November 2003 Budget & Tax News

Issue Date: 
November, 2003
Newspaper PDF: 


The Heartland Institute launched in November its fourth monthly newspaper, Budget & Tax News. According to Heartland President Joseph L. Bast, “BTN will help convince elected officials and journalists that a broad-based social and political movement for lower taxes and smaller government exists.”

John Skorburg joined Heartland on October 1 as the newspaper’s managing editor. For the past eight years, John was a senior economist and international trade specialist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Prior to that he was chief economist for the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and before that he was director of public policy planning and analysis for the corporate office of Sears, Roebuck and Company. John earned B.S. and M.A. degrees in economics from the University of Illinois.

The inaugural issue of BTN includes coverage of federal and state budget crises and tax reform initiatives, excise taxes, privatization opportunities, and more. On page 1 alone, the issue describes

  • how Washington state wiped out a $1.6 billion deficit for 2003 and predicted a balanced 2004 budget ... without sleight-of-hand accounting or tax increases;
  • the challenges new California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will face as he attempts to fix a tax system highly antagonistic to business development and economic growth;
  • a legal tug-of-war underway in Nevada, where Governor Kenny Guinn persuaded the state supreme court to ignore the state constitutional requirement that tax increases be approved by a two-thirds supermajority of the state legislature; and
  • the country’s best governors, as ranked by Americans for Tax Reform for their work on behalf of state taxpayers and their leadership by example for the nation.

Other stories address Internet taxes; federal and state budget deficits; the alternative minimum tax; tax penalties on the self-employed; citizen rejection of tax hikes in Alabama, Wisconsin, and Seattle; sales tax reform in Kansas; controversies over beer and cigarette taxes; and prison privatization.

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