Doug Kellogg

In Face of Surging Gas Prices Under Biden, DeSantis Proposes Tax Pause

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021, 12:23 PM PERMALINK

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed pausing the state's gas tax to give weary Florida families a break as they are pummeled by high fuel prices due to inflation and restrictive regulations imposed by the Biden administration. 

The Governor announced the push to pause the gas tax, urging state legislators to step in, during visits to Daytona Beach and Jacksonville:

It is no wonder Gov. DeSantis is looking for relief, gas prices have hit their highest level since Thanksgiving 2012.

Floridians pay the 11th-highest gas tax burden in the nation, pausing the state's tax would reduce the total that people pay at the pump by 26.5 cents.

President Biden has done his part driving up energy costs by submarining the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats in Congress are looking to add to the damage with their reconciliation bill, which includes an $8 billion home heating tax.

The Florida state legislative session starts on January 11, 2022.

Photo Credit: Office of Governor Ron DeSantis

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NJ Governor Phil Murphy Wanted to Increase Taxes by $1.2 Billion More than Massive Enacted Tax Hikes

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Posted by Dennis Hull, Doug Kellogg on Friday, October 29th, 2021, 2:38 PM PERMALINK

During his first term, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy proposed over $4 billion in tax hikes, succeeding in increasing taxes by over $2.7 billion on New Jersey residents. That means he wanted more than $1.2 billion in tax hikes that were left on the table, that would have been another billion dollar-plus burden for Jersey families and businesses.

Even with full Democrat control of the legislature, Murphy’s tax hike wishlist was too much to achieve in three non-election years. That is cold comfort to New Jersey families and businesses who are left to wonder if Murphy will push for those tax hikes should he win a second term in office.

New Jersey businesses are already set to face new tax burdens to replenish the state’s unemployment fund. This, even though New Jersey has only spent a small fraction of the federal American Relief Plan money it has received – which could be used to refill the unemployment insurance fund.

Governor Murphy may sense his tax hiking agenda is not popular, as he recently stated, “I pledge to not raise taxes,” during the first gubernatorial debate. Yet, Murphy has failed to put that promise in writing, and recently chided Elon Musk for his criticism of high-tax blue states, saying being in a liberal state is worth the higher costs.

Meanwhile, Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, publicly committing to Jersey voters that he will oppose all tax increases should he become governor.

Murphy’s tax hikes – and massive new debt – fueled a nearly 34% increase in the state budget in just four years. He took the budget up to $46.6 billion in 2021, from $34.7 billion, in the last year Gov. Christie was in office.

On top of the enacted tax hikes, Murphy’s debt plan is backed by an automatic property tax increase, should the state have any issuing paying the debt back. This threat of yet another tax hike looms over New Jersey families who already pay the highest effective property tax burden in the nation.

Here is the full slate of tax hikes that Governor Murphy has tried to impose on New Jerseyans, and whether they were enacted or not:

$2,778,000,000 – Total tax hikes enacted under Gov. Murphy:

  • $425 million Corporation Business Tax (CBT) hike – FY19
  • 9% to 11.5%
  • Surcharge on corporations earning over $1 million
  • Highest in the nation
  • $210 million: Corporation Business Tax (CBT) hike – FY21
  • Extended 2.5% tax hike through 2023
  • Originally intended to phase out starting in 2020
  • $436 million Corporate tax code "modernization” – FY19
  • Combined reporting, taxes profits moved out of state
  • $188 million Sales tax expansion – FY19
  • Taxes out-of-state Internet retailers for the first time
  • $100 million HMO premium tax hike – FY20
  • 2% to 3%
  • All residents with HMO health insurance
  • $263 million HMO premium tax hike – FY21
  • 3% to 5%
  • All residents with HMO health insurance
  • $280 million Wealth tax hike – FY19
  • 8.97% to 10.75%
  • All income above $5 million
  • $450 million “Millionaire’s Tax” hike – FY21
  • 8.97% to 10.75%
  • All income above $1 million
  • $4 million E-cigarette tax – FY19
  • 10 cents per milliliter of nicotine fluid
  • $15 million Airbnb tax hike – FY19
  • All online rental booking sites (Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)
  • Must collect 6.625% sales tax
  • Must also collect 5% hotel occupancy fee
  • $12 million Tax on ride-hailing apps – FY19
  • All ride-sharing services (Uber, Lyft, etc.)
  • 50-cent surcharge on solo rides
  • 25-cent surcharge on shared rides
  • $100 million Tax on carried interest – FY19
  • 17% tax on Wall Street hedge fund performance earnings
  • $295 million Average annualized cost for Unemployment Insurance tax hike – FY22
  • New 3-year $885 million tax on employers to replenish Unemployment Insurance Fund
  • 2021: $252 million
  • 2022: $296.6 million
  • 2023: $336.4 million

 

$1,229,000,000 – Proposed Murphy tax hikes (not enacted):

  • $581 million: Sales tax hike – FY19
  • 6.625% to 7%
  • $218 million: Cigarette tax hike – FY21
  • $2.70 to $4.35 per pack
  • $21.5 million: Opioid tax hike – FY20
  • Up to $5 million fee (read, tax) on pain medicine
  • $65 million: Tobacco tax hike & vape tax – FY19
  • 30% to 68% rate on tobacco products
  • New 75% rate on e-cigarette distributors and wholesalers
  • $8.5 million: Firearms fee hike – FY21 (third year in a row)
  • Firearm permit application: $2 to $50
  • Firearm ID card: $5 to $100
  • Carry permit: $20 to $400
  • Dozens of other fee increases
  • $13 million: Sales tax on limousine services – FY21
  • $7 million: Eliminate sales tax cap on boats – FY21
  • $315 million in additional millionaire’s tax – FY19
  • Murphy’s millionaire’s tax proposal would have taken $765 million from taxpayers, $315 million more per year than the version that ultimately passed.
  • Tax hike on Realty Transfer Fee on sales of high-end homes – FY19
  • 1% to 2%

Photo Credit: Flickr - Phil Murphy for Governor

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Watch: NJ Governor Murphy says, "I Pledge to Not Raise Taxes"


Posted by Doug Kellogg on Thursday, September 30th, 2021, 5:32 PM PERMALINK

During the New Jersey gubernatorial debate this week, Governor Phil Murphy told the audience, "I pledge to not raise taxes." The Governor said he's done raising taxes.

This promise comes as little relief to New Jersey taxpayers who have been burdened with three straight years of tax increases under Murphy. These tax hikes totaled more than $2 billion, hammering New Jersey residents who already paid some of the highest taxes in the nation before Murphy even took office.

Now that Murphy has buried Jersey families and businesses with billions in tax hikes, keeping the state as a consistent leader in outmigration, he's claiming he won't drive up taxes further. The Governor could show voters his promise is more than a desperate, empty campaign promise by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and putting his commitment in writing.

Murphy's opponent in the race for Governor is Jack Ciattarelli, former state legislator. Ciattarelli has already signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, committing to New Jersey voters in writing to oppose all tax hikes. Ciattarelli has also laid out plans to reduce the states excessive tax burden.

New Jersey voters will want to seriously consider whose promise they want to bet their bank account on, because the way the state has been hiking taxes under Phil Murphy, that is what's at stake.

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Scranton Times Goes All-In on Tax Hikes & Lies About Taxpayer Protection Pledge

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021, 6:06 PM PERMALINK

Pennsylvania has the 15th-highest state and local tax burden in the country. The state took in $3.9 billion in May, a whopping $1.6 billion more than expected – and is forecasted to have a $3.16 billion revenue surplus this fiscal year.

There is no shortage of tax revenue for Harrisburg to spend, the state is taking a big cut of the earnings of Pennsylvanians. But the editorial board of the Scranton Times-Tribune thinks taxes on Pennsylvania families and businesses should be higher, not lower.

After Republican Gubernatorial candidate, and former Congressman, Lou Barletta committed to Pennsylvanians that he will not raise their taxes if elected, the Times-Tribune published an editorial misleading their  readers about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and clamoring for tax hikes.

The pledge is a written commitment made to voters that states a candidate or officeholder will oppose any net tax hike. Contrary to the paper’s claim that the pledge would limit Barletta’s ability to pursue tax reform, the pledge allows for any tax reform that is revenue-neutral. The pledge is a guardrail that allows lawmakers to pursue tax reform knowing a net tax increase is off the table. Anyone can read the pledge at ATR.org. The Scranton Times chose not to look up the facts.

The Scranton Times is not the first to make inaccurate claims that the pledge prevents tax reform compromises where a change increasing revenues is offset with a corresponding reduction in tax burden elsewhere.

These types of false charges have been disproved when examined by multiple fact checkers.  

Among numerous examples of revenue-neutral tax deals, just this past legislative session in Florida, the legislature approved a tax reform package that added an online sales tax collection requirement for businesses, which was fully offset by a reduction in the commercial rent tax. This compromise complied with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge commitment that was made by Governor DeSantis and dozens of  Pledge Signing state legislators.

On top of false claims about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, the paper sells out the taxpayers of their own state.

The editorial board claims local property tax hikes can only be mitigated by the state government paying off localities to limit the increases. Surely the local governments and citizens approving property tax increases have some say? Are Pennsylvania mayors unable to reform their governments to cost citizens less?

Furthermore, they ignore great reforms like Truth in Taxation, and strong caps on property tax increases, that have proven effective in limiting property tax growth in other states.

On top of whiffing on property taxes, the editorial board wants Harrisburg to raise Pennsylvania’s gas tax, again. The state gas tax is third-highest in the U.S. behind only California, and Illinois. Increasing this regressive tax on going to work, yet again, would be disastrous. The Times’ editorial board should question what has been happening with all that extra gas tax money if they truly believe roads are “stressed.”

With billions of dollars in excess revenue, and model legislation to follow from states across the U.S., any Pennsylvania elected official should be able sign the Taxpayer Protection and and also keep the roads together, and pursue property tax reform, without increasing the overall tax burden.

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

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Massachusetts Sports Betting Proposals Look to Fleece, Not Foster, the Emerging Industry

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Thursday, July 22nd, 2021, 3:38 PM PERMALINK

Massachusetts going into sports betting with high tax rates is like the Patriots playing without Tom Brady. They’ll be in the game, but performing worse.

High tax rates are a big threat with Senate Bill 269, which includes rates of 20% for in-person bets and 25% for mobile bets. These rates would be among the highest in the nation, behind only Pennsylvania’s absurd 36% effective tax rate. The 25% tax rate on mobile would beat out Tennessee’s 20% rate. These are extremely high tax rates that will make it tough for sports books to succeed, and grow.

Low tax rates are best, they make the legal market more competitive with other states, make it easier for sports books to make ends meet, and help the industry grow and create jobs. Low taxes also make legal betting more attractive to bettors, so they are not betting in the black market.  

For comparison, 6.75% is the lowest rate among U.S. states. While Massachusetts’ neighbors are awful on taxes, Connecticut’s 13.75% rate would be notably lower than the proposed rates.

It is not just taxes that cause concern, both Senate and House have proposed significant recurring licensing costs (on top of the initial, one-time fee), from a $200,000 annualized cost, to $1 million. Pennsylvania hits operators with a whopping $10 million initial licensing fee, but even the Keystone State’s recurring fee amounts to a much lower $50,000 annualized.

Fees are supposed to cover the cost to government to run a program, or service. If they are generating revenue, they amount to taxes. These flat costs also are more burdensome to smaller operators.

The hits don’t stop coming, as the Senate version does not allow for betting on college sports. This kind of blanket restriction would keep all betting on collegiate sports in the black market, or the state’s neighbors.

The House version looks better in comparison on tax rates. Its 12.5% rate on in-person betting revenue, 15% on online, are clearly preferable. Yet, tax rates around 15% and up have been shown to reduce betting activity, keeping bettors in the black market.

Further, the House version allows sports leagues to require betting operators use “official league data.” This is a giveaway to sports leagues that is not necessary for protecting gaming integrity. Nevada has operated for decades, and now New Jersey has operated for years without such mandates.

In National Basketball Ass’n v.Motorola,Inc. a court of appeals held that sports statistics are not copyrightable, and that compiling and distributing statistics was legal.

It makes sense, the number of touchdowns Tom Brady throws is a fact, it can’t be copyrighted. State lawmakers should not step on this legal precedent, especially when the market is working, and the leagues are cashing in on data agreements without government interference.

There are many companies that collect sports data, and sports betting operators can decide which they would like to use. There is no need for government to force one private company to use another’s services.  

If Massachusetts legislators want to foster a competitive market for sports betting and follow the lead of a northeastern state, they should copy New Jersey. The Garden State’s tax rate on in-person betting is 8.5%, and the state avoiding any significant regulatory pitfalls – like the completely unnecessary data mandate.

The State Senate saw a much better proposal put forward earlier in session.

These current proposals are too focused on maximizing paydays for government, and their pals, rather than doing what is best for consumers and an emerging industry. In the process, they could fail on all counts.  

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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Ohio Passes Largest Personal Income Tax Cut in State’s History

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Tuesday, June 29th, 2021, 6:26 PM PERMALINK

The final biennial budget in Ohio includes a $1.6 billion reduction in the state income tax – the biggest income tax cut in a two-year budget in state history.

Ohio Republicans crafted a budget that eliminates two income tax brackets over 4%, and makes the top rate 3.99%. The state has eliminated multiple tax brackets over the past two budget cycles, heading towards a flat tax.

The budget also raises the minimum income that is subject to income tax to $25,000 per year. Moving forward, anyone making less than $25,000 will owe no income taxes in Ohio, and all taxpayers will pay zero tax on their first $24,999 in earnings.

All Ohio taxpayers will benefit from a 3% across-the-board reduction in income taxes.  

“Ohio Republicans have earned thanks from all taxpayers for passing this significant tax relief. Families and businesses will keep more of their hard-earned money, have a simpler tax code, and get needed protections from cities taxing them when they don’t live or work in the city. On top of that, parents will enjoy more school choice," said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist.

On top of the income tax savings, the Senate “repealed sales taxes on hiring and recruiting companies that work to fill job openings around the state.”

The Senate and House compromised on a 3% income tax cut, the initial Senate proposal was 5%, and House 2%.

These tax reforms are a massive win for Ohio, and will make the state much more competitive in attracting new workers, new investment, and new jobs. In particular, Senate Republicans under Senate President Matt Huffman, and previous Senate President Larry Obhof, have led on tax reforms, and pro-worker occupational licensing reform, and regulatory reforms, that also boost the state’s economy. Representatives Bill Roemer, Derek Merrin, and more have championed tax relief to make the state more competitive and friendly toward job-creation.

Given Ohio’s many local taxing jurisdictions, the state legislature’s strong example is doubly important for driving growth in the Buckeye State.

The budget includes protections for Ohioans who are working from home, so they don’t end up paying taxes to cities where they no longer work. Taxpayers can get a refund, at least on 2021 taxes that have been withheld. Addressing the issue of remote taxation is vital at the state and local level, to keep governments from reaching outside their jurisdictions to tax workers.

The new budget does include changes to the education aid formula which taxpayers will need to watch closely to ensure excessive spending levels do not result.

Back on the positive side, the budget expands school choice options, adding ESAs, and offers a small tax credit for private school tuition, further empowering Ohio families, not teachers’ unions, to guide their child’s education.

A measure to block local governments from running broadband networks was removed, one of the few negatives in this budget. Instead, following Governor DeWine’s push for more spending on broadband expansion, $250 million will be unnecessarily spent by the state on broadband. The reality is, the private sector is spending trillions of dollars to expand broadband access, and government interference is simply not required.

Republican legislators who have championed relief for Ohio taxpayers deserve immense credit for this successful budget. The state continues to advance reforms that make it ready to compete with its neighbors, create jobs, retain talent, a grow.  

“With the Governor’s signature, the Buckeye State will become a better place to raise a family, and a more attractive place for businesses and workers," added Norquist.

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Ohio Budgets Offer Big Wins on Tax Cuts, Work-from-Home Tax, Stopping Wasteful Govt Broadband

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Thursday, June 24th, 2021, 5:22 PM PERMALINK

Ohio legislators are hard at work combining the House and Senate versions of the biennial state budget. Both include some great provisions, including income tax cuts that should be prioritized.

The Senate budget features a 5% income tax cut, and the House offers a 2% income tax cut. These reductions offer needed relief for Ohio families and businesses – particularly as they recover from the pandemic.

The state legislature’s continued focus on tax relief for Ohioans is extremely important as the state features some of the highest and most numerous local taxes. These local jurisdictions add complexity on top of the cost of the taxes themselves, making it more difficult for businesses to make ends meet.

While commercial lease tax reform remains a white whale in the Buckeye State, further income tax relief would be a big help for taxpayers.

On top of the tax cuts, legislators in both chambers want to address the issue of cities trying to tax people who are working from home outside of the city where their office is based.

During the pandemic, many workers have not set foot in their offices. But the cities that are home these offices, who locked down, still want to collect income tax from these workers. While this issue has resulted in legal challenges, legislators want to allow work-from-home folks to get tax refunds from the city where their office is based.

A Senate proposal would address the wasteful, ineffective practice of local government using taxpayer dollars to try and operate broadband networks. Senators want to bar localities from starting these often ill-fated enterprises.

Legislators also may still vote on sports betting legislation before June 30th. The bill includes very competitive tax (10% tax rate on bets) and regulatory policies that will enable Ohio to compete with their neighbors in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, all of which have legalized sports wagering.

As the House and Senate work out a final budget, they should maximize income tax relief, and protecting Ohio taxpayers from wasteful government broadband.

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Task Force Releases Blueprint to Fix Pennsylvania’s Costly Juvenile Justice Mess

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021, 5:43 PM PERMALINK

Pennsylvania’s Juvenile Justice Task Force just released its report and recommendations after a thorough, pandemic-disrupted process. The proposals promise to address a juvenile justice system that has been plagued by scandal, failure to deliver the public safety results communities deserve, and out-of-control costs.

The state’s $192,000 per year cost to house just one juvenile offender is one of the most outrageous signs of a system that is not working.

The task force offered 35 recommendations for addressing this failing system. Some of the most critical for Pennsylvania taxpayers to ensure due process, give those who have served their time a chance to clear their record, and eliminate excessive fines that put juveniles in debt.

At Tuesday’s press conference covering the report’s release, Rep. Tara Toohill highlighted that a lack of diversion options in some counties causes a minor offense to result in a juvenile going into the system, and being held. This disrupts their family life, and their education.

In Pennsylvania, 60% of the juveniles who are held in state facilities are there for a misdemeanor offense – and just 39% of those are offenses against another person. This means higher costs for taxpayers. Worse, for low-level offenders extended incarceration does not reduce recidivism, and research shows it can increase it.

The Juvenile Justice Task Force recommends expanding alternative options to arresting and detaining youth accused of low-level offenses. For those that pose no risk to the community, supervision and programming options make sense to address what is clearly a problem without creating worse outcomes for everyone.

Recommendations to ensure families and juveniles know their rights and receive appropriate representation in proceedings are commonsense, needed reforms to ensure due process.   

Expungement clears, or seals the records of a conviction from public view. These records can still be seen, and used by the court system for any future criminal proceedings.

Once someone has served their time, there should be some limit to the collateral consequences they face, otherwise they can struggle to work, find housing, and progress in life. For youth, this means they often cannot begin their lives on solid footing. Since having a decent job is a key factor in reducing recidivism, this is a win for public safety.

One of the most important recommendations the task force makes, is to streamline, and make the expungement process standard statewide.

For cases that do not result in a conviction, the task force sensibly recommends immediately beginning the expungement process. After a youth offender that was not incarcerated completes their programming, the expungement process will automatically begin. And for offenders who were held in a juvenile facility or placed on probation, two years after completing their sentence expungement will begin (if they have not committed another offense).

These policies follow the lead of Pennsylvania’s first-in-the-nation Clean Slate law, which automatically seals records of cases that did not result in a conviction and misdemeanors after a period of time.

Fines and fees are another area where government has failed. High fines and fees often follow juvenile offenders long after their sentence, despite the obvious fact many of them are too young to have jobs. In Pennsylvania, some counties have an average fee burden of nearly $700.

The task force suggests focusing on offenders paying restitution and any fee required to administer it. Where there is a victim involved, they are owed recompense. Court system fines and fees would be eliminated.

Another core recommendation is that counties track and report data on their juvenile justice systems. It is incredibly important that officials and the public can see whether changes are working as planned. The public deserves to be confident that anything that goes wrong will be addressed, and that reforms achieve their positive goals.

As recommendations are implemented through legislation, it is important that savings from reforms are reinvested into new programs, and that Pennsylvania taxpayers do not have to take on new, costly burdens. The current system is already too expensive and inefficient.

The above recommendations we’ve highlighted enjoyed consensus or unanimous support among the task force members. Meanwhile, some proposals were less popular. There are points to be made for all recommendations, but many enjoy stronger support, and often these are the most significant measures.

Speaker Brian Cutler said the task force finidings, “present us with the opportunity to ensure our juvenile justice system rehabilitates our youngest offenders to not only create a positive path for them, but also to strengthens families, protect communities and create long-term benefits for all Pennsylvanians.”

The report and recommendations offered by the task force offer a great, needed blueprint to address scandals and high costs while boosting public safety and giving young people an opportunity to earn a second chance. The legislature will now get to work on making the plan a reality.  

Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Senate Republicans

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Arizona Should Pass Crime-Reducing, Cost-Saving Criminal Justice Bill Before Session Ends

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021, 2:07 PM PERMALINK

Arizona legislators and Governor Ducey are working hard to pass the largest tax cut in state history, a massive win for the state’s hardworking families and businesses.

As that legislation is approved, time remains to get a major plank of criminal justice reform passed: Senate Bill 1064, which expands the state's earned release credits program.

Earned release credits allow someone to complete programming that teaches them job skills, treats addiction, or mental health issues, and more. The goal is to address problems that are more likely to prevent someone from working and contributing to society, or even drive them to re-offend. This reduces crime and improves safety, while offering second chances to those who do the work and earn them.

The alternative has been doing next-to-nothing with offenders who are going to get out of prison one day no matter what.

These are commonsense, conservative policies that work to keep people out of trouble. This ultimately improves public safety and reduces costs to taxpayers at the same time. Just look at the results other states have had.

South Carolina expanded their earned release credits, along with other changes, seeing declines in reoffending (-5.6%), and prison population (-14.5%), from 2010-2017.

Kentucky saw its recidivism rate fall (-5.3%), and its prison population fall (-23%) since 2011 reforms.

In 2008 and 2013, Mississippi significantly curtailed truth-in-sentencing requirements that effectively limited the ability of offenders to earn credits off their sentence. The results have been falling rates of violent crime, a decrease in property crime, to go along with a smaller prison population.

In addition to these great examples of successful red state reforms, the federal government is still in the process of implementing the First STEP Act – earned release credit legislation passed under President Trump.  

These reforms are improvements to the criminal justice system that put public safety first. Credits incentivize people, largely non-violent drug offenders, to do the work necessary to get ready for their imminent release from prison so they can contribute to society.

It’s no surprise that this is a drastic improvement over the status quo. Since the vast majority of people in prison are going to get out one day, it is no-brainer level stuff to address the problems that can drive them to re-offend. Mainly these are addiction problems, and not having a decent job.

In the end, this also boosts public safety as millions of taxpayer dollars are saved which can then be reinvested in the system, with a focus on policies and programming that improve public safety. Arizona Senate Bill 1064 could save more than $600 million that would otherwise be spent in ways that do not optimally protect the public.

The bill is a conservative approach to this policy. As ATR President Grover Norquist wrote in the Arizona Capitol Times:

"These are smart on crime policies that will make better use of taxpayer dollars, they also remain tough on crime. Earned release credits will be expanded only for drug offenders, and low-level offenders, not traffickers. Bad behavior will take away any credits an offender has earned. For any crimes with victims, victims’ rights are maintained by the bill. Ultimately, reductions in crime and recidivism will mean there are fewer future victims."

Governor Ducey, and legislators in the House and Senate have already done great work enacting civil asset forfeiture reform, and ending driver’s license suspension for owed court debt. These are key improvements to Arizona’s criminal justice system. SB 1064 remains a major priority that can still get done before the buzzer sounds.

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Dem Supermajority's Attempts to Burn NY to the Ground Could Scorch Rest of the Nation

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Posted by Doug Kellogg on Wednesday, June 9th, 2021, 8:53 PM PERMALINK

Governor Cuomo and state legislators recently approved an expensive, tax-hiking, bloated mess of a state budget. Even after Cuomo begged for a federal bailout of the state to close a budget gap – which President Biden and Congressional Democrats granted – he signed a budget that raises taxes on high earners.

The state was already sending the message that these people and businesses were not welcome, New York lost population and Congressional seat in the Census. The budget just amplified that message.

For most states this would be more than enough damage to cause in one legislative session, but in Albany, New York state legislators continue to dig an even deeper hole.

The Democrat supermajority’s late session priorities include phony antitrust legislation, a government takeover of healthcare, and a second gas tax.

Twenty-First Century Anti-Trust Act (SB 933) pushed by New York City Senators Mike Gianaris, and Democratic-Socialist Julia Salazar, would use a new, European-style “dominance” rule to determine if a company should face jacked up fines and criminal penalties in response.

A company is presumed dominant if they have 40% of the market as a seller, or 30% as a buyer – so their competitors would control most of the market, yet that company would be considered “dominant.” 

In a giveaway to trial lawyers, the bill would make it so any successful business can be sued into oblivion through class action suits.

This disastrous policy would force companies to either stop doing business in New York, or cower in fear of regulators imposing huge fines. The problem for the rest of the country is that any company adapting to these rules in New York would effectively transfer them on other states. New York would get set a de facto standard for the rest of the country.

Gaining market position sounds like the entire point of starting a business. Obviously, New York is not open to business.   

Activists and avowed socialist politicians driving away Amazon’s HQ2 was not a blip, that was the new normal for New York, and now with this absurd anti-trust policy all business sectors would face heavy scrutiny.

For families who want some choice in their healthcare, Albany has the New York Health Act. The bill would have government control healthcare in the state, ending private insurance. This “free” healthcare system would cost $140 billion in new taxes.

If fewer jobs, and losing your healthcare doesn’t sound bad enough, how about paying more to live your everyday life?

The Climate and Community Investment Act would create a second gas tax, at 55 cents-per-gallon, more than doubling the states effective gas tax. This would give New York the highest combined gas tax in the nation.

Not only does this regressive tax hurt people driving to work, or to run daily errands, it will make good shipped into the state more expensive. New York’s completely unaffordable cost-of-living would go even higher with this tax.

This legislation takes aim at businesses, families, workers, and taxpayers, it would make the already-unaffordable state a complete nightmare. With Republicans relegated to watching the Democrat supermajority run the show, Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders will have to allow session to end without passage of these measures for New York to have a future.  

Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

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