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State News questions if state budget is irresponsible! 21 July, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in State.
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The only thing we will add is that the picture looks even worse when you take into account all state expenditures and not just the operating budget. 

State budget irresponsible?

DOVER — When lawmakers left Legislative Hall at the end of the session in the wee hours of July 1, they had passed a record $3.285 billion operating budget in a tight fiscal year wrought with declining revenues.

The spending plan is Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s seventh since taking office in 2001, during which time the state’s operating budget has grown by nearly $1 billion, a 43 percent increase from the $2.3 billion fiscal 2002 budget.

“The question you have to ask is, is state government $1 billion better than we were in fiscal 2002?” asked Sen. Colin R.J. Bonini, R-Dover.

“The answer is, of course not. We have been tremendously irresponsible in our spending, and I don’t blame just Gov. Minner. We as legislators are just as guilty.”

Sen. Bonini, who regularly votes against the operating budget, contends that Delaware has a spending problem and that the money the state spends could be better used by those who supplied it.

“A lot of my colleagues have forgotten that it’s not our money, it’s the money of those we represent,” Sen. Bonini said.

But Gov. Minner and her budget staff believe the administration has been an excellent steward of the state’s finances during her tenure. 

See the rest of the article at

http://www.newszap.com/articles/2007/07/21/dm/central_delaware/dsn01.txt

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Are we getting our money’s worth from government? 20 July, 2007

Posted by David Anderson in Uncategorized.
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What intrigued me about the education test scores is that we have obvious flaws in our state testing and no plan in place to solve them. We spend millions on our own unique testing system, but we don’t do enough for quality control. 

Read this quote.

“Taylor could not explain why the fourth-grade scores plummeted, but noted DOE employees found through follow-up interviews that some 10th-graders struggled with one essay question because it required social studies knowledge and because they were confused about the audience for whom they were writing.

or

‘Too often there is a disconnect between what is tested and what is taught,’ said Lake Forest Superintendent Dan Curry, whose district’s third-grade reading scores went from 82 percent of students meeting or exceeding the state standard last year to 88 percent this year.”

Ten years and still struggling.

 http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070720/NEWS/707200342.

Fed Chairman gives views on the economy 18 July, 2007

Posted by David Anderson in federal.
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Below are excerpts from his  

Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress
Before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives
July 18, 2007 10:10 a.m.

Overall, the U.S. economy appears likely to expand at a moderate pace over the second half of 2007, with growth then strengthening a bit in 2008 to a rate close to the economy’s underlying trend. Such an assessment was made around the time of the June meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) by the members of the Board of Governors and the presidents of the Reserve Banks, all of whom participate in deliberations on monetary policy. The central tendency of the growth forecasts, which are conditioned on the assumption of appropriate monetary policy, is for real GDP to expand roughly 2-1/4 to 2-1/2 percent this year and 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 percent in 2008. The forecasted performance for this year is about 1/4 percentage point below that projected in February, the difference being largely the result of weaker-than-expected residential construction activity this year. The unemployment rate is anticipated to edge up to between 4-1/2 and 4-3/4 percent over the balance of this year and about 4-3/4 percent in 2008, a trajectory about the same as the one expected in February.Real consumption expenditures appear to have slowed last quarter, following two quarters of rapid expansion. Consumption outlays are likely to continue growing at a moderate pace, aided by a strong labor market. Employment should continue to expand, though possibly at a somewhat slower pace than in recent years as a result of the recent moderation in the growth of output and ongoing demographic shifts that are expected to lead to a gradual decline in labor force participation. Real compensation appears to have risen over the past year, and barring further sharp increases in consumer energy costs, it should rise further as labor demand remains strong and productivity increases. In the business sector, investment in equipment and software showed a modest gain in the first quarter. A similar outcome is likely for the second quarter, as weakness in the volatile transportation equipment category appears to have been offset by solid gains in other categories. Investment in nonresidential structures, after slowing sharply late last year, seems to have grown fairly vigorously in the first half of 2007. Like consumption spending, business fixed investment overall seems poised to rise at a moderate pace, bolstered by gains in sales and generally favorable financial conditions. Late last year and early this year, motor vehicle manufacturers and firms in several other industries found themselves with elevated inventories, which led them to reduce production to better align inventories with sales. Excess inventories now appear to have been substantially eliminated and should not prove a further restraint on growth.The global economy continues to be strong. Supported by solid economic growth abroad, U.S. exports should expand further in coming quarters. Nonetheless, our trade deficit–which was about 5-1/4 percent of nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter–is likely to remain high.

Presidential Race update! 18 July, 2007

Posted by David Anderson in Election 2008, federal.
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This is from Evans-Novak’s Political Report of today.

President 2008

The second-quarter financial filings should be alarming for Republicans, revealing that the top three Republicans have raised a total of $93 million for the presidential race compared to the $135 million raised by the top three Democrats. Recent polls put former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) in the lead among Republicans, but “undecided” places slightly higher than either one. Democratic voters, meanwhile, appear to be far more satisfied with and locked into their choices.

Ames Straw Poll: With Sen. John McCain‘s (R-Ariz.) campaign all but dead, the August 11 Ames, Iowa, straw poll takes on a significance it did not have before. McCain, already lagging Iowa, had dropped out of the straw poll with a sigh of relief after Giuliani chose not to compete, and that would have left the two frontrunners out of the contest. But now, only frontrunner Giuliani is missing.

  1. That sets up a brawl between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and several minor conservative candidates. For the latter, a strong showing in the Ames straw poll is their best chance to compensate for a lack of campaign funds and propel themselves out of the second tier.
  2. Romney probably needs to win at Ames. Despite the fact that he lags in national polls, Romney is the clear frontrunner in most Iowa and New Hampshire state polling, largely a reflection of the positive ads he has run in those states to build up his image. Even if he continues to trail nationwide come January, winning in those states would make him instantly more credible heading into the big Super Tuesday of February 5. A second-place finish could embarrass Romney but not destroy him. A multi-millionaire, Romney will not be devastated by bad news with donors fleeing in every direction — as McCain has been and will be in the coming month.
  3. One candidate who could surprise in Ames next month is Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), whom most commentators write off for his lack of fundraising ability. Iowa Republicans have a history of supporting social conservatives, nearly handing Pat Buchanan a victory in 1996. Although Buchanan is really closer politically to presidential candidate Rep. Duncan Hunter (R), Brownback has a geographic and issue advantage in Iowa that Hunter, Romney and Giuliani lack with respect to farm issues. He also may be picking up many of McCain’s former supporters, who are not turned off by Brownback’s position on immigration.

    Low on funds, Brownback has been frugal and intensely concentrated on Iowa. His operation is all grassroots, with no mail or television in the state. The conventional low expectations work in his favor, but a more realistic appraisal is that he needs a win or a close second at Ames to have a shot at Iowa in January.

  4. Among the other battlers for the right-wing vote is Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who views Brownback as a key rival. Tancredo landed a few punches on Brownback for his support of the comprehensive immigration reform bill and the fact that Brownback changed his vote from “yes” to “no” during the Senate’s second cloture vote on the bill last month. Brownback responded by blanketing Tancredo’s congressional district with mailers about contributions Tancredo had received from John Tanton, an anti-immigration activist with ties to Planned Parenthood. Tancredo has toned things down since then, a sign that he is likely to run for his seat again when the presidential campaign is over.
  5. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has gained much attention for being the only anti-war Republican in the race. At the same time as some Republicans are accusing him of treason, he appears to have collected more in campaign donations from active-duty military than any other Republican presidential candidate. He has attracted enough attention that some worry about a third-party candidacy.

    Paul’s anti-ethanol subsidy position will not help him in Iowa. Yet like Buchanan, he embraces an isolationist foreign policy that many Iowans appreciate. He recently stoked controversy with an appearance on the radio show of a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, in which he suggested that the Bush Administration is looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran.

  6. What about Fred? It is an open question where Fred Thompson stands in Ames, considering that he will probably not be an official candidate by then and will not actively participate in the straw poll.

Gilmore: The exit of former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) from the race did not shock anyone, but it is a lesson in the difference between a frontrunner and an underdog campaign. Even as he received advice to go out on a limb by attacking the frontrunners or by embracing bold policy proposals that would distinguish him from other candidates, Gilmore ran a very cautious campaign.

Instead of running like an underdog, Gilmore campaigned like a frontrunner, presenting himself as a mainline conservative. He also made a habit of showing his résumé constantly during the debates, answering questions from his experience in one capacity or another.

The result of his exit now could be that Gilmore competes for the Senate seat of John Warner (R-Va.) should Warner retire. In a state where Republicans have received few breaks lately, many conservatives would find him preferable to Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), whom they see as more moderate.

Giuliani: By releasing a list of prospective judicial nominees, Rudy Giuliani wants to ease the minds of conservatives who are otherwise unwilling to support him because of his views on abortion. With Fred Thompson at his heels, Giuliani needs to offer these conservatives something more substantial (and more consistent) than his message on abortion in the campaign so far.

Fred Thompson: Thompson has wavered from an outright denial to an acknowledgement that he may have lobbied for or at least given advice to a group seeking to have the U.S. government fund abortions abroad. If he did, he does not remember. This would have occurred during the administration of George H. W. Bush, before Thompson was elected to the Senate. Conservatives appear to be unconcerned by the allegation, which was brought by the abortion group.

Thompson could form an exploratory committee at the end of July, which would allow him to avoid disclosing campaign contributions until the third-quarter reporting period. Thompson would instead file an IRS form to maintain the tax-exempt status of his “testing the waters committee.” His official announcement might not come until September.

Randy Enwright, a Republican political consultant from Florida with strong ties to the Iowa GOP, has been tapped as political director of Thompson’s forthcoming presidential campaign. Based in Tallahassee, Enwright worked on George W. Bush’s 2000 Florida campaign and has been the Republican National Committee’s regional political director for Florida since then. In the early 90s, he was staff director of the Republican Party in Iowa, where caucuses will kick off the 2008 delegate selection. Enwright was executive director of the Florida party in 1995-1999 and adviser to Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

Clinton: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) received the endorsement this week of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

Her husband, President Bill Clinton, appealed to small donors for Senate Democratic campaigns recently by asking for a tax increase for upper-income earners — which include himself. As President in 1993, Clinton pushed huge upper-bracket tax increases through Congress, after which Republicans won control of the House in 1994 for the first time in 40 years.

His June 25 appeal, asking contributions of “$50, $100 or even more,” included the declaration: “I never had any money until I left the White House. But now that I’m a millionaire, I get more help from the federal government than anybody. I think it’s inconsistent with the common good to give me huge tax cuts.”

Dems seek to tax investment 17 July, 2007

Posted by David Anderson in federal.
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The worst economic policy possible is taxing investment.  It kills jobs, business growth, and makes people dependent upon government for retirement and large expenses they need to save for.

So what is the new Congress looking at doing?  According to today’s Wall Street Journal they are looking at finding new taxes for private equity and hedgefund investments.

If it moves tax it, if it still moves regulate it, if it stops moving subsidize it.  I guess they are back to their old tricks of taxation, regulation, and subsidization.  May God help the American worker and investor.

To Whom is the state paying money? 16 July, 2007

Posted by David Anderson in Action Item.
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Here is a valuable resource for tracking state expenditures. http://php.delawareonline.com/stateCheckbook/  It is added permanently to the blogroll and State links on the right.

Have fun! 

guest post on the fair tax from Ian 16 July, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Fair Tax, Uncategorized.
13 comments
While many who are invested in the current income tax system seek to demagog the well-researched FairTax plan (*), its acceptance in the professional / academic community continues to grow (**). Failure to enact the FairTax – choosing instead to try to “flatten” a NON-FLATTENABLE income tax system – will result in an IRREVOCABLE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN. (*** Impossible, you say?)Here is why the FairTax MUST replace the income tax. It’s:

• SIMPLE, easy to understand
• EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn’t cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
• FAIR, loophole free and everyone pays their share
• LOW TAX RATE, achieved by broad base with no exclusions
• PREDICTABLE, doesn’t change, so financial planning is possible
• UNINTRUSIVE, doesn’t intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
• VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
• PRODUCTIVE, rewards, rather than penalizes, work and productivity

Its benefits are as follows:

FOR INDIVIDUALS:
• No more tax on income – make as much as you wish
• You receive your full paycheck – no more deductions
• You pay the tax when you buy “at retail” – not “used”
• No more double taxation (e.g. like on current Capital Gains)
• Reduction of “pre-FairTaxed” retail prices by 20%-30%
• Adding back 29.9% FairTax maintains current price levels
• FairTax would constitute 23% portion of new prices
• Every household receives a monthly check, or “pre-bate”
• “Prebate” is “advance payback” for monthly consumption to poverty level
• FairTax’s “prebate” ensures progressivity, poverty protection
• Finally, citizens are knowledgeable of what their tax IS
• Elimination of “parasitic” Income Tax industry
• NO MORE IRS. NO MORE FILING OF TAX RETURNS by individuals
• Those possessing illicit forms of income will ALSO pay the FairTax
• Households have more disposable income to purchase goods
• Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

FOR BUSINESSES:
• Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
• Business compensated for collecting tax at “cash register”
• No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
• No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
• Reduced costs. Competition – not tax policy – drives prices
• Off-shore “tax haven” headquarters can now return to U.S
• No more “favors” from politicians at expense of taxpayers
• Resources go to R&D and study of competition – not taxes
• Marketplace distortions eliminated for fair competition
• US exports increase their share of foreign markets

FOR THE COUNTRY:
• 7% – 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
• Jobs return to the U.S.
• Foreign corporations “set up shop” in the U.S.
• Tax system trends are corrected to “enlarge the pie”
• Larger economic “pie,” means thinner tax rate “slices”
• Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as “pie”
increases
• No more “closed door” tax deals by politicians and business
• FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow

(*) http://snipurl.com/taxpanelrebutted (.pdf)

(**) http://snipurl.com/econsopenletter (Lists every tax that FairTax will eliminate, together with the power they represent to pol’s and lobbyists.)

(***) Listen to an interview where Prof. Kotlikoff elaborates: http://snipurl.com/meltdowninprogress

The time for sitting around, pontificating, is over. We have NO CHOICE but to ACT: http://snipr.com/scrapthecode

A thoughtful submission from a member 15 July, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Action Item, federal.
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“Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them.” –Justice Joseph Story

Abolish the income tax. Support HR25 and S25. Log onto http://www.fairtax.org

News round up. New update Gilmore out. 14 July, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Uncategorized.
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The Dover mayor’s race is heating up with a legal challenge.  Here is another exclusive.

 http://dovercitizen.blogspot.com/2007/07/exclusive-dover-mayors-race-sparks.html

*WASHINGTON (CNN) — Citing a late start and a front-loaded primary calendar, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announced Saturday he is dropping his bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.*

Gov. Huckabee’s interview on Shawn Hannity’s program is worth hearing.  Also the Iowa straw poll is shaping up to be Romney, Huckabee, and Paul. Could be interesting.

http://www.mikehuckabee.com/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=202

Alternative minimum tax is set to soak tens of millions which would reverse much of the tax cuts which helped keep our economy afloat despite 9/11, oil price shocks, a housing slump, and a two front war.  The problem is the new pay as you go rules is leading Democrats not to consider cutting spending, but they are looking at raising other taxes.  The Wall Street Journal has been following this issue.  You should as well.

Exclusive newsflash: Senator Colin Bonini files paperwork for Lt. Gov. 14 July, 2007

Posted by stoptaxing in Election 2008, State.
2 comments

This week Senator Colin Bonini-R who represents Kent County’s 16th district, filed for the Republican nomination for Lt. Governor.  This action allows him to build organization and raise money for a likely run.  Senator Bonini has been well known over the years as fiscal watchdog.  He has voted against every budget in which the spending exceeded inflation and population growth.  While he was the lone hold out for years, now his stand is the majority position of the GOP senate caucus and has spread to some house members.  He gave an exclusive interview to STOP.

“I filed for Lt. Governor because we need a common sense conservative somewhere on the ticket”, he stated.  We need to get our message out, and get another taxpayer advocate in  statewide office, he continued.  Senator Bonini has focused on a message of more freedom and less government intrusion in our lives since entering the state senate in 1995.

Our STOP chairman has called your stand against increased state spending over the years Churchillian, do you think people will respond?  I like that analogy, Churchillian because before World War 2 Churchill stood almost alone warning the  people of the problems ahead.  This state is heading for big trouble if we don’t get our fiscal house in order, he stated.  I want to take a message of common sense conservatism all across this state.  If you do it in a postive, upbeat way, it will appeal to people who haven’t considered it.  If people can find the messenger likeable, they will give him a chance.

Senator Bonini believes he can compliment whomever gets the GOP nomination.  I hope I am fortunate enough to get nominated at the convention, he said.  We need someone who will build the party for the future.

Senator Bonini entered elected politics in 1994 as the underdog in three way senate primary.  He was outspend by multiples but won about half the vote or about as much as his opponents combinded.  He went on to win a contentious general election where he was outspent almost 10 to 1 with a positive issue oriented message despite almost daily attacks launched against him.    He won his last reelection bid with around 70% of the vote.

For those interested in contributing or getting more information contact:

 Bonini for Lt. Governor
276 Banning Road
Camden Wyoming, DE 19934

*New* the senator wanted me to add his phone and email.

302-698-0960 and email is senator-colin@prodigy.net