Posts Tagged ‘Republicans’

Michigan GOP candidates for U.S. Senate agree on most issues in debate

Posted on: January 30th, 2012 by Todd Heywood No Comments

The seven Republican candidates vying for a Michigan U.S. Senate seat, currently occupied by Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow, met in a mostly cordial forum Saturday at the University of Michigan – Dearborn campus.

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Michigan governor comes under fire for refusing to address LGBT issues

Posted on: January 17th, 2012 by Todd Heywood No Comments

Michigan’s Republican governor is coming under fire by leaders in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for his office’s refusal to grant multiple requests for a one-on-one interview about LGBT issues. (more…)

Undocumented Texas A&M students hope to reframe debate over ‘Texas DREAM Act’

Posted on: October 3rd, 2011 by Teddy Wilson 1 Comment

The Texas law offering in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants has drawn instant criticism to Gov. Rick Perry in his presidential bid, even from some in Texas who, till recently, had been quiet about the whole thing. (more…)

Americans believe feds waste 51 cents of every dollar, think states waste less

Posted on: September 19th, 2011 by Nicolas Mendoza No Comments

A new Gallup poll finds, on average, Americans believe 51 cents out of every dollar the federal government spends is wasted, a new high since the question was first asked in 1979. (more…)

Education to get $55 billion boost in Obama’s jobs plan

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by Mikhail Zinshteyn 1 Comment

Within president Obama’s $447 billion jobs bill he announced Thursday in an address to a joint session of Congress, some $55 billion would go directly to K-12 educators and renovations to nearly 35,000 schools.

The speech has won plaudits from labor groups and most of the Democratic base for its extension of unemployment insurance benefits and direct jobs training and hiring subsidies for employers, while the package of household and business tax cuts has piqued the Republican Party’s interest as well.

Among the direct jobs spending the president called for, $30 billion would be spent on retaining 280,000 teachers as a counter-cyclical measure to wait out the sluggish economy. After a several-month period of 100,000-plus job gains in the labor market, hiring has slowed, with the most recent monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noting job growth was completely flat, with net zero new hires.

Going into the 2011-2012 school year, nearly 85 percent of all school districts face budget cuts, according to labor groups; the depletion of 2009 stimulus money that relieved state legislatures from cutting even deeper into education spending meant more layoffs and school infrastructure neglect. The National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union in the country, have said the first round of stimulus funds helped 90 percent of school districts avoid spending cuts. Though with many state legislatures passing expansive tax cuts, school spending was on the cutting block.

Many states have dramatically thinned out spending streams to education. From Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

21 of the 24 states analyzed are providing less funding per student to local school districts in the new school year than they provided last year, and 17 of the 24 are providing less than they did before the recession, after adjusting for inflation. In 10 of these 24 states, per student funding is down by more than 10 percent from pre-recession levels. The three states with the deepest cuts — South Carolina, Arizona, and California — each have reduced per student funding to K-12 schools by more than 20 percent.

Though state contributions to school district spending varies by state, nationally, 47 percent of public education spending comes from state coffers. Since the start of the Great Recession, 229,000 teachers were laid off. And with the housing market at a standstill, local communities are strapped as their chief revenue stream runs dry.

Still, a few states upped their primary and secondary education spending: Alaska, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maryland, Massachussetts and Pennsylvania sent more dollars to K-12 education since the start of the recession.

Because public education allotments follow ‘formula’ spending as indicated by federal law — in which dollars are sent over based on district financial need — a disproportionate amount would flow to poorer neighborhoods, meaning middle-class zones would feel the squeeze. New Jersey, for example, is under court order to withhold any more spending cuts affecting school districts in low-income areas.

The remaining $25 billion would go to refurbishing school structures while funding new science labs, internet-ready classrooms, and modernizing rural school houses while bolstering public school facilities’ green bonefides across the country.

A statement from the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teachers’ union, read in part:

President Obama also made it clear that the path to our future is through education. We have seen a loss of 300,000 education jobs since 2008 as well as long-delayed school repairs and modernization projects. We can’t equip our kids for the knowledge economy if we continue to slash education budgets. This robust plan will put people to work teaching and modernizing schools, and it will save money in energy costs that can be reinvested in education.

For a spending breakdown of the president’s proposed jobs bill, click here [PDF].

School choice trailblazer currently at odds with fellow reformers awarded for work in voucher movement

Posted on: May 13th, 2011 by Mikhail Zinshteyn 1 Comment

Dr. Howard Fuller, a longtime advocate for school choice options in inner cities who recently came out against aggressive voucher expansion in his home state of Wisconsin, was recognized with an award this week for his work in the movement.

The John T. Walton Champions for School Choice Award was given to the professor by the American Federation For Children, which recently held its second annual National Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. Dr. Fuller was present during the summit, as was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Read The American Independent’s coverage of the event.

John T. Walton, a son of Walmart founder Sam Walton, sat on the Philanthropy Roundtable, a private, free-market, non-profit organization with ties to the Heritage Foundation and the George W. Bush administration. He also co-founded the Children’s Scholarship Fund in 1998, a charitable organization that supports needy students’ tuitions at private schools.

Fuller has rebuked Wisconsin elected officials for supporting legislation that would reform the Milwaukee school voucher program by providing public funds to any student, regardless of family income, to attend private schools. In an op-ed that appeared in the Journal Sentinel in April, he wrote:

It was not easy for me to stand before the state Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee and threaten to withdraw my support from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program… But if lawmakers approve Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to lift the income requirement that has maintained the program for children from low-income families, that is exactly what I will do.

The American Independent has reached out to Dr. Fuller but he has yet to offer a comment.

On Wednesday, the state assembly of Wisconsin passed AB 92, which would lift income eligibility requirements in the voucher program of Milwaukee. Leading Republican state senators have yet to put in their support for the legislation despite Gov. Walker’s push for the proposed law. AFC supports the governor and his backers in expanding the city’s voucher program without income eligibility requirements.

Majority of Republicans want a third party for the first time

Posted on: May 10th, 2011 by Kyle Daly No Comments

For the first time since Gallup began polling the public on the issue, a majority of Republicans back the establishment of a third political party. Although support for a third party among all Americans is actually down from last year, the rise of the tea party may be responsible for the leap in Republican third party support — as well as the perhaps fear-of-the-tea-party-driven drop in third-party backing among Democrats.

Gallup has the breakdown on its website, which includes the little-acknowledged fact that independents overwhelmingly want a third party and always have:

Interestingly, the poll also includes a potential barometer of ideological identification across the country. When asked to identify themselves by political party, 72 percent of self-styled independents called for a third party, compared to just 33 percent of Democrats. But when asked to identify themselves by general ideology, support for a third party among moderates dropped to 52 percent, while support among liberals rose to 51 percent.

Support for a third party held steady at 52 percent across self-identified Republicans and conservatives, suggesting that very few independents identified as conservative, while more than one in four independents identified as liberal.

If a quarter of independents consider themselves liberal and the rest are strictly moderate, it could move the 2012 presidential election in a number of directions. That bloc of liberal-but-not-Democrat voters could end up being a lock for President Obama, leaving it to the Republican candidate — already working with a smaller base than that held by the Democratic party — to fight for every last moderate’s vote. This would all but ensure an Obama victory unless more than two-thirds of non-party-affiliated moderates vote Republican.

Or the growing number of independent liberals disillusioned with the Obama administration over issues like the detention of Bradley Manning and the perpetuation of Bush-era anti-terrorism tactics could just stay home on election day, bolstering Republicans’ chances. Similarly, for the same reasons, staunch liberals may come out in support of a third-party candidate, to the detriment of the Democratic Party — though some have argued that the vote-siphoning effect of third parties is greatly exaggerated.

It’s simply too early to tell. But that large number of liberal and moderate independents fed up with the entire two-party system may very well end up deciding the election. Both parties would do well to start courting them, and soon.

Poll: Majority of Republicans support rights for same-sex couples

Posted on: May 6th, 2011 by Andy Birkey 1 Comment

A survey of more than 1,000 Republicans by Public Policy Polling shows that self-identified members of the party support legal rights for same-sex couples even if they aren’t backing gay marriage. (more…)