Unions call for nationwide protest against proposed budget cuts

first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rican lawmakers approve national budget for 2014 Costa Rican government presents national budget for 2014 Costa Rica’s Solís denies secret agreement with unions on Monday’s strike For Solís, next key issue is striking workers in essential public services Public employee unions will hold a demonstration on Oct.20 to urge lawmakers not to cut salary bonuses from Costa Rica’s budget for 2015.The National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP) is calling for a large protest to begin at 11 a.m. in San José’s Central Park. The demonstration will continue to the Legislative Assembly.Some of the slogans ANEP leaders plan to use include: “I’m not responsible for the fiscal deficit”; “I don’t dodge taxes”; and “I’m not lazy or corrupt.”A pamphlet circulating in government offices argues that wage bonuses are lawful and cannot be eliminated. “We live in a state of law, and these benefits are protected by vested rights,” the pamphlet states.The document claims that the business sector “concentrates wealth, dodges taxes and is pushing to maintain an unfair Costa Rican tax structure.”Lawmakers from several political parties have voiced the need to cut a proposed 2015 budget of ₡7.9 trillion ($14.5 billion), submitted by President Luis Guillermo Solís on Sept. 1.That proposal would allot more than ₡1 billion ($1.8 million) for salary bonuses and overtime for public workers.Solís has said he is open to making some cuts that wouldn’t affect essential and “strategic” plans for his administration.The Assembly’s Financial Affairs Commission currently is discussing the draft budget and will issue an overview by Oct. 20. The budget then must be approved by the full Assembly in two separate rounds of voting.Last year, lawmakers approved the 2014 budget at a total of ₡6.6 trillion ($13.1 billion). Facebook Commentslast_img read more

New Jersey Takes a Big and Long Awaited Step Toward Full Legalization

first_img Add to Queue Download Our Free Android App A joint committee (OK, go ahead and make jokes) of the the New Jersey Legislature voted Monday to approve a bill to legalize cannabis in the Garden State and create a regulatory structure for what is expected to soon be an enormous new industry.While the committee vote is a big step, there are still powerful opponents in the state Senate, activists are unhappy over what the bill doesn’t do and Gov. Phil Murphy has not signaled support for legislation that sets a tax rate half of what he’s publicly said is needed. Estimates of new tax revenue range from $350 million yearly all the way up to $1 billion, depending up what tax rate is imposed.The sweeping 147-page New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory and Expungement Aid Modernization Act will, if enacted, legalize possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by adults at least 21 years old. It creates a fulltime, five-member regulatory board and imposes a 12 percent tax a commercial marijuana industry in the state. Municipalities could collect another 2 percent excise tax.The bill was not met by cheering from activists who are concerned that, while it sets in motion a process of expunging criminal records for minor marijuana crimes, it doesn’t specifically allow those convicted of selling marijuana illegally from owning or working in a legal marijuana retail operation.”We all know who’s getting the licenses, and it’s not people like me — who have sold marijuana. We’re not going anywhere, so what are you going to do with us,” Ed Forchion, known as Weedman in New Jersey, told the Asbury Park Press. “I don’t want to get arrested again. I don’t want to go to jail again. But the day you pass this bill, I will be emboldened to sell marijuana (on the black market) — just like the white guys.”Related: This Is Non-Negotiable: Cannabis Legalization Must Include Restorative JusticeOther activists complained the bill would make New Jersey just the second state, after Washington, to allow legal adult-use marijuana but forbid residents from growing their own plants. The New Jersey ACLU noted the bill does not address people currently serving prison sentences for marijuana offenses.Governor Murphy, who made legalization central to his campaign last year, was conspicuously noncommittal after the committee vote. Murphy as pushed for an excise tax of up to 25 percent on legal marijuana. “I’m encouraged that it’s moving in the right direction, and it’s too early to tell as it relates to exactly the elements that ultimately are in there,” Murphy told NorthJersey.com. “We’ll see, but I’m happy to see the progress.”Three other bills under simultaneous consideration, and expected to pass, will expand the state’s current medical marijuana industry and simplify the process of expunging the criminal records of countless state residents busted over the decades for minor marijuana crimes. The new Cannabis Regulatory Commission, led by five members appointed between the governor and the Legislature, would include an Office of Minority, Disabled Veterans, and Women Cannabis Business Development.Related: Here’s Where Colorado Spends Its Skyrocketing Pot Tax RevenueThe bill sets a goal of 30 percent participation from these “socially and economically disadvantaged communities.” To level the competitive landscape, the bill sets aside 10 percent of licenses for “micro-businesses” of fewer than 10 employees. The law will also allow the commission discretion to favor businesses locating in “impact zones,’’ which are mostly the state’s urban areas with high unemployment and a long history of social problems stemming for the drug trade and aggressive enforcement of marijuana prohibition.A provision in the bill will require applicants for cannabis business licenses to sign an agreement to hire workers represented by labor unions, with exceptions for micro-business owners. The bill also strikes the word “marijuana” from New Jersey legal code, replacing it with “cannabis” in reference to the legal market.Negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders, all of whom are Democrats but not necessarily allies, are expected to continue until the legislative package comes to votes of the full Assembly and Senate, presumably before Christmas. –shares Next Article New Jersey Takes a Big, and Long Awaited, Step Toward Full Legalization Image credit: Bulat Silvia | Getty Images 4 min read Entrepreneur Staffcenter_img Senior Editor for Green Entrepreneur Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Legal Marijuana November 28, 2018 There are few active opponents but many key legalization advocates see shortcomings in the legislation. Free Green Entrepreneur App Peter Pagelast_img read more