Monday, October 30, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
"ALBANY, N.Y. — A state judge this week ordered leaders of the state Legislature to disclose the names of lawmakers who decide how $170 million in taxpayer money is spent on pork-barrel projects in their home districts.
The suit filed in Albany’s Supreme Court by the Albany Times Union newspaper claimed Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, violated New York’s Freedom of Information Law by refusing to let the public see computer data that shows the member items each lawmaker obtained and who got the money.
"The newspaper has reported on a number of member items that raise questions. In one case, hundreds of thousands of dollars were directed from the Republican-led Senate to the North Bronx Westchester Neighborhood Restoration Association controlled by former Republican Sen. Guy Velella, even after his 2004 conviction for taking bribes.
Millions more, almost all from Assembly Democrats, went to the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. Its executive director, who makes $273,181 a year, is married to Silver’s chief of staff."
Friday, October 27, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Davidson County real property tax rates cannot be increasedHowever, because of an oversight at the election commission the first sentence voters will see is the sentence proposed by the Metro Legal Department. This sentence is much less descriptive and according to Dennis' report, some voters are confused. PLEASE vote YES on Metro Nashville Charter Amendment No. 1.
without the approval of the voters in a referendum election.
The Davidson County Election Commission did agree to post a notice inside each voting machine and also to instruct poll workers to advise voters that revisions were posted on the machine but our reports indicate that poll workers are not advising the great majority of voters about the notices.
Vote YES on Metro Charter Amendment No. 1
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
An excellent article on the silliness and futility of guiding public policy by "what makes us happy." The birthright and the great freedom of every sovereign citizen is for each of us to find "happiness" on our own terms.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Monday, October 23, 2006
What this ultimately suggests, Small and Smith-Lovin added, is that while organizations and schools and workplaces and neighborhoods and churches may seem to bring together broad mixes of people, they really do not. Organizations play a very powerful role in bringing together similar people and in creating homogenous views on a variety of topics. University professors, for example, are prone to believe in education, financial aid and research, but those views also lead to other beliefs about the importance of government and activism, Smith-Lovin said.
While there is nothing wrong with being around others who are similar to yourself, both Smith-Lovin and Small said that people and organizations pay a price for homogeneity. In politics, for example, the fact that people rarely have friends with different views makes it difficult to seek common ground or to examine one's positions closely.
Friday, October 20, 2006
I won't bore you with all the details and negotiations (and believe me there were many.) The main point is this: all parties agreed to a four sentence summary of the Charter Amendment to be placed on the ballot followed by the full language of the amendment.
Becasue of an oversight at the Davidson County Election commission, the agreed language is NOT on the ballot. The only place that it appears correctly is on the sample ballot which is online, HERE. The ballot language on the voting machines is not correct and the ballot language in the sample ballots sent to voters is not correct.
The Davidson County Election Commission has agreed to place a notice inside each voting machine with the correct language and we are hopeful this will be helpful to voters.
Here is the correct ballot summary language that we agreed to:
Davidson County real property tax rates cannot be increased
without the approval of the voters in a referendum election.
Either the Mayor or a majority of the Council could authorize
the referendum. There could be only one referendum each
year. The tax rates on real property in effect on November
7, 2006, would be the maximum rates allowed until a
Just remember: Vote YES on Metro Charter Amendment No. 1
1- Delay in sending Davidson County Property Tax Notices
The City Paper has an article on the extraordinary delay in sending out property tax notices in Davidson County. Here are the facts: The Davidson County Trustee's web site says:
"Property tax statements are generated from the Tax Roll and mailed prior to October 1 each year."But in fact, Davidson County has yet to send any notices and under the best case scenario may start sending notices next week, the week of Oct. 23, much later than normal. It is estimated that 40% of voters will early vote. Most of these early voters will not receive their property tax notice until after early voting. Clearly, voters would be much more aware of property tax issues if they had received their property tax notice. Charter Amendment No. 1 is a property tax related amendment which changes the Metro Charter so that property tax rates can not be increased without voter approval.
We called EVERY county surrounding Davidson County and ALL of them sent their property tax notices in late Sept or early October.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Sooooo.....when taxes get too high it seems quite logical for those in government to come up with this hare brained scheme: We will lend you the money to pay your taxes and then, when you die, we will sell your property to pay back the loan. It is euphemistically called a "deferred property tax hike."
Why not address the REAL problem: lets adjust taxes so they are at a level where citizens are willing and able to pay them.......what a concept!!!
Since a court ruled Midtown was not a city, it never had the authority to collect property taxes. So anyone who paid Midtown taxes, got them back.
"I went and checked on it. I didn't think it would, and when it come back we actually got money back," said Turpin.
They got $352 the club had paid on their building.
At Midtown Discount Tires the check was even bigger.
"I got a letter in the mail with a check. I didn't know what to think," said Midtown Discount Tires owner Melvin Glen Marlow.
Marlow got back $539.
"I called and checked, make sure it was OK to cash it before I cashed it," said Marlow.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
"But Taylor is under orders to at least try to get them enrolled. The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services has asked Geauga and Holmes counties, which feature the state's largest Amish populations, to lift dismal food-stamp participation rates."[...]
The state required Geauga and Holmes (Counties) to draft plans to lift participation rates. Both intend to launch small-scale advertising campaigns to reach the Amish and others. Holmes might use a billboard within an Amish enclave to promote food stamps."
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
|Name||Rank in State|| |
Rank in Senate
|Sen. Frist (R-TN)||1||96.75||1|
|Sen. Alexander (R-TN)||2||21.44||81|
|Name||Rank in State|| |
Rank in House
|Rep. Duncan (R-TN-2)||1||19.29||108|
|Rep. Wamp (R-TN-3)||2||15.88||179|
|Rep. Gordon (D-TN-6)||3||15.38||196|
|Rep. Jenkins (R-TN-1)||4||13.50||248|
|Rep. Blackburn (R-TN-7)||5||11.00||285|
|Rep. Tanner (D-TN-8)||6||10.00||305|
|Rep. Ford (D-TN-9)||7||6.62||383|
|Rep. Davis (D-TN-4)||8||5.50||403|
|Rep. Cooper (D-TN-5)||9||5.50||404|
"Members of Congress and their staffs are barred from using their positions for personal profit. But their spouses and other relatives can — and often do — cash in when lawmakers spend taxpayer dollars.
Lobbying groups employed 30 family members last year to influence spending bills that their relatives with ties to the House and Senate appropriations committees oversaw or helped write, a USA TODAY investigation found. Combined, they generated millions of dollars in fees for themselves or their firms.
The connections are so pervasive that, in 2005 alone, appropriations bills contained about $750 million for projects championed by lobbyists whose relatives were involved in writing the spending bills."
Bono would be much more effective and credible if he asked citizens to VOLUNTARILY contribute to his African charity. He would also be much more effective if he empahsized economic development and free trade for Africa so the citizens could provide for themselves AND preserve their dignity.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Friday, October 13, 2006
Government at all levels is becoming a closed circle where bureacrats have much more accountability and allegiance to other bureaucrats than they do to taxpaying citizens.
Citizens are relegated to the role of a kid looking through the fence knothole at a baseball game. We can see what is going on but we are not a part of it. Unlike the baseball game ,however, we are paying for government.
(Hmmm...maybe thats a bad analogy, taxpayers ARE paying for lots of baseball stadiums.)
Thursday, October 12, 2006
A satirical television show claiming that one in three Italian MPs uses drugs was taken off the air last night.
Le Iene, or The Hyenas, tricked 50 randomly-selected MPs into giving samples during bogus television interviews about Italy's budget. Producers swabbed their foreheads and reassured them that it was to stop them looking sweaty on camera.
The samples revealed that 12 of the 32 MPs tested had smoked cannabis and four had snorted cocaine. The revelation of the stunt in yesterday's newspapers caused uproar among MPs, who quickly blocked the programme, which had intended to open its new series on Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset network with the scoop.
Soooo...whats a politician to do? Obviously, they have balanced past budgets without this tax money, what should they do?
1- Repeal the tax...a good idea but bureaucrats always assume they can spend our money better than we can so that will never fly.
2- Start collecting the tax and reduce other taxes by the amount of any new revenues? Refer to answer 1.
3- Don't admit anything and act like it was the taxpayer's fault and aggressively go after taxes retroactively with great moral fervor as if the county government can do no wrong......yeah, now thats the ticket!!
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Certain Taxpayer budget analysts (also known as "Moms") emphasized that their budgets are limited and if the Mayor and Metro Council continue to increase property taxes as they have done in the last 10 years then taxpaying families might have trouble paying their debts. Vote YES on Metro Charter Amendment #1.
"But after everyone had their say during Tuesday's public hearing at the Rogersville City School auditorium, the BMA voted 6-0 in favor of the second reading of the annexation ordinance.
"I've always felt that government - regardless of city, county, state, nation - is by the people and for the people," Brian Bradley, 207 Lakeshore Circle, told the BMA. "The people have spoken. The term ‘for the greater good' has been used, and I've just not been convinced yet that my greater good has been considered."
And the most galling part of this is that the dues paid to these associatons (County Mayors Assocation, etc) that lobby for city and county officials are paid by taxpayers but these associations have absolutely no accountablity to taxpayers...none, zip, zero, nada!! In fact, they are typically hostile to taxpayer friendly legislation.
Instead of passing the bill as first proposed, the opponents came up with an amended proposal to appoint a "study committee" which we all know is shorthand for "if we stall long enough this thing will go away". This KNS article today says that the Governor has just gotten around to appointing his two members of the committee and it is now clear that the committee will not meet the deadline established.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
|None||27 % (101)|
|1 to 5 percent||11 % (43)|
|6 to 10 percent||19 % (70)|
|11 to 20 percent||13 % (49)|
|More than 20 percent||30 % (114)|
|Total votes: 377|
Monday, October 09, 2006