Northeast

New York wrongheadedly bans indoor vaping

Saying that e-cigarettes “carry long-term risks to the health of users and those around them,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law Oct. 23 a bill that …

How the PLCB enacts stealth taxes on Pennsylvanians with price markups

Pennsylvanians are used to buying their pinots and bourbons from state-run Fine Wine and Good Spirits stores, but most are probably unaware that the Keystone State is also …

Local e-cigarette crackdowns are misguided and counter-productive

In an unfortunate trend across the country, cities and towns have raced to institute new regulations and update existing laws that deal with e-cigarettes and vapor products, often …

What does the FBI crime report mean for criminal justice reform?

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street National Security and Criminal Justice Policy Director Arthur Rizer. Contrary to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others who suggest it shows …

H Street Festival is a perfect example of why cities should ease open-container laws

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow C. Jarrett Dieterle. Every September, thousands make their way to the District’s H Street neighborhood for the H …

A hurricane tax? You cannot be serious

In the midst of the most active hurricane season in recent memory, Congress is contemplating tax reform measures that could lead to an additional $1.21 billion in property-casualty …

Impact on New York State of taxing reinsurance transactions

The attached policy study was co-authored by R Street Senior Fellows Ian Adams and R.J. Lehmann. The enormous devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, still being tallied at the time …

Pennsylvania should reject unconstitutional internet sales tax

For decades, one of the thorniest issues in all of state government has been how to be even-handed in the tax treatment of merchants who sell from within …

Massachusetts’ ‘millionaires tax’ is a major misstep

Trying to squeeze more money out of the top income earners is a poor fiscal strategy, whether you're looking to close budget deficits or to subsidize pet projects. …

Doomed plan to tax online retailers

Gov. Charlie Baker wants Massachusetts to join a handful of other states in a doomed effort to pass an extraterritorial taxing scheme that the U.S. Supreme Court has …

Massachusetts would be smart to streamline tobacco laws

As in most other states, Massachusetts lawmakers’ approach to tobacco products long has been to encourage an ever-growing proliferation of rules limiting what residents can buy and what …

The city’s silly crackdown on dog-sitters

The following op-ed was co-authored by R Street Governance Policy Fellow C. Jarrett Dieterle. New York is already the ninth-most expensive city in the world. Naturally, city bureaucrats would …

States still stuck when it comes to pension plan fixes

I spoke recently with Bill Howell, the longtime speaker of Virginia's House of Delegates. While he is not standing again for election, he is the kind of person …

The Market Advantage: A Q&A with Joe Bowring

The PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization that administers competitive wholesale electricity markets. Monitoring Analytics, PJM's independent market monitor, evaluates PJM's markets and monitors the behavior of …

Credit Where It’s Due: D.C.’s forward-looking liquor laws

For those outside the Beltway, Washington is often a punchline for bloated and dysfunctional government. In fact, cynicism toward the nation’s capital often feels like one of the …

Cuomo should reconsider crusade against e-cigarettes

The New York State Senate is owed a debt of gratitude from all New Yorkers who care about public health. It managed to remove Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed …

Beer industry on the brink

“You’re probably going to get fat.” These were some of the many words of warning handed out by Liquid Mechanics CEO Davin Helden during his talk on what it …

Stop mandating burdensome background check for Uber, Lyft drivers

The following op-ed was co-authored by Jon Haggerty, a research assistant at the R Street Institute. The Bay State has been abuzz this month at news that more than 8,000 Uber and …

Letter to Maine Committee on Insurance and Financial Services on anti-rebating laws

Distinguished chairs and members of the committee, my name is Ian Adams and I am a senior fellow with the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank headquartered …

H.B. 80 is short-sighted and would levy a tax on safe drivers

Delaware is poised to go back to the future with its approach to auto insurance. Inspired by California’s 1988 ballot initiative, Proposition 103, new Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro …

Cuomo’s proposed ‘Amazon tax’ would hit NYers in the wallet

It's hard enough to afford living in New York state with residents already paying the highest combined tax burden in the nation. Even in a region surrounded by high-tax …

Shifting drinks law landscape in Pennsylvania is a maze for businesses

The alcohol-policy landscape in Pennsylvania was static—almost glacial—for most of the past 40 years. However, these days, the glaciers are melting and the landscape is changing rapidly. New …

The problem of legislating from inside a silo

In a recent example of how the best intentions often lead to the worst policy, Massachusetts legislators are considering a bill that would tax autonomous vehicles based on …

Jersey’s new ridesharing law should put New York on notice

With Gov. Chris Christie’s signing of legislation outlining a regulatory framework for ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft, New Jersey became the 36th state to legalize and …

New York’s nuclear subsidies contradict economic principles

When New York State's massive zero-emission credits (ZECs) program kicks off in April, it will begin a 12-year process of unloading $7 billion in subsidies on unprofitable nuclear …

New York is rightly moving to reduce barriers for companies such as Uber and Lyft

With this week's passage of legislation in the New York Senate aimed at allowing ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft to operate upstate—until now, state laws have limited …

FBI fingerprinting for Uber and Lyft in Maryland would do more harm than good

Maryland is precariously close to being Uber-less, thanks to a requirement that, as of Dec. 15, all drivers must submit to background checks that include FBI fingerprinting [“Uber …

2016 Insurance Regulation Report Card

Welcome to the fifth edition of the R Street Institute’s Insurance Regulation Report Card, our annual examination of which states do the best job of regulating the business …

E-cigarettes help smokers quit, so why crack down on them?

When it comes to battling teen pregnancy, our nation’s health officials have for two decades put aside moralism and focused on “harm reduction.” For example, instead of continuing …

Vapescore 2016: Regulating vapor products in U.S. cities

The attached study was co-authored by R Street Research Associate Dan Semelsberger  Americans' use of tobacco cigarettes has declined over the past decade from 20.9 percent of adults in 2004 …

R Street Welcomes Bill Legalizing Ridesharing in Pennsylvania

WASHINGTON (Nov. 7, 2016) – The R Street Institute welcomes Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to sign S.B. 984 into law, at last legalizing ridesharing across the entire …

With state law still stalled, Lyft and Uber ordered to shut down in Philly

Most Americans are at least vaguely familiar with the Christmas Truce of 1914. Occurring during the early stages of World War I, the inspirational tale of a tenuous …

After it works too well, NYC scraps free web access

For years, the primary argument for municipal broadband has been about the need to bridge the digital divide. Government-run wireless networks, we’ve been told, are needed bring the …

Is Pittsburgh the Kitty Hawk (or St. Petersburg) of self-driving cars?

The wonders of our modern age have left many of us immune to the kinds of feelings of astonishment that once were triggered by spectacular events. So, if only …

Conferees agree to legalize ridesharing in Massachusetts

In a marathon negotiating session that wrapped up at the literal 11th hour, Massachusetts lawmakers have reached agreement on legislation that would formally legalize transportation network companies in …

A Soviet drinks monopoly in Maryland

Maryland’s Montgomery County is a nice place. Its western border runs along the Potomac River and its southern territory abuts Washington. Many folks who work in the district …

Time to pass long-term ridesharing reforms in Pa.

"Never laugh at live dragons," warns the protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, a reminder to avoid premature celebrations before an adventure has truly ended. It's a timely …

New York homebuyers are overpaying on title insurance

Homebuyers in New York State overpaid on the cost of their title insurance to the tune of $155.3 million last year, according to a new report from OneTitle …

Immigration challenges that aren’t demogoguery

Back around the turn of the century, a few of us who toil in the public-policy vineyards guessed that privacy was going to be the overwhelming pubic-policy issue …

Massachusetts ridesharing bill moves into final stretch

Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft would be legally sanctioned to operate in Massachusetts, governed by a set of mostly reasonable regulations, under legislation approved this week …

Study: New York has 2nd lowest rate hike for teen drivers

From Newsday:  Driving well takes practice, and since all teens are new drivers they make all sorts of mistakes that more seasoned drivers can avoid,” Eli Lehrer, president of the …

Gov. Cuomo needs to veto terrible short-term-rental bill

Forces aligned against short-term rentals are on the cusp of victory in their battle to harm the ability of spacesharing services like Airbnb and HomeAway to conduct business …

Pennsylvania’s drinks reform changes too little

From American Spectator: The Keystone State’s Legislature could have gone big. Instead, it settled for a bill that is about as potent as near beer. Only the politicians are …

Pennsylvania’s drinks reform changes too little

The Keystone State’s Legislature could have gone big. Instead, it settled for a bill that is about as potent as near beer. Only the politicians are likely to …

Pennsylvania’s awful alcohol laws turn rational citizens into criminals

I am a criminal. I regularly break the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At least once a month, I drive across the border to New Jersey, pull …

Pennsylvania lawmakers bat around regulations for self-driving cars

Not unlike curious cats, lawmakers often show inordinate interest in the newest and shiniest objects to pass their field of vision. In Pennsylvania, recently hailed as a center …

Iowa, Alabama pass ridesharing bills; could Pennsylvania be next?

It's been a busy week and a half on the ridesharing front, as legislation setting out statewide rules for transportation network companies moved forward in Iowa and Alabama, …

Pennsylvania’s bad beer regulation system lives on

Eight years down the road, supermarket beer sales are changing the entire alcohol beverage sales category in Pennsylvania, and not for the better. Given our state's comically byzantine …

Dear Philadelphia, Uber isn’t ISIS

One of the most disappointing aspects of being involved in politics is the tone one consistently encounters. Differing opinions are rarely given the benefit of the doubt. Do you …

R Street Institute welcomes Uber settlements in California, Massachusetts

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2016) – Concluding a legal battle that began last year, ridesharing company Uber announced it will pay $100 million to settle two class-action lawsuits initiated …

SCOTUS protects electricity competition, strikes down Maryland subsidies

Tuesday’s unanimous decision by the U.S. Supreme Court invalidating Maryland's subsidy program to encourage building new power generation marks a welcome defense of the principles of competition in electricity …

Treat kids like kids until 18

The following oped was coauthored by Marcy Mistrett, chief executive officer at the Campaign for Youth Justice. The state Senate should be ashamed of itself. For the second time in …

Flawed ridesharing bill moving in Massachusetts

Consider a world in which your morning commute and the afternoon drive to drop your children at soccer practice each required a separate license from your state government. …

How Manhattan made a mockery of Prohibition

"It should not be forgotten," writes historian Ellen NicKenzie Lawson, "that one possible derivation of the word Manhattan is the Native-American word manahachtanienk, which translates as 'place of …

Philly taxi cartel’s ‘public-private partnership’

Regulators have a long and lamented history of picking winners and losers among businesses and industries. But they typically at try to appear to be demonstrating impartial judgement …

In wake of record fine, Pennsylvania lawmakers scramble to legalize ridesharing

The Pennsylvania Legislature is having to act fast to settle on a way to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. That’s because administrative law judges for …

Massachusetts lawmakers go home for holidays; no action on ridesharing

In the home of the Pilgrims, lawmakers have gone home ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Massachusetts Legislature has adjourned for 2015, having failed to move on any …

Public housing smoking bans won’t work

While the Sun is right to draw attention to the significant health dangers of cigarette smoking, your editorial's implication that the experience of existing public housing authorities in …

Jersey City brings legal spacesharing to New York area

With average hotel rates upward of $350 a night, Manhattan is perhaps the costliest tourist destination in the United States. Thankfully, much more affordable accommodations are available just a …

‘Jersey Smart’ is better than ‘Jersey Strong’

Earlier this week, I covered South Carolina's "1,000-year storm," questioning whether we can actually say with any kind of certainty that such events are, in fact, all that …

Voters hate the Internet sales tax

With reports building that there might be an attempt to attach misguided Internet sales-tax legislation to a budget deal or to an extension of the commonsense ban on …

Public-pension funds play with newest toy in corporate governance

Shareholder-wealth maximization generally is accepted as the default objective of an investment fund, though there are exceptions to the rule. For example, an investment adviser might create a …

It’s time for dialogue, not demagoguery, on price optimization

Social activist Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals" was written as a how-to guide for community activists looking to compel political change. Yet …

Uber dust-up shows the Empire State has an innovation problem

Unless you live under a rock, it was hard to miss the showdown this past week in New York City between Mayor Bill De Blasio and ridesharing platform …

The high cost of free college

While President Barack Obama was gathering victories critical to his legacy last week on Capitol Hill and at the Supreme Court, the D.C. Council worked on another of …

Letter to D.C. Council on e-cigarette taxes

My name is Dr. Edward Anselm and I am a senior fellow with the R Street Institute, a D.C.-based free-market think tank that takes a pragmatic approach to …

Good intentions and bad incentives in New York’s housing market

It’s a sad state of affairs when all sides agree a policy is bad, but none can muster the will to do anything about it. That's the situation …

Saving Atlantic City: A mayor who thinks small may be the answer

Atlantic City, N.J. – Just about every morning when the weather is nice, Don Guardian rides his bike along the boardwalk and digs into the beach sand. "They're …

E-cigarettes ‘far, far safer’ than tobacco

The statements of Terry Towne in your recent article “Butt out: If you’ve got ’em, don’t light ’em,” (May 28) are wrong. Although Ms. Towne is to be …

Letter to New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

My name is R.J. Lehmann. I am editor-in-chief, a senior fellow and a co-founder of the R Street Institute, a nonprofit public-policy research organization headquartered in Washington. I …

Jersey Strong…but not strong enough to pump gas

As a New Jersey native who has spent most of his adult life living elsewhere, I often find myself standing up to defend my much-maligned homeland against the …

E-cigarettes are a friend to public health

Delaware lawmakers are now considered H.B. 5, a bill that would ban e-cigarette use everywhere smoking is prohibited. Experience as a public health physician has taught me to …

Uber’s not in Kansas anymore; will New Jersey be next?

The decision by the Kansas Legislature earlier this week to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of onerous ridesharing legislation already is yielding its inevitable consequence. Transportation network company …

Nitzkin testimony on Delaware HB 5

My name is Joel Nitzkin. I am a public health physician, board certified in preventive medicine as my medical specialty. I have been a local health director, a state …

Pennsylvania’s energy economy is a model for the rest of the country

President Barack Obama has been aggressively promoting the advantages of fast-track authority for his Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement by pushing a message of job creation, economic growth and …

Plan to regulate Airbnb might lead to total deregulation in Maine

A summer trip to Maine has it all: fresh air, ample boating, moose watching, covered bridges, picturesque lighthouses, lobster rolls, blueberry pie, perhaps a visit to downtown Portland's …

Ridescore 2014: Hired driver rules in U.S. cities

The attached paper was co-authored by Ryan Xue, Evan Engstrom and Zach Graves. Visit R Street's companion website, www.ridescore.org, for an interactive visual presentation of our regulatory scorecard. Over the past several …

Tesla takes Massachusetts

High-end electric car consumers rejoice! If you want to buy one of the famous Tesla cars and you live in Massachusetts, you can now do exactly that. This …

Small Business Coalition letter to Gov. Christie

  Sept. 15, 2014 The Honorable Chris Christie Governor of New Jersey State House Trenton, NJ 08625 Gov. Christie, We are encouraged by recent movements by the state Legislature calling for the elimination of the …

Family Business Coalition letter to Gov. Cuomo

March 24, 2014 The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224 Governor Cuomo, We are encouraged by your budget, which calls for …

New York AG treating Airbnb customers to fishing expedition

Eric Schneiderman, New York's attorney general, has issued a subpoena to Airbnb to request data on all users in New York who have ever used the popular Internet …

Letter to Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health

Oct. 1, 2013 Sen. John F. Keenan, Senate Chair Joint Committee on Public Health General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts Dear Chairman Keenan, My name is Eli Lehrer and I am …

Massachusetts’ e-cigarette ban would not improve public health

BOSTON, Mass. (Oct. 1, 2013) – A statewide ban on the indoor use of electronic cigarettes could actually do more harm than good for the commonwealth's public health, …

Connecticut reforms reinsurance collateral, California could be next

Connecticut is the latest state to liberalize collateral requirements for foreign-based reinsurers, and California could be next on the list, after a similar bill passed that state’s Senate. Connecticut …

New Jersey insurance chief reportedly stepping down

New Jersey Banking and Insurance Commissioner Tom Considine is set to step down next month to return to the private sector, Newark’s Star-Ledger newspaper is reporting. If true, it …

‘If we had it to do over again, we would have barred Genentech’

Genentech Inc., now a subsidiary of Swiss drug-maker Hoffmann-La Roche, is widely viewed as the founder of the biotech industry. Among the company’s notable achievements over the past …

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