While some reformers believe that campaign finance reform will cure many of the ills of our election process, others feel the key is proportional representation, or other, related reforms. Proportionalrepresentation means electing representatives to our legislatures in proportion to their support in the population. Under our current system of winner-take-all elections in single-member districts, the… Continue reading
Featured from The Public Good Page 18 of 40
The city recognizes the importance of expanding the opportunities for its citizens to experience public art and other projects resulting from the creative expression of its visual artists in public places of the city. The city further recognizes the substantial economic benefits to be gained in the form of increased tourism through enhancement of public spaces and consequent retail activity throughout the city. A policy is established in this article to include works of art and design services of artists in certain city capital improvement projects. Continue reading
Tampa, Florida has gone beyond public spending to require that both city government and private developers of commercial properties allocate funds for art in public places. Developers must invest 1% of the project budget in art or contribute to a city art fund (maximum of $200,000 per project). The code also creates a public arts committee.
In July 2004, State legislators took the first step toward a constitutional amendment to "ensure that no Massachusetts resident lacks comprehensive, affordable and equitably financed health insurance…" The legislature needed to vote again during the 2005-2006 session on whether to allow the initiative to appear on the statewide election ballot. They did indeed act and passed a bill in April 2006. On July 12, 2006, the legislature voted 118-76 to send the amendment to constitutional committee for study. This will delay the ability for this to appear on the November 2006 ballot, but advocates hope that it will be on the November 2008 ballot. Continue reading
In 1998, San Franciscans passed Measure J with a 65 percent majority vote and made it city policy to provide affordable, preventive healthcare to the uninsured. In 2006, the city passed the San Francisco Universal Healthcare Initiative, with aims at giving an estimated 82,000 uninsured San Franciscans access to healthcare regardless of income, immigration status, or medical condition. Launched in July of 2007, Healthy San Francisco enrolled 3,100 people and has 14 city health clinics and 8 community affiliated clinics as of October of 2007. Continue reading
Enacted in August 2005, the New York City Health Care Security Act requires any grocery store with 35 or more employees or any retailer larger than 10,000 square feet to contribute $2.50 to $3.00 towards health care for each hour an employee works.
CityCouncilors said the measure was necessary to prevent employees from having to rely on public health programs paid for by the city and state. The law will expand health care for up to 6,000 employees in the grocery industry and protect coverage for 21,000 employees now receiving health care through their employers.
Maryland’s legislature enacted a new education finance system in 2002. It provides for $1.3 billion annually in additional school funding, and targets this increase to districts with lower wealth and more high-need students. Maryland is one of the first states to reform its school finance system based on the cost of providing every student with the opportunity to achieve the state’s achievement standards. Continue reading
Since 1971 all Canadian citizens, regardless of income, employment or health, have enjoyed access to basic health care, whether it’s provided in a hospital, home or clinic. Canada provides this coverage at a fraction of what the United States pays in health care costs. Americans spend 14 percent of their GDP on health care expenditures; Canadians only 9 percent. Yet despite its high cost, the U.S. system fails to insure more than 44 million of its citizens. Some analysts predict that figure will grow to 60 million by 2008. Continue reading
Connecticut’s legislature authorized an IDA program in June 2000, through Public Act 00-192. The state Department of Labor manages a reserve fund of both state funds and private sector contributions, and certifies publicly and privately financed programs. Corporations that contribute to the state fund receive tax credits from the state. Donations to IDAs operated by non-profits are tax deductible. Community organizations administer the programs. Financial institutions provide accounts with no minimum balance or monthly fees, at least a market rate of interest, and assistance with the financial education aspects of the programs. Continue reading