the premium subsidies for which they are eligible in the years leading up to the establishment of the state health exchanges (2010-2013), and once the exchanges are established (2014). The smaller the firm and the lower its average wages, the larger share of premiums the tax credit will pay.
- Key Health Insurance Market Reforms Not Achievable Without an Individual Mandate  - Repealing the individual health insurance mandate would undermine the ability to prevent insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, charging higher premiums based on a person’s health status or gender, or placing annual or lifetime caps on covered benefits, according to this report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
- HHS Letter to Governors on High Risk Pools - Health and Human Services Department Secretary Sebelius sent a letter to the nation's governors and insurance commissioners on April 2 to jump start the process for states to establish temporary high risk pools. HHS will carry out the program directly or through contracts with states or private nonprofit entities. Sebelius is requesting each state's interest in participating in the high risk pool program and outlines the several implementation options available for the states.
- Health Insurance Implementation Guides  - The National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the Maine Bureau of Insurance have developed a set of tables that list a number of the insurance related provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act  (PPACA). The four tables address immediate improvements , state exchanges , market reforms  and small business tax credits . Each table provides details on individual provisions within the Act, the entity responsible for developing standards, effective dates and the applicable section within the PPACA.