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AltAusterity Digest #32 January 25-31, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Feb 02, 2018

One of the most important cases of the year, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is set to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on February 26th. The outcome of the case will decide whether public employees who choose not to join their unions, must still be required to pay “agency fees” to cover collective bargaining. Since the ruling of Abood v City of Detroit Board of Education in 1977, non-members have been required to subsidize collective bargaining costs. Although wrapped in the language of “free speech” and “First Amendment” rights, the move to dismantle agency fees will be used to deal a major blow to the U.S. labour movement.

The number of signatories on the BEPS Multilateral Convention has risen to 78 as Barbados, Côte d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Malaysia, Panama and Tunisia have all signed on. The OECD/G20 BEPs project is a multilateral treaty that aims to reduce corporate tax avoidance by regulating international tax systems. Revenue losses from corporate tax avoidance are estimated at up to USD 240 billion annually, equivalent to about 10% of global tax revenues.

A new financing policy known as “value capture” is being advocated in New York City that will partially tie property taxes to proximity to subway lines. However, an outdated property tax system means that the city is missing out on revenues by not taxing the most valuable homes closer to their market value.  Since property tax laws have not been updated since the 80’s, the value capture method has the potential to disproportionately impact renters and lower-income residents.

The anti-austerity protests in Tunisia have continued into a fourth straight week. Measures to increase the price of basic goods, legislation to increase value-added tax, and cuts to public sector jobs have resulted in protests and repression. Activists with the Fech Nestannew (What are we waiting for?) protest movement have claimed that more than 1000 people have been arrested since early January. According to Tunisian political analyst Youssef Cherif, the government has attempted to discredit the protesters, rather than deal with their concerns.

That's it for this week's Digest! Check back next Friday morning for another edition, or subscribe to our newsletter for a weekly roundup. We'll also Tweet each time we add new content, so you can keep up with our work @AltAusterity and join the #altausterity conversation!