Policy Brief: “A Critical Assessment of ‘Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: A community-based exploratory study’
In this Heartland Policy Brief, chemist and environmental consultant Rich Trzupek identifies significant flaws in a misleading study on fracking. Trzupek notes, “In 60 percent of the sampling events … concentrations of target pollutants did not exceed the alarm levels set by the authors. To their credit, the authors did not attempt to hide this fact. Nevertheless, this fact has been routinely ignored by media and policymakers …”Read more
Report: States Bet on Medicaid Loophole to Boost Revenue
In this Heartlander article, Jesse Hathaway examines a new study published by the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions that examines how some states, including Ohio, are trying to scam the federal government and make Medicaid expansion look like a financial winner. The report, “Medicaid Expansion Relies on Uncertain Funding,” explains how claims of Medicaid expansion’s budgetary benefits are based on applying sales and use taxes to Medicaid managed-care organization premiums. Read more
Budget & Tax
Research & Commentary: Maryland Gasoline Taxes
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has proposed repealing a provision in a 2013 law tying the state’s primary gasoline tax to the consumer price index [JH1] (CPI). The law currently allows the gas tax rate to change annually by up to 8 percent of the tax rate imposed in the previous year. In this Research & Commentary, Matthew Glans argues Hogan’s efforts to improve transparency and remove the indexing requirement is a step toward improving transportation funding, but more work needs to be done. “States and the federal government will have to explore more modern and efficient ways to fund road construction and traffic infrastructure. These include privatizing roads and establishing toll systems. In several cities, transportation agencies are using congestion pricing – varying toll prices based on congestion – to manage demand and limit traffic problems.” Read more
Who Wins With Obama’s Net Neutrality?
In the aftermath of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent decision to regulate the Internet under Title II regulations, Seton Motley argues the power grab is awful for just about every American, leading to more expensive Web access and huge new taxes. “And we will see a spiraling, regressive devolution of speed. It will be a return to the spinning wheel of Web-waiting death. When government regulation increases – private investment decreases. When investment goes – forward progress goes with it.” Read more
Research & Commentary: Arizona Common Core
In this Research & Commentary, Heartland Policy Analyst Taylor Smith and Government Affairs Manager Logan Pike argue Arizona should repeal and replace Common Core with standards based on those of high-achieving states. Pike notes, “A government-mandated, single-style progression of learning is unlikely to be the best way to accommodate the individuality of Arizona’s 1,044,785 students.” Read more
From Our Free-Market Friends
2015 Climate Change Debate
The Washington Policy Center is hosting its annual Climate Change Debate event at the University of Washington on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, at 7:00 p.m. The debate will propose the following questions:What is the best way to tackle environmental issues? The government or the free market? The event is free and you can register online here.