Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘Taxation’

Should Churches Be Taxed?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, August 29, 2017

In response to Lakewood Church, and Joel Osteen’s initial refusal to open the doors of that facility to be a refuge from the torrential storms deluging Houston:

If I’m not mistaken (and I could be), late former Alabama Governor George C. Wallace advocated taxing churches & other religious institutions.

I think there is genuine merit in considering the argument – pro & con – why churches should remain tax-free institutions, particularly given that their ostensible purposes include Read the rest of this entry »

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Reinvigorating Our Workforce

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 7, 2016

Youth employment apprenticeshipsI have long advocated some type of national service for ALL – and ALL means ALL – for ALL have something to contribute.

Whether that service is by a paraplegic youth with computer skills, or a high school footballer with a strong back, or an art student with creative skills, every high school graduate can and should be expected to contribute to our nation through service to our local & state communities, and to our nation.Disabled-youth-can work

Were our nation to become serious about infrastructure repair & expansion, were our nation serious about jobs & employment, were our nation serious about economic vitality & personal responsibility, we would put our money where our mouth is by Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Prison System Teetering on Federal Takover

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 7, 2014

Every single word in this OpEd is spot-on.

Alabama is on the verge of a complete takeover of it’s prison system. That is a VERY sad indictment, and fact. Further, most Alabamians are COMPLETELY unaware of the dangers the state faces.

Alabama is a state in crisis.

Fiscal crisis from a failure of long-term management, unwise, unsound policy, unnecessary prolonged and costly legal battles at the state and federal levels over inane laws which have had no positive effect upon the state, from policies and procedures which have only burdened the people, tax giveaways to corporations, funded corporate welfare, an inequitable personal income taxation system which has hampered and hamstrung state growth, and further placed the state’s citizens into poverty.

Face it folks… I don’t give a damn about what political colors you wear, or how or what you describe yourself as politically in Alabama… if everything were peaches and cream in the state, then why in the Hell is the state’s poverty level 18% – 4 percentage points ABOVE the national average?

Why is the state sick in their persons? Of all states, Alabama continually ranks high in rates of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc., even among CHILDREN!

Why does the state have a high crime rate?

Why are Alabamians largely “largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command”?

WHY?

WHY?!?

WHY!?!

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Why Alabama Cannot Wait on Prison Reform: Guest Opinion

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks  speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Alabama State Senator Cam Ward (center), speaks speaks to media members during a tour as Kim Thomas, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections (left) and Warden Carter Davenport listen at the St. Clair Correctional Facility Fri., March 16, 2012 in Springville, Ala. (The Birmingham News/Bernard Troncale)

Guest opinion By Alabama State Senator Cam Ward
August 06, 2014 at 9:00 AM, updated August 06, 2014 at 9:05 AM

By Cam Ward

Prisons are an issue that would never rank high on any list of priorities for the people of Alabama and understandably so.  With unemployment hovering near 7 percent and many schools in need of repair, people ask me why prison reform should be a major subject at this time. The answer is simple – because our failure to maintain a good corrections system is going to push over a fiscal cliff that we may never recover from.

For years as our corrections system became more crowded the political leadership in Montgomery turned their eyes to issues more palatable to the voters during election time. The general feeling for decades has been “let’s wait and deal with that when we have more money.”

As we waited our system grew to 192 percent capacity and despite this incarceration rate our state has the 8th highest violent crime rate in the country. Both of these statistics point to a failing system of corrections.

In addition to allowing for a broken system to continue down a path of inefficiency we have also created a fiscal nightmare of the likes our state has never seen before. While we spend Read the rest of this entry »

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Would President Obama privatize TVA & Kill the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shoals: Privatizing TVA is ‘a bad idea’

By Mike Goens
Managing Editor
Matt McKean/TimesDaily
4/21/13

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

Anglers fish below thousands of feet of power lines that run from TVA’s Wheeler Dam turbine systems. Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. Matt McKean/TimesDaily

If President Barack Obama needs help orchestrating an effort to privatize TVA, he shouldn’t expect much support from the Shoals.

Those from the Shoals who work closely with the Tennessee Valley Authority said the federal agency should not be turned over to private companies. They fear a privately owned TVA will lead to higher electricity rates, job cuts, more flooding problems and navigational issues on the Tennessee River and other waterways under TVA’s jurisdiction.

“The first questions you need to ask are what’s the gain for government and what would be gained by the community,” said Steve Hargrove, manager of Sheffield Utilities. “If the purpose is to make things better and there is reason to think it’s possible, I would be the first one interested in sitting at the table and talking about it. I just don’t see advantages of privatizing at this time.”

Obama brought the issue to the table through his 2014 budget proposal, which was released last week. He said selling TVA should be explored as a means to increase revenue by as much as $25 billion, money that could reduce the federal deficit and pay for other government services.

Hargrove has a unique perspective to the debate, having worked at TVA for 33 years before retiring as plant manager at Colbert Fossil Plant. He became manager of Sheffield Utilities in December.

His department purchases electricity from TVA and provides power to about 19,000 customers in Colbert County.

“I am a believer in the private sector, but I would fear their mission would be different than TVA’s,” Hargrove said. “The mission of TVA is not to make profit, and the mission of the private sector is to make a profit. They have to answer to a board that wants to maximize profits. When your primary goal is to make a profit, that becomes a higher goal than helping the community.

“TVA has had its problems, and bad decisions have been made, but its mission is good and they are an established part of the communities.”

Hargrove said residential rates for TVA customers in the Southeast are among the lowest 25 percent in the country and Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama’s Quandary: Nur$ing Homes, or Home Care?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, October 5, 2012

It’s almost like trying to patch a roof while it’s leaking.

October 04, 2012

This Week in Alabama Politics

By Steve Flowers
It is basic public policy that you either have to raise taxes or reduce government services. It has become a cardinal sin in Republican politics to even say the word tax much less enact any increase in revenue. Our legislature is now overwhelmingly Republican and they are real Republicans. They take their no new tax pledge seriously as does our Republican governor. Therefore, when the dicing and crafting of the 2013 budget was being processed, new revenue enhancement measures were not on the table. It is doubtful that you will see any tax increase proposals anytime soon in the Heart of Dixie.

The state’s new budget year begins this week. It will be horrendous. There are draconian cuts to basic state services. Alabama has a constitutional amendment that mandates a balanced budget. We are in dire straits but at least we are not deficit spending like other states. California is teetering on bankruptcy.

This past year’s budget was bad. Teachers and state employees pay was cut this time last year. However, if you think that last year was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet. This is the year that the chickens have finally come home to roost. The federal stimulus manna from Heaven has provided a lifeline salvation for several years but those dollars are gone. This fiscal year may well be the worst dilemma since the Great Depression.

My contention is that it is worse than the Depression years. During that era the state Read the rest of this entry »

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Necessary but Not Sufficient: Why Taxing the Wealthy Can’t Fix the Deficit

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, October 4, 2012

NOW OR NEVER | SEPTEMBER 2012

Necessary but Not Sufficient:
Why Taxing the Wealthy Can’t Fix the Deficit

By David Brown, Gabe Horwitz, and David Kendall

In this paper we shatter the myth that taxes on the wealthy can come close to solving our long-term budget problem. We readily acknowledge that raising taxes on top earners is necessary, but it is not sufficient to solve the looming fiscal crisis. And we make clear that if entitlements are left on autopilot, burdensome middle class tax hikes become inevitable.

Even a 50% tax rate on the wealthy can’t fix the deficit.
Even 50% taxe rate on wealthy can't fix deficitThis is the first in a pair of papers that demonstrate that purely ideological fixes will not sufficiently address our fiscal issues. Our other report, Death by a Thousand Cuts: Why Spending Cuts Alone Won’t Fix the Deficit, proves that a cuts-only strategy cannot solve our budget woes without severely compromising our safety, security, and economic growth. Together, these papers make the case that a big and balanced fiscal package is the preferred way to avoid the fiscal cliff, prevent deficits from exploding in the future, and allow our economy to grow.

To stabilize the debt and create a positive economic climate for U.S. growth, most mainstream economists agree that annual deficits must be reduced to 3% of GDP. The question is: how do we get there?

In order to demonstrate that taxes alone cannot solve our budget woes, we explore three budget scenarios, all of which rely solely on Read the rest of this entry »

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Alabama Governor Bentley gives Marshall county chicken farm $5K tax dollar$ to buy light bulbs during proration

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This is stuff for the Cobert Report!

Sad, but true folks…

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley, MD (R)

Alabama Governor, Robert J. Bentley, MD (R)

Yes, you read that correctly.

Bear in mind also, that the state is already in a period of budgetary proration.

What’s that?

Alabama’s Constitution forbids debt spending, so the budget must equal – not exceed – the state’s revenue.

So, in accordance with the state’s Constitution, on March 16, 2012, Governor Robert J. Bentley declared a proration of  “10.6 percent for the state General Fund for non-education services, cutting budgeted spending by $188 million because of a shortfall in expected revenues.”

Can you smell the hypocrisy cooking?

Bentley awards grant to help business upgrade lighting

May 22, 2012

MONTGOMERY – Gov. Robert Bentley awarded a $5,000 grant to help a farm business in Marshall County reduce energy consumption and save money.

The grant will help Maze Farms Inc. Read the rest of this entry »

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Things Alabama ain’t got… Mega Millions Lottery

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, March 30, 2012

Some folks would say “common sense,” and to some extent, that’s probably true.

Well… better make that “to a great extent.”

But, a state lottery is another thing Alabama ain’t got.

And, the Republicans in the legislature in the past administration and the present administration seem to have absolutely no inclination to allow the people the opportunity to vote on it… whether to have state sponsored gammlin’, that is.

Folks’ve tried to get one for education but have failed. And, in a move called “proration,” the governor this year cut all state budgets across the board by 10.6%, excluding education, because Alabama’s state constitution, for better or for worse, forbids going into debt and requires a balanced budget. Bonds are a different matter.

But, one other thing the state’s legislature doesn’t do Read the rest of this entry »

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Why the idea of “SMALLER GOVERNMENT” is a myth

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, February 2, 2012

I never cease to be amazed at the silliness, tomfoolery, and outright stupidity – that’s being kind to so describe such behavior – that some elected fools… er, officials assert.

The Seat of Government

The Seat of Government (Photo credit: Ewan-M. via Flickr)

For example, one of the most popular, well-known and oft-repeated mantras of the TEA Partiers and other radical Republicans make is one of “smaller government.”

Allow me to be uncompromisingly forthright – also known as wholly blunt: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tom Coburn: End welfare for the wealthy

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, December 1, 2011

Congress, it has been recently noted, has the lowest approval rating since record-keeping of that type has begun. In fact, it was noted with significantly ironic disdain, that more Americans favor the United States becoming a Communist nation than approve of Congress. Disapproval of congressional action – or inaction – has been duly noted by all members of congress, house and senate.

Regular readers of this blog will recognize that I have excoriated Republicans and their presidential nominee wannabes for numerous reasons, not the least of which is their blind obedience to their corporate masters – which in essence, makes them high-powered prostitutes – whores, if you prefer – and for the greatest part towed the line refusal to modify or raise – even slightly – of the rich, which has been the proposal of “some random person,” otherwise known as Grover Norquist. The reader may be interested to know that Mr. Norquist was “promoter of the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” which was signed by 95% of all Republican Congressmen and all but one of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates – in which the signer promises to never, under any circumstances, support an increase in taxes.” That pdf document may be downloaded here.

Human nature what it is, many will be loyal to those whom sign their paychecks, particularly when powerful strings are attached to those checks.

And yet, while we respect loyalty, we also honor those whom stand upon principle, and whom are motivated and guided by selflessness and a genuine desire to help others – with liberty and justice for all – not just an elite cadre.

In that sense – especially in this Op-Ed – Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK, seems to be the voice of reason in the GOP. The reader may also be interested to note that Sen. Coburn was a signatory to that random lobbyist promulgated document. The lobbyist being none other than the Born-with-a-silver spoon-in-his-mouth-Harvard-educated Grover, whom federally-convicted felon-lobbyist Jack Abramoff also fingered in his recent tell-all. It is interesting to note that Sen. Coburn has chosen the high road.

End welfare for the wealthy

By Tom Coburn, Special to CNN
updated 2:10 PM EST, Thu December 1, 2011

(CNN) — The debate in Congress this week about whether to pay for extending the payroll tax cut by imposing a new tax on millionaires will have nothing to do with solving our nation’s economic challenges and everything to do with election-year politics. Senate Democratic leaders have already signaled they will use the debate as a purely partisan exercise designed to embarrass Republicans into opposing tax cuts for the poor while defending tax cuts for the rich.

I intend to offer an alternative. Instead of punishing the rich with higher taxes, I will give Congress the option of helping pay for extending the payroll tax cut by ending welfare to the wealthy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mississippi River Flooding, Diaster Response & Economic Theory

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, May 16, 2011

The opening lyric to Hank Williams, Jr.‘s – aka “Bocephus” – 1982 song “A County Boy Can Survive,” is “And the Mississippi River she’s a goin’ dry.”

At this juncture, that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case.

The Mississippi River has flooded to such an extent that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has decided to open floodgates and allow excess water from the river to flow toward the Gulf of Mexico through alternate routes.

Weeks of heavy rains and runoff from the melting of an extremely snowy winter have raised Mississippi River levels to historic proportions. Over 3 million acres (1.2 million hectares) of farmland in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas along the river have been flooded, evoking memories of floods in 1927 & ’37.

On Saturday, the Corps opened two of 125 floodgates at the Morganza Spillway, and opened two more today (Sunday, 15 May 2011). The spillway is 45 miles northwest of Louisiana’s capitol, Baton Rouge. The Corps hopes that by opening them, it will Read the rest of this entry »

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The Impact of the Flat Tax Reform on Inequality

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Some assert that everyone should pay the same rate of taxes, claiming that one “flat rate” would solve many problems.

I beg to differ.

The inequality of the so-called “flat tax” is quite simply, self-evident, because given that the cost of living is indexed similarly, the one whom has more income and wealth does not use as much to live, whereas the less fortunate and less wealthy use a greater percentage of their income to make ends meet.

Put another way, if it costs $500 annually to live, and you make $1000, that’s 50% of your income.

If it costs $500 annually to live and you make $10,000 that’s 5% of your income.

Who, then, does a flat tax benefit? Read the rest of this entry »

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