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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.
Through an examination of Amazon’s various platforms and services, this report reveals that for growing racist, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic movements, the breadth of Amazon’s business combined with its weak and inadequately enforced policies provides numerous channels through which hate groups can generate revenue, propagate their ideas, and grow their movements. Particularly, Amazon enables the celebration of ideologies that promote hate and violence by allowing the sale of hate symbols and imagery on its site, and provides a platform for racists to spread hate ideologies through their publications; abuses of Amazon’s platforms are made possible by inadequate and poorly enforced policies. This report provides recommendations for how Amazon should prevent and take responsibility for their platforms’ misuse.
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.
Public school districts in South Carolina suffered a sharp increase in lost tax revenue in FY 2019 due to tax breaks granted to private corporations by county governments. The revenues of South Carolina’s school districts are reduced via state permitted programs that grant businesses tax abatements for extremely long periods of time, which could effectively be permanent exemptions. This report offers a variety of policy options to protect the public education system from corporate tax abatements; these include shielding school finance and implementing a county-based disclosure system to ensure that costs and benefits are fully visible for each employer granted an abatement.
The 2017 partisan tax reform law accelerated the United States’ rising inequality by slashing taxes of wealthy individuals and corporations and expanding the federal deficit, ultimately straining municipal budgets. In order to restore fairness to the tax code and generate revenue for infrastructure and other social needs, this report provides local examples of taxation strategies that target corporations contributing to inequality and wealthy property owners; these include case studies of cities implementing CEO pay gap taxes, high end real estate taxes to fund affordable housing, and vacancy taxes, and cities reducing corporate tax subsidies.
Over the past decade Nissan has created thousands of manufacturing jobs in Mississippi. While the company has spent considerable amounts of its own money, it has also received large amounts of financial assistance from taxpayers at the local and state levels. This report documents the varieties of economic development subsidies the company has been offered, including corporate income tax credits, rebates of withholding taxes, site preparation and infrastructure grants, training grants, and property tax abatements. It also reveals that in total, the value of the state and local subsidies offered to the company in Mississippi is $1.3 billion, which is considerably more than has been reported.