As of 2018, tax incentives for corporations now total over $80 billion annually.
Corporations like Amazon and Walmart that already hoard most of the country’s wealth are given tax breaks to ostensibly boost local economies. City governments have been putting their bid in and fighting for the next warehouse to be built in their jurisdiction, hoping to create jobs. But what are the people actually gaining from having a corporate giant in their backyard? And what kinds of jobs are being created? And how do taxpayers know if their hard-earned dollars are spent wisely?
Those are the questions working people are demanding answers for.
At a press conference today, Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside), along with the California Labor Federation and other worker advocates, announced legislation that will increase transparency and responsibility before giving out taxpayer-funded subsidies for warehouse developments. AB 2853 seeks to increase public transparency to ensure quality jobs are created before approving an economic development subsidy for warehouse distribution centers.
“Development of warehouses in the Inland Empire has grown tremendously, in large part due to the subsidies provided by local government. Yet, research is showing that warehouses aren’t benefiting the local communities they are built in. Government needs to be smart when using our limited funds. My bill will increase transparency so that decisions made improve the lives of the public.”
This legislation is highly important for the California Labor Federation, the sponsor of the bill. When corporations are able to take advantage of workers while using taxpayer-funded subsidies, working people must stand together to demand accountability. California workers deserve to be treated fairly and paid a living wage, and residents deserve to know that their money is being used to boost their local economy, not just line corporate pockets.
Hector Saldivar, Southern California political director at the California Labor Federation:
“If cities are going to spend millions in taxpayer dollars to bring these jobs to their communities, at the very least there should be some assurances that workers will be paid a living wage and have adequate safety protections. AB 2853 simply shines a light on the quality of jobs for which taxpayers are footing the bill. It’s common-sense legislation that’s good for workers, taxpayers and our communities.”
Holding local government and corporations accountable is vital in shifting the power to the people. Ultimately, demanding transparency will help in our struggle for justice.
Sheheryar Kaoosji, co-executive director of Warehouse Worker Resource Center:
“The goods movement sector serves global corporations like Walmart and Amazon, which make massive profits but often employ workers at low wages with no job security. The least we can ask is if such employers are receiving subsidies, they should be accountable to their local communities to disclose whether they are creating good, permanent jobs that pay a living wage.”
In a statement, Moreno Valley City Council member, Jeff Giba wrote:
“Moreno Valley has become an epicenter for warehouse growth. I think it is critical that as we continue to look into developing new warehouses we exercise due diligence to ensure we’re spending local funds efficiently.”
It’s time for working people to stand together to demand quality jobs in return for our taxpayer dollars. We need to end the corporate gravy train and reform our laws to work in favor of the working class. This legislation is a step forward in putting an end to worker exploitation and demands accountability and transparency from corporate greed.