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Right-Wing Attempts to Shorten Early Voting Period Are Aimed at Progressive Base

View this email online at http://www.progressivestates.org/pubs/stateside-dispatch/2011-06-16

Right-Wing Attempts to Shorten Early Voting Period Are Aimed at Progressive Base

Clean and Fair Elections   *   Cristina Francisco-McGuire

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.

Last Minute Budget Provision Cuts Access to Broadband for Schools, Libraries, Researchers, Targeting the Underserved

Broadband Buildout and Technology Investments   *   Fabiola Carrion

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.

Right-Wing Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto of Economically-Damaging Budget Bill

Tax and Budget Reform   *   Altaf Rahamatulla

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.

Medicaid continues to be used as a political gimmick

Health Care for All   *   Devin Boerm

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.

Quote Of The Week

"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

Steps Forward

OR: Governor signs transparency bill for economic development projects

‎CA: State lawmakers approve online sales tax

ME: Bipartisan Senate vote rejects voter ID bill


Steps Back

FL: Bill reducing unemployment benefits signed by Gov. Scott

WI: Wisconsin's union law to take effect following Supreme Court ruling

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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.”

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

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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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