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In Action

The day in Tallahassee, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2002
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The day in Tallahassee, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2002

BY The Associated Press State & Local Wire

Anti-tax activists fanned out across the Capitol to lobby against a proposed overhaul of the state sales tax. About 150 members of Citizens for a Sound Economy were trying to derail the tax plan, which is being pushed by Senate President John McKay. The measure would lower the sales tax rate from 6 percent to 4.5 percent, but end tax exemptions that make some items and many services tax free.

02/13/2002
Economic Liberty and Government Growth
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Press Release

Economic Liberty and Government Growth

02/12/2002
A Toast to Diversity
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Press Release

A Toast to Diversity

At the end of last year, the broadcast television subsidiary of General Electric, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), announced its plans to end the 54-year voluntary ban on liquor advertising with the sale of primetime commercial slots to British spirits firm, Diageo, which owns such brands as Smirnoff vodka, Tanqueray gin, Johnnie Walker whiskeys and Guinness. The move was triggered by the cirrhotic advertising market, which has heaved the revenues of media firms into the toilet and punished poorly rated network programs. In January, NBC announced that its 2001 revenues fell by 15 percent from the previous year.

02/12/2002
President’s Day: Time for Action
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Press Release

President’s Day: Time for Action

02/12/2002
Florida CSE Day at the Capitol
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Press Release

Florida CSE Day at the Capitol

Over one hundred and fifty citizens will travel from all across the state this week (February 13, 14) to send a direct message to the state legislature “We Want Less!” The two days of meetings with legislative and executive branch officials will begin with a press conference to present Citizens for a Sound Economy’s top priorities for this legislative session:

02/12/2002
New Jersey’s Consumers Need Competition and Choice, Not More Regulation
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Press Release

New Jersey’s Consumers Need Competition and Choice, Not More Regulation

New Jersey has one of the most heavily regulated insurance markets in the nation. Historically, New Jersey’s consumers have paid the highest rates in the nation for automobile insurance, and they continue to do so today in the wake of a number of failed attempts to reform the insurance market over the past 30 years. In fact, a recent survey found that in New Jersey 17 percent of consumers believe that automobile insurance is the most important problem they face, while in other states only 1 percent of the consumers rate automobile insurance as a significant problem.

02/11/2002
Minorities protest EchoStar-Hughes
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Minorities protest EchoStar-Hughes

BY Ron Orol

HIGHLIGHT: Protesters marched on EchoStar Communications' D.C. office Feb. 11 urging the rejection of the satellite company's $26 billion merger with Hughes Electronics. Several groups claimed that the merger would cut programming available to African-Americans. BODY: WASHINGTON - Toting signs reading, 'We're dis'n the DISH,' and 'Access for African-Americans,' protesters marched on EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Washington office Feb. 11 and urged rejection of the satellite company's $26 billion merger with Hughes Electronics Corp.

02/11/2002
U.S. Flaws in Trade Action Against Canadian Softwood Lumber Cited
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U.S. Flaws in Trade Action Against Canadian Softwood Lumber Cited

Congressional trade staff today heard that a major flaw in the current trade penalties being applied to Canadian softwood lumber imports is the failure of the Bush administration to consider the significantly negative impacts they cause on consumers. The briefing, hosted by the Cato Institute's Center for Trade Policy Studies, was sponsored by Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking minority member of the Senate Finance Committee.  "The Department of Commerce effectively levied a federal sales tax on every American family buying a home," said Gary Horlick, prominent trade attorney with O'Melveny and Myers, a law firm representing American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). The combined countervailing duties and antidumping duties imposed by Commerce amounted to 32 percent for 90 days last fall.  In December, countervailing duties lapsed until May 2002, and the current antidumping duty is 13 percent.  ACAH is an ad-hoc alliance of 17 major national consumer groups, businesses and organizations representing at least 95 percent of lumber consumption in the U.S.  "These duties essentially mean that the cost of homes in the U.S. is increased by more than $1,000 per home, which, according to U. S. Census Bureau calculations, means that approximately a half-million American families can not qualify for mortgages to buy a new home," Horlick said. "In 1986, Commerce negotiated a 15 percent export tax with Canada that cost American consumers hundreds of millions of dollars. The Softwood Lumber Agreement, which expired last March, replaced it, adding even more hidden taxes on homebuyers, and pricing hundreds of thousands of families out of the housing market.  It is time for the U. S. to give millions of consumers consideration in trade disputes. It is time to get rid of hidden sales taxes and help make homes more affordable."  Horlick also said that the U. S. is not following World Trade Organization or North American Free Trade Agreement rules in making its preliminary countervailing and antidumping decisions. "The U. S. position has significant flaws," he said. "It uses cross-border comparisons, for example, to calculate the duties.  Cross-border comparisons are not allowed under international trade rules."  Following hearings before the Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission in late February and March, final determinations will be made on both countervailing and antidumping duties in May.  "What the protectionist forces in the U.S. are asking Commerce to do is to force Canada to agree to an export tax on softwood lumber, collect it and keep it in Canada," Horlick added.  This means that a foreign government will impose a tax on lumber bought by U. S. homebuilders and consumers."  Congressional staff members were also told that spruce pine fir from Canada does not compete with southern yellow pine produced in the U. S.  The properties of the two species are significantly different, and their uses in a home are different.  Representatives of homebuilders, lumber dealers and other consumer groups told the International Trade Commission (ITC) last summer that Canadian lumber is used for framing because it will not twist or warp. Southern yellow pine is not suitable for framing, and is used in decking, for example.  Horlick noted that both Canadian softwood lumber and U. S. southern yellow pine are needed to build U.S. houses, so raising the price of Canadian lumber reduces the number of houses built, and thus, the amount of U. S. lumber ultimately used.  Additionally, the U. S. supply of softwood lumber has been significantly depleted or is now locked up in state and federal forests.  Twelve U.S. Senate and two House leaders recently sent a letter to President George W. Bush and Commerce Secretary Don Evans urging them to overturn the duties that are harming consumers, the housing industry and the overall economy.   In addition, more than 100 Members of Congress have expressed support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada by sponsoring H. Con. Res. 45 or S. Con. Res. 4.  ACAH members include American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP USA, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, 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.

02/11/2002
CSE Impact Update 3.14
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Press Release

CSE Impact Update 3.14

Nearly 800 Activists Expected to Lobby Their State Legislators for Less Government, Lower Taxes, and More Freedom

02/08/2002
New Coalition Seeks Reforms to Prevent Auto Insurance Crisis
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New Coalition Seeks Reforms to Prevent Auto Insurance Crisis

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, a new statewide organization today urged Trenton lawmakers to significantly reform New Jersey's auto insurance laws and regulations to create a stable and competitive market.

02/07/2002

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