Budget and Tax
Heartland Daily Podcast – Leonard Gilroy: Privatizing Public Needs
In this edition of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Jesse Hathaway, managing editor of Budget & Tax News, speaks with Leonard Gilroy at the Reason Foundation about the benefits of privatization. Gilroy talks about how privatization—allowing private-sector businesses to compete with government agencies to best serve the public’s needs—helps everyone. He says privatization provides many people with public goods and services, such as trash collection and recreational parks, more efficiently than most governments. When businesses compete with governments to provide cost efficient, high quality services, everyone is better off.
Energy and Environment
Research & Commentary: Are Solar Subsidies Leading to a New Bubble?
Although many industries in the United States have received substantial subsidies from the federal government, few have drawn as much criticism as the solar energy industry. While the renewable power industry as a whole is dependent on subsidies and laws requiring consumers to purchase its products, the solar power industry is more reliant on the government than even wind power.
In this Heartland Institute Research & Commentary, Senior Policy Analyst Matthew Glans discusses a new report from the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), which found the solar industry’s reliance on government handouts and risky financing schemes is creating conditions similar to other damaging, artificially created asset bubbles. The TPA report finds billions of taxpayer dollars wasted, billions more in financial investment and misallocated capital lost, homeowners unable to sell their homes due to bad solar lease contracts, and solar technology companies facing financial ruin if sales do not improve, leading to investor losses.
Number of Homeschoolers Increases Nationally
This story from School Reform News reports a booming home school market. “Parents choosing to home school their kids remain part of a growing movement across the country. According to a recent report in the National Catholic Register, the number of families now practicing some type of home education grew by 62 percent between 2003 and 2012. The report cites U.S. Department of Education statistics highlighting the swell of homeschoolers, as well as their reasons for seeking an alternative to traditional schools. Parents are choosing this course of action based on a variety of motives, including many that are significantly different from those in years past. Fewer today choose homeschooling for religious reasons, while more feel the quality of their child’s education will be better because of homeschooling … compared to traditional schooling, according to the report.”
Legislative Pulse: Oregon
Health Care News interviews Rep. Julie Parrish (R-Tualatin), a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, about Obamacare and the Cadillac tax. According to Parrish, “The Cadillac tax is an excise tax on health care plans the federal government deems as being too generous. The tax goes into effect on January 1, 2018, and it will affect individual plans costing more than $10,200 and family plans costing more than $27,500. The tax is assessed on insurance companies, who will most certainly pass the tax through to the [policy holder’s] employer, including public employers. In a state such as Oregon, where public employee health care plans are very generous, public employers at all levels of government will likely be subject to this tax in 2018 if they do nothing.”
From Our Free-Market Friends
Study: Common Core Violates Federal Law
A new research paper by the Pioneer Institute, a free-market think tank based in Massachusetts, says Common Core standards, along with two testing consortia responsible for administering tests aligned with the standards, are in violation of multiple federal laws. The Pioneer Institute cites the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, the General Education Provisions Act of 1970, and the Department of Education Organization Act of 1970, which they say forbids federal control over curriculum and instruction. The goal of the research paper is to show why the federal government cannot favor a particular set of curriculum-content standards, according to its own established laws.