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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.
Corporate-backed legislators and governors are sacrificing their future political prospects as they ram through increasingly unpopular bills attacking the middle class and economic security. While the greatest attention has focused on the dramatic story that is still unfolding in Wisconsin, equally important fights are going on across the country. In case after case, polls show public approval ratings plummeting for elected officials pushing legislation that scapegoats public sector workers and collective bargaining rights for their states’ fiscal problems. While some of these officials are moving to moderate their course to save themselves, others are pressing forward with a zeal that is likely to cost them politically.
Mismanagement: Privatization Efforts Jeopardize Public Safety and Health- In this brief, One Wisconsin Now details Wisconsin Gov. Walker’s track record with pushing for the privatization of public assets in recent years, and documents the excessive costs, mismanagement, high risks, job loss, lost accountability, and negative impacts on the middle class, working families, and vulnerable populations that have occurred as a result of these efforts.
Ask voters in any state what single issue concerns them the most, and the answer is likely to be the same: the economy and jobs. More than two years removed from a crisis that caused the greatest economic downturn in generations, Americans with a job still feel as vulnerable as ever, while those out of work through no fault of their own worry every day about finding an increasingly scarce commodity: a good job that will allow them to provide for their families.
2011 presents states with a stark choice: austerity and inequality or progress and growth. This Dispatch will address three key progressive policy options for legislators to promote economic security by rebuilding prosperity in the states: Corporate Transparency, Progressive Tax Reform and Revenue Generation, and proactive Economic Development policies.
Whether the focus of a specific policy is Rebuilding Prosperity in the states through smart tax and budget policies, Job Creation to build the green economy here at home, or Job Security and Health Security to ensure the stability of our families, these progressive goals all share the common and critical aim of increasing the overall economic security of our states and our families. And the messages we use to advance these specific policies will reflect that common aim as well.
At a moment when conservative slash-and-burn policies to benefit big businesses, banks, and multimillionaires at the expense of everyone else are on the rise in the states, the Blueprint for Economic Security website will feature detailed policy options throughout the session as well as model legislation and highlighted research, reports, polling, and messaging -- to give progressives in the states the tools and resources they need to fight back and move forward.
A Guide to Asset Privatization - This recent publication by In the Public Interest, a resource center on privatization and responsible contracting, details different types of asset privatization (including recent debacles such as Chicago’s parking meters, as well as various parts of the contracting process) and identifies key issues that lawmakers and advocates should consider in evaluating any asset privatization deal.
As states confront collective shortfalls amounting to almost $140 billion in the coming year, progressive leaders face an enormous challenge in building support for necessary investments, even as the general public has grown skeptical of the ability of government to deliver on its promises. To counter this dynamic, progressives are championing several innovative and sound policies to protect taxpayers, promote economic security, support the interests of the middle class, and ensure sound investments in public structures and local communities.