eUpdate - 3/2/07
Taxpayers League of Minnesota eUpdate
1. Taxpayers League Live! with David Strom.
2. A victory for taxpayers and the start of “tax and spend” season.
3. By no means criminal, just stupid, wasteful and lame.
4. Stop paying for an unnecessary war that was launched with faulty intelligence.
5. “What Science Really Says About Global Warming.”
1. Taxpayers League Live! with David Strom.
Tune in this Saturday to AM 1280 The Patriot from 9 – 11am when David will be joined by Erik Paulsen and Mark Yost. Paulsen, State Representative from Eden Prairie, will talk about the 2007 legislative session that should finally kick into high-gear with the release of the February Forecast, and more importantly, his “Google government” legislation that will shine some light in all kinds of dark, little appropriation places. Yost, a former editorial writer at the Pioneer Press, now writes for the Wall Street Journal’s leisure and arts page and is the author of Tailgating, Sacks, and Salary Caps: How the NFL Became the Most Successful Sports League in History. His latest book is The 200-MPH Billboard: The Inside Story of How Big Money Changed NASCAR.
Also, be sure to tune in at 10:05 am for the Capitol Update from Phil Krinkie. What’s going on, who’s spending money and why you should care.
2. Now the wolves begin to circle the henhouse…
First up, the good news. On Monday, the Federal Railroad Administrator denied the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern’s (DM&E) $2.3 billion loan application. Not necessarily because the idea was bad or that the expanded rail capacity wasn’t needed, but because “there remained too high a risk concerning the railroad's ability to repay the loan even with an appropriate combination of credit risk premiums and collateral.” Good enough for me.
And next, while not really bad news, state legislators were given two billion new ways to make mischief. The February Economic Forecast from the Department of Finance came in just $7 million under November’s estimate, the $2 billion that is still sitting around is starting to look a lot like a down payment on more spending rather than the refund it should be.
3. Somebody at the Legislature needs to set up a “dunce corner.” Complete with stool and the pointy hat.
Cue Ennio Morricone, because here’s this week’s edition of “What the hell are they thinking?”
HF1213, an expansion of drug and prostitution free zones. I know I moved out of Minneapolis eight months ago and have probably since fallen out of the loop, but I didn’t realize there were places where the use of hookers and blow was encouraged. Anyway, I’m sure this bill will solve the problem. I think if Rep. Clark just paints a few yellow lines around the streets in her neighborhood, Tina Streetwalker and John Speedfreak will happily oblige.
This one’s a two-fer. HF1269 (which covers the Target Center in Minneapolis), and HF859 (which covers the St. Paul RiverCentre) are two bills for two cities looking for massive taxpayer bailouts. It’s one thing to ask taxpayers to bail you out when you’re financially over your head (because running city finances was intellectually and administratively over your head in the first place), but as sure as night follows day, I’m willing to bet that the millions Minneapolis and St. Paul are seeking will most likely get flushed away on more green roofs, LRT studies and neighborhood revitalization slush funds.
And the LAME
HF620, child protective devices required in shopping carts. Now I don’t know how they shop for groceries in Duluth, but apparently it’s an activity that requires passengers to be belted into place. I can understand if those kinds of safety measures are needed when you’re racing Mrs. Petermann down the home stretch to avoid getting stuck with the kid on register three that has trouble counting to twelve, but for your regular, everyday shopping that doesn’t carry Nextel Cup point implications, I think going slow and using common sense should suffice.
4. Time to get your Spanish-American War rebate from the IRS.
“After a century of complaining about the myriad taxes and fees tacked on to their phone bills, consumers have finally been given the chance to get some of that money back in the form of the telephone excise tax refund.
“The credit, offered this year only to anyone who has a land line or cell phone and made long distance calls, is meant to refund any excise tax paid on long distance between March 2003 through the end of July 2006. The tax was imposed in 1898 to fund the Spanish-American War; numerous courts last year ruled the centuries-old tax no longer applied.
“Taxpayers have a choice: to collect the standard credit of between $30 and $60 based on their number of dependents, or to rifle through old bills and add up the exact amount of excise tax they paid during the 41-month time period. If you've already filed your refund sans telephone excise tax credit, you can file Form 1040X and complete line 15 to amend their return. The IRS suggests you wait until your initial return is processed before giving it a second go. If you don't typically file an income tax return, the IRS created form 1040EZT specifically to get such non-filers the refund.”
5. A climate science symposium sponsored by the American Property Coalition.
Mark your calendars for Thursday, March 8 from noon to 2:45 pm when the American Property Coalition will sponsor a forum titled, “What Science Really Says About Global Warming.” The event, which will take place at the Minnesota History Center – Auditorium, will feature Dr. Patrick Michaels, Research Professor of Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia, Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, National Spokesman for the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance and James Taylor (this one, not this one), a Senior Fellow for Environmental Policy at the Heartland Institute.
For additional event information or questions, call (651) 296-4847.
The Taxpayers League of Minnesota's E Update is written by Mark Giga