December 10, 2013


State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax. Conservative groups across the US are planning a co-ordinated assault against public sector rights and services in the key areas of education, healthcare, income tax, workers’ compensation and the environment, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal. The strategy for the state-level organisations, which describe themselves as “free-market thinktanks”, includes proposals from six different states for cuts in public sector pensions, campaigns to reduce the wages of government workers and eliminate income taxes, school voucher schemes to counter public education, opposition to Medicaid, and a campaign against regional efforts to combat greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.  The Guardian

PA: Charter-school bill moving through Pa. legislature. The first major overhaul of Pennsylvania’s charter-school law is making its way through the Legislature. Lawmakers could act in the next few weeks on a bill that sponsors say includes urgently needed reforms, but critics warn it could speed the decline of traditional public schools, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.  San Francisco Chronicle

VA: McAuliffe: Toll-road hold. Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe has declared taxpayers must be assured the new Route 460 project has federal approval before spending their money on it, departing from his predecessor’s undiluted support, but there has been no let up in spending on the limited-access toll road lately….VDOT has said it’s providing $903 million for the $1.4 billion highway, and The Virginia Port Authority is chipping in $250 million. The remainder of the cost would be borne by Mobility Partners, which would also operate and maintain the road, collecting tolls ranging from 6.7 cents a mile for cars to 21.3 cents a mile for trucks. Vehicles traveling the entire 55-mile stretch of highway would pay $3.69 and $11.72, respectively, with annual toll increases of 3.5 percent per year built into the contract.  Suffolk News-Herald

NY: New York City’s War On Artists. Lederman was arrested continuously – prompting Frank Serpico, the renowned NYPD whistle-blower, to describe it as retaliatory “harassment” in a 2000 Village Voice editorial. In Serpico’s opinion, Giuliani and Bloomberg’s push to control where artists set up stem from their efforts to please businesses and is in keeping with their efforts to privatize public spaces. Newsweek