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Commission split on tax increase pledge
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Press Release

Commission split on tax increase pledge

From the Lincoln Times-News By ALICE SMITH, LTN Staff Writer January 22, 2003 - Two members on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners have pledged that they won’t raise taxes this year. Commissioner Carrol Mitchem has signed a pledge from the watchdog group Citizens for Sound Economy, and Commissioner James “Buddy” Funderburk has indicated that he will also sign. Other commissioners said that while no elected official wants to raise taxes, it’s too early in the game to make such a decision.

01/22/2003
Dividend and Conquer
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Press Release

Dividend and Conquer

The big dog of the legislative calendar this year is President Bush’s new economic growth and jobs package. And, at the center of this tax relief plan is the repeal of the dividend tax, which will return over $300 billion to Americans over the next ten years. It’s big, and it’s bold, and news that President Bush wants to completely repeal the tax on dividend income came as something of a shock. People asked, what the heck is the dividend tax anyway?

01/22/2003
State of the Union Momentum
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Press Release

State of the Union Momentum

Last week Citizens for a Sound Economy commissioned the first major nationwide poll on the President’s economic plan, which he announced in early January. Our poll, conducted by the widely respected Tarrance Group, came after the policy was announced and was intended to determine public interest and knowledge of what the President had already announced. This is the proper use of polling in the public policy arena. It stands in stark contrast to how Bill Clinton used polls. He polled first to help him decide what policy to follow.

01/22/2003
Government Spending or Taxpayer Relief?
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Press Release

Government Spending or Taxpayer Relief?

Faced with the daunting task of approving the spending bills for the fiscal year that began last October as well as beginning work on the president’s tax package, the Senate remains locked in debates over federal spending. The President has urged the new majority to pass an omnibus spending bill swiftly for the 2003 budget, but Democrats (and many Republicans) continue to seek opportunities to expand federal spending, which explains some of the hostility towards tax relief. In recent years Congress has developed a healthy appetite for spending, and returning money to taxpayers is like saying no to a second helping of desert.

01/22/2003
Maneuvering in 2003 for 2004
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Press Release

Maneuvering in 2003 for 2004

Last week, members of the Senate leadership from both sides of the aisle finally agreed to a reorganization plan for the chamber. Though the funding levels and the makeup of the committees are resolved, Democrats led by Senator Daschle achieved their aim to slow the Republican momentum gained by the November election.

01/22/2003
Texas Legislature Committee Assignments
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Press Release

Texas Legislature Committee Assignments

Lt Gov Dewhurst makes committee assignments The Texas Senate will operate with 15 committees during the 78th regular legislative session, two more than in the previous biennium, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst announced today. Nine committees will be headed by Republicans, and six by Democrats.

01/22/2003
Gov. Mike Easley Proposes to Continue Tax Increases
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Press Release

Gov. Mike Easley Proposes to Continue Tax Increases

Today, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley announced plans to postpone the $460 million in tax relief scheduled to go into effect next fiscal year. The Governor claims that the plan would simply freeze “tax breaks” and doesn’t constitute a tax increase. CSE says that claim is wrong. To extend the one-half cent increase in sales taxes will cost taxpayers an additional $370 million next fiscal year. That’s a tax increase.

01/22/2003
Measure 28 Momentum Shifts
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Measure 28 Momentum Shifts

BY Steve Law

Supporters have raised more money than opponents. Measure 28 would raise income and corporate taxes for 2002, 2003 and 2004 to avert cuts to schools and state services over the next 2A years. New polls show that it is running neck and neck with voters. Ballots must arrive in county elections offices by Tuesday evening. BY STEVE LAW Statesman Journal Polls show that the temporary income tax increase on Oregon's Jan. 28 ballot has become surprisingly close, but you wouldn't know it from money trickling into the campaigns last week. The main Measure 28 opposition committee, Taxpayers Association of Oregon, reported raising $2,000 last week, enough for modest radio ads on two Portland stations. Supporters in the Yes on 28 Committee scored $26,200 for a phone campaign, plus more for polling, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. With only one week to go in the election, momentum clearly has shifted to supporters, who have raised far more dollars and mobilized countless more volunteers. Opponents apparently were caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of voter support after most political analysts dismissed the measure's chances of passage. Jason Williams, executive director of the taxpayers association, said the recession crimped fund raising for his committee. His group has raised about $8,200 during the campaign so far and reported about $2,000 cash on hand last week. "I think there are some people on our side that called this thing wrong," said opponent Russ Walker, Northwest director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We're having difficulty raising money on it," Walker said. "Most people didn't think it had a chance of passing." By contrast, the Yes on 28 campaign has raised more than $400,000, mostly from labor unions. Supporters aren't going to be complacent about the opposition's weak fund raising, insisted Patty Wentz, Yes on 28 spokeswoman. She expects opponents could get a quick money injection from conservative Aloha businessman Loren Parks or the national Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We've always known that they have access to as much money as they need," she said. Still, fully 29 percent of registered voters already had cast ballots by Friday, and Measure 28 supporters have a better grass-roots effort to mobilize their voters. "I do worry about the get-out-the-vote machine the other side has," Walker said. "The truth about politics is, whoever can get the most people to show up wins."

01/22/2003
Prepare to duck
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Prepare to duck

Something called the Citizens for a Sound Economy begins a media blitz in West Virginia today, lobbying against what they call "Gov' Wise's Canadian Healthcare Proposals." They announced it Thursday with the kind of overkill and hype that often makes it difficult to take a well-intentioned, valid cause seriously. From here, it looks like CSE intends to make this economy at least partially sound by spending as much money as it can to get out its message, even when most of that spending appears needless. This is the kind of lobbying that fosters cynicism in newsrooms.

01/21/2003
Values Survey Finds Odd Bedfellows
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Values Survey Finds Odd Bedfellows

BY Richard Morin and Claudia Deane

Atheists, Muslims and Mormons led the list of groups viewed by Americans as the least like themselves in terms of basic beliefs and values, according to a national survey by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. Two out of three adults questioned said people "who do not believe in religion" were unlike them. Nearly six in 10 -- 56 percent -- saw Muslims as different from themselves. Fifty-six percent also viewed Mormons as holding values and beliefs markedly dissimilar to their own. In contrast only one in three viewed Jews or Christian fundamentalists as being different, and fewer still rated blacks, Latinos or Catholics as embracing values that were dissimilar from their own. Why are Mormons viewed as being so outr? Is it that the church once sanctioned polygamy a long time ago? Or could it be that the church's strictly enforced ban on alcohol and tobacco use makes Mormons seem out-of-step with the typical American? "It would be nice to imagine that people think members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints live in a way that others aspire to, but I'm not certain that's what we're seeing here," said Wes Andersen, spokesman for the church's office of international and governmental affairs in Washington. THE NAME GAME: "Does everybody who works for a think tank have a weird name?" our keen-witted editor asked after reading last week's items about the Atlantic Council's Banning Garrett and the Council on Foreign Relations' Princeton N. Lyman. Immediately the scales fell from our eyes. Everywhere we looked we found such names as: Bertrand M. Patenaude, Williamson M. Evers, H. Lyman Miller and Timothy Garton Ash, all with the Hoover Institution. At the Center for Strategic and International Studies: Porcher L. Taylor III, Stanton H. Burnett and Bates Gill. Brink Lindsey does his thinking at the Cato Institute. "This raises, intriguingly, the old issue of nature v. nurture," said our colleague Gene Weingarten, a connoisseur of exotic handles who has made ridiculing people's names into an art form in his weekly Post magazine humor column. "There are really only two possibilities here, and they are diametrically opposed," he said. "On one hand, it is possible that having a pretentious name encourages a person to seek an appropriately pretentious occupation. That is the more benign explanation. Alternatively, it might mean that there are genes for pretentiousness, and that they are tragically passed along to an innocent, along with his name, by parents pretentious enough to have come up with the name in the first place." His conclusion: "I believe in a just God who does not cavalierly visit plagues upon innocents. I go with the first explanation." For the other side of the story, we turned to the Heritage Foundation's Jim Weidman -- who immediately turned the tables on us. "Oh puh-leeze!" Weidman wrote in an e-mail. "This from [columnists] whose publisher is Boisfeuillet Jones Jr.?" [For the record, we believe "Boisfeuillet" is a magnificent name.] "I don't think that tanks house a disproportionately high number of folks with funny names. There's a disproportionately high number of funny names wherever you look." And anyway, names reveal nothing "about a person, the person's vocation or the person's employer," Weidman said. "At worst, they indicate that even doting parents can be unwittingly cruel." PARTY ANIMALS: Staff and friends of the New America Foundation and the Atlantic Monthly shared a champagne toast last Tuesday evening to celebrate their collaboration on this month's issue of the magazine, focused on the "The Real State of the Union." Among the guests at NAF President Ted Halstead's Dupont Circle brownstone was NAF board chairman and Atlantic correspondent James Fallows, Atlantic managing editor Cullen Murphy, and Gates Foundation senior policy adviser Stefanie Sanford, who described herself as a "big fan" of New America. Asked if she was funding the Gen X think tank, Sanford answered, "Not yet." Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), who spoke earlier at a NAF/Atlantic event at the National Press Club also stopped by. "You think senators are busy, but I said 'There's a party tonight' and the senator said, 'Let me check my schedule,' " Halstead recounted in a toast. "Hey, I'm from Louisiana," Breaux explained. PEOPLE: It's a bump up for leaders of the Center for Democracy and Technology. The board has named CDT founder Jerry Berman as president, and promoted Deputy Director James X. Dempsey to executive director. CDT has also hired Lara Flint as staff attorney covering national security and civil liberties. Flint comes from Jenner & Block. The National Center for Policy Analysis has chosen Michael F. Cannon to fill the newly created position of government affairs director. Cannon came from the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and has also worked at Citizens for a Sound Economy. The Council on Foreign Relations' Walter Russell Mead has been awarded the Lionel Gelber Prize for his book "Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World." Mead will receive the award, worth $ 30,000 Canadian, in Toronto on Jan. 29. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has hired Jeff Krehely from Atlantic Philanthropies Inc. as research director. Krehely has worked at the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Have news about think tanks, policy-oriented foundations or nonprofits? Want to make fun of our names? E-mail us at ideas@washpost.com.

01/21/2003

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