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Archive for June 29th, 2009

Up to no good

Democrat House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf says on the House floor that he doesn’t really see the need to revisit the increase in the PIT next year because there is a four year sunset provision. Rep. Hudson had an amendment to sunset the bill in a year, but the Majority Leader nixed the idea and Hudson tabled it. I guess he doesn’t want to have to face tax increases in an election year.

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The following article on the passage of Waxman-Markey by Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner appeared today on the GraniteGrok blog.  Rep. Boehner correctly identifies America’s middle class families and small businesses as the losers in the new cap-and-trade system.  This is a “must read” for anyone interested in cap-and-trade!  

Guest Post by Congressman John Boehner

If there’s one thing the American people should demand of their elected representatives, it’s that’s we should know what’s in bills before we vote on them.  Unfortunately, that seems to be too much to ask of the Democratic-controlled U.S. House, which under the heavy hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has once again rushed sweeping legislation to passage without appropriate scrutiny or sufficient time for public review.

In February, the U.S. House passed a 1,100-page economic “stimulus” bill that (according to the White House) was supposed to create 3.5 million jobs and keep unemployment no higher than 8 percent.  Since that bill was signed into law by President Obama, we’ve lost 1.6 million jobs nationwide, and unemployment nationwide is now 9.4 percent.  The so-called “stimulus” has been a disaster in my home state of Ohio, where our unemployment is a record-breaking 10.8 percent. 

The House late on Friday, June 26, passed Speaker Pelosi’s new national energy tax – a more than 1,500 page bill that included 300 pages added to it fewer than 24 hours in the dark of night before the final vote.  No one – not one single lawmaker – had read the entire bill before voting on it.  So I did what I had to do: using my privileges as Minority Leader, I took to the floor and read portions of those 300 pages to the American people before the final vote.  By tradition, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader have the right to talk for as long as they like on the Floor.  I used my prerogative as the Minority Leader to read to the American people parts of a bill that will raise their taxes, send American jobs overseas and punish hard-working, middle-class families with higher energy costs.

I had hoped that lawmakers would understand that this new national energy tax on middle class families would further punish people who are struggling to make ends meet.  At the very least, I and my colleagues believed the American people deserved a more open and honest debate over the contents of the bill and its implications for our country, which is still struggling through a deep recession.  But in the end, in another exercise of legislating by brute force, political muscle applied by Speaker Pelosi and former Vice President Al Gore on behalf of radical special-interests carried the day, and the measure was narrowly passed.

What took place in the House Friday is a stinging slap in the face for suffering American families and small businesses.  A backroom deal was struck between powerful Democratic politicians in Washington and powerful interests who got special “carve-outs” in the final bill to ensure the higher costs and higher taxes imposed by the Speaker’s bill will apply to ordinary citizens and small business owners, but not to them.  

Americans want clean energy, and a clean environment.  There is a better route to these goals than the one embodied in the bill passed on the floor of the House last night, and Republicans have offered it:

 

a comprehensive “all of the above” energy reform strategy that will increase environmentally-responsible production of American energy and reinvest a share of the royalities from such production into development and expanded use of clean, alternative energy across our country.  It’s a strategy that will create American jobs instead of destroying them; one that will lower costs for American families and small businesses rather than raising them at a time of economic hardship.  This approach is advocated by Republican governors and Members of Congress standing together for real solutions to the challenges facing our country.  It hasn’t seen the light of day in Democratic-controlled Washington.

Our economy is hemorrhaging jobs at a frightening pace, and middle class Americans are suffering.  Legislation like Speaker Pelosi’s massive national energy tax that she rammed through the House will only punish hard-working families even more.  Every family who has the audacity to turn on their TV, flip on a light-switch and put gas in their car will pay more for it.  Family farmers, whose energy costs account for 60 percent of their spending, are going to see their fuel costs, especially diesel, skyrockets while their incomes plummet.  Meanwhile, elite special-interests whose lobbyists made backroom deals with congressional Democrats in the dark of night will be exempt.

Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax is a job-killer.  It will punish responsible American families with crushing taxes that will suffocate our economy.  It creates a slew of new government programs to take and redistribute trillions of dollars away from our families overseen by a tangled web of government agencies that will ultimately answer to the Environmental Protection Agency.

While government bureaucrats squabble over how best to regulate our lives, other countries are moving ahead with innovations and technologies that are propelling their economies in front of ours.  And while American manufacturing companies and energy-intensive industries shutter their doors, foreign nations that don’t impose punitive taxes will roll out the welcome mat.  The next time you wonder where the jobs are, take a look at China, India and other countries that refuse failed policies like the cap-and-trade scheme that makes up Speaker Pelosi’s national energy tax – that’s where our jobs have gone.

Minority Leader John Boehner represents the 8th Congressional District of Ohio.

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The Stone Age

I just called the Division of Research at Legislative Hall to get my hands on a copy of the budget. I was told that the public has no right to review the budget until after the  General Assembly passes the bill. FOIA what?  So, June 30th is tomorrow. At least $228 million in tax increases are coming our way. I can’t see the 300 plus page budget in advance????

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Those were the days

Sussex County Online posted the following online after Governor Markell took the oath of office. Governor Markell stated in his speech,

The state is in the position of millions of American families today whose bills continue to climb but whose income has fallen. How do families cope?  They start … by eliminating unneeded expenses – turning the thermostat down, postponing big purchases, [and] cancelling vacations.

We will do what families do: trim every ounce of fat from our budget.  Beginning this very afternoon, we will launch a statewide performance audit to uncover and eliminate unnecessary expenditures throughout this government.

Those were the days.

Now, as families still struggle, Governor Markell and the General Assembly are raising taxes on nearly everyone in Delaware. As for the fat, its still there. Candidate Markell and Governor Markell are clearly singing from different hymnals.

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The following was sent to your elected State Legislator. Note that a “revenue enhancer” is a euphemism for tax increase and that much of the organizing activities took place on taxpayer paid for time and with taxpayer paid for equipment. Letters like this continue to demonstrate the need to reduce the size of State government and reduce the bullying by the Government Union (aka AFSCME). I could not find the SWUBD proposal online, maybe someone has a copy.

June 27, 2009

Dear Legislator:

In March, Governor Markell proposed an 8% pay cut for all state employees. In the two months since the Governor’s announcement, thousands of State Employees have mobilized through the State Workers United for a Better Delaware (SWUBD) coalition and one thing has become overwhelmingly clear: Delawareans oppose using salary cuts as a means for closing the deficit. From newspaper articles, to radio talk shows, weekly lobbying visits to rallies over 2,000 strong, our opposition has been tough to miss.

Last week, the Joint Finance Committee approved a reduced salary cut of 2.5%. Although this is a move in the right direction, it is also disappointing because even now, with just a few days to go, there is still time left to consider other substantial and sustainable revenue sources.

As AFSCME members and voters in your district, we have supported you when it really counted. New we ask you to show your support for the men and women who provide the vital public services that “Make Delaware Happen.” We urge you to vote to approve ALL fair revenue enhancing measures – including an increased cigarette and alchohol tax and all other revenue proposals outlined in the SWUBD Coalition’s recent proposal – order to stop the pay cut and balance the budget in a way that is both fair and sustainable.

As state employees, we will view a vote against ANY revenue enhancer as a vote in favor of the pay cut. We hope that you will talk to your colleagues on both sides of the aisle and urge them to join with you in supporting state employees be voting to approve ALL fair revenue enhancing bills.

In Solidarity,

The Men and Women of AFSCME

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