Taxes are on the minds of many this week as April 15th approaches. They're also on the minds of many conservative governors -- in states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- who have seen their radical tax proposals to further enrich corporations and the wealthy run into major resistance from voters, businesses, and even conservative lawmakers. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who this week withdrew his regressive plan that would have eliminated the state income tax while raising the sales tax, has seen his standing drop sharply in the polls. In the run up to Tax Day, increasing attention is being focused on how tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations increase burdens on the middle class.
With the debate in D.C. currently centered around exactly how much more federal budget austerity to enact, and with the budget sequester threatening 750,000 jobs nationwide looking more and more likely to go into effect March 1st, the jobless also continue to be under attack in the states. This week, one state signed devastating cuts to their unemployment insurance system into law, another advanced a restructuring of their system that would endanger their federal funding, and efforts to ban employer discrimination against the jobless ran into the veto pen of a billionaire big-city mayor:
In the coming weeks, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two high-profile challenges affecting states directly: Shelby County v. Holder, a challenge to the constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as two cases on same-sex marriage. Arguments in the Voting Rights Act case are scheduled for February 27th, while arguments in the two marriage cases, Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor, are set for late March. States and the Obama administration are already filing briefs in advance of both cases. At the same time, efforts to advance marriage equality continued this week in state legislatures including Minnesota and New Jersey:
Out sick this week? You weren't alone. In the midst of one of the worst flu seasons in years, states and municipalities across the nation are seeing an increasing focus on workers' lack of access to paid sick time. Unfortunately, in some places, that has also meant conservatives focused on pre-empting and reversing existing protections, including taking away the rights of local municipalities to determine what's best for their communities:
Many states are already considering action on the minimum wage in new sessions — by legislation or by ballot initiative. Polls and studies released this week continued to show both the broad and deep popularity and the positive economic effects of raising the wage:
Director David Cowan presents Pricele$$, Habitat Media’s new documentary which sheds light on the corridors in our nation’s Capitol to reveal how campaign money from deep-pocket special interests can influence both the electoral process and national policy.
Featuring testimonies from lawmakers, lobbyists, veterans, and students, Pricele$$ offers a behind-the-scenes look at why some of nation’s most basic policies are so out of date, and what can be done to fix them.
If you have been able to take your eyes off of the gripping action of the summer olympics, you may have noticed that the health insurance rate increase applications continue to be posted onto the Department of Financial Services (DFS) website.
Governor Cuomo has formed an education reform commission that will help determine the future of our state’s public schools. The commission is holding a hearing and we need to make sure that we chime in and make our voices heard.
Please join us on Wednesday, August 8th, at the Binghamton University Engineering Science Building at 12:30 for a press conference, and then stick around after for the public hearing.
It has not ceased to amaze me just how many stories of people who have been helped by the ACA continue to come out of the woodwork.
The most recent one to hit the media’s attention is that of 31 year-old Arijit Gurha, a graduate student at the University of Arizona who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.