Well it sure is nice of the radical right to provide a blueprint of at least part of their agenda this year. This way we know exactly what the crazy-and-dangerous soup du jour shall be in 2014.
Koch Brother Industries’ pet model legislation agency, ALEC, over the last couple of years, has given us through our various state legislatures everything from attacks on collective bargaining (Senate Bill 5), to the Stand Your Ground laws, to “right-to-work,” to disenfranchisement bills, to moves to privatize schools andprisons, to anti-environmental protection legislation.
In fact, when one thinks of the attacks in recent years on teachers, minorities, science, homosexuals, unions, consumer rights, and those struggling with poverty, it becomes much harder to think of an initiative in our various states without ALEC’s fingerprints on it somewhere.
This year, however, ALEC’s State Policy Network was kind (or, at least, incompetent) enough to leave us a little list.
In Ohio, ALEC’s initiatives are typically a somewhat toned-down version of whatever horrible tripe they are pushing in other, more-amenable states like North Carolina, Arizona, or Kansas.
Nevertheless, here is what they have planned for the Great River state in 2014:
Through the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, the group is looking to create an online tax reform simulation model “to educate citizens on the need for tax reform.”
Success, they say, will be determined by web traffic, media metrics, and meetings with policymakers.
No doubt this “need for tax reform,” to them, represents a need to cut top marginal tax rates and shamelessly funnel money back toward the wealthy. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a former ALEC member, is all about this type of thing.
Despite 40 years of empirical evidence showing that cutting taxes for those at the top does exactly nothing to help anybody else, and, in fact, has helped skyrocket wealth inequality to Gilded Age levels, this “tax reform” push is a top priority.
It always will be for them. You see, these are economic vampires and they will not be quenched until the corpse of the American dream is sucked dry.
The blueprint from the State Policy Network, which was originally established by ALEC, also shows a proposal for grant funding for Conservative think tank Opportunity Ohio.
This is yet another salvo meant to undermine, discredit, and eventually privatize (as much as they possibly can) public education.
Opportunity Ohio wants to “fight tax increases” by publishing online financial information for every school district: Salaries, budgets, revenue, etc., no doubt to try to gin up some sort of outrage.
When they say, “fight tax increases,” they are referring to their desire to defeat efforts to pass tax levies that, y’know, help schools district get better and more solvent. This levy calculator is already live.
Tax levies equal books, buses, learning tools, infrastructure, arts, music, athletics, and a well-rounded education. Ravitch has shown us empirically that these things, plus early childhood education, are the ways to help combat the achievement gaps caused by poverty.
Tax levies are the only tool school districts have left to fight against cuts in state funding that undermine their mission, while the state also imposes harsher, stricter mandates and standards that districts must meet.
You see, good public schools are a danger to ALEC’s goal of privatizing education in America into another profit-generating sector. They can’t have that. This is only their latest line of attack.
I have no doubt these issues will be a recurring theme this year, so keep in touch.
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