“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”

– Revolt Against Regionalism

Reason Associate Editor Jesse Walker explains why Wisconsin’s 4-year-old
law requiring all its local governments to develop “comprehensive
land-use plans” by 2010 is creating a backlash at the grassroots level
and in the state Legislature.
http://www.reason.com/links/links080603.shtml

– Measuring Up With Outsourcing

In the lexicon of civil service, outsourcing is too often a dirty word,
though it shouldn’t be. In this commentary, which appeared in the
Baltimore Sun, Reason Director of Privatization Geoffrey Segal
demonstrates how outsourcing helps government by allowing it to focus on
core practices. Moreover, in a budget crunch outsourcing can help
prevent cuts to key, quality-of-life services.
http://www.rppi.org/outsourcingmaryland.html

– Mandatory Universal Health Insurance?

That’s the intriguing proposal being pushed by the New America
Foundation. Before rejecting it out of hand, Reason Science
Correspondent Ronald Bailey points out that it may be a second-best
alternative for relieving the growing political pressure to create some
sort of nationalized single-payer health care system modeled on the
nearly bankrupt and increasingly shabby health care schemes in Canada
and Western Europe.
http://www.reason.com/rb/rb080603.shtml

Above articles are quoted from Reason Foundation, Reason Alert 8/7/03
http://www.reason.com

– CAHI Applauds Senator Santorum

Fair Care Legislation Will Help Cover Uninsured

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Last week U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) introduced the
Fair Care for the Uninsured Act of 2003. This important legislation, if
enacted, will provide a refundable tax credit that the uninsured can use
to buy health insurance.

“Simply put, most people are uninsured because they don’t have the money
to buy health insurance,” stated CAHI Director Dr. Merrill Matthews.
“Legislation like this helps them afford the insurance plan that is best
suited for them. It’s far more efficient and practical to let them get
what they want, rather than letting the government tell them what they
need.”

The Fair Care legislation provides tax credits to the uninsured so they
can purchase private health insurance; the legislation also establishes
state health insurance safety-net programs. The tax credits provide
$1,000 for an individual, $2,000 for a couple and an additional $500 per
child, up to $3,000 per family. Eligible individuals are limited to
those who do not receive subsidized health benefits through their
employer or governmental health plans.

Additionally, the bill would help to reduce premiums by permitting the
creation of Individual Membership Associations, through which
individuals can obtain basic coverage free of costly state benefit
mandates.

Matthews continued, “We applaud Senator Santorum for introducing
legislation that will expand the uninsureds’ access to affordable health
insurance ? and we urge the Senate to pass this legislation quickly.”

CAHI is a research and advocacy association of insurance carriers active
in the individual, small group, MSA and senior markets. CAHI’s
membership includes health insurance companies, small businesses,
physicians, actuaries, and insurance brokers. Since 1992, CAHI has been
an advocate for market-oriented solutions such as MSAs to the problems
in America’s health care system.

Above article is quoted from Council for Affordable Insurance Press
Release 8/5/03 http://www.cahi.org

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

Editor’s note: It seems to me there is a message in the policy brief
reprinted below. Message for who, you say? How about all (everyone) of
the city and state planners who bring us grandiose schemes like BRT
without a shred of evidence that it will perform as planned. And look:
No consequences to the planners for failure. None. They plan, you pay
— twice.

– A Critical Mess

By Jake Haulk, Ph.D. President

Eric Montarti, Policy Analyst

The announcement that Lord and Taylor’s Downtown Pittsburgh location is
among the 32 stores the May Company is closing is not good news for a
variety of groups. The store’s employees will have to begin job-hunting
in what remains a soft economy. Preservationist groups feel that the
destruction of the historic interior of the structure–an action they
opposed at the outset–was all for naught. The involvement of the Urban
Redevelopment Authority in the development through a loan of $11.75
million raises concerns about the quality of planning in the City.

A quote from the time of the store’s opening in October 2000 now
provides, ironically, a conclusion to the store’s short life. To wit:
“[Lord and Taylor] may offer the best opportunity yet to test the
theories on revitalizing Downtown retail”. The test has been taken.
How will policymakers react to the results?

We doubt that we will see any admission of fault on the part of the
planners or a realization that additional large-scale retail will have a
difficult time competing with other locations. Given the propensity for
policymakers and bureaucrats to “do something” in the name of Downtown
progress, it is likely that they will mobilize already limited resources
as soon as the next probable development opportunity presents itself.
That being said, there are some lessons that can be taken from the Lord
and Taylor episode:

First, don’t try to pick economic winners. In the last decade city
government has continuously ramped up the level of assistance to
targeted companies in the name of achieving desired economic outcomes.
But there is a wide gulf between good intentions and actual results.
Witness any of the multitude of urban renewal and redevelopment plans
hatched by the City or its related agencies over the past fifty years.
More often than not, such actions work only to create subsidized
competition with established businesses, which threatens the long-term
viability of the City’s economy.

Not surprisingly, one of the unintended consequences of the city’s use
of tax incentives to attract retail is that other communities are now
following suit. The list of new developments in the county that have
received favorable tax treatment is long and growing. Most of these
developments offer amenities that cannot be matched by Downtown’s
shopping district: free parking, an enclosed environment, convenience,
etc.

Second, don’t focus on retail. Trying to redevelop Downtown by
attracting low-wage jobs with no multiplier effect on the local economy
is a dead-end strategy. Real and sustainable economic growth depends on
value-added activity, which in turn spurs residential and income growth,
which then attracts retail and entertainment enterprises. Unfortunately, the city has turned this proven formula on its head, and has tried to use retail as its primary driver. A much better strategy would be to capitalize on the city’s advantages in finance, law, education, culture, and corporate headquarters.

Third, don’t expect a retail operation to succeed near a similar
retailer that has been subsidized and failed. After throwing money at a
new Lazarus store as a way to anchor a revitalized retail district in
Downtown, only to see that store under-perform, one would think that the
economic development community would take a different tack. But they
simply went for more of the same: another department store, up the
street from the subsidized Lazarus, and across the street from
Kaufmann’s, another May store. They were searching for a “critical
mass”: economic development’s brass ring of “a mix of stores,
restaurants, and entertainment” that would entice a variety of income
groups to Downtown. Instead, they threw good money after bad.

Even more egregious was the fact that the repayment of the loan to the
store was dependent on Lord and Taylor exceeding sales of $259
per-square foot of retail space, even though the chain’s national
average sale figure per-square foot fell from $232 to $222 from 1998 to
1999.

In short, the City’s planners and redevelopers need to scuttle their
heavy-handed approach and adopt a market-driven strategy.

For a formatted version of this brief, please click here:

http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org/briefs/vol3no38.pdf

Above article is quoted from Allegheny Institute for Public Policy,
Policy Briefs 8/12/03 http://www.alleghenyinstitute.org

”Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)”

“We’d all like to vote for the best man but he’s never a candidate.”
— Kin Hubbard

“Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially
denied.” — Otto von Bismarck

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ mailto:grassroot@hawaii.rr.com ”’See the Web site at:”’ http://www.grassrootinstitute.org/

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