The Heartlander: January 2007
The December 2006 issue of Budget & Tax News highlights the relationship between taxes, tax cuts, and economic growth. On page 1:
- In its fall special session, the Utah Legislature passed a bill that cuts individual income taxes by $78 million per year and offers a flat tax option.
- The state of Illinois has pulled a nonprofit hospital’s tax-exempt status in a decision that is seen by some as a threat to the tax exemptions of all nonprofit organizations in the state.
- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled lawmakers violated the state constitution when they passed midterm pay raises in 2005.
- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to weigh the constitutionality of Washington state’s paycheck protection law.
Also in this issue: spending reforms and accountability in Texas, the Bush tax cuts, state/local taxes top $1 trillion, borrowing propositions on the California ballot, Internet taxes, the economic performance of low-tax states, new pension accounting rules, tax increment financing, land-value taxation, unions, and more.
In the News
The San Francisco Chronicle (circ. 398,246) published an op-ed by Senior Fellow Wendell Cox on December 11. In the article, Cox argued “smart growth” land regulations could have significant negative effects on the economy. The essay is reprinted on page 2 of this Heartlander and is also available online at http://www.heartland.org.
On November 3, Cox addressed the South Carolina Landowners Association at a meeting in Columbia, South Carolina.
10 Principles of State Fiscal Policy
Heartland’s “Ten Principles of State Fiscal Policy” booklet, available at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=19354, has been popular with state-based think tanks. The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs and Grassroot Institute of Hawaii have reprinted the principles and adopted them as “guiding principles” for fiscal policy in their state legislatures.
The December 2006 issue of School Reform News leads with Managing Editor Karla Dial’s report on the November election results and their potential impact on school choice. Also on page 1:
- Illinois activists are battling a mental health screening law they say oversteps school authority.
- Kentucky state Rep. Stan Lee has proposed a school choice bill for special-needs students.
- The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s network of publicly funded, privately operated charter schools is constitutional.
Also in this issue: economist Milton Friedman, intellectual founder of the school choice movement, dies at age 94; plus e-tools for education, higher education reform, State Policy Network’s K-12 Summit, tutoring, and more.
Rest in Peace
Economist Milton Friedman passed away on November 16, 2006. He was 94 years old. In his memory--and in deep appreciation for his work--The Heartland Institute has compiled on its Web site a special feature--http://www.heartland.org/friedman.cfm--with links to documents commenting on his work.
Heartland President Joseph Bast was asked to participate in a panel discussion on Friedman’s legacy for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. The other panelists were Leo Melamed, chairman emeritus of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Sam Peltzman, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago. The audio of the discussion is available on Heartland’s Web site.
On December 7, Jeane Kirkpatrick passed away. A former ambassador to the United Nations and author of several books, she was a leading commentator on national and international affairs.
Illinois School Choice Initiative
Phylicia Lyons, formerly executive director of the Illinois School Choice Initiative (ISCI), is no longer employed by The Heartland Institute. Heartland expects to announce soon a new leadership team for the ISCI. Heartland will be working with allies to point out the shortcomings of the “tax swap” proposed for Illinois and to urge consideration of alternatives, especially expanded school choice. The ISCI will be Heartland’s main vehicle for this activity.
Reprint Permission Granted
The Society for Quality Education, a Canadian think tank, will reprint in its newsletter (circ. 600) David Ziffer’s article, “Educators Ignore Proven Method of Improving Students’ Learning,” which appeared in the October 2006 issue of School Reform News.
The Keystone Journal, a magazine for Christian home educators (circ. 450) in New Zealand, will reprint the article “Protests Call for Public School Exodus” by Michael Coulter, which first appeared in the December 2006 issue of School Reform News.
The December 2006 issue of Environment & Climate News features several articles on the science and politics of climate variance. On page 1:
- The supporters who steered the “California Global Warming Solutions Act” through the state legislature are accusing each other of betraying the law.
- The World Health Organization has announced it would promote indoor spraying of DDT to fight malaria in Africa.
- A town in Alaska has sued the Army Corps of Engineers, which has asserted that permafrost 20 inches thick is a “navigable water” of the United States and therefore cannot be built upon.
- New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program is coming under heavy criticism for accounting irregularities, apparent cronyism, and gross mismanagement.
Also in this issue: emerging energy technologies, carbon dioxide emission caps, liquefied natural gas, biotech crops, renewable electricity, air quality standards, nuclear power, and more.
Heartland Brings Scientist to D.C.
Working with Robert Ferguson, executive director of the Center for Science and Public Policy, Heartland helped bring a prominent global warming “skeptic” from Australia to testify before both houses of Congress.
The briefings featured Dr. Willie Soon, an independent scientist whose research on issues of sun-climate connections has appeared in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and Professor Bob Carter, a research professor at James Cook University (Queensland, Australia) and the University of Adelaide (South Australia). Cook is a palaeontologist, stratigrapher, and marine geologist.
Soon addressed current research on the nature of sun-climate connections, focusing on the solar Arctic change on multidecadal to centennial time scales. Total solar irradiance has been shown to explain well over 75 percent of the variance in Arctic-wide surface air temperature over the past 130 years.
Carter provided the geological context for climate change, stressing why geology is critical to the debate. The Earth has experienced major changes in climate throughout its 4,500 million-year existence. For the most recent 2.5 million years, Carter noted, Earth has been relatively cool, with regularly alternating glacial and interglacial epochs. We live towards the end of one such warm interglacial epoch.
Jay Lehr Sightings
Heartland Science Director Jay Lehr was quoted in the New American (monthly circ. 50,000) noting that “the nations that have the best track record on environmental protection and improvement are those with the highest amount of free-market capitalism.”
The Western Farm Press (monthly circ. 23,000) wrote a feature article about Lehr, who was in town keynoting the 32nd annual California Association of Pest Control Advisors conference, for its November edition.
Lehr and his wife, Janet, have been contracted by Wiley Interscience to edit a five-volume Encyclopedia of Energy.
In November and December, Lehr delivered eight presentations to a combined audience of nearly 2,000 people:
November 3 -- Center for Dairy Excellence, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
November 7 -- Seneca Foods, New York
November 7 -- Dow Agro Science, Indianapolis, Indiana
November 9 -- Farm-City Banquet hosted by the Agribusiness Committee of the Greene County Partnership, Greeneville, Tennessee
November 19 -- Minnesota Farm Bureau, Bloomington, Minnesota
November 29 -- New York Pest Management Association, New Rochelle, New York
December 6 -- Tennessee Farmers Coop, Franklin, Tennessee
December 12 -- Far West Agriculture Association, Kennewick, Washington
James Taylor Sightings
James M. Taylor, managing editor of Environment & Climate News and Heartland senior fellow for environment policy, addressed a meeting of the National Association of Home Builders in New Orleans on November 11.
On November 21, Taylor spoke in Warren, New Jersey to a meeting of the Alliance for Environmental Concerns.
Heartland on Campus
Granite State College in Concord, New Hampshire will use the article, “No Apologies Needed for Driving an SUV,” written by Jerry Taylor and published in the February 2003 issue of Environment & Climate News, for an outcomes assessment initiative that requires students to respond in writing to a “thought-provoking essay.”
|December was a scheduled “skip month” for Health Care News.|
The New York Times (daily circ. 1,385,293) published a letter by Heartland’s media specialist, Mike Van Winkle, in its November 20 edition. Van Winkle criticized the federal government’s plans to strong-arm pharmaceutical companies through direct price “negotiation.”
Infoway, a nonprofit organization working with public-sector partners across Canada to implement “interoperable health information systems,” will post on its intranet site past, present, and future articles from Health Care News.
Heartland was cited in a November 14 article in the Rock River (Illinois) Times (circ. 19,000), “Rethinking Medicare Part D--Debunking Medicare Myths.”
On November 14, Heartland Senior Fellow Richard Dolinar, M.D. addressed the County Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The December 2006 issue of IT&T News covers a wide range of information technology and telecom issues on the agenda of Congress and state legislators nationwide.
In this issue:
- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have mandated the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology by state, county, and municipal government agencies. Schwarzenegger called the mandate “premature” and “overbroad.”
- Alfred E. Kahn, who played a leading role under President Jimmy Carter in the deregulation of the airlines and trucking, urges Congress to “go slow” on network neutrality.
- Some Internet users are going on the offensive to address spammers and identity thieves. But “hacking back” might backfire, working against cybersecurity and intellectual property innovations.
- Plus telecom taxes, media ownership, technology in health care, private-sector broadband in New Orleans, Internet gambling, FCC cable TV rules, and more.
A video franchising reform measure in Michigan was passed in mid-December by the Michigan House and Senate without network neutrality provisions--a move Heartland has been encouraging through regular reporting in IT&T News and in a Research & Commentary package sent to members of the Michigan state legislature. Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed the bill on December 22.
While exhibiting at the December 6-9 meeting of the National League of Cities, Government Affairs Manager Ralph Conner met two city council members from Gahanna, Ohio--a municipality featured in the November issue of IT&T News for its interest in forging ahead with a municipal broadband system despite the failures of such a system in Lebanon, Ohio. (See the article online at http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=19864). The council members--Nick Hogan and John R. McAlister--are self-proclaimed libertarians.
ON THE ROAD
On November 30 through December 2, Associate Publisher Nikki Comerford and Government Affairs Manager Ralph Conner staffed the Heartland exhibit at the annual meeting of the Council of State Governments in Phoenix, Arizona. More than 25 elected officials--including Rep. Oscar M. Babauta of the Commonwealth of Northern Marianas Islands; Sen. David L. Williams, president of the Kentucky State Senate; and James H. Douglas, governor of Vermont--expressed interest in joining Heartland’s Board of Legislative Advisors.
On December 4-7, Vice President Sandy Liddy Bourne attended the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) Fall Forum in San Antonio, Texas. She participated in the Trade Policy Leadership Seminar, where discussions were held on the protection of intellectual property rights, the Internet tax moratorium, aquaculture protection, and agriculture subsidies. She also attended meetings of the Agriculture Environment and Energy Standing Committee chaired by Rep. Warren Chisholm, who gave Bourne and Heartland a warm introduction to committee members. She distributed a special copy of the newly released Energy Policy for America guidebook to committee members and Heartland members present at the meeting.
On December 6-9, Comerford and Conner exhibited at the annual Winter Meeting of the National League of Cities in Reno, Nevada. More than 30 prospective legislative advisors were signed up, including mayors Ronnie Erwin of LaVerne, Tennessee; Walter Lee James, Jr., Bladensburg, Maryland; and Scott J. Brook, Coral Springs, Florida.
On December 6-9, Heartland President Joseph Bast attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s States and Nation Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona. He was joined there by Senior Fellows James M. Taylor (managing editor of Environment & Climate News) and Steven Titch (managing editor of IT&T News) as well as Steve Stanek, managing editor of Budget & Tax News. Taylor distributed copies of Energy Policy for America at a meeting of the Natural Resources Task Force, on which he serves, and presented a series of position statements on chemicals and the environment.
My name is Sara Cline and I am the administrative assistant at Heavenly Cigar Company.
I received the book titled “Please Don’t Poop In My Salad” along with your NATO News Monitor in the mail a few days ago.
After reading the entire book, I just wanted to express my appreciation to you and your organization for the steps you are taking to protect the rights of not only Tobacconists, but all individuals living in this “free” country. If you could please pass my appreciation on to Joseph Bast , the president of The Heartland Institute, I would be very grateful.
Please Don’t Poop in My Salad
The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) distributed copies of Please Don’t Poop in My Salad to its 50 manufacturing members, soliciting funds on behalf of Heartland’s efforts to defend private business owners and smokers.
In November and December, more than 1,000 copies of Please Don’t Poop in My Salad were distributed at meetings of the Council of State Governments and National League of Cities; to tobacco retailers and restaurants in Chicago; and to a student on the campus of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana who will distribute copies to local bar owners interested in opposing a smoking ban.
Since its publication in early July, more than 8,500 copies of the book have been distributed.
Stop Smoking Bans!
On September 5, Heartland Senior Fellow George Clowes addressed a Village Board meeting in Mt. Prospect, Illinois on the subject of a proposed smoking ban in the community.
Clowes questioned the board’s justifications for the proposed ordinance, noting “the latest peer-reviewed study on the effects of second-hand smoke does not justify a smoking ban.” He pointed out, “Saying there is no safe level of second-hand smoke is like saying there’s no safe level of impurities in drinking water. However, we know from Public Works that the impurities in drinking water have to reach a certain level before the water is considered unsafe to drink. I would urge the Village to find the justification for the statement that there is no safe level of second-hand smoke. I don’t think it’s a scientific statement. I think it falls under the purview of junk science.”
Clowes also challenged some of the figures cited as justification for banning smoking. “One of the figures,” he pointed out, “was that there are 2,900 deaths annually in Illinois from second-hand smoke. Now, that’s almost five times the number of deaths from alcohol-related driving accidents and so it seems to me that the 2,900 figure is highly questionable.”
“If you are going to cite justification to support a smoking ban, as the Cook County Ordinance does, then that justification ought to be based on facts, not assertions,” Clowes concluded.
Clowes was quoted at length in a September 14 Daily Herald (circ. 151,112) article on the smoking ban proposal. His testimony is available on the Heartland Web site at http://www.heartland.org.
Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced on October 23 for his role in the collapse of Enron. Attorney Paul Fisher and economist Jim Johnston, members of Heartland’s Board of Directors, questioned the conviction and urged the sentencing judge to weigh carefully the real economic costs and benefits of Skilling’s activity. The Denver Post (daily circ. 255,452) interviewed Fisher on October 23 about the sentencing.
Heartland has been working closely with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Make a Difference author Gary MacDougal, and key Michigan state legislators to pass welfare reform for the Wolverine State. Their efforts were rewarded on December 21, when Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed H.B. 6580, a measure that limits welfare recipients to four years of financial aid and requires a family self-sufficiency plan.
Heartland Government Relations Manager Ralph Conner and Jack Tweedie of the National Conference of State Legislatures arranged for MacDougal to testify in May 2006 at a joint committee hearing on welfare reform in the Michigan state capitol. The hearing was planned and coordinated by Conner and staffers for Rep. Jerry Kooiman, Rep. John Stahl, and Sen. Bill Hardiman. Subsequently, H.B. 6580 passed the Michigan House 103-0 and the Michigan Senate by a vote of 27-9.
We plan to continue to work with NCSL and MacDougal to carry his message of independence to other states considering lifetime benefit limits for welfare recipients in 2007.
Craig Jones, author of Heartland Policy Study No. 23, “Superconducting Supercollider: An Accurate Appraisal,” released in October 1988, is involved in particle physics again. He recently reported, “For the last three years I have been on the Fermilab Community Task Force, a citizens group convened by Fermi and the Perspectives Group ...
“They are terrified at what the citizens of the area might do if another SSC-like project were to be sought. That is what is happening now. They desperately want the International Linear Collider to ‘keep Fermi in operation.’
“They are now selecting a new citizens committee, the International Linear Collider Task Force, which will, they claim, provide input into the design, including location and above-ground features. ... In fairness to the Fermi group, they are, I think, sincere (at least at this point). None of them were around in 1988, leaving me as the only one knowledgeable on the SSC.”
Jones was appointed as an alternate member on the International Linear Collider Task Force (to serve if a colleague cannot), and he continues to serve on the Fermilab Community Task Force. For more information, see http://www.fermilabcommunity.org. Jones’ Policy Study is available online at http://www.heartland.org.
Addressing Minority Achievement
Lee Walker, president of The New Coalition for Economic and Social Change, is involved in planning for a May 2007 Minority Male Achievement Conference to be held in Chicago. The conference is a project of the Gidwitz Center for Urban Policy & Community Development, on whose advisory board Walker serves, and the Institute for Urban Education.
Principal for a Day
Walker was selected to participate in the Chicago Public Schools’ Principal for a Day program, held November 2. He served at Montefiore Special School on Ashland Avenue, an all-boys school in the Chicago Public Schools system for at-risk youth.
Walker is a long-time supporter of the school: In 2005, he addressed a commencement exercise celebrating the school’s Diamond Jubilee (75 years), and he is a substitute teacher at the school.
More than 1,600 corporate, community, and civic leaders across the city of Chicago served as principals for a day in the 600 Chicago Public Schools.
A letter to the editor by Lee Walker, “Act on Immigration Issue,” was published by the Chicago Sun-Times (circ. 496,030) on December 6, 2006.
Walker was invited to submit a paper on “The Great Promise of Black Conservatism” for publication in the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy. Editorial review of submissions for the 2007 volume is expected to be completed in January.
On November 8, Walker was a guest for two hours on the Roland S. Martin Show, which airs on Chicago’s WVON-AM 1450. Martin is also executive editor of the Chicago Defender, on whose editorial board Walker serves. The two of them discussed the November 7 election and its meaning for the black community. They were joined out-of-studio by Robert Starks, an associate professor at Northeastern Illinois University and chairman of the Black United Fund of Illinois, for which Walker serves as director.
Speaking Engagements in 2007
In the first quarter of 2007, Walker will speak at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island on the subject of reparations--a presentation originally scheduled for early December but rescheduled by the university. In October 2006, the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice released a report titled Slavery and Justice, the result of three years’ research into the relationship between the New England slave trade and the founding of the university. That report can be downloaded from The New Coalition’s Web site at http://www.newcoalition.org.
On February 8, Walker will address students at Kent State University on the topic, “What Is Conservative Multiculturalism?”
On February 21, Walker will be the guest speaker at the annual Black History Month Celebration hosted by the Midwest Regional Office of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
Also in 2007, Walker will lecture over two days at Emory University on black conservatism.
In December, Walker met with several persons interested in fundraising on behalf of The New Coalition and interviewed persons applying for the position of assistant to the president.
On December 14, Walker attended a joint meeting of the Gidwitz Center for Urban Policy & Community Development, on whose advisory board he serves, and the Institute for Urban Education. The meeting focused on plans for a Minority Male Achievement Conference to be held in May 2007.
On December 7, Walker attended a Civil Rights Committee meeting with the Anti-Defamation League, which included a presentation by Michael Lieberman, ADL’s Washington counsel and director of the Civil Rights Policy Planning Center.
Also on December 7, Walker attended a holiday party celebrating past partnerships and new directions for The Chicago Defender.
On November 14, Walker, Roland Martin, and Cliff Kelley--all members of the editorial board of the Chicago Defender--met with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley to discuss the city’s 2007 budget. Walker took the opportunity to thank the mayor for his September veto of the anti-black-community “big-box” ordinance and to ask the mayor about health care finance.
During the run-up to the November 7 election, Walker and fellow members of the editorial board of the Chicago Defender interviewed several candidates, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich and gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, Secretary of State Jesse White and Tony Peraica, candidate for president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
On November 3 and 4, and again on November 14, Walker met with Rev. Dr. Bill Winston, founder and pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a 15,000-member church located in Forest Park, Illinois. The two of have been discussing ways they can work together to advance the work of The New Coalition and the message of Booker T. Washington.
On November 3, Walker attended a reception and book signing by South African Eddie Daniels, author of There and Back. The event was sponsored by The Consul General of the Republic of South Africa. Daniels was imprisoned with Nelson Mandela on Robben Island for 15 years.
Thanks to a generous contribution from a foundation, The Heartland Institute is “ramping up” to play a bigger role in public policy debates occurring around the country. We are seeking qualified, motivated applicants for positions in media relations, public affairs, development, and government affairs, all to work out of the Chicago office. Complete job descriptions for each position are available at the links provided.
Media Relations Director. Heartland’s main liaison with the media and team leader of the Media Relations Department, a group of three individuals devoted to media relations. We are looking for someone with experience as a professional journalist who is known to and admired by a significant number of editors and reporters nationwide; a natural aptitude for talking to reporters and editors by phone, to understand their needs and concerns, to provide assurance that Heartland is credible, and to act quickly to provide what they want; and strong familiarity with public policy issues in the state arena and able to articulate free-market positions on those issues.
New Media Specialist. Responsible for posting new material on the Web site, expanding pod-casting and other video and audio products, optimizing and promoting the Web site, expanding the number of people receiving publications via email, etc. Requires a good understanding of free-market talking points on a wide range of public policy issues and excellent computer skills.
Public Affairs Director. Responsible for effectively promoting The Heartland Institute’s publications, speakers, and brand and team leader of the Public Affairs Department, a group of three individuals devoted to public affairs. Responsible for promoting books, policy studies, booklets, and events by generating blurbs, news coverage, mailings, reviews, sales, and additional distribution via allies and commercial outlets. Background in marketing or previous work with other think tanks and allies required.
Membership Director. Responsible for communicating with The Heartland Institute’s members and donors to (a) give them a voice in the planning of Heartland’s projects and development of positions, (b) encourage them to participate in Heartland projects by writing letters, attending events, calling elected officials, etc., (c) encourage them to renew and increase their financial support, and (d) recommend that their friends and coworkers also become Heartland members. The Membership Director is part of the Development Department, a group of four individuals devoted to fundraising.
Government Affairs Assistants (2). Responsible for quickly and professionally supplying research, talking points, model legislation, and other material to elected officials. Provide support to specialists on local, state, and federal government relations. This position requires strong knowledge of free-market positions on a wide variety of public policy issues and strong writing and computer skills.
Interested applicants should review the job descriptions, then send a resume and cover letter including salary expectations to COO Latreece Vankinscott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we close 2006 and look eagerly ahead to a great 2007, we express our deep appreciation to volunteers Patricia Chmela, James Koller, Judith Kratochvil, Ron MacArtney, and Sandy MacArtney for their help with mailings, the Benefit dinner, filing, and other projects.