Let's look at the definition of Enterprise Zone. Federal, state, and local taxpayer money goes into development that will lift an underserved community by making the residents of that community small business owners who hire residents from the community creating an 'enterprise zone' lifting the community and residents out of poverty.
Let's look at Baltimore City Enterprise Zones. Development heavily funded by taxpayer money that lifts wealthy corporations and developers from being rich to being filthy rich using national and global corporations never from the city and allowing them to hire people into a condition of wage theft, workplace abuse, and often these workers are not even from Baltimore. For doing all of this.....these same corporations receive so much in corporate tax break that they actually use public money for profit. THAT IS BALTIMORE CITY ENTERPRISE ZONES. NONE OF THIS IS LEGAL.
First, we need to understand that Baltimore City Hall works for Baltimore Development Corporation and Johns Hopkins so all of these bad policies and the fraud and corruption involved originate from the top. City Hall is told to send the money, to turn their heads to abuse, and create contracts that have absolutely nothing to do with public interest!
What this story tells us is that we need to elect politicians who work for the citizens of Baltimore so that taxpayer money will be used appropriately and residents of the city can work as though they have rights as citizens or if immigrant, they are protected in a Rule of Law nation.
What we see with these Harbor East security guards is the same thing we saw with the Harbor hotels like Hyatt and Hilton........only these hotels City Hall as landlords. Baltimore City Hall is deliberately allowing Enterprise Zone contract requirements to be ignored as regards public funding and helping local communities and residents. So, when Jack Young feels these worker's pain------he and City Hall create the pain and have allowed it to go on for years as has happened with the hotels. When Rule of Law is ignored........especially around labor and justice laws......then it does not matter what new laws come around. Organizing must be allowed but when these unions win.....who is enforcing these laws? No one currently in City Hall! Next, we see City Hall requiring labor unions that organize to give up their rights by having to make Peace Agreements and submit to arbitration....all meant to weaken these unions. Jack Young is not a friend of unions.....he simply comes out of the woodwork when things get hot.
We thank our unions for stepping up action in the most repressive of states and cities as far as labor and justice go! We need unions to use their legal teams to fight for enforcement of labor laws until the citizens of Maryland can reinstate Rule of Law and public justice to protect their rights as citizens!
You will notice that all of the articles below come from other parts of the country because Maryland has no public media that provides journalism holding power accountable to labor and justice. The problems outlined below exist in Baltimore and Maryland and are in fact super-sized because of the level of dismantled public oversight.
When you hear a news report that has a City Hall official feeling the pain of the citizen or worker-----realize these same officials create these conditions and that these problems have continued for years. So, workers have wages that need to be recovered, taxpayers have government funds that need to be recovered, and labor unions need politician who are going to proactively support all union rights in awarding contracts.
Corporate Tax Loopholes: The REAL Waste, Fraud and Abuse in California’s Budget
Posted on 08 May 2012
By Rebecca Band
California Labor Federation
One BILLION Dollars. That’s how much California gives away every year to big corporations, thanks to a wasteful tax loophole that actually incentivizes companies to close up shop in California and move those jobs elsewhere.
According to LA Times columnist George Skelton:
You might think a tax law that rewards companies for killing California jobs and resurrecting them in another state would be dumped. Very quickly. Especially if it also rewards them for selling off property here and rebuilding elsewhere. Or, put another way, if the law provides a tax incentive not to hire or invest in California in the first place. You'd repeal it. A no-brainer.
Makes no sense, except for the companies using the loophole while profiting from selling their products here in the nation's largest consumer market. You wouldn't even have voted to pass such a mind-boggling law. But then you aren't a member of the California Legislature — especially a Republican who believes that any corporate tax loophole is good, any loophole closure is an evil tax increase.
Well, yes, closing the loophole would raise taxes for some out-of-state outfits — but only to the level already paid by California companies that hire and invest here heavily, and contribute substantially to our economy.
As if a billion-dollar giveaway to out-of-state corporations isn’t bad enough, the “single sales factor” loophole is just one of several corporate tax breaks California is wasting big money on, while at the same time slashing funding for schools, health care, public safety, vital services, assistance for the poor, roads, bridges, parks and just about everything else that makes California a great place to live and work.
While the rest of us are struggling in the face of high unemployment and draconian budget cuts, corporations are actually being paid to shed California jobs, and it’s all thanks to their high-powered corporate lobbyists in Sacramento who know just how to sneak these loopholes into budget negotiations. In addition to the “single sales factor” loophole, corporations also benefit hugely from the “enterprise zone” tax loophole, which doles out $37k to employers for every worker they fire and replace in a “targeted” part of the state. According to the California Budget Project, enterprise zones have cost the state $3.6 billion since the program began – that’s money that could have gone to funding schools, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, keeping firefighters and cops on the job… it’s almost overwhelming to think about the cuts that could have been avoided if not for these excessive and abusive tax breaks.
With California unemployment hovering around 11 percent, we ought to be investing in creating jobs, not rewarding companies that lay off hard-working Californians for no other reason except to boost their bottom line. That’s why Governor Jerry Brown has voiced his strong opposition to enterprise zones and other wasteful tax breaks for corporations.
The Governor isn’t alone on this. Economists, legislators, labor unions and working families have been fighting for years to expose the waste, fraud and abuse in our state’s corporate tax loopholes. Even some members of the 1% recognize the need to close these loopholes. Investor and philanthropist Thomas Steyer told the LA Times:
How is it possible we could have this kind of tax loophole that's so bad for the state and for the people? It's just crazy. It's so nuts that I got exasperated.
We’re exasperated too Mr. Steyer. That’s why closing these tax loopholes is a top priority and integral part of the “Invest in California” jobs plan. Because that’s where the waste, fraud and abuse in our budget really lies, and it’s time to put a stop to it.
Can you imagine how much money is lost to Baltimore Public Schools with all of these corporate tax breaks bringing national and global corporations into downtown that most people do not want.
OH, IT DOESN'T AFFECT SCHOOL FUNDING SAY CITY HALL! OH, REALLY?????
Not if you like your school funding to come as selective donations from corporations that should be paying taxes just so they can control what your schools will look like and how they will operate. These Chicago teacher's unions and parents are sick and tired of it and have organized effect campaigns against these corporate politicians and the corporations for which they work. IT IS TIME TO DO THIS IN BALTIMORE AND MARYLAND.
ENTERPRISE ZONES ARE PUBLIC POLICY THAT WAS GOOD AND IS NOW CORRUPTED.
Why your tax money keeps going down the TIF portal hole
Mayor Emanuel would rather fire 1,000 teachers than give up his biggest slush fund.
By Ben Joravsky @joravben
Andrew A. Nelles (Emanuel), Stacie Scott (Lewis)/Sun-Times Media
I was all set to give a little love to Mayor Rahm Emanuel for finally getting around to making good on his long-delayed promise to create an easy-to-search TIF portal on the city's website.
That's a place you can go to find all of the 160-something TIF districts in the city and track which ones have doled out how much to whom for what. The hope, of course, is that we can start to track the bang we're getting for the buck—adding up to $5.5 billion over the last 26 years—from the slush fund known as tax increment financing.
As you've probably heard me mention before, if it weren't for the TIF program, more than half that money would go to the public schools—which, the mayor claims, are so broke he had to close 50 of them a few weeks ago.
The mayor sent out a press release Friday morning congratulating himself for creating the portal and claiming it "will help the city focus programs on job creation and economic development."
Right on, Mr. Mayor—jobs are good!
Alas, within hours of the good news, word broke that the mayor was firing about 2,100 CPS employees—including more than 1,000 teachers—in the latest, largest round of budget cuts. That's on top of the 600 teachers he fired last month as part of the school closings.
So much for job creation. You know, Mr. Mayor, you make it hard for anyone to be a cheerleader.
In the meantime, the mayor's moving full steam ahead on his plans to spend $55 million in property tax funds for a basketball arena for DePaul and a new hotel.
So the private university gets the money and the public schools get the pink slips.
My guess is that Mayor Emanuel deliberately timed the release of the TIF portal announcement to gain a little positive PR on the day he was firing a couple thousand of school employees, in part because of the millions of TIF dollars he's hoarding.
It doesn't get much more cynical than that.
Just so you know—it wasn't the mayor who broke the news of the latest firings. No, it seems the mayor's never around when the bad news has to be announced.
He was skiing in Utah when CPS announced which schools were being closed. And he was vacationing in Europe when the early round of budget cuts were announced this summer. For all I know, he was skinny-dipping in the Bahamas when word broke of Friday's firings.
He wasn't seen in public that day. Most of the teachers got the bad news in calls from central office bureaucrats who were reading from scripts.
Now that the cuts are official, Emanuel is blaming them on the teachers—or at least the $400 million contribution he has to make to the teachers' dastardly pension system. Speaking of cynicism.
As pretty much everyone concedes, the major cause of the so-called pension crisis is that neither Mayor Emanuel nor Mayor Daley before him made payments to the pension fund that they're contractually bound to make.
Only Dr. Freud himself can tell us why Mayor Emanuel is so eager to crush the Chicago Teachers Union.
In the good old days, state law required CPS to make its annual contribution by directly depositing property taxes into the pension fund. As part of the school reform law of 1995, though, Mayor Daley convinced the General Assembly to get rid of that requirement. He began spending money that was supposed to go to the pensions for basic obligations.
I'm telling you, we really have to stop using the word "reform" quite so much around here.
Thanks to that version of school reform, Mayor Daley was freed to use pension fund money to "balance" the budget while building new schools and winning praise from civic leaders and editorial writers as a fiduciary wizard.
As you can see, TIFs were not the only scam Mayor Daley got away with.
At some point, to rectify the pension crisis—as opposed to using it as a justification to fire teachers and close schools—Mayor Emanuel is going to have to start negotiating with Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union.
That would be the same Karen Lewis the mayor hasn't talked to since 2011, when he told her "Fuck you." It's the same Karen Lewis he's tried to intimidate with school closings, teacher firings, charter school investments, and various threats and bluster since he walked into office.
Only Dr. Freud himself can tell us why Mayor Emanuel is so eager to fight Lewis and crush her union. Whatever his motives, it's not only disastrous for public education—it's also bad politics. Unless he wants to alienate every parent in every school—or send the middle class off to the suburbs—he's got to hire back some teachers and restore the classroom cuts.
And that brings us back to the TIF honey pot.
There's so much money flowing into the TIF accounts—$457 million this year alone—that even two all-powerful mayors couldn't spend it all. And so the surplus sits in bank accounts.
I can't say for certain exactly how much is in those accounts because the city's information on the subject is either incomplete, impossible to decipher, or contradictory.
The city prepares an annual report for each TIF district and then posts it online—in a different spot from the TIF portal.
The annual reports include calculations of each district's fund balance. In the Near South TIF district, for instance, the annual report says there's a fund balance of $171 million. You could hire back a lot of teachers with just a fraction of that money.
But just below that line item, the report claims $142 million has been "committed for future redevelopment project costs." It doesn't specify where that total comes from, and the redevelopment projects it lists don't add up to anything near $142 million.
The portal is even less help. It doesn't provide a fund balance for any of the TIF districts. It does say how much each district is committed to spending, but the numbers don't match the ones in the annual reports. For instance, on the portal, the Near South TIF has $49 million in "council approved TIF projects"—a mere $93 million difference from what's "committed" in the report.
Good luck making sense of any of this, Chicago.
I wouldn't say the portal's worthless. But it's certainly no help in ascertaining what most people really want to know: how much money is in the TIF accounts.
In fact, on Monday morning a group of independent aldermen led by Robert Fioretti and Scott Waguespack called on Mayor Emanuel to disclose what the surplus is and release the funds for use by the schools, city, and county. "Stop siphoning it off from investing in our children," Fioretti said.
Look for a big fight on this issue in the coming weeks. Every time parents, teachers, or students demand that Mayor Emanuel tap the TIF reserves, you can expect that he'll claim most of the money is already committed to something else.
As with Mayor Daley, he's come to view TIF money as his precious hoard, and he'll be damned if anyone's going to tell him how to spend it.
Not only are the jobs created in these Enterprise Zones poverty jobs, throughout workers are openly fleeced of their wages, denied basic workplace rights, and employee turnover so great as to be ineffective in any measure in reducing poverty.
THE WAY ENTERPRISE ZONES OPERATE IN IMPOVERISHING AND TAKING AWAY ALL CONTROL OF COMMUNITIES IS THE OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY ARE REQUIRED TO DO ACCORDING TO GOVERNMENT FUNDING.
If your politicians are not demanding that public money come back to government coffers and individual's pockets from all this fraud and corruption and Rule of Law for white collar crime reinstated-----then those politicians are not FEELING OUR PAIN!
Keep in mind as you read that Enterprise Zones do not work------THE ORIGINAL POLICY THAT MADE ENTERPRISE ZONES WORKED JUST FINE------IT HAS BEEN ALLOWED TO BE CORRUPTED JUST AS WITH FEDERAL HOUSING LOANS AND FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN AGENCIES. Get rid of the fraud and corruption and not the
How Enterprise Zones Are Killing the California Dream
By: Gary Cohn Wednesday May 29, 2013 10:14 am
The following story is part of California Exposé, an investigative series from Frying Pan News.
John Thomas and Hans Burkhardt have a lot in common. For more than 17 years each man had a good paying union job, with health and pension benefits, near San Francisco Bay. Thomas worked as a warehouseman for VWR International, a medical supply company with a warehouse in Brisbane, south of Candlestick Park. Burkhardt also worked as a warehouseman, for BlueLinx, a building products company with a facility across the bay in Newark.
The similarities don’t end there. Both Thomas and Burkhardt are now collecting unemployment, having lost their $22-an-hour jobs after their employers moved to take advantage of California’s enterprise zone plan, a controversial state program that is supposed to create jobs.
The enterprise program, established in 1984, provides $700 million in tax breaks for companies that set up business or move to one of 40 zones within the state. It is operated by the state but administered by local governments. The program gives companies tax credits of up to $37,440 per person hired in one of the zones, which are intended to create jobs and spark investment in economically distressed areas. Yet interviews and public documents reviewed by Frying Pan News reveal that some of these zones are located in relatively well-off areas, including San Francisco’s Financial District and the city’s hipster-packed SoMa neighborhood, which is home to many software and technology firms. In Southern California, enterprise zone areas encompass parts of Hollywood and the corporate center of downtown Los Angeles.
The program has been under fire for years from critics who say that it simply rewards employers for moving jobs from one location to another — and who echo the charge that several of the so-called enterprise zones aren’t really in economically distressed regions. According to sources with knowledge of the program, other businesses that have applied for enterprise zone credits include two strip clubs, Gold Club Centerfolds and Déjà Vu Showgirls.
The two gentlemen’s clubs are located in Rancho Cordova, a largely middle-class suburb just east of the state’s capitol, Sacramento. Gold Club Centerfolds advertises itself as “Sacramento’s All Nude Adult Entertainment,” while Déjà Vu Showgirls, which is part of a national chain of clubs, offers “1000’s of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones.” It isn’t known whether the applications were approved because, like so much of the program, the names of recipients aren’t public information. (The two clubs have not responded to requests for comment; neither have VWR or BlueLinx.)
[Update, May 28 7:26 p.m.: Documents received by Frying Pan News today show that Gold Club Centerfolds did receive approval of its application.]
In fact, because the program falls under the purview of tax codes, much of its day to day workings, including the names of businesses that receive the enterprise zone tax credits, aren’t publicly available. Overall, 61 percent of enterprise zone tax credits were claimed by corporations with more than $1 billion in assets. People familiar with the program say that recipients include huge retailers such as Walmart. The total amount of enterprise tax credits received by Walmart is one of those facts cloaked in the program’s tax secrecy.
Numerous studies have raised questions about the value of the enterprise zone program. The nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California concluded in 2009 that enterprise zones had no effect on job creation.
“On average, enterprise zones have no statistically significant effect on either business creation or employment growth rates,” the study said. “The absence of evidence of a beneficial effect of California’s enterprise zones on job and business creation clearly calls into question whether the state should continue to grant enterprise zone tax incentives.”
Other critics say that the worst thing about the program is the human toll it takes on workers. Both John Thomas and Hans arwere willing to move with their companies, but under the provisions of the enterprise zone program the companies cannot take their current workers and still claim the tax credits.
“They should have taken people with them who wanted to go,” says Burkhardt. “I would have gone.” The union jobs that Burkhardt and Thomas and their fellow workers had at the BlueLinx and VWR locations paid, on average, about $20 an hour, plus benefits. They were replaced with non-union positions that paid about one-half of that, with non-existent or substantially reduced benefits.
“I’ve been up here four years, and this is the most abused program I’ve seen,” says state Senator Jerry Hill, (D-San Mateo), whose district includes Brisbane, where VWR had its warehouse.
“This [the enterprise zone program] is not creating jobs at all,” Hill says. “This is a big-industry, big-business tax grab.” The move by VWR, owned by private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners, cost Brisbane about $2.1 million a year in tax revenue while saving the company more than $1.5 million annually through the enterprise zone program, according to Hill’s office.
Hill has introduced Senate Bill 434 to reform the program by specifying that employers must create net new jobs to claim the hiring credit and that the jobs pay at least $16 an hour. The legislation also calls for the creation of a public database of companies that get the tax breaks and the number of jobs they created. The bill was approved by the state Senate Appropriations Committee this week, and is expected to go to the full Senate later this year.
Governor Jerry Brown has previously tried unsuccessfully to get rid of the enterprise zone program, claiming that it doesn’t create new jobs and unfairly benefits companies moving from one location to another. Last week he proposed that the zones be replaced by a sales tax credit for firms that buy manufacturing or biotech equipment. Like his proposal to eliminate the program, Brown’s new initiative is likely to be opposed by legislators whose districts include enterprise zones.
Craig Johnson, president of the California Association of Enterprise Zones, vehemently defends the current program.
“The program does work and it has been successful,” he says in an interview. “It does create jobs. In 2012, the enterprise zone program was responsible for 25,000 new jobs in California and responsible for the retention of 115,000 jobs. By every metric used to evaluate a program like this, it has been very successful.”
Former workers at BlueLinx and VWR, who were represented by Teamsters Local 853, hold a different opinion.
“I’ve been angry. I’ve been upset. It’s not good for the state,” says Thomas, who was among about 75 warehouseman and drivers who lost their jobs when VWR moved its Brisbane facility to Visalia, located 235 miles away in the San Joaquin Valley. “People like me, if we lose our jobs the people of the state of California have to pick up the tab on unemployment.”
Even though he has worked only part-time jobs since then and is currently on unemployment, Thomas feels fortunate that he still has health insurance coverage through his wife’s job.
Burkhardt recalls that, early on, BlueLinx told its workers that they could move with it to a new location. Later, an employee found through an Internet search that the company was actually moving to Stockton, and that workers would not be allowed to transfer with the company.
Doug Bloch, Teamsters political director for the Central Valley and Northern California, says that the situation involving VWR and BlueLinx epitomizes all that is wrong with the enterprise zone program.
“Our union is all for programs that create jobs in economically distressed areas,” Bloch says. “This program doesn’t create jobs.”
The situation involving the layoffs of existing workers when VWR and BlueLinx moved to enterprise zones, he says, “was really perverse. Their tax dollars were given to their employers to replace their jobs.”
“I lost my job and a lot of people got devastated.” says Thomas, now 62. “They pirated jobs from the people at Brisbane and moved to Visalia – and [the company] got paid for it.”
Burkhardt, 58, who has been out work since BlueLinx closed its Newark warehouse, agrees. “You’re taking some people off unemployment and putting some on unemployment.”