This weekly round-up shares the latest news about what the Network is doing to promote state-based solutions that will improve the lives of families, workers, and local communities. If you are an SPN member and have an update you’d like us to include in next week’s round-up, please email us at email@example.com (all submissions are subject to SPN approval).
- A district court in Tennessee issued a preliminary injunction barring the state from making online auctioneering a licensed profession. The Beacon Center initially filed the complaint.
- The Jersey City school district cannot use taxpayer funds to pay the salaries of teacher’s union representatives, said an Appellate court on Wednesday. The Goldwater Institute filed the lawsuit in January of 2017. “Today is a great day for New Jersey taxpayers, because this puts an end to an egregious form of government cronyism. This decision will help ensure that private unions no longer benefit from public dollars,” said Goldwater’s Jon Riches.
Research & Initiatives
- A new study by the Illinois Policy Institute shines a light on Illinois’ costly education bureaucracy. More than 9,000 Illinois school district administrators earn over $100,000 per year, the study finds.
- The Empire Center released their annual, “What They Make” report—breaking down public payrolls on a regional basis. Empire also uncovered how one New York union is trying to avoid federal reporting requirements.
- The Mackinac Center launched its latest lawsuit, this time related to state transparency laws, after Michigan’s licensing agency refused to turn over documents for months. This is the fifth time in recent years that the center’s legal foundation has sued to obtain public records. This week Mackinac also released an updated map that finds Michigan’s 100 largest cities carry $5.5 billion in pension debt.
Think Tanks in the News
- The Alabama Policy Institute explained how people can redirect some of their state income tax liability to a scholarship program that offers families alternatives to underperforming schools.
- Arkansas’ unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent in July, while Virginia’s held steady at 2.9 percent. Both the Arkansas Policy Foundation and the Thomas Jefferson Institute commented on the updated numbers. The Garden State Initiative also analyzed the new jobs numbers, and noted that while declining unemployment is good news for New Jersey, the state’s small workforce is cause for concern.
- The Badger Institute urged lawmakers to reform Wisconsin’s burdensome teacher certification process. The state makes it hard for teachers certified in other states to obtain a license in Wisconsin.
- The Bluegrass Institute argued that Kentucky taxpayers should not be forced to bail out a failing hospital.
- Donald Bryson of the Civitas Institute and Daniel Erspamer of the Pelican Institute published an op-ed in the Greensboro News & Record on the challenges of Medicaid expansion. As North Carolina considers expansion, Bryson and Erspamer urged North Carolina to learn from Louisiana and the problems it’s faced as a result of expansion.
- Why are young people leaving Vermont for states like Wisconsin and North Carolina? Lower taxes and smaller government, says the Ethan Allen Institute.
- New Jersey needs to reform its economic policies to bring jobs and economic growth back to the state, notes the Garden State Initiative.
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation President and CEO Kyle Wingfield explained why Georgia needs to lower its top tax rate in the Savannah Morning News. The income tax, Wingfield argues, is the most important factor a business looks at when deciding where they want to expand or relocate.
- As Idaho’s State Board of Education continues hearings on Common Core, the Idaho Freedom Foundation urged lawmakers to repeal the standards. IFF Vice President Fred Birnbaum spoke at the hearing and suggested Idaho follow the lead of Florida—which he said repealed Common Core because it did not reflect state priorities. Most of the participants at the hearing spoke in favor of the standards.
- “This is just one symptom of Chicago’s chronic overspending problem,” said the Illinois Policy Institute after Chicago was ranked as the highest sales tax city in the country. According to the Tax Foundation study, Chicago is tied for the top spot with two cities in California—Long Beach and Glendale.
- Negotiations in North Carolina’s budget talks have stalled, thanks in large part to Medicaid expansion. The John Locke Foundation reiterated how the costs of expansion would outweigh the benefits in The Daily Tar Heel. The Foundation also considered North Carolina’s No. 18 ranking in the Cato Institute’s “Freedom in the 50 States.”
- The Kansas Policy Institute went on the “John Whitmer Show” to discuss Kansas’ education spending and how to improve educational outcomes in the state.
- In an op-ed for The Hill, the Mackinac Center considered how workers are doing one year after Janus. Mackinac noted that states, governors, and attorneys general are undermining public employees and preventing them from exercising their constitutional rights.
- The Mississippi Justice Institute told the story of Dipa Bhattarai, a graduate student who’s eyebrow threading business was shut down because she didn’t have a license.
- How will “Medicare for All” affect union healthcare plans? The Pacific Research Institute noted that single-payer will be detrimental to union members—they will be subjected to long wait times, rationed care, and higher prices.
- The Pelican Institute promoted the idea of bringing a constitutional convention to Louisiana to streamline the state’s bloated constitution. Very few constitutions have as many specific policy details as Louisiana’s.
- As teacher’s salaries dominate the public discussion on how to increase compensation for California teachers, the Reason Foundation points out an undervalued way of helping them—improving their retirement savings options.
Events & Opportunities