Budget Shortfalls, Immigration, Pro-Civil Justice Platforms, Katrina, CLASP, and Longevity Gap

Fourteen states face a total budget shortfall of at least $29 billion, with twelve others expecting budget problems, according to a state budget update from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The brief outlines a number of options for those states and cautions against cuts in services that would undermine long-term economic investments and calls for greater federal support as part of an anti-recession package.

Immigration and the Wealth of States, a study by the conservative America's Majority organization, sharply challenges conventional wisdom in finding that states with high numbers of immigrants actually have higher rates of employment, less individual poverty and less crime than states with fewer immigrants. Median per capita income -- is $3,469 greater in the 19 high immigration jurisdictions than in the 32 other states, from 1999-to-2006, unemployment declined in the high immigration states, while increasing nationwide in 2006, and the total crime rate per 100,000 residents was lower in the high immigration jurisdictions than in the 32 other states.

States are facing increasing attacks on their ability to protect their citizens from corporate abuse, not just from the lawbreaking corporations themselves but from federal policy that preempts state law, a phenomena the Drum Major Institute analyzes in its new report, A Pro-Civil Justice Presidential Platform

The U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina not only was appalling-- it's actually violated internationally recognized human rights principles in its treatment of its citizens displaced by the tragedy, as a new report by the Institute for Southern Studies documents.  Not only did the government fall short during the tragedy, their continuing failures led to tens of thousands of residents being permanently displaced because of the lack of help owned them under those international obligations.

The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has outlined a new policy framework for Charting Progress for Babies in Child Care and an analysis of results from Early Head Start programs working with younger children.   The studies all emphasize the need for broad help for families beyond the time when kids are formally in early child care situations.

People are living longer-- but much more so if they are rich, as the Economic Policy Institute shows in a new brief, since the "longevity gap" between the rich and poor is growing.  Where a male in the top half of earnings only lived 1.2 years longer than a man in the bottom half back in 1972, those in the richer half of the population were living 5.8 years longer by 2001.

In its first release from its 2007 Unheard Third Survey, the Community Service Society finds that low-income New Yorks are struggling to get health care, as employers drop coverage.  Most support health care for all residents, regardless of immigration status.