As we noted in the Dispatch a couple weeks ago, despite a dearth of recent successes and mounting fiscal crises in most states, rightwing voter ID legislation designed to suppress voter turnout continues to be pressed around the country. So far this year at least 17 states have seen bills introduced to institute or enhance ID requirements for voting or registration (AL, CO, GA, IN, MD, MN, MS, MO, NY, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WY). It appears we now know enough to predict the landscape of the voter ID battles in this legislative session.
When Progressive States Network (PSN) discussed gains in progressive power in legislative chambers around the country back in November,
one of the question marks was what would happen in the Texas House.
Earlier this week, that question was largely resolved when it was announced
that rightwing Speaker Tom Craddick no longer had the votes to be
reelected. Instead, a majority coalition, including most House
Democrats and a growing number of Republicans, decided to support
Republican Joe Straus from San Antonio as the new speaker.
Last year we saw the incredible wave of voter ID legislation promoted
nationwide by rightwing activists seem to peter out. High profile
campaigns for restrictive photo ID and proof-of-citizenship
requirements, which limit the voting of many legal citizens were met with defeat. But the proponents of voter ID have apparently not been deterred.
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.