Also reported in yesterday's Times: Sen. Hillary Clinton proposes expanding the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act to reach down to businesses with at least 25 employees. (The law, which grants up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, currently applies to firms with 50 or more workers.) She also proposed handing out $1 billion in grants for states to enact paid family leave laws; the article doesn't specify what the money is for.
Clinton's advisers, according to the article, pledge "to expand the federal law with an eye toward flexibility and supporting the needs of small businesses." (Like her health care plan, which offers small firms tax credits to offset the cost of providing insurance.) Still, business leaders -- predictably -- find the proposals "onerous."
UPDATE, FRIDAY 1:15 PM: According to a press release on the Clinton campaign website, the annual $1 billion outlay is to go toward a "Family Leave Innovation Fund:"
The Innovation Fund will work in partnership with states that create family leave programs by offering competitive matching grants to cover state start-up costs and a meaningful portion of program expenditures to states for these programs. The fund will not dictate from Washington what approach states should take. Instead, the fund would support all approaches to providing more leave to employees including through Temporary Disability Insurance or Unemployment Insurance programs, expansion of direct support programs like At Home Infant Care [which offers low-income parents of infants a choice between returning to work with a state child care subsidy or receiving a monthly stipend to stay home], or through individual and business tax credits.
Taken together, the programs Clinton announced on Tuesday would cost $1.75 billion a year; she'd pay for them by "enacting the anti-tax sheltering reform referred to as 'codifying the economic substance doctrine.' " This legislation "will help crack down on abusive tax transactions that have no economic purpose. It will raise $2 billion in 2012 and about $26 billion over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation."