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:
As far-right funders like Howard Rich work across the country, dumping
literally millions simply into qualifying these atrocious measures for
ballots, progressives have experienced some good news and some bad
news. Here's where the campaign stands in various states:
With the 2006 elections quickly approaching, a small group of highly energized right-wing activists are working hard to export a failed policy from Colorado to other states around the nation. The idea is known variously as the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR), the Stop OverSpending Amendment (SOS), or as Tax and Spending Control (TASC). Fundamentally, though, all of the amendments boil down to a single policy idea: arbitrarily capping increases in state spending based on only two factors -- population growth and the consumer price index.
The 2000 election sparked an interest in electoral reform. Paired with
a rising tendency among voters toward self-declared independence from
the two major parties and a new wave of reforms have started growing in
popularity across the country. In statehouses and in voting booths,
reforms are moving forward to give Americans more real options at the
Last Thursday's Dispatch incorrectly stated that the minimum wage ballot initiative in Michigan
would raise the minimum wage to $7.40. In reality, the $7.40 figure
appears in the bill being pushed by rightwing legislators. Rightwing
legislators are attempting to undercut the initiative that ties the
minimum wage to cost-of-living adjustments. The Republican bill would
provide a higher minimum wage than the initiative for a period of
several years. In the long term, the initiative would be a better deal
An old rule of politics is to not let the perfect be the enemy of the
good. A new corrolary may be: Be wary of letting the good become the
enemy of the perfect. In both Michigan and Pennsylvania, conservatives reading the polls are looking to defuse a ticking political time-bomb: the minimum wage.
Hard-pressed to find something to do less popular than sell-out for
campaign contributions or outsource port operations to foreign
governments, the U.S. Congress is now considering a bill to gut state food safety protections.
Fully aware that their anti-worker policies are anathema to most
Americans, corporate conservatives often posture and position
themselves on worker issues to avoid bearing the full brunt of the
backlash from their noxious positions and to try to fix blame on their
opponents, who really are working for the common interest.