Bankrupt Illinois Slams Citizens With 32% Income Tax Hike, More to Come

-By Warner Todd Huston

As the state of Illinois edges near becoming the first U.S. state to ever be rated junk bond status, the Democrat-controlled legislature of the bankrupt state of Illinois has just voted to slam its citizens with a hefty 32 percent hike in state income taxes.

After a series of delays as a legislature obviously embarrassed by its own actions dithered, the State House finally approved of the Senate’s override of the governor’s veto with a 71-42 vote burdening the state with a massive tax hike. It was a vote that saw ten of the state’s Republican contingent abandon Republican values and join the Democrats in approval.

Thursday’s vote permanently increases the state’s personal income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. It also raises the burden on businesses raising the rate from 5.9 percent to seven. It all amounts to a 32 percent hike for the average Illinoisan and a $5 billion tax hike overall.

The new tax hike all the more galling because Illinois already has the highest property taxes in the nation, a fact that often forces retirees out of their homes and fleeing to other states. This is also a situation not lost on the state’s African American population, either. Illinois is witnessing a growing number of its African American citizens moving out of the state with Chicago and Cook County residents leaving at the fastest rate.
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Bankrupt Illinois Slams Citizens With 32% Income Tax Hike, More to Come”

Obama Plans to Include Provisions for ‘Rising Sea Levels’ In Every Federal Project

-By Warner Todd Huston

Going forward, Barack Obama has announced that every federal project will now include provisions to acknowledge the claim that sea levels will rise due to global warming.

Obama issued one of his many, many Executive Orders on Friday directing federal agencies to include plans for rising sea levels in every new project for the remaining years of his reign in the White House.
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Obama Plans to Include Provisions for ‘Rising Sea Levels’ In Every Federal Project”

The New Budget Bill: Still Funds Obamacare, Still Bans Abortion Spending, Still Bans Internet Taxes

-By Warner Todd Huston

The New nine-month budget bill called the CR/Omnibus spending bill is a $1.01 trillion spending bill that is over one thousand pages thick. But it takes care of spending for most of 2015 and one has to wonder why the Republicans pushed a spending bill that will prevent them from affecting spending for most of the entire first year they will be in control?

It is absurd that the GOP didn’t push a continuing resolution that only tides the government over for a few short months because next year the GOP will be in full control of both houses of Congress. Yet, the GOP was not just *sighing* and agreeing with this nine-month spending bill, GOP leadership was pushing it. This is a bill that will cut the GOP out from having any influence on spending for most of their first year they are in control.

Still, many of the hundreds of policy riders–little bits of instruction that affects spending–are good for the conservatives. Of course, some will upset Democrats and some Republicans.

Anyway, here are some of the riders of interest in the new budget bill (in no particular order):

Obamacare Fully Funded

The bill fully funds Obamacare, though it does put a limit to any growth in spending and cuts the budget by $10 million for the “death panel” board called the Independent Payment Advisory Board. It also does not give the IRS any new funding so that the taxing agency can implement the Affordable Care Act.

Clean Water Act

In a victory for farmers, the spending bill will prevent the EPA from taking upon itself the power to regulate farm ponds and ditch water. This is also a victory for Republicans–not to mention the country!

EPA Funding Cut

Speaking of the EPA, its budget was cut by $60 million over last year’s budget. The EPA will get $8.1 billion. This is another decrease. Since 2010 the agency has lost 21 percent of its budget.

No Pot Legalization for Washington DC

The City Council of the District of Columbia will be prohibited from legalizing marijuana and will be forced to hew to the federal ban on pot. On the other hand, federal drug enforcement agencies and law groups will be prevented from interfering in state-based pot industries.
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The New Budget Bill: Still Funds Obamacare, Still Bans Abortion Spending, Still Bans Internet Taxes”

Solyndra Republicans, Why the GOP Cannot be Trusted

-By Warner Todd Huston

On Friday, July 20, Politico reported that GOP leadership in the House beat back an attempt by recalcitrant members of their own caucus to continue to quietly support the sort of pork spending that gave us Solyndra in the first place.

House GOP leadership has been beating the Democrats up for the pure wasteful spending that was Democrat support for the now bankrupted “green energy” company Solyndra. But a few Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wanted to buck the anti-bailout theme and quietly keep the spending program that allowed the “loans” to Solyndra to continue.

According to Politico:

At least three House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans had publicly expressed reservations about the GOP-backed “No More Solyndras Act” during the past week. They griped, to varying degrees, about a provision that would effectively end the loan guarantee program — and argued that it needs to be reformed, not killed.

As Politico noted, the Wall Street Journal also lambasted these Republicans calling them the “Solyndra Wing” of the GOP and chiding them for loving corporate welfare.

The three Republicans hoping to re-open the corporate welfare spigot are Joe Barton (Texas), Michael Burgess (Texas), and Phil Gingrey (Georgia).

So, as we can see here, there is a large and powerful block of the GOP that is fully in support of the sort of disgusting, un-American waste, and pork barrel spending that results in such programs as the “loan guarantees” that sent millions of U.S. tax dollars into the black hole that is Solyndra — a company that will never pay back the so-called loans afforded it by Democrats wishing to help Obama campaign contributors.
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Solyndra Republicans, Why the GOP Cannot be Trusted”

Buzzfeed Misleads on Job Loss of U.S. Merchant Marine, Blames Tea Party

-By Warner Todd Huston

Now that Congress passed and the President signed the highway bill, Buzzfeed has jumped in to decry the loss of as many as 10,000 jobs in the U.S. overseas shipping sector. Naturally, since it’s Buzzfeed we’re talking about here, only the left side of the story is being told. Worse, Buzzfeed tries to pin this “job loss” on the Tea Party — as if millions of Tea Partiers nation wide are dead set on causing job loss to our Merchant Marines.

For Buzzfeed, former The Hill employee John Stanton seems to have simply rejiggered a Democrat Party press release to cry about the “jobs loss” he and the left think they see in the Highway bill. He spends no time at all worrying about any Republican response, quotes only Democrats, and also seems to be just regurgitating press releases from lobbyists for the Merchant Marine. Of course, there really isn’t any explanation of what really happened.

One of the claimed “unexpected” results of the highway bill, Stanton tells us, was the reduction in federal funding of the shipping by sea of foreign food aid. Until this bill, 75% of this food aid was shipped aboard American ships. The new bill cuts that to 50% for a savings of some $108 million a year in taxpayer’s funds.

This, Buzzfeed says, is a result of those darn Tea Partiers being so staunchly against earmarks.
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Buzzfeed Misleads on Job Loss of U.S. Merchant Marine, Blames Tea Party”

Ripping Off California at the Speed of High Speed Rail

-By Warner Todd Huston

One of President Obama’s favorite go-to items to “stimulate” the economy is building new rail lines, especially high-speed rail. Many states have been smart enough to cancel the high-speed rail projects, but oh, not California. California’s project rolls inexorably onward. Still, California does help show the rest of the country why high-speed rail is a boondoggle that should be avoided.

The high-speed rail line that is being built between San Diego and San Francisco was initially sold to California voters as a $40 billion project with Prop 1A back in 2008. That’s a lot of cash, certainly, but its proponents said if it brings jobs to build it and improves the jobs situation in both cities after it’s built, it would be a good investment.

Prop 1A passed with just under 53% of the vote and was supposed to begin ferrying passengers by the year 2020. But now it has been found that the completion date and the $40 billion estimate both are, well, a bit off.
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Ripping Off California at the Speed of High Speed Rail”

How Did Ill. Representatives Vote on Cost Cutting (HR1)?

-By Warner Todd Huston

Last week, the House of Representatives passed HR 1. This bill was the 2011 continuing appropriations act, the bill that makes provisions to fund the federal government. It also contained $61 billion in cuts.

There were 21 different cost cutting measures in the bill. So, how did our Illinois Representatives vote on HR 1? How many of the amendments did our reps vote “yes” for?

Walsh (R, 8th): 100%
Manzullo (R, 16th): 95%
Roskam (R, 6th): 81%
Johnson (R, 15th): 76%
Shimkus (R, 19th): 67%
Hultgren (R, 14th): 62%
Schilling (R, 17th): 57%
Schock (R, 18th): 57%
Dold (R, 10th): 38%
Kinzinger (R, 11th): 38%
Biggert (R, 13th): 25%

Congratulations to Joe Walsh for being a 100% man! Manzullo and Roskam are not too shabby, either. Sadly a few of our newest Reps are in Democrat territory with their weak support of the most number of cost cutting measures. I mean, 38 percent for Kinzinger?? That is horrible. Is Adam Kinzinger a big government guy after all his claims on the campaign trail? Left-winger Biggert’s Democrat-styled votes are no surprise. One is continually surprised she is still pretending to be a Republican.
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How Did Ill. Representatives Vote on Cost Cutting (HR1)?”

The Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010

-By Warner Todd Huston

Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK), a medical doctor by trade, has put out a report that details some of the worst government waste of 2010. His “Wastebook 2010: A Guide to Some of the Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010” was released on his website on Dec. 20.

Coburn’s released statement laments the waste.

“As 2010 ends, millions of Americans are still struggling to find work. Even those lucky enough to have jobs have had to tighten their belts. Yet, Congress continues to find new and extravagant ways to waste tax dollars. In today’s economy, we can’t afford to spend nearly $2 million to showcase neon signs no longer in use at Las Vegas Casinos, nor can Congress and federal agencies afford to spend nearly $1 billion a year on unnecessary printing costs.”

“Our national debt is the greatest threat to our national security according to our own military leaders. Well-intentioned people across the political spectrum will argue about the best way to get us back on track. But we can all agree that cutting wasteful and low priority spending from the budget is not only sensible, but essential.”

“I hope this report will give taxpayers and concerned citizens the information they need to hold Washington accountable. As dysfunctional as our politics can seem, our system still works when ordinary citizens get informed and engaged.”

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The Most Wasteful Government Spending of 2010″

A Detailed List of Earmarks in The Omnibus Spending Bill

-By Warner Todd Huston

Pork, pork, pork. It’s enough pork to make a Southside Chicago BBQ joint greasy with envy. Yes, it’s a bacchanalia of pork spending and earmarks in the Omnibus spending bill, for sure, and we now have the database to prove it.

Senator Tom Coburn has posted a Google Spreadsheet data base document on line and there you can see how much the earmark costs us, where it is going, and which of our congressmen asked for the earmark.

There’s One million, five hundred eighteen thousand dollars for animal vaccines in Greenport, New York. There’s three hundred grand for the study of phytoplankton in Boothbay, Maine. Millions going to various drug enforcement programs across the country. Ten mil is being shelled out to the “John P. Murtha Foundation” for… well, just because John was such a prince of a guy. There’s a mil six hundred thou for the “Brain Safety Net,” so that brains can be safe… and stuff. Lots of cash for the study of renewable energy, various road and bridge projects, and educational efforts. Even more cash to the Department of Energy for the “Office of Science” because, well, only government can do science, ya know?

So far there have been 6,715 earmarks attached to the Fiscal 2011 Omnibus Spending bill that Congress is now considering.
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A Detailed List of Earmarks in The Omnibus Spending Bill”

Senate Republicans Vote to Ban Earmarks

-By Warner Todd Huston

Well, after Senate GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell agreed to go along with the anti-earmark policy that the Tea Party voters were urging, the Senate voted to ban earmarked spending.

Earmarks are those little spending clauses added to bills that otherwise have nothing at all to do with the earmark and are emblematic of the wasteful spending indulged by Congress.

According to Roll Call:

Senate Republicans threw down the earmark gauntlet Tuesday by adopting a resolution calling on Democrats to adopt a voluntary ban moments after they adopted an identical ban of their own.

The challenge, authored by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), calls for Democrats to swear off requests for “a congressionally directed spending item, limited tax benefit or limited tariff benefit” during the 112th Congress.

Adopted by voice vote by the Republican Conference, the challenge came shortly after GOP Senators agreed to an identical ban proposed by Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.). Although Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.) objected to the ban — and expressed his strong opposition to it during the GOP’s closed-door meeting — he did not block a voice vote on the measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has repeatedly dismissed demands for a moratorium on earmarks over the last several days.

Notice, folks, that the Democrats want to continue unabated the wasteful spending by our representatives in both the House and the Senate. Democrats live to waste our tax dollars.

It is heartening that the Republicans have heard the voters and are willing to follow that directive to begin the long, hard road to end wasteful spending. Certainly eliminating earmarks are a tiny step in the right direction, but it is a step and a welcome one, indeed.
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Senate Republicans Vote to Ban Earmarks”

GOP Must Return to Consistent Conservatism

-By Chris Slavens

Republicans are feeling pretty good about themselves. In addition to picking up sixty-one seats in the House and gaining control of that legislative body for the first time in four years, they now control a majority of the states, and are poised to give themselves a long-term advantage by redistricting next year. The White House and Senate are still in Democrats’ hands, but the voters overwhelmingly rejected one-party rule, and Republican politicians clearly believe that the American people are on their side.

They couldn’t be more wrong. The GOP is fractured, like a fragmented vase held together by tape. It made it through the election by riding a wave of antiestablishment anger; many voters, especially independents, did not so much vote for Republicans as they voted against Democrats. Americans wanted to say “no” to liberal socialism, and did, but Republicans now have to offer the electorate something to say “yes” to. Unfortunately, they can’t seem to agree on what that something should be.

There is an ideological rift in the Republican Party, a division that could prove to be fatal if those in control refuse to release their stranglehold on power. There are the old Republicans—the establishment—who first feared the Tea Party, then attempted to infiltrate and control it, and the new Republicans, a far more ideological bunch who would rather drive their own party into the ground than see it head in the wrong direction. These conservative idealists want the best for their country, and view the GOP as a means to an end. Like a tool, the party will be used to complete a task. And, like a tool, it will be discarded if it doesn’t get the job done.
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GOP Must Return to Consistent Conservatism”

Shut Down Government if Necessary!

-By Don Boys, Ph.D.

Republicans are giddy with their recent success at the polls and have the opportunity to effect the greatest change in a hundred years. But don’t count on it. Like all politicians, they have a propensity to foul their own nest. When it comes to human nature, I expect people to act as they always have–with an exception now and then.

We have two parties to keep the U.S on an even keel, not going to excess in either direction. Need I remind anyone that we have seen both parties swinging to extremes in recent years? Bush spoke of “compassionate conservatism” that was neither compassionate nor conservative. We saw him proclaiming a desire to spread democracy all over the world, without any constitutional authority to do so. Moreover, he had no historical precedent to think that Muslims would be willing to live in a democracy. Evidently, neither Bush nor his advisors had ever read the Koran or Hadith. We saw a “conservative” implement a massive prescription drug bill that alone may destroy us.

His bipartisan law, No Child Left Behind, was a farce that had no basis in law or practical application. It is time to stop throwing dollars into the rat hole of public education. Isn’t it about time to realize that public education is a failure, a farce, and a fraud and we should let it fall like a rotten apple. The feds and the states should get out of the education business, a business that went bankrupt many years ago. I did not weep to see Bush ride off on “ole paint” into the western sunset.
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Shut Down Government if Necessary!”

Reason #7 to Vote Out Phil Hare

From the Schilling for Congress campaign (17th District)…

Reason #7: Phil Hare helped corrupt lobbyists secure millions of dollars in earmarks

EAST MOLINE, IL–The Bobby Schilling for Congress campaign unveiled the seventh reason in their “20 Reasons to Vote Out Phil Hare” series. The series focuses on Phil Hare’s record and explains why he does not deserve re-election. The campaign will release one reason per day up until the election.
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Reason #7 to Vote Out Phil Hare”

Rep. Roskam on The ‘Pledge To America’ (Answers to Earmarks Question)

-By Warner Todd Huston

Last week the House Republicans issued their update of the 1994 “Contract With America.” They have labeled it the “Pledge To America,” and it was launched to a standing ovation from House Republicans. On Friday I spoke to Representative Peter Roskam (R, Ill.) and asked a few questions about this new effort.

Roskam said that the preamble of the pledge, “which is really, I think, moving,” was met with a standing ovation when it was presented to all the Hose Republicans and the representative was pleased that the National Review said that the new pledge was bolder than the original 1994 contract.

Click to download document

He also threw out a little taunt to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi saying, “our members are game on and ready to go… if the Speaker wants to mock this stuff then the best way for her to deal with it is to call us out, which of course she won’t.”
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Rep. Roskam on The ‘Pledge To America’ (Answers to Earmarks Question)”

Bean’s Earmarks in 2010

From the Palatine Tea Party group…

(Palatine, Illinois) – Representative Melissa Bean Illinois 8th district sponsored or co-sponsored the following 13 Earmark projects in 2010 totaling $25,271,000*. Keep in mind that 2010 is not over yet.

With record deficits in 2010 of over one trillion dollars and unemployment near 10% we can see why people are angry with members of Congress and “Voter unhappiness with Congress has reached the highest level ever recorded by Rasmussen Reports as 71% now say the legislature is doing a poor job. That’s up ten points from the previous high of 61% reached.”

Is Melissa Bean at all interested in upholding a high standard of ethics? Where is her common sense and accountability to us the United States taxpayer? This is not your money to waste!
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Bean’s Earmarks in 2010″

Obama Scrubs White House Website of Climate Change Promises, Media Mum

-By Warner Todd Huston

Despite that President Obama made Cap and Trade and other green policy plans a focal point of his early days in office — not to mention his campaign for president — the White House has quietly scrubbed from its official website many of Obama’s promises and green initiatives. I guess the era of Obama really is “change you can believe in”?

Especially interesting it the sudden disappearance of Obama’s plan to commit $150 billion on clean energy research and development.

In 2008 as Obama was preparing to take office he featured on his “Office of the President Elect” website a pledge to spend $150 billion on energy R & D. As of today, that pledge is still there.
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Obama Scrubs White House Website of Climate Change Promises, Media Mum”

GOP Will Repeal Obamacare if They Take Control of House

-By Warner Todd Huston

Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) told reporters that the Republicans are “committed to repealing the health care law” if they take back control of the House or Representatives in November.

Boehner was touting the GOP effort Earlier today Representative Peter Roskam debuted his op ed about the effort here on the blog.

Please do take advantage of this opportunity to make your voice heard by our GOP leaders.
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GOP Will Repeal Obamacare if They Take Control of House”

Roskam Praises Ban on Earmarks by House GOP

From Congressman Peter Roskam…

WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House Republican Conference adopted an immediate, unilateral moratorium on all earmarks, demonstrating House Republicans’ commitment to reducing the out of control federal spending that imperils America’s future.

“Adopting this year’s ban on earmarks is a significant first step toward reigning in a government that is spending, borrowing and taxing away a prosperous future for our children and grandchildren,” said Congressman Peter Roskam. “House Republicans proved today that we understand that strong leadership is required to address exploding federal deficits – which are running at $220 billion a month – and restore the fiscal stability of our country.”
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Roskam Praises Ban on Earmarks by House GOP”