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Archive for June 25th, 2009

Check out HB 274 sponsored by everyone’s favorite tax and spenders Representatives Gilligan, Schwarzkopf, & Longhurst and Senators DeLuca, Cook, & Blevins.

In one bill these 6 legislators are recommending that we change, adjust, and increase fees for everything from water bottlers to massage establishments to portable x-rays… 46 pages of fee increases introduced with only 1 legislative day remaining on the calendar. A 46 page bill introduced with less than 24 hours of legislative time left in the legislative calender affecting dozens of industries and hundreds of small businesses. I’m surprised that they just didn’t call this bill the “Raise every fee every where act of 2009″.

From the bill’s synopsis:

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.

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Here is an email I just received from U.S. Representative John Linder (R – GA):

If you’ve been watching what is going on in Washington, you know the Democrats are pushing a new government-run health plan that will inevitably become the de facto health insurance choice for most small businesses because it will be the cheapest option on the market.  Private insurance companies can’t compete against a government that can rack up as much debt as it wants and simply print more money and sell more bonds to the Chinese.

There is a better way to reform this system.  We all come from different backgrounds and face different obstacles in obtaining or paying for health care, and therefore we all need different solutions for a reform of the system. Empowering Americans through encouraging competition in the private insurance market and providing stimulative tax credits so people can choose whatever health care plan is right for them and their families is the right approach.  Doctors and patients make better decisions than bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., and the government should do all it can to support the doctor-patient relationship. If we pass this massive government-run health plan, Democrats will place as many as 120 million Americans on a government-run health plan and eliminate this essential relationship.

I, along with many of my colleagues, am working hard to stop the Pelosi/Reid plan, but we need you to be involved and make your voice heard in this process.  Write letters to your papers, contact your Senators, and call your friends to encourage them to do the same.  Americans across this nation have to stand up and make it known that this is not the road they wish to take.

I joined Good Day Atlanta this week (video below) to voice my strong opposition to this initiative, and I will continue to speak out until we stop this dangerous legislation.

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Bluewater Update

We just passed an anniversary, Delmarva was forced to sign a power purchase agreement with Bluewater Wind, a subsidiary of the bankrupt Australian company Babcock and Brown, one year ago this past Tuesday.   It also is the halfway point for Bluewater to admit that they are done.

Coincidentally it was also the same day that they were granted permission by the Feds to put up a 300 foot test tower for a four season test see if there is enough consistent wind there to make the project viable.  But they only have until 6/23 of next year to opt out of building the plant without risking forfeit of deposits and construction has not yet begun.  They also need someone to risk the $6 million for the test tower.   Babcock was supposed to be the financier.  Delmarva should not extend the date because it will likely cost us all money.  The closer they get to the deadline of 20% renewable energy in the region, the more on shore wind will cost.

If the test is successful, they will then need an investor to come up with the $700 million plus to build their offshore power plant.

I was never a fan of this particular project.  Offshore wind has not proven to be a good alternative so far due to unpredictable output and the necessity for conventional backup plants of equal capacity.  I can’t see where the money will come from in the current credit environment.  Not the $6 million to test, much less the money to build.

This has been a pipe dream from the beginning and is going to cost us even more money than it would have if it goes on much longer.

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Our Democratic-controlled Congress is trying to pass what could possibly be “the biggest tax in American history,” the Waxman-Markey “American Clean Energy and Security Act,” H.R. 2454.  The Waxman-Markey bill “aims to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions by making greenhouse gas-emitting businesses purchase or trade government-rationed or- auctioned coupons in a ‘market.'”

Make no mistake about it, Waxman-Markey will slow economic growth and lead to increased direct (electricity, gasoline) and indirect (increased consumer prices for products and services passed on by companies) energy costs for all Americans. Just what will the price of “cap-and-trade” ultimately be?  According to the Heritage Foundation,   “by 2035, global warming legislation would inflict real GDP losses of $9.4 trillion, rasie an avergae family’s annual energy bill by $1,241, and destroy 1,145,000 jobs on average.”

And the Heritage Foundation is not alone in reaching this conclusion.  An article in today’s Wall Street Journal observes that:

The hit to GDP is the real threat in this bill. The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result…

Americans should know that those Members who vote for this climate bill are voting for what is likely to be the biggest tax in American history. Even Democrats can’t repeal that reality.

Still, all this might, arguably, be worth it if we could reasonably expect a cap-and-trade scheme such as Waxman-Markey to have a discernible impact on carbon emissions. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. Europe’s experience with similar cap-and-trade regimes, for example,  indicates that they have a “negligible impact on pollution.”

One might wonder how, in the present economic climate, a piece of legislation that would act as a serious drag on economic recovery could possibly be passed by Congress.  I think, in this regard, the Denver Post get’s it just about right:  

When it comes to environmental policy, politicians will rely on your good intentions on the issue and not much else. With cap-and-trade, however, the economic tradeoffs are so damaging, the environmental benefits so negligible and the plan such a clutter, that selling it — even to Democrats — is turning out to be difficult.

Difficult, but, alas, not impossible. 

It’s also telling that the Congressional Democrats  defeated three amendments proposed by Republicans:  “one to suspend the program if gas hit $5 a gallon; one to suspend the program if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009; and one to suspend the program if unemployment rates hit 15%.”

Those suggestions seem eminently reasonable to me. What strikes me as unreasonable is pressing forward a piece of legislation that would increase energy costs, eliminate jobs, and impede our economic recovery.

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As you may be aware the House Economic Development Committee appproved HB 250 yeaterday. This is fantastic news for it creates jobs that pay well and run the gamut between union, skilled and non skilled. 

The bill allows for the creation of a structure that brings “Hollywood” to Delaware. In many ways this mirrors the financial center development act of the eighties.

In addtion a 1,000 jobs could come about within the next 4 months and the corresponding economic multiplier effect among stores, lodging, etc will be huge.

HB 250 is good for all of Delaware and it’s passage into law will give the First State a recession proof industry that with 33,000 of us unemployed we badly need.

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Sen. Colin Bonini has a Delaware Voice piece in today’s News Journal. You can find it here. In addition, the News Journal’s lead editorial also weighs in on the abysmal performance of the General Assembly on Delaware’s economic condition.

So, it was good to see that finally the Republicans in the State House are asking for a reduction in the number of State employees. Delaware’s economy will not grow if government is the largest industry in the State. The Republicans are now pointing that out, and that is a move in the right direction.

Representative Danny Short even pointed out that “Sussex County has already taken a similar approach, instituting a targeted early retirement option and reshuffling the remaining workers to reduce the size of their work force by six percent while continuing to provide needed services.” (Note that Sussex County is the only large government entity in Delaware that is not proposing major tax increases on its residents).

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The old song that references not knowing much ’bout history was on preeminent display yesterday when the House in Dover voted to have our state opt out of the  Electoral College.

The rallying cry was let every vote be counted. Well every vote already is.

The truth is this is nothing more then an attempt to dilute conservative votes rather then everyone being counted.

Fortunately this will end up like the Equal Rights Amendment and die a slow death; but just think the state that started a nation has now voted to toss in the trash how we have been electing president’s since the early days of the Republic.

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