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Pro Card Check Group Launches New Ad Campaign

Ian Scott on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 11:47:53 pm 

American Rights at Work, a group supporting Card Check legislation, is launching a $3 million television ad campaign today. The organization will run two 30 second spots featuring workers from various sectors including health care, hospitality, retail, and manufacturing.  One ad plays off the "hope" and "change" taglines from the Obama campaign. To see these ads go to: http://www.americanrightsatwork.org/

Card Check opposition groups are running TV ads of their own too.  UnionFacts.com has an ad that speculates on what school class elections would be like without secret ballots.  The Coalition for a Democratic Workplace (www.myprivateballot.com) is running a series of ads featuring Sopranos actor Vincent Curatola. 

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House Releases Stimulus Package Bill

Ian Scott on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 9:08:58 pm 

This morning house Democrats released an $825 billion economic stimulus package.  The bill, titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, includes both tax cuts and new spending in hopes of creating jobs and jump-starting the economy. 

Below is an excerpt from the New York Times:

"...the House version, unveiled on Thursday morning by the Appropriations Committee chairman, Representative David Obey, Democrat of Wisconsin, contains the broad parameters that are expected to remain in the final product — slightly more than 60 percent in new spending and just under 40 percent on tax cuts.

Some of the largest components include $87 billion for a temporary increase in aid to states for Medicaid costs; $79 billion in aid to local school districts and public colleges to prevent cutbacks; $90 billion in infrastructure spending, and $54 billion to encourage the production of energy from renewable sources."

Click HERE for more.

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Chamber Exec to Testify before Congress on Small Biz

Ian Scott on Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 5:51:04 pm 

Today, Ted Allison, President of the St. Joseph (MO) Area Chamber of Commerce, will testify before the House Small Business Committee.  His goal is to encourage Congress to consider directing stimulus or rescue money to small businesses.

"By far, the small business sector creates the most jobs and has the quickest turn around," Mr. Allison said.

For instance, he said, giving businesses an immediate tax credit for capital expenditures would spur investment and invigorate diverse portions of the economy more quickly than waiting for big businesses to plan a new direction.

Good luck to Ted as he carries the banner for small business and regional economies to Washington D.C.

To read the full article, click HERE.

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economic recovery/stimulus acts and the federal government

Dennis Lauver on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 at 4:36:37 am 

Dennis_lauver_webBy Dennis Lauver, President and CEO, Salina (KS) Area Chamber
Chair, ACCE Government Relations Division

In the spring of 1993, Congress was considering a $16.3 billion economic-stimulus package offered by President Clinton.  The idea was defeated and The White House regrouped for a smaller bill.

I remember something that happened in May 1993.  I was the lobbyist at a chamber of commerce for a community that had over 100 people traveling to Washington DC.  Three states were represented, which meant six senators and three members of the house.  Meetings with nine different elected people were on the agenda.

Every stop we made at the Hart/Russell/Dirksen senate office building was met by gloom and "well, since the economic stimulus package was defeated, we probably won't have money for your priority project."  Over in the Cannon/Rayburn and Longworth house office buildings we were told "well, since the economic stimulus package was defeated, we probably won't have money for your priority project."

The next day, we had a meeting at the Economic Development Administration offices.  Before we started out with our presentation, we were told "well, since the economic stimulus package was defeated, we probably won't have money for your priority project."

I remember people in delegation joking that it was amazing how the defeat of a $16.3 billion dollar bill was going to be blamed for around $50 billion dollars of spending not occurring.

It will be interesting to see how the Obama administration handles this "economic recovery" bill.

I still remember the reaction in the Economic Development Administration office when we explained that "we didn't really need any money.  We are asking for any money.  We just wanted to know if we could pay off a loan from the federal government ahead of schedule.  We had a loan to help with a small business incubator and we were ready to get out of debt."

You could hear a pin drop.

Finally, we were informed that a mechanism didn’t exist to pay off a loan ahead of schedule.  

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Regional Advocacy Coalition Expands

Ian Scott on Monday, January 12, 2009 at 10:45:47 pm 

This week two new chambers, the Cherokee County Chamber and the Greenwood Chamber, announced that they have joined the Upstate Chamber Coalition and Advocacy Group.  The group, who's other members include the Anderson, Greer, Greenville and Spartanburg Chambers of Commerce, pools resources to fund two full time lobbyist who work in Columbia and Washington on issues of regional importance to Upstate South Carolina.

Click HERE for the article from GoUpstate.com.

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Florida County Considers Camera Mandate

Ian Scott on Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 12:13:38 am 

County Commissioners in Broward County Florida are considering a provision that would require retailers to covertheir parking lots with surveillance cameras.  The proposal comes in response to public safety concerns after 3 high profile murders occurred in shopping center parking lots in less than one  year.  Below is an excerpt from the International Council of Shopping Center's monthly newsletter Shopping Centers Today:

These (murders) and other incidents sparked a Broward County Commission proposal, a revised version of which may be reintroduced this month, that would force shopping centers and stand-alone drugstores to blanket their parking lots with video surveillance. Similar measures have popped up elsewhere and will probably be mimicked by other cities and counties, says Rachel McGreevy, ICSC's director of state government relations. "We have seen these types of proposals in Baltimore County, Maryland, and New York City, for example, and there is one under consideration in Cutler Bay, Florida," McGreevy said. "Most of these require 100 percent [video] saturation of the parking lot, or a certain technical level for the cameras."

The Broward County provision, which required 24-hour surveillance systems capable of storing clear and well-lit images for at least 30 days, was tabled in November after a coalition of retailers and mall owners, including representatives of ICSC, assailed it as deeply flawed. "We had one expert tell our group that to do exactly what the county wanted would take one camera every other parking space at chest height," said David Zook, vice president of property management for the St. Petersburg-based Sembler Co., which owns two centers in the county. "One owner of a 500,000-square-foot center did a quick survey. It would have taken 900 cameras to pull it off."

This kind of a surveillance mandate could be extremely costly for businesses to implement, and some studies suggest that video surveillance is not a very effective crime deterrent.

"...victims' advocates, law enforcement agencies, local governments and business owners all agree on one thing: the need to fight crime. The argument centers on the best way to do it..."

Click HERE for the full article.

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Transportation Links

ACCE Webmaster on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 7:06:41 pm 

With the potential for a massive federal economic stimulus package on the horizon, everyone is thinking about transportation and infrastructure projects.  Here are a few organizations with resources and articles that might help.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
Who they are:“AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It represents all five transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, rail, and water. Its primary goal is to foster the development, operation, and maintenance of an integrated national transportation system.”

AASHTO's Stimulus Package Website
A collection of testimony, press releases and other information about the pending economic recovery package.  Their Ready-To-Go Survey shows quantity and dollar value of shovel ready highway projects for each state. 

Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE)
About: CFTE is “a non-partisan policy research center created to serve the needs of communities and transportation organizations nationwide. The purpose of the center and this website is to provide research materials, strategies and other forms of support on the benefits of public transportation.”

The site has in-depth information about current and past transportation ballot measures from across the country.  It also has a searchable state-by-state database of local transportation coalitions, collections of Op-Eds, reports and other transportation coalition support documents.

CFTE Blog: Modal Citizen
A forum for analysis and discussion of the latest in transportation ballot initiative news.

The American Public Transit Association
Mission Statement:  “To strengthen and improve public transportation, APTA serves and leads its diverse membership through advocacy, innovation and information sharing. APTA and its members and staff work to ensure that public transportation is available and accessible for all Americans in communities across the country.”

Sample Article: “As Gas Prices Drop, Public Transit Users Still Save More Than $8,300 Per Household”

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Warner on Card Check

ACCE Webmaster on Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 12:21:00 am 

Where does Virginia's newly elected Democratic Senator Mark Warner stand on Card Check?  The former Governor hasn't take a public stance, prompting the Richmond Times Dispatch to speculate that his silence on the issue could signal reservations.  Warner handily won the seat vacated by Republican John Warner (no relation) running as a centrist.

Click HERE for the article.

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Lake Champlain Chamber to Vermont, "Restructure Tax Code"

ACCE Webmaster on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 9:36:05 pm 

The Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce released their 2009 Government Affairs Priorities this week.  Among the times atop the 30 point list is an examination of Vermont's tax code.

According to Chamber President and CEO Tom Torti:

The state’s tax code “needs a deliberate, nonpartisan look,” he said.

To do the job right, Torti envisions five to 12 Vermonters, “folks who can rise above the partisanship,” working on a committee with leadership from an out-of-state fiscal expert.

The tax code, he said, asks too much from Vermont’s wealthiest 1 percent. “You can’t keep on taxing them the way you do,” he said.

Click HERE for the full article from the Burlington Free Press.

ACCE has uploaded several sample 2009 Chamber Legislative Agendas at PolicyClearinghouse.org.  If you are currently drafting your organization's agenda, the language used in these examples may help speed up the process. 

Click to link directly to the 2009 Legislative Agendas page.  You’ll have to be logged-in with your ACCE username and password to access the site.

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NC Passing its Own Stimulus Package

ACCE Webmaster on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 at 8:34:45 pm 

North Carolina Governor-elect Beverly Perdue announced yesterday that, while she is out to "claim every federal dollar we can lay our hands on and use efficiently," she is not prepared to wait for Washington's economic stimulus package.  She plans to meet with outgoing Governor Mike Easley and the Council of State today to approve borrowing more than $700 million to fund two dozen state construction projects.  The projects are estimated to create up to 20,000 new jobs in a state with a 7.9% unemployment rate.

Click HERE for the full article.

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