Small business owners in the Montana Small Business Alliance have been making their mark in the national tax debate. Continue reading
Last week, on April 28, the 62nd Montana Legislative Session came to a close. The session was a contentious one, featuring some of the worst budget cut proposals in state history. Faced with devastating cuts to health and human services, education, and public employee jobs and salaries, members of the Montana Organizing Project responded by rallying, telling their stories, making phone calls and writing letters to their legislators throughout the session. MOP and its partners tirelessly made the case that Montanans deserve better. And, when the session was over, $150 million in crucial funding — three-quarters of the budgets cuts — was restored. Continue reading
The recently released 2010 Northwest Job Gap Study, Searching for Work that Pays looks at living wages in each county in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. The study also compares the number of job openings paying a living wage to the number of job seekers in each state. The key findings are disturbing: 48% of job openings pay less than the living wage needed for a single adult. For working families, the situation is even worse: 81% of job openings pay less than the living wage needed for a family with two adults (one working) with two children.
These numbers are even more devastating when compared to the record profits that U.S. corporations are making. While millions are desperately trying to make ends meet, annual corporate profits hit an all-time high of $1.66 trillion according to a recent report from the Commerce Department.
The appalling disparities between people and corporations are brought to light by findings in this annual Job Gap study. The report calculates a living wage for a variety of family sizes, and then measures how many job openings pay that wage. Living wages are calculated for all counties in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
A living wage allows a family to meet its basic needs without public assistance and provides some ability to save money for emergencies and to plan ahead.
The report finds that in the Northwest and Colorado, the living wage ranges from $13.54 an hour ($28,171 a year) for a single adult in Montana to $29.95 an hour ($62,288 a year) for a single adult with two children in Colorado.
The report also finds serious shortfalls between the number of people seeking work and the availability of jobs that pay a living wage. This is known as the “job gap.”
The job gap ranges from 7 job seekers per living wage job opening for a single adult in Washington to 57 job seekers per living wage job opening for a family of four in Montana. The lack of living wage jobs forces families to make impossible decisions, juggling scarce dollars between buying milk for the baby or gas for the car.
For many in the Northwest and Colorado, public investments in families and communities are more important than ever. Yet supports like unemployment insurance, child care, and basic health are threatened by the public revenue crisis, while corporate profits continue to escalate.
The 2010 Job Gap Study looks at the availability of living wage jobs in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. This report provides calculations of:
September 23 was an important day for health care–and an important day for small businesses. Exactly six months after the enactment of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA), September 23 was the date on which a range of new insurance protections took effect. Across the country, small business owners from The Main Street Alliance, NWFCO’s national alliance of state-based small business coalitions, took the opportunity to speak up about how the law will help them and their employees. Continue reading
In 2007 millions of people took to the streets to demand comprehensive immigration reform. Despite these strong numbers, we were unsuccessful in getting legislation passed that year. But we did learn one key lesson from this fight: in order to win immigration reform, we need to reach out to non-immigrant communities and educate them about how the system is broken—and what they can do to become allies in this important fight. Montana is a state with a small immigrant population in a sparsely populated space, making it easy for its lawmakers to feel that they don’t need to take a stance on the issue. As a result, residents and citizens fall victim to the barrage of hateful language and misinformation that is so prevalent in the immigration debate. Continue reading