CEI Today: Credit union deregulation, alcohol tax increase, and stupid city procurement policies


Center-Right Coalition Calls For Credit Union Deregulation to Lift Lending

The cap on a credit union’s member business lending, enacted in 1998, has severely restricted the ability of credit unions to make small business loans to their members. And credit union regulators agree there is no safety or soundness justification for this rule, as business loans are not inherently more dangerous than car loans or — as we’ve seen during the financial crisis — mortgages.


So it should come as no surprise that leaders of 14 center-right groups — including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, the Heartland Institute, the 60 Plus Association, American Commitment, Citizens Against Government Waste, and Campaign for Liberty — have signed onto a letter supporting S. 2231, a bipartisan bill that would substantially ease — but not eliminate — these restrictions on credit unions’ lending to the businesses of their members.  > Read the full commentary on Openmarket.org

> Interview John Berlau



Washington Times: D.C. alcohol tax increase will hurt servers


Council member Jim Graham’s proposal to increase the District’s liquor excise tax by 6 cents a drink is not as innocuous as he claims (“Graham proposes alcohol tax hike,” Web, Monday).

The tax actually will be assessed on wholesalers in one large sum. The prices that wholesalers charge bars, stores and restaurants subsequently will jump. This initial increase in expenses will hurt the smallest bars and restaurants, which will try to recoup the losses by increasing the costs of their food and drinks. > Read the letter to the Washington Times


> Interview Michelle Minton



The pipe crisis beneath NYC

There’s a crisis beneath the streets: New York’s underground network of iron pipes has been decaying for decades. Leaky pipes and water-main breaks mean that untold thousands of gallons of water every year never reach New Yorkers’ homes, schools or businesses. This ghastly waste is reflected in soaring water bills.

The city must modernize its procurement policies. It now excludes polyvinyl-chloride pipe manufacturers from bidding on city contracts, virtually guaranteeing that corroded iron pipes will be replaced by newer, corrosion-prone pipes.AP  Workers at the site of a water main break in lower Manhattan on April 5.


Unlike traditional iron pipes, PVC pipes don’t corrode, last longer and cost about 70 percent less. Rather than soaking ratepayers, New York should open its bidding process and let the best technology at the best price determine the outcome.


>Interview Bonner Cohen



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CEI Podcast for May 3, 2012: Paving the Way for Innovation and Job Creation

Unemployment remains stubbornly high, more than three years after the financial crisis hit. Congress has tried a number of measures, from fiscal stimulus to stricter financial regulations. None of them have worked. That’s because they get in the way of the key driver of economic growth – innovation. And as any entrepreneur will tell you, innovation requires investment. John Berlau, CEI’s Senior Fellow for Finance and Access to Capital, suggests a number of reforms to make innovation, investment, and job creation easier.