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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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.


Across the country, 29.8 million people would lose their health insurance if the Affordable Care Act were repealed—more than doubling the number of people without health insurance.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.


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.


Moving from Budget Cuts to State Investments: Blueprint for a Stronger Louisiana


Louisiana’s tax system is broken. It doesn’t bring in enough revenue to pay for the things that allow communities to thrive- strong schools, good hospitals and public safety. It taxes people with low incomes at higher levels than the rich. It doesn’t keep up with economic growth. And it’s riddled with special-interest exemptions and tax breaks.

It’s time to trade the never-ending cycle of budget shortfalls for long-term stability that allows for new investments in Louisiana’s communities. It can only happen with fundamental tax reform that meets some basic principles: Fairness, Adequacy, Competitiveness, Timeliness and Sustainability.

A new report by LBP’s Nick Albares, “Moving from Budget Cuts to State Investments: A Blueprint for a Stronger Louisiana,” provides a series of recommendations for how Louisiana’s tax code can be restructured in a way that generates new revenue and shifts the public debate from a question of “where to cut” to “how to invest” in Louisiana’s working families.

Making these common-sense reforms will allow Louisiana to meet its current obligations to students, families and health care providers while making new investments in priorities that can grow and sustain the middle class: college financial aid, early care and education, affordable housing and public safety.


Oregon Care Economy: The Case for Public Care Investment

  • February 1, 2017
  • COWS
  • Laura Dresser, Mary C. King, and Raahi Reddy.

Oregon’s current care economy is vast and largely invisible. Currently underinvested, it creates and exacerbates poverty and inequality. We are missing the opportunity to invest adequately in the care economy in order to build a stronger, more inclusive economy and better life for us all. This report seeks to bring care work into view.

Building a Strong Economy: The Roles of Education, Transportation, and Tax Policy

Effective economic policies can expand opportunity and improve the economic security of working families. When everyone in the workforce has access to the education and training needed to reach their full potential, the productivity of those workers and the overall economy improves. When a state has high-quality transportation infrastructure, the economy is also more productive because goods can more easily get to market, employees can get to work more quickly, consumers can more easily reach vendors, and less money is wasted by overdue repairs.

Improving the quality of the education our children receive and the transportation infrastructure our economy relies on requires up-front investments for long term pay-offs. Determining whether and how to raise revenue for these long term investments is a critical challenge for state policy makers. This paper analyzes the evidence on the short and long term effects of investments in the education of our people and in improving our roads, bridges, and public transit systems. It also examines the effects of tax policies that could fund these investments. Currently in Massachusetts the highest-income households pay the smallest share of their income in state and local taxes. We examine the evidence on the likely economic effects of tax reforms that would bring the overall level of state and local taxation for very high-income households close to that of other residents.