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  • Labor & EconomyJune 1, 2012Steve Smith

    Zombie Loopholes Are Eating California’s Budget Alive

    (This post originally appeared in Labor’s Edge, the blog of the California Labor Federation)

    Zombies are everywhere these days. They’re on popular TV shows. They’re in the movies. They’re in our nightmares. But what many Californians don’t know is that zombies are a primary reason of our ongoing budget crisis.

    Yes, that’s right. We call them Zombie Loopholes, and they’re devouring our state’s budget.

    Today, the California Labor Federation launched a new website to highlight the devastating impact that budget-killing corporate tax breaks are having on our state.ZombieLoopholes.com brings a number of wasteful corporate tax breaks that are bleeding our state of billions each year out of the shadows so the public is aware that they’re contributing to deep budget cuts to school funding, services for seniors and public safety.

    With the state facing another budget crisis and more cuts to services we value,

     » Read more about: Zombie Loopholes Are Eating California’s Budget Alive  »

  • EnvironmentMay 31, 2012Capital & Main

    LADWP Board Votes to Dramatically Increase Energy Efficiency and Jobs Programs

    The Board of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power took a huge step towards a greener, more efficient Los Angeles last Thursday. With a unanimous vote, the Board more than doubled LADWP’s investment in energy efficiency programs while also committing to sustaining that investment over the long term.

    The Board set a goal of reducing energy consumption “at least 10%” with a soft target of 15% by 2020, pending the results of a new energy efficiency potential study.  “These are significant increases and set LADWP on the path to be a leader in energy efficiency, allowing its customers to take advantage of this clean and cheap source of power,” NRDC’s Kristin Eberhard blogged the next day.  “A robust energy efficiency budget can help create jobs and displace dirty coal in LADWP’s portfolio.”  The vote came after over a year-and-a-half of organizing by a diverse coalition of environmentalists,

     » Read more about: LADWP Board Votes to Dramatically Increase Energy Efficiency and Jobs Programs  »

  • Politics & GovernmentMay 31, 2012Guest Feature

    How to Tax California’s One Percent

    By Lenny Goldberg, California Tax Reform Association, and Roy Ulrich, Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley

    (This article first appeared in the California Progress Report.)

    Jerry Brown’s most recent budget proposal takes a meat ax to vital programs, including Medi-Cal and in home support services (IHHS). Why do we refer to them as “vital?” IHHS, for example, helps the disabled and seniors live safely in their own homes, thus obviating the need to place them in more costly outside facilities.

    The governor’s plan represents the latest and worst in a spending cuts-only approach which California seems to specialize in. Reaping the benefits of this approach are the rich and powerful. The losers are those without high-priced lobbyists: the poor and the weak.

    There are several potential revenue sources the rich and powerful have been able to avoid while other states,

     » Read more about: How to Tax California’s One Percent  »

  • Politics & GovernmentMay 30, 2012Bobbi Murray

    Anti-Immigrant Legislation has Walmart Roots

    Here’s a fun fact you probably didn’t know: Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 law was born in a Walmart.

    Yes, the inspiration for the most draconian anti-immigrant legislation in the nation, a measure that permits law enforcement to ask about immigration status, one that swings the door wide open for racial profiling—SB 1070—reportedly sprang from a moment of inspiration at a Walmart checkstand.

    This origins story is brought to you courtesy of the Ministry of Citizenship, a faux MinuteMan-style group that purports to be a fan of the legislation.  According to the Ministry, it happened this way:  state representative Russell Pearce, the measure’s sponsor, “hatched the idea for SB 1070 late one night while waiting in the checkout line at Walmart.”

    “Here I was just trying to buy some Cheetos and cat litter, and the crowds were just horrendous,” the Ministry quotes Pearce as saying.

     » Read more about: Anti-Immigrant Legislation has Walmart Roots  »

  • Labor & EconomyMay 30, 2012Dan Braun

    Dolores Huerta Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom

    Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers and long-time activist who has lent her strength to countless social and economic justice fights, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama on Tuesday.

    “Dolores was very gracious when I told her I had stolen her slogan, ‘Si, se puede.’ Yes, we can,” Obama joked during the ceremony. “Knowing her, I’m pleased she let me off easy, because Dolores does not play.”

    He explained that throughout Huerta’s work, “She has fought to give more people a seat at the table. ‘Don’t wait to be invited,’ she says, ‘Step in there.’”

    “I was humbled, thrilled, and surprised. I never expected to be nominated,” Huerta, 82, told the Daily Beast about the honor. She said the medal highlights the power of “organizing at the grassroots level,” and “how important that is in keeping our democracy alive.”

    That activism,

     » Read more about: Dolores Huerta Honored with Presidential Medal of Freedom  »