Citizens for Tax Justice highlights important reforms  adopted by New Hampshire this year to modernize their corporate income tax that will help in-state "mom and pop" stores by equalizing the tax burden between such in-state stores and out-of-state retailers. Where many states apply corporate income taxes based on "physical presence" in the state, New Hampshire has created a model program to apply the tax based on a company's "economic presence", an approach which CTJ notes has survived court challenge in other states. See an older ITEP paper  on the topic for more.
While many leaders complain that new immigrants aren't doing enough to assimilate, a major study by the Migration Policy Institute  finds that too few resources are available to help those immigrants who want to learn English. The U.S. now lags far behind other countries like Australia and Germany in offering language instruction, so the report suggests that a $200 million increase in funding nationally is needed to help current legal residents and up to $2.9 billion over six years to help undocumented immigrants.
In a study appearing in the August issue  of American Sociological Review, a comprehensive study of 1560 people sentenced to death in 16 states finds that those who kill white victims are more likely to be given a death sentence than those who kill black victims. In fact, an African-American who kills a white victim is twice as likely to be executed than a white person who kills a non-white person.
Arguing that states are setting goals for graduation rates too low, a new study by the Education Trust  finds that state goals for graduation rates range from 95% in Indiana and Iowa down to just 50% in Nevada, but even high goals in many states are undercut by low targets for yearly progress towards those goals. Some states have set targets for improvement as low as one-tenth of 1% per year. New York City and Massachusetts were cited as good examples for states around the country interested in making real improvements in graduation rates.