Sneaky Texas Legislature and Taxes

So, if the state has collected too much money, maybe as high as $10 billion, do you think those sneaky dogs in Austin ought to –

a) refund the money because citizens are complaining about property taxes, or
b) tax businesses too! Yeehaw!

If you answered (b), you can be a Texas legislator, too!

Those sneaky dogs are trying to quickly pass a tax on small businesses and hope opposition can’t organize fast enough to stop it. C.L.O.U.T. has the details.

Action Alert – Call you State Rep Right Now at the Capitol Office!
Find your State Representative and their Austin Phone number at this website Immediately!

Tell Your State Rep to VOTE NO on House Bill 3 – the Sharp/Perry Tax plan. Taxing small and medium businesses is BAD for the Texas economy and for job growth. The Texas House of Representativs votes Monday morning on this plan for the first time. Tell your Representative that taxing Texas is bad for Texas – and the State has a $8.2 Billion Surplus – why tax more Texans when you are sitting on a pile of extra money? Use the surplus to Buy Down the School Tax Rate and then GO HOME!

Your State Rep will have a letter on their desk tomorrow morning from local tax activist Norman Adams. CLOUT support Norman Adams position:

The Sharp Business Tax will discourage business owners from locating in Texas.

I have compiled a list of eight companies located in the Greater Houston area. Please take a look at the Franchise vs. Sharp spreadsheet. I believe these companies represent typical small business owners in Texas. Most of these businesses will not get substantial property tax relief therefore I have not included it.

Paul Bettencourt, Dan Patrick and I furnished a completed schedule “B” (Sharp Tax form) to Governor Perry’s office Friday, on each of these businesses. One of the questions his staff asked, was “Why didn’t you bring this to our attention sooner?” My answer was, because I personally became aware of the details of this proposal only two weeks ago!

The majority of small business owners do not realize what the Sharp Tax Plan is about. They are leaving it up to you, their elected representatives. When they find out about it, they will hold you responsible!

The spreadsheet will show you what the Sharp Business Tax will do to these business owners! These folks will average nearly a 400% increase!

Currently, the Texas Constitution protects non corporate entities from an income tax. According to the Sharp “experts” less than one out of ten Texas businesses are subject to the Franchise tax.

The Franchise tax collected for 2005 was $1.7 Billion. In 2006, it will exceed $2 Billion!

If the Sharp plan is adopted, we will not only increase the tax our corporations are paying now, by adding the LLPs, we will multiply the tax rolls by at least ten fold. This new tax may produce twenty times our current revenue! NO ONE KNOWS!

I pray God will move you to review the attached Franchise / Sharp comparison. If you will actually review it, you will agree the Sharp Tax is bad for Texas.

May God bless you as you consider the future of our great state.

Stand strong, do what you know is right.

Norman E. Adams, CIC

Adams Insurance Service, Inc.



Edd C. Hendee

Executive Director – CLOUT

Middle Class Military

Charles Rangel, the looney left-wing Democrat, has criticized the military on several issues, one of them that the military is made up disproportionately of minorities while middle and upper class families reap the benefits without risk.

Where he got that idea from, who knows. Certainly didn’t come from the facts, though. Turns out most of the military volunteers come from middle class families.

Researchers matched the ZIP codes of recruits over the past five years with federal government estimates of household incomes in those neighborhoods. Contrary to complaints from some liberal lawmakers and pundits, the data show that the poor are not shouldering the bulk of the military’s need for new soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.

The poorest neighborhoods provided 18 percent of recruits in prewar 1999 and 14.6 percent in 2003. By contrast, areas where household incomes ranged from $30,000 to $200,000 provided more than 85 percent.

“We found that recruits tend to come from middle-class areas, with disproportionately fewer from low-income areas,” said the report, prepared by Tim Kane, an Air Force Academy graduate and economics scholar. “Overall, the income distribution of military enlistees is more similar to than different from the income distribution of the general population.”

Turns out they’re better educated than the average American, too:

Mr. Kane said overall evidence “is at odds with the image, painted by some supporters of the draft, that the military exploits poor, ignorant young Americans by using slick advertising that promises technical careers in the military to dupe them into trading their feeble opportunities in the private sector for a meager role as cannon fodder.”

About 98 percent of all enlistees from 1999 to 2003 had a high school diploma, compared with 75 percent of nonrecruits nationwide.

“In an education context, rather than attracting underprivileged young Americans, the military seems to be attracting above-average Americans,” Mr. Kane wrote.

Just something that warmed my heart, knowing my son returns from Army basic training tomorrow. 🙂

* Tip from Brutally Honest. About the news article, I mean, not the news about my son.

Houston Election Recap

I didn’t get all jazzed over this election; except for Proposition 2, there weren’t any real hotbuttons. My general impression of the results are that social conservatives and fiscal liberals won; Proposition 2 won handily, but those incumbents against appraisal caps held their job. Pfft.

  • Proposition 1 passed that authorized various grants. I think the government has way too much of my money already so I voted against it.
  • Proposition 2 passed, defining marriage as between a man and a woman, despite the best efforts of the opposition to lie about it. At one point I got a phone call from a recording saying this proposition would ban *all* marriages and we should all vote against it, and signed off by “Reverend” somebody to make it sound like it was a correct, religious thing to do. Their website is full of misleading quotes, denounced by the very people they’re quoting. If you have to lie to get people to vote your way then you’ve already convinced me your position is morally bankrupt.
  • Proposition 3 said “certain economic development programs do not constitute a debt.” That sounded like permission to lie to your checkbook so I voted against it. The proposition failed.
  • Proposition 4 denied bail to bad guys. Sounded good to me, and it passed with 83% of the vote.
  • Proposition 5 allowed the legislature to define rates of interest. It sounded like permission for the legislature to hold up the banking lobby to gain special favors, so I voted against it. Texas agreed and this didn’t pass.
  • Proposition 6 added additional people to review Judicial conduct. I voted for it and it passed.
  • Proposition 7 allowed line of credit advances for reverse mortgages. I voted no because I think banks are just trying to get old people’s assets, but it passed. Not a bad thing, and it retrospect I could support this.
  • Proposition 8, “clear titles for certain land” I voted for. I have no idea what these “certain lands” are, but somebody’s going to make some money off of it.
  • Proposition 9 provided for a 6 year term for a board member of the regional mobility authority. I dislike everything Metro stands for; a separate taxing entity that I’d prefer to vote out of existence. They’re getting ready to build a shopping mall while ending bus routes, go figure. I’ll vote against anything Metro wants. Texas agreed and this didn’t pass.

I voted for Michael Berry and Shelly Sekula-Gibbs and skipped the others since I really don’t know anything about them. And Mayor Bill White has so irritated me this year I voted against him, even though I knew he was going to win handily. Bill White is for socialized towing, giving away a free year of housing to Katrina refugees (estimated cost $220 million), against property appraisal caps, and for gay marriage. In short, he won his first election by pretending to be a moderate, but he is as liberal as a skunk is stinky. I voted for Gladys somebody because it sounded like she could use the votes.

You know who I’m most disappointed in? Clout. I would have loved to get their recommendations before election day, but they gave a half-hearted analysis the morning of the election, way too late to be useful. If they want to be a political force, well then, they ought to be political.

Religious Linkage for Monday

I kept waiting for Monday to let up; doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. So instead of thought-provoking commentary, here’s a couple of interrelated links:
10 reasons I’ve grown to despise the Left …and why you should, too

Yeah, I know it’s written in an inflammatory way, but look at the list, especially if you’re a left-winger. The reason the left is mostly losing elections the last several years is because it’s no longer just the right that has this view of the left. Especially look at #9 and #10 – are there anybody on the right that hates God and promotes deviant behavior? The left doesn’t just reject whatever the right believes in, but they reject anything the center believes in, too.

I’m providing just the simple list here, click on the link above to get the explanation and example for each reason.

  1. Thought control.
  2. Leftists hate what makes America great.
  3. Leftists are stupid.
  4. Leftists are liars.
  5. Leftists are thieves.
  6. Leftists have nothing but contempt for democratic institutions.
  7. Leftists are hypocrites.
  8. Leftists kill people.
  9. Leftists are tireless advocates of perversion and degeneracy in all its myriad forms.
  10. The left hates God.

* From a tip from Jesus Politics.

Bush evolution comment roils long-standing battle

Actually, all Bush said was, “You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, the answer is yes,” when he was asked about Intelligent Design.

The part of the article I found most interesting though was this:

Religious revivals or awakenings have been a recurring theme throughout American politics, the first one dating even from before the founding of the Republic. Robert Fogel, the 1993 Nobel Prize winner in economics, identifies four “great awakenings,” the latest of which began in the 1960s.

Previous cycles have been divided into three phases. The cycle begins with a religious revival, followed by a period of rising political activism and accomplishment, and ending with a backlash as the movement overreaches. If Fogel’s theory is correct, the United States is currently in the second phase of its fourth great awakening.

Pundits Mull over Implications of Roberts’ Faith

Basically, “pundits” are wondering if you have any faith at all if you should have any place in government.

I’ve mentioned before that in the US Constitution it doesn’t call for a “separation” of church and state. It says the government can neither establish nor restrict a religion, though that’s not what courts have been doing since they ruled against school prayer in 1963. Here’s something else the U.S. Constitution says in Article 6:

[N]o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Will the lefties that hate God (forgot already, didn’t you? #10 on the list above) question John Roberts about his Catholic faith and then attempt to use that against him during the confirmation process?

Progressive Christianity

I’m convinced the liberal left is working on a new tactic – to claim christianity for themselves. That’s right, if you believe in the right to have an abortion, they’re working on scripture interpretation to support it. Gay marriage? They push a “God is Love” approach that allows homosexuality and completely skip over the “homosexuality is bad” scripture. Whatever you want to do, they will say God approves it.

These new “progressive Christians” are insisting that it’s the liberal left that has a claim on Christianity, and any claim by the religious right is in error. From a link at Jesus Politics comes this article, The lame joke of progressive Christianity.

Are you a proponent of abortion and gay rights? Want to get in touch with your inner-sodomite, but can’t reconcile it with those bigoted Bible lessons you were taught in Sunday school? No problem, there is a place for you among a free-thinking community of leftists where, indeed, it is possible to advocate such practices and still call yourself a faithful follower of Christ. Adherents of this new, enlightened form of Christianity are sure to take the Bible “seriously but not literally.” That is, they respect the holy book but are by no means bound by what it actually says, or even what it implies. Like our Constitution, I guess one could say that the Bible has become a living document to be twisted and manipulated at will.

The “progressive” christians are for higher taxes under the umbrella of “economic justice for all” and criticize conservative fiscal policies as being incompatible with scripture. Take it from the rich give it to the poor by excessive taxation is their motto. Does that fulfill Christian scripture? The New Testamament is about giving willingly, not taking it from others by law and distributing it, but the “progressive” see it differently.

Moreover, long subjugated by the “powerful political machine” of right-wingers, Christians on the left are finally speaking out about what they see as a “clash of competing Christian values.” Yes, that’s right — abortionists, socialists, and sodomites are now in a perceived tug-of-war with fundamentalist conservatives for the heart of Christianity.

That’s right, don’t resist whatever sin you face – embrace it publically for all the world to see! Dang blasted conservative christians always telling people to repent – what’s up with that?

Don’t be fooled. This is a Christianity rooted not in the Scriptural truths of God, but in the personal predilections of Man. It is no alternative to salvation. The simple fact is that the “narrow gate” is narrow by design and every one of us has a particular cross to bear on our way through it — some admittedly heavier and more burdensome than others. Nonetheless, we are all called with equal ardor to the house of brotherhood and grace.

John Kerry bumbled this attempt during the 2004 election, but Hillary Clinton is perfecting her message now to be able to twist scripture in a way to promote radical feminism, environmentalism, gay marriage, whatever liberals want. She’ll have it ready by 2008.

Want to see an example of this progressive Christianity in action? Check out this Bill McKibben article The Christian Paradox in yesterday’s Harper’s online magazine – while under the guise of stirring Christians into action, the article spends most of its energy bashing the religious right for failing in their attempts or for not having done enough – when it’s “progressives” like the author that oppose the agenda of the religious right. They oppose the religious right’s teaching of abstinence in school, then complain teenage pregnancy is up. They complain about the divorce rate rising yet are silent on the numbers of people that choose to cohabitate without getting married. They complain about poverty yet oppose faith based initiatives.

Update: Christian CADRE has a lengthy response to the Christian Paradox article that’s well worth reading from a conservative Christian apologetics viewpoint.

2 Timothy 3:2-5
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Matthew 7:15-16
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.

I wonder if progressive christians realize their viewpoint is almost identical to the non-christians?

Build a Hotel, Tear Down Justice Souter's Home

This is brilliant. Last week, the Supreme Court trampled the 5th Amendment, saying cities can confiscate private property if it leads to more tax revenue. In other words, anything the government wants to confiscate, it can, as long as it has a slick marketing campaign.

So today, developer Logan Darrow Clements filed a request to the town of Weare, New Hampshire, asking to build a hotel at 34 Cilley Hill Road. The new hotel will generate more taxes and economic benefits than the house that’s currently located there, which happens to be owned by Justice Souter. For now, anyway.

The proposed development, called “The Lost Liberty Hotel” will feature the “Just Desserts Café” and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon’s Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged.”

Clements indicated that the hotel must be built on this particular piece of land because it is a unique site being the home of someone largely responsible for destroying property rights for all Americans.

“This is not a prank” said Clements, “The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development.”

Since this law was found to be constitutional, I think confiscating a Supreme Court Justice’s home is a good place to start. Brilliant idea.

Working Class questions whether Bush supporters are insane. They point out that the wealth of the working class is shrinking. While the Democrats run on platforms that say they will help, the working class votes Republican anyway.

The working class’s refusal to synchronize its politics with its economic interests is one of the enduring puzzles of the present age. Between 1989 and 1997, middle-income families (defined in this instance as the middle 20 percent) saw their share of the nation’s wealth fall from 4.8 percent to 4.4 percent. Yet Al Gore lost the white working class by a margin of 17 percentage points, and John Kerry lost it by a margin of 23 percentage points. As the GOP drifts further to the right, and becomes more starkly the party of the wealthy, it is gaining support among the working class.

I have never seen a wholly satisfactory explanation for this trend, which now spans two generations. It’s the decline of unions, says Thomas Frank. It’s values, says Tom Edsall. It’s testosterone, says Arlie Russell Hochschild. Each of these explanations seems plausible up to a point, but even when taken together, their magnitude doesn’t seem big enough. Republicans, of course, will argue that it’s simply the working man’s understanding that the GOP has the better argument, i.e., that the best way to help the working class is to shower the rich with tax breaks. But the Bush administration has been showering the rich with tax breaks for more than four years, and the working class has nothing to show for it.

Let’s consider another possibility, then: The working class, or at least a large segment of same, suffers from a psychological disorder.

OpinionJournal has a hypothesis: that the mere fact the Democrats are calling them the “working class,” they’ve insulted them. Calling a janitor a member of the working class is the euivalent of putting them in their place; you’re a worker, stay there and work.

While there is some truth to that, I have a different hypothesis. Democrats run on a platform of “Don’t worry, let us take care of that for you.” But working class people wait every year for that annual raise, and as soon as they get it, the first question they ask is, “why did the government get half of my raise?” Every year, more and more “working class” realize that if they are going to get ahead, if they’re going to be able to save a little nest egg for themselves, then they must vote for the party that promises to reduce taxes. The Republicans don’t promise to help; they promise to get out of your way so you can do it yourself. That appeals to the working class.

Republicans no longer look like the party of the wealthy, anyway; those flaky Hollywood elites with more money than sense are almost all Democrats.