Oregon became the latest state to address the current fiscal crisis with progressive revenue increases. This is part of a welcome trend that we highlighted back in April
of states recognizing that budget cuts need to be balanced with
wealthier state residents being asked to pay their fair share to
address the effects of the economic downturn.
Too often workers are forced by employers to listen to religious,
political, or anti-union propaganda that has nothing to do with their
work responsibilities-- yet they are threatened with being fired if
they don't attend such employer-mandated meetings. The Oregon legislature this past week joined New Jersey in giving employees the right to skip such employer propaganda meetings without fearing reprisals.
In order to comply with new transparency requirements under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, state governments across the
country are scrambling to report to the public how they spend recovery
dollars. Unfortunately, no existing state government Web sites that are
accounting for the recovery funds report the number of jobs created by
private contractors. Without such data, the sites are close to
Fortunately, Oregon is leading an effort to require contractors to
report the number of jobs they create, as well as the hours worked and
wages received by their employees. These proposed requirements would
ensure Oregonians' tax money actually goes toward creating quality
President Barack Obama's $787 billion federal stimulus package, now
known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, is
designed to jumpstart the nation's failing economy not only through
grants and middle-class tax cuts, but by funding state ''shovel-ready''
construction projects that will hopefully produce thousands of jobs and
small business opportunities, especially in the black community.
Just last week, Pres. Obama unveiled new proposals to allow small
businesses easier access to loans and capital through the US Small
Business Administration in an effort to empower them to take better
advantage of stimulus package opportunities.
But even before North Carolina fully determines how to distribute
its $6.1 billion in federal stimulus funding, questions are being
raised as to how African-Americans can best access their share of the