While Washington Fails To Act, States Lead The Way With Progressive Budget Solutions, Including Increasing Revenue

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 20, 2013
Contact: Molly Haigh (907) 750-1999, molly@fitzgibbonmedia.com

Minnesota Passes Progressive Budget That Adds Revenue, Avoid Devastating Cuts And Advance Vital Policies; Illinois And Maine Are Close Behind 

Today, the state of Minnesota has enacted a highly progressive budget, long 
advocated by state activists, while legislatures in Maine are in the heat of debate over budgets to raise significant revenues and Illinois may be close behind. These budgets, that add revenue, avoid devastating cuts and advance vital policies, stand in stark contrast to the failed austerity fight happening in Washington. 
The budget visions in states have been in advanced in no small part because of the work of members of National People’s Action (NPA), including TakeAction Minnesota, Maine People’s Allicance working with the Fair Share Now coalition and the Fair Economy Illinois coalition, who have been leading the charge on behalf of millions in the states who will benefit from budgets that increase revenue, and mitigate cuts to vital services. 
In Minnesota, the budget is advancing with a $2 billion revenue target. $1.1 billion 
being tax on top 2% and the rest coming from taxing tobacco and closing corporate tax loopholes. 
In Maine, revenue provisions ranging from a roll-back of high income tax breaks to 
progressive sales taxes to a state version of the “Buffet rule” are moving through 
the legislature with revenue targets of $200 to $600 million to fund education and strengthening the social safety net for all Mainers. 
In Illinois, there is growing support for a budget provision that would close corporate 
loopholes to generate over $400 million in new revenue to pay for desperately needed social services.  There is also growing momentum for the passage of a corporate tax transparency bill that would make public what corporations are, and are not, actually paying.
In each state, NPA members and key coalition partners took to the streets, lobbied 
their representatives, and kept constant pressure on the legislature to support people 
over corporations and pass progressive budgets that will lead to jobs improvements in education and other critical services. 
“With this tax plan, the legislature is refocusing Minnesota on what was once a 
bipartisan consensus: an investment-driven strategy for shared prosperity,” said Chris Conry of TakeAction Minnesota. “Bolstering schools, health care, communities, and job creation- this plan starts to reverse a decades’ worth of all-cuts, all the time governing. By asking the wealthiest 2% and corporations to pay their fair share of taxes, everyday Minnesotans can begin rebuilding a state that has been steadily dismantled by austerity politics.”    
"Almost half the towns and cities in Maine have now passed resolutions opposing 
the governor's budget and advocating for a fair solution the budget gap," said Maine 
People's Alliance Executive Director Jesse Graham. "Maine people are rejecting 
Governor LePage's attempts to cut health care and local education funding and increase regressive taxes, instead speaking out for closing corporate loopholes and making sure the wealthy pay their fair share."
"While schools and health clinics are being closed in our neighborhoods, corporations like Sears and the Board of Trade are getting tax breaks. Two-thirds of Illinois corporations pay no taxes and collectively corporations only pay 8% of our total state tax revenues. But the tide is turning. Nearly 3/4 of Illinoisans favor corporate tax disclosure and closing loopholes" said Rev. Tom Gaulke, a leader with Fair Economy Illinois.
“What we are seeing is that states are stepping up and filling the void while Washington continues to pursue the failed policy of austerity,” said George Goehl, executive director of NPA. “States are getting the message and it is time for Washington to catch up: austerity is dead. We hope to see more states turning the tide toward an economy that works for all of us. Our job now is to make sure Washington gets the message.”