Tennessee’s Blackburn and Green Take Biden to Task for 20-Year Mortgage-Rate High

Republican federal legislators from Tennessee blasted the Biden administration yesterday in light of the news that mortgage-interest rates have reached a two-decade high. 

Government-sponsored mortgage corporation Freddie Mac reported this week that the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage — the option most homebuyers choose — hit 7.08 percent, exceeding seven percent for the first time since Spring 2002. The rate was 6.94 percent last week.

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Georgia’s Kemp Receives B Grade for Fiscal and Tax Policies

The Cato Institute gave Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp a B on its 2022 Fiscal Policy Report Card of governors, citing his tax cuts as a reason for the grade.

The libertarian think tank also gave Kemp, a Republican, a B on its 2020 report card. The analysis grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited-government viewpoint; the higher the grade, the more a governor has cut taxes and spending.

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Fiscal Policy Report Card Gives Pennsylvania Low Grade

In a recent ranking of America’s governors, Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf ranked at the bottom of the pack – 44th for his fiscal policies.

An annual fiscal policy report card from the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, graded the nation’s governors “from a limited-government perspective.” In their grading that emphasized lowering taxes and cutting spending, Wolf earned an “F.”

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Cato Institute Gives Governor Bill Lee ‘D’ Grade on State Fiscal Policy Report Card

The Cato Institute released its 2022 Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors on Wednesday, which grades the governors of all 50 U.S. states on their fiscal policies from a limited-government perspective.

According to its website, the Cato Institute is an American libertarian think tank that “promotes an American public policy based on individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peaceful international relations.”

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Puskaric to Ask Pennsylvania Agencies to Ditch Social Media Platforms That Censor

Pennsylvania state Rep. Mike Puskaric (R-Jefferson Hills) indicated Wednesday he will urge state agencies to ditch social-media platforms he says engage in censorship.

In a memorandum asking fellow representatives to cosponsor his upcoming resolution, the Pittsburgh-area legislator argued that especially large information-technology companies violate the state and federal constitutions when they make politicized publishing decisions. He insisted government institutions and officials should respond by cancelling their accounts on such sites and signing onto more permissive online venues instead.

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Legislators Announce Formation of ‘Train Travel Caucus’ in Support of Expanding Taxpayer-Subsidized Amtrak into Tennessee

During the House floor session Thursday, legislators announced the formation of the Train Travel Caucus in the Tennessee General Assembly, in support of expanding the taxpayer-subsidized National Railroad Passenger Corporation, known as Amtrak, into Tennessee.

The announcement came from a Democrat lawmaker, Representative Jason Powell (D-Nashville), who is the House sponsor of HB2278. The bill directs the Tennessee Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations (TACIR) to study within its existing resources the cost, feasibility and infrastructure of expanding railroad passenger service in the state through the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak.

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Gov. Ducey Pushing Democratic-Sponsored Bill to Create an Earned Income Tax Credit in Arizona

Sean Bowie and Doug Ducey

Arizona doesn’t have an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which mostly gives straight cash to those who don’t earn enough money to obtain a state tax refund, but Gov. Doug Ducey wants to change that. He is supporting SB 1018, sponsored by Senator Sean Bowie (D-Phoenix), which would create one, joining 30 other states which have adopted one patterned after the federal EITC. 

A state EITC would take $74 million from the state’s coffers annually and give it to low earners. In order to qualify, income levels would face the same ceilings as the federal credit. Both families and singles are eligible, with a family of four children earning $20,000 maxing out the most with $325.

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As His First Cabinet Pick, Youngkin Names School Data Guru Aimee Guidera to Be Secretary of Education

Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin announced that Aimee Rogstad Guidera will serve as Secretary of Education. During the No Child Left Behind era, Guidera founded the Data Quality Campaign (DQC) which focuses on better data gathering to help improve school quality.

In his Monday press release, Youngkin said, “Aimee will be a critical partner in restoring expectations of excellence; overseeing a record education budget to invest in teachers, facilities and special education; rolling out innovation lab and charter schools; and standing for a curriculum that prepares Virginia’s children for a dynamic future and removes politics from the classroom.”

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Ohio Ranks Poorly in Terms of Freedom, Report Says

Ohioans are not as free as much of the rest of the nation, according to a new report released by the Cato Institute. And things are getting worse.

The report calls Ohio “thoroughly mediocre when it comes to freedom,” ranking the Buckeye State above average in fiscal policy but poorly on both regulatory and personal freedom issues. Overall, the report ranked the state 31st in the nation in terms of freedom, a spot lower than last year and two below its peak in 2016.

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CATO: Michigan Seventh Freest State in the Nation

Michigan ranked 7th nationwide in the CATO Institute’s 2021 Freedom in the States report.  

The rankings use 230 metrics to rank states on how their policies promote freedom in fiscal, regulatory and personal realms. The Wolverine state advanced two spots from 2018 and four since 2016.

Michigan’s tax burden is 5.9% of adjusted personal income, while government debt is now below average at 15.9% of income.

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Report: Florida Named the Second-Freest State in U.S.

Only a state with the motto “Live Free or Die” is freer than the Sunshine State. 

That’s according to the nonprofit CATO Institute’s annual Freedom in the 50 States report, which compares states based on different aspects of autonomy and choice in key policy areas. The report uses hundreds of variables to gauge states on fiscal, regulatory and personal terms.

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At Conference, Northam Says Virginia Is Ideal for Offshore Wind Industry

RICHMOND, Virginia — Governor Ralph Northam and Dominion Energy CEO Robert Blue announced that the Port of Virginia will lease 72 acres of the deep-water Portsmouth Marine Terminal for staging and pre-assembly of Dominion’s offshore wind project.

“This announcement is yet another milestone toward making Virginia the national leader in offshore wind power,” Northam said. “The Commonwealth and Dominion Energy are standing together to promote clean energy, reduce carbon emissions, create jobs, and build a new American industry on the East Coast of the United States.”

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Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute and Author of Unschooled Kerry McDonald Talks About the Rise of Homeschooling and Debunks Myths

Tuesday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed author and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute Kerry McDonald to the newsmakers line to talk about her book Unschooled, homeschooling and the ever-changing way people are looking at educating their children in the home.

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Rural Oregon Counties Want to Secede from State to Join ‘Greater Idaho’

Conservative Oregonians are trying to leave the increasingly left-leaning state all together to preserve their values – but not by moving elsewhere. A group called Move Oregon’s Border is leading an initiative to have Oregon’s rural counties secede from the rest of the state and join Idaho, Fox News reports.

Mike McCarter, 72,  a lifelong Oregonian, retired plant nursery worker and firearms instructor, has been leading the separatist movement for almost two years. He said he and many others are eager to “get out from underneath the chokehold of Northwestern Oregon.”

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New Studies Explore Good, Bad, and Ugly on Tennessee’s Fiscal Health

Tennessee Capital building

Two different organizations released good and bad news Tuesday about Tennessee’s fiscal health. The Washington, D.C.-based Cato Institute called out Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam for “substantial spending increases in recent years.” The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, meanwhile, ranked Tennessee in the top five of the 50 states…

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Cato Institute Expert: Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s Mass Transit Plan ‘A Bad Investment’

A senior fellow with the Cato Institute is the latest expert to criticize Nashville Mayor Megan Barry’s $5.2 billion mass transit plan. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank based in Washington, D.C. Barry wants to raise taxes to pay for a light-rail network, improved and expanded bus service,…

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