Facing Race: 2010 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity (Washington)

This report card assesses the racial impacts of decisions made in the 2010 Washington legislative session, looking at a range of policy areas, from economic justice to health to civil rights and more. A collaborative effort of many racial justice organizations, the report collectively and individually grades Washington’s legislators on their votes that either promoted or obstructed racial justice.

Click here to download the full report. Continue reading “Facing Race: 2010 Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity (Washington)”

Establishing State Exchanges that Serve People, Not Insurance Profits

Health care reform, if fully realized, will provide health insurance coverage for an additional 30 million people in America. One of the main ways this will happen is through the creation of centralized health insurance marketplaces, or “state exchanges.” If set up properly and well, people without insurance will be able to go to their state exchange and acquire quality health insurance at affordable prices. Members of the Health Rights Organizing Project (HROP) are engaged in implementation campaigns to make sure there is no “if” about how these exchanges are set up. Continue reading “Establishing State Exchanges that Serve People, Not Insurance Profits”

Race Matters: Living Wage Jobs in the Current Economy

It’s always been tough for working families in the Northwest to make ends meet. The recession has made it even harder – and harder still for people of color, who have historically faced racial inequities in the job market. The economic crisis has only worsened these disparities in employment, wages, and income.

Race Matters shines the light on wage disparities faced by so many families of color in the Northwest and Colorado. It takes a close look at jobs that currently exist in the economy and asks whether these jobs provide wages that can actually support individuals and families. It then examines whether people of color in the region are less likely than white people to earn a living wage. Finally, the report makes recommendations for policymakers with a focus on improving access to high-quality jobs for people of color and raising the floor for everybody. Continue reading “Race Matters: Living Wage Jobs in the Current Economy”

Oregon Small Business Leader Joins Sen. Jeff Merkley to Call For End to High-Income Tax Cuts

As reported on the blog of the  Main Street Alliance, NWFCO’s national coalition of small business owners, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley hosted a press conference call with state and national small business leaders on Wednesday, November 17. The purpose was to discuss the small business case for ending the Bush tax cuts for the top two tax brackets on schedule at the end of this year.

Jim Houser, Co-Chair of the Oregon Small Business Council and a national board member of the Main Street Alliance, joined the call. Jim and his wife Liz own Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland and employ 14 people. Continue reading “Oregon Small Business Leader Joins Sen. Jeff Merkley to Call For End to High-Income Tax Cuts”

ICAN Demands Wells Fargo Change Overdraft System & Payday Lending Practices

On Tuesday, October 26th, members of the Idaho Community Action Network gathered outside of the Wells Fargo bank in Pocatello, Idaho to demand changes to the bank’s excessive overdraft system. Many Idahoans have experienced the pains of the economic recession and are in a state of discontent with Wells Fargo’s failure to address the financial crisis. “Due to the fees, my family and I had to let go of some things from the grocery store because we live paycheck-to-paycheck,” said Debra Maltos, a member of the organization. Continue reading “ICAN Demands Wells Fargo Change Overdraft System & Payday Lending Practices”

The Bank of North Dakota: What a Bank Should Be

It’s been a heated election season. When the political dogfights get all the attention, it’s easy to forget that there good policies and institutions out there that receive bipartisan praise, are working well, and deserve to be built upon.

The Bank of North Dakota is an important example. Founded in 1919 in response to a credit crisis that threatened that state’s agrarian economy, the Bank of North Dakota is now a revered institution credited with helping keep the state solvent and growing while many others are struggling with the effects of the current recession. Continue reading “The Bank of North Dakota: What a Bank Should Be”

Washington CAN! Holds Action Demanding Big Banks To End Foreclosures

On Tuesday, October 26th, at 11:30 a.m., more than two dozen homeowners, friends, and community members marched into Chase Bank in downtown Burien, Washington and demanded an end to foreclosures in the state.

These homeowners represented just a handful of the 225,000 underwater homeowners in the state of Washington. The action, organized by Washington CAN!, was part of a national campaign to end foreclosures and to call for a write-down of principle for people at risk of losing their homes. Continue reading “Washington CAN! Holds Action Demanding Big Banks To End Foreclosures”

A Victory for Health Care Implementation

Last week, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) finalized their recommendations to President Obama on how to implement a critical piece of health care reform: medical loss rations. Their recommendation is a significant victory because,  according to the Washington Post, it largely favors “the views of consumer advocates over those advanced by the insurance industry.” Continue reading “A Victory for Health Care Implementation”

Banks and Foreclosures: Where’s the Accountability?

Over the past several weeks Bank of America, Ally, and GMAC have announced that they have will be halting foreclosures in the 23 states that require a judge to sign off on foreclosures before eviction. Did this decision come from enlightened bank management who understand what is needed to stabilize the housing market and pull our economy out of the cellar? Of course not. Instead, it was done in response to the damning evidence that recently came to light that banks weren’t reading documents, were forging notarizations, foreclosing on homes that they didn’t own, and outright fabrication of loan documents. As usual the media is missing the real story during this ongoing foreclosure mess. Continue reading “Banks and Foreclosures: Where’s the Accountability?”

Where’s the Note: Is Your Mortgage Affected?

Recent reports show the bankers in charge of approving the foreclosure paperwork weren’t even reading what they were signing. Wall Street has bought and sold our mortgages so many times, they’ve lost track of who owns what. And now they’re getting caught red-handed. In one state, two banks tried to foreclose on the same home. In another state, Bank of America tried to take a house away from a man who’d never even had a mortgage. Continue reading “Where’s the Note: Is Your Mortgage Affected?”