Contact FreedomWorks

400 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 765
Washington, DC 20001

  • Toll Free 1.888.564.6273
  • Local 202.783.3870
Michigan CSE Rally Targets Senator Levin
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW
Press Release

Michigan CSE Rally Targets Senator Levin

Brighton, MI -- The Livingston County Chapter of Michigan Citizens for a Sound Economy (MI CSE) led a rally over the weekend against Senator Carl Levin’s obstruction of President Bush’s judicial nominations for the Sixth District Court of Appeals. The rally, led by Livingston County MI CSE Chapter Leader Steve Williams, was held outside of the Livingston County Democratic Party Dinner on Sunday, where Senator Levin was the featured guest.

06/09/2003
CSE Opposes Ohio Tax Increases
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW
Press Release

CSE Opposes Ohio Tax Increases

The tax-and-spenders are on the march in Ohio, and Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) Members are rallying to stop the latest effort to take even more money from overtaxed Ohio families. Last week, the Ohio State Senate Finance Committee approved tax increase legislation by a 12-1 vote, followed by a full Senate vote of 24-9 in favor. The bill proposes raising the state sales tax by one cent for "two years" and increasing the minimum tax on corporations with over 300 employees from $50 to $1000. Paul Beckner, President of Citizens for a Sound Economy, commented:

06/09/2003
Taxes won't increase, but many fees will
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Taxes won't increase, but many fees will

BY John Moritz

AUSTIN - Putting an exclamation point on a legislative session that opened with lawmakers facing a $9.9 billion shortfall, the all-Republican leadership team gave itself a pat on the back for not raising taxes. "State leaders showed the kind of budgetary discipline families must show: We set priorities, separated wants from needs and stretched every dollar," Gov. Rick Perry said a day after lawmakers finished their business. "We protected the pocketbooks of Texas taxpayers while protecting vital programs, increasing funding for public education and health care."

06/08/2003
Taxes Won't Increase, but Many Fees Will
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Taxes Won't Increase, but Many Fees Will

BY John Moritz

AUSTIN--Putting an exclamation point on a legislative session that opened with lawmakers facing a $9.9 billion shortfall, the all-Republican leadership team gave itself a pat on the back for not raising taxes. "State leaders showed the kind of budgetary discipline families must show: We set priorities, separated wants from needs and stretched every dollar," Gov. Rick Perry said a day after lawmakers finished their business. "We protected the pocketbooks of Texas taxpayers while protecting vital programs, increasing funding for public education and health care." But where Perry and others see discipline, Capitol critics see dodged responsibility. "Let's just say that some pocketbooks got protected more than others," said Richard Kouri, spokesman for the Texas State Teachers Association. "Every school employee in the state lost $500 for insurance, and we also saw a doubling of the amount active employees pay into the health insurance system for retired teachers." And school employees aren't the only ones who are going to see a bigger bite taken out of their paychecks after the 140-day legislative session that ended Monday. Following the agenda set by state leaders, lawmakers also pared back the rolls for human services programs, dramatically jacked up the fines for traffic violations and opened the door to higher tuition at the state's premier universities. To comply with federal clean-air mandates, lawmakers also increased from $13 to $33 the vehicle-transfer fee paid by car buyers in high-pollution areas such as Fort Worth-Dallas. Under the same measure, car buyers in less polluted areas will now pay $28. Also, the fines for many traffic offenses will be raised by $30, with the bulk of the money going to fund trauma centers. In addition, Texas will adopt a point system to punish drivers who receive multiple traffic tickets. For example, a typical speeding ticket would be worth two points, and causing an accident would be three points. Motorists who rack up six points over 36 months will have to pay a $100 surcharge to keep their licenses. Additional fines will be assessed at $25 per point. The state will also assess a $1,000 surcharge for first convictions for driving while intoxicated. Those who drove without a license or with a suspended license will be fined an additional $100. State university boards of regents can now set tuition rates. The new policy, which ends the long-standing practice of uniform tuition set by the Legislature, will not take effect until the spring 2004 semester, so it remains unclear which universities will increase rates. To help offset any increase brought about by the deregulation of tuition, the Legislature increased need-based grants for college students from $280 million to $324 million. However, that still falls $89 million short of what the Higher Education Coordinating Board sought for all eligible students expected to apply. As a result, eligibility requirements may be tightened. Fees for hunting and fishing licenses will rise starting Aug. 15, but not because of an act of the Legislature. Last month, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted to increase the price of both from $19 to $23. A combination license will cost $42 instead of $32. Advocates for reduced government spending give the lawmakers and the governor high marks for putting the concerns of taxpayers first. An effort to raise the cigarette tax by $1 a pack failed without so much as a hearing in committee. The same was true for a proposal to allow voters to decide whether Texas should levy a personal income tax. "I think this was a very good session for taxpayers, no question about it," said Peggy Venable, who heads the conservative watchdog group Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy. "I think the governor and the leadership team deserves high marks for saying they weren't going to raise taxes and sticking to it." Anne Dunkelberg, an analyst for the liberal-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities, pointed out that the rolls for the state-backed Children's Health Insurance Program will be cut by about 170,000 and that the hours will be curtailed for the Medicaid-funded home health aides who help the disabled. "All they [lawmakers] did was shift the costs down to the local governments, and that will mean higher taxes at the city and county level," Dunkelberg said. "They are the ones who will have to take up the slack." Bill Allaway, president of the nonpartisan Texas Taxpayers Research Organization, said it's too soon to calculate the full impact of the budget. But he said he doubts that local governments will institute huge tax increases or slash services. "There's a little bit of truth to both of those, but in reality, nobody really knows yet," Allaway said. "Personally, I don't think there is going to be as big a hue and cry as some might imply. But it remains an incomplete picture right now." Early indications are that Tarrant County was spared many of the ill effects expected from state cutbacks. Tom Roy, the Tarrant County Hospital District's government affairs liaison, said that when the ominous talk of steep budget reductions was initiated by top state officials, it appeared that the cost to the district would reach as high as $28.5 million. That number is now estimated at $4.5 million and could drop to about $515,000 if Tarrant County receives its share of a $1.28 billion federal grant announced last month. "The best way to put it from our point of view is that we dodged a great big bullet," Roy said. Staff Writers Gordon Dickson, Jim Fuquay, Mark Horvit, Jan Jarvis, Patrick Mcgee, Mitch Mitchell, Diane Smith, Neil Strassman and Anna M. Tinsley Contributed to This Report.

06/08/2003
PERS
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

PERS

BY Steve Law

The state House and Senate are at odds over whether lawmakers should remain in the state pension system. House members voted in March to yank lawmakers from the embattled Public Employees Retirement System and create a special 401(k) plan for them. Rejecting that idea, the Senate voted Friday to reduce lawmakers’ PERS benefits, by eliminating their preferred benefits package normally reserved for police and firefighters. The Senate passed House Bill 2407-C by a 16-11 margin.

06/07/2003
Media's Malpractice in Coverage of ImClone
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Media's Malpractice in Coverage of ImClone

BY Matt Kibbe

The timing of your June 3 editorial "Erbitux and the Press" was wonderful, running exactly one year from the day my surgeon declared my body cancer-free. During the winter of 2002 I had the unique experience of watching the press commit mass journalistic malpractice on ImClone as I watched television and read newspapers while lying on my hospital bed undergoing chemotherapy. Regardless of whom Martha Stewart talked to before she sold, the real crime was the lost potential and lost lives caused by the FDA's bureaucratic delays of a cancer treatment with real promise. But no serious reporter, save those at the Journal's editorial page, even thought to ask the right questions.

06/06/2003
Lowering the Bar
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Lowering the Bar

Although tort reform has gained wide attention on the national scene, it is not a front-burner issue in Tennessee. A new organization hopes to change that. Besides tort reform legislation, Tennesseans for Legal Reform plans to initiate legal reform legislation in the state and back federal legislation. Medical malpractice legislation, now on the plate of the Tennessee General Assembly, will be at the forefront of the organization's efforts. Tort reform endeavors on the local and national level have the goal of curtailing costly litigation and classaction lawsuits. The efforts are mainly opposed by trial lawyers. "We didn't have one organization to kind of take the lead and run," says Darren Morris, executive director of Tennesseans for Legal Reform and a registered lobbyist for the group. "There's never been a tort reform association of any type in Tennessee." Morris runs Darren Morris & Associates LLC, a political consulting, public relations, advertising and strategic communications firm, which is starting its loth .year of operation. It has offices in Nashville and Washington, D.C. Morris has been involved in more than 45 political campaigns, and his client list includes U.S. Sen. Bill Frist, Bush-Cheney 2000, Alexander for President, Microsoft and AT&T. Morris' company also has two subsidiaries. Morris Agency handles political campaigns and corporate advertising, while Tennessee Public Affairs is the lobbying, government relations and coalition building arm and is involved in grassroots efforts such as Tennesseans for Legal Reform. Morris has a paid retainer with Tennesseans for Legal Reform. Morris says his efforts have concentrated on areas outside of Nashville initially because the legislature will not convene a tort reform study committee until this summer and there will not be any new bills introduced on tort reform until the next legislative session in January. "We really looked at it from a political campaign standpoint," says Morris. The group has organized in every congressional district, every state senate district and every state representative district. Tort reform became a hot issue in litigious Alabama before spreading to Mississippi. Morris expects it to move to other states. "Anytime a state passes reform, the trial bar and plaintiff bar who are looking to do these lawsuits find another state to go into," he says. "Right now the big one is Illinois, because the tobacco lawsuit is on right now. Tennessee is going to be the place to go if we don't do these caps." Tennesseans for Legal Reform currently has about 600 members. Membership dues varies from $50 to $20,000, depending upon an individual's or company's ability to pay. The organization's budget this year is $250,000. Morris expects the budget will be much larger next year to handle such things as public education and direct mail efforts. Morris says fundraising for Tennesseans for Legal Reform is going well. By the start of the next legislative session, the organization hopes to hire lobbyists. Political and financial support is coming from large corporations, small businesses, physicians, insurance companies and agents, manufacturers, restaurateurs and state associations. Backup support is coming from national organizations, such as the American Tort Reform Association, Citizens for a Sound Economy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, the American Medical Association, PhRMA, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, and the National Federation of Independent Business. The national organizations may provide tort reform educational opportunities for those on the state committee. Bobby Joslin, owner of Joslin Sign Co. who is on NFIB's state leadership council and is a member of Tennesseans for Legal Reform's small business advisory committee, says the NFIB has been concerned about tort reform for many moons. "It's been an obstacle and it's been a thorn in our sides for many years," he says. Joslin says the high cost of health care is the NFIB's No. 1 concern and it is eating up the bottom line of small businesses and eliminating jobs. He says the large number of tort cases is a big reason why health care costs are so high. "Seventy percent of all medical lawsuits wind up resulting in absolutely no payment, yet somebody has to defend that at a huge cost," says Joslin. Name: Tennesseans for Legal Reform Address: P.O. Box 111568, Nashville 37222 Phone: 615-661-6191 Web site: www.TNLegalReform.com

06/06/2003
Michigan Citizens for a Sound Economy to Rally on Judicial Nominees: Target is Senator Levin
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW
Press Release

Michigan Citizens for a Sound Economy to Rally on Judicial Nominees: Target is Senator Levin

The Michigan Chapter of Citizens for a Sound Economy (MI CSE) Livingston County Chapter Leader Steve Williams will lead a rally against Senator Carl Levin’s obstruction of President Bush’s judicial nominations. The demonstration will be held outside the Livingston County Democratic Party Dinner, where Levin is the featured guest.

06/06/2003
Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law

BY Drew Clark

Congress should not permit a law governing credit reporting to expire at the end of the 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. Brill, who is co-chairwoman of the privacy working group of the National Association of Attorneys General, 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 Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee in the second of a series of hearings on the Fair Credit Reporting Act. "Sometimes this discussion sounds a little Orwellian to me," said Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee ranking member Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. "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 Chairman 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. 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 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. By Drew Clark

06/05/2003
Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law
null
http://d7.freedomworks.org.s3.amazonaws.com/styles/thumbnail/s3/te_social_media_share/fw_default_0.jpg?itok=mX_C44GW

Regulators, Privacy Interests Debate Credit-Reporting Law

BY Drew Clark

Congress should not permit a law governing credit reporting to expire at the end of the 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. Brill, who is co-chairwoman of the privacy working group of the National Association of Attorneys General, 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 Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee in the second of a series of hearings on the Fair Credit Reporting Act. "Sometimes this discussion sounds a little Orwellian to me," said Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee ranking member Bernard Sanders, I-Vt. "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 Chairman 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. 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 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.

06/05/2003

Pages