Union activists and our coalition partners are championing a jobs agenda for working families while seeking to make corporations pay their fair share of pie. Below are sample bills working family activists are pushing for in state after state.
Keep Jobs Act
Taxpayers should not be forced to foot the bill for companies that ship jobs overseas. By prohibiting states from contracting with or providing economic development assistance to companies that ship work offshore, the “Keep Jobs in State” Act will ensure state tax dollars are used to create jobs, stabilize the state tax base, and reward companies that play by the rules—not fund companies that send jobs offshore. The bill also includes a money-back guarantee for state taxpayers: Companies that violate the offshoring ban during the course of a contract or development assistance period must repay the state and violators would be banned from receiving taxpayer dollars for five years.
Buy America Act
This model bill will help put Americans back to work by ensuring that state tax dollars are used to procure goods made in the United States whenever our trade laws permit. This bill would supplement any existing or future preferences for locally produced goods.
Fair Chance for Employment Act: Stop Employers from Discriminating Against Unemployed Workers
“Help Wanted” employment ads are popping up all around the country that tell unemployed workers they need not apply. The Model Fair Chance for Employment Act would prohibit an employer or employment agency from refusing to consider an applicant because he/she was currently unemployed, and would bar any state contractor who violates the law from receiving state contracts for up to three years.
Raise Revenues by Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes and Taxing the Very Rich
The recession and the resulting high unemployment have decimated state tax receipts at the time services provided by state governments are in higher demand than ever. As a result, state budgets are imploding and budget deficits skyrocketing. To close these massive gaps, states have made major cuts to government services. States should evaluate the effectiveness of tax breaks, scrutinize contract expenditures and raise revenues by taxing the very wealthy and closing corporate tax loopholes.
- Taxing the Very Rich: Massive cuts have and continue to be made to education, public safety, and other important services needed by children, seniors and working families. Meanwhile, lower- and middle-income people pay a much larger share of their income in state and local taxes than the very rich. Now is the time to look for revenue solutions that include requiring the very rich pay their fair share in taxes.
- Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes: States spend billions of dollars each year on outsourced services, as well as tax credits, deductions, exemptions and other breaks known as “tax expenditures,” yet do very little to track what is spent or evaluate the impact and effectiveness. Such evaluation is always important; in times of fiscal crisis, this oversight is absolutely critical.
- The Model Tax Expenditure Reporting Bill would shine a light on tax expenditures by requiring states to prepare publicly accessible tax expenditure reports as part of the state’s budget analysis. These reports would provide information on who benefits from the tax expenditures, the impact such expenditures on state and local revenues, and whether each tax expenditure has effectively met its stated purpose.
- The Model Contract Services Budget Bill would require the state to prepare a contract services budget for use in the state’s budget deliberation process. This information would detail all spending on service contracts so lawmakers and the public can see what the state is really spending on contracting out. If cuts must be made, they will be the result of informed decisions about the entire range of state spending.
- The Model Combined Reporting Bill: Every year, billions of dollars in state corporate income tax revenue are lost due to tax avoidance schemes undertaken by large, multistate corporations. These schemes involve the movement of profits earned in states that tax corporate income to subsidiaries in states that do not tax corporate income. The model bill would close this loophole by requiring a corporation report on all its’ profits, including those of its’ subsidiaries. The state then applies its corporate income tax to the share of the profits earned in that state.
Prevent Employer Fraud, Stop Misclassification of Workers
Increasingly, employers are misclassifying workers as independent contractors to avoid paying certain taxes (Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes), providing workers’ compensation insurance, paying minimum and overtime wages (including workers in employee benefit plans) and/or allowing workers to bargain collectively. Misclassification is costing states millions of dollars in lost payroll and related tax revenue, and denying workers key safety net protections and rights. Around the country, states are taking action to expose the high cost of independent contractor misclassification by collecting and publishing data on the staggering loss of tax revenue. Other states are passing laws designed to halt the misclassification of workers, including laws that fix the definition of employee or employer, target specific sectors with rampant misclassification, change workers’ compensation and unemployment statutes to target abuse and ensure state agencies are collaborating and sharing data.