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Report: EPA Could Garnish Wages Over Minor Paperwork Infractions


Posted by Michael Bastasch on Thursday, July 31st, 2014, 11:51 AM PERMALINK


Make sure you correctly fill out all your forms when dealing with the Environmental Protection Agency, as people could see their wages garnished – meaning confiscated, with legal sanction — over paperwork infractions, according to a new report.

Facing public backlash, the EPA withdrew a rule giving them the power to garnish up to 15 percent of people’s wages for delinquent payments. But the threat of having your paycheck raided by environmental regulators is not gone, merely sidelined for now.

In light of this news, the American Action Forum (AAF) examined past EPA fines to gauge the potential impact to people’s paychecks if the agency’s wage garnishment rule is finalized. AAF found that the EPA has forced individuals and businesses $2.3 billion in fines for infractions that have nothing to do with “large facilities emitting tons of toxic pollutants annually.”

One of the most important findings in the AAF report is that individuals tended to pay their fines to the EPA on time — casting doubt on the need for a wage garnishment rule in the first place.

“In cases involving individuals, EPA primarily issues fines for violation of paperwork or legal disclosure requirements rather than significant environmental contamination,” the AAF report found. “Moreover, those fines are generally paid on time. EPA’s proposal to grant itself wage garnishment authority more closely resembles a power grab than an appropriate administrative step to rectify an observed issue in their fine repayment process.”

AAF found that at least 41 people have been forced to pay thousands of dollars for “relatively minor paperwork violations.” Fines for these seemingly innocuous crimes averaged “$12,300 or approximately 14 weeks of earnings for the typical American,” according to AAF.

“A review of EPA’s database reveals that the majority of fines for individuals involve paperwork infractions – not environmental contamination,” AAF reported.

“It is not just individuals that EPA recently fined,” as AAF “also found that the agency cited several churches, medical centers, elementary schools, small businesses, and daycares to the tune of $445,000 during the last six years.”

A major source of EPA fines is paperwork violations involving lead paint. AAF found that over the past six years, the EPA logged at least 35 lead paint paperwork violations, levying an average fine of $12,490 to the owners of large and small rental properties.

One person from Connecticut “omitted routine disclosure forms on the possibility of lead-based paint in his rental property.” The EPA fined him $11,000 per violation for 18 initial infractions, and $16,000 for the last violation on not providing information on lead paint. He was fined a total of $159,000 for paperwork violations, but was able to pay the EPA on time.

A couple from North Carolina was hit with $12,000 in EPA fines for leaving out an “EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet.” As part of their settlement, the couple had to pay the U.S. Treasury $1,517 every 90 days.

 

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Senate Committee Report Details Environmentalists' Inner Workings


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, July 31st, 2014, 11:35 AM PERMALINK


This story was originally posted on Forbes.com.

Over the past fifty years, America’s environmental movement has grown from college kids adorning flowers to a billion dollar industry. With huge budgets to employ lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations professionals, many of America’s leading environmental non-profits are unrecognizable from their modest beginnings. What may seem like an organic, disparate movement is actually a well oiled machine that receives its funding from a handful of super rich liberal donors operating behind the anonymity of foundations and charities, according to a new report out today by the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

The EPW report titled The Chain of Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPAmeticulously details how the “Billionaires’ Club” funds nearly all of the major environmental non-government organizations (NGO), many media outlets, and supposed grassroots activists. The Billionaire Report continues by describing the cozy relationship many environmental groups have with the executive branch and the revolving door that makes this possible.

The most striking aspect of the Billionaire Report is the sheer amount of money that is in play. In 2011 alone, ten foundations donated upwards of half a billion dollars to environmental causes. Many of these foundations, whose assets are valued in the billions, meet and coordinate under the framework provided by the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA). Described as the “funding epicenter of the environmental movement,” EGA members doled out $1.13 billion to environmental causes in 2011. EGA’s membership is not public but its clout is self-evident given the amount of money its members direct to recognizable environmental NGOs.

Often times, EGA members will elect to indirectly fund organizations that are the face of the environmental movement. For example, instead of directly cutting a check to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) or the Sierra Club, the Hewlett Foundation or the Packard Foundation will contribute to the Energy Foundation. The Billionaire Report describes the Energy Foundation as “a pass through charity utilized by the most powerful EGA members to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support, to shield them from accountability, and to leverage limited resources by hiring dedicated energy/environment staff to handle strategic giving.”

Visit Forbes.com to find out more about how the far-left environmental movement is funded.

This story was originally posted on Forbes.com.

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Norquist Response to Lois Lerner "_ _ _holes" Email Revelation


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 3:43 PM PERMALINK


In response to the latest Lois Lerner evidence released by the House Ways and Means Committee, ATR president Grover Norquist released the following statement:

“Some jobs cannot be filled with political hacks: The director of the FBI, Secretary of State, and the head of the IRS.  Lois Lerner's exposed emails show the world she was and is a political hack driven by her own partisan agenda rather than a neutral public servant. The IRS has too much power and too much access to Americans’ private information for this position to be filled with a partisan activist.”

 

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Tom Steyer Cheated by His Consultants Who Sold Him a Plagiarized (and false) Attack Ad on Joni Ernst


Posted by John Kartch, Adam Radman on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 12:49 PM PERMALINK


Left wing San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has been ill-used by consultants getting rich off his $100 million in campaign spending. The consultants have simply recycled and plagiarized ads from 2010 campaigns that they didn’t tell Steyer had already been debunked.  As shown by a newly launched false attack ad against Joni Ernst, Steyer is being cheated.

Ernst has made a written commitment to the people of Iowa to oppose tax hikes. The Pledge prevents politicians from raising taxes.

It seems Steyer’s consultants have stooped to rehashing provably false lines of attack against candidates who have sworn off higher taxes. Steyer’s ad makes a false claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by nonpartisan fact checking organizations:

Factcheck.org had this to say in 2010 about the same attack used against a candidate four years ago, in a previous election cycle:

But we find the ad to be false. The pledge only protects corporations from an increase in taxation overall. It explicitly allows elimination of any specific tax deduction or credit if matched dollar-for-dollar by an overall cut in rates. And it says nothing about jobs.

The fact check continues:

 To characterize his opposition to raising taxes as protecting tax breaks that send jobs abroad is wrong. Any tax benefit can be eliminated and offset by a rate cut or by other benefits without raising taxes overall, and without violating the terms of that pledge. This attack ad is false.

Politifact came to the same conclusion as Factcheck.org in a separate race in 2010:

But the fact that someone signed the pledge doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to closing loopholes for off-shore companies.

Our friends at FactCheck.org have been knocking down this claim since April, when the DCCC ran a TV ad against a Republican House candidate in Hawaii. They recently debunked the same claim in an ad in the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Here’s the problem: The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.

[The attack is] a huge leap of logic and it doesn’t prove Hurt supports the offshore loopholes. So we find the claim False.

“Tom Steyer needs to find honest and original consultants,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The plagiarized attack ads he’s running have already been proven false by several fact checkers four years ago, in 2010. Rather than attacking Joni Ernst, he should be praising her for her principled stand against higher taxes. Taxpayers in Iowa are looking for someone to stand up to the special interests in Washington and she is exactly the candidate to do that. Steyer deserves a refund from those who cheated him.”

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Kurt Zellers: The Only Republican Gov Candidate in Minnesota Willing to Take Tax Hikes off Table


Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 4:00 PM PERMALINK


In the race to face off against Democrat Governor Mark Dayton in Minnesota, there is only one Republican candidate willing to take tax hikes off the table: former speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers. By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Zellers and his running mate Dean Simpson have made personal written commitments to Minnesota voters to oppose tax hikes. Their opponents have refused to make that same promise. 

Here is what the other Republicans in the race had to say: 

Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, "I've never voted for a tax increase…As governor, my philosophy will not change."

If that's true, he should put it in writing. Obama made the same verbal commitment as a candidate in 2008, only to violate it a month after being inaugurated. Johnson's refusal to do so should leave voters asking, why not? A 2011 study by Stanford’s Michael Tomz and Berkeley’s Robert Van Houweling may provide the answer. They found that voters found people who broke the pledge to be “dishonest, immoral … spineless.” That is, even the putative Democrats in the survey saw breaking the pledge as a “character issue.” Might his openness to higher tax rates be the reason he won't sign the Pledge? 


Credit: How Money Walks 

Hennepin County, where Johnson is an elected Commissioner, has last more net annual adjusted gross income (AGI) than any other county in the state. Between 1992 and 2011, the county lost $5.82 billion in AGI. As a resident and an elected official from this part of the state, it's unfortunate that he isn't willing to take tax hikes off the table as a way to make it clear that Minnesota is open for business. 

Former state Representative Marty Seifert: "Voters tend to be cynical of pledges like this." That's ironic because when he ran for governor in 2010, Seifert signed the Pledge. Here's what his campaign had to say at the time:

"For too long, politicians from both parties have said one thing on the campaign trail and acted differently once in office. Republicans lost their way in Washington, DC, and joined the Democrats in out-of-control spending. Republicans then got their just reward: defeat at the polls. Democrats now control all levers of government in Washington and in both the House and Senate in Minnesota. 

Marty Seifert signed the pledge that he will not raise taxes as governor to send an unmistakable message: that the state government spending binge must end and we Republicans must not be accomplices to increasing the already-too-high tax burden on Minnesota families and employers."

I couldn't have said it better. And voters aren't cynical of a politician putting their opposition to higher taxes in writing. They're cynical of politicians who flip-flop, which is clearly what has happened in the case of Marty Seifert, who has raised taxes before. He supported the "health impact fee" which amounted to a massive $380 million cigarette tax increase back in 2005. 

Scott Honour's campaign: "Typical politicians need to sign pledges because the public has no faith in them." The public has no faith in politicians because they say one thing and do another. The Pledge is a powerful tool in preventing that from happening. 

The primary is August 12. Only one gubernatorial candidate has made a written commitment to oppose higher taxes, ensuring that there might be some check on the runaway spending that has taken root in Saint Paul. That candidate is Kurt Zellers. 

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Paul Davis Supports $341 Million Tax Increase


Posted by Alexander Bobroske on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 2:41 PM PERMALINK


Kansans are beginning to see much needed tax relief. Gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis (D), however, wants to freeze the current tax rates where they are at rather than letting them phase down further. This would slap a massive $341.4 million tax hike on hard working Kansans over the next five years, stopping the Kansas recovery in its tracks.

ATR has previously taken on erroneous claims by Davis and his allies, proving that the Brownback tax cuts 1) are working and 2) have not caused a state revenue shortfall.

Kansans have already seen their income tax brackets consolidated from three to two rates. Governor Brownback slashed rates from 6.45, 6.25, and 3.5 percent down to 4.9 and 3 percent. These rates will continue to drop down to 3.9 and 2.3 percent, letting the hard workers of Kansas keep more of what they earn.

If the Brownback tax rates continue to drop as scheduled, the average household, which makes about $65,000 a year, will save an additional $417 a year for a grand total of $752 saved a year. If Paul Davis doesn’t believe $417 can go a long way to help a household buy food, pay a mortgage, or send their kid to college then he certainly is out of touch with Kansas.

Having previously opposed tax reform in Kansas, Davis now proposes to freeze the current rates, while remaining conveniently silent on whether he is open to returning to the old, higher tax rates . Davis has a fairly consistent record of defending the status quo income tax rate, whatever it happens to be at the time. So what tax rate does Davis actually want?

Governor Sam Brownback has laid out a clear vision for economic prosperity. With an unemployment rate down to 4.9 percent, Kansas is besting its neighbors of Colorado and Missouri and quickly closing the gap with Oklahoma. Additionally, Kansans have seen their disposable personal income increase over 10.8% per capita since 2010.

Call Paul Davis at 785-296-7630 and tell him you don't want your taxes increased.

 

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U.S. Tax Code Causes Businesses to Flee Overseas


Posted by Peter Fricke on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 2:23 PM PERMALINK


Free-market advocates say Treasury Secretary Jack Lew wants to treat the symptoms rather than the cause of U.S. businesses seeking lower taxes overseas.

Lew is the latest Obama official to make the case for restricting the ability of U.S. companies to merge with foreign companies in order to relocate to lower-tax countries.

The controversial process is known as corporate inversion.

Lew acknowledged in the Washington Post Sunday that “there is nothing wrong with cross-border merger activity,” provided it be “based on economic efficiency, not tax savings.” However, he wrote the trend toward inversion has accelerated in recent months, and many of the companies that have sought tax savings through this strategy “are for all intents and purposes still based in the United States.”(RELATED: Dem Senator Says CEO Daughter’s Business Move Should be Illegal)

In the long term, Lew argued, “enacting comprehensive business tax reform is clearly the best way to address the problems in our tax code that trigger inversions.” Given the difficulty of achieving bipartisan consensus in Congress on such a politically fraught issue, though, he claims legislation restricting corporate inversion must be enacted in the meantime, “before our tax base is so eroded as to damage the prospects of comprehensive reform.” (RELATED: Union Boss Demands Companies Show Patriotism, Pay More Taxes)

While agreeing on the need for comprehensive business tax reform, many conservatives and other free-market advocates dispute Lew’s assessment that inversion is just a cynical ploy to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Curtis Dubay, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, points out in a recent column for the Daily Signal that “any business, no matter where headquartered, pays the 35 percent U.S. corporate tax rate on income earned within our borders.”

The real motivation behind inversion, he says, is the “worldwide tax system”, whereby U.S. businesses are taxed on their foreign earnings. The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world with such a system, putting domestic companies at a disadvantage relative to foreign competitors who are “free to make investments that the U.S. worldwide tax system makes unprofitable for U.S. businesses.”

Jason Fichtner of the nonpartisan Mercatus Institute, a free-market think tank, believes anti-inversion legislation serves mainly to deflect attention from the real issue of U.S. competitiveness. “Legislative proposals that attempt to treat the symptoms of the corporate tax code’s problems—rather than issues causing them—are doomed to fail,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Proposed EPA Rules Promise Devastating Losses, Negligible Benefits


Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 10:18 AM PERMALINK


The EPA is holding public hearings on their new proposed Clean Power Plan in Atlanta, GA, Denver, CO, Pittsburgh, PA, and Washington, DC this week so that people who are concerned or interested can present comments, data and arguments about the plan. (Note that even though an event near you might be fully booked, you can still post, email, mail, or fax your comments.) If you’d like to attend and have your voice heard, you can register and find more information here.

The Clean Power Plan is a disastrous and unprecedented new set of rules that the EPA has billed as a way to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by a total of 30% (The actual goal is 30% less carbon than 2005 levels, a detail the EPA has mostly downplayed when selling this plan to the public.) over the next two decades. On the surface, this might sound like a great idea, but it starts to fall apart as soon as you begin to examine the methods and costs that would go into complying with the rules. 

Using a series of ridiculously complicated and arguably arbitrary formulas, the EPA has come up with a goal for each individual state to reduce its carbon emissions by, claiming to have based these goals on each state’s ability to reduce emissions. The agency intends to leave it up to the states themselves to come up with and implement plans to meet the goals they were assigned, offering only four “building blocks” (heat rate improvements, lower-emitting power plants, end-user energy efficiency, and zero-carbon generation) as suggestions.

Not only are the rules and deadlines unfair, unequal, and potentially problematic to varying degrees for different states, the EPA bypassed congress completely in implementing them, using their dubious power under the Clean Air Act to circumvent the normal process that would be involved in making such rules. The agency has never done this before, and it is already questionably legal, as the Clean Air Act states that the EPA may require states to adopt new standards, and to guide states in how to do so, but that the ultimate power of deciding what the standards would be lies with states. The EPA adds insult to injury by calling this a “federal-state partnership”, using a broad definition of the word “partnership” that eschews the popular idea that partnerships are typically voluntary. 

Along with being a massive overreach of authority, the new rules stand to destroy jobs and sharply drive up electricity prices, all while putting a negligible dent in our country’s overall carbon emissions. Even if, by some miracle, these rules didn’t cause widespread economic trouble, allowing the EPA to implement them will set a new precedent for them to unilaterally impose even more demands on individuals and industries later, without Congress stepping in to help ensure new rules are sensible, fair, and not outside the bounds of the EPA’s authority. 

Industries are still considering what all of this will mean for them, but from what we can see already, it doesn’t look promising.

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Individual Mandate Penalty Amounts to a Tax (and more...)


Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, July 28th, 2014, 2:07 PM PERMALINK


Chris Conover wrote an article for Forbes, detailing recent IRS releases which demonstrated that the Obamacare individual mandate non-compliance penalty amounts to a tax.

We’ve actually known for some time that the individual mandate is a tax, for reasons laid out by Americans for Tax Reform:

The individual mandate surtax was written into tax law itself by the Obamacare structure.

The surtax is collected by, and enforced by, the IRS.

Revenues derived from the individual mandate surtax have always been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as tax revenue.

Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that the individual mandate surtax is in fact a tax.

MoneyNews’s Dan Weil wrote an article regarding the necessity of corporate tax reform.

Obama has received some fierce criticism for mounting a charge against tax inversions rather than fighting for corporate tax reform.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, strongly disagrees with Obama’s strategy. “It’s the president’s fault that he has done nothing in five years to reduce corporate rates, which he said he was going to do,” Norquist tells CNBC. 

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New IRS Form Proves Obama Lied About Individual Mandate Tax


Posted by John Kartch and Ryan Ellis on Friday, July 25th, 2014, 10:59 AM PERMALINK


On Thursday the IRS released a slew of draft 2014 tax forms. The new draft Form 1040 shows a new surtax line has been created for the payment of the individual mandate surtax – see line 61 of the 1040:


President Obama has repeatedly denied that the surtax is in fact actually a tax. The most prominent example was a heated exchange on ABC’s This Week in Sept. 2009, when George Stephanopoulos confronted Obama with a dictionary:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...

OBAMA: ...what you're saying is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.

Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion. [Transcript]

 

 

It was always obvious that the penalty for not complying with Obamacare’s individual mandate was just another surtax:

  • The surtax is collected by, and enforced by, the IRS.
  • As shown by the newly released draft Form 1040, the surtax is paid as part of normal income tax filing by taxpayers.
  • The individual mandate surtax was written into tax law itself by the Obamacare statute.
  • Revenues derived from the individual mandate surtax have always been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as tax revenue.

 

Famously, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that the individual mandate surtax is in fact a tax. However, that does not compel conservatives to agree that Obamacare’s individual mandate is Constitutional. The same decision declared the individual mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. Conservatives can accept that this surtax is a tax increase without accepting the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

The Obamacare individual mandate non-compliance surtax is one of at least seven Obamacare taxes that violate the President’s “firm pledge” not to raise any tax on any American making less than $250,000 per year. Thorough documentation of Obama’s promise can be found here.

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lysosome

The Supreme Court ruled that it's a tax.

And no - George was not checking the definition, he was showing you so that you could explain to America why the dictionary definition of a tax is different from your own.

It's a tax, it always has been and Obama has always been a liar.

Ron Perez

The definition of "crook" has Barrack Hussein Obama's photograph sitting right next to it.

Sincerely,
Richard M. Nixon

mesmereyesed

.
Look into the ~O~...
Look into the ~O~...
Look into the ~O~...

You are getting sleepy;
You are no longer in control of your life or your money;
You no longer desire a higher salary or upward mobility.

There is nothing to this TAX business.

Jonathan "Hans" Gruber and Obama did NOT Lie about the Obamacare TAX and the Federal Subsidies to States without health care exchanges (where you WILL exchange your health for sickness and disease and you WILL like it).

When I wave my Pen in the air you will wake up feeling miserable, as you should in the "New Normal" world.

You are awake. You are an Obama Zombie
.


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