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In Action

Full Investigation of Enron Must Include Citigroup Chairman Robert Rubin
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Press Release

Full Investigation of Enron Must Include Citigroup Chairman Robert Rubin

August 1, 2002 The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman Chairman, Senate Government Oversight Committee Washington, DC 20002 Dear Senator Liberman,

08/01/2002
Coalition Opposes Wage Hike, Even With Tax Breaks
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Press Release

Coalition Opposes Wage Hike, Even With Tax Breaks

July 31, 2002 United States Senate Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator: We are writing in opposition to any efforts to couple tax legislation with a $1.50 increase in the minimum wage, including Senator Edward Kennedy’s bill, S. 2538, which would hike the starting wage by $1.50 over 16 months.

07/31/2002
No Economic Security Without Economic Growth
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Press Release

No Economic Security Without Economic Growth

© 2002 Copley News Service, 7/30/2002 Dear Mr. President:

07/30/2002
While Markets Sputter, Government Grows
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Press Release

While Markets Sputter, Government Grows

The twentieth century represented an important epoch in one of the world’s greatest struggles—the fight between freedom and totalitarianism. The collapse of centrally planned economies and the dissolution of the largest totalitarian state signaled a clear victory for the alternative of freedom. Yet, when taking stock of the world, it’s clear that totalitarianism is alive and well. Brutal regimes continue to debilitate nations and squander resources in ways that destroy the creative spark that generates wealth and prosperity. Here in the United States, government continues to levy ever-larger taxes, regulate more aspects of our lives and interactions with others, and lay claim to greater amounts of property. Has economic liberalism won the battle but lost the war?

07/30/2002
A Rush for the Doors in August
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Press Release

A Rush for the Doors in August

This Week in Congress: The House has recessed for the month of August (see more on this below) and the Senate will join them after they finish a number of legislative measures this week.

07/30/2002
Will He Bust Up a Real Monopoly?
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Press Release

Will He Bust Up a Real Monopoly?

On Monday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his choice for Chancellor of New York City’s public schools – Joel Klein. The former Justice Department antitrust chief prosecutor now runs a huge monopoly. Will he break it up?

07/30/2002
Into the Abyss: Will Senate Republicans Vote to Expand Medicare?
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Press Release

Into the Abyss: Will Senate Republicans Vote to Expand Medicare?

In 1965, Congress and President Johnson decided that the hospital costs of elderly Americans would be socialized. Soon thereafter, routine doctor’s visits and other treatments were included under the Medicare umbrella in exchange for a monthly premium deducted from beneficiaries’ Social Security checks. With outpatient prescription drugs taking on a more fundamental role in health care due to an abundance of new drug breakthroughs and treatments, it may seem logical to expand Medicare’s portfolio to socialize these costs as well.

07/30/2002
Coalition Distributing Asbury Aqua At Springsteen Concert Tomorrow
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Coalition Distributing Asbury Aqua At Springsteen Concert Tomorrow

Bruce Springsteen may be hot here in New Jersey, but tomorrow's expected 90-degree temperatures in Asbury Park may be hotter. To help folks visiting the boardwalk tomorrow beat the heat, New Jersey's Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition will give away free Asbury Aqua bottled water to Bruce fans. Springsteen is scheduled to perform at the historic Asbury Park Convention Center for NBC's Today's Show. "New Jersey drivers need relief from oppressive state regulations that stifle auto insurance choice and competition," said Coalition chairman John Friedman. "By giving away free bottled water tomorrow, we'll provide Bruce fans some relief from the heat." Seeking to prevent an unprecedented statewide auto insurance capacity crisis precipitated by the deterioration of the auto insurance industry's financial health in New Jersey, the Coalition is urging Trenton lawmakers to reform New Jersey's auto insurance laws and regulations to create a stable and competitive market. The Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition, a New Jersey-based group open to businesses, associations and consumers, cites the state's regulation of auto insurance as the culprit behind limited competition by discouraging insurance companies from doing business in New Jersey. "You'd think some auto insurance companies were born to run out of New Jersey," said Freidman. "More than twenty insurers have fled the state in the past ten years due to excessive regulation." The latest figures show New Jersey has 47 percent fewer companies selling auto insurance than Illinois and more than a third fewer than neighboring New York and Pennsylvania. "We need a regulatory system that promotes competition, encourages companies to sell auto insurance in New Jersey, and creates a stable market that offers more choices for consumers," said John Friedman, chairman of the Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition. The group is calling for reforms that will attract more auto insurers to New Jersey, spurring competition and increasing consumer choice. These reforms include permitting companies to use industry-accepted standard underwriting methods already used in nearly every state and adjusting the low ceiling on company profits to permit a reasonable rate of return. "It's only natural to expect that consumers will shop around for the best deal if they have more choices. Competition and choice benefit consumers and when companies compete, consumers win," said Friedman. The Coalition welcomes the participation of businesses, associations and consumers who seek to work together to bring about meaningful and responsible auto insurance reform. 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), Somerset County Chamber of Commerce and the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.

07/29/2002
Lang Gets Retort on Schools
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Lang Gets Retort on Schools

BY J. Andrew Curliss

The dispute hasn't landed in court yet, but the oral arguments have begun. At the Cary Chamber of Commerce's annual planning conference in Pinehurst recently, Cary Mayor Glen Lang said he had asked the town attorney to investigate whether Cary had grounds to sue the school board over a new policy designed to keep magnet schools from draining students from traditional schools. Under the policy, students assigned to Swift Creek and five other elementary schools can no longer transfer to magnet schools. Cary's Lochmere subdivision and other neighborhoods no longer have the same school choices. Lang complained, saying the policy is discriminatory and could hurt property values. At a school board planning retreat -- which was held, coincidentally, in Cary on Tuesday -- Wake County Schools Superintendent Bill McNeal said he had heard Lang's threats, and he had a retort: "What would the property values be around Swift Creek if we allowed the school to stagnate?" Awaiting word: The week passed without a new police chief appointed in Durham, though the overwhelming support in many camps of the Bull City is still for interim chief Steve Chalmers. The decision is with City Manager Marcia Conner, who said she hopes to choose a chief within a few days. A possible clue: She said in an interview that she hadn't made an announcement yet because Chalmers is out of town. Asked whether that meant he'd get the job, she said, "No. No. I just don't want to make a decision without talking to all of the candidates. No." Meanwhile, word from Louisville, Ky., is that the Jefferson County police chief, William Carcara, has told some people there that it's between him and Chalmers. The other candidate, recently retired Kansas City deputy chief Gregory Watkins, was a favorite with interview panels in Durham. Conner would say only that she has a tough call to make. A trouper: Durham City Council member Howard Clement kept a full schedule this week while grieving for his wife, Dolores, who died Sunday. Clement said he had gone to all the regular meetings -- even introduced a guest at the Rotary meeting Monday -- because it kept his mind busy. "It's therapy," he said. "And Dolores would want me to have kept going." Clement also displayed a sense of humor about it, telling reporters: "Y'all would write about me missing meetings if I didn't keep coming. Not now. But come November, you'd say Clement was missing meetings." ### Political Trail - Donnie Harrison, a Republican running for Wake County Sheriff, will have a fund-raiser from 4 to 8 p.m. today at 3636 Auburn Knightdale Road. The cost is $ 10 per person or $ 25 per family. - Al Nunn, a Republican running in state House District 34, will have a fund-raising reception from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Brownstone Hotel, 1707 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. - The Wake County Citizens For A Sound Economy will have their annual hot dog supper Thursday from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Pullen Park picnic shelter No. 4. Special guest speaker will be Jerry Agar, talk show host of WPTF 680 AM. The event is free. To RSVP, please contact Rheta Burton at 807-0100.

07/27/2002
Missed Vote Miffs Anti-Tax Activists
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Missed Vote Miffs Anti-Tax Activists

BY David Rice

When a legislator disappears for a controversial vote, it's called "taking a walk." And after Rep. Tracy Walker, a Republican from Wilkesboro, failed to show up Thursday for a vote on a $322 million tax package, some folks in Raleigh suspect that Walker is aptly named. "I haven't talked to him, but I'd sure like to know why he didn't vote on that particular bill," said Jon-athan Hill, the director of the state chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group for whom Walker signed an anti-tax pledge. "One way or the other, the voters deserve for him to be there to vote on it." The House gave tentative approval Thursday to a plan that would let counties impose a half-cent sales tax next January, at the same time that a state half-cent sales tax disappears. To raise money for the state, the plan would put off two tax breaks - one for married couples and one for taxpayers with children - that legislators approved last year. It would also raise $101 million for the state by closing several so-called corporate-tax "loopholes" and raise $38 million by not adopting federal rules for depreciation of business investments. The measure passed, 84-26. But Walker was one of just two members recorded as present but not voting. The other, Rep. Pete Oldham, D-Forsyth, was attending a funeral in Winston-Salem on Thursday and said yesterday that he forgot to ask to be excused from the day's session. Oldham said he would have voted for the tax plan, which members debated for two hours on the House floor. "No doubt about it," he said. Eight other members - including Rep. Bill Hiatt, R-Surry - were granted excused absences for Thursday's session. Walker was recorded as voting on every bill on the House calendar except the tax bill. "I was sitting there for two hours and hadn't moved ... and I got up and went to the bathroom and got me a Coke and missed the vote," Walker said. "I had no intention of missing the vote whatsoever.... I would have voted for it." Walker said that he was anguished last week over an earlier version of the sales-tax plan that would have raised sales taxes across the state to 7 percent for a year. Walker, who spent 18 years as a Wilkes County commissioner, told commissioners from Alexander County, which he also represents, that he would vote for the earlier plan. But he was also pressured by fellow Republicans to vote against it, and he remembered that he had signed the pledge not to raise taxes. So he voted against the earlier plan. "I changed my mind," he said last week. "I hate that I made remarks and then changed my mind.... It was almost like lying to them." Hill, of Citizens for a Sound Economy, said yesterday that he wants to know why Walker missed the vote this week. "I sure didn't take a walk, and I don't intend to skirt anything. They can believe it or not.... I intended to make up for my vote before," Walker said, referring to the vote against the earlier plan. "I hate I missed a vote, but you know, I can't change that now." A final House vote on the tax package is scheduled for Monday night. Among Republicans present for the vote Thursday, 27 voted for the tax package and 26 voted against it. House Minority Leader Leo Daughtry, R-Johnston, said that the Republican caucus didn't bind its members to a particular position. "A lot of our members wanted to help local governments. They were glad to see a compromise reached between local governments and the Democrats," Daughtry said. "And some of our members were against raising taxes." Though the latest plan doesn't raise sales taxes, Citizens for a Sound Economy considers it a tax increase, Hill said, because it would raise corporate taxes and put off $51 million in tax relief - an increased tax credit for children and elimination of the so-called "marriage penalty" for couples. "It's a tax increase any way you cut it," he said. As for putting off tax breaks that legislators approved last year for families, "It was definitely a promise that they made," Hill said. "Those were the people who need it the most." Walker faces a primary contest with Roger Smithey, a former Wilkes County commissioner and former chairman of the Wilkes GOP. Smithey said yesterday that Walker should have been there for the tax vote. "You should be there regardless," Smithey said. "I'm not going to shirk my duty. I'm not going to walk on anything. "If you're there, you should be present unless you're sick or have an excuse to be absent," he said. "You shouldn't walk."

07/27/2002

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