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Attack on Free Speech–Alert from Jordan Warfel 30 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Action Item.
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Last night, the Delaware State Senate voted to pass S.B.169, a bill that threatens pro-lifers right to free speech.  In yet another act of defiance toward the public, they voted to pass the bill without a committee hearing or any time for the public to view the bill or voice their concerns.

You can view S.B.169 at http://legis.delaware.gov/LIS/lis145.nsf/vwLegislation/SB+169/$file/legis.html?open The part of the bill that is most concerning is section 2 which could ban “protest, education, or counseling” on public sidewalks within 100 feet of an abortion clinic.  S.B.169 could be used to charge peaceful pro-life protesters and prayer vigil attendees with misdemeanors.  We expect that the House could suspend the rules to pass S.B. 169 without a committee hearing tonight!

3 Reasons to Oppose S.B.169

1.  S.B.169 is purposefully vague.  Terms such as “education,” “counseling,” and “consent” are not well defined and could lead to the violation of the free speech rights of protesters and prayer vigil attendees.  It is so radical that parents would not even be allowed to talk their own daughters out of having an abortion within 100 feet of the abortion clinic.  If your 14 year old daughter decided to have an abortion and you followed her to the abortion clinic to try to change her mind, you would be charged with a misdemeanor!!

2.  S.B. 169 may be unconstitutional.  If the vague language of S.B.126 is used to prohibit free speech on public sidewalks and right of ways, the bill could be struck down in federal court as a violation of the free speech rights afforded to us by the U.S. Constitution.

3.  S.B. 169 will be tied up in court costing the tax payers of Delaware money to defend the bill.  In these hard financial times, the last thing Delaware needs is costly litigation to defend hastily and carelessly passed bills.

Please take the following 2 steps to stop S.B.169.

1.  Find your State Representative and ask them to oppose S.B.169.  You can find there phone numbers at www.delawarefamilies.org.  Call them at their home number first, then their office number.  Communicate the three reasons why we oppose S.B.169.  Also ask them to give us a committee hearing so that we can voice our concerns about the bill.  Always remember who we represent.

2.  If you can manage, please take time to attend the session Tuesday night.  It will go all evening into the early morning hours.  Tuesday is the last night of session this year.  Please consider coming to Legislative Hall one last time this year for a while in the evening to talk to your Representative.

Taxes, Taxes, and ,more Fees 30 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in State, Tax Hikes.
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In his inaugural speech, Lt. Governor Matt Denn blasted the late President Reagan for encouraging people to hold their government responsible results. He called for sacrifices of us but not from the governing class. That was a signal of what was to come– taxes, taxes, and more fees.

The Democrats in the Delaware General Assembly had to accept the concept of sunset clauses to many of their tax bills in order to avoid a government shut down. Even then they voted down 1 year sunsets and voted in 4 year sunsets. This allowed them to get 1 republican vote so they could get their super majority. We have hundreds of millions in tax increases and tens of millions more in fee increases. Death taxes, income taxes, gross receipts taxes, cigarette taxes, and fees on practically everything are going up. If you get too depressed about it, and go drinking (not recommended)  you had better hurry because that will be taxed too as soon as they can get one more vote. The only other thing left on the table are certain corporate taxes that take a 2/3 majority.

Democrats had to agree to cutting the state workforce by another 2% through attrition. There is no early retirement so far. There is no reform of the purchasing system that is losing us $200,000,000 a year which happens to equal the income tax hike. Various posts here have shown savings of over $300,000,000 which could be achieved before cutting a single service or laying off one person. The irresponsibility of funding the addiction instead seeking treatment has to stop. The sad fact is that it will not stop without some tax fighting reformers in legislative hall.

When the choice was between reforming government or taxing the people, the Democrats choose taxing the people. They couldn’t be persuaded to give the little guy a break even though he was hurting any more than a shark could be persuaded not to go after a bleeding fish. They should be ashamed. All I can say is that it is on. It is time to retake the house. 5 to survive in 2010.

46 Pages of fee hikes with no hearing 27 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Budget, State.
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Our friend, Charlie Copeland alerted us to a bill HB 274. It seems to be set to sail through under suspension of the rules without a committee hearing. Which is 46 pages of fee hikes. Can’t there be hearings on this? This will really affect small business. The Kidney center, the tattoo shop, child care centers, and a host of others. I don’t know who is right (it is not been held to public scrutiny or justification), but what I do know is that they can’t be too confident in their position. Why not tell us that such and such fee hasn’t been raised since 1970 or whatever if that is true? The people did not like the driver’s license and title fees going up, but they accepted it because the fees had been unchanged for decades.

Are they afraid of the truth coming out?

According to the bill’s own synopsis, this is true.

This act increases certain fees charged by the Department of Health and Social Services and imposes certain new fees related to licensing, registration, and permits furnished by the Department. The fees apply to bedding manufacturers, body art and piercing parlors, manufacture of bottled water and sodas, child care licensing inspections, violations of the Clean Indoor Air Act, environmental investigations that may impact human health, inspections of cosmetology shops and similar facilities, restaurant inspections, laboratory certifications, lead based paint licensing, massage establishments, milk and dairy safety, end stage renal disease facilities, portable X-rays, public swimming pools, radiation control services, recreation camps, vital statistics, and water supply operators. This act also creates a licensure and regulatory structure for Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment Centers, End Stage Renal Disease Facilities, Standing Outpatient Healthcare Facilities, Portable X-ray Suppliers and Outpatient Physical Therapy/Speech Therapy Facilities.

Cap and Tax 26 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Uncategorized.
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This is a defining moment in whether or not we will be a prosperous nation. Green goons are trying to undermine our energy independence and redirect the American economy. Contact your Congressman today.

From the linked Wall Street Journal column:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House, and the bill may get a full vote as early as Friday. It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done.

Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman’s many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership’s solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics.

Where is Governor Tim Kaine? 24 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Uncategorized.
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Were did Governor Kaine Go? He won’t tell even though he took a taxpayer state security force with him. He is threatening to stonewall FIOA requests on state security grounds. If he tells the people were he was (not where he is going), that could endanger his life they say. How will disclosing past trips endanger him? Is he a big fan of Terminator: the Sarah Conner Chronicles? Will time traveling assassins come and get him if he tells the taxpayers?

Governor Kaine is the Chairman of the DNC. He promised that his night job would not interfere with his day job. I guess we will have to take his word on it or time traveling cyborgs will come and wreck havoc. Thank you governor for saving us from such a fate.

In Delaware, our former Governor would have taken the entire staff along with her to some exotic location and billed the taxpayers for a trade trip. Apparently she should have given lessons on that at the Governor’s Association. It is just a lot simpler to say in your face than to stonewall.

Obama Update June 09 24 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in President Obama.
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The President’s ratio to promises kept to broken is 39 to 6 with over 500 to go. The biggest casualties have been transparency. Overall the ratio seems positive.

They say cut spending first. 23 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Budget, State, Tax Hikes.
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Thomas H. Kovach, House of Representatives
Thomas.Kovach@state.de.us

North Wilmington Republican Representatives Tom Kovach, Greg Lavelle, and Debbie
Hudson joined together today to call on the Legislature to reject increases in the personal
income tax and short-sighted state employee pay cuts, instead promoting meaningful and
sustainable reductions in state expenses.

Representative Lavelle (R-Sharpley) said that, “We recognize that we must make difficult
decisions in order to move Delaware beyond this current budget crisis. Balancing the
budget on the back of Delaware’s working families through the administration’s
proposed tax increases is simply unacceptable. The budget proposals offered by the
Democrats are too quick to increase the tax burden and fall far short of the necessary,
sustained and sustainable cuts in state government. Without these changes, tax
increases like we are seeing now will become an annual event.”

The Legislators argue that state government needs to operate in a fashion more like that
of the private sector. According to Representative Kovach (R-Brandywine East), “We
must address the government’s economic problems in the same fiscally responsible
manner that the private sector does. This means we must not raise what we charge our
customers, but we must cut staff and spending to balance the budget, while keeping the
necessary, good employees at their current pay.”

The Legislators said that the current proposal of state employee salary reductions simply
masks the real problem: an oversized and unsustainable state government.
“The alleged savings on a 2.5% state employee pay cut result in approximately $30
million for the state and will last for one year,” said Representative Hudson (RFairthorne).
“Not only is this reduction significantly less than 1% of the state’s operating
budget, the Democrats now seeking to impose this pay cut will surely seek to avoid the
same cut in the upcoming election-year. The resulting shortfall will have to be paid for
with yet another increase in personal income tax for the majority of Delawareans.” In
their battle against irresponsible taxes, all three agreed that they will also fight to put a
one-year “sunset” to any Democratic imposed tax increase—a proposal the Democrats
have already rejected.

“The tax increases pushed by the Democrats shift the burden from the state to Delaware’s families and small businesses,” said Rep. Kovach. “The proposed personal income tax increases, which will result in an additional burden on working-class families and individuals making over $50,000, is a terrible idea at a time when many are trying their best just to make ends meet. Coupled with the 25% property tax increase imposed by New Castle County, these increases will be unbearable to the average citizen.”
Republican-offered solutions, such as the elimination of redundant school administrative
positions, cutting the Community Transportation Fund, and a temporary reduction in the
prevailing wage paid by the state to contractors (often from out-of-state), have been
largely ignored by the administration. Other possibilities include exploring a tax amnesty
program and offering an efficiency rewards program.

“Quite simply, we must require that the state reduce the size and expense of government
and avoid the placing the burden of oversized and bloated state government on the
taxpayers,” said Rep. Kovach. “There are plenty of solutions that have been left off the
table, contrary to what the Governor and House Democrats have claimed,” said Rep.
Hudson.

Rep Lavelle, Hudson, and Kovach stand firm together, “We remain opposed to all tax
increases until the government can certify that it has taken all immediately practical
actions to reduce waste and inefficiency. At this point, we are not even close.”

Senior Exemption at Risk 23 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Action Item, State, Tax Hikes.
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Today, I spoke with a contingent a Legislative Hall regarding the repeal of the Senior exemption. Our group opposes it.

Senator Bonini said, “Its absolutely true – “means testing” (see eliminating for most seniors) the up to $500.00 tax exemption for Senior Citizens is part of Governor Markell’s proposed budget solutions (see his March budget speech). Per usual, there hasn’t been a bill yet – probably will be a late-night June 30th vote. This is a tax increase targeting Senior Citizens exclusively. I don’t know the current status of the proposal, but I know its in the Governor’s and the Democrats budget numbers”.

I think an interesting take is by Frank Knotts.

It is being floated in the usual Delaware style, here in Delaware our legislators don’t just come out and sponsor a bill , first they let it get around that they might sponsor a bill , or in this case might slip one in in the midnight hours at the end of the legislative session.

This time it has to do with the repealing of the tax exemption for seniors of up to five hundred dollars of the school portion of their property tax.

No one is willing to drink the political poison in public yet by saying that they support this idea, though some have said it is possible that a bill of this type could get slipped in at the end of the session. Also Gov. Markell has hinted at support of such a proposal.

DE Senate President Pro Tem Dies 23 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Uncategorized.
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I think that Congressman Castle said it well.
Statement from Rep. Mike Castle

“With the passing of Senator Thurman Adams today, the Adams’ family, Delaware and the state legislature have lost a true friend who was a strong and trusted leader. I have served with Thurman for many years – from my time as a state senator through my service as lieutenant governor, governor and a member of the U.S. Congress. Over that time, he was unwavering in support for his constituents and has always worked to achieve the greater good for Delaware. His word was his bond and I was able to confide in him many times over the years. Thurman also played a huge part in determining who served in the judiciary and other important posts in Delaware and his strong, positive force in our legislature strengthened our courts and state for many decades. His passing will leave a huge hole in the General Assembly at a very important time. He will be deeply missed by many and I will closely hold the memories that I have of him, including several evenings we spent sitting on the porch at Woodburn when I was governor discussing the events of the day, and his beloved Baltimore Orioles. He was a real friend to me over the years and I pass along my deepest sympathy to his daughters Lynn and Polly and the rest of his family.”

HB 230 22 June, 2009

Posted by David Anderson in Uncategorized.
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The General Assembly has been sliding toward a disturbing trend this year. It seems to have forgotten the high priority it has set on a pro-business environment which has served us well.

HB 230 is modeled on the Maryland law which cracked down on independent contractor abuse in the state of Maryland. We all know that the industry has some players who pay under the table. The problem is not in anyway limited to construction, but it is believed to be the majority of the problem. There is also a very legitimate use for people that you don’t hire. They are subcontractors and a vital part of industry in construction, technology, and sales. The fastest growing segment of employment outside of government happens to be independent subcontractors. The question is how do you ensure that we have legitimate I. C. use and not under the table payments which do not pay unemployment, social security, and workers’ compensation?

Maryland decided to step up enforcement of the existing law with some success. Apparently, the Speaker of the Delaware House admired it (along with my favorite Rep. Job Killer aka Kowalko). The problem is that the Delaware bill drafted for him goes far beyond the Maryland bill and may harm small businesses and contract labor. If you make a mistake in the Delaware bill, you will be subjected to treble damages. If you do not produce the records that the Department of Labor wants when they want it– even from 3 years ago which may not be stored on site, you could be subjected to a stop work order. If a businessman is in fear of a costly stop work order which could cost him loads of money even if he proves himself innocent, how will that help construction to come back? Will he hire bigger out of state firms or instate union shops to do his subcontracting and not take chances on the little guys who have one or two man operations? Remember the industry just lost as many people in May as are currently employed at the closing GM plant.

The Draconian penalties and the fact that the regulations and appeals process are to be developed later by the Department of Labor, make this bill one of concern to the business community. Today it is the construction industry. Tomorrow it could be sales and technology. If you care about job creation, email your representative and urge them to work with the business community to revise this bill so everyone pays their fair share of taxes, but no one has an unfair burden of regulation.