A new partnership was announced today between the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) to provide state and local policymakers with a research-based policy agenda to rebuild the middle class and ensure prosperity is broadly shared.
SiX, a nonpartisan organization that promotes progressive reform in the states will draw on the policy expertise of both EPI, long recognized as one of Washington’s premier progressive economic think tanks, and EARN, a network of 62 state and regional multi-issue research, policy, and advocacy organizations.
“This partnership will help reframe political debate at state level and provide substantive policy support to progressive legislators who want to create new opportunities for working- and middle-class families,” said SiX’s executive director Nick Rathod. “These families desperately need jobs, at good wages that keep them both employed and out of poverty. EPI and EARN have the analytical muscle to help us develop data-driven policy solutions that are right for communities across the country.”
In a recent paper, “How to Raise Wages: Policies That Work and Policies That Don’t,” EPI President Lawrence Mishel, and Vice President Ross Eisenbrey argue that the wage stagnation of the last four decades has not been inevitable but rather the consequence of deliberate policy choices, both in Washington and at the state level, made on behalf of those with the most wealth and power. To counter this policy-driven wage stagnation, EPI has identified 11 wage-lifting policy changes in its Raise America’s Pay agenda.
The argument mirrors SiX’s conviction that the increasing trend toward conservative representation and policymaking at the state level has been the result of careful but destructive organization by conservative political advocacy groups, not a reflection of the public interest.
“EPI and EARN provided research to a number of successful state minimum wage campaigns last year, and the success of those efforts shows how much opportunity there is for progress at the state level.” Mishel said. “There is a set of wage-lifting policies related to fair work scheduling, tipped subminimum wages, pay equity, earned sick leave, employee misclassification, prevailing wages and other issues that are now emerging front and center for state policymakers.”
This partnership is the latest move in SiX’s rapid growth as an influential policy organization. Earlier this month, the organization convened a high-level meeting at The White House with legislative leaders from around the country and Obama administration officials. And late last year, SiX held a hugely successful conference with over 200 progressive legislators from around the country.
SiX also recently launched its “Opportunity Works for US” agenda, a national counter-offensive to push back against destructive measures levied against the middle class and to support legislative efforts that protect hard-working Americans.
The agenda includes raising and protecting wages, making child care accessible and affordable, increasing educational opportunity and protecting and expanding the rights of working Americans.