Last Tuesday, Oregonians overwhelmingly approved
two ballot initiatives that ratified legislative action last year to
increase high-end personal income and corporate taxes. The failure of the anti-tax movement in Oregon
is one more in a long stream of right-wing initiatives
rejected by voters at the ballot box. In fact, progressive revenue
generation as part of a balanced approach to addressing state deficits
has been popular with both voters and legislatures for years. This Dispatch
will provide both the facts and messages to debunk opposition to smart
revenue options, while outlining a few of the best revenue approaches
to filling budget holes.
The budget news is grim in some states. Twenty states face a combined
budget shortfall of at least $35 billion for 2009, according to analysis by the Center on Budget Policy & Priorities (see CBPP graph below). Another 8 states will likely have budget problems next year or the year after.
Target management apparently didn't get the memo. Faced with stagnating
wages and increasing inequality, American workers and taxpayers are
waking up to the big box gambit where irresponsible employers subsidize
their low wages through favorable tax packages. When Target threatened
to stop opening new stores in Chicago if the Windy City gave final approval to its ordinance requiring a living wage for retail workers (see this Dispatch
for more details), it opened up a new debate over why cities are
offering low-wage retail stores tax subsidies in the first place. As a new report
produced by the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group documents, Target
received $9.9 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) to subsidize its
existing stores in Chicago.