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NJ: Legislators Consider Mimicking Mass's Health Care Move

Does it take two to tangle? Two New Jersey legislators are embarking on a six-month project to evaluate whether New Jersey can copy Massachusetts' recently adopted plan. Before they start hustling around the state, they ought to take a look at whether the Massachusetts plan is even going to work in Massachusetts and also think hard about whether it should be the starting point for negotiations.

The Success of State Venture Funds

Hawaii is the latest state moving in that direction with a proposed Hawaii Innovations Fund which could grow to $200 million in government funds over four years to invest in Hawaii's renewable energy, life science and technology companies.

A New State Policy Model for Job Creation

What makes this change in policy most striking is the dismal policy
of corporate subsidies that it is (still too slowly) replacing. The
community organization, Good Jobs First,
has been the premiere chronicler of tax subsidy boondoggles handed out
to corporations by state and local governments, corporate handouts that
do little to spur healthy growth and that usually leave public
treasuries too empty to address other public needs:

Investing in "Domestic Emerging Markets"

While investments in high technology get a lot of attention, a
number of these new state government investment strategies are also
looking to revive areas devastated by deindustrialization and chronic
poverty. Around the world, "emerging markets" are hotspots for
investment, so many states are treating these poor domestic areas as
"domestic emerging markets" that just need a bit of patient capital to
revive.

State Action on Global Warming, MD Acts as CA Wavers

Last week, the state of Maryland joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium of states -- now eight with Maryland's membership -- that have committed to reduce emissions on four pollutants and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 10 percent by 2019.

Taking on Private Toll Roads

We've written before about the new 75-year lease of an Indiana toll road to a Spanish-Australian partnership, and the bad deal for taxpayers and democracy that it represents. The state's largest consumer group filed a lawsuit yesterday saying that the deal was so bad that it violates the state constitution. The Citizens Action Coalition argues that the state constitution requires lease proceeds to pay down public debt, rather than diverting long-term returns from a lease to immediate public spending. The lawsuit highlights the core problem with this kind of privatization -- it's essentially a theft from future taxpayers and consumers to help pay for government spending today.

MA: Romney Vetoes Good Portions of Health Care Bill

Looks like it's a bad idea to play "Let's Make a Deal" with Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts Governor vetoed the employer assessment yesterday, a move that was expected to happen, but is still deeply disappointing. What makes it even more distressing is that the employer assessment -- a charge for medium and large businesses that choose to not provide insurance coverage to workers -- is that at $295 per employee, it was rather small, especially in comparison to the $1000 fine for individuals who "choose" to not have insurance, often because it is not affordable.

Cleaning Up Corruption in the Statehouses

At the core of many voters' frustrations with government is the sense that, too often, politics is for sale. High-priced lobbyists offering "gifts" to lawmakers swarm state legislatures; companies looking for public contracts get too cozy with those handing out public money; and corporate campaign contributions grease the wheels as public policy is auctioned to the highest corporate bidder.

States Condemn Federal Undermining of Local Laws

At their Spring national gathering, leaders of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) condemned increasing federal regulatory and legal restrictions on state authority in areas ranging from consumer protection to criminal law:
"Federal regulatory preemption is nothing more than a backdoor, underhanded means by which unelected federal bureaucrats impose their will on the states," [said] New York state Sen.

The Massachusetts Health Care Model: Expanded Coverage with a Heavy Burden on Working Families

Every Massachusetts resident will be required to have health insurance by July 2007 -- with a combination of governments subsidies, employer assessments and individual fines used to achieve that result under legislation which was approved by the Massachusetts House and Senate on Tuesday.