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Putting the focus on contact lens prescriptions
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Press Release

Putting the focus on contact lens prescriptions

Support HB 2997: Protecting Consumer Rights

04/06/2003
On Insurance Reform, Give Consumers Choice
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Press Release

On Insurance Reform, Give Consumers Choice

With the announcement on Friday of State Farm Lloyd’s decision not to write new property risk policies, the legislature’s attempt to “fix” the Texas insurance market is clearly not working. The State’s largest home insurer had already stopped writing policy to new customers, and now they are not going to provide coverage for current customers who move.

04/06/2003
Tax Cuts Necessary to Heal Economy, Locke Official Says
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Tax Cuts Necessary to Heal Economy, Locke Official Says

BY Brian Louis

An official with the John Locke Foundation said yesterday that North Carolina legislators should cut taxes to increase economic growth, and the state should have a constitutional amendment linking spending increases to inflation and population growth. "We are consistently above our neighbors in taxes," said Roy Cordato, a resident scholar and vice president for research at the foundation, based in Raleigh. Cordato spoke before a small group at a luncheon at Sagebrush Steak House & Saloon in Winston-Salem that was co-sponsored by the Forsyth County chapter of the N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy, an anti-tax activist group. "The income tax is a tax on growth," he said. He also called the state tax on corporations "a reprehensible tax." The tax rates have hurt the economy, Cordato said, citing the fact that North Carolina's unemployment rate was below the national rate until 2001. "I'm going to argue a lot of it has to do with our tax policy." The state implemented a temporary tax increase a couple of years ago that is set to expire this year, he said. However, Gov. Mike Easley wants the taxes, which are primarily sales and income taxes, to be extended for two years to help deal with the state's budget problems. The state budget deficit is estimated to be as much as $2 billion for the coming budget year. "Let these taxes sunset," Cordato said. Cordato said that government should always be concerned with allowing people to keep as much of their money as possible. He recited a line from the state constitution that says that one of the rights of citizens is "the enjoyment of the fruits of their own labor;" in other words, their income. "Taxation is inherently a violation of that right," he said. Cordato also espoused the foundation's call for an amendment to the state constitution that would hold state spending increases to inflation increases and population growth. Cordato said that if the state had that measure in place a few years ago, it wouldn't be facing the budget deficit that it now does. Cordato also criticized state incentives and subsidies to corporations. "It's simply socialism," he said.

04/04/2003
Backgrounder: Texas Freedom Scholarships
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Press Release

Backgrounder: Texas Freedom Scholarships

BACKGROUND: CSE supports a parent’s right to select the educational environment where their child has the best opportunity to learn. Government-assigned, government-run schools are not free-market. However, we do not oppose public education. There are many good schools and many good teachers. But currently, choice is widespread among citizens who can either move to a school district of their choice or can afford to pay twice – once in taxes and again in private school tuition. So choice is widespread unless you are poor. This legislation provides a choice for those who currently have no options.

04/04/2003
Texas Freedom Scholarship - Key Features of the Pilot Education Freedom Program HB 2465
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Press Release

Texas Freedom Scholarship - Key Features of the Pilot Education Freedom Program HB 2465

BACKGROUND: CSE supports a parent’s right to select the educational environment where their child has the best opportunity to learn. Government-assigned, government-run schools are not free-market. However, we do not oppose public education. There are many good schools and many good teachers. But currently, choice is widespread among citizens who can either move to a school district of their choice or can afford to pay twice – once in taxes and again in private school tuition. So choice is widespread unless you are poor. This legislation provides a choice for those who currently have no options.

04/04/2003
Tax cuts necessary to heal economy, Locke official says
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Press Release

Tax cuts necessary to heal economy, Locke official says

From the Winston-Salem Journal Fri, April 4, 2003 Tax cuts necessary to heal economy, Locke official says By Brian Louis JOURNAL REPORTER An official with the John Locke Foundation said yesterday that North Carolina legislators should cut taxes to increase economic growth, and the state should have a constitutional amendment linking spending increases to inflation and population growth.

04/04/2003
Staying Engaged
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Press Release

Staying Engaged

With the war in Iraq well underway, I wanted to share some of CSE ' s perspective on these events. As a grassroots group dedicated to lower taxes and less government, CSE does not take a position on foreign affairs issues. We're focused entirely on reducing the size and scope of government here at home. As patriots, however, we do strongly support the fighting men and women of the United States military. We know that our country and our values are being well represented by the bravery and professionalism of our soldiers, sailors, and airmen. We continue to hope and pray that this conflict will end quickly with a minimal loss of life on both sides.

04/04/2003
Texas Insurance Update
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Press Release

Texas Insurance Update

The Senate bill (CSSB 14) would impose government price controls, add layers of costly bureaucratic mandates, substitute regulators' decisions in place of sound business decisions, force certain Texans to subsidize the insurance costs of other Texans, and cause businesses to view Texas as a less desirable place to do business. Citizens should call their House member. Below is some background information and talking points for calling your legislator or a draft of a letter you can modify and send your legislator:

04/04/2003
Oregon CSE Supports the “Fair Retirement Plan” amendment to H.B. 2020
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Press Release

Oregon CSE Supports the “Fair Retirement Plan” amendment to H.B. 2020

Salem, OR – Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy (OR CSE) calls on member of the Oregon House of Representatives to support meaningful measures to reform the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). Specifically, OR CSE recommends that lawmakers support State Rep. Dennis Richardson’s “Fair Retirement Plan” amendment to H.B. 2020. OR CSE believes that this rational reform measure will go along way to ensure public employees receive retirement security while Oregon’s finances are secured. OR CSE Director Russ Walker had these comments:

04/04/2003
Voucher Bill Passes Committee
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Voucher Bill Passes Committee

BY April Castro

During an impromptu meeting Thursday, the House Public Education Committee hastily passed legislation that would allocate government money to low-income parents in certain school districts to transfer their children from public to private schools. The bipartisan committee voted 5-3 in favor of referring the bill favorably to the House Calendar Committee, which sets a date for a full vote on the measure. Rep. Kent Grusendorf, R-Arlington, who authored the bill, said he expects a full vote on the House floor within the next few weeks. "It's a good thing for Texans," said Michael Sullivan, director of government relations for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, an influential group of conservative policy wonks. "Children benefit when children have more opportunity and more choices. Obviously our public schools are doing a fantastic job in educating just about every kid in just about every circumstance. But there are kids who need different circumstances." Critics of the voucher program questioned why the move was made on the House floor with little public notice. "We wonder why the vote was taken at the chairman's desk on the floor of the House and not in committee where the public would be fully aware that a vote was on the agenda," said Larry Comer, a spokesman for the Texas Association of Professional Educators. "Perhaps the committee members are afraid of public backlash to a tax entitlement plan that benefits only private and parochial schools at the expense of public schools." A "school voucher" program, which has previously been unsuccessful in the Texas Legislature, has drawn criticism from teachers' groups who say a lack of state accountability in private schools can be detrimental to students. "To give tax dollars to private school operators is to transfer money from a system which is highly accountable to taxpayers into a system that has no accountability at all," said John Cole, president of the Texas Federation of Teachers. Cole noted private schools are not subject to open records and meetings requirements. Sullivan argued that accountability in private schools is more efficient. "Private schools have the greatest accountability possible - Mom and Dad can say we're leaving," Sullivan said. "What accountability does Harvard have, does Baylor have? We believe that parents really do care about their children's education and there's an arrogance in thinking that Mom and Dad can't make good educational choices for their children." Other opponents say the measure would be fiscally irresponsible in the face of an estimated $9.9 billion budget shortfall. "This voucher bill is so fiscally irresponsible that it drew bipartisan opposition," said Samantha Smoot, executive director of the Texas Freedom Network, which opposes the voucher system. "Our state is facing a $10 billion budget deficit and our schools are facing billions in education cuts. Texans know that now is not the time to drain millions more from our public schools." Still, chances for the bill this time around seem promising as House Speaker Tom Craddick, Gov. Rick Perry, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst - all Republicans - have said they favor a voucher program. "I think you're seeing areas of the state where there are still some failing schools and those children in those failing schools should not be forced to a life of mediocracy or failure just because someone wants to protect a failing school," Perry said, during an interview with The Associated Press before the session started in January. "I still think that's an appropriate option for parents and students." Grusendorf, who prefers the term "freedom scholarships" over vouchers, said the loss of money and students to public schools would be countered by other legislation allocating more money per student to public schools. "Free education isn't free, it's our tax dollars that are being used whether they're being used at a public school or at a school other than public that the parent chooses, they're still our tax dollars being used," said Peggy Venable, director of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy. "The bottom line shouldn't be the money, the bottom line should be the child's education." Public schools in Texas are funded primarily with local property taxes and state money. The school finance system, known to some as Robin Hood, takes money from property rich districts and gives it to poorer schools. The program would be limited to children of low-income families in the state's largest school districts, with enrollments of more than 40,000. Eleven public school districts would be initially affected: Aldine, Alief, Houston, Pasadena, Fort Worth, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Brownsville, El Paso and Ysleta. In 2005, local school boards could vote to allow any district to participate. The private schools that accept the vouchers would be required to make test scores public, a provision critics oppose because the public has no say in what kind of test. Public schools would continue to receive some funding for students who choose to use a voucher, including about 10 percent of the value of the voucher. Private schools would receive 90 percent of the voucher or the school's average annual cost per student, whichever is less.

04/03/2003

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