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Force the Vote

Here’s a bad idea whose time should never come.

State Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Delaware/Philadelphia) will introduce legislation that will make voting compulsory. Meaning if you don’t vote, you’ll be fined.

But some of his colleagues don’t agree.

“It’s a violation of our rights as citizens. The government shouldn’t force us to vote. That’s our choice and by not voting that’s also our choice,” said state Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny/Washington).

Don’t vote. It only encourages them.

Hmm..

[Senator Anthony] Williams, a former gubernatorial candidate who has talked of running for Philadelphia mayor, cannot say the same.

In 2011, he was on leave for 31 of 72 Senate session days. He said in an interview that an illness early that year accounted for most of his leaves. He declined to discuss details. In 2012, he was on legislative leave for just six of 53 session days.

This year, Williams took leave for 15 of the Senate’s 50 session days – including five of six in January.

He said much of his leave came after a 5-year-old girl was kidnapped from her West Philadelphia school and brutalized, and he was in his community, organizing marches and raising rewards to find the suspects.

“There are some people who say you should be in Harrisburg all the time. I understand that,” he said. “But I have to make a judgment call sometimes. And I take responsibility for it.”

Senator Williams wants to force you to vote for him (or against him) for a job where one of the job requirements is voting… and he can’t be bothered to do the same.

He should return part of his salary, pro-rated for those days.

Lead by example, Senator.

March 25, 2015 at 10:47 pm Comments (0)

Pa House – Now 120 R to 83 D

Philly.com

Martina White became the city’s second Republican member in the state House on Tuesday night, with a commanding win in a special election for Northeast Philadelphia’s 170th District.

Her victory – by a margin of 14 percent with 97 percent of the vote tallied Tuesday night – prompted Republican celebrations and Democratic recriminations. White defeated Democrat Sarah Del Ricci, who was handpicked for the special election by Lt. Gov. Mike Stack III.

White credited the win – the first pickup by the Republicans of an open General Assembly seat in Philadelphia in 25 years – to the hard work of volunteers, including several unions that endorsed her.

Fun fact, Martina is also 26 years old and overcame a 2 – 1 Democratic registration advantage.

Awesome.

March 24, 2015 at 10:40 pm Comment (1)

The Congressional GOP had one job

You had one job, Republicans – oppose the Obama agenda.

Lying, horse-trading, and compromise are part of politics.  Much as sometimes we would like to live in a universe where this is not true, the fact is that governance can be dirty work.  But there comes a point where one wonders whether the compromises and lies have become too preposterously egregious to ignore.

amnesty

Don’t think we don’t know that some of you got permission from leadership to vote against the DHS bill.

And don’t think we didn’t figure out that it was the Senate leadership who really sunk this ship.

Either you have been lying to us about your opposition to this policy, or you figured you were too incompetent to message the DHS thing satisfactorily.  If it is the former, then you should wonder why folks ought to continue to support the party.  If it is the latter, then you should be firing every single communications employee in the RNC, NRCC, and NRSC, because this should not have been a hard sell.

March 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm Comments (0)

On Being a Property Tax Scofflaw

ABC27.com

A Pennsylvania legislator wants to change the state Constitution to prevent government agencies from seizing homes for unpaid property taxes.

Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D-Berks) said property taxes in the state have risen to the point where many citizens can no longer afford to stay in their homes. He said the burden of property taxes fall particularly hard on poor, sick and older citizens.

Wooooohooooaaaaa… all of the sudden we need to put in to our tax system a way to actively encourage people to not pay property taxes?

Property taxes have spiraled out of control in Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons, and there is a serious effort afoot in Harrisburg to eliminate them altogether. Governor Wolf thinks that’s a bridge too far, and has offered, “instead let’s give everyone a property tax break” with the total wink-wink of “we’re gonna get you sooner or later, you suckers taxpaying property owners.”

Now comes along this positively insane idea. “We’re gonna keep taxing you, and you’re not going to pay it, we’ll count on those bozos who do pay it to make up the shortfall.”

I can’t believe this is even an idea.

Get rid of them altogether. Make it up somewhere else, ignoring property taxes scofflaws is just going to make property tax scofflaws.


March 20, 2015 at 7:13 pm Comments (0)

Hershey puts kibosh on Cadbury imports

You might not be able to find your favorite UK chocolate imports any more…

Hershey representative Jeff Beckman said these products were not intended for sale in the United States and companies importing the products were infringing on its trademark and trade dress licensing.

“It is important for Hershey to protect its trademark rights and to prevent consumers from being confused or misled when they see a product name or product package that is confusingly similar to a Hershey name or trade dress,” Beckman told the Times.

While they certainly have the right to protect their trademarks, nobody wanders into an import store and accidentally pays twice as much for a chocolate bar.  This has zero impact on their domestic sales, and only serves to irritate the public.

January 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm Comments (0)

No Yuengling for Wolf (Updated)

It was good enough for Obama…

Rep. Vereb’s response (Daily Caller):

“Yuengling employs Pennsylvanians. It’s America’s oldest brewery. It’s the economic driver in Pottsville, not to mention that whole region,” Vereb continued. “He takes care of his employees. He’s not unionized, and frankly, neither is Tom Wolf’s cabinet company.”

Update from Brad Bumsted (1-19-05):

“We reached a limit on what we can actually use weeks ago,” Wolf said. Asked if it was an anti-union decision, Wolf said, “I don’t know what it is.”

Wolf said he always buys Yuengling. But he did not indicate any intention to change the directive and allow Yuengling at his party.

January 18, 2015 at 4:32 pm Comments (0)

Altucher interviews Dick Yuengling

FYI, Dick Yuengling was featured on James Altucher’s podcast.

The James Altucher Show, Ep 79.

I’ve been reading Altucher’s stuff since he was writing financial columns, and am liking the podcast.  Neurotic, but thoughtful.

I’ve also done my part to help make Dick Yuengling a theoretical billionaire. (The brewery tour is a great day trip.)

January 5, 2015 at 9:39 pm Comments (0)

Say What?

New Corbett ad.

It is rather astonishing to me that Wolf is running on a platform of raising taxes.

September 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm Comments (0)

$2 Pack Tax Signed

Cigarette retailers in Bala Cynwyd, Bensalem, Cheltenham and Upper Darby thank you.

Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law on Wednesday imposing a $2-per-pack tax on cigarettes and little cigars sold in Philadelphia to help fund the city’s cash-strapped schools.

This new levy, which takes effect Oct. 1, is anticipated will generate $70 million to $90 million per year of recurring revenue to support the district.

In his and others remarks about the legislation that allows Philadelphia to enact the tax, it was emphasized that it was a bi-partisan effort that got this bill across the finish line that Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, began pushing for two years and created a lot of legislative drama along the way.

“This was not a partisan issue. It was about the students of Philadelphia,” Corbett said. “House Bill 1177 is another step in our mission to provide great education for every student in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It provides a steady funding source for the School District of Philadelphia and will support a safe and secure learning environment for the students there.”

So next fall, when the cry once again goes out that the Philly school district is broke and needs money, expect the call to be “a statewide cigarette tax” to cover the gap.

September 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm Comment (1)

Government is not a business

Tom Wolf wants us to think that he’ll run the state government like a business. His business, specifically. Government is not a business. Government is more like a mafia.

Not quite, but not as far off as you might think. Try stiffing the government its protection… er… tax payments, and see how long it takes until the men with guns come to sell your house out from under you, or maybe even stick you in a cage.

Don’t get me wrong, businessmen can be good in public office. Many of them see the need to streamline operations and cut fat. Quite a few of them understand the need for modest rather than overbearing regulation, and tax regimes that are low and predictable. These do not seem to be the major points Mr. Wolf is selling.

The “business” lesson Wolf seems most eager to apply is the raising of revenue. (“Fiscally responsible” is the new “tax and spend”.) But government revenues are an altogether different animal from business revenues. Business revenues are obtained by providing a valuable good or service to a voluntary customer base. Government revenues are obtained through force (implied and first, then literal) of arms. The only way to avoid this is to leave the state for another hopefully less mafioso jurisdiction.

Given that some level of taxation is necessary for any government, the question of growing revenues –presuming such a thing should be deemed desirable– relies on one or both of the following: growing the economic base and raising rates.

The latter, though more easily accomplished, undermines the former. Guess which one Tom Wolf emphasizes.

With glee, Wolf also brags about his company’s employee profit-sharing model. I don’t want government to share profits with its employees. Neither should any sane taxpayer.

But if we’re going to use a business analogy, ethical businessmen don’t fudge figures, as with the supposed billion dollar education cuts that have somehow resulted in record state spending on education. Neither do sound businessmen ignore long-term obligations, as with our broken pension system, for which the Wolf pack has no apparent solution. And nobody walks in to the board of directors and asks to be CEO without putting out a detailed fiscal plan.

Imagine it:

CEO candidate: We need to spend more on R&D.
Board: How much more?
CEO candidate: No clue.
Board: Thank you for your time. Please leave.

September 23, 2014 at 9:33 pm Comments (0)

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