What was once a brilliant line from a screenwriter is now a solid rule
of politics: "Follow the money." And true to that adage, when the
federal government scaled back the estate tax, eighteen billionaire
families were behind it, as documented in a new report
by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy. And that "billionaire
club" assault means that thirty-two states that peg their estate taxes
to federal law lose as much as $5 billion per year in revenues.
Hawaii is the latest state moving in that direction with a proposed Hawaii Innovations Fund which could grow to $200 million in government funds over four years to invest in Hawaii's renewable energy, life science and technology companies.
Following the 2000 election, everyone saw just how flawed an election
could be. In 2004, even without the same closeness, America witnessed
other problems including extremely long waiting times to vote: a sign
that America was no longer even preparing for moderately high turnout
elections. Meanwhile, one state was chugging along, doing just fine.
Following Maryland's adoption of a Fair Share Health Care Act
requiring that large employers adequately fund employee health care or
help shoulder the burden of Medicaid costs, similar efforts are afoot
across the nation and Wal-Mart, one of the primary targets of
the legislation, is moving into full-court press mode attempting to
find ways to convince the public that it isn't shirking its
responsibilities to its employees.
Conservatives in Washington, claiming that the voter database can only be clean if started anew, are leading the charge to force all registered voters to reregister in order to vote.
It could probably also be called the "Make County Clerks Cry Act." Whatever you call it, it's a bit of a crazy idea.
As assistant secretary of state Steve Excell says:
"Just because we don't happen to think that every voter record is perfect we can't wholesale disenfranchise everybody," he said.
Despite the fact that a coalition of labor unions, businesses, and religious groups had come together to support a fair share health care bill modeled on Maryland's recent legislation, the bill was killed by the Speaker of House who opted instead to study the issue.
The bill had the support of a majority of the House.