Economic Development

Too often, states and cities pursue economic development strategies that amount to little more than tax giveaways to big corporations. Pushing back on this flawed approach, EARN groups design and promote smart economic development policies that invest in infrastructure, in people, and in the communities where opportunity is lacking.

Smart economic development means strong workforce development programs, such as apprenticeships and sector strategies; infrastructure investments in transportation, schools, broadband, and healthcare; and community development projects that deliver good, high-paying jobs to local residents, especially in communities of color, and other underserved communities.

Publications

Refugees as Employees: Good Retention, Strong Recruitment

Employers that hire refugees see positive outcomes for their businesses, according to a report released today by the Fiscal Policy Institute and the Tent Partnership for Refugees. The study, based on over 100 interviews in four regions of the country, finds that when employers hire refugees they see lower turnover rates among refugees, and widen their pool of potential employees. In addition, many see overall improvements in the company, with their managers becoming more versatile as they adjust to working with a more diverse workforce.

These findings of positive outcomes in the workplace seem at odds with recent restrictions on the number of refugees admitted to the country. Despite record numbers of refugees around the world, the Trump Administration is currently on target to let in the lowest number of refugees resettled in recent decades.

Seattle taxes ranked most unfair in Washington — a state among the harshest on the poor nationwide

A new report finds that even in Washington — a state whose tax system has been called the nation’s most unfair to the poor — Seattle manages to stand out from the pack.

The report, published this week by the Seattle-based Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI), a liberal think tank, evaluated the tax burdens for households at various income levels in 15 Washington cities. Among those cities, the report found Seattle’s taxes to be the most regressive — in other words, hard on the poor and easy on the rich.

Who Really Pays: An analysis of the tax structures in 15 cities throughout Washington State

Many Washingtonians feel they are heavily taxed. They are – if they’re working class or middle class. Wealthy residents pay a tax rate many times lower than the rates other people pay. But due to our opaque tax system, it’s hard to understand how much we pay in taxes, or how much other people are.

This report compares the tax obligations of households at the $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, $150,000 and $250,000 income levels in Bellevue, Bellingham, Everett, Federal Way, Kent, Olympia, Pasco, Pullman, Renton, Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Wenatchee and Yakima. In Seattle, the combination of state and local taxes results in a system which relies much more heavily on taxes on the people least able to pay, while not imposing significantly higher taxes on the wealthy.

This report also compares job growth in states and cities with their income tax structures and effective tax rates on wealthy households. In neither case is there any correlation.

Workforce Development in Kentucky Should Encourage High-Road Jobs

Kentucky’s workforce development conversations focus almost exclusively on employers’ needs and perspectives and ask how public dollars can improve perceived deficiencies in the workforce. Such an approach ignores the increasingly difficult conditions employees face in the labor market, and the responsibilities employers should have to provide jobs that meet acceptable community standards.