While the anti-immigrant rhetoric of this fall's campaigns may point to more shortsighted state proposals in 2011, states and municipalities have already begun expanding educational access for undocumented students to attend state universities and community colleges. These state and local efforts will hopefully build even more support at the federal level as Congressional leaders with President Obama and Speaker Pelosi's support prepare to re-introduce the DREAM Act in the upcoming lame-duck session.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has pursued countless cuts to essential programs, waged an ideological war on state employees and teachers, pushed tax cuts for the rich over the middle class, and advocated for costly and fiscally unsustainable privatization schemes. Even in light of overwhelming public opposition to privatization and the significant pitfalls associated with these types of schemes, the Governor established a privatization task force by executive order earlier this year.
As the lawsuit being brought by 20 right-wing state Attorneys General against the new health care law proceeds in federal court in Florida, a bipartisan group of over 75 lawmakers working with Progressive States Network and the Constitutional Accountability Center announced this week that they will be defending the law’s constitutionality in an amicus brief in support of the law. State lawmakers who have signed the brief represent 27 states, including at least 12 where their respective Attorneys General or Governors are plaintiffs in the action.
Study finds states employ few to enforce minimum-wage, related laws- A nationwide survey has found that states employ few investigators to enforce their laws covering the minimum wage, overtime, child labor, and payment of wages. Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit research institute based in Cleveland, found that 43 states and the District of Columbia collectively employ just 659.5 investigators enforcing state minimum wage, wage payment, overtime, and child labor laws. Compared to the nearly 100 million private-sector employees in these states, that works out to more than 146,000 workers per investigator, though that is a rough gauge since not all workers are covered by state laws and some states leave much or all enforcement of minimum wage laws to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Small Businesses Call for Tax Reform to Level Playing Field- Businesses for Maryland’s Future, comprised of 88 small businesses convened by Maryland PIRG, have come together to call on state lawmakers to enact combined reporting, which requires multi-state corporations to report profits earned in a specific state from all entities, including subsidiaries, for tax purposes. As Maryland PIRG points out, “Small businesses are the economic engine of Maryland and will drive the recovery; it is crucial that Maryland enacts tax reform that will enable them to compete more fairly with multi-state corporations. If local businesses are able to grow, they can reinvest in their community by creating jobs.”
Transforming American Education Learning Powered by Technology - This 2010 National Education Technology Plan by the Department of Education is a call to the diverse set of stakeholders that play a role in education policy to promote technology-based learning and assessment systems to improve student learning and generate data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels. The paper provides specific recommendations for states to leverage technology investment to improve learning and reach all learners anywhere and at anytime.
House GOP Leaders’ Plan Would Slash Funds for State and Local Services, Slow Economic Recovery - In this policy brief, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that a House Republican proposal to slash non-security discretionary spending by 20 percent featured in the GOP's "Pledge to America" would unduly impact state budgets, increase deficits, severely reduce funds available for essential state and local programs, and impede economic recovery. The authors find, "[a]s federal fiscal relief to the states expires, state budget cuts will grow larger, and the drag on the economy will increase. Loss of an additional $30 to $40 billion in federal funding for programs that state and local governments operate would further increase that drag, resulting in more job losses and further impeding economic recovery."
Out of work, and out of benefits - This Economic Policy Institute analysis explains the current depth of the unemployment crisis, the need for swift Congressional action on extending unemployment benefits, the positive economic impact that would result, and finally, provides anecdotes from across the country of people who have lost their job as a result of the Great Recession. The author points out, "EPI President Lawrence Mishel and Economist Heidi Shierholz recently calculated the fiscal benefits of extending unemployment insurance and found that, in addition to saving millions of people from poverty, it would generate more than 700,000 full-time equivalent jobs. Those findings are consistent with a Congressional Budget Office analysis earlier this year, which found that providing unemployment insurance is the most effective way to stimulate the economy."
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