Wednesday, January 31, 2007
"Gov. Phil Bredesen said today that Tennessee is not ready for a streamlined sales tax, and that he will ask the legislature to delay starting one by several years.
Without a change in the law, the new sales tax system is scheduled to go into effect in July. The biggest change under that plan would be that sales taxes would be collected where a product is delivered, rather than where it originates."
Lets see.......allowing taxpayers to keep more of what they earn is a good thing? YES.
Gov Phil, are you watching this?
Taxpayers should NOT be paying farmers not to grow crops or to subsidize prices. Food prices will be lower and taxpayers will be able to keep more of what they earn. The Big Agriculture lobby will moan and wail and may be able to stop these cuts but I certainly hope the President and Congress will stick to their guns and take this monkey off our backs.
The President is not proposed to eliminate them completely....that is bad, all subsidies should go away....but this is a start.
Since they legalized, and started taxing, prostitution in Australia tax collectors are very concerned about the loss in revenue because, "Many young tourists to sun-soaked northeastern Queensland state were making a quick buck as black market prostitutes."
When politicians say, "I care about" and then name some group or person, it is always very instructive to see how they treat their own children.
If you treat someone else the same way you treat your own children then you very probably do really care about them.
The decisions you make about your children can't be finessed or faked. It is, therefore, very instructive to learn about the decisions of wealthy politicians when it comes to how they treat their own children vs the public policy recommendations they support. Do you, Mr. wealthy politician, want other parents to have the same options that you had for your children. Talk is cheap, we want to know how you act.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Daily News Journal - Murfreesboro
Johnson City Press
The Leaf Chronicle - Clarksville
The News Sentinel - Knoxville
The Tennessean - Nashville
ALL Online Newspapers in Tennessee
In a very interesting case of rent seeking by rural phone companies, they apparently (don't understand it fully yet) got a law passed that gives them a subsidy of 7 cents per minute for inbound calls. Since it costs only 1.5 cents per minute wholesale
for international calls, a small company in Iowa is providing free international calls that cost them 1.5 cents per minute so they can get the subsidy of 7 cents per minute for the inbound calls.....so, all you do is call their number in Iowa and then dial an outbound number to the countries they serve for free.
Here is a link to the service
Here is more info
The tax agencies of five countries are starting to use a Web "spider" to identify businesses earning money on the Internet but not reporting their income. Austria, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are using a program called Xenon from Sentient Machine Research (a software company based in Amsterdam), according to a news report from the Toronto Star.
Monday, January 29, 2007
OMB to Agencies: Documentation, Please Government-watchers will get a boost this year from an Office of Management and Budget directive that requires agencies to post the documentation behind their budget requests online. A paragraph in OMB's annual guidance on budget preparation, Circular A-11, requires that within two weeks of their transmittal to Congress -- by Feb. 19 -- an agency's full congressional budget justification materials must be posted on the Web. Labor Department CIO Pat Pizzella warned feds at this morning's Government Performance Summit in Washington to expect that advocates and others with specific expertise will be going over the documents with a fine-toothed comb, and will quickly pick up on any mistakes. But OMB management chief Clay Johnson, who has previously welcomed bloggers' ability to focus attention on federal issues, simply said of the change: "Transparency is good."
They don't look too stupid or incompetent to make decisions about their own welfare and yet that is the working assumption of many who make public policy....sad.
Many taxpayers in high tax states also chose to move (to TN for example, I get phone calls from them almost every day) rather than fight but some hardy souls are beginning to fight back against the presumption that the family budget is less important than the government budget.
In New York a great new billboard campaign.
In Michigan a new audio ad asking the Governor not to drive out even more business by raising taxes.
2.Public transit can reduce traffic congestion.
Transit has been on the slide for well more than half a century. Even though spending on public transportation has ballooned to more than seven times its 1960s levels, the percentage of people who use it to get to work fell 63 percent from 1960 to 2000 and now stands at just under 5 percent nationwide. Transit is also decreasing in Europe, down to 16 percent in 2000.
Like auto use, suburbanization is driven by wealth. Workers once left the fields to find better lives in the cities. Today more and more have decided that they can do so in the suburbs. Indeed, commuters are now increasingly likely to travel from one suburb to another or embark upon "reverse" commutes (from the city to the suburbs). Also, most American commuters (52 percent) do not go directly to and from work but stop along the way to pick up kids, drop off dry cleaning, buy a latte or complete some other errand.
We have to be realistic about what transit can accomplish. Suppose we could not only reverse transit's long slide but also triple the size of the nation's transit system and fill it with riders. Transportation guru Anthony Downs of the Brookings Institution notes that this enormous feat would be "extremely costly" and, even if it could be done, would not "notably reduce" rush-hour congestion, primarily because transit would continue to account for only a small percentage of commuting trips.
But public transit still has an important role. Millions of Americans rely on it as a primary means of transportation. Transit agencies should focus on serving those who need transit the most: the poor and the handicapped. They should also seek out the niches where they can be most useful, such as express bus service for commuters and high-volume local routes.
Many officials say we should reconfigure the landscape -- pack people in more tightly -- to make it fit better with a transit-oriented lifestyle. But that would mean increasing density in existing developments by bulldozing the low-density neighborhoods that countless families call home. Single-family houses, malls and shops would have to make way for a stacked-up style of living that most don't want. And even then the best-case scenario would be replicating New York, where only one in four commuters uses mass transit.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Saturday, January 27, 2007
From the Tennessee Constitution:
Section 1. Whereas ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their functions; therefore, no minister of the Gospel, or priest of any denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the Legislature.
Section 2. No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.
Section 3. Any person who shall, after the adoption of this Constitution, fight a duel, or knowingly be the bearer of a challenge to fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel,
shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this state, and shall be punished otherwise, in such manner as the Legislature may prescribe.
Expect more articles like this. TDOT will continue to use taxpayer dollars to pump out gas tax hike propaganda. Its very reminiscent of how Tenncare was used by successive administrations to try to scare us into an income tax. The roadbuilders will chime in with heart wrenching stories about how they just want the best for the people of TN. And the children, we mustn't forget the children.
If TDOT put half as much effort into conserving taxpayer dollars as they do lobbying and spending more taxpayer dollars, gas taxes would be lower.
40 cents per gallon is ENOUGH. NO GAS TAX HIKE!!
Friday, January 26, 2007
AUSTIN – Liquor wholesalers dumped nearly $1.7 million on Texas lawmakers in the weeks leading up to the 2007 Legislature while pushing for changes that would allow them to sell booze directly to restaurants and bars.
The law now allows only package liquor stores – not wholesalers – to supply establishments where patrons drink on the premises. Wholesalers say that's not fair; package stores say giant wholesalers would undercut their prices to monopolize the market, potentially costing thousands of people their jobs.
Look at these stats and it's clear that the ONLY effective anti-smoking strategy is for everyone to become a Mormon (scroll down to Utah). So lets pass a law requiring everyone become a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, yea, thats the ticket.
Here are the Stats
Prohibits anyone except dentists from taking an impression of your teeth
Raises first time littering fine to $1,000
See them all here, most of the bills will be filed in the next 45 days
Thursday, January 25, 2007
"Six days after a state job applicant donated $500 to (Illinois) Gov. Rod Blagojevich's campaign, an aide to the governor's personnel director e-mailed the state's personnel agency to find out what it would take to have the applicant pass state job tests."
In Fiscal Year 05-06, which runs from July 1st 2005 - June 30 , 2006, TN taxpayers paid $411,186,000 more in taxes to THEIR State government than was originally appropriated by the General Assembly.
In the first five months of Fiscal year 06-07, which runs from July 1st 2006 - June 30 , 2007, $50,204,000 more has been collected in taxes than was anticipated.
So, for the 12 months of Fiscal year 05-06 and the first 5 months of 06-07, $461 million more in Revenue has been collected than was originally appropriated.
...and not one dime has been returned to taxpayers in the form of a lower food tax.
Jackson Baker writing about the special election in District 30, says:
"The two Democrats sounded quite similar on the issues at public forums – pro-choice, anti-death penalty, pro-environment, pro-tax reform (though backing off from an income tax per se), pro-ethics."
Wonder what that means??? May have something to do with the fact that a non-binding referendum on implementing a Memphis city payroll tax was overwhelmingly defeated.
Every intellectual believes in freedom for himself, but he's opposed to freedom for others.…He thinks…there ought to be a central planning board that will establish social priorities.…
The businessmen are just the opposite—every businessman is in favor of freedom for everybody else, but when it comes to himself that's a different question. He's always the special case. He ought to get special privileges from the government, a tariff, this, that, and the other thing…"
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
H. L. Mencken
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
H. L. Mencken
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Smart City Memphis makes a great case for not succumbing to the threats of corporate welfare cheats. The taxpayers should fund only those services which are commonly agreed to be public services and let the private sector do its thing. The influence of Chambers of Commerce and large corporate lobbyists have the politicians cowered and afraid to satnd up for the taxpayers. They long ago forgot where the money is coming from that they so easily give away to large corporations. It has got to stop.
You have to click on both counties to see the net migration. For example, click on Davidson County and you will see that 12, 297 people moved from Rutherford County to Davidson. Then click on Rutherford and you will see that 24,628 people moved from Davidson to Rutherford County, i.e., Davidson County had a net outflow of 12,331 residents to Rutherford County.
This map was created for an interesting article in the Charlotte Observer about people moving from upstate New York to Charlotte.
Commercial Appeal has the story.
1- Authorize a referendum and let the taxpayers vote on the tax increase
2- Go ahead and pass the increase with a 2/3 majority of county commission. Taxpayers then have 30 days to get signatures on a petition equal to 10% of the voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election. If the signatures are validated, a referendum is held to allow taxpayers to vote on the wheel tax increase.
3- Request that a private act be passed by the General Assembly authorizing the tax increase.
The first option is the by far the best option. County Commissioners simply don't normally seek input from taxpayers. They deal, overwhelmingly, with people within government who always want more taxpayer money. The referendum allows taxpaying citizens to be a part of the process.
Monday, January 22, 2007
"By the time all is said and done, (the proposals have) all been watered down so much that there's really nothing there. They're nothing more than shells," said Sen. Shirley Turner, D-Lawrence, Mercer County.
After seeing much of his work on reforms whittled down by other lawmakers and interest groups, Sen. Robert Smith, D-Piscataway, compared his efforts to those of Sisyphus, who in Greek mythology was doomed to forever roll a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down.
"I went into this believing anything was possible and anything was on the table, but you can't get past those interest groups," said Smith, who co-chaired one of the four committees that spent much of last summer working on reform plans.
Aside from the tax caps, Smith said none of the remaining proposals would go far to reduce government spending and therefore have a long-term impact on taxes.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
According to this report, Toyota has indicated they have narrowed their choices for a new plant to locations in Tennessee and Arkansas.
This insanity has got to stop. These deals are negotiated in secret!! They are giving away billions of our tax money and all the while saying trust me, I know what I am doing, you Mr and Ms Taxpayer don't need to know what we are doing and wouldn't understand the details anyway!!
The arrogance is unimaginable.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
"This is not to say I wouldn't develop without (TIF), but it certainly gives me pause about the development," Langfelder said.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Wheel Tax Petition Drive in Robertson County: There appears to be a pretty good chance that Robertson County (Springfield, Greenbrier, Ridge Top, Adams, Cedar Hill, Cross Plains, Coopertown, and part of White House) will pass a $30 increase in the county wheel tax on Jan. 22 (the tax you pay when you buy your tags). The County Commission could have simply called for a referendum and allowed the people to vote on this tax increase but it looks like that will not happen. So, the only way Robertson County voters will be able to have their voice heard is to gather signatures on a petition. If you live in Robertson County and would like to help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with the folks in Robertson County.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Please act TODAY and Click HERE to EMAIL Governor Bredesen. Tell him we do NOT want our Gas Taxes increased. The tax is already 40 cents per gallon, that is HIGH ENOUGH. That is like buying a postage stamp everytime you buy a gallon of gas. Please act today so Governor Bredesen will have time to make the hard decisions that are necessary to bring the TDOT budget under control. Taxpaying families make these same hard decisions every month with our own budgets and we expect our State Government to make them also. You can also call the Governor: 615-741-2001
Great report from Larry Brinton at WSMV
Welcome to the Free Classic Audio Books site where you can download free audio books in either mp3 format or m4b audio book format for iTunes and the iPod. Some of our audio books are human narrated Librivox recordings and others are narrated using the latest high quality text to speech voices.
So die all who try to reform the National Health Service. They have been doing so since a despairing Margaret Thatcher appointed Roy Griffiths, boss of Sainsbury's, to the task in 1983. The NHS is the North-West Frontier of the public sector. If the health union Tajiks don't get you, the Pashtun consultants will. You can throw as many men into the Khyber Pass as you like but they never return.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Here is the picture from 1923 for example.
On Thursday, the House of Representatives will vote on legislation to increase taxes for the first time since 1993. It took just 15 days of new found power for the Democrats to raise taxes. The first vote of the 110th Congress removed the 3/5 supermajority to raise taxes. The following day was a vote to enact a new rule requiring offsetting tax increases for every tax cut.
So it was only a matter of time before the first actual vote to raise taxes came up. The significance of this should not be underestimated as Thursday's vote is the first step in reversing what could be considered the best run for American taxpayers since the creation of the income tax. Using the Treasury Department study by Jerry Tempalski we count the longest run between legislation being enacted into law with a net tax increase occurring from 1952 through 1966. The 15-year period is slightly longer than the current 13-year period but it is our hope President Bush will veto these tax increases through 2008. After 2008 all bets are off and $586 billion of tax cuts are in the pipeline from 2008-2016 making them ripe candidates for repeal.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
At JREF, we offer a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The JREF does not involve itself in the testing procedure, other than helping to design the protocol and approving the conditions under which a test will take place. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. In most cases, the applicant will be asked to perform a relatively simple preliminary test of the claim, which if successful, will be followed by the formal test. Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives. Upon success in the preliminary testing process, the "applicant" becomes a "claimant."
To date, no one has ever passed the preliminary tests.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
What we found was very different from what we expected. It wasn't just that the government did not understand the difference between dissenters and opponents - perhaps understandable in a climate of heightened political polarization. Nor that they seemed genuinely disinterested in anything that was not directly connected with their staying in power - also understandable when the opposition seems to only think about how to oust you from power. It was that they really didn't seem to care much about any of the reasons we were there: improving the well-being of the poor and making Venezuela an open, democratic society.
Venezuela's poor do not live in a better society. They live in a society whose government is systematically squandering the nation's largest oil boom since the seventies while at the same time restricting basic political freedoms. Those of us who want to build a truly democratic and egalitarian future for Latin America should support democratic movements committed to the respect of civil and political liberties and whose leaders genuinely care about the region's poor. We should not support Hugo Chávez.
Moulton declined to specify what TVA now pays to rent its office complex, claiming such details "could hinder our negotiations" for a new contract.Link
Governor Bredesen will not tell our elected representatives how much taxpayer money he is giving away in corporate welfare to Toyota.
If necessary, he said, he would not tell the legislature about the full meaning of a bill intended to offer incentives to lure a large industry here.Link
Sevier County Planning Commission will not identify parcels of property by address.
Unlike our municipal planning commissions, the county group prepares an agenda in a way that seeks to convey as little information as possible to the general public. It lists property to be discussed not by address or road, but by its tax map number.Link
Meanwhile, Bredesen said that he continues to oppose a state income tax and that he opposes removing the state's 6-cent sales tax on food, as some legislators have proposed: "If I were a poor person, I would get more benefit out of the state if I pay an extra buck on groceries, and I get better schools."Link
Friday, January 12, 2007
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will allow companies to sell ads inside plastic bins whose sole purpose so far has been to move passengers' shoes, cellphones and other belongings through X-ray machines.
Advertising companies and airports could reap millions from 12-inch-by-17-inch ads glued to the bottom of security bins. The TSA would benefit, too, from free equipment: The agency is requiring any company that sells the ads to stock airport checkpoints with new bins, carts and stainless steel tables.
"It creates a cleaner, smoother, more professional process," says TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe.
Under the proposal, the issue would be placed before Mississippi voters at the November 6th election. The proposal passes 116-to-2. It now goes to the Senate.
On January 3rd, the House approved a bill that says governments could not take private land for retail, industrial or residential developments, to increase the local tax base or to give the land to any public-private partnership.
Tony Snow and Tony Blair both mentioned www.liveleak.com.
The Tony Blair sound byte is followed by an interesting BBC interview.
Why are we hearing about this TODAY? Why didn't the Republicans raise heck about this BEFORE the vote. Could it be that no one read the bill closely before they voted?
Very few, if any, of our Congresspersons actually read the bills before they vote on them. This is a very bizarre and maddening situation. Did Republicans know about this exemption and simply wait until after passage to protest or did they fail to read the bill thoroughly? Note: Marsha Blackburn and David Davis were the only TN Congresspersons who voted against the Minimum Wage increase.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
CBS News Poll. Jan. 1-3, 2007. N=993 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.
"With the Democrats in control of Congress, do you think your taxes will go up, go down or stay about the same?"
Go Up - 39%
Go Dn - 8%
Stay Same - 48%
Unsure - 5%
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Top 5 Data Links
699 - Top Wealth Holders With Gross Assets of $675,000 or More by Type of Property, Sex, and Size of Net Worth: 2001 [Excel 32k]
700 - Top Wealth Holders With Net Worth $1 Million or More--Number and Net Worth by State: 2001 [Excel 28k]
459 - Federal Budget Debt: 1960 to 2006 [Excel 38k]
463 - Outlays for Payments for Individuals by Category and Major Program: 1990 to 2006 [Excel 60k]
313 - State and Local Government Expenditure Per Capita by Criminal Justice Function and State: 2002 [Excel 29k]
Rather than hold a referendum and ask the people of Kingsport if they want to eliminate this tax, Mayor Phillips simply goes down his list of good intentions and chooses the next item. he never stops to think that taxpaying families may have a few good intentions of their own like saving for retirement that coul be funded by eliminating this tax. Politicians always presume that their good intentions are higher priority than the citizens good intentions.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
Chapter 311, Public Acts of 2005 requires Tennessee's delegates to the Governing Board to prepare a report due Dec. 31, 2006, that addresses the effects of the Tennessee law changes on local governments and small businesses.
2004 Rates for each income quintile
Lowest quintile, 4.5
Second quintile, 10.0
Middle quintile, 13.9
Fourth quintile, 17.2
Highest quintle, 25.1
Top 10 percent, 26.9
Top 5 percent, 28.5
Top 1 percent, 31.1
These numbers include all federal taxes (not just income taxes) and are expressed as a percentage of household income.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
"He (taxpayer) also showed the EU regulations as an example and demanded an end for irrational taxes. Interestingly, Public Prosecutor has found his complaint a 'rightful action' and decided to begin an investigation for the Ministry of Finance."
As lawmakers scrambled to enact a property tax reform plan last year, the problem grew by a record $1.4 billion, a Star-Ledger analysis has found.
Local government agencies hit landowners with a $20.9 billion levy in 2006, of which $15.4 billion was billed to homeowners. That pushed the average residential tax bill up 6.8 percent to $6,170 -- an increase of $390.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
The Llanes family had a fairy-tale moment when "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" swept into Bergenfield last spring, knocked down their creaky old home and built them a futuresque dream house.
The community celebrated. People shed tears of joy.
Happily ever after, right?
A better home means a higher assessment. And a higher assessment, of course, means a higher tax bill. In this case, more than $14,000.
Now, Vic Llanes is beginning to feel the burden of his family's windfall.
"We feel an ax hanging over our head," said Llanes, who is blind and has three disabled children. "With all the taxes, it's like we're on a chopping block."
Councilman Scottie Ernst brought up the issue at the end of the council meeting, the Danville Advocate-Messenger reported. He said he was worried the city would be vulnerable to a lawsuit if someone got hurt by trying to run into the street to retrieve candy, or by getting hit by a flying peppermint or sucker.
City Attorney Carol Hill said the ban may be hard to enforce, but Stanford Police Chief Keith Middleton said it is possible.
"While the Kentucky Department of Revenue is starting with 2005 tax bills, it has the legal authority to impose back-taxes up to five years. Midkiff said the state hasn't made a decision whether or not to do that.
Though there are several fees associated with registering a boat, states that boarder Kentucky, such as Indiana, Ohio and Tennessee have no annual property tax on boats.
Karen Chrisman, an attorney with Lexington, Ky.-based law firm McBrayer, Mcginnis, Leslie and Kirkland, is working against the tax with a group known as Kentucky Documented Boaters Incorporated.
"They see this as an attack on tourism in Kentucky," Chrisman said.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Marsha Blackburn (No staffers listed)
Harold Ford, Jr
Bill Jenkins (No staffers listed)
Lincoln Davis (No staffers listed)
Zach Wamp (No staffers listed)
This sounds good but my best guess is that it is just another cruel hoax perpetrated on New Jersey taxpayers. New Jersey has long ago passed a tipping point where taxtakers are much more politically powerful than taxpayers.
North Jersey homeowners will still get a promised property tax credit this year, but there is a new hitch: Lawmakers must also approve a plan that would force towns to limit their local spending.
Governor Corzine and leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature announced the arrangement Wednesday as part of package of measures they say will get the now-stalled property tax reform effort moving.
Wednesday's agreement essentially ties the fate of the promised credit to a plan that caps local tax rates. Many politically powerful groups -- including the public school teachers union, local officials and municipal workers -- have opposed such caps because they essentially limit spending.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
New capabilities being tested include:
Monday, January 01, 2007
Memphis has the highest property taxes in the entire State. They have just mothballed the old Pyramid arena. They have a still brewing scandal over the parking garage for the Fedex forum, and now the Mayor is proposing a new football stadium.
The taxpayers will be thrilled.