Wednesday, January 31, 2007

This is VERY good, Thanks Gov Bredesen


Link

"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."

Wow-Gov Beebe is all about lowering taxes

New Ark. Democratic Gov Beebe is not only trying to cut the food tax in half, he also is trying to increase the homestead exemption by $50 to $350.


Lets see.......allowing taxpayers to keep more of what they earn is a good thing? YES.

Gov Phil, are you watching this?

Hallelujah!!-Bush proposes to cut farm subsidies


Link

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.

Do we need or desire this much government?


Link

A list of all the new laws passed by the just completed 109th Congress....do we need or want this much government?

Black market prostitutes hurting tax collection


Link

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."

French Health Minister: more sleeping on the job


Link

"Why not a nap at work? It can't be a taboo subject," Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Monday. He called for further studies and said he would promote on-the-job naps if they prove useful.

France's state-run health insurance provider will send letters explaining the importance of good sleep. The Health Ministry's Web site offers tips on how best to get a good night's rest.

I am sorry, your child can not attend that school

A thought experiment: what if all the wealthy politicians who tried to send their children to private schools were met at the private school house door by the sheriff and told, "your children are not allowed to go to this private school, your children, Mr wealthy politician, can only go to the public schools."

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.

Ark Food tax reduction passes Senate


Link

Gov. Beebe's proposal to cut the grocery tax in half has passed the Arkansas Senate. It now goes to the House.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

TN Newspaper Front Pages

Chattanooga Times-Free Press

Commercial Appeal-Memphis

Daily News Journal - Murfreesboro

Jackson Sun

Johnson City Press

The Leaf Chronicle - Clarksville

The News Sentinel - Knoxville

The Tennessean - Nashville


ALL Online Newspapers in Tennessee

Rent seeking=FREE international calls?

"Rent seeking" is a term economists use to describe how companies get government to make rules and laws that give the companies an advantage in the market they would not have in a free and open market.

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

Crawling the Web for Tax Evaders


Link

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

Transparency is good, yes indeed


Link

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."

IRS Sales Tax Deduction Calculator


Link

Ark Food tax reduction jumps 1st hurdle

Kudos to Gov Beebe.....keep on keeping on, are you watching this Gov Bredesen?

Fascinating Photography Collection

They all look so purposeful and independent, as if they have a perfect right to lead their lives in freedom and independence.

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.

High Tax State Taxpayers fighting back

So many citizens, when confronted with high taxes, vote with their feet and move to a lower tax jurisdiction. Our own Davidson County Tennessee is a good example. Many citizens got fed up with high taxes and moved to surrounding counties where services are as good or better and property taxes are 40% less.

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.


5 myths about sprawl


Link

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

Yahoo: Tennessee Homes for Sale


Link

Fight a Duel and forget politics in TN


From the Tennessee Constitution:

ARTICLE IX
Disqualifications.

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.

GAS!! tax HIKE, GAS!! Tax HIKE, GAS!! Tax HIKE.......

The taxpayer funded drumbeat continues.

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

TX Liquor wholesalers pour out $1.7 mil


Link

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.


Become a Mormon, Stop smoking?


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

Couple of Early Bills filed in General Assembly


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

$500 contribution=$48,000/yr job

What a deal!! Guy contributes $500

"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."

$461 million in surplus...not one dime to food tax reduction

Each year the General Assembly of TN must pass a budget by June 30 for the following fiscal year of July 1-June30. The General Assembly may not spend or appropriate more money than is anticipated in revenue. The Tennessee Constitution requires a balanced budget. If more revenue is collected than was appropriated (a surplus) then 10% must go into the rainy day fund (until it reaches 5% of anticipated yearly tax collections) and the remaining 90% of the surplus may be spent OR returned to taxpayers.

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.

"(though backing off from an income tax per se)"


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.

States abolishing income tax?


Link

Rich donor leaves New Zealand to avoid taxes


Link

"New Zealand's richest woman quit the country after the Government refused to relax tax rules to help her give away a big part of her fortune to charity."

Send this to your friends living outside TN

The Tax Foundation just published State Income Tax Rates for 2006.

Two Enemies of Freedom - Quotes from Friedman

"The two chief enemies of the free society or free enterprise are intellectuals on the one hand and businessmen on the other, for opposite reasons.

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…"

Link

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ark Gov continues push to eliminate food tax

Arkansas Gov Beebe met some opposition within his own party but is pushing ahead with a 50% reduction in the sales tax on food.

Some Quotes for the day

"The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it."
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."
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Toothless Corporate Bullies


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.

Tennessee County to County Migration Map

Very useful and interesting MAP of TN inter-county migration using IRS data.

Map Link

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.

Taxpayers will soon know true cost of pensions

A new law is requiring that governments at all levels disclose the true future costs of public employee pensions and benefits. This will make for some very depressing reading for taxpayers since most of the changes to public employee pensions and benefits are passed very quietly each year and receive very little press, The lobbyists for public employee unions constantly push for small incremental changes each year which, over time, amount to huge future liabilities for taxpayers.

Commercial Appeal has the story.

Great Blog


Great Blog by Finance Professor Mark Parry

Washington County does it right

Looks like Washington County will put a referendum on the April ballot to ask taxpayers if they are willing and able to pay a $25 wheel tax increase. Under Tennessee State Law there are three ways to pass a wheel tax increase. The County Commission can:

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

New Jersey: higher taxes ahead

New Jersey is still trying to put together some kind of property tax reduction but all the groups which favor higher taxes and bigger government are simply too powerful to allow any meaningful progress towards lower taxes. Expect more people to be moving to TN from NJ.

Link

"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

"We're being very aggressive right now"

Translation: Arkansas politicians are willing to give away more of the Arkansas taxpayer's money than those stingy politicians from other states.

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

Give me taxpayer money or I will hold my breath

Sheesh.....these real estate developers are absolutely shameless in begging for the taxpayer's money.  "TIF" financing is where the developer gets to keep the money he would have paid in taxes and use it to pay off his debt, i.e., increase his equity. Meanwhile, all the other taxpayers have to provide the taxes he would have paid. It is a ripoff of the taxpayers, plain and simple and yet our elected officials continue to fall for the threats....unbelievable.

Link

"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

Gas tax unlikely to gain ground..in Mass

A Gas Tax increase is not likely to gain ground, or so says this article about TAX(Mass)achusetts. But here in Tennessee Phil Bredesen says he will be proposing a gas tax HIKE for Tennessee in his second term.  Tennessee taxpayers who take the money out of their hard earned family budgets to pay the 40 cent per gallon gas tax every month may have something to say on the subject....hope the Governor is willing to listen.

Its time for the food tax to GO!!


Good report from WDEF in Chattanooga on the bills to remove the food tax.

Wheel Tax Petition Drive in Robertson County

From: www.TnTaxRevolt.org

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 tennesseetaxrevolt@yahoo.com and we will put you in touch with the folks in Robertson County.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cancer deaths drop for 2nd straight year


Link

Great work by SunLight Foundation


Sunlight Foundation continues to do great work. They have very liberal contributors and very conservative but they all believe in government that is completely open and transparent. Be sure to subscribe to their blogs.

The US Congress Political Spectrum


Link

Bloomberg Proposes New York City Tax Cut

Probably too little (for a $55 billion budget), too late to stem the outflow of residents but hey, its better than the other direction.

Link

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tell Gov Bredesen NO Gas Tax HIKE

From www.TnTaxRevolt.org.

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

2,500 Organizations Exempt From Metro Property Taxes

Link

Great report from Larry Brinton at WSMV

FreeClassicAudioBooks.com

Link

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.

National Healthcare in Britain is beyond repair

Trying to fix a bureaucratic mess like NIH in Britain is like spreading cake icing over a junk pile. It may look better for a while but the junk pile is still a junk pile. Like any bureaucratic organization, all the existing constituencies quite effectively spend their energy preserving the status quo. Virtually all "solutions" involve adding another layer of consultants and management onto the top of the junk pile and none of the underlying problems ever get fixed. Government, in both the US and UK, is not the solution to the health care cost spiral, it is the primary cause.

Link
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

Lower food tax? Bredesen: NO, Beebe: YES

Link

Pictures of past General Assemblies

As Bill Hobbs has pointed out, easily accessing vote records is not possible on the taxpayer funded Tennessee General Assembly web site. But they have posted pictures of the members of the General Assembly as far back as 1889.

Here is the picture from 1923 for example.

Beginning of the End for taxpayers

Link

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.


The (music) Hype Machine

Link

The Hype Machine keeps track of songs and discussion posted on the best music blogs. Easily listen, discover and buy songs that everyone is talking about!

Wikileaks-Untraceable mass document leaking

Wikileaks-Interesting new site which encourages posting of leaked documents from authoritarian governments.

WaPo Article

We are all suckers for "rules for success"

But what the heck, here is one more set which is pretty good.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Take the money and run-if you can

Link

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

Egalitarian dreams became violent repression

Former head of the Venezuelan Economic and Financial Advisory Office editorializes about the reality of Chavez and Venezuela.

Link
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.

Saturday morning dose of Govt ARROGANCE

TVA spokesman will not disclose how much rent they are paying

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

Bredesen will push for a Gas Tax HIKE

Second terms mean increased taxes, Bredesen will be no different. During his first term the Governor had to be careful about cutting the family budgets of Tennessee families. Now, with no re-election to concern him, he will happily cut our family budgets by raising taxes. His arrogance has grown and he is now willing to tell us how we should feel, i.e., he is ready to stop listening and start coercing.
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

TSA will allow advertising in security bins

Link

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.

Good News from MS on Eminent domain bill

Link
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.

World Financial Assets hit $140 Trillion

Blogs are changing the media landscape

www.Liveleak.com is getting all sorts of publicity about videos submitted directly by soldiers, bypassing the media.

Tony Snow and Tony Blair both mentioned www.liveleak.com.

The Tony Blair sound byte is followed by an interesting BBC interview.

Did Republicans know this BEFORE the vote?

There is much discussion today of the exemption for American Samoa from the minimum wage increase bill passed by the house on Wednesday.

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.

Taxpayers continue to migrate out of high tax states

Link

Google Will Provide Free Real-Time Stock Quotes

Link

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Poll-Direction of Taxes under Dems

Link

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

How could Federal Tax Revenue grow any faster?


It would be darn near impossible for federal tax revenues to grow any faster than they have over the last four years.

Link




Interesting Stats from 2007 US Statistical Abstract

Link

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]

Taxes never die, they just get re-assigned

Revenue from a 1/4 cent local option sales tax is about to pay off some bonds. Good, now the tax can be eliminated and the money returned to the family budgets of Kingsport taxpayers, Right? Not on your life.

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.

Link

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ramsey election video

The video is running a bit ahead of the audio. About 6 mins of video.

Link

Monday, January 08, 2007

Former Presidents cost taxpayers $370 mil

Link

Update on Streamlined Sales Tax

Interesting article and update on Streamlined Sales Tax from Kingsport Times-News
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.

Effective Income Tax Rates-Current and Historical

Link

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

Criminal Complaint against irrational taxes

This Turkish taxpayer is fed up and has filed a criminal complaint against the Revenue Administration Department. He says "my family life and mental health were ruined" by paying a tax on a tax.

Link
"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."

NJ-Property taxes balloon despite push to reform

The effort by Gov. Corzine and the NJ legislature to give New Jersey property taxpayers some small amount of property tax relief is a fascinating study in political power. This is a state where much of the political power is held by very powerful public employee unions who have managed to drive the property tax burden to the highest in the country. Even after a $1.4 billion sales tax increase in 2006, much of which was earmarked for property tax relief, it is still difficult to muster the votes to give even a small tax break to property owners. All the while property taxes continues to escalate.

Link

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

Song-Please Don't Tax Texas Again

Link with MP3

Makeover family can't afford taxes on new home

Link

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?

Not quite.

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."

Kentucky City bans throwing Candy in parades

Link
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.

Kentucky Boat Owners Fight Tax

We are seeing this more and more. Some state Department of Revenue discovers they have not been collecting a particular tax so they unilaterally declare that taxpayers are at fault and back taxes are owed. The burden should be on the government agency to notify taxpayers in advance of the collection date and then give them ample time to pay the tax. Retroactive collection show be allowed only when the collecting agency is able to prove that taxpayers have been notified. As tax laws become more complex, tax collection bureaucrats can easily turn into tyrants if they are allowed to pick and choose which taxes they collect and which they let slide.

Link

"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.

Romney and Brownback sign no tax hike pledge

Link

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Congressional Revolving Door Database

The Center for Public Integrity has posted a new database online which shows how Congressional staffers go on to work as lobbyists. For example, here are the entries for the TN delegation:

Bill Frist
Lamar Alexander

Marsha Blackburn (No staffers listed)
John Tanner
Bart Gordon
Harold Ford, Jr
Bill Jenkins (No staffers listed)
Jim Cooper
Jimmy Duncan
Lincoln Davis (No staffers listed)
Zach Wamp (No staffers listed)

New Jersey Tax Rate Caps proposed

New jersey is trying to catch up with Davidson County. In Davidson County we passed a charter amendment that requires a voter referendum to increase tax rates. Now New jersey Governor John Corzine is proposing something similar for local governments.

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.


Link

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.

Good Source for Economic Data for Mid TN

MTSU Local Area Databases

Here are more sources for TN Economic Data

Automatic License Plate Recognition Technology

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Congressional Legislative Search features

Link

New capabilities being tested include:

  • Search all THOMAS databases for all congresses with one search.

  • Sort search results by document type (bills, committee reports, etc), relevance, or date.

  • Navigate and refine searches with new options on the search results and document display screens.

  • Search by sponsor
  • Monday, January 01, 2007

    New Memphis Stadium??

    Link

    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.