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STATE LAWMAKERS SHOULD PUT PUBLIC SERVICE FIRST
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STATE LAWMAKERS SHOULD PUT PUBLIC SERVICE FIRST

Politicians or public servants? Before lawmakers finish tackling this year's ugly budget challenges, they might do well to take a moment for self-reflection. If they're politicians first, bent primarily on keeping the good will of campaign supporters and voters, then a hard line against new taxes and deep cuts to achieve balance makes good sense. If, however, they're public servants first, it makes more sense to take a holistic look at the services state government provides and its duties as an employer, then look for fair and fiscally responsible ways to fund them.

05/27/2001
Schools push the numbers
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Schools push the numbers

BY T. Keung Hui

RALEIGH -- In the fight over school funding in Wake, there are a few things that are not debatable. The Wake County school system has higher test scores than the other large school districts in the state - Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg and Cumberland counties - yet spends less per student in its operating budget than nearly all of them. Wake also is a wealthy county, by North Carolina standards, with a low property-tax rate and a greater ability to pay than nearly any other community.

05/27/2001
RETIREE ROLLS THE DICE ON ELECTION BOARD GAME
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RETIREE ROLLS THE DICE ON ELECTION BOARD GAME

BY BRAD HAHN

Fred Marx Jr. prays he can make a buck from chads. The West Palm Beach retiree has produced a board game based on the November election turmoil that he figures is a natural for political junkies. If his plan works, the game of "Chads" will soon be on a store shelf near you. "Every time you pick up the paper, there's something in there about recounts, or the hoopla of election 2000, " said Marx, 69. "It hasn't died down yet."

05/26/2001
Citizens and school taxes: form a new study committee
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Citizens and school taxes: form a new study committee

BY CHUCK FULLER

The Wake County school board proposed another property tax increase just 92 days after voters gave them permission to spend over $ 500 million to build new schools.

05/26/2001
Congress Votes to Protect Teachers and Principals
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Congress Votes to Protect Teachers and Principals

Yesterday, by a vote of 239-189, the House of Representatives joined the United States Senate in passing teacher liability protections when it amended language in the Teacher Liability Protection Act (H.R. 1103) to H.R.1, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The legislation, introduced by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) with bipartisan cosponsorship, would protect teachers, principals, school boards, and schools from frivolous lawsuits meant to intimidate and harass teachers, principals, and school boards. Similar language passed the Senate earlier this month by a vote of 98-1. H.R. 1 is expected to pass the House soon. "As classrooms grow more dangerous, and school violence escalates, teachers and principals need to know they can enforce school discipline and maintain order in the classroom without fear of being sued," said American Tort Reform Association President Sherman Joyce. "Just as importantly, however, this legislation does not promote corporal punishment in schools, and it does not protect teachers and principals from civil lawsuits dealing with physical or sexual abuse, or civil rights claims." States disagreeing with the law's policies could opt out of its provisions. "Dedicated teachers, principals and school boards who act responsibly shouldn't be afraid of being unfairly and recklessly hauled into court," said Congressman Brady. In addition to ATRA's support, Congressman Brady's amendment enjoyed the support of the National School Board Association (NSBA), the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), numerous Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) groups, Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE), and the Houston Chronicle. The Teacher Protection Act is a partial solution to problems exposed in a school principal survey conducted by the NASSP, the NAESP, and ATRA in 1999. That survey showed that nearly one principal in five spends 5-10 hours a week in meetings or documenting events to avoid litigation. Sixty-four percent of respondents expected an increase in litigation as a result of escalating violence in our nation's schools. Curiously, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-MO) reversed his earlier support of the language in the Brady amendment at the same time that the National Education Association (NEA) formally registered its opposition to the legislation. Gephardt urged his colleagues in Congress to oppose the legislation. "In reversing his earlier position on this important legislation, Congressman Gephardt chose the interests of wealthy personal injury lawyers and the powerful teachers union over the interests of individual teachers, principals, and taxpayers," added Joyce.

05/24/2001
GROUPS URGE INCREASE IN TAXATION, SPENDING
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GROUPS URGE INCREASE IN TAXATION, SPENDING

BY ERIC DYER

Fearful their programs may be slashed to balance the state budget, various advocacy groups are urging the General Assembly to raise taxes instead. Lawmakers did so when confronted with a fiscal crisis a decade ago. But the political climate in Raleigh has changed, and few legislative leaders - Democrat or Republican - are advocating a broad tax increase this year.

05/24/2001
NC Citizens Praise Rep. Walter Jones’ Vote on Education Bill
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Press Release

NC Citizens Praise Rep. Walter Jones’ Vote on Education Bill

Last night, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) voted against HR 1, The Elementary and Secondary Education Authorization Act. Jonathan Hill, director for North Carolina Citizens for a Sound Economy, issued the following statement regarding Congressman Jones’ vote on the education bill:

05/24/2001
Advocates say tax increase preferable to cuts in services
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Advocates say tax increase preferable to cuts in services

BY SCOTT MOONEYHAM

Diana Hertz says lawmakers should think hard before cutting the budgets of state agencies that serve the poor and disabled. A single mother of a 5-year-old son, Hertz says she would be on welfare instead of making $26,000 a year as an office manager if it weren't for state and federal child care subsidies.

05/23/2001
CSE: Taxpayers One Step Closer To Meaningful Tax Relief
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CSE: Taxpayers One Step Closer To Meaningful Tax Relief

Today, the United States Senate approved President Bush's tax relief proposal by a vote of 62-38. Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) President Paul Beckner issued the following statement regarding the overwhelming support in the Senate of President Bush's tax relief package: "Today, working Americans are one step closer to meaningful tax relief. The Senate passed President Bush's tax relief package overwhelmingly. "This step is due to the hard work of American people, such as the tens of thousands of CSE activists who have fought from the very beginning for the tax relief they deserve. Finally, we are on the cusp of meaningful tax relief. "We wish to thank President Bush and those in Congress who worked hard for meaningful tax relief for working Americans and their families." For more about CSE's position on tax relief please visit http://www.cse.org/informed/taxes.html. CSE is a grassroots advocacy and education organization dedicated to economic freedom. For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Chad Cowan at 202-942-7692 or by email at ccowan(At)cse.org. KEYWORDS: GOVERNMENT, TAXES

05/23/2001
Suit over Easley ads returns to court
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Suit over Easley ads returns to court

A lawsuit over the controversial public service announcements Gov. Mike Easley aired as attorney general was back in court Tuesday as lawyers argued over whether it should go forward. A lawyer for Chuck Fuller, vice president for public affairs of N.C. Citizens for a Sound Economy, argued to the state Court of Appeals that a judge's order last year dismissing the group's suit against Easley failed to give a specific reason why the suit was being tossed out.

05/23/2001

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