How Rich: The Man Behind the Takings Initiatives

Diving into the world of campaign finance and investigating the funders of the takings initiatives quickly reveals a number of organizations involved: Americans for Limited Government, America at Its Best, the Fund for Democracy, and Montanans in Action. What is odd, though, is that with more digging, they all appear to be funded and controlled by the same individual: New York Developer Howard Rich.

Takings In Your State

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:

States and Poor Families Caught by New Punitive Federal Welfare Rules

With new federal rules slipped into the recent reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, families in poverty are going to be suffering more -- and states have seen their flexibility in helping them significantly curtailed by new rigid federal rules. As this story highlights, most states are now scrambling to meet these stiff requirements and many are protesting that the poor will be the victims:

Good News on the Minimum Wage

Working Americans get some good news today out of three states -- Montana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania -- where progress is being made on the minimum wage. In Pennsylvania, Governor Ed Rendell signed a staggered, two-dollar increase into law. In Montana, signature gatherers succeeded in qualifying for the ballot an initiative to increase the minimum wage and tie the minimum to inflation.

ME: Polling Reveals Uphill Struggle to Defeat TABOR

A new poll in Maine reveals the uphill battle progressives face in educating the public about the dangers of TABOR-style spending caps. The poll reports that nearly three in four voters say they would vote for TABOR if the option was put in front of them today.

Preventing the Revolt: Progressive Strategies on Property Taxes

For decades, property tax revolts have been a thorn in the side of progressives. California's Proposition 13 remains the highest profile example of the property tax revolt, but just about every legislator in the country can attest to the level of frustration many Americans feel about property taxes.

The Political Landscape

As November 2006 approaches, political observers have their eyes on changing political winds. A number of observers are also keeping a close eye on the states, where many outcomes are up in the air and the stakes are high. Control of 29 legislative chambers -- almost one in three -- is up for grabs and leaders of both the Republicana and Democratic parties are pledging to put major resources into winning legislative seats.

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.

UT: Moderation on Immigration a Political Strength

While some politicians express angst about sounding moderate on the immigration issue by eschewing xenophobic measures, a Utah primary election last week shows just how weak the hard-line anti-immigrant stance is with real voters.

NY: Child Care Workers Poised to Win Bargaining Rights

Despite a veto by the governor, the New York State legislature is poised to override and enact reforms to allow day care workers to form labor unions.   The bill, A10060, sponsored by Assemblyman Adriano Espaillat (a Progressive States board member) and Senator Nick Spano, would effect an estimated 52,000 day care workers in facilities subsidized by state funds, given them standing to negotiate with the state for wage increases, as well as benefits like health care, workers' compensation, paid vacation or sick days.