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Massachusetts

Progress on the Minimum Wage

After years of stagnating wages for working Americans and inaction by Congress, legislators and activists across the country are taking the lead in securing higher minimum wages on a state by state basis. They are achieving some outstanding results. Here's where the minimum wage fight stands in a number of states:

CT: The Political Strength of Health Care for All

Both Democratic candidates for Governor, federal candidates, and legislative candidates from both parties have either released their own plans for Health Care for All in Connecticut or expressed their support for the concept.

Beyond the Minimum Wage: New Policies to Raise Wages

The reality for working Americans is that wages have been largely stagnant for over three decades.   For many workers -- especially those without a college degree -- pay has actually gotten worse, meaning that this generation is the first one in American history which is not doing signficantly better than the previous one.  Part of the reason for these stagnant wages is that inflation was allowed to erode the federal minimum wage-- its inflation-adjusted value dropping from $9.12 per hour in 1968 down to just $5.15 per hour in 2005.  

MA: Senate Votes for $8.25 Minimum Wage

Back in 1968, the federal minimum wage was $1.60 per hour-- or if adjusted for inflation -- $9.16 per hour. Yes-- almost forty years ago, the minimum acceptable wage in this country was over $9 per hour.

IN: Rushed Social Services Privatization Condemned

In Indiana, critics are condemning a rushed $1 billion privatization of the states' social services work -- despite the fact that the companies bidding on the contract have mismanaged similar contracts in other states and, more tellingly, no one even bothered to determine whether the companies could do the job cheaper than current state employees:

VT: Maybe Universal Health Care

Vermont cut a deal today for a plan promising universal health coverage, although the deal still leaves a few potential details up in the air for the future.

Libs Decry MassCare Plan

Congressional Quarterly Weekly by Shawn Zeller Originally Published April 14, 2006:
The stolidly liberal legislature of Massachusetts appeared to be playing entirely to type when it passed its landmark legislation to make the state the first in the nation to provide medical coverage to virtually all its citizens. But some liberals are rushing to denounce the plan. "This is being sold as achieving universal coverage," says Nathan Newman, policy director for the Progressive Legislative Action Network.

WI: Real Health Care for All Workers

After the botched Massachusetts health care bill, it's nice to see Wisconsin is stepping up with a really bold health care plan.

NJ: Legislators Consider Mimicking Mass's Health Care Move

Does it take two to tangle? Two New Jersey legislators are embarking on a six-month project to evaluate whether New Jersey can copy Massachusetts' recently adopted plan. Before they start hustling around the state, they ought to take a look at whether the Massachusetts plan is even going to work in Massachusetts and also think hard about whether it should be the starting point for negotiations.

MA: Romney Vetoes Good Portions of Health Care Bill

Looks like it's a bad idea to play "Let's Make a Deal" with Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts Governor vetoed the employer assessment yesterday, a move that was expected to happen, but is still deeply disappointing. What makes it even more distressing is that the employer assessment -- a charge for medium and large businesses that choose to not provide insurance coverage to workers -- is that at $295 per employee, it was rather small, especially in comparison to the $1000 fine for individuals who "choose" to not have insurance, often because it is not affordable.