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Is Our National Soul Any Better a Year Later?
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Press Release

Is Our National Soul Any Better a Year Later?

As published in The Dallas Morning News, September 11, 2002 As the sun rose on Sept. 12 last year, commuters already were driving through the smoke from the still smoldering Pentagon to get to their jobs in Washington. President Bush, along with the secretary of defense and members of Congress, had emphasized the importance of getting back to our lives as usual. They urged Americans to display courage rather than to cower in fear. The Pentagon opened for business, as did Congress and the White House. We as citizens followed suit.

09/11/2002
Oregon CSE Applauds Legislators’ Decision Not to Raise Taxes
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Press Release

Oregon CSE Applauds Legislators’ Decision Not to Raise Taxes

Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy (OR CSE) praised Oregon legislators’ decision not to raise taxes on Oregonians during these difficult economic times. Last night, during the fifth special session to deal with the budget deficit, a majority of legislators decided to vote down H.B. 4078 –A, which would have raised taxes across the board on Oregonians. OR CSE director Russ Walker had these comments:

09/11/2002
Incumbent Stone Tops Field
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Incumbent Stone Tops Field

BY Samantha Peterson

Only one of two incumbents seeking re-election will be on November's ballot for Union County commissioner, along with a former president of the Republican Men's Club and a Weddington council member. Incumbent Richard Stone was Tuesday night's top vote-getter, earning 4,517 votes, followed by Stony Rushing with 3,211 and Hughie Sexton with 3,190. The three were narrowed from a field of nine Republican hopefuls. In November, they'll face lone Democrat John Tarlton for the three commissioner slots. Incumbent Larry Helms will not be on November's ballot. He came in fourth with 3,142 votes. John Feezor, the board's chairman, chose not to run. Stone said he's humbled Union residents have asked him to continue serving as a commissioner. "It says that folks want honest government that listens to their needs and uncontrolled growth is definitely part of that issue," Stone said. Stone, 62, is in his second term as commissioner, his only political office. The New Salem resident owns Signs and Stained Glass Limited in Marshville. Rushing, 30, was president of the Union County Republican Men's Club until he filed to run for commissioner. He lives in Wingate and is a contract farm manager. He's a member of the Friends of the NRA in Union County and the N.C. Chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "It says Union County is ready to stop fighting and is ready for good government," Rushing said. Sexton, in his second term on the Weddington Town Council, ran unsuccessfully in 2000 for county commissioner. Sexton, 54, designs and composes advertising for The Observer and owns Sexton Photography. Sexton could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. Also on the ballot were Roger Lane who earned 2,841 votes; Phil Gilboy with 2,368 votes; Kevin Stewart with 2,355 votes; Jack Lawton with 2,074 votes; and Constance Kelly with 1,640 votes. Helms, 57, of Indian Trail, is in his first term on the board. He previously was mayor of Indian Trail and owns Larry S. Helms and Associates Insurance. He said he's disappointed by the vote, but said, "It's the American way." "It's the way life goes sometimes," Helms said. In separate balloting, Stallings residents voted to allow hotels, motels and restaurants to sell mixed drinks and to allow an ABC store. Beer and wine are already sold in retail stores, but not restaurants. Also, two judges, Susan Taylor and Chris Bragg, will face off in November for a Superior Court judgeship for District 20B, which includes Union and Stanly counties. Taylor is the incumbent, appointed in January, and Bragg is a district court judge. The vote decided which two of three candidates would be on November's ballot. Charles Lefler, an Albemarle attorney, also ran.

09/11/2002
Teaching September 11
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Press Release

Teaching September 11

As published in The Wall Street Journal, September 10, 2002 September 11 had a riveting effect on the entire world, and not least on our children. Stunned as we all were in the first moments, it was easy to forget that our children were watching the whole time. For some parents, absorbed in trying to comprehend what was happening on their televisions and radios, it was hours before they realized that their young children were taking in all the horrific images and messages as well.

09/10/2002
Outline of the Tax Reform Campaign
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Press Release

Outline of the Tax Reform Campaign

September 2002 Dear CSE Member: Thank you for your interest in CSE’s fundamental tax reform campaign to “Scrap the Code.” Your interest – and hopefully your participation – will help to advance our mission of lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Simply put, CSE’s “Scrap the Code” tax reform campaign seeks to abolish the nation’s tax code for one that’s simple, low, fair, flat, and honest.

09/10/2002
Out of Sight, Out of Mind?
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Press Release

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

As a potential war with Iraq and a stock market rally push corporate wrongdoing and bankruptcy out of the headlines, the Bush administration appears to be plodding along with a proposal to address some of the real lessons brought out by the implosion of Enron and WorldCom.

09/10/2002
The Cause of Freedom
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Press Release

The Cause of Freedom

Editor’s Note:

09/10/2002
New Jersey Needs Auto Insurance Reform
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Press Release

New Jersey Needs Auto Insurance Reform

For consumers in New Jersey, times are tough and getting tougher. I’m not talking about the nation’s economic slump; I’m referring to the state’s automobile insurance mess, which is reaching new lows. After 20 years of political meddling, over-regulation, and central planning that would make the Politburo blush, the system is collapsing. More than 20 insurance companies have already fled New Jersey, with five of the ten largest insurers in the nation refusing to write policies in the Garden State. Now State Farm Indemnity, one of the major carriers in the state, is throwing in the towel. Beginning this month, the insurance company will be dropping 4,000 policies a month as part of the exit order from the state.

09/10/2002
Washington DC After 9/11
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Press Release

Washington DC After 9/11

Congress this Week Due to the September 11th observances Congress will be keeping a relatively light legislative schedule this week. The Senates expects to spend most of the week on H.R. 5005, the Homeland Security Bill. Additionally, they will continue to debate the FY 2003 Interior Appropriations bill. The House will debate a resolution commemorating September 11th as Patriot Day and then at the end of the week will consider H.R. 5193, the “Back to School Tax Relief Act of 2002.” This legislation, introduced by Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-CO), would create a $3,000 above-the-line tax deduction for low-income families for K-12 educational expenses.

09/09/2002
Plans Pitched to State Voters
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Plans Pitched to State Voters

BY Terrence Stotz

AUSTIN - Better schools and bigger insurance bills - two surefire topics for politicians wanting to get the attention of voters this year. And in the hotly contested race for lieutenant governor, those subjects have become the central themes of the two major candidates seeking that post. Democrat John Sharp and Republican David Dewhurst are trying to sell voters on their respective plans to improve educational opportunities and reduce insurance rates - though each has a different emphasis. Mr. Sharp, the former state comptroller, is pitching a program to offer a free college education to every Texas student who graduates from high school with a B average and who maintains at least a B average in college. He also wants to offer a free college education to the children of any teacher who works in a public school for a least 10 years - a proposal designed to ease the state's teacher shortage "A high school diploma used to be enough for most Texas jobs. Today, more than half of all new jobs demand at least some college or post-secondary training, and half of those require a college degree," he said. Mr. Dewhurst, the state land commissioner, is promoting his plan to curb runaway insurance premiums by a combination of lawsuit restrictions and new state supervision of rates. His main targets are homeowners insurance and medical malpractice insurance, which have become much more expensive in the last year. "There is a crisis in homeowners insurance and in medical malpractice insurance. The rates are spiraling out of control. It is threatening the right of Texans to own a home and to have access to affordable health care," he said. Mr. Sharp's scholarship proposal is a holdover from 1998, when he narrowly lost his bid for lieutenant governor. "We have one group of politicians that does a lot of good things for rich kids and another group of politicians that does a lot of good things for poor kids," Mr. Sharp said. "And nobody is doing anything for middle-class kids. Nowhere is this more true than paying for a college education. "Their families earn too much to qualify for needs-based scholarships and not enough to shoulder the costs of college on their own." His plan, based on the similar Hope Scholarship program in Georgia, would cost about $ 850 million in the next two-year budget. He would pay for it using proceeds from the Texas lottery - money that already is dedicated to public education. Mr. Sharp also has a proposal to reduce insurance rates, and Mr. Dewhurst has a plan to offer interest-free loans to college students. But Mr. Sharp identified the college scholarship proposal as his best idea, and Mr. Dewhurst tapped his insurance proposal as his leading idea. Mr. Sharp said a better educated workforce is key to Texas' future and that "it's up to us to decide if the Texas of this new century will be an economic dynamo or an economic backwater." Proposal criticized A self-proclaimed conservative group active in textbook selection and other education issues sharply questioned his proposal. "We would support and like to see more people go to college, but there has to be a better way than paying for it out of taxpayers' pockets. I am not sure Texas can afford it," said Peggy Venable of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy. Ms. Venable said that with the state budget as tight as it is, "We should be shrinking government programs, not expanding them." Nick Voinis, a spokesman for the Dewhurst campaign, raised doubts about the funding source, because lottery proceeds go to public education. "How will he repay public schools after he raids their funds?" Mr. Voinis asked. "He has offered no proposals to replace the money he takes away from public schools." Mr. Sharp disputed that, saying he has made clear that if elected he first wants to deal with the projected $ 5 billion deficit in the next state budget. After that, he said, he will talk about new programs, such as his college scholarship plan. "After we fix this financial mess we're in, we're going to do this for middle-class kids in Texas," he said. Mr. Dewhurst is pitching a plan to cap jury awards in certain civil lawsuits, which he said have fueled rising insurance costs. "If there is one issue that might set me apart, it is my focus on driving down insurance rates," he said. Dewhurst's plan He wants to limit punitive, non-economic damages to $ 300,000 in lawsuits filed by homeowners against insurance companies and in medical malpractice lawsuits filed against physicians. The other major part of his plan would set up state supervision of insurance rates - including auto and homeowners - until the market becomes more competitive. The insurance commissioner would have to approve all rate increases. "We are seeing way too many frivolous lawsuits," he said, claiming that 60 percent of all medical malpractice suits are thrown out of court. "We can solve this problem by passing a fair tort reform act that protects the rights of people who are legitimately injured." Critics say the idea would punish consumers and help big insurance companies. 'Ridiculous' idea Dan Lambe of Texas Watch, a consumer group, said the lawsuit restrictions "sound like an idea that would be on the wish list of insurance company executives." "It is largely the insurance industry that has caused the crisis, and to reward them by limiting their responsibility to homeowners is one of the most ridiculous ideas I have heard," he said. The Sharp campaign declined to comment on the Dewhurst proposal. Mr. Dewhurst said there is a link between higher insurance rates and lawsuit judgments, such as the $ 32 million award won by an Austin-area family against Farmers Insurance Group. The suit was filed after the family's home was devastated by toxic mold. The same is true for medical malpractice insurance, where premiums have skyrocketed because of the large number of lawsuits filed against doctors, Mr. Dewhurst said.

09/08/2002

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