Public Services, Budgets, and 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.

Federal funds for state and local governments

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Public Services and Employment

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Education

High-quality and equitable education opportunities, ranging across early childhood, K-12, technical education, higher education and apprenticeships, are pivotal for the economic prospects of working people and their children. Read More.

Healthcare

Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance. And 1.2 million jobs would be lost—not just in health care but across the board. Read More.

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. Read more.

Budgets and Taxes

Closing budget deficits is not always the optimal fiscal policy in the short term  or the medium term. Instead, budgets should simply be seen as a tool with which to boost living standards. Read More.

Publications

Publication

EARN Industrial Policy Resource Library

Welcome to the Economic Analysis and Research (EARN) Industrial Policy Resource Library. This document is maintained by Economic Policy Institute (EPI) staff who support the work of over 60 state and local research and policy organizations who make up the EARN network across 46 states and the District of Columbia.

The library consists of a curated, annotated compilation of links to practical resources of use to those working at the state and local level to leverage federal investments toward creating good union jobs, increasing worker power, and building high-road workforce training partnerships that advance racial and gender equity.

This resource library is designed for use by EARN groups and their many labor and grassroots partners, policymakers and public agency staff, and other stakeholders and allies who are working on the state and local level to maximize the long-term economic benefits of federal industrial policy investments created or expanded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and CHIPS and Science Act.

Historic federal investments in infrastructure and clean energy transition created by the BIL, IRA, and CHIPS and Science Act are providing unprecedented opportunities to advance many of the economic justice goals EARN groups and their partners have long fought for—good jobs, worker power, strong labor standards, and progress on racial, gender, and climate justice. But these outcomes are by no means automatic, and a myriad of important policy choices and challenges lie ahead for every state and local jurisdiction across the country.

In this context, state and local policies, programs, and practices shaping labor standards and worker power have never been more important. Some of the funding opportunities and mechanisms in these laws require the kinds of labor standards necessary to ensure that good jobs, equity, and worker power result from major public investments. In most cases, however, these labor standards are purely optional, if they are mentioned at all. Individual federal program and funding rules are highly variable across agencies, allowing wide latitude for state and local governments and labor and community stakeholders to shape the uses of many federal funds and the rules that private employers and contractors receiving funds will be expected to follow.

This resource library is intended to serve as a hub for 1) sharing practical guidance on navigating complex information streams associated with the three major industrial policy bills and the federal agencies administering them, and 2) providing easy access to how-to guides best practices, and implementation resources designed for state and local advocates.

Last updated January 22, 2024

Publication

Guaranteed Income: Increasing Employment and Helping Families Thrive

A report on a recently concluded statewide guaranteed income pilot program with 330 immigrant families demonstrated unrestricted cash assistance programs allowed for low-wage earners to pursue better jobs, increase their educational levels, and improve other critical outcomes for their children.

The 18-month guaranteed income (GI) pilot program was created in 2022 to address poverty and economic security for low-income, mixed-immigration status families and workers in New Mexico. Immigrant families were chosen for the pilot because polling showed these families struggled significantly more than the general population during the pandemic because of numerous exclusions from the country’s safety net; these exclusions were due to lack of a social security number even if the household had U.S.-citizen children.

Publication

Oregon’s semiconductor incentives package should focus on people and place

In creating a package of incentives to attract chip manufacturers, the Oregon legislature should prioritize investments that will deepen the state’s talent pool, promote equity, and strengthen its infrastructure. The drive to create an incentive package stems from the congressional enactment of the CHIPS Act, which pledges tens of billions of dollars to ramp up domestic semiconductor manufacturing. Understandably, Oregon lawmakers are eager to see some of that money flow to Oregon. In putting together a package to attract chip manufacturers intent on applying for the federal funds, lawmakers should resist calls for direct corporate subsidies, which are often ineffective. At the very least, any new corporate subsidy should come with guardrails to limit the risk to Oregon.