State and Local Policy Publications

Below is a list of our reports related to state and local publications, in descending order by year published. Explore other topics here and all High Road Strategy Center reports here.

  • Dresser, L., and P. Aquiles-Sanchez. Covering the Bases: Community Benefits for Public Subsidies in Kansas City. High Road Strategy Center, 2024.
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  • Dresser, L., and P. Aquiles-Sanchez. Can’t Survive on $7.25: Higher Minimum Wages for Working Wisconsin. COWS, 2023.

    For 15 years, Wisconsin’s minimum wage has been stuck at the federal minimum level of $7.25, which has not been raised since 2009. A higher and well enforced minimum wage helps build a floor that allows workers, employers, and our communities to thrive. In this report, we offer a picture of who wins in Wisconsin with higher minimum wages and some reasons to support higher labor standards for the state. A stronger floor is necessary and possible in Wisconsin. Workers can’t survive on $7.25. It is time to raise the floor.

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  • Aquiles-Sanchez, P., L. Dresser, and J. Rogers. The State of Working Wisconsin 2023. COWS.

    In celebration of Wisconsin workers, COWS releases The State of Working Wisconsin 2023 with the most recent data available on wages, jobs, disparities, and unions to build a stronger understanding of what is going on in the state’s labor market.

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  • Dresser, L., P. Aquiles-Sanchez, and A. Kanter. The Crisis in Milwaukee’s Service Industry. COWS, 2022.

    There’s a crisis in service work in Milwaukee. Too many of these jobs—in food service, janitorial work, security services, and human and health services—offer low wages, inadequate and often unpredictable hours, and benefits packages that are usually weak, if they exist at all. For Milwaukee, these jobs have been a sorry replacement for the good union manufacturing jobs that once defined opportunity in the city. This economic transformation has especially damaged Milwaukee’s Black community, resulting in extreme racial disparity.

    All of this was well documented before COVID-19. In the last two years, the underlying crisis in these jobs has been exposed and it has grown. Until we build a strong, consistent floor of better wages, more predictable hours, and stronger benefits in these jobs, the crisis will continue.

    The City of Milwaukee can help to lead this effort. In every aspect of policy, the City can seek to strengthen job quality, raise labor standards, and support and build a high-road approach to service work in the city.

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  • Aquiles-Sanchez, P., L. Dresser, A. Milewski, and J. Rogers. The State of Working Wisconsin 2022. COWS, 2022.

    In celebration of Wisconsin workers, COWS releases The State of Working Wisconsin 2022 with the most recent data available on wages, jobs, disparities, and unions to build a stronger understanding of what is going on in the state’s labor market. Released for Labor Day 2022, this year’s report also features a series of profiles highlighting stories of workers organizing across Wisconsin.

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  • $15 by 2025: Who Gains with a Higher Minimum Wage in Wisconsin is a short fact sheet about the demographics of who would benefit from raising the minimum wage by 2025 and how Wisconsin compares to other states on this issue.

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  • Dresser, L., A. Kanter, and J. Rogers. The State of Working Wisconsin 2021. COWS, 2021.

    Released for Labor Day 2021, the State of Working Wisconsin report focuses on how working people are doing and continues to shine a spotlight on the state’s brutal Black-white disparities.

    A project of COWS, the State of Working Wisconsin has presented the workers’ perspective on the economy in the state for more than two decades: who is winning, and who is being left out; where is disparity growing; and what’s happening to the economic chasm separating Black and white workers in the state.

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  • City leaders, including mayors, play a critical role in community wealth building and are this brief’s intended audience. However, this work requires multiple actors, including community organizers and developers. This brief is useful to anyone committed to equitable economic development in their community but is intended primarily for city leaders. This report was made possible by generous funding from the Surdna Foundation.

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  • Rogers, J., K. Knutson, and M. Bell. Productive Places in a Post-Pandemic Era: A Roadmap for Cities and Counties. Envisio Blog, 2020.
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  • Rogers, J. How About Productive Democracy for a Change. no. 1, Social Policy, 2020, pp. 19-25.
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