On Friday, legislative leaders in Massachusetts appear to have agreed to a compromise bill
that would assess a modest fee on any business with ten employees or
more which does not provide health care to their employees -- a key
element of a broader plan to move towards universal health care
After winning the Governor's seat in New Jersey, Jon Corzine decided to keep
a Republican in the position of Agriculture Secretary. It was a good
move. Charlie Kuperus has held the position in 2002 and has won broad
support from both parties for his support of a number of measures in
support of rural New Jersey.
State governments offer businesses tens of billions in tax incentives
each year to invest in their states-- corporate subsidies that many
advocates see as wasteful giveways but that others see as a lifeline for their communities.
Twelve years ago, California led the country in passage of a
three strikes law that threatened to lock up repeated offenders and
throw away the key. Now, having seen the cost to the state and
realizing that 60% of three strike offenders are non-violent, a realization is growing that a different route may be more effective.
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.
North Carolina was the first state to pass a law reining in shady
predatory lending practices, such as steep prepayment penalties,
balloon payments and the sale of high-cost loans to borrowers who could
qualify for lower rates. Soon a number of other states followed with
similar laws and the result, according to a new study, is that homeowners now save $9.1 billion per year.