Daily Archives: December 21, 2010

Washington Gains One Congressional Seat; Oregon Stays the Same

Washington Post Photo

Good news from the WSJ  (Story here):

Republican-leaning states in the South and Southwest will add congressional seats in the next election, which could give the GOP a big advantage in its bid to retain control of the U.S. House.

Washington Gains One Seat, Oregon Stays Same but Overall Democrats lose clout: 

The biggest losers are Rust Belt states in the Northeast and Midwest. Ohio and New York both lose two seats. Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey all lose a seat. Louisiana was the only Southern state to lose representation, the result of a steep population decline that followed Hurricane Katrina. 

Not enough difference to change up electoral college outcomes: 

The impact of these new numbers is less clear on the coming presidential election because the shift doesn’t impact the Electoral College in a meaningful enough way to undercut President Barack Obama’s prospects for re-election.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

WSJ – "The Net Neutrality Coup" *Updated*

*John Fund will be on the Victoria Taft Show today at 11:40 to talk about this.*
Ignoring Congress and a federal appeals court ruling, the FCC has followed the whims of Barack Obama to impose the so-called “net neutrality” policy on the country.

John Fund, with the Wall Street Journal provides some interesting insight into the basis for this unnecessary policy. [Update by VT:] For openers the groundswell of “support” for this caper was a put up job. Here’s the money ‘graf:

So the “media reform” movement paid for research that backed its views, paid activists to promote the research, saw its allies installed in the FCC and other key agencies, and paid for the FCC research that evaluated the research they had already paid for. Now they have their policy. That’s quite a coup.

Article HERE

Of note from Fund’s article,

“The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney’s agenda? ‘At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,’ he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. ‘But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control’.”


“A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that ‘any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.’ Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been “taken out of context.” He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was ‘hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist’.”

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

WSJ: "Ducking Taxes: Oregon’s Vanishing Millionaires"

Dave Hunt, Peter Courtney, Mary Nolan, Ted Kulongoski, Phil Barnhart should take a bow for their “leadership.” As predicted, “Route” 66 was a dead end. This was your orchestration, your idea, your debacle. Just don’t act like it’s a surprise because you were told this would happen. Can’t wait to see how much more capital flight and missing millionaires we’ll discover in the next two FY. You must be so proud. 
Here’s part of the WSJ editorial today (find it here).

Oregon raised its income tax on the richest 2% of its residents last year to fix its budget hole, but now the state treasury admits it collected nearly one-third less revenue than the bean counters projected. The sun also rose in the east, and the Cubs didn’t win the World Series.

Oh, there’s more they said. Find it after the jump.

In 2009 the state legislature raised the tax rate to 10.8% on joint-filer income of between $250,000 and $500,000, and to 11% on income above $500,000. Only New York City’s rate is higher. Oregon’s liberal voters ratified the tax increase on individuals and another on businesses in January of this year, no doubt feeling good about their “shared sacrifice.”
Congratulations. Instead of $180 million collected last year from the new tax, the state received $130 million. The Eugene Register-Guard newspaper reports that after the tax was raised “income tax and other revenue collections began plunging so steeply that any gains from the two measures seemed trivial.”
One reason revenues are so low is that about one-quarter of the rich tax filers seem to have gone missing. The state expected 38,000 Oregonians to pay the higher tax, but only 28,000 did. Funny how that always happens. These numbers are in line with a Cascade Policy Institute study, based on interstate migration patterns, predicting that the tax surcharge would lead to 80,000 fewer wealthy tax filers in Oregon over the next decade.
The tax wasn’t enacted into law until June 2009 but was retroactively applied to January 1, 2009. So for the first half of the year wealthy Oregon residents weren’t able to take steps to avoid the tax ambush because they didn’t see it coming.

 Read the rest of the editorial here. 
From the Eugene Register Guard here:
MEASURE 66: the projections, the reality
The number of households with income high enough ($125,000 for individuals, $250,000 for couples) to pay higher taxes.
Projected: 38,000
Actual: 28,000
The amount of revenue Measure 66 would generate in its first year:
Projected: $180 million
Actual: $130 million
The amount of revenue Measure 66 will reap in its first six years: 
 First projection: $1.26 billion
Latest projection: $827 million
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Pete the Banker: Bye Bye, Build America Bonds

The Tax Reform Bill which passed the Senate and House last week and was signed into law is a far from perfect piece of legislation.  It  contained an elevated estate taxes and a seemingly unending extension of employment benefits.  On the bright side, it extended current tax rates for two years when hopefully Washington DC will consider and enact real tax relief. 
But there was one very real benefit in the recently adopted Tax Bill,


the sunset of the Build America Bonds program which was abused by states like Illinois and California.  “The deal in the Senate leaves out renewal of a popular bond program expiring this month, Build America Bonds, which funds infrastructure projects, favored by Democrats, cities and investors.” Source here.
Build America Bonds (BAB) was adopted on Feb. 13, 2009, when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at the urging of President Obama who then signed it into law.  BAB subsidizes States and Municipalities Bonds with the Federal Government paying up to 35% of the interest payments on issued tax exempt State and Municipal Bonds.  The program effectively bailed out states like California and Illinois whose massive spending and fiscal mis-management resulted in their earning poor credit ratings.  They then used the program to lower those higher borrowing costs in order to mask further State and Municipal spending excesses and deficits.
The immediate result of the termination of this program will be higher borrowing costs especially for those offending States.  “As a result, prices of tax-free municipal bonds, particularly with longer maturities, are apt to fall, along with capital spending by states and local governments.”  Source here.   Falling bond prices result in higher interest costs.  Faced with higher borrowing costs, State and Local Politicians will be under increasing pressure to act in a more fiscally responsible manner by reducing unnecessary spending and balancing their budgets.   They will no longer have the benefit of a Federal safety net.
Obama has signaled he would like an extension of Build America Bonds passed next year.  Others in Congress promise to help resurrect it in the next session including some Republicans including Republican Representative John Mica,  “Mica said the bond program may be part of a broader measure he intends to introduce that would include spending for roads, transit, railways and waterways.”Source here.

But given its high price tag $185 Billion+ cost and its encouragement of fiscal insanity, one suspects Congress should Build a better American Budget by permanently axing it! 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Washington Gains One Congressional Seat; Oregon Stays the Same

Washington Post Photo

Good news from the WSJ  (Story here):

Republican-leaning states in the South and Southwest will add congressional seats in the next election, which could give the GOP a big advantage in its bid to retain control of the U.S. House.

Washington Gains One Seat, Oregon Stays Same but Overall Democrats lose clout: 

The biggest losers are Rust Belt states in the Northeast and Midwest. Ohio and New York both lose two seats. Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and New Jersey all lose a seat. Louisiana was the only Southern state to lose representation, the result of a steep population decline that followed Hurricane Katrina. 

Not enough difference to change up electoral college outcomes: 

The impact of these new numbers is less clear on the coming presidential election because the shift doesn’t impact the Electoral College in a meaningful enough way to undercut President Barack Obama’s prospects for re-election.

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

WSJ: "Ducking Taxes: Oregon’s Vanishing Millionaires"

Dave Hunt, Peter Courtney, Mary Nolan, Ted Kulongoski, Phil Barnhart should take a bow for their “leadership.” As predicted, “Route” 66 was a dead end. This was your orchestration, your idea, your debacle. Just don’t act like it’s a surprise because you were told this would happen. Can’t wait to see how much more capital flight and missing millionaires we’ll discover in the next two FY. You must be so proud. 
Here’s part of the WSJ editorial today (find it here).

Oregon raised its income tax on the richest 2% of its residents last year to fix its budget hole, but now the state treasury admits it collected nearly one-third less revenue than the bean counters projected. The sun also rose in the east, and the Cubs didn’t win the World Series.

Oh, there’s more they said. Find it after the jump.

In 2009 the state legislature raised the tax rate to 10.8% on joint-filer income of between $250,000 and $500,000, and to 11% on income above $500,000. Only New York City’s rate is higher. Oregon’s liberal voters ratified the tax increase on individuals and another on businesses in January of this year, no doubt feeling good about their “shared sacrifice.”
Congratulations. Instead of $180 million collected last year from the new tax, the state received $130 million. The Eugene Register-Guard newspaper reports that after the tax was raised “income tax and other revenue collections began plunging so steeply that any gains from the two measures seemed trivial.”
One reason revenues are so low is that about one-quarter of the rich tax filers seem to have gone missing. The state expected 38,000 Oregonians to pay the higher tax, but only 28,000 did. Funny how that always happens. These numbers are in line with a Cascade Policy Institute study, based on interstate migration patterns, predicting that the tax surcharge would lead to 80,000 fewer wealthy tax filers in Oregon over the next decade.
The tax wasn’t enacted into law until June 2009 but was retroactively applied to January 1, 2009. So for the first half of the year wealthy Oregon residents weren’t able to take steps to avoid the tax ambush because they didn’t see it coming.

 Read the rest of the editorial here. 
From the Eugene Register Guard here:
MEASURE 66: the projections, the reality
The number of households with income high enough ($125,000 for individuals, $250,000 for couples) to pay higher taxes.
Projected: 38,000
Actual: 28,000
The amount of revenue Measure 66 would generate in its first year:
Projected: $180 million
Actual: $130 million
The amount of revenue Measure 66 will reap in its first six years: 
 First projection: $1.26 billion
Latest projection: $827 million
Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com

Pete the Banker: Bye Bye, Build America Bonds

The Tax Reform Bill which passed the Senate and House last week and was signed into law is a far from perfect piece of legislation.  It  contained an elevated estate taxes and a seemingly unending extension of employment benefits.  On the bright side, it extended current tax rates for two years when hopefully Washington DC will consider and enact real tax relief. 
But there was one very real benefit in the recently adopted Tax Bill,


the sunset of the Build America Bonds program which was abused by states like Illinois and California.  “The deal in the Senate leaves out renewal of a popular bond program expiring this month, Build America Bonds, which funds infrastructure projects, favored by Democrats, cities and investors.” Source here.
Build America Bonds (BAB) was adopted on Feb. 13, 2009, when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 at the urging of President Obama who then signed it into law.  BAB subsidizes States and Municipalities Bonds with the Federal Government paying up to 35% of the interest payments on issued tax exempt State and Municipal Bonds.  The program effectively bailed out states like California and Illinois whose massive spending and fiscal mis-management resulted in their earning poor credit ratings.  They then used the program to lower those higher borrowing costs in order to mask further State and Municipal spending excesses and deficits.
The immediate result of the termination of this program will be higher borrowing costs especially for those offending States.  “As a result, prices of tax-free municipal bonds, particularly with longer maturities, are apt to fall, along with capital spending by states and local governments.”  Source here.   Falling bond prices result in higher interest costs.  Faced with higher borrowing costs, State and Local Politicians will be under increasing pressure to act in a more fiscally responsible manner by reducing unnecessary spending and balancing their budgets.   They will no longer have the benefit of a Federal safety net.
Obama has signaled he would like an extension of Build America Bonds passed next year.  Others in Congress promise to help resurrect it in the next session including some Republicans including Republican Representative John Mica,  “Mica said the bond program may be part of a broader measure he intends to introduce that would include spending for roads, transit, railways and waterways.”Source here.

But given its high price tag $185 Billion+ cost and its encouragement of fiscal insanity, one suspects Congress should Build a better American Budget by permanently axing it! 

Tell ’em where you saw it. Http://www.victoriataft.com