Policy Documents

The Leaflet - PA Bests WV, OH for 'Cracker' Plant

March 16, 2012

Last week, The Heartland Institute held a conference call on the policy issues related to the booming natural gas industry. Heartland’s energy and environment legislative specialist, John Monaghan, and James M. Taylor, Heartland’s senior fellow for environment issues and managing editor of Environment & Climate News, discussed hydraulic fracturing, its environmental impacts, and state efforts to assess impact fees.

Then just yesterday, after months of public courtship and deliberation, Royal Dutch Shell announced it would build its $3.2 billion “cracker” facility in Pennsylvania. The company had been considering Ohio and West Virginia as other possible destinations for the facility. The American Chemistry Council estimates the facility could attract up to 17,000 new jobs to Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, other states, like New York, which have placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, will continue to lose out on the huge economic benefits to states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia if they continue to impose arbitrary road blocks on this or any other industry.

The Heartland Institute has three recommendations for states looking at regulating hydraulic fracturing.

- Regulation should be based on the best-available science and not on unfounded claims driven by fear and misinformation

- Regulation should be inclusive and take advantage of voluntary initiatives

- Regulation should happen on an expedited time-frame to realize the economic benefits to improve the jobs situation while the nation struggles with high unemployment

If you would like a Heartland expert to come to your state to talk about hydraulic fracturing, please contact John Monaghan at 312/377-4000 or jmonaghan@heartland.org.

This week’s edition of The Leaflet features research and commentary addressing stadium subsidies, PPACA, teacher tenure, telemarketers, and workers comp.


John Nothdurft
Director - Government Relations
The Heartland Institute



Lead Story

Research & Commentary: Hydraulic Fracturing Impact Fees 
Environment & Climate

Hydraulic fracturing has enabled profitable extraction of oil and gas in diverse areas of the country. As a result, many states sitting atop the country’s shale formations are reconsidering the way they tax these resources, to fill budget holes. This Research & Commentary discusses the experience of states dealing with this issue and differing viewpoints on how such a structure should best be implemented.



What We're Working On 

Policy Brief - Sport Stadium Madness: Is Fan Ownership the Answer?
Budget & Tax

This new Policy Brief proposes fan ownership of teams as a solution to “sports stadium madness.”

Author Joseph Bast, president of the institute, notes, “sports stadium subsidies impose a huge cost to society. Unearned rent being held onto by professional sports franchises, made possible largely by public subsidies for new sports stadiums and arenas, is a huge injustice and deadweight loss to the nation.”

“Unearned rent,” a reference to the work of economist Henry George, is created whenever private individuals use force or fraud to restrict competition, Bast notes. The solution, he says, is to remove the privileges that enable individuals and corporations to generate and keep unearned rent.

PPACA Video Series: What's Really in the Law?
Health Care

In a post on Somewhat Reasonable, Legislative Specialist Kendall Antekeier highlights a video series on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Created by Dr. Jill Vecchio of Docs4Patient Care, the seven-part video series is aimed at educating all Americans on what really is inside the complex piece of legislation.

Research & Commentary: Loosening Teacher TenureEducation

Several states, including Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, South Dakota, and Virginia, are considering making teacher tenure more difficult to obtain or replacing it with rolling contracts.

Teacher unions argue tenure is necessary to protect K-12 teachers from being arbitrarily fired. They also suggest without tenure administrators facing budget shortfalls would fire the teachers who earn the most money instead of the least-effective or least-needed teachers.


Telemarketer Regs Show Government's Job-Killing Ability

More than a few Americans consider telemarketers, phone text spammers, and assorted other marketing riffraff as huge sources of annoyance. Sure, telemarketers are a pain to most people, but the federal government’s crackdown on them shows just how powerful government’s job-killing ability really is.


Research & Commentary: Workers' Compensation Reform in Illinois (Update)
Finance, Insurance and Real Estate

Illinois has the third-highest workers’ compensation insurance rates of any state in the United States. In 2011, the Illinois General Assembly passed a series of reforms to the state’s workers’ comp system, designed to address important cost-drivers. The reforms included addressing high medical costs by reducing fee schedule rates, creating preferred provider networks for physicians who treat workers’ comp patients, and requiring use of American Medical Association guidelines for evaluating workplace injuries.

Despite these reforms, some of which are still being implemented, Illinois employers still pay more for workers’ compensation coverage than employers in any other state in the Midwest. This Research & Commentary, by Legislative Specialist Matthew Glans, examines workers’ comp insurance in Illinois and the effectiveness of recent reforms.



Legislative Forum

The Heartland Institute has been delivering exactly what state legislators need since 1984.

Now for as little as $59 you can join more than 200 elected officials and begin receiving even more great benefits from The Heartland Institute.




Heartland's Emerging Issues Call

Topic: Parent Trigger

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 1:00 pm EST

Phone number: 218/936-6581

Pin: 37661

RSVP by emailing Robin Knox at rknox@heartland.org

Dealing with Catastrophes
Could Onshore Reserving Make a Difference?

Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC, Room 122

12:00 Noon, Friday March 23, 2012

RSVP to dbailin@heartland.org or call 202/525-5717

Free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.


Save the date!!

Heartland’s Emerging Issues Forum
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Chicago, IL
Travel scholarships for elected officials are available

Want Heartland to host a capitol forum in your state? Contact John Nothdurft at jnothdurft@heartland.org



Policy Newspaper

Budget & Tax News

The March issue of Budget & Tax News reports the findings of an independent panel named to evaluate California’s plans for high-speed rail. The group concluded the state’s proposed high-speed rail system “represents immense financial risk.”



Quick Hits

Citizens, TWIA Both Under New Management

British Author Matt Ridley Confronts Wind Power's Limitations

Viola Davis and Maggie Gyllenhaal in "Parent Trigger" Film