Research Roundup 2/17: Devastating ALEC Tax and Budget Proposals, State Cuts to Unemployment, Election Protection, and More

(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)

ALEC Tax and Budget Proposals Would Slash Public Services and Jeopardize Economic Growth [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
"Governors and legislatures in numerous states are considering, or have recently enacted, sweeping tax and budget proposals that follow recommendations of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), with potentially adverse consequences for middle- and lower-income families, individuals, and communities across the country."

One-Two Punch: As States Cut Unemployment Benefit Weeks, Jobless Also Lose Federal Aid, Even as Jobs Remain Scarce [National Employment Law Project]
"This policy brief identifies those states that shortened the duration of state UI benefits and explains how this policy will limit the availability of federal UI benefits, which were extended through the end of 2013, while undermining economic recovery. We conclude with a discussion of pending legislation in North Carolina that proposes the harshest cuts yet."

Four Big Threats to State Finances Could Undermine Future U.S. Prosperity [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]
"Without adequate revenues, states and localities cannot continue providing public services like education, health care, and infrastructure that lay the groundwork for a prosperous future.  But state revenue systems face four serious challenges."

State Tax Proposals Worthy of the Word "Reform" [Citizens for Tax Justice]
"State tax reform proposals are not all bad news this year.  There are some good faith efforts underway that would fix the structural problems with state tax codes, rather than simply dismantling or eliminating entire revenue sources and calling it “reform.”  Proposals in Minnesota, Kentucky, Utah, and Massachusetts would improve the fairness, adequacy and sustainability of those states’ tax systems through various combinations of base broadening, tax breaks for low- and moderate-income families, and increases in the share of taxes paid by wealthy households."

Why Does the Minimum Wage Have No Discernible Effect on Employment? [Center for Economic and Policy Research]
"The employment effect of the minimum wage is one of the most studied topics in all of economics. This report examines the most recent wave of this research – roughly since 2000 – to determine the best current estimates of the impact of increases in the minimum wage on the employment prospects of low-wage workers. The weight of that evidence points to little or no employment response to modest increases in the minimum wage."

The 2012 Election Protection Report: Our Broken Voting System and How to Repair it [Election Protection/Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law]
"This Election Protection report provides a snapshot of the endemic problems that continue to plague American elections and sets the stage for federal and state legislators, state executives, and election officials to finally address the enduring difficulties that infect the voting process of this country."

Regulation Issue: Industry’s Complaints About New Rules Are Predictable — and Wrong [Public Citizen]
"Today, at the national, state, and city levels, opponents of regulation claim proposed rules will eliminate jobs, reduce profits, and hurt consumers. But such doomsday forecasts rarely, if ever, materialize.... This report looks at five more recent areas that have followed a familiar pattern:  The proposed regulation initially prompts industry to conjure dramatic language about the damage it will cause. Then, the regulation takes effect and wins broad public approval. Meanwhile, industry’s ominous predictions quietly recede from memory after they fail to materialize.

Read the full Dispatch from February 17, 2013 here.