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This report discusses the concept, features, and implementation of municipal-level community benefits agreements (CBAs) in California. This report notes that these agreements enhance trust and cooperation between employees, businesses, communities, and governments by contractually binding them to one another following CBA negotiations. Notably, where large scale development projects are bound to a community through a CBA, this report finds that the economic growth and development is more wide spread across the community where developers and communities have a CBA in place than in cases where developers are not bound to the community through some contract. This report finds that CBAs both open lines of communication between community groups and developers and foster greater coordination between communities and developers by establishing goals of development.
Upon the creation of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, Congress granted the EPA primary responsibility for meeting anti-pollution goals, but allowed the EPA to delegate enforcement authority to state agencies. However, some state enforcement programs frequently do not meet national goals, and states do not always take necessary enforcement actions necessary to do so, ultimately weakening the EPA’s enforcement program. Thus, evaluating relative state performance is made more difficult by the lack of consistency in the ways the states report on their enforcement activity. The purpose of the current report is to examine the relative performance of states with regard to their enforcement activities—specifically, their caseloads and the penalties they collect. This report recommends that states be required to employ a standard form of online disclosure. Absent that, transparency should be provided by the EPA.
Recognizing the difficulty of bringing actions against companies with abundant financial resources and lawyers, in the 1980s many state attorneys general (AGs) began to cooperate with one another. While initially this cooperation was limited to sharing information about their own separate investigations, eventually groups of state AGs later started to prosecute cases jointly in what became known as multistate litigation. Though partisan divisions in the United States remain strong, multistate AG litigation is an arena in which political differences can be put aside in pursuit of a common effort to fight price-fixing, foreclosure abuses, the sale of unsafe drugs and other forms of corporate wrongdoing. This report offers a review of multistate litigation over the past two decades, revealing that state AGs have become critical actors in combating corporate misconduct.
More than one million businesses and non-profit organizations have been identified as recipients of grants and loans awarded through the Paycheck Protection Program and other provisions of the CARES Act. Good Jobs First has determined that more than 43,000 of those recipients have been involved in corporate misconduct over the past decade. The revelation that thousands of CARES Act recipients have records of misconduct—including some cases of a criminal nature—raises the question of whether the eligibility criteria for the grant and loan programs were strict enough. This report argues that these companies should be subject to additional scrutiny to ensure they do not resume their fraudulent behavior while receiving grants and loans.
Many of the largest companies operating in the United States have increased their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock or by depriving them of required overtime pay. An analysis of federal and state court records shows that these corporations have been embroiled in hundreds of lawsuits over wage theft and have paid out billions of dollars to resolve the cases. This report analyzes the prevalence of wage theft in big business and identifies the specific corporations and industry sectors that have been involved most often and paid the largest penalty amounts.
An examination of federal and state court records shows that the vast majority of large corporations throughout the U.S. economy have made payments to plaintiffs in at least one employment discrimination or harassment lawsuit since the beginning of 2000. These include individual and class action cases alleging discrimination based on gender, race, national origin, age, or disability as well as sexual or racial harassment. This report demands that large corporations do more to disclose the full extent to which they are targeted in discrimination and harassment lawsuits; the public availability of this information will put additional pressure on corporations to take steps to eradicate discrimination and harassment from their workplace.
This report is a resource for community organizers who want to improve transit options in their local community. This report includes case studies of successful ridership campaigns and best practices for organizing riders and transit workers.
Public school students in the U.S. suffered poorer schools—and local and state taxpayers paid higher taxes—in 2019 due to corporate tax breaks; economic development tax abatements given to corporations cost public school districts at least $2.37 billion in foregone revenue in FY 2019. This report presents case studies from schools in Louisiana, Missouri, New York, South Carolina, and Texas where schools are losing significant revenue to tax abatements. Additionally, this report makes recommendations to these states and offers suggestions to the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (BASB); these recommendations include capping the share of each locality’s property and sales tax base that can be abated in the name of economic development, giving school boards control to opt in or out of tax-break deals, requiring all governments that are making abatement agreements to report the costs of such deals to all affected jurisdictions, and more.
The City of Memphis has deliberately avoided its municipal pension obligations at the same time it has granted a series of costly property tax abatements, such as payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs), to large corporations and sports franchises. For every year between 2009 and 2012, the revenues lost by Memphis to economic development subsidies exceeded the annual cost of funding the city’s pension system. This report outlines the burdens of PILOTs, and ultimately determines that Memphis’ spending on subsidy deals is eroding the revenues needed to adequately fund public services.
Tech companies have been rapidly expanding their networks of facilities that store and retrieve digital information through the creation of new data centers. State and local governments routinely subsidize these projects, providing traditional subsidies, such as local property tax abatements and investment tax credits, and even establishing incentive programs specifically for data centers. However, subsidies come at the last stage of the data center site selection process and often don’t function as true economic development incentives; that is, they don’t cause something to happen that wouldn’t otherwise. Instead, public officials pay companies to do what they were already planning to do. To avoid such overspending, this report recommends that states and localities fully disclose deal-specific and aggregate program costs (starting when a deal is being negotiated) and cap all state and local subsidies combined at $50,000 per permanent job, and urges public officials to walk away from excessive data center subsidy demands.