"In many ways, the eruption of anger that occurred in Ferguson after Mr. Brown’s death had its roots in the city’s struggles to pay its bills. The Justice Department investigation found that the city used its police officers partly as a shakedown crew to fund its operations. In 2011, 13 percent of operational revenues came from tickets and fees collected by the municipal court; in 2013, that had risen to 20 percent." - Christian Science Monitor, February 10, 2016
"Why were the cops so hell-bent on stamping out the sales of loosies, which typically sell for 75 cents a pop in Staten Island (and two times or more that in Manhattan)? New York City boasts the highest cost for cigarettes in the nation, with a pack ranging anywhere from $12 and up. The city lays its own taxes on top of the state’s, in an effort both to raise revenue and discourage use of tobacco." - Daily Beast article on the death of Eric Garner, December 3, 2014
"Flint’s citizens, 52 percent African American, have been deprived of the right to govern their city since 2011. Michigan's Emergency Manager Law allows the governor to appoint an unelected official to control a city determined to be in fiscal crisis. Emergency financial managers have been primarily assigned to majority-African-American cities across Michigan. In the past decade, over half of African Americans in Michigan—compared with only 2 percent of whites—have lived under emergency management. EFMs are supposed to take over cities based on a neutral evaluation of financial circumstances—but majority-white municipalities with similar money problems have not been taken over. Flint’s poisoning is one effect of the systematic stripping of black civil rights in Michigan." - The Root, January 9, 2016
"[S]tate and local taxes... fall disproportionately on the working and middle classes. The difference is shown by the latest annual report on 'Who Pays Taxes in America,' released last week by Citizens for Tax Justice. (Hat tip to Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones.)
'Contrary to popular belief,' CTJ finds, 'when all taxes are considered, the rich do not pay a disproportionately high share of taxes.'
CTJ shows that combined local, state and federal taxes produce a system that more resembles a flat tax than a progressive tax... Overall, the bottom 99% pay 29.8% of their income in taxes, a ratio not much smaller than the top 1%." - LA Times, April 13, 2015
"While states struggled to close over $400 billion in total budget gaps over the past few years – with some unusual instances like Maryland actually able to end the last fiscal year with a $344 million surplus – the $164 billion in federal stimulus aid is about to run out. States are expected to face a collective $82 billion or more in budget gaps in the coming fiscal year, with governments like California (the largest state in the Union and the 15th largest economy in the world) faced with a $25 billion shortfall...
And in our interview, Wolff also explains that African Americans will be the most severely impacted population. Some 20% of state and municipal workers are Black. In some major cities, African Americans constitute the majority of local government workers...
'There is a unique history behind high levels of African American employment in many states and locales,' [Economics professor Dr. Max Wolff] says. 'This history emerged out of civil rights struggles and past patterns of severe employment discrimination against African Americans in hiring.' The coming budget cuts and layoffs in state and local government could further erode the Black middle-class in a recession that has shown little mercy for it." - Politico365, February 3, 2011
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C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Jamo Thomas - Those spies are tricky. He may have an X-Ray camera but makes no mention of a microwave oven. Though Luther Ingram and the G-Men's version of "I Spy (For...