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Businesses that misclassify employees as independent contractors—not paying unemployment insurance, workers' comp, payroll taxes, and more although the workers' hours and working conditions are set by the employer—can save big money from this form of wage theft. In fact, according to Virginia's General Assembly Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, misclassification may cut payroll costs by nearly 26 percent. Illegally. Brian Burns, president of Virginia's Dynalectric Company, writes that:
This allows them to underbid all honest business people. Honest construction contractors and subcontractors are at a severe disadvantage because we obey the law and meet the above referenced requirements.

Not only does misclassification of workers hurt our ability to run our businesses and create jobs, but the JLARC report estimates that state revenue losses are as much as $28 million a year. In addition to the loss to the general fund, the Virginia Employment Commission loses tax revenue, while workers' compensation premiums go up for the rest of the business community who must foot the bill for uninsured employers. [...] Obviously, many legitimate independent contractors work in the construction industry. However, when there are 20, 30 or 50 people hanging sheetrock at a school or hospital project, those people are employees of the subcontractor — not independent business owners. The JLARC report concludes that most misclassification is intentional, not the result of confusion about the definition of "employee."

A fair day's wage

State and local legislation

War on Education

  • Parents in Los Altos, California, are organizing against preferential treatment for an extremely litigious charter school that charges a de facto tuition of $5,000 and is discriminating against special education students, English language learners, Latinos, and poor students.
  • Sen. Tom Harkin has released his report on for-profit colleges, which paints the industry in a predictably and deservedly bad light.

Miscellaneous

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