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Gov. Mike Easley Proposes to Continue Tax Increases
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Press Release

Gov. Mike Easley Proposes to Continue Tax Increases

Today, North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley announced plans to postpone the $460 million in tax relief scheduled to go into effect next fiscal year. The Governor claims that the plan would simply freeze “tax breaks” and doesn’t constitute a tax increase. CSE says that claim is wrong. To extend the one-half cent increase in sales taxes will cost taxpayers an additional $370 million next fiscal year. That’s a tax increase.

01/22/2003
Measure 28 Momentum Shifts
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Measure 28 Momentum Shifts

BY Steve Law

Supporters have raised more money than opponents. Measure 28 would raise income and corporate taxes for 2002, 2003 and 2004 to avert cuts to schools and state services over the next 2A years. New polls show that it is running neck and neck with voters. Ballots must arrive in county elections offices by Tuesday evening. BY STEVE LAW Statesman Journal Polls show that the temporary income tax increase on Oregon's Jan. 28 ballot has become surprisingly close, but you wouldn't know it from money trickling into the campaigns last week. The main Measure 28 opposition committee, Taxpayers Association of Oregon, reported raising $2,000 last week, enough for modest radio ads on two Portland stations. Supporters in the Yes on 28 Committee scored $26,200 for a phone campaign, plus more for polling, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday. With only one week to go in the election, momentum clearly has shifted to supporters, who have raised far more dollars and mobilized countless more volunteers. Opponents apparently were caught flat-footed by the sudden surge of voter support after most political analysts dismissed the measure's chances of passage. Jason Williams, executive director of the taxpayers association, said the recession crimped fund raising for his committee. His group has raised about $8,200 during the campaign so far and reported about $2,000 cash on hand last week. "I think there are some people on our side that called this thing wrong," said opponent Russ Walker, Northwest director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We're having difficulty raising money on it," Walker said. "Most people didn't think it had a chance of passing." By contrast, the Yes on 28 campaign has raised more than $400,000, mostly from labor unions. Supporters aren't going to be complacent about the opposition's weak fund raising, insisted Patty Wentz, Yes on 28 spokeswoman. She expects opponents could get a quick money injection from conservative Aloha businessman Loren Parks or the national Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We've always known that they have access to as much money as they need," she said. Still, fully 29 percent of registered voters already had cast ballots by Friday, and Measure 28 supporters have a better grass-roots effort to mobilize their voters. "I do worry about the get-out-the-vote machine the other side has," Walker said. "The truth about politics is, whoever can get the most people to show up wins."

01/22/2003
Prepare to duck
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Prepare to duck

Something called the Citizens for a Sound Economy begins a media blitz in West Virginia today, lobbying against what they call "Gov' Wise's Canadian Healthcare Proposals." They announced it Thursday with the kind of overkill and hype that often makes it difficult to take a well-intentioned, valid cause seriously. From here, it looks like CSE intends to make this economy at least partially sound by spending as much money as it can to get out its message, even when most of that spending appears needless. This is the kind of lobbying that fosters cynicism in newsrooms.

01/21/2003
Values Survey Finds Odd Bedfellows
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Values Survey Finds Odd Bedfellows

BY Richard Morin and Claudia Deane

Atheists, Muslims and Mormons led the list of groups viewed by Americans as the least like themselves in terms of basic beliefs and values, according to a national survey by the Institute for Jewish & Community Research. Two out of three adults questioned said people "who do not believe in religion" were unlike them. Nearly six in 10 -- 56 percent -- saw Muslims as different from themselves. Fifty-six percent also viewed Mormons as holding values and beliefs markedly dissimilar to their own. In contrast only one in three viewed Jews or Christian fundamentalists as being different, and fewer still rated blacks, Latinos or Catholics as embracing values that were dissimilar from their own. Why are Mormons viewed as being so outr? Is it that the church once sanctioned polygamy a long time ago? Or could it be that the church's strictly enforced ban on alcohol and tobacco use makes Mormons seem out-of-step with the typical American? "It would be nice to imagine that people think members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints live in a way that others aspire to, but I'm not certain that's what we're seeing here," said Wes Andersen, spokesman for the church's office of international and governmental affairs in Washington. THE NAME GAME: "Does everybody who works for a think tank have a weird name?" our keen-witted editor asked after reading last week's items about the Atlantic Council's Banning Garrett and the Council on Foreign Relations' Princeton N. Lyman. Immediately the scales fell from our eyes. Everywhere we looked we found such names as: Bertrand M. Patenaude, Williamson M. Evers, H. Lyman Miller and Timothy Garton Ash, all with the Hoover Institution. At the Center for Strategic and International Studies: Porcher L. Taylor III, Stanton H. Burnett and Bates Gill. Brink Lindsey does his thinking at the Cato Institute. "This raises, intriguingly, the old issue of nature v. nurture," said our colleague Gene Weingarten, a connoisseur of exotic handles who has made ridiculing people's names into an art form in his weekly Post magazine humor column. "There are really only two possibilities here, and they are diametrically opposed," he said. "On one hand, it is possible that having a pretentious name encourages a person to seek an appropriately pretentious occupation. That is the more benign explanation. Alternatively, it might mean that there are genes for pretentiousness, and that they are tragically passed along to an innocent, along with his name, by parents pretentious enough to have come up with the name in the first place." His conclusion: "I believe in a just God who does not cavalierly visit plagues upon innocents. I go with the first explanation." For the other side of the story, we turned to the Heritage Foundation's Jim Weidman -- who immediately turned the tables on us. "Oh puh-leeze!" Weidman wrote in an e-mail. "This from [columnists] whose publisher is Boisfeuillet Jones Jr.?" [For the record, we believe "Boisfeuillet" is a magnificent name.] "I don't think that tanks house a disproportionately high number of folks with funny names. There's a disproportionately high number of funny names wherever you look." And anyway, names reveal nothing "about a person, the person's vocation or the person's employer," Weidman said. "At worst, they indicate that even doting parents can be unwittingly cruel." PARTY ANIMALS: Staff and friends of the New America Foundation and the Atlantic Monthly shared a champagne toast last Tuesday evening to celebrate their collaboration on this month's issue of the magazine, focused on the "The Real State of the Union." Among the guests at NAF President Ted Halstead's Dupont Circle brownstone was NAF board chairman and Atlantic correspondent James Fallows, Atlantic managing editor Cullen Murphy, and Gates Foundation senior policy adviser Stefanie Sanford, who described herself as a "big fan" of New America. Asked if she was funding the Gen X think tank, Sanford answered, "Not yet." Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), who spoke earlier at a NAF/Atlantic event at the National Press Club also stopped by. "You think senators are busy, but I said 'There's a party tonight' and the senator said, 'Let me check my schedule,' " Halstead recounted in a toast. "Hey, I'm from Louisiana," Breaux explained. PEOPLE: It's a bump up for leaders of the Center for Democracy and Technology. The board has named CDT founder Jerry Berman as president, and promoted Deputy Director James X. Dempsey to executive director. CDT has also hired Lara Flint as staff attorney covering national security and civil liberties. Flint comes from Jenner & Block. The National Center for Policy Analysis has chosen Michael F. Cannon to fill the newly created position of government affairs director. Cannon came from the Senate Republican Policy Committee, and has also worked at Citizens for a Sound Economy. The Council on Foreign Relations' Walter Russell Mead has been awarded the Lionel Gelber Prize for his book "Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World." Mead will receive the award, worth $ 30,000 Canadian, in Toronto on Jan. 29. The National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy has hired Jeff Krehely from Atlantic Philanthropies Inc. as research director. Krehely has worked at the Urban Institute's Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy. Have news about think tanks, policy-oriented foundations or nonprofits? Want to make fun of our names? E-mail us at ideas@washpost.com.

01/21/2003
Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation
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Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation

Members for two-year terms: James Philip Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and Paul Norman Beckner, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

01/21/2003
Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation
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Advisory Committee For Trade Policy And Negotiation

Members for two-year terms: James Philip Hoffa, general president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and Paul Norman Beckner, president and chief executive officer of Citizens for a Sound Economy.

01/21/2003
Misguided drug plan
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Misguided drug plan

BY Donald Lambro

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace.

01/20/2003
Misguided drug plan
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Misguided drug plan

BY Donald Lambro

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace. But Canada's rigid price-control system isn't the answer. Because of its price-fixing, many of the newer and more effective pharmaceuticals for illnesses like cancer and hypertension are unavailable there. The price of many medicines here is high, but they treat or prevent illnesses that would cost people hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the medicines themselves. Price controls that impose disincentives to develop new drug treatments, or prevent the best drugs from getting to ill patients, would make health care worse, not better. A study by economist Frank Lichtenberg at Columbia University shows that every dollar spent on newer generations of drugs saved four times that amount in hospital costs. Citizens for a Sound Economy [CSE], a Washington-based free market group that is lobbying against Gov. Wise's plan, explains that "because prescription drugs are more often used for preventive care, they stave off more debilitating, more costly medical conditions requiring expensive and lengthy hospitalization. While a $600 annual prescription for two leading cholesterol-reducing drugs may seem expensive, it is the long-term effect of those drugs that helps avert an emergency bypass operation and lengthy hospital stay at an average cost of $300,000." CSE has launched a public awareness campaign in West Virginia to counter Mr. Wise's misguided proposals for a Canadian system. In addition to a series of radio ads critical of the governor's plan, it is sending "Canadian Health-Care First-Aid Kits" to state legislators. Included is a five-year calendar "so West Virginia citizens can schedule their emergency surgery at a pace consistent with the delays Canadian citizens must endure." "Wise's proposed solution to West Virginia's crisis is nothing more than a hidden tax on drug-makers - one that will force citizens to ultimately pay the price through the drastic reduction of services and lack of availability of life-saving drugs," said CSE President Paul Beckner. In many cases, West Virginians will be forced to use cheaper generic drugs that are often not as effective as original drugs or the newer drugs that replace them. But there is more in Mr. Wise's initiative than meets the eye. The governor has had a long affiliation with Business for Affordable Medicine, a fat-cat lobbying group whose members "will reap billions of dollars in windfalls if more patients are forced to switch to generic drugs," according to the CSE. Mr. Wise's crusade to adopt Canada's price-control system ignores some important facts, according to a CSE study. Among them: c Some, though not all, drug prices are cheaper in Canada, subsidized by taxpayers who on average send more than 35 percent of their income to finance the government's welfare state programs. "But when a government buys drugs, it must ration them. With no private sector alternatives, patients have no choice but to accept what their government - not their doctor - decides is best," says a CSE spokesperson. c If Americans were required to buy the same pills in Canada that they bought here, they would end up paying 3 percent more, according to a study by University of Pennsylvania professor Patricia Danzon. The reason, according to the CSE, is that "generic drugs, which account for half of U.S. consumption, are less expensive under the competitive U.S. system than the price-controlled Canadian system." * The Canadian plan that Wise wants to copy has a notoriously poor health care record. Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Richard Davies, a cardiologist at the University of Ottawa, found that more than 1,500 people were on lengthy waiting lists for heart bypass surgery. Some die before surgery can be scheduled. * As for Canada's drug program, a recent survey found that nearly 30 percent of British Columbia doctors reported that patients ended up in the hospital because of government-mandated substitutions of prescribed drugs. Congress will no doubt be debating a prescription drug plan this year. And there will undoubtedly be lawmakers here who, like Wise, want to use Canada's system. That would be a monumental, and in some cases deadly, mistake. A market-oriented plan can be devised to help poor and low-income people get the medications they need. This could be part of a competitive prescription drug benefit system that lets consumers shop around for the health-care coverage that suits their needs and their pocketbook. Such a plan should be part of a larger reform that gives taxpayers a tax credit to offset their medical expenses, including drugs. The best way to keep down drug prices is to encourage competition in the pharmaceutical industry and wider choices among public and private benefit plans. The worst way would be a Canadian-style, state-preferred drug list that prohibits doctors from prescribing the most effective drugs on the market for their patients. Donald Lambro, chief political correspondent for The Washington Times, is a nationally syndicated columnist.

01/20/2003
Misguided drug plan
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Press Release

Misguided drug plan

This piece originally ran in the Washington Times on Monday, January 20, 2003 West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace.

01/20/2003
Misguided Drug Plan
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Misguided Drug Plan

BY Donald Lambro

West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise wants a Canadian-style system to control pharmaceutical prices. But if he gets his way, West Virginians will have fewer drug choices and longer, more costly illnesses. Faced with a state budget crisis, deepened by rising Medicaid costs, Mr. Wise blames higher drug prices for West Virginia's fiscal woes and wants drug-makers to charge the same prices set by the Canadian government, not by the marketplace. But Canada's rigid price-control system isn't the answer. Because of its price-fixing, many of the newer and more effective pharmaceuticals for illnesses like cancer and hypertension are unavailable there. The price of many medicines here is high, but they treat or prevent illnesses that would cost people hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the medicines themselves. Price controls that impose disincentives to develop new drug treatments, or prevent the best drugs from getting to ill patients, would make health care worse, not better. A study by economist Frank Lichtenberg at Columbia University shows that every dollar spent on newer generations of drugs saved four times that amount in hospital costs. Citizens for a Sound Economy [CSE], a Washington-based free market group that is lobbying against Gov. Wise's plan, explains that "because prescription drugs are more often used for preventive care, they stave off more debilitating, more costly medical conditions requiring expensive and lengthy hospitalization. While a $600 annual prescription for two leading cholesterol-reducing drugs may seem expensive, it is the long-term effect of those drugs that helps avert an emergency bypass operation and lengthy hospital stay at an average cost of $300,000." CSE has launched a public awareness campaign in West Virginia to counter Mr. Wise's misguided proposals for a Canadian system. In addition to a series of radio ads critical of the governor's plan, it is sending "Canadian Health-Care First-Aid Kits" to state legislators. Included is a five-year calendar "so West Virginia citizens can schedule their emergency surgery at a pace consistent with the delays Canadian citizens must endure." "Wise's proposed solution to West Virginia's crisis is nothing more than a hidden tax on drug-makers - one that will force citizens to ultimately pay the price through the drastic reduction of services and lack of availability of life-saving drugs," said CSE President Paul Beckner. In many cases, West Virginians will be forced to use cheaper generic drugs that are often not as effective as original drugs or the newer drugs that replace them. But there is more in Mr. Wise's initiative than meets the eye. The governor has had a long affiliation with Business for Affordable Medicine, a fat-cat lobbying group whose members "will reap billions of dollars in windfalls if more patients are forced to switch to generic drugs," according to the CSE. Mr. Wise's crusade to adopt Canada's price-control system ignores some important facts, according to a CSE study. Among them: c Some, though not all, drug prices are cheaper in Canada, subsidized by taxpayers who on average send more than 35 percent of their income to finance the government's welfare state programs. "But when a government buys drugs, it must ration them. With no private sector alternatives, patients have no choice but to accept what their government - not their doctor - decides is best," says a CSE spokesperson. c If Americans were required to buy the same pills in Canada that they bought here, they would end up paying 3 percent more, according to a study by University of Pennsylvania professor Patricia Danzon. The reason, according to the CSE, is that "generic drugs, which account for half of U.S. consumption, are less expensive under the competitive U.S. system than the price-controlled Canadian system." * The Canadian plan that Wise wants to copy has a notoriously poor health care record. Writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Dr. Richard Davies, a cardiologist at the University of Ottawa, found that more than 1,500 people were on lengthy waiting lists for heart bypass surgery. Some die before surgery can be scheduled. * As for Canada's drug program, a recent survey found that nearly 30 percent of British Columbia doctors reported that patients ended up in the hospital because of government-mandated substitutions of prescribed drugs. Congress will no doubt be debating a prescription drug plan this year. And there will undoubtedly be lawmakers here who, like Wise, want to use Canada's system. That would be a monumental, and in some cases deadly, mistake. A market-oriented plan can be devised to help poor and low-income people get the medications they need. This could be part of a competitive prescription drug benefit system that lets consumers shop around for the health-care coverage that suits their needs and their pocketbook. Such a plan should be part of a larger reform that gives taxpayers a tax credit to offset their medical expenses, including drugs. The best way to keep down drug prices is to encourage competition in the pharmaceutical industry and wider choices among public and private benefit plans. The worst way would be a Canadian-style, state-preferred drug list that prohibits doctors from prescribing the most effective drugs on the market for their patients.

01/20/2003

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