As states face mounting deficits, corporate lobbyists have been promoting the idea that privatization of public services and assets is a free lunch -- services can be delivered more cheaply than by public employees and public assets like highways can be sold or leased for a hefty return to the taxpayer. As PSN has detailed in our December 2007 report Privatizing in the Dark: The Pitfalls of Privatization & Why Budget Disclosure is Needed, the promises of privatization too often yield to a reality of lost money and degraded services, weak oversight and lost expertise, assets sold off for short-term gains but long-term loss, lost democratic accountability, and the corruption of the political process.
According to a new study by Good Jobs First, state and local governments lost over $1billion in sales tax revenue
last year as a result of laws that allow retailers to retain a
percentage of the sales tax they collect.
Pennsylvania, Kanjorski, a 12-term congressman, squeaked out a win
against Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, a Republican mayor who became
nationally prominent for his stand against illegal immigrants.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Kanjorski had 52 percent, and Barletta had 48 percent.
worked hard. We came up a little short in the end, but we ran a good
campaign, a clean campaign, a campaign we can be proud of," Barletta
said in his concession speech.
Barletta also lost to
Kanjorski in 2002. He told reporters that it was too early to say
whether he would mount a third challenge, but added that in a different
year, the outcome might have been different. He said a strong showing
for presidential winner Barack Obama contributed to Kanjorski's win.
pushed through a law in his community of 30,000 that sought to deny
business permits to companies that employ illegal immigrants and fine
landlords who rent to them. A federal judge struck down the ordinance
as unconstitutional but his efforts were emulated in other towns around
Once the sleepy backwater of electoral politics, judicial elections
have recently become a battleground where right wing and corporate
groups spend large sums to fill the courts with jurists who will
support their interests. This is perhaps the most troubling example of
money corrupting our politics, because instead of pay-to-play politics
it gives us pay-to-win justice. The independence of the judiciary
simply cannot be maintained in an environment where jurists are
competing for votes in high-priced, bare-knuckle political brawls.
Several battleground states are not prepared to meet the challenge
of administering the general election on November 4th, where turnout
will be unprecedented, According to a report conducted by Advancement Project, a national leading voter protection organization.
assess, and help ensure, the nation’s readiness for the November
general election, Advancement Project obtained public records and other
public information on the allocation, at the precinct level, of voting
machines (or, in the case of jurisdictions that use optical scan
machines, voting privacy booths) and poll workers in the following
states: Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and
A couple of weeks ago, we outlined the rash of voter suppression
activities cropping up, like clockwork, around the nation. This week we
cover the new suppression efforts that have come to light since.