Along with giving a roundup of the range of initiatives on the ballot in this off-year election, this Dispatch will give special focus to the campaigns against TABOR and defending relationship equality laws.
Overall, federal recovery spending is working as intended, helping states provide needed services and avoid layoffs that would be worsening unemployment rates. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
estimates that these funds are providing states with 40 percent of what
is needed to help their budgets in balance over the next few fiscal
years. The recovery plan has provided states with flexibility in
addressing key programs and priorities. Unfortunately, a number of states have wasted budget funds on trying to steal jobs from one another, as highlighted by Good Jobs First.
On June 30th New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signed the Vote by Mail Law of 2008, which allows all voters to permanently register to vote-by-mail, referred to as permanent absentee voting. The law, sponsored by Senator Raymond Lesniak and Assemblywoman Joan Quigley, also replaces New Jersey's multiple absentee voting systems with one streamlined system for all mail-in voters.
Today's Dispatch outlines this new law, the AZ Legislature's success in defeating all anti-immigrant bills, and how some states are wasting money on job bidding wars and corporate subsidies. All this plus the Steps Forward and Back and the weekly research roundup.
In a debate too often dominated by rightwing tax cut
rhetoric, there is a real opening for progressives to demand a fairer, more accountable
tax and budget system. The public has a strong commitment to funding both
social services and the long-term investments needed for economic growth, but state
residents are frustrated by governments that they believe tax low- and
middle-income residents too much and upper-income residents and corporations
too little. Hidden economic giveaways to companies receiving tax breaks
and government contracts only add to voters' suspicion that state budgets serve
those with money, not the average taxpayer. In response, a range of
reforms at the state level are creating more transparent tax and budget
decisions and strengthening voters' trust that their tax money will actually go
towards the important public services that they do support. These approaches include: