The nonprofit organization Good Jobs First said 62 percent of the jobs that subsidized companies pledged to keep or create in Illinois are projected to pay less than $38,000 a year. That amount is what a 2001 study by Women Employed and Wider Opportunities for Women calculated as a no-frills amount needed for an urban family of four in Illinois.
Good Jobs First based its findings on a review of progress reports that subsidized companies must file with the state. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity collected the reports in December 2004 and reported the data on a Web site in July 2005.
I’m no more a fan of subsidizing business than I am of subsidizing individuals, but this report is extremely misleading. First, businesses shouldn’t be paying people based on how many children they have. Employers don’t (and shouldn’t) be in the business of subsidizing individual preferences - wages are based on the job, not the person.
Second, I would argue that people with jobs that pay $38,000/year are much better off than people without any jobs at all. And if you are the sole provider for a family of four and this job is your only income you are a questionable parent at best, but more likely you are just lazy.
Good Jobs First wants companies to report on even more data, including whether the subsidized jobs include healthcare. While I commend the organization for wanting to find out whether the tax dollars the state spends is getting put to good use, forcing companies to spend money on reporting just means that fewer jobs will be created.