Growing Economy

AL Making the Income Tax Fairer

Drum Major Institute has the details on Alabama moving to make their tax system fairer by cutting the tax burden on the working poor. To its shame, Alabama was the only state in the country which taxed the income of working people making less than $10,000 per year-- but the new legislation will change that, exempting the first $12,500 of income from taxes for a family of four.

Taxing Digital Downloads

Fifteen states and the District of Columbia now tax the purchase of digital downloads of music, movies and electronic books. With a market for downloads exploding to $1.1 billion worldwide, this has meant that buying music has increasingly shifted from the local music store to online. Leaving online retailers untaxed would mean not just revenue loss but putting home-state retailers at a competitive disadvantage to the Internet retailers. New Jersey's Gov.

More on Private Toll Roads

We've written before about the new 75-year lease of an Indiana toll road to a Spanish-Australian partnership, and the bad deal for taxpayers and democracy that it represents. The state's largest consumer group filed a lawsuit yesterday saying that the deal was so bad that it violates the state constitution.

States Expanding High Tech Businesses

Hawaii is proposing to create a Hawaii Innovations Fund, which could grow to $200 million in government funds over four years to invest in Hawaii's renewable energy, life science and technology companies-- a program following in the wake of similar venture funds in other states. While Hawaii already has generous tax credits for technology investments, that program does not track the number of jobs created-- and the state has the goal of expanding the technology sector which remains

University Research as Growth Engine

A new study finds that university research plays a stronger role in promoting economic growth that previously thought.

States Offshoring Human Services Jobs

There is a cruel irony that a majority of states are offshoring jobs involved in operating food stamps, family assistance and unemployment insurance. The federal Government Accountability Office issued a report last week finding that 43 out of 50 states offshore jobs administering at least one federal aid program. These offshoring programs are justified as saving taxpayer money, but it is a short-sighted policy that doesn't concentrate on using public funds to employ the poor and unemployed.

ME: Wireless Internet for Rural Economic Development

Even as some state governments are blocking expansion of local high-speed wireless Internet, a key legislative committee in Maine voted for a bill to encourage high-speed Internet in rural areas.

CO: Accountability for Privatization

Folks who advocate handing government functions to the private sector justify it as delivering more efficient results. Unfortunately, it often doesn't work that way. In Colorado, for example, state auditors found haphazard results from the $4 billion spent annually on private contracts for public services. Said Sen.

WI: A "Difficult" Choice Regarding Rent-to-Own Regulations

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is hinting interest in signing legislation to deregulate the rent-to-own industry. The bill passed Wisconsin's conservative legislature and is now awaiting the signature of Doyle, who as Attorney General opposed similar bills. Luckily, not all Wisconsin legislators are letting it move forward without a fight.

EVENT: Campaign '06: The Year of the Hostile Takeover?

Campaign '06: The Year of the Hostile Takeover? With David Sirota Wednesday, May 10, 2006 New York City Hosted by the Progressive States Network and the Drum Major Institute
Author and Progressive States Co-chair David Sirota, a veteran political strategist and Capitol Hill operative, has released a new book called Hostile Takeover showing how political corruption is creating policies that are intensifying America's middle-class squeeze.