The same Louisiana voters who gave President Donald Trump a decisive victory gave an even bigger rejection to a constitutional change that would have allowed large manufacturers to negotiate sweetheart tax deals with local governments. The Advocate’s Sam Karlin looks at the grassroots organizing led by Together Louisiana, which helped turn voters against the idea in all 64 parishes.
Opponents of the measure put on a full-court press to defeat it. Backed by hundreds of thousands of dollars from teachers unions and progressive organizations, activists blanketed the TV airwaves with ads. An army of volunteers phone-banked and canvassed in the state’s major metro areas.
The Times-Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate editorial page hopes the result serves as a lesson for business interests and their legislative backers, who hoped to use the cover of a pandemic to jam through measures that had failed in earlier sessions.
The leadership in the Legislature should see this as a rebuke of how business is done in the State Capitol during the pandemic. We hope that it is also a message to lawmakers about “economic development” being defined as giving away the Treasury. Corporate welfare is in theory limited by the Louisiana Constitution, but the workaround for business lobbyists has been cooperative endeavor agreements — contracts between business and government that allow payments in cash.
Business leaders, not used to taking it on the chin from voters, claimed to the Baton Rouge Business Report that they weren’t really all that interested in the amendment to begin with.
#Fightfor15 prevails in Florida
Voters in Florida voted to increase their hourly minimum wage from $8.56 to $15 by 2026, making Florida the eighth state to approve a $15 minimum wage. Legislators in Louisiana have repeatedly refused to implement a minimum wage in Louisiana – forcing Louisiana to adhere to the federal hourly wage of $7.25. This victory in Florida adds to a growing pile of evidence that voters overwhelmingly support boosting the minimum wage. Eli Rosenburg discusses the implications of this increase in the Washington Post:
According to the Florida Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank in Orlando, the measure would help more than one million households living near the poverty line in the state, increase wages for 2.5 million people — more than a quarter of the workforce — and help reduce racial and gender disparities in pay.
Ready to help #Fightfor15 in Louisiana? Check out LBP partner, Step Up Louisiana.
A loss for gig workers
California’s Proposition 22, which passed with 58% support, will exempt companies such as Uber, Lyft and Doordash from a 2019 California law that tightened restrictions on who could be classified as an independent contractor. Gig workers, such as Uber drivers, are considered independent contractors and do not receive the same benefits as other workers such as health insurance, unemployment insurance, retirement or workers compensation. The proposition was a big win for tech companies that rely on gig workers, and a loss for labor advocates. Darrell M. West of the Brookings Institution has more:
The vote is significant because the gig economy is a growth area and independent contractor jobs are common in a variety of sectors from transportation and e-commerce to internet platforms. Having workers not subject to fulltime employment law provisions frees firms to continue hiring independent contractors without typical health benefits. The campaign result provides flexibility for employers to continue to maintain current practices. But the electoral result represents a setback for labor organizations seeking to extend fulltime job provisions to these parts of the economy.
Sports betting clears key hurdle
Voters in all but a handful of Louisiana parishes cleared the way for legalized sports betting in Tuesday’s election. But it’s likely to be at least a year until Louisianans can place legal wagers, as the Legislature still must work out how the activity will be taxed, and where and how bets will be allowed. The Times-Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Will Sentell:
Backers are likely to argue that the more wide open the betting is, including bets from smartphones, the more money will be raised for key state services. They say there are huge differences between the amount of money raised by states like New Jersey, which allows betting from mobile devices, and those like Mississippi, which limits the practice to casino grounds.
Number of the Day
2.5 million – The number of people who will see wages increase as a result of Florida’s $15 minimum wage. (Source: Florida Policy Institute)