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. This webinar focuses on legislative strategy, successes and lessons learned this past session, with a look ahead to campaigns for state banks in 2012.
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.
Though the state legislature opted against proposals that would have generated revenue, closed or reduced certain corporate tax breaks, or created a more common-sense and effective budget process by allowing voters to re-consider the legislative super-majority required to pass revenue increases, Washington lawmakers did take a sensible step in deciding not to extend an inefficient film tax credit program that would have cost the state $7 million in the coming biennium.
Several states have seen lawmakers take a cynical and economically-damaging approach to revenue shortfalls by slashing unemployment insurance (UI) for those hit hardest by the downturn. Driven by flawed right-wing ideology, Florida legislators recently approved an extreme measure that not only undermines the economic security of Floridians, but also threatens recovery in a state that is already deeply affected by the lasting impacts of the recession and currently has an unemployment rate that is hovering around 11 percent, the third highest in the nation.