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
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
Apparently, Delaware Governor Jack Markell’s proposal to impose a water TAX , or “fee” on Delaware property owners has resurfaced. It was first revealed in his 2014 State of the State Address. It was subsequently incorporated in the Governor’s Clean Water for Delaware's Future Initiative. On Thursday, November 19, 2015, a draft of the Clean Water for Delaware Act was distributed and discussed at a Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force meeting. The official purpose of the proposed legislation is to provide the State of Delaware with a new revenue stream to raise Delaware’s natural and drinking water quality levels. According to the latest USEPA’s 303-(d) list, 90% of Delaware’s natural waterways are impaired as they fail to meet their designated uses for swimming, fishing and drinking. Under the proposed "Clean Water for Delaware Fee", Delaware residential property Read more
By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer An independent report has assessed the State of Delaware’s spending and revenue patterns and its possible impact in the context of the general economy. The non-partisan 27-page report, Delaware’s Structural Budget Problem: Causes, Potential Solutions, and Policy Tradeoffs, prepared by Michael C. Genest and Brad D. Williams of Capital Matrix Consulting, was commissioned by the Delaware Business Roundtable in an effort to offer constructive suggestions for the state’s budgetary and revenue raising processes. Well-illustrated with graphs, charts and tables. the study also illustrates some key state spending parameters and its analysis raises serious questions on how the State of Delaware raises and spends money in light of the current economy. Highlights include: • Delaware’s revenue portfolio is generally poorly structured. Read more
I apologize to the citizens of Dover that we could not manage to get the votes to submit further budget cuts. We got stuck at the level that we accomplished in the budget hearings. In the end, I could not prevail in further cuts to spending and voted no on the tax hike and budget. It passed 6 to 3. I think the budget is thoughtful and defensible. There is no waste or fraud in it. I did think that it could be more austere and efficient. This is why I had several proposals to lower spending. Some were accepted, but others were not. Once we got to the point where even deferring pay increases for those making above 75k failed, it was time to quit. I voted against the budget and tax increase not because I did not favor the addition of more police and the spending to help the fire department take care of crucial needs. I had other concerns that were not being addressed. I do not believe Read more
School Tax Increase Looms on the Horizon By: Wolf von Baumgart, Staff Writer In the face of the Sussex Technical High School District’s growing financial and enrollment complications, state legislators are sponsoring remedial measures. House Bill 100, filed last Thursday, will grant the STHS District the power to impose a 5.5 cent tax increase beginning July 1st for the 2016 fiscal year. In FY 2017, the district will be allowed an additional one cent increase. This will inflate the overall rate to 30 cents per $100 of assessed value, costing the average Sussex County homeowner $8.86 in the first year and $10.47 in the following year. The impending school tax increase is the result of various factors: ● A 19.3% increase in student enrollment from 1295 in FY 2011 to 1545 at present. ● Disparity of the rate of growth of the Sussex County property tax base with Read more
By Staff Writer: Wolf von Baumgart General Assembly Considers Options The Delaware General Assembly met twice earlier this week to consider funding options for Sussex Technical High School District. The Sussex County Delegation (consisting of nine state representatives and five state senators) continues to study Sussex Tech’s impending financial crisis. Five budgetary proposals were originally included in a study attendant to House Concurrent Resolution 2, previously passed in January. Subsequently, other options have emerged for consideration. Sussex Tech administrators have been steadily seeking legislative approval to more than double the STHSD’s current property taxes over the last two years above the current limit as currently permitted by statute. Delaware's three state-created countywide vocational school districts are legally empowered to raise school taxes (with the Read more
Guest Post By: Wolf von Bauimgart Delaware 41st District State Representative, Rich Collins (R- Millsboro) says that is just a matter of time before the State of Delaware will tax e-cigarettes in light of declining tobacco tax revenue according an article in Delaware House of Representatives e-Newsletter of the Republican Caucus E-cigarettes, as non-tobacco battery-operated devices that vaporize various flavored liquids and various chemicals, into an inhalable smokeless form that may or may not contain nicotine, currently do not fit the definition of tobacco products under the current state tax code. The decline in state tobacco tax revenues comes as a result of intensified state and federal smoking cessation programs, the popularity of e-cigarettes smokeless alternative and high state cigarette taxes themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nationwide Read more
As usual, I am fighting the good fight for taxpayers. My friend, Councilman Tim Slavin developed a proposal that just makes sense. It requires a tax hike greater than 9.5% to go before the people in a plebiscite-- a non-binding referendum before it can pass. This is not a radical proposal. It does not prohibit or even hinder a moderate tax hike that may or may not be necessary. What it does is put the brakes on wholesale looting of the taxpayers, destruction of confidence in the job creating business community, and a crushing surprise on families that are already on the edge. Passing this sends a message to those who want to invest in Dover that we will manage our finances well and give you economic certainty. Dover is poised to have nearly a billion dollars of private investment flow into the city in the next decade. Will the city risk it by not giving a measure of certainty? If we Read more
Congresswoman and Tea Party Caucus Founder Michele Bachmann is retiring from Congress after 8 years. She spoke before the Values Voter's Summit. I am disappointed with her retirement because she understood the importance of defending the dollar and opposing the new global market basket currency. This debate with Socialist and Democrat Caucusing Senator Bernie Sanders is classic. She destroys his arguments for bigger government. The famous Gangster Government Speech End Bailout Nation Read more
The final two Delaware Politics Annual awards are for Delaware Citizen of the Year and National Person of the Year. The voting was close in each category. The runner up for Person of the Year was Edward Snowden who transformed the nation’s understanding of the national surveillance programs. The debate is now at the highest levels of governments globally and the most humble of homes on Main Street. The jury is still out on the legacy of Mr. Snowden. Will he sell out national secrets to protect himself? Is he a hero or mixed bag? Has he gone too far? No matter what one thinks of him, he has transformed the nation’s view of its government and sparked a global debate. The runner up for Delaware Citizen of the year was Dr. Kim Warfield. From feeding children snacks and dinner in the summer to facilitating youth programs throughout the year ranging from free mixed martial Read more
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?
Tax freedom day is the average day that Americans finish paying their taxes. This year it is a little bit later, April 18th. Just wait until the new medicare means testing kicks in with 9 income brackets to look at higher premiums. The January tax hike wasn’t the end. They have just begun to tax.
With the exception of Representative John Atkins, State House Democrats voted for HB 50 and passed a 6.6% tax rate for taxable incomes over $60,000 annually. The rate is a slight drop from the current temporary rate of 6.75% due to sunset this July. Instead of going back to the 5.9% rate as scheduled or even extending the higher rate another couple of years, they made it permanent and turned down amendments to sunset the bill.
Pundits are being dramatic. The reaction of the Tea Party groups to Karl Rove's newest project has been less than warm. Will 2014 be a civil war within the party or the year it takes the Senate back? Reason gave this take. The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections. Shots fired, as the Twitter kids say. Politico gets reaction from Rove's targets: Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, branded it the "Conservative Defeat Project." "The Conservative Defeat Project is yet another example of the Republican establishment's hostility toward its conservative Read more
Here is an analysis of the recently passed tax law. This report examines the major provisions of the law. Will the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, signed by the president on January 2, raise your taxes? That’s the $600 billion question, and the answer depends on your specific financial circumstances. The nation’s top earners will owe significantly more than they did under the previous tax law. And most people, regardless of income, will find themselves paying a bit more in 2013. But considering the massive tax hikes that would have gone into effect if Congress hadn’t acted, the law is worth noting for what it doesn’t do: It doesn’t touch broad elements of the Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. And unlike the temporary extension of those cuts two years ago, this time the rules are permanent. There are no more “automatic” tax hikes looming. However you may view its Read more
Our friends in Maryland want more money in gas taxes, but want to pass the buck to local government. I would rather pay more of my taxes locally and to my state than send them to Washington and lobby to get them back. I am just intrigued that there is never any thought about reprogramming the taxes or reevaluating spending priorities, but raising the taxes seems to be the first resort. I am not saying that taxes never have to be raised. I am saying that it seems some make it one of the first options when it should be the last option after the others have been implemented. It is rare that taxes need to be raised. Even when they do, there is no way to know how much they need to be raised until waste is removed and useless spending eliminated. We should treat tax hikes like surgery. Avoid them unless they are necessary for the health of the body politic, use the least invasive means Read more
Almost no one talked about it during the election, but it became on the top 3 topics immediately afterward. The budget revenue forecast was weak. The temporary tax hikes expire next fiscal year unless the DE General Assembly extends them. Will Democrats be willing to let any of it go? There is nothing so permanent as a temporary tax hike when Democrats are in charge.
I believed that Republicans had a bad hand in the fiscal cliff negotiations. Why? All the Democrats had to do was nothing to win. Republicans passed their bill back in August. Yet the media acted as if Republicans were the problem. Democrats did not even have a plan until this week. Then some so called Conservative groups opposed the Speaker's plan B. It seems they did not understand in the American Constitution, you need to pass two houses. As a result, we got a Biden crafted bill crammed down our throats at the last minute. We will know what's in it later. I am sure there are interesting provisions that will percolate to the surface. What we know is not thrilling. Spending cuts will come later and tax hikes now. 77% of the people will see some tax hikes breaking a 20 year commitment to lower taxes. Voting down the bill would be worse. At least this legislation finally gave Read more
HIGHER TAXES HAVE NEVER BEEN THE ANSWER Guest Post by Evan Queisch in support of the Founders' Values rally in Newark, DE Tuesday the 27th at 6:00pm. Despite the claims of 3 dozen radical left wing activists, who seem quite content to spend not only their own grandkids money but the money of entire future generations on seemingly endless nanny state welfare programs, I am confident that the majority of Delawareans, especially those in the Newark area, reject any calls for higher taxes on anyone. The group I represent, Founders Values is no stranger to organizing rallies when it comes to taxation. As evidence, we cite no less than 3 Tax Day TEA Party rallies which we helped to organize. These rallies have drawn hundreds (our first drew 1,200 people) to the Wilmington Riverfront even in some of the worst weather on weekdays. Our attendees span all age, race and political lines and we Read more
Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz won the Texas primary so did Ron Paul's handpicked successor State Representative Randy Weber in what proved to be a night of Tea time across Texas. All across the Midwest and South the rise of the tea party continues. Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz pulls off a historic victory! Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said, “We could not be more proud of this historic tea party victory tonight against the Texas establishment. This is probably the most significant upset Texas has seen since Perry defeated Hightower in 1990, and it comes at the hands of the tea party. “What we saw in Ted Cruz and this Senate race was threefold: we saw an unquestionably strong and bold tea party conservative in Cruz; we saw Dewhurst as the anointed Austin politician that was exactly what we have been working to rid Washington of; and finally we saw the passion in the Read more
Representative John Kolwalko AKA Job Killier is trying to take away your right to choose with a single player health system along with colleagues Senator Bruce Ennis, Rep. Jaques, and Rep. Osienski . §1622. Insurance Reforms. Insurers regulated by the Delaware Insurance Department are prohibited from charging premiums to eligible participants for coverage of services already covered by the Health Security Authority. The State Insurance Commissioner shall adopt, amend, alter, repeal and enforce all such rules and regulations and orders as may be necessary to implement this section I call it single player not payer because the bill makes government the only real player in health care. The power is not really with consumers and medical professionals. You would be stuck in a system where your only real choice is to pack up and leave the state or abide by the health board's decisions. Read more
..So says 3 of 5 Americans, according to a Pew Report released yesterday. This is why Herman Cain was on to something and Romney is not. President Obama is the defender of the status quo that the people want to trash. The number of Americans who feel they pay more than their fair share in federal taxes has dropped significantly over the past decade, from 55% in 2000 to 38% today. About half (52%) now say they pay the right amount in taxes. Yet at the same time, fewer see the overall tax system as even moderately fair (43%, down from 51% eight years ago), and roughly six-in-ten (59%) say that so much is wrong with the tax system that Congress should completely change it. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 7-11, 2011 among 1,521 adults, finds that this sense of unfairness centers on the perception that wealthy Americans Read more
"It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now ... Cutting taxes now is not to incur a budget deficit, but to achieve the more prosperous, expanding economy which can bring a budget surplus." "It is no contradiction – the most important single thing we can do to stimulate investment in today's economy is to raise consumption by major reduction of individual income tax rates." "Our tax system still siphons out of the private economy too large a share of personal and business purchasing power and reduces the incentive for risk, investment and effort – thereby aborting our recoveries and stifling our national growth rate." "A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits and a balanced federal budget. Every taxpayer Read more