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DISPATCH: Landmark Workers' Rights Bill Moves Forward, Voters Show Buyers’ Remorse, and Costly and Ineffective Tax Credit Scrapped

View this email online at http://www.progressivestates.org/pubs/stateside-dispatch/2011-06-03

Webinar: Boosting State Economies Through Partnership Banks - Thursday, June 9th 3pm ET

This session, several state lawmakers have championed bills to create partnership or state banks similar to the 92-year-old Bank of North Dakota (BND), and others are looking to form commissions to study the impact these banks could have on their state's economy.  PSN will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, June 9 at 3pm EST to discuss legislative strategy, successes and lessons learned this past session, with a look ahead to campaigns for state banks in 2012.
We'll be joined by:

  • North Dakota Senator Tim Mathern
  • Jason Judd, consultant to DEMOS
  • Sam Munger, Managing Director, Center for State Innovation
  • Barbara Dudley, Co-Chair, Oregon Working Families Party
  • Jared Gardner, Co-Director, Oregonians for a State Bank

Space is limited: RSVP for the webinar here.

Connecticut Moves Forward on Landmark Workers’ Rights Bill

Workplace Standards for Families   *   Tim Judson

Last week, the Connecticut Senate approved landmark legislation (SB 913) to establish paid sick leave as a vital economic and health security measure. The bill is now before the House of Representatives, where it enjoys strong support. Governor Daniel Malloy has advocated the legislation throughout the session, and campaigned as a champion of the policy in both the primary and general elections last year. Enactment of SB 913 would set a precedent as the first state-wide law broadly granting workers the right to accrue paid time off.

Polls Show Increasing Opposition To Conservative Austerity Agenda

Accountable Government   *   Charles Monaco

With state legislative sessions across the nation beginning to adjourn at a rapid rate, voters and elected officials alike are taking stock of the economic policies promoted and enacted by conservatives in 2011 – and, in most cases, they are not pleased with the results. Recent polls have shown widespread public disappointment with some of the key planks of a conservative economic agenda that promises more giveaways to corporations and the super-wealthy, and more pain for the rest of us.

Washington State Decides Not to Extend Costly Film Tax Credit

Tax and Budget Reform   *   Altaf Rahamatulla

Though the state legislature opted against proposals that would have generated revenue, closed or reduced certain corporate tax breaks, or created a more common-sense and effective budget process by allowing voters to re-consider the legislative super-majority required to pass revenue increases, Washington lawmakers did take a sensible step in deciding not to extend an inefficient film tax credit program that would have cost the state $7 million in the coming biennium.

Quote Of The Week

“We in law enforcement must safeguard community trust. Without the support and participation of the neighborhoods in which we serve, we cannot provide adequate public safety and maintain the well-being of our nation. As Governor Cuomo appropriately asserts, the Secure Communities Program has not had its intended effect and we have experienced more negative consequences than positive."

- Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, applauding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s suspension of the controversial Secure Communities immigration enforcement program.

Research Roundup: Flip It To Fix It, Regulation Saves Lives and Much More

In this week’s PSN Research Roundup:

Reports by the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative on a fairer and more responsive proposal for addressing state budget shortfalls, the Economic Policy Institute on how government workplace regulations have saved lives, the Commonwealth Fund on how the Affordable Care Act helps young adults stay covered, the Department of Health and Human Services on the perils faced by families who lack health insurance, and Citizens for Tax Justice on the extremely negative effective tax rate paid on $171 billion in corporate profits by 12 companies receiving $62 billion in subsidies.

Flip It to Fix It: An Immediate, Fair Solution to State Budget Shortfalls - As conservatives propose balancing budgets on the backs of the middle class, this new study, by the Tax Fairness Organizing Collaborative at United for a Fair Economy, explores a fairer and more responsive proposal for addressing state budget shortfalls: inverting each state’s tax structure, or, as the summary describes, “taking each state’s current distribution of state and local taxes and flipping it, with a pivot point at dead center (the 50th percentile).” Under such a tax structure, the wealthiest 20 percent would pay the share of state and local taxes currently imposed on the least wealthy 20 percent, and vice-versa.

Government regulations save lives on the job - In this brief, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that since the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, every industry has experienced substantially less on the job fatalities. EPI notes, “Since the 1980s,on-the-job fatalitieshave fallen by more than 30%, to 4,340 in 2009, or 11.9 deaths per day (with a workforce almost twice as large as in 1970).  While still far too many deaths, the improvement is a remarkable achievement that saves thousands of families from tragedy, grief, and financial loss.”

How the Affordable Care Act Is Helping Young Adults Stay Covered - This report recently issued by the Commonwealth Fund, finds that before reform was enacted, young adults were one of the demographic groups most likely to be uninsured. According to 2009 census data, 15 million of them lacked coverage. In addition, the report notes that “45 percent of young adults reported delaying needed care because of costs in 2010, up from 32 percent in 2001, and 39 percent reported problems paying medical bills,” a trend will hopefully be reversed by the provision of the Affordable Care Act allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s plans until age 26.

The Value of Health Insurance: Few of the Uninsured Have Adequate Resources to Pay Potential Hospital Bills - The Department of Health and Human Services recently released this analysis of the number of families who lack health insurance that have the financial ability to pay hospital bills. It found that the median assets for middle-income families earning four times the poverty level, or $89,000 a year for a family of four, were below $4,100, and that the cost of an in-patient hospital stay typically exceeds $10,000 and can often exceed $100,000. Among the report’s conclusions were that “lacking health insurance poses a greater risk of financial catastrophe than lacking car insurance or homeowner’s insurance.”

Analysis: 12 Corporations Pay Effective Tax Rate of Negative 1.5% on $171 Billion in Profits; Reap $62.4 Billion in Tax Subsidies - In this analysis, Citizens for Tax Justice reviews the pretax U.S. profits, federal taxes paid and effective tax rates of 12 companies, American Electric Power, Boeing, Dupont, Exxon Mobil, FedEx, General Electric, HoneywellInternational, IBM, United Technologies, Verizon Communications, Wells Fargo and Yahoo, and finds incidence of extreme corporate tax avoidance. CTJ reports: “From 2008 through 2010, these 12 companies reported $171 billion in pretax U.S. profits. But as a group, their federal income taxes were negative: –$2.5 billion; All but two of the dozen companies enjoyed at least one no-tax year over the 2008-10 period,despite reporting substantial pretax U.S. profits in those no-tax years; Eight of the twelve companies reported net tax benefits over the full three-year period.”

Please email us leads on good research at research@progressivestates.org

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Steps Forward

CA: State Senate tells corporations to hire or give back their tax breaks

IN: HHS rejects Indiana Medicaid plan that would ban funding to Planned Parenthood

NY: Poll shows overwhelming support for Gov. Cuomo's suspension of "Secure Communities" program


Steps Back

FL: Gov. Scott signs law mandating drug testing for welfare recipients

ME: Gov. LePage signs bill to loosen child labor laws

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The Stateside Dispatch is edited by:

Charles Monaco, Press and New Media Specialist

Contributors to the Dispatch include:

Nora Ranney, Legislative Director
Marisol Thomer, Outreach Director
Devin Boerm, Health Policy Specialist
Fabiola Carrión, Broadband and Green Jobs Policy Specialist
Cristina Francisco-McGuire, Election Reform Policy Specialist
Tim Judson, Workers' Rights Policy Specialist
Suman Raghunathan, Immigration Policy Specialist
Altaf Rahamatulla, Tax and Budget Policy Specialist
Mike Maiorini, Online Technology Manager
Ben Secord, Outreach Specialist

Please send us an email at dispatch@progressivestates.org if you have feedback, tips, suggestions, criticisms,or nominations for any of our sidebar features.

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