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Parents or Politics?
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Press Release

Parents or Politics?

As published in World Magazine, 10/18/2002 It was a mid-Summer showdown at the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Republicans were pushing a bill to provide scholarships to low-income students in the District of Columbia, and committee Democrats knew exactly who to turn to for testimony against parental choice in education: an organization ostensibly for parents, the National PTA. It was the second time this year that a PTA representative had testified against parental choice before the committee.

10/18/2002
Peeling the Orange
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Peeling the Orange

Chapel Hill's three historic districts will be designated at prominent entry points with signs designed by the Historic District Commission. They'll be at the boundaries of the East Franklin-Rosemary, Cameron-McCauley and Gimghoul districts. The wording is on a "historic brown" background in an arch template like the state's sightseeing signs on highways. The idea, according to a commission spokesperson, is to emphasize to residents that they live in historic areas and generally to promote the districts. When the green street signs at corners within these districts need replacing, they'll also be reinstalled in the same brown hue to denote the historic district locale. *** Orange Commissioners Chairman Barry Jacobs, who's running for re-election this fall, took a moment during a recent commissioners' meeting to publicly tear up a "no tax increase" pledge that the Citizens for a Sound Economy has mailed to candidates. Jacobs said one factor in the financial "mess" in Raleigh is that many state legislators have signed similar pledges and passed the problem of raising revenue down to local governments. *** Hometown amateur ornithologists expect the recent spate of chilly weather will quickly bring on the winter migratory birds hereabouts. Watch for the white-throat sparrow, junco, kinglet and the colorful and colorfully named yellow-bellied sapsucker. And don't worry about attracting hummingbirds to their detriment. Leave the nectar feeders up. A hummingbird savant here admonishes: "These birds are unrequited. They know what they're doing and will head south when they want to." *** Retired U.S. Rep. L.H. Fountain, who died quietly at 89 last week, represented Orange County for most of his 30 years in Congress. A son of the soil from down east in Tarboro, he candidly admitted he received more mail from Chapel Hill than the rest of his 10-county district combined. L.H. (his only given name) was an unusual combination: courtly but easygoing; party-line Democrat but a dedicated fiscal conservative; and a Carolina football/basketball fan without peer. His alma mater gave its '36 law grad an honorary doctorate of laws in 1981. *** New downtown sidewalk installations are to be completed after the traditional Halloween celebrations on East Franklin Street. The project will include a couple of sturdier four-board poster kiosks and planting of new oaks in the brick-sided flowerboxes. The long-awaited custom-built "Chapel Hilly" metal sculpture benches are to be installed on the new streetscape next week. A refinement at the post office will be a new recycling bin that will match the sidewalk trash bins. *** As of last week, the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau has for the first time a true sidewalk location - in the very attractive former Chapel Hill Weekly building at 501 W. Franklin St. Despite its low-key location in the basement of the downtown post office, the Downtown Commission will continue to function as a welcome center. *** More than 100 visitors from Raleigh and Durham had a whirlwind windshield bus tour of Chapel Hill/Carrboro on Thursday during an all-day program sponsored by Leadership Triangle. Former Mayor Rosemary Waldorf, Mayor Pro Tem Pat Evans and Downtown Commission Director Robert Humphreys narrated the gospel of this "Southern Part of Heaven" to the domestic foreigners.

10/18/2002
Group Commends Miller for Congressional Votes
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Group Commends Miller for Congressional Votes

Citizens for a Sound Economy presented the Jefferson Award to U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Chumuckla, for supporting limited government and more freedom. The Jefferson Award is given to those legislators who have proven through their voting records they believe lower taxes, less government and more freedom is the way to help American families, workers and businesses. "Jefferson Award winners represent a handful of elected officials from around the country who have proven through their voting record that they believe in limited government and protecting individual liberties,'' said CSE President and Chief Executive Officer Paul Beckner.

10/17/2002
CSE Activists Run for Office in Washington State
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Press Release

CSE Activists Run for Office in Washington State

Two Washington CSE activists are taking another step in their activism and are running for the State Legislature this year. They are Erv Hoglund in the 38th district and Elizabeth Bookspan in the 45th district. Both of these activists are committed to CSE’s principles of lower taxes, less government and more freedom. Erv and Elizabeth were activists on economic issues long before they considered running for public office. They have proven their passion for CSE’s issues and have committed to continuing their focus on these issues should they win their respective races. CSE is committed to training and educating activists to serve in the public arena and we’re proud that Erv and Elizabeth have taken the challenge of running for public office.

10/16/2002
Gephardt’s Ploy to Grow Government, Not the Economy
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Press Release

Gephardt’s Ploy to Grow Government, Not the Economy

The Democrats are finally trying to present an agenda to improve America’s economic growth. It’s about time. While we welcome the debate, the early signs are that, when it comes to the economy, the Democratic leadership—- some of the biggest tax-and-spenders in Congress—- still doesn’t get it.

10/16/2002
Rethinking Economic Policy
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Press Release

Rethinking Economic Policy

Economic policy moved to the fore last week as Democrats accused the Bush administration of mismanaging the economy. With elections less than a month away, both parties are trying to distinguish themselves with a domestic agenda that addresses the weakened economy. The renewed emphasis on economic policy is a welcome addition to the political debates that hopefully will spark a serious discussion about economic growth. Moving beyond election year sloganeering and political accusations, policymakers must address the fundamentals—simplifying the tax code and removing government impediments to economic growth.

10/16/2002
Voter Beware
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Press Release

Voter Beware

Nothing can do more to promote television-free family dinners than the flood of political commercials currently running on network affiliates across the nation. Negative ads, vague promises, and ad hominem attacks provide the television character to larger campaign themes, which are orchestrated by political consultants in an effort to capture enough votes for their candidate.

10/16/2002
Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses
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Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses

- Consumers get stuck paying the bill while large U.S. forest companies pocket profits - Congress, Senate members seek free lumber trade, competitive North American market WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced an updated concurrent resolution calling on President George W. Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The resolution aims to: * ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber; * ensure free trade regarding softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada; * ensure all stakeholders are included in trade discussions of softwood lumber, a reference that specifically includes consumers who ultimately pay the increased costs of protectionist tariffs; * and calls for a fair and expeditious review by independent World Trade Organization (WTO) and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) panels. It also urges the U.S. government to abide by the decisions of these international trade agreements to which the U.S. has subscribed. A similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate. The WTO found this summer that the Department of Commerce action imposing countervailing duties a year ago on Canadian softwood lumber imports should be overturned, and is in violation of international trade rules. The U.S. has also recently suffered a major set-back in the WTO when it ruled that the Byrd Amendment that allows the U.S Government to pay duties it collects to "injured" U.S. companies in a countervail dispute is also a violation of international trade rules. Similar WTO challenges have been made by Canada on the antidumping duties and other aspects of the long-standing trade dispute between Canada and the U.S. The House resolution, H. Con. Res. 454, similar to one introduced in the Senate (S. Con. Res. 135) in August and supported by 12 members of the Senate, asks the Bush Administration not to intervene to impede the current challenges by Canada in the WTO and North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to determine whether the U.S. countervailing and antidumping duties are legal under international trade rules. The resolutions ask that the process move expeditiously so that this issue can be resolved under international trade rules. "Softwood lumber is essential for building quality, affordable homes in the United States," said Cong. Hoyer. "Its price and availability have a major impact on the U.S. economy, workers and consumers. The U.S. home building industry employs approximately 6.5 million people." Hoyer noted that this compares to more than 25 jobs in the consumption of lumber for each job in U.S. forestry production. In May, the U.S. Commerce Department imposed massive countervailing and antidumping duties, equal to 27 percent of the product's volume, on softwood lumber. That decision was based solely on the hypothetical "threat of injury" with no proof of real injury to the U.S. forestry industry by Canadian imports. The duties are harming U.S. consumers, according to ACAH spokesperson Susan Petniunas. "The final 27 percent countervail and antidumping duties imposed last May on finished lumber for framing homes and remodeling, may increase the average cost of a new home by as much as $1,000," she said. Based on information from the U.S. Census Bureau, that additional $1,000 prevents as many as 300,000 families from qualifying for home mortgages." Cong. Kolbe said that the duties "are penalizing home buyers and other U.S. lumber consumers. It is wrong to penalize consumers when there is no significant proof that there has been any damage to the U.S. industry by the Canadian imports. This dispute has been going on for more than 20 years. The U.S. consumer suffers, while the U.S. government and industry have never been able to prove that the imports harm our domestic industry." The duties are opposed by a broad-based alliance of consumer groups, trade organizations, and companies that represent more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood lumber consumption, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "The duties amount to a federally imposed 27 percent sales tax on first-time homebuyers and on seniors seeking to reduce home costs in retirement," said Petniunas. "Consumers' interests should be a major factor considered by the Administration, and we appreciate the members of the House and Senate urging President Bush to do so," Petniunas said. "These duties hurt our ability to provide affordable housing, and jobs within lumber consuming industries." Because there are not enough trees available to produce framing lumber for home building in the U.S., Canadian lumber imports are absolutely vital for the construction of affordable new homes, and to make improvements on existing homes in America. The U.S. relies on Canada and other sources for approximately 37 percent of the lumber it needs. Led by International Paper, Potlatch, Plum Creek, Sierra Pacific, Temple Inland and a group of southern landowners, the Coalition for Fair Lumber Imports filed petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department more than a year ago alleging that domestic lumber producers had been harmed by Canadian softwood lumber imports and asking for countervailing and antidumping duties. "Since 1981, some of the large U.S. producers and landowners have periodically charged Canada with subsidizing its lumber industry, and they have consistently lost when Canada has appealed preliminary decisions," Petniunas said. "The summer WTO ruling, that there is no illegal subsidy of lumber by Canada, continues to show that the U.S. actions are not based on the facts. We believe the Commerce Department will continue to get failing grades from on-going WTO and NAFTA reviews of their actions over the past year. The madness should end, and the administration should sue for free trade in lumber with Canada." Similar resolutions were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate last year and also in the last session of Congress urging free trade on Canadian lumber. H. Con. Res. 45 and S. Con. Res. 4 garnered more than 110 sponsors earlier in the session. Members of the U.S. House and Senate also have written letters to President Bush over the past three years opposing any trade restrictions on Canadian lumber and indicating their support for free trade in lumber between the U.S. and Canada. "It's time for our trade policy to reflect fairness to all of the stakeholders, including consumers, specifically in discussions about trade in lumber," said Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK), lead sponsor of the Senate resolution. American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH) represents more than 95 percent of U.S. softwood consumption. Industries that depend on lumber as an input and that oppose import restrictions include: manufacturers of value-added wood products, lumber dealers, manufactured and on-site home builders, and remodeling contractors. These industries employ more than 6.5 million workers, 25 to one when compared with those in the forestry industry. ACAH members include: American Homeowners Grassroots Alliance, Catamount Pellet Fuel Corporation, CHEP International, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Fremont Forest Group Corporation, Free Trade Lumber Council, The Home Depot, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Association of Home Builders, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

10/16/2002
Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses
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Congressional Resolutions Urge Bush: End 27 Percent Federal Tax On Canadian Lumber Imports Essential for Homes, Other Uses

Congressmen Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD) have introduced an updated concurrent resolution calling on President George W. Bush to pursue discussions with the Canadian Government to "promote open trade between the United States and Canada on softwood lumber, free of trade restraints that harm consumers." The resolution aims to: ensure a competitive North American market for softwood lumber; ensure free trade regarding softwood lumber between the U.S. and Canada;

10/16/2002
Legislating at the Margins
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Press Release

Legislating at the Margins

Capitol Hill This Week…. Both sides of the Capitol continue to seek an exit strategy this week as the election looms three short weeks away. Hopes for adjourning sine die (for the year) have faded as a lame duck session has become all but inevitable. It is expected that both the House and Senate will consider a longer term Continuing Resolution (CR) this week. The past few resolutions have provided only a week of funding but this latest will probably take them through the elections until November 22nd. In the meantime, expectations for this week are low. The House only expects to take up the CR, and a possible tax bill this week. There are still some conference reports (Energy, Terrorism Re-insurance, Homeland Security) that may come up, but it is doubtful.

10/15/2002

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