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New Bloomfield School Board Too Busy…

…voting on issues unrelated to education to improve the education at their schools.

h/t http://jennysironmanquest.blogspot.com/

As you know the Rockin’ Conservative believes that state, local, and federal revenues should be gathered through taxation of consumption — not the myriad of income, realty, and personal property taxes currently employed.

To that end, the Rockin’ Conservative has joined on with United For Missouri and Let The Voters Decide to enact a Citizens Initiative Petition abolishing Personal Income Taxes in favor of a Consumption Tax.

Today, we find out that the New Bloomfield School Board will vote on a resolution in disapproval of this Citizens Initiative Petition.  Thanks to Beverly Martin of Missouri Fair Tax for the ‘heads up’.

The average New Bloomfield ACT score in 2011 was 19.90. Unimpressive (Read here). Perhaps they could work on meeting all 15 of the MSIP APR Measurements instead of just 12.

It seems that the School Board of New Bloomfield would better serve their constituents by working to improve those scores… …instead of working to disapprove of a Citizens Initiative Petition. The Rockin’ Conservative asks you to contact the school to remind them to focus on improving the education they provide!

But, if they must, ask them if they have contacted the above proponents of the initiative to hear their side of the story.  Or, are they making this vote without all the facts?  Ask them, considering that State Auditor Tom Schweich won’t even weigh in, how did they come to the conclusion that they should disapprove of the initiative!

The phone number at the school is 573-491-3700.

The School Board will meet to vote TONIGHT!

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Education, Reform, Taxes

 

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Blunt’s Turn

It’s an apropos blog title today because every other representative of Cape County’s Tea Party members has been the topic of this week’s blogging AND it describes a serious turn towards liberalism and big government by Missouri’s freshman Senator.

ht/ aolcdn.comI couldn’t believe when an article came across my Internet Wires reporting that Roy Blunt was the Co-Sponsor of a new bill to enforce sales tax collection on Internet Purchases.

From Brian R. Hook…

The Marketplace Fairness Act would close what the Republican from southwest Missouri describes as a tax loophole, leveling the playing field between local and online retailers.

The Marketplace Fairness Act:  I don’t think anything could sound more Obama-esque!

At 7:00am on Friday 11/11/11, Jamie Allman of St. Louis’ KFTK 97.1 was scheduled to interview Blunt.  I fired off an e-mail to Jamie requesting that the Marketplace Fairness Act be a topic of discussion.

Here are a couple of statements from Mr. Blunt before the tax fairness discussion:

Are we going to be the United States of Europe; or are we going to be who we want to be…

The president’s view of this is clearly different than mine…

…We have to make a different decision; get our spending under control; get our programs under control.

What have we learned from [list of countries]…and other European countries? If your government gets bigger than you economy can support, it creates a huge, and maybe even unsolvable, problem.

Are we going to be the United States of America – where opportunity is the goal – rather than just sort of an equal division of everything that’s out there to divide.

Well, apparently, Mr. Blunt thinks that, here in America, we’re not collecting enough taxes… …and that’s just unfair. Here is the pertinent part of the discussion

Jamie: ~~Sales Tax. Is it Controversial?

Blunt: It is a little controversial; I’m for it; I’ve always been for it. What that would do would be to create a pattern where states could participate; they’d have to make the choice to opt in where the merchant who does $500 million of business over the internet would have to collect the sales tax when they do that business.

Wrong Mr. Blunt; your bill taxes SMALL business that sell $500,000 worth of goods – not $500 million

Blunt: It’s a fairness thing; it’s a fair tax equity thing. The local merchant who’s trying to be there on the Main street on the corner not even far from here or across the street from here… their products all have that – whatever it is where they live – that 5 or 6 or 7%.

Jamie: Yeah they’ve got to pay it.

Blunt: And if you get that mailed to you, you’re not paying that tax right now; though actually technically, under most state laws, including ours, you’re supposed to then voluntarily send the sales tax to the state. And, of course, we know what happens with that.

Jamie: Right

Blunt: So this is not “Taxing the Internet”. This is saying that if you buy things on the internet, you pay a tax, the same tax you’d pay if you bought it from the grocery store across the street.

Jamie: And here’s the issue, I think, for some people if they’re against this. Let’s put it this way. Let’s have no sales tax at all. But if you’re going to have a sales tax; everybody ought to be sharing that burden in terms… there’s no reason an internet company from California ought to be at a competitive advantage over a company right here in MO.

Blunt: That’s right. If you don’t pay that – your share of the tax – who takes care of the sidewalk in front of your house? Who takes care of the police department or whoever else is dependent on that tax? And so, this is a tax fairness…. I think for years, it’s been confused with the government trying to manage or tax use of the internet – which I’m not for. Now this is just saying, if you buy on the internet – and this is much less complicated all the time too ya know – if your GPS can hone in on a picture of every address in America, they can pretty closely figure out exactly what the sales tax would be for that address with a not-very-complicated program. You apply that program; send the money to the states; the states figure out how to distribute it in the fairest possible way.

Mr. Blunt, which side are you on?  The keep the government as small as possible side?  Or, the let’s make a giant sales tax collection bureaucracy side?  In your discussion with Jamie this morning, you came down on both sides.

Full Disclosure: I am a proponent of abolishing the 16th Amendment in lieu of all taxation via Consumption Taxes, I don’t disagree that we need to be able to apply taxation to the final (first) purchase of an item or service.

However, as Mr. Blunt surely knows, we don’t have a taxing problem in the U.S. right now, WE HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM.  He is clearly not paying attention to his constituents or holding to his word when he co-sponsors a bill that provides an increase in revenue to the Government.  No matter what kind of spin he tries  to put on it, if I’m paying $10 of taxes to the government, and he puts through a bill that makes it become $11 worth of taxes… …IT’S A TAX INCREASE!!

And Mr. Blunt, it seems you are tone deaf to the regulations already stifling America’s small businesses AND to the millions of Americans that are unemployed or underemployed.  A new regulation to require such businesses to track this level of detail taxation will require new, costly and unproductive accounting activity within their firms.  And the customers will suddenly be paying 7% more (let’s call it 7% inflation) for the goods and services they spend time and effort locating for the best possible price.

Yes, Mr. Blunt, it’s your turn… …your turn to be the topic of this blog; your turn towards bigger government; your turn towards ignoring your word on taxation; your turn towards ignoring that unemployed / underemployed don’t need a 7% increase in their purchase cost; your turn to sound like Obama and his doctrine of Fairness.

Now is NOT the time for big government and more taxes.  IT’S THE SPENDING, STUPID!!

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in Congress, Taxes

 

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Missouri Republican Representatives Sign-On To Raise Your Taxes

From Americans for Prosperity

A group of 100 U.S. Representatives sent a letter to the so-called Super Committee urging the handpicked group of twelve legislators to consider “all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues” in order to reach the committee’s goal of $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. In Washington speak, this is code for raising taxes.

Among this list is 40 Republicans whose capitulation encouraging the committee to raise taxes is troubling. We shouldn’t be surprised to see 60 Democrats seizing on the opportunity to drive a wedge between conservatives intent on restoring economic growth by keeping taxes low and Republican lawmakers who are starting to throw in the towel on keeping pressure on Democrats to cut spending.

The letter includes the sentence:

To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenues must be on the table

In Washington-speak, this means tax increases, and your local House Republican signed the letter.

When you fought against the debt-ceiling increase earlier this year, you knew Tax Increases would be their solution.  And, now you see the fruit of Congress’ Super Committee will indeed include Tax Increases.  Spending will continue to rise at an astronomical rate, the debt will continue to increase, and our children and grandchildren will be further enslaved to the spineless representatives of our current generation.  When will you make them stop?

Contact your Congressman and tell them NOT ONE DIME OF TAX INCREASES UNTIL  YOU BALANCE THE BUDGET. PERIOD!!  A lack of taxation is not the cause of this problem.  IT’S THE SPENDING! STUPID!!

If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.

.

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2011 in Congress, Taxes

 

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Who Would Oppose ‘No More Tax Forms’?

One of the bonuses for getting out of the world of the Income Tax is that, with consumption taxes, you don’t fill out any forms at the end of the year.  My 2010 Tax filing for the State Of Missouri included the forms:

  • MO-1040h/t wfpl.net
  • MO-A
  • Add’l Dependents
  • From 1040 (Federal)
  • Schedule A (Federal)

My Federal Income Tax filing include the forms:

  • Form 1040
  • Schedule A
  • Schedule D
  • Schedule E,p2
  • Form 5695
  • Schedule M
  • Capital Loss Carryforward Worksheet
  • Tax Payments Worksheet
  • Charitable Contributions Worksheet
  • Student Loan Worksheet
  • Carryover Worksheet

Of course, there’s no way the average American knows all the forms to be completed and either uses a program to complete their taxes or seeks the services of a professional.  Costs, including fees for electronic filing and direct deposits, exceed $150 per year.

Get rid of income taxes; get rid of all those forms!

Enter United For Missouri, Let The Voters Decide, and Art Laffer (who must have been a zygote when he was cheif economist for President Reagan).  These groups are working in Missouri to end the Income Tax in favor of a State Consumption (Sales) Tax.  There is extensive information available on their web sites about the benefits of the switch to a Consumption Tax.

But, the usual big government / big money / deep pocket forces are lining up against what’s best for Missouri and America.  A report from John McMillen about the opponents to the plan crossed my e-mail today:

Wednesday night 11/2/11. Just got back from St. Louis…”Let Voters Decide” held a conference at the DoubleTree Hotel conference room in Chesterfield, on the 2012 initiative to replace Missouri’s income tax with an increased sales tax.

Art Laffer, Reagan’s chief economic adviser, dubbed the father of supply side economics, was guest speaker. Doctor Laffer had reviewed the analysis of the “Let Voters Decide” proposal and was highly complementary of the proposal and very excited about what it will do to bring business incentives and a job growth environment back to the state of Missouri.

Missouri currently ranks 48th (that’s 2nd from last) for economic growth among all states in our nation. We can not continue allowing this current corrupt income tax system to be used by politicians as mechanism to pick winners and losers, rewarding their political backers and donors through tax credits, and special tax loop holes for their lobbying friends while conversely punishing the rest of us taxing (forcing from us) what we EARN all in order to advance their political agenda.

Dr. Laffer was very optimistic that the “Tax Relief for Missourians” initiative making it to the 2012 ballot and being voted in by the people.

However, this is going to be a hard fight. There is heavy opposition mounting to keep the people’s earnings subject to the will of state politicians, instead of the rightful owners of those earnings… the people who earn it.

Claire McCaskill’s 2008 campaign manager has joined forces with the opposition group “the Missouri Budget Project” and is putting together a coalition of opposition forces mimicking our “United for Missouri’s Future” by adopting the name “Coalition for Missouri’s Future”…. one thing is for certain, Missouri’s future and the future of Missourians is definitely at stake.

This new coalition is made up of Chambers of Commerce in some areas, AARP, Missouri School Board Association, the Teachers Union, Missouri Broadcasters Association, Missouri Realtors Association.

Thousands of Missouri citizens, members of these organizations will be sadly misinformed and scared into refusing to listen to both sides to make a rational logical decision.

In addition to this, there will be boat loads of special interest money from the usual left wing sources flooding our state to defeat this measure.

Dr. Laffer is correct. The entire political landscape of the nation will be focused on this battle. We have the opportunity for Missouri to be the first state in the union to abolish the income tax that taxes what YOU earn, and replace it with a tax on what YOU choose to SPEND. YOU pay your tax when YOU VOLUNTARILY choose to SPEND; NOT through COERCION FROM AN ALL POWERFUL STATE.

Jim Moody is the chief lobbyist and spokesperson for the Missouri Budget project. Mr. Moody is a former republican Missouri House member and budget committee chairman under Ashcroft. This of course always heavily emphasized in media releases and is touted to imply serious credibility.

However, one of the chief proponent spokesmen for this initiative is Carl Bearden, also a former republican House member and former speaker pro tem and also a former chairman of the House Budget Committee who was term limited out in 2007. But this highly credible item is never mentioned in any press reports on this controversial and extremely critical issue.

Mr. Bearden has formed a coalition of United for Missouri’s Future, Missouri Club for Growth, and Let Voters Decide.

Here’s an AP press release telling only one side of this issue which is typically the case. The central message is their usual false assertions that getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with an increase in state sales tax on a broadened tax base is: “regressive” “hurts the poor and the elderly” “unfair” “bad idea” “decreases revenues” etc, etc. this is their usual tired worn out rhetorical talking points which are all blatantly false because they ignore offsetting positive features in the proposal that neutralize or eliminate these negative assertions and assumptions.

The only way we can win our freedom from the evil debilitating effects of the income tax is for all grass roots conservative organizations to join ranks with “Let Voters Decide” stand up and fight back against this well funded, well connected, media favored, deceptive opposition coalition that gets diverted funds from various unions, liberal progressive donors, and front groups created with George Soros funding.

It will take a cooperative active network of like minded conservatives to educate and spread the facts to our friends, family, and neighbors.

I appreciate the opportunity to share as Paul Harvey would say, “The rest of the Story” with facts and data that exposes the truth so YOU CAN DECIDE intelligently for yourself.

Check out these sources to do some research on your own, if you haven’t already.

Democrats and certain establishment Republicans crave big government power and graft.  They will forever fight against true simplification of the tax structure, and it’s up to Conservatives and Libertarians to join the battle to complete this mission.


 
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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Congress, Taxes

 

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The Fallacial 9-9-9 Argument

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan has been attacked over and over again these past few weeks, and it certainly does deserve scrutiny.  However, there is this odd argument that ‘if we give Congress a sales tax of 9% to work with, they might raise it!!’

What a silly agument!

Can you show me the Constitutional authority that prevents the Congress from raising the current variety of taxes upon the wealth of our nation?

h/t sodahead.com

Obama and Congress have raised taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, home sales, HSA withdrawals.  They’ve added healthcare mandate tax, medicine cabinet tax, tanning tax, and reinstated the Death Tax.

Obama and the Congress in the past 3 years have created and raised all sorts of taxes.  Complaining that Herman Cain’s (actual existing) plan might do the same thing Congress has already done is tantamount to putting the dog outside after it already pissed and crapped on your carpet!

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Congress, Taxes

 

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Class Warfare and the Hedge Fund Manager

Below is a guest post by Josh Bill.  Josh is a passionate conservative from Sikeston, MO that I met at a Cape County Tea Party event in September 2011.

He gets into a class warfare issue highlighted, but ignored, by Warren Buffett and Barack Obama in relation to Hedge Fund managers.  I assumed such managers were part of a corporation, any profits were taxed at corporate rates, and any dividends or capital gains were taxed.  This is apparently not the case with the 2&20 taxation laws.

h/t http://richard-wilson.blogspot.com/

I have not investigated my assumptions above or Josh’s discussion below, but assuming it’s true, here is another issue on which Tea Partiers and members of the Occupy Wall Street Poopstock crowd can agree — certainly, we don’t agree on tactics:

If our country is to work our way out of the deficit/debt crisis, the ideologues on both sides have to be pushed out of the way.  More concerned about remaining “pure” than the consequences, they cling to political philosophies long past when they make matters worse.

One major player on the right, we’re told, is Grover Norquist the author of the “No Tax Pledge.”  Senators and Congressmen are said to fear him, or at least be intimidated by his threats if they break his pledge.

Having worked together in the Reagan Administration, it’s not comforting for me to hear he’s acquired the influence he’s reported to have.  He’s very bright, but he’s the personification of an ideologue.

Recently Grover said, “Anyone who says we have a deficit problem is either a Democrat who wants to raise taxes or a Republican who’s dimwitted and doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.”

Those are the shrill, rigid words of an ideologue.  Anyone who fails his litmus test is dimwitted.  Anyone who thinks there’s a deficit problem doesn’t understand what they’re talking about.  Oh really Grover ?

On tax issues conservatives follow the credo of “starve the beast.”  Translated, it means that if you raise taxes, Congress will simply increase spending to match and the deficit will remain.  It’s easy to prove.

So, it’s smart to draw the line at “No new taxes”….and stick with it.   In the debt limit fight, the Tea Party House Freshmen did just that.   Good for them.

But, they won on that.  Early on, the Democrats agreed to holding tax rates steady.

The problem came when Grover then signaled to raise the bar.  He said “No new taxes” means keeping all tax loopholes.  That’s just stupid.

In 1986, Ronald Reagan passed a tax reform bill that closed loop holes.  There were so many, and they were so large; he also lowered tax rates for everyone else.  The economy soared, and America became the “Great Jobs Machine.”  Revenues rose.

Politically for Reagan, it was a drop kick.  The loop holes he closed were written by the Democrats in the 40 years they held the majority.

What’s trickier today is that many of the loop holes on the chopping block were inserted into the tax code by Republicans after they took over in 1994.

There are too many to list, but for pure outrage the Grand-Daddy of them all may be one you’ve never heard of.  It’s called “carry basis.”   It’s a little goody for Hedge Fund Managers, only it’s not little.

In his first budget, President Obama proposed closing this loophole.  OMB pegged the lost revenues at $17 billion a year, or $170 billion over ten years.  That’s a lot of money from only 4,000 Hedge Funds.

Hedge Fund Managers are paid by a formula called “2 & 20.”   The “2” is a 2% annual fee, just like Mutual Fund managers.  The “20” is 20% of the profits they make their clients on investments.  On the “2” they pay income tax rates of 35%.

But, under “carry basis” they only pay the long term Capital Gains rate of 15% on the “20”, even though it’s not long term and their money’s not at risk.

A Forbes magazine article on Hedge Funds in 2001 said: “Why is this outrageous?  Because the managers share none of the downside.”

The average Hedge Fund in this country made $286 million last year.  These managers aren’t “rich” – as in the guy down the street with a bigger house or nicer car.  And they’re not in the top 1% of all Americans.   They’re in the top one- one hundredth of a percent.  Sebastian Mallaby wrote a book about them titled: “More Money Than God.”   If you can get past the sacrilege, you get the idea.

These people are smarter than me.  I have no problem at all with them making a great deal of money…..none whatsoever.  I have a very big problem knowing they don’t pay income tax on 90% of it.

But, make no mistake; the blame is bi-partisan.  Obama proposed closing it, but Democrat majorities in both houses killed it.

So, who’s worse?  Republicans who grovel before Wall Street with tin cups, or liberal Democrats. They want to raise taxes on anyone making over $250,000.00 a year, but leave those making a thousand times that much immune from the income tax altogether.  Can you spell “hypocrite”?  They’ve all got tin cups.

These people contribute so much money that in our public discourse “carry basis” has become the tax code equivalent of “He who must not be named.”  Both sides want the other to object first, so they can make a beeline to Wall Street.  Can you spell “corrupt”?

Warren Buffet made a veiled reference to this in a piece he wrote in the August 14th New York Times titled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”.  He said his tax rate is only 17%, but added, “If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine.”

This is what he’s referring to: Hedge Fund managers and their “carry basis.”  Warren Buffett was writing to insiders though.  Not even he would call it by its name.

Grover Norquist may think it’s his place to tell “the Republican base” what it is to be a true conservative.  But, he does not speak for me.  When I first got “into” politics, the top marginal tax rate was 90%.  That’s not taxation; it’s confiscation.

I am still a conservative, but my conservatism stops at Americanism.  Only an aristocracy protects a privileged class through law.  Doing it through the tax code works as well as any other.  It’s just less obvious.

Mine is a small voice in the “Republican base,” but exempting Hedge Fund Managers from the income tax is an abomination, pure and simple.

The Tea Party summons us all to the American “Spirit of 1776.”  The Grover Norquits of the world may call what I’m saying “class warfare” but I believe it’s what our forefathers fought to free us from.  (And if they’re not careful, they’ll rekindle the French “Spirit of 1789”.)

What really spikes my blood pressure, though, is when he invokes the name of Ronald Reagan.  The President we both worked for was a decent man.  On his first day in office, he would have put “carry basis” on the tax code junk heap ….no matter who wrote it.

Josh Bill

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Activism, Congress, Taxes

 

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Jason Crowell: Senate Passes a Taxpayer First Jobs Package

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov)

Attention Shifts to See What the House Does

h/t www.unfaircompetitiontradesecretscounsel.com

Over the past few weeks, I have shared with you how Missouri had the opportunity to make September’s Extraordinary Session a “Taxpayer and Missouri Jobs First” Special Session.  And because you demanded the right legislation be passed, the Senate listened and passed a bill that put job creation and the Missouri taxpayer first.  Your calls and emails led to the Senate scrapping the special interest first plan and passing Wednesday a jobs bill that begins making government live within its means and ties incentives directly to jobs created.

In the past, the state has subsidized activity because of promised jobs.  The special interests worked hard lobbying and giving to campaigns and convinced legislators that their tax credits would create jobs and enhance economic development.  This influence led to politicians giving out hundreds of millions of your hard-earned tax dollars to Low Income Housing tax credits, Historic Preservation tax credits and Land Assemblage tax credits.  However, while the awarding of tax credits increased over the last 13 years by 430.8 percent, equaling $545 million in 2011, the promised jobs have never been created.

That is because subsidized activity not tied to job creation fails to create jobs.  All those tax credits did was line the pockets of wealthy developers who, with the help of the politicians, conned the Missouri taxpayer.  It is clear that instead of job growth, Missouri’s return on investment was 21 cents for every dollar spent on Historic Preservation tax credits and 11 cents for every dollar spent on Low Income Housing tax credits.  “Give me a dollar and I will give you 21 cents or 11 cents back.”  You would never do that with your own money, and you should not allow the politicians to do such with your tax dollars.

Yet this has been the state’s economic plan, and it almost passed again.  For example, when redeveloping Schultz School Senior Housing in Cape Girardeau, we were told that if we subsidized the project, jobs would come and economic development would occur.  However, after spending $373,000 an apartment unit in Low Income Housing and Historic Preservation tax credits, permanent jobs did not.  Giving $16.7 million of your tax dollars to rehab 45 units for 11 – 21 cents on the dollar return is outrageous.  Over the course of the last two weeks there was an awakening that occurred with State Senators; they listened to your demands for responsible use of your hard earned tax dollars.  “We must tie incentives to job creation, not activities that may or may not create jobs.”

The removal of $300 million in Aerotropolis warehouse tax credits from the special session is acknowledgement of this key principle.  It is wrong, with our country facing massive manufacturing job losses to China, to make the central component of a “Made in Missouri” jobs plan the subsidization of the importation of China-made goods.  The battle now goes to the House where House leaders, who put their campaign accounts above Missourians, have said we must give $300 million to China importation warehouses. [Emphasis Added]

The bill that passed the Senate, which House leaders oppose, also included real tax credit reforms saving taxpayers $947 million over 15 years.  It caps and sunsets both the Historic Preservation tax credit and Low Income Housing tax credit.  The reforms also include clawbacks for failing to create jobs.  We have the ability to recapture any tax credits given out for noncompliance with the requirements, which specifically include creating the new jobs promised.  We have succeeded in the Senate, and with your continued support and help, we can win the House and beat back the special interests and developers House leaders covet.

Your humble blogger agrees that there has been great success, but yet, there still lurks great danger.  Buried in the verbiage of the Senate passed bill is language that describes how areas can be ‘blighted’ for their ‘potential’ to produce green energy.  Read here.

I implore you to continue to contact your Missouri Representatives asking them to kill this bill and start fresh with a bill to truly reform Missouri’s Tax Credit process… …with out the Green Energy / Agenda 21 Trojan Horse.

h/t senate.mo.gov

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459.  You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO  65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Free Market, Government Waste, Taxes

 

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Jason Crowell: A Special Session Has Been Called

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov)

(Read Part 1 Here)

(Read Part 2 Here)

(Read Part 3 Here)

A special session has been called for the special interests starting Tuesday, September 6th, 2011.  The General Assembly usually meets January through May, but for extraordinary reasons, the Governor or General Assembly can call itself into session to pass what it deems as legislation that cannot wait until January.  In this case, September’s special session is nothing more than an effort to get right with fat cat campaign contributors at your expense, the Missouri taxpayer.  We cannot rebuild levees in Southeast Missouri or make farmers whole who lost everything in this year’s flood, but the politicians in Jefferson City want you to send $360 million in Aerotropolis tax credits to St. Louis.  There is literally something in the Governor’s special session call for every special interest, but nothing for the Missourians who have lost everything due to recent disasters across our state.

Senate and House Leadership spent the month of July in a backroom in St. Louis cutting a deal that is short on economic development, short on tax credit reform, but long on government handouts to special interests, creating a larger budget deficit that prevents us from funding priorities like education.  And Governor Nixon has yielded to this deal, endorsed it, and is doing his part to see to it that this September will be the “Special Interests First, Taxpayers Last” month by authorizing a special session to:

  • Give $360 million to developers for Aerotropolis with no taxpayer protections to get their money back if Aerotropolis does not create the jobs promised;
  • Exempt the construction of Data Centers from paying state and local sales taxes on utilities, machinery, and equipment;
  • Provide $10 million dollars a year to attract a billion dollar sports industry to host events in Missouri;
  • Reward those who avoided paying their taxes by giving amnesty to their wrongdoing; and
  • Take money from the poor and disabled via the Circuit Breaker Property Tax Relief at $55.8 million a year or $847.5 million over 15 years to pay for these new giveaways.

This deal that Senate and House Leadership cut behind closed doors, in a non-transparent inside job, and is now being pushed to be passed in special session, must not be allowed to pass.  Let me be clear, there is a path to do right by the Missouri taxpayer and I will fight to amend Leaderships’ bill to this end.  But if we are to succeed, it will take you demanding that the Jefferson City politicians put you first instead of their campaign donors.  It is my hope that together we are successful.

In this series we have been discussing the possibility of this special session, what is wrong with Leaderships’ back-room deal, what special interest provisions must be eliminated, and how we move forward with an economic development bill that puts Missouri first, not connected special interests and lobbyists.  There are several issues at play; the past few weeks we have discussed Aerotropolis tax credits, Historic Preservation tax credits and Low Income Housing tax credits.  As the special session approaches, we will continue to discuss all of these issues and the changes that must be made to Leaderships’ back-room deal.  You will probably learn more then you want to know, but it is vital that you know what is going on with your hard-earned tax dollars in Jefferson City.

To understand Leaderships’ bill, we must look at the smoke and mirror savings House and Senate Leadership are claiming in their bill.  To be able to give to their campaign contributing developers, they take the money from the Senior Citizen Property Tax Credit.  Known as Circuit Breaker Property tax relief, this tax credit gives certain senior citizens and disabled individuals who rent a $750-a-year credit when they file their taxes.  In 2011, Missouri gave out $55.8 million dollars in this tax credit to individuals who rented their homes.  Over the next 15 years, budget experts expect Missouri to spend $847.5 million for the Circuit Breaker tax credit for renters.  Leaderships’ bill ends this tax credit.

In my opinion, it does not make sense to give $55.8 million a year in property tax relief to people who do not pay property tax.  But it is even more ridiculous to give this money to developers in new tax credits while Missouri has failed to fully fund the foundation formula in 2012 by $177 million for K -12 education.  This is why Leaderships’ bill that gives the “savings” from ending the Circuit Breaker tax credit for renters to campaign contributors through Aerotropolis tax credits, Low Income Housing tax credits, and Historic Preservation tax credits is absurd and must not be allowed.

I believe now is the time to make fundamental positive reforms to Missouri’s tax credits system to protect taxpayers’ money.  We should subject awarding tax credits to a transparent process, where your representatives will have the chance to look at all the things we spend your tax dollars on and prioritize accordingly.  In Missouri, the method by which we set Missouri’s priorities is through the appropriation process.  Here we ask each of the state’s expenses to stand in line before your representatives in the General Assembly; requiring them to demonstrate why, with limited resources, they should be funded over others.  By making tax credits subject to the appropriations process, all state expenditures would now stand in line and prevent them from playing favorites by allowing those who receive tax credits to cut to the front of the appropriations line.

Now is the time for government to live within its means, not spend money it does not have by authorizing giveaway tax credits not tied to performance.  Together we have an opportunity to do right by the Missouri taxpayer but it will take you, the bosses of the politicians, to demand the right legislation is passed in this special session.  This can be done by taking back our state government and holding Senate and House Leadership accountable; shining a bright light on the problems with their back-room deal and watching them scatter like cockroaches from their current position.  Again, I need your help holding these politicians accountable.  They are counting on your silence.  I will continue in the coming weeks to examine further the issues and changes needed for a “Taxpayer First Special Session.”

To your humble blogger, it seems that fodder more apropos of a Special Legislative Session would be the termination of Missouri’s Income Tax in favor of a Consumption Tax.  Corporations don’t pay taxes anyway, so let’s move on from the hidden Corporate Tax to an equitable Consumption Tax that can help grow Missouri’s economic base.

h/t senate.mo.gov

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459.  You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO  65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Government Waste, Taxes

 

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A Lotus Evora In Every Pot

“Since 1988, the Federal Government has paid $8 Trillion in Interest on the Federal Debt.  That’s enough to give every taxpayer a Lotus Evora dream car.”

h/t uncrate.com

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If your Representative (House or Senate) voted for this unbelievably bad debt deal, they need to be Primaried!  Period.

 
 

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Elected Republicans: Change This Talking-Point!

Republicans are standing firm on their pledge not to raise taxes.  Tea Party Members and Conservatives appreciate that continued effort.  But the talking-point needs to better reflect the reality of the Republican, Tea Party and Conservative position.

When asked why Republicans won’t raise taxes, the answer (the talking-point) is this:

The Federal Government has proven that it can collect taxes and spend.  What it hasn’t proven is that it can cut spending and live within the confines of the U.S. Constitution.  And, to that end, until we (Republicans / Tea Partiers / Conservatives) see that entire Programs, Departments and Salaries have been cut / removed from the Federal Register, WE WILL NOT CONSIDER RAISING ANY TAXES.  Only then will we have proof that the Democrats are serious about cutting spending.

h/t rt-image.com but site was not found!

The statement is simple and to the point.  It absolutely destroys the canard that Republicans are protecting the tax breaks.of Big Business, Corporate Jet Owners, and Wall Street.

Leaving the discussion at “We won’t raise taxes during a Recession” or at “We won’t raise taxes on Job Creators” leaves too much room for Leftists Pundits to attack.

(FWIW, only the ignorant and uninformed still believe that Big Business / Wall Street give most of their donations to Republicans anyway; but I digress)

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2011 in Balanced Budget

 

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