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AltAusterity Digest #42 April 5-11, 2018

This week in Austerity News:

Apr 13, 2018

The Oklahoma teachers strike is now in its second week. Before the strike began, state legislators tried to pass a $447-million tax increase to avoid strike action. However, the measure was taken to be too-little, too-late. A host of factors led to the teachers rejecting the tax increase as insufficient, including Oklahoma cutting the top tax rate for more than a decade, the fact that the education sector has been hardest hit by the tax cuts, and the falling rates of compensation for teachers mixed with rising health care costs.

The 2018-19 Saskatchewan provincial budget has restored $30-million for K-12 education after implementing $54-million in cuts in the previous budget. While the Saskatchewan School Boards Association has welcomed the increases to K-12 spending, post-secondary spending will be taking a $12-million cut. Supports such as scholarships, income assistance and student loans are all targets for rollback. This comes only days after the University of Saskatchewan has announced it will be raising tuition fees in some faculties by as much as 4.8%.

On Wednesday, German public-sector workers staged a second straight day of strike action with more than 25,000 workers walking of the job. Hospitals, childcare centres and waste depots were among the sites effected. This strike action follows Tuesdays actions by air travel workers as hundreds of flights were disrupted. The European Central Bank is closely monitoring wage negotiations in Germany to determine if wage growth will require counter-cyclical measures.

The U.S. Treasury Department said Wednesday that the federal deficit was 18.4% higher than a year ago. The increased deficit of $32-billion from last year has been attributed to increased spending for the military, veterans, supplemental security income, and higher Medicare payments. Following the GOP budget cuts signed into law by Trump, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated this year’s deficit will hit $804-billion, $981-billion in 2019, and will top $1-trillion in the near future.

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!