“Color of Change,” Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy, and other extreme leftist groups’ attempts to defame the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are not surprising. Rather than discussing and debating actual policy, these groups have resorted to ad hominem attacks and bullying tactics. What is downright shameful is their use of a tragedy like Trayvon Martin’s death to dishonestly attack an organization with which they disagree on policy
Like ALEC’s corporate donors, The Heartland Institute’s supporters are under fierce attack by the same left-wing groups using the same tactics. While “Color of Change” uses the Trayvon Martin tragedy as cover for its ideological campaign, “Forecast the Facts” and its allies are using our efforts to bring sound science to the debate over global warming. Such tactics have no place in the national debate over public policy.
Despite what these fringe groups want you to believe, ALEC is not involved in any black helicopter conspiracy. ALEC is in fact a very effective and respected public-private partnership that brings together state legislators, members of the private sector, the federal government, and general public to openly discuss public policy and free-market solutions. It does not hide that its stated mission is to advance “Jeffersonian principles of free markets, limited government, federalism, and individual liberty.”
As Georgia Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers put it, “I stand with ALEC, and together we stand ready to defend our guiding principles of free markets and limited government, which is what our nation needs now more than ever.”
The Heartland Institute stands with ALEC in support of free enterprise, limited government, and federalism, and asks that you do so as well.
This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing ICCC-7, Medicare competitive bidding, offshore reserving, Louisiana’s school choice law, strong revenue reports from states, and Connecticut’s digital tax.
The Heartland Institute will be hosting the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-7) from Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at the Hilton Chicago Hotel, 720 South Michigan Avenue. The event will follow the NATO Summit taking place in Chicago on May 19–21.
This year’s theme is “Real Science, Real Choices” and will feature Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, former U.S. Senator and astronaut Harrison Schmitt, prominent scientist Dr. S. Fred Singer, and many more.
The event will feature approximately 60 scientists and policy experts speaking at plenary sessions and on three tracks of concurrent panel sessions exploring what real climate science is telling us about the causes and consequences of climate change, and the real consequences of choices being made based on the current perceptions of the state of climate science.
This conference is open to the public. You can register to attend this event by visiting the conference sign-up form. Scores of think tanks, trade associations, and advocacy groups have been invited to cosponsor this year’s ICCC.
Although no legislative travel scholarships are available for this event, all elected officials and staffers are eligible for free admission to this policy event. Please contact John Monaghan for more information about attending or co-sponsoring the event at 312/377-4000 or by email [email protected].
What We’re Working On
The policy centerpiece of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal this year is his Medicare reform. While Ryan’s approach builds on prior efforts, it differs in important ways from his prior legislative solutions, including last year’s Path to Prosperity. Ryan’s modified approach is essentially the same as one he proposed with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) earlier this year. The key to Ryan’s plan is the pairing of a premium support model with a competitive bidding system for determining Medicare payment rates.
This policy shift has raised a number of questions from legislators: What is competitive bidding? Does it offer a solution for rising Medicare costs? Is it workable as policy and politics?
Research & Commentary: Onshore Reserving in the District of Columbia
Many insurance and reinsurance companies reserve assets for U.S. catastrophe coverage in “offshore” locations such as Bermuda, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany. They do this because current U.S. tax law makes it costly for them to set aside assets to pay claims on future losses within the United States.
One option for bringing these catastrophe reserves “onshore” in the United States would involve changes to the U.S. tax code to allow insurers an exemption from the federal tax on corporate income for catastrophe reserves they maintain within the District of Columbia. This R&C by Deborah Bailin of the Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate at The Heartland Institute examines onshore reserving from multiple perspectives and the possibility of creating a market in Washington, DC.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) signed a sweeping school reform bill that includes vouchers to pay for tuition at private schools for low- and moderate-income parents with children in failing public schools.
In response to the signing Joy Pullmann, managing editor of School Reform News, said, “Gov. Jindal has just moved the scrimmage line closer to the end zone for all states on school choice. His example shows governors what is possible with concerted effort on education. Education entrepreneurs are already pinpointing Louisiana as the place to innovate on blogs across the country. Watch for Louisiana to ditch its near-last-place finish on education achievement in coming years, and to spur creative ideas in education that spread to benefit the entire country.”
States Report Strong Tax Revenues in Fiscal 2011
This article from Heartland’s Budget & Tax News reports the states saw strong tax revenues in the 2011 fiscal year after years of low returns. “Fiscal 2011 total state government tax collections increased by 8.9 percent. Personal income tax grew by 9.8 percent, sales tax by 8.2 percent, and corporate income tax by 9.4 percent, according to the Census Bureau.”
Research & Commentary: Taxing Internet Sales in Connecticut
Connecticut is one of many states struggling to balance their budgets by introducing taxes on Internet goods and services. State senators have introduced a bill (SB 400) to tax digital downloads, including applications, songs, ringtones, electronic books, and movies.
SB 400 would increase Connecticut’s current 1 percent digital sales tax to 6.35 percent, thereby increasing exponentially the complexity of collecting taxes in the state and providing additional incentives for businesses with a physical “nexus” in the state to relocate to states with more favorable tax rates in order to compete with out-of-state businesses that also sell products and services via the Internet. The businesses that effectively become tax exiles will lay off thousands of skilled Connecticut workers and significantly reduce investment in the state.
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Topic: State Income Taxes
RSVP by emailing Robin Knox at [email protected]
Monday, May 21 to Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Contact John Monaghan at [email protected] for more information.
Thursday, August 9, 2012
A limited number of travel scholarships available for elected officials
Contact John Nothdurft at [email protected] for more information.
The April issue of School Reform News reports that enrollment in the Milwaukee Parental Choice program – still the largest voucher program in the nation – grew 12 percent in 2011 after Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation to expand education options for Wisconsin families.