When state governments make it nearly impossible to raise taxes to pay their bills, their creditors apparently get very nervous and increase their costs to borrow money. Both Arizona and California have seen their bond ratings downgraded -- and their borrowing costs likely increasing -- with analysts citing both states' tax limitation rules that require a two-thirds vote of their legislatures to raise taxes as one reason.
California lawmakers worked feverishly at the end of June to move
forward significant health reform legislation, including implementing
new Medicaid rules for the next five years, setting a framework for
establishing health insurance exchanges, and moving the state towards a
single-payer health care system.
Members of the two-house legislative committee working on the state
budget — especially its dominant Democrats — have spent much of the week
lamenting that they don't have enough money to satisfy all demands,
including their own.
A crime wave has been sweeping Illinois, with surveys of low-wage workers in the Chicago area showing an average of 146,300 cases of wage theft each week -- resulting in about $7.3 million each week in unpaid wages, or $380 million stolen from workers each year. In order to crack down on this criminal wage theft, the Illinois General Assembly on May 3 nearly unanimously (56-0 in the Senate and 112-1 in the House) passed SB 3568, which will strengthen the state’s ability to enforce violations of the Wage Payment and Collection Act.
The payday lending trap has been shorting working families to the tune
of nearly $5 billion
per year ever since the industry exploded onto the scene in the
1990’s. The number of payday lending institutions has jumped
exponentially from 500 in 1990 to about 22,000 today (compared
with 14,000 McDonald's), mainly targeting low-income African
American and Latino communities.
The choice of whether or not to establish
high-risk insurance pools represents the first major decision that
states are facing with the March 2010 passage of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While twenty-nine
governors -- 22 Democrats and 7 Republicans -- decided to create the
pools themselves, most conservative governors failed to take advantage
of the option to shape health care for their constituents and instead
just kicked the issue back to the federal government, which will
establish its own high-risk insurance pool in states that fail to take
Refuting right-wing attacks on state workers, a new report
by the National Institute for Retirement Security (NIRS) and the
Council on State and Local Government Excellence (CSGE), Out
of Balance? Comparing Public and Private Sector Compensation Over 20
Years, demonstrates that state and local employees earn an average
of 11 and 12 percent less, respectively, than comparable private sector