For years, chain retailers have exploited a loophole present in the tax laws of about half the states to escape paying billions of dollars in state income taxes. Efforts to close these loopholes have faced an uphill struggle, but the momentum may finally be shifting, thanks to research that has exposed the extent of the problem and its primary corporate beneficiaries, as well as new activism by independent business owners, who are breaking rank with powerful business groups to call for tax fairness. Continue reading
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Minneapolis, Minn.– (March 5, 2008). The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) congratulates the 25 Vermont towns that have voted to join the East Central Vermont Community Fiber Network. These rural towns have rejected dependency on outside providers in order to build the infrastructure they need.
At least nine of the towns were unanimous in their support of the publicly owned fiber network. Many of the other towns still registered over 90% support for the measure.
Too many cities in California are stuck with slow (or no) broadband access. As the United States continues to dip in international broadband rankings, individual communities have a choice: build their own broadband network or hope someone else does it for them.
Broadbandmay be comparatively new, but these difficult questions of infrastructure have been with us for far longer. One hundred years ago, communities were told electricity was too complicated for municipal meddling and they should wait for private companies to electrify them. Thousands of communities realized that a community cannot wait for essential infrastructure. They accepted responsibility for their future and wired their towns. How little has changed since then.
The success of the Powell Mercantile has inspired at least half a dozen other towns in Wyoming, Montana, and Nevada—all too small and remote to interest national or regional chains—to open their own department stores. The concept is now spreading to the much more populous Northeast, where local residents are seeking community-focused alternatives to big-box retailers. Continue reading
Sales of gift card are soaring, but most of the spending on gift cards is flowing to chain retailers. A growing number of independent retailers are offering their own giftcards now too, but the key to shifting a substantial share of this activity to the local economy may lie in developing gift cards that work at many local businesses, rather than just one. Continue reading
A new policy brief from Institute for Local Self Reliance criticizes the authors of two recent studies published in Science for advancing a conclusion not supported by their own studies. ILSR’s paper notes that the vast majority of today’s ethanol production comes from corn cultivated on land that has been in corn production for generations. Continue reading
Last month the Internal Revenue Service today announced 312 projects that are now eligible to be financed with tax-credit bonds under the Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREB) program. Approximately, $477 million was available for this round of applications. The CREB program was created by the Energy Tax Incentives Act of 2005 and expanded under the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006.
Commentary by Neil Seldman Published at E Magazine.com Alexander Cockburn is a long-time firebrand in The Nation magazine, and before that the Village Voice. Lately he’s bent so far left he’s joined the right. In recent months, his column and online writing have attracted a great deal of controversy based on his assertions that the science of… Continue reading
A new study commissioned by Local First Arizona reports that a purchasing contract with an independent local supplier recirculates three times as much money in the local economy as the same contract with a national firm. Local First Arizona is using the study to galvanize support for a legislative measure that would keep more of the public dollars spent on state contracts in Arizona. Continue reading