Infrastructure

State and local governments account for the bulk of public spending on infrastructure. Infrastructure investments can ensure that we do not leave future generations a deficit of underinvestment and deferred maintenance of public assets. Such investment can create jobs and lock-in genuine full employment in the near-term and provide a needed boost to productivity growth in the medium-term. Large, sustained increases in infrastructure investment can increase aggregate demand and productivity growth, which provides the potential ceiling on how fast average income can rise.

Smart public investment should put the needs of the public first and should not undercut workers’ wages.

Publications

PublicationResources

Using Local and Economically-Targeted Hire to Promote Good Jobs through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

  • October 7, 2022
  • Michael Lawliss, Lew Finfer, and Jennifer Sherer

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), was signed into law on November 15, 2021. This federal legislation will bring $1.2 trillion to states and cities over the next 5 years to repair and build roads and bridges, public transportation, the broadband network, and water infrastructure, among many other critical infrastructure projects. Each state will receive billions of dollars in funding over the next 5 years through mandatory and competitive grants, loans, and bonds.

Local and targeted hiring refers to policies attached to major economic development and construction projects that seek to ensure that a certain percentage of the jobs on the contract be set aside for local residents or for job seekers that share a particular set of demographic characteristics, such as being from communities historically underrepresented in an industry or experiencing barriers to employment. A range of community and labor advocates worked together with federal policymakers to include a provision in the BIL that allows policymakers to enact preferences for local and economically-targeted hiring on highway and transit construction projects receiving financial support from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT). This is the first time local and economically-targeted hire on federally-funded projects is allowed after years of community advocacy.

This guide provides an overview of local and targeted hiring policies, answers key questions for states and cities looking to implement these policies, and offers success stories from around the country. The BIL represents an important organizing opportunity for community groups and unions to meet with state officials on incorporating local and economically-targeted hiring provisions in the highway and transit construction contracts that local agencies will be issuing over each of the next 5 years. Our hope is that this guide will be helpful not just for BIL implementation, but for other local initiatives and future legislation as well.

Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico

New Mexico’s unique cultural diversity, great natural beauty, and strong sense of community make it a resilient state, but there’s much more work to be done to achieve our full potential. Tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected have bled New Mexico of the funding we need for critical investments in education, health care, and other services that help children succeed. After years of these race-to-the-bottom economic strategies, we’ve hit rock-bottom — we’re last in the nation for child well-being.

In our Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico, we encourage elected officials to prioritize children in policymaking and budget decisions. We ask them to make the sometimes-tough decisions to put children and families first – because that’s the best way to strengthen New Mexico.

To move forward, we must:
• Invest in working families.
• Grow good jobs by investing in education.
• Invest in health.
• Promote equity and ensure that our communities have the tools they need to prosper.
• Restore an effective and efficient government that works for everyone.

State of Working North Carolina

  • September 6, 2018
  • North Carolina Justice Center
  • Alexandra Forter Sirota, Allan Freyer, Patrick McHugh, Suzy Khachaturyan, William Munn, and Hyun Namkoong
As North Carolina grapples with the best way to build stronger regional economies, policymakers should consider the central and positive role that public infrastructure can play in deepening the connections for the state’s workforce to jobs, the state’s businesses to markets and the state’s residents to well-being.
This year’s State of Working North Carolina report presents the ways in which public infrastructure and local assets — specifically, anchor institutions — can help connect workers in rural areas to jobs, boost rural communities, and contribute to more equitable growth of the state’s economy.

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.