Chamber Of Commerce Front Group “OurSchoolsNow” Employs Math Spin For Tax Increase (Update)

I’ll keep this brief. First, OurSchoolsNow is yet another in the litanny of Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce political front groups bent on raising economic burdens on Utah families. The latest gambit will be yet another “why do you hate school children?” guilt trip against those opposed to the tax increase. They’ll couple this with a quiet bit of math spin on the actual percent tax increase and neglect to mention the increase doesn’t apply to them (surprise!). They spin it as a 7/8% increase on you. No it’s not:

The first shot in this effort to raise individual income taxes by a whopping 18% from 5% to 5.875% while leaving all business taxes, including the 5% corporate income tax, unchanged was fired when the elites formally announced a petition drive to raise the individual income tax…

The real math equates to: 5.875/5 = 18% increase in rate. Again, note that the Chamber was sure to exempt the business tax rates*. People caught on to that and now they’ve moved on to a “1/2% increase” on two taxes (sales and income) still exempting themselves from an increase. The 1/2% is, yet again, a misnomer. Here’s the breakdown:

Income tax rate increase: 5.5/5 = 10% increase
Sales tax increase (5.95% is the State base rate and 6.45% would be the new rate) = 6.45/5.95 = 8.4% increase

Interestingly, added together thats about 18% again, however, the actual burden of the sales tax increase depend on how much you spend. Futhermore besides exempting themselves from the tax, Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) caught on that the Chamber didn’t appear all that willing to get rid of tax subsidies they gorge on…funds that could’ve gone to schools (#ourschoolsnow stop campaigning to increase tax burden & focus on multiple subsidies robbing Ed budget”):

All this does is heap additional burdens on Utah families to keep the crony capital trough full, while virtue signalling they caaaare so much about children. The Utah swamp could use some draining.

UPDATE: Libertas is also calling out the Our Schools Now bunk and Libetas’ Connor Boyack also makes note of the “politically connected insiders” pushing this boondogle.

*FWIW: I’m not a big fan of raising corporate rates – those are essentially just passed on to consumers anyway via increased product cost which can reduces sales (hence why the Chamber of Crony Capitalists exempt themselves).

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Utah’s Sanctuary Link To An Illegal Immigrant Cop Killer

During President Trump’s address to Congress, he had the widows of Officers Michael Davis and Danny Oliver in attendance. An illegal immigrant, Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte (aka Marcelo Marquez), had murdered them.

Looking up the case, one finds a Utah link of neglected opportunities in CBS Sacremento’s article “How Did Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte Hide In United States Illegally Until Deputy Killings?” Apparently, Mr. Bracamonte was a return client to law enforcement and the revolving border door:

Luis Enrique Monroy-Bracamonte had a lot to hide. He was living in the United States illegally, had been convicted in Arizona for selling drugs and twice deported to Mexico.

Eventually, he and his wife moved from Arizona and settled in West Valley City. However, he still had brushes with the law:

A search of Utah court records for Marcelo Marquez shows a history of about 10 tickets and misdemeanor traffic offenses between 2003 and 2009, which typically don’t trigger a fingerprint check against immigration records. The records list one speeding ticket in 2009 and three small claims filings attempting to collect outstanding debts.

One of the traffic offenses was more than a minor parking ticket, it was a hit-and-run:

Police in West Valley City, Utah, said they took a fingerprint from a man using the name Marcelo Marquez during a misdemeanor hit-and-run arrest in 2003.

However, Utah authorities say fingerprints from such suspects are not regularly entered into a database that would flag other arrests in the US or deportations.

Fortunately, Utah is an accommodating State for illegal immigrants. Salt Lake City Police Chiefs consistently and explicitly state that they refuse to enforce immigration law. Meanwhile, the LDS Church monetarily assists illegal immigrants (via fast offerings), pushes “compacts” intended to lead to amnesty, and lobbies the state legislature to pass clearly unconstitutional legislation (among it’s myriad of flaws).

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce (via Senator Curt Bramble “Bramnesty”), in an apparent lust for cheap labor, heads up efforts at the Utah legislature as well for the aforementioned legislation and fights tooth-and-nail to block legislation that would address enforcement or even identity theft prevention measures like E-Verify (illegal immigrants frequently engage in employment-related ID theft, leaving victims in their wake).

This welcoming sanctuary coupled with flouting established law has consequences. In this case, enforcement officers bore those consequences:

Two deputies who approached the pickup while it was parked alongside a road were shot with an AR-15-type assault weapon, police said. Homicide Detective Michael David Davis Jr., 42, died at a hospital.

Despite being illegally in the United States and a convicted felon, Bracomonte, aka Marquez, had illegally obtained a firearm  and, despite multiple police stops while he was using his Driving Privilege Card which clearly identified him as someone who could not provide proof of legal presence in the United States,  no law enforcement officer saw fit to check with or hold him for immigration authorities nor even run his fingerprints. After all, they were just following the policy established by their police chiefs and elected officials. However, had just one officer checked his immigration status or entered his fingerprints in the above database, he could have been incarcerated for illegal re-entry and two lives would have been saved.

It’s no wonder the Mexican Consulate plans on aiding illegal immigrants in Utah with legal assistance to fight deportation. If you were Mexico, would you want someone like Mr. Bracamonte/Marquez to ‘come home’? No, especially when you have a state and with leaders so willing to enable his presence and turn a politically-correct blind eye to his crimes and the victims left behind.

Utah’s Fake News And Single Sided Compassion: Park City ICE Action

Here’s a case study of local Utah media ginning up emotion by spinning a mundane report and presenting only one side to suit their bias/narrative.

A few days ago, Utah news outlets ran with a report that Park City Latinos were ‘panicking’ and in ‘fear’ after being targeted by ICE. Here are a few examples: ABC4, Fox13, SLTrib, etc.

The news was spun for some emotional pap and glossed over the following:

  1. Only those who committed crimes (besides entering illegally) were arrested: “According to Park City police the arrests were part of a normal operation by ICE agents and only those with criminal records were taken into custody.”
    “He said his son and nephew were taken but he was left behind despite being in the U.S. illegally.” (ABC4)
    Additionally, the SL Trib states that some of them had re-entered (ie been previously deported).
  2. The operation was a normal operation – it was under Obama’s guidance as Trump is just issuing new guidance (just today) and has thus not yet been implemented. Yet the media would prefer you believe all this angst is due to some Trump policy. It’s BS just to try to demonize Trump or any enforcement, for that matter (under Obama, it ok but the same thing under Trump is of the devil…).
  3. Given they have a criminal background (felonies), it seems the media and the virtue signalling organizations, couldn’t give a rip about the possible victims these guys have left in their wake. Nope, it’s all about families being separated.
    Here’s the thing: plenty of citizens and legal immigrants commit crime and are separated from their families understandably, no one cares about them no should they (“If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime”). There we care about victims. BUT if an illegal immigrant flouts our law at the border/visa entry point and commits additional crime…well, that’s different! No, it is not!
  4. Speaking of Trump policy: Here’s a gem from today. Apparently, he’s cool w/ DREAMers committing ID theft and not having to inform the victim thereof. Nope, they get the same free pass Obama gave them. So no, they sure don’t have much to be ‘fearful’ of.
  5. The media continues to intentionally conflate illegal immigrant with “immigrant”. The two are very different things.
  6. Lastly, why is this stuff only focused on Hispanics? They are aware that plenty of illegal immigrants who are (hopefully) deported aren’t Hispanics, right? Sure they know – but that doesn’t fit the ‘racism’ narrative they’ve been pushing all these years (especially now that Trump is in office).

This crap has been going on for years and will only increase if allowed. Certainly, the media and illegal immigration proponents/enablers will continue the one-sided compassion and attempt to ‘wag the dog’ for the foreseeable future. I hope the dog is now alert enough to this crap and will bite the fake news media’s hand.

Food: A New Sin Tax For Utah?

That’s right. I’m going to say it again: Food is perfectly eligible as a sin tax.

…and by sin, I’m referring to the politician’s and crony organizations’ sin.

Utah legislators are contemplating raising taxes on food because they’re worried about a budget shortfall. It’s funny how that may be the case after we’ve spent, bonded and redirected who knows how many millions or billions on crap outside the proper role of government. I guess all those cute ‘it only costs a tenth/half percent of the budget or it’s just a few dollars a day’ projects add up and you start to fall short for important stuff…like more useless projects government shouldn’t be involved with.

Rather than just slapping everyone with another tax hike, maybe they should look at cutting some of the crony capital junk (UTA, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce front group boondoggles come to mind, among others). How about also ditching wasteful incremental budgeting with all it’s skunks, while your at it?

On the local level, we keep hearing that RDAs for a new, unnecessary city hall building won’t raise taxes. As I said in the past, it’s robing Peter to pay Paul and the piper will come calling when taxing entities find they’ve fallen short of money because the RDA etc. ate some of it up. The above is another example of the fallacy of the city council’s argument.

Finally, politicians don’t own all the guilt. The public (you and I) will band together to form groups demanding stuff like recreation centers, theaters, RAP taxes which impose on budgets and, ultimately, on families. Hopefully, we’ll consider the propriety and whether it’s a core governmental function or not next time we want something, else we’re our own worst enemy.

Tax Vampires: Our Schools Now Is The Latest Political Elites’ Front Group

In December, I highlighted an article on front groups used by Utah political power brokers (with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce as the typical hub). The latest front group they’ve come up with to raise you taxes is “Our Schools Now”.

With the legislative session, Our Schools Now has popped back up to make their push to convince you to raise everyone’s taxes. Don’t fall for it. This is a good time to review the article that traces all the connections and front groups used by the people you aim to benefit from this latest push:

WHO CONTROLS UTAH? An Investigative Report on Utah’s Elite Political Brokers

It’s not just the DC swamp that needs to be drained. We need the “drain the swamp” in Utah as well.

Kissing Cousins: Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce – Utah Government Elite Interconnections Wag The Dog

The article is lengthy but ends up being an easy read as you delve into the various front groups used to create nifty confirmation bias for politicians to justify their tax and policy excesses favoring connected businesses.

The article (WHO CONTROLS UTAH? An Investigative Report on Utah’s Elite Political Brokers) starts with a key points summary but it is well worth the read for the details supporting the conclusion:

When discussing public policy in Utah, it is important to recognize that policy elites use every tool at their command to achieve the results they want. Any pretense of objectivity is just that – a pretense.

It’s fun to have your finger on the scales of government power. It’s a good time to be a crony capitalist in Utah.

Ironically enough, the article misses the most recently created Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce front group:

Our Schools Now

Gee, I have no idea why Zions Bank would want to run a group that seeks more bond money. Oh and the address for Our Schools Now? It’s co-located with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce.

And these folks still wonder what produced Trump.

Tony Yapias Charged With Rape

I was going to just post this on the Utah Rattles microblog but my comments and two articles made it too long and better suited here.

I didn’t know him on a deeply personal level so I can’t comment on his personalty. I know he liked playing the race card against people opposed to him. Nevertheless, this just about knocked me over when I saw it. I’m still shocked.

The article seems to indicate that he may have used her “immigration status” as leverage.

Prominent Latino activist Tony Yapias charged with rape

The defendant was also aware of the victim’s immigration status. As part of the text exchange on March 21, court documents indicate, Yapias stated: ‘I’m at meeting about immigration with representatives from Washington D.C.’

SL Trib article clarifies why Davis County will be prosecuting this instead of Salt Lake County:

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill said police initially brought the case to his office, but he asked Davis County to take over. Gill said he has known Yapias for years, their paths crossing in Utah Democratic Party circles and on community work on immigration issues. Gill said he had appeared on Yapias’ radio show during the previous election cycle, so he passed the case on to another prosecutor to avoid any possible conflicts.

They aren’t kidding when they say he was prominent, either. He was a lead in lobbying the LDS Church on the Utah Compact (I think he’s even in the photo op from that) and, as I recall, was also a staunch opponent of e-verify and big proponent of HB 116 likely teaming with LDS Church lobbyists, Senator Bramble, and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce to lobby for the bill’s passage. He also coordinated a bunch of the amnesty marches in Salt Lake. So yea, he was prominent.

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty so we’ll see where this goes but based on the evidence presented in the article this doesn’t sound like it will end well for him. I’m still dumbfounded at this whole thing.