Friday, January 26, 2007
That's what our wizard of a Governor has asked our legislature to raise on the tax on cigarettes.
I remember when the President recommended cutting taxes back during the 2000 campaign. As I recall, democrats suggested that instead of cutting taxes to people who pay tax, we should send checks--I think they were about $200.00 per check--back to people who didn't pay tax. I recommended beer and tobacco stocks if the democrats plan passed.
The dems wanted to stimulate the economy with increased consumption. The President wanted to stimulate the economy with investment.
This new, two-tiered approach to governance has made a new appearance in the State of Oregon. To help the unfortunate; i.e. kids, elderly, teachers. It's the "Healthy Kids Plan". See, in the State of Oregon there are 117,000 kids without health insurance. (This is a number from the governor's website. I've checked, I didn't see how they came up with this number. This is the Government. Trust us.) There are 3.6 million people living in Oregon. 850-thousand of those are under the age of 18. So, about one in eight don't have insurance.
So what to do? Raise cigarette taxes and--voila! use the increased revenue to fund increased free insurance for "The Kids". There's a whole lotta brilliance in the gov's plan. This is just one bright stone.
State republicans have pointed out that "The Governor’s plan provides state subsidized benefits to children in families up to 350 percent of the federal poverty level, or $72,000 a year for a family of four. The plan is to be funded by an increase in the tobacco tax, raising the cigarette tax by 84 cents per pack—making it one of the highest in the nation at $2.02 per pack." (Complete press release below.)
See, dems figured out how much money was raised by the state tax on tobacco, figured out how many packs of cigarettes were sold, and divided the amount of revenue the state would have to come up with to fund this boondoggle program by the number of packs sold...geez! math is easy. It's a tool!
You ever wonder why democrats can't figure out why tax cuts are good and tax increases are bad? My personal belief is, they've never really had a job. You know, where you make something or sell something? No, you get teachers and lawyers. Oh, and professional politicians. Never made a buck of their own in their life.
'Member earlier when I mentioned investing in cigarette and beer stock? Give a poor man or woman free money. Where does it go? Do they file with the Secretary of State and start a new corporation? Do they get together with family members and invest in a storefront or inventory? Or tools? Does anybody remember Known as the "Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996" this act removed people from a welfare system that worked to keep them dependant upon government. It now longer paid to be unemployed. As much.
Ignoring all this, the chief executive of this state proposes a major re-investment in the Welfare State. The reason? "They lack access to doctors, medicine, eyeglasses, asthma inhalers, and the other health care services people with insurance take for granted". (http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/sos2006/kids.shtml)
Truth? Or BS? In my little home town, if a kid needs a pair of glasses, he gets them. Medicine? Treatment? Dental care? Got it. Is there always a government check behind the care? No. But what is the role of government under democrats in this great state? To increase its share. To take care of "kids, the elderly, government employees and teachers". Oh, that's right, teachers are government employees. Sometimes we forget.
But the truly nutty part is, the state is proposing hundreds of millions of dollars in new expenditures. To be paid for by a consumption tax on one commodity.
Here's the Republican response. See if this doesn't make any sense. Oh, and one last thing...find the price tag for this program on the gov's website. Can't find it? Surprised?
OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
OREGON HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nick Smith
January 26, 2007
HOUSE REPUBLICANS PROPOSE AFFORDABLE, RESPONSIBLE
AMENDMENTS TO HEALTHY KIDS PLAN
Democrats Reject Alternatives on Party-Line Vote
SALEM-- Republicans on the House Health Care Committee today proposed amendments to lower the future costs of the program while expanding coverage for low income children. The majority Democrats on the committee rejected the amendments on a party-line vote, thus maintaining the Governor’s proposal and the program’s projected costs.
The Republican amendments would have made the program more affordable by reserving the program for low-income families. The amendments also would have assured the benefits were provided only to legal residents.
The Governor’s plan provides state subsidized benefits to children in families up to 350 percent of the federal poverty level, or $72,000 a year for a family of four. The plan is to be funded by an increase in the tobacco tax, raising the cigarette tax by 84 cents per pack—making it one of the highest in the nation at $2.02 per pack.
House Republicans believe passing such important legislation should not hinge on raising an unrelated tax, and proposed separating the tobacco tax increase issue from the children’s health benefits issue. They are separate issues and should not be considered in the same bill.
“Sustainability has been a concern from day one. Authorizing a program from a funding source that will have over a $100 million shortfall in the next budget is simply not good government,” said Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point) Vice Chair of the Committee, “If we are serious about providing health care for children we need to be serious about funding that program for the long term.”
“Only 30 percent of the funding from the tobacco tax increase goes towards actual medical care. Over 12 percent is dedicated to administering the program and the balance towards other programs. This is a significant part of our concern and one that the public should be aware of,” said Rep. Linda Flores (R-Clackamas)
Rep. Ron Maurer (R-Grants Pass) expressed concerns over the funding mechanism for this program: “If we want to rise to our once proud station as the nation’s leader in health care reform, we should not place our children’s health on the altar of nicotine addiction.”
# # #
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
It wasn't enough to stop the court from needing a smack-down from the Federal Supremes, but at least one guy "got it".
Compare what happens in a state like New Jersey. A sitting United States Senator is talked out of running by state bosses. Under the law...he still had to run. A deadline had passed. According to the law of New Jersey.
But wait! The New Jersey Supreme Court isn't bound by law. New Jersey's chief executive, the notable James McGreevey said they could disregard the law because "...This would give New Jersey voters a chance to speak..."*. The NJ Supremes found a quote by Hamilton that allowed them to sidestep the law. 'A fundamental principle of our representative democracy is, in Hamilton's words, "that the people should choose whom they please to govern them."'*
Well. And well thought out. In reductio it means that when the state determines that it is necessary to ignore the law to achieve the desired political outcome, the law may be disregarded.
Enter the Oregon State Legislature.
Most kids have heard about this "constitutional" thingy. As lex supra legis it means that you can try to do anything you want legislatively, but if legislation conflicts with the constitution, the law is invalid. No good. See ya.
But the law doesn't matter. The Oregon Legislature has passed a resolution that calls for annual sessions. I case you don't know, 21 states meet every two years to do the business of state. But the professional political class knows better. And instead of asking the voters of Oregon to change the law, they present change by fiat. According to House Speaker Jeff Merkley of Portland, "The world is a very different place than it was 148 years ago...". True dat.
In New Jersey corruption comes in the form of giving "New Jersey voters a chance to speak". In Oregon, it's for us to serve the state better, we must disregard the law.
And where is the state’s chief executive?
Theodore R. Kulongoski
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2007
Governor Offers Vision for Combating Global Warming in His Second Term
Urges Legislature to act on his 2007 agenda for energy independence as first step
Salem – Today, Governor Ted Kulongoski promised to build on his administration’s efforts to combat the causes of global warming in Oregon and neighboring states, and to link those efforts to his energy independence agenda for the development of home grown power sources that are clean, secure and sustainable.
That's right. The mighty State of Oregon is going to tackle global warming. No word from the governor as to whether he intends to enforce the clear meaning of this state's constitution.
In New Jersey they teach you. In Oregon you learn.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Embargoed Until Delivery
CONTACT: R.C. Hammond
Smith pleased by energy, health care focus of President's speech
“It is very important that the President focused on several key issues that families face every day,” Smith said. “We need better forms of energy production that won’t strap the family budget, but will power our cars and heat our homes efficiently. Equally important is the President's emphasis on healthcare. I am pushing to see that stem cell research, mental health parity legislation, and coverage for children and the uninsured are all among the first issues we address this year."
I've written the Senator's office in the past...just to remind him that playing pattycakes with the dems won't get him re-elected.
Going soft on "green" isn't what this state needs. The Senator needs to remember that Wayne Morris caught a paradigm shift. There's no paradigm shift going on in Washington. It's the same dirty, slimy city it has been since the mid-80's. If nothing else, the dem attack machine has gotten better oiled and sharpened since. Going lefty won't endear him with either the business community, nor with the politically savvy.