As State Faces Real Problems, GOP Focuses On Rigging Future Elections

This is a guest article.

By State Representatives Frank Dermody and Mike Hanna

Here we go again.

Just as we begin deliberations on some of Pennsylvania’s most pressing issues, Republican leaders in the General Assembly have chosen to place their political party above the interests of Pennsylvanians.

Last year, it was the sham voter ID law. This year, we have a brand-new effort to rig presidential elections.

Senate Bill 538, sponsored by a gang of 13 Republican state senators, would distribute 18 of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes proportionally based on how presidential candidates performed statewide. The remaining two electoral votes would be awarded to the overall winner.

Pennsylvania, like most states, has always used a “winner take all” system for presidential electoral votes, where the winner of the most votes receives all 20 electoral votes. Moving to a proportional system would dilute the electoral tally of the winning candidate, eliminate Pennsylvania’s prized status as a swing state, and help Republican candidates gain electoral votes they did not earn.

It’s worth noting that similar schemes in other states – including Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida – failed to gain the support of their Republican governors. It’s clear that Republican leaders in Pennsylvania are out of step with their colleagues nationally.

In fact, the Senate Republican bill stands in stark contrast to the National Popular Vote movement, which would effectively end the Electoral College without the need for a Constitutional amendment.

Under the National Popular Vote plan, Pennsylvania would join a compact of states pledging all of their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. When enough states join the compact, bringing with them enough electoral votes to be a majority of the Electoral College, all compact states would cast their electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote.

The National Popular Vote plan is the only true way of ensuring the winner of the popular vote is guaranteed to win the presidency.

The Senate Republican scheme is more than just sour grapes after President Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by some 300,000 votes. It is a Republican power grab of the highest order.

This gang of 13 senators – the dirty baker’s dozen – is attempting to do nothing less than steal the Office of President of the United States.

Talk about twisted priorities.

While Republican leaders scheme new ways to rig elections, there are real issues facing Pennsylvania that demand immediate attention.

We have a massive funding crisis – to the tune of more than $4 billion – for repairing, maintaining and modernizing our crumbling roads, bridges and transit systems.

We have a stubbornly high unemployment rate – among the highest in the nation – with at least a half-million Pennsylvanians unable to find work.

We have a public school system that is underfunded by nearly $1 billion, thanks to the devastating budget cuts imposed by Gov. Corbett and his Republican allies.

We have an opportunity to take advantage of billions of dollars in federal money to insure more than a half-million Pennsylvanians by expanding Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

We have a thriving state lottery that Corbett is attempting to outsource to the United Kingdom at the expense of older Pennsylvanians who rely on the lottery to fund critical senior programs.

It’s clear that Pennsylvania is not lacking in the crisis department. Yet the Republican Party, which controls the governor’s office and both chambers of the state legislature, is instead obsessed with stealing the presidential election at any cost.

The people of Pennsylvania deserve better than self-serving partisan scheming from their elected officials.

It’s time for Pennsylvania’s Republican leaders to get their priorities straight.

People should be our priority, not our political party.

State Rep. Frank Dermody serves as Democratic leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He represents the 33th Legislative District in Allegheny County.

State Rep. Mike Hanna serves as Democratic whip of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He represents the 76th Legislative District in Clinton and Centre counties.

 

Congress Finally Passes Comprehensive VAWA

By a vote of 286-138 Congress finally passed a comprehensive Violence Against Women Act today and sent it to the President for signing.  The previous VAWA expired and Republicans refused to renew it with expanded protections for women who are LGBT, immigrants or Native Americans.  All women, regardless of circumstances, deserve to be protected against violence. 138 Republicans still don’t believe that.  They include:

Mike Kelly

Tim Murphy

Tom Marino

Joe Pitts

Keith Rothfus

Scott Perry

News & Notes February 25, 2013

Gov. Corbett’s son-in-law, suspended by Philadelphia Police for allegedly stealing drug money from a bait car, turned in his gun and badge in preparation for dismissal.

One f the leading causes of drug addiction and crime is the lack of quality education in our cities.  We aren’t adequately educating minority children because we aren’t adequately funding their schools.  The state costing out study done several years ago determined it costs $9,000/year to educate each student.  Classrooms, teachers, aides and resources cost money.  Slashing funding for inner city schools by cutting budgets and funding charter schools is only exacerbating the problem.  Philadelphia schools lost $8.7 million last year to charter (for profit) schools which we know are not educating students well.

The number of children living in poverty in Pennsylvania is up 15%.  This means fewer kids are getting meals at home or school.  Conservatives are cutting food stamps, child care, Head Start and other critical early childhood intervention programs.  You may decry “big government” but government provides valuable and critical services.  It is the only counter to Big Business.  More and more we live in a corporatist culture rather a capitalistic one.  All laws passed in Washington have to be approved by the Chamber of Commerce or industry groups to the detriment of everyone else.  We see this in the cuts being proposed on both state and federal levels.  The rich aren’t being asked to sacrifice just everyone else.  This is hitting poor people especially hard.  If the massive income inequality continues unfettered it will lead to revolution.  It always does.

It’s time to increase the minimum wage.  A number of years ago I was involved ina coalition called Raise the Minimum Wage and we successfully fought to increase it to $7.25/hour in the Commonwealth.  In real dollars that wage is actually lower than it was in 1968.  If we want to get the economy growing again people need to earn more so they can spend more.  Conservatives always scream that increasing the minimum wage will result in job cuts.  Facts show that doesn’t happen.  Higher wages means more economic activity because those at the lower end of the income spectrum tend to spend most of their incomes.  It’s time people working for a living earned enough to live on those incomes.

As I hear absurd statement after absurd statement from Republicans I sometimes wonder if what I’m seeing is actually an Onion.com parody.  Unfortunately it isn’t.  Some Republicans however still are having trouble understanding that The Onion is satire.

Speaking of not being able to tell the difference between reality and satire Breitbart.com got caught believing a joke about Chuck Hagel and a non-existent group called Friends of Hamas.  This would be hysterical if it hadn’t turned out to be believed by some Senators.

The Oscars

On the lighter side I enjoyed last night’s Oscars.  Seth McFarlane looked delicious in his tux and the ladies brought back old time Hollywood glamour.  The gowns and jewels were fabulous.  Jennifer Lawrence’s gown was magnificent but tripped her up as she went up to the stage to accept her Oscar for Best Actress.  I also thought both Helen Hunt and Jane Fonda were among the best dressed and reminded the younger actresses that glamour never completely went out of style.

I enjoyed McFarlane’s hosting and could have watched him all night.  As long as the show ran it certainly felt like it had been all night.  He made some good jokes about that.  I liked his Lincoln joke and especially the follow up line.  His opening about Ben Affleck’s being snubbed for Best Director was original.  While talking about Argo (which I saw recently) he said it was so classified even the Academy still didn’t know who the director was.

I was rooting for Alan Arkin for Best Supporting Actor, he’s one of my all time favorite actors and any film he’s in is always worth seeing.  I haven’t seen Django Unchained or Silver Linings Playbook so I can’t compare his performance with those nominated actors (Christoph Waltz the winner and Robert Deniro).  

The tribute to the James Bond franchise was interesting but it would have great to have all the actors who played 007 come on stage at the end.  As Shirley Bassey belted out the theme from “Goldfinger” i was waiting for a segue into Adele’s performance of “Skyfall.”  That came later and was a missed moment.    The tribute to Marvin Hamlisch with Barbra Streisand coming on stage to sing “Memories” was a special moment.

I’d love to watch Seth McFarlane host again and don’t understand the critics who panned his performance.

Sequestration: A Pox On Both Parties

As sequestration looms at the end of the week Republicans and Democrats are in damage control mode over who is to blame.  I have news for them:  they’re all to blame.  The concept of austerity budget cuts actually came from the White House, was signed by the President and passed with bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.  The consequences are going to be severe and will throw the country back into recession as 2 million direct jobs are lost.  When you add the losses from the economic ripple effect we will all the progress attained the last four years.  When another 2 million people lose their jobs they won’t be buying things, the consumer markets will be further damaged and costs such as food stamps and unemployment will rise.

Here in Pennsylvania we will see $47.8 million in education funding resulting in losses of 620 teachers on top of the 14,000 already laid off due to Gov. Gasbag’s wholesale cuts in K12 funding.  3,160 work/study jobs for college students will result in many of them dropping out of their higher education careers.  Head Start cuts will hit 2,300 children in the Commonwealth.  

As pollution from Marcellus shale drilling pours methane into our air and carcinogens into our ground and rivers we’ll lose $5.7 million in environmental funding.  Civilians working for the Department of Defense will lose their jobs too to the tune of 26,000 people.  Tobyhanna Army Depot will be hard hit.  Grants to law enforcement agencies will also be cut ($509,000).  Other federal programs such as vaccines for children, child care and job search assistance will also be gone.

Sequestration is taking an axe to federal spending by imposing austerity, a program which has failed everywhere it has been implemented.  Our number one problem isn’t the deficit it is the lack of jobs.  Instead of creating jobs we’re cutting them.  By increasing federal spending, creating jobs and replacing our crumbling infrastructure, we would stimulate the economy and expand tax revenues as people return to the workforce.

The primary drivers of the federal budget deficit were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush tax cuts and the Bush Recession.  Some f the tax cuts have been repealed though 85% of them were made permanent.  The war in Afghanistan continues to bleed us financially and we’re doing nothing significant to stimulate the economy.  Putting people back to work and, thusly, paying taxes, will return many of the lost revenues.  Combine that with increased tax rates for the richest Americans to reduce income inequality and political stability, closing loopholes for corporations so they begin paying their share of taxes and stopping tax breaks for offshoring jobs will all do much to close the deficit.  Austerity will only make things worse ad the deficit will again being to increase again.

If you’re going to be flying soon (and I don’t recommend it) get to the airport several hours before your flight.  Air traffic controllers will be cut by 20% along with TSA employees.  Getting through airport security will be even more time consuming and who knows how planes might crash into each other?

You Can’t Wash Away Fracking’s Effects

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José Lara just wanted a job.

A company working in the natural gas fields needed a man to power wash wastewater tanks.

Clean off the debris. Make them shining again.

And so José Lara became a power washer for the Rain for Rent Co.

“The chemicals, the smell was so bad. Once I got out, I couldn’t stop throwing up. I couldn’t even talk,” Lara said in his deposition, translated from Spanish.

The company that had hired him didn’t provide him a respirator or protective clothing. That’s not unusual in the natural gas fields.

José Lara did his job until he no longer could work.

At the age of 42, he died from pancreatic and liver cancer.

Accidents, injuries, and health problems are not all that unusual in the booming natural gas industry that uses horizontal hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, to invade the earth in order to extract methane gas.

Of the 750 chemicals that can be used in the fracking process, more than 650 of them are toxic or carcinogens, according to a report filed with the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2011. Several public health studies reveal that homeowners living near fracked wells show higher levels of acute illnesses than homeowners living outside the “Sacrifice Zone,” as the energy industry calls it.

In addition to toxic chemicals and high volumes of water, the energy industry uses silica sand in the mixture it sends at high pressure deep into the earth to destroy the layers of rock. The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) issued a Hazard Alert about the effects of crystalline silica. According to NIOSH there are seven primary sources of exposure during the fracking process, all of which could contribute to workers getting silicosis, the result of silica entering lung tissue and causing inflammation and scarring.  Excessive silica can also lead to kidney and autoimmune diseases, lung cancer, tuberculosis, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). In the Alert, NIOSH pointed out that its studies revealed about 79 percent of all samples it took in five states exceeded acceptable health levels, with 31 percent of all samples exceeding acceptable health levels by 10 times. However, the Hazard Alert is only advisory; it carries no legal or regulatory authority.

In addition to the normal diesel emissions of trucks and trains, there are numerous incidents of leaks, some of several thousand gallons, much of which spills onto roadways and into creeks, from highway accidents of tractor-trailer trucks carrying wastewater and other chemicals.

The process of fracking requires constant truck travel to and from the wells, as many as 200 trips per day per well. Each day, interstate carriers transport about five million gallons of hazardous materials. Not included among the daily 800,000 shipments are the shipments by intrastate carriers, which don’t have to report their cargo deliveries to the Department of Transportation. “Millions of gallons of wastewater produced a day, buzzing down the road, and still nobody’s really keeping track,” Myron Arnowitt, the Pennsylvania state director for Clean Water Action, told AlterNet.

Drivers routinely work long weeks, have little time for rest, and hope they’ll make enough to get that house they want for their families.

But fatigue causes accidents. And contrary to industry claims, workers don’t always wear protective gear when around toxic chemicals they put into the earth, and the toxic chemicals they extract from the earth. Or the toxic chemicals they drive on public roads.

In the Great Recession, people become desperate for any kind of job. And the natural gas industry has responded with high-paying jobs. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is ecstatic that a side benefit of destroying the environment and public health is an improvement in the economy and more jobs-even if most of the workers in Pennsylvania now sport license plates from Texas and Oklahoma.

The drivers, and most of the industry, are non-union or are hired as independent contractors with no benefits. The billion dollar corporations like it that way. It means there are no worker safety committees. No workplace regulations monitored by the workers. And if a worker complains about a safety or health violation, there’s no grievance procedure. Hire them fast. Fire them faster.

No matter how much propaganda the industry spills out about its safety record and how it cares about its workers, the reality is that working for a company that fracks the earth is about as risky as it gets for worker health and safety.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued Rain for Rent nine violations for exposing José Lara to hydrogen sulfide and not adequately protecting him from the effects of the cyanide-like gas.

It no longer matters to José Lara.

The effects from fracking should matter to everyone else.

 

PBBC’s State Budget Summit

I spent Thursday in Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center’s annual State Budget Summit.  This is the fifth such year I attended and learned quite a lot about our budget priorities.  That’s what a budget is:  the priorities we make as a Commonwealth and it says much about who we are as a people.  Where we allocate our resources and how illustrates where our priorities lie.  Gov. Tom Corbett’s lie with corporations, prisons and the privatizers of public services.

Mike Wood:

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Sharon Ward opened the day then Michael Wood, Director of Research led a discussion and PowerPoint of this year’s state budget.  Much of the day surrounded discussion of Medicaid expansion.  The Affordable Care Act goes into effect next year and Medicaid expansion has been controversial.  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual states can decide whether or not to opt into the program.  Many Republican Governors have already opted out though some are reconsidering those decisions (Rick Scott in Florida for example).

Medicaid expansion would cover 500,000 additional Pennsylvanians.  A healthy workforce is a productive workforce and since federal dollars would cover all the costs the first few years there is no downside for Pennsylvania.  Even when state monies are required the economy should be recovered sufficiently and some smarter decisions concerning corporate loopholes can cover those costs.  Since state residents will still be paying federal taxes why should we go without Medicaid coverage while paying for it in other states?

When you drop your child off at day care do you wish your kid’s caretaker was healthy?  How about the barrista who makes your morning coffee, your doughnut or your lunch?  The flu shot through Pennsylvania this winter partly because workers don’t have health care coverage or sick days.  When they got ill they still had to go to work while they couldn’t go see a doctor.  How screwed up is that and how much did it cost us in lost productivity?

Three state legislators did a panel on state government with former Rep. Kathy Manderino moderating.  Sen. Jay Costa, Republican Rep. Todd Stephens and Rep. Mike Sturla covered many topics.

The panel:

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Gov. Corbett is fond of going around bragging he hasn’t raised taxes.  The fact he has.  Local taxes are skyrocketing due to state budget cuts.  Check your county and school property taxes if you aren’t sure.  This is called passing the buck:  Corbett cuts school funding and human services programs then your local government bodies have to raise taxes to cover those shortfalls.  A Dauphin County Commissioner lamented that since the Sandusky scandal pressures are on local Children and Youth Services to increase oversight on child molesters but aren’t being adequately funded to do so.  These are called unfunded mandates:  the state requires they do more but doesn’t pay for it.

The Governor’s first two years have seen cuts in corporate and business taxes in return for job creation.  Unfortunately we aren’t getting the jobs he promised.  Pennsylvania is now below the national average in job creation since he took office but tax revenues have dropped because of those cuts.  He has reneged on his promises that these tax reductions would bring new jobs.

Rep. Mike Fleck:

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Corbett is also going around claiming he didn’t cut K12 education by a billion dollars.  His argument is that those were federal stimulus funds that expired.  That’s true but then conservatives shouldn’t be claiming the federal stimulus program was a failure.  Interestingly they also paid for prisons but the budget for incarcerating people wasn’t cut only the schools were.  That tells us what his priorities are.

This year’s budget is $28.4 billion up from $27.8 last year.  Senate Republicans restored $500 million to last year’s budget and this one will emerge much different from what the Governor proposed.  He has built his proposal around three major initiatives which won’t be passed by June 30th and if they do eventually, will see lengthy court challenges.  Building a budget around them is political folly which will severely harm Corbett’s re-election campaign next year.  He can’t blame the legislature too much for not getting his way since it is controlled by his own Party.  The hallmark of this failed Administration is the Governor’s inability to work with others.  He has regularly tried to bypass the state legislature which has come back to bite him in the butt.  The Governor is treating the House and Senate as if they don’t matter and has turned his own Party leadership against him.  This tone deafness is going to be his downfall.

Click below for the remainder of my coverage:

One of the hard hitting statistics we saw was the difference is cuts to urban and poor school districts compared with wealthier suburban schools.  While the average cut statewide was $410/student some districts saw cuts as high as $1200.  Guess what?  They were mostly minority schools already suffering from vast inequalities of funding.

The three uncertain sources of funding in Corbett’s budget surround lottery privatization, gutting of public employee pensions and the privatization of the state liquor stores.  None is good policy and none is going to happen.  This means Corbett’s budget is DOA.

The lottery privatization is already on life support after Attorney General Kathleen Kane declared it unconstitutional.  Again the Governor went around the state legislature to do what he wanted to do.  This will be tied up in courts for some time provided Camelot Global Services doesn’t tire of the politics and walks away.  Corbett already returned its $50 million deposit.

Gutting public employee pensions also will not go through because it’s bad policy.  Pensions are deferred compensation and are contracts negotiated through collective bargaining.  Neither the Governor nor the legislature can negate those contracts.  The NCAA just sued Corbett for signing a bill requiring the Penn State settlement funds be spent only in the Commonwealth.  It attempts to negate the contract agreement signed between PSU and the NCAA.

Converting fixed benefit pensions into 401(k) programs means employers (the state and school districts) get off free contributing to those retirement accounts, they are subject to the whims of the market, they’ll require double the administrative costs and many public employees will leave their jobs when their pensions get robbed.  It will then be more difficult hiring qualified workers and teachers for less than private sector wages when their benefits don’t balance out those losses.

Privatizing the state Wine and Spirit Shoppes went nowhere in the last session and is DOA.  Until Corbett comes up with a plan to replace the $500 million/year they contribute to state coffers he doesn’t have a coherent plan.  All that’ll likely come out of this will be the ability for consumers to purchase six packs at grocery and convenience stores.

This means $625 million of the Governor’s budget revenues don’t exist.

Meanwhile the cuts on Corporate Net Income taxes (CNI) and the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT) keep reducing revenues without creating new jobs.  The corporate tax rate often quoted by conservatives is a sham because few businesses actually pay the 9.9% CNI.  Loopholes and credits gut those rates.  Until we begin closing things like the Delaware Loophole we won’t really collect the revenues necessary to build an educated and trained workforce.  That’s reduce our competitiveness in the future.

There were two sessions of breakout workshops during the day.  I spent some time in each of the morning ones and attended parts of two of them in the afternoon.  The four morning sessions dealt with communications advice for budget advocates, educating children for the new economy, building a fair tax system and what Medicaid expansion means for Pennsylvania.  Dr. David Brown of West Chester University had a startling fact about the popular Teach For America program:  80% of participants leave teaching within three years.  To me this means Teach For America is a dismal failure.  He also cited how much of a factor it is for teachers who get Master’s degrees and the positive impacts they have in classrooms.

The Medicaid expansion panel:

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In the Medicaid breakout Antoinette Kraus of the Pennsylvania Health Access Network pointed out that with Medicaid expansion many low wage workers who would be enrolled in the plan would save their small employers ACA penalties.  In other words if you have a small business and your workers can be covered by Medicaid expansion you’ll be legal under the ACA and won’t pay any penalties.  This covers businesses with at least 50 workers.

The fair tax system panel:

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Did you know that only 8% of the Department of Public Welfare’s budget goes to actual welfare benefits?   Especially since Corbett cut TANF by 77%.  But the agency really is more of a Health and Human Services Agency.  Not all of the lottery profits go to senior citizen programs either although that is mandated by law.  

The pension reform panel:

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The four afternoon workshops covered the tax shift to local municipalities, pensions, human services and communications advice for talking about values.  I got stuck in the pension workshop because it is so important and the discussion was so good.

I learn a great deal at this summit every year and it helps me in my coverage of state government all year round.  The PBPC also posts regularly here on these issues.

Kathy Manderino:

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Manderino and Rep. Todd Stephens:

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Rep. Mike Sturla:

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Sen. Jay Costa:

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Joan Orie Melvin, Janine Orie Convicted

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Joan Orie Melvin was convicted today following four days of jury deliberations.  She was convicted of using government funds and staff to campaign for the Commonwealth’s highest court in both 2003 and 2009.  Her sister Janine Orie was also convicted.  The jury couldn’t come to agreement on one charge of official oppression.  The sisters can join former State Senator Jane Orie in state prison.  This is proof that the family which corrupts together gets to stay in prison together.  The Justice now must be removed from the Court and Gov. Corbett will appoint a replacement who will serve the balance of her ten year term.

I heard a lot of rumors about how the former Superior Court Judge was conducting her 2009 campaign and knew it was rife with corruption.  I wrote about some of those allegations at the time.

GOP House Shuns Dashiki Clad Black Members

February is Black History Month and so two members of the Pennsylvania House decided to celebrate by inviting their fellow Representatives to a special lunch.  Rep. W. Curtis Thomas and Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown dressed in traditional African garb for the occasion and were thereby shunned by racist House Republicans.  

ALEC Policies Sell ‘Snake Oil to the States’

By Sharon Ward, Third and States

Three national organizations offered a scathing criticism of policies endorsed by the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, in a conference call with reporters last week. Their findings strike a stake in the heart of ALEC claims that its view of the world – lower taxes, fewer workplace protections, and diminished public investments – is good for the public. 

Pennsylvania state lawmakers who look to ALEC for guidance on economic policy should stand up and take notice. 

Iowa Policy Project research director Peter Fisher discussed a recent report he co-authored with researchers from Good Jobs First, concluding that the tax, budget, and economic prescriptions put forth by ALEC simply don’t work.

Selling Snake Oil to the States took a look at ALEC’s annual Rich States, Poor States report, which ranks states based on their “economic outlooks” as defined by ALEC. The factors should come as no surprise: states with low taxes and right-to-work laws rank high by ALEC; those with progressive taxes, corporate income taxes, and worker protections rank far behind.

Fisher compared the ALEC rankings with actual state performance on real economic indicators over a four-year period. Do ALEC’s policy prescriptions improve state economies? The answer is no.

Between 2007 and 2011, researchers found no relationship between a high ALEC ranking and employment. They did find a correlation on personal incomes and poverty rates among states ranked high by ALEC, but it was a negative one – the better a state fared on the ALEC scale, the worse it did in real life. As Fisher said during the conference call:

It should be hardly surprising that policies to keep wages low have the effect of lowering the state’s income. … The ALEC policy prescriptions for states will not lead to growth and prosperity but to further inequality and lower incomes.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examined sweeping tax and budget policies that ALEC is currently lobbying for in the states. The policies largely encompass deep tax cuts for wealthy individuals, investors, and corporations that will leave middle- and lower-income families paying more.

Both reports note that the ALEC agenda promotes low wage growth for families, fewer workplace protections, and strategies to starve public investments in education, health care, and other priorities – all of which reputable economists agree are critical to job creation and economic growth.

It is an article of faith among Pennsylvania lawmakers that ALEC policies are good for the economy. These reports provide clear and convincing evidence to the contrary: the arguments that the ALEC agenda are good for real people are nothing but snake oil. The policies are good for the businesses that pour millions into ALEC to promote this agenda. 

Governor Tom Corbett has hidden large expensive new tax cuts to profitable corporations in his budget proposal released this month. This and other ALEC agenda items won’t create jobs, but they will lead to greater inequality, slower income growth, and continued starvation of our public schools, transit systems, and other priorities.