The 2008 early vote proved beneficial to progressives, with self-identified Democrats making up a disproportionate share of the early vote. Barack Obama’s success in engaging the Democratic base and, in particular, targeting early voters was especially evident in the fact that, though 80% of first-time early voters in 2008 had voted at a polling place on previous Election Days, nearly half of the same group had never taken advantage of early voting in any of the previous four federal elections. Certain demographics were more likely to benefit from early voting - for example, urban and African-American voters constituted a larger share of the early vote than the non-early vote, presumably to avoid notoriously long lines that are pervasive in predominantly urban and/or African-American districts on Election Day or to take advantage of the flexibility inherent in early voting by casting a ballot when their work/family schedule permits.
In a last minute amendment to its heavily controversial state budget bill, the Wisconsin Joint Committee on Finance added a provision that would greatly reduce broadband access for schools, libraries, and university researchers. The target of this harmful proposal is WiscNet, a not-for-profit Internet Service Provider cooperative that offers inexpensive and flexible broadband service to anchor institutions, provides online learning resources for public schools and libraries, and allows university researchers fast, inexpensive data upload services unavailable from private providers. This proposal by Governor Walker would force WiscNet to return $39 million in federal funds that would be used to lay fiber-optic cables across Wisconsin and would sever the relationship between WiscNet and the University of Wisconsin, which founded WiscNet over 20 years ago. In addition to negatively impacting the University’s connectivity and research capacity, the loss of this funding means that fewer rural community members would have immediate access to broadband.
Labeling conservative lawmakers' fiscal priorities as a harbinger of "generational damage," North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the Republican-dominated Legislature's $19.7 billion budget proposal this past week. The Governor became the first in state history to veto a budget bill, finding that the Legislature's proposal "ignores the values of North Carolina’s people." Right-wing state legislators, deciding against extending a temporary one cent sales tax, opted for heinous cuts to several important areas, most notably, health care and K-12 and higher education. Assessing the potential economic impact of such extensive and damaging reductions to essential public programs, the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center concludes that the budget would have extremely deleterious repercussions on the state's economic well-being and prospects for recovery. So much so, that the cuts would lead to the loss of 32,022 jobs, $1.3 billion in lost wages for workers, and $2.8 billion in foregone industry output.
New Jersey Governor Christie is joining the conservative wave of scapegoating by proposing to cut the state’s Medicaid program. The Governor is proposing to put critical services for the state’s most vulnerable populations on the chopping block by asking for a waiver from the federal government in order to cut state spending on Medicaid by $300 million. The cuts include long-term care and have the potential to affect up to 1 million people in New Jersey currently receiving Medicaid.
"I will not put my name on a plan that so blatantly ignores the values of North Carolina's people. I cannot support a budget that sends the message that North Carolina is moving backwards."
- North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue
"On matters of freedom and equality, history has not remembered obstructionists kindly. Not on abolition. Not on women's suffrage. Not on workers' rights. Not on civil rights. And it will be no different on marriage rights."
- New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg
Research Roundup: Misinformation on Photo ID, Bush Tax Cuts and More
Debunking Misinformation on Photo ID - Last week, the Brennan Center for Justice published this blog rebutting pro-voter ID claims made by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in a Wall Street Journal op-edin late May. Kobach’s points are systematically torn apart, revealing the fact that “his arguments are built on inaccuracies, unsupported allegations, and flawed reasoning.”
Lack of jobs, not lack of skills, explains underemployment rate - In this recent policy brief, the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) argues that the undermployment rate is not a result of an unskilled workforce, but rather an an alarming lack of jobs. The author writes, “[t]he fact that the economy’s best-educated workers have seen a more than doubling in their underemployment rate is just one of many pieces of evidence suggesting that the anemic recovery reflects a general lack of job growth rather than a deficit of skills or education among its workers.”
Another Decade of Bush Tax Cuts Will Cost More than Twice as Much as the First Decade - In this report, the Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) finds that extending the Bush tax cuts even further will be a fiscal and economic disaster for the country. The first decade of Bush tax cuts cost the country over $2.5 trillion. In the analysis, CTJ concludes, “if Congress makes permanent the Bush tax cuts or extends them foranother decade, the cost will be $5.5 trillion. The tax cuts cost far more in future years than in the first decade because they were enacted piece-bypiece and slowly phased in during the first decade. Now that the tax cuts are fully phased in, any extension will naturally cost more revenue.”
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