Rigged to Fail – Technical Notes

Web-Map-4.1

In this report, we seek to answer how well states are supporting workers and their families, based on 25 policies and outcomes in three key areas: Jobs and Wages, Debt and Taxes, and Supports for Working Families. All data used are the most recent available, spanning from 2012 to 2015.

Jobs and Wages

What is the minimum wage as a percent of a living wage for a single adult?

Scores for this indicator are based on taking the state’s minimum wage as a percentage of the living wage for a single adult, and scored on a sliding scale based on that percentage. Score ranges are as follows: 85%+ = 4 points, 75%+= 3 points, 65%+= 2 points, 55%+ = 1 point, and less than 55% scores 0 points.

A living wage is one that allows families to meet their basic needs, without public assistance, and that provides them some ability to deal with emergencies and plan ahead. It is not a poverty wage. Full methodology of living wage calculations and sources can be found in the Alliance for a Just Society’s August 2014 report, “Families Out of Balance: How a living wage helps working families move from debt to stability.”

Current state minimum wage figures come from the U.S. Department of Labor.

What is the minimum wage for tipped workers as a percent of the general minimum wage?

Scores for this indicator are based on taking the state’s minimum wage for tipped workers as a percentage of the standard minimum wage for non-tipped workers, and scored on a sliding scale based on that percentage. For states that have multiple tipped worker categories, the lowest tipped minimum wage was used. Score ranges are as follows: 85%+ = 4 points, 75%+= 3 points, 65%+= 2 points, 55%+ = 1 point, and less than 55% scores 0 points.

All data for this indicator comes from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Is the state minimum wage indexed to inflation (or another cost of living formula)?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the minimum wage is indexed to any type of cost of living formula (including inflation). States that do index their minimum wage receive a score of 4, while those that do not receive a score of 0.

Data come from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Does the state have pre-emption on local governments enacting more supportive worker protection laws (minimum wage, paid sick leave, etc)?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether a state has laws in place that pre-empt local governments from enacting more supportive worker protection laws than exist in state statutes. States that have pre-emption receive a score of 0, while those that do not receive a score of 4.

Data comes from an analysis of state legislation by the National Employment Law Project.

What percent of job openings pay less than the living wage for a single adult?

Scores for this indicator are based on the percentage of job openings that pay less than the living wage for a single adult, and scored on a sliding scale based on that percentage. Score ranges are as follows: 55%+=0 points, 45%+=1 point, 35%+= 2 points, 25%+=3 points, and less than 25% scores 4 points.

Full methodology for the percentage of job openings paying less than a living wage is available in Alliance for a Just Society’s January 2015 report, “Low Wage Nation: Nearly half of new jobs don’t pay enough to make ends meet.”

Does the state require companies receiving subsidies to report wages and jobs created?

Scores for this indicator are based on a combined score for whether the state requires major subsidy projects to report actual jobs created and actual wages. A score based on a sliding scale is given for the percent of major projects that require jobs created reporting and actual wages reporting, and the two scores are averaged for the final indicator score. Score ranges are as follows: 85%+ = 4 points, 75%+= 3 points, 65%+= 2 points, 55%+ = 1 point, and less than 55% scores 0 points.

Data comes from analysis of key subsidy programs in states by Good Jobs First.

Does the state have “right to work” legislation in place?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state has “right to work” legislation in place. States that have “right to work” receive a score of 0, while those that do not receive a score of 4.

Data comes from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

What percent of full-time workers of color earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet?

Scores for this indicator are based on the percentage of full-time workers of color who earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet, or a living wage, and scored on a sliding scale based on that percentage. Score ranges are as follows: 85%+ = 4 points, 75%+= 3 points, 65%+= 2 points, 55%+ = 1 point, and less than 55% scores 0 points.

Full methodology for calculating this percentage is available in the Alliance for a Just Society’s November 2014 report, “Equity in the Balance: How a living wage would help women and people of color make ends meet.”

What percent of women earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet?

Scores for this indicator are based on the percentage of women who work full-time and earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet, or a living wage, and scored on a sliding scale based on that percentage. Score ranges are as follows: 85%+ = 4 points, 75%+= 3 points, 65%+= 2 points, 55%+ = 1 point, and less than 55% scores 0 points.

Full methodology for calculating this percentage is available in the Alliance for a Just Society’s November 2014 report, “Equity in the Balance: How a living wage would help women and people of color make ends meet.”

Debt and Taxes

Does the state eliminate the payday loan debt trap through APR limits?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state has legislation in place to limit annual percentage rates, effectively eliminating the payday loan debt trap. States that do have sufficient APR limits receive a score of 4, while those that do not receive 0 points.

Data comes from analysis of state legislation by the Center for Responsible Lending.

Are there protections of assets in debt and bankruptcy proceedings?

Scores for this indicator are based on sub-scores on five types of assets that states can protect in debt and bankruptcy proceedings. States were given a letter grade that corresponds to points: A= 4 points, B= 3 points, C= 2 points, D= 1 point, and F = 0 points. Scores for the 5 types of assets were then averaged to determine a final score for the indicator.

Data comes from analysis of state policies by the National Consumer Law Center.

Does the state limit hospital charges, billing, and collections?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no to whether the state limits charges, billings, and/or collections for hospitals (non-profit or for-profit). States that do limit charges, billing, and/or collections receive a score of 4, while those that do not receive 0 points.

Data comes from analysis of state policies by The Hilltop Institute.

Are total state and local taxes as a share of family income for non-elderly taxpayers lower for the bottom 20% than the top 20%?

Scores for this indicator are based on comparing the total state and local taxes as a share of family income for non-elderly taxpayers for the lowest 20% of earners and the highest 20% of earners (based on “next 15% above the second highest quintile). If the highest earners pay more in taxes than the lowest earners, the state receives a score of 4; if not, the state receives 0 points.

Data comes from analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

What percent of state revenue comes from sales & excise tax?

Scores for this indicator are based on the percentage of total state revenue that comes from sales and excise taxes, and scored on a sliding scale based on that percentage. Score ranges are as follows: states with more than 40% of state revenue coming from sales and excise taxes receive 0 points, 30%+ = 1 point, 20%+= 2 points, 10%+ = 3 points, and less than 10% scores 4 points.

Data comes from analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Does the state offer an earned income tax credit (EITC) that is actually funded?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state has a fully-funded earned income tax credit (EITC). States that do have an EITC receive 4 points, while those without an EITC receive 0 points.

Data comes from The Hatcher Group on Tax Credits for Working Families.

Does the state offer a child and dependent care tax credit?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state has a child and dependent care tax credit. States that do have such a credit receive 4 points, while those without one receive 0 points.

Data comes from The Hatcher Group on Tax Credits for Working Families.

Does the state provide tax credits for small businesses?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state provides any tax credits specifically for small businesses. States that do have such a credit receive 4 points, while those without one receive 0 points.

Data comes from the Connecticut Department of Revenue, the Florida Department of Revenue, the Idaho Department of Commerce, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the Montana Department of Revenue, Empire State Development, Business Oregon, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and the Washington State Department of Revenue.

Supports for Working Families

Are childcare subsidy rates set at 75% of market rates & based on surveys taken in the last 2 years?

Scores for this indicator are based on the year of the market rate survey on which subsidy rates are based, and on the percentile used to base rates, and scored on a sliding scale for each, which is then averaged to get the final score. The score range for the year of the survey is as follows: 2011 or later scores 4 points, 2009 or later scores 3 points, 2007 or later scores 2 points, 2005 or later scores 1 point, and earlier than 2005 scores no points. For the percentile score, states basing subsidies at the 70th percentile or higher score 4 points, 65th percentile or higher score 3 points, 60th percentile or higher score 2 points, 55th percentile or higher score 1 point, and below the 55th percentile score 0 points.

Data comes from the National Women’s Law Center.

Has the state expanded Medicaid income eligibility to 138% of the federal poverty level?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer as to whether the state has accepted federal funding for expanding Medicaid income eligibility to adults at 138% of the federal poverty level. States that have expanded Medicaid receive 4 points, while those that have not receive 0 points.

Data comes from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Is the portion of public universities’ revenue from tuition less than that from the state?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether public higher education net tuition revenue per FTE is less than educational appropriations per FTE. States where tuition is less than educational appropriations per FTE receive 4 points, while those where tuition is higher receive 0 points.

Data comes from the State Higher Education Executive Officers.

What percent of grant aid goes toward need-based aid?

Scores for this indicator are based on comparing need-based grant aid to total grant aid, and scored on a sliding scale based on that comparison. Score ranges are as follows: states where need-based aid makes up 85% or more of total grant aid receive 4 points, 75%+= 3 points, 65%+= 2 points, 55%+ = 1 point, and less than 55% scores 0 points.

Data comes from analysis by Young Invincibles.

Is in-state tuition and financial aid available for undocumented students?

Scores for this indicator are based on whether and/or to what degree in-state tuition and financial aid are available for undocumented students. States with tuition equity laws or policies and state financial aid receive 4 points, those with tuition equity laws and scholarships receive 3 points, those with tuition equity laws and policies at major institutions receive 2 points, those with some sort of tuition equity law receive 1 point, and those with no tuition equity laws receive 0 points.

Data comes from analysis by the National Immigration Law Center.

Has the state expanded FMLA benefits to include more workers, provide longer benefits, and include more family types?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state has expanded FMLA benefits in four areas. Each area is scored separately, then scores are averaged to arrive at a final score for the indicator. On each area of expansion, a yes = 4 points and a no = 0 points.

Data comes from analysis by the Partnership for Women and Families.

Does the state have a Self-Employment Assistance Program for unemployed potential entrepreneurs?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether the state has a self-employment assistance program in place for unemployed potential entrepreneurs. States with such a program receive 4 points, while those that do not receive 0 points.

Data comes from the U.S. Department of Labor’s and the Small Business Administration’s Self-Employment Assistance Center, and from the Washington State Employment Security Department.

Does the state provide training and support for small businesses and microenterprise using federal grant money, and/or allow small business and microenterprise to count as eligible employment activities (CDBG/WIA/TANF)?

Scores for this indicator are based on a yes or no answer to whether a state provides training and support for small business and microenterprise using federal funds and/or includes small business and microenterprise as eligible employment activities for federal programs like TANF. States that do use federal funds for this training or support and/or allow small business and microenterprise as employment activities receive 4 points, while those that do not receive no points.

Data comes from the Corporation for Enterprise Development.


2015 Rigged to Fail State Reports

Connecticut Report Card

Florida Report Card

Idaho Report Card

Maine Report Card

Montana Report Card

New York Report Card

Oregon Report Card

Virginia Report Card

Washington Report Card

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