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Research Roundup: Winning the Future with Broadband, Voting System Scorecard and Much More

In this week’s PSN research roundup: A Democracy Corps poll and memo on how to talk about the economy with the Rising American Electorate, a National Foundation for Women Legislators and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women study on how broadband policy can help alleviate women’s disproportionate burdens, an analysis by USPIRG on corporate tax avoidance, a scorecard by Rock The Vote ranking voting laws as they affect young people in all 50 states, and a Drum Major Institute report on why states are turning their backs on unwise local immigration programs like Secure Communities.

How To Talk About The Economy With The Rising American Electorate – This Democracy Corps poll and strategy memo reveals widespread voter dissatisfaction with the austerity proposals being promoted by state and national official, including the slashing of Medicare and the conservative approach to the economy and budget deficits. It provides advice on messaging for communicating with the “Rising American Electorate” (RAE): Unmarried women, younger voters, African American and Hispanic voters. The advice includes an unrelenting focus on the plight of the middle class – described in the memo as being in a “state of disrepair” as prices rise and wages fall. The memo notes that progressives “have not offered a compelling narrative to convince RAE voters that they are at the heart of their agenda” and concludes that the success of progressives in 2012 depends “in large measure on correcting this mistake.”


Winning the Future: A Policy Framework for Empowering Women With Broadband – The National Foundation for Women Legislators and National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women released this study on how broadband policy can help alleviate women’s disproportionate burdens in family and community engagement, health care, education, and employment. Local control over education, hospitals, and local tax policies ensures that “policymakers at the local and state level have the ability to set critical policies that influence key investment and adoption decisions by service providers and consumers, respectively.” Recommended strategies include spurring broadband adoption and awareness through e-literacy programs in communities, strengthening broadband use in anchor institutions like schools, libraries, and hospitals, and looking to best-practices in other states for ideas to maximize broadband penetration.

Who Slows the Pace of Tax Reforms? – In this analysis, USPIRG analyzes members of the corporate interest group, Promote America’s Competitive Edge (PACE), and finds that, “the group of twelve prominent corporations profiled rank among the top 100 largest publicly traded federal contractors that also maintain a significant presence in tax haven countries or so-called financial privacy jurisdictions.” The corporations highlighted in the report spent approximately $6 million on PAC expenditures and over $54 million lobbying in 2010. Last year, these companies received over $8 billion in government contracts and cumulatively, have over 440 subsidiaries in tax haven countries, allowing them to evade U.S. taxes. This type of corporate tax avoidance costs the country over $100 billion annually. USPIRG argues that undue corporate influence on the electoral and political process distorts the taxation system and effectively, puts “a brake on tax reform.” The authors identify the dire need for closing corporate tax loopholes, preventing tax evasion, and enacting reforms that limit the influence of corporate dollars in campaigns. The authors conclude, “reforms to give taxpayers a greater voice in electing officials, to give lawmakers greater incentives to put taxpayers first and to level the playing field for Main Street businesses and Main Street families are long overdue.”

Voting System Scorecard: Are States Serving the Rising Electorate? – This detailed 50-state scorecard from Rock The Vote ranks evaluated state voting laws with an on a 21-point scale that aims to assess how well states are serving young voters in three categories: voter registration, ease of casting a ballot, and encouraging young voter participation. Washington state,Iowa, and Montana head up the pack, while South Carolina, Virginia, andConnecticut bring up the rear.

Why Local Immigration Enforcement Doesn’t Add Up For States – This Drum Major Institute report outlines why states are turning their backs on unwise local immigration programs like Secure Communities. Local immigration enforcement burdens state economies; undermines public safety, and does little to address crime. Through an examination of three federal programs that enable and mandate states and municipalities to enforce immigration locally, this report makes it clear that programs such as Secure Communities, Criminal Alien Program and the 287(g) Program are not in a state’s best interest. Considering that the federal government reimburses “less than a quarter of city and county costs for jailing immigrants who have committed crimes”, states simply cannot afford to participate in such ineffective programs in today’s economic climate.