TAXPAYER BREAKING NEWS, April, 2007
continued from MTA Home Page

April 30, 2007. Wall Street Journal: When Talk Isn't Cheap; Campaign finance regulators say speech isn't free--it's a form of "contribution." "Washington's largely liberal Supreme Court agreed that political free speech was jeopardized by the attempt to regulate media outlets under campaign finance laws. Writing in concurrence, Justice Jim Johnson noted, "Today we are confronted with an example of abusive prosecution by several local governments. . . . This litigation was actually for the purpose of restricting or silencing political opponents." The court took the unusual step of sending the case back to the trial court to determine the nature of any constitutional violations the prosecutors who brought the case committed and whether the Initiative 912 supporters have a right to collect attorneys' fee from the local governments who sued them."

April 30, 2007. KIPP asks to get room to grow; Rebuffed by board, charter school seeks help from lawmakers, reports Susan Gvozdas in the Baltimore Sun. "Andy Smarick, vice president of the board of directors for KIPP Harbor Academy, said yesterday that KIPP would continue to try to work with the county school board, but also would look for support from local and state government officials. KIPP Harbor Academy is part of a national network of more than 38 college-preparatory schools designed to serve inner-city and low-income areas. Teachers are on call until 9 p.m. weekdays for homework help. Students attend class from 7:30 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. Twice a month, they attend Saturday classes. Students also have required extracurricular activities, character training and summer school."

April 22, 2007. Nine Maryland taxpayer voices found fresh ideas and new ways of advocacy at 2007 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference last Friday and Saturday when 500 energetic Pennsylvania conservatives came together in Harrisburg under the theme, "Restoring and Reclaiming Pennsylvania." Laura Ingraham's no-holds-barred, establishment-spin-free look at what values Republicans must advance to win, and Club for Growth's Pat Toomey's report on electing enterprise-friendly members of the Congress grabbed the attention of participants. Maryland grass roots and elected officials could learn much from Pennsylvania's new generation of articulate, forceful, and reform-minded state legislators whose work seems to mesh effortlessly with groups ranging from Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania to Stop Teacher Strikes to the Pennsylvania Family Institute. While the challenges posed by the left in Pennsylvania are parallel to those faced in Maryland, the quality and reach of the Pennsylvania push-back is remarkable. With a parade of well-informed Pennsylvania business leaders pulling no punches about what needs to be done to advance prosperity in the Keystone State, and with members of the state legislature explaining confidently and in commanding detail what they hope to do--this Conference was a memorable achievement. (Maryland contingent, left to right: Spear Lancaster, April Rose, Ann Rose, Diana Jones, Susan Freis Falknor, Rosemarie Helminiak, David Jones, Richard Falknor, Larry Helminiak.)

April 20, 2007. James Pelura in the Gazette: We Know What's Coming Next"Pelura is quite right to declare 'At a time when many political pundits are giving the General Assembly’s 2007 session a passing grade, I want to offer the more appropriate grade — an incomplete.What else can you say about Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Democratic majority that pushed through a $30 billion budget without the money to pay for it?' Yet on the budget's final passage, only five (Dwyer, Impallaria, James King, McDonough, and Warren Miller) of 37 Republican delegates (or 14 per cent of House Republicans) voted against this budget which Pelura correctly declares will result result in more tax hikes, and that only seven (Greenip, Harris, Hooper, Kittleman, Mooney, Simonaire, and Stoltzfus) Republican state senators (or 50 per cent of Senate Republicans) voted against it."
Marylander conservatives keep asking - - - what exactly does most of the Maryland General Assembly Republican Party stand for besides incumbency protection? TBN shares these conservatives' perplexity, and will have more on some puzzling 2007 Republican votes in the General Assembly. Stay tuned.

America's Tax Freedom Day® Arrives April 30 in 2007, Two Days Later Than 2006, reports the Tax Foundation. See full report.

April 13, 2007. ‘Working to kill bills’; Chambers helped defeat sales tax, other measures, but lost on wages and cars, write Kevin J. Shay and Sean R. Sedam in the Gazette. "Maryland business interests won some legislative battles in the just-concluded session, such as helping to kill off proposals to raise business filing fees and expand the sales tax to more companies. But they also lost on some higher-profile issues, including the so-called 'living wage' bill, which will require many state contractors to pay employees a higher wage."
Maryland businesses playing defense on assorted tax issues while urging other spending increases is a mug's game. Unless Maryland businesses and taxpayers develop free-market and consumer-choice alternatives to the big Annapolis outlays in health care, education, and road-building, and explain these alternatives successfully, the Maryland public sector and its muscular unions will continue to grow, to tax, and to drive entrepreneurs and other wealth-creators to other states. As Baltimore economists Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters wrote last year, "Thanks to the federal tax dollars collected from the rest of the country and spent in Maryland, the prevailing view of economic reality is inverted: The public sector is seen as the engine of prosperity, with the private one along for the ride. Reflecting this culture, our legislators often behave as if business is a problem to be solved." Maryland entrepreneurs, traditional-values voices, and taxpayers have to present their own vision, cultural as well as economic, for Maryland's future. The Maryland New Left (or Montgomery County) perspective is now the default vision. Depend on it, a coherent bad vision, marketed through public schools, college campuses, and the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun, trumps no vision at all.--TBN

Wanted: A Culture of Self-Defense - writes Michelle Malkin on Townhall.com.. "Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense -- mind, spirit and body. It begins with two words: Fight back."

April 9, 2007. A Global Bench-Warming? writes Steven J. Milloy of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the Washington Times. "Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley want Congress to establish a so-called cap-and-trade system so they can profit from the trading of greenhouse gas emissions permits. Industrial giants like Dupont and Alcoa want Congress to give them "carbon credits"—essentially free money—for greenhouse gas emissions reductions already undertaken. Solar and wind energy firms, as well as the ethanol lobby, want subsidies and tax breaks. All the new-climate piggies that want to gorge themselves at the public trough have crowded out the environmentalists, transforming the global warming issue from an ostensibly serious save-the-planet crusade into a financial orgy complete with a taxpayer piñata."

April 7, 2007. Immigrant Tuition Bill Falters in Md. Senate, writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Washington Post."Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) said he would lead the filibuster on the Senate floor if the bill makes it out of committee. 'Why should we give even more incentives for illegal immigrants to flock to Maryland?' asked Harris, a member of the Senate committee. 'Maryland is already one of the few states to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses.'"

April 6, 2007. Approval Expected For 'Living Wage' Bill: Md. House Considers Measure to Raise Pay Of Contract Employees, reports John Wagner in the Washington Post. "Maryland would become the first state in the nation to mandate that state contractors pay employees a 'living wage' under a bill moving briskly toward passage in the House of Delegates yesterday."
Delegate Warren Miller: "The Living Wage Bill will encourage state and local governments to stop outsourcing contracts, because hiring new state employees at a lower wage will become the norm - the Unions win because presumably these new low paid state employees will join the Unions."

Parents Want Military Recruiting Limits, reports Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post. "School system leaders say that all recruiters are bound by the same rules and that the military recruits more often and in more venues. Federal law requires that school systems provide military recruiters as much access to students as other recruiters as a condition for funding."

The escape from history in which these parents indulge brings to mind Kipling's poem about Tommy Atkins, the ordinary British soldier:

I went into a theater as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

April 3, 2006. State tax increases shelved until 2008, maybe, writes Tom LoBianco in the Washington Times. "'You name it: tax on services, gas taxes; if it moves, they're going to try and tax it next session,' said House Minority Whip Christopher B. Shank, Western Maryland Republican. 'If it was introduced this year, it was a trial balloon for next year.'"

April 2, 2007. First They Came for the Jews; A prosecution under the Espionage Act threatens the First Amendment, writes Dorothy Rabinowitz in Opinion Journal."If the government could succeed in this prosecution of two non-government professionals doing what they had every reason to view as their jobs--talking to government officials and reporters, and transmitting information and opinions. If such activities can be charged, successfully, as a 'conspiracy,' every professional, every business, every quarter of society--not to mention members of the press--will have reason to understand that this is a bell that tolls not just for two AIPAC lobbyists, but also for countless others to face trials in the future, for newly invented crimes unearthed by willing prosecutors."

 

April 13, 2007. ‘Working to kill bills’; Chambers helped defeat sales tax, other measures, but lost on wages and cars, write Kevin J. Shay and Sean R. Sedam in the Gazette. "Maryland business interests won some legislative battles in the just-concluded session, such as helping to kill off proposals to raise business filing fees and expand the sales tax to more companies. But they also lost on some higher-profile issues, including the so-called 'living wage' bill, which will require many state contractors to pay employees a higher wage."
xxxMaryland businesses playing defense on assorted tax issues while urging other spending increases is a mug's game. Unless Maryland businesses and taxpayers develop free-market and consumer-choice alternatives to the big Annapolis outlays in health care, education, and road-building, and explain these alternatives successfully, the Maryland public sector and its muscular unions will continue to grow, to tax, and to drive entrepreneurs and other wealth-creators to other states. As Baltimore economists Steve Hanke and Stephen Walters wrote last year, "Thanks to the federal tax dollars collected from the rest of the country and spent in Maryland, the prevailing view of economic reality is inverted: The public sector is seen as the engine of prosperity, with the private one along for the ride. Reflecting this culture, our legislators often behave as if business is a problem to be solved." Maryland entrepreneurs, traditional-values voices, and taxpayers have to present their own vision, cultural as well as economic, for Maryland's future. The Maryland New Left (or Montgomery County) perspective is now the default vision. Depend on it, a coherent bad vision, marketed through public schools, college campuses, and the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun, trumps no vision at all.--TBN

Americans head West, South, Say 'Goodby' to Central Northeast Region; United Van Lines Releases 2006 Migration Study. "Not identified as 'high outbound,' but following the outbound trend in the Central Northeastern part of the country, Connecticut (52.4%) saw its fourth successive year of out-migration and Maryland (54.1%) continued its 15-year outbound tradition."

April 9, 2007. A Global Bench-Warming? writes Steven J. Milloy of the Competitive Enterprise Institute in the Washington Times. "Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley want Congress to establish a so-called cap-and-trade system so they can profit from the trading of greenhouse gas emissions permits. Industrial giants like Dupont and Alcoa want Congress to give them "carbon credits"—essentially free money—for greenhouse gas emissions reductions already undertaken. Solar and wind energy firms, as well as the ethanol lobby, want subsidies and tax breaks. All the new-climate piggies that want to gorge themselves at the public trough have crowded out the environmentalists, transforming the global warming issue from an ostensibly serious save-the-planet crusade into a financial orgy complete with a taxpayer piñata."

Wanted: A Culture of Self-Defense - writes Michelle Malkin on Townhall.com.. "Enough is enough, indeed. Enough of intellectual disarmament. Enough of physical disarmament. You want a safer campus? It begins with renewing a culture of self-defense -- mind, spirit and body. It begins with two words: Fight back."

April 7, 2007. Immigrant Tuition Bill Falters in Md. Senate, writes Ovetta Wiggins in the Washington Post."Sen. Andrew P. Harris (R-Baltimore County) said he would lead the filibuster on the Senate floor if the bill makes it out of committee. 'Why should we give even more incentives for illegal immigrants to flock to Maryland?' asked Harris, a member of the Senate committee. 'Maryland is already one of the few states to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses.'"

April 6, 2007. Approval Expected For 'Living Wage' Bill: Md. House Considers Measure to Raise Pay Of Contract Employees, reports John Wagner in the Washington Post. "Maryland would become the first state in the nation to mandate that state contractors pay employees a 'living wage' under a bill moving briskly toward passage in the House of Delegates yesterday."
xxxDelegate Warren Miller: "The Living Wage Bill will encourage state and local governments to stop outsourcing contracts, because hiring new state employees at a lower wage will become the norm - the Unions win because presumably these new low paid state employees will join the Unions."

Parents Want Military Recruiting Limits, reports Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post. "School system leaders say that all recruiters are bound by the same rules and that the military recruits more often and in more venues. Federal law requires that school systems provide military recruiters as much access to students as other recruiters as a condition for funding."

The escape from history in which these parents indulge brings to mind Kipling's poem about Tommy Atkins, the ordinary British soldier:

I went into a theater as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

April 3, 2006. State tax increases shelved until 2008, maybe, writes Tom LoBianco in the Washington Times. "'You name it: tax on services, gas taxes; if it moves, they're going to try and tax it next session,' said House Minority Whip Christopher B. Shank, Western Maryland Republican. 'If it was introduced this year, it was a trial balloon for next year.'"

April 2, 2007. First They Came for the Jews; A prosecution under the Espionage Act threatens the First Amendment, writes Dorothy Rabinowitz in Opinion Journal."If the government could succeed in this prosecution of two non-government professionals doing what they had every reason to view as their jobs--talking to government officials and reporters, and transmitting information and opinions. If such activities can be charged, successfully, as a 'conspiracy,' every professional, every business, every quarter of society--not to mention members of the press--will have reason to understand that this is a bell that tolls not just for two AIPAC lobbyists, but also for countless others to face trials in the future, for newly invented crimes unearthed by willing prosecutors."

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