Economic Equity and Jobs Task Force
What is the problem and why should we care?
Despite unprecedented growth, the explosion of new construction, and new businesses coming into the city, not all Nashville residents have benefited from this expansion. New businesses have been lured here by tax and cash incentives that have reduced revenue to the city. This growth has increased costs for schools, infrastructure, and other city services.
These policy decisions have created two Nashvilles. New people and new high-wage jobs have resulted in more expensive housing, while many existing residents earning less and being priced out of housing and even out of the county. Often the promise of “new jobs” has meant transferring the already employed here, rather than Nashville residents getting higher paying jobs, or being training for more highly skilled positions.
We care about the economic inequity that is forcing essential workers out of the city, including teachers and emergency personnel. As the wealth gap in Nashville increases, our neighborhoods and our schools are re-segregating by income and race. This inequity is a violation of the vision of “the Beloved Community” that is central to our religious faiths and civil rights commitments.
What should be done?
- New projects must include Community Benefits Agreements to aid low and middle-income residents through equitable economic development.
- New job opportunities must make high-quality training programs and apprenticeships a priority, so local residents can be hired, instead of merely importing highly skilled workers.
- City planning processes should include broad-based community engagement across all of Nashville, with a focus on those traditionally left out of decision-making, especially people of color.
- For-profit developers, nonprofit developers, and government must create strategies for mixed-income development that includes all income levels and demographic groups.
About the Economic Equity and Jobs Task Force
The Task Force is made up of members of congregations and labor unions who want to improve wages and make Nashville’s growth benefit everyone. The Task Force collaborates with other groups, working for policies for more equitable development in our city. We meet monthly on the first Thursday of the month at 6:30 PM. (Email email@example.com for the registration link.)
- May 2021 – Focusing the Metro Budget process on the need for a “Moral Budget” that included funding for affordable housing, mental health teams, and other needed services.
- March 2016- Helping found the “Stand Up Nashville” Coalition to act for equitable development by:
- Winning a Community Benefits Agreement for the soccer stadium and related development, including 20% affordable housing, stadium workers beginning at $15.50/hr, “High Road Contractors” hiring from poverty areas with apprenticeships and minority emphasis, and a sliding scale child care center.
- Successfully advocating for the “Do Better Bill” to be passed in Metro Council, so that developers spell out the types of jobs to be created when receiving certain public subsidies.
- August 2015 – Passing local hire amendment for large Metro projects to have 40% local workers. (Later over-ruled by the state legislature.)