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Political Economy: Trial Lawyers and Terrorism Insurance
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Press Release

Political Economy: Trial Lawyers and Terrorism Insurance

As the preferred client of the Democratic Party, the plaintiff’s bar has vetoed any terrorism insurance legislation that does not allow for punitive damage awards. Its obstinacy has angered many Republicans and the business community writ large, which believe federally-backed terrorism reinsurance would be a tonic to the weak economy. Last week, President Bush demanded that Congress come together to reach a compromise and blamed trial lawyers for the impasse, quoting typical anti-plaintiff sloganeering, including a suggestion that trial lawyers “have never seen a disaster that didn’t justify a lawsuit.”

10/08/2002
Looking for Leaders
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Press Release

Looking for Leaders

With less than a month to go before the mid-term elections voters have told the pollsters they want our elected leaders, particularly President Bush, to pay more attention to the economy. They have a point. The stock market continues to fall – now having lost $7.5 trillion in paper wealth. Unemployment has risen, corporate profits have dropped and consumer confidence looks shaky. Only 40 percent of Americans now see the economy as “good,” down from 85 percent just two years ago. In fact, 56 percent now say the economy is in bad shape – the lowest rating since 1993. Less than 15 percent of Americans believe the economy is getting better and 39 percent believe the economy is getting worse.

10/08/2002
A Legacy of Spending
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Press Release

A Legacy of Spending

With the Bush administration’s sights trained on Iraq, problems on the home front remain to be addressed. Wall Street is hitting 15-year lows, corporate scandals have jarred investor confidence, and a weak market has Americans worried about job security. In Washington, Congress continues its spending spree as members race to finalize spending bills before the November election. Surpluses are a thing of the past, with the federal deficit pushing $160 billion and counting. A recent poll found a majority of Americans have serious concerns about the U.S. economy and believe that heightened foreign policy concerns have come at the expense of sound economic policies here at home.

10/08/2002
Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties
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Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties

* Brief asks NAFTA to remand U.S. International Trade Commission decision on threat of injury to U.S. producers from Canadian imports * 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties unfairly price potential homeowners out of the housing market WASHINGTON, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A friend-of-the-court brief was filed yesterday on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association urging a North American Free Trade Agreement bi-national panel to reject 27 percent duties resulting from a U.S. International Trade Commissions (ITC) finding of "threat of material injury" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian softwood lumber imports. Last May, the ITC found that a potential threat existed, even though it found no evidence of an actual injury to U.S. industry. It approved 27 percent Commerce Department duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which went into effect later that month. Yesterday's brief, filed on behalf of two members of the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an 18 member Alliance of U.S. lumber consumers and free trade advocates who comprise more than 95 percent of domestic and imported lumber consumption, is the only way consumers can be heard on this trade issue, according to an ACAH spokesperson. "The brief represents lumber dealers, home builders and other industries that rely on Canadian lumber -- from all regions of the country -- representing the broad cross section of Americans who are being harmed by what amounts to a 27 percent federal sales tax imposed on lumber," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ACAH. "It is unfortunate that trade laws do not allow consumers direct participation on an equal basis with industry in disputes like this. After all, consumers are the ones who end up paying the cost in higher prices, just to benefit a few U.S. companies." The brief includes extensive documentation that there is little overlapping among U.S. produced timber species and those imported from Canada, and that Canadian softwood lumber is not an adequate substitute for U. S. southern yellow pine in most of its uses. Each type of lumber has distinct properties, functions and applications that can make it a poor substitute for other species, homebuilders and lumber dealers testified before the ITC. Most lumber produced in the U.S. is southern yellow pine. In Canada, most timber harvested is spruce pine fir. The U.S. relies on imported lumber to meet about 30 percent of its needs. "If the entire 27 percent duties are passed on to U.S. consumers, they could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market," Petniunas said. "These potential home buyers would not able to qualify for mortgages," she added. "And while $1,000 may not sound like much to some people, for many first-time homeowners and seniors seeking to reduce their housing costs in retirement, it can make the difference between being able to buy a home or not," she said. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern landowners, filed petitions alleging that they have been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past year, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber- consuming businesses, including homebuilders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and such industries as window and bed makers. U.S. workers for lumber-consuming industries outnumber lumber-producing workers by 30 to 1. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. http://www.acah.org

10/08/2002
Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties
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Consumers File Amicus Brief With NAFTA Opposing Canadian Softwood Lumber Duties

A friend-of-the-court brief was filed yesterday on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders and the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association urging a North American Free Trade Agreement bi-national panel to reject 27 percent duties resulting from a U.S. International Trade Commissions (ITC) finding of "threat of material injury" to U.S. lumber producers from Canadian softwood lumber imports. Last May, the ITC found that a potential threat existed, even though it found no evidence of an actual injury to U.S. industry. It approved 27 percent Commerce Department duties on Canadian softwood lumber imports, which went into effect later that month. Yesterday's brief, filed on behalf of two members of the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an 18 member Alliance of U.S. lumber consumers and free trade advocates who comprise more than 95 percent of domestic and imported lumber consumption, is the only way consumers can be heard on this trade issue, according to an ACAH spokesperson. "The brief represents lumber dealers, home builders and other industries that rely on Canadian lumber -- from all regions of the country -- representing the broad cross section of Americans who are being harmed by what amounts to a 27 percent federal sales tax imposed on lumber," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ACAH. "It is unfortunate that trade laws do not allow consumers direct participation on an equal basis with industry in disputes like this. After all, consumers are the ones who end up paying the cost in higher prices, just to benefit a few U.S. companies." The brief includes extensive documentation that there is little overlapping among U.S. produced timber species and those imported from Canada, and that Canadian softwood lumber is not an adequate substitute for U. S. southern yellow pine in most of its uses. Each type of lumber has distinct properties, functions and applications that can make it a poor substitute for other species, homebuilders and lumber dealers testified before the ITC. Most lumber produced in the U.S. is southern yellow pine. In Canada, most timber harvested is spruce pine fir. The U.S. relies on imported lumber to meet about 30 percent of its needs. "If the entire 27 percent duties are passed on to U.S. consumers, they could add as much as $1,000 to the cost of a new home, and price as many as 300,000 families out of the housing market," Petniunas said. "These potential home buyers would not able to qualify for mortgages," she added. "And while $1,000 may not sound like much to some people, for many first-time homeowners and seniors seeking to reduce their housing costs in retirement, it can make the difference between being able to buy a home or not," she said. The Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland, and southern landowners, filed petitions alleging that they have been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. More than 100 members of the U.S. House and Senate have signed resolutions or written letters to President George W. Bush over the past year, indicating their support for free trade in lumber, and urging no new taxes or penalties on consumers. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber- consuming businesses, including homebuilders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and such industries as window and bed makers. U.S. workers for lumber-consuming industries outnumber lumber-producing workers by 30 to 1. ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association. http://www.acah.org

10/08/2002
Letter to Conferees Regarding the Comprehensive Energy Bill
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Press Release

Letter to Conferees Regarding the Comprehensive Energy Bill

Dear Member of Congress:

10/07/2002
Letter to Secretary Paul O'Neill Regarding Tax Reform
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Press Release

Letter to Secretary Paul O'Neill Regarding Tax Reform

The Honorable Paul O’Neill Secretary of Treasury U.S. Treasury Department 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington, DC 20220 Dear Mr. Secretary:

10/07/2002
New Report Card on State Governors
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Press Release

New Report Card on State Governors

Against the backdrop of the worst state budget crunch in years, this report presents the findings of Cato Institute’s sixth biennial fiscal policy report card on the nation’s governors. The report card’s grading is based on 17 objective measures of each governor’s fiscal performance. Governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades. Those who have increased spending and taxes the most receive the lowest grades.

10/07/2002
Campaign Notebook: Keough Campaign Director
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Campaign Notebook: Keough Campaign Director

One of the key figures behind state Sen. Bruce Keough's rise from relative political obscurity to a second-place finish in the Republican gubernatorial primary has found a new job. Keough campaign director Rich Killion has been named director of Franklin Pierce College's new Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication. The center, dedicated in May, is named in honor of the press secretary to President Reagan and former President Bush. Before joining Keough's campaign, Killion was executive director of New Hampshire Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that helped defeat a proposed home rule amendment to the state constitution. The group also supported U.S. Sen. John McCain's bill exempting Internet retail sales from state sales taxes. Killion previously worked at Franklin Pierce as head of public relations and director of the capital campaign. He also helped start the college's Center for Applied Public Opinion Research, a public opinion polling institute.

10/07/2002
Raleigh's Tangled Web Site
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Raleigh's Tangled Web Site

BY J. Andrew Curliss

After a decade of winning dozens of those "Best of" awards, Raleigh has come up a big loser. Brown University researchers ranked Raleigh's city Web site (www.raleigh-nc.org) as one of the worst among those of the 70 biggest cities nationwide. Raleigh's "e-government" efforts were in the same crowd as those in New Orleans, Norfolk, Va., and Detroit. "Good lord!" city spokeswoman Jayne Kirkpatrick said. "That's some tacky company." The Brown University study evaluated Web sites based on a 100-point scale, measuring the availability of information and services and the quality of citizen access, privacy, security, disability access and foreign language translation, among other features. Raleigh ranked 68th out of 70, down from 47th a year ago. Worst was New Orleans, then Norfolk. Best were Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and San Diego. Kirkpatrick said the rankings don't tell the city something it doesn't already know. The city plans to revamp its Web site, she said, and meetings are already scheduled to talk about it. Until now, the Web site operation has been "fragmented" and the pages need to be redesigned, she said. "It is something that we need to address," she said. POLITICAL TRAIL - THE CONSERVATION COUNCIL OF NORTH CAROLINA will hold its annual conference from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the old House chamber of the state Capitol in downtown Raleigh. The theme is "Politics and the Environment: Who We Elect Matters!" - THE RALEIGH JAYCEES will hold a voter registration drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in the food court at Triangle Town Center. - DONNIE HARRISON, the Republican candidate for Wake sheriff, will hold a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Heather Hills clubhouse, 901 Claymore Drive in Garner. He will also appear at a coffee from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at 4824 Fox Branch Court in Raleigh, at an event from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at 805 Hemingway Drive in Raleigh and at a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at 2700 Hazelwood Drive in Raleigh. - REBECCA LIEBERMAN, president and CEO of Vote for America, will speak at 1:30 p.m. Monday at the Brickyard at N.C. State University and at 8 p.m. Monday in Room 100 of Hamilton Hall at UNC-Chapel Hill. Vote for America is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit group that is trying to increase voter participation, especially among young people. - PRECINCT 07-07 will hold a candidates' forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Abbotswood at Stonehenge retirement community, 7900 Creedmoor Road. - WAKE SHERIFF JOHN BAKER and Gerry Bowles, a Democrat running in N.C. Senate District 15, will attend a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the home of Jim and Sara Liles, 11504 Black Horse Run in Raleigh. - THE JOHN LOCKE FOUNDATION and Citizens for a Sound Economy will be hosts of a speech on Social Security from Michael Tanner of the Cato Institute in Washington at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the North Raleigh Hilton, 3415 Wake Forest Road. - STATE REP. JENNIFER WEISS, a Democrat seeking re-election in N.C. House District 35, will hold a fund-raiser from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the home of Bett and Bill Padgett, 1213 Dixie Trail in Raleigh.

10/05/2002

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