PSN Testifies at DC Hearing on the National Assault on Workers' Rights and Middle Class
On March 8, 2011, Tim Judson, Workers' Rights Policy Specialist for Progressive States Network, joined workers from Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana and experts from around the nation in testifying at a House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee hearing on the state-by-state assault on workers and the middle class, calling the attacks "a full-scale campaign to dismantle the very foundations of America’s social and moral progress over the last century," and highlighting the responsible, progressive alternatives being advanced in the states that aim to "shore up working families, get people back to work, and sustain vital public services and infrastructure".
Following up on Illinois lawmakers' successful effort to to raise personal and corporate income taxes earlier this year, other states including Connecticut, Minnesota, Hawaii and North Carolina are considering sound proposals to generate revenue even as the right wing continues to advocate irresponsible slash-and-burn fiscal policies.
Despite the clear need for states to support community efforts to create jobs by investing in critical infrastructure, right-wing legislation in North Carolina and South Carolina seems to want to take away the people’s rights to build broadband in their communities. The bills – HB3508/SB483 in South Carolina and HB129/SB87 in North Carolina – place onerous requirements for community-based broadband networks, threatening their existence and economic growth. As our states continue to deal with the fallout of the Great Recession, broadband build-out is the critical infrastructure investment needed to put Americans back to work and rebuild prosperity.
The right wing may be grabbing headlines for its audacious assault on organized labor and reproductive rights, but less well-reported have been their equally destructive attacks against another familiar target: young voters. In addition to continuing the push for disenfranchising voter ID legislation, conservatives have been pulling a panoply of other tricks out of their bag to increase the barriers to voting for youth.
In recent weeks, a bipartisan approach to immigration policy in Utah has gained widespread national attention as a collaborative, pragmatic effort with the active involvement of many different stakeholders and communities. But late last week, months of hard work on the part of Utah state legislators in pursuit of inventive and effective immigration solutions ended in disappointment as a trio of misguided immigration bills were quickly introduced and passed by Utah’s state legislature with little opportunity for public input or debate. Despite the good intentions of so many, the results of this effort do nothing to address the need for common sense immigration policies that expand opportunity for all, and they are not a model for other states to follow.
Research Roundup: Job Creation, Immigration, Taxation and More
Back to Work: A Public Jobs Proposal for Economic Recovery - This DEMOS policy brief argues that to effectively address slow economic recovery and persistently high unemployment, the federal government should invest in a direct public jobs program, which would be more cost-effective and create more jobs than measures the federal government has taken to combat the effects of the recession in the past few years.
The ITEP Guide to Fair State and Local Taxes - The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy recently published this comprehensive report which examines significant tax policy issues at the state and local level and provides methods to increase progressivity in tax structures to support the middle class and working families, allow for investments in infrastructure and economic growth, and create more equitable and fair tax systems.
Attacking the Constitution: State Legislators for Legal Immigration and the Anti-Immigrant Movement - This report from the Southern Poverty Law Center provides information on the far-right State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a group of state lawmakers focused on mounting attacks against immigrant in states nationwide. The report details SLLI’s claims and features in-depth profiles of twelve legislators who have sought advance often-unconstitutional proposals that target immigrants and their families. A particularly troubling example of SLLI’s policy proposals is their efforts earlier this year to introduce legislation in over a dozen states that strips US citizen children of undocumented immigrants of their American citizenship – bills that overwhelmingly failed in states across the nation.
An Overview of Job Quality and Discretionary Economic Development Subsidies in New York City - The Fiscal Policy Institute, Good Jobs New York, and the National Employment Law Project recently released this report, which finds that in the name of economic development, the New York City government is directing public funds to projects that only pay poverty-level wages. The authors conclude, “drawing on a combination of public records and independent research, our assessment is that significant numbers of low‐wage jobs are being created with New York City tax dollars—jobs for which starting pay is as low as the minimum wage and for which annual earnings often do not even break the $20,000 mark.”
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