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Protectionism: Protecting Whom?
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Press Release

Protectionism: Protecting Whom?

In the swirling debate over globalization and free trade, one tends to lose sight of the actual policies being debated. Amidst competing concerns of “environmental destruction,” “exploitation,” and “Gap is the real terrorist,” one can forget what the word “globalization” describes, and what specifically is meant by “free trade.”

04/29/2003
Stop Governor Rendell from Taking More of Your Money!
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Press Release

Stop Governor Rendell from Taking More of Your Money!

The battle over Pennsylvania’s budget continues this week as Governor Rendell and state legislators have yet to come to an agreement. Pennsylvania lawmakers rightly rejected the governor’s initial budget, part of his “Plan for a New Pennsylvania” in March and so far the state is without a real budget.

04/29/2003
Time for Pension Reform in Oregon
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Press Release

Time for Pension Reform in Oregon

Oregon House of Representatives 900 Court Street NE Salem, Oregon 97301 Dear Legislator: In the coming days you will vote on HB 2003, a bill that would reform the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS). HB 2003 would save $667 million in employer costs and reduce the state’s unfunded PERS’ actuarial liability by $6.6 billion. On behalf of the 11,000 members of Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy (OR CSE), I urge you to support this necessary proposal.

04/28/2003
Conservative Crusaders
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Conservative Crusaders

BY Shawn Zeller

In Milwaukee last July, President Bush stood before a predominantly black audience at Holy Redeemer Institutional Church of God in Christ and basked in its applause. Touting his faith-based initiative, Bush spoke of how churches such as Holy Redeemer-which runs a variety of job-training programs, four schools, and a housing facility for seniors-help welfare recipients and educate poor children through school voucher programs. "The federal government should not ask, 'Does your organization believe in God?' " Bush told the approving crowd. "They ought to ask, 'Does your program work?' " Federal agencies, the president declared, should remove regulations that "discriminate" against providers of faith-based social services. Bush's words not only resonated among the 5,000 congregants of Holy Redeemer; they also brought a smile to Michael Grebe, who was in the audience that day. Grebe is president of Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has been a generous supporter of Holy Redeemer's programs, as well as other faith-based social service efforts in the city. Grants from Bradley have also funded the work of intellectuals who've studied faith-based programs, three of whom-John DiIulio, Stanley Carlson-Thies, and David Kuo-were named by Bush to guide the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives during its heady first days. The Bradley Foundation has always "been willing to challenge the status quo," Bush said at Holy Redeemer. "I'm honored you're here." The Bradley Foundation's financial and ideological backing of Bush's faith-based initiative is just one example among many of how conservative foundations across the United States are working hard to influence the policy agenda in Washington and elsewhere in the nation. Where the traditional, well-established, and more-liberal lions of the foundation world such as the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York were once seen as the trendsetters, today it is the conservative grant-makers-the Bradley Foundation, the David H. Koch Charitable Foundation, the John M. Olin Foundation, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, and others- that are creating a buzz. Grants from these well-heeled conservative donors have supported everything from school vouchers to Social Security privatization to welfare reform to pro-marriage programs, all among the most radical public policy ideas promoted by anyone, of either the political Left or the Right, in recent years. Today, foundations of all ideological stripes are spending more than ever before to promote their pet social and political causes. Despite the hit foundation coffers have taken from the stock market's decline, foundation grants have held steady in recent years, according to a report by the authoritative and nonpartisan Foundation Center. In 2001, according to the center, the 1,000 largest private foundations in the United States spent nearly $650 million on public-affairs, civil-rights, and social-action projects, a category that includes local, state, and federal spending on everything from think tanks to interest-group activism. That amount was more than twice what those foundations spent on such grants in 1997. And it's fair to say that overall, private philanthropy enjoys a sterling reputation in Washington. But the talk in Washington-among both liberals and conservatives-is all about the cadre of conservative and strategically aggressive philanthropic groups. "Who would have thought 20 or 30 years ago that we'd be talking about Social Security privatization, the dismantling of the progressive tax system, and school vouchers?" asks Chuck Collins, program director for the liberal group United for a Fair Economy. Conservative foundations, he said, have "really changed the terms of the debate." William Voegeli, program officer at New York City-based conservative Olin Foundation, one of the most highly regarded in public policy circles, says that the right-of-center foundations are "wary of supporting endeavors that preach to the choir." Instead, Voegeli said, they are looking for people who are making new arguments and are "getting noticed, shaping the agenda, and moving the ball down the field." Even more critical, say the myriad grantees that have benefited from the largesse of the Bradleys and Olins, is the steadfastness of these foundations; they are willing to fund programs for the long haul. Bush's plan to funnel additional government funds to faith-based social service providers has failed to overcome Democratic opposition in the Senate. But Grebe said that the Bradley Foundation is pouring more money than ever into promoting the idea through its research. To keep the faith-based issue on the front burner, the Bradley Foundation is underwriting a new Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal at the Hudson Institute, an Indianapolis think tank. The center will conduct research into the merits of faith-based social services; its head is William Schambra, a former vice president at the Bradley Foundation. On April 22, President Bush named Schambra to a recess appointment as a board member of the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. And win or lose in Washington, Schambra says that Bradley-with help from President Bush-has turned stereotypes of conservatives on their heads. Bradley's $1 million grant to help Holy Redeemer build a community center was among the largest ever from a foundation to a black Pentecostal church. "This is peculiar politics," Schambra said, but it makes sense. The Bradley Foundation's mission is to promote such conservative values as self-respect and personal responsibility- values that Holy Redeemer stresses as well. The foundation also champions an overarching belief that community organizations generally provide better services than government-run programs can. Regardless of the fate of Bush's original faith-based initiative, Schambra said, "the fact that he is using the presidency to bring that message is incredibly critical."

04/26/2003
This Week on Capitol Hill
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Press Release

This Week on Capitol Hill

Congress is still adjourned for the Easter recess and will not return until next week. The economic growth plan will be the first item of business for congressional tax writing committees. However, if Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) steadfastly maintains his guarantee to Senate moderates Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) to oppose any tax cut more than $350 billion, his assurance could jeopardize the entire economic growth plan and affect the 2004 presidential and congressional elections.

04/25/2003
The End of Broadband As We Know It?
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Press Release

The End of Broadband As We Know It?

The Courts are about to eviscerate Internet privacy in the name of protecting large record labels. In his January 21, 2003, ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John Bates ruled that Verizon had to disclose the personal information of a Verzion customer who was file-sharing. The Judge made a flawed interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), because the allegedly infringing content never resided on Verizon’s servers.

04/25/2003
Ohio Agrees: It’s Time to “Ax the Double Tax”
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Press Release

Ohio Agrees: It’s Time to “Ax the Double Tax”

When the wheels of Air Force One touch down at Akron-Canton Regional Airport on Thursday morning, there will be a groundswell of grassroots support across Ohio in support of the President's plan to end the double taxation of dividend income.

04/24/2003
Voinovich Will Greet Bush in Ohio, but Won't Change Stance on Taxes
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Voinovich Will Greet Bush in Ohio, but Won't Change Stance on Taxes

BY Carl Weiser

WASHINGTON -- Sen. George Voinovich and President Bush will come close enough to shake hands Thursday in Dayton, but they'll still be $ 200 billion apart. The two Republicans are at odds over how large a tax cut Congress should pass. Bush originally wanted a $ 726 billion tax cut over 10 years. Earlier this month, Voinovich and other moderate Republicans, worried about endless deficits, struck a deal with Senate leaders to keep Bush's proposed tax cut to $ 350 billion.

04/23/2003
Ohio Agrees: It's Time to "Ax the Double Tax";
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Ohio Agrees: It's Time to "Ax the Double Tax";

When the wheels of Air Force One touch down at Akron-Canton Regional Airport on Thursday morning, there will be a groundswell of grassroots support across Ohio in support of the President's plan to end the double taxation of dividend income. Five grassroots groups, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens Against Government Waste, the National Taxpayers Union, 60 Plus Association, and the Seniors Coalition, are actively coordinating their activities in support of the President's tax cut plan. All combined, these groups have tens of thousands of members in the state of Ohio and form an informal coalition working to "Ax the Double Tax." As part of this coordinated effort, at 11 AM while the President meets with Ohio workers Thursday morning, Ohio citizens will converge on the Cleveland offices of Senator George Voinovich to rally for full and complete repeal of the dividend tax. CSE President Paul Becker said: "The Buckeye state wants to send a message to Senator Voinovich that it is critical to get real tax relief through the Senate. Full repeal of the dividend tax is the centerpiece of the President's tax relief proposal, and it will bring real benefits to the Ohio economy. "The Cleveland 'Ax the Double Tax' rally is part of an all-out effort by five different grassroots groups to promote the plan to get full repeal of the dividend tax. The President is focused on enacting tax relief to create jobs and get the economy moving again, and that issue is also the first priority for all of our members. We're working hard to get Senator Voinovich to support at least $550 billion in tax relief in the budget this year, and to support full repeal of the dividend tax."

04/23/2003
Hotel Subsidies Up In Downturn
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Hotel Subsidies Up In Downturn

BY J. Christopher Hain

As cities nationwide compete to lure conventioneers, financing for convention center hotels is drying up, and local governments are putting more public money into building them. Even so, some question putting public dollars into a venture that private investors consider too risky. One Texas study last month suggests government-financed hotels hurt existing hotels instead of attracting new conventioneers. Others argue that any public convention center project is doomed without a headquarter hotel. A study published last year in Economic Development Journal estimated the public sector provided nearly half of $3 billion spent to finance 20 major convention center hotels built since 1995. In West Palm Beach, the county-owned, 330,000-square-foot convention center is scheduled to open in November. The Related Cos., the developer expected to build the adjacent $70 million hotel, has made no progress toward constructing it. "It's going to be almost impossible to finance that hotel privately," said Bill Meyer, chairman of Meyer Jabara Hotels, which owns 27 hotels primarily along the East Coast. The Palm Beach County Convention Center will suffer without an adjacent hotel. Few hotels exist nearby - only one within walking distance. But since Sept. 11, 2001, financing for hotels of every kind has declined along with air travel, tourism and room bookings. "2002 was probably the worst year in the hospitality industry since the real estate crash of the early 1990s," Meyer said. "And 2003 is even worse." Additionally, the rates a West Palm Beach hotel can charge year-round are not enough to make a large, full-service hotel profitable because of the decreased demand during the summer, he said. "It becomes very difficult to make a profit without public subsidies," he said. Across the country, cities are getting into the convention game. Within Florida alone, the Palm Beach County Convention Center will face considerable competition. Orlando is expanding its Orange County Convention Center. And those who find Orlando too pricey can soon sign up at the Osceola County Convention Center and its 800-room hotel to be built just to the south of Orlando. In Texas, officials in Dallas and San Antonio are contemplating government-supported convention hotels. A study released last month by Citizens for a Sound Economy, a conservative think tank, concluded that the primary impact of tax-subsidized convention hotels is to hurt existing, privately financed hotels rather than to attract new conventions. What's more, a glut of new and expanded convention centers and a decline in nationwide attendance have made convention competition hectic, the study declared.

04/23/2003

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