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GLIN==> Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 26 September 2005






Weekly Update 26 September 2005




·         From Edison to Enron – New Book

·         Federal Income Taxes and the Region

·         Income and Poverty Data

·         Great Lakes Regional Collaboration – Letters

·         LIHEAP – Letter

·         Energy Efficiency – Letter

·         Distributed Energy and the Energy Bill – Briefing

From Edison to Enron – New Book

Praeger Publishers has released
From Edison to Enron, a new book by the Institute’s Richard Munson that highlights the business of power and what it means for the future of electricity.  “This splendid book,” said one reviewer, “is as readable as it is rigorous in its fascinating journey through the creation and the evolution of the electricity enterprise in the 20th century.  What sets Munson’s work apart is his probing exploration of the powerful and diverse personalities who collectively shaped what has become the world’s largest and most complex machine.”  Click here to read more reviews or to purchase a copy.

Federal Income Taxes and the Region  

With President Bush’s tax reform commission expected to issue findings and recommendations in late September, the Northeast-Midwest Institute has released a new report about how selected provisions of the federal income tax code affect Northeast-Midwest states and the region as a whole.  The report – Federal Income Taxes and the Region: Deductions, Credits, Alternative Minimum Tax, & Income Levels – will be circulated only to paying members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional and Senate Coalitions and to state government officials from states that support the Institute.  The Institute produced state-specific reports to share with contributing states.

This new Northeast-Midwest Institute report focuses on federal tax deductions and credits for which the IRS compiles data – deductions for state and local income taxes, property taxes, interest paid (mostly mortgage interest), and charitable deductions; and the child tax credit, the child care tax credit, and the earned income tax credit.  The Institute document also examines the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and provides breakdowns for deductions and credits by income levels and for regional patterns of income levels.

Contact: Matt Kane of the Northeast-Midwest Institute (612/825-0443).


Income and Poverty Data

The Northeast-Midwest Institute’s web site now includes updated state-level data through 2004 for poverty rates (http://www.nemw.org/poverty.htm) and median household income (http://www.nemw.org/income.htm).  The tables show data for three-year averages, which are the best numbers for comparing state levels and for assessing state changes over time.   The Northeast-Midwest Institute does not rank states according to their levels for poverty and median household income because the standard error ranges for these data make rankings difficult.  For more information about statistically significant comparisons among states, see the notes at the bottom of the tables.



Great Lakes Regional Collaboration – Letters

The House and Senate Great Lakes Task Forces asked the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to consider the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration’s draft strategy recommendations in the president’s fiscal 2007 budget. The draft strategy suggests funding for several programs that are currently authorized.  The Great Lakes Task Forces also submitted general comments about the draft Great Lakes Regional Collaboration strategy in an effort to make as helpful as possible to the congressional delegation when the final document is released in December. The lawmakers encouraged the collaboration to outline specific action steps, prioritize and sequence specific actions, include benchmarks to measure progress, address governance questions, and provide funding information.  Contact:  Joy Mulinex with the Great Lakes Task Forces (202/224-1211).  

LIHEAP – Letter

Members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition – led by Reps. Charles Bass (R-NH), Marty Meehan (D-MA), Steven LaTourette (R-OH), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) – are circulating a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Appropriations Committee requesting $1.276 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in an upcoming emergency supplemental package.  The signature deadline has been extended until COB, Tuesday, September 27.  Contact:  Lisa Mark with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (202/226-5181).


Energy Efficiency – Letter


Ahead of what is expected to be one of the most expensive heating seasons in history, members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition - led by Reps. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Bernard Sanders (I-VT) – also are circulating two letters requesting full funding for the Weatherization Assistance Program, State Energy Program, and an energy-efficiency public information campaign.  One letter is addressed to the president and the other is to the chair and ranking member of the Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee.  The signature deadline is COB, Thursday, September 29.  Contact:  Lisa Mark with the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition (202/226-5181).


Distributed Energy and the Energy Bill – Briefing


A Capitol Hill briefing on Monday, October 3, will address legislative solutions needed, even after the recent energy bill, to overcome the policy barriers to distributed electricity generation.  Discussing those barriers and the benefits of distributed generation will be representatives of the U.S. Combined Heat and Power Association, International District Energy Association, American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy, and Calpine Corporation.  The event is sponsored by the Northeast-Midwest Senate Coalition, Northeast-Midwest Institute, and Environment and Energy Study Institute.  The October 3 session will run from 1:30 pm until 2:30 pm in 406 Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Contact:  Diane DeVaul at the Northeast-Midwest Institute (202/464-4014).



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