ALEC: How Bad Public Policy Finds Friends In State Legislatures


A new report from the Iowa Policy Project and Good Jobs First is warning folks around the country to take note:  Ideas for bad public policy have friends in state legislatures, and Iowa is no exception.  Here’s what IPP sent out last week:

One purveyor of those bad ideas is a corporate-oriented outfit called the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. That organization puts out a report annually called Rich States, Poor States, ranking states for their adherence to what ALEC likes to tell people are policies that promote growth. One problem: They don’t promote growth. And now Iowans and residents of other states have a research-based resource that will help them to sort fact from fiction when the traveling medicine show rolls into their state capitals.

That resource is the new report from IPP’s Peter Fisher and GJF’s Greg LeRoy and Philip Mattera, who dissect the ALEC report and not only expose its flawed methodology, but show what happens when you look at all 50 states and how well (or poorly) they actually do on important economic measures when they follow the ALEC formula.

The report by IPP and Good Jobs First is not an academic exercise; the Iowa General Assembly starts up again in January, and ideas about what’s ahead already are circulating. The report shows that when politicians are peddling tax cuts as a sure path to economic prosperity, it’s time to check the bottle for the ingredients. Snake oil is going to be at the top of the list.

Here are links to resources on the IPP website and blog:

Our news release: http://www.iowafiscal.org/2012releases/121128-IPP-GJF-snakeoil-release.html

A link to the full report (PDF): http://www.iowafiscal.org/2012docs/121128-snakeoiltothestates.pdf

Peter Fisher’s blog post on Iowa Policy Points: http://iowapolicypoints.org/2012/11/29/states-should-beware-alec-brand-snake-oil/

An excerpt:

ALEC’s rankings are based on arguments and evidence that range from deeply flawed to nonexistent, consistently ignoring decades of peer-reviewed academic research.

What we know from research is that the composition of a state’s economy — whether it has disproportionate shares of high-growth or low-growth industries — is a far better predictor of a state’s relative success over the past five years. Public policy makers need to stick to the basics and recognize that public services that benefit all employers.

We are seeing a lot of attention from around the country, as we noted above. On Saturday, Bill Moyers posted about it on Facebook:

A new study shows that recommendations from ALEC, the pro-corporate organization we investigate in this week’s rebroadcast, have a negative impact on state economies.

Moyers also reposted an article in Mother Jones by Erika Eichelberger, who wrote our report about the ALEC rankings.

And other folks around the country are seeing the connections between ALEC and political proposals, and noting the IPP/GJF perspective. See these links:

AFL-CIO Blog:
http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Corporate-Greed/New-Study-Shatters-ALEC-Laffer-Economic-Myths

NEWSOK:
http://newsok.com/author-of-oklahoma-income-tax-cutting-plan-criticized/article/3733803

Dayton Daily News:
http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/state-budget-to-heat-up-tax-debate/nTKZz/

Tulsa World:
http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=336&articleid=20121202_16_A24_bLeahy452427

Finally, if you agree that work like this is important to helping Iowans engage in the policy debates at our State Capitol, please consider a tax-deductible donation to the Iowa Policy Project. You can donate securely online at the link below. There’s no better way to greet the medicine show when it rolls into the capital city than with strong messages backed by good research in support of the investments that represent Iowa values.

www.iowapolicyproject.org
20 E. Market St. • Iowa City, IA 52245
(319) 338-0773 • ipp@Lcom.net

________

[Note from BFIA editor:  See links to our previous posts about ALEC on Blog for Iowa below]

More info.

Iowa’s Voter Id Bill can be found here:  http://coolice.legis.state.ia.us/Cool-ICE/default.asp?Category=billinfo&Service=Billbook&ga=84&hbill=HF95

ALEC Exposed: http://alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

ALEC Voter ID Act Template: http://alecexposed.org/w/images/d/d9/7G16-VOTER_ID_ACT_Exposed.pdf

http://www.blogforiowa.com/2012/02/27/local-tv-station-exposes-secret-group-known-as-alec/

American Legislative Exchange Council: http://www.alec.org/

Previously on Blog for Iowa

Every member of the [Iowa] [update] House Republican delegation is a member of ALEC by virtue of not opting out of such membership. Membership dues are paid by the state, that is, by taxpayer money. 

All House Democrats have resigned membership in ALEC.

blogforiowa.com/2012/05/17/state-rep-brian-quirk-announces-decision-to-leave-alec/

blogforiowa.com/2012/11/16/time-for-iowa-to-quit-giving-free-stuff-to-corporate-lobbyists/

blogforiowa.com/2012/07/16/why-are-corporate-members-of-alec-writing-iowas-laws/

blogforiowa.com/2012/03/28/newspapers-silent-about-alecs-link-to-voter-id-laws/

blogforiowa.com/2011/10/20/the-corporate-bill-mill-which-iowa-legislators-have-alec-ties/

blogforiowa.com/2011/08/04/iowa-legislators-should-terminate-alec-memberships/

blogforiowa.com/2012/02/02/voter-id-law-will-make-it-harder-for-students-to-vote/

blogforiowa.com/2012/01/21/time-to-inform-ourselves-on-alec/

http://www.blogforiowa.com/2012/07/11/when-will-iowa-stop-spending-tax-dollars-on-alec/

And directly from the ALEC.org page:

Terry Branstad, founding member of ALEC

To find more articles about ALEC on Blog for Iowa, click on the category “ALEC” in the left-hand sidebar.

 

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