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In Action

CSE Disappointed with European Commission for Targeting Microsoft
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Press Release

CSE Disappointed with European Commission for Targeting Microsoft

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) is disappointed with the European Commission’s decision to move forward with a ruling that Microsoft is in violation of European antitrust laws. The actions by European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti and the European Commission unfairly target Microsoft and discourage innovation in the high tech sector. Microsoft is being punished for its success in providing the software products that European consumers demand. Despite the fact that there has been no demonstration of consumer harm, negotiations failed this week and a formal ruling against Microsoft is expected next week. The European Commission appears more intent on coddling Microsoft’s competitors rather than considering the interests of European consumers and the concept of regulatory fairness in European markets. The U.S. and Europe need to work on removing barriers to trade, and this ruling is another step backwards.

03/19/2004
CSE Ally Institute for Justice Announces Victory in Michigan
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Press Release

CSE Ally Institute for Justice Announces Victory in Michigan

Here's the update from the Institute for Justice: The Michigan Court of Appeals today threw out a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Education Association that attempted to punish the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank that accurately quoted the union's president in a fundraising letter. The Court stated that discussion on matters of public interest, such as school choice, should enjoy broad protection under the First Amendment and that there was no evidence the Mackinac Center's letter attempted to mislead its readers into believing the union president endorsed the Center's overall mission. On September 27, 2001, Michigan Education Association (MEA) President Luigi Battaglieri said, ". . . quite frankly, I admire what they [the Mackinac Center] have done over the last couple of years entering into the field as they have and being pretty much the sole provider of research to the community, to the public, to our members, to legislators . . . ." The Mackinac Center then drew from that quote in a letter to its supporters and potential supporters pointing out that even an individual who usually disagrees with the Center has recognized its effectiveness. "This decision is a huge victory for free speech in Michigan and one that will reverberate nationwide," said Clark Neily, an Institute for Justice senior attorney, which is litigating the case pro bono on behalf of Mackinac Center. "The decision is also a vindication of the Mackinac Center's claim that it had every right to inform potential supporters that the president of the Michigan Education Association told a room full of reporters that he admires what the Center has done. The MEA's attempt to enlist the court system in its effort to suppress and censor that news has been firmly rebuffed." In its seven-page opinion, the Court stated, "[W]e conclude that the [Freedom Fund letter] falls squarely within the protection of the First Amendment for discourse on matters of public interest." The Court went on to write, "It is highly unlikely that the recipients of the letter would conclude that Battaglieri was suddenly supportive of Mackinac's positions notwithstanding the longstanding, well-known and sharp differences of opinion between Mackinac and the MEA in the past. Further, the article itself belies such an interpretation by noting that Battaglieri's 'union is generally at odds with the Mackinac Center.'" The Court concluded, "To avoid summary disposition, plaintiffs had to come forward with sufficient evidence to prove actual malice 'by clear and convincing evidence...[which is] a 'heavy burden' far in excess of the preponderance sufficient for most civil litigation.' The record reveals no such evidence here." "We hope the MEA now stops using teachers' dues to fight a losing battle against the First Amendment," said Joseph Lehman, the Mackinac Center's executive vice president. "The court has affirmed our right to quote the MEA's president when he says he admires what the Mackinac Center has done. There is a lesson in this. If you hold a news conference, prepare to be quoted." This was a case being watched by both education reformers and teachers' unions nationwide. "Across the nation, conservative and libertarian think tanks like the Mackinac Center are very effective at implementing educational reforms opposed by the teachers' unions," said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice. "This case was an attempt by the teachers' unions to intimidate not only the Mackinac Center, but also its opponents elsewhere. That is what makes this victory especially important." Neily concluded, "Unlike the Michigan Education Association, the Mackinac Center depends on voluntary contributions for its financial support. This decision makes clear that the Mackinac Center has a perfect right to quote the MEA and its leaders in fundraising materials when they go out of their way to acknowledge the effectiveness of the Center's work, as Mr. Battaglieri did at a press conference two years ago." The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a 16-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research institute that studies state and local policy questions on topics including education, labor law, fiscal policy, economic development and the environment. The Institute for Justice is a nonprofit public interest law firm that litigates in defense of free speech and other constitutional rights.

03/19/2004
Palm Beach County CSE Chapter Alert!
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Press Release

Palm Beach County CSE Chapter Alert!

What is a "STRONG MAYOR"? A County Strong Mayor would have primary responsibility for the administration of County Government. This means one person would have responsibility for all departments and employees including financial administration and preparation of the county budget, oversight of county funds, and would have overall general control of all county government. A "Strong Mayor" would create another layer of government and bureaucracy, adding MORE COSTS TO THE TAXPAYERS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY!

03/19/2004
CSE Disappointed with European Commission for Targeting Microsoft
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Press Release

CSE Disappointed with European Commission for Targeting Microsoft

Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) is disappointed with the European Commission’s decision to move forward with a ruling that Microsoft is in violation of European antitrust laws. The actions by European Competition Commissioner Mario Monti and the European Commission unfairly target Microsoft and discourage innovation in the high tech sector. Microsoft is being punished for its success in providing the software products that European consumers demand. Despite the fact that there has been no demonstration of consumer harm, negotiations failed this week and a formal ruling against Microsoft is expected next week. The European Commission appears more intent on coddling Microsoft’s competitors rather than considering the interests of European consumers and the concept of regulatory fairness in European markets. The U.S. and Europe need to work on removing barriers to trade, and this ruling is another step backwards.

03/19/2004
CSE Ally Institute for Justice Announces Victory in Michigan
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http://fw-d7-freedomworks-org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=35IWEBMb
Press Release

CSE Ally Institute for Justice Announces Victory in Michigan

Here's the update from the Institute for Justice: The Michigan Court of Appeals today threw out a lawsuit filed by the Michigan Education Association that attempted to punish the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank that accurately quoted the union's president in a fundraising letter. The Court stated that discussion on matters of public interest, such as school choice, should enjoy broad protection under the First Amendment and that there was no evidence the Mackinac Center's letter attempted to mislead its readers into believing the union president endorsed the Center's overall mission. On September 27, 2001, Michigan Education Association (MEA) President Luigi Battaglieri said, ". . . quite frankly, I admire what they [the Mackinac Center] have done over the last couple of years entering into the field as they have and being pretty much the sole provider of research to the community, to the public, to our members, to legislators . . . ." The Mackinac Center then drew from that quote in a letter to its supporters and potential supporters pointing out that even an individual who usually disagrees with the Center has recognized its effectiveness. "This decision is a huge victory for free speech in Michigan and one that will reverberate nationwide," said Clark Neily, an Institute for Justice senior attorney, which is litigating the case pro bono on behalf of Mackinac Center. "The decision is also a vindication of the Mackinac Center's claim that it had every right to inform potential supporters that the president of the Michigan Education Association told a room full of reporters that he admires what the Center has done. The MEA's attempt to enlist the court system in its effort to suppress and censor that news has been firmly rebuffed." In its seven-page opinion, the Court stated, "[W]e conclude that the [Freedom Fund letter] falls squarely within the protection of the First Amendment for discourse on matters of public interest." The Court went on to write, "It is highly unlikely that the recipients of the letter would conclude that Battaglieri was suddenly supportive of Mackinac's positions notwithstanding the longstanding, well-known and sharp differences of opinion between Mackinac and the MEA in the past. Further, the article itself belies such an interpretation by noting that Battaglieri's 'union is generally at odds with the Mackinac Center.'" The Court concluded, "To avoid summary disposition, plaintiffs had to come forward with sufficient evidence to prove actual malice 'by clear and convincing evidence...[which is] a 'heavy burden' far in excess of the preponderance sufficient for most civil litigation.' The record reveals no such evidence here." "We hope the MEA now stops using teachers' dues to fight a losing battle against the First Amendment," said Joseph Lehman, the Mackinac Center's executive vice president. "The court has affirmed our right to quote the MEA's president when he says he admires what the Mackinac Center has done. There is a lesson in this. If you hold a news conference, prepare to be quoted." This was a case being watched by both education reformers and teachers' unions nationwide. "Across the nation, conservative and libertarian think tanks like the Mackinac Center are very effective at implementing educational reforms opposed by the teachers' unions," said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice. "This case was an attempt by the teachers' unions to intimidate not only the Mackinac Center, but also its opponents elsewhere. That is what makes this victory especially important." Neily concluded, "Unlike the Michigan Education Association, the Mackinac Center depends on voluntary contributions for its financial support. This decision makes clear that the Mackinac Center has a perfect right to quote the MEA and its leaders in fundraising materials when they go out of their way to acknowledge the effectiveness of the Center's work, as Mr. Battaglieri did at a press conference two years ago." The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a 16-year-old nonprofit, nonpartisan policy research institute that studies state and local policy questions on topics including education, labor law, fiscal policy, economic development and the environment. The Institute for Justice is a nonprofit public interest law firm that litigates in defense of free speech and other constitutional rights.

03/19/2004
Palm Beach County CSE Chapter Alert!
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Press Release

Palm Beach County CSE Chapter Alert!

What is a "STRONG MAYOR"? A County Strong Mayor would have primary responsibility for the administration of County Government. This means one person would have responsibility for all departments and employees including financial administration and preparation of the county budget, oversight of county funds, and would have overall general control of all county government. A "Strong Mayor" would create another layer of government and bureaucracy, adding MORE COSTS TO THE TAXPAYERS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY!

03/19/2004
Spending makes a better state
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Spending makes a better state

BY Jeff Thompson

The claim that Oregon government spending is out of control was an important part of the campaign against Measure 30. Emboldened by their success, the Washington, D.C.-based Citizens for a Sound Economy and their allies are sure to recycle these claims as they push “spending limits” that force deep reductions in public services over time. The chief problem with their rant is that it just isn’t true. Spending by state and local governments in Oregon has risen only with economic growth, leaving public services at a relatively constant level. Statistics don’t lie, but the folks at CSE do use them to deceive the public. CSE routinely decries “huge” spending increases without making any adjustments for inflation or population growth. Even these adjustments are insufficient to make an accurate assessment of growth in spending. The costs of major services, especially education and health care, tend to rise faster than inflation in general. The quickest way to see if spending is actually growing, or merely keeping up with the cost of and demand for services, is to compare it with income. Notably, CSE and company don’t do that. How has Oregon’s government spending changed compared with income; that is, with Oregonians’ ability to pay for the spending? State and local government general expenditures, not counting federal dollars and compared across peaks in Oregon’s business cycles, were 17.4 percent of income in 1978-79, 15 percent in 1988-89, and 15.2 percent in 1999-2000. That’s hardly evidence of a spending problem. (Since 2000, state spending has declined as a share of income.) The attack on public services also relies on misleading and meaningless cross-state rankings. Census figures show Oregon ranked eighth among states for total state and local government expenditures per capita in 1999-2000. The more relevant category of “general expenditures less federal aid,” however, shows Oregon state and local governments ranked 16th — just $50 above the national average. State spending alone fell below the national average. But what does a rank of “16” even mean? Is it good or bad? Is it “too high” or “too low”? Is Maine, which ranks 24th, with only $200 less spending per capita, really better than Oregon? The 10 lowest spending per capita states include Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas, West Virginia, South Dakota, Tennessee and Kentucky — all “low services” states that hardly serve as models. Even cleared of deception, state-versus-state rankings offer little guidance. Oregonians needn’t neglect education, health care or other vital services just because residents of some other state have decided to do so. Who wants to win the race to the bottom? The vast majority of state and -local government spending goes to -services that are vital to all Oregonians: education, public safety and health care. Spending on these ser--vices has risen along with the costs of providing them and the ability to afford them. Major policy initiatives, such as the Oregon Health Plan and “tough on crime” reforms, have enjoyed broad public support. The idea that spending in Oregon indicates a Legislature run amok makes no sense. Governments must spend money to meet public needs. If Oregonians want to provide better education to more people, provide health care to more children, keep more criminals behind bars for longer and put more troopers on the road, we have to pay for it. Government, like every household and business, could become more efficient. Pursuing greater efficiency, though, is an ongoing process. It takes time and can often end up costing more upfront, saving only in the long term. Becoming more efficient is not an alternative to adequate funding.

03/19/2004
House Moves to Hold Line on Spending
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Press Release

House Moves to Hold Line on Spending

The U.S. House Budget Committee is leading the effort to get Washington spending under control. Yesterday, Committee Members led by Chairman Jim Nussle approved the budget for the next fiscal year. While the Committee proposes federal spending in 2005 at a staggering $2.3 trillion level, this budget resolution is actually much better than the Senate's effort.

03/18/2004
House Moves to Hold Line on Spending
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Press Release

House Moves to Hold Line on Spending

The U.S. House Budget Committee is leading the effort to get Washington spending under control. Yesterday, Committee Members led by Chairman Jim Nussle approved the budget for the next fiscal year. While the Committee proposes federal spending in 2005 at a staggering $2.3 trillion level, this budget resolution is actually much better than the Senate's effort.

03/18/2004
New Hampshire CSE Battles the New "Pole Tax"
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Press Release

New Hampshire CSE Battles the New "Pole Tax"

State Director Chuck McGee presents Senior Legislative Assistant Bill Simpson with stacks of Stop the Pole Tax Action Alert Replys sent in from CSE members across New Hampshire. Thanks to the efforts of CSE members, State House Speaker Gene Chandler and members of his leadership team are working hard to help pass HB 1416 and defeat the pole tax.

03/17/2004

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