Monday, November 30, 2009

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Hartmann, Portune keep property tax rollback
Pepper, however, reneges on solemn pledge

In a clear display of the power of COASTers to impact public policy, even with liberal democrats in control, today the Hamilton County Commission voted 2-1 to retain the Stadium Property Tax Rollback at least for one more year. The overwhelming response to the COAST Action Alert really worked!

COAST was joined today at a hearing of the Hamilton County Commission by the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors as being the two lone voices in favor of keeping the full property tax rollback. Of course, COAST's message was bolstered by the dozens of calls, letters and e-mails over the past two weeks to Commission offices demanding that they retain the rollback.

The County's administration had recommended postponing the annual $5 million payment to Cincinnati Public Schools, and eliminating 40% of the rollback for 2010 as ways to close a $13.8 million hole in the Stadium Fund for 2010. Now, Commissioners Hartmann and Portune are working to close the remaining $7.2 million gap (other savings were found by the administration elsewhere).

Despite his solemn and repeated promises to retain the rollback at all costs, David Pepper flip-flopped on the issue and today called for eliminating 40% of the rollback. Pepper told us just a year ago that he considers "any move to divert dollars from the Property Tax Rollback to be a deeply illegitimate act." Yet, today, he voted in favor that that very deeply illegitimate act that he promised he never would. Yes, David Pepper lied to the voters of Hamilton County.

Greg Hartmann introduced a resolution to fully fund the rollback and address the deficit in the Stadium Fund in other ways. Todd Portune reluctantly joined in voting for the Hartmann resolution.Please call and write - again! Please call or e-mail Commissioners Hartmann (946-4405) and Portune (946-4401) and thank them for retaining the rollback. Please also call or e-mail David Pepper (946-4409) and tell him you know he broke his promise to Hamilton County taxpayers.

COASTers Jason Gloyd and Chris Finney testified today before the Commission, pointing out these repeated prior promises and the intentional policy of just the past few years to fund Banks spending from a Stadium Fund Commissioners know is bankrupt, quoting from democrat Dusty Rhodes' letter (click on "May 20, 2009 - Statement on 'The Banks.'") of earlier this year, warning Commissioners their continued over-spending was putting the stadium fund at risk. When the Stadium sales tax was approved in 1996, a firm promise was made that 30% of the sales tax revenue would be devoted exclusively to property tax relief for owner-occupied single family homes. It was that promise that was again kept today (at least for one more year).

Thank you for your help!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Portune & Pepper's Reverse Robin Hood Scheme

Faced with shrinking revenues, Commissioners Portune and Pepper will do anything rather than curb spending. Their latest conspiracy is a new low. The merry duo want to continue giving millionaire sports teams free or reduced rent for the stadiums, and continue underwriting private real estate moguls for the $800 million Banks waterfront apartments and luxury retail development. In order to do so, they will renege on the $5 million payment promised to Cincinnati Public Schools as part of the same deal.

Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman highlighted that a majority of CPS students are African-American and many of them are too poor to afford to attend a game at the stadium. Pepper and Portune are, in effect, robbing the poor to payoff the rich.

Inexplicably, the School Board voted 4:3 last night to approve the scheme. Just 21 days ago, voters approved a renewal levy based on CPS' insistance that they were desperate for money. Now that they are giving it away so freely, voters can plainly see they were lied to again. Smitherman, who endorsed this past levy, says, "I do not think the School Board can justify this transaction to voters in 2010 or 2011 when they ask for another levy."

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Most Expensive Distance Between Two Points Is Always a Rail Line

By Daily Mail Reporter
11th November 2009

A Network Rail boss told staff to travel to a conference by coach [bus] because trains are too expensive.

The senior executive decided on coach travel after it was found that taking 200 of the company's staff from Reading to Coventry by rail could cost as much as £27,000.

Instead, the staff will now be collected by coach from Network Rail's head office in Berkshire. Own goal: A Network Rail boss told staff to travel to a conference by coach because trains are too expensive.

Travel expenses will amount to £12 a head by coach, with overall spending being £2,400 - less than a tenth of the cost by train.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Healthy" Tax Hikes From Senate Democrats

Our friends at Americans for Tax Reform have published a full list of the tax hikes that Senate Democrats passed Saturday night in their so-called "Health Bill." We know, President Obama promised no tax increases at all on the middle class, and most of these hit everybody. We'll hold our breath awaiting his veto. These tax hikes include:

Individual Mandate Tax (Page 324/Sec. 1501/$8 bil): Starting in 2014, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the following schedule (capped at 8 percent of income):

Single +1
Single +2
2016, etc.

Exemptions for religious objectors, undocumented immigrants, prisoners, those earning less than the poverty line, members of Indian tribes, and hardship cases (determined by HHS).

Employer Mandate Tax (Page 348/Sec. 1513/$28 bil):  If an employer does not offer health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit, the employer must pay an additional non-deductible tax of $750 for all full-time employees.  Applies to all employers with 50 or more employees.

If the employer requires a waiting period to enroll in coverage of 30-60 days, there is a $400 tax per employee ($600 if the period is 60 days or longer).

Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans (Page 1979/Sec. 9001/$149.1 bil): Starting in 2013, new 40 percent excise tax on “Cadillac” health insurance plans ($8500 single/$23,000 family).  Higher threshold ($9850 single/$26,000 family) for early retirees and high-risk professions.  CPI +1 percentage point indexed.

From 2013-2015, the 17 highest-cost states are 120% of this level. 

Employer Reporting of Insurance on W-2 (Page 1996/Sec. 9002/Min$): Preamble to taxing health benefits on individual tax returns.

Medicine Cabinet Tax (Page 1997/Sec. 9003/$5 bil): No longer allowable to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin)

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike (Page 1998/Sec. 9004/$1.3 bil): Increases additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

FSA Cap (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$14.6 bil): Imposes cap on FSAs of $2500 (now unlimited).

Corporate 1099-MISC Information Reporting (Page 1999/Sec. 9006/$17.1 bil): Requires businesses to send 1099-MISC information tax forms to corporations (currently limited to individuals), a huge compliance burden for small employers.

Excise Tax on Charitable Hospitals (page 2001/Sec. 9007/Min$): $50,000 per hospital if they fail to meet new "community health assessment needs," "financial assistance," and "billing and collection" rules set by HHS.

Tax on Innovator Drug Companies (Page 2010/Sec. 9008/ $22.2 bil): $2.3 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to share of sales made that year.

Tax of Medical Device Manufacturers (Page 2020/Sec. 9009/$19.3 bil): $2 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to shares of sales made that year.  Exempts items retailing for <$100.

Tax on Health Insurers (Page 2026/Sec. 9010/$60.4 bil): $6.7 billion annual tax on the industry imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year.

Eliminate tax deduction for employer-provided retirement Rx drug coverage in coordination with Medicare Part D (Page 2034/Sec. 9012/$5.4 bil)

Raise "Haircut" for Medical Itemized Deduction from 7.5% to 10% of AGI (Page 2034/Sec. 9013/$15.2 bil) : Waived for 65+ taxpayers in 2013-2016 only.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives (Page 2035/Sec. 9014/$0.6 bil)

Hike in Medicare Payroll Tax (Page 2040/Sec. 9015/$53.8 bil): Current law and changes:

Wages (Employer/Employee)
Self-Employment Net Income
Current Law and New Rate on First $200,000 ($250,000 MFJ)
New Rate on Amount Which Exceeds $200,000 ($250,000 MFJ)
The 0.5% new rate addition is not deductible for the self-employment tax adjustment.

Blue Cross/Blue Shield Tax Hike (Page 2044/Sec. 9016/$0.4 bil): The special tax deduction in current law for Blue Cross/Blue Shield companies would only be allowed if 85 percent or more of premium revenues are spent on clinical services

Tax on Cosmetic Medical Procedures (Page 2045/Sec. 9017/$5.8 bil): New 5% excise tax on elective cosmetic surgery to be paid by the surgery patient.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pepper and Portune plan early Christmas "present" for homeowners

Urgent COAST call to action:
Please contact Hamilton County Commissioners to urge that they keep stadium property tax rollback

The drive for higher taxes and spending from the Hamilton County Commission under our liberal democrat Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper continues, this time with a vote in the coming weeks on elimination of the stadium property tax rollback, a massive tax hike on single family homeowners in Hamilton County.

Screwed gif

Please contact your County Commissioners today to urge that they retain the property tax rollback, so the taxpayers are not screwed by the politicians in the stadium deals once again.

Todd Portune, (513) 946-4401, fax (513) 946-4446

David Pepper, (513) 946-4409, fax (513) 946-4407

Greg Hartmann, (513) 946-4405, fax (513) 946-4404

When running for office, both Portune and Pepper made solemn pledges that they would retain the property tax rollback. However, Portune and Pepper have since spent the stadium fund into the red, and they are now claiming a tax increase is their only option: read yesterday's articles in the Cincinnati Business Courier and the Cincinnati Enquirer. Consider this:

  1. Commissioners have spent more than $11 million on outside counsel from the stadium fund over the objections of Prosecutor Joe Deters and the Common Pleas Court Judges, who oversee outside counsel. Deters claims he can do the work for less money and the Commissioners actions are wasteful. Commissioners are so insistent on spending these monies on Thursday they sued the Commissioners at the Ohio Supreme Court to keep the money flowing to their favored counsel. (COAST reported here on how we intend to countersue the Commissioners over this illegal contract and spending.)
  2. Commissioners have committed to proceed with tens of millions of dollars of improvements and development subsidies at the Banks project from the Stadium Fund, knowing they did not have the ability to pay for these improvements without a tax hike.
  3. As COAST reported here, in August, rather than cut their profligate spending, Commissioners borrowed an additional $5.5 million to subsidize the stadium fund.

As COAST reported here, Commissioners Portune and Pepper have made it an article of faith, beyond mere fiscal considerations, that they would not eliminate the property tax rollback under any circumstances. Consider this unequivocal statement from Commissioner Pepper just one year ago:

Far beyond a debate over tax policy . . . this is a much more fundamental issue of basic governance, and adhering to the clear consent of the governed. In that light, I consider any move to divert dollars from the PTR to be a deeply illegitimate act. It lacks fundamental integrity. And it's simply not an option.

David Pepper, PepTalk Blog, Nov 18, 2008

When Hamilton County voters passed the stadium sales tax in 1996, a key part of the bargain was that 30% of the revenue from the ½ cent sales tax would be devoted to property tax reduction. It is that rollback that is imperiled because of the poor fiscal policies of Portune and Pepper.

Memory has not yet dimmed of the treachery of Portune and Pepper in enacting the Super-Sized Jail Sales Tax increase in 2007 without a vote of the people, only months after a smaller tax was rejected at the polls. COAST and the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition successfully placed that issue before the voters with a petition drive, and defeated the massive tax increase.

COAST needs you urgently to contact Portune and Pepper and demand they keep their word, and retain the property tax rollback. Further, that they drop their suit to retain their expensive outside counsel, and curtail their over-spending. Finally, please contact Commissioner Greg Hartmann and thank him for keeping his word to retain the property tax rollback.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

COAST Issues Taxpayer Demand to Pepper/Portune

over $13.5 million Banks attorney fee insider deal

while Commissioners confront elimination of promised tax rollback

The shameful case of wasted money and insider dealing at the Stadium/Banks project continues unabated.

Two sad chapters in this story are playing out not in the halls of the County Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court. Here’s an update:

· Prosecutor Joe Deters and Hamilton County’s Judges have criticized the contract of Ohio law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease that has sucked more than $13.5 million from the taxpayers since 2002 for legal work on the Stadium and Banks projects. In October, Hamilton County’s Judges, who under Ohio statute are permitted to authorize such outside legal contracts, revoked the agreement, forcing a showdown between Commissioners Pepper and Portune and the judges. On Friday, the Commissioners filed a bizarre suit, with themselves acting as attorneys, against their own Judges at the Ohio Supreme Court. COAST has sent the Prosecutor a taxpayer demand letter seeking to sue the Commissioners over the continuation of the illegal contract. Under the letter, Deters either must sue the Commissioners himself or allow COAST attorneys to do so on his behalf. Portune and Pepper receive thousands of dollars in campaign contributions through their contacts at the Vorys firm.

· Also, this month, the chickens finally come home to roost on the massive over-spending in the stadium sales tax fund, including the recent massive over-spending on the Banks project. As COAST reported here and here, when the stadium sales tax was passed, a solemn promise made to the taxpayers was that 30% of the revenue from the ½ cent sales tax would be devoted to property tax reduction. Both Pepper and Portune have made explicit campaign promises to retain the rollback, not just as a matter of lower taxes, but as an article of faith with the voters.

Still, when confronted with the option of cutting spending or eliminating the sacrosanct rollback in September, Portune and Pepper opted instead to take on $5.5 million more in debt in the fund for just several months, making elimination of the rollback almost a foregone conclusion.

So, prepare to be screwed again by our liberal democrats on the Commission in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

COAST v. City of Cincinnati in Federal Court Today

Council allows pro-tax rallies,
but not those advocating limited government

COAST attorneys will appear before the United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, November 17 to defend the Preliminary Injunction it received nearly a year ago requiring City officials to provide equal access to certain spaces within City Hall for press conferences and rallies promoting limited government.

In February of 2008, Cincinnatians Active to Support Education and 60 other individuals and organizaitons rallied inside City Hall to support a massive tax increase for Cincinnati Public Schools. Only months later, COASTer Mark Miller requested that the City allow a rally in that exact location for organizations supporting the ballot issue promoting a ban on red light cameras and proportional representation, and he was denied such access.

"The City grants or denies access for press conferences and rallies based upon the viewpoint of the speaker," said Chris Finney, lead counsel for COAST in the litigation. "That is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. Judge Barrett properly enjoined the City from continuing such unconstitutional practices, and we are proud to defend that victory for common sense, fairness, equaity and the Constitution in the Court of Appeals."

COAST challenged the discriminatory policies of the City in federal court. In that action, Federal District Court Judge Michael Barrett issued a preliminary injunction against that City policy, finding that it violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution. The City has appealed that decision to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, one step beneath the US Supreme Court.

The oral argument is scheduled for 9 AM Tuesday at:
United States 6th Circuit Court of Appeals
6th floor-West Courtroom
Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse
100 East Fifth Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

In 2008, COAST and its partners in the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition collected 15,000 signatures to place before City voters a ban on red light and speeding cameras. The WeDemandAVote.Com coalition members are the NAACP, COAST, the Libertarian Party of Ohio and the Green Party of Southwest Ohio.

Despite organized opposition from the Democrat Party, Mayor Mallory and a host of big-givernment advocates, and despite the discrimination COAST and the WeDemand Coalition faced in achieving access to the interior spaces of City Hall, voters enacted the ban, the first in the nation. Since then, voters nationwide have adopted such prohibitions.

COAST frequently brings suit to fight for access to governmental forums on equal footing with pro-tax forces, including suing Sheriff Leis in 2007 over the Super-Sized jail tax, suing Cincinnati Public Schools over abuse of school yards for political signs, and suing the Fairfield City Schools for sending home pro-levy flyers with school children.

"Some day, politicians and bureaucrats will learn," said Finney, "that they cannot abuse the power of their office to advance their big-government agenda. COAST stands firm in stopping these particularly pernicious practices."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

NoKY Tea Party for Oppressed CA Farmers

The Situation
In actions that can only be described as lacking the most basic humanity, the U.S. Congress has turned off the water to Central Valley farmers, leaving their land dry, their field's fallow, all in an effort to protect a small 2-inch minnow. You read that right, tens of thousands are now unemployed and waiting in food lines because of the federal government's decision to protect a fish.

The Effect
Not only do we have farmers out of work and on the verge of losing their farms, but this is the 'bread basket of America' and we ALL depend on these farmers for food. Unless legislation changes things in the next few weeks, it will be too late for the Farmers to get water for 2010 and we will begin importing 97% of our food.

In addition, if the environmental policy of the federal government can shut off irrigation water to thousands of acres in California and in so doing eliminate the American dream for tens of thousands of American farmers, what is to stop them from coming to your neighborhood, county or state and doing the same thing to you, your family or neighbors?

How Can We Help
The Tea Party Patriots have decided to take a "Farm Relief and Freedom Rally" road trip to CA and they are visiting Northern Kentucky on the way. Here are the details:
Date: Thursday, November 12, 2009
Time: 3:00pm - 8:00pm, Patriot Bus arriving at 5:00
Location: Richwood Flea Market
Street: 10915 Dixie Hwy
City/Town: Walton, KY
Harlene Holland - born in El Progreso, Honduras and now a U.S. citizen, she will address the forms of oppression she is now seeing and feeling in America that she saw in her youth.

Jim Waters - from Freedom Kentucky will address Cap and Trade
Health Care and the Copenhagen Treaty will also be addressed.

COAST Thanks Brad Wenstrup and GOP

COAST desires to thank Dr. Brad Wenstrup and the Hamilton County GOP for the fantastic run Dr. Wenstrup had for Mayor of Cincinnati and the broad support Dr. Wenstrup enjoyed from all corners of this community. Dr. Wenstrup ran a spirited race that forced public debate of the failed trolley proposal of Mayor Mallory and the tax-and-spend policies of his administration. At last, conservative voters and advocates of limited government were given real choices by a strong party, and for that we are grateful.

Specter and Scozzafava Disappointing, Predictable

Two experiences are lessons for local GOP voters
What happens when Republican voters embrace candidates who fundamentally disagree with our message of limited government and lower taxes? Invariably the uncomfortable marriage results in disappointment and in some cases downright betrayal. So, for those advancing an abandonment of principle in favor of a “bigger tent,” COAST asks GOP voters to look towards real-life experiences in deciding who should be our leaders for the future. Read here about important lessons learned and decisions before us.

Arlen Specter
Arlen Specter was a consistent disappointment for advocates of limited government since he joined the United States Senate in 1980. He cemented his liberal credentials in 1987 by opposing Reagan nominee to the US Supreme Court Robert Bork and opposing the Clinton impeachment in 1999.

Specter fully embraced Washington’s big-spending ways in earlier this year by supporting President Obama’s $800 billion stimulus bill.

In 2004, Specter was challenged in the Republican primary by conservative Pat Toomey, whose primary theme was Specter’s treason on the tax and spending issue. However, (entirely predictably) most of the state and national Republican establishment, including President Bush and the state's other senator at the time, Rick Santorum, closed ranks behind Specter. Specter narrowly avoided a major upset with 51 percent of the primary vote.

Toomey went on to lead the wildly successful Club for Growth that has up-ended tax-and-spend Republicans nationwide.

On April 28 of this year, facing a defeat in a second Republican primary challenge from Toomey, Specter switched parties giving Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate.

Dede Scozzafava
In September of this year, President Obama appointed long-time Republican Congressman John McHugh as Secretary of the Army, setting up an election for the open seat in Congress. In July, Scozzafava was selected by 11 Republican Party county chairs located in the New York’s 23rd Congressional district to be the Republican nominee.

In quick succession, Scozzafava was endorsed by the Log Cabin Republicans, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), the largest labor union in New York State and liberal Democrat blogger Markos Moulitsas, of the Daily Kos.

Fortunately, Doug Hoffman running on the Conservative Party line in New York gave limited government voters a choice in the election.

Predictably, establishment Republicans such as Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and John Boehner backed Scozzafava. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent more than $900,000 to advance Scozzafava’s candidacy. Conservative Hoffman was endorsed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Three days before the November 3, 2009 election, with poll numbers indicating that she was likely to lose in the three-way race, Scozzafava ended her campaign, releasing her supporters to "transfer their support as they see fit.” The following day, Scozzafava threw her support to Democrat Bill Owens, calling him "an independent voice who will put New York first."

Democrat Owens won the race by four percentage points and on November 7 became one of Nancy Pelosi’s votes for the new socialist Heath Care bill.

The choice of Hamilton County Republican voters
Hamilton County’s GOP has been plagued by candidates and elected officials who have embraced higher taxes and spending at every opportunity, including Congresswoman Jean Schmidt who voted in favor of all of Bob Taft’s tax increases, Sharonville Mayor Virgil Lovitt who repeatedly endorsed higher taxes and endorsed liberal democrats for election and Bob Taft himself.

Now, we face an election for an open seat for Hamilton County Commission. Whom should GOP voters support? A candidate with a long record of voting in favor of taxes and spending? A candidate who has endorsed liberal democrats in closely contested races? A candidate who publicly declares: “Just because I am a Republican doesn’t mean anything?”

Or should we favor a candidate who has consistently supported Republcian principles, the Republican Party and Republican candidates?

The choice is ours. Have we learned the lessons of Specter and Scozzafava, or will Republican voters continue to undermine their own cause.

COAST, WeDemand Bat .500 for 2009 Season

Referendum on Trolley, Water Works sale

The November 3 elections were one on and one out for COASTers. COAST pushed Issues 8 and 9 on the November ballot, starting with petition drives this spring and summer that gathered more than 30,000 signatures to force a vote on both issues.

Issue 8 prevents the City from selling the assets of the Water Works to a regional Water District without a vote of the electorate. City Manager Dohoney had planned on selling the water works for $475 million dollars to a new regional entity and then charging back that purchase price to the ratepayers. The new $475 million in revenue for the City would then be squandered as the billions the City already has. Voters approved the measure clipping Council’s wings by a 61% vote.

Issue 9 was the higher-profile issue designed to force a public vote on issues such as the proposed $185 million streetcar system and the $60 million Riverfront Transit Center. Opponents spent more than $100,000 to defeat the measure, including $5,000 donated by streetcar vendor Parsons Brinkerhoff. Issue 9 was defeated by 56% of the vote.

COAST thanks our many volunteers, our partners in the WeDemandAVote.Com coalition, the Cincinnati Chapter of the NAACP and its President Christopher Smitherman, the more than 30,000 voters who supported limited government and the more than 15,000 petition signers who brought us hope for more limited government.

Great Tax Protestors of History:

Mahatma Gandhi

So often, advocates of bigger, more oppressive government position their cause as “good” versus the “evil” of those seeking more liberty and more limited government. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but with a massive government public relations machine, a complicit media, a massive dependent non-profit sector, and rapacious politicians and bureaucrats backing this theory, it becomes an uphill battle to fight.

So, in this edition of COAST news, we highlight one of the many heros of limited government and lower taxes: Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 on the Salt March

protesting the British Salt Tax

Read here how Ghandi started the decline of oppressive British rule in India with the Salt March of 1930, opposing none other than the British Salt Tax.

In 1930, Ghandi launched the first act of organized opposition to British rule, and the start of his campaign of non-violence with a march protesting the 1882 British Salt Act. The 1882 Salt Act gave the British a monopoly on the collection and manufacture of salt, limiting its handling to government salt depots and levying a salt tax. Violation of the Salt Act was a criminal offense. Even though salt was freely available to those living on the coast (by evaporation of sea water), Indians were forced to purchase it from the colonial government.

Here is the declaration of the Indian National Congress, headed by Ghandi, before the start of the Salt March

We believe that it is the inalienable right of the Indian people, as of any other people, to have freedom and to enjoy the fruits of their toil and have the necessities of life, so that they may have full opportunities of growth. We believe also that if any government deprives a people of these rights and oppresses them the people have a further right to alter it or abolish it. The British government in India has not only deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the xploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually. We believe therefore, that India must sever the British connection and attain Purna Swaraj or complete independence.

The Salt March drew worldwide attention to the Indian independence movement through extensive newspaper and newsreel coverage. Protests against the salt tax continued for almost a year, ending with Gandhi's release from jail and negotiations with Viceroy Lord Irwin at the Second Round Table Conference.[2] Over 80,000 Indians were jailed as a result of the Salt Tax protests. The campaign had a significant effect on changing world and British attitudes toward Indian independence, and caused large numbers of Indians to actively join the fight for the first time, but failed to win major concessions from the British.

Read more about Ghandi’s Salt Tax protests here.

Rob Portman on Taxes and Spending

In 2010, Republicans have great hopes of winning seats for Ohio Governor (John Kasich), Ohio Senator (Rob Portman), Ohio Treasurer (Josh Mandel), Ohio Auditor (re-electing Mary Taylor), and Ohio Secretary of State (John Husted or Sandy O’Brien). Here, COAST begins to examine the bona fides of its Republican candidates on tax and spending issues.

Republican candidate for

United States Senate Rob Portman

Rob Portman is the leading candidate for the Republican nomination to the United States Senate, seeking to replace the consistently disappointing George Voinovich. So COAST asks, just what is Rob Portman’s record on tax and spending issues?

Portman served in the United States Congress serving the second congressional district of Ohio from 1993 to 2005. He also served as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) during the administration of President George W. Bush. Previously, Portman was the U. S. Trade Representative for one year, (from May 2005 to May 2006), a post carrying the rank of Ambassador.

In short, COAST’s analysis is that Portman consistently has been an energetic leader on scaling back the scope of government in Washington and has earned praise from credible national advocates of lower spending. Here’s just one:

"His conservative credentials are sterling. As a member of the House from 1993 to 2005, he compiled a lifetime voting rating of 89 percent from the American Conservative Union. His average annual rating from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was comfortably above 90 percent. His lifetime voting rating from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action was less than 6 percent."

- Washington Times Editorial - May 30, 2008

Portman was named “Hero of the Taxpayer” ten times by Americans for Tax Reform with a 92.42% average ATR rating over 12 years. He was named a “Taxpayer Hero” ten times by Citizens Against Government Waste and earned a 84% Life Time rating from CAGW, the second highest rating for the Ohio delegation.

COAST rates Portman’s record on fiscal issues as “stellar” and an outstanding candidate for the United States Senate. Read more here.

Here are some highlights of Portman’s history in elective and appointive service:

Cut taxes

· Rob co-sponsored legislation to make permanent the tax reductions on investments and reduced tax rates for lower-income families.

· Rob co-sponsored legislation to permanently repeal the estate, commonly known as the Death Tax.

· In Congress, Rob authored and passed the Principle Residence Exclusion Act, which increased the capital gain exemption for homeowners, reducing the number of people who paid capital gains by more than 90%.

· Rob sponsored legislation that reduced double taxation of foreign earnings of U.S. based employers making them better able to compete for business in markets at home and abroad.

Control government spending

· As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rob co-sponsored legislation to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget and voted in support of a balanced budget and reduced federal spending.

· As the Director for the Office of Management and Budget, Rob maintained his commitment to balancing the budget by developing a balanced budget.

· As Director of OMB, Rob spearheaded an effort to assess all federal government spending to determine whether the money was spent effectively. Rob made the results available for public viewing at The website also made public for the first time congressional justifications for all agency budgets.

· Rob co-sponsored legislation to amend the Constitution to require a 2/3 Congressional majority on legislation that would raise taxes.

Transparency and limited government

· Rob co-chaired the National Commission on Restructuring the IRS, which led to the creation of over 50 new taxpayer rights, simplified the tax code, and increased IRS accountability.

· As Director of OMB, Rob led an effort to increase the transparency of how Congressional earmarks are used and to expose the “horse-trading” among Congressional members. Rob’s efforts led to the establishment of an unprecedented government database that detailed more than 13,490 earmarks totaling more than $18.9 billion (

· As Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Rob established tough reform goals that not only brought transparency to the process of earmarks, but also cut the number and value of earmarks by at least 50%.

Here’s what anti-tax leaders in Washington are saying about Rob Portman:

Rob Portman is one of the best friends the taxpayers have ever had at the Office of Management and Budget. Upon his appointment in 2006, he immediately reached out to taxpayer groups and engaged them in an all-out effort to fight for tax relief and spending discipline. One of his first successes was passage of the line-item veto act, and he has always worked tirelessly to increase accountability, transparency, and efficiency in government.

Director Portman’s entire career has been dedicated to championing the cause of taxpayers, most recently in his recommendation that the President veto appropriations bills that exceed the fiscal 2008 budget request, and his unprecedented and extraordinarily important letter to federal agencies following passage of the fiscal 2008 continuing resolution, in which he told officials to ignore calls from members of Congress that would circumvent the moratorium on earmarks,” Schatz said. “While Director Portman will have been in office for only 14 months once he formally resigns, he has built a lasting legacy of fiscal responsibility.

- Tom Schatz, President - Citizens Against Government Waste - June 2007

While serving as the President’s main budgetary supervisor, OMB Director Portman steered the Administration towards stronger fiscal restraint. The Administration, now, runs several websites devoted to opening the spending process, including, and worked with Republicans in Congress to sign onto a letter pledging their votes to sustain a Presidential veto if the upcoming appropriations bills cost too much.

- Americans for Tax Reform Press Release - June 2007

Rob Portman did an excellent job as OMB director.” There is a very good chance that President Bush will veto 10 or 11 of the dozen spending bills Congress will pass this year because they spent more than he wanted. That's real progress.

- Grover Norquist, President - Americans for Tax Reform - June 2007

This is a tremendous victory for the taxpayers and one more sign that Washington’s ‘Earmark Favor Factory’ is closed for the year. President Bush and OMB Director Rob Portman deserve a great deal of credit for withstanding pressure from a lot of powerful, pork-project-seeking officials on Capitol Hill. Hopefully, this guidance on this year’s earmark moratorium will become a permanent policy that recognizes that pork-barrel earmarks that are not included in actual legisla­­tion should not be funded by the Executive Branch. We look forward to continuing our work with the Administration and Congress to end the earmark extravaganza once and for all.

- Tim Phillips, President - Americans For Prosperity - February 2007

Earlier this year, Director Portman led the effort to create the government’s first earmark database, which forms the basis for reducing the number and cost of earmarks in fiscal 2008. He also negotiated the removal of the most egregious pork-barrel projects in the emergency spending bill for the War on Terror that was signed into law in May.

- Tom Schatz, President - Citizens Against Government Waste - June 2007

Quadruple Liberal Democrat Tax Whammy Coming

COAST predicts fate of taxpayers: We are screwed

State of Ohio moves to increase income taxes
Governor Ted Strickland, following rigidly in the footsteps of his failed predecessor Bob Taft, has steadfastly refused to reform state government and cut spending, opting instead for a slow descent into a rust-belt stagnation. Just before November’s election, the Democrat-controlled Ohio House endorsed Strickland’s plan to delay for two years the 4.2 percent income-tax cut that takes effect Jan. 1 to fill an $851 million budget hole. The GOP-controlled Senate gets to decide on the Republican option: higher taxes or finally reforming state government and reducing its size and scope. COAST is hopeful that the current Senate leadership may actually “get it” and hold the line on the growth in state government. Read more here.
COAST predicts the GOP holds the line.

Cincinnati City Manager, Mayor and Council plot and scheme for higher taxes
Mayor Mallory, aided by Manager Dohoney and a lame duck majority on Council are plotting to raise taxes during the 27-day lame duck session of the Council and in Council’s upcoming 2010 budget process. This summer, Manager Dohoney promised that Council would pursue new revenue after the election, and Finance Committee Chairman Laketa Cole intentionally delayed a vote on the continuation of the property tax rollback until after the election. On the agenda for the coming 60 days before Council are a property tax increase, a new trash tax, and a possible push for a general earnings tax hike.
COAST predicts democrats screw City taxpayers yet again.

Day of reckoning coming for Commission on Stadium Property Tax Rollback
As COAST reported here and here, Hamilton County’s Commission has foolishly over-spent on the Bengals stadium and the Banks project and underestimated the revenue to be derived form the sales tax. As a result, the fund maintained for bond repayments has a massive deficit. In August, County Commissioners were faced with a vote on the shortfall. They had a choice: finally cut over-spending or reverse the firmly promised tax rebate. They chose neither. Instead, they elected to take on an additional $5.5 million in debt and postpone the hard decisions until December or January. Well, that time for decision is here. COAST predicts our liberal, big-spending Commissioners will break their solemn promise and raise property taxes on Hamilton County’s beleaguered taxpayers, once again proving what a mistake it was to approve the stadium sales tax.
COAST predicts liberal democrats Pepper and Portune will break their solemn promise and shaft the taxpayers by eliminating the rollback.

And Cincinnati Public Schools wants yet another tax increase
On top of massive City and County tax increases, and in addition to absolutely massive tax increases in 2008 and 2009 resulting in a 22% increase in school taxes for City residents, officials at Cincinnati Public Schools announced only days after their latest levy victory that they are pushing yet another massive tax hike in 2010. We would say it is unbelievable, but it has become entirely too predictable. COAST expresses its deep appreciation for the efforts of challengers John Banner and Chris McConnell in running to bring fiscal sanity to the School Board and giving voice to school levy opponents.
COAST asserts that the CPS Board is wholly owned by the teacher’s union. To provide for massive union pay increases, COAST predicts the liberal democrat school board will again seek a tax hike. It will, of course, “be for the children.”

Driehaus Buys Into PelosiCare

Photo courtesy of The Whistleblower Newswire and Award-Winning Photo Illustrator Artis Conception
Displaying slavish loyalty to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Westside Congressman betrayed his conservative constituency and voted “yes” on November 7 to PelosiCare in the US House of Representatives. COAST hopes this is the nail in his coffin against limited government hero Steve Chabot.

If you're still on the fence regarding this healthcare money grab, our friends at the Cincinnati Tea Party remind us that:
On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income. Individuals and families earning less than these amounts will be eligible for subsidies paid directly to their insurer.

• Sec. 202 (p. 91-92) of the bill requires you to enroll in a "qualified plan." If you get your insurance at work, your employer will have a "grace period" to switch you to a "qualified plan," meaning a plan designed by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. If you buy your own insurance, there's no grace period. You'll have to enroll in a qualified plan as soon as any term in your contract changes, such as the co-pay, deductible or benefit.

• Sec. 224 (p. 118) provides that 18 months after the bill becomes law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services will decide what a "qualified plan" covers and how much you'll be legally required to pay for it. That's like a banker telling you to sign the loan agreement now, then filling in the interest rate and repayment terms 18 months later.

• Sec. 59b (pp. 297-299) says that when you file your taxes, you must include proof that you are in a qualified plan. If not, you will be fined thousands of dollars. Illegal immigrants are exempt from this requirement.

• Sec. 412 (p. 272) says that employers must provide a "qualified plan" for their employees and pay 72.5% of the cost, and a smaller share of family coverage, or incur an 8% payroll tax. Small businesses, with payrolls from $500,000 to $750,000, are fined less.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Voters Reject Photo Enforcement Cameras Again & Again & Again

Voters in three cities sent a clear message to local lawmakers yesterday by adopting charter amendments that ban photo enforcement. In addition to kicking two camera supporters from the city council, 72 percent of those voting in Chillicothe, Ohio approved a total prohibition on the use of red light cameras and speed cameras. In College Station, Texas the vote was much closer, but at the end of the night 52 percent wanted the red light cameras to come down. In Heath, Ohio 51 percent voted against the cameras. A total of nine cities nationwide have used the initiative process to ban camera enforcement since 1991, with camera proponents never having won a public vote.

The triple defeat for the photo enforcement industry came despite a well-funded public relations effort in each of the cities. In Chillicothe, Redflex Traffic Systems sent a glossy mailer to every voter while the mayor demanded that the Ohio Supreme Court ban the public from even voting on the issue -- a move high court justices swiftly rejected. Citizens Against Photo Enforcement (CAPE), the group responsible for the ballot measure, claimed an additional victory as voters elected camera opponent Bruce Arnold, who won the seat of council president, Jeremy Siberell, who won the fifth ward and Dustin Proehl, the only incumbent to have voted against cameras. CAPE leader Rebecca Valentich told TheNewspaper that she was thrilled with the outcome.

"We came together as individuals, and we united as a community," Valentich said. "The people have spoken, and very clearly. Our voices have been heard and thanks to the people and their strong voices, the cameras will be coming down. It is a huge victory, and one that we can all be proud of. And although our mayor has gone on record saying that he will fight the will of the people, his fight against the rights of the people will only bring a stronger united front from the community."

In College Station, Texas the city's automated ticketing vendor American Traffic Solutions (ATS) bankrolled a front group to conduct mass mailings and push polling in an effort to save the program that would have earned the company more than $11 million over the life of the contract. The ATS-funded group reported raising $71,240 in contributions, but not one dollar came from anyone living in the local community. To supplement the vendor's effort, the city allocated taxpayer money to send red light camera promotional material to every voter. College Station activist Jim Ash, who led the fight to put the issue on the ballot, watched the results with a large group of supporters.

"It has been nothing but celebration here," Ash told TheNewspaper minutes after the results became final.

In Heath, voters were bombarded with the same advertisements from Redflex, but they failed to persuade a majority. Voters also defeated Mayor Richard Waugh who had introduced photo enforcement as the signature issue of his administration.

"You can fight city hall and win, when you have a passion for what you believe in," We Demand a Vote spokesman Lori Lyons said in a statement.

Yesterday's results are consistent with previous public votes on the topic. In April, eighty-six percent of the votes in Sulphur, Louisiana rejected speed cameras. In 2008, residents in Cincinnati, Ohio rejected red light cameras. Seventy-six percent of Steubenville, Ohio voters rejected photo radar in 2006. In the mid-1990s, speed cameras lost by a two-to-one margin in Peoria, Arizona and Batavia, Illinois. In 1997, voters in Anchorage, Alaska banned cameras even after the local authorities had removed them. In 2003, 64 percent of voters in Arlington, Texas voted down "traffic management cameras" that opponents at the time said could be converted into ticketing cameras.

Monday, November 2, 2009

COAST 2009 Sample Poll Ballot

COAST hereby issues its 2009 candidate and issue endorsements. Feel free to print out a copy and bring it with you into the voting booth. Polls open tomorrow (Tuesday) at 6:30AM. They close at 7:30PM, but as long as you are in line by that time, you must be permitted to vote. The complete list of Hamilton County Ohio Candidates and Issues can be viewed here.

Mayor of Cincinnati - Brad Wenstrup
Wenstrup was instrumental in cleaning up the Abu Ghraib mess in Iraq. He won the praises of his adversaries at an enemy prison in the middle of a hot war zone. That's the kind of leadership we need! Wenstrup has also pledged not to raise taxes or fees during his term. The man he'll replace has made an enemy of his own police force and labor unions, and brought at least one beleaguered neighborhood to the brink of secession. This choice is a no-brainer.

Cincinnati City Council - Chris Monzel, Charlie Winburn
Both have taken strong public positions to advance responsible spending, and have pledged not to raise taxes or fees. They also strongly advocate that the people should have a right to vote on any sale of the Water Works, or major passenger rail purchase. Other candidates who have pledged not to raise taxes or fees, but who have not affirmed our right to vote on expensive, long term public policy issues are Leslie Ghiz, Amy Murray, LaMarque Ward, and George Zamary.

Cheviot Treasurer - Charlie Norman
Charlie is a COAST Board Member, and a very strong fiscal conservative. As a lifelong Cheviot resident and former City Council Member, he has the qualifications and credentials to continue leading Cheviot to even better financial health. Norman has been an unwavering taxpayer watchdog, and a consistent advocate for responsible government.

Anderson Township Trustee - Albert F. Peter, Peggy D. Reis
Both have helped COAST, and have stellar records on taxes & spending. Through good stewardship, they weathered sheriff's patrol cuts with no new taxes and no service cuts. They stretched their 5 year levy to almost 9 years through careful budgeting and spending cuts. Read more here.

Cincinnati School Board - John Banner, Christopher McDowell
John is a proud member of COAST who embodies the ideals of fiscal restraint and excellence in education. Both will be strong voices on the board to make sure that taxpayers receive value for their investment in public education.

Fairfield School Board - Arnold Engel, Victor Rivera, Tony Steer
All three candidates promote excellent education, accountability and balanced budgets. Incumbent Arnold Engel has proposed 33 ideas that could save or generate over $10,000,000 for the district. They deserve your vote.

Mason School Board - Jennifer Miller
Mason has grown a lot, and spent a lot. But they enjoy some of the highest education rankings in Ohio. Clearly they are doing a lot of things right, and Jennifer Miller has been a key ingredient in that success. Often she is the lone voice advocating fiscal restraint and accountability. And she's just as demanding on educational excellence. She doesn't back down from uncomfortable situations, and that vigor has led Mason to new heights. Voters are lucky to have her, and would be wise to return her to the board.

Fairfield Twp Trustee - Shannon Hartkemeyer, Jeremy Furniss**
Shannon believes in conservative values such as fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets. She has worked in the private sector as an industrial engineer and with The Cincinnati Tea Party. Her experience would be beneficial to the township. Jeremy is also active in the 9/12 and Tea Party movements. He believes in fiscal conservative values, and also deserves your vote

Issue 3, Casino Amendment
COAST has not taken a position, but desires to educate voters that this issue will grant an exclusive casino franchise to four pieces of property in Ohio, already owned by two casino developers. COAST encourages voters to understand this ballot issue does not generally allow gambling in Ohio, but is aimed at benefiting these two corporate gambling interests exclusively and perpetually.

Issue 7, Public Library - AGAINST THE TAX LEVY
Saves the owner of a $100,000 home about $31 a year if it fails. The library has shown no willingness whatsoever to reduce its costs or economize its operations. Click here for full story. The state reduced the overall library budget by 15%. We recommend giving them a year to adjust to the new funding level to see how much they really need.

Issue 8, Water Works Charter Amendment - Yes
Requires the city to get voter approval before selling or otherwise disposing of our 170 year old, award-winning Water Works utility. Once it's gone, it's gone forever. This decision is too far-reaching to entrust solely to a group of two and four year elected officials. The public owns it, and must be consulted prior to any change in ownership.

Issue 9, Trolley or Streetcar Charter Amendment - Yes
Requires the city to get voter approval before spending money on the two most expensive aspects of a passenger rail transportation system. In 93 years the city has undertaken three major passenger rail projects. All were complete failures costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. All signs indicate that the proposed streetcar plan will be the fourth such expensive failure. A vote will allow the public to speak with one voice to either accept or reject such a plan, and the massive long term debt that goes with it.

Issue 52, Cincinnati School Levy - AGAINST THE TAX LEVY
Saves the owner of a $100,000 home about $279 a year if it fails. Over the last several years enrollment has declined by over 20%, but their tax levy has remained virtually the same. In fact, this proposed levy remains the same as the one it replaces. Failure of this levy would reduce their overall budget by about 15%. Now would be an ideal time to help them make the necessary adjustment.

Issue 57, Little Miami Fire & Rescue - AGAINST THE TAX LEVY
The Newtown Village Council, who is one of the primary beneficiaries of the levy, urges a vote against. Read more here.

Other Tax Levies - It's okay to vote AGAINST THE TAX LEVY
Their ads imply that a vote against will leave them penniless, but in reality no agency stands to lose more than about 15% of their funding if their levy fails. Everybody appreciates the fine work these agencies do, but for them to remain viable into the future, they need you to help them tighten their belts. While COAST takes no position on the other levies, we want to remind you that it's OK to vote against them. You will have a chance to vote again next year. Read more here.