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In Action

Sharing Miseries
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Press Release

Sharing Miseries

President Bush has unveiled a bold package of fundamental tax reforms and immediate tax-rate reductions to boost the sluggish economy onto a higher long-run growth path, which will create more jobs, generate greater economic opportunity and raise the nation's overall standard of living. Right on cue, liberal senators from both political parties, who together comprise a voting majority in that august body, lambasted the president's initiative for being skewed toward "the rich" (wrong); for failing to "stimulate" aggregate demand (right, thankfully); and for exploding the deficit (wrong).

02/21/2003
FCC Decision Leaves Communications Market Tied in Knots, Mostly
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Press Release

FCC Decision Leaves Communications Market Tied in Knots, Mostly

After concluding the Unbundled Network Triennial Review, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has done little to sever the Gordian knot that has brought the telecommunications sector to a virtual standstill. The Commission’s decision failed to eliminate requirements that force local phone companies to lease their lines and equipment to their competitors at substantially discounted rates. This practice was a short-run attempt to boost competition under the 1996 Telecommunications Act. After the courts had found the current system wanting, it was sent back to the FCC for revision. Today’s announcement ensures another lengthy journey through the legal system and a return trip to the FCC before any progress is made.

02/21/2003
Latin America: A Way Out
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Press Release

Latin America: A Way Out

José Piñera was former Secretary of Labor and Social Security (1978-80) and of Mining (1981), responsible for Chile's Social Security, Trade Unions and Mining reforms.

02/21/2003
Omnibus Spending Outrage
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Press Release

Omnibus Spending Outrage

Watching the new Republican Congress work together almost makes me wish for gridlock. Spending is out of control. One of the first measures passed by the party of limited government is a massive, record-breaking spending bill for FY 2003. The GOP didn’t waste any time smashing open the piggy bank.

02/21/2003
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

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