Filed under: Domestic Policy, History, Taxes, Regulation, Bureaucracy | Tags: "Good to Go", Toll Bridges
I had to go do battle with the toll bridge authority. They have an office here in a plain storefront with their catchphrase “Good to Go” over the door. A plain large room with a counter at the end opposite the door. A taped off aisle for those waiting to confront the occupants of the three chairs (out of six) behind the counter. V-e-r-y long line of very grumpy people. One of the walls was adorned with photos of the new toll plazas on the state’s three tolled bridges, mounted on plain black paper. No frames.
The wait was l-o-n-g, about 40 minutes, which gave me time to observe my surroundings. The three people at the counter mostly typed on their keyboards, frequently rising to punch the security keys on the one door behind the counter, and vanish into the back room, apparently to consult the commissar. I know she was a commissar because she appeared briefly from the back room, and returned promptly to her more luxurious quarters in the rear. If you can identify a commissar by appearance, she fit the bill.
Robert Conquest, famed historian, author of several important books about Russia, The Great Terror, about Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties, and The Harvest of Sorrow, which exposed Stalin’s collectivization and the terror-famine that starved millions of peasants in the Ukraine to death, once remarked that “the behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”
That’s a good quotation to remember when you are standing in a line with a dozen or so other testy people. I had won my previous battle with the agency when the judge threw it out of court. I lost this one.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Energy, Taxes, Junk Science | Tags: Clean Energy Fantasy, Marijuana Growing, The Sustainability Trick
Steven Hayward noted a recent story from the Denver Post at Powerline. It seems that surging electricity consumption by Colorado’s new marijuana industry is sabotaging Denver’s push to use less energy—as urged by the White House’s Clean Power Plan to shut down coal-fired power plants because carbon pollution.
Citywide electricity use has been rising at the rate of 1.2 percent a year, and 45 percent of that increase comes from marijuana-growing facilities, Denver officials said Wednesday.
Denver has a goal of capping energy use at 2012 levels. Electricity is a big part of that.
The latest Xcel Energy data show cannabis grow facilities statewide, the bulk of which are in Denver, used as much as 200 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2014, utility officials said. City officials said 354 grow facilities in Denver used about 121 million kwh in 2013, up from 86 million kwh at 351 facilities in 2012.
I thought this was really funny. Lots of problems with the marijuana industry, not the least of which is pot being put in candies and cookies attractive to children. This is not going to go well.
On the other front, no matter how much the administration pushes “clean energy,” wind and solar are not going to replace electricity produced by fossil fuels. Wind is too intermittent and solar too diffuse. It’s the inherent qualities of the “natural” sources and cannot be remedied by technology. If the subsidies provided by the taxpayers are removed, there will be no wind and no solar. And there is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon is not a pollutant, but one of the building blocks of life.
Do Denver taxpayers know that they are not only paying extra for “clean energy” but their city actually has a “sustainability strategist” named Sonrisa Lucero? They are requesting guidance from the Department of Energy for best practices and technical help.
Filed under: Economy, Democrat Corruption, Taxes | Tags: Free Markets, Business Climate, Excessive Taxation
Basic Economics. Connecticut is one of the worst states in the country when it comes to business taxes. The state is now looking at another round of business tax hikes. With their latest budget, the Connecticut legislature has now increased business taxes five times since 2011, forcing companies located in the state to pay the fifth highest tax rate in the nation.
With the latest increase, accountants will be working overtime to deal with the new budget that includes nearly $2 billion in tax increases, including a $700 million increase in business taxes.
Bright politicians know an opportunity when they see one. Governors Mike Pence of Indiana and Greg Abbott of Texas pay attention. Republicans both, the governors have written to the corporate leadership of GE, Aetna, and Travelers, inviting them to tour their states and investigate the tax advantages that Connecticut can no longer provide.
Bloomberg reported that Abbott’s letter boasted of a $3.8 billion tax-cutting package approved by the Texas legislature in May that included a 25 percent cut in the business franchise tax. That alone would save companies in Texas a total of $2,5 billion in the next ten years.
Pence wrote that “Businesses in Indiana grow with confidence, while businesses in high-tax states like Connecticut operate in fear of seeing their piggy banks raided,” wrote Pence. “On behalf of 6.7 million hardworking Hoosiers, we are constantly meeting with companies around the world that are choosing Indiana and enjoying an instant spike in earnings. With Connecticut taxes skyrocketing, it’s important to remind businesses that Indiana is here to help as a state that works.
Fifty percent of Connecticut residents in a poll over the last year said they would leave the state if they could, but they can’t sell their houses because nobody wants to move in because of taxes.
Legislative leaders Sharkey, Looney and Duff ( sorry, I couldn’t resist) Senate President is Martin M. Looney, Majority Leader Robert Duff and Speaker of the House Brendan Sharkey, were all pleased with their budget which contains major property tax relief and long term investments in transportation. “A brighter tomorrow will start with this budget today” said Gov. Malloy.
Texas and Indiana are standouts in the nation for their low taxes and successful economies. We’ll see how many Connecticut businesses decide to relocate..
Filed under: Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Taxes | Tags: Hacked, IRS, Taxpayers
The Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) warned the IRS that it was not sufficiently protecting taxpayer data, and made recommendations that the IRS failed to implement. TIGTA Chief T.Russell George told the Senate Finance Committee at a hearing yesterday, that the IRS failed to implement over 40 recommendations that would have made taxpayers’ information safer from hackers.
An IRS data breach has resulted in the stolen personal tax information of over 100,000 households could have been prevented if the IRS listened to the Inspector General and to IRS watchdog groups, Americans for Tax Reform reported.
Since 2007, the IRS has been warned at least seven times by watchdog groups that it needed to strengthen its protections of taxpayer information.
In a 2014 report, TIGTA warned that if stronger protections are not implemented, “taxpayers could be exposed to the loss of privacy and to financial loss and damages resulting from identity theft or other financial crimes.” The report was the latest in a series of warnings about the agency’s inability to protect taxpayer information.
A 2013 report found that the IRS had failed to fully implement eight recommendations that would increase security over taxpayer data despite telling TIGTA they had been implemented. A 2011 report found that taxpayer data was vulnerable to hackers and stronger security measures were needed and in 2010, TIGTA found that the agency had inadequate safeguards to protect taxpayer information from contract workers.
According to Americans for Tax Reform, the IRS did purchase Nerf footballs that were never used, the world’s largest crossword puzzle, $100 lunches and Thomas the Tank Engine Wristbands. The IRS will reportedly notify those taxpayers whose information was hacked.
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Economy, Health Care, Democrat Corruption, Progressivism, Taxes, Capitalism, Law | Tags: $125 Billion, Improper Payments, A New Record
It’s a new record for improper payments dished out by federal agencies — an all time high of $125 billion in questionable payments after years of declines.
There were tax credits for families that didn’t qualify for tax credits, unemployment benefits for people who were employed, Medicare payments for treatments that might not have been necessary. This is up by $19 billion over the previous year. The overpayments were spread across 22 federal agencies, though Medicare and Medicaid fraud and the Earned Income Tax Credit together accounted for more than $93 billion in improper payments.
I heard on the radio that we apparently have some of the world’s oldest people receiving Social Security benefits. Since they are apparently older than the oldest woman who was celebrated in the media at 117, it’s fairly safe to assume that they are illegal immigrants receiving benefits by stealing someone’s identity.
Filed under: China, Democrat Corruption, Domestic Policy, Environment, Regulation, Taxes | Tags: Environmental Protection Agency, Out of Control Bureaucrats, Useless and Costly
Sometimes you just don’t know whether to just laugh at the Obama administration, or pity them. The Environmental Protection Agency has it eyes on pollution from backyard barbecues. The agency has announced that it will fund a University of California project to limit emissions resulting in grease drippings with a special tray to catch them, and a “catalytic” filtration system.
Damn fools aren’t content with banning our efficient and inexpensive incandescent lightbulbs, and messing up the lighting fixture market, ruining our shower heads, ditto toilets, washing machines, most appliances, and trying desperately to get control of everything in our houses — now they are going to take on our backyards. The kids’ wading pool is next.
The grant is only for $15,000, so we’ll see what they can do to all barbecues with that much.
The school is proposing two fixes to reduce emissions from barbecues. First, they want to cut back on grease flare-ups. The idea: “A slotted and corrugated tray is inserted immediately prior to meat flipping, and removed immediately after. This short contact time prevents the tray from over-heating and volatilizing the collected grease. This collected grease will then drip off into a collection tray and can be used at the pit master’s discretion.”
But, total capture isn’t “practical,” so a filter and fan are proposed for installation. “The secondary air filtration system is composed of a single pipe duct system which contains a specialized metal filter, a metal fan blade, a drive shaft, and an accompanying power system with either a motorized or manual method. This system can be powered by either an exterior electric motor with a chain-driven drive shaft, directly spinning the fan blade, or a hand-powered crank,” said the project write-up.
When they get down to particulate matter that might possibly be inhaled by barbecue pit masters, it’s time to shut the agency down. Or even better, lets loan the whole bunch to China, permanently. They need help.
We expect to limit the overall air pollution PM [particulate matter] emissions from barbecuing and to alleviate some of the acute health hazards that a barbecue pit master can experience from inhalation. The particulate matter present during cooking with and without the grease diverter and PM2.5 filters will be tested and compared to that of current data using a conventional propane barbecue using a fumehood chamber with detectors at CE-CERT. Personal exposure of PM2.5 will also be monitored throughout the experimentation period to determine the degree of acute exposure of particulates to the cook.