To keep the economy moving, Senator Marty supports policies to help workers thrive such as paid family leave and affordable childcare, and universal healthcare. When the health and family needs of workers are addressed, workers are healthier and more productive, helping stimulate economic growth. Taking care of the needs of workers is pro-business!
In addition, after years of right-wing attacks on the labor movement, the number of workers who are represented by unions has fallen sharply. Senator Marty has been a strong, consistent proponent of labor and collective bargaining rights and has been an outspoken proponent for laws that ensure fair treatment for workers and the unions they organize.
When we face the next economic recession, Minnesota should learn from its mistakes during the last one. Unfortunately, Governor Pawlenty’s strategy was deep cuts and “unallotments” which led to layoffs of many teachers, police, firefighters, and other state and local government employees, making unemployment lines even longer. The disinvestment during that recession was not good for Minnesota, or for our jobs, roads, bridges, schools, and important social services.
Job creation through direct investment
Rather than continue the current strategy of subsidizing businesses with the hope that they will create more jobs, Senator Marty supports a reconstituted MEED (Minnesota Emergency Employment Development) jobs bill, a simple but effective program that would assist small businesses in hiring the unemployed. MEED would help businesses expand by providing a six-month wage subsidy if an employer creates a new position and hires an unemployed worker. If the job becomes a permanent position, the employer is not required to reimburse the subsidy. Because the program avoids complicated red tape, it is easy for even small businesses to participate.
The MEED program was first instituted during the Minnesota recession in 1983. It won praise from national economists and been described as the most effective job creation program in the entire country in the last 50 years, and deserves to be reinstituted to boost the economy.
Investment in public infrastructure
The state can provide a powerful stimulus for the economy through public infrastructure projects. During the Great Depression, when times were toughest, the state and federal government made huge investments in public infrastructure. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) put thousands of unemployed people to work, stimulated the economy, and providing lasting benefits to the community. While such investments are needed at any time, when unemployment is high and interest rates are low, the state can, and should, put people back to work and accomplish needed infrastructure work at a lower cost. These investments are needed to:
- Address affordable housing needs by rehabbing senior and low-income public housing.
- Make cost-saving renewable energy and energy efficiency improvements in schools and other public buildings.
- Address environmental problems by rebuilding wastewater infrastructure.
- Help the U of M and Minnesota colleges and universities by construction, repair, and maintenance of higher education facilities.
- Improve health and promote access to Minnesota’s natural resources through construction and maintenance of state park bridges, trails, and buildings.
The backlog of needs is great and will take years to fully address, but these investments are a guaranteed way to create jobs in the construction industry. Senator Marty supports public infrastructure investment that puts Minnesotans to work, not by using public funds to subsidize private business developers for professional sports facilities or other private business developments, but by making critical investments in meeting public needs.