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Texas education board rejects environmental science texts comment
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Texas education board rejects environmental science texts comment

BY CONNIE MABIN

The State Board of Education on Thursday rejected two environmental science textbooks 10-5 after a long, heated debate over politics, religion and the elected board's authority. Those who supported the vote said it was because of factual errors publishers refused to correct. Opponents called the vote censorship sparked by disagreement over issues like global warming and land management. The board, which was meeting as a committee of the whole, is scheduled to make a final vote Friday.

11/08/2001
Senators Should End Internet Tax Games
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Press Release

Senators Should End Internet Tax Games

On October 21, 2001, the three-year Internet tax moratorium expired with little fanfare and no resolution. As a result, states are now free to impose access taxes and "new and discriminatory" taxes on the Internet, but they still cannot tax remote sales because the Constitution forbids it.

11/07/2001
Consumer Group Applauds MS Settlement
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Press Release

Consumer Group Applauds MS Settlement

Today Erick Gustafson, director of federal campaigns for Citizens for a Sound Economy, released the following statement in reaction to news of a settlement in the Microsoft antitrust lawsuit.

11/06/2001
The End of the Beginning to High Tech Antitrust
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Press Release

The End of the Beginning to High Tech Antitrust

Last week, the Justice Department and Microsoft announced that an agreement had been reached to end the antitrust case against the company. According to most legal analysts, the final deal closely resembles the settlement Microsoft first offered shortly after the case was launched in 1998. Evidently, the Bush administration had heard enough from those critics who questioned the wisdom of spending $40 million prosecuting Bill Gates when that money could have gone toward tracking down Usama bin Laden.

11/06/2001
Political and Grassroots Power of the Organized Left
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Press Release

Political and Grassroots Power of the Organized Left

"That the U.S. labor movement has experienced a resurgence of enthusiasm, greater visibility, and increased political power in the last five years [1995-2000] is indisputable." - Labor Research Association 2000 "According to the AFL-CIO, unions actually organized some 600,000 new members" [in 1999]. – Labor Research Association of 2000

11/06/2001
Taxpayer Groups Question New Postal Handouts Without Reform
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Taxpayer Groups Question New Postal Handouts Without Reform

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) President Tom Schatz last week joined other taxpayer groups -- Paul Beckner of Citizens for a Sound Economy, Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union, Amy Ridenour of the National Center for Public Policy Research, Rick Merritt of PostalWatch, and Hank Hough of the 60 Plus Association -- to send President George W. Bush the following letter regarding potential postal reform:

11/06/2001
Bush Administration's Lumber Policies Harm Consumers, Housing Affordability and Economy According to ACAH
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Bush Administration's Lumber Policies Harm Consumers, Housing Affordability and Economy According to ACAH

The Bush Administration's actions imposing crushing duties of at least 32 percent on Canadian lumber imports will harm millions of U.S. consumers and lumber-dependent workers, housing affordability and the fragile economy, according to the American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). On Oct. 31, the Commerce Department imposed average anti-dumping duties of 12.6 percent on Canadian lumber imports, which, when added to the 19.3 percent countervailing duty imposed by Commerce in August, amounts to a 32 percent federal sales tax on American lumber consumers. Representatives of ACAH, a group of 16 consumer and business groups whose mission is to promote free trade policies that enhance affordable housing, slammed the Commerce action as "unacceptable protectionism that hurts U.S. consumers." "It is unconscionable that the Bush Administration would allow these protectionist measures at a time when the President said, only last week, that he intended to 'tear down walls' that create barriers to free trade," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the ACAH. "The U.S. economy shrank 0.4 percent in the third quarter, and would have fallen even further without the housing sector's 1.9 percent net growth. Enacting new trade barriers that will harm housing, at a time when this industry has been propping up the economy, makes absolutely no sense," Petniunas said. ACAH opposes any trade restraints on Canadian softwood lumber, essential to the U.S. housing market and a wide range of products including bed frames, wooden pallets, and pellets for fuel. "A 32 percent lumber tariff on Canadian imports could add up to $1,500 to the cost of an average home," said Bobby Rayburn, vice president/secretary of the National Association of Home Builders and a home builder from Jackson, Miss. "While $1,500 is not a huge percentage of a cost of a home, it is still big money to most Americans. Consider the facts: A full 14 percent of American families today -- 13.7 million households -- have 'critical housing needs,' meaning that they spend more than half of their income on housing or live in seriously substandard conditions. The homeownership rate for African Americans, Hispanics and young households -- among the fastest growing demographic sectors -- stand at least 20 points below the national average of 68 percent. And higher lumber prices just don't hurt home buyers, they raise the costs for renters and home owners seeking to remodel their homes." Harry Alford, president and CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce, called upon the Bush Administration to "reverse these preliminary decisions before greater damage occurs to the economy and consumers. NBCC is leading an effort to build a million new affordable homes to assist low to moderate income families throughout the U.S. These efforts would be significantly harmed if these trade restraints remain in place, or a new deal is negotiated to limit lumber supply. These actions pose a grave threat to those families' dreams of home ownership." Alford noted that the duties would add a billion dollars to the cost of the million homes, or significantly reduce the number of homes that could be built in the next five years. Numerous studies show the importance of home ownership to families and their communities. Communities with low ownership are inherently less prosperous, less stable, and suffer disproportionate share of social ills, including higher crime rates, illiteracy, and unemployment. Affordable housing is essential for America." "For more than a decade, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports, a lobby group representing a handful of U.S. lumber producers, has spent millions of dollars to appease their stockholders by blocking competition with Canada, at the expense of market stability, consumers, and affordable housing," said Gary Donnelly, president of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, which represents more than 8,000 independent lumber dealers in the U.S. "That coalition is unwilling to admit that the U.S. producers have a technology lag in their mills and a forest policy that has dramatically shut off access to federal and state forests. Putting a federal tax on the back of consumers and homebuyers will not modernize their member's mills or open up the forests. This is the time we need to encourage homebuilding and remodeling, not hinder it." The Home Depot, which has stores throughout the U.S. and Canada, echoed the concerns. "We want to provide the lowest prices for our customers," said Stephen P. Conwell, global product merchant, lumber. "This can only be accomplished through free and open lumber trade between the U.S. and Canada." The Home Depot is a member of the International Mass Retail Association that made an appeal last week to U.S. Trade Ambassador Robert Zoelleck to refrain from negotiating new restrictions on Canadian Softwood Lumber. IMRA President Robert J. Verdisco told the ambassador that "the imposition of any kind of taxes, whether they are as a result of U.S. trade remedy laws or a negotiated settlement could wreak havoc on the nation's housing sector. Approximately 35 percent of the softwood lumber consumption in the U.S. comes from Canada. Petniunas pointed out that the duties will not only harm housing affordability by raising the cost of new site built or manufactured housing, but they could also effectively prevent an additional hundreds of thousands of American households from being able to qualify for a home mortgage. "Many of these are first-time homebuyers and seniors moving to more affordable housing." Consumers for World Trade (CWT) Executive Director Robin Lanier said: "While we have deep concerns about the U.S. trade remedy process, at least Canadian producers have an option of pursuing an international review through the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organization. Canada should resist any negotiated deal and pursue these remedies if the U.S. persists in trying to impose punitive new taxes on consumers." Late this summer, a bipartisan group of House and Senate members sent a letter to President Bush, along with House and Senate resolutions signed by more than 100 congressional members, urging the President to assure that the Administration will protect the interests of consumers and workers from potentially onerous duties being requested by U.S. lumber producers seeking to limit the amount of lumber imported from Canada. Approximately six million U.S. workers are involved in lumber-using businesses, including home builders, remodelers, lumber dealers, and workers in industries such as wood pallet manufacturers, window frame and bed makers These professionals, who produce a broad array of wood products for millions of American consumers, outnumber lumber-producing workers by 25 to 1 in the United States. ACAH is an alliance of 16-organizations, representing approximately 95 percent of softwood lumber use in the U.S. ACAH members include 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.

11/05/2001
Maddening Deeds at US Universities
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Press Release

Maddening Deeds at US Universities

As printed in The Boston Globe, Sunday, November 4, 2001 These are not times that should try our minds. But, sadly, in some of our nation's most esteemed redoubts, they are. Once upon a time, our college campuses and universities were serious places, founded to inform the intellect and nurture the soul. In the wake of the mass slaughter America suffered on Sept. 11, most Americans understood the enormity of the attack and supported a strong national response. But in our colleges and universities, our national convictions are less clear.

11/04/2001
November - Message of the Month
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Press Release

November - Message of the Month

1) TAX POLICY - The Senate Needs to Pass the “Grassley” Economic Stimulus Plan 2) CONGRESSIONAL SPENDING - Now is Not the Time for Pork Barrel Politics 3) TRADE - Trade Promotion Authority – Trade Works for America 4) ENERGY - The Senate Must Act NOW to Restore America’s Energy Security 5) ENERGY - The Senate Must Stop Harmful Regulations That Endanger America's Future Economic Growth The Senate Needs To Pass The “Grassley” Economic Security Plan

11/02/2001
A Real Tax Package
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Press Release

A Real Tax Package

The economy is performing below its potential. Workers are losing jobs, families are watching investments drop in value, and businesses are losing money. These developments require a response. Many proposals for new spending are irresponsible and would do nothing to stimulate long-term recovery. Fortunately, there are a number of tax reforms that could help restore growth and boost job creation. A "stimulus" package based on the following principles would benefit America’s workers, investors, and entrepreneurs by improving incentives to work, save, and invest:

11/02/2001

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