Daily Archives: March 24, 2011

Think Progress: CHART: Taxing Millionaires Would Save Billions More Than Cutting Education And Programs For Main Street

March 21, 2011- All around the country, right-wing legislators are asking Main Street Americans to pay for budget deficits caused mainly by a recession caused by Wall Street by attacking collective bargaining, and cutting necessary services and investments like college tuition aid and health care for the poor.

As these conservatives are cutting these services for hard-working middle class Americans, they are claiming they are acting out of need for “shared sacrifice.” Yet at the same time, the right continues to advocate for massive tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.

Rep. Jan Schakowksy (D-IL), along with a number of her progressive congressional colleagues, has introduced a plan that demands real “shared sacrifice.” Her plan, The Fairness in Taxation Act, calls for creating new tax brackets for the richest Americans, starting at a 45 percent rate for people whose income is $1 million. Her bracket would impose the highest rate — 49 percent — on billionaires.

The Atlantic Wire: Oklahoma Firefighters Criticized for Footage of Them Doing Their Jobs

March 24, 2011- In advance of an Oklahoma senate vote on collective bargaining disputes between cities and public unions, firefighter groups have put together an advertisement that's drawn sharp criticism for its choice of imagery. The ad juxtaposes images of firefighters with that of a bombed out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the site of the infamous April 1995 Oklahoma City bombings. In the video, a narrator entreats "We're there when you need us. Now we need you. Tell politicians to do what's right."

According to The Oklahoman, GOP state senator Fred Holt, who sponsored the bill, lambasted the ad, saying that it's backers "should be ashamed of this horrific and tasteless commercial" and that "the victims and heroes of April 19th are not political pawns to be exploited whenever the Legislature seeks to reform a union negotiating process." The video circulated on conservative blogs with the bolded title "They will stop at nothing…," an apparent reference to the firefighters union ties to the AFL-CIO and the International Association of Firefighters.

Orlando Sentinel: Lawmakers’ creative education math, and Wise on the media whipsaw

March 24, 2011- The Florida Legislature’s 2011-2012 budget is taking shape and the push to make cuts largely on the backs of the poor, sick and public employees is going to take some rhetorical contorting.

Let’s look at schools. Florida budget-writers appear poised to impose about $1 billion in cuts to classrooms, dropping the average funding level of $6,811 per-pupil to about $6,388 under the Senate’s version. The Senate PreK-12 Education Appropriations Committee released its third version of the classrooms budget Thursday and it slightly lessens the cut to schools.

Much of the cut is being absorbed by teachers, who would have to start contributing about 3 percent of their wages to their retirements. That will amount to about $678.6 million less in state spending on public pension benefits for teachers.

That will mean less pay in teachers’ paychecks. But it doesn’t directly impact classrooms (unless your teacher decides to change jobs). The number is slightly better than the $739 million Florida Retirement System cut the committee put out on Monday.

AP: Emails show Wis. GOP considerations to punish Dems

March 23, 2011- Everything from taking away computers to denying a year of service in the state retirement system was considered to punish the 14 Wisconsin Democrats who fled to Illinois for three weeks to block passage of a bill taking away union bargaining rights, newly released emails show.

Members of Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's staff bounced ideas off one another and the Legislature's attorneys for days about how to penalize the Senate Democrats for leaving and pressure them to return, according to records released Wednesday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

The watchdog group obtained the emails from Fitzgerald's office under Wisconsin's open records law.

The emails show Fitzgerald's staff members were as worried about the public relations campaign as they were actually figuring out a way to get the Democrats to come back.

Sorry… We’re Closed: Since Walker Sworn-In, 19 Plant Closings and Mass Layoffs Have Cost Wisconsin 2,207 in Lost Jobs

-Originally posted by Jud Lounsbury  on Uppity Wisconsin

March 23, 2011- According to Wisconsin law, businesses employing 50 or more persons in the State of Wisconsin must provide written notice 60 days before implementing a "business (plant) closing" or "mass layoff" in the state.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, 19 companies have given notice of plant closings or mass layoffs to 2,207 workers since Walker was sworn-in on January 3, 2011: 

Think Progress: Buried Provision In House GOP Bill Would Cut Off Food Stamps To Entire Families If One Member Strikes

March 23, 2011- All around the country, right-wing legislators are asking middle class Americans to pay for budget deficits caused mainly by a recession caused by Wall Street; they are attacking workers’ collective bargaining rights, which has provoked a huge Main Street Movement to fight back.

Now, a group of House Republicans is launching a new stealth attack against union workers. GOP Reps. Jim Jordan (OH), Tim Scott (SC), Scott Garrett (NJ), Dan Burton (IN), and Louie Gohmert (TX) have introduced H.R. 1135, which states that it is designed to “provide information on total spending on means-tested welfare programs, to provide additional work requirements, and to provide an overall spending limit on means-tested welfare programs.”

Much of the bill is based upon verifying that those who receive food stamps benefits are meeting the federal requirements for doing so. However, one section buried deep within the bill adds a startling new requirement. The bill, if passed, would actually cut off all food stamp benefits to any family where one adult member is engaging in a strike against an employer:

Journal-Times: Under budget, teachers with revoked licenses could teach at charter schools

March 23, 2011- Wisconsin teachers with their licenses revoked for immoral conduct or incompetency could teach again under a provision in Gov. Scott Walker's proposed budget.

Walker's budget would remove a requirement that teachers at independent charter schools be licensed by the state, instead requiring teachers at those schools have only a bachelor's degree of some kind. Such a switch would create a loophole where people with revoked teaching licenses could potentially end up back in the classroom, according to Department of Public Instruction spokesman Patrick Gasper.

Racine County's only independent charter school, 21st Century Preparatory School, 1220 Mound Ave., would not be impacted because the school's charter requires teachers have licenses, said school Superintendent Robert Morelan.

But new charter schools created in the county as well as some charter schools across the state could end up hiring teachers with revoked licenses under Walker's budget, according to DPI.

Miami Herald: Gov. Rick Scott orders random drug tests for state workers

March 23, 2011- On the same day a bill was filed to make good on Gov. Rick Scott’s pledge to require people receiving welfare to pass drug tests, he signed an executive order that would make state workers take them, too.

Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, offered legislation on Scott’s behalf in the Criminal Justice Committee Tuesday to require that all cash-assistance welfare recipients over the age of 18 pay for and receive a drug test. One official estimated that this would affect about 58,000 people.

The governor’s executive order requires all prospective hires under his direction to take a drug test and orders that all current employees be subject to random drug screenings, affecting potentially 100,000 people. If tests cost the state $35 each, it could add up to $3.5 million.

The ACLU says the random testing proposal was ruled unconstitutional in a 2004 ACLU case against the state Department of Juvenile Justice.


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