CIRAS DIGEST: Friday, May 13, 2016

  • First, the news of interest in Central Iowa: The IRS apparently will be moving to revoke the nonprofit status of Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino, a nonprofit gambling entity in Altoona that for decades has been funneling cash into governments and nonprofit agencies in and around Polk County. The Des Moines Register estimates that property taxes in Des Moines could go up $68 annually on a home assessed at $150,000 if the city’s share of gambling revenue goes away. Meanwhile, Polk County’s budget includes roughly $26 million in yearly gambling money – including rent paid by the casino and some other payments tied to its “profits.”
  • ICYMI, a new study arrived this week from the Labor Center at the University of California Berkley. It says 1 in 3 nonsupervisory manufacturing employees is receiving some form of public assistance – and that this public aid due to low wages costs taxpayers roughly $10.2 billion each year.
    • Time magazine has a piece written by the one of the study’s co-authors. Among other things, it notes that a growing number of entry-level manufacturing jobs are being filled through temp agencies. In 2014, the median wage for such workers was $10.88 per hour, compared to roughly $15 for those hired by the factory.
    • CNBC dices the numbers a little more by including some stats on “family participation for manufacturing workers” in the public safety net. (Iowa isn’t on the list.)
    • The International Business Times, meanwhile, focused on regional disparities, noting that “taking into account all major social welfare, including the earned income tax credit and temporary assistance to needy families (TANF), Mississippi topped the list, followed by Georgia, California and Texas.
    • And com has a piece insisting that “Americans don’t Miss Manufacturing – They miss Unions.” Both unions and wages, according to the website, are stronger in the Midwest than the South.
  • Meanwhile, Industry Week has a piece on a new survey of released by SME (the former Society of Manufacturing Engineers) about attitudes held by parents about manufacturing. Among other things, the survey showed that half of all respondents do not see manufacturing as an “exciting, challenging or engaging” profession.
  • The Indianapolis Star, among other outlets, has published a piece by a Ball State University professor chastising presidential candidates for pledging to return manufacturing jobs to the United States. Trade didn’t take the jobs, according to Michael Hicks. It was robots.
  • And, in case you were unaware, the government contracting team at CIRAS recently won an award from its national mothership for creation of an extraordinary educational campaign. You can find some information here or read a press release from the national association with even details.

Thanks for reading.

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