Washington, DC – A new report released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, outlines state policies necessary to help state elected officials bypass federal gridlock and strengthen the middle class. The recommendations outlined in the report would create a significant number of jobs, boost incomes for a large percentage of the population, meaningfully cut costs for middle-class necessities, considerably lower the risks of falling behind, and boost opportunity and fair treatment for all.
“Leaders in government have an important responsibility to use their power to help rebuild our middle class and create an economy that works for everyone,” said Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County). “This report provides a valuable blueprint to help state officials achieve a more equitable and prosperous future.”
“The American dream is based on the idea that working families deserve security, safety and opportunity for their children,” said Héctor J. Figueroa, President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union, the largest property services union in the country. “We have a responsibility as a society to keep the pathway to the middle class clear of unfair obstacles so that working people have access to good jobs with benefits, quality healthcare, affordable housing, and a decent education. This report shows that states’ efforts to protect working families have a powerful and positive impact, and should be expanded and encouraged.”
The report, “States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class,” offers more than 100 recommendations to create a significant number of jobs, boost incomes for a large percentage of the population and meaningfully cut costs for middle-class necessities among others.
Among Pennsylvania’s numerous successful policies:
· Pennsylvania uses an alternative approach to procurement—often called best-value contracting—which evaluates contractors based on a range of performance factors rather than just price.
· Pennsylvania started Smart Rehab, a program which has combined federal weatherization program funds with other grant and loan sources to retrofit multifamily housing developments that house lower-income individuals and families. Current estimates suggest that the program will achieve an average reduction in energy costs of 25 percent to 30 percent.
· Pennsylvania has taken a step in the right direction by establishing the Pennsylvania Prior Learning Assessment Consortium to facilitate greater use of prior learning assessments credit in education.
· The Pennsylvania Department of Education provides additional funding for certified green school construction projects.
· Pennsylvania’s Innovation Works program provides a combination of counseling, networking, office space, and small pools of grant funding to bridge the gap between research and market, helping young technology companies get off the ground.
· In 2009 Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed Executive Order 8-09, which bans city employees from asking about a resident’s immigration status unless required by law or to determine program eligibility, and protects the confidentiality of immigration status—unless disclosure is required by law, occurs with the permission of the individual, or the individual is suspected of criminal activity.
The report includes more than 100 policy reforms to:
· Improve the quality of existing jobs
· Reform the tax code so that it raises sufficient revenue fairly and efficiently
· Stabilize the housing market, ensure affordable rental housing, and help rebuild communities affected by the foreclosure crisis
· Improve the quality of education for all students
· Ensure affordable, quality health care for all
· Rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure
Read the full report: States at Work: Progressive State Policies to Rebuild the Middle Class by Karla Walter, Tom Hucker, and David Madland. To speak with an expert on this topic, please contact Katie Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6285.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
With more than 125,000 members, including 20,000 in Pennsylvania, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.