Several elected officials across the states have approached budget shortfalls with extremely short-sighted and economically damaging proposals, including lavish tax breaks for corporations, slashing unemployment benefits, heinous cuts to programs that primarily benefit middle class and working families, eliminating earned income tax credit (EITC) programs, and privatizing services and institutions across the board, such as mental health services, prisons, and infrastructure. These types of policies will only serve to worsen fiscal pressures, exacerbate the economic pain of the middle class, increase inequality, and heighten the current regressivity of state tax structures, which, on average, place a heavier burden on low and middle-income earners than the rich. This is demonstrative of a disturbing and pervasive recent trend: tax breaks for the affluent and corporations, and austerity for the rest.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been hailed by some as a bold leader,
but the priorities expressed in his first budget, approved this week by the legislature, indicate that he is following the right-wing's
slash-and-burn policies and adhering to economically flawed and discounted
This past week, Illinois lawmakers approved legislation to raise the state corporate and personal income tax. In explaining the need for the effort, Gov. Pat Quinn explained that the state's "fiscal house was burning." Indeed, faced with a revenue shortfall of $15 billion, legislators garnered the political will to enact sensible means to generate sorely-needed revenue.
For the first time in the nation, Wal-Mart
has agreed to a higher wage standard at a new store to be built in
Chicago, Illinois. The retail giant’s commitment was part of an
agreement to assure City Council support for zoning approvals, on which the
Council voted Wednesday. The deal also concludes a six-year fight
over what will be only Wal-Mart’s second store in the Windy City. As we
reported previously, Wal-Mart reached a stalemate with labor unions in
2006, after the City
Council passed an industry-specific wage standard for big box
retailers, which was later vetoed
by Mayor Richard M. Daley.