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megaphone
Each Saturday, this feature links and excerpts commentary and reporting from a dozen progressive state blogs in the past seven days around the nation. The idea is not only to spotlight specific issues but to give readers who may not know their state has a progressive blog or two a place to become regularly informing about doings in their back yard. Just as states with progressive lawmakers and activists have themselves initiated innovative programs over a wide range of issues, state-based progressive blogs have helped provide us with a point of view and inside information we don't get from the traditional media. Those blogs deserve a larger audience. I now have a roster of 72 progressive state blogs, but I am always looking for more. Let me know in the comments or by Kosmail if you have a favorite you think I should add. Standard disclaimer: Inclusion of a diary does not necessarily indicate my agreement or endorsement of its contents.

At the NorthDecoder, Chet writes what ought to be part of the mission statement of every state blog in North Dakota Free Press Convention:

If you've been reading NorthDecoder a little while you know that a large part of what this website is about is exposing North Dakota's absurdly lazy, right-leaning and corrupt traditional media for what it is. The Fargo Forum endorses all Republicans in 2012. The Bismarck Tribune's editors are two chicken to name the names of radical Republicans and are humiliated into apologizing when they do. KFYR TV shuts down a reporters' investigation because some Republican big-shot calls the station manager and asks that the story be suppressed. All these things happen, and you don't know about it because the media—obviously—isn't going to cover it. So we do it.  
At WashBlog in Washington state, EWVoters writes Movement for Two-Thirds Majority for New Taxes Goes Local:
As most of you know, years ago Tim Eyman launched an successful initiative effort to require a two-thirds majority in the Washington State Legislature for the passage of new taxes. The two-thirds majority movement has gone local.
At Green Mountain Daily in Vermont, jvwalt moans as Shumlin rolls out a new anti-tax line:
As we all know, the most unpopular proposals in Gov. Shumlin's budget plan are his ideas for raising revenue: slashing the Earned Income Tax Credit, capping Reach Up benefits, and imposing a tax on break-open tickets. The Legislature doesn't especially like any of them, and has been casting about for alternatives. Many of which fly in the face of Shumlin's oft-stated opposition to raising "broad-based taxes," defined by him as income, sales, and rooms and meals.

Meanwhile, Shumlin continues to publicly tout his budget plan. To little apparent effect.

So at his news conference today, he tried a new line. A reporter mentioned New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to turn a temporary tax increase on high earners into a permanent hike, and asked if Shumlin wouldn't consider raising taxes on the rich. His response? We don't need to do that because we've already slammed the wealthy.

Please continue reading below the fold for more progressive state punditry.
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At leftinalabama, countrycat writes Limestone County School System Asked To Help Fund Corporate Welfare.:

The Decatur City Council is offering a private developer $40 million in sales tax rebates and infrastructure incentives to build a retail development in Limestone County - and asking the Limestone County schools to kick in even more by giving up some expected sales tax income.

The problem is that the developer thinks the $40 million isn't enough:

To make the Sweetwater development a reality, though, other government entities mu[st] pitch in, Hammon said. [...]

"According to the developer, it's still a little bit short. That's where Limestone County is going to have to come in. (Decatur) can't do anything else."

At Square State of Colorado, Zappatero writes If I give any money to Udall for Senate -- it'll be to Tom Udall of New Mexico:
U.S Senators are starting to gear up their campaigns. They are starting to ask for cash from voter/activists like you and me. They've set their long-term plans plans and are beginning to execute them.

Michael Bennet is in charge of the official senate reelection committee. Contrary to what happened in the last election, he actually wants more moderate Democratic senators at his side rather than the true progressives, like Tammy Baldwin, Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren whom voters sent to DC last November.

Do we need more moderates who are dying to compromise with Crazy, Whackjob, Tea Party Republicans like Ted Cruz or Tom Coburn or Lindsey Graham or Rand Paul or any number of loons?

No.

At TexasKaos, Libby Shaw fumed in  Houston: It is illegal to feed homeless but country clubs get tax cuts:
Last year Mayor Parker, as did mayors across the U.S., cracked down on folks from Occupy Wall St. groups.  Different cities had different approaches. In Houston, the occupiers fed homeless people in downtown parks.  Local business owners apparently did not like this practice.  

Cowering under pressure from city fat cats the Houston City Council passed an ordinance that imposed regulations on feeding the homeless.  In short, the regulations made it next to impossible for the occupy people to continue to feed Houston's hungry homeless.

The city also made it illegal for anyone to remove the contents of a city trash can.  In other words a homeless person cannot look for food in or remove it from the city's trash.  And so last week the Houston police ticketed a nine year Navy veteran, who has fallen on hard times, for trying to feed himself out of the city's trash cans

At KnoxViews of (eastern) Tennessee, Haslam sticks his nose in VW's business:
Yesterday, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that VW wanted to set up a "a European-style works council to represent employees." To comply with U.S. labor laws, VW reached out to the UAW to involve them in organizing the council. Repeat, VW reached out to the UAW and invited them in for talks.

Today, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that [Republican] Gov. Haslam says VW doesn't need a union and workers there are happy with the situation the way it is. He also said "Volkswagen continues to be incredibly successful with the current structure."

At My Left Nutmeg in Connecticut, ctblogger writes Heck, with an average age of 75, retired teachers may not even remember it was Malloy's proposal:
Malloy's plan would force the Connecticut Teacher Retirement Board to spend the existing fund down to almost zero over the next two years.

According to an article in yesterday's CTMirror, while Malloy's plan would "save the state" $70.7 million in the upcoming FY14-FY15 biannual budget, but it would "put the plan's funding at a 'dangerous level in two years."

Why take such a fiscally irresponsible action you ask?

Because eliminating the contribution would make the state budget look more balanced during the next gubernatorial election cycle, although the "rob Peter to pay Paul" approach would require a massive boost in the state contribution to the teacher's retirement fund in FY 16, the year after the next election.

At R.I. Future.org, Samuel Bell writes In Budget Vote, Cicilline Betrays Progressives:
As I predicted on Tuesday, Congressman [David] Cicilline voted against the Progressive Caucus’s budget on Wednesday. For a vice chair of the Progressive Caucus, this is a major break—especially after Rhode Island progressives have made it very clear they do not want Cicilline to abandon House progressives. This is a tough vote for Rhode Island progressives [...]

This is a tough vote for Rhode Island progressives to swallow.  The progressive community threw our all into getting Cicilline reelected.  We are his base.  We chose not to attack him on previous votes where he has betrayed the progressive agenda because we thought it might damage him.  David Segal, a progressive who ran against Cicilline in 2010, opted not to run in 2012.  But he refuses to stand up for progressive values.

At BlueNC, James Protzman writes Scarlet letters vs. pink stripes:
It's a small concession, but one worth noting. Faced with an expected outpouring of concern from activists (and big-time sticker shock), GOP zealots have backed off the pink stripe of discrimination in favor of modest scarlet letters on drivers' licenses.

Could this be a sign of fiscal restraint on the part of the Pope administration, or perhaps some sign of humanity? Sorry to say, it's neither. This is simply a first small step in the GOP rebranding strategy, an attempt to make themselves less toxic to the growing base of Latino voters. One need only look at the issue of Voter ID to validate this conclusion. When it comes to suppressing Democratic voters, the GOP has no budgetary concern whatsoever over the hundred million dollar price tag.

At BlueOregon, Carla Axtman writes Tuition Equity heads to the Governor's desk:
Ten years after it was first introduced, the Oregon Legislature has passed Tuition Equity. Just a little while ago, the bill passed the Senate on a vote of 19-11, after having passed the House earlier in the session.

The Governor has indicated that he will sign the bill, so it's on the way to being law.

Sometimes, it's just extra cool to be an Oregonian. Now is one of those times.

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