Double Whammy: Ray Ward Hit Bountiful With Another Tax Increase

In my last post a couple of weeks ago, I highlighted the the legislature’s move to slap a tax increase on middle income families. I urge voters to question incumbents (such as Ray Ward) on this tax and spend craze. However, there’s another surreptitious tax increase and I finally got around to highlighting it.

It turns out Ray Ward also supported freezing the property tax rate for five years. “Freezing” sure doesn’t sound like an increase, does it? That’s the sophistry politicians hope you fall for. Don’t.

Here’s the trick: Property tax rates are normally variable and the dollar amount cities/counties collect on your property is fixed. For example, if the dollar amount is fixed at $1,000 for your home and it is worth $100,000 the variable rate is 1% (100,000 X 0.01 = $1,000). If next year your home’s valuation jumps to $200,000 then the variable rate drops to 0.5%  (200,000 X 0.005 = $1,000) to maintain the fixed dollar amount.

The above system was turned on its head for five years. Thus, if your home increases in value it will be taxed at the same rate and government reaps the windfall profit. In our above example, if your home valuation jumps to $200,000, it would still be taxed at 1% and your would pay $2,000 in property taxes with politicians having extra cash to play with in their sandbox. The crafty plan is banking on home values continuing to spike (and trust me, if the bubble bursts, they’ll rapidly move to ensure no loss).

The property tax manipulation is yet another gut punch for middle income families courtesy of many incumbent legislators.

But we’re not done yet! There’s another whammy. This one is a regressive tax too: As I noted back in March, Ray Ward and his legislative buddies plan on duping voters with a gas tax increase:

They will shove a question on the next election ballot asking for a 33% increase in the gas tax from $0.29/gallon to $0.39/gallon.
Here’s the flimflam: A few actual conservative legislators asked that they phrase the ballot question to include the percent increase (33%) or the old/new rate (0.29-0.39/gallon), thus giving voters clarity and context. Niet! said our liberal GOPe legislators and blocked the motion. Now the Chamber et al. can try to pull the wool over naive voters and spin the increase as ‘just a small 10 cent increase’. It’s a significant increase ($2.00 per fill-up) and will impact family budgets. In addition, it will not add even one penny to road funds since the amount going to roads from the general fund will be reduced by the amount of the increased fuel tax.

Ray Ward is the only incumbent in a primary in South Davis County right now (Edwards isn’t running). He’s supported three tax increases on middle income families (really a triple whammy). I would certainly look at his opponent (Phill Wright) as Ward is neck deep in heaping burdens on families. Regardless of where you live, check on how your incumbent has voted for the above.

Please, no more Whammies.

Full Disclosure: I know and support Phill Wright but am not affiliated with his campaign.

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Primary Election Issue: Yes, The 2018 Utah Legislature Raised Taxes On Middle Class Families

If you haven’t noticed yet, take a look at your recent paycheck. If you have a family and have a middle class income, you may notice that your take home pay went down. But how can this be? We were told the legislature (slightly) lowered the income tax rate from 5.00% to 4.95%. Yes, but they also knowingly did nothing about the removal of personal deductions. The Trib article,“Utahns with large families could be paying a lot more in state taxes next year”, and it’s associated impact table (be sure to look at it!) sum it up:

The Utah Legislature passed a 0.05 percent income tax cut this year but took no action on changes in federal tax law that eliminated personal deductions. The decision means most Utah taxpayers will pay more in state tax in 2019 even though their overall tax bills will be lower because of the federal cuts.

Legislators and he Governor were well aware of the need to address the changes and certainly better not claim ignorance:

For example, an $80,000-a-year family of seven with one disabled child might currently itemize deductions equal to about 20 percent of income and end up with a state tax bill of $2,200. Next year, that family will do better claiming the standard deduction. But they will lose $17,000 in other deductions, and their tax bill could jump by $1,000, or 45 percent.

Lawmakers knew all this back in January, when the state Tax Commission reported a potential $80 million windfall for the state thanks to federal tax changes and outlined the “average Joe” impacts. The cost of the income tax cut the Legislature eventually approved was about $55 million — an amount more than offset by that windfall.

But for about the same cost, lawmakers could have taken action to preserve the state personal exemption and pass along those savings to taxpayers — something that neighboring Idaho did this year by creating a state child tax credit.

House Bill 385 was such a bill. Introduced by first-termer Rep. Tim Quinn, R-Heber City, it didn’t even get out of committee, a victim of other priorities.

Yes, they had “other priorities”…like helping political cronies such as UTA with millions for a name change. Maybe another priority was creating a bridgehead for an education ‘head tax’ on children but they didn’t have the guts to debate it in the open. Instead, they chose to sneak one through on taxpayers and Governor Herbert went along with it.

Since it’s primary season and an election year, this issue would be a good one to bring up to incumbent state legislators (such as Ray Ward in South Davis County) and opposing candidates.

How To Make Your Utah Voter Registration Information Private

As I’ve explained in the past, the state of Utah and Utah’s county clerks are required by law to sell the personal information of more than 1.5 million registered voters for $1,050—voter identification number; first, middle, and last name; voter status (active or inactive); absentee status; original registration date; party affiliation; phone number (if provided by voter); mailing and residence address, voter participation history; and method of participation (absentee, by mail, normal, etc.).  Of course, some of the elites, such as the governor have managed to have their personal information protected.

If that weren’t bad enough, certain entities including political parties, or an agent, employee, or independent contractor of a political party, candidates for office, financial institutions, health care providers, researchers and insurance companies are authorized to purchase the month and year of birth of registered voters along with all of their other personal information.

Once purchasers have the voters’ information, they can do whatever they want with it including tracking down the victims of domestic violence who may have changed their addresses, accessing teenagers’ private information or even posting the entire list, less the month and year of birth, to the Internet.  In fact, the personal information of roughly 1.8 million Utah registered voters can already be found on voterrecords.com.

2018 legislature finally made it possible for registered voters to protect their personal information.

For over five years, my father worked with Representative Becky Edwards (R), who unsuccessfully ran bill after bill designed to protect voters’ personal information.  Their efforts were always stymied by the state’s two major political parties and powerful business interests who insisted that if voters wanted to exercise their right to vote, they had to give them their personal information.

Finally, in 2018, two election related bills, SB74 and HB218 were passed with provisions making it possible for Utah voters to request that their voter registration records be made private.  Both bills passed the House and the Senate unanimously and were signed by the governor.

In addition to Representative Edwards, the following legislators played a key role in making it possible for Utah voters to exercise both their right to vote and their right to privacy:  Senator Karen Mayne (D), Senator Deidre Henderson (R), Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D), Representative Sue Duckworth (D), Representative Karianne Lisonbee (R), and Representative Norm Thurston (R).

Salt Lake County Clerk, Sherrie Swensen (D) also worked diligently to give voters the right to make their voter registration a private record.

So, how do I make my voter registration record private?

If you are NOT already registered to vote, go to the state website and register to vote. When asked “Would you like to make your record private,” click on “Yes.”

If you are already registered to vote go to the state website, update your voter registration information and make your record private by clicking on “Yes.”

If you are completing a paper form to register to vote, when asked on the form “Would you like to make your record private, check “Yes.”

How do I remove my records that were previously sold by the state from voterrecords.com?

According to voterrecords.com:

We respect your privacy and have a simple way for those wishing to remove some of their public records data from appearing on VoterRecords.com.

Step 1: Search for a person [by clicking here and then entering your info in the Search Filters on the left.]

Step 2: Click on the person’s name in the search results, this will take you to the individual’s detailed record page.

Step 3: Scroll to the very bottom of the page and click the Record Opt-Out link. This will take you to the opt-out form specific to that record.

Step 4: Once the form is submitted we will send you an email with a verification link that you will need to click to verify your opt-out request. (Not everyone will receive the verification email. If you do not receive the email this typically means your record was successfully processed without additional verification being needed.)

Once you have done this, data such as: house number, phone, and email address should no longer appear. Make sure to refresh the page and clear your browser cache if you are still seeing the data after you have completed these steps.

Please remember that all voter records appearing on VoterRecords.com are public record and can be obtained directly from the government by anyone at anytime. Removing information from VoterRecords.com has no effect on the official records the government maintains and releases.  [Therefore, unless you make your voter record private, the state will sell it to voterrecords.com and voterrecords.com may add it to their list even if you have previously removed it.]

So, that’s it.  Take five minutes now and protect your personal information.  And, pass the word on to your family and friends.  After all, if the state won’t do its job and protect our information, then we will have to do it ourselves.  At least, we can now vote without being forced to let the state sell our personal information to the world, political operatives and a bunch of businesses and health care providers.

Note: This post was co-written with Ron Mortensen (hey, there’s a first time for everything).

Gov. Herbert: Thou Shalt Be Duped And Like It

Ok. The title is somewhat facetious but it’s the best I could come up with in a rush.

It seems that Governor Herbert thinks that if you are tricked or pushed into signing onto a ballot initiative which you don’t agree with or no longer support after researching it, you shouldn’t correct the error (Governor Herbert weighs in on more ballot initiatives, says people shouldn’t remove signatures from petitions):

The governor chastised those now pushing to get people who signed petitions to remove their signatures ahead of the May 15 deadline to validate and qualify the initiatives for the ballot.

I’ve seen the initiative signature drives and rarely do people pause to ask details. Frankly, many of those collecting the signatures are clueless themselves (especially if they are paid collectors – usually by well funded interests/political elites). Most of those who later learn more and regret adding their signature, are unaware that the can correct the record, so I have no problem with other folks providing the other side of the issue and informing them that, yes, you aren’t stuck with your mistake (especially when it can have legal implications if the measure is successful).

Herbert says “Let’s hear the pros and cons and vote and let the people speak.” Well there’s nothing wrong with letting signers hear the cons and letting “people speak” isn’t limited to signing a petition – not signing is an equally valid form of speech.

Besides this, I think the Governor is employing this sophistry because he’s really a closet supporter of “Count My Vote” which benefits incumbents (him), the entrenched political elite and big donors (his friends, like the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce). They really don’t like neighborhood caucuses where candidates from the ‘great unwashed’ have an equal chance at election as one of their politically-connected anointed candidates. Count My Vote undermines the system (and co-opts party sovereignty) to favor the highly-funded political elites.

Please get informed on Count My Vote and the caucus system before signing anything. If you want an alternative to Count My Vote and make sure folks “hear the pros and cons”, support the competing initiative, Keep My Voice.

Again, get informed prior to signing onto a petition. If you messed up (all of us do), correct the mistake. That’s how you make your real voice heard.

Addendum: I understand Kirk Jowers and Doug Wright are whining about people removing their names and Wright is going on about Dan Jones polls being gospel or something. No surprise, since Jowers, Wright, and Jones where at the initial meeting in 2011 that our political ‘betters’ plotted out destroying the caucus system (eventually settling on Plan C which is in effect right now).

Addendum II: Doug Wright’s whining is even funnier: He got all flustered on his radio show and kept cutting off, talking over and filibustering a Keep My Voice representative he invited onto his show. Wright tried casting his guest as right wing (maybe it never occurred to Wright that he’s on the leftwing side of the party, thus everyone else is “rightwing” to him). Funniest was Wright kept guffawing that anyone would ignore polls, especially a Dan Jones poll! Not that Dan Jones wouldn’t have a conflict of interest when polling on the caucus system or anything….

…but, c’mon, leftwing Doug is right. Polls from our elite SmartSet™  are gospel. After all, Hillary won by a landslide and Evan McMullin only lost Utah to Trump by a point (courtesy, Dan Jones polling, naturally).

Utah’s Neighborhood Caucus System And Democracy In America

I was reading Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy In America. In a section on public officials, de Tocqueville observed the need for paying those in public office as unpaid offices creates “a class of wealthy and independent officials, to form the core of aristocracy.” He further concludes:

I regard the complete absence of unpaid offices as one of the most visible signs of the absolute empire that democracy exercises in America. Services rendered to the public, whatever they are, are paid: thus, each has not only the right, but the possibility, of rendering them. [Emphasis added]

It struck me that while we don’t have unpaid offices per se, we are headed to ‘bought offices’ and a new form of aristocracy/oligarchy on the electoral side of government. Part of this is perpetuated by the political-media elites in the form of “Count My Vote”/SB54 sophistry and their ongoing 2011 war to crush the neighborhood caucus system. If they succeed, we may retain the right of public office but will virtually lose the possibility of public office.

Through County My Vote and 2014’s SB54 (by State Sen. Curt Bramble), private political parties’ rights were usurped and the state (run by the politically entrenched) dictate how they will conduct business. Now candidates are strongly pushed to circumvent the neighborhood caucus and gather signatures to get on the ballot. This takes large sums of money which the candidate must already have or be aligned with political and media elites.

Furthermore, these elites bank on the fact that bypassing caucuses (where they may fail your neighbor delegates’ vetting), they will automatically trigger a primary race. Primaries cost more money and, again, the advantage goes to the elites with their access to funding and large media backing, particularly if you don’t have a significantly engaged electorate (in contrast to a neighbor delegate). Essentially, they fiscally steamroll better candidates.

Facing a caucus with engaged delegates, the ‘little guy’ without a big saving account who is honest and upholds local area principles and values has the possibility to defeat the big-money backed guy who may have splashy handouts and kitsch but no depth. This happened enough that the rejected political entrenched and Chamber of Commerce got upset. See my post on the neighborhood caucus for specifics on why it is the equalizer and best means of electing good men/women to lead in a republic.

Please don’t fall for their flattering sophistry. Support Keep My Voice and your neighborhood caucus. Let’s keep the possibility alive!

If you’re a delegate, thank you for the time and research you put in to selecting the candidates who best represent your neighborhood. Please consider voting for those candidates who did not gather signatures and stayed with the caucus only – if the signature gatherers’ are so darned keen on a primary, make sure they get one and have an opponent.

For all caucus posts, click here.

Must Watch: I’m The Majority

Just watch, there’s not much I can add.

“We’re the first ones taxed, and the last ones considered, and the first ones punished when things like this happen. Because our rights are the ones being taken away.”

Enough with leftists blaming good citizens and treading on rights of the law-abiding. I too am fed up with all the politicians coddling to the “loonies from the left”. We must start to fight and “raise hell” with the schools, city councils, legislatures, and organizations who bow down to the leftist minority who are either ignorant to realities and God-given rights or malevolently seek to deny them for their own power. I’m done with unprincipled politicians and organizations (including churches) who say we always have to compromise our natural and constitutional rights to speech and defense (among others) to some squeamish leftist social justice warrior when we’ve done nothing wrong and obey the law. They can take their despotic social justice and shove it.

Utah Swamp?: The Buckshot Caucus (Sen. Todd Weiler, a member), Daryl Acumen, GOP Chair Rob Anderson, And GOPe Elites

This came into my inbox and I’m printing it below. It describes some ‘very swampy’ and possibly illegal personal-destruction tactics used by those within the local GOP establishment (and deep state within the courts?) against those fighting to retain the caucus (and draw power back from elite power brokers). Those reportedly involved include Daryl Acumen and The Buckshot Caucus which includes GOP Chair Rob Anderson (see link below), local pol Todd Weiler, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, and Utah’s part of Chicago swamp politics, Curt Bramble (naturally):

“GOP Chairman Rob Anderson, Rep. Mike Mckell, Senator Curt Bramble, Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, and Senator Todd Weiler are members–as well as other prominent political figures in Utah” [Links added and Bramble’s first name spelling corrected].

I have a pretty good suspicion as to who the “political attorney” mentioned in the report likely is but will keep that to myself (UPDATE: Weiler is that attorney) . The email copy/paste is below the fold (click on Continue reading). I’m not holding my breath on any local media reporting since they financially benefit from getting rid of a caucus system.

UPDATE: Bateman has released audio of a voicemail from Weiler related to the lawsuit/$1 mil offer. I also have a list of names who are purportedly members of the Buckshot Caucus (from their facebook group so bear in mind some folks may have been ‘added’ to the group and may not be active participants):

Daryl Acumen, Kathleen Anderson, Rob Anderson, Sylvia Anderson, Bart Barker, Doran Barton, Todd Bauerie, Kelsey Berg, Aaron Bludworth, Curt Bramble, Daniel Burton, David Butterfield, Terry Camp, Brian Chapman, Diane Christensen, Kim Coleman, Joel Coleman, Jon Cox, Spencer Cox, David Damschen, Brad Daw, Mike Deaver, Sophia DiCaro, Dana Dickson, Carl Downing, Tani Downing, Sue Duckworth, Heather Duel, Dan Duel, Kitty Dunn, Nic Dunn, Steve Eliason, Clair Ellis, John English, Scott Ericson, Chase Everton, Lincoln Fillmore, Adam Gardiner, Wade Garrett, BJ Griffin, Heather Groom, Keith Grover, Eric Hafen, Craig Hall, Dave Hansen, Jeff Hartley, Greg Hartley, Timothy Hawkes, Daniel Hemmert, Gabe Henderson, Deidre Henderson, Carolina Herrin, Casey Hill, Kory Holdaway, Greg Hughes, Sean Hullngr, Joe Hunter, Don Ipson, Nathan Ivie, Richard Jaussi, Leslie Jones, Chris Kantil, DeAnn Shmalz Kelly, John Knotwell III, Steve Lockhart, Hannah Lockhart, Stan Lockhart, Jeremy Lyman, Kari Malkovich, Nicole Martin, Boyd Matheson, Brian Maxwell, Dan McKay, Mike McKell, Jeff McNeil, Mike Mendenhall, Ronda Menlove, Enid Mickelsen, Bret Milburn, Raphael Millet, Shawn Milne, Jefferson Moss, Mike Mower, Aimee Newton, Kyle Palmer, Jake Parkinson, Lee Perry, Jeremy Peterson, Erin Preston, Amber Pugmire Johnson, Susan Pulsipher, Joe Pyrah, Holly Richardson, Jeremy Roberts, Jeff Rogers, Michelle Scharf, Mike Schultz, Jacob Scott, Rusty Scott, Jennifer Scott, Doug Short, Richard Snelgrove, Lowry Snow, Robert Spendlove, Howard Stephenson, David Stewart, Jeff Strain, Becky Strain, Stan Summers, Brent Taylor, Dan Thatcher, Barbara Thatcher-Stallone, Norm Thurston, DeLaina Tonks, Natalie Tonks, Paul Tonks, Evan Vickers, Russ Wall, Chuck Warren, David Watts, Hyrum Weibling, Todd Weiler, Nathan Whiting, Ryan Wilcox, Brad Wilson, Mike Winder

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