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DISPATCH: 10 Years of Fail for Bush Tax Cuts, Health Exchanges Progressing, S-Comm Rejected, Green Jobs Needed

View this email online at http://www.progressivestates.org/pubs/stateside-dispatch/2011-06-09

Webinar: Boosting State Economies Through Partnership Banks - TODAY at 3pm ET

This session, several state lawmakers have championed bills to create partnership or state banks similar to the 92-year-old Bank of North Dakota (BND), and others are looking to form commissions to study the impact these banks could have on their state's economy. PSN will be hosting a webinar on TODAY at 3pm EST to discuss legislative strategy, successes and lessons learned this past session, with a look ahead to campaigns for state banks in 2012.

We'll be joined by:

  • North Dakota Senator Tim Mathern
  • Jason Judd, consultant to DEMOS
  • Sam Munger, Managing Director, Center for State Innovation
  • Barbara Dudley, Co-Chair, Oregon Working Families Party
  • Jared Gardner, Co-Director, Oregonians for a State Bank

Space is limited: RSVP for the webinar here.

Tenth Anniversary of Bush Tax Cuts Marked By Right-Wing Intransigence, Corporate Tax Avoidance

Tax and Budget Reform   *   Altaf Rahamatulla

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the enactment of the first Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Commenting at the time on the surplus his administration inherited and in favor of flawed trickle-down economics, former President George W. Bush remarked upon its passage: "We recognize, loud and clear, the surplus is not the government's money. The surplus is the people's money. And we ought to trust them with their own money." In reality, the Bush tax cuts, along with the economic downturn and the wars in recent years, have proven to be by far the largest contributor to the country's deficit. And just as the most affluent are not contributing their fair share, large corporations are engaging in several tax avoidance schemes by utilizing offshore tax havens and other mechanisms.

Consumers Gain As States Continue To Enact Health Exchanges

Health Care for All   *   Devin Boerm

As legislative sessions wrap up around the country, so does the first full legislative opportunity for lawmakers to pass a state-based health exchange since the signing of the Affordable Care Act into law. Over the weekend, the state of Connecticut joined nine other states that have already passed legislation to enact state-based marketplaces to improve the health security of families, a key piece of the federal health law. Connecticut’s exchange legislation is an important step in the right direction, giving options to consumers and extending coverage to many who desperately need it, and it is further evidence of the momentum continuing to build behind implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the states.

Opting For Real Security, More States Withdrawing From “Secure Communities”

Integrating Immigrants into Our Communities   *   Suman Raghunathan

As states continue to reject misguided anti-immigrant SB 1070 proposals — sixteen have defeated or tabled broad immigration enforcement bills this session alone — governors are joining the chorus of state lawmakers speaking out against expensive and ineffective immigration enforcement programs. A groundswell of opposition to Secure Communities, the flawed federal immigration enforcement program, is emerging in state after state. In the last month alone, three states — Illinois, New York, and Massachusetts — have withdrawn wholesale from participating the program. Their decisions have been applauded by law enforcement professionals who note police officers' lack of interest in enforcing federal immigration laws and the damage caused to community policing practices when local law enforcement become de facto immigration agents.

As Job Creation Slows, Opportunities In The Green Economy Rise

Smart Growth and Green Jobs   *   Fabiola Carrion

Department of Labor statistics released last week revealed the bad news: unemployment is back to 9.1%, after only 54,000 jobs were added in May.  These numbers come as Fortune 500 companies are reporting record profits, still benefiting from the large tax cuts that reckless conservative economic policies have provided them over the past 10 years. Recent studies show why, in order to address a stubborn domestic jobs crisis head-on and to reinvigorate America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace, advancing state policies that encourage green job creation is more critical than ever.

Quote Of The Week

“In the old days, before the Citizens Election Commission [and public financing of campaigns], the lobbyists were out here trying to get their bills called. If there was ever an illustration of the loss of influence of lobbyists, this is it.''

- CT State Rep. Robert Godfrey on the reduced lobbyist activity during the final day of Connecticut’s just-concluded legislative session, one which saw progressive successes on a host of issues.

Steps Forward

CT: Connecticut closes out its most progressive legislative session in memory

NC: Perdue stands behind order to extend jobless benefits

OR: Oregon House approves creation of health insurance exchange, coverage for all


Steps Back

US: Local and state governments, normally job creators, are weighing on the national economy

LA: Senate's approval of bill to eliminate state income tax still leaves issue unsettled

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Research Roundup: Winning the Future with Broadband, Voting System Scorecard and Much More

In this week’s PSN research roundup: A Democracy Corps poll and memo on how to talk about the economy with the Rising American Electorate, a National Foundation for Women Legislators and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women study on how broadband policy can help alleviate women’s disproportionate burdens, an analysis by USPIRG on corporate tax avoidance, a scorecard by Rock The Vote ranking voting laws as they affect young people in all 50 states, and a Drum Major Institute report on why states are turning their backs on unwise local immigration programs like Secure Communities.

How To Talk About The Economy With The Rising American Electorate – This Democracy Corps poll and strategy memo reveals widespread voter dissatisfaction with the austerity proposals being promoted by state and national official, including the slashing of Medicare and the conservative approach to the economy and budget deficits. It provides advice on messaging for communicating with the “Rising American Electorate” (RAE): Unmarried women, younger voters, African American and Hispanic voters. The advice includes an unrelenting focus on the plight of the middle class – described in the memo as being in a “state of disrepair” as prices rise and wages fall. The memo notes that progressives “have not offered a compelling narrative to convince RAE voters that they are at the heart of their agenda” and concludes that the success of progressives in 2012 depends “in large measure on correcting this mistake.”


Winning the Future: A Policy Framework for Empowering Women With Broadband – The National Foundation for Women Legislators and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women released this study on how broadband policy can help alleviate women’s disproportionate burdens in family and community engagement, health care, education, and employment. Local control over education, hospitals, and local tax policies ensures that “policymakers at the local and state level have the ability to set critical policies that influence key investment and adoption decisions by service providers and consumers, respectively.” Recommended strategies include spurring broadband adoption and awareness through e-literacy programs in communities, strengthening broadband use in anchor institutions like schools, libraries, and hospitals, and looking to best-practices in other states for ideas to maximize broadband penetration.

Who Slows the Pace of Tax Reforms? – In this analysis, USPIRG analyzes members of the corporate interest group, Promote America’s Competitive Edge (PACE), and finds that, “the group of twelve prominent corporations profiled rank among the top 100 largest publicly traded federal contractors that also maintain a significant presence in tax haven countries or so-called financial privacy jurisdictions.” The corporations highlighted in the report spent approximately $6 million on PAC expenditures and over $54 million lobbying in 2010. Last year, these companies received over $8 billion in government contracts and cumulatively, have over 440 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, allowing them to evade U.S. taxes. This type of corporate tax avoidance costs the country over $100 billion annually. USPIRG argues that undue corporate influence on the electoral and political process distorts the taxation system and effectively, puts “a brake on tax reform.” The authors identify the dire need for closing corporate tax loopholes, preventing tax evasion, and enacting reforms that limit the influence of corporate dollars in campaigns. The authors conclude, “reforms to give taxpayers a greater voice in electing officials, to give lawmakers greater incentives to put taxpayers first and to level the playing field for Main Street businesses and Main Street families are long overdue.”

Voting System Scorecard: Are States Serving the Rising Electorate? – This detailed 50-state scorecard from Rock The Vote ranks evaluated state voting laws with an on a 21-point scale that aims to assess how well states are serving young voters in three categories: voter registration, ease of casting a ballot, and encouraging young voter participation. Washington state,Iowa, and Montana head up the pack, while South Carolina, Virginia, andConnecticut bring up the rear.

Why Local Immigration Enforcement Doesn’t Add Up For States – This Drum Major Institute report outlines why states are turning their backs on unwise local immigration programs like Secure Communities. Local immigration enforcement burdens state economies; undermines public safety, and does little to address crime. Through an examination of three federal programs that enable and mandate states and municipalities to enforce immigration locally, this report makes it clear that programs such as Secure Communities, Criminal Alien Program and the 287(g) Program are not in a state’s best interest. Considering that the federal government reimburses “less than a quarter of city and county costs for jailing immigrants who have committed crimes”, states simply cannot afford to participate in such ineffective programs in today’s economic climate.

Please email us leads on good research at research@progressivestates.org

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The Stateside Dispatch is edited by:

Charles Monaco, Press and New Media Specialist

Contributors to the Dispatch include:

Nora Ranney, Legislative Director
Marisol Thomer, Outreach Director
Devin Boerm, Health Policy Specialist
Fabiola Carrión, Broadband and Green Jobs Policy Specialist
Cristina Francisco-McGuire, Election Reform Policy Specialist
Tim Judson, Workers' Rights Policy Specialist
Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Policy Specialist
Altaf Rahamatulla, Tax and Budget Policy Specialist
Mike Maiorini, Online Technology Manager
Ben Secord, Outreach Specialist

Please send us an email at dispatch@progressivestates.org if you have feedback, tips, suggestions, criticisms,or nominations for any of our sidebar features.

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