One way to invest more in books, schools and teachers would be to raise taxes. But most of the states with striking teachers face a special obstacle that makes that nearly impossible: “Supermajority” tax measures, which require a wider-than-normal margin of legislators to vote for tax increases. Cutting taxes in these states is easy, but reversing those cuts to fix problems like underfunded schools, is tough.
Supermajority laws are a “straightjacket for states,” depriving them of funding and flexibility, says Mary Bottari with the Center for Media and Democracy, a lobbying watchdog group.
Run by a board of former and current Congress members and advised by private business people, some tied to Koch Industries, it has been receiving donations from the Koch brothers for years. “Like ideological venture capitalists, the Kochs have used ALEC as a way to invest in radical ideas and fertilize them with tons of cash,” wrote Lisa Graves, a former Department of Justice deputy assistant attorney general and head of the Center for Media and Democracy, in a 2011 investigation into the group. ALEC didn’t respond to several requests for comment.