Thursday, March 26, 2009

Responding to Project Labor Agreement proponents

The Globe published our letter to the editor responding to Marc Erlich's defense of Project Labor Agreements.

For the record, here is the letter we sent to the Globe.

To the Editor:

In his op-ed defending Project Labor Agreements (“Unions a stabilizing force,” March 22), Mark Erlich claims that that our first 2003 study of Massachusetts school building projects had to be “completely revised” following “a stinging critique of the data, methodology, and conclusions.”

The fact is that we updated that study when several additional months of investigation permitted us to double the number of schools in our sample. In the second study, we found that PLAs added 14% to the minimum project bid, rather than 17%, as in our original study.

Somehow, Mr. Erlich did not feel compelled to recognize that finding, or our finding in subsequent studies, that, for school building projects in Connecticut and New York, PLAs increased bids by 17% and 20%, respectively.

PLAs and the Prevailing Wage Law are aimed at protecting the union monopoly over the minority of construction workers who belong to unions. The effect of that monopoly is limit the number of construction projects that can be undertaken and to limit the number of construction workers who can be hired – a result that gives the lie to Mr. Erlich’s hypocritical expression of sympathy for blue-collar workers.


David G. Tuerck
Executive Director
Beacon Hill Institute
Suffolk University

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cap-and-Trade Translates Into Job and Income Losses for California


Anyone who thinks that solving the climate change problem will generate economic benefits should think long and hard after reading the latest report from the Beacon Hill Institute. The institute examines claims made by proponents that reducing emissions will create jobs and benefits for the California economy.

Monday, March 16, 2009

BHI on ABC's 20/20 "Bailouts and Bull"

It's worth repeating: Not all economists agree on the Obama stimulus package. BHI's executive director David G. Tuerck on John Stossel's "Bailouts and Bull" segment on 20/20:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No surprise here: state tax collections are down

State tax revenues follow the economy downward. The Rockefeller Institute of Government says 47 of 50 states saw tax revenue decline.

The latest Massachusetts monthly figures are here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The irrepressible urge to raise the state sales tax

Talk is resurfacing about boosting the sales tax by 20 percent. The bad penny of tax policy; it won't go away.
Top state lawmakers are seriously considering a controversial and politically risky plan to boost the sales tax by one penny to 6 percent, socking it to Bay State residents already facing possible gas and booze hikes.

Both House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) and Senate Ways and Means chairman Steve Panagiotakos (D-Lowell) are eying a sales tax of 6 cents on the dollar that they say would bring an additional $750 million a year into state coffers.

“I don’t think anything can be considered as off the table,” DeLeo said yesterday, later adding he plans to pass reforms before any additional taxes are considered.

A conservative think tank blasted any talk of a sales tax hike in a tough economy, saying that even a one penny increase could mean a loss of 10,000 private sector jobs along with a $40 million drop in investment revenue.

“Any tax increase the state undertakes right now will have a negative effect on the economy because it will drive business to other states,” said Beacon Hill Institute Executive Director David Tuerck, who urged lawmakers to focus on cuts instead.

Tax hikes can be hazardous to a political figure’s health - especially during a recession - as evidenced by a recent dip in Gov. Deval Patrick’s job approval ratings. Many speculated Patrick’s plans to boost taxes on gas, booze and candy were partially to blame.

The Age of Thrift

People are holding back when it comes to spending. Here are some tips on how to be frugal.

More here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Does it pay to be a global warming skeptic?

Among the skeptics Ron Bailey of Reason reports from the Heartland Institute's 2009 International Conference on Climate Change.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus was today's marquee speaker. He held nothing back, apparently:
Klaus also warned that powerful rent-seeking groups were riding the global warming alarmism bandwagon all the way to the bank. Rent-seeking occurs when individuals, firms, or organizations attempt to make money by manipulating the regulatory environment rather than by trade and production. Klaus cited firms and non-governmental groups that plan to profit from carbon rationing in the form of emissions permits trading and by deploying highly subsidized solar and wind energy projects.
Climate change may or may not be real; "fixing" it will be especially expensive.

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