Saturday, January 30, 2010

Progressive Coalition Meeting/Panel Discussion on County and State Budgets

* Progressive Coalition Meeting to plan future events and actions,
Monday, February 1, 7:00 PM at the Saigonese
* Panel Discussion on County and State Budgets Sunday February 7th 1:30
- 3:30 PM at the Wheaton Library

Progressive Coalition Meeting to plan future events and actions.
Combined MeetUp/Meeting for MCPA, DFMC, PDA, and more.
Monday, February 1, 2010 7:00 PM

Saigonese Restaurant,
11232 Grandview Ave
Silver Spring (Wheaton), MD 20902
Public Transportation: Short walk from Wheaton Metro (red line)
Google Map:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=11232+Grandview+Ave+Silver+Spring+MD+20902

Agenda: We're focusing efforts on making progress in our county and
state on Healthcare, the Environment, Education, Labor, Transportation,
Energy and other issues. We're building up our coalition and lobby
efforts on the state and national level, planning special events,
forming a steering committee, and working on meetings with legislators,
and other organizations.

More information and RSVP: Mike Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com

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Sunday, February 7th 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Panel discussion/forum on MD and
MoCo Budgets.
Discuss budgets and revenues with elected officials, 1:30 PM February
7th 2010 in Wheaton

While we welcome the Governor's commitment to schools and other
priorities in his just-released budget, many questions remain about
remaining challenges. Join us for a panel discussion on these critical
issues with Delegates Brian Feldman, Sheila Hixson, and Roger Manno,
County Council President Nancy Floreen and School Board President Pat
O'Neill. We're awaiting response from County Executive Ike Leggett and
others. Free and open to the public.

Wheaton Library, (first floor large meeting room)
11701 Georgia Ave. Wheaton MD 20902
Public transportation: from Wheaton Metro take Y9 Bus (toward Montgomery
Hospital).

More information and RSVP: Mark Woodard markdwoodard@comcast.net or Mike
Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com

Friday, January 29, 2010

University of DC Justice Cafe' February 5th 6 to 10 p.m.

University of DC Justice Cafe' February 5th 6 to 10 p.m.

University of DC Firebird Inn
Building 39, B-Level - 4200 Conn. Ave NW
Just above the Van Ness/UDC Metro (red line)
See: http://www.udc.edu/campus_map.htm

Suggested donation $15 / $10 students / $5 kids.
No one turned away for lack of donation.

All ages event. Child activities powered by kids!

Cosponsored by Progressive Democrats of America!
Music by local performers! Food by Kit's Catering!
Poetry, Beer, Wine, Tabling, Progressive Networking!

RSVP! Performers, Showcase your talents! Organizations: Reserve your free table!
Contact: mikehersh2007@gmail.com
  for all of the above.
Special talk on the Constitution and Rights at Risk, 6:30 to 7:30 pm with:
ACLU Director Johnny Barnes and Shahid Buttar, Director, Bill of Rights Defense Committee


Live performers:
* After speaking, Shahid Buttar will perform socially and politically informed hip hop. See: http://www.shahidbuttar.com/
* LaPret will perform songs from his upcoming solo Debut EP "2010: FASHION of ATTRACTION" See: http://www.LaPret2010.com
* Gee aka George Dawson III performing original compositions. A graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. he toured with the Duke Ellington Show Choir and Concert Choir. See: http://gypsyman.org/
* Mike Bowers, Singer/Songwriter and UDC law student will mix the music and perform favorites for voice and guitar. See: http://mdbmusic.com/
* More performers expected.

Confirmed tablers for this month (so far):
Free Massage by Lisa Bregman (tips appreciated) * DC Childcare Collective * David A. Clarke School of Law * Progressive Democrats of America * Choices (alternatives to military recruitment) * DC for Democracy * IF your organization should be listed, please let me know!

Last month's tablers--we expect many of the same plus others: Witness Against Torture* Pax Christi DC-Baltimore * Free CranioSacral therapy sessions by Randy Goldberg http://www.healingdc.com (tips appreciated)* Gray Panthers of Washington, DC * Author Wilfredo Bohorquez * The Wendt Center * Split This Rock Poetry Festival * Democratic Socialists of America * More!

Hosted by the University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law
Upcoming Cafes (Note Changes!) February 5th, March 12th, April 2nd, May 14th, June 4th. Please plan to join us for all of them!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Protect Student Privacy--Support Legislation HB 176

From Pat Elder:

In a few days we've generated several hundred letters to state lawmakers
from people across Maryland who are demanding the Pentagon be prohibited
from giving a four hour test for recruiting purposes to thousands of
Maryland school children without parental knowledge or consent.

We are building a formidable political coalition that is quickly
attracting huge numbers of legislators in very short order. Maryland
could become the first state to stand up to this foolishness. If you
haven't taken the 45 seconds to email your delegates our brief message
urging them to support House Bill 176, introduced by House Ways and
Means Committee Chair, Sheila Dixson, here's another chance:
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/161/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2087

The legislation wouldn't eliminate military testing in Maryland's
schools. Educators throughout the state claim the test is a valuable
career exploration tool and that's O.K. with us, but military documents
clearly promote the test as a recruitment tool.

The US Army Recruiting Command's School Recruiting Program Handbook says
the primary purpose of the ASVAB is to provide military recruiters "with
a source of leads of high school juniors and seniors qualified through
the ASVAB for enlistment into the Active Army and Army Reserve." See
page 6: http://www.usarec.army.mil/im/formpub/REC_PUBS/p350_13.pdf

This legislation would allow continued testing but preclude test data
from being forwarded to recruiters; Pretty much a no-brainer, huh?

Jane Arabian, Assistant Director for Enlistment Standards for the
Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness has a different
spin. She says "Military officials try to keep recruiters away from the
test as much as possible. We try to keep recruiters at arm's length from
the test, because we are very careful about compromising the contents of
the ASVAB."

C'mon! Click on the link above and write your legislators.

Pat Elder
Maryland Coalition to Protect Student Privacy

Whose schools?

For more on the ASVAB: www.asvabtest.org

Manno's Proposal Addresses Budget and Pension Challenges

Del. Roger Manno's HB 10 addresses present, mid- and long-term budget and fiscal challenges. Currently, no other proposal addresses the need to increase revenue and fix systemic short-falls in the state employees' and teachers' pension funds.  Here's the synopsis of HB 10: "Imposing a tax at a specified rate on income in excess of $1,000,000; requiring specified corporations to compute Maryland taxable income using a specified method; requiring that, subject to specified regulations, specified groups of corporations file a combined income tax return; establishing the Teacher Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund; altering the determination of the State's contribution for specified plans in the State Retirement and Pension System; applying the Act to tax years beginning after 2010; etc."

HB 10 Press Release (from Del. Roger Manno)
TEACHER AND EMPLOYEE PENSION SUSTAINABILITY AND SOLVENCY TRUST FUND (HB 10)

    * Protect County Budgets
    * Fix Maryland Pension Systems
    * Invest in World Class Schools

The ongoing recession has challenged Maryland's ability to sustain long-term investments in education, while meeting our pension obligations to public employees. This has sparked a debate in Annapolis as to whether the State should deleverage its pension obligations by requiring counties to assume a larger share, if not all of those liabilities. Doing so, however, could be disastrous to the already failing budgets of Maryland counties, and could require counties to significantly slash funding for vital services and education. For example, based FY2010 county contribution levels to the Teachers’ and Employees’ Pension Systems, under a full deleveraging scenario, each year Montgomery County would be liable for $159.6 million in pension obligations, Prince George’s would be liable for $121 million, Baltimore County would liable for $93.8 million, Baltimore City would be liable for $76.6 million, Anne Arundel County would be liable for $67.9 million, and Howard County would be liable for $55.2 million. (Source: Maryland State Retirement and Pension System)

In addition, since locally-funded county education systems are responsible for Maryland’s “First in the Nation” education ranking, requiring already overextended counties to pick up pension costs would directly result in diminished schools throughout the State. Clearly, a solution to the pension problem is needed.

Of the various public employee pension systems in Maryland, only the largest two (the “Employees’ and Teachers’ Pension Systems” and the “Employees’ and Teachers’ Retirement Systems”) are most volatile to the ebbs and flows of the economy because only those systems operate under the failed 2002 “Corridor Funding Method”, evading sound, actuarial methods in determining levels of pension contributions.

Maryland is the only State in the nation to employ such a method.

Under Corridor, contribution rates for the two largest systems are fixed from year to year as long as the funded status for each of these systems remains in a “corridor” of 90% to 110%. While Corridor was initially conceived to mitigate annual fluctuations in contribution rates, the fixing of rates at a level below “normal cost” levels has resulted in rates lower than those actuarially determined for (GASB No. 27) accounting purposes, and has ultimately resulted in Maryland’s two largest pension systems being severely underfunded. This has prompted the Maryland State Retirement and Pension System's Board of Trustees to recently state "the Board continues to be deeply concerned with the Corridor Funding Method", while the System's actuary continues to call for "a return to full actuarial funding at the earliest possible time". (See: Maryland State Retirement and Pension System, Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, 2009)

Implementing an alternative approach to Corridor is only half of the necessary fix, because without new revenue streams to adequately re-capitalize the System, Maryland will be unable to meet its future pension obligations.

That’s why I have recently introduced HB 10, the “Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund” (Trust Fund), funded solely through entirely new revenue streams: repealing the “sunset” of the expiring “Millionaire Tax” bracket; and implementing an annual corporate “combined reporting” assessment.

If implemented in the 2010 Session of the legislature, the Trust Fund will replace the Corridor Funding Method with a sound actuarial formula, and is projected to return Maryland’s largest pension systems to full solvency by 2017 or 2018. Importantly, Trust Fund revenues will insulate counties from having to assume future pension obligations.

Please help advocate for the Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund. Our counties and retirees cannot wait.

Act now for progress with the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance

Act now for progress with the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance.
1. Get Involved: support progressive candidates and issues: Join and Support MCPA
2. Contact your State Legislators for more transparency, electoral fairness, and sound budget policies.
EMERGENCY ACTION ALERT: Act Now! Maryland needs voting machines we can trust.
3. Discuss budgets and revenues with elected officials, 1:30 PM February 7th 2010 in Wheaton
4. Sample Letter on Progressive Working Group Issues
5. Background, news, and information on these bills and policies
6. Please join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance.

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1. Get Involved! Support progressive candidates and issues! Join and Support MCPA
If you live in the Montgomery County Maryland area, please join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance. MCPA is local, independent coalition of organizations. MCPA organizes debates, forums and other events to inform the public and advance understanding and progress in Montgomery County. More information: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/

We're gearing up for an exciting, important 2010. MCPA will endorse candidates and issue campaigns, educate the general public on issues, host events, and otherwise support progressive issues and campaigns as MCPA and in concert with other organizations. To achieve everything we should–to expand our meetings, hold more forums, extend outreach, and organize support for the best candidates–we ask you to become a paying member of MCPA now. Support our work: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/join-and-support-mcpa/ Contact mikehersh@mikehersh.com to work with MCPA.

2. Contact your State Legislators for more transparency, electoral fairness, and sound budget policies.
MCPA is a member of the Progressive Working Group (PWG), a coalition of 24 organizations* in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties--and most recently Howard and Baltimore Counties and Baltimore City--joining together to support 3 important issues: campaign finance reform, greater transparency/open access in Annapolis, combined reporting aka closing a massive corporate tax loophole. Following a PWG meeting with House of Delegates Speaker Michael Busch, we're hopeful we can achieve progress on all of these issues!

In fact, we've already seen progress. Quickly following efforts from PWG and coalition allies Ryan O'Donnell (Maryland Common Cause), Sean Dobson, (Progressive Maryland) and Maryland Transparency and Equal Access in Government, Speaker Busch and Senate President Mike Miller took steps to promote greater transparency in General Assembly operations, including posting committee votes online.

We're not satisfied with partial success on one issue area, however. We're asking you to adapt the following sample letter (see below) to write or call your state legislators. Please use your own words! Identical emails and calls are less likely to receive due consideration. You can find your legislators' contact information online here: http://mlis.state.md.us

* EMERGENCY ACTION ALERT! Maryland needs voting machines we can trust. The Maryland Legislature unanimously voted for paper-based, verifiable voting. Unfortunately, Governor O'Malley failed to fund the transition away from unreliable, error-prone, expensive and obsolete DRE voting machines in his current budget. The Board of Public Works will meet to consider funding the transition to more reliable, less costly paper ballot voting. Urge your state legislators to contact the Governor and demand voting machines we can trust in Maryland! (See sample letter below).

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3. Discuss budgets and revenues with elected officials, 1:30 PM February 7th 2010 in Wheaton
Sunday, February 7th 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Panel discussion/forum on MD and MoCo Budgets.

While we welcome the Governor’s commitment to schools and other priorities in his just-released budget, many questions remain about remaining challenges. Join us for a panel discussion on these critical issues with Delegates Brian Feldman, Sheila Hixson, and Roger Manno, County Council President Nancy Floreen and School Board President Pat O'Neill. We're awaiting response from County Executive Ike Leggett and MCEA leadership. Free and open to the public.

Wheaton Library, (first floor large meeting room)
11701 Georgia Ave. Wheaton MD 20902
Public transportation: from Wheaton Metro take Y9 Bus (toward Montgomery Hospital).

More information and RSVP: Mark Woodard markdwoodard@comcast.net or Mike Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com

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4. Sample Letter on Progressive Working Group Issues:


Dear (name and office of delegate or senator)

I am a member of the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance, a grassroots group with approximately 1100 members in Montgomery County. We are part of a coalition of 24 groups which supports campaign finance reform, greater transparency and equal access in Annapolis, and combined corporate income reporting. I urge you to support these issues in the current legislative session.

Maryland needs voting machines we can trust. We thank you for voting to purchase and deploy paper-based, verifiable voting machines. Although you and the rest of the Maryland General Assembly unanimously voted for it, Governor O'Malley failed to fund the transition away from unreliable, error-prone, expensive and obsolete DRE voting machines in his current budget. Please contact the Governor and convey your strong commitment to voting machines we can trust in Maryland. Urge him to fund the transition to more reliable, less costly, verifiable paper ballot voting machines when the Board of Public Works meets to consider funding priorities in Maryland early next month.

We need real campaign finance reform (CFR) including voluntary public financing of General Assembly elections. This would let you focus on important issues facing our state, rather than on raising funds for your campaign. I understand challengers can raise campaign funds during the session, but you are not allowed to do so. We believe CFR would fix this unfair situation, and help free you and your colleagues from the burdens of fundraising. This would increase public confidence in the General Assembly, and ultimately make your work more effective.

We've considered the impact the recent US Supreme Court decision may have on CFR, and we understand that public financing would likely survive judicial challenge by virtue of its voluntary nature. We also understand that Sen. Paul Pinsky is among the legislators like to sponsor such legislation during the 2010 session. We strongly urge you to do all you can to ensure the passage of public financing CFR into law.

Please support Del. Heather Mizeur's Maryland Open Government Act. Greater transparency/open access will let citizens better understand your efforts in Annapolis by facilitating access to information and participation in hearings. If enacted, the bill would allow free and total public access to services on the General Assembly's Web site--eliminating the $800 fee for legislative tracking. It would also provide for live webcasts of committee hearings and Board of Public Works meetings. To facilitate public participation in General Assembly committee hearings, it would require one-day advance online notice of committee hearing agendas, would let people sign-up online to testify, and would mandate the publication of standing committee votes on the General Assembly Web site.

These objectives enjoy wide support politically and geographically. Along with all 24 members and allies of the PWG in Baltimore City, Montgomery, Howard, Baltimore and Prince George's Counties, both House Speaker Busch and Senate President Miller endorse these principles. According to the Cumberland Times-News, "A legislative working group of the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce generally supported the Maryland Open Government Act." Clearly, the time for greater access and transparency has come. Please sign on as a co-sponsor of The Maryland Open Government Act in the House of Delegates, or parallel legislation in the Senate.

We support combined corporate income reporting which would require the largest multi-state corporations to pay their fair share and help support education, infrastructure, transportation and other basic needs in Maryland. During the current budget crisis, this is more important than ever. Combined reporting will not harm Maryland's economy or undermine efforts to attract and foster strong commercial growth. According to The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, which studied employment growth in states with combined reporting states from 1990-2006, "five of the seven states with the fastest employment growth use combined reporting" and "ten of the states with combined reporting had employment growth exceeding the national growth rate."

According to an article entitled "Combined Reporting" from the New Rules Project: "Many retail chains earn profits at stores nationwide, but have developed an accounting scheme to evade paying their full share of state corporate income taxes. Tax experts believe the practice is costing states billions of dollars in lost revenue. It has also given chains an advantage over locally owned businesses, which must pay state income tax on all of their earnings. Twenty-one states are not vulnerable to these tax-evasion schemes, because they have enacted a policy known as combined reporting." These states include--Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia.

Maryland has been considering enacting combined reporting for several years. The House of Delegates passed Combined Reporting during the recent special session, but the Senate did not. Other states currently considering combined reporting include Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin. The 31 states which have passed or are considering combined reporting represent every region of the U.S.--a wide range of political and socio-economic character--which indicates that this is not a left or right, pro- or anti-business, or partisan issue. Combined reporting is a simple matter of basic fairness, sound economics, and honest accounting.

We urge you to support Del. Roger Manno's HB 10 which would dedicate funds from combined reporting to strengthen the state employees' and teachers' pension systems and prevent transfer of pension obligations to the counties and Baltimore City. Please co-sponsor HB 10 in the House, or sponsor and support parallel legislation in the Senate.

Thank you for your consideration of these important issues.

Sincerely,

Your name and address

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5. Background, news, and information on these bills and policies

Campaign finance reform: 
Bill to be introduced soon. Fact sheet on campaign finance: http://progressivemaryland.org/public/documents/2010/ga/CleanElectionsBasicHandout2010.pdf

Fair and effective solutions to the budget crisis:
Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund (HB 10) (Manno) http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/billfile/HB0010.htm

Also see: "Combined Reporting" New Rules Project: http://www.newrules.org/retail/rules/level-playing-field-taxation/combined-reporting

Also see: "Corporate Lobbyist's Case Against Combined Reporting in New Mexico: A Rebuttal"
http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3012

Also see: WTH is Combined Reporting http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/wth-is-combined-reporting-and-why-do-we-need-it/

Transparency and Equal Access in Government:
See "Crowdsourcing Maryland's Democracy" Washington Post Op-Ed: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2009/12/crowdsourcing_marylands_democr.html 

Also see Delegate Ali's bill at Legislative Voting Sunshine Act (HB 107) (Ali): http://mlis.state.md.us/2010rs/billfile/hb0107.htm

Also see: "Lawmakers to introduce Maryland Open Government Act today," Cumberland Times-News http://www.times-news.com/local/local_story_028094302.html

Also see: http://maryland-politics.blogspot.com/2010/01/busch-committee-votes-will-be-posted.html

Also see: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/annapolis/2010/01/miller_senate_to_post_committe.html?wprss=annapolis

Also see: Del. Mizeur legislative agenda: http://www.heathermizeur.com/pdf/2010/Mizeur2010LegislativeAgenda.pdf

Maryland Transparency and Equal Access in Government Coalition (MD TEAG) builds support for transparency/open access issues and needs more volunteers. TEAG has been meeting with legislators and others on these issues. For more information on TEAG's long range goals as well as its work in the current session and to become involved, contact Luis Zapata, Chair, MD TEAG Coalition, MDTEAG@gmail.com, 301-325-6754.

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6. Please join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance.
MCPA is local, independent coalition of organizations. MCPA organizes debates, forums and other events to inform the public and advance understanding and progress in Montgomery County. More information: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/

Support our work: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/join-and-support-mcpa/

Contact mikehersh@mikehersh.com to work with MCPA.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

HELP HAITI! Plus Progressive Efforts in Mont. County, Maryland, and DC

HELP HAITI! Plus Progressive Efforts in Mont. County, Maryland, and DC

UPDATE:
The Montgomery County Progressive Alliance has been busy!
1. Help Haiti! Donations Needed Now
2. Healthcare-Now! of Maryland monthly meeting in Baltimore
3. Monthly Progressive Coalition meeting in Wheaton
4. Wine reception and book signing with the "Angel of Death Row" in DC
5. UDC Justice Cafe--Food, Live Music, Discussion of Rights at Risk in DC
6. Panel discussion/forum on MD and MoCo Budgets in Wheaton
7. Leadership Training for Single Payer healthcare in Columbia
Upcoming: Benefit for Dana Beyer for State Delegate (rescheduled)

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UPDATE: The Montgomery County Progressive Alliance has been busy!

MCPA is a progressive coalition of organizations and individuals in Montgomery County, Maryland. We've had regular public meetings every month since 2003–with very few months missed. We use these meetings to share information, hear candidates and elected officials, and plan events and actions. We've organized and cosponsored dozens of events, vigils, forums, debates, book talks and demonstrations on several issues including peace, healthcare, energy/climate, and many more. We've brought out volunteers to canvass door-to-door, at metro stops, etc. for candidates in ‘04. ‘06 and ‘08 for the primaries and general elections--and we're gearing up to do so in 2010 as well. We've organized meetings with elected officials and their staff in Rockville, Annapolis and D.C. We've organized sign waving events and vigils on issues and for candidates. Now, we're asking our members to step up into leadership roles. We hope to organize a steering committee soon.

Contact mikehersh@mikehersh.com to get involved! Read more here: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/

Join and Support MCPA here: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/join-and-support-mcpa/

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1.  HELP HAITI!
ONGOING: Donate Items to Help Haiti.
A 40 ft shipping container is waiting in Rockville at Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church to be filled with essential goods destined for rural Haiti. Deliver boxes to 315 Dean Dr. in Rockville any time or to the container at the church on weekends between the hours of 10 AM to 3 PM 917 Montrose Road, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Medical supplies are most in demand. Donate money to help with shipping costs. Information: Chuck Woolery chuck@igc.org / Website: http://www.USofHaiti.org

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2. Thursday, January 28th, 7:15 PM Healthcare-Now! of Maryland monthly meeting featuring Mark Dudzic of Labor for Single Payer speaking about the National AFL-CIO endorsing single payer and the national strategy conference for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer. Also updates on the state bill and the national Medicare for All campaign. Discussion and questions. The Episcopal Diocese Center 4 E. University Parkway Baltimore, MD (at the corner of Charles St and University Parkway). More information: http://www.mdsinglepayer.org and http://www.md.pnhp.org RSVP: mdpnhp@gmail.com

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3. Monday, February 1st, 7 PM Monthly progressive coalition meeting. 2010 is a critical year. We're organizing our steering committee and mobilizing on events, issues and campaigns. Saigonese Restaurant, 11232 Grandview Ave., Wheaton, MD 20902 (Short walk from Wheaton Metro). Free and open to the public. Contact: mikehersh@mikehersh.com to get involved! / Read more here: http://mcprogressive.wordpress.com/  

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4. Tuesday, February 2nd, 6 PM Jamie Raskin and the David A. Clarke School of Law welcome Andrea D. Lyon, Professor of Law, DePaul University, nationally recognized death penalty expert and author "Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer" for a wine reception and book signing. University of DC 4200 Connecticut Ave. N.W. Building 39, Room 201 Washington, DC 20008 (at the Van Ness UDC Metro Stop). Free and open to the public. RSVP on line at: http://www.law.udc.edu/event/Angel_of_Death_Row

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5. Friday, February 5th, 6 to 10 PM UDC Justice Cafe. Networking/tabling opportunity at the Univ. of DC Cafe. Fun event with food, wine, beer, great people, live music, and more! Discussion of the Constitution and Rights at Risk, 6:30 to 7:30 pm led by ACLU Director Johnny Barnes and Shahid Buttar, Bill of Rights Defense Committee. 4200 Connecticut Ave. N.W. Building 39, Firebird Inn (Cafeteria) Washington, DC 20008 (at the Van Ness UDC Metro Stop). Free Table and RSVP: Mike Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com More information: http://justicecafe.wordpress.com/

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6. Sunday, February 7th 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Panel discussion/forum on MD and MoCo Budgets. While we welcome the Governor's commitment to schools and other priorities in his just-released budget, many questions remain about remaining challenges. Wheaton Library, (first floor large meeting room) 11701 Georgia Ave. Wheaton MD 20902. Public transportation: from Wheaton Metro take Y9 Bus (toward Montgomery Hospital). More information and RSVP: Mark Woodard markdwoodard@comcast.net or Mike Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com We've gotten confirmation from Delegates Brian Feldman, Sheila Hixson, and Roger Manno, County Council President Nancy Floreen and School Board President Pat O'Neill. We're awaiting response from County Executive Ike Leggett and MCEA leadership. Free and open to the public.

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7. Saturday, February 20th Leadership Training for Single Payer healthcare. Workshops from 9 am until 3 pm. No fees required, donations accepted. Owen Brown Interfaith Center at 7246 Cradlerock Way in Columbia, MD 21045. RSVP to mdpnhp@gmail.comso that we can have materials ready. Speakers include: Dr. Carol Paris, Brigitte Marti of Maryland Physicians for a National Health Program, Mark Dudzic of Labor for Single Payer, Chuck Pennacchio of HealthCareforAllPA, Donna Smith of California Nurses Association/NNU, Diane Wittner of ChesapeakeCitizens, Katie Robbins of Healthcare-Now, Dr. Andy Coates of PNHP and SinglePayerNewYork, and Dr. Bill Skein of PNHP Los Angeles and Soapbox Consulting. More information: www.mdsinglepayer.org and www.md.pnhp.org

Monday, January 25, 2010

TUESDAY JANUARY 26 Emergency Rallies for Health Reform

TUESDAY JANUARY 26
Emergency Rallies for Health Reform
Rally with thousands nationwide Tuesday.
Please join us at one these area events:

* Noon Baltimore at Sen. Ben Cardin's office, 100 S. Charles St.

* Noon Hyattsville, at Kaiser Healthcare, Belcrest Road

* Noon in Washington, DC, National Chamber of Commerce, Farragut
Square, Conn. & I ("Eye") NW

* 4:30 pm Ellicott City at Corner of Rt. 103 & Long Gate Pkwy, at
Montgomery Rd.

Organizers include Progressive Maryland, HCAN and local healthcare
activists.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Panel Discussion with Brian Feldman, Sheila Hixson, Roger Manno, Nancy Floreen and Pat O’Neill

Join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance and the Greater Silver Spring Democrats Club for a panel discussion

County and State Budgets, Pensions and Revenues with:

Delegates Brian Feldman, Sheila Hixson, and Roger Manno; County Council President Nancy Floreen and School Board President Pat O'Neill (confirmed).

Other panelists invited.

Sunday February 7th 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Wheaton Library (first floor large meeting room)
11701 Georgia Ave. Wheaton MD 20902

Map/directions: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=11701+Georgia+Ave+Wheaton+MD+20902
Public transportation: from Wheaton Metro take Y9 Bus (toward Montgomery Hospital)

More information/RSVP: Mark Woodard markdwoodard@comcast.net or Mike Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com

Friday, January 22, 2010

Andrea Lyon Angel of Death Row w/ Jamie Raskin 2/2/10, 6pm

The UDC David A. Clarke School of Law and Jamie Raskin, Professor of
Constitutional Law, American University
Present: Andrea D. Lyon, Professor of Law, DePaul University, nationally
recognized death penalty expert.
Author of "Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 6:00 p.m.
the UDC David A. Clarke School of Law
4200 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Building 39, Room 201
Washington, DC 20008

At the Van Ness-UDC station on the Red Line.
This event is free and open to the public.
RSVP on line at: http://www.law.udc.edu/event/Angel_of_Death_Row

Copies of Angel of Death Row: My Life As a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer
will be available for purchase, and Ms. Lyon will sign books. A wine
reception will precede Ms. Lyon's talk.

This trail-blazing attorney pioneered unconventional ways to defend
clients against society's ultimate punishment. Nineteen times, Ms. Lyon
has argued to save a convicted murderer's life, and 19 times she has
succeeded.

Come to hear her answer to the perennial question, "How can you defend
these people?"

Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer is the
harrowing memoir of the first woman in the United States to head a death
penalty defense team.

Published January 5 by Kaplan Publishing.

"Riveting stories" - Kirkus Reviews

"Reads like a thriller with real life-or-death consequences" -
Bookselling This Week

"...timely, important, and a page-turner to the end." - Sister Helen
Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking

"...must reading for anyone who wants to see how the capital punishment
system really dysfunctions..." - Ronald J. Tabak, Chair, Death Penalty
Committee of the American Bar Association

Rockville helping Haiti. Fill that Container!

Rockville helping Haiti. Fill that Container!
thanks to Chuck Woolery chuck@igc.org

A 40 ft shipping container is waiting in Rockville at Saint Elizabeth
Catholic Church to be filled with essential goods destined for rural
Haiti. Many who survived the quake in Port-au-Prince (PauP) are
returning to their home villages where they will need medical attention,
food, jobs, tools and basic living items (see list below). Details on
our targeted village of Fond Des Blancs (FdB), Haiti are below the needs
list.

We are accepting the following items for shipment. Please box like items
and label the box. Deliver boxes to 315 Dean Dr. in Rockville any time
or to the container at the church on weekends between the hours of 10 am
to 3 pm. Email 'chuck@igc.org' to coordinate a pick up if delivery is
not possible.

Medical items are in high demand. If you have connections to hospitals,
clinics or institutions, please request donations of medical supplies
such as:

1. Portable x-ray machine
2. All Necessary Surgical Supplies
3. General Essential Medicines: Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Pepto Bismal, Pain
Killers, Antibiotics, Peroxide, bandages, gauze, etc...
Other Supplies needed:
1. Water Filters
2. Water/Gatorade/Powerade/Vitamin Water
3. Non-perishable Foods i.e. Cereal bars, crackers, power bars, and
Meals Ready to Eat
4. Tents, Cots, Sheets/Blankets/Pillows, Towels
5. Toiletries/Hand Sanitizer
6. Port-a-potty
7. Solar lanterns/lamps
8. Clothes/Shoes
9. Hand tools. Hammers, saws, shovels, picks, gloves

DIRECTIONS To: Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church, 917 Montrose Road
Rockville, Maryland 20852.
From I-270 - go East on Montrose Parkway and turn left when you get to
the light at Tildenwood Drive. Take the second right into the
alternative church parking lot. From Rockville Pike (Rt. 355) - go west
on Montrose Road approx. 1 mile and merge onto Montrose Parkway and take
the first right at Tildenwood Drive. Take the second right into the
alternative church parking lot.

FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTIONS for shipping costs are needed: Make check
payable to "GSIFDB Shipping" and mail to:
Chuck Woolery, Executive Board
Gethsemane Scholarship Institute of Fond Des Blancs Haiti, Inc.
315 Dean Dr., Rockville, MD 20851

For more information on how you might help: Cell:240-997-2209
chuck@igc.org Website: www.USofHaiti.org

Where is Fond Des Blancs?

Our target village of Fond des Blancs, Haiti, is approximately 68 miles
southwest of PauP with an estimated 40,000 residents within a 5-mile
radius. St. Boniface hospital (http://www.haitihealth.org) established
by a Catholic Church over 20 years ago is the heart of the village. It
has 40 free beds, a fully functioning operating room, and a field next
door that can serve as a temporary refugee camp for families. It employs
a staff of approximately 100 individuals, including 6 Haitian doctors
and an American program Director, Conor Shapiro, MPH.

Damage to Fond Des Blancs and loss of life has been light, but,
conditions will worsen as Haitians exit the most chaotic areas for
better places. For a 10 minute video of the community work done by the
St. Bonifant group see (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tw_6sHxzmLM). Our
K-7 school is about 3 miles to the northwest of the Hospital. A
satellite view it can be seen http://www.geonames.org/maps/bkm10515.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

UPDATE: Feb. 3rd Join Rep. Tammy Baldwin, Terry O'Neill, Elbridge James and me....

Join us in supporting Dr. Dana Beyer, a founder of the Progressive Working Group*, and now Democratic candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates.

7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, February 3rd 2010
at Jackie's Restaurant 8081 Georgia Ave Silver Spring, MD 20910

With Honored Guests:
Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (subject to House voting schedule)*
National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill*
Director of the Maryland Black Family Alliance, Elbridge James*


___Dr. Beyer____Rep. Baldwin___Terry O'Neill___Elbridge James___

Hosted by Mike Hersh, a founder of the Progressive Working Group*
* Guests are appearing as individuals. Organizations listed for identification purposes only. Not to imply or indicate official endorsement.

Enjoy exciting speakers and Jackie's excellent cuisine while supporting a courageous progressive seeking election to the General Assembly from District 18.

Recommended Contributions: $50 Guest, $100 Supporter, $250 Host Committee
Please join us if you're able, and contribute whatever you can either way.

RSVP / pay with a credit card here: https://services.myngp.com/NGPOnlineServices/contribution.aspx?X=pKcQ0xJ9BPcv1QmXloWsIr9ge7TtaS9x3MCYPRx/xp0=
RSVP / pay with PayPal here: http://www.danabeyer.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=4
RSVP / pay by check to Friends of Dana Beyer, 8 East Irving Street, Chevy Chase, MD 20815-4221
RSVP / pay at the door to danamd@danabeyer.com
Volunteer to help the campaign and read more about Dana's candidacy here: http://www.danabeyer.com/

By authority of Friends of Dana Beyer, Chris Grewell, Treasurer

Sunday, January 17, 2010

County and State Budgets, Pensions and Revenues

County and State Budgets, Pensions and Revenues

Join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance and the Greater Silver
Spring Democrats Club for a panel discussion of these important issues
with:
Delegates Brian Feldman, Sheila Hixson, and Roger Manno; County Council
President Nancy Floreen and School Board President Pat O'Neill (confirmed).

Sunday February 7th 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Wheaton Library (first floor large meeting room)
11701 Georgia Ave. Wheaton MD 20902

Map/directions:
http://maps.google.com/maps?q=11701+Georgia+Ave+Wheaton+MD+20902
Public transportation: from Wheaton Metro take Y9 Bus (toward Montgomery
Hospital)

More information and RSVP: Mark Woodard markdwoodard@comcast.net
Mike Hersh mikehersh@mikehersh.com 301-933-7169 / 301-602-9388 (cell)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Health Care as a Human Right: the true story of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) and the civil rights movement.

Health Care as a Human Right: the true story of the Medical Committee
for Human Rights (MCHR) and the civil rights movement.

January l6, 17 Tifereth Israel Congregation
(7701 16th St NW, Washington DC 20012)

Prof John Dittmer, author "The Good Doctors: the MCHR and the Struggle
for Social Justice in Health Care" and Panel members (Saturday, Jan.
16---1.15 pm)
· Dr. SidneyWolfe, MCHR member, and currently director of Health
Research Group at Public Citizen
· Ms. Phyllis Cunningham, MCHR member, nurse involved in the south 1960s
and health care advocate
· Dr. Alfred Moldovan, MCHR treasurer and Dr. King's personal physician
for the Selma march
· Ms.Bonnie Lefkowitz, author of "Community Health Centers: A Movement
and the People Who Made it Happen"
· Dr. George Cohen, pediatrician with Mobile Medical Care in Montgomery
County, Md.

Book discussion led by Prof Dittmer: Sunday, January l7, 10.30 am

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Del. Feldman debates with GOP Chair Mark Uncapher

Brian Feldman, MD State Delegate from District 15 in MoCo and Mark
Uncapher, the Chairman of the Republican Party will debate:

-the upcoming 90-day State Legislative Session;
-the 2010 Elections; and
-MoCo County Politics.

The debate/interview will air on Thursday, January 14th at 9:00 p.m.;
Friday-Sat (January 15th-17th), at 6:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, January 19th
at 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund

Please view and pass this along.

News Channel 8 interview with Del. Roger Manno on his pension bill "The
Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund"
(HB10). Recorded January 8, 2010. Edited for length.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6B5eVFkrLg

WTH is Combined Reporting, and Why Do We Need it?

The Montgomery County Progressive Alliance and our allies including the Progressive Working Group, Democracy for Montgomery County, Progressive Democrats of America/Maryland, Progressive Maryland and many others support Combined Reporting to increase the fairness in our state, remove disadvantages which currently hinder small business growth, and help ameliorate crushing budget deficits. People ask us some important questions about this policy. I've searched the web and gathered answers to these questions:

What the Hell is Combined Reporting?

According to an article entitled Combined Reporting from the New Rules Project:

Many retail chains earn profits at stores nationwide, but have developed an accounting scheme to evade paying their full share of state corporate income taxes. Tax experts believe the practice is costing states billions of dollars in lost revenue.  It has also given chains an advantage over locally owned businesses, which must pay state income tax on all of their earnings. Twenty-one states are not vulnerable to these tax-evasion schemes, because they have enacted a policy known as combined reporting.

Which other states enacted Combined Reporting? Which haven't? Which other states are considering it?

[From the New Rules Project article] As of February 2008, twenty-one states have adopted combined reporting.  These states are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. Lack of corporate income taxes makes combined reporting irrelevant in four states: Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.

The remaining twenty-five states (as of February 2008), plus the District of Columbia, have not adopted combined reporting and are vulnerable to chains escaping their state tax obligations by shifting income to subsidiaries.  These states are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

[B]ills to implement combined reporting were introduced in several other states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin."

If Maryland enacts Combined Reporting, won't we lose jobs as businesses flee the state?

Not according to "The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center [which] compiled this fact sheet describing employment growth in states with combined reporting states from 1990-2006.  They find that 1) five of the seven states with the fastest employment growth use combined reporting and 2) ten of the states with combined reporting had employment growth exceeding the national growth rate." (New Rules Project).

This indicates warnings that businesses will leave the state are unfounded. Companies that use tricks to evade state taxes--like retailers and other chains with many locations--cannot serve communities from afar. The Combined Reporting article lists The Gap, Home Depot, Ikea, Kmart, Kohl's, Limited Brands (including Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret, The Limited, and other chains), Payless Shoes, Staples, and Wal-Mart as companies that escape taxes, but which would be forced to pay their fair share under combined reporting.

As mentioned above, New Mexico is one of the states considering Combined Reporting. The article "Corporate Lobbyist’s Case Against Combined Reporting in New Mexico: A Rebuttal" addresses several arguments against Combined Reporting. The considerations are similar to those in other states, including Maryland including:

[C]laims that combined reporting unfairly taxes corporate profits not actually earned in New Mexico, will hurt New Mexico’s economy, and is unnecessary and ineffective as a revenue-raising strategy. In reality:

* The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the claim that combined reporting unfairly taxes corporate income earned outside the taxing state and has upheld combined reporting as a fair means of measuring the portion of income that a member of a corporate group earns in a state.

* Adopting combined reporting is essential to nullifying a wide variety of aggressive tax-sheltering strategies that large multistate corporations are able to implement to reduce or even eliminate their income tax payments. The targeted measure Minzner recommends as an alternative addresses only one of those strategies, some of which can only be shut down effectively by combined reporting.

* The states that have had combined reporting in effect for the past 15-20 years have been disproportionately successful in retaining manufacturing jobs – the jobs theoretically most likely to be moved in response to state tax policies corporations find objectionable. For example, 9 of the 11 states that performed better than New Mexico in manufacturing job growth between 1990 and 2007 mandated combined reporting.

* Mandating combined reporting would raise substantial new revenue for New Mexico, particularly when corporate profits begin recovering from the recession. The state’s Legislative Finance Committee estimates a 20 percent corporate tax revenue increase would result – funds that will be available to preserve education, health or other services that are good for the state’s economy. A revenue estimate of this order of magnitude is consistent with estimates done in other states, including an especially careful estimate recently made in Maryland.

* Mandatory combined reporting would mitigate the competitive disadvantage that some small businesses now face relative to multistate, multi-corporation groups that can lower their taxes by artificially shifting income into other states.

How does it work? How do corporations use this trick to avoid paying state taxes?

The New Rules Project article explains:

The way chain retailers are evading their state tax obligations is by transferring profits to certain types of subsidiaries.  One common approach is to establish a trademark holding company.  Another is to set up a real-estate investment trust, or REIT.

In the trademark holding company scheme, a chain sets up a subsidiary in a state that does not tax certain types of income, such as Delaware, Michigan, or Nevada. Home Depot, for example, has a Delaware-based subsidiary called Homer TLC Inc. The subsidiary, which consists of little more than an address, owns the company's trademark. Home Depot stores in other states pay the subsidiary a hefty fee for using the trademark.  These fees are then deducted as business expenses from Home Depot's tax returns in those states. Meanwhile, because Delaware does not levy corporate income taxes on earnings from intangible assets such as trademarks, the profits are not taxed in that state either.

Often the subsidiary will also lend money to the rest of the corporation, enabling a second stream of profits to be transferred free of state taxes through the payment of interest on the loan.

The REIT method has been widely used by large retailers, most notably Wal-Mart.

Established in the 1960s by Congress, REITs are exempt from paying taxes on dividends paid to their investors. Chain retailers have taken advantage of this by setting up their own REITs (often called "captive REITs"), which own the land and buildings that house their stores.  The chain then pays rent to the REIT and deducts the rent as a business expense from its state tax returns.  The REIT's income is then paid back to the chain as a tax-free dividend.

This is how the Wall Street Journal explained Wal-Mart's use of a captive REIT: "One Wal-Mart subsidiary pays the rent to a real-estate investment trust, or REIT, which is entitled to a tax break if it pays its profits out in dividends. The REIT is 99%-owned by another Wal-Mart subsidiary, which receives the REIT's dividends tax-free. And Wal-Mart gets to deduct the rent from state taxes as a business expense, even though the money has stayed within the company."  ("Wal-Mart Cuts Taxes By Paying Rent to Itself," by Jesse Drucker, Feb. 1, 2007.)

What's the big deal? Is this really costing Maryland money?

Again from the Combined Reporting article: [T]ax experts believe these schemes are costing states billions of dollars in lost revenue and likely account for a sizeable share of the decline in state corporate income tax receipts that has occurred in recent years.  In 1977, corporate income taxes accounted for 9.7 percent of total state tax revenue.  By 2001, their share had fallen to 5.7 percent and had dropped to an estimated five percent by 2004 (see The State Corporate Income Tax: Recent Trends for a Troubled Tax).

[...]

Between 1992 and 1994, Limited Brands transferred more than $1.2 billion from its stores to Delaware subsidiaries. Kmart shifted $1.25 billion into its Michigan subsidiary, Kmart Properties, Inc., from 1991 to 1995.

More recently, evidence submitted in a case in North Carolina revealed that, in one four-year period, from 1998 to 2001, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores across the country paid captive REITs a total of $7.27 billion in "rent."  Based on an average state corporate income tax rate of 6.5 percent,  this enabled Wal-Mart to avoid about $350 million in state taxes over those four years, according to an analysis by three tax experts commissioned by the Wall Street Journal.

A report by Citizens for Tax Justice, a Washington-based nonpartisan group, and Change to Win, a labor coalition that represents 6 million workers, estimated that Wal-Mart's tax avoidance schemes helped cut its payments to state governments almost in half between 1999 and 2005. Over those seven years, Wal-Mart reported $77.4 billion in pretax U.S. profits. But it reported a total state income tax bill of only $2.4 billion, or 3.16 percent of those profits. The researchers' report said that if Wal-Mart paid taxes at the statutory state corporate tax rates for the same period, it would have paid $4.7 billion in state income taxes.

Is Combined Reporting a real solution?

Several court cases have dealt with the question of whether this practice constitutes a legitimate tax-reduction strategy or an illegal tax-evasion scam.  But the cases have produced mixed results.  Some courts have sided with the corporations and ruled that the practice is legal. Others have favored the states. A January 2008 decision by a North Carolina district court ruled that the state was right to collect an additional $33.5 million in taxes from Wal-Mart, which the chain had tried to avoid paying through a captive REIT scheme.

Rather than undertaking the expense and uncertainty of a lawsuit, a better way for states to block these tax-evasion schemes and level the playing field for local retailers is to enact a relatively straight-forward revision to the state tax code, known as "combined reporting" (and sometimes referred to as taxing companies on a "unitary basis").

Combined reporting requires that companies combine profits from all related subsidiaries, including captive REITs and trademark holding companies, before determining what portion of their profits are taxable in that state. (To determine how much of their total worldwide earnings are taxable in each state in which they operate, multi-state companies must apportion their profits according to formulas which consider how much of the firm's property, payroll, and sales are in each state.)

States with combined reporting are effectively able to tax the percentage of an out-of-state subsidiary's profits that can legitimately be attributed to a firm's in-state operations. Combined reporting has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

More information also thanks to the New Rules Project

Pending Bills

  • From 2005-08, bills to implement combined reporting were introduced in several other states, including Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Even more information:

  • State Tax Policy and Entrepreneurial Activity In this November 2006 study, the U.S. Small Business Administration found that states that have adopted combined reporting and throwback rules have higher entrepreneurship rates. The study hypothesizes that "the presence of these policies might represent an overall state tax climate that is less favorable toward larger businesses and perhaps more favorable toward small businesses."

Get Involved: support progressive candidates and issues

Get Involved: support progressive candidates and issues

If you live in the Montgomery County Maryland area--or support our efforts here--please join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance. MCPA is local, independent coalition of organizations. MCPA organizes debates, forums and other events to inform the public and advance understanding and progress in Montgomery County.

We're gearing up for an exciting, important 2010. MCPA will endorse candidates and issue campaigns, educate the general public on issues, host events, and otherwise support progressive issues and campaigns as MCPA and in concert with other organizations. To achieve everything we should--to expand our meetings, hold more forums, extend outreach, and organize support for the best candidates--we ask you to become a paying member of MCPA now. Contact mikehersh@mikehersh.com to work with MCPA.  Become a paying member of MCPA.

Paying members will help us establish our priorities, allocate our resources, and make a real difference.  For the low cost of $25/year, about $2 per month,  you can participate in the changes you want to see in Montgomery County. Contribute online or bring payment to any event or meeting.

Paying members will be eligible to serve on committees (including the new steering committee), participate in charting our course into the next year including formulating the process through which we will nominate candidates and voting to endorse candidates for office in 2010. Organizations and individuals are eligible to join MCPA. They will also participate in our planning and decision-making processes governing our role in state and local elections.

Our committees will study and make recommendations for MCPA's positions on issues facing all levels of government including: health policy, transportation and land use, energy and environment, equality under the law, accurate and transparent elections, clean politics including public campaign financing and other fundamental changes in access to our government, affordable housing, access to needed services, protection from public or private violations of basic rights, respect and support for all members of our community--regardless of race, age, gender, sexual identity, national origin, creed, denomination, religion or lack thereof.

If you haven't yet: please join our Meetup Group, our Google Group, and our Facebook Group.

Please donate to support our ongoing meetings, public forums, website, and more, or bring payment to any event or meeting.  Sponsor our Meetup Group. Attend our meetings and events, join our committees, help us organize more events and develop or endorsement process.

Thanks!

Mike Hersh
Executive Director, Montgomery County Progressive Alliance

Get Involved: support progressive candidates and issues

Get Involved: support progressive candidates and issues

If you live in the Montgomery County Maryland area--or support our efforts here--please join the Montgomery County Progressive Alliance. MCPA is local, independent coalition of organizations. MCPA organizes debates, forums and other events to inform the public and advance understanding and progress in Montgomery County.

We're gearing up for an exciting, important 2010. MCPA will endorse candidates and issue campaigns, educate the general public on issues, host events, and otherwise support progressive issues and campaigns as MCPA and in concert with other organizations. To achieve everything we should--to expand our meetings, hold more forums, extend outreach, and organize support for the best candidates--we ask you to become a paying member of MCPA now. Contact mikehersh@mikehersh.com to work with MCPA.  Become a paying member of MCPA.

Paying members will help us establish our priorities, allocate our resources, and make a real difference.  For the low cots of $25/year, about $2 per month,  you can participate in the changes you want to see in Montgomery County. Contribute online or bring payment to any event or meeting.

Paying members will be eligible to serve on committees (including the new steering committee), participate in charting our course into the next year including formulating the process through which we will nominate candidates and voting to endorse candidates for office in 2010. Organizations and individuals are eligible to join MCPA. They will also participate in our planning and decision-making processes governing our role in state and local elections.

Our committees will study and make recommendations for MCPA's positions on issues facing all levels of government including: health policy, transportation and land use, energy and environment, equality under the law, accurate and transparent elections, clean politics including public campaign financing and other fundamental changes in access to our government, affordable housing, access to needed services, protection from public or private violations of basic rights, respect and support for all members of our community--regardless of race, age, gender, sexual identity, national origin, creed, denomination, religion or lack thereof.

If you haven't yet: please join our Meetup Group, our Google Group, and our Facebook Group.

Please donate to support our ongoing meetings, public forums, website, and more, or bring payment to any event or meeting.  Sponsor our Meetup Group. Attend our meetings and events, join our committees, help us organize more events and develop or endorsement process.

Thanks!

Mike Hersh
Executive Director, Montgomery County Progressive Alliance

Fighting for Education, Working Families, Retirees, and Maryland Business

Currently, certain businesses avoid paying their fair share--many of them pay nothing or next to nothing in Maryland taxes. How? By using a "simple accounting trick" according to Washington Business Tonight (1).

This "trick" forces the overwhelming majority of Maryland businesses to unfairly subsidize the largest, most profitable multinational corporations. Meanwhile--and in large part due to powerful special interests refusing to pay their fair share--Maryland is facing harrowing budgetary shortfalls.

The situation is bleak, and in response some in Annapolis have argued the State should force counties to assume a larger share, if not all of employee pension liabilities. Such an approach would mean that, "each year Montgomery County would be liable for $159.6 million in pension obligations, Prince George's would be liable for $121 million, Baltimore County would liable for $93.8 million, Baltimore City would be liable for $76.6 million, Anne Arundel County would be liable for $67.9 million, and Howard County would be liable for $55.2 million." (2)

As Roger explains, this "could be disastrous to the already failing budgets of Maryland counties, and could require counties to significantly slash funding for vital services and education ... requiring already overextended counties to pick up pension costs would directly result in diminished schools throughout the State. Clearly, a solution to the pension problem is needed." Alone in Annapolis, Roger Manno is striving to solve these problems while increasing fairness in the state budget and revenues. He's fighting for us.

By asking the largest corporations and wealthiest residents to pay their fair share, Roger's Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund bill (HB10) would protect retirees, working families, and education in Maryland. (3)

Roger is taking leadership on these critically important issues. He needs our help now. Please support Roger online here: http://tinyurl.com/rogermanno or send a check to payable to "Friends of Roger Manno" and send to Friends of Roger Manno, 2138 Merrifields Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20906

----------
Sources:

(1) Washington Business Tonight, Jan-08-2010 "Md. Lawmakers Could Seek Tax Hikes, The Maryland General Assembly may be in for a wave of tax hikes given the state's bleak budget picture." http://cfc.news8.net/videoondemand.cfm?id=56352

(2) Roger Manno Press Release, Dec-23-2009 "Preview: Teacher and Employee Pension Sustainability and Solvency Trust Fund (HB10), Manno unveils solution to State's pension system challenges"
http://www.rogermanno.com/press/index.cfm?Fuseaction=pressreleases_full&ID=2104

(3) Roger Manno Press Release, Dec-23-2009

Friday, January 8, 2010

TONIGHT!! Join us for the UDC Justice Café, Friday, January 8th 6 to 10 p.m.

Snow? What snow? We're getting a keg and a lot of great food and friends--let everyone know!

Please Join us for the UDC Justice Café, Friday, January 8th 6 to 10 p.m.
which will be cosponsored by Progressive Democrats of America www.pdamerica.org.

- Hosted by the University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law www.law.udc.edu
- Univ. of DC Firebird Inn Building 39, B-Level - 4200 Conn. Ave NW Just above the Van Ness/UDC Metro (red line) See:
- http://www.udc.edu/campus_map.htm
- Suggested donation $15 / $10 students / $5 kids. No one turned away for lack of donation.
- Poetry, Beer, Wine, Tabling, Progressive Networking, Fun!
- All ages event. Child activities powered by kids!

This month we have a particularly great line up of speakers, tablers, and performers.

Talk on local green economic development at 6:30 pm in the 4.0 Lounge by:

Michael Shuman, http://small-mart.org/staff#shuman, author of The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition (Berrett-Koehler, 2006) and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age (Free Press, 1998) and;

Ian Fisk, Executive Director of the William James Foundation, which is currently working with more than 150 teams of socially and environmetnally sustainable entreprenuers from all over the world, as well as more than 200 reading judges. See http://www.williamjamesfoundation.org/

Veggie Food by Kit's Catering

Like to cook?  Please bring a veggie dish to share and your own cup(s), utensils, plates, etc. as possible.

Performers:

* Wynne Paris (of Wynne Paris and Groovananda), "a world beat artist/producer and musician who has spent the last decade devoted to an emerging genre of spiritual music: Yoga music and Kirtan. Wynne’s artistic sound is derived from 20 years of musical adventures and spiritual experiences." Official Site: http://www.wynneparis.com/

* Poetry by Split This Rock Poetry Festival: http://www.splitthisrock.org/

* LaPret premieres two all-new singles, "Play My Mind" and "Everything I Want" plus other songs from his upcoming solo Debut EP "2010: FASHION of ATTRACTION" in stores everywhere April 13, 2010. Official Site: http://www.LaPret2010.com

* Mike Bowers, Singer/Songwriter and UDC law student will mix the music and perform favorites for voice and guitar. Official Site: http://mdbmusic.com/

* More performers expected.  (Want to perform? Contact: mikehersh2007@gmail.com)

Current list of tablers: Witness Against Torture * Pax Christi DC-Baltimore * Free Massage by Lisa Bregman * Free CranioSacral therapy sessions by Randy Goldberg http://www.healingdc.com * David A. Clarke School of Law * Progressive Democrats of America * Gray Panthers of Washington, DC * Author Wilfredo Bohorquez * The Wendt Center * Split This Rock Poetry Festival * Democratic Socialists of America * More to come! Reserve your free table!

Contact: mikehersh2007@gmail.com

Upcoming Cafes: Feb 5th, March 5th

Please forward this email!

DO YOU USE FACEBOOK? If so, please join our group at http://www.facebook.com/ARiANNAo.o?ref=nf#/group.php?gid=38193448737&ref=tsand and rsvp for the Café at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&ref=tsand&gid=38193448737#/event.php?eid=212464962289&ref=ts

Fundraiser for Tom Hucker on Sunday

Join Maryland activists and friends:

Fundraiser for Tom Hucker this Sunday Sunday in Silver Spring, 3:30-5:30.

Joe Uehlein and the U-Liners will be playing their great roots rock!

At McGinty's Pub in the Silver Spring center--across from Borders.

Short walk from Silver Spring metro (red line). Parking in nearby garages.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Mtg, Cong.Healthcare Briefing, Cafe'

PDA Montgomery County Meeting TONIGHT
Congressional Healthcare Briefing TOMORROW
PDA Cosponsors Justice Cafe' Friday, January 8th

Join us for these exciting events:

1. PDA Montgomery County Meeting TONIGHT Wednesday, January 6th 7 pm with special guests!

2. CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING: The Benefits of the Public Option and Other Progressive Health Care Reforms, Thursday, January 7th 2-4 pm

3. PDA Cosponsors Justice Cafe' Friday, January 8th 6-10 pm

--------------

1. TONIGHT! Progressive Coalition Meeting to plan future events and actions with SPECIAL GUESTS!

Saigonese Restaurant,
11232 Grandview Ave Silver Spring (Wheaton), MD 20902

Public Transportation: Short walk from Wheaton Metro (red line)

Agenda: We're making progress in our county and state on Healthcare, Verifiable Voting, the Environment, Education, Labor, Transportation, Energy and other issues. We're building up our coalition and lobby efforts on the state and national level, planning special events, forming a steering committee, and working on meetings with elected officials and other organizations.

--------------

2. CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING: The Benefits of the Public Option and Other Progressive Health Care Reforms

Thursday, January 7, 2010, 2pm-4pm,
2237 Rayburn House Office Building

Congressional Hosts: Jackson Lee; Grijalva; Christensen; H. Johnson

Speakers · Dean Baker, Economist and Co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. · James Rucker, Co-founder and Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org · Chuck Pennacchio, Ph.D., Executive Director of Healthcare for All Pennsylvania · Jacob S. Hacker, Ph.D., is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science at Yale University, Resident Fellow at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (invited) · JoAnn Volk, Health Policy Advocate, AFL-CIO (invited)

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3. University of DC Justice Cafe' January 8th 6 to 10 p.m.
Cosponsored by Progressive Democrats of America!

(It's OK to come after work, dinner will be served!)

University of DC Firebird Inn
Building 39, B-Level - 4200 Conn. Ave NW
Just above the Van Ness/UDC Metro (red line)
See: http://www.udc.edu/campus_map.htm

Suggested donation $15 / $10 students / $5 kids.
No one turned away for lack of donation.
All ages event. Child activities powered by kids!

Music by local performers! Food by Kit's Catering!
Poetry, Beer, Wine, Tabling, Progressive Networking!
SPECIAL BOOK TALK by Michael Shuman and Ian Fisk

Live performers:
* Poetry by Split This Rock Poetry Festival: http://www.splitthisrock.org/
* Music by LaPret: http://www.LaPret2010.com
* Wynne Paris (of Wynne Paris and Groovananda): http://www.wynneparis.com/
* Mike Bowers, Singer/Songwriter and UDC law student: http://mdbmusic.com/
* More performers expected

Current list of tablers: Dreams for Kids * Witness Against Torture* Pax Christi DC-Baltimore * Free Massage by Lisa Bregman (tips appreciated) * Free CranioSacral therapy sessions by Randy Goldberg http://www.healingdc.com (tips appreciated) * David A. Clarke School of Law * Progressive Democrats of America * Gray Panthers of Washington, DC * Author Wilfredo Bohorquez * The Wendt Center * Split This Rock Poetry Festival * More!

Reserve your free table! Contact: mikehersh2007@gmail.com
Hosted by the University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law. Upcoming Cafes: Feb 5th, March 5th, April 2nd--plan to be there!

Thanks and hope to see you there,

Mike Hersh for PDA

Music, Food, Beer, Poetry, Progressives

University of DC Justice Cafe' January 8th 6 to 10 p.m.
(It's OK to come after work, dinner will be served!)

University of DC Firebird Inn
Building 39, B-Level - 4200 Conn. Ave NW
Just above the Van Ness/UDC Metro (red line)
See:
http://www.udc.edu/campus_map.htm

Suggested donation $15 / $10 students / $5 kids.
No one turned away for lack of donation.
All ages event. Child activities powered by kids!

Cosponsored by Progressive Democrats of America!
Music by local performers! Food by Kit's Catering!
Poetry, Beer, Wine, Tabling, Progressive Networking!

SPECIAL BOOK TALK by Michael Shuman and Ian Fisk
Michael Shuman,
http://small-mart.org/staff#shuman, author of The Small Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in the Global Age.

Ian Fisk, Executive Director of the William James Foundation
williamjamesfoundation.org, which is currently working with more than 150 teams of socially and environmentally sustainable entrepreneurs from all over the world, as well as more than 200 reading judges.

Performers, Showcase your talents! Organizations, Get Free Tabling!

Live performers:
* Poetry by Split This Rock Poetry Festival:
http://www.splitthisrock.org/
* LaPret premieres two all-new singles, "Play My Mind" and "Everything I Want" plus other songs from his upcoming solo Debut EP "2010: FASHION of ATTRACTION" Official Site:
http://www.LaPret2010.com
* Wynne Paris (of Wynne Paris and Groovananda), "Wynne’s artistic sound is derived from 20 years of musical adventures and spiritual experiences." Official Site:
http://www.wynneparis.com/
* Mike Bowers, Singer/Songwriter and UDC law student will mix the music and perform favorites for voice and guitar. Official Site:
http://mdbmusic.com/
* More performers expected.

Current list of tablers: Witness Against Torture* Pax Christi DC-Baltimore * Free Massage by Lisa Bregman (tips appreciated) * Free CranioSacral therapy sessions by Randy Goldberg
http://www.healingdc.com (tips appreciated) * David A. Clarke School of Law * Progressive Democrats of America * Gray Panthers of Washington, DC * Author Wilfredo Bohorquez * The Wendt Center * Split This Rock Poetry Festival * Democratic Socialists of America * More!

Organizations: Reserve your free table! Contact: mikehersh2007@gmail.com

Hosted by the University of the District of Columbia David Clarke School of Law
Upcoming Cafes: Feb 5th, March 5th, April 2nd--plan to be there!