This session, right-wing officials have been peddling costly, inefficient, and socially damaging prison privatization schemes. Several states, including Louisiana, Florida, and Ohio, have considered proposals to hand over the operation and management of prisons to private entities.
As the prospect of a federal government shutdown looms in Washington D.C., states are nervously preparing for the impact it could have on their already strapped budgets and their fragile economic recoveries.
In early March, New Mexico progressives achieved a notable victory after the state legislature approved SB47, a bill to develop an annual tax expenditure budget, to accurately assess how much the state spends on tax breaks for various industries and companies. The bill's movement is complimented by heightened legislative momentum around accountability across the states. Such reforms, including increasing disclosure of state spending on subsidies, contracts, and corporate tax breaks, are especially necessary considering the bleak fiscal and economic circumstances states continue to confront.
The precarious economic and fiscal circumstances states confront merit a more detailed and scrupulous review of spending on economic development subsidies. Near double-digit unemployment, massive revenue shortfalls, and a slow recovery continue to batter state budgets and dim growth prospects. Without needed accountability reforms, states are placing taxpayers, budget sustainability, and economic recovery at risk. Within this context, Good Jobs First released three key resources to track and evaluate state spending on job subsidies.
The morning after Election Day, conservative candidates across the country woke up to find themselves the beneficiaries of an historic national wave of voter anger over the state of the economy and record unemployment. Yet in the first few weeks after this clear voter statement of frustration over the economy, conservative state lawmakers across the fifty states are already making it clear that their legislative priorities next year will include pushing a divisive social agenda - an agenda that remained largely hidden during the campaign.