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In Action

A Tax Hike from the Bush Administration?
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Press Release

A Tax Hike from the Bush Administration?

The Interagency Committee on Smoking and Health (ICSH), an advisory group commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services, will recommend to President Bush that he raise the federal excise tax on a pack of cigarettes by $2, from 39 cents to $2.39 a pack, to fund anti-tobacco efforts. CSE urges President Bush to reject this stunning $28 billion tax increase that will hit lower income and working Americans the hardest.

02/21/2003
Economic fallout from attacks
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Economic fallout from attacks

BY James Miller III

The tragedy of September 11 was a wake-up call to Americans complacent about the kind of terrorism experienced all too frequently overseas - from Belfast to Tel Aviv, from London to Moscow, from Tokyo to Paris.

02/21/2003
Asbestos Liability Should Be on Domestic Reform Agenda
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Press Release

Asbestos Liability Should Be on Domestic Reform Agenda

Asbestos use has shrunk dramatically, with levels at barely 3 percent of their 1973 peak. However, that fact hasn’t stopped rapidly multiplying asbestos lawsuits. People once thought that this type of litigation would go away as asbestos was phased out, but instead the number of suits has exploded to 600,000. Indeed, these lawsuits threaten our economy. 67 companies have already been forced into bankruptcy.

02/20/2003
Critics of Guilford County, N.C., Car Rental Tax Question Extension
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Critics of Guilford County, N.C., Car Rental Tax Question Extension

BY David Nivens

Several silent opponents of a portion of Guilford County's car rental tax could be watching tonight when the board of county commissioners considers the issue. Allen Page of Elon, regional grass roots coordinator for Citizens for a Sound Economy, said Wednesday that CSE has lobbied commissioners to drop a 5 percent increase imposed last year because opponents don't expect to get a hearing tonight. CSE is a national organization promoting lower taxes. Commissioners will consider extending the 5 percent increase that started April 1, 2002, during their 6:30 p.m. meeting at the Old Courthouse. The board approved the increase for the Piedmont Authority for Regional Transportation. PART uses the money for an intercity shuttle bus service with about 400 daily riders and van pools. Eventually, PART wants to develop a commuter bus and rail system. Brent McKinney, PART director, is expected to report to commissioners tonight about how PART has spent tax revenue. "We think it is unfair to tax a competitor to pay for PART's survival," Page said. "That's like taxing Burger King to pay for a Taco Bell." Because of board rules, opponents probably won't be able to discuss the issue tonight, said Democratic Commissioner Jeff Thigpen, the board's vice chairman. But if Republican Commissioner Billy Yow wins a vote, the board may hear opponents. Page said opponents will take their concerns to PART trustees during a March 12 public hearing. Without an extension, PART's slice of the tax expires March 31. "No one has to lobby me," Yow said. "I have been against this tax from the beginning and I will ask our chairman (Democrat Skip Alston) to let the public and the businesses speak about this." Thigpen, who spent nearly two hours Friday discussing the issue with CSE supporters, said several commissioners want to extend the tax from two to five years. "There is a majority to do something for PART," Thigpen said, "and a clear majority against abandoning them." Opponent Glenn Miller, a Greensboro resident who operates a Rent-A-Wreck franchise in Winston-Salem, said the tax hurts even more in a slow economy. Forsyth County also charges the additional tax under PART's regional charter. "This is an unfair tax," Miller said. "Most of my customers rent a car because their car is in the shop for repairs. I don't have a problem so much with the vans, but how they are paid for." The car rental business is down about 15 percent, Miller said. Charging customers as much as 21 percent in taxes has contributed to the failure of several Forsyth County car rental agencies, Miller said. PART claims the tax has had no negative impact on the car rental market because rental business continues to increase. CSE claims local residents pay at least half of the tax. "That's about $ 2 per day and that hurts the small agencies and their customers more," Page said. Commissioners approved the tax increase for one year on condition that PART officials provide detailed reports of how it spends the tax money. Last year, passage of the additional tax was controversial on several fronts. Several local car rental agency managers opposed it. "We are not against mass transit, but the taxing of competitors to pay for it," Page said. "We think commissioners should look at other ways to pay for this, such as a room occupancy tax." When the General Assembly created PART, it gave the authority two revenue alternatives, a tax on license tag renewals and the car rental tax. PART also has used the tax money to attract state and federal money. Pending approval is a $ 1 million federal grant for PART proposed in a bill before the U.S. Senate.

02/20/2003
Medical Malpractice Legislation And Consumer Impact: Is there a doctor in the county?
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Press Release

Medical Malpractice Legislation And Consumer Impact: Is there a doctor in the county?

Goal: To make high quality, affordable healthcare more widely available. Our goal is for Texans to have access to quality, affordable health care. We all recognize the need for those truly injured to be compensated and for bad players to not just be punished but to be weeded out. We also share in our desire that the injured patients get quicker compensation for their "economic losses."

02/19/2003
Tax Hike on Tobacco is a Bad Idea
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Press Release

Tax Hike on Tobacco is a Bad Idea

President George W. Bush The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Bush: Recent reports indicate that a federal health advisory group commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services will recommend that you increase the federal excise tax on cigarettes from 39 cents to $2 per pack. On behalf of the 280,000 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), I urge you to protect taxpayers’ interests and refrain from endorsing this proposal.

02/19/2003
The New Endangered Species: Fiscal Conservatives
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Press Release

The New Endangered Species: Fiscal Conservatives

This week, President Bush will sign into law a $397.5 billion omnibus appropriations conference bill that, when combined with the defense and military construction appropriations that were agreed on last year, will increase federal discretionary spending 7.8 percent over 2002 outlays. When the bill is enacted, it will cap a two-year spending spree in which the federal budget grew by 22 percent. Astonishingly, the only time the federal budget grew larger – 24.5 percent – was between 1976-1978 when Democrats controlled both the Congress and the presidency.

02/19/2003
A Rush to Judgment?
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Press Release

A Rush to Judgment?

Earlier this year, Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman announced their intention to introduce legislation in the 108th Congress aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. More recently, Sen. Lincoln Chaffee (R-R.I.) has made clear his support for such policies, meaning that the issue could come to a vote on the Senate floor should he break rank with fellow Republican members of the Energy and Public Works Committee. Avoiding the many questions of any global warming plan—scientific uncertainties, compliance by other nations, economic burdens, administration, and enforcement—proponents of efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions claim the plan is superior because it relies on a market-based “cap and trade” system. But ultimately, any system that restricts emissions is restricting the nation’s access to energy. Market-based or not, choking the nation’s energy supply will have significant costs for the economy as consumers face higher prices and workers find themselves out of work in important sectors of the economy.

02/19/2003
Wrobleski Named State GOP Executive Director
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Wrobleski Named State GOP Executive Director

BY John DiStato

CONCORD -- A 23-year-old political operative has won the highly coveted job of executive director of the New Hampshire Republican State Committee. Jennifer Wrobleski of Manchester has been quickly promoted from within the state committee staff to a post that had been sought by more than a dozen applicants from New Hampshire and across the country. She had been the state party's office manager for the past three weeks. "Jennifer has a strong background in working directly with concerned citizens around our state to garner support for various candidates and campaigns at the grassroots level," said Jayne Millerick, the 29-year-old Concord woman who became state GOP chairman several weeks ago. The quick rise of Millerick and Wrobleski signals state Republican leadership's recognition of, and attempt to address, a gender gap that was especially evident in the U.S. Senate race narrowly won by John E. Sununu over former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen last November. Wrobleski succeeds Chuck McGee, who resigned on Feb. 7 after The Union Leader reported that authorities were investigating allegations that a Virginia-based GOP consulting firm had orchestrated an election day operation that jammed get-out-the-vote telephone banks at five Democratic Party offices and the Manchester firefighters union office. McGee at first denied having hired the consultant, GOP Marketplace. Millerick later corrected him and said the state committee did hire the firm. But she said it was hired to organize get-out-the-vote calls on behalf of Republican candidates and the party, not to jam phone lines. The party paid the consultant $15,600 on Nov. 1, but Millerick said the work was never completed, and the party has been seeking a refund. Millerick said McGee did nothing wrong but resigned to minimize distractions caused by the incident. The phone-jamming issue has been referred by Manchester police to the Elections Fraud Unit of the U.S. Justice Department. Last week, top Republican sources told WMUR television and several newspapers, including The Union Leader, that Rob Varsalone, a top political and media aid to Gov. Craig Benson, was the leading candidate to succeed McGee as party executive director. The sources, who are close to both Benson and Varsalone, said Varsalone was interested in taking on the job, and as a Benson aide had the inside track on getting it. But that changed over the weekend. Wrobleski was named executive director, while Benson decided Varsalone should stay with him while also beginning to spend more time at the state party, essentially splitting his time. Varsalone is not a state employee and will be paid as a consultant out of Benson's political action committee, a high-ranking Republican source said. The source said the governor made the decision over the weekend on how he would prefer Varsalone to split his time. Wrobleski, meanwhile, is a 2002 magna cum laude graduate of Boston University, with a degree in history. Prior to joining the state committee, she was a consultant for state Sen. Richard Green's campaign. Wrobleski previously was a field representative for Sean Mahoney's congressional campaign. Mahoney lost the Republican congressional primary to Jeb Bradley, who went on to win election to the U.S. House. In 2000, Wrobleski was director of operations for the Massachusetts Citizens Alliance, which, Millerick said, is not affiliated with the New Hampshire Citizens Alliance. Wrobleski was also a grassroots coordinator for Citizens for a Sound Economy and was a field representative for Steve Forbes 2000 Presidential campaign. Millerick called Wrobleski "an extremely hard worker who will work not only to advance our positive Republican message, but also re-ignite volunteer involvement, win elections and improve communications from state headquarters to Republicans around the state."

02/19/2003
Lawmakers Push Tort Reform Measures
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Press Release

Lawmakers Push Tort Reform Measures

From the Charleston Daily Mail February 18, 2003, Tuesday Copyright 2003 Charleston Newspapers When they walked out, doctors appealed to patients to show the need for medical malpractice tort reform, and so far it looks like the tactic worked. Now Republicans are appealing to people's pocketbooks as a way to draw attention to the need for tort reform in all insurance areas.

02/18/2003

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