BREAKING NEWS, April 2006,
continued from MTA Home Page
6, 2006. Special session on BGE unlikely, reports
S.A. Miller in the Washington Times. "The soaring
energy rates have resulted, in part, from a 1999 deregulation deal approved
by the legislature and Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat. The deal
capped BGE rates below market-level prices for six years while the wholesale
cost of electricity rose."
2006. National Taxpayers Union urgesGovernor Ehrlich to cut the gas tax. "According to the Federation
of Tax Administrators, the state holds the dubious honor of having the
18th-highest state gas tax in the country. When a customer pulls up to
a gas station in Maryland, he or she pays 23.5 cents per gallon alone
in state gas taxes. Combined with an 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas
tax, this means Maryland residents are paying nearly 42 cents per gallon
just for taxes, or the equivalent of $6.29 on a 15-gallon fill-up."
on suburban government sprawl--from the Examiner.
"The population rose 13 percent from 1996 to 2004 in Harford
County, according to the Census Bureaus most recent statistics,
while the number of state government employees climbed 55 percent.
In Carroll County, the population rose 15 percent, less than half
the rate of local government employment. And in Howard County,
the population grew 19 percent while local government employment
grew 47 percent. The same trend applies to Anne Arundel and Baltimore
counties."(emphasis added) TBN believes this is just one more piece of
evidence supporting the adoption of a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR)
into the Maryland constitution. TABOR limits the growth of state and
local government to increases in population and inflation unless voters
approve. TABOR means that tax hikes approved by the General Assembly
or local legislative bodies must also be submitted to voters. Most
politicians hate TABOR which fact, in itself, should dispose us favorably
toward this reform.
2006. The Supply-Side Cure to the Energy Crisis: Liberals and regulations
caused it . . . conservatives and the free market can fix it, writes
Peter Ferrara in the National Review. "...we now hear liberals
screaming loudly about oil-company profits. But according to the Tax Foundation,
the government takes about three-times as much in taxes from what you
pay at the pump than the oil companies take in profits. Federal, state,
and local gas taxes alone total about 46 cents per gallon, on average.
Corporate income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and other taxes tack
on much more."
MTA LEADERSHIP DINNER: Taxpayer advocates drew nearly 140 souls from
the Maryland center-right for An April 17 coalition
event featuring distinguished economist and columnist Walter
Williams. The gathering at Ellicott City's Turf Valley Resort
included Ambassador (now Assistant Secretary of State) Ellen Sauerbrey,
ATR head Grover Norquist and NTU chief John Berthoud. Participants
honored the work of Maryland center-right grass-roots activists. MTA's
Leadership Events will bring together, on a larger scale, the men
and women of Marylands grass-roots, from across the Free State,
with some of the best national thinkers and practitioners. MTA plans
a post-election Leadership Event this fall.
2006. MTA joins policy groups urging
Senate to act on eminent domain abuse--as the House of Representatives
did last November when it overwhelmingly passed HR 4128. "This
legislation seeks to curb eminent domain abuse by withholding federal
economic development funds from states and localities that engage in these
practices for a period of two years."
2006. George W. Milhous Bush? Is Dubya the new Nixon, asks
Jonah Goldberg in the National Review. "But explanations
of Bush have often gone too far in the other direction. Critics think
all you need to do to prove he's a Reaganite is point to his tax cuts.
Yammerers like Kevin Phillips point to Bush's sincere Christianity and
the rise of Christian conservatives to demonstrate he's a 'theocon.' It's
worth remembering that Bush was always loyal to his father, who came out
of the Nixon wing of the party and whose only term looks more than a little
similar to his son's second term."
25, 2006. Jack Stauder on Fighting
Bureaucrats, Radicals and Liberal Judges on America's Frontier--review
of a new book by William Perry Pendley. "Government high-handedness
and misdoing are at the core of many of the legal situations. The book
highlights a great variety of cases, some of them mind-boggling -- one
asks, how could this happen in America?"
25, 2006. Illegal Aliens' Threatened
May Day Boycott Means Trouble for Bush, writes Phyllis Schlafly in Townhall.com.
"An employment service in Mobile, Alabama recently received an
'urgent request'to fill 270 job openings from contractors who were hired
to rebuild and clear areas of Alabama devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
The agency immediately sent 70 laborers and construction workers to three
job sites. After two weeks on the job, the men were fired by employers
who told them 'the Mexicans had arrived' and were willing to work for
lower wages. The Americans had been promised $10 an hour, but the employers
preferred Mexicans who would work for less."
25, 2006. Paul Mirengoff defines
price gouging. "Price Gouging is defined to be any profit
made by a company in an industry that is defined to be a Suspect Industry--any
company that is engaged in any energy activity, or any company or industry
that is designated by any elected official of the Democratic Party to
be a Suspect Industry by any public statement."
21, 2006. Ehrlich reaches
deal on energy, reports S.A. Miller in the Washington Times.
20, 2006. Maryland trims
tax rate on property, reportsS.A. Miller in the Washington
Times."Mr. Ehrlich's conservative base sharply criticized
the 2003 property-tax increase, and the rate cut appeared to do little
to blunt that criticism. Dee Hodges, president
of Maryland Taxpayers Association, a nonpartisan group advocating responsible
tax policies, called the 2-cent reduction a 'weak-kneed effort. It's a
dumb political move in an election year,' she said. 'They had plenty of
excess money. ... If they dropped [the tax rate] by 5 cents, I'd feel
a lot better.'"
20, 2005. Pepco Plan May
Ease Bite, For Now; Phased-In Hikes Would Increase Payments Later,
report Matthew Mosk and John Wagner in the Washington Post. "If
ratified by state regulators, the agreement would let customers, if they
choose, stomach the full 38.5 percent increase starting in June, adding
$468 a year to the average household bill. Or they can opt to have their
rates rise gradually. Those on the deferred plan will have to pay back
the difference down the road, meaning they'll be getting even higher bills
than those who took their lumps up front."
19, 2006. Less than fully conservative: Bruce Bartlett reviews
Fred Barnes' book on President Bush, Rebel-in-Chief. "In
his conclusion, Mr. Barnes compares Mr. Bush to Ronald Reagan on a three-point
scale, with Reagan getting a full point on taxes, foreign policy and social
values. Mr. Barnes gives Mr. Bush a full point only on values, with just
half a point each for taxes and foreign policy. That makes Mr. Bush two-thirds
of a real conservative, which sounds about right to me."
14, 2006. Why can't we fix the tax code, asks
Daniel J. Mitchell of the Hertitage Foundation. "Unfortunately,
there are several reasons why taxpayers shouldnt expect politicians
to fix Americas corrupt tax system. The first is that politicians
of both parties are hopelessly addicted to big government. Democrats actually
think its a virtue to make America more like France by spending
taxpayer money like drunken sailors. Republicans pretend they prefer smaller
government, but the past five years show that their compulsion to spend
other peoples money rivals the need of a drug addict to get another
11, 2006. The Heritage Foundation's Edmund F. Haislmaier reports
on the significance of Massachusetts health reform. "In reality,
the legislation is designed to restructure and (partially) deregulate
Massachusettss small-group and non-group health insurance markets
and to convert subsidies now paid to hospitals for treating the uninsured
into subsidies for the low-income uninsured to buy health insurance. The
objectives are expanded coverage, greater consumer choice and satisfaction,
value-focused competition among insurers and providers, and ultimately
a reduced burden on the states taxpayers. The key to the Massachusetts
plan is a new way of organizing the marketplace to enable consumers to
compare and purchase health insurance plans."
7, 2006. Red light cameras produce
money for county and vendor, reports Megan McIlroy in the Examiner.
"'Its a revenue device operating under the guise of a law
enforcement program,' said Richard Falknor, executive vice president of
the Maryland Taxpayers Association. Falknor said it 'corruptsthe
law enforcement process and turn it into a revenue process'.
6, 2006. Survey finds
broad support for reform reports Chet Dembeck in the Examiner. "The
results of the survey came as no surprise to Richard Falknor, executive
vice president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association. 'The time it takes
to fill out and complex tax forms is a tax unto itself,' said Falknor.
He added that the estate tax sometimes called the death tax
is particularly onerous to the majority of Americans. 'The death tax hurts
the families of many small minority businesses more than it does the wealthy,'
4, 2005. MTA joinsletter against H.R. 513 and S 1053, which would force 527 goups to
become PACs, reports National Review Online."Legislation
that forces 527 groups to become PACs will severely hamper the ability
of average citizens to join together and speak out about issues both during
and beyond election seasons. Millions of Americans belong to groups whose
speech will be suppressed by this bill." TBN
comments: The next objective of the anti-freedom-of-political-speech forces
may well be to restrict political speech for 501(c)4 organizations, such