WKZO: Interview with Roger Taylor

Food assistance at risk. WKZO host Roger Taylor interviews Judy Putnam, League communications director — Nov. 25, 2013 WKZO recording

The Detroit News: Time to raise Michigan’s minimum wage

Growing up in Livingston County, my dad worked as a teacher and my mom was a nurse. My dad always told me, “Son, the harder you work, the luckier you get.” I took his advice and, like a lot of kids my age, saved money for college by pumping gas, flipping burgers and handling a paper route.

Minimum wage jobs are still an important gateway into the workforce for many young workers. However, the face of the minimum wage is changing. According to the nonpartisan Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP), 85 percent of workers impacted by the minimum wage are over age 20, 55 percent are women, and 44 percent are working full-time. Nov. 19, 2013 — The Detroit News

Tips for joining the 2013 Kids Count in Mich. report

Dear Kids Count release partners:

Thanks to all of you who have participated indicated you will participate in the Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 briefings and others who have expressed interest in the Dec. 17, 2013  release of the Kids Count in Michigan Overview

We’ll be making the report and news release available to reporters Dec. 11, 2013 on an embargoed basis. If you have reporters contact you for access, please send reporters to jputnam@mlpp.org so we can confirm the embargo agreement.

The embargo lifts at 12:01 a.m.  Dec. 17. (That means you can’t print or air any data prior to Dec. 17. If something airs or is posted at 11 p.m. Dec. 16, it breaks the embargo but anything after midnight does not.)

As reporters agree to the embargo, we’ll give them local advocates contact information and let you know the names of the reporters who have agreed to the embargo.

Three things you can do now:

1. Read the embargoed report and look for areas where your county is doing well or doing poorly compared with other counties (No. 1 is the best ranking in the state.)

2. Join with other advocates in your area to coordinate a release or a message.

3. Be ready to comment; write a statement or news release; or plan a press event.

Three things you can do Dec. 10-Dec. 17

1. Talk with reporters who have agreed to the embargo and have been given access to the embargoed site. We’ll let you know who they are.

2. Hold a press event Dec. 17

3. Send your statement or news release on Dec. 17

 Three things you can do after Dec. 17

1. Write a letter to the editor summarizing the Kids Count data (see templates)

2. Write an op-ed on local Kids Count data and what it means

3. Look for ways throughout the year to use Kids Count data to advocate for programs or policies improve the lives of children


As economy improves, food assistance goes down

A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that spending for the food assistance program called SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) fell slightly in fiscal year 2013. This trend is expected to continue as the economy recovers and fewer low-income people qualify for SNAP.

As seen in previous recessions, this is expected enrollment behavior for SNAP: Caseloads go up when unemployment rises and the economy struggles and then they go down when the economy recovers and more jobs become available. The recent increase in SNAP caseloads is due almost exclusively to the deep recession and our current slow recovery.  The Congressional Budget Office predicts that SNAP spending will return to its 1995 levels by 2019. (more…)

The Oakland Press: Gilbert: Better education options will make state more prosperous

Yet another report is recommending that Michigan improve is educational system and repair its roads as measures to restore prosperity in the state.

The Michigan League for Public Policy is using the report to seek to influence Michigan governmental leaders as they consider state budget priorities. Nov. 20, 2013 — The Oakland Press

Michigan Radio: What the state could gain by the raising minimum wage

There is legislation pending at the national and state level that seeks to increase the minimum wage. In Michigan it’s $7.40 per hour, just over the federal minimum wage of $7.25. A person working full time and earning the minimum would pull down just over $15,300 per year before taxes.  Nov. 19, 2013 — Michigan Radio

Public News Service: Report: MI Can’t Tax Its Way to Top

Michigan lawmakers are being urged to think differently, in a new report about how best to stimulate the state’s economy and move away from the legacy of budget cuts and tax breaks for businesses. Nov. 20, 2013 — Public News Service

Weakening worker protections

Charles Dickens created his novel Oliver Twist to portray the brutal exploitation he saw in the workhouses in his city of London. (We now know that the laborers were treated even more ruthlessly in real life.William Blake wrote about extremely young boys being sold as chimney sweepers, whose lives were cut short from all the coal dust they breathed on the job. Upton Sinclair painted a grisly picture of the conditions and dangers in Chicago’s meatpacking plants. And John Steinbeck wrote about what happens when exploited workers attempt to organize a union.

These works of literature sparked moral outrage in the 19th and 20th centuries and eventually led to many of the labor protections we have come to expect in the developed world today. A new paper from the Economic Policy Institute, however, shows a coordinated effort across the country to roll back or weaken state labor laws on child labor, the minimum wage, overtime, workplace safety and other labor protections. (more…)

1.5 million lose health insurance in Michigan

Michigan continued its dubious No. 1 ranking in the nation for having the highest number of people — workers and their family members — lose their employer-sponsored healthcare coverage, according to a recent report released by the Economic Policy Institute.

According to the report, more than 1.5 million Michiganians lost their coverage over the period 2000-2001 to 2011-2012. Ohio was right behind Michigan with 1.4 million Ohioans losing coverage. (more…)

Skillman Foundation funds Kids Count

Contact: Judy Putnam at (517) 487-5436

Skillman funds work on Michigan child well-being

LANSING, Mich. – The Detroit-based Skillman Foundation has awarded $85,000 to the Michigan League for Public Policy for the 2013 activities of the Kids Count in Michigan project.

Kids Count in Michigan compiles an annual review of a core set of measures of children and youth in Michigan, the 83 counties and the city of Detroit. Those measures are in four categories: health, economic security, education and family and community. In addition to the Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, the project provides an annual report on maternal and infant health and conducts a public education campaign to improve the status of children. (more…)

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