Jon Mahaffey

Obama's Automotive Regs. Harm American Companies and People


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Monday, August 1st, 2011, 3:10 PM PERMALINK


Once again, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards has peaked its head into the American automotive industry as It was once imposed by Washington D.C. on American automotive companies back in 1975. President Obama's revised CAFE standards are now furthering our foreign competitor’s regulatory and financial advantage by creating higher fuel efficiency requirements and lower emission requirements for new cars.

 

Fuel Efficiency

GHG Emissions

Current Regulations for Model Year 2016

35.5 mpg

250 grams/mile

Proposed Regulations for Model Year 2025

56 mpg

163 grams/mile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new CAFE standards will further frustrate the American automaker - American car buyer relationship to a point where buyers will be priced out of the new car market due to the costs associated with regulatory compliance.

o Even the Environmental Protection Agency [1] (EPA) projects increased costs of $2,100 to $2,500 per vehicle by 2025 in addition to the $950 per vehicle increase associated with the model years 2012-2016 standards.

o More likely, new standards will increase the cost per vehicle by $5720 to $6714 by 2025.

o Even with the savings pocketed from increased efficiency, the 56 mpg standard would result in a net monetary loss for consumers - sticker price increase minus fuel savings - of $2,858 over five years for car owners.

o The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2011 Annual Energy Outlook [2] finds that no new cars under $15,000 would be available to car buyers in 2025.

The proposed fuel efficiency and emissions standards will expand the main cause of federal spending and debt - a government that is doing too much.

o Congress deemed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration to be the only agency setting fuel efficiency standards; however EPA’s Supplemental Notice of Intent [3] (SNI) indicates it is now the leading agency in establishing fuel efficiency standards.

o The EPA’s SNI states that the new standards will require new programs to encourage the adoption of the technology needed to implement the new standards.

Click Here to read more of Americans for Tax Reform’s take on Obama’s automotive regulatory initiative.


[1] EPA, 2017-2025 Light-duty Vehicle GHG & Fuel Economy Joint Notice of Intent and Interim Technical Assessment Report, http://www.epa.gov/air/caaac/mstrs/oct2010/4_charmley_tamm.pdf

[2] EIA, Annual Energy Outlook 2011 with Projections to 2035, http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/pdf/0383(2011).pdf

[3] EPA, Supplemental Notice of Intent, http://www.epa.gov/otaq/climate/420f11027.pdf

 

 

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Big Labor Makes Big Mistake in South Carolina


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Monday, August 1st, 2011, 11:28 AM PERMALINK


Residents and the legislative leadership in South Carolina without a doubt don’t want anything to do with Big Labor’s oppressive tactics. Workers in South Carolina’s new Boeing plant recently booted out union bosses and legislators created a business climate to land the production of the big 787 Dreamliner for years to come.

However, according to the Daily Caller, local representatives from the International Association of Machinists (IAM) won’t leave the Palmetto State.

Anthony Riedel of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation told The Daily Caller in an interview that workers have been told that if they unionize, IAM leadership will get the NLRB to drop the controversial complaint against Boeing.

!Big Red Flag!

Two legal issues may come to the forefront in light of Big Labors latest tactic.

1. Extortion - in order for an extortion offense to qualify under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, IAM must obtain something of value from Boeing employees with his or her consent induced by wrongful use of force, fear or threats.

IAM is clearly obtaining something of value - costly union dues - by use of force, fear, and threats - if they unionize, IAM leadership will get the NLRB to drop the controversial complaint.

Moreover, the political pressure from Washington, D.C. to South Carolina is building. U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy, R-SC, told the Daily Caller that AIM’s illegal and coercive behavior “would be highly improper if not illegal”.

2. Dismissal - if the NLRB’s general counsel is participating in talks with IAM to withdraw the complaint - the NLRB’s decision to issue a legal complaint that will potentially force the Boeing Company to relocate production of 787 Dreamliners would more than likely be dismissed by the Court.

At a time when more than 14 million workers are unemployed, Big Labor continues to employ illegal tactics to pump workers hard earned cash into their coffers to support the reelection of Obama who appointed the most pro-labor NLRB board in our nation’s history. Not to mention the same board that wants to take away these South Carolinians jobs. 

South Carolinian’s take pride in the fact South Carolina is a right-to-work state and they should not be threatened or punished for its ability to attract investment.

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Marcellus Shale Economic Impact, Bigger Than We Thought


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011, 4:56 PM PERMALINK


Penn State recently finished its third study documenting the development of the Marcellus Shale and its economic impacts on Pennsylvania and the United States. The report shows that the Keystone State is on track to be adequately prepared with enough natural gas to power everything from a home, to an office building, to consumers in other states. A summary of the report’s findings are as follows:

A Lucrative Investment - private companies are on track to continue investing billions of dollars in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus natural gas. According to the study, $5.3 billion was spent on drilling activities in 2009, an estimated $11.5 billion will be spent in 2010, and on pace to $12.7 billion in 2011.

Increases GDP, Jobs, and Revenue - $11.5 billion spent in 2010 generated $11.2 billion in additional value. The employment in the state jumps to +336,000 jobs for 2011-2012. And $2.6 billion generated in additional tax revenues during 2011-2012.

This dramatic increase in Marcellus drilling greatly surpasses conventional gas wells. Penn State found that natural gas production from the Pennsylvania Marcellus will average 3.5 billion cubic feet (BCF) per day during 2011 and will most likely surpass 6 BCF during 2012. When at the same time approximately 0.5 BCF per day of production is generated from conventional gas wells.

That’s not all. This study projects that Marcellus gas production could expand to over 17 BCF a day by 2020. Lastly, the study finds Marcellus Shale will greatly increase domestic energy production, and reduce government deficits.

Despite the good news, gas development costs in Pennsylvania are relatively higher than other regions due to more regulations. We all must do our part to make sure the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania lives up to the expectation s cited in this study. So, please contact Pennsylvania’s legislative leaders to let them know you support the production of Marcellus Shale and that overregulation is severely holding back an industry that matters to us all and that calls for a punitive tax on the industry need to be rejected.

 

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Washington State Democrats Lawsuit Attempts to Squash Voice of the People


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Tuesday, July 26th, 2011, 2:49 PM PERMALINK


Democratic lawmakers in Washington State sued the state yesterday in a desperate attempt to establish a means of raising taxes on Washingtonians. This myopic lawsuit will overturn Initiative 1053, a voter-approved requirement that two-thirds of the Legislature must approve tax increases.

The Democrats falsely and outrageously believe the voter-approved two-thirds requirement unconstitutionally prevents lawmakers from sucking the money out of Washingtonians wallets for government funded projects.

This lawsuit bucks the Washington State Constitution and the will of the people of the Evergreen State.

According to the Washington State Constitution, Article I, Declaration of Rights, Section 1, Political Power:

“All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.”

In light of Article I, Section 1, the Washington State government must follow the will and consent of the people. Washingtonians have spoken not once, but four times in regards to limiting the Legislatures ability to raise taxes since 1993. Furthermore, this is not decade old voter sentiment because I-1053 was approved by voters in 2010.

The potential condemnation of this lawsuit is overwhelming.

  • On the prosecution side you have a handful Big Government Democrats.
  • On the other side you maybe - just maybe - have Two-Thirds of Washingtonians who supported I-1053.

Washington State Representative Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, quoted in The Seattle Times, essentially stated that the two-thirds majority in both chambers doesn’t allow the Legislature to create a new revenue source.

Exactly - Washingtonians voted to approve the two-thirds requirement so Big Government Democrats like Representative Pedersen can’t create new sources of revenue that comes out of the taxpayers’ coffers.   Pedersen seems oblivious to the fact that Washington State has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. 

In a written statement, House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, poignantly expands on the Big Government Democrats desire to penalize families and businesses:

“At a time when so many families and small businesses are adjusting to economic realities and living within their means, House Democrats feel that state government shouldn't have to."

Ruling against Initiative 1053 admonishes the will of the people and all that work done back in 1899 – the year Washington State’s official Constitution was drafted. 

Tell us what you think.  Is Initiative 1053 good for Washington State?

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Letter of Support: H.R. 2587 - The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Monday, July 25th, 2011, 3:48 PM PERMALINK


Alliance for Worker Freedom Executive Director, Christopher Prandoni, urges Congress to support H.R. 2587.

"At a time when more than 14 million workers are unemployed, Congress must pass H.R. 2587 to limit the radical, job-killing NLRB. This bill will reassure America’s job creators and expedite their plans to return workers from the unemployment line to the factory line."

Click Here to read more.

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Big Labor's Latest How-To-Guide


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Monday, July 18th, 2011, 2:06 PM PERMALINK


An arm of Big Labor - Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – was recently exposed for publishing a manual produced to maintain a tyrannical grip on U.S. companies and workers. 

In a lawsuit against SEIU alleging extortion, the discovery process forced SEIU to relinquish its Contract Campaign Manual. Big Labor will do just about anything to stay afloat, however SEIU’s manual suggests everything from criminal activities to defaming employer’s families to obtain new members.

The overall goal of the Contract Campaign Manual is to apply pressure on companies to agree to take away the secret ballot for employees in union-organizing elections via card check. In addition, the manual takes aim at companies First Amendment rights by forcing employers to restrict their own speech on union issues so that workers will not get both sides of the story on unionization.

Vincent Vernuccio of Competitive Enterprise Institute highlights SEIU’s disturbing intimidation practices in his shocking tell all op-ed about SEIU's manual, Labor’s new strategy: Intimidation for dummies.

To drive this home, Vernuccio brings to light the withering union’s latest pitch to recruit members by encouraging SEIU members to practice the following tactics to cause employers to fold to Big Labor demands.

1. Destroy Business Relationships

2. Drain Employers Bank Accounts

3. Ruin Public Image

4. Attack Family Members

5. Imprison Your Boss

For instance, Vernuccio writes,

“In May SEIU drove 14 busloads of protesters to the quiet suburban home of Bank of America’s deputy general counsel, Greg Baer. Intimidation was the whole point of this exercise…only Mr. Baer’s teenage son was home. Terrified, he locked himself in the bathroom, pleading…“When are they going to leave?”

This story is one of many intimidation practices employed by Big Labor and will hopefully reach those that believe Big Labor plays by the rules.

This is hardly the case when SEIU’s Contract Campaign Manual states the following word for word:

  • Outside pressure can involve jeopardizing relationships between the employer and lenders, investors, stockholders, customers, clients, patients, tenants, politicians, or others on whom the employer depends for funds.
  • Legal and regulatory pressure can threaten the employer with costly action by government agencies or the courts.
  • Leafleting outside meetings where they are speaking, their homes, or events sponsored by community organizations they are tied to are some ways to make sure their friends, neighbors, and associates are aware of the controversy.

Wake up people. Big Labor is not the voice of the worker and will do everything possible to gain power, membership, and influence.

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Democrats in New Mexico Want to Raise Taxes Too


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Friday, July 15th, 2011, 4:06 PM PERMALINK


Democrats on New Mexico’s legislative tobacco committee came out with a plan this past Wednesday to burden the New Mexico taxpayer and put constituents out of work.

The Democrats want to raise taxes on cigars and smokeless tobacco from the current 25 percent of wholesale cost to 57 percent. However, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez is thankfully bringing sanity to this circus as she made it clear that she will oppose this tax increase proposal.

The “promise” of new revenue - $7 million - would lead to an array of adverse economic and health consequences for New Mexico. Lifestyle taxes, such as taxes on tobacco products, have consistently proven to NOT be source of sustainable tax revenue. For example, in the case of Washington, D.C., a recent increase in the tax on cigarettes correlated to a 20-percent decline in tobacco tax revenues.

According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, New Mexico is among the top five states for smuggling destinations with 37.2 percent of all tobacco products coming from smuggling. While most smugglers are average citizens trying to save the dollars in their wallets, in other instances, smuggling is orchestrated by violent criminals.  

The USA Today recently noted:   

A recent wave of state tobacco tax increases, designed to pump revenue into cash-strapped local governments, is inspiring an increasingly dangerous cigarette smuggling industry where big profits lure violent criminal gangs and drug traffickers into the booming illegal market, according to law enforcement officials and court records.

Additionally, there is a growing body of scientific research that suggests that there is a difference in the health risk between the use of cigarette tobacco products and smokeless tobacco products.  

Smokeless tobacco products are an integral part of an effective tobacco harm reduction policy.  Britain’s College of Physicians has concluded that, “Smoking is many times more dangerous than smokeless tobacco use.The American Cancer Society has produced data that shows a cigarette smoker has a 10-percent higher risk of oral cancer than an individual who uses a smokeless tobacco product.  For example, in Sweden a smokeless tobacco product that is now readily available has lead to a sharp decline in the use of cigarettes.

As such, New Mexico Democrats need to realize that this is not a laughing matter for the taxpayers of their state; it is just plain old bad economic policy.

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SEC Bureaucrats Run Roughshod Over Taxpayer and Federal Laws


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Friday, July 8th, 2011, 10:36 AM PERMALINK


The Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Schapiro and her bureaucrat underlings came under fire once again in a hearing on Wednesday for the agency’s decision to lease 900,000 square feet of unneeded office space at Constitution Center in downtown Washington, D.C. The bureaucrats that pulled the trigger obligated the taxpayers to pay $556 million in lease obligations over the course of the next 10 years.

Rest assured these bureaucrats are going to have some major legal problems if the Department of Justice (DOJ) pursues a criminal investigation on the $556 million lease debacle.

The DOJ is most likely looking into the backdating of a required document justifying the choice of the new space which was dated a few days after the lease was signed. However, the SEC Inspector General believes the justification document was actually finalized a month later.

During the June 16th hearing on the SEC’s leasing practices, Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) referred to the leasing debacle as a “beach ball” for Republicans to hit at the flawed Dodd-Frank bill because the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) “can’t do anything right”.

The politically toxic beach ball in play is only getting bigger because backdating a leasing document is illegal. Furthermore, the consequences for the inept bureaucrats that inflated it could lead to fines or prison time if pursued by the DOJ.

The question that no one from the SEC has been able to answer definitively is why did the SEC leasing officials rush into a $556 million lease obligation?

The only explanation Shapiro offered on Wednesday was that leasing officials came to her for emergency approval because other agencies were vying for Constitution Center and it was within walking distance from the current headquarters. However, according to Google Maps it would take approximately 30 minutes to walk and it’s hard to believe other office space was not closer by and available in this economy.

Shapiro’s explanation doesn’t add up and the reasons or incentives for the bureaucrats that made the decision to obligate the taxpayer to a $556 million lease are unknown. If the DOJ decides to pursue a criminal investigation, Shapiro’s bureaucrats might want to leave the Rolex watch or foreign automobile at home for a while.

The track record at the SEC – not noticing Enron shell game, failing to catch Maddoff, employees watching pornography during the financial crisis, and signing a 900,000 square foot lease for unneeded space – leads one to believe anything is possible when it comes to an employee at the SEC.

The SEC has an established record of nonfeasance with respect to its responsibilities. The fact that they cannot even follow the law when making decisions about their office space suggests that the negligent, lackadaisical, and entitled attitude in within the organization is still in need of a remedy.

 

- To view documents and video related to Congressional Hearing - The Securities and Exchange Commission's $500 Million Fleecing of America: Part Two - Click Here

 

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Pennsylvania Legislative Update


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Thursday, June 23rd, 2011, 4:56 PM PERMALINK


As the legislature winds down in Harrisburg one issue can benefit the taxpayer if passed - HB 1661 prohibiting Pa. Liquor Control Board from taxing Pennsylvanians without legislative approval - and the other can severely place a burden on the taxpayer if included in the budget - a hospital tax increase currently being considered in budget negotiations.

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform wrote the following letter in support of HB 1661 and in opposition to the hospital tax increase.

To read letter in support of HB 1661, please read below.

To read letter in opposition to hospital tax, please click here.

June 23, 2011

Dear Members of the General Assembly:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, I am writing in support of House Bill 1661 which prohibits the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) from taxing Pennsylvanians without accountability or oversight.

In January, 2011 the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board attempted to implement increased handling fees. Soon after, Governor Tom Corbett correctly stated that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board “didn’t get it” because the last thing he would allow under his watch was additional taxes or fees.

However, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) still plans to increase the fee covering the operating cost of moving a beverage container, known as the Logistics, Transportation, and Marketing Fee (LTMF). The PLCB plan shifts the flat per beverage container fee of $1.30 to a 13% fee for future pricing.

The LCB plan shifts the flat per beverage container retail fee of $1.30 to a 13% fee for future pricing. Moving to a percentage based fee is effectively a tax increase on Pennsylvanians. For example, if a $10 beverage container becomes a $12 beverage container, the 13% fee will increase the cost by 26 cents. This “fee” hike will increase the shelf price of a product because suppliers will adjust to the increased fee price changes.

Furthermore, a 13% “fee” will hold back a growing industry in Pennsylvania. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the number of jobs in leisure and hospitality - 512,500 - is up 2.5% since May 2010. Increased costs will prompt the consumer to buy less and employers will inevitably make adjustments to cope with the resulting reduction in revenue, potentially leading to job losses.

To prevent a monopolistic government entity from controlling Harrisburg, House Bill 1661 removes the LCB from the decision making chair and replaces it with elected officials who are ultimately held accountable by the people. Furthermore, this legislation affirms that elected officials are responsible for handling taxpayer money.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill raised federal taxes by over $350 billion in just the past two years and the American people took note by throwing out those who refused to tighten the belt of the federal government. As such, it’s imperative that you not allow the LCB pile on with more job-killing taxes increases at the state level.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, I urge you to support and pass House Bill 1661. Please contact ATR’s Director of State Affairs Patrick Gleason at (202) 785-0266 with any questions.

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist

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NLRB threatens democratic elections, silences employers' ability to negotiate


Posted by Jon Mahaffey on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011, 5:33 PM PERMALINK


Big labor regulators plan to propose the anti-business rule tomorrow that beats down the democratic process of labor elections to as little as 10 to 21 days from the filing of a petition.

The current process of allowing labor elections to take place within 40 to 60 days after a union collects signatures to file a petition allows employers to facilitate solutions with employees’ concerns during the 40 to 60 day time frame.

The current 40 to 60 day window is necessary to ensure fair and democratic elections occur. Since it is the union that decides when the election will take place, employers are afforded 40 to 60 days to ensure that their side of the story is heard. Unions may spend months organizing workers—ensuring that all their ducks are in a row—and will only call an election once they are certain they have a good chance at success. Undeniably, employers cannot explain their position, dismantle myths put for by the union, and educate workers in a measly ten days.

The lone Republican, Brian Hayes, on the Democratic controlled board wrote in his dissent obtained by the Associated Press (AP) that the new rule proposal “effectively eviscerates an employer's legitimate opportunity to express its views."

On the labor side, according to the AP, Lynn Rhinehart, general counsel of the AFL-CIO, has stated the election process is "a very cumbersome process".

The “cumbersome process” that the mouthpiece for big labor is referring to allows an employer – the one who created the job in the first place – to find a middle ground with the employees. Closing the window to as little 10 to 21 days discourages and essentially eliminates a personal, pragmatic relationship employers have with their employees.

Big labor’s move to cut the employer out of the picture is not hard to figure out: unions will be able to organize more uninformed workers to join which will increase the declining membership numbers nationwide.

This move is a raw deal for employers, employees, and every working American.

Employers and employees have 75 days to submit comments to the NLRB before the agency makes its decisions on whether the rule will go into affect.

You can help ensure employers and employees can operate hand in hand.

Pick up the phone and call NLRB’s board members and tell them closing the window on union elections is a raw deal for employers, employees, and every working American.

o       Wilma B. Liebman, Chairman - 202-273-1700

o       Craig Becker - 202-273-1740

o       Mark G. Pearce - 202-273-1070

o       Brian Hayes - 202-273-1770

 

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