Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Progressive Policy Program for States

The Progressive Legislation Action Network has formally and officially launched the Progressive States web site. It will focus on monitoring and encouraging progressive laws and programs at the state level. In an article in In These Times, the rational is given as follows:

Most progressives fail to realize that state governments collectively have as much—and in some cases, more—power over the issues they care about as the federal government. State and local revenues are about equal to federal tax revenue, and in an era of “flexibility” and “waivers,” federal money is increasingly handed over to the states with few strings attached. In explaining conservatives’ focus on state legislation, ALEC’s Medicaid specialist James Frogue observed, “Innovations and reforms in Medicaid will come from the states. They will not come from D.C.”

(Note: ALEC is the American Legislative Exchance Council, the existing and very active GOP version.)

PLAN has a lengthy report outlining the reason they formed, what the conversatives are doing along these same lines, and what they propose to do in response. The executive summary is here, and there is a link to the full report if you want to read through that.

This is an interesting idea and one that I hope takes off. You will be hearing more about it here, I'm sure.


Jamison said...

I hate to be a naysayer, but the entire point of doing things like this at the federal level is the economy of scale it yields. For example, if we had a federal drug purchasing plan we could get drug prices down to the same levels or lower than Canada is paying, simply by the scale of the programs involved. You can mimic anything as significant as that in a single state unless it's the size of California, and then you still can't get the economies of scale if the federal government controlled by a radical right is passing laws to help their corporate campaign contributors. It's a fine idea, I just can't imagine how it would work without working from the top down.

AboveAvgJane said...

I agree but getting everyone on the same page nationally is even trickier than getting everyone on the same page statewide. There are many things that are set by state policy (in some places at even more local levels). And it never hurts to have a multi-pronged plan in case one part fails.