Wednesday, December 26, 2012
from the Wall Street Journal
Federal subsidies for new wind-power generation will end on Dec. 31 unless they are renewed by Congress. For the sake of our economy and the smooth operation of the energy market, Congress should let the subsidies lapse. They waste taxpayer money, subvert the allocation of capital, and generate a social cost many times the price tag of the subsides themselves.
Since 1992, the federal government has expended almost $24 billion to encourage investment in wind power through direct spending, tax breaks, R&D, loan guarantees and other federal support of electric power. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that a one-year extension of existing federal subsidies for wind power would cost taxpayers almost $12 billion.
The costs of wind subsidies are extraordinarily high—$52.48 per one million watt hours generated, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. By contrast, the subsidies for generating the same amount of electricity from nuclear power are $3.10, from hydropower 84 cents, from coal 64 cents, and from natural gas 63 cents.
In addition, wind power benefits from federal mandates requiring the use of renewable energy by federal agencies along with preferential treatment by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Many states provide additional tax breaks, subsidies and mandates for wind power. The total value of these additional subsidies has never been calculated.
Monday, December 24, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
from the Harford County Dagger
From Patrick L. McGrady:
November 4th, 2014.
Mark that on your calendar.
Write it down on a sticky note and stick it somewhere on your desk at work.
November 4th, 2014 is our day in Maryland.
On that day we will elect our first wave of local liberty fighters. We will elect patriots to be town council members, Mayors, County Commissioners, local Central Committee members, and state legislators.
Right now we are 18 months away from the 2014 primary election and we need candidates. We need you to step up today to serve the Maryland Liberty Movement.
You and I can’t introduce bills in the Maryland General Assembly. You and I can’t vote on adoption of a county budget. We need issue champions who will push the cause for liberty no matter what the left throws at them.
Will you be that champion? Click Here to Fill out the form to run for office!
Patrick L. McGrady
Maryland Liberty PAC
Friday, December 21, 2012
Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, said this morning that he considering introducing a gun control package in the upcoming legislation session and reiterated his opposition to assault weapons like the one used in the Newtown massacre.Yeah. It's hard to imagine a Security guard's Taser or pistol could have stopped anyone.... oooops.
"I think you can count on there being several bills, the likelihood is that there will be a bill from this administration, the details of which we are still working on," O'Malley said at a briefing with reporters this morning.
The governor said that this morning he directed members of his cabinet to examine three areas for possible legislation: Gun control, access to guns by the mentally ill and school safety.
O'Malley said he's particularly interested in looking at the state's laws on assault weapons and limiting the number of rounds in a magazine. "It is hard to conclude that these guns should be in the hands of anyone who isn't a soldier on the battle field or a law enforcement who was being sent into a tactical situation," O'Malley said.
Currently, Marylanders can own or purchase 45 different types of semi-automatic assault weapons. Magazines are 20 bullets. As mayor of Baltimore, O'Malley testified in Annapolis in support of a state-wide assault weapons ban.
O’Malley said mental health laws will also be reviewed “to make sure that we properly limit the access to assault rifles and guns for people who are suffering from an illness.”
The Sun reported this morning that a group of senators -- led by Judicial Proceedings Chairman Brian Frosh -- plan to introduce gun legislation as that would include a full ban on assault weapons.
O'Malley disagreed with a proposal floated this morning by Va Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, who said the state should consider arming school principals, teachers and school staff should be armed.
“It's hard to imagine a level of weaponry that a security guard, if there even is one in an elementary school, could be carrying on their belt that would have resisted the sort of attack that the individual perpetrated in Newtown,” O'Malley said.
Monday, December 17, 2012
from the Harford County Dagger
From Harford Campaign for Liberty:
Why should you care what a TIF is?
Tax Increment Financing is being used by Harford County government to give developers big loans backed by the taxpayers. The Harford County Government plans to borrow more than $20,000,000 to fund the projects of huge developers and you’re underwriting it. Then, over time, the property taxes from the now-improved property will go to pay back the loan first, rather than put the tax money into the general fund. A TIF is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the County and the private developers.
James Run is located southwest of I-95 and Rte. 543. The 110 acre piece of land is slated for lodging, retail, and office uses. This is a high-density, mixed-use project. Harford Council members Boniface, Lisanti, Slutzky, and Guthrie, at the urging of County Executive David Craig, voted on November 20th 2012 to give the James Run developers: $23 million dollars in financing through unrated ‘municipal junk bonds’ at 9% interest.
Two years ago, Harford County’s first TIF was approved. In 2010, Beechtree Estates received a $14 million TIF from the County to build a new residential development. To date, this project has been a failure for sales of homes– but a huge success for the crony business contacts. In 2013 it is estimated that they will owe the county $1.1 million in tax revenue and will only pay $300,000. The developer’s company will get the bill for the difference of $779,000.
If they cannot or do not want to pay this amount, guess who is on the hook to pay back the bond? Your grandmother, my parents, and my family will be on the hook for it. The county will be be forced to make good on the loan. They’ll spend our hard-earned money on maintaining, advertising, and selling the property at a foreclosure auction just to break even. No wonder why these TIF junk bonds have such a high rate, up to 9% interest. Investors consider ‘mixed-use’ developments a high risk.
The County has set a precedent by underwriting James Run and Beechtree. Every developer will want preferential treatment like this from now on. Those who don’t get help building will view it as unfair.
But wait, there’s more to this story.
The companies and developers who have been planning the James Run project for the last five years have been quietly making campaign contributions. Where did these contributions go? To the same people who would be deciding if they received help from the county.
Am I saying that this is collusion between parties involved and our elected officials? Maybe so, maybe not – but at best, sends the wrong message. It creates an environment in which other developers will say, “this is how you have to operate in Harford County.”
The contributions were from:
* the owners of the land
* the builders, JR Lodging and James Run Development Company
* the engineering company, Morris Ritchie Associates
* the lawyers representing the interested parties, Gessner, Snee, Mahoney and Lutche
* and the construction company who would benefit from site jobs, Dixie Construction.
The elected officials who backed the junk bonds:
* Dion Guthrie – received $321 (Mr. Guthrie has dissolved his campaign fund.)
* Richard Slutzky – received $1100 in campaign funds
* Mary Ann Lisanti – received $5435 in funds(she’s co-author of the bill)
* Billy Boniface – Over $10,000 toward his campaign fund(he’s co-author and Council President)
* David Craig – has received a whopping $23,790 in contributions to his campaign, all from the parties who will benefit from the James Run TIF.
TIFs should not be used in development projects in this county. Just like the giveaway grants and forgivable loans this county uses, TIFs are another private-public partnership gone awry.
Too much room is given for corruption and preferential treatment. If you’re tired of seeing your local government give taxpayer money to companies and developers, we need your help in sending a message. Call and email the County Executive and Council members who supported this Crony TIF funding, and tell them NO MORE. NO MORE ‘opportunity loans’, NO MORE ‘training grants’, and NO MORE millions of dollars spent in ‘tax increment financing’. Tell these TIF Supporters to Stop Voting for Crony Capitalism:
David Craig: firstname.lastname@example.org (410)638-3350
Billy Boniface: email@example.com (410) 734-6906
Mary Ann Lisanti: firstname.lastname@example.org (410)638-3526
Richard Slutzky: email@example.com (410)272-6033
PLEASE GO TO WWW.HARFORDLIBERTY.ORG to sign the petition against Bill 12-35. Together, we can turn this county toward fiscal responsibility.
Steering Committee Member
Harford County Campaign for Liberty
P.S. Remember, the only way to stop bad government is to actually stop bad government.
The Harford County Campaign for Liberty needs your help to stop TIF and many other loony policies being enacted by Harford County government. Please sign our petition today to get involved with Harford C4L and make Harford government work for us!
For more information visit: HarfordLiberty.org
Saturday, December 15, 2012
As Martin O'Malley shores up the Democratic base for his run for President in 2016, look for a LOT more pandering and demagoguery of issues. You can BET that this one makes it onto the legislative calendar in Annapolis next session.
from the Baltimore Sun
After a 45-minute meeting Thursday morning with Gov. Martin O'Malley, NAACP national President Ben Jealous said the governor “supports repeal of the death penalty but wants the civil rights organization to line up support before he decides whether to make the effort an administration priority.
Jealous also told reporters after the State House meeting that he plans to meet next week with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who could be the pivotal figure in deciding whether a repeal bill gets a floor vote during the General Assembly session that starts next month.
The NAACP leader said the meeting with O'Malley, a longtime opponent of capital punishment, went very well.
“This governor gets it,” Jealous said. “He is clearly more eager to get the job done than he has ever been before.”
Jealous stopped short of claiming a commitment from O'Malley to make repeal a part of his own legislative agenda and to make an all-out effort for repeal. The NAACP chief expressed confidence that by the time the legislature convenes Jan. 9, the organization will have lined up enough votes to show O'Malley the effort can succeed.
“He is asking us to show we still have the support,” Jealous said.
Raquel Guillory, a spokeswoman for O'Malley, agreed that the meeting went well and confirmed Jealous' account.
“The governor would like to gauge the support for a potential ban and would like to take this information into account as to whether to move forward,” she said. Guillory said the question of whether to incorporate repeal into his 2013 agenda is “still under discussion.”
O'Malley previously made a strong push for repeal in 2009, but the effort fell short when senators substituted a compromise measure that kept the death penalty but narrowed the circumstances under which it can be used. Since then repeal bills have been bottled up in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, where there has been a 6-5 majority in favor of keeping the death penalty on the books.
Jealous acknowledged that there is no sign that count has changed, but he said that with Miller's support, a bill could be brought to the floor without winning a committee vote.
Miller, a Calvert County Democrat, has in the past expressed personal support for retaining capital punishment. But in some cases, as in last year's vote in favor of same-sex marriage, he has given the governor an opportunity for a floor vote on legislation he has voted against.
Jealous expressed hope that Miller may be reconsidering his past support for the death penalty.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
from the Baltimore Sun
Legislation to encourage development of wind turbines off Ocean City got a boost Tuesday, as the Associated Press reported that Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said he wants to see the twice-defeated bill get a full debate in his chamber this year.
Miller told the AP's Brian Witte that he would consider changing the makeup of the Senate Finance Committee if a majority of its members continue to oppose subsidies for developing offshore wind projects.
Offshore wind is a priority of Gov. Martin O'Malley and of many environmentalists in Maryland, and administration officials have said they're planning to pursue it again in the next General Assembly session that starts in January..
A modified version of O'Malley's offshore wind bill passed the House last year, but it has never cleared the Finance Committee. Miller told the AP that he supports granting ratepayer-financed incentives for wind projects, with qualifications.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
The federal government borrowed 46 cents of every dollar it has spent so far in fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, according to the latest data the Congressional Budget Office released Friday.
The government notched a $172 billion deficit in November, and is already nearly $300 billion in the hole through the first two months of fiscal year 2013, underscoring just how deep the government’s budget problems are as lawmakers try to negotiate a year-end deal to avoid a budgetary “fiscal cliff.”
Higher spending on mandatory items such as Social Security, Medicare and interest on the debt led the way in boosting spending compared with the previous year, which also highlights the trouble spots Congress and President Obama are struggling to grapple with.
All sides agreed to discretionary spending cuts and automatic spending cuts last year, but have been unable to agree on ways to control entitlement costs, which are the long-term drivers of deficits and debt.
Fiscal year 2013 began on Oct. 1 and so far the government has spent $638 billion and taken in just $346 billion in revenue.
That tax revenue is up by $30 billion compared with last year, or about 10 percent.
But spending is up even more — a staggering $87 billion, or 14 percent. The CBO said much of that higher spending total is due to timing of payments month-to-month. Without those shifts, spending would be up $22 billion, or 4 percent.
Overall, CBO analysts said that, accounting for shifts in both revenue and spending, the deficit would be $8 billion lower this year than it was last year at this time.
The agency, Congress’s nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, releases preliminary estimates of the government’s fiscal position each month. Final figures will come later this month from the Treasury Department.
The government is poised to post another $1 trillion deficit in fiscal year 2013, which would mark the fifth straight year. Before that, the record was $438 billion, which came in 2008, President George W. Bush’s last full year in office.
Congress and the White House are trying to hash out a long-term fiscal framework that could lead to higher taxes and limits on future spending.
Friday, December 7, 2012
from the Baltimore Sun
The Human Rights Campaign, a group that backed the effort to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland, is requesting that a rival organization return a $10,000 check from a donor they describe an "active white supremacist and secessionist sympathizer."Hmmm, perhaps MMA should demand that HRC give back the $100,000 donated by Brad Pitt to supporting their referendum projects... after all, Pitt is a known serial adulterer who likely couldn't keep a marriage vow if his life depended upon it and who donates to "gay" causes because he likes to watch his former/current wife get it on with other women. Of course if they did demand a return of the money, not a single responsible newspaper on earth would likely print the fact that they had made such a nonsensical demand.
In a news release, HRC requested that the National Organization for Marriage to return money from Michael Peroutka, an Anne Arundel County lawyer who ran for president in 2008 as a member of the Constitution Party and is active in a group called the League of South.
Michael Hill, the president of the League of the South, espouses controversial views on race including recently writing: "The cold facts of history tell us that blacks have never created anything approximating a civilization in the Western sense of the term."
Peroutka said in an interview that he "continues to be a proud member of the League of the South." However, he said the white supremacist label is "absurd" and "not at all true."
"The League of the South has a belief that the central government is too large, too spend-thrift and too out-of-control," Peroutka said.
The $10,000 check from Peroutka was given to the Maryland Marriage Alliance, the local group that wanted to overturn Maryland's gay marriage law.
The Maryland Marriage Alliance raised only a fraction of the amount brought in by HRC and supporters of same-sex marriage. Derek McCoy, the executive director of the Maryland Marriage Alliance said he has "no intention" of giving the money back.
And yet they call themselves, "progressive"...
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
From Del. Pat McDonough:
Most people would characterize Maryland as a Democrat-controlled state. They would be wrong. There is much more to the real political complexion of Maryland politics. The Democrats who reside in Dundalk, Middle River, and many counties have no connection to the type of Democrats who reside in Montgomery County. The Montgomery Democrats are philosophically “radical liberals.” They support big government, big spending, increased taxes, benefits for illegal aliens, gay marriage, and every other agenda on the left wing shopping list. Unfortunately, they control the balance of power in Maryland.
Maryland is now the “bluest” state in the nation, along with California. The Montgomery and Prince Georges County delegations to the Maryland General Assembly are running the show in Annapolis. The rapidly growing voter registration numbers in those two Washington, D.C. suburban counties create a tsunami of radical Democrat votes on Election Day. That huge wave washes away votes from the rest of the state.
The tyranny of the “super majority” rules the Maryland General Assembly. Although the GOP minority punches way above their weight with aggressive floor strategies, intelligent speeches and common sense amendments, all of their efforts are in vain. The “super majority” never seriously considered compromise or cooperation. It is the “radical blue” way or the highway.
The dynamic of the voting power in Maryland probably ensures there may never be another statewide Democrat office holder from Baltimore after O’Malley, Cardin, and Mikulski have moved on. The Baltimore area voters have become captive step-children to the massive voting power of the Washington, D.C. suburbs. Baltimore’s “radical blue” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake presides over an urban landscape beset by murder, muggings, economic stagnation and a dim future. She suffers no real opposition, except possibly from another “radical blue” political challenger. The diversity of electoral politics or public policy is non-existent in Charm City.
All doubt about this growing power was removed when the 7 questions on the ballot achieved a solid victory created by a deluge of votes from the D.C. suburbs. The problem is compounded by the fact that the two major press organs dominating Maryland, the Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post, both reflect the “radical blue” philosophy in their editorial and reporting practices. They are enablers, not objective journalists.
The consequences of this “radical blue” monopoly ensures that the people of Maryland will continuously be subjected to government debt, increased regulations and taxes, assault against business, uncontrolled spending, and a march toward the cliff. Maryland’s Triple A bond rating is already on the “watch list” and our state is considered at the top of the most business unfriendly places in the nation.
How do we overcome this growing disaster? It will not be easy since many of our most productive citizens are voting with their feet.
Good-bye millionaires, hundred thousandaires, small business owners, retirees, and other productive citizens who are becoming reluctant refugees from their beloved state. They still love Maryland, but the “radical blue” politicians find them to be only useful as ATM machines. Unless Washington, D.C., Montgomery, and Prince Georges Counties are thrown together to become the 51st state, there are few solutions available.
In the wonderful movie, “The Wind and the Lion,” the character, “Raisuli, the Magnificent,” played by Sean Connery, in despair uttered these words, “All is lost, things are spinning out of control, and nothing is as it should be.” Marylanders understand your pain, Mr. Raisuli.
Saturday, December 1, 2012
The incoming Cecil County executive's decision to switch her party registration from Republican to independent Thursday has become a major flashpoint at the state GOP convention in Howard County this weekend, exposing a gaping split in party ranks.
Tari Moore, who was elected Nov. 6 as Cecil's first executive under charter government, confirmed Friday that she had changed her registration -- less than four weeks after winning election under the Republican banner and with financial support from the state GOP.
Moore said she would give a full explanation of her reasons when she is worn in Monday.
"This is a decision that's been very difficult and has been done with a great deal of thought and prayer," she said.
Moore's thoughts and prayers were hardly comforting to her Republican senator, Minority Leader E. J. Pipkin.
"It's deceitful. It's dishonest. She needs to step aside," Pipkin said. "She needs to pay back the money the party put out on her behalf and she should apologize."
However, GOP sources said the issue is more complicated than a simple case of party-bolting over ideological issues. To some degree, Moore's switch appears to be a stategic move made for strictly local reasons. But with the GOP gathering Saturday at Turf Valley for its post-election convention, the Cecil controversy has become a proxy battle between Pipkin and his longtime party rival, U.S. Rep. Andrew Harris (R, 1st).
The controversy could come to a head at the convention Saturday afternoon, when Moore's critics hope to offer a resolution backing Pipkin's call for her resignation.
Cecil Republicans say the root of Moore's switch is the question of who will fill the Cecil council seat Moore is leaving to take the executive post. Her election, they said, will leave a 2-2 split between her supporters and critics. By becoming an independent before her swearing-in, she said, she will take the decision of who will replace her out of the hands of the county Republican Central Committee and switch that power to the county council.
If the council were to deadlock at 2-2 over her successor, Moore would be able to cast the tie-breaking vote, party sources said. That would give her a working majority to govern the county, county sources said.
Cecil Republicans said the couny central committee is dominated by supporters of Pipkin and Del. Michael Smigiel Sr., a Cecil Republican.
Harris, who supported Moore in a contested primary, said he had no problem with Moore's decision to change affiliation. He said he was confident she would soon return to the party fold.
"Tari Moore is a good Republican and I think at some time she will," Harris said.