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Press Releases

Generation Opportunity Launches Paid Ad Campaign Showing Young Americans the Benefits of Tax Reform and the Importance of Making it Permanent

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Arlington, VA – Today Generation Opportunity (GO), a group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young Americans, is launching an ad campaign that shows young Americans how the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will provide more take home pay and greater economic opportunity to millennials, and calls on lawmakers to make this tax reform permanent. The new paid ad will target millennials on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE AD. “Have you compared your most recent paycheck to one from January,” the video asks. “You really should. Odds are, you may notice a little extra money.” The ad is part of a larger push by a network of affiliated groups, which have announced plans to spend up to $20 million this year around the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. GO’s efforts are specifically aimed at educating young people about the benefits of the new tax code and encouraging them to urge their legislators to make this tax relief permanent. The new campaign is also geared toward counteracting the false message being pushed by tax reform opponents that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a bad deal for the average American — a talking point not supported by the facts. Generation Opportunity Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “The new tax reform law is creating more opportunities, driving up wages and allowing young Americans to keep more of what we earn each paycheck. At a time when our generation faces many unique financial challenges, having more money to save, spend or invest in our future is exactly what we need. Our ad campaign gives young people the opportunity to see how this law is improving their financial wellbeing and expanding economic opportunity for future generations.” The ad links to a website the group created highlighting the benefits of the tax reform law and allowing users to contact their members of Congress to urge them to make the new tax relief permanent. Click here…

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House Committee to Hold Hearing on Repeal of Net Neutrality Rules

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Arlington, VA – Today the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing on the FCC’s recently-passed Restore Internet Freedom Order. This measure ended what many refer to as ‘net neutrality’ by reclassifying the internet under Title I of the Communications Act instead of Title II – a provision designed to govern 1930’s-era technology. The move was strongly supported by Generation Opportunity (GO), a group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young Americans. Republican lawmakers are reportedly interested in clarifying the rules governing the internet with legislation codifying the principles into law to end the regulatory uncertainty faced by consumers, digital companies, and the telecom industry. GO Policy Director David Barnes had the following comment about today’s hearing: “For years now, we’ve been hearing politicians claim that the repeal of so-called netneutrality rules will be the ‘end of the internet as we know it.’ Several months after the rollback of these regulations, the internet remains as innovative and accessible as ever after all the needless hysteria. We hope the House Energy and Commerce Committee will recognize the numerous benefits of this deregulatory move and start the conversation about putting legislation on the books protecting the FCC’s actions.” To speak with David Barnes about this issue, contact Jim Fellinger at JFellinger@genopp.org. The FCC under the Obama Administration passed a plan to reclassify internet service providers (ISPs) as a utility under Title II regulations of the Communications Act and apply that classification to wireless data. Previously, ISPs were regulated under less restrictive Title I rules. Background: Unnecessary and invasive “net neutrality” rules represented a massive power grab into the online economy, making it easier for the federal government to control the content that goes online and appears in search engines. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has correctly noted that Title II rules are too burdensome and stifle innovation, and that the Restore Internet Freedom…

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New Study Suggests Occupational Licensing Laws Create Income Inequality

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Arlington, VA – On Tuesday, the Archbridge Institute released a new study demonstrating how the growth of occupational licensing laws in America could be contributing to income inequality. Occupational licenses are essentially government permission-slips dictating who can work in certain fields. The study found that workers in low and moderate-income professions in states with high levels of licensure demonstrate less upward mobility than workers in states that have lower licensing burdens. Generation Opportunity (GO), a grassroots group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young Americans, believes that occupational licensing restrictions make it harder for young people, including low-income workers, to find jobs, start businesses and support themselves and their families. Generation Opportunity Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “Occupational licensing laws force millions of hard-working Americans to spend valuable time and money asking the government for permission to simply make a living. Many of these laws aren’t necessary in the modern era thanks to market resources like Google and Yelp that help young people determine a worker’s level of quality, affordability and safety without a government board. Outdated licensing laws shouldn’t be holding back the potential of young American workers and preventing them from climbing the economic ladder.” In the 1950s, about one in twenty American workers needed an occupational license before they could work in the occupation of their choice. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, that figure stands at about one in four. These requirements serve virtually no purpose for professions like painters, shampooers, and hair-braiders. Background: Recently, the Institute for Justice (IJ) released a study demonstrating the harmful impact of occupational licensing restrictions in states across the nation. The IJ study found that licensing burdens are often disproportionate to the actual public health and safety risks of an occupation. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), need to complete only about a month of training. Surprisingly, there are 73 occupations that have greater average licensing burdens than…

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Instead of Evening its Playing Field, Maryland Prepares to Hand Out Over $8 Billion in Corporate Welfare

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Arlington, VA – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) is likely to sign a bill funding a new incentive package worth roughly $8.5 billion in taxpayer funds, one of the largest such offers ever made to a single corporation. The Promoting Extraordinary Innovation in Maryland’s Economy Act, which passed Wednesday, includes billions in property, income and sales tax credits from the state and Montgomery County, MD. Generation Opportunity (GO), a group that advocates for policies to improve the lives of young Americans, is strongly opposed to government at all levels handing out corporate welfare deals like this. Such giveaways burden taxpayers and help select businesses gain an unfair advantage over others who don’t benefit from the same special insider deals and carve outs. GO Policy Director David Barnes issued the following comment: “Maryland’s $8.5 billion corporate welfare offer is an outrageous example of government putting its thumb on the scale to pick winners and losers. Lawmakers shouldn’t be bending over backwards for Amazon or any one company – they should be creating fair systems in which all businesses can compete on an even playing field.” Background: Amazon has announced its intention to construct a second headquarters in a major American city and 238 cities and regions initially submitted bids for the project. In February, GO launched a digital advertising campaign geo-targeting the 19 American markets still courting Amazon, including Maryland. Click here to view that ad. Maryland’s offer is the most costly of all the remaining public bids for which there is publicly available information. As Maryland Assemblyman Herb McMillan (R) pointed out, for the same amount of money, the state could cut its corporate tax rate — one of the highest in the nation — in half for a decade. Read More:  Amazon HQ2: Cities Should Stop Wasting Money on Corporate Handouts San Jose, CA Mayor Sam Liccardo: Why I’m Not Bidding…

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Entrepreneurs in VA Deserve the Right to Promote Happy Hours

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Richmond, VA – A Virginia based restaurant owner, Chef Geoff Tracy, has filed a federal lawsuit arguing that Virginia’s outdated happy hour laws violate his First Amendment rights. The lawsuit, issued by the Pacific Legal Foundation, alleges that restrictions on Virginia’s happy hour advertising prevent restaurants and bars from speaking freely about the services they offer. Generation Opportunity-Virginia (GO-VA), a grassroots organization that advocates for policies that improve the lives of young people, supports Chef Geoff’s effort because entrepreneurs in Virginia have a right to freely promote their business as long as they aren’t encouraging irresponsible consumption. GO-VA spokesman Jacob Fish issued the following statement: “Virginia has no business preventing bars and restaurants from advertising happy hours, which are legal in our commonwealth and elsewhere across the country. Local businesses that sell alcohol responsibly should have the freedom to market the same way as their competitors outside of the state.” GO-VA has created a digital tool that allows users to contact their lawmakers in support of reforming many of the state’s current Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) laws so that entrepreneurs have the opportunity to freely earn in the commonwealth. The group will continue holding a series of “Pints and Policy” events educating Virginians about the outdated ABC policies that hold back businesses in the state. The group is hosting upcoming events in Ashland, Newport News, Wise and Blacksburg. Read more: Reforming Virginia’s Outdated Liquor Laws Should be as Easy as ABC—But it Isn’t ### Generation Opportunity is a national, nonpartisan movement for more freedom, better opportunities, and a brighter future for all young Americans.

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Raising Virginia’s Felony Threshold Will Give Young People a Second Chance

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Richmond, VA – Today, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law HB 1550, a bill that raises the threshold for people caught stealing low-dollar items from being branded as felons. The measure, which was brought about through a compromise reached by Governor Northam and Republican leaders, raises the state’s felony threshold from $200 to $500. Virginia has kept its felony bar at $200 since 1980 and was tied with New Jersey for the lowest felony threshold in the country. A low felony threshold has led to longer prison terms for crimes that would entail significantly less disciplinary action in other states around the nation. Generation Opportunity-Virginia (GO-VA), a group that advocates for policies that benefit the lives of younger Americans, worked closely with lawmakers to support this reform because the group believes young people who make mistakes deserve a second chance after they have paid their debt to society, and that a punishment should fit the crime. Jacob Fish, spokesman for GO-VA, issued the following statement: “We all make mistakes when we are young and slapping an unnecessarily high sentence on a minor offense can turn a wayward young person into a hardened criminal. Raising the felony threshold will maintain important public safety standards while helping prevent Virginians from being branded for life as dangerous criminals due to youthful indiscretions. It is important to protect the victims of theft while still ensuring that the punishment fits the severity of the offense. We applaud Governor Northam for signing this long overdue measure into law and encourage Virginia lawmakers to continue pushing for policies that will improve criminal justice in our commonwealth.” Background: According to the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, since 2000, well over half of all US states have raised their felony theft thresholds. Raising the threshold will save Virginia taxpayers millions annually. Larceny convictions accounted for 1 out of every 4 individuals incarcerated in 2012, at a cost of approximately $25,000 a year per individual. In 2008, the Virginia Department of Corrections estimated that adjusting the threshold to only $500 would save taxpayers more than $3.5 million in…

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NC Taxpayers Forced to Fork Over Another $9 Million in Corporate Welfare

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Raleigh, NC – Today, the North Carolina Department of Commerce announced a new tax incentive package for Corvid Technologies LLC worth $9,000,750 spread over 12 years. Generation Opportunity-North Carolina (GO-NC) strongly opposes this corporate welfare, which hurts taxpayers and disadvantages young entrepreneurs and other small businesses in the state.  GO-NC Spokesman Tyler Voigt issued the following statement:  “There’s no need for Gov. Cooper to continue doling out taxpayer dollars to special interests when North Carolina already has one of the strongest corporate tax policies in the entire nation and has consistently been ranked as one of the most business-friendly states in the country. Governor Cooper’s unfair handouts to favored businesses represents corporate welfare that hurts taxpayers, promotes cronyism and tilts the odds against those who don’t benefit from the same insider deals. Rather than picking winners and losers, Gov. Cooper should be working to improve North Carolina’s economy by creating a level playing field for all businesses to compete on.” Background: Many economists have pointed out that corporate welfare deals like this frequently provide little to no benefit to the taxpayers who are forced to subsidize them. Unfortunately, Gov. Cooper doesn’t seem to be listening. To date, he has committed nearly $180 million in public funds to hand-picked corporations through the One North Carolina Fund and Job Development Investment Grant Program. These unfair giveaways make no sense. North Carolina already has one of the strongest corporate tax policies in the entire nation and has consistently been ranked as one of the most business-friendly states in the country. Instead of continuing to hand out taxpayer dollars to large special interests, the state should focus on ways to improve its economy for everyone. GO-NC has created a digital tool that allows North Carolinians to contact Governor Cooper in opposition to the corporate welfare policies he has enacted. GO-NC has also been vocal in its opposition to the state’s attempts to woo tech giant Amazon through corporate welfare. ### Generation Opportunity is a national, nonpartisan movement for more freedom, better opportunities,…

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New Hampshire’s Bail and Annulment Procedures Need an Update

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Arlington, VA – Today, Generation Opportunity will submit testimony to the New Hampshire House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in support of SB 556-FN, a bill that would positively reform the state’s bail and annulment procedures. This measure would protect the rights of the accused and allow citizens who are found innocent to petition to have the arrest annulled from their records. Generation Opportunity (GO) is urging New Hampshire lawmakers to advance this legislation because the state’s current bail system is rigged against lower-income citizens and can destroy the lives of people who are making an honest effort to follow the law. Additionally, individuals shouldn’t struggle to find work as a result of arrests for which they are found innocent. To read Generation Opportunity’s full testimony, click here. GO Policy Director David Barnes issued the following statement: “New Hampshire’s legislators must seize the opportunity to pass SB 556-FN to ensure we aren’t incarcerating citizens based on their inability to meet bail requirements. A jail sentence should stem from an individual’s criminality, not their level of income. SB 556-FN would guarantee a citizen who is found innocent after being charged with a crime has the opportunity to annul their record and not have future job opportunities hindered. We applaud Chairman David Welch and the members of the House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee for giving this critical issue attention and we stand in support of their effort to advance this measure.” If you are interested in learning more or speaking with David Barnes about this issue, please contact: JFellinger@genopp.org. Background: GO believes that sending an individual to jail should be a function of their criminality, not their income level. The group supports comprehensive reform to U.S. criminal justice policies. Excessive laws and harsh sentencing disproportionately impact young Americans. Nine out of ten defendants who remain in jail…

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Generation Opportunity-Florida Launches Campaign Thanking Lawmakers for Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses

By | Press Releases

Tallahassee, FL – Generation Opportunity-Florida (GO-FL), a youth focused activist group, is launching a mail and digital campaign thanking lawmakers in Florida who protected the free speech rights of students during this year’s legislative session. Late last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 4, known as the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018. The bill included a provision ending so-called “free speech zones” that restrict students from exercising their constitutionally-protected First Amendment rights on the state’s publicly funded college and university campuses. The group is sending mail thanking the lawmakers in their home districts. “When free speech was under attack on Florida’s college campuses,” the mailer reads. “Your leaders stood up to protect the First Amendment.” The mail encourages readers to visit MoreSpeechFL.com, a site that allows them to send thank you letters to the lawmakers who defended campus free speech this legislative session. To view a full-size image of the mailer, click here. The group also launched a digital advertising campaign that connects users to the MoreSpeechFL.com email page. To view a sample ad, click here. GO-FL Coalitions Director Demetrius Minor issued the following statement: “We are encouraging Floridians to thank the officials who stood up for their First Amendment rights by supporting legislation that finally brought an end to the unconstitutional practice of “free speech zones” on college campuses. Thanks to the efforts of these legislators, free speech will no longer be banished to the hidden corners of our state’s publicly funded campuses. We applaud Governor Scott, Speaker Corcoran, Rep. Rommel, Sen. Baxley, and every other member of the Florida legislature who defended the fundamental rights of Florida’s college students.” To speak with Demetrius Minor about this issue, contact Jim Fellinger at JFellinger@genopp.org. Since late 2017, GO-FL had been pushing for House and Senate versions of the Campus Free Expression Act, legislation that would have outlawed “free speech zones.” Earlier this year, Generation…

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