Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development

Source: Carlos A. Manjarrez and Jessica Cigna, Urban Institute, Urban Libraries Council, January 2007

The Urban Libraries Council commissioned this study to look at how public libraries contribute to the human dimension of economic development. In the process, researchers also uncovered more evidence of the important contributions public libraries make to strengthening places and community quality of life.

This report indicates that public libraries today are deeply involved with people, technology, and quality of life. Public libraries have tremendous reach geographically and virtually. Within the U.S. there are over 9,000 public libraries providing services in over 16,000 branch facilities and through the Web. Nearly every one of these locally-funded organizations offers collections and programs that support early literacy, workforce readiness and small businesses. As such, they are an important and dynamic part of the community’s learning infrastructure which supports local economic development.

This study finds that the return on investment in public libraries not only benefits individuals, but also strengthens community capacity to address urgent issues related to economic development. Public libraries are increasingly finding their “fit” in the formal and informal network of agencies, corporations, nonprofits, and community organizations working together to elevate levels of education and economic potential, making cities stronger.

Agency Guidance – Human Capital Management Policy for a Pandemic Influenza

Source: U.S. Office of Personnel Management

The chart on the following page was developed to assist managers and supervisors in determining the appropriate course of action when confronted in the workplace with an employee who appears ill during a declared pandemic influenza outbreak or an employee who has been exposed to pandemic influenza. Employees who appear to be ill include those workers with pandemic flu-like symptoms (based on symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will be posted at www.pandemicflu.gov once the symptoms are known). Employees who have been exposed to pandemic influenza include those employees who have a known, recent, and direct exposure to pandemic influenza (also based on guidance from CDC and from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The chart is intended to assist Federal supervisors and managers in assessing the capacity of their workforce to carry out the work for which the supervisor or manager will remain accountable during a pandemic influenza.

Social Isolation and American Workers: Employee Blogging and Legal Reform

Source: Rafael Gely and Leonard Bierman, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 20 no. 2, Spring 2007

Times have changed. Americans, and particularly American workers, live in a much more socially isolated world than they did in the past. Union halls and employee group bowling are rare these days. In some respects, the Internet and today’s “virtual world” have contributed to these developments. For example, when employees are telecommuting or working “virtually” off-site, developing a strong sense of community with their colleagues is far more difficult. But while the Internet may be part of the problem, it also has the potential to be part of the solution.

Pandemic Influenza: Best Practices and Model Protocols

Source: U.S. Fire Administration, April 2007

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for developing best practices and model protocols for use by State, local, tribal, and territorial personnel in the development of pandemic influenza plans, preparedness activities, training, and exercises. The content is a synopsis of input received from Federal, State, local, territorial, and tribal emergency medical services (EMS), fire, emergency management, public works, and sector-specific participants during a three-day forum sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Chief Medical Officer and hosted by the U.S. Fire Administration on 23-25 February 2007. The results of this forum are being coordinated with the ongoing efforts of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Human Services, and others.

CBO — Two Testimonies: National Guard and Reserve

Source: Congressional Budget Office

– Effects of Reserve call-ups on civilian employers
Source: Heidi Golding, Congressional Budget Office, Statement before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, May 17, 2007

My testimony, which draws from and updates a study that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published in May 2005, focuses on three topics:

– The characteristics of the firms that employ reservists;
– The combined effects of reservists’ activations and federal job protections on civilian employers, including self-employed reservists; and
– Options for mitigating the effects of reservists’ activations.

– Issues that affect the readiness of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve
Source: J. Michael Gilmore, Congressional Budget Office, Statement before the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, May 16, 2007

My testimony focuses on four topics: past and projected operational tempos of the Army National Guard’s combat units; the overstructuring of the Guard and the need for cross-leveling to deploy its units; equipment shortages; and recruiting, retention, and end strength in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.

Federal Tax Revenues From 2003 to 2006

Source: Congressional Budget Office, May 18, 2007

In response to your letter of May 11, 2007, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reviewed the available data and analyzed the sources and underlying causes of the growth in revenues since 2003. This analysis shows that the overall increase in revenues as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) since 2003 is disproportionately accounted for by increases in corporate income tax revenues.

The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Immigrants to State and Local Taxpayers

Source: Robert E. Rector, The Heritage Foundation, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Immigration of the Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives, Delivered May 17, 2007

In FY 2004 there were around 4.5 million low-skill immigrant households in the U.S. containing 15.9 million persons. About 60 percent of these low-skill immigrant households were headed by legal immigrants and 40 percent by illegal immigrants. The analysis presented here measures the total benefits and services received by these “low- skill immigrant households” compared to the total taxes paid.

In FY 2004, the average low skill immigrant household received $30,160 in direct benefits, means-tested benefits, education, and population-based services from all levels of government. By contrast, low-skill immigrant households paid only $10,573 in taxes in FY 2004. A household’s net fiscal deficit equals the cost of benefits and services received minus taxes paid. The average low-skill household had a fiscal deficit of $19,588 (expenditures of $30,160 minus $10,573 in taxes).

At the state and local level, the average low skill immigrant household received $14,145 in benefits and services and paid only $5,309 in taxes. The average low skill immigrant households imposed a net fiscal burden on state and local government of $8,836 per year.

The fiscal burden imposed by low skill immigrant households is slightly greater at the state and local level than at the federal level. The annual fiscal deficit for all 4.54 million low skill immigrant households at the state and local level in 2004 was $49.1 billion. Over the next ten years the state and local fiscal deficit caused by low skill immigrants on state and local governments will approach a half trillion dollars.

Low Salaries for Low Skills: Wages and Skill Levels for H-1B Computer Workers, 2005

Source: John Miano, Center for Immigration Studies, Backgrounder, April 2007

Technology sector employers, who represent the largest share of H-1B visa users, tell the public that the H-1B program is vital to their ability to find the highly skilled workers they need. Yet Department of Labor data tell a different story. Previous studies have found that the H-1B program is primarily used to import low-wage workers. This report examines the most recently available wage data on the H-1B program and finds that the trend of low prevailing wage claims and low wages continues. In addition, while industry spokesmen say these workers bring needed skills to our economy, on the H-1B Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) filed with the Department of Labor, employers classify most of their H-1B workers as being relatively low-skilled for the jobs they are filling.

This report compares prevailing wage claims and wages employers reported for H-1B workers in computer programming occupations in FY 2005 to wages for U.S. workers in the same occupation. Although the H-1B program stipulates that employers must pay H-1B workers at least the prevailing wage for their occupation and location, the results of this report clearly demonstrate that the regulation does not produce that result.

The findings in this report clearly demonstrate that the legal definition of the prevailing wage requirement does not ensure H-1B workers are paid the actual market prevailing wage. Employer prevailing wage claims and reported wages for H-1B workers are significantly less than those for U.S. workers in the same occupation and location. This suggests that, regardless of the program’s original intent, the H-1B program now operates mainly to supply U.S. employers with cheap workers, rather than with essential skilled workers.

Restoring Prosperity: The State Role in Revitalizing America’s Older Industrial Cities

Source: Jennifer S. Vey, The Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Project, 2007

With over 16 million people and nearly 8.6 million jobs, America’s older industrial cities remain a vital-if undervalued-part of the economy, particularly in states where they are heavily concentrated, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. They also have a range of other physical, economic, and cultural assets that, if fully leveraged, can serve as a platform for their renewal.

Across the country, cities today are becoming more attractive to certain segments of society. Meanwhile, economic trends-globalization, the demand for educated workers, the increasing role of universities-are providing cities with an unprecedented chance to capitalize upon their economic advantages and regain their competitive edge.

Many cities have exploited these assets to their advantage; the moment is ripe for older industrial cities to follow suit. But to do so, these cities need thoughtful and broad-based approaches to foster prosperity.

“Restoring Prosperity” aims to mobilize governors and legislative leaders, as well as local constituencies, behind an asset-oriented agenda for reinvigorating the market in the nation’s older industrial cities. The report begins with identifications and descriptions of these cities-and the economic, demographic, and policy “drivers” behind their current condition-then makes a case for why the moment is ripe for advancing urban reform, and offers a five-part agenda and organizing plan to achieve it.