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Boost for Technology
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Press Release

Boost for Technology

As published in the Washington Times, March 16, 2003 President Bush has proposed that once a corporation has paid the tax due on its profits, those "after tax" profits should not be taxed again when distributed to the corporation's owners - the shareholders - as a dividend. Some have suggested that this proposal is of little interest in the technology community since very few technology companies pay any dividend. This suggestion misses the point on three important grounds.

03/17/2003
Georgia Fights Against Tax Hike!
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Press Release

Georgia Fights Against Tax Hike!

Georgia is facing declining revenues and Governor Perdue’s solution is to raise taxes. Governor Perdue has it backward. Georgia has a spending problem not a revenue problem. Georgia is facing a $620 million revenue shortfall and the governor wants to increase the tobacco tax 400 percent from 12 cents to 58 cents a pack to cover this deficit. Thankfully members of the legislature have stated they don’t want to raise taxes and are looking for further budget cuts. We need to let the legislature know that we support limiting government spending and are opposed to raising taxes.

03/16/2003
Lobby Targets Tobacco Payoff
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Lobby Targets Tobacco Payoff

BY John Moritz

AUSTIN--With Texas facing a $9.9 billion budget shortfall, the head of the state's largest business lobby is pushing what he calls a sure-fire way to pay the bills without raising taxes. Sell the future earnings on the state's $17.3 billion settlement with the nation's largest tobacco companies for a lump-sum payment of up to $5 billion, said Bill Hammond, president of the Texas Association of Business. "It's like the cash-option on a winning lotto ticket," said Hammond, whose organization boasts 140,000 Texas employers. "You take a lump sum upfront." But Peggy Venable, director of the equally conservative Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, calls Hammond's suggestion a smoke screen. "This is not the time for smoke-and-mirror gimmicks," Venable said. "This is the time for lawmakers to get serious about making the budget cuts we need to put the state back in the business of providing the core services and look for ways to keep paying for programs that might need to be re-evaluated." State leaders are scrambling for ways to bridge the massive deficit for the two-year budget cycle that begins Sept. 1. The state's Republican leaders -- Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Tom Craddick -- have handed down the message that they would not support any new taxes. But they have also said that they plan to protect what they call the state's core services. Dewhurst, who presides over the Texas Senate, acknowledged last week that lawmakers are going to have to find what he calls nontax revenue sources to avoid deep and painful cuts in social programs. Texas' 1998 settlement with Big Tobacco calls for the companies to make annual payments to the state of about $500 million. The exact number depends on a variety of factors, including the rate of tobacco consumption in the state. Hammond's organization estimates that the state could bring in as much as $5 billion by selling the future tobacco earnings. Dewhurst said that lawmakers ought to take a close look at the idea. "That could be a possibility," Dewhurst told reporters recently. "I don't want to get out front and prejudge where [lawmakers] might end up. But in the numbers I have looked at [to balance the budget], that has been included." Several states, including California, New Jersey and Washington, have sold at least a portion of their tobacco settlements. Wisconsin has sold its $5.9 billion settlement for $1.3 billion to alleviate a severe cash crunch. Texas lawmakers used the initial installments to establish a variety of endowments for health-related projects and to combat youth smoking. But the lion's share of the tobacco money has been earmarked for the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides health coverage for children in low-income working families. Joel Spivak, spokesman for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that selling the settlement's future earnings would undermine those programs. And he rejected the comparison to a lump-sum lottery payout, noting that someone who claims the million-doller prize is set for life, while $5 billion would barely pay the state's bills for a month. "We take a very dim view of it," Spivak said. "You take a short-term gain, for what? Pennies on the dollar. And once that money's gone, it ain't coming back." Hammond said that if the Legislature chooses to raise taxes instead of selling the tobacco settlement, Texans will always be on the hook. "Economic downturns are temporary," he said. "Tax increases are forever." Hammond argued that the state could sell just a portion of the future earnings, or it could invest some of the proceeds in a trust fund. "You don't have to spend it all," he said. "You could spend some and put the rest into an endowment. The earnings from the endowment could be used in future years. "The upside is, you get the state out of the business of betting on tobacco consumption." ONLINE: Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, www.tobaccofreekids.com Texas Association of Business, www.txbiz.org Citizens for a Sound Economy, www.cse.org

03/16/2003
Now Pennsylvania Legislators Want to Tax Food and Clothing?!
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Press Release

Now Pennsylvania Legislators Want to Tax Food and Clothing?!

In recent attempts to solve Pennsylvania’s budget woes, a few legislators, known as the “Commonwealth Caucus” have introduced a plan to slightly decrease the state’s sales tax rate while broadening its span over basic goods and services that are currently exempt. The plan wants to lower the sales tax from 6% to 4% but at the same time impose the tax on food, clothing and professional services.

03/15/2003
Dallas Officials Lobby Legislators for Convention Center Hotel
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Dallas Officials Lobby Legislators for Convention Center Hotel

BY Colleen McCain Nelson

Mar. 13-AUSTIN, Texas-Dallas' political heavyweights descended on the Capitol on Wednesday, seeking support for legislation that would fund a convention center hotel. Mayor Laura Miller, seven City Council members and other local officials told members of the House Economic Development Committee that building a hotel adjacent to the newly expanded convention center is the key to making Dallas a destination for conventioneers. "The question remains: If we build it, will they come?" Rep. Steve Wolens told the committee.

03/13/2003
Legislation of interest to Texas CSE members
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Press Release

Legislation of interest to Texas CSE members

TAX & BUDGET ISSUES

03/13/2003
Medical Malpractice Reform: The Time is Now
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Press Release

Medical Malpractice Reform: The Time is Now

Dear Legislator:

03/13/2003
Governor Vilsack Abandons Tax Relief
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Press Release

Governor Vilsack Abandons Tax Relief

Iowa appears to have missed the chance for positive tax reform, and instead taxpayers are getting socked with a bill for new spending. The state legislature reportedly worked out a compromise with Governor Vilsack during a special session focused on economic growth. The deal included tax reduction and simplification, saving taxpayers $310 million a year, as well as new rules to protect reduce frivolous workers’ compensation lawsuits. The measures would have reduced Iowa’s complicated tax code from nine brackets to three, making the state more competitive and business-friendly.

03/13/2003
Buckeye Institute to Release Comprehensive Medicaid Reform Proposal
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Press Release

Buckeye Institute to Release Comprehensive Medicaid Reform Proposal

The Buckeye Institute will release Reforming Medicaid in Ohio: A Framework for Using Consumer Choice and Competition to Spur Improved Outcomes. Medicaid has been one of the fastest growing portions of the state budget in the past decade. Reforming Medicaid in Ohio: A Framework for Using Consumer Choice and Competition to Spur Improved Outcomes examines how policymakers can see significant cost savings and improved outcomes through increased consumer choice and competition. Available at www.buckeyeinstitute.org on 3/13/03.

03/13/2003
Buckeye Institute to Release Comprehensive Medicaid Reform Proposal
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Press Release

Buckeye Institute to Release Comprehensive Medicaid Reform Proposal

The Buckeye Institute will release Reforming Medicaid in Ohio: A Framework for Using Consumer Choice and Competition to Spur Improved Outcomes. Medicaid has been one of the fastest growing portions of the state budget in the past decade. Reforming Medicaid in Ohio: A Framework for Using Consumer Choice and Competition to Spur Improved Outcomes examines how policymakers can see significant cost savings and improved outcomes through increased consumer choice and competition. Available at www.buckeyeinstitute.org on 3/13/03.

03/13/2003

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