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STOP Launches Petition Against Toll Road Lease Proposal 27 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Action Item, State.
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http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/833002351

STOP has come to the conclusion that we need to not only beware but oppose the leasing of RT. 1 and I-95.  We are launching a citizen awareness effort to stop this proposal cold.  It is the ultimate short term fix with long term consequences.

It is creating a monopoly with taxing authority. It has no free market mechanism and little government limitation of toll levels. This is mind boggling. The projected toll increases are staggering.

This proposal would surrender our rights over the money from these roadways for 75 or more years for a one time payment. 

Bring the Light of Day to the State Budget Process 27 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Action Item, State, Taxpayer rights.
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The most important step to accountability is open government.  The state budget affects our lives in the most direct ways possible yet the taxpayer can’t even get a copy of the budget until it is passed.  Even worse even our elected representatives don’t see the budget except for a select few.  This has to stop.   Please sign this petition to revive HB 4 which will require the budget to be filed 5 days before a vote.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/123165418

Governor Minner issues budget proposal. High on taxes low on structural reform. 26 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Action Item, State.
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http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070126/NEWS/701260357/1006/NEWS

 No toll road leasing and no change for DelDot operating structure.  The governor tried to steer clear of both issues and go for tried and true tax and spend policies.  We are sadden that she did not close the door for leasing our roads and did not open it for reforming the transportation trust fund budget.

 Delaware needs to stop using the transportation fund as free money to expand the bureaucracy at DelDOT, buying land not used for roads, and building buildings. 

Our transportation infrastructure needs an overview.  Should we expand the rails or the roads?  We need to review our way of doing business before tax and fee increases.  Why double Rt. 1 and not spread some of the toll increase over I-95.  You could have just 50 cents on each; this is a tax on the working people who commute up north. 

Why increase the vehicle documentation fee?  We should encourage people to buy newer, less polluting cars.  If someone holds one to an old car one extra year it can pollute at a rate equal to 15 new cars that year. 

We need consistent, smart policies.  This governor seems incapable of true problem solving.  At least she did not make any huge blunders.  She seemed to avoid the issue of leasing the toll roads.  Let’s put this one to rest once and for all.  Please sign our new petition to save our toll roads.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/833002351

How Much Will the State of the Union Cost Us? 26 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in federal.
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Greater energy independence is a worthy goal.  It is in fact a matter of National Security.   However any energy policy should be market based not politically based.  The national taxpayer union has given a cost estimate for the state of the union.

For Immediate Release Jan 24, 2007
For Further Information, Contact:
Peter J. Sepp, Sam Batkins, Demian Brady, (703) 683-5700

(Alexandria, VA) — More bountiful defense budget increases and scarcer spending cuts pushed the yearly price tag of President Bush’s State of the Union proposals past $12 billion, according to the National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s (NTUF’s) popular and annually updated analysis. NTUF’s 2007 study, the eighth such examination of the Presidential addresses, found that Bush’s agenda is far more expensive than the one he proposed in 2006 — but fairly close to the average over the past four years.

“The President may have staked out a bold health care reform plan last night, but several other items in his speech should look familiar to taxpayers,” said NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady. Among the findings:

President Bush outlined items whose enactment would increase federal spending by a net of $12.4 billion per year, much higher than the record-low $91 million he advocated in 2006. However, in 2004 and 2005, the State of the Union agenda costs were closer to this year’s, at $13.6 billion and $12.8 billion, respectively. The highest overall level NTUF reported was in Bill Clinton’s 1999 speech ($305 billion).

Of the items with a possibly quantifiable budget impact that NTUF identified in Bush’s speech, seven would increase federal spending while one would reduce outlays (an additional three items mentioned policy initiatives with a currently unpredictable cost).

The single largest spending hike Bush offered last night was in connection with increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps — with higher outlays averaging $8.9 billion per year. This is the first year since 2003 that Bush has called for a specific military funding increase in his State of the Union speech.

Energy policy loomed large, with $3.3 billion to double the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s capacity.

Bush also reiterated issues that have appeared in numerous past addresses, including medical liability reform, health care information technology, and more alternative energy research. The latter cause received large spending increases in the 2005 Energy Bill. Subsidies for existing ethanol (as opposed to new potential sources such as switchgrass) already cost taxpayers roughly $2 billion per year.

Brady noted that several of the “cost unknown” items could add significantly to the net total spending increase Bush proposed last night. The President’s pleas to “save Social Security” and “fix Medicare and Medicaid” could lead to huge additional taxpayer liabilities depending upon how the White House and Congress hammer out a specific package of reforms. He also observed that recent Presidential addresses have tended to shy away from reciting laundry lists of spending items that later surface in the Administration’s formal budget blueprint.

“In Washington, the old saying ‘money talks’ is often turned upside down,” Brady concluded. “If talk does indeed mean money in this town, the conversation between the President and Congress has only begun. And, taxpayers will be waiting to hear whether more of their money will be spent or saved in this year’s budget process.”

Since 1991, NTUF has tracked the fiscal impact of proposed legislation through BillTally, an accounting database that reports the “net annual agenda cost” for each Member of Congress based on sponsorships and cosponsorships of pending legislation. For this analysis, NTUF matched Bush’s proposals with those in the BillTally system and in White House and news media documents.

Budget Deficit down, big time. 25 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in federal.
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http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070124-110508-8076r.htm

Inspite of the war and Katrina rebuilding, President Bush has exceeded his 2004 promise to cut the deficit in half in 4 years.  Where is the fanfare from those who are dying to raise our taxes?  Even better the budget would be balanced in 5 years just on current trends.  A balanced budget is not magical, but it seems to have a lot of political traction.  Maybe we can avoid destroying the economy over the myth of the deficit monster. 

Cut taxes, grow the economy.  It works every time, Maddam Speaker.

You are the Problem with Congress? 25 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Action Item, federal.
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First a quote from the Washington Times 

The ethics bill before the Senate not only cracks down on lawmakers, but also subjects politically active ministers and neighborhood groups to the same rules as K Street lobbyists.
    Under the legislation, grass-roots organizations that attempt to “influence the general public” to contact members of Congress would have to register as lobbyists and file financial reports — or face a $200,000 fine. The requirements could apply to a preacher who goes on TV or radio and tells listeners to call their congressman in support of a particular issue, such as a constitutional amendment against homosexual “marriage.”

Analysis 

“Congress shall make no law respecting …. to petition the government for a redress of there grievances”, says the first amendment. So why do the new guys in Congress want so mightily to attack grassroots lobbyists? For all the talk about listening to the People, this Congress seems dedicated to muzzling us. http://washingtontimes.com/national/20070118-122242-2071r.htm

Here is what the ACLU thinks about the efforts of their normal allies. http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/gen/24423leg20060307.html

When National Right to Life and the ACLU agree on something, I pay attention. Some Congressmen got caught with their hands in the cookie jar so restrict normal people getting information about what is going on in Washington. Sounds logical. Not. Just get rid of earmarks and mke people put their pork in the old fashion way. Then enforce the laws we already have. The problem is not that we need new ethics rules. The problem is that Congress allowed itself to lose accountability by not having names attached to spending line items. That opens itself to corruption. The Democrat approach is to use ethics reforms to insulate themselves further from the public.

What we need are more informed taxpayers standing up for the people’s interest.

State of the State pt 1. 21 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in State.
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Governor Minner presented her view of the affairs of the state of Delaware.  She gave us some encouraging words such as the fact that the 2.7 billion dollar shortfall in DelDOT’s budget over the next six years is not the real number.  1.5 billion is more realistic, she claimed.  She credited the stewardship of Secretary Wicks for part of difference(the actual 2.7 Billion figure was a worst case scenario and never the likely actual number).  That indeed is good news for Delaware taxpayers.  If Ms. Wicks is indeed such a good manager it is a shame she was not chosen first.

The bad news seems to be waiting for the budget address.  Unlike the State of the State which seemed to have endless room for expanding programs with only the evil smokers paying through the nose (humor alert), she hinted that she would present “further details of our plan to contain costs, maximize our federal dollars and add revenues to the Trust Fund”. 

I always get nervous when politicians hint at adding revenues.  It bears watching.  Hopefully the plan will lean more heavily to containing costs and only adding revenue from our pockets as absolutely necessary.

Could Drug Price Fixing Cost the Taxpayer Money? 17 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in federal.
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Speaker Nancy (pay through the nose) Pelosi is pushing through the house  a measure to “allow the Sec. of DHHS” to negotiate drug prices in the new prescription drug coverage.  The nonpartisan CBO (Congressional Budget Office) said it won’t save any money. 

Why not?  Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangle and Senate Finance Chairman Baccus are skeptical and want hearings to ensure such important legislation is done correctly.   The prescription drug benefit is the first federal program in memory to come in below CBO and OMB estimates.  The reason is that it contains market based cost containment.  The insurance companies participating negotiate their deals.  Wonder of wonders freedom works. 

 The program also gets high marks from seniors in every survey and customer satisfaction survey.  Well if it is working, why not fix that problem!  Not so fast, the Dem prescription drug plan was scored by CBO at 800 billion dollars or almost twice what the Bush plan costs.  No wonder Speaker Pay-Through-the-Nose would like to avoid any hearings to ruin her press release. 

 Here is an interesting link on the case against price controls in medicine.  http://www.gopusa.com/theloft/?p=398

Earmark Opponent is a Bad Boy according to GOP Leader 13 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in federal.
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Rep. Flake who is famous for his crusade for budget reform was not rewarded for his efforts. He was removed from his judiciary committee assignment for bad behavior (embarrassing the leadership on a 60 minutes interview). Considering that he won his reelection overwhelmingly, you would think they would be taking advantage of his credibility and appoint him to appropriations. Could it be some of the GOP still doesn’t get it?

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/RobertDNovak/2007/01/13/bad_behavior

Leasing Our Toll Roads? 11 January, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Action Item, State.
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http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007701070364

http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/01/highwaymen.html

I tend to be skeptical of anything in Mother Jones. I like to be open minded on privatization while they think capitalism is evil. I think socialism is evil.

It chokes me to say the article is thought provoking. Even worse, the more I research this issue since it was brought to my attention, the more problems I find with the structure of some of these deals. It seems less about privatization and more about special interest politics at the expense of the public interest.

I have come to the conclusion that we need to not only beware but oppose the leasing of RT. 1.

It is creating a monopoly with taxing authority. It has no free market mechanism and little government limitation of toll levels. This is mind boggling. The projected toll increases are staggering.

We would be better off just doubling the tolls and keeping the money in tax coffers. I am not advocating that approach (less I am mischaracterized). At least we would have the power to lower the tolls again when the so called crisis is over. This approach gives away our control over the level of the tolls and gives us back less of the money. It is a short term cash infusion that gives up long term revenue.
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I guess the money was better spent on private interests on the Wilmington Riverfront and buying up huge tracks of land including a Smyrna golf course, instead of building the public roads.

If we give the same people with the same policies more money, will we get different results?

It is taxation without representation.  Contact your state senator and representative today.  The contact link for the General Assembly is to your right. <!–[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]–>
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Please sign this petition to our Governor.  http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/833002351 

David Anderson