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La. Politicians Try to Put Stamp on Tax Plan
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La. Politicians Try to Put Stamp on Tax Plan

BY Juan McKinney

A Louisiana Republican helped move a revision to President Bush's tax-cut plan through a U.S. House committee Tuesday. At the same time, a Louisiana Democrat is exploring ways to bypass Democratic and Republican party leaders to pass a "centrist" tax-cut bill up for consideration Thursday by the Senate Finance Committee. At the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Jim McCrery, R-Shreveport, was an advocate for Chairman Bill Thomas' overhaul of the original Bush proposal. Thomas, R-Calif., put forward a plan that would deliver $550 billion in tax cuts in a 10-year span, the same figure Bush is pushing. But Thomas' bill would not totally eliminate the tax on stock dividends, as Bush wants. Instead, Thomas would reduce the tax on all capital gains and apply the lowered capital gains tax rate to dividend income. For dividend income, the net effect would be to reduce taxation, but not eliminate it. Meanwhile, all taxpayers who had capital gains of any kind would get a tax cut. The bill also would give business owners more generous tax breaks for equipment purchases and for depreciation than Bush initially proposed, McCrery said. The bill retains most of the other features of the Bush plan, including acceleration of cuts in income tax rates, a higher child credit and speeding up relief from the "marriage penalty" that falls on some two-earner households. McCrery said the size of most of those specific cuts has been pared down from Bush's initial proposal. That's because the House's fiscal 2004 budget makes room for $550 billion in tax cuts in 10 years, while Bush originally requested $726 billion. The full House is expected to vote Friday on the Ways and Means Committee's bill. The Senate's budget is a more severe cutback, projecting the tax cuts will be no more than $350 billion over 10 years. Senate Finance Committee member John Breaux, D-La., was instrumental in passing that lower target, saying a larger tax cut would cause a dangerous rise in the federal deficit. McCrery spoke Tuesday at a rally arranged by Citizens for a Sound Economy, a business-backed and anti-tax group. McCrery urged them to simplify their lobbying message and concentrate on the overall size of the tax-cut package rather than its individual parts. "It's important we get the largest possible tax-cut number," he said. "If the number is not high enough, there simply will not be enough impact on the economy." The difference between the Senate's $350 billion tax-cut target and the House's $550 billion won't significantly influence the short-term deficit, but will affect tax policy, McCrery said. "It's more important that we have a tax policy that you and other business people know is going to be there for the next 10 years," he said. In the Senate on Tuesday, Democratic leader Tom Daschle, R-S.D., proposed legislation leaning more to middle- and low-income taxpayers than to upper-income investors. Among other things, the Daschle bill would give a $300 wage tax credit to every worker, increase the child-tax credit, accelerate marriage-penalty relief and give small businesses a 50 percent tax credit for providing employee health insurance. It also gives $40 billion in economic aid to state governments. Simultaneously, the Republican chairman of the Finance Committee - Iowa's Chuck Grassley - released parts of his own proposal, including a phased reduction in the dividend tax. Breaux's press secretary, Bette Phelan, said Breaux hasn't made a commitment to Daschle's bill and is "much more focused on what's unfolding at the Finance Committee."

05/07/2003
Teaching Students to Be Thoughtful, Productive Citizens Is Good Education Policy
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Press Release

Teaching Students to Be Thoughtful, Productive Citizens Is Good Education Policy

Legislation designed to objectives of public education passed the legislature today. Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) applauded the action. “Government works when citizens are involved and actively engage in the public policymaking process,” said Texas CSE Director Peggy Venable. Currently, in the list of the objectives of public education, there is no objective addressing the appreciation for the basic values of the state and national heritage, and the appreciation and awareness of the function of a free enterprise society.

05/06/2003
Two CSE Activists Speak At Capitol Hill Rally
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Press Release

Two CSE Activists Speak At Capitol Hill Rally

Two North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) members participated in a Capitol Hill Rally with House and Senate leaders today to explain how President Bush’s jobs and growth plan will benefit them.

05/06/2003
NJ Insurance Reform Approved by Assembly Committee
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NJ Insurance Reform Approved by Assembly Committee

The General Assembly Banking and Insurance Committee today approved legislation correcting years of politically influenced auto insurance regulations that have eroded the availability of coverage for drivers. Voting unanimously, the Committee approved the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Competition and Choice Act, which aims to attract more auto insurers to do business in New Jersey and provide consumers greater and easier access to auto insurance coverage. "Years of excessive regulations have turned New Jersey into a horror story for drivers seeking insurance," said John Friedman, chairman of the Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition. "Thanks to bipartisan leadership, New Jersey drivers are closer to reaping the benefits of a truly competitive auto insurance marketplace." Politicizing and over regulating auto insurance is the root cause of the state's exodus of auto insurers, leaving consumers too few companies from which to purchase auto insurance. Five of the six largest auto insurers in the nation do not sell auto coverage in the state and more than twenty auto insurers have left New Jersey in the past decade. "Considering the New Jersey's nationwide reputation to over regulate auto insurance, today's Committee vote has tremendous significance," said Friedman. "Today's bi-partisan vote is confirmation that lawmakers are serious about true reform. For drivers, today means there is hope that our auto insurance crisis may be near an end. The Coalition members include the National Association of Independent Insurers, Insurance Council of New Jersey, American Insurance Association, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, Independent Insurance Agents of New Jersey, Citizens for a Sound Economy, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, New Jersey Association of REALTORS(R), Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey, New Jersey Food Council, New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, NJ SEED (Society for Environmental, Economic Development), Latino Chamber of Commerce of Mercer County, and the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey. # CHOICE AND COMPETITION #

05/05/2003
On the Economic Front
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Press Release

On the Economic Front

©2003 Copley News Service, 5/6/2003 Speaking eloquently and very thoughtfully from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln last week, with the magnificent backdrop of our marvelous young men and women of the Navy, President Bush announced the end of major hostilities in Iraq. Unfortunately, we're not able to accompany that good news with any good news on the economy.

05/05/2003
A Tax Hike for Texas?
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Press Release

A Tax Hike for Texas?

Backgrounder The new school finance proposal: Creates a new state-wide property tax Raises the sales tax

05/05/2003
HUD Reforms Would Improve Mortgage Process
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Press Release

HUD Reforms Would Improve Mortgage Process

May 5, 2003 The Honorable Mel Martinez Secretary U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Robert C. Weaver Federal Building 451 Seventh Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20410 Dear Mr. Secretary:

05/05/2003
Tapping More Beer Taxes
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Press Release

Tapping More Beer Taxes

What’s the most important ingredient in a frosty mug of beer? According to a January 2001 study by Standard & Poor's DRI, the largest ingredient in your lager isn’t hops or malt, but rather is a bill from the taxman. You probably didn’t know that a staggering 44 percent of the cost of the average beer is taxes. And the situation is getting worse. Too many of our elected officials are intoxicated from the money raised by state and federal beer taxes.

05/05/2003
CSE Applauds HUD’s Effort to Simplify Mortgage Process
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Press Release

CSE Applauds HUD’s Effort to Simplify Mortgage Process

Today, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), in a joint letter with Empower America, Citizens Against Government Waste, the Seniors Coalition, and National Taxpayers Union, offered support for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rule to revise the nearly 30-year old Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The proposed rule would simplify the mortgage process for consumers and deliver lower closing costs for homebuyers. In the letter, the signers stated that:

05/05/2003
Meeting Without Media
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Meeting Without Media

BY T. Keung Hui, John Zebrowski, Aisling Swift

Wake County commissioners and school board members were so excited about having lunch together Thursday to discuss the school system's new education goal that they forgot to notify the media as the law requires. Neither elected board apparently followed the state Open Meetings Law's requirement that they give at least 48 hours notice for the session, stating the time, place and purpose of the meeting. Notice must be posted on a board's principal bulletin board or the door of the board's usual meeting place and also must be made to all media that submit written requests for notice. School officials said Friday they didn't have to notify the media because the lunch was set up by a panel (whose co-chairman is Orage Quarles III, president and publisher of The News & Observer) formed by the Wake Education Partnership to help come up with the goal. School officials also noted that commissioner Joe Bryan publicly announced the meeting at the Wake Education Summit on Thursday morning. During the get-together, the groups agreed over roast-beef sandwiches to work together on the new goal. The meeting drew five of the seven commissioners, seven of the nine school board members, County Manager David Cooke, Schools Superintendent Bill McNeal and other senior staffers. FAILING GRADE: Durham City Council member Tamra Edwards received an F on the local Police Benevolent Association's new political report card. It says she "misled" the chapter about her support for an independent grievance board for law enforcement officers to appeal disciplinary actions. Once she received the 588-member PBA chapter's endorsement and was elected in 1999, it says, she opposed the PBA on that issue. Despite her opposition, the grievance board was approved in March after City Manager Marcia Conner compromised. Other elected officials fared better. County Commission Chairwoman Ellen Reckhow received a C-, despite her support of the grievance board, after she opposed a version of the county budget that included raises for sheriff's deputies. Mayor Bill Bell and council member Lewis Cheek earned Bs. Council members John Best, Howard Clement and Cora Cole-McFadden got As. NEW POST: The Wake County Mayors' Association tapped Apex Mayor Keith Weatherly to serve on the Centennial Authority, which owns the RBC Center. Weatherly's four-year term on the authority will begin July 1. Wendell Mayor Lucius Jones is the other authority member selected by the mayors group. NEW OFFICERS: The N.C. Republican Party's 2nd Congressional District Convention elected these new officers: Chairman Dan Mansell of Selma, Vice Chairman Duane Royal of Clinton, Secretary Joey Powell of Dunn and Treasurer Janet Maynard of Lillington. POLITICAL TRAIL - WILLIAM SANDERS AND JUNE RIVERS of the SAS Institute will discuss the federal "No Child Left Behind" law at a $ 15 per person luncheon sponsored by the John Locke Foundation at noon Tuesday at N.C. State University's McKimmon Center, 1101 Gorman St. in Raleigh. - RUTH EASTERLING, a former state representative from Charlotte, will be honored by Lillian's List of North Carolina at its 2004 campaign kickoff from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the home of Sally Wood Creech, 1514 St. Mary's St. in Raleigh. - MICHAEL WALDEN, an N.C. State University economist, will speak to the Wake County chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy at 7 p.m. Thursday at the McKimmon Center.

05/03/2003

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