Posts Tagged ‘regulation’

An Idea a Day: A Roadmap to Freedom

An Idea a Day: A Roadmap to Freedom

Every other year, the Beacon Center publishes “An Idea a Day” for each remaining legislative day of the current General Assembly. This year’s publication offers a roadmap to freedom, providing 57 ideas for the second session of the 108th General Assembly. Click here to download the full roadmap, or scroll through the ideas below, broken down by category.

Taxes

Repeal the Hall Income Tax on stocks and bonds, alleviating the burden on low-income retirees and inviting wealthy individuals to move into Tennessee to invest in job growth.
Contact Justin Owen at justin@beacontn.org

Scale back corporate taxes on all businesses, which are per capita the highest of all bordering states.
Read “Corporate Welfare Infographic” at bit.ly/16EIq67

Place a limit on the growth of local property taxes unless approved by voters via referendum.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Cut the Real Estate Transfer Tax by one-third, ending the unnecessary state purchasing of wetlands and forestland.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 9 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Review and eliminate all taxes and fees that cost more to enforce than is collected in revenue therefrom.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Eliminate the cattle tax that funds the Beef Promotion Board campaign, which uses tax dollars to urge Tennesseans to eat more beef.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 6 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Spending

Base the state Copeland Cap on population plus inflation growth, limiting government spending and allowing Tennesseans to keep more money in their pockets.
Watch Justin Owen’s Copeland Cap Testimony (46 minute mark) at bit.ly/17f6D8e

Make the Copeland Cap more stringent by requiring a supermajority vote of the legislature to “bust” the cap.
Watch Justin Owen’s Copeland Cap Testimony (46 minute mark) at bit.ly/17f6D8e

Enact a provision that will automatically return surplus revenue to taxpayers after topping off the rainy day fund.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 24 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Establish an independent spending commission to recommend spending cuts to the governor and legislature.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 24 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Require a waiting period of 72 hours between the time in which an appropriations or revenue-related bill is introduced and a vote is taken.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 12 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Get the government out of the golf course business by selling state-owned golf courses or leasing courses that operate at a loss.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 7 at bit.ly/17CQqty

End the failed switchgrass-to-ethanol program that has cost taxpayers more than $60 million yet has failed to become commercially viable.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 17 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Education

Allow parents across Tennessee to take a portion of the funding already spent on their child and send their child to the school of their choice.
Read “The Choice is Ours” at bit.ly/YtQcLw

Grade all public and charter schools based on academic performance and learning gains with easy-to-understand A, B, C, D, or F grades.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 25 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Ensure that school districts meet the national standard for the percentage of spending that goes into the classroom, curbing out-of-control administrative costs.
Read “Following the Money” at bit.ly/16WFC4G

Create alternative teacher certification paths, encouraging successful business and community leaders to enter the teaching profession.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 27 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Refuse efforts by President Obama to expand Pre-Kindergarten, a costly program that has failed to provide long-term benefits to Tennessee children.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 26 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Remove roadblocks to online and blended learning opportunities that provide additional options for children of various backgrounds.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 29 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Healthcare

Refuse the unaffordable and immoral push to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Read “Medicaid Expansion Infographic” at bit.ly/XEhyBH

Allow Tennesseans to purchase health insurance from any state in the country.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at bit.ly/1b9QKiJ

Repeal laws that favor employer-based insurance over individually-purchased insurance that has more portability, and urge Congress to do the same.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at bit.ly/1b9QKiJ

Permit young Tennesseans to purchase more affordable “mandate light” health insurance plans.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at bit.ly/1b9QKiJ

Provide state employees with a consumer-driven health insurance plan option with a health savings account in lieu of their current plan.
Contact Justin Owen at justin@beacontn.org

Reform medical licensing and scope of practice laws to address doctor shortages and expand Tennesseans’ choices when seeking healthcare services.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at bit.ly/1b9QKiJ

Repeal protectionist Certificate of Need laws that limit access to healthcare services.
Read “A Cure for What Ails Us” at bit.ly/1b9QKiJ

Property Rights

Prohibit the forced sale of property via eminent domain.
Read “Eminent Domain No Excuse for Property Abuse” at bit.ly/1aa7rJE

Require approval of local legislative bodies before unelected and unaccountable agencies can take private property using eminent domain.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 57 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Treat regulations on private property as “takings” and provide property owners with compensation when regulations diminish the value of their property.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 58 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Give existing owners an option to receive equity stake in a redevelopment entity when their property is taken as part of a redevelopment plan.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Require government entities to follow foreclosure proceedings rather than use property condemnation in order to better protect property owners.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Permit a referendum of voters when their property is subject to annexation by a nearby city.
Contact Justin Owen at justin@beacontn.org

Regulation

Reduce the number of occupations requiring a license, currently at 111, which makes Tennessee one of the most heavily regulated states in the nation.
Read Justin Owen’s Economic Liberty Act testimony at bit.ly/vJr82i

Enact an economic liberty act requiring the government to prove that all new occupational regulations directly impact the health, safety, and welfare of Tennesseans.
Read Justin Owen’s Economic Liberty Act testimony at bit.ly/vJr82i

Eliminate titling acts that require Tennesseans to obtain government permission to use certain occupational titles.
Read Justin Owen’s Economic Liberty Act testimony at bit.ly/vJr82i

Allow Tennesseans to purchase wine in grocery stores, eliminating the liquor industry’s monopoly over the product.
Read “Drunk with Power” at bit.ly/18aijnL

Target methamphetamine production rather than impeding the purchase of cold medications by law-abiding citizens, and prohibit local governments from restricting such sales.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Prohibit unelected government regulatory boards from increasing occupational fees without approval by the legislature.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Eliminate the minimum wage and prohibit local “living wages” that make it more difficult for many Tennesseans to find gainful employment.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Prohibit local governments from imposing new mandates on businesses that are inconsistent with and more stringent than state law.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Government Reform

Reform asset forfeiture laws to eliminate any financial incentives for law enforcement to seize private property.
Watch “NC5 Investigates: Policing for Profit” at bit.ly/lRyTY6

Allow the private sector to assume responsibility for non-essential government services that could easily be handled outside of state government.
Contact Justin Owen at justin@beacontn.org

Prohibit local governments from using taxpayer money to lobby the state or federal government.
Read “The Dangerous Cycle of Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying” at bit.ly/18ahjzU

Change the rules of the game so that the individual incentives of judges, lawyers, juries, and other legal actors motivate them to act in the larger social interest.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Enact reforms that punish the most violent criminals and provide a pathway back into society for rehabilitated offenders.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Amend the current policy that allows the Supreme Court to choose the Attorney General, thus removing the conflict of interest for selecting our state’s top lawyer.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Prohibit state and local governments from using tax dollars to fund failed experiments to provide high-speed Internet to the general public.
Read “We Need to Shine the Light on Electric Utilities” at bit.ly/1gu2SyZ

Enact a law that provides for stronger financial management systems in local governments.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 25 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Transportation

Refuse to force taxpayers to fund local mass transit projects with state taxpayer money.
Contact Lindsay Boyd at lindsay@beacontn.org

Replace the current gasoline tax with a more responsible vehicle miles traveled tax, with protections in place to prevent privacy infringements, to fund transportation infrastructure.
Read “There’s More than One Way to Pave a Road” at bit.ly/1cGpxrh

Allow private investments in infrastructure through public-private partnerships, thus increasing transportation funding and reducing the burdens on taxpayers.
Read “There’s More than One Way to Pave a Road” at bit.ly/1cGpxrh

Convert existing HOV lanes to high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes, allowing unaccompanied drivers to pay a fee to use the under-utilized lanes.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 50 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Cronyism

End corporate handouts to select businesses, which allow government to pick winners and losers.
Read “Corporate Welfare Infographic” at bit.ly/16EIq67

End all special treatment of alternative energy that distorts market conditions and puts taxpayer money at risk.
Read “Legislators’ Guide to the Issues,” p. 47 at bit.ly/1ep6v8w

Eliminate financial incentives to the film industry that provide no real benefit to Tennesseans and instead send taxpayer money to Hollywood producers.
Read “Corporate Welfare Infographic” at bit.ly/16EIq67

Terminate the state’s Greenbelt Law that provides massive tax breaks to the wealthy while purporting to protect farmers.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 15 at bit.ly/17CQqty

Eliminate the costly TNInvestco program that has failed to live up to its promises of substantial job creation despite a significant cost to taxpayers.
Read “2013 Tennessee Pork Report,” p. 5 at bit.ly/17CQqty

December 3rd, 2013 | Feature, Policy

A Cure for What Ails Us

A Cure for What Ails Us

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee today released a policy report outlining several state-led solutions to our nation’s healthcare woes. Over the next few months, Tennessee officials will have to make vital determinations about the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

Among the decisions confronting policymakers include whether to expand Medicaid and to set up a state health insurance exchange. The report, “A Cure for What Ails Us: State-Led Healthcare Solutions to Fix Washington’s Botches,” addresses these two key issues.

The report outlines Beacon’s reasoning for calling on Gov. Bill Haslam and state lawmakers to reject an unaffordable and immoral expansion of Medicaid. And while establishing a state health insurance exchange may sound like the right solution in theory, the report reveals the serious consequences of such action for taxpayers.

“Our report articulates the negative effects of implementing PPACA in Tennessee, which will contribute to the degradation of the doctor-patient relationship and the quality of healthcare for our citizens,” said Beacon Center CEO Justin Owen.

Even if PPACA is repealed as some candidates for public office have pledged to do, there will still be a strong need for free market reforms to fix our broken healthcare system. “A Cure for What Ails Us” offers a path forward with solutions to drive down the cost of health insurance and healthcare, thereby expanding access to both for all Tennesseans.

“Rather than welcoming PPACA’s one-size-fits-all approach to place even more barriers between patients and doctors, state lawmakers should shield Tennesseans from the law’s harmful effects and work instead to implement free market reforms that will actually improve their access to quality healthcare,” stated Trey Moore, the Beacon Center’s director of policy.

“A Cure for What Ails Us” breaks down the issues facing our healthcare system through in-depth policy discussions and real life experiences, telling the stories of Tennesseans who are already coping with and preparing for the effects of PPACA.

The report can be viewed online at: http://www.beacontn.org/wp-content/uploads/A-Cure-For-What-Ails-Us_web.pdf.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan research organization dedicated to providing concerned citizens and public leaders with expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. The Center’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.

###

October 17th, 2012 | Feature, Policy

Taxi regulations harm consumers, cost jobs

The Metro Nashville Transportation Licensing Commission, which regulates taxicabs, limos, sedans, and horse-drawn carriages, recently came under fire after it was revealed that its inspectors were posing as police officers. Beacon Center research associate Steven Strausbaugh pens an article in today’s Tennessean calling for the elimination of the commission and a return to free market principles in the local transportation business.

by Steven Strausbaugh

The Nashville Metro Transportation Licensing Commission is taking away our freedom of choice. The commission is responsible for regulating taxicabs, limousines, and horse carriage transport in Nashville.

If left to their own devices, consumers in the free market would decide naturally the optimal number of drivers, appropriate rates, and preferred services across the board for higher transportation. The existence of a centralized authority making decisions that should be left to citizens is currently preventing the local economy from growing.

Centralized planning disrupts natural market forces and cannot effectively adjust to market demands. For example, if Nashville consumers demand 1,200 cabs as a result of the new convention center, what happens when the Transportation Licensing Commission only authorizes 700 cabs?

That leaves 500 citizens desiring to work without jobs, something that is an ongoing problem in our country. Those are 500 jobs that would be created if the market was allowed to operate without government interference.

The market demand for cabs fluctuates naturally. The commission puts a ceiling on the upper threshold of cabs and prevents consumers from deciding how many cabs are necessary.

Taxicabs are subject to massive amounts of inspections and licensing fees, and the commission prevents the taxi industry from setting its own prices. Similarly, limo and sedan companies now have a government-mandated minimum fare they can charge – set at a whopping $45 per ride. The commission has an annual budget of more than $450,000, which is not fulfilled by revenue generated from fees within the industry, putting the burden directly on taxpayers.

The proper process to determine the amount of cabs and price of rides in a free society would allow for markets to decide what is best and arrange itself in an appropriate fashion.

To make matters worse, the commission’s director recently resigned amidst a controversy involving his employees presenting badges emblazoned with the words “Metro Police,” which is likely illegal since they are not police officers.

A Huffington Post report on this incident says the Transportation Licensing Commission was conducting stakeouts in unmarked vehicles and using blue lights to make traffic stops of limo and sedan drivers.

Tennessee law makes impersonating a police officer a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months in jail and fines. This incident is further proof that the commission is out-of-control and unaccountable to the very consumers it claims to protect.

The commission has proven to be a miserable failure. It’s time to let go of the Transportation Licensing Commission and let consumers, not bureaucrats, call the shots when it comes to hired transportation.

Steven Strausbaugh is a research associate at the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a Nashville-based think tank dedicated to changing lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.

 

July 20th, 2012 | Commentary