Work & the Economy

Report urges states to step into the gap, step up enforcement of child labor laws

BY: - February 28, 2024

Amid a surge of federal child labor law violations, a new report recommends that states spend more on enforcement, tighten state child labor laws and, in many cases, increase the penalties for violators. Some states do impose hefty fines for at least some violations. But the report’s author, Terri Gerstein, said that one of the […]

COMMENTARY
The Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest

New proposals threaten Wisconsin’s environmental and economic progress

BY: - February 22, 2024

I just returned from GreenBiz 24, the premier sustainable business event with over 2,500 participants, including business leaders representing hundreds of companies and organizations committed to achieving a clean economy through more sustainable development practices. Little did I know that while I was away, lawmakers in Madison are still playing games when it comes to […]

Construction workers build a residential high rise on Oct. 2, 2023, in Miami. Inflation is slowing and job growth has surged, but housing costs are still high, partly because of high demand, low inventory and mortgage rates. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

When will housing affordability improve? Spoiler alert: It will take some time

BY: - February 19, 2024

Inflation is slowing and job growth has surged, but many Americans still feel the burden of expensive housing – fueled in part by high demand, low inventory and mortgage rates. Home prices across the U.S. rose 5.5% over the past year in December 2023 and they are projected to increase 2.8% year over year by […]

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Danny Werfel testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee on Feb. 15, 2024. (Screenshot from committee webcast)

Expanded child tax credit could be in place quickly if passed by Congress, IRS chief says

BY: - February 16, 2024

WASHINGTON — Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Danny Werfel told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Thursday that his agency is “poised to move quickly” on a bipartisan tax bill that would temporarily expand the child tax credit and revive several corporate tax breaks. But, he cautioned, taxpayers should not wait to file. The Tax Relief for American […]

Legislation would enable state’s signature small business aid program to bounce back

BY: - February 16, 2024

A pandemic aid program that gave nearly 10,000 small businesses across the state a boost of $10,000 each would get a boost of its own under legislation that got a public hearing this week. The legislation, AB-963 / SB-891, would turn the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) Main Street Bounceback initiative into a continuing source […]

Power line legislation favoring in-state companies passes Assembly

BY: - February 15, 2024

Without debate and on a voice vote — which included audible cries of “No” — the Assembly passed a bill Thursday that would give in-state utilities the right to construct new interstate power lines passing through Wisconsin without competitive bidding. Critics have called the legislation a guaranteed monopoly measure that will drive up utility costs […]

Passengers walk through a terminal at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, or BWI, on Dec. 22, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Biden administration on Thursday announced nearly $1 billion in funding for airport terminal improvements, including at BWI. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Biden administration picks airports for nearly $1 billion in terminal upgrades

BY: - February 15, 2024

The Biden administration will send close to $1 billion to airports across the country to upgrade terminal facilities, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced Thursday. The $970 million in grants will go to 144 airports in 44 states and three territories. Earmarked for terminal improvements, Buttigieg and other administration officials said the grants would fund projects […]

Democratic lawmakers renew their pitch for a paid leave program in Wisconsin

BY: - February 15, 2024

With the regular session of the state Legislature on track to end before April, Democratic lawmakers rolled out a draft bill to renew their quest for a paid family leave program in Wisconsin. Advocates nodded to the Valentine’s Day unveiling of the bill, and its lead Senate author said the announcement was also aimed at […]

Worker scoops ice cream at a retail service job for employment

Assembly Republicans vote to eliminate work permits for younger teens

BY: - February 14, 2024

The Wisconsin Assembly concurred in a Senate bill that would eliminate work permits for 15- and 16-year-old teenagers in a party-line vote Tuesday. The vote followed a half-hour debate in which the Republican supporters said they were simply seeking to remove “red tape” and “bureaucracy” from teenage job seekers and their families. They noted that […]

Children from the KU Kids Deanwood Childcare Center complete a mural celebrating the launch of the Child Tax Credit on July 14, 2021 at the KU Kids Deanwood Childcare Center in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Community Change)

Congress is looking at expanding the child tax credit again. Who would benefit?

BY: - February 12, 2024

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan tax package passed by the U.S. House last month is not a done deal, but the proposal’s supporters say it could restore some poverty-reducing benefits that reached millions under the pandemic-era child tax credit expansion. A majority of low-income families who do not currently qualify for the full credit would see […]

A Planned Parenthood Clinic in downtown Milwaukee. (Photo | Isiah Holmes)

Wisconsin Planned Parenthood employees vote for union representation

BY: - February 9, 2024

Employees at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin voted to join the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals union Thursday with an 81% majority of those who voted. The union will cover a total of 133 nurse practitioners, registered nurses and other health care workers at the health care nonprofit that provides a wide range of […]

COMMENTARY
Danny Lundell (left) discusses consolidation in agriculture with Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general for the antitrust division in the U.S. Department of Justice, at Lundell Family Farms in Cannon Falls on Oct. 24, 2023. Photo by Madison McVan/Minnesota Reformer.

It’s not the vibes giving us a sour economic mood; it’s the monopolists

BY: - February 6, 2024

In recent months a lot of economic commentators have been flabbergasted that despite low unemployment, steady job growth and easing inflation, the public mood about the economy remains dour. Pundits have blamed social media, partisanship and negative media headlines. But what if our headline economic data simply fails to tell a complete story? Dig a […]