New State & Local Policies

2016

Community Wealth Building Form: What they are and how to use them at the local level

Steve Dubb
Academy of Management Perspectives

In this article for the Academy of Management PerspectivesSteve Dubb, Director of Special Projects at the Democracy Collaborative, writes a comprehensive review on community wealth building strategies, progress, and implementation in local communities:

Community wealth building: America’s emerging asset based approach to city economic development

Marjorie Kelly, Sarah McKinley and Violeta Duncan
Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy

Across the United States a growing number of communities are experimenting with innovative ways to create a more equal, democratic, and community-based economy from the ground up. Our Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly, Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley, and Research Associate Violeta Duncan co-write a piece for the Renewal Journal on how we can use a "politics of place" and "politics for places" to uplift communities across the country and world:

2015

Maine Islanders Band Together to Preserve a Way of Life

Gloria J. LaBrecque

As owners of a valued island business began to think about retiring, the idea of helping their loyal workers form a co-op had real appeal. 

Inequality’s Dead End—And the Possibility of a New, Long-Term Direction

Gar Alperovitz
Nonprofit Quarterly

It is easy to be distracted by what passes for economic news these days, focused as it is on short-term fluctuations and assurances of recovery and revitalization. The simple truth, however, is that year by year, decade by decade, life in the United States is steadily growing ever more unequal.

2014

Theory Test

Tina Griego
Style Weekly

Thad Williamson discusses goals for Richmond's Office of Community Wealth Building in an interview with Richmond-based Style Weekly.

Don’t Call It Anti-Poverty: New Richmond Office Looks to Build “Community Wealth”

Bill Bradley
Next City

Former Democracy Collaborative researcher, Thad Williamson, will soon begin his new job as Director of Richmond, Virginia’s Office of Community Wealth Building, the first municipal office of its type in the nation. Born out of recommendations from Mayor Clinton Jones’ anti-poverty initiative, the Office aims to address the structural causes of poverty that have left 27% of residents in poverty. 

Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Economy

Bruce Seifer
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal

In the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal, localist Bruce Seifer presents an excerpt from his new book that describes the shift in Burlington, Vermont's economic development strategy from one that seeks corporate subsidies to one based on building local entrepreneurship. Seifer gives an overview of the city's long-term economic vision and describes the city's efforts to convert business into employee-owned companies and to provide technical assistance to locally owned firms.

America Has a Scary Sewage Problem: Let's Clean It Up and Jumpstart the Economy While We're At It

Gar Alperovitz
Alternet

The problem is simple, surprising, and quite honestly disgusting: Our nation’s older cities depend largely on sewage treatment systems that overflow when it rains, dumping 860 billion gallons of raw sewage a year into “fresh” water across the country—enough to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania an inch deep.

But the stormwater crisis is also a tremendous opportunity to move in the direction of a new, community sustaining local economy.

 

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown renews focus on small businesses

David Bauerlein
The Florida Times Union

From the Florida Times-Union

The crowd at Mayor Alvin Brown’s first Business Builder conference in early 2012 still bore the wounds of the Great Recession, casting a sense of guarded optimism among the budding entrepreneurs who turned out for the event.

The Rise of the Corporate Landlord

Desiree Fields, Rachel Laforest, Tony Romano, Tony Roshan Samara and Rob Call
Right To The City Alliance

This new report from The Right to the City Alliance’s Homes for All Campaign examines how large, well capitalized, private equity firms, entering rental markets create the risk of a second housing bubble. The author, urban geographer Desiree Fields, demonstrates that the institutionalization of the single-family rental market benefits the same financial institutions behind the housing market crash of 2008, while disproportionately impacting low-income communities. She lays out a policy agenda that can promote greater diversity and broaden ownership of land and housing. 

Local policies for building community wealth

John Duda
NewStart
We need to move beyond ‘projects’ and towards policies that help build and sustain community wealth, says John Duda of the Democracy Collaborative

2013

Towards a Localist Policy Agenda

Stacy Mitchell

At the annual BALLE conference this past June, Stacey Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance highlighted the importance of building a national policy agenda that supports local ownership. Mitchell addressed why changing public policy is essential, the need for framing a compelling narrative to assert change, the importance of building the appropriate components of a national policy agenda, and indicated some first steps to take. Using compelling examples from specific sectors, such as local food and local banking, Mitchell shows that while real change is occurring, major structural forces impede progress and that remaking public policy is critical to moving past those barriers.

2011

2010

2009

A New Deal for Local Economies

Stacy Mitchell
Bristol Schumacher Conference in Bristol, England

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2014

Economic Analysis Of Detroit’s Food System

Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development, LLC

The food economy in Detroit is already the city’s third largest economic sector, and is poised to be the next largest growth sector for the city, note Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development in a report written on behalf of The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. In their report, the authors outline several strategies to foster equitable growth, including connecting local, small-scale food producers and manufactures to anchor institution demand. Only by engaging Detroiters and supporting the local, small, and medium sized actors in the system, the report argues, will food sector growth be effective in creating jobs and building community wealth for Detroit residents. 

2005

The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation

Greg LeRoy

State and local job subsidies cost states and cities some $50 billion a year. In this 2005 book, which has now been made available for free on line, Good Jobs First founder Greg Leroy outlines common abuses as well as common sense reforms to make this job-subsidy system more transparent and effective.

2000

1998

1997

2016

2015

State Future Funds: Jumpstarting Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy and Transportation Infrastructure

Cathleen Kelly

The reality is that state and local governments—and communities—are on the front lines when it comes to coping with crumbling and outdated infrastructure, traffic congestion, air pollution, more extreme weather driven by climate change, and growing inequities. Congress has the power to provide state and local officials with a remedy to the pressing on-the-ground challenges they confront daily. Specifically, by creating State Future Funds, Congress can support state and local efforts to build low-carbon and resilient infrastructure, strengthen communities and grow opportunities for all to prosper. 

2014

Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources

The Democracy Collaborative

Fostering resilient communities and building wealth in today’s local economies is necessary to achieve individual, regional, and national economic security. A community wealth building strategy employs a range of forms of community ownership and asset building strategies to build wealth in low-income communities. In so doing, community wealth building bolsters the ability of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability. 

2013

Job Creation for the Disadvantaged: A Review of State and Local Efforts

Karen Chapple and Robert P. Giloth

This paper examines current job creation practices, surveying the federal government response, think-tank proposals, and related programs in all fifty states. Given the failure of most to reach the least advantaged communities, we then propose an alternative set of approaches in three areas: sectoral strategies, entrepreneurship, and tax and employment policy. A conclusion discusses the challenge of generating and implementing new ideas for job creation. 

2012

Policy Change for Local Living Economies: Practical Strategies for Champions of Change

David Brodwin

The work of building a vibrant local economy requires up-to-date government policies and responsive government processes. This report offers suggestions for would-be change agents to identify the best initiatives and work with local governments on their implementation. 

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

Sector Strategies in Brief

Maureen Conway, Amy Kays Blair, Steven L. Dawson and Linda Dworak-Muñoz

2006

Getting Connected: Employer Engagement in Work Supports

Abbey Frank, Robert Zdenek and Mark Greenberg
Workforce Development Series, Policy Paper No. 1

2005

2004

2002

n/a

2016

The Color of Entrepreneurship: Why the Racial Gap Among Firms Costs the U.S. Billions

Algernon Austin

“America is currently forgoing an estimated 1.1 million businesses owned by people of color because of past and present discrimination,” writes Algernon Austin, author of this new report from the Center for Global Policy Solutions. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Austin finds that the country would produce an estimated 9 million more jobs and have $300 billion more in national income if entrepreneurship amongst people of color were proportional to their distribution in the labor force. To address this, Austin recommends creating tax credits to incentivize investments in minority-owned businesses, expanding the number of Minority Business Development Agencies, and utilizing alternative credit data for those with limited credit histories. 

Community Schools: Transforming Struggling Schools into Thriving Schools

Evie Frankl

With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, communities have the opportunity to direct the change they wish to see in their education systems. This new report from the Coalition for Community Schools, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Southern Education Foundation profiles of 10 community schools across the country and outlines how this model can increase school attendance, decrease suspensions and expulsions, improve academic outcomes, and promote community health and well-being. The paper also outlines key strategies and mechanisms for implementation and includes resources to help codify community schools in policy.

Just Utilities: Organizing for solutions to the household energy crisis

Peggy Kahn and William Hoynes

This new paper from Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a New York-based grassroots organization and member of the Right to the City Alliance, calls for “utilities justice”—the right to have affordable, accessible, healthy, and community-controlled energy. It examines the ways in which communities and families in Poughkeepsie, New York are burdened by energy insecurity and notes racial and income disparities. Recommendations put forth address affordability and access to renewables and weatherization resources, as well as local and common ownership of energy sources. The authors also list strategic advantages for utilities justice community organizing.  

Affordable Space: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It

Olivia LaVecchia and Stacy Mitchell
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

This new brief from National Housing Conference explores how affordable housing and community development organizations can partner with healthcare anchors to achieve both health and community development goals. The authors describe collaborations around the country which have helped create ageing-in-place programs for low-income seniors, public housing renovations, and employer assisted housing programs. Examining community health needs assessments (CHNA) is identified as the first step for organizations looking to pursue partnerships with nonprofit hospitals:

Slicing the Budget Pie for Big Business: How Three States Allocate Economic Development Dollars, Large Companies versus Small

Kasia Tarczynska, Thomas Cafcas and Greg LeRoy

The third in Good Jobs First’s recent series exploring whether state economic development programs are fair to small, local businesses continues to find bias in favor of large companies. The report analyzes state economic development spending in Florida, Missouri, and New Mexico and finds that on average 68 percent of spending goes towards large companies, more than triple the amount received by small businesses—despite the fact that small businesses are the primary driver of job growth. The report recommends that states develop more transparent subsidy award reporting and track how economic development dollars benefit small businesses specifically. The authors also recommend that states develop safeguards to ensure that incentives going to large companies result in public benefits commensurate with the subsidy.

2015

Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago’s Communities First

Saqib Bhatti and Carrie Sloan

Despite the fact that municipalities have a default rate of 0.02 percent on their loans between 1970 and 2012, credit rating agencies frequently threaten cities with credit downgrades, a “political ploy” that often serves to transfer public assets into Wall Street hands. In this report from the ReFund America Project, an initiative of the Roosevelt Institute, Executive Director Saqib Bhatti and Senior Research Analyst Carrie Sloan charge the City of Chicago to resist corporate interests and put residents first. They offer a series of suggestions to stabilize the local economy and provide resources for essential public services, which include ending corporate tax subsidies and tax breaks, partnering with other cities to fight against financing fees levied by big banks, and creating public banks to foster reinvestment.

Excluded from the Financial Mainstream: How the Economic Recovery is Bypassing Millions of Americans

Jennifer Brooks, Kasey Wiedrich, Lebaron Sims, Jr. and Solana Rice
Findings from the 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

One in five households regularly rely on fringe financial services to meet their needs. Nationally, 55.6 percent of consumers have subprime credit scores, meaning they cannot qualify for credit or financing at prime rates. In its 2015 Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) describes these and other difficulties faced by many Americans and breaks down disparities by race and state. The report also outlines how a combination of state policies such as protections against predatory lending and the establishment of housing trust funds can help families achieve economic security.

Cities Building Community Wealth

Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley

In an era of persistent urban inequality and chronic unemployment disproportionately impacting historically marginalized communities and communities of color, new alternatives to the traditional economic development strategies that have failed to bring broad and evenly distributed prosperity to America's cities are clearly needed.

2014

2013

Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders

Neal Gorenflo and Yassi Eskandari-Qajar

This policy primer from Shareable and the Sustainable Economies Law Center catalogues innovative local policies that city governments have used to help residents share resources, co-produce, and create their own jobs. Focusing on food, housing, transportation, and job sharing, this guide is intended to help cities build community wealth and develop more resilient and democratic local economies. More broadly, the sharing economy highlights how governments can structure infrastructure, services, incentives, and regulations to support this new economy.

The Job Creation Shell Game: Ending the Wasteful Practice of Subsidizing Companies that Move Jobs From One State to Another

Greg LeRoy, et al

A new report from Good Jobs First shows how state and local governments waste billions of dollars in subsidies used to lure business across state lines while businesses use job creation “blackmail” to demand greater rewards. The result is a shrinking tax base for states, reducing needed resources for education, infrastructure development, and job development as well as unfair job redistribution. After examining the states where these practices are most common and harmful, the authors recommend policies that reduce interstate job competition.  Ultimately, the authors call on the federal government to use incentives to curtail these practices. 

2012

Selling Snake Oil to the States: The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Flawed Prescriptions for Prosperity

Peter Fischer

Good Jobs First and The Iowa Policy Project use statistical analysis to show how policies advocated by the American Legislatives Exchange Council (ALEC) have not only failed to produce positive economic results but have actually resulted in worse outcomes for states. Written by Dr. Peter Fischer, the report finds that ALEC’s proscribed policies to reduce or abolish progressive taxes, weaken unions, invest less in education and public services, and shrink the social safety net to promote job creation and growth have led to economic inequality, wage suppression, income stagnation, and a sharp deduction in state and local revenue needed to maintain public infrastructure and systems.

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

n/a

Community Wealth Building Form: What they are and how to use them at the local level

Steve Dubb
Academy of Management Perspectives

In this article for the Academy of Management PerspectivesSteve Dubb, Director of Special Projects at the Democracy Collaborative, writes a comprehensive review on community wealth building strategies, progress, and implementation in local communities:

Community wealth building: America’s emerging asset based approach to city economic development

Marjorie Kelly, Sarah McKinley and Violeta Duncan
Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy

Across the United States a growing number of communities are experimenting with innovative ways to create a more equal, democratic, and community-based economy from the ground up. Our Vice President and Senior Fellow Marjorie Kelly, Manager of Community Development Programs Sarah McKinley, and Research Associate Violeta Duncan co-write a piece for the Renewal Journal on how we can use a "politics of place" and "politics for places" to uplift communities across the country and world:

Maine Islanders Band Together to Preserve a Way of Life

Gloria J. LaBrecque

As owners of a valued island business began to think about retiring, the idea of helping their loyal workers form a co-op had real appeal. 

Inequality’s Dead End—And the Possibility of a New, Long-Term Direction

Gar Alperovitz
Nonprofit Quarterly

It is easy to be distracted by what passes for economic news these days, focused as it is on short-term fluctuations and assurances of recovery and revitalization. The simple truth, however, is that year by year, decade by decade, life in the United States is steadily growing ever more unequal.

Theory Test

Tina Griego
Style Weekly

Thad Williamson discusses goals for Richmond's Office of Community Wealth Building in an interview with Richmond-based Style Weekly.

Don’t Call It Anti-Poverty: New Richmond Office Looks to Build “Community Wealth”

Bill Bradley
Next City

Former Democracy Collaborative researcher, Thad Williamson, will soon begin his new job as Director of Richmond, Virginia’s Office of Community Wealth Building, the first municipal office of its type in the nation. Born out of recommendations from Mayor Clinton Jones’ anti-poverty initiative, the Office aims to address the structural causes of poverty that have left 27% of residents in poverty. 

Sustainable Communities: Creating a Durable Economy

Bruce Seifer
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal

In the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Communities & Banking Journal, localist Bruce Seifer presents an excerpt from his new book that describes the shift in Burlington, Vermont's economic development strategy from one that seeks corporate subsidies to one based on building local entrepreneurship. Seifer gives an overview of the city's long-term economic vision and describes the city's efforts to convert business into employee-owned companies and to provide technical assistance to locally owned firms.

America Has a Scary Sewage Problem: Let's Clean It Up and Jumpstart the Economy While We're At It

Gar Alperovitz
Alternet

The problem is simple, surprising, and quite honestly disgusting: Our nation’s older cities depend largely on sewage treatment systems that overflow when it rains, dumping 860 billion gallons of raw sewage a year into “fresh” water across the country—enough to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania an inch deep.

But the stormwater crisis is also a tremendous opportunity to move in the direction of a new, community sustaining local economy.

 

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown renews focus on small businesses

David Bauerlein
The Florida Times Union

From the Florida Times-Union

The crowd at Mayor Alvin Brown’s first Business Builder conference in early 2012 still bore the wounds of the Great Recession, casting a sense of guarded optimism among the budding entrepreneurs who turned out for the event.

The Rise of the Corporate Landlord

Desiree Fields, Rachel Laforest, Tony Romano, Tony Roshan Samara and Rob Call
Right To The City Alliance

This new report from The Right to the City Alliance’s Homes for All Campaign examines how large, well capitalized, private equity firms, entering rental markets create the risk of a second housing bubble. The author, urban geographer Desiree Fields, demonstrates that the institutionalization of the single-family rental market benefits the same financial institutions behind the housing market crash of 2008, while disproportionately impacting low-income communities. She lays out a policy agenda that can promote greater diversity and broaden ownership of land and housing. 

Local policies for building community wealth

John Duda
NewStart
We need to move beyond ‘projects’ and towards policies that help build and sustain community wealth, says John Duda of the Democracy Collaborative

Towards a Localist Policy Agenda

Stacy Mitchell

At the annual BALLE conference this past June, Stacey Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self Reliance highlighted the importance of building a national policy agenda that supports local ownership. Mitchell addressed why changing public policy is essential, the need for framing a compelling narrative to assert change, the importance of building the appropriate components of a national policy agenda, and indicated some first steps to take. Using compelling examples from specific sectors, such as local food and local banking, Mitchell shows that while real change is occurring, major structural forces impede progress and that remaking public policy is critical to moving past those barriers.

A New Deal for Local Economies

Stacy Mitchell
Bristol Schumacher Conference in Bristol, England

Economic Analysis Of Detroit’s Food System

Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development, LLC

The food economy in Detroit is already the city’s third largest economic sector, and is poised to be the next largest growth sector for the city, note Econsult Solutions, Inc. and Urbane Development in a report written on behalf of The Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative. In their report, the authors outline several strategies to foster equitable growth, including connecting local, small-scale food producers and manufactures to anchor institution demand. Only by engaging Detroiters and supporting the local, small, and medium sized actors in the system, the report argues, will food sector growth be effective in creating jobs and building community wealth for Detroit residents. 

The Great American Jobs Scam: Corporate Tax Dodging and the Myth of Job Creation

Greg LeRoy

State and local job subsidies cost states and cities some $50 billion a year. In this 2005 book, which has now been made available for free on line, Good Jobs First founder Greg Leroy outlines common abuses as well as common sense reforms to make this job-subsidy system more transparent and effective.

State Future Funds: Jumpstarting Investments in Low-Carbon and Resilient Energy and Transportation Infrastructure

Cathleen Kelly

The reality is that state and local governments—and communities—are on the front lines when it comes to coping with crumbling and outdated infrastructure, traffic congestion, air pollution, more extreme weather driven by climate change, and growing inequities. Congress has the power to provide state and local officials with a remedy to the pressing on-the-ground challenges they confront daily. Specifically, by creating State Future Funds, Congress can support state and local efforts to build low-carbon and resilient infrastructure, strengthen communities and grow opportunities for all to prosper. 

Policies for Community Wealth Building: Leveraging State and Local Resources

The Democracy Collaborative

Fostering resilient communities and building wealth in today’s local economies is necessary to achieve individual, regional, and national economic security. A community wealth building strategy employs a range of forms of community ownership and asset building strategies to build wealth in low-income communities. In so doing, community wealth building bolsters the ability of communities and individuals to increase asset ownership, anchor jobs locally, expand the provision of public services, and ensure local economic stability. 

Job Creation for the Disadvantaged: A Review of State and Local Efforts

Karen Chapple and Robert P. Giloth

This paper examines current job creation practices, surveying the federal government response, think-tank proposals, and related programs in all fifty states. Given the failure of most to reach the least advantaged communities, we then propose an alternative set of approaches in three areas: sectoral strategies, entrepreneurship, and tax and employment policy. A conclusion discusses the challenge of generating and implementing new ideas for job creation. 

Policy Change for Local Living Economies: Practical Strategies for Champions of Change

David Brodwin

The work of building a vibrant local economy requires up-to-date government policies and responsive government processes. This report offers suggestions for would-be change agents to identify the best initiatives and work with local governments on their implementation. 

Sector Strategies in Brief

Maureen Conway, Amy Kays Blair, Steven L. Dawson and Linda Dworak-Muñoz

Getting Connected: Employer Engagement in Work Supports

Abbey Frank, Robert Zdenek and Mark Greenberg
Workforce Development Series, Policy Paper No. 1

The Color of Entrepreneurship: Why the Racial Gap Among Firms Costs the U.S. Billions

Algernon Austin

“America is currently forgoing an estimated 1.1 million businesses owned by people of color because of past and present discrimination,” writes Algernon Austin, author of this new report from the Center for Global Policy Solutions. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Business Owners, Austin finds that the country would produce an estimated 9 million more jobs and have $300 billion more in national income if entrepreneurship amongst people of color were proportional to their distribution in the labor force. To address this, Austin recommends creating tax credits to incentivize investments in minority-owned businesses, expanding the number of Minority Business Development Agencies, and utilizing alternative credit data for those with limited credit histories. 

Community Schools: Transforming Struggling Schools into Thriving Schools

Evie Frankl

With passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which replaces No Child Left Behind, communities have the opportunity to direct the change they wish to see in their education systems. This new report from the Coalition for Community Schools, the Center for Popular Democracy, and the Southern Education Foundation profiles of 10 community schools across the country and outlines how this model can increase school attendance, decrease suspensions and expulsions, improve academic outcomes, and promote community health and well-being. The paper also outlines key strategies and mechanisms for implementation and includes resources to help codify community schools in policy.

Just Utilities: Organizing for solutions to the household energy crisis

Peggy Kahn and William Hoynes

This new paper from Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson, a New York-based grassroots organization and member of the Right to the City Alliance, calls for “utilities justice”—the right to have affordable, accessible, healthy, and community-controlled energy. It examines the ways in which communities and families in Poughkeepsie, New York are burdened by energy insecurity and notes racial and income disparities. Recommendations put forth address affordability and access to renewables and weatherization resources, as well as local and common ownership of energy sources. The authors also list strategic advantages for utilities justice community organizing.  

Affordable Space: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It

Olivia LaVecchia and Stacy Mitchell
Institute for Local Self-Reliance

This new brief from National Housing Conference explores how affordable housing and community development organizations can partner with healthcare anchors to achieve both health and community development goals. The authors describe collaborations around the country which have helped create ageing-in-place programs for low-income seniors, public housing renovations, and employer assisted housing programs. Examining community health needs assessments (CHNA) is identified as the first step for organizations looking to pursue partnerships with nonprofit hospitals:

Slicing the Budget Pie for Big Business: How Three States Allocate Economic Development Dollars, Large Companies versus Small

Kasia Tarczynska, Thomas Cafcas and Greg LeRoy

The third in Good Jobs First’s recent series exploring whether state economic development programs are fair to small, local businesses continues to find bias in favor of large companies. The report analyzes state economic development spending in Florida, Missouri, and New Mexico and finds that on average 68 percent of spending goes towards large companies, more than triple the amount received by small businesses—despite the fact that small businesses are the primary driver of job growth. The report recommends that states develop more transparent subsidy award reporting and track how economic development dollars benefit small businesses specifically. The authors also recommend that states develop safeguards to ensure that incentives going to large companies result in public benefits commensurate with the subsidy.

Our Kind of Town: A Financial Plan that Puts Chicago’s Communities First

Saqib Bhatti and Carrie Sloan

Despite the fact that municipalities have a default rate of 0.02 percent on their loans between 1970 and 2012, credit rating agencies frequently threaten cities with credit downgrades, a “political ploy” that often serves to transfer public assets into Wall Street hands. In this report from the ReFund America Project, an initiative of the Roosevelt Institute, Executive Director Saqib Bhatti and Senior Research Analyst Carrie Sloan charge the City of Chicago to resist corporate interests and put residents first. They offer a series of suggestions to stabilize the local economy and provide resources for essential public services, which include ending corporate tax subsidies and tax breaks, partnering with other cities to fight against financing fees levied by big banks, and creating public banks to foster reinvestment.

Excluded from the Financial Mainstream: How the Economic Recovery is Bypassing Millions of Americans

Jennifer Brooks, Kasey Wiedrich, Lebaron Sims, Jr. and Solana Rice
Findings from the 2015 Assets & Opportunity Scorecard

One in five households regularly rely on fringe financial services to meet their needs. Nationally, 55.6 percent of consumers have subprime credit scores, meaning they cannot qualify for credit or financing at prime rates. In its 2015 Asset and Opportunity Scorecard, the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) describes these and other difficulties faced by many Americans and breaks down disparities by race and state. The report also outlines how a combination of state policies such as protections against predatory lending and the establishment of housing trust funds can help families achieve economic security.

Cities Building Community Wealth

Marjorie Kelly and Sarah McKinley

In an era of persistent urban inequality and chronic unemployment disproportionately impacting historically marginalized communities and communities of color, new alternatives to the traditional economic development strategies that have failed to bring broad and evenly distributed prosperity to America's cities are clearly needed.

Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders

Neal Gorenflo and Yassi Eskandari-Qajar

This policy primer from Shareable and the Sustainable Economies Law Center catalogues innovative local policies that city governments have used to help residents share resources, co-produce, and create their own jobs. Focusing on food, housing, transportation, and job sharing, this guide is intended to help cities build community wealth and develop more resilient and democratic local economies. More broadly, the sharing economy highlights how governments can structure infrastructure, services, incentives, and regulations to support this new economy.

The Job Creation Shell Game: Ending the Wasteful Practice of Subsidizing Companies that Move Jobs From One State to Another

Greg LeRoy, et al

A new report from Good Jobs First shows how state and local governments waste billions of dollars in subsidies used to lure business across state lines while businesses use job creation “blackmail” to demand greater rewards. The result is a shrinking tax base for states, reducing needed resources for education, infrastructure development, and job development as well as unfair job redistribution. After examining the states where these practices are most common and harmful, the authors recommend policies that reduce interstate job competition.  Ultimately, the authors call on the federal government to use incentives to curtail these practices. 

Selling Snake Oil to the States: The American Legislative Exchange Council’s Flawed Prescriptions for Prosperity

Peter Fischer

Good Jobs First and The Iowa Policy Project use statistical analysis to show how policies advocated by the American Legislatives Exchange Council (ALEC) have not only failed to produce positive economic results but have actually resulted in worse outcomes for states. Written by Dr. Peter Fischer, the report finds that ALEC’s proscribed policies to reduce or abolish progressive taxes, weaken unions, invest less in education and public services, and shrink the social safety net to promote job creation and growth have led to economic inequality, wage suppression, income stagnation, and a sharp deduction in state and local revenue needed to maintain public infrastructure and systems.