Happy Thanksgiving from The Heartland Institute

Published November 23, 2016

“The ground of liberty is to be gained by inches, and we must be contented to secure what we can get from time to time and eternally press forward for what is yet to get. It takes time to persuade men to do even what is for their own good. – Thomas Jefferson

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to give thanks to all those who are near and dear to us. This Thanksgiving, The Heartland Institute is grateful for our Legislative Forum members, elected officials, the men and women serving our country, our donors, allies, and all of the friends who support Heartland’s work to promote free-market solutions to our nation’s social and economic problems.

From all of us at The Heartland Institute, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving that’s filled with food, family, and free-market principles! Please don’t forget to support The Heartland Institute when you shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Please use #StartWithaSmile at smile.amazon.com/ch/36-3309812 and Amazon will donate to The Heartland Institute.

What We’re Working On

Budget and Tax
Research & Commentary: Right-to-Work Reform in New Hampshire
West Virginia recently became the 26th right-to-work (RTW) state, and several other states are now considering becoming the 27th, including New Hampshire. Right-to-work policies have become increasingly popular nationwide. Since 2012, four states have enacted right-to-work legislation. RTW laws allow employees the option to join or refuse to join a union, pay fees or other charges to a union, or pay any third party or charity instead of paying a union. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines right-to-work reform in New Hampshire. “Right-to-work laws create new jobs and foster economic and population growth. New Hampshire lawmakers should consider implementing right-to-work legislation, a decision that is sure to reap significant economic benefits,” Glans wrote. Read more

Research & Commentary: Tax Credit Scholarships Save Taxpayers, School Districts Money
In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson discusses an audit by EdChoice, formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, of the 10 largest (of the country’s 21) tax credit scholarship programs. EdChoice says the top 10 programs have saved between $1.7 billion and $3.4 billion through 2014, or about $1,750 to $3,000 saved per student. Read more

Energy and Environment
Research & Commentary: Wyoming DEQ: Hydraulic Fracturing Site Not Contaminating Drinking Water
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality released its highly anticipated, 80,000-page final report on hydraulic fracturing, commonly called “fracking,” and other drilling for natural gas near the town of Pavillion. The report concluded drilling activity did not contaminate well water there and that any contaminants found in those wells were likely to be naturally occurring. In this Research & Commentary, Policy Analyst Tim Benson looks at the report and notes it further undercuts the hysteric claims of anti-fracking activists, saying there have been at least 15 peer-reviewed studies since 2010 that show fracking does not contaminate groundwater. “Regulation,” he says, “should only be based on the best available scientific literature, not on wild, unfounded claims based on misinformation, fear, and superstition.” Read more

Health Care
Research & Commentary: Drug Price Controls and Price Transparency
While drug companies have argued for many years their prices are competitive and determined by the cost of development, critics say new laws are needed that would set the price of prescription drugs at “fair” rates. These critics say this form of market manipulation is necessary to guarantee access to pharmaceutical drugs for all people. There are two approaches state legislatures have taken to address the price of medications: transparency requirements and price controls. In this Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans examines drug price controls and price transparency. “Price caps are vague, obtrusive, and give far too much control over the pharmaceutical market to government regulators. Price gouging can be a problem, but price controls are not the answer. Instead of killing the free market and innovation in the pharmaceutical industry, state lawmakers should promote transparency and let the market and legal system monitor drug prices,” wrote Glans. Read more

From Our Free-Market Friends
2017 State Business Tax Climate Index
In October, The Tax Foundation just released its 13th annual edition of the State Business Tax Climate Index, which measures how competitive and well-structured each state’s tax code is for businesses within the state. The Tax Foundation analyzed over 100 tax variables in five different categories—corporate, individual income, sales, property, and unemployment insurance taxes—to formulate its index and create its rankings. Wyoming once again finished first, as it did in 2016, while New Jersey finished last for the third year in a row. Read more