The Leaflet - Emerging Issues for 2012
Earlier this week the National Conference of State Legislatures highlighted some of the top issues it believes will dominate the legislative agenda in 2012. The list includes many issues The Heartland Institute has been researching and helping state lawmakers with already. Issues like pensions, natural gas, jobs, Medicaid, and health insurance exchanges have been consistently highlighted in The Leaflet.
Last October Heartland brought to Chicago lawmakers from more than 24 states for its Sixth Emerging Issues Forum. This policy event bring speakers to talk about the issues we anticipate expanding across the country from state house to state house in the upcoming year.
To keep the discussion going throughout the year and to help educate lawmakers who could not attend or are not already a members of our Legislative Forum, we will be hosting a monthly Emerging Issue Conference Call on the first Wednesday of every month. These calls will feature experts on the most timely and asked-about issues facing states.
Heartland’s first Emerging Issue Conference Call will take place next Wednesday, January 11 at 1:00 pm EST/12:00 CST and will address health insurance exchanges and what a state-run exchange really means. The call will feature Kendall Antekier, Heartland’s legislative specialist for health care issues, and Benjamin Domenech, managing editor of Health Care News, The call-in number is 312/846-6035 and the pin number to access the call is 59341.
If you have any questions or if you would like to RSVP you can email government relations coordinator Robin Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing school failures, the FutureGen boondoggle, postal service reform, Minnesota health insurance exchange, AT&T/T-Mobile competition, and opposing special tax breaks.
Forty-eight percent of U.S. public schools failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress in 2010–11 under federal No Child Left Behind mandates, despite Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s predictions early in 2011 the number would be 82 percent, according to a Center on Education Reform study.
What We're Working On
Research & Commentary: The FutureGen Project
FutureGen is a program created in 2003 as a public-private partnership to build a low-emission, coal-fired power plant and prove the reliability of technologies designed to capture and store carbon dioxide. After being defunded by the Department of Energy in January 2008 due to skyrocketing costs, it was revived by the Obama administration in June 2009. The program is projected to cost $2.4 billion, up from the initial estimate of $1 billion.
Research & Commentary: U.S. Postal Service Reform
The United States Postal Service is one of the best-liked agencies of the federal government, enjoying near-universal approval of the public. But it is in deep trouble. Over the past four years the Postal Service has lost billions: $2.8 billion (2008), $5 billion (2009), $3.8 billion (2010), and $5.1 billion (FY 2011). The Postal Service is nearing its statutory debt limit of $15 billion, and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe recently warned legislators and taxpayers that losses will be more than $5 billion for 2012. Without significant reforms or a bailout transferring billions of general-revenue dollars to postal coffers, the Postal Service cannot survive. In this new Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans examines Postal Service reform from multiple perspectives.
In this Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier discusses the state of Minnesota and its attempts at creating a health insurance exchange. She notes, “Despite criticism from state legislators, Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Commerce have pushed forward with the establishment of a state-crafted health insurance exchange, opening exchange simulations to the public.”
Scott Cleland, chairman of Netcompetition.org, discusses why he claims the Federal Communications Commission’s draft staff analysis opposing the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile $39 billion merger is neither credible nor fair.
Low-Tax Advocates Should Oppose Special Tax Breaks
This op-ed, written by Eli Lehrer, vice president of Washington, DC operations for Heartland, and Steve Stanek, managing editor of Budget & Tax News, examines why low-tax advocates are wrong to support special tax incentives for specific companies. “Those who favor lower taxes and less government ought to view such selective tax breaks with a jaundiced eye,” they write. “When it gives benefits to one business over another – whether as grants or as tax incentives – the government tries to pick economic winners, something it has no proven expertise at doing, and increases its control over the economy.”
Topic of discussion: Health Care Insurance Exchanges
Date: January 11, 2012
Time: 1:00 pm (EST)
The December issue of Health Care News reports on the Department of Health and Human Services’ decision to shelve the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, the long-term care program that was a key provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law.