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U.S. Consumers to Pay as International Trade Commission Vote Opens Door to Impose Huge Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber
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U.S. Consumers to Pay as International Trade Commission Vote Opens Door to Impose Huge Duties on Canadian Softwood Lumber

Consumer groups said today's decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which found a "threat of injury" to U.S. forest producers from Canadian softwood lumber imports, is wrong, and cannot be sustained under NAFTA and World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. The ITC decision will allow the U.S. Commerce Department to move forward later in May imposing countervailing and antidumping duties of approximately 27 percent. At the same time, the ITC denied U.S. producer claims that they had been "injured," which would have allowed retroactive imposition of duties. "It is very sad that a segment of U.S. lumber producers and landowners have been able to get our government to impose such a preposterous level of duties on American consumers," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH), an alliance of 18 national organizations and companies which has been fighting the trade action. "This action is nothing less than a giveaway to U.S. lumber companies, imposed as a sales tax on U.S. consumers by our own government just because the ITC determined something bad might happen in the future," Petniunas added. If the entire 27 percent duties are reflected in U.S. prices, and depending on the lumber market, these duties could add between $1,000 and $1,500 to the cost of a new home, pricing as many as 300,000 to 450,000 families out of the housing market. They would not be able to qualify for mortgages. "While $1,500 may not sound like much to some people, for many first-time homeowners and seniors seeking to lower their housing costs in retirement, it is the difference between being able to buy a home for the first time, or not," she said. Bobby Rayburn, a homebuilder from Jackson, Miss., and vice president and treasurer of the National Association of Home Builders, said: "Over the past 20 years, independent review panels have evaluated Canada's timber pricing on three separate occasions. In each case in which it was taken to a final decision, it was ultimately determined that the Canadian government did not provide unfair subsidies to its lumber industry. "We believe that Canada will almost certainly prevail once again in its current cases before NAFTA and the WTO. Hopefully, the U.S. will not attempt to thwart the legal process. Otherwise, the proceedings could drag on for years, and in the meantime, U.S. home buyers and renters will have to pay the price." Mike Fritz, a lumber dealer from Massachusetts and Board Chair of the National Lumber and building Material Dealers Association, said: "Our nation's annual demand for Canadian spruce pine fir is well-known and well-documented throughout the U.S. consuming industries. The U.S. cannot provide sufficient framing lumber and relies on Canada for approximately one-third of its needs. "As national demand for affordable housing continues to grow year by year, we further realize the importance of ensuring that a secure, stable supply of Canadian softwood is available for interior framing," Fritz added. "We continue to hope that the handful of U.S. producers seeking to block Canadian product eventually realize the potentially serious damage they may do to the U.S. housing market by continually injecting uncertainty and volatility into the market for Canadian framing lumber. For over twenty years these producers have sought special protection from the U.S. government while other components of the industry devote their time to adapting to the globalization of our marketplace."

05/02/2002
Political activist has Bill Clinton to thank
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Press Release

Political activist has Bill Clinton to thank

Originally appeared in the Winston-Salem Journal. Joyce Krawiec used to be a PTA mom, but now she's a political activist. Krawiec is the Forsyth County director for Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group that lobbies for lower taxes and less government. Her unpaid job might take her to Washington D.C. to argue for tax cuts or to Raleigh to buttonhole a legislator.

05/02/2002
The Death Tax: A Tax We Can All Live Without
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Press Release

The Death Tax: A Tax We Can All Live Without

CSE strongly believes that the death tax should be completely repealed in order to make the tax code fairer and simpler, and to eliminate the harmful drag this tax has on the economy. Only through total repeal will the tax code take a step toward fundamental reform. The Death Tax needs to be permanently abolished because it punishes the American values of saving and investment by penalizing individuals for passing property along to their family.

05/02/2002
PACs Want 'Flexibility'
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PACs Want 'Flexibility'

BY Ruth Sheehan

People call me cynical sometimes. Let me introduce you to the Citizens for Higher Education and the Economic Development Coalition 2000. The first red flag? The names. Like Citizens for a Sound Economy and the New American Optimists, these groups are thoroughly ambiguous, apple-pie pablum.

05/02/2002
SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM – OWN YOUR FUTURE
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Press Release

SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM – OWN YOUR FUTURE

Soundbite: Everyday that passes without addressing the Social Security crises is a day lost for enacting real reform. Real reform means the creation of Personal Retirement Accounts (PRA) so that people can create real wealth and enjoy a secure retirement. Although the war on terrorism has taken a lot of time and resources away from legislators, they still must face up to the fact that the Social Security system is going broke, and without a clear mandate for reform, all Americans will suffer.

05/01/2002
It is Time for the Senate to Stop Stone Walling Nominations
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Press Release

It is Time for the Senate to Stop Stone Walling Nominations

Soundbite: May 9th marks the one-year anniversary of President Bush’s initial nominations to the federal court. Of the first 11 nominations only THREE have been confirmed. It is time for Senators Daschle and Leahy to quit their foot-dragging and politicking and get this nation’s judicial system back on course.

05/01/2002
LEGISLATORS NEED TO CONTROL SPENDING AND MAKE TAX CUTS PERMANENT!
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Press Release

LEGISLATORS NEED TO CONTROL SPENDING AND MAKE TAX CUTS PERMANENT!

Soundbite: As the politicians debate the annual budget resolution, they need to remember that despite the devastating effects of September 11, Americans remain committed to fiscal discipline. In an effort to further their own political aims, many Members of Congress use this process as an opportunity to push unnecessary, pork barrel projects. Further, some members of Congress, such as Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), want to pay for their bigger spending appetites by increasing Americans’ tax burden. He has already called for repealing portions of the tax cuts that President Bush signed into law last June; we cannot let this tax increase happen. Members of Congress need to know that they cannot get away with spending billions of dollars of your hard earned dollars on more unnecessary government programs and raising taxes on Americans.

05/01/2002
Death Tax - Support the Gramm/Kyl Amendment
for Permanent and Full Repeal
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Press Release

Death Tax - Support the Gramm/Kyl Amendment <br>for Permanent and Full Repeal

Soundbite: The Death Tax is anti-family, anti-jobs and anti-American. This may be our once chance to kill the Death Tax dead and we need to fight for its complete elimination. While most people believe that this tax only affects the wealthy in fact victims often hit hardest by the Death Tax are middle-class, hard-working Americans - small business owners and employees, family farmers and ranchers.

05/01/2002
Red Ink Rising
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Press Release

Red Ink Rising

Even before the appropriators have their way with the spending bills for 2003, new studies suggest that the deficit for 2002 may exceed $100 billion. With revenues coming in lower than forecasts and congressional spending advancing at a record pace, taxpayers need to take Congress’ calls for fiscal responsibility with a grain of salt. These days, fiscal responsibility appears to mean a secure stream of tax revenues, not a more prudent approach to federal spending.

04/30/2002
Let’s Win One!
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Press Release

Let’s Win One!

Senate Republicans, led by Phil Gramm (R-Tex) and John Kyl (R-Ariz) played hardball with Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and won. They stuck together and forced Daschle to agree to a vote to eliminate the Death Tax. Permanently. This is a big tactical victory and now we must rally the troops, organize and mobilize the grassroots and turn this process victory into a policy victory for America.

04/30/2002

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