California Labor Launches Jobs Plan for the 99%
“Invest in California” Provides Blueprint for Economic Recovery
Sacramento, CA – Calling on California leaders to renew the state’s commitment to innovation and investments that built an economy of broadly shared prosperity, California’s labor community today launched a plan for job creation and economic recovery called “Invest in California.”
Released today by the California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council as hundreds of the organizations’ members convened in Sacramento for their annual Joint Legislative Conference, the six-point plan calls for significant investments in areas that support job growth, while also calling for an end to wasteful state spending on corporate tax breaks that encourage outsourcing of jobs.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said support for investing in California will be a threshold question for candidates and elected officials seeking working families’ support in 2012.
“Yes, California has taken more than its share of hits in this economy, but we can rebuild an economy of broadly shared prosperity the same way our grandparents created it: by investing in infrastructure that gives our businesses a competitive edge,” Pulaski said. “We can come roaring back by investing in universities that are incubators of innovation and schools that train workers to make products invented in California right here in California. And when workers, not just CEOs, have good jobs, Californians will be working their way into the middle class, not falling out of it.”
The six-point “Invest in California” plan includes:
1) Infrastructure: Invest in repairing and retrofitting the infrastructure that made California great. $9 billion in bonds already sold can be put to work in shovel-ready projects. Public pension fund investment in infrastructure projects and construction of high-speed rail will create jobs and improve California’s competitiveness.
2) Manufacturing: If we invent big ideas in California, we should manufacture them here. Support businesses that manufacture products they invent here. Speed up businesses’ ability to create jobs without weakening worker protections or environmental standards.
3) Education: California needs the most educated and skilled workforce in the world to compete in the global economy, but budget cuts have put California school funding behind Mississippi, Alabama, China and Korea. We need to restore $18 billion to K-12, community colleges and higher education, and expand and create new campuses to improve access.
4) Revenue: Raise revenue to fund education, public safety and other essential services by revamping our tax code so it’s fair. Put special carve-outs for corporations to the jobs test: no new net jobs, no more tax breaks. When corporations ship their jobs overseas, their tax breaks should disappear.
5) Clean Energy: Create a clean and green revolving loan fund to help manufacturers to meet AB 32 requirements and create good jobs. Retrofit public buildings and schools to capture savings with high standards and union labor.
6) Ending Income Inequality: Economic recovery starts when workers have enough money in their pockets to buy products made in California. Require companies that receive state contracts, grants, or tax breaks to pay living wages with health benefits, and preserve project labor agreements that build our communities with living wages.
“When it comes to a strong economy and the quality of life we want for families, we’re all in this together, whether or not we carry a union card in our pocket,” said Bob Balgenorth, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. “Workers who build our roads, bridges and ports succeed when we invest in our infrastructure, and so do the private sector businesses who transport goods on them. Businesses thrive — and create more jobs – when teachers and firefighters have dollars to spend. Our state isn’t short on work ethic, we’re just short on work.”
Rejecting the notion that the state’s deficit prevents investment in our future, AFSCME Senior Assistant Director Willie Pelote called for an end to corporate tax giveaways, like enterprise zone credits, that are bleeding the state of billions that could support job creation and spur real economic development.
“To the voices of doom and decline who claim we can’t afford to invest in our future, we say: when 93% of the income gains over the last decade have gone to just 1% of the population, it’s clear the problem isn’t that California is broke, it’s that our system is broken,” said Pelote.
Labor leaders say they will build support for the plan with events in communities around the state, and will seek to enact the elements of the plan through legislative advocacy and at the ballot box.
Pulaski: “We’re going to be posing a simple question to our leaders: will you invest in our future and rebuild our economy, or keep wasting billions on tax breaks for those who need them the least?”