Posts Tagged ‘Taxes’

Texas vs. California Update for April 15, 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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…

  • Rich Californians don’t seem to mind that their green fantasies are screwing the poor.
  • California Democrats are trying to write racial quotas into the state Constitution. Oddly enough, Asian Americans are actually objecting to their children getting screwed out of college admissions. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “A combination of unfriendly tax policies, military budget cuts and cutthroat competition is wreaking havoc on California’s storied aerospace industry, a new study cautions.” ​​More here, which notes that:

    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.

  • CalPERS latest report proves conclusively that the fund spontaneously generates unicorns, rainbows and jobs. The Wall Street Journal examines the claims, wipes the vaguely yellow liquid off their legs and concludes “This political report offers one more reason why taxpayers and public workers shouldn’t trust Calpers with their money and would be better served by defined-contribution retirement plans that employees own and control.”
  • The California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced it faces $73.7 billion in long-term liabilities. “CalSTRS has a $71 billion unfunded pension liability.”
  • Both CalPERS and CalSTARS are desperately in need of reform.

    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.

  • Why California has an affordable housing crisis.
  • Is there a way out of Taxifornia? As such a solution would require liberals to stop acting like liberals, the answer is: probably not.
  • Bell’s corrupt officials agree to plea bargain deal. Bonus: Robert “Ratso” Rizzo gets 33 months on federal tax evasion charges. (Hat tip: Dwight, who has been all over the Bell story.)
  • At least 60 companies have relocated from California to Texas. But Elk Grove, California is striking back, trying to lure Texas companies to California. “The slogan: ‘Don’t wait for high taxes and stifling regulation to come to you, end the suspense and move to California’ just doesn’t seem too appealing to me.”
  • Continuing troubles with California’s high speed rail boondoggle.
  • Sports equipment maker MonkeySports is relocating from Corona, California to Allen, Texas, adding up to some 225 Texas jobs over two years.
  • A closer look at relocations to the Austin area.
  • Thoughts On the Boston Bombing

    Monday, April 15th, 2013

    I assume you’ve heard about the atrocity de jour. A few random points

  • As Dwight points out, nobody knows nothing yet about who did it.
  • I’ve seen people say “Al Qaeda couldn’t have done this because it’s too small-scale and sloppy.” Too which i would like to point out that: 1.) Al Qaeda has bungled plenty of attacks, and 2.) As the Ft. Hood and UNC attacks showed, there’s no shortage of freelance Jihadis willing to kill Americans.
  • As for it possibly being “tax protestors” (it being April 15 an all), maybe. Suspected Plano pipeline bomber Anson Chi fit under that description. (Of course, he was also a pro-organic food, pro-WTO, pro-Occupy, anti-GMO type, so he doesn’t fit neatly in any left-right schema.)
  • And speaking of Occupy, don’t forget that three of them pled guilty in a bombing plot.
  • Iowahawk (via Twitter) would like us to remember Richard Jewell.
  • As for the possibility that Tea Party members might be behind the bombing, lets examine the record, shall we?

  • And here’s footage of the bombing itself, just so this seems more like a real post:

    Bloomberg Fails to Learn From History (Again)

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

    Nurse Bloomberg proposes the Mafia Fulltime Employment Through Cigarette Smuggling Act (though I think he’s offering it up under another name) to raise the price of cigarettes to $10.50 a pack. (Hat tip: Dwight)

    And how well is that likely to work? “New York currently holds the top position as the highest net importer of smuggled cigarettes in 2011, with smuggled cigarettes totaling a staggering 60.9 percent of the total market. Not coincidentally, New York also has the nation’s highest state cigarette tax.”

    You would think even Nanny State advocates might have learned from the example of Prohibition, but obviously not. It’s like Bloomberg watched The Untouchables and went “Hey, Al Capone! I bet I can boost that guy’s profits through the roof!” That is, when the smuggling isn’t funding jihad.

    If Bloomberg is successful in getting this enacted, cigarette vendors in New Jersey should send him a nice thank you basket…

    Quick Impressions from the TPPF Conference Call for 3/11/13

    Monday, March 11th, 2013

    Some very quick and exceedingly brief impression of today’s TPPF conference call with Mario Loyola and Arlene Wohlgemuth:

  • The Texas legislature is considering a number of anti-gun-control bills, including one outlawing state officials from cooperating with federal authorities on unconstitutional mandates.
  • Texas is seeking to limit federal influence over anything not directly funded under a federal program.
  • There are over 600 (!) line item sources in the Texas budget as funds received from the federal government.
  • Despite conservative suspicion when it comes to Texas Speaker Joe Straus, reports that he’s considering caving on Obamacare may very well be overblown. Certainly the rest of the Republicans in the House are unified against ObamaCare.
  • I’m waiting to hear back from TPPF on state Senator Kevin Eltife’s sales tax hike proposal, supposedly to retire TxDOT bonds. At first glance it does sound an awful lot like a political death wish.
  • I said brief…

    Texas Vs. California Update for February 28, 2013

    Thursday, February 28th, 2013

    I’m running out of month! Here’s another quick Texas vs. California update:

  • Is California really back? Yeah, not so much.
  • California to impose tax on rain.
  • Add Costa Mesa to the list of California cities where a pension crises looms.
  • Texas spending on education has outpaced inflation.
  • The Texas Growth Machine.
  • Brief Impressions of the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s 2013 Policy Orientation

    Monday, January 14th, 2013

    I enjoyed attending what little I could of the Texas Public Policy Foundation 2013 policy orientation held January 9-11. Here are a few quick and largely random impressions:

    Because I just started a new day job, I wasn’t able to attend until Thursday evening, which meant I got to enjoy Austin’s lovely rush-hour traffic on Mopac and only got to hear about half of Ted Cruz’s pre-recorded message. (Cruz was originally scheduled to appear with Sen. John Cornyn, but had to fly off to Afghanistan and Israel on a Senate Foreign Relations trip. Cruz also appeared at lunch that day, a session I was unable to attend.) Then it was time for Texas’ senior U.S. Senator, John Cornyn, to be interviewed.

    He defended the Fiscal Cliff deal as necessary to avoid a huge tax increase. He talked about the Senate’s inability to pass a budget. “Shame doesn’t work on Harry Reid.”

    On foreign and defense policy, he noted (correctly) that keeping the American people safe is the number one responsibility of government. Cornyn says he’s opposing the nomination of Chuck Hagel and dinged Obama over Benghazi. “If the President and his Administration had been honest about Benghazi, they’re wouldn’t have been a scandal.” (Paraphrased.)

    Cornyn also displayed a certain tone-deafness in regard to his audience. When asked to mention possible 2016 GOP Presidential candidates, the first name Cornyn mentioned was NJ Governor Chris Christie, which drew audible groans and hisses from the audience, for good reason.

    After the Cornyn speech there was a blogger met-and-great at Rivals Steakhouse. I met a bevy of state Reps whose names quickly blurred together, as well as Ashley Sewell, AKA @TXTrendyChick, who I had already been following on Twitter, and a bunch of other bloggers. Most interesting bit of off-the-record gossip: Confirmation of my Rick Perry hopped-up on goofballs theory. “When I saw him running around Iowa in flats I knew he was in a lot of pain. The man practically sleeps in boots.”

    On Friday, I took a long lunch to attend the Newt Gingrich luncheon and signing. I sat one seat down from the indefatigable Holly Hansen (who has her own, far more extensive coverage), and @TXTrendyChick promptly plopped down between us. Obviously our table was the place to be.

    I get to hang out with all the cool chicks!

    Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was Gingrich’s warm-up speaker. Dewhurst has improved somewhat since his losing Senate race against Ted Cruz last year, but he’s still not a natural speaker. He tries to cram too many policy points into a speech, and isn’t skilled enough to distinguish between major and minor points. When it comes to conservative policy, he seems to know the words, but doesn’t hear the music.

    Dewhurst’s four points as to why Texas is doing better than any other state (1. We keep our spending low, 2. Keep our taxes low, 3. A light regulatory hand, and 4. Keep state government out of the way) were all very solid. He also promised additional budget cutting; let’s hope he follows through.

    Most interesting parts of Dewhurst’s speech: A clumsily-phrased plea for welfare reform (“I’m not going to pay people to sit on the couch and do drugs,” a proclamation that will no doubt disappoint many members of Occupy Wall Street), and a proposal to arm teachers in the classroom.

    Gingrich came on stage to a standing ovation. He said it was unfair for other states to compete with Texas, since we weren’t raising taxes and spending like California. (This is what people call “sarcasm.”)

    This was definitely Gingrich 2.0 (or maybe 8.6), an idea-a-minute futurist (I’d like to see him and Bruce Sterling bounce off each other for a couple of hours someday). He was saying things about America 2.0, ubiquitous diagnostic cell phones as a health care initiative, having the programmers behind World of Warcraft come up with ways to teach our kids, and puters mkn kdz wrt btr (I iz skptical). It was even more scatter-shot than Dewhurst, but seemed a lot more organic. And he had one truly fascinating factoid: Students taking Stanford’s online classes did better on tests than the ones taking classes in person.

    Gingrich seems genuinely optimistic about America’s future, which is a nice contrast with many of us after the 2012 election.

    After the speech I managed to get him to sign two books for me, To Renew America, and Jim Wright’s Reflections of a Public Man, which he was quite amused by.

    A few more luminaries:

    State Senator Larry Taylor

    State Rep Marsha Farney

    A very dapper Chuck DeVore. He wasn’t born in Texas, but he got here as quickly as he could.

    Hey girl, it’s Josh Trevino!

    Apologies to anyone I didn’t mention, didn’t run into, or didn’t get a picture of (some just didn’t come out well). It was a busy two days!

    And congratulations to TPPF honcho David Guenthner and his many minions, for all the hard work in carrying this off:

    In addition to the copy of Texas Got it Right handed out to everyone, David thrust a copy of DeVore’s The Texas Model: Prosperity in the Lone Star State into my hands. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to say more about both in the not-so-distant future.

    Lamar Smith Among Four Texas Congressmen Who Voted for Massive Tax Hike

    Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

    In addition to both Texas Senators (John Cornyn, who should have known better, and the retiring Kay Baily Hutchison, who came in like a lion and is going out like a RINO; thank God Ted Cruz is replacing her), four Republican Texas congressmen voted for the “Fiscal Cliff” tax hike deal:

  • Pete Sessions
  • Lamar Smith
  • Mac Thornberry
  • Kevin Brady
  • All should have known better than to vote for a bill that contained $41 dollars in new taxes for every $1 in spending cuts, but the name Lamar Smith certainly sticks out thanks to such previous hits as “Hi, I’m a SOPA/PIPA Recording Industry Whore.” It’s no surprise, given the bill includes big tax breaks for Hollywood. I guess Smith is one of those politicians that stays bought.

    All should expect primary challenges.

    I’m happy to say that my own Representative, John Carter, voted against the bill.

    I haven’t had time to read the entire bill yet, so I can’t tell you whether it’s merely bad or actively horrific…

    Texas Vs. California: Thanksgiving Week Edition

    Monday, November 19th, 2012

    Another quick update on the respective fates of our nation’s two biggest states:

  • In case you didn’t notice, California Democrats now have a super-majority in the legislature, which means they can raise taxes to their heart’s content. That should only heighten the difference between California’s Blue State model and Texas’ Red State model.
  • California spends far more money on its welfare state that Texas, but has greater income inequality.
  • The election California voters helped accelerate the state’s economic decline.
  • America is becoming California…and California is becoming Greece.
  • The California city of Atwater backs away from bankruptcy after winning concessions from unions.
  • Texas added 36,600 total nonfarm jobs in October, dropping unemployment down to 6.6%.
  • France’s Punative Tax Rates Driving Out Supermodels

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

    You may have heard that France’s new socialist President Francois Hollande wants to tax anyone earning more than a million francs a year at 75%.

    One of the people that France’s high tax rates have already driven out is supermodel Laetitia Casta.

    So remember liberals: When you hike taxes to the stratosphere, you’re driving out this:

    Won’t someone please think of the supermodels?

    Dear California: You Know That Money Will Be Wasted, and You Know Those Tax Hikes Will Be Permanent

    Friday, September 28th, 2012

    I’ve got another Texas vs. California piece coming around on the guitar, but I thought there was enough here to warrant a separate post.

    Hold on to your hats, but it seems that California voters might, just might, be catching on that the Democrats who run California’s state government are wasting their money.

    I will now wait for the indignant shouts of incredulous outrage to die down.

    Support for Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan for billions of dollars in tax hikes on the November ballot is slipping amid public anxiety about how politicians spend money, but voters still favor the proposal, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

    Well, I did say “might.”

    The findings suggest that voters are leery of sending more cash to Sacramento in the wake of a financial scandal at the parks department, spiraling costs for a multibillion-dollar high-speed rail project to connect Northern and Southern California and ill-timed legislative pay raises.

    If voters aren’t willing to stop spending for a $100 billion train to nowhere that everyone know will never be completed, and which would lose even more money every year if it was, when will they?

    Brown’s measure would temporarily raise income tax rates on high earners for seven years and boost the state sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years in a bid to avoid steep cuts in funds for schools and other programs.

    Note that word: “temporary.”

    Anyone with even a passing knowledge of the way politics actually works knows that there’s no such thing as a “temporary” tax hike. The only thing that prevents Democrats (and establishment Republicans) from spending every cent of every tax collected and more is booting them out of office. Raising taxes simply ensures that they’ll spend all the new revenue and additional money they don’t have on top of that. And with the fiscal tsunami California is facing from bloated government, spiraling debt, and gold-plated public employee union pensions that will bankrupt the state, those “temporary” taxes will never be repealed. Ever.

    And two or four years down the line, the next Democratic governor will be asking the voters to approve another “temporary” tax hike…