Policy Documents

The Leaflet - National School Choice Week

January 19, 2012

On Saturday, January 21, National School Choice Week 2012 will kickoff in New Orleans, Louisiana. This event will lead off a week (January 22–28) during which tens of thousands of Americans will shine a spotlight on the need for effective education options for children. Many states and cities proclaimed National School Choice Week last year and we encourage you to have your governors and mayors join in that proclamation this year.

The Heartland Institute is an integral planning partner for National School Choice Week, and we’re thrilled to help promote the kickoff and other National School Choice Week events across the country and raise awareness about school choice.

If you can’t make it to The Big Easy for the big kickoff we hope you can attend local events in your state. For a full listing of school choice events click here: http://www.schoolchoiceweek.com/events.

This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing casino development, K-12 for-profit competition, renewable power, Colorado’s health insurance exchange, the minimum wage, and the Universal Service Fund.


John Nothdurft
Director - Government Relations
The Heartland Institute



Lead Story 

Research & Commentary: Economic Impact of Casino Development
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate

In this Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans discusses the economic development effects of casinos from several perspectives.

During its 2012 session, the Florida legislature will consider bills to allow the construction of large destination casino resorts in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Gambling is already widespread in Florida: animal racing, jai-alai, and other smaller pari-mutuel enterprises cater to locals, and one existing casino resort, owned by an Indian tribe, attracts a limited number of out-of-state visitors.

Proponents of the legislation contend it will bring about significant growth in Florida’s economy. They cite research supporting the notion casinos foster economic development and new jobs while attracting tourists, so important to the state’s economy. They also say there’s very little evidence casinos increase crime.

Opponents of the gaming bill argue the new “mega casinos” would funnel all the benefits to the state government while the local communities would be stuck addressing the enormous traffic, infrastructure, law enforcement, and social costs of the new resorts. They also note that in places such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City—where gaming is already very widespread—new casinos can end up getting most of their business by taking it from existing gambling enterprises.



What We're Working On

Research & Commentary: For-Profit Competition in K-12 Education

Increasing numbers of for-profit service providers have begun to enter the education sector, performing tasks from collecting and analyzing standardized test data to providing tutoring and bus services. As legislatures have voted to give school districts more options, some defenders of public school monopolies have begun to attack this as “corporatizing” education.

Renewable Power Driving Up Massachusetts Prices

The 2008 Green Communities Act (GCA) will cost Massachusetts residents more than $4 billion dollars over the next four years, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Steve Poftak, director of the Shamie Center for Better Government at the Pioneer Institute in Boston, says “if legislators had known in advance the true costs of the Green Communities Act, they would have approached the issue differently.”

Research & Commentary: Colorado Health Insurance Exchange
Health Care

In this Research & Commentary, Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier discusses the state of Colorado’s decision to accept federal funding to implement a health insurance exchange. She says the move is a step towards complying with a law that is potentially unconstitutional and writes, “As noted by the Citizen’s Council for Health Freedom, ‘the reality is that control over the exchanges will reside in Washington, not the states—it is forming a federal exchange with a veneer of state flexibility.’”

Podcast - Doug and Polly White: Minimum Wage Just One Hindrance to Hiring
Budget & Tax

In this Heartland podcast, Steve Stanek, managing editor of Budget & Tax News, interviews business management consultants Doug and Polly White, who say San Francisco can expect some jobs to leave and others to disappear altogether because the minimum wage there climbed to $10.24 an hour on January 1. The minimum wage is just one of many hindrances to hiring that local, state, and federal governments have created, they say.

Heartland Institute Tech Expert Reacts to FCC's 'Lifeline' Proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed reforming the Lifeline program that is part of the Universal Service Fund to provide telephone service to low-income Americans. The chairman wants the FCC to approve expanding the program to include broadband service and establish a national database of Lifeline users to track who is receiving the government aid.




Heartland's Emerging Issues Call

Topic: State Chemical Regulation

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm EST

Heartland Policy Advisor Rich Trzupek, author of the book Regulators Gone Wild: How the EPA Is Ruining American Industry, will be our featured speaker.

Phone number: 218/936-6581

Pin: 37661

RSVP by emailing Robin Knox at rknox@heartland.org

Did you miss our call about health insurance exchanges?

You can listen to it here



Policy Newspaper


The January 2012 issue of FIRE Policy News reports on the looming bankruptcy – or will it be a takeover by the state? – of Harrisburg, capital of Pennsylvania. The city’s finances are a mess, at least in part due to a trash incinerator project that doesn’t pay for itself and the city’s purchase of Wild West artifacts for a museum observers say will never be built.


Quick Hits

This Winter's Weirdly Warm Weather Explained 

FIRE Podcast: J.P. Freire: Cordray appointment is White Housepower grab

Hoover Institute: When Bureaucrats Stymie Science

The Economist: Heads I win, tails you pay