BUSINESS LEADERS STORM THE HILL — Last week members from the Smart Capitalists, Business for a Fair Minimum Wage, the Main Street Alliance, and American Sustainable Business Council stormed the Hill to support the Harkin-Miller Fair Minimum Wage Act. The group met with senior White House officials and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. Following the trip Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) visited Smart Capitalists Scott and Suzanne Nash‘s MOM’s Organic Market Alexandria outpost. MOM’s currently pays employees $10 per hour and will be raising their wages to $12 per hour by the end of the year. Card Marketing Services CEO and Smart Capitalist Stephen Prince tells PP: “[Congress] needs to stop spending our country’s valuable time and resources on a self-evident piece of legislation and move onto issues that have true gray areas. This one does not.” … Intermedia Partners, LP Managing Partner and Smart Capitalist Leo Hindery, Jr.: “If I were CEO of McDonald’s I would be embarrassed. I would be so embarrassed I would try to rectify this inequality.” … Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Founder and Director Holly Sklar tells PP: “Businesses need customers who can afford their products. We can’t build a strong economy on falling wages.”
… MIN WAGE ROUNDUP: Connecticut became the first state to pass a $10.10 minimum wage last Thursday. The state was a recent stop on the “Give America a Raise” 10-state bus tour, which culminated today at the Capitol in DC. The tour, organized by Americans United for Change, kicked off in Maine on March 24th. AFSCME, SEIU, AFL-CIO, United Auto Workers, USAction, the National Employment Law Project, Jobs with Justice, and others co-sponsored or partnered with AUFC. Meanwhile … Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint still refuses to publicly debate AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka on the minimum wage.
Republican Senators still on the fence: Ayotte (NH), Blunt (MO), Coats (IN), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Flake (AZ), Heller (NV), Kirk (IL), McCain (AZ), Murkowski (AK), and Portman (OH).
MIN WAGE MUST READS: “Harry Reid Not Budging on Minimum Wage,” “8 Businesses That Pay More Than Minimum Wage and Are Doing Quite Well,” “Raising the Minimum Wage is Popular in Republican Swing Districts, Too,” and “Raising the Minimum Wage Does Not ‘Kill Jobs.’” SEE how many workers would benefit from a minimum wage raise in your state HERE.
OBAMACARE FOR ALL — 7.1 million Americans signed up for coverage though Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges before the deadline this past Tuesday. READ: Media Matter’s “From ‘Doomed’ to Boom: How the Press Missed the Obamacare Comeback Story.” The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and NPR also covered the story.
BEWARE OF HOBBY LOBBY — Center for American Progress (CAP) President Neera Tanden broke down what’s at stake when the Supreme Court rules on Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. this term: “A bad Hobby Lobby decision will have an immediate negative impact on the right of a woman to make personal health care decisions, but it could also become a blueprint for discrimination against people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; allow corporations to evade important federal laws; and change the corporate structure as we know it.” READ: “Discrimination? Corporate Loopholes? Law Avoidance? Hobby Lobby’s Potentially Slippery Slope.”
90 REASONS AND COUNTING — Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) released a new report disclosing that 90 Fortune 500 companies–including Dupont International Paper, Boeing, and Tenet Healthcare–have gone at least one full year without paying state income taxes in the past five years. READ “90 Reasons We Need State Tax Reform” and SEARCH CTJ’s “Corporate Tax Explorer database” to find out which companies in your state are shifting the tax burden onto small businesses and middle class families HERE.
MARIJUANA ARRESTS UNCOVERED — A black individual is 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than a white counterpart, according to “The Uncovery,” a new advocacy tool created by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Interband that highlights racial disparities in marijuana related arrests. CHECK OUT “The Uncovery” and READ the ACLU’s recent companion report “The War on Marijuana in Black and White.”
VIVA ARCTIC ICE CAPS — CAP published “Why a Melting Arctic Could Sink the Global Economy,” outlining the necessary steps that Secretary of State John Kerry needs to take to combat the consequences of climate change as he assumes the position of Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Arctic Report Card author Howard Epstein outlines the stakes: “The Arctic is not like Vegas. What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic.” READ the full report HERE.
CAPITAL IN THE 21st CENTURY — The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and the Washington Center for Equitable Growth will be hosting a presentation by Paris School of Economics Economist Thomas Piketty on the findings from his new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century on Tuesday, April 15 at the EPI headquarters in Washington, D.C. Featured Panelists include EPI Research and Policy Director Josh Bivens, Nobel Laureate and MIT Professor Emeritus Robert M. Solow, and White House Council of Economic Advisers member Betsey Stevenson. The discussion will be moderated by CAP Senior Economist and Top Wonk Heather Boushey. FIND OUT more and RSVP HERE.
FROM THE WONK WIRE …
… CAPITOL TENSION: Columbia University Professor and Top Wonk Andrew Gelman refutes Slate columnist Jamelle Bouie’s claim that a predominant amount of white Americans support the death penalty due to racism.
… PASS THE MIC: Brennan Center for Justice Deputy Director and Top Wonk Lawrence Norden pleas for members of the New York state Senate and Governor Cuomo to support a reform package during upcoming budget negotiations that would eliminate pay-to-play politics in public finance.
Find out more at www.TopWonks.org.
… ON OUR AGENDA …
… INVISIBLE WAR WINS PEABODY! … PP congratulates the team behind Academy Award nominated documentary “The Invisible War” for winning a 2013 Peabody this week! “The Invisible War” Producer Amy Ziering tells PP: “We are most grateful and honored to receive a Peabody Award for “The Invisible War,” as this recognition most importantly continues to give this issue a national platform and spotlight. We will accept it behalf of all of our courageous service members who dared speak up in hopes of making a difference. We will continue our fight alongside them for justice and our work with Senator Gillibrand’s bi-partisan coalition to ensure that the MJIA gets passed when it next comes up for vote. Only then will we be able to raise our glasses and most truly celebrate.” FIND OUT more about “The Invisible War” HERE …
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