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Introducing the 2011 Blueprint for Economic Security

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Introducing the 2011 Blueprint for Economic Security

 

Headlines blaring atop newspaper articles in every state still tell the story of a middle class reeling from a lack of jobs and state economies suffering the lasting effects of an historic economic downturn:

“Corporations Creating Jobs for Overseas Workers Instead Of Americans”

“Long-Term Unemployment At Record Highs”

“State Revenue Down, Budget Cuts To Slash Services”

“Plant To Close Down, 800 Workers To Be Laid Off”

Stories like these underscore a deep public yearning for a vision that promises real results on the economy and jobs. And while conservatives are intent on advancing destructive policies and on literally bankrupting the states, progressives have an opportunity in 2011 to advance a positive vision at the state level focused on real economic security for both our states and our families. Progressive States Network will be working with state legislators and advocates across the nation to collaborate on just such a vision in the coming weeks and months - a Blueprint for Economic Security.

The Blueprint (outlined below and available on the web) gives progressives the effective messaging and policies needed to advance economic security for our families and our states. By networking progressives across the states to advance these messages and policies, we can build broad public support for measures that will secure the economic future of our states and families, our jobs, and our health. With the Blueprint as their guide, progressives can counter the conservative prescription for America that benefits the rich and big corporations at the expense of the public.

Whether the focus of a specific policy is Rebuilding Prosperity in the states through smart tax and budget policies, Job Creation to build the green economy here at home, or Job Security and Health Security to ensure the stability of our families, these progressive goals all share the common and critical aim of increasing the overall economic security of our states and our families. And the messages we use to advance these specific policies will reflect that common aim as well.

At a moment when conservative slash-and-burn policies to benefit big businesses, banks, and multimillionaires at the expense of everyone else are on the rise in the states, the Blueprint for Economic Security website will feature detailed policy options throughout the session as well as model legislation and highlighted research, reports, polling, and messaging -- to give progressives in the states the tools and resources they need to fight back and move forward.

To launch this multi-state initiative, Progressive States Network will be hosting a series of conference calls with policy and messaging experts in the coming weeks, focused on how legislators and activists in all fifty states can advance progressive policies that promote economic security in 2011. Please RSVP here to receive call-in information:

Blueprint for Economic Security: Rebuilding Prosperity

 

“It’s time we tax fairly and cut wisely, not tax the middle class and cut services to our children, seniors, and public safety.”

With states facing another year of unprecedented budget pressures, conservatives continue their corporate crusade through economic policies that ensure record profits for CEOs and shareholders at the expense of workers. The Right’s agenda places the interests of private industry over the public as they move to advance the very same policies that crashed the economy, including reckless budget cuts, privatization, and tax breaks for the rich.  

Progressives at the state level have a significant role to play in placing the country on a sustainable path toward recovery and prosperity by ensuring sound investments in public structures, providing accountability for taxpayers, leveling the playing field for small businesses, reducing the unfair burden on moderate and low-income families, and supporting the growth of a vibrant middle class.

Policy Options to Rebuild Prosperity in 2011 include:

  • Corporate Transparency: States cannot afford to distribute enormous subsidies or award lavish contracts with nothing in return. As state governments hand out millions to corporations through tax credits, subsidies and government contracts, lawmakers must pursue efforts to track and safeguard taxpayer dollars.  Reforms, including restricting privatization and augmenting transparency of economic development subsidies, contracts, tax expenditures, and corporate tax breaks, will provide taxpayer protections, promote sound fiscal practices, identify inefficiencies, reduce corruption, and create budget savings.
  • Development Banks: There is substantial interest in the creation of state development banks, modeled after the Bank of North Dakota, which serves as a depository for state funds and works successfully with local banks and credit unions to invest in communities, create new jobs, increase state revenues, strengthen local banks, and lower state/local government debt costs.
  • Progressive Tax Reform and Revenue Generation: Critical in restricting corporate tax avoidance and nullifying certain tax shelters are policies like combined reporting.  Personal income tax reforms include imposing a temporary income tax surcharge to recapture tax breaks that the wealthiest households receive from the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Please RSVP to receive call-in information for our national conference call:

Tuesday, February 8th 2011, 4PM ET - National Conference Call: Blueprint for Economic Security: Rebuilding Prosperity

READ MORE: POLICY SOLUTIONS: REBUILDING PROSPERITY

Blueprint for Economic Security: Job Creation

 

"It’s time our major import was something other than oil and our major export was something other than American jobs."

Most Americans define economic security as a good job. Yet too many Americans who want jobs do not have one. As our infrastructure continues to deteriorate, as industries that once employed vast swaths of the country continue to disappear, and as other nations continue to move full speed ahead in the race to a new green economy, advancing policies that promote and invest in green jobs in America is more critical than ever.

By advancing job creation legislation focused on green jobs, progressives will be announcing our intent to develop the technologies and jobs of the future here at home, all while addressing our increasing energy dependence and environmental crises. Investment in our green economy not only creates the jobs we need today, it steers our states on a path toward innovation and prosperity.


Policy Options to spur Job Creation in 2011 include:

  • Green Jobs Workforce Development: build a trained workforce that earns competitive wages, fosters new skills, builds a career ladder, and keeps jobs in America.
    • Invest in existing programs, such as high school technical education and pre-apprenticeship training in community colleges.
    • Standardize training programs so that workers can use their skills across the states.
    • Encourage the design of course instruction and initiatives to align green job programs with employer needs.
    • Partner with labor unions from the manufacturing, construction, services, and other industries, as well as constituency-based organizations and workforce development programs.
    • Place an emphasis for providing opportunities for veterans, minorities, the unemployed, ex-offenders, and other populations with barriers to employment.
  • Energy Efficient Schools and Residential Buildings
    • Require that new school building construction meet pre-determined, performance-based standards.
    • Weatherize high-energy consumption, low-income residential buildings.
  • Financing Mechanisms to Leverage Investment for Energy Efficiency Projects
    • Greenhouse gas initiatives have the proven record of stimulating investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Through this stream of funding, we can create revolving loan programs to make our homes more energy efficient and support our small businesses.
    • On-utility bill financing is one the easiest and most secure ways to continue to stream revenue for retrofits in our homes and businesses. It provides cover from paying the up-front costs of a retrofit by adding a small monthly charge to utility bills that will eventually turn into permanent savings.

Please RSVP to receive call-in information for our national conference call:

Tuesday, February 22nd 2011, 4PM ET - National Conference Call: Blueprint for Economic Security: Job Creation

READ MORE - POLICY SOLUTIONS: JOB CREATION

Blueprint for Economic Security: Job Security

 

"Small businesses can’t grow and can’t hire unless their customers have more money in their pockets."

The nation’s greatest resource is people’s ability to work and contribute to the prosperity of their family, their community, and our country. The wealth of a generation is being wasted as careers and retirement plans are derailed, young people are denied the opportunity to develop skills, and personal wealth shrinks – in many cases permanently.

While conservatives see this moment opportunistically as one to attack workers and roll back labor standards that people fought and died for over decades, progressives know that now is the time we must do exactly the opposite. Historic advances in workers’ rights were a major factor in the country’s recovery from the Great Depression, providing economic security for working families and even fulfilling the promise that everyone who is willing to work has the means to support their family.  

Policy Options to increase Job Security for 2011 include:

  • Paid Sick Days: Enabling people to accrue paid sick leave provides workers with an essential element of economic security – knowing that you won’t lose your job, or the roof over your head, just because you or your child get sick.
  • Wage Law Enforcement: Merely strengthening enforcement of wage-and-hour laws would bring crucial relief to millions of working families simply by ensuring they are paid the wages they are legally owed.  Specific measures include increasing penalties and damages, banning misclassification of employees as independent contractors, prohibiting retaliation against workers for complaining about wage theft, and enabling workers to obtain relief more quickly.
  • Restore the Minimum Wage: Restoring the minimum wage to its value in 1968 (~$10/hour) when the middle-class was its most robust and the gap between the rich and the poor was at a historic low would boost consumer spending, small business growth, and job creation by putting money in low-wage workers’ pockets.

Please RSVP to receive call-in information for our national conference call:

Tuesday, February 15th 2011, 4PM ET - National Conference Call: Blueprint for Economic Security: Job Security

READ MORE - POLICY SOLUTIONS: JOB SECURITY

Blueprint for Economic Security: Health Security

 

"We can’t go back to the days when insurance companies can once again deny coverage due to pre-existing conditions."

Middle-class and working-class American families continue to feel an acute sense of economic insecurity. One major reason for that concern is their continued uncertainty surrounding health care. Many of the reforms that are now law — specifically those reining in insurance industry abuses — remain very popular.  As the focus in 2011 turns to judicial and legislative attempts at repeal and defunding, it is critical to remember that state-specific solutions that build on federal law and ensure reforms continue to be popular. 

Advancing Health Security in the States through Health Care Exchanges:

This legislative session, states have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to put consumer protections and stronger access to affordable health care coverage in the hands of their residents.

Under the health care reform law enacted in March 2010, states will be setting up health care “exchanges,” or marketplaces, that will create new incentives for the health insurance industry to deliver quality care at lower prices while requiring them to spend more of consumers’ premium dollars on actually providing health care - instead of bloated administrative overhead and egregious compensation for CEOs. Under the timeline set out in the Affordable Care Act, state exchanges are scheduled to begin operating in 2014 - but every state legislature must act this session to pass a strong version of an exchange in their state if they do not want the federal government to run their exchange.

There are a variety of options for states, even if they elect not to enact a state health care exchange. More information on these options, as well as model legislation, will be available at www.progressivestates.org/blueprint on February 14th, 2011, as Progressive States Network and the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform co-host a national conference call on implementing strong state exchanges.

Please RSVP to receive call-in information for our national conference call:

Monday, February 14th 2011, 4PM ET - National Conference Call: Blueprint for Economic Security: Health Security

READ MORE: POLICY SOLUTIONS: HEALTH SECURITY

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The Stateside Dispatch is written and edited by:

Nora Ranney, Legislative Director
Marisol Thomer, Outreach Director
Devin Boerm, Health Policy Specialist
Fabiola Carrión, Broadband and Green Jobs Policy Specialist
Cristina Francisco-McGuire, Election Reform Policy Specialist
Tim Judson, Workers' Rights Policy Specialist
Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Policy Specialist
Altaf Rahamatulla, Tax and Budget Policy Specialist
Mike Maiorini, Online Technology Manager
Charles Monaco, Press and New Media Specialist
Ben Secord, Outreach Specialist

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