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Tax Cuts Reloaded
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Press Release

Tax Cuts Reloaded

George W. Bush is becoming the tax-cutting equivalent of Neo, blasting around the Beltway Matrix, leaving lower rates in his wake. Whether the federal budget is in “surplus” or deficit, President Bush has the moves to slice and dice. Not to push the metaphor too far, but this is certainly a new reality for all the Big Government Agent Smiths inside the Beltway Matrix.

06/05/2003
Winston-Salem Takes Another Look at Annexation
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Press Release

Winston-Salem Takes Another Look at Annexation

This article originally ran in the Winston-Salem Journal on Tuesday, June 3, 2003 City to take another look at annexation Council tells staff to revise proposed areas, ordinances By Victoria Cherrie JOURNAL REPORTER Annexation Archive After a year of mapping and surveying, city staff members will take another crack at developing an annexation proposal that excludes more rural areas and won't force land owners to give up their goats, pigs, sheep and guineas.

06/05/2003
Politicians Not Serious
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Press Release

Politicians Not Serious

During the special legislative session the Alabama Legislature had a chance to do something that would convince the voters of Alabama that they were serious about accountability in state government—but they didn’t do it.

06/05/2003
140 Days and $117.4 Billion Later; No Tax Increases!
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Press Release

140 Days and $117.4 Billion Later; No Tax Increases!

The state budget passed by this legislature represents the first time in 20 years that government growth has been cut. Considering the budget shortfall, the legislature did a remarkable job. They filled a budget shortfall without introducing new taxes while providing more funding to education and to health and human services (don’t believe those whiners who bemoan the cuts as Cse has taken the position some of the programs cut are beyond the appropriate role of government.) No new taxes; no tax increases

06/05/2003
Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee hearing on "Fair Credit Reporting Act: How it Functions for Cons…
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Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee hearing on "Fair Credit Reporting Act: How it Functions for Cons…

< p>Howard Beales, director, Bureau of Consumer Affairs, Federal Trade Commission; Dolores Smith, director, Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; Gregory Serio, superintendent of insurance, State of New York, representing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners; Julie Brill, assistant attorney general, State of Vermont; Joseph Smith, commissioner of Banks, State of North Carolina, representing the Conference of State Bank Supervisors; Ramon Rodriguez, COO, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Kevin Sullivan, vice preside

06/04/2003
Privacy
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Privacy

BY Drew Clark

Congress should not permit a law governing credit reporting to expire at the end of this year because of the law's strong consumer benefits, three federal and state financial-services regulators told a congressional panel on Wednesday. But those regulators -- from the Federal Reserve Bank, National Association of Insurance Commissioners and Conference of State Bank Supervisors -- were challenged by Julie Brill, assistant attorney general of Vermont, who said Congress should let the law lapse. "The states need to serve as laboratories of democracy in this incredibly important area and to assist Congress with what works," said Brill, who is co-chair of the privacy working group of the National Association of Attorneys General. She said the current credit-granting system is not uniform and that states like Vermont with stricter pre-existing laws have not suffered because of them. Brill found a receptive ear among Democrats on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions in the second of a series of hearings on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The hearing featured 21 witnesses. "Sometimes this discussion sounds a little Orwellian to me," said ranking minority member Bernard Sanders, an independent from Vermont who caucuses with Democrats. "The people who say they trust the states to do the best job" change their mind when businesses say federal pre-emption of tougher state laws is necessary. When subcommittee Chairman Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., questioned Brill's stance in light of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's support for the extension, Sanders interjected, "In Vermont, some of us do, occasionally, dispute Chairman Greenspan." The industry and broader business communities are mounting a major lobbying push this year to extend the FCRA pre-emption Congress enacted in 1996. Business groups worry that failure to reauthorize the extensions would lop a full percentage point off the gross domestic product and limit consumers' ability to get quick loan decisions. But privacy and consumer advocates say that states need to fight for stricter privacy laws and that the 1996 act may have spurred an increase in identity theft. Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Consumer Protection Bureau, said on Wednesday that the agency's five commissioners have no official position. A top Treasury Department official said the same thing last month but dwelled on the concern about ID theft. But a solid majority of those who testified on Wednesday urged extending the pre-emption. They represented groups such as the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Allstate, the National Multi-Housing Counsel, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the East Los Angeles Community Union and the major credit-bureau companies. Opponents included the U.S. Public Research Interest Group and National Fair Housing Alliance, and a trial attorney with the National Association of Consumer Advocates. "While we generally oppose pre-emption, we believe that the benefits of uniformity to our credit-granting system and the value of this system to consumers and our economy outweigh our objection in this case," said Joseph Smith, the North Carolina Commissioner of Banks who testified on behalf of the Conference of State Banking Supervisors.

06/04/2003
Raleigh to Revisit Budget Cuts
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Raleigh to Revisit Budget Cuts

BY Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

RALEIGH -- City Manager Russell Allen will take another look at his proposed 2003-04 budget to see where the city could cut programs and projects, likely equal to about the amount a proposed solid-waste fee increase would raise. The City Council on Tuesday unanimously asked Allen for the report after a public hearing on the proposed budget that drew about a dozen speakers, including some who questioned a recommended spike in city fees. Last month, Allen proposed a $ 380.3 million budget with no change in the property tax rate. But faced with a bad economy, he proposed raising the solid-waste fee from $ 60 a year per household to $ 96 a year, the water rate 5 percent and the sewer rate 9 percent. He also proposed a new stormwater utility fee. Council member Kieran Shanahan originally suggested asking each department to come up with across-the-board 5 percent cuts, which would total about $ 19 million. But Allen said he'd rather look at each department's budget to come up with possible cuts. Council member James West said cuts should be tied to a specific number, such as the amount increased fees would raise. After Tuesday's meeting, Allen said he planned to target the amount raised from the increase in the solid-waste fee, which would likely generate about $ 3.3 million annually. "I will ask each department to try to think about things that they consider lower priority," Allen said. Raleigh's public hearing Tuesday night was far different from a similar hearing in Durham on Monday that drew hundreds to complain about that city's proposed budget. In Raleigh, state Rep. Russell Capps, a Raleigh Republican who is president of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, and Jonathan Hill, state director of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a national antitax group, called on councilors not to raise taxes or fees. Others came to ask the city for more. Representatives of the Burning Coal Theatre Co. lobbied for $ 200,000 in the next couple of years to renovate an auditorium. Mary Freeman, CEO of the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities, asked for $ 50,000 -- which is $ 32,000 more than recommended -- to help the center continue services for children. And city police and firefighters asked for better wages.

06/04/2003
It's Not Ideological, Just Sound Economics
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Press Release

It's Not Ideological, Just Sound Economics

©2003 Copley News Service, 6/4/2003 "Next year's tax bill must reduce personal as well as corporate income taxes - for those in the lower brackets, who are certain to spend their additional take-home pay, and for those in the middle and upper brackets, who can thereby be encouraged to undertake additional efforts and enabled to invest more capital. Third, the new tax bill should improve both the equity and the simplicity of our tax system."

06/04/2003
Texas Senate Bill 315 is a Tax Land Grab
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Press Release

Texas Senate Bill 315 is a Tax Land Grab

Legislation passed which allows Del Mar Community College to annex Aransas, Kenedy, Kleberg and part of Nueces and San Patricio Counties to include them in the tax base. This would represent a large tax increase to citizens in these counties. This legislation, SB 315, is on the Governor’s desk and needs to be vetoed!

06/04/2003
Wilmington City Council Faces Ire on Taxes
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Press Release

Wilmington City Council Faces Ire on Taxes

Article published Jun 4, 2003 in the Wilmington Star News City Council Faces Ire on Taxes Proposed pay raises, purchase of properties draw criticism The Wilmington City Council got an earful Tuesday night from a handful of residents, urging the council to cut spending.

06/04/2003

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