Happy holidays to everyone! As we get ready to ring in 2012 it gives us a chance to reflect upon 2011. For The Heartland Institute we had one of the best years yet. We saw a big increase in the number of lawmakers join our legislative forum for the first time and record attendance for lawmakers at our Sixth International Conference on Climate Change and our Seventh Emerging Issues Forum.
In 2011 Heartland’s government relations team also saw the addition of two new legislative specialists, Kendall Antekeier and John Monaghan that have done a great job educating and assisting lawmakers around the country on health care and energy & environment issues.
Looking forward to 2012, The Heartland Institute is positioning itself to have an even better year! The response from state lawmakers on our work on health insurance exchanges, hydraulic fracturing regulations, tax reform, parent trigger, and workers comp issues has been great. Please contact our team of specialists listed further down on this email if you have any questions or would like one of our experts come to your state to testify or speak.
One of our main goals for 2012 is to expand our legislative forum program and offer even more exclusive benefits to our members. Membership is just $59 for one year or $99 for two years. Some of the many benefits that Legislative Forum members receive include travel reimbursement for Heartland events, priority access to our more than 250 policy experts, and to have Heartland come hold a Policy Forum in your state for you and your colleagues. If you would like to join you can sign up at http://heartland.org/sign-forum.
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing a natural gas study, the future of the 30 year mortgage, anti-bullying laws, AT&T merger, Florida’s exchange, and Amazon Taxes.
The economic study of researchers Weinstein and Partridge is important in providing another data point into the projected employment benefits of hydraulic fracturing, but their skewed analysis in placing those benefits within the larger context is lacking and should be revised to reflect a higher standard of research.
No Effect on Energy Security?
The report views energy security as being solely a problem of oil imports, but this viewpoint is simplistic and does not account for the greater energy security benefits attained through global supply shifts.
A Department of Energy-funded study produced by the Baker Institute for Public Policy Energy Forum addressed this very topic in depth in July 2011. Some of the most significant energy security findings were that shale development:
• Reduces competition for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies from the Middle East, thereby moderating prices and spurring greater use of natural gas, an outcome with significant implications for global environmental objectives.
These benefits have been recognized by the Shale Gas Production Subcommittee of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, a multi-stakeholder panel convened by the Obama administration, and have led MIT researchers to suggest greater market liquidity as a result of shale gas extraction will “contribute to security by enhancing diversity of global supply and resilience to supply disruptions for the U.S. and its allies.”
What We’re Working On
Research & Commentary: The Future of the 30- Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage
In this Research & Commentary Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans examines the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and discusses its future prospects from a free-market perspective. Several Heartland Institute scholars, have begun to question the value of these mortgages. They note the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage emerged a result of government manipulation and probably would not exist in a truly free market.
In this article for the Heartlander, Health Care Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier discusses Florida’s decision to move forward with a state-level health exchange that is not affiliated with the federal health law.
All but three states have enacted anti-school-bullying legislation, 21 of them passing related laws in 2011. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has begun studying the matter preparatory to issuing new agency regulations and recommending legislation to Congress. Evidence shows that state and federal attempts to reduce bullying have consisted of costly, paperwork-intensive mandates that have not been shown to stem violence.
The girl in pink will not be changing into a blue dress after all. AT&T finally threw up its hands after months of wrangling with the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice. It has dropped its $38 billion bid to merge with T-Mobile.
Research & Commentary: Amazon Taxes
Heartland takes a look at the danger with amazon taxes at both the state and federal levels. It explains that, “Amazon taxes stifle economic growth, reduce tax competition among the states, and raise taxes on consumers. State governments should implement pro-growth tax policies instead of unduly burdening consumers and stunting economic activity by imposing Amazon taxes.”