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Economy Needs Regulatory Reform as Much as Tax Cuts
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Economy Needs Regulatory Reform as Much as Tax Cuts

BY Alice Click

Tax cuts aren't the only answer to kickstarting the economy. For consumers, this means higher prices and fewer jobs. The burden from excessive regulation and litigation also slow the economy. Regulatory reform is just as important as tax reform for strengthening the economy.

07/01/2003
Unmasking the Regulators
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Unmasking the Regulators

BY Susan E Dudley

Volume 26; Issue 2; ISSN: 01470590 THE REGULATORS: Anonymous Power Brokers in American Politics by Chicly Skrzycki 256 pp., Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield

07/01/2003
Economy needs regulatory reform as much as tax cuts
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Economy needs regulatory reform as much as tax cuts

BY Alice Click

Tax cuts aren't the only answer to kickstarting the economy. For consumers, this means higher prices and fewer jobs. The burden from excessive regulation and litigation also slow the economy. Regulatory reform is just as important as tax reform for strengthening the economy.

07/01/2003
CSE Calls for Repeal of New York City Rent Controls
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Press Release

CSE Calls for Repeal of New York City Rent Controls

Earlier this month, the New York state legislature extended rent controls in New York City, continuing to set prices well below-market on many NYC apartments. The extension occurred only after an acrimonious political debate that included the NY City Council paying to send busloads of pro-rent control protestors to Albany.

06/30/2003
Letter to Secretary Snow on Regulatory Reform
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Press Release

Letter to Secretary Snow on Regulatory Reform

Secretary John Snow Secretary of the United States Treasury 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20220 Dear Secretary Snow, A few weeks ago, you had asked for our ideas on the next round of tax cuts. I hope what we provided was helpful. I am writing today to suggest an additional front that the administration could open on the economy: regulatory reform.

06/27/2003
Media's Malpractice in Coverage of ImClone
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Media's Malpractice in Coverage of ImClone

BY Matt Kibbe

The timing of your June 3 editorial "Erbitux and the Press" was wonderful, running exactly one year from the day my surgeon declared my body cancer-free. During the winter of 2002 I had the unique experience of watching the press commit mass journalistic malpractice on ImClone as I watched television and read newspapers while lying on my hospital bed undergoing chemotherapy. Regardless of whom Martha Stewart talked to before she sold, the real crime was the lost potential and lost lives caused by the FDA's bureaucratic delays of a cancer treatment with real promise. But no serious reporter, save those at the Journal's editorial page, even thought to ask the right questions.

06/06/2003
Groups' Support for RESPA Change Hinges on GMP
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Groups' Support for RESPA Change Hinges on GMP

BY Brian Collins

Copyright (c) 2003 Thomson Media Inc. All Rights Reserved Vol. 12, No. 9

05/28/2003
Groups' Support for RESPA Change Hinges on GMP
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Groups' Support for RESPA Change Hinges on GMP

BY Brian Collins

WASHINGTON -- Mortgage lenders will continue to support reform of the mortgage application and settlement process, according to six trade groups, provided the Department of Housing and Urban Development allows lenders to offer guaranteed mortgage packages without itemizing costs.

05/28/2003
Groups' Support for RESPA Change Hinges on GMP
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Groups' Support for RESPA Change Hinges on GMP

Mortgage lenders will continue to support reform of the mortgage application and settlement process, according to six trade groups, provided the Department of Housing and Urban Development allows lenders to offer guaranteed mortgage packages without itemizing costs. In a letter to HUD, the industry associations point out that the GMP proposal would reduce settlement costs by allowing volume discounts, average cost pricing and other pricing structures currently inhibited by the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. "With a few refinements, the GMP option can thrive in the marketplace," the April 30 letter to HUD says. Under HUD's GMP proposal, lenders could guarantee settlement costs, as well as the interest rate, without itemizing costs. However, Senate Banking Committee chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has been pressing HUD to require itemization. But the lender groups claim itemizing the cost of individual services at the time of application is not practical and the disclosure would come too late in the process to help consumers comparison shop. It would "effectively eviscerate the GMP" and "prevent the GMP from becoming a reality in the marketplace," the trade groups say in the letter. The American Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, America's Community Bankers, Consumer Bankers Association, Consumer Mortgage Coalition and Mortgage Bankers Association signed the April 30 letter. The letter sends a strong message at a time when most participants in the debate over RESPA are getting edgy - because no one seems to know where HUD is going with its reform proposal. And the lenders want to make sure HUD knows where they stand. "We are gravely concerned that the department might undertake to revise the good faith estimate (disclosure) as part of a final rule, while delaying or forgoing any efforts to allow GMPs. Such a move would have severe consequences," the trade groups warn. They also are concerned that HUD is reviewing newly "fleshed out" proposals for a two-package approach, advocated by the American Land Title Association and the Real Estate Services Providers Council (RESPRO). The two-package approach would create a lender's package that would include origination fees, appraisals, credit reports and flood certifications that are required by the lender, and a settlement services package would include title services, recordation fees, pest inspections and other fees. Meanwhile, lender groups are also concerned about the consumer groups and their lackluster support for Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act reform. "All they care about is predatory lending," one trade official said. To bolster the reform effort, the lenders have solicited support from conservative interest groups, such as former HUD secretary Jack Kemp's Empower America, the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. These groups are urging secretary Martinez to move ahead with RESPA reform, despite warnings from key Republicans, such as Sen. Shelby, that HUD should slow down and reissue the proposal (with revisions) for another round of comments. "We applaud your efforts and hope that you will move quickly to issue a final rule," according to the joint letter to HUD secretary Martinez. The Seniors Coalition and Citizens for a Sound Economy also signed the letter. "HUD's proposed rule to revise the nearly 30-year-old Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to allow for greater competition in the market for home mortgage lending and settlement services will benefit consumers greatly without additional government spending," the letter says. In a separate letter, Americans for Tax Reform also expressed support for HUD's effort to simplify the regulatory process and increase competition in the real estate market.

05/28/2003
Insurance Reform Passes NJ Legislature
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Insurance Reform Passes NJ Legislature

The New Jersey General Assembly yesterday approved legislation correcting years of politically influenced auto insurance regulations, which have eroded the availability of coverage for the state's drivers. The New Jersey Automobile Insurance Competition and Choice Act (S-63/A-2625) aims to attract more auto insurers to do business in New Jersey and provide consumers greater and easier access to auto insurance coverage. "Years of excessive regulations have turned New Jersey into a horror story for drivers seeking insurance," said John Friedman, chairman of the Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition. "Thanks to bipartisan leadership, New Jersey drivers are closer to reaping the benefits of a more competitive auto insurance marketplace." Politicizing and over regulating auto insurance is the root cause of the state's exodus of auto insurers, leaving consumers too few companies from which to purchase auto insurance. Five of the six largest auto insurers in the nation do not sell auto coverage in the state and more than twenty auto insurers have left New Jersey in the past decade. The Coalition for Auto Insurance Competition, a New Jersey-based group of businesses, associations and consumers, has been the leading voice calling for reforms to stimulate competition and greater choices for consumers. "Considering New Jersey's nationwide reputation for over regulating auto insurance, today's final legislative passage has tremendous significance," said Friedman. Having passed both legislative houses the bill now goes to Governor James McGreevey for his expected signature. The Coalition 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) Latino Chamber of Commerce of Mercer County, and the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.

05/16/2003

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