Official: The Utah Tax-And-Spend Legislature Raised Your Taxes (Again), Will Use Legal Plunder For Political Cronies

On Wednesday, the Utah Legislature met for a special session to raise your taxes…again. Politicians say that because the State hasn’t collected sales tax from internet purchases, it has “lost” millions in revenue. First off, that isn’t the state’s/government’s money – that money belongs to citizens. It represents a portion of their labor. The government lost nothing to begin with.

You’ll notice that the state is funding things just fine and is not running a deficit. So rather than leaving us alone they’ve used this “government losing millions” to raise taxes and create a windfall for themselves to spend on their pet projects etc. This windfall comes on top of the property tax increase scheme they created earlier this year. In the case of the extra money this time, they’ve decided to dish out your money to their favored businesses (also known as crony capital).

To incentivize those companies, the state has allowed them to keep up to 18 percent of collected sales taxes. That incentive will end once the law requiring companies to collect taxes takes effect in January….However, about $55 million has already been earmarked for a tax break for manufacturers that lawmakers approved…

See, they know much better than you where you should spend your money and will even choose the businesses for you – how kind. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is behind this especially given that Sen. Curt Bramble was the sponsor. The whole thing really embodies Bastiat’s principle of legal plunder.

On the local level, Representative Ray Ward voted for the increase (he loves raising taxes and spending people’s money for his own interests) and Senator Todd Weiler also voted for it. I have no idea why Ray Ward purports to be conservative, he’s not. At very best, he’s a very liberal republican but he should just be honest and run as a Democrat.

Then again, per KUTV’s article, maybe even some Democrats might have a problem with which cronies Ward wants to fund:

“When do we say enough to manufacturers, enough to EnergySolutions, enough to private little tax cut deals to people?” said Sen. Jim Dabakis, a Democrat.

The tax administration requirements will also hit small businesses harder with serious overhead that many have noted will likely harm them and favor big business as they can easily afford the overhead (lower per unit cost):

The requirement to collect sales tax will apply to companies that do at least 200 sales or $100,000 worth of sales in Utah in a year.

Essentially, they’ll provide competitive advantage to big businesses (who afford lobbyists, and entrenched political power players, like the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce). So government will pick winners and losers.

On the up side, the legislature was apparently shamed into addressing the income tax increase they imposed on middle class families (they knew about it during the general session and ran it anyway). Do note that I’ve heard it was only a partial adjustment so some will still see an increase.

Advertisements

Thanks To Count My Vote And SB54, Primary Election Nominees Are Elected By The Minority

Just one more data point in the junk that is Count My Vote (2014’s SB54). I’m limiting this to Davis County but anticipate the same thing occurred or will occur in other counties/cities as well and will continue to do so.

Political elites and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce felt a threat to their power base so they teamed with the media and foisted “Count My Vote” drive on us which culminated in their swampy legislative cronies (Senator Bramble, naturally) shoving SB 54 down or throats in 2014. It allows candidates to circumvent the accountability of the neighborhood caucus system and pay cash to gather signatures to go directly to the primary ballot where their money provides them a key advantage over otherwise good candidates from the “great unwashed” (see video at above link).

They used the sophistry of ‘every vote counting’ and not wanting ‘anyone to be disenfranchised’ to justify their power grab while also being certain to…not provide for a run off election in the event a candidate doesn’t get over 50% of the vote. We’ll here are some nominee* vote totals we now have thanks to their dumb scheme:

Utah House of Reps, District 20 – Melissa Ballard 41% (59% did not vote for her).

Davis County Commission – Lorene Miner Kamalu 41% (59% did not vote for her).

So, who feels their vote “counted” now…do we all have a warm enfranchised feeling? No? Maybe we should tell the elites to stuff it, support restoring our voices and return to a level playing field with KeepMyVoice.

UPDATE: I changed the post title after I looked at a Salt Lake race near Davis County. This one shows the CMV/SB54 impact for the Democrat Party:

Utah House of Reps, District 24 – Jen Dailey-Provost 35% (65% did not vote for her).

*Note: Be aware that this isn’t a hit on the nominees. They may well have been able to pull the majority in a run-off but we’ll never know thanks to SB54/Count My Vote effectively muzzling the majority’s voice.

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.

2018: Utah’s Tax And Spend Legislature, Governor, Our Schools Now and the Salt Lake Chamber Of Commerce

Next time someone wants to tell me Utah has a conservative legislature, they can shove it. They’re either GOP(e) party hacks or entirely clueless.

At the end of the legislative session, the GOP-Governor-Chamber of Commerce group managed to jack up your taxes and enable a flimflam scheme to trick people into raising them further…all during a year of budget surpluses (because it’s not your money and labor, it’s really their money to play with).

Here’s what they did: The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce created yet another front group (Our Schools Now) led by a group of Utah’s wealthy elites. They started a ballot initiative pushing for another big tax increase on everyone but themselves. Then they could count on  their “Available Jones” (aka Governor Herbert) along with their shills in the legislature to cut a deal with them – much like the tactic used to begin to crush Utah’s neighborhood caucus system (in the form of SB54 a few years ago). Herbert is now out there on some dog-and-pony show about how he ‘saved’ everyone from some big tax increase. It’s total baloney.

What Herbert and the legislature did (again) is save the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce from spending their own money to run a ballot initiative that was likely to fail. Instead, they passed a couple of increases and will also use your money to fund a tax increase question for the next election. C’mon, when you’re a special interest group tied with the political elite, someone else pays for your initiatives.

So here’s the damage:

  1. They will encourage local governments to further raise the sales tax to dish more cash to the corrupt and fiscally irresponsible Utah Transit Authority (UTA) or its new name, the Transit District of Utah. UTA is (surprise!) promoted by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce and politically well connected.
  2. They “froze” the rate of the state property tax dedicated to education for five years thereby exempting it from truth-in-taxation hearings . Sounds good, right? Nope. Normally counties drop the tax rate as your home valuation increases as they have a cap on how much they can collect each year. This ‘freeze’ holds the rate regardless of valuation which will result in a surplus (of your money) they will harvest.
    Tip: Be on guard for them extending the freeze in perpetuity and expanding it to other entities that take property taxes. Also watch for an increased tempo of home value evaluations to further boost their take. Face it, property taxes combined with spendthrift politicians mean you never really own you home.
  3. 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.
  4. There’s no guarantee the Chamber/Our Schools Now won’t press for more tax increases…which their politicians can then again cave on to ‘save us all from a bigger tax increase’.

I will acknowledge that there was a small decrease in the income tax but overall the average citizen came out on the losing end since all this, along with the last few years of tax increases, is going to hit your family budget. But so long as our political betters and their buddies can continue to spend your cash like drunken sailors, we totally have the most fiscally conservative politicians….ever!

 

UTA Joined By Governor Herbert To Fleece Taxpayers

Governor Herbert came out with another bright idea for his Utah Transit Authority (UTA) buddies: More money!

Utah’s governor proposes taking gas tax money to pay for transit improvements

Tucked into the governor’s annual budget recommendations is a proposal to dip into funds normally earmarked for road repairs to pay for improvements to mass transit…

…The gas tax that you pay when you fill up your vehicle is normally spent at the Utah Dept. of Transportation to fix roads. Shifting some of the funds toward improvements in bus and train service might help get people out of their cars.

The governor detailed his idea while speaking to the Salt Lake Chamber earlier this week…

So Herbert (while hanging out with his co-Governor, the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce) would like to pilfer road repair funds and funnel them to the UTA. The same UTA that comes with baggage such as travel and land deal scandals, waste highlighted by the State Auditor, and getting sweet tax-funded bailouts.

If they manage to pull off this stunt, the next ruse, when road repairs are delayed due to ‘lack of funding’, will be to cry about the desperate, unforeseeable need to raise the gas tax to fund the roads in critical need of repair. Of course, they’ll expect everyone will have forgotten the transfer to UTA by then.

It’s another episode of cronies paying off cronies.

*This post has received the Available Jones (TM) seal of approval.