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Making Corporations Pay Their Fair Share

Building a Progressive Majority in the States: Policy Options for 2007

This November, we saw voters taking the first steps to repudiate the rightwing ideology and institutions that have long dominated much of the political landscape in our states. For too long, we have seen rightwing politicians, backed by corporate money and by conservative think tanks, blocking communities from improving wages, impeding expansion of health care, and auctioning off public assets and public contracts to big monied interests.

But now we can build on these progressive victories to build towards a progressive majority in all our states. On issue after issue of concern to working families, there are solid majorities for enacting progressive policies. What we need is a coordinated strategy across states to highlight those issues that can broaden the coalition of progressive voters and reframe the debate across the nation about why it matters to working families that progressives hold office in our statehouses.

Overpaying for Jobs

Originally Published at TomPaine.com July 5, 2006 by Matt Singer Earlier this year, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue offered an astounding $400 million in incentives to Kia, the Korean automaker, to develop a plan that would employ 2,500 Georgians. Each of those jobs came with a $160,000 price tag. But it was nothing compared with what Mississippi was reportedly willing to offer the Korean car company: $1 billion in incentives, or roughly $400,000 per new job created. In Perdue’s defense, Georgia had recently lost two American auto plants.

Reforming Failed Tax Subsidies

Back in April, the Stateside Dispatch profiled successful job creation programs where states not only invest in dynamic high-tech and inner-city startup companies, but make money for the taxpayer from many of their investments.

Cleaning Up Corruption in the Statehouses

At the core of many voters' frustrations with government is the sense that, too often, politics is for sale. High-priced lobbyists offering "gifts" to lawmakers swarm state legislatures; companies looking for public contracts get too cozy with those handing out public money; and corporate campaign contributions grease the wheels as public policy is auctioned to the highest corporate bidder.

Taxing Poor Families

Every state with a sales tax imposes a tax burden on low-income families, but as a new report details, 19 out of the 42 states with income taxes levy taxes on two-parent families of four with incomes below the poverty line. The report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities highlights that some states impose the tax on those in severe poverty.
  • In Alabama, families with two children owe income tax when their earnings reach just $4,600.
  • Six other states — Hawaii, Indiana, Louisi

IL: Bold Pre-K Move

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) is pushing forward with a far-reaching proposal for two years of universal pre-kindergarten instruction, starting with three-year-olds. The proposal has come under fire from both Republicans and some members of the Governor's own party (Chicago Tribune, Registration Required) for being an expensive proposal that won't pass. Universal pre-K is an extremely popular program, leaving the Governor's critics in the difficu