Last week, the Department of Homeland Security announced major changes to its signature (and maligned) immigration enforcement program, Secure Communities - promising to review pending immigration deportation cases based on newly-reinforced guidelines that prioritize deporting immigrants who commit violent crimes. The proposed changes provide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents with guidance to consider factors such as whether an undocumented young person would be eligible for the federal DREAM Act; the severity of the misdemeanor or offense the undocumented individual allegedly committed; and whether or not the immigrant in question has close family members who are legal permanent residents or US citizens. State legislators and immigrant rights activists, who have long been calling for an end to the program, applauded the announcement while continuing to ask the program be dismantled and reiterating their support for comprehensive immigration reform from Washington.
Several right-wing lawmakers utilized the weak economy to pursue damaging and radical proposals in legislative sessions this year. Some of the more egregious measures have included efforts to privatize functions of state government, including libraries, youth shelters, group homes, ambulance services, and transit networks. The pursuit of privatization is often rooted in misleading ideology that mythologizes private sector efficiency rather than demonstrable results of savings or quality. In fact, several privatization schemes have compromised service delivery, increased costs and fees for taxpayers, and severely reduced public accountability.
Now that the future of a controversial state election law is proving uncertain, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has wasted no time in ensuring that one of the more heinous provisions of HB 194 will be implemented anyway in time for this year’s election. The bill, which was enacted by the Governor and scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 30, includes a number of disenfranchising measures, among them, a prohibition against mailing unsolicited absentee-ballot provisions to voters. However, implementation has been endangered, as state advocates mobilize to gather more than 231,000 valid signatures to place a repeal of the legislation on next year’s ballot. If successful, the law would be suspended until the public’s final decision.
"What the Republicans’ position on the payroll tax makes high-definitionally clear is their own class warfare on working- and middle-class Americans. Their double standard couldn’t be more obvious: Tax cuts for the wealthy are sacrosanct; tax cuts for everyone else don’t really matter. Norquist, Cantor, Ryan, Camp, the Journal editorialists and the whole Republican crew give hypocrisy a bad name."
- Opinion Writer Harold Meyerson on the GOP plan to raise payroll taxes, which chiefly hits the middle and working class.
Research Roundup: Sensible Deficit Reduction, Medicare Eligibility and Budget Cuts Harming Slow Job Growth
In this week’s Research Roundup a brief from the Economic Policy Institute outlining why raising revenue from high-income earners should be part of any deficit reduction plan, an analysis from Policy Matters Ohio and EPI showing that regressive cuts enacted during the budgeting process will harm meager gains in job growth and a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report details how raising the Medicare eligibility age would actually increase health costs across the economy.
The facts support raising revenues from the highest-income households - A new issue brief from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) outlines several reasons why an effective, balanced, and fair approach to deficit reduction would include raising revenue from high-income earners, “particularly now, when income distribution is extraordinarily skewed to the top and federal revenue is at the lowest level relative to the economy since 1950.”
Job Watch - August 2011: Ohio is Still Suffering in the Wake of the Great Recession - This analysis from Policy Matters Ohio and the Economic Policy Institute finds that although Ohio has experienced job growth recently, it is far from what is needed to foster recovery and bring the state’s employment to pre-recession levels. What’s more, the regressive cuts enacted through the budget will only further the state’s economic woes. The authors write, “[t]he Great Recession of 2007-9 only deepened Ohio’s ills. The state budget signed into law in June adopted a cuts only approach to balancing the budget. Cuts to education alone are estimated to cost Ohio tens of thousands of jobs.1 Putting workers back to work needs to be the primary goal for lawmakers.”
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