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Archive for February 2013

STREET V. DIRECTOR OF REVENUE – THE CASE THAT DECLARED LOCAL USE TAX UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN MISSOURI

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Street v. Director of Revenue[1]

Opinion handed down January 31, 2012

Link to Mo. Sup. Ct. Opinion

Craig Street purchased a boat, outboard motor, and trailer in Maryland. Upon returning to Missouri, he registered the items with the Missouri Department of Revenue, at which time he paid local sales tax under protest. The Director of Revenue denied his refund request, and he appealed to the Administrative Hearing Commission (AHC). The AHC determined Street was not entitled to a refund. The Supreme Court of Missouri reversed this decision. The court reasoned that the purchase was not subject to local sales tax because such taxes may only be imposed to the same extent as the state sales tax, which only apply to in-state purchases. Further, although a local use tax could potentially be imposed on the purchase, the county in which Street resided had not adopted a local use tax.

I. Facts and Holding

After purchasing a boat, outboard motor, and trailer in Maryland, Craig Street returned to his home in Greene County, Missouri.[2] When Street registered these items with the Missouri Department of Revenue, he was required to pay local sales tax.[3] He paid the tax under protest and filed for a refund with the Director of Revenue. The Director of Revenue denied the request, and Street appealed to the AHC, which likewise determined Street was not entitled to a refund of the local sales tax.[4] In reaching this decision, the AHC first concluded that the Missouri General Assembly intended that in-state and out-of-state motor vehicle purchases be taxed alike.[5] It then concluded the local sales tax applied to the same extent as that of the Missouri Sales Tax Law, and that Street’s purchase was subject to the state motor vehicle use tax law, which is within the Sales Tax Law.[6] Also, it reasoned that the legislature specifically exempted motor vehicle purchases from the Compensating Use Tax Law; therefore, a local use tax on motor vehicles could not be imposed.[7] The AHC also concluded that, under two statutory provisions, the purchase was deemed to have occurred in Greene County, permitting the imposition of the local sales tax.[8]

On appeal to the Supreme Court of Missouri, Street contended that the AHC erred in concluding that his out-of-state purchase occurred at his residence and that imposing a sales tax on his out-of-state purchase was inconsistent with the legislative intent that sales tax be imposed only on in-state purchases.[9] Much like the AHC, the court began by looking to the legislative intent.[10] The court looked to the state sales and use tax laws, recognizing that there were specific provisions relating to motor vehicles.[11] The court also looked to the statutes authorizing local sales and use taxes.[12] It noted that Greene County had adopted a local sales tax, but it had not adopted a local use tax.[13] Accordingly, the county could only impose on Street’s purchase local sales tax “to the same extent and manner” as the state sales tax laws, pursuant to the statute authorizing local sales tax.[14] The court provided that the extent of those laws was clear from the language of the statutes: only sales within the state were taxable.[15] The court remarked that this interpretation was consistent with the court’s prior reading of “nearly identical” statutes.[16] Therefore, it held the AHC’s decision was “unauthorized by law and clearly contrary” to the legislature’s reasonable expectations.[17]

The court then addressed the AHC’s interpretations of the state tax statutes.[18] The court believed the first misstep by the AHC was its reading of the statute authorizing local use tax.[19] The AHC read the statute to authorize only local use tax on transactions subject to the Compensating Use Tax Law, of which the motor vehicle use tax was specifically excluded.[20] The court believed the true import of the language in the statute was to limit the rate of tax to be imposed, not the authority to impose tax.[21] Thus, so long as the locality submits the use tax proposal to a voter referendum, it could impose a local use tax on motor vehicles.[22] The court believed this error led the AHC to conclude the statute authorizing local sales tax permitted a sales tax on out-of-state purchases, which disregards the language limiting it to in-state purchases and “frustrate[s] the voter referendum requirement.”[23] Further, the AHC’s conclusion that two state statutes deemed the out-of-state purchase as occurring at the buyer’s residence was incorrect because there are two possible interpretations of those statutes. [24] Accordingly, the statutes had to be construed in the taxpayer’s favor.[25] Finally, the court summarily dismissed the argument that the motor vehicle tax was a special tax that was not subject to sales tax limitations.[26]

II. Legal Background

The Missouri Sales Tax Law spans from §§ 144.010 to 144.525 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri.[27] Section 144.020 provides that “[a] tax is hereby levied and imposed upon all sellers for the privilege of engaging in the business of selling tangible personal property or rendering taxable service at retail in this state.”[28] Section 144.021 also expressly states that the purpose of §§ 144.010 to 144.510 is to “impose a tax upon the privilege of engaging in the business, in this state[.]”[29] The plain language of these statutes limits the scope of the sales tax to in-state transactions, which the court correctly highlighted.[30] Besides the plain language, it is obvious that the tax under § 144.020 only applies to in-state purchases given the existence of a compensating use tax.[31] Further, although the plain language and complementary statutory scheme sufficiently indicate that sales tax is limited in scope to sales in Missouri, there are also constitutional issues surrounding the imposition and enforcement of a tax on nonresidents.[32]

A compensating use tax is used to impose a tax on the “exercise of incidents of ownership of property that was not subject to the sales tax at the time of its acquisition.”[33] Section 144.610 imposes a tax on the privilege of storing, using, or consuming personal property. The purpose of the use tax is to “eliminate[] the incentive to purchase from out-of-state merchants in order to escape local sales taxes,” which keeps in-state sellers competitive and supplements state revenues.[34] The Missouri tax law includes provisions specifically related to the sale and use of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors in §§ 144.070 and 144.440 that essentially reflect the obligations found in the sales and use tax statutes.

Besides state taxes, the Missouri statutes also permit local sales taxes under § 32.087. This statute provides that an ordinance or order imposing a local sales tax must do so “to the extent and in the manner provided in section 144.010 to 144.525.” Similarly, § 144.757 permits a local use tax to be imposed “at the same rate as the local sales tax then currently in effect in the county or municipality upon all transactions which are subject to the taxes imposed pursuant to sections 144.600 to 144.745.” A voter referendum is required before a local sales or use tax may be imposed.[35]

III. Comment

At first glance, it would seem as if the issue in this case is easily settled. The complementary nature of the sales and use tax statutes would appear to prohibit the AHC’s outcome and endorse the Supreme Court of Missouri’s outcome. This complementary scheme stands for the following proposition: If the sale occurs in Missouri, sales tax applies; if the sale occurs outside of Missouri, use tax applies. The statutes authorizing local sales and use taxes essentially reflect the state taxes. However, for a locality to impose such a tax, it must formally adopt it. Here, Greene County did not adopt a use tax; therefore, Street’s out-of-state purchase is not subject to any local use tax, and he need only pay state use tax. The issue in this case was caused by the placement of the motor vehicle use tax law in § 144.440, which falls under the Sales Tax Law instead of the Compensating Use Tax Law.[36] The Compensating Use Tax Law specifically excludes motor vehicles from its reach, which are already covered by § 144.440.[37]

The court’s interpretation of § 144.757, the statute authorizing local use tax, is questionable. First, the interpretation is a bit inconsistent with its interpretation of similar language in § 32.087, the statute authorizing local sales tax. The court utilized the language in § 32.087 that local sales taxes be imposed “to the extent and in the manner provided in section 144.010 to 144.525,” to limit local sales tax to the scope of those laws, which the court determined was limited to in-state purchases only. However, the court interpreted the language in § 144.757.3, that “local use tax may be imposed at the same rate as the local sales tax then currently in effect in the county or municipality upon all transactions which are subject to the taxes imposed pursuant to sections 144.600 to 144.745,” as a limitation on rates, not the scope. Interpreting the language as a limitation on rates does not make sense because the rates are already limited to the same rate as the local sales tax in the first subsection of the statute.[38]

At the very least, the statute is ambiguous, meaning the court’s ultimate outcome is correct because all ambiguities must be construed in favor of the taxpayer.[39] However, if the county had enacted a local use tax, the taxpayer may have been found liable. The court’s decision in this case has effectively cured poor drafting by the legislature. To express its likely true intent, the legislature should have recodified § 144.440 to fall within the Compensating Use Tax Law, instead of leaving it in the Sales Tax Law provisions, or it should have amended § 144.757.3 to provide that a local use tax may be imposed upon all transaction subject to taxes imposed pursuant to §§ 144.440 and 144.600 to 144.745.

-Emily M. Park

[1] No. SC91371 (Mo. Jan. 31, 2012) (en banc), available at http://www.courts.mo.gov/file.jsp?id=52257. The opinion has not been released for publication yet but can be found at Street v. Dir. of Revenue, 2012 WL 704145 (Mo. 2012) (en banc).

[2] Id. at 2.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. In Missouri, there are specific tax provisions relating to the sale and use of motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors. Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 144.070 and 144.440 (2000). For the purposes of this summary, the phrase “motor vehicle” is used to refer to motor vehicles, trailers, boats, and outboard motors.

[6] Street, No. SC91371, slip op. at 3.

[7] Id. at 3, 10.

[8] Id. at 3.

[9] Id. at 4.

[10] Id.

[11] Id. at 5-6 (citing Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 144.010 to 144.525 and 144.600 to 144.761 (2000)).

[12] Id. at 8 (citing §§ 32.087.5 and 144.757.3).

[13] Id. at 9.

[14] Id.

[15] Id.

[16] Id. at 9-10 (citing Binkley Coal Co. v. Smith, 179 S.W.2d 17 (Mo. 1944) (en banc)).

[17] Id. at 10.

[18] Id.

[19] Id. (citing Mo. Rev. Stat. § 144.757.3 (2000)).

[20] Id. at 10-11.

[21] Id. at 12.

[22] Id.

[23] Id. at 13.

[24] Id. at 13-14.

[25] Id.

[26] Id. at 14-15.

[27] Mo. Rev. Stat. § 144.010.3 (2000).

[28] § 144.020.1.

[29] § 144.021.

[30] Street, No. SC91371, slip op. at 9.

[31] §§ 144.600 to 144.745.

[32] Robert C. White, State Sales and Use Taxes – Variations, Exemptions, and the Aviation Industry, 45 J. Air L. & Com. 509, 516-17 (1980).

[33] Dir. of Revenue v. Superior Aircraft Leasing Co., Inc., 734 S.W.2d 504, 506 (Mo. 1987) (en banc) (internal quotations and citations omitted).

[34] Id. (internal quotations and citations omitted).

[35] For local sales tax, numerous provisions apply. See, e.g., §§ 66.600, 67.391, 67.505, 67.550, 67.581. For local use tax, see § 144.757.1.

[36] The Sales Tax Law includes §§ 144.010 to 144.525, and the Compensating Use Tax Law spans from §§ 144.600 to 144.745.

[37] § 144.615(4).

[38] § 144.757.1.

[39] President’s Casino, Inc. v. Dir. of Revenue, 219 S.W.3d 235, 239 (Mo. 2007) (en banc).

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 28, 2013 at 06:00

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN DECISION MAKING

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Patrons of the Jackson R-II School District are encouraged to express ideas, concerns and comments about school programs through written correspondence, service on citizen advisory committees and responses to surveys authorized by the Board, in accordance with Board policies and procedures for receiving public complaints and public participation at Board meetings, and as otherwise authorized or required for district participation in state and federal programs.

The Board is mindful that it is accountable to the patrons of the district and shall give consideration to the advice it receives from individuals and community groups interested in the district’s schools. The district is also mindful that it must take into account its responsibility for the welfare of the entire district in arriving at decisions.

The Board recognizes that many residents of the district may be specially qualified to assist and advise the district because of their training, experience or personal characteristics, and the Board encourages them to take an active part in school affairs.

The Board also recognizes that community involvement is not only important at the district level but is often most effective at the school level. Each school in the district will advise patrons about any avenues for providing input unique to that school and will encourage them to take advantage of those opportunities

http://policy.msbanet.org/jackson/showpolicy.php?file=KC-C.JCK

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 27, 2013 at 06:00

SCHOOL BOARD POWERS AND DUTIES

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The Board of Education is a representative body elected by the registered voters of the Jackson R-II School District of Cape Girardeau County. It is the purpose and the role of the Board of Education to exercise general supervision over the schools of the district, and to ensure that the schools are maintained as provided by the state statutes, the rules and regulations of the Missouri State Board of Education and/or the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the policies, rules and regulations of the school district. In addition, the Board is accountable to the electorate, and shall be responsive to the educational needs and the imposed financial constraints of the district. In conducting its various functions as the legislative and policy-making authority for the district, the Board recognizes the following general responsibilities as paramount:

► Legislative and Policy Making — The Board is responsible for the development of policies, rules and regulations to serve as guidelines for the general management and administrative actions of the district. The establishment of the goals and objectives of the school district and the methods of financial support needed to reach those goals and objectives are a part of the policy-making function of the Board of Education.

► Executive — The Board shall employ a superintendent to serve as the chief executive officer of the district. The Board shall delegate, in writing to the superintendent, the executive and administrative duties and responsibilities necessary for carrying out its policies, and shall hold the superintendent accountable.

► Appraisal — The Board is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of its policies and their implementation. The Board shall hold the superintendent responsible for furnishing complete information necessary for the Board’s evaluation of the district’s programs.

► Provision of Financial Resources — The Board is responsible for the adoption of the annual budget, which will provide financial basis for personnel, facilities, materials and equipment to enable the district to carry out its educational program.

► Staffing and Appraisal — The Board is responsible for employing the professional and support staff necessary for carrying out the district’s instructional program. The Board is also responsible for establishing salary schedules, terms of employment, and other personnel policies districtwide, and for the regular evaluation of its staff.

► Public Relations — The Board is responsible for providing adequate and direct means for keeping the district patrons informed about the schools, and for keeping itself and the school staff informed about the needs and wishes of the public.

► Educational Planning and Evaluation — The Board is responsible for establishing educational goals which will guide both the Board and the staff in working together toward the continued improvement of the educational programs in the district. It is responsible for providing for an ongoing evaluation of the school program as measured through the goals and objectives set forth by the Jackson R-II School District Board of Education and by the Missouri State Board of Education.

► Judicial — The Board is responsible for acting as a court of appeals for the professional and support staff members, students, and the district patrons when issues involve Board policies and their fair implementation.

The Board of Education shall control all aspects of the operations of the district within the limits of the law. However, the Board will make its members, the district professional and support staff, and the district patrons aware that the Board has authority to take official action only when it is acting as a whole. The Board shall be the final authority. No section of the policies, rules and regulations may be construed to limit the statutory powers of the Board to exercise its own prudent judgment.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 26, 2013 at 06:00

One Reformer’s Heroic Story to Save America’s Public School Children

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Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is the Townhall.com Web Editor. Follow him on Twitter@danpdoherty.

Michelle Rhee is a lifelong Democrat and education reformer who has recently come out in support of school vouchers. Writing in the Daily Beast a few days ago, she explained the prevailing reason for her change of heart: Her countless (and at times) heartbreaking interactions with devastated parents coping with the realization that their child would be stuck in a failing school — forever. And the feeling that there was nothing she could do for them:

After my listening tour of families, and hearing so many parents plead for an immediate solution to their desire for a quality education, I came out in favor of the voucher program. People went nuts. Democrats chastised me for going against the party, but the most vocal detractors were my biggest supporters.

“Michelle, what are you doing?” one education reformer asked. “You are the first opportunity this city has had to fix the system. We believe in you and what you’re trying to do. But you have to give yourself a fighting chance! You need time and money to make your plan work. If during that time children continue fleeing the system on these vouchers, you’ll have less money to implement your reforms. You can’t do this to yourself!”

“Here’s the problem with your thinking,” I’d answer. “My job is not to preserve and defend a system that has been doing wrong by children and families. My job is to make sure that every child in this city attends an excellent school. I don’t care if it’s a charter school, a private school, or a traditional district school. As long as it’s serving kids well, I’m happy. And you should be, too.”

Here’s the question we Democrats need to ask ourselves: Are we beholden to the public school system at any cost, or are we beholden to the public school child at any cost? My loyalty and my duty will always be to the children.

Perhaps the most moving excerpt from her editorial is when she points out the flawed reasoning of a close — presumably fellow Democratic — friend:

I was having a heated discussion one day with one of my closest friends, a public school teacher. She was deriding voucher policy. My public policy wonkiness was not serving me well, so I decided to change tactics.

“Of course,” she answered. “One of my best friends was featured in the movie.” She chuckled.

“Do you remember that scene with Bianca?” I asked.

Waiting for “Superman” director Davis Guggenheim did a brilliant job of distilling pretty complicated education policies into easy and understandable terms. But more important, he humanized the problems by following five families in their quest to find a high-quality public school for their children to attend.

One of the most poignant stories was about a little girl named Bianca. Her mother had had a negative experience in the public schools herself. So she was committed to giving her child a better chance. When Bianca was in kindergarten her mother enrolled her in the Catholic school across the street from their apartment, and she worked extra jobs to be able to pay the tuition.

Unfortunately, with the economic downturn, her hours were cut back, and she fell behind on her tuition payments. There is an emotional scene in the movie when Bianca is gazing longingly out the window. It is the day of her kindergarten graduation. She’s watching all of her friends and their families file in for the graduation ceremony, but she’s not allowed to attend. Tears are streaming down her face.

“Remember,” I pleaded, “her mom owed the school money so they didn’t let her go to her kindergarten graduation? How did that make you feel?”

“Ugh, that was awful,” my friend said. “It was totally wrong of the school. It was absolutely heart-wrenching! I mean seriously, I wanted to write the five-hundred-dollar check myself!”

“Right,” I said, “that would be a voucher.”

What’s more, she continued, the reasoning behind opposing school vouchers is completely illogical and doesn’t stand up to scrutiny:

Most people in this country do not favor vouchers in education, because they don’t want public dollars going to private institutions or businesses. But the logic holds absolutely no water.

We have federal Pell grants that low-income students use all the time to attend private colleges. Pell grants aren’t limited to use at public universities. We have food stamps that low-income families redeem at nongovernment grocery stores. And let’s not forget about Medicare and Medicaid.

Think about it this way. Say your elderly mother had to be hospitalized for life-threatening cancer. The best doctor in the region is at Sacred Heart, a Catholic, private hospital. Could you ever imagine saying this? “Well, I don’t think our taxpayer dollars should subsidize this private institution that has religious roots, so we’re going to take her to County General, where she’ll get inferior care. ’Cause that’s just the right thing to do!”

No. You’d want to make sure that your tax dollars got your mom the best care. Period. Our approach should be no different for our children. Their lives are at stake when we’re talking about the quality of education they are receiving. The quality of care standard should certainly be no lower.

I agree. Children simply can’t wait five, fifty, or 100 years for inner-city public schools to “fix” themselves. Children need access to a high quality education now — that is, from the moment they enter the classroom. And any policy that makes this possible should at least be universally considered, right?

Wrong.

The teachers unions — for many of the reasons Rhee gives at the beginning of her must read article — overwhelming oppose any sort of voucher program. It takes money away from schools that need it most, they argue, and the program can’t help everyone. Okay. But wasn’t it the president who said — in an admittedly different context — that if we can do anything to save one child, “then surely we have an obligation to try”? Rhee’s testimony is compelling evidence that such initiatives help children, and have given hundreds (if not thousands) of low-income students an opportunity to succeed.

The teachers unions always claim that they’re “for the kids,” but how can you be “for the kids” if you demonize a program that opens doorways of opportunity to students that would otherwise be closed to them? In other words, the question isn’t necessarily why should you support school vouchers — it’s why shouldn’t you? I’ve yet to hear an anti-voucher advocate articulate a rational response to this question, at least one that takes into account this simple fact: A low-income family given a school voucher is better off than the countless students left — year after year — helpless and alone and trapped in failing schools.

The special interests need to reconcile and re-think their opposition to this important program. It’s about time they did.

Daniel Doherty

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 25, 2013 at 06:00

JACKSON PRIDE

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When I recently moved back to Jackson,
I had high hopes my grand kids would see,
The Indian Pride
that I took in stride
among students and faculty.

A grade school where parents and teachers
Who knew the children best,
Had a voice that was heard,
in conveying their words
And weren’t constantly put to the test.

In my day the board was respected
to research decisions, then vote
With consciences clear,
and kid’s futures so dear…
following policy by rote.

What I found instead was appalling
Mass confusion, petty fogging, and stalling..
No accountability at all,
The Dr’s laid down the law,
some board member’s rubber stamps kept falling.

Football teams, band and the choir,
Still kept us appearing 1st rate.
But in a few short years,
compared to their peers,
the A C T scores will be society’s fate.

Tenured teachers no longer valued for input,
Parent’s concerns can’t be heard by the board,
The job losses are wide,
Where is the pride?
And the freedom of speech we adored?

“What happened to this fine district?”
My family’s alumni mourned
percents and ABCs
Are now 1,2,and 3s
And a challenging curriculum scorned.

The only choice my grand kids said sadly,
Is to enroll in parochial class.
But those schools bust at the seams
Along with our dreams,
of the Jackson R2 of the past.

So citizens who pay taxes in Jackson,
you’re a stakeholder and voice for US ALL!
On April 2, please go
Vote against status quo,
And again we can stand proud and tall!

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 22, 2013 at 06:00

545 VS. 300,000,000 PEOPLE

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A very astute analysis by Charley Reese. Charley Reese is an American syndicated columnist known for his conservative views. He was associated with the Orlando Sentinel from 1971–2001, both as a writer and in various editorial capacities. King Features Syndicate distributed his column, which was published three times a week.

This might be funny if it were not true.

Politician are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one President, and nine Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but private, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing.

I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits. (The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.)

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? (John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want.) If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to. [The House has passed a budget but the Senate has not approved a budget in over three years. The President’s proposed budgets have gotten almost unanimous rejections in the Senate in that time.]

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red.

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan ..

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible. They, and they alone, have the power.

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses. Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees… We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 21, 2013 at 06:00

Jackson, Missouri Board of Education

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I reside in the Jackson School District and Jackson schools are considered outstanding. But having attended school board meetings I’ve noticed things that I believe need addressing. One in particular is the unresponsiveness to the concerns of the parents and other stakeholders in the school district.

Jackson R II policy states “a specifically designated time will be set aside for public comments at all regular meetings…” In order to state one’s case before the School Board, you must first meet with the superintendent. Only then can you get a “comment form.” To get on the agenda the form must be returned to the superintendent five days prior to the school board meetings. Even when these procedures are carried out faithfully, it does not guarantee a place on the agenda. On top of everything else, no extemporaneous comments are allowed.

Having attended and commented at County Commission meetings, the Commission is open to public comments whereas the School Board tightly restricts them. Commissioners probably don’t enjoy all the feedback they get but they listen politely and respond. Perhaps the School Board should follow the County Commission’s example.

Many parents are feeling helpless to influence the decisions of the School Board. We need a Board of Education that is accountable to the stakeholders, not to an unelected official. School Board elections are coming up in April and there are candidates running who support local control and work tirelessly toward that end. If change is to come voters must educate themselves and vote.

Esther H. Bohnert

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 20, 2013 at 06:00

“Fiscal Cliff” in Plain English

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Lesson #1:

*U.S. Tax revenue: $2,170,000,000,000
*Fed budget: $3,820,000,000,000
*New debt: $ 1,650,000,000,000
*National debt: $14,271,000,000,000
*Recent budget cuts: $ 38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

*Annual family income: $21,700
*Money the family spent: $38,200
*New debt on the credit card: $16,500
*Outstanding balance on the credit card: $142,710
*Total budget cuts so far: $38.50

Got It ??…….OK now,

Lesson #2:

Here’s another way to look at the Debt Ceiling:

Let’s say, You come home from work and find there has been a sewer backup in your neighborhood….

And your home has sewage all the way up to your ceilings.

What do you think you should do ……

Raise the ceilings, or remove the sewage?

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 19, 2013 at 06:00

Father – Daughter Talk

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This is one of the very best emails I have EVER received where it gently explains the difference in thinking between people with opposite outlooks.

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more government programs, in other words Redistribution of Wealth. She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Conservative, a feeling she openly expressed.

Based on the lectures that she had participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes on the rich and the need for more government programs. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

He responded by asking how she was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a very difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn’t even have time for a boyfriend, and didn’t really have many college friends because she spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, “How is your friend Audrey doing?”

She replied, “Audrey is barely getting by. All she takes are easy classes, she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA. She is so popular on campus; college for her is a blast. She’s always invited to all the parties and lots of times she doesn’t even show up for classes because she’s too hung over.”

Her wise father asked his daughter, “Then why don’t you go to the Dean’s office and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0. That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.”

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father’s suggestion, angrily fired back, “That’s a crazy idea. How would that be fair? I’ve worked really hard or my grades! I’ve invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work! Audrey has done next to nothing toward her degree. She played while I worked my tail off!”

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, “Welcome to the Conservative Side of the fence, dear Daughter.”

SO=================
If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great test!

If a conservative doesn’t like guns, he simply doesn’t buy one.
If a liberal doesn’t like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn’t eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for everyone.

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his situation.
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him

If a conservative doesn’t like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don’t like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn’t go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
(Unless it’s a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care. He goes about shopping for it or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative reads this, he’ll forward it so his friends can have a good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he’s “Offended by The Truth.”

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 18, 2013 at 06:00

Cape County Commission and Taxes

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Imagine this.

You are working for a company that has run into hard times financially. You are told, “In two weeks you will be laid off or you can accept another position within the company at a lower rate of pay.”
You decide to remain employed because the lower pay rate is more than what you would receive from Unemployment. However, the new wage is not enough to cover the budget you planned for over the next year. In most cases you sit down with your family going through the budget concentrating on your needs of food and shelter, and striking those nice to have items.

Would you ever consider asking for an increase in compensation because “technically it would be recouping what you had before?”

I think not. I believe you would be happy with a job that permits you to provide for your family.
Mr. Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner, where is your authority to “recoup any loss use tax revenue” without the consent of the people?

Why did the County Commission vote in favor of a Tax Abatement for Spartech on December 6th?
Why cannot the County do the same as the aforementioned family?

Mr. State Senate – elect Wallingford, everyone (including government) needs to share in the sacrifice of less money in these poor economic times.

All elected officials must remember, “The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.” Seek their permission before passing legislation that affects their property.

Written by Leatherneck Blogger

February 15, 2013 at 05:00

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