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Archive for June 23rd, 2009

A series of tax bills was introduced today. The first, HB 260, applies the personal income tax to any lottery winnings. Another reason not to play the Delaware Lotto… The others are:

  • HB 261 Satellite TV now being taxed and cable TV taxes are going up (and just after going digital)
  • HB 262 Filing fees with the Recorder of Deeds are going up (A State in need is a friend in deed)
  • HB 263 Fire Marshall fees going up (the State House is on fire)
  • HB 264 Personal Income Taxes are going way, way up (So much for 95% of Americans enjoying a tax cut)
  • HB 265 Death tax is back in Delaware (This one is a killer)
  • HB 266 Delaware’s Hidden Sales Tax/Small business tax to increase – again (Have the Democrats ever watched Legally Blond II or are they planning a re-write)
  • HB 267 Delaware’s Secretary of State will get to increase fees (Does anyone know what the Secretary of State even does?)
  • HB 268 Tax amnesty proposal (For all of you who have broken the law and not paid your taxes, please send us the money and all is forgiven)

There is not a single Republican sponsor of any of these bills. I’m proud. These bills are indicative of a Democratic Party that is devoid of any interest in saving the State of Delaware.

As an FYI, there is a call to action for anyone interested in protesting these and other proposed tax increases to go the Legislative Hall in Dover on June 30th at 4:00 pm (This is the start of the last day of the session).

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Film in Delaware

I need help writing a script for Delaware’s new film industry. I figure we already have a great crop of actors in the General Assembly who certainly put on a good show for political junkies. Now, all we need is a script.

If you were writing a movie on the General Assembly what would you call it?

All kidding aside, this is a good bill and its in committee tomorrow. Here is the synopsis:

The Delaware Film Finance Incentive Program will provide a loan guarantee to film projects which demonstrate exceptional probability of repaying their loan. The qualifications for that standard are based upon New Mexico’s extremely successful Film Investment Loan program. The qualifications, in brief, are:
1. That the film project has 70% of its financing already secured and in escrow;
2. That the film project has secured international distribution in major territories; and
3. That the film project has secured insurance for its completion.
Applications for the loan guarantee will be approved or denied by the Council for Development Finance and the Chairperson for the Delaware Economic Development Authority.
In addition to the qualifications specified above, the film project must agree to shoot 80% of the project in Delaware and hire Delaware companies to produce it, so that the tax revenue generated by the film project’s production will go to the State.
The loan guarantee provided by this Program will be provided against a new fund, the Delaware Film Finance Guarantee Fund, which will be funded through tax revenue generated by this legislation.

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Yes and No. Reading JL Miller’s article in the News Journal this morning, I am really torn on the issue. Miller doesn’t give any indication of how long the debate on slashing their own pay took, so I don’t want to be too over the top on my criticism.

But, give me a break. Imposing their own cuts would save a minimum of $66,000 grand. In a time, when significant moves need to be made to trim the budget and find ways to tax Delawareans more, the JFC is wasting time unconstitutionally cutting their own pay. In being unconstitutional, this cut may not even go through. So, again, while there is important work to be done, they are protect their rear-ends by saying “we stand with the state workers in taking a pay cut.”

I guess we transparency advocates, finally got what we wanted. This move is as transparent as it gets.

We then get to save $668,000 by cutting two state holidays. I love the idea of trimming small portions here and there b/c I think there is a lot of money to be saved when these type of actions add up. But again, this is March, 2009 type of stuff. The session ends in seven days.

So, do they know what they are doing?

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Principles

I received a blast email last week from House Minority Leader John Boehner’s office entitled, “STATE LEGISLATURES REVOLT AGAINST SPEAKER PELOSI’S NEW NATIONAL ENERGY TAX.”

They’ve been sending these out like gang busters in recent days/weeks. I have to give the authors credit. They are certainly staying on message with their talking points.

And, they are offering solutions of their own. For the GOP,  this is the type of stuff that they should’ve been doing all along – fighting harmful legislation with a steady drumbeat of messaging. I hope they continue to do so and stick to the issues that really matter.

Oh, and figuring out that they need their own ideas too has been a big step forward.

I strongly believe that the GOP needs moderates, as the party cannot win with conservatives alone. However, the party does need to stand for something, which is exactly why I appreciate the type of resolutions below, introduced in response to the federal energy bills. I think this type of issue…the fundamental issue of jobs/economy/taxes can unite all wings of the GOP, now that they are being talked about more than the social issues.

From the text of Boehner’ latest email:

As gasoline prices continue to climb – “rising for the 48th straight day,” according to the Associated Press – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is sticking to her vow that Congressional Democrats will give top priority this summer to enacting a new job-killing national energy tax.  And across the nation, states are beginning to rise up in opposition to the Speaker’s misguided “cap-and-tax” proposal, with a number of state legislatures passing resolutions warning Washington not to pass such a proposal.  Many states fear misguided “cap-and-tax” legislation will raise energy costs for families and small businesses, increase costs on goods manufactured and sold in the U.S., and put American jobs at risk – and in resolutions and letters, they’re joining Congressional Republicans in sounding the alarm. Some examples:

  • Alabama Joint Resolution 109 – “[A]ny system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must not eliminate American jobs and diminish the ability of American industry to compete in the global marketplace… [A]ny system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must not add to the already high costs of power and gasoline;” (May 15, 2009)
  • Indiana Senate Resolution 76 – “Any system to regulate greenhouse gases must ensure that the adopted regime does not result in the off-shoring of international trade-sensitive industries;… Any system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must not eliminate American jobs and diminish the ability of American industry to compete in the global marketplace.” (April 24, 2009)
  • Louisiana Senate Resolution 91 – “Be it resolved that the Senate of the Legislature of Louisiana memorializes the Congress of the United States to address the issue of global climate change through the adoption of a fair and effective approach that safeguards American jobs, ensures affordable energy for citizens, and maintains America’s global competitiveness.”  (June 9, 2009)
  • Mississippi Senate Concurrent Resolution 584 – “[Be] it resolved… we do hereby urge the United States Congress to … (a) safeguard American jobs; (b) ensure affordable energy for American citizens and industry; (c) offer incentives for efficient practices and technologies; (d) prevent ‘emissions leakage’; and (e) maintain the global competitiveness of American industry.” (March 16, 2009)
  • South Carolina House Resolution 3508 – “Be it resolved by the South Carolina House of Representatives: That the members of the South Carolina House of Representatives, by this resolution, memorialize the United States Congress to address the issue of global climate change through the adoption of a fair and effective approach that safeguards American jobs, ensure affordable energy for citizens, and maintains America’s global competitiveness.”  (March 3, 2009)
  • Tennessee House Joint Resolution 323 – “Be it resolved… that it is the sense of the Tennessee General Assembly that the State of Tennessee should only combat global climate change and reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses if and only if such a plan for doing so were structured in a manner to (1) promote American jobs; (2) avoid imposing higher energy prices on American families and industry; (3) reward early adopters of efficient practices and technologies; (4) monitor and prevent ‘emissions leakage’; and (4) champion and ensure the continued global competitiveness of American industry.” (June 8, 2009)
  • Letter from Members of the Illinois General Assembly – “Any system to regulate greenhouse gas emissions must not eliminate American jobs and diminish the ability of American industry to compete in the global marketplace… [C]limate change policy must not add to the already high costs of power and gasoline.”
  • Letter from Members of the North Carolina General Assembly – “[T]he regulation of greenhouse gas emissions must not add to the already high costs of power and gasoline… [A]ny proposal to address global climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be structured in a way that safeguards American jobs, ensures affordable energy for American citizens and industry, offers incentives for efficient practices and technologies, prevents ‘emissions leakage’ and maintains the global competitiveness of the American industry.”  (March 18, 2009)
  • Letter from Members of the Virginia General Assembly – “[We] urge the Members of our Congressional Delegation, when considering any system for regulating greenhouse gas emissions, to support fair and effective measures that safeguard American jobs, ensure affordable energy for citizens, and maintain America’s global competitiveness.” (February 16, 2009)

The email concludes,

Recognizing that the best solutions often come from outside the Beltway, Reps. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI) joined with Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) earlier this year in launching the GOP State Solutions project.  The goals of the project are to increase coordination among reform-minded Republican Members of Congress, governors, and state legislators; highlight the better solutions Republicans are offering at all levels of government; and educate Americans about the impact misguided Washington proposals such as Speaker Pelosi’s new national energy tax will have on states and local communities.

For more information on the State Solutions project, visit the State Solutions website at http://states.gopleader.gov/.

These resolutions, whether they pass or not, are good to stimulate debate and raise important questions.

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