One important but so far overlooked lesson that can be taken from Tuesday’s elections: more taxpayers are done taking a backseat to corporate interests in their states. Those who showed up to the polls voted for reforms that take back control of public services and re-elected leaders who fought for the public’s interests.
In California, voters passed Proposition 47 which reclassifies non-violent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. The resulting reduction in occupied prison beds will mean less taxpayer dollars funding the prison-industrial complex. Instead, taxpayer dollars will be reinvested in education and mental health programs aimed at reducing the lock-up rate even further.
On the other side of the country, in Reading, Pennsylvania, residents voted to safeguard the city’s municipal utilities and infrastructure from future attempts to privatize. The approved ballot measure requires that any city asset valued at $10 million or more being considered for privatization must be approved first via public referendum.
And throughout the country, state lawmakers who stood up to corporate control of public services sailed through reelection battles. In total, 136 state legislators who backed proposals to reign in corporate control of public services sought re-election in 2014. Of that number, 132 succeeded and will continue to stand up for taxpayers! Three additional lawmakers who stood up for taxpayers were elected to higher office.
The voters have spoken, and Americans want policies and lawmakers that stand on the side of taxpayers.