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

May 31, 2007. Examiner editorial: What's Anne Arundel Hiding? "Either Anne Arundel County handwrites records, or officials are purposefully trying to thwart taxpayers from reviewing how much they are paying their county employees."
MTA suggests that the new County executive publish a transparency website like the one delegate
Warren Miller has proposed for the state government. Transparency will help both alert media and vigilant citizens themselves carry out long overdue oversight of county spending and government efficiency.

May 30, 2007. Making the pain worse - commentary by Ben Lieberman in the Washington Times. "Instead, several new bills seek to pile on even more restrictions and red tape, which would further drive down oil production in the years ahead. How lower supplies of American oil will benefit the driving public is something proponents of these measures have yet to explain. The above-mentioned efforts, if successful, should be enough to end $3-a-gallon gas -- and replace it with $4 a gallon. But Congress is considering other measures that could send prices far higher."

May 30, 2007. Lawmakers renew effort for health coverage, reports Kristen Wyatt for the Associated Press. "Maryland lawmakers began work yesterday on another effort to expand health coverage -- but they were warned by several specialists that the task will be both difficult and expensive."
The main-stream media's (MSM) silence on free-market consumer-choice approaches to financing Maryland health care is truly shameless. The Heritage Foundation has crafted such an approach over several years study. Taxpayers and independent Maryland businesses are urged to grasp the essentials of the Heritage approach [see Health Care Reform in Maryland: Doing It Right by Edmund F. Haislmaier] and to push for it before they are saddled with a single-payer system.

May 25, 2007. Lawmaker renews call to raise tax on alcoholic beverages, reports Alan Brody in the Gazette. "But Bruce C. Bereano, an Annapolis lobbyist who represents the Licensed Beverage Distributors of Maryland, said higher taxes will hurt Maryland businesses. 'You increase the tax, and everybody’s going to go to the District to buy their friendly drinks,' he said."

May 25, 2007. Taxpayer Voices Taxpayer Voices Question Prince George’s Phone Tax Hike. Prince George’s OKs $2.64 billion budget, But phone tax issue remains unresolved, reports Judson Berger in the Gazette. "But the phone tax increase has generated opposition from residents who say the county can’t impose it without voter approval. Opponents say the county is trying to circumvent a 1996 measure that requires any new taxes or fees to be approved by referendum. 'I just think it should be shot down completely,' said activist Judy Robinson, who helped push the referendum measure in 1996. 'The law is very clear. There are no gray areas here,' she said.'The issues are the excessiveness of the tax, and that the voters are being denied their say,' said Tara Potter, assistant vice president for Verizon, a telephone service provider."

May 25, 3007. Charles Stadium Bid Still Over Budget, reports Alan Brody in the Gazette."After the Waldorf site was identified, the county, state and a private baseball investor, Opening Day Partners, agreed to contribute $7 million apiece for the project. The bid award puts the state share at about $8.7 million, while the county and team owner will pay about $8.5 million."

May 22, 2007. Federal Interference in State Highway Public-Private Partnerships Is Unwarranted, A Response to Oberstar and DeFazio, write Robert Poole and Peter Samuel in Reason. "The letter repeatedly alleges states are in a 'rush' to sign public-private partnership deals. There is no rush. The states have each taken time to consider and pass public-private partnership legislation, moving carefully to make amendments where problems have arisen. For example, Texas is currently updating its public-private partnership law to address taxpayer concerns. The states that are furthest advanced - Texas, Georgia and Virginia - now have a carefully evolved legislative and regulatory framework for PPPs and considerable expertise based on experience in handling them."

May 23, 2007. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett voted against "the feel good, but counterproductive" Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act (H.R. 1252), reports Congressman Bartlett's office. "'Congress can't suspend the economic laws of supply and demand,' said Congressman Bartlett. "This well-intentioned, but destructive bill, would take us back to the future of the 1970's policies of Jimmy Carter that led to gasoline shortages, gas lines and rationing.' The Federal Trade Commission found no evidence of price gouging from investigations after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Nowhere in H.R. 1252 are key terms such as 'unconscionably excessive,' 'unfair advantage,' 'unreasonably,' 'reasonably foreseeable,' 'grossly exceeds,' 'reasonably reflected,' 'substantially attributable,' or 'usual seasonal demand variations' defined explicitly."

May 22, 2007. Federal Interference in State Highway Public-Private Partnerships Is Unwarranted, argues a Reason Foundation report by Robert W. Poole, Jr. and Peter Samuel. “Public-private partnerships certainly offer states, taxpayers, and commuters a lot more than two congressman butting into state business.”

May 21, 2007. In the National Review, MTA's Jim Boulet, executive director of English First, details Hillary’s immigration dilemma - - - If she supports English requirements, this immigration bill isn’t for her. "Section 702 claims to protect English but actually mandates multilingualism. A more concise version would read, 'English is OK unless the government decides otherwise.' And the government has often decided otherwise. You are also well aware that, thanks to your husband’s Executive Order 13166, the only time anyone can legally be required to demonstrate even a modest knowledge of America’s national language is during his one-time citizenship test. Furthermore, E.O. 13166 and its accompanying regulations require all recipients of federal funds to provide its services in whatever language a person may request (even Klingon, it would seem), and at no cost. You hope no one notices this immigration bill would codify E.O. 13166 in far more permanent legislation."

May 19, 2007.O'Malley making case for tax rise reports Tom LoBianco in the Washington Times. "Mr. O'Malley has said he expects to raise taxes, but has not specified how or when. The governor bought himself one year to build the case for budget cuts, tax increases and legalized slot machines when he drew from the state's savings accounts, and he has spent the past few weeks making his public pitch."

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

May 17, 2007. MTA's Jim Boulet executive director of English First, warns of expensive guests. "On page 32296 of its E.O. 13166 “policy guidance,” the Department of Labor actually recommends the hiring of two or more interpreters for every unemployment-insurance applicant who claims difficulties with the English language:
. . .

In the real world, rather than complying with all this linguistic rigmarole, unemployment caseworkers are likely to decide it is easier and cheaper to just give everyone a check who claims not to speak English."

HERO OF THE TAXPAYER! Joe Antos, Commissioner, Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission and American Enterprise Institute Scholar: "As a Commissioner, I am concerned that the Commission’s decision gives the impression of favoritism, which undermines the public trust necessary for the continued operation of the all-payer rate setting system. As a citizen, I am concerned that the Commission’s decision increases the cost of health care in Maryland above necessary and appropriate levels. Marylanders will pay an extra $119 million over the next three years as a result of our recent decision." [MTA's Underscoring.]

May 17, 2007. Iran crosses the red line, writes MTA's former President Kenneth Timmerman in FrontPageMag.com. "ElBaradei and the New York Times are hoping that the U.S. will now see reason, and make accommodations with a nuclear Iran. But appeasement will only encourage Tehran’s leaders to become bolder and more brazen. (To Nick Burns’s credit, he has rejected that temptation.) The way forward has been blazed by the Department of Treasury, and by courageous and imaginative state legislators in California, Maryland, and Ohio, and by the State Treasury of Missouri, Sarah Steelman."

May 16, 2007. Eminent domain questioned in city, county, writes Rita Chappelle in The Examiner. 'The city thinks they can just go around seizing people’s land for their own purposes,” said John Murphy, who is one of the top eminent domain lawyers in the state. “Promising private owners’ properties to developers even before going to court to legitimately seize it. Just look at how they promised the Weinberg Foundation privately held property in the city’s Westside. It’s unimaginable.”

May 15, 2007. Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics; Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research, writes Marc Moano on the U.S. Senate Committeer on Environment and Public Work website. "The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven 'consensus' on man-made global warming. The list below is just the tip of the iceberg. A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report."

May 14, 2007.Cutting the Grass; Congressional Democrats prepare another assault on the First Amendment, werites John Fund in the Opinion Journal."But the legislation may be amended on the floor to restrict grassroots groups that encourage citizens to contact members of Congress. The amendment, pushed by Rep. Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, would require groups that organize such grassroots campaigns to register as "lobbyists" and file detailed quarterly reports on their donors and activities. The law would apply to any group that took in at least $100,000 in any given quarter for 'paid communications campaigns' aimed at mobilizing the public."

May 11, 2007. Governor wants $200M cut in 30 days; O'Malley begins push to fill $1.5B hole by seeking spending efficiencies, writes Alan Brody in the Gazette. ‘‘'It appears to be a little sugar to make the pill go down easier,' said Richard Falknor, executive vice president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association. 'The governor should be commended for any sensible cut, but unless he makes systemic changes, it’s not going to change a thing and we’re going to be hit with a tax tsunami.'”

May 11, 2005. Examiner Editorial: Edison Schools deserves fair shake. "As Dwayne Andrews, Edison’s vice president for government relations ,said, 'If we are not doing our job then we can be fired.' The same cannot be said for the city’s school system, where parents of children in chronically failing schools have few if any options."

May 8, 2007. AIM Editor to Confront Post Chairman on Financial Assistance for Illegal Aliens, writes Sarah Schaerr Norton in an AIM press release - call (202) 364-4401 ext. 107. "CASA of Maryland, which distributes an eight-page book telling illegal aliens how to avoid law enforcement authorities, names the Philip L. Graham Fund as one of its financial supporters in its annual report. The Graham Fund is staffed by current and former officials of the Washington Post and includes Donald E. Graham, chairman of the board and CEO of The Washington Post Company, as a trustee."

May 7, 2007.Guide coaches illegals on raids, reports Jerry Seper in the Washington Times. "Demos Chrissos, who co-founded Citizens Above Party in Maryland to investigate suspected links between illegal immigration and widespread voter fraud, said the book's distribution warranted an investigation to determine whether taxpayer funds were being used to advance CASA's agenda. 'Is CASA using the people's money to fund their own agenda and is that not worthy of an investigation?' Mr. Chrissos said. 'I'd like to see how they justify putting out a publication on how to skirt U.S. immigration law.'"

May 7, 2007. Tax Increases Ahead: The Impact of the House Budget Resolution, By Congressional District, reports Shanea Watkins, Ph.D., of the Heritage Foundation.
• The House budget resolution passed on March 29 has the potential to cost the average American taxpayer $3,026 in additional taxes. In addition to the increased tax burden, Americans could also see their personal income decrease by about $500 due to a weaker economy.
• The budget resolution could damage employment growth, causing about one
million fewer jobs to be created, and has the potential to damage economic output by over $100 billion nationally.
• Some taxpayers, like those in Connecticut District 4 or New York District 18, could see a tax increase of well over $5,000.
TBN notes: Maryland's statewide loss in jobs: 19,643; Maryland's statewide loss to local economy: $2,083,000,000.
Click here for full report and effect of the House Budget Resolution on your Congressional district.

May 7, 2007. Bush Pushes Amnesty for Illegals, writes Andy Selepak of Accuracy in Media."Les Kinsolving of Baltimore’s WCBM asked deputy White House Press Secretary Dana Perino why there was no invitation to the hosts participating in the 'Hold Their Feet to the Fire' event to come to the White House for a meeting with Bush. He said, 'The President has more than once invited up to two dozen talk-radio hosts to broadcast from the White House. But now, while three dozen are broadcasting on Capitol Hill for three days on illegal immigration, we have received no such presidential invitation or even word of welcome. And my question, does the President wish we would all go home?'”

May 6, 2007. Md. joins pollution pact; Ten states to seek ways to address climate change, reports Andrew A. Green in the Baltimore Sun. "When fully phased in, RGGI will force a 10 percent reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in 10 Northeastern states, and O'Malley said that given the magnitude of the threat posed by global warming, that agreement must be only a starting point for Maryland.
xx'This is a real threat,' he said. 'Our children are very likely going to find the things we take for granted, the blue crab or the Baltimore oriole or even some of our islands, the very things that make us who we are, will be gone forever.'
xxMaryland's participation in the RGGI agreement was mandated by the Clean Air Act, which the legislature passed and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. signed last year. Previously, Ehrlich had opposed the state's participation in the compact, saying it could decrease the reliability of the electric grid and drive up prices for consumers."
Steven Milloy, Adjunct Scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute comments: The RGGI will raise the price of electricity without providing any environmental benefit whatsoever. It's a regressive tax against the poor and those live on fixed incomes and will only benefit politicians who want to be perceived as being "green" or pro-environment. The RGGI is empty-headed public policy at its finest.

May 4, 2007. Motorists pay the price at the pump; Reuters: Gasoline prices hit $3 ad refiners strain, writes Matthew Dempsey on the U.S. Senate's Environmental and Public Works blog. "As Chairman, Senator Inhofe conducted a hearing to examine the environmental regulations in the refining industry in 2004. At that hearing, Senator Inhofe stated: '“In this constrained market, we must consider the environmental and the economic. More stringent environmental regulations mean that refiners must make environmental upgrades rather than increase capacity to meet consumer demand. But you don’t just have to take my word for it - the Energy Information Administration concluded that tighter product specifications will result in: Increased likelihood of outages; diminished yields of prime fuels; and additional investment hurdles for small refiners.'The 2004 hearing was one of several to examine the issue which eventually led to Senator Inhofe introducing the Gas Price Act which would improve and expand domestic refining capacity in the United States."

May 4, 2007. John R. Bolton's Acceptance Remarks for the 2007 Bradley Prizes Awards Ceremony at the American Enterprise Institute. "In my first significant government job, General Counsel of the Agency for International Development in 1981, I decided I should make decisions by asking myself, 'what would Ronald Reagan decide if he were sitting in my chair?' I see nothing extraordinary or meritorious about following this course of action, which is a simple extrapolation from the democratic legitimacy constitutionally conferred on a President. The Supreme Court said as much in Myers v. United States: 'Each head of a department is and must be the President's alter ego in the matters of that department. . . .' In a specific example, in Ponzi v. Fessenden, the Court said: 'The Attorney General is . . . the hand of the President in taking care that the laws of the United States be faithfully executed. 'Below the Cabinet level, other Presidential appointees carry his democratic legitimacy deeper into the bureaucracy, and should have as their primary objective the implementation of the President's policies.
"Yet, we all know, especially in Republican Administrations, that too often this does not happen. Political appointees 'go native.' They may be conservatives before they join the Federal government, and they may be conservatives after they leave, but while they are in service, they are simply filling chairs in large bureaucracies."

May 4, 2007. Motorists pay the price at the pump; Reuters: Gasoline prices hit $3 ad refiners strain, writes Matthew Dempsey on the U.S. Senate's Environmental and Public Works blog. "As Chairman, Senator Inhofe conducted a hearing to examine the environmental regulations in the refining industry in 2004. At that hearing, Senator Inhofe stated: '“In this constrained market, we must consider the environmental and the economic. More stringent environmental regulations mean that refiners must make environmental upgrades rather than increase capacity to meet consumer demand. But you don’t just have to take my word for it - the Energy Information Administration concluded that tighter product specifications will result in: Increased likelihood of outages; diminished yields of prime fuels; and additional investment hurdles for small refiners.'The 2004 hearing was one of several to examine the issue which eventually led to Senator Inhofe introducing the Gas Price Act which would improve and expand domestic refining capacity in the United States."

May 4, 2007. John R. Bolton's Acceptance Remarks for the 2007 Bradley Prizes Awards Ceremony at the American Enterprise Institute. "In my first significant government job, General Counsel of the Agency for International Development in 1981, I decided I should make decisions by asking myself, 'what would Ronald Reagan decide if he were sitting in my chair?' I see nothing extraordinary or meritorious about following this course of action, which is a simple extrapolation from the democratic legitimacy constitutionally conferred on a President. The Supreme Court said as much in Myers v. United States: 'Each head of a department is and must be the President's alter ego in the matters of that department. . . .' In a specific example, in Ponzi v. Fessenden, the Court said: 'The Attorney General is . . . the hand of the President in taking care that the laws of the United States be faithfully executed. 'Below the Cabinet level, other Presidential appointees carry his democratic legitimacy deeper into the bureaucracy, and should have as their primary objective the implementation of the President's policies.
"Yet, we all know, especially in Republican Administrations, that too often this does not happen. Political appointees 'go native.' They may be conservatives before they join the Federal government, and they may be conservatives after they leave, but while they are in service, they are simply filling chairs in large bureaucracies."

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