Category Archives: Budget

Bennett: Public Enemy or Profile in Courage?

There was one Democrat who stood up for reform, the middle class and against eliminating itemized deductions, real estate transfer tax, etc., Andria Viola Bennett of Dover's 32nd district. She has been scorned by the left, the political establishment, and was brought to tears by her own caucus, but she never waviered. She not only was the deciding vote against the income tax, but cast more anti-tax votes for good measuer. Democrats were shielded from a sure to fail tax vote in the DE Senate, yet they don't appreciate it. She just listened to the people she serves, in some circles we call that leadership, in the majority caucus it is cause for scorn. That reaction just illustrates how shortsighted the Democratic leadership is. It could have been to their benefit to protect the Senate that holds by one vote, but they blew any possible gain. It is their way or no way. Rep. Bennett Read more

Budget a failure of leadership

Sadly, the latest state budget was a failure of current leadership by the Democratic led assembly. It avoided fundamental reforms such as providing better health care choices or prevailing wage modernization. No one looked at was to allow county wide consolidation of certain back office administrative functions of the school districts, which would provide savings without harming local control. I consider it a failure of leadership because they would not even allow votes on reform measures especially from the Republican minority, but instead threatened what works best in this state, partnerships with nonprofits. They cut firefighters, paramedics, senior centers, homeless shelters and after school programs. Perversely, these cuts will create more of a demand for government action. Holding hostage public safety, youth and seniors for tax hikes is worse than irresponsible, it is cynical Read more

The Budget Passes in Delaware

Real Estate, Alcohol and Tobacco will be seeing tax hikes. Some of us want to see a break for first-time homeowners, I am finding bipartisan support for that. Sadly, it will have to wait. An amendment by Senator Marshall to exempt first-time homebuyers failed. The realtors have found the money. The state is owed millions in uncollected capital gains taxes from people who sold and moved out of state. We need some reforms to do withholding at the settlement table for those not claiming the rollover. We should also take a look at all of the unaudited forms that have been filed and never paid over the past 6 years. It is money owed to us, but we would rather drive our kids out of state when they want to buy homes.

It seems irresponsible to impose a new tax when you are not even collecting what you could easily get from the old taxes.

The Backstory on the Budget Crisis–Democrat Duplicity. Guest post by Sam Chick

On Wednesday, two days before what is supposed to be the last day of session, Democrats gave Republicans an ultimatum: a. either raise income taxes, alcohol and tobacco taxes, and create a new tax on vaping or b. balance the budget by cutting Grant-in-Aid which supports fire companies, veterans service organizations, senior centers, and other non-profit organizations. Basically Democrats took taxpayers and community organizations hostage, said they're only going to shoot one, but Republicans get to pick who. Wisely, Republicans rejected these strong arm tactics outright. On Thursday Republicans made a counter proposal that gave Democrats their tax increases in exchange for implementing future spending reforms, a budget stabilization fund (a great idea from State Treasurer Ken Simpler that helps the budgeting process by smoothing out the ups & downs in tax revenue), and reforming prevailing Read more

Bad Boy Delaware is being Sued by 23 States in 3 law suits: Taxpayers could be on the hook for 400 Million Dollars

Reuters is reporting that 21 States led by Texas and Arkansas are suing Delaware for allegedly stealing their citizen's money. The 150 million dollar suit joins Pennsylvania and Wisconsin who already filed separate suits. Delaware hired contractors to take a more aggressive collection of Escheat funds (unclaimed funds like dormant checking and savings accounts, uncashed money orders, cashiers checks, Unclaimed insurance benefits, Mineral royalty payments, Safe depository contents, Unused gift certificates.dividends, stocks, bonds, utility deposits or refunds). They didn't hire them to find the people of course, but to push companies to turning them over to the state. The state then spends the money that is unclaimed after it publishes names on the web. It has been a boon to state revenue. Revenue has jumped to a half a billion dollars a year surpassing corporate taxes as our third Read more

Raiding Social Security?

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.3"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Protecting Social Security from the Thieves in the NightThis is how it happens. Last night while you were sleeping the Senate voted to steal $150 billion dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund. I joined 34 of my colleagues in a vote to prevent this raid. I would like to thank Senator Rand Paul for leading the fight to protect to Social Security from the thieves in Washington, who seem to think that if they steal from the American people at night while they are sleeping that they will get away with it. I was proud to vote with Senator Paul on his point of order that would have protected Social Security, Read more

Mediocrity rules in D. C. with the budget vote.

I received an email stating the worst budget deal since the H. W. Bush not tax pledge betrayal passed in the middle of the night. I starting studying the budget deal and it really isn't bad. It really isn't good either. I doubt that I would vote for it, but it really does not deserve the hyperpassion it is eliciting in some circles. I think it is more about fundraising than substance. I am not a fan of the budget deal passed in the middle of the night in Washington D. C.. It really was too much of a capitulation. Yet, I am not upset about it either. It kept the deficit under control. We cut the deficit 75% in 4 years. It funds the national defense which was being starved. The increase in domestic spending was only 40 billion a year and half of that was saving Social Security disability from running out of money and forcing a 20% cut in benefits and preventing a 53% hike in Medicare Read more

I have yet begun to fight!

When Commodore John Paul Jones was taking heavy fire from a superior British vessel which had the advantage in tactical position and a reinforcement on the way, he was asked to surrender. He responded, "I have yet begun to fight!" When we are in a fight for survival, you push hard and play out your hand. In Paul's case, a grenade blew shell casings into the powder storage of the British ship. Paul was able to recover the advantage and made history. In order to catch a break, you have to play the game. Republican leaders on Capitol Hill do not get that. The recent vote on the 10 week stop gap funding of the government illustrated the capitulation of the leadership. The whole thing as driven by fear. The fears are these fear of the media not telling the truth, fear of President Obama and the Democrats shutting down the government and blaming them, fear of the conservatives stirring Read more

Is Warren a terrorist?

We narrowly avoided the Elizabeth Warren shutdown. Of course when Ted Cruz inspired one, he was called a terrorist among other things by Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is building her influence and stock by fighting for what she believes. I can buy that, but I think it applies to both sides. I find interesting that in the new media age, two freshman Senators from the class of 2012 have so much influence in the lower House and nation. For the record, I may agree with Warren on this one, but the language is so complicated that I am not sure what the provision actually does. It is a good political issue though. Warren fights to protect taxpayers from future bailouts and stop banks from playing fast and loose with money we guarantee. I am not sure that is the case derivatives can be valuable to safeguard investments. The devil is in the details, but since she is the expert in that field, Read more

Smart Savings

There are smart offsets to sequester cuts that would not devastate military training and readiness or hurt programs giving nutrition to the poor. Sequester has helped get our deficit under control despite the spendthrift, incompetent U. S. Senate. For 3 years, the GAO has been issuing a report requested by Oklahoma’s Senator Tom Coburn-R, showing the saving that could be had by stopping duplication of programs.  Money could actually go into programs instead of bureaucracy and the taxpayers could save many tens of billions a year.  These are cuts that everyone should welcome, yet only 22% of them have happened. Senator Chris Coons D-DE is on the budget conference committee, will he champion some smart cuts?

Obama and Sequestration, What’s He Gonna Do?

Caught in his own trap, in an effort to propose an ultimatum so laughable and obvious that it backfired, Obama could have caused a lose-lose situation for his administration and the country. Jack Lew, former director of Obama's office of Management and Budget and Rob Nabors, the president's Legislative affairs director brought the idea of a "sequester" to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid July 27, 2011. The idea evolved and a failure of Congress and the White House to agree on substantial deficit reductions would trigger automatic accross-the-board budget cuts. Members of both parties voted for that provision and Obama signed it into law. But the New Year's 2013 deal that raised taxes to avoid the "fiscal cliff" also delayed the sequester's impact -- $85 billion over the rest of this fiscal year -- until March 1. Democrats expected all along that some agreement would exterminate the Read more

Jim Inhofe Takes On Reid’s Incompetence with a Real Plan

Senate Democrats last passed a budget April 27, 2009.  They blew up the Sequester avoidance talks.  Now our national security is at risk by their rank incompetence.  Enter our hero, Jim Inhofe R-OK. Senator Inhofe, (full disclosure, I have known him almost 25 years personally) has taken the role of a real leader once again and introduced a proposal to do what the Super Committee wouldn't, which is save 2.6 trillion dollars in federal spending.  Now the ball is in the Democrats court.  If they don't want the Inhofe plan, then give us a real budget plan yourself otherwise shut up and let those who will lead, lead. A great quote from Senator Dan Coats: Since the Senate Democrats last passed a budget: The United States has lost its perfect credit rating. Federal debt has increased nearly 50 percent to a staggering $15.6 trillion. America has assumed the unenviable position Read more

With Democrat Friends Like These, Who Needs Republican Enemies?

The Obama Budget was voted down 99-0 in the Senate following a 414-0 vote in the House earlier this year. Senate Democrats tried to claim it the GOP amendment wasn't the President's budget, but when Senator Sessions R-AL offered Democrats that he would accept any friendly amendments to correct errors, not one was offered. Once established to be faithful to the President's budget, it went down in flames with not one vote in favor. The Republican House passed their budget. The Senate Republicans have even tougher budget numbers to stop the debt train. The President proposes the worst of all worlds, higher taxes, 6.1 trillion in higher debt, and higher spending. It is no wonder that Democrats do not want to be on record favoring it. The truth is that they have no alternative and won't favor the Republican alternatives. The President is actually proposing a more restrained and responsible Read more

How Do You Work With People Who Refuse to Work?

Senator Reid D- NV refuses to bring a budget to the floor this year.  Senator Conrad D-ND says he is at peace with it.  Senator Johnson R-WI says the GOP will force a vote on the Ryan budget, but Senator Conrad criticizes the move saying that both sides need to work together.  Let’s see the Democrats won’t give us a budget, but they won’t work on the Republican budget either and criticize the GOP for actually having one.  Which party is more of the problem in Washington?  America is sinking in debt and the Democrats can’t pass a budget outline among themselves to begin a responsible conversation.

Standard & Poor Downgrades U.S. Credit Rating from AAA to AA+

The U.S. credit rating of AAA, maintained since 1917 was downgraded Friday to AA+ by Standard & Poor over concerns that the Budget Bill didn't go far enough to reduce deficits. The U.S. received the top rating from S&P in 1941. On April 18, S&P made public that the U.S. could lose it's AAA credit rating if lawmakers didn't agree on a plan to reduce budget deficits as well as the national debt. My question is: Could this situation have been avoided if the Republican Congress Had stayed their ground and fought for a better deal, ignoring the false date of August 2, placed by Geitner to raise the debt ceiling? The Downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government's medium-term debt dynamics, S&P said in a statement Friday. Read more

The Political Aftermath of the Debt Deal

Both sides took heat from their political base.   It is good on balance for the country.  For the first time since Gingrich and Kasich, the debate is on how to restrain spending not how to increase it.  You can't crash diet and lose 50 pounds overnight and be healthy.  You can lose 50 pounds over time with a plan.  Many diets have false starts.  Many fail, but it only takes one to succeed.  This spending diet may just work even though I really do not like it because it fits Washington's reality.   You can read plenty of analysis on the plan with its many flaws and strengths.  What I would like to know is who does this benefit politically?  Answering this question is very important to the nation's future.   I believe this plan favors Republicans.  Why?  The swing voters who disapprove do so on the grounds that it does not cut enough.  Many Democrats who disapprove do so Read more

Debt Ceiling Bill Passes Senate And House

Has America been sold out by an agreement by Democrats and Republicans' inability to do the right thing. Democrats stalled and brought no bill to the floor and Republicans fought tooth and nail to stop spending, while not raising the debt ceiling. It would seem to this American taxpayer that America has been sold a bill of goods by those who deign to represent the American people. The Bill that has passed is not only far from perfect, it falls extremely short of addressing America's spending problem. We have to cut spending and not raise the debt ceiling for America to begin the road to a healthy economy. Congressman Cantor R-Virginia said before voting on the bill, just back from the Senate, "We're about to vote on a bill, although not perfect, will change the culture here in Washington." Senate Minority Mitch McConnell said, "this bill sets a template for the future. I'm comfortable Read more

Should Conservatives Be Happy?

  It seems as if another eleventh hour deal has been struck to settle the debt ceiling issue.    The deal seems to have support by both houses of congress and the president.   The deal would cut one trillion dollars in the first phase. The deal doesn't have any tax increases in the first phase, but could allow tax increases in the future if certain goals in spending cuts are not met. Automatic cuts in social programs could also occur if goals are not met.   The debt ceiling will be raised enough to allow borrowing through 2013. It will slow the increase of debt by about 2-3 trillion dollars over the next ten years.   So should conservatives be happy with this deal?   Right now it is too early to know. First of all there are too many details that we still don't know about this deal. So is this another case of, "we have to pass this bill, before we can know what is in Read more

False Sense Of Security

  With some Republicans calling for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, many fiscal conservatives may believe that this amendment would be the way to stop our rising debt problem.   I would suggest that those who feel that the BBA would solve anything, should look here in Delaware. We have had a balanced budget requirement for sometime now.    The way it works is that the budget is only balanced until it gets passed. The legislature doesn't actually make any real cuts in spending to achieve this balance. Instead they just keep adjusting the revenue projections until the projections meet the spending needs. And, TADA! Balanced budget. And as soon as the revenue doesn't appear, no balance budget.   Why would a national balanced budget amendment be any different?   Also could someone tell me how you can go from a 14 Trillion dollar deficit, to a balanced Read more

Just wondering

Why is it when the President’s commission proposes changes to entitlement programs, they are courageous, but when Paul Ryan and company dials them down, they are trying to end Medicare? Did you know that the Ryan proposal is actually a take off  from Alice Rivlin, Clinton’s economic advisor? I haven’t studied the details and frankly have not taken a position on the plan, but the idea of preserving Medicare by putting it on a sustainable footing does not deserve to be demonized.  Make changes, support it, or oppose it if you like, but do it on an honest assessment.  I have studied it enough to know that the demagoguery is bogus posturing which actually threatens the long run interests of the average person.

Balanced Budget

The balanced budget has been a good thing for the State of Delaware and many people think it would be a good thing for the country.  One of them is Senator Mike Lee of Utah. He recently proposed Senate Amendment 115 to Senate Bill 23 The Patent Reform Act of 2011.  The purpose of the amendment was to express the Senate's support for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.  The legislative amendment failed to achieve the required supermajority of 60 to pass.  However, considering the vote was 58 in favor and 40 opposed I am pretty excited by the progress. The amendment read as follows, "It is the sense of the Senate that Congress should pass and the States should agree to an amendment to the Constitution requiring a Federal balanced budget."  In my opinion the entire amendment process is worth looking at, as this was just one of several heavy impact amendments proposed.  Read more