This November, we saw voters taking the first steps to repudiate the
rightwing ideology and institutions that have long dominated much of
the political landscape in our states. For too long, we have seen
rightwing politicians, backed by corporate money and by conservative
think tanks, blocking communities from improving wages, impeding
expansion of health care, and auctioning off public assets and public
contracts to big monied interests.
But now we can build on these progressive victories to build towards a progressive majority in all our states.
On issue after issue of concern to working families, there are solid
majorities for enacting progressive policies. What we need is a
coordinated strategy across states to highlight those issues that can
broaden the coalition of progressive voters and reframe the debate
across the nation about why it matters to working families that
progressives hold office in our statehouses.
Target management apparently didn't get the memo. Faced with stagnating
wages and increasing inequality, American workers and taxpayers are
waking up to the big box gambit where irresponsible employers subsidize
their low wages through favorable tax packages. When Target threatened
to stop opening new stores in Chicago if the Windy City gave final approval to its ordinance requiring a living wage for retail workers (see this Dispatch
for more details), it opened up a new debate over why cities are
offering low-wage retail stores tax subsidies in the first place. As a new report
produced by the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group documents, Target
received $9.9 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) to subsidize its
existing stores in Chicago.
Back in April, the Stateside Dispatch profiled successful job creation programs
where states not only invest in dynamic high-tech and inner-city
startup companies, but make money for the taxpayer from many of their
Human misery for some is a business opportunity for others, especially if those businsesses are willing to abuse workers they employ, as a new study, Rebuilding After Katrina, details. According to the study by the Payson Center at Tulane, large numbers of workers engaged in the rebuilding lacked needed protective safety equipment, were paid less than promised by contractors, and most had no medical insurance.
Some court decisions come to the right result for the wrong reasons. Today's Supreme Court decision in DaimlerChrysler v. Cuno is a perfect example. The case involved whether states could offer certain corporate subsidies to entice businesses to open plants. The corporate subsidies involved are terrible policy, but it's just as well that the Supreme Court, especially this increasingly rightwing one, isn't taking on the job of second-guessing economic decisions by state leaders.
In a time of rising gas prices, a lot of commuters are asking if that "cheap" housing in a distant suburb is such a bargain, the Center for Transit-Oriented Development and the Center for Neighborhood Technology have created a new tool, "The Affordability Index" that measures the household budget tradeoffs made between housing and transportation costs and the advantages that families living in transit-rich environments gain.