Newt Gingrich releases his 2010 tax returns – The Washington Post

As promised, former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has released his tax returns.

Worth noting as you peruse the returns: the data is for 2010, not 2011.

From the release issued Thursday night by Gingrich’s campaign:

The income tax return shows that for 2010, Speaker and Mrs. Gingrich owed federal taxes of $994,708 on an adjusted gross income of $3,142,066. $613,517 of the tax amount owed had been previously withheld or otherwise paid, and the couple paid the remaining balance due of $382,734 (which included an estimated $1,543 tax penalty) with their filing. (More)

Negrophobia 3: Who are the Faithful that listens for the GOP Silent Dog Whistle? by Gregory Boyce , New Orleans Progressive Examiner

An American Public Service Announcement / Commentary. From a Liberal Prospective

A challenge to listen attentively to the Dog Whistle

Political junkies and voyeurs, listen closely to what Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Rich Santorum and Ron Paul are saying at the local VFW (Veterans of foreign wars) barbeques and political rallies about Blacks, Latinos, Women and Gays.

Are you listening? Oops…."my bad", they’re using their silent dog whistle that’s only intended for . . . (More)

Perdue to propose restoring sales-tax increase – News & Observer

Gov. Bev Perdue will propose restoring a three-quarter cent sales tax increase in the next budget to stop "deep and unnecessary cuts" to schools.

Perdue announced her proposal Tuesday afternoon, when she was scheduled to speak at a Greensboro elementary school.

Revenue from the increase would be dedicated to schools, Perdue said. (More)

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Governor Beverly Perdue

Schlink wins Morrisville seat after ballot dispute settled – News & Observer

RALEIGH — The Wake County Board of Elections has declared challenger Michael Schlink the winner of the District 1 seat on the Morrisville Town Council.

Schlink finished with 684 votes, and incumbent Linda Lyons had 681.

The county board reconsidered eight absentee ballots that came in late or without postmarks. (More)

Best Paid Pastors Make Hundreds Of Thousands To Millions Of Dollars Annually

From church closings and foreclosures of houses of worship across the nation to the limited number of clergy jobs for new rabbis, imams and pastors, the recession has hit religious Americans just as it has affected the tens of millions of the country’s jobless.

Even before the recession, most spiritual leaders of small towns and big cities across the United States earned meager salaries, with annual pay for Catholic priests and imams ranging from $25,000 to $30,000 and the average Protestant pastor making $40,000 a year, according to a recent survey. (More)

Duke, Progress move back merger date to mid-year – News & Observer

Duke Energy and Progress Energy have delayed the closing date of their corporate merger as the two North Carolina electric companies face tough regulatory scrutiny of their proposed $26 billion deal.

In a memo to employees issued today, the companies said the earliest their merger could now close is May or June. Just last month, Charlotte-based Duke and Raleigh-based Progress predicted they could finish their merger as soon as March. (More)

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ElectriCities

PRESS RELEASE: Butterfield Calls for Hearing on Merger of Two Pharmacy Benefit Management Companies

clip_image002U.S. Representative G. K. Butterfield

First District of North Carolina


 

For Release:  Immediate

 

 

Date:  January 19, 2012

 

Contact: Kezmiché "Kim" Atterbury 
Phone:  (202) 225.3101

                                                  Mobile: (202) 465.5125


 

Butterfield Calls for Hearing on Merger of Two Pharmacy Benefit Management Companies

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman G. K. Butterfield (D-NC), Ranking Member of the House Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee, today sent a letter to Subcommittee Chairman Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) requesting a hearing to review the potential impact of a proposed merger between Express Scripts Inc. (ESI) and Medco Health Solutions Inc., two of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies.  In his letter Butterfield wrote, “Given the enormity of the proposed merger and its potential to threaten fair and adequate access to health care and pharmacy services for all Americans, our Subcommittee should carefully examine its true impact on consumers.  For example, we should explore the claims that this merger will be able to generate savings for consumers.”

 

In December, Butterfield wrote to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz expressing similar concerns regarding this merger, and urged Leibowitz to take careful consideration of the merger’s impacts on sensitive populations.  Butterfield said, “Pharmacy Benefit Managers have long touted their ability to generate savings for consumers.  However, I question the savings alleged by ESI and Medco, and have only heard anecdotal evidence of the decrease in prescriptions or health care premiums.  In fact, many have expressed that the opposite is true.  I fear that giving a consolidated PBM even greater market power could potentially worsen this already troublesome situation.”

 

The full text of the letter to Bono Mack is below.

 

 

January 19, 2012

The Honorable Mary Bono Mack

Chairman

House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade

2123 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Bono Mack:

 

In July 2011, Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., two of the largest pharmacy benefit management (PBM) companies, announced a merger agreement.  The combined company will control one-third of the total PBM market share.  Because the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade (CMT), which you chair, has jurisdiction over consumer protection and competitiveness, I urge you to hold a hearing to review the impacts of this merger.

Given the enormity of the proposed merger and its potential to threaten fair and adequate access to health care and pharmacy services for all Americans, our Subcommittee should carefully examine its true impact on consumers.  For example, we should explore the claims that this merger will be able to generate savings for consumers. 

 

Also, community pharmacists have stated that “this merger would further disrupt this marketplace, to the detriment of patients, true competition, and lower prices.”   Local pharmacists play an integral and important role in Eastern North Carolina, where they are often intimately connected with the health care of their customers and my constituents.  I would be troubled if this merger impacted the level of service or damaged the current system of pharmacy delivery of drug and drug care services.

 

I am aware that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is currently reviewing this proposed PBM merger.  In fact, in a letter dated December 19, 2011 (attached), I wrote to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz expressing my concerns regarding this merger, and urging him to take careful consideration of the merger’s impacts on sensitive populations.  However, just as a Senate Committee was able to hold a recent hearing on this matter, it is appropriate for a House Committee to do the same even though the matter pending before the FTC.

 

Low-income, rural, and minority populations already struggle with access to affordable much needed prescriptions medications.  Given that this merger will affect the lives of millions of people and the potential for serious consequences to low-income communities, members of the CMT Subcommittee have a responsibility to thoroughly and carefully examine this proposal.  I respectfully request you hold a hearing on the proposed merger of Express Scripts Inc. and Medco Health Solutions Inc. as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

                                                                                Very truly yours,

                                                                               

                                                                                G. K. Butterfield

                                                                                Member of Congress


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Congressman G.K. Butterfield