Since we’re in the home stretch, here’s a quick roundup of various election news:
Posts Tagged ‘fraud’
It’s no longer a surprise when Democratic cronies rake in the benefits from pork programs created by Democratic Senators and Representatives. After all, giving out taxpayer money to connected interest groups is pretty much the Democratic Party’s business model. However, the family of North Carolina’s Democratic Senator Kay Hagan has taken it to the next level:
Sen. Kay Hagan’s husband and son created a solar energy contracting company in August 2010, and then, using $250,644 in federal stimulus grant funds, her husband hired that same company to install solar panels at a building he owns.
Public records show that Green State Power was formed seven weeks before JDC Manufacturing — a company owned in part by Greensboro attorney Charles “Chip” Hagan III, Sen. Hagan’s husband — received the stimulus grant for the solar project at a 300,000-square-foot facility in Reidsville, N.C.
A story in late September on the Washington, D.C.-based website Politico revealed that JDC Manufacturing received “nearly $390,000 in federal grants for energy projects and tax credits created by the 2009 stimulus law, according to public records and information provided by the company.”
The story reported that JDC “was one of 27 in North Carolina to be awarded funds for energy-efficient projects, to the tune of about $250,000. The company received the money in 2011, after the first phase of the project was completed in late 2010.”
And needless to say, Kay Hagan voted in favor of the pork-laden stimulus her family so richly benefited from.
From a purely amoral viewpoint, you have to admire the brazen efficiency of sucking down the maximum amount of taxpayer subsidies at every stag of the project pipeline. It’s like The Human Centipede of recycled graft…
(Hat tip: Instapundit.)
Another look at how Texas stacks up to the no-longer-so-Golden state:
City leaders are battling with DWP’s union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18, to release financial records of a nonprofit trust, run jointly by labor- and management-appointed trustees, that has run through $40 million in ratepayer money. Brian D’Arcy, IBEW Local 18’s business manager, has refused to turn over the trust’s financial records, and DWP executives have said they don’t know how the money was spent.
Dallas County Commissioner and longtime influential Dallas black politician John Wiley Price has been arrested:
Price was under arrest, charged with eleven counts of bribery, mail fraud, and tax fraud.
His life, and his image, had permanently changed.
“All told, Commissioner Price took in more than $1.1 million that he did not report to the proper authorities,” said Sarah Saldana, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
“Mr. Price allegedly defrauded the citizens of Dallas County, the state of Texas, and the federal government,” said Diego Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Dallas.
Kathy Nealy, a Dallas political consultant and long-time associate of Price, was prominent in the indictment. The charges allege she paid Price to sway votes before the Dallas County Commissioners.
“At the same time, Ms. Nealy was paying bribes to Commissioner Price, she actively evaded nearly $600,000 in income tax, which she admittedly owes,” Saldana said.
Between them, Price and Nealy face 16 counts of bribery, mail and tax fraud.
The FBI has been investigating Price for more than three years.
Some other stuff bubbling up, so here’s a Texas vs. California update to tide you over for a while:
Enjoy Independence Day tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s another Texas vs. California roundup:
“San Bernardino, California, said that to exit bankruptcy it must terminate a union contract that pays an average annual salary of $190,000 to each of its top 40 firefighters,” according to an article in Bloomberg. That’s just salary. Firefighters receive the generous “3 percent at 50″ retirement package that allows them to retire with 90 percent of their final years’ pay at age 50. And there are lots of pension-spiking gimmicks and other benefits on top of that.
“These cities are run for the benefit of those who work there. Public services are a side matter at best.”
Toyota’s move to Texas is a high-profile relocation, but Texas has been used to adding — and filling — new jobs at a superlative pace. The state added more than 1.9 million new jobs over the period from December 1999 to April 2014, more than 35 percent of the entire nation’s total for that 15-year period, noted Michael Cox, an economics professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. And Texas had an unemployment rate of just 5.1 percent in May, 16th-lowest in the United States.
Meanwhile, Cox noted, Texas’s median wages are 28th-highest in the nation; and they rank 8th-highest after adjusting for taxes and prices. Texas schools rank 3rd, he said, after adjusting for variations in student demographics, a raw statistic which places Texas 28th in the nation.
“We’re able to accomplish all this and more because the business environment in our state is largely competitive, and free markets solve problems,” Cox told me. “Texas is a meritocracy, where incentives still work to produce good results.”
Drive almost anywhere in the vast Lone Star State and you will see evidence of the “Texas miracle” economy that policymakers like Gov. Rick Perry can’t quit talking about….
This hot economy, politicians say, is the direct result of their zealous opposition to over-regulation, greedy trial lawyers and profligate government spending. Perry now regularly recruits companies from other states, telling them the grass is greener here. And his likely successor, Attorney General Greg Abbott, has made keeping it that way his campaign mantra.
It’s hard to argue with the job creation numbers they tout. Since 2003, a third of the net new jobs created in the United States were in Texas. And there are real people in those jobs, people with families to feed.
But the piece also notes that Texas has led the nation in worker fatalities for seven of the last ten years. I’m not going to get into the details of worker compensation that make up the bulk of the piece, and it is quite possible there is some room for improvement in worker safety. But I do want to note that, as the second largest state in the union, and the one with the biggest oil and gas industry, it’s not terribly surprising that Texas would have the largest number of fatalities, since oil and gas has a fairly high fatality rate (though not injury rate) compared to other industries (see page 14 here).
There’s so much news going on in the world that it’s hard to sit down and focus on one story to get a single blog post out of it when there’s another huge story coming down the pike. Iraq, Ukraine, the VA Scandal, the dog eating Lois Lerner’s emails (“Barack Obama has brought us Jimmy Carter’s economy and Richard Nixon’s excuses”); too damn much going on to focus on one thing. So here’s a LinkSwarm instead:
Today sucks if you still have to finish your taxes. It sucks more in California than Texas, since you have to pay state income taxes as well. That includes a marginal tax rate of 9.3% for all those millionaires making more than $49,774 a year. As opposed to Texas’ marginal rate of 0.0% for all…
Texas and Washington offer low corporate income tax and no personal income tax, while providing a stable business climate and skilled work force. Many high-profile corporations have relocated their operations to new states. Recent examples include Northrop Grumman, which moved its headquarters to Northern Virginia; Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, which moved its headquarters to McKinney, Texas; and Boeing, which moved two aircraft modernization programs, for the C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft and the B-1 bomber, from Long Beach to Oklahoma City.
The state teacher pension fund, CalSTRS, needs an extra $4.5 billion each year for 30 years to pay off its unfunded liabilities. CalPERS’ local government members will see costs increase by 50 percent during the next six years. And the state needs to contribute $1 billion more per year for retiree health care benefits.
These obligations for benefits already earned must be paid, and over the next decade, they will continue to drain funding from essential services such as education, public safety, transportation and health care.
Yet, powerful interests remain all too eager to kick the can down the road and push our pension problems onto future generations.
In California, I would say that March Madness is ignoring the looming pension crisis, except that madness extends to every other month as well…
Perhaps no place is inequality more evident than in the rural reaches of California, the nation’s richest agricultural state. The Golden State is now home to 111 billionaires, by far the most of any state; California billionaires personally hold assets worth $485 billion, more than the entire GDP of all but 24 countries in the world. Yet the state also suffers the highest poverty rate in the country (adjusted for housing costs), above 23%, and a leviathan welfare state. As of 2012, with roughly 12% of the population, California accounted for roughly one-third of the nation’s welfare recipients.
With the farm economy increasingly mechanized and industrial growth stifled largely by regulation, many rural Californians particularly Latinos, are downwardly mobile, and doing worse than their parents; native-born Latinos actually have shorter lifespans than their parents, according to a 2011 report. Although unemployment remains high in many of the state’s largest urban counties, the highest unemployment is concentrated in the rural counties of the interior. Fresno was found in one study to have the least well-off Congressional district.
The vast expanse of economic decline in the midst of unprecedented, but very narrow urban luxury has been characterized as “liberal apartheid.” The well-heeled, largely white and Asian coastal denizens live in an economically inaccessible bubble insulated from the largely poor, working-class, heavily Latino communities in the eastern interior of the state.
California also has the nation’s highest poverty rate and the most food stamp recipients, and policymakers have done little to address profligate spending, unfunded pensions, and ever-growing retiree health-care obligations.”
Inland California, from Imperial in the south to Modoc in the north, remains one of the poorest regions in the nation. Though the state unemployment rate fell in February to 8.1 percent, inland unemployment ranges from 9.5 percent in Riverside to 25.9 percent in Colusa. Of the 20 counties in the United States with the largest unemployment rates, 11 are in California.
First word came that Yanukovich had left Ukraine for various rumored destinations from Russia to Dubai. Then came word that Yanukovich was denied exit from the country.
But the delight of the day was ordinary Ukrainians touring the abandoned Presidential vacation palace, which such amenities as:
Some Tweets on the theme:
— BattleSwarm (@BattleSwarmBlog) February 22, 2014
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) February 22, 2014
Bemused sheep. They're just not used to seeing so many people pic.twitter.com/SKDvCLSi76
— Matt Frei (@mattfrei) February 22, 2014
Also, Russia has a sad.