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New Hampshire Ad Blitz: “Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine!”
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Press Release

New Hampshire Ad Blitz: “Jeanne Shaheen is a Taxing Machine!”

CSE is spending tens of thousands of dollars in a state-wide campaign to let Granite State voters know Jeanne Shaheen’s terrible record on taxes, which includes past support for: The creation of state sales and income taxes "Last year, Shaheen proposed a 2.5 percent sales tax that would have lowered the statewide property tax but increased some business taxes. After the sales tax failed, she agreed to sign an income tax, which failed as well." "Shaheen May Leave Fighting to Rivals," -The Concord Monitor, 2/10/02

10/31/2002
North Carolina Ad Blitz: “Seniors Trust Dole on Social Security!”
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Press Release

North Carolina Ad Blitz: “Seniors Trust Dole on Social Security!”

CSE is running a state-wide campaign to let North Carolina voters know that they can trust Elizabeth Dole on Social Security. On this issue alone, in North Carolina CSE is: • Running a state-wide radio spot “Dole Will Protect Social Security” • Going door-to-door to deliver 25,000 cards on Social Security • Placing 1,250 outdoor Social Security signs across the state • Making 100,000 targeted telephone calls to NC voters • Mailing out 25,000 color brochures on Dole’s record on Social Security

10/31/2002
Texas CSE Calls for Vote on Subsidized Downtown Fort Worth Hotel
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Press Release

Texas CSE Calls for Vote on Subsidized Downtown Fort Worth Hotel

Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy today endorsed the efforts of the citizens group, Citizens for Taxpayer Rights, to collect enough signatures to ensure that the City holds a public referendum on plans to issue $130,000,000 in Certificates of Obligation to fund a proposed downtown Fort Worth Convention Center hotel.

10/31/2002
New Hampshire: Chamber of Retired People Debate
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New Hampshire: Chamber of Retired People Debate

Campaign Tip SheetPrimary/Filing Dates, Latest Polls, Latest Ads...Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) and Rep. John Sununu (R-01) met for a "lively exchange" in a suburb of Manchester 10/30 "to debate the best way to shore up Social Security" at an AARP forum before some 500 seniors. Sununu demanded: "What kind of proposals would you support to strengthen Social Security? ... Let's not talk about what we're against; let's talk about what we're for." Shaheen "fired back" that there is no crisis: "The trust fund is in good shape for the next 40 years" (Schweitzer, Boston Globe, 10/31). The two "also rehashed their oft-debated arguments on prescription drug benefits (Levinthal, Lawrence Eagle-Tribune, 10/31). Shaheen and Sununu also squared off at a Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce debate before the AARP forum. In "each contest, they wasted no time going on the attack" (Kepple, Manchester Union Leader, 10/31). RUDMAN STILL A REPUBLICAN, PRINCIPI STILL ... PRINCIPI Ex-Sen. Warren Rudman "delivered a strong endorsement" for Sununu 10/30, "praising Sununu's leadership in the areas of national defense and homeland security" (Kepple, Manchester Union Leader, 10/31). US Sec. Vet. Affairs Anthony Principi will join Sununu today, 10/31, at VFW Post 483 in Nashua. In Boscawen, Sununu and Principi "will tour the state Veterans Cemetery" (Manchester Union Leader, 10/31). DAMNED UNDECIDEDS GET TO DECIDE YET ANOTEHR SENATE RACE Manchester Union Leader's DiStaso reports, "They are neither ghosts nor vampires. Call them The Undecided. But soon they will rise and they will decide the" NH Senate race. Most "polls show The Undecided in the 6 percent range. They matter" (10/31). SOFT NEGATIVE WATCH Sununu has this positive ad up: SUNUNU: "You've seen all the attack ads. Had your fill of mail distorting my record. The truth is, I'll always support a guaranteed social security benefit. I voted twice to punish companies that go to Bermuda to avoid taxes. Jeanne Shaheen knows it. Attacks won't stop me from talking about reforming the tax code, adding a real prescription drug benefit to Medicare or strengthening social security for future generations. In the Senate, I'll always stand up for what's right for New Hampshire families and for America" (CMAG Data, 10/31). MAKING A LIST The Shaheen campaign released a top ten list of third-party groups who have come into to NH to air TV or radio ads benefitting Sununu. 10. Nat'l Right-to-Life Cmte. 9. Club for Growth. 8. United Seniors Assn [Shaheen camp notes, "Funded by Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America"]. 7. Citizens for a Sound Economy ["Funded by the oil, tobacco & pharmaceutical industries]. 6. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. 5. Americans for Tax Reform. 4. Small Business Survival Cmte. 3. 60-plus Association. 2. C.O.M.P.A.S.S. 1. Americans for Job Security. (release, 10/31). ENDORSEMENT ALERT! Lawrence Eagle-Tribune endorses Shaheen (10/29).

10/31/2002
Allen, Seeking 4th Term, Opposed by Hartkopf
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Allen, Seeking 4th Term, Opposed by Hartkopf

BY Rob Shapard

HILLSBOROUGH - The race for House District 55 pits challenger Kathy Hartkopf, a Republican from Hillsborough, against Democrat incumbent Gordon Allen of Roxboro. Allen is seeking his fourth term in the state House of Representatives, although he currently represents District 22. Allen also was a North Carolina senator for three terms in the 1970s. The General Assembly created the new District 55 this year as part of the redistricting that changed the house districts in Orange County and also cost the county one of its two seats in the North Carolina Senate. District 55 includes all of Person County and 12 precincts in central and northern Orange: Hillsborough, West Hillsborough, Grady Brown, Cameron Park, Eno, Cedar Grove, Caldwell, Cheeks, Efland, St. Marys, Tolars and Carr. Allen easily defeated Democrat challenger Kenneth Rothrock, a lawyer in Hillsborough and northern Orange resident, in the Primary Election earlier this fall. Rothrock got about 600 more votes than Allen in the Orange precincts, but Allen swamped Rothrock by nearly 4-1 in his home county of Person. Rothrock made a push for district representation for the Orange County Commissioners one of his campaign themes, and Hartkopf has sounded that same theme. She contends that many northern Orange voters feel they don't really have a voice among the county commissioners, who are elected at-large rather than by districts. In particular, she says that northern Orange residents are more fiscally conservative than the current commissioners, on questions such as property taxes and spending. "I do not believe that the majority of people of northern Orange County believe that the commissioners who happen to live in [unincorporated] Orange County are representing their needs," she said. "That is the thing that I hear continually when I talk to people in the county. "District representation for Orange County would not be reinventing the wheel," she said. "There are counties all across the country that do elect their commissioners by districts. It's not like the people of northern Orange are asking for something that's never been done before." In general, Hartkopf said that a taxpayer protection act is something she would work for if elected. Such an act would put a percentage limit, based on inflation, on the amount that state taxes could be raised each year. "I believe that North Carolinians deserve the best schools in the nation, a balanced budget without the added burden of new tax increases, a return to our triple-A bond rating, a taxpayer protection act, and a representative who will really listen," she said. "We all deserve a representative whose chief concerns are the needs of their district, as opposed to the leadership of their party or the lobbyists who visit their office," she said. Hartkopf herself has visited North Carolina legislators' offices in recent years to talk about various issues, although Hartkopf said she's done so as a concerned volunteer, and not a paid lobbyist. Hartkopf, 35, grew up in Pamlico County, graduated from Peace College and was a fellow at the Institute of Political Leadership at UNC-Wilmington. She lives on Uphill Court in the Cornwallis Hills subdivision with her husband, Al, and two daughters. She has been the spokesperson for Citizens for A Better Way, which formed last year in opposition to the $ 75 million bond referenda, and she helped establish a local chapter of the Citizens for a Sound Economy, a group based in Washington, D.C., that calls for lower taxes and limited government. Allen, 73, lives on Crestwood Drive in Roxboro and was principal owner of the family insurance business, Thompson-Allen, until recently when his son took over ownership. He and his wife, Betsy, have five children and 17 grandchildren. Allen is co-chairman of the House Finance Committee and serves on the Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Legislative Redistricting, Rules and Transportation committees. He also is a member of the subcommittee on community colleges and a trustee of Piedmont Community College in Roxboro, which he helped create about 30 years ago. Education has been a focus in Allen's campaign over the past few months. "I'll keep fighting for education funding and the best teachers in our classrooms," he said Wednesday. "Budget crises come and go, but our children only have one chance at a quality education. I have voted to increase teacher salaries and lower class size. I was the founding chairman and got the first appropriation for Piedmont Community College." Allen said he strongly supports the effort by Durham Technical Community College and the Orange County Commissioners to create a satellite campus in Orange for Durham Tech. In general, he has argued that northern Orange and Person face many of the same challenges, and that he therefore is well qualified to represent that part of Orange. He also touted his ranking as the seventh-most effective legislator, and his co-sponsorship of a bill that Gov. Mike Easley was expected to sign into law on Thursday, providing incentives to attract employers to the state. "We've lost our competitive edge to states like South Carolina and Alabama," Allen said. "This new act will hopefully put us back in business. "You've got to be competitive," he said. "Everybody's trying to attract industry." Allen was a platoon leader during the Korean War as an Army lieutenant, and he received the Bronze Star. Asked Wednesday about a defining moment in his life, he mentioned his realization, while in Korea in 1953 as a 24-year-old, that he wanted to settle down for good in Roxboro and raise his family there. He was born in Roxboro and came back there in 1944, after moving with his family to Wilmington and Sanford. But Allen said it was during the war that his attachment to Roxboro really hit him.

10/31/2002
A Brotherhood of Taxes
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Press Release

A Brotherhood of Taxes

Starting with a warmed-over Clinton-era tax proposal, the Internal Revenue Service is gearing up a regulation that would threaten financial privacy, further the goals of an international tax cartel, and deal a blow to the U.S. economy, all in one fell swoop. The proposal, which is unnecessary for U.S. tax policy, expands the operational requirements of the IRS even as it scrambles to ensure compliance with the overly complex and inefficient federal tax code.

10/30/2002
Nine Things to Really Fear This Halloween
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Press Release

Nine Things to Really Fear This Halloween

Politics can be frightening, and while we’re optimists about America, there are certainly some troubling problems that need to be solved. So, in the spirit of Halloween, here’s a look at the nine scariest monsters now haunting the political and economic scene:

10/30/2002
Waiting for Greenspan
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Press Release

Waiting for Greenspan

Next week, the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee will meet to revise monetary policy targets, including the inter-bank lending, or fed funds rate. The fed funds rate is the interest rate one bank must pay another to borrow money to meet its reserve requirement ratio, which itself is set by the Fed. Recent economic news suggests that the economy may be heading into another recession as business investment continues to fall, consumer confidence reaches 10-year lows, finished product prices fall, and the stock market fails to sustain momentum. Currently stuck at an over 40-year low of 1.75 percent, the fed funds rate may be cut further, as many policy analysts suggest is necessary to cope with the threat of deflation and continued economic stagnation. While no one can dispute the importance of Federal Reserve policy to the nation and world macroeconomy, the fed funds target – the only reliable tool the Greenspan Fed employs to bias lending decisions – is inexorably influenced by treasury yields (definition) because banks can choose to lend their excess reserves to other banks at the fed funds rate, or to the government by purchasing bonds. Since 1994, the Federal Reserve has made public the fed funds target rate following its Open Market Committee meetings. When the yield on short-term treasury bonds dips below the fed funds rate, as it has for three-month, six-month, and 2-year notes, the market is betting on another cut in the fed funds target rate. And when this happens, the Fed is almost obliged to purchase treasury bonds to add liquidity to the banking system and bring fed funds rate into alignment with short-term yields. If it fails to do so, the inter-bank lending market would operate less efficiently as banks substitute short-term debt for the fed funds market (or vice versa) depending on their reserve positions. Moreover, as Fed economists Vance Roley and Gordon Sellon argue, market expectations of Fed policy decisions affect the behavior of interest rates in a similar way to the policy decisions themselves, meaning the Fed is not a market maker, just its most important actor. Evidence to suggest that a cut in the Fed funds target is already priced into asset markets, exchange rates, and treasury yields means that the actual policy action will not do as much to buoy the economy as many suspect. That is unfortunate news given the nation’s current fiscal policy bias. Instead of hastening implementation of the Bush tax cuts and making them permanent, Congress has favored policies to provide a short-term boost to aggregate demand. Government spending is up $154 billion this year alone, including an $84 billion spike in discretionary spending. In addition to this substantial increase, many lawmakers support payroll tax cuts, targeted income tax rebates, or other transfers to constituencies less likely to save. But since the already enormous injection of government spending has done little, if anything, to bolster growth why would Congress pursue other Keynesian “pump-priming” measures just as likely to fail? What troubles the economy is not a lack of government spending or aggregate demand, but sagging corporate profits that have led to round after round of cost cutting, which has manifested itself in continued unemployment and September’s 12.6 percent drop in capital goods spending, the biggest such drop in over 5 years. While the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations on corporate accounting and governance were designed to improve transparency, they also have limited the flexibility of corporations to cope with the downturn and have increased compliance costs and legal risk, all of which have further depressed the economic outlook. Low interest rates have made it easier for corporations to service the debt accumulated during the late 1990s, but the decline in the core Producer Price Index (PPI) of 0.4 percent over the past 12 months has more than offset the cheaper financing. When the PPI falls, businesses lack pricing power, which reduces their revenue per unit sold, making it more difficult to pay off loans. In this mild deflationary climate, business investment will remain stagnant irrespective of the fed funds rate. As long as cost cutting remains the only viable strategy corporate managers can undertake to improve prospects for shareholders, mild deflation and slow growth will persist. Congress has many tools at its disposal to affect corporate decision-making in substantive ways. Cutting the top corporate tax rate to 30 percent, while allowing businesses to expense capital purchases in their entirety could prevent further erosion in business investment by making expansion projects in sectors not affected by chronic overcapacity more affordable. Enacting all of the Bush tax cuts in their entirety by 2003 would ease the stress on per-unit labor costs that has limited disposable income growth and provide unexpected liquidity to the segment of the labor force more likely to bear risks. Making them permanent would eliminate the significant dead weight costs associated with legal uncertainty and keep more future income in the private sector, which will improve long-term economic forecasts and bolster asset prices today. Of course the Keynesians who pursue clandestine “pump-priming” through government spending increases will say that the nation can’t afford tax cuts and that the resulting budget deficit will increase interest rates. Not only, as Chicago Fed economists Charles Evans and David Marshall found last year, is there scant evidence to suggest that a fiscal policy shock affects interest rates, when the demand for new loanable funds is as low as it is now, it is difficult to see how a budget deficit of the size contemplated could crowd-out private investment, or drive up interest rates. Budget deficits are theoretically capable of driving up interest rates in closed economies with limited supplies of loanable funds, but it borders on disingenuous to suggest that deficits will increase consumer and business financing costs in a sluggish world economy suffering from mild deflation in its largest economy, prolonged stagnation and deflation in its second largest, and incipient deflation and recession in its third largest. It’s time for Congress to step out from the Fed’s shadow and take some responsibility for the economic outlook by passing a package of pro-growth tax cuts.

10/30/2002
Activist Group Forces a Tax Focus in Election
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Activist Group Forces a Tax Focus in Election

An activist group has taken credit for turning the election debate to taxes. The volunteers of Oklahoma Citizens for a Sound Economy asked all state candidates to sign a pledge promising not to raise taxes during the next legislative session. To date, 36 state House and Senate candidates (26 Republicans, five Democrats and four Independents) have signed the promise to keep taxes at their current levels. "Too often, political candidates talk one way during the election but vote another way in office," said Art Curtis, the volunteer leader of Oklahoma CSE. "We think it is important to get everyone on record before election day. The CSE pledge is a great way for Oklahoma voters to see where the candidates really stand." Lawmakers who signed the pledge include Sen. Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, and Reps. Dennis Adkins, R-Tulsa; Lance Cargill, R-Harrah; Forrest Claunch, R-Midwest City; Bill Graves, Odilia Dank and Robert Worthen, all R-Oklahoma City; Carolyn Coleman, R-Moore; Ron Kirby, D-Lawton; Greg Piatt, R-Ardmore; and Susan Winchester, R-Chickasha. Other legislative candidates who signed are: Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso; Ron Z. Dobbs, R-Sand Springs; Revanelle Earnest, R-Oklahoma City; Carol Hall, R-Adair; Chris Hand, D-Ponca City; Angela Hendrix, R-McAlester; Neil Jensen, R-Inola; Nathan Johnson, R-Lawton; Rick Koch, R-Weatherford; Ron Markum, R-Stillwater; Lou Martin, R-Sapulpa; Neil Mavis and Brigitte Harper, both R-Tulsa; Ray Merchant, R-Ninnekah; Pete Pendley, I-McLoud; Chris Powell, I-Bethany; Richard Prawdzienski, I-Edmond; Phil Richardson, R-Minco; Ryland Rivas, D-Chickasha; Tom Stephens, R-Caddo; Amy Stewart-Smith, R-Ardmore; Michelle Sutton, D-Broken Arrow; Dustin Toler, I-Broken Arrow, and John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow. The pledge is part of an overall voter education campaign in Oklahoma. Using e-mail, phone calls and community walks, CSE will inform its 4,700 Oklahoma members of the pledge results. A complete list of signers is available online at www.cse.homestead.com/whosign.html.

10/30/2002
Publishers Alter Texts to Try to Make Grade
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Publishers Alter Texts to Try to Make Grade

BY Jane Elliot

AUSTIN - Bowing to political pressure, publishers of social studies textbooks have changed passages dealing with events ranging from the Alamo to last year's terrorist attacks. The publishers are hoping the changes will help their 200 textbooks gain approval next month from the State Board of Education. That approval is key to getting a piece of the $ 345 million market. School districts will decide which books to use, but the state only pays for books that pass state board muster. With 4 million students, Texas is one of the largest markets for textbooks. Publishers often gear books to survive the rigorous review process here, and then market them in other states. Dozens of citizens reviewed the books and expressed their thoughts during three public hearings conducted by the state board last summer. Since then publishers have been responding to the comments, rejecting some and agreeing with others. The changes are drawing both praise and criticism. Board member Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, said she's pleased that publishers responded to calls to include more about Mexicans who helped defend the Alamo and the later struggles of Mexican-Americans for civil rights. Berlanga said publishers have added passages that weave Hispanics into the stories of Texas and America. "This is a very important step that we're taking forward," said Berlanga. Others say that the publishers are censoring their textbooks to pass a conservative litmus test. Texas Freedom Network, a group that monitors the religious right, said publishers have deleted passages that describe Islam positively and made changes to promote Christianity. For example, a reference in a sixth-grade social studies book to glaciers forming the Great Lakes "millions of years ago" was changed to "in the distant past." Robert Raborn, a member of the conservative Citizens for a Sound Economy, had complained that "millions of years ago" supported the theory of evolution and excluded theories such as intelligent design. That same publisher, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, addressed another of Raborn's criticisms by deleting a sentence that stated that acid rain produced in the United States is a major environmental problem for Canada. Last year, the education board rejected a high school environmental science textbook that conservatives said presented an extreme environmentalist view. State law allows the education board to reject books only for factual errors or for not conforming to the curriculum. "Instead of standing guard and protecting the thoroughness and accuracy of textbooks, some publishers are now caving in to pressure from a handful of very noisy would-be censors," said Samantha Smoot, executive director of the Texas Freedom Network. The discussion of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., by Muslim extremists was closely read by many reviewers. Raborn criticized a passage in the Glencoe/McGraw-Hill book that discussed how Osama bin Laden's instructions to his followers to kill Americans was not supported by the Quran, which tells soldiers to show civilians kindness and justice. "This is going to great length to put a positive light on Muslim teachings considering other passages in the Quran. Either leave this material out alltogether or present more balance," Raborn said in written comments submitted to the state board. The publisher replaced the deleted passage with a statement that al-Qaeda's anti-American beliefs were not shared by all Muslims. "The attacks on the United States horrified people around the world, including millions of Muslims who live in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere," the book now reads. Joe Bill Watkins, an Austin lawyer who represents the Association of American Publishers, said the review process worked. He said the alterations made by publishers are a small percentage of the changes requested by members of the public who reviewed the books. "For the most part, they're not controversial," said Watkins. "But this is social studies, and let's face it, you probably could throw a dart at any page and find somebody who didn't like it. This isn't mathematics, where two plus two equals four." Chris Patterson, director of educational research for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank, said the review process worked. "This is the perfect example of democracy in action and how democracy was designed to function," Patterson said. "It's noisy, it's loud and there's a lot of public interaction and the best outcome is derived." However, Patterson said the Legislature should consider adopting a formal process for the textbooks to be reviewed by college professors. "There's no real quality control. Everyone right and left sees that," said Patterson. . . . OPPOSING VIEWS "Instead of protecting the accuracy of textbooks, some publishers are now caving in to pressure from a handful of very noisy would-be censors." Samantha Smoot of the Texas Freedom Network "This is the perfect example of democracy in action and how democracy was designed to function." Chris Patterson of the Texas Public Policy Foundation . . . TEXTBOOK EXAMPLES The following are samples of changes made in Our World Today: People, Places, and Issues, a proposed sixth-grade social studies textbook. The text, published by Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, is awaiting approval by the State Board of Education. "Glaciers formed (the Great Lakes) millions of years ago." Changed to: "Glaciers formed (the Great Lakes) in the distant past." "Al-Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden told his followers that it was a Muslim's duty to kill Americans. No idea could be farther from Muslim teachings. The Quran, Islam's holiest book, tells soldiers to 'show (civilians) kindness and deal with them justly.'" Changed to: "The terrorists who hijacked the airplanes belonged to a group called al-Qaeda. The group was founded by Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi Arabian They hated freedom of religion and wanted strict religious leaders to control Muslim countries. Al-Qaeda's beliefs were not shared by all Muslims. The attacks on the United States horrified people around the world, including millions of Muslims who live in the Middle East, the United States, and elsewhere."

10/30/2002

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