Upcoming Webinar: Introducing PSN’s 2012 Blueprint for Economic Security
Wednesday, November 30th, from 3:00-3:30pm EST
As states face a pivotal election year and confront more challenges and difficult choices in 2012, responsible lawmakers must make protecting the economic security of families from further attacks their top policy priority. After the broad rejection of conservative overreach at the polls this month, and as voter unease at historic levels of economic inequality continues to grow, how can state lawmakers capitalize on public opinion and advance policies that address the concerns of the 99% in 2012? On this webinar, Progressive States Network will provide an introductory overview of the Blueprint for Economic Security 2012, a document which includes more than 20 state policy options spanning a range of issues. The Blueprint aims to support state legislators in promoting a proactive, multi-state progressive economic message in 2012 around policies that grow jobs, ensure state economies remain strong, protect families, and support the middle class.
Over the past two years, workers have recently made impressive advances in about a half dozen states to protect themselves and their livelihoods from unscrupulous employers, but conservatives are increasingly mobilizing to undo these gains. Two separate efforts within the past month alone would make it harder for workers to recover stolen wages from employers – completely ignoring overwhelming public support for labor standards that safeguard workers’ rights and narrowly safeguarding the interests of the 1%.
Earlier this month, progressives scored major victories at the ballot box as voters from every corner of the nation loudly and decisively rejected the overreach of right-wing legislatures and governors in 2011 — including attacks that took place this year on workers, voting rights, reproductive rights, and immigrants. As 2012 legislative sessions inch closer, progressive state legislators from across the nation are already planning to capitalize on this momentum. Last week, a national group of progressive lawmakers met to strategize on how to turn the tide in 2012 by advancing state policies that support the 99%.
As the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to raise awareness about growing economic inequality and unchecked corporate influence over our political system, a new report released last week by the Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that almost 80 of the country’s most profitable companies paid no federal income tax in at least one of the last three years.
“It’s not much different than usual. They have money on their side. What we have is that we’re right on the issues.” — State Rep. Jeff Irwin to Michigan blog Eclectablog on how progressive Michigan state legislators have been able to lead from the minority and combat right-wing overreach.
Research Roundup: State Budget Crises, Immigration in 2030, and more
In this week’s Research Roundup: Reports from The Institute for Women’s Policy Research on paid sick days, the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley on the causes of the wave of budget crises hitting state and local governments, the Center for American Progress on how America’s immigrants will integrate by the year 2030, and FreePress, on the massive cuts in state funding to local public media since 2008.
Paid Sick Days and Health: Cost Savings from Reduced Emergency Department Visits — The Institute for Women’s Policy Research released this new report on paid sick days, individual health status and health care costs. The document focuses on the potential impact of paid sick days policies on the health of employees and their families, and concludes that access to paid sick days is associated with better self-reported general health among workers and lower usage of hospital emergency departments, and that workers who have paid sick days are less likely to delay medical care for themselves or for family members. The report also finds that “approximately 1.3 million hospital emergency department visits each year could be prevented by providing paid sick days to workers who currently lack access, reducing medical costs by $1.1 billion annually, with over $500 million in savings for public health insurance programs.”
The Wrong Target: Public Sector Unions and State Budget Deficits — This new report from the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley looks at the fundamental causes of the wave of budget crises hitting state and local governments and concludes that public sector unions have little or nothing to do with them. By looking at compiled U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, the report highlights how “the size of the public sector workforce per thousand residents is not growing and previous studies have found that public sector compensation, as a share of public budgets, has not grown” and that “public sector workers are not compensated more highly than their private sector counterparts after taking into account level of education, experience and other important factors.” The authors conclude that the historic drop in housing crises had the largest impact on budget deficits in the states.
Assimilation Tomorrow: How America’s Immigrants Will Integrate by 2030 — The Center for American Progress released this “first-of-its-kind” study that aims to project the integration patterns of immigrants through the year 2030. The report makes three major conclusions: that today’s immigrant populations are in fact assimilating into American life, like their predecessors, that Hispanic newcomers will show “very positive rates of advancement” economically by 2030, and that immigrant youth will show “positive gains and dramatic changes between generations.”
On the Chopping Block: State Budget Battles and the Future of Public Media — This report from FreePress, a non-profit media advocacy group, highlights the effect of state budget shortfalls have had on public media since 2008 and details the $202 million in funding cuts to local public media. The study outlines how severe those cuts have been in many states — spotlighting states that have cut their entire state appropriations for public broadcasting (Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania), and others that have seen cuts of 50 percent or greater (Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina and Virginia) and 25 percent or greater (Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio and Oklahoma) in public appropriations since 2008. It also highlights how cuts to public media have been “disproportionately large” compared to overall budget cuts.
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