For years, New Jersey lawmakers fixated on big-ticket corporate tax incentives as a key driver of economic development without credible evidence that more is better — and little attention to the collateral consequences or opportunity costs.
But times have changed. High-profile debacles like FoxConn in Wisconsin and Amazon’s infamous HQ2 search have undermined the public’s perception of this costly strategy, both across the nation and here in the Garden State. Now is the opportune time for reform.
The next iteration of New Jersey’s economic development strategy must embrace two strategies. First, pivot away from overly generous tax breaks — with little oversight — to large corporations, and instead tailor the programs toward new companies within promising sectors in locations that have a greater need for job opportunities. Second, and more importantly, redirect the bulk of economic development dollars back into the public assets that benefit all employers and have a proven track record of making New Jersey an attractive place to grow a business: customized job training, safe roads and bridges, affordable homes, child care, and high-quality public schools from pre-Kindergarten through college.
Poverty rates in Ohio remain high despite improvements in the job market. There were still 115,000 more Ohioans living in poverty in 2017 than in the year prior to the last recession.Child poverty is exceedingly high. Cleveland has the highest child poverty in the nation — nearly half of all kids. Cincinnati had the third highest child poverty rate in the nation. More than 513,000 Ohio kids lived below the poverty line last year. This has long term consequences for our children and our state. Policy makers have failed to address this crisis. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a tax policy designed to help. Yet, Ohio’s EITC remains one of the weakest in the nation.
By many measures, Washington’s economy has soared since the Great Recession. The state has added over 400,000 jobs since 2008 – more than making up for previous losses – and average hourly wages have climbed 13 percent after adjusting for inflation. However, those rosy numbers mask the fact that sluggish wage growth, increasing inequality and rising prices are leaving many Washington residents struggling.
West Virginia’s population is increasingly living in urban areas, with those urban areas experiencing all the state’s job growth in the past quarter century, leaving rural West Virginia behind in many key areas, according to a new West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy report.
The report, State of Rural West Virginia, shows rural West Virginians primarily have poorer health, lower educational attainment levels, lower wages, are older and have fewer job opportunities outside of industrial and extractive industries, underscoring the contrast between the state’s rural and urban areas.
Rural West Virginia has been plagued with job losses from 2007 – 2016, losing more than 21,000 jobs, or eight percent, highlighting the uneven balance of West Virginia’s weak economic recovery.