Link

The senate has chosen to ignore the plain meaning and inherent flaws designed into the “Gang of Eight” plan for providing amnesty for illegal aliens.  Sen. Ted Cruz explains..

Illegal Aliens will be rewarded for their lawlessness, of course. But there’s more… employers are targeted with even MORE penalties should they elect to hire American citizens.  Watch the video .. not reported by your Senators, of course.

Taxpayer Rebellion Expands in Suburbs of Portland Metropolitan Area | Red County

A little history of the growing push back against an out of control, debt ridden government that cannot bring itself to make rational, economically sensible decisions.

Taxpayer Rebellion Expands in Suburbs of Portland Metropolitan Area | Red County.

IRS: Illegal Alien Tax Fraud Encouraged

Illegal Aliens Take Advantage of Tax Loophole that Costs Taxpayers Billions

Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 9:59 AM EDT

Eyewitness News of Indiana’s WTHR reveals a massive tax loophole that provides billions of dollars in tax credits to illegal aliens and people living in foreign countries.

The loophole is called the Additional Child Tax Credit. It’s a fully-refundable credit of up to $1000 per child, and it’s meant to help working families who have children living at home. Eyewitness News has found many undocumented workers are claiming the tax credit for kids who live in Mexico.

A longtime Indiana tax consultant, who remains anonymous for fear of reprisal, came to 13 Investigates to blow the whistle about this nationwide problem involving illegal aliens who are filing tax returns.

“We’re talking about a multi-billion dollar fraud scheme here that’s taking place and no one is talking about it,” tax preparer said.

The Internal Revenue Service says everyone who is employed in the United States, even those who are working here illegally, must report income and pay taxes. Because illegal aliens are not supposed to have a social security number, the IRS created the individual taxpayer identification number, ITIN. A 9-digit ITIN number issued by the IRS provides both resident and nonresident aliens with a unique identification number that allows them to file tax returns.

This ITIN number is backfiring in a big way. Each Spring, many illegal aliens are now eagerly filing tax returns to take advantage of the Additional Child Tax Credit using their ITIN numbers to get huge refunds from the IRS.

“We’ve seen sometimes 10 or 12 dependents, most times nieces and nephews, on these tax forms,” the whistleblower told Eyewitness News. “The more you put on there, the more you get back.”

The whistleblower has thousands of examples, and he brought some of them to 13 Investigates. The examples show that the tax filers had received large tax refunds after claiming additional child tax credits for many dependents.

WTHR spoke to several illegal aliens who confirmed it was easy to get the tax loophole credit.

One of the illegal aliens admitted his address was used this year to file tax returns by four other undocumented workers who don’t even live there. Those four workers claimed 20 children live inside the one residence and, as a result, the IRS sent the illegal immigrants tax refunds totaling $29,608.

13 Investigates asked the illegal alien why illegal aliens should receive tax credits for children living in a foreign country.

“If the opportunity is there and they can give it to me, why not take advantage of it?” the illegal alien responded.

Several of the illegal aliens told WTHR they were told it was legal for them to claim the tax credit for a child who does not live in the United States.

According to Russell George, the United States Department of Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS has known about this scheme for years.

“The magnitude of the problem has grown exponentially,” he said.

George has repeatedly warned the IRS that additional child tax credits are being abused by illegal aliens. In 2009, his office released an audit report that showed ITIN tax filers received about $1 billion in additional child tax credits. Last year, the inspector general released a new report showing the problem now costs American tax payers more than $4.2 billion.

What George finds even more troubling is the IRS has not taken action despite multiple warnings from the inspector general.

“Millions of people are seeking this tax credit who, we believe, are not entitled to it,” said the Inspector General. “We have made recommendations to the IRS as to how they could address this, and they have not taken sufficient action in our view to solve the problem.”

The IRS tells WTHR it can do nothing to change the current system unless it gets permission from Congress. In other words, according to the IRS, closing the loophole would require lawmakers to pass a new law specifically excluding illegal immigrants from claiming additional child tax credits.

Congressman Dan Burton (R-Ind.) is frustrated and ready to act.

Rep. Burton and dozens of other House Republicans have co-sponsored a bill that would essentially authorize additional child tax credits only for US citizens. House Resolution 1956 would require tax filers to provide a valid social security number to receive an additional child tax credit.

“This rampant abuse of hardworking taxpayer dollars is just wrong,” said Rep. Sam Johnson (R – Texas), who authored HR 1956. “It’s time we close this tax loophole and put a stop to the child tax credit sham.”

HR 1956 has sat idle in the House Ways and Means Committee for almost a year.

However, language from the bill is now included in a package of proposed budget savings measures that House lawmakers are expected to consider in May. While the budget package may have enough support to pass the House, it is expected to die a quick death in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“This should not be a partisan issue because we’re all concerned about saving taxpayer dollars and not wasting them on fraudulent things like this,” said Rep. Burton.

It is not just Republicans who are concerned about the issues, Democrat Senators have taken action as well.

Last fall, Senator Claire McCaskill (D- Mo.) sent a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman asking him to stop the agency’s payments of additional child tax credits to undocumented workers. “This is deeply problematic and must be remedied,” the senator wrote.

“I’m a taxpayer, and the thought of me paying for 24 people who are living in one trailer boggles my mind, especially when you tell me most of them are still living in Mexico. That’s unconscionable.” said Rep. Burton.

“It’s cheating the American taxpayer,” Burton said. “We all believe in humanity and humanitarianism, but we’ve got a $15 trillion national debt. We can’t subsidize the whole world.”

For more information on this story and to see what you can do about HR 1956, read WTHR.

TOP TEN BEST REASONS TO BE AN UNACCOUNTABLE BUREAUCRAT AT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION! | Americans for Prosperity

TOP TEN BEST REASONS TO BE AN UNACCOUNTABLE BUREAUCRAT AT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION!

GSA Official Jeff Neely Says “Cheers!” GSA Official Jeff Neely Says “Cheers!” Life at the General Services Administration really isn’t so bad. Sure we’ve all heard about the taxpayer-funded Hawaiian vacations, wild parties and piles of free sushi, but nothing compares to your own boss telling Congress you are entitled to not only spend taxpayers’ money however you want, but get a big bonus for it!

“The senior executives were entitled to bonuses under our — we’re entitled to bonuses. I don’t believe the pay freeze affected those bonuses.” – Former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson

But that’s not all! Let’s take a look at some of the other perks unscrupulous bureaucrats are “entitled” to!

Receive almost $1 million to spend on a wild & crazy Vegas getaway

Build team camaraderie during multiple “dry run” Vegas planning trips

Earn thousands of dollars in bonus cash for party planning

Enjoy fabulous Hawaiian vacations at taxpayers’ expense

All-you-can-eat taxpayer-funded sushi

Host your very own hotel party at taxpayers’ expense for all of your agency and non-agency pals!

Use your acquisition skills to hire an outside event planner to do your work for you

Receive taxpayer-funded souvenirs for your hard work such as canteens, t-shirts, commemorative coins, yearbooks, and more.

Cultivate innovative team-building exercises like $75,000 bicycle-building projects

Ability to partake in uncommon business practices like criminal bribes and kickbacks…

via TOP TEN BEST REASONS TO BE AN UNACCOUNTABLE BUREAUCRAT AT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION! | Americans for Prosperity.

Honolulu’s Money Train- Assess $10,000 on every household

honolulu-rail-lead.jpg

Honolulu is set to construct an ambitious urban rail project. It’s a $5.125 billion behemoth that this metropolitan area with less than a million residents may not be able to afford.

Honolulu’s Beleaguered Residents

Critically, there is plenty of competition for the scarce dollars that Honolulu residents have to spare. The city’s basic infrastructure is in bad shape.

(Sewer) Water, Water Everywhere: A consent decree signed between local officials and the Environmental Protection Agency requires major upgrades to the sewer system. Sewer overflows are not unusual. Just a few days ago, 51,000 gallon raw sewage spilled into a local stream. The state issued a brown water alert for the entire island of Oahu (which is also the combined city and county of Honolulu), including Waikiki Beach and all other beaches. As of this writing, the brown water advisory has not been cancelled. Just in the last year, the state has reported 17 sewage spills and four brown water alerts. For this to happen in a highly tourist dependent economy is nothing short of astounding.

More than Leaky Pipes: The city’s water system is in need of major upgrades. From 2004 to 2009, water main breaks were virtually a daily occurrence. In an effort to solve the problem, the city has raised water rates 60 percent in the last five years and plans another 70 percent increase over the next five years. How much more will be required after that is anyone’s guess. “How are people going to make it? I just don’t know” reacted City council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi.

Unfunded Government Employee Liabilities: In just three years, unfunded city and county employee pension and retiree benefits have risen from $15,000 to $21,000 per Honolulu household. The state’s actuarial consultant says things are going to get worse. The demographics are skewed against financial control, since people are living longer, and the number of retirees is rising relative to the workers who must pay (most of whom cannot even dream of such rich benefits).   All of this means higher tax bills for Honolulu households.

High Cost of Housing, High Cost of Living: Honolulu residents already endure the most unaffordable housing  in the nation, with median house prices 8.7 times median household incomes. That is three times Dallas-Fort Worth.  Honolulu’s overall cost of living is also the highest in the nation, outside six metropolitan areas in the greater New York and San Francisco Bay Areas. Honolulu residents pay $1.41 to buy what $1.00 buys in St. Louis, 1.24 for each $1.00 in Austin and $1.21 for each $1.00 in Phoenix.

Choices: This is not about easy choices. The sewer remediation, water system maintenance, government employee pension and government employee retiree health care benefits are mandatory. The rail expenditures are not.

The Rickety Rail Project

Yet the city of Honolulu would tax its residents even more to pay for a 20 mile rail line to empty farmland well beyond the urban fringe. This is a project not unlike the early 1900s land speculation schemes of Henry Huntington in Los Angeles and the Sweringens of Shaker Heights (Cleveland). There is, however, one important difference. The Huntington and the Swearingens bet their own money. Honolulu is betting the money of its taxpayers.


End of the Honolulu Rail Line

The city hopes to receive $1.55 billion from the federal government, with local residents left to pay a hefty 70 percent of the cost. This $3.575 billion local share would create the highest tax burden for any urban rail line ever built in the nation, at more than $10,000 per household. But residents should “thank their lucky stars” if that’s all they have to pay, given the history of cost overruns on such projects around the world.

Stacking the Deck: The Federal Court Challenge: The planning process is being challenged in federal court. The plaintiffs argue that the rail selection process eliminated more cost effective options with biased analysis. This would not be the first time.

Annie Weinstock, Walter Hook, Michael Replogle, and Ramon Cruz of the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy (with a foreword by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenaur),  cited circuitous routing of a busway that biased ridership forecasts in favor of light rail for the suburban Washington Purple Line. Weinstock, Hook, Repogle and Cruz refer to a similar “deck stacking technique” that favored an expensive rail project over a busway in the suburban Washington Dulles corridor. They fault local officials more than federal:

While there is no outright pro-rail bias at the FTA, there is indeed FTA complicity in the rail bias of city and state level mass transit project sponsors. The FTA, when evaluating New Starts and Small Starts project applications, tends to bow to political pressure to favor locally preferred alternatives and ignore certain forms of rail bias by the project sponsors

Pulling the Plug on Rail? Former Governor Ben Cayatano has filed to run against Mayor Carlisle in the August 2012 election. In announcing his entry, Governor Cayatano said “I will pull the plug on rail.” Polls show Mr. Cayetano ahead of both Mayor Carlisle and a third candidate.

Capital Cost Escalation: A state report indicated that construction costs could rise well above forecast. Every penny above the $5.125 billion capital cost will be the responsibility of local taxpayers. Based upon the international experience, this could easily raise the per household cost from $15,000 to $20,000.

Ridership Optimism Bias: Echoing general concerns raised by Weinstock, Hook, Repogle and Cruz (above), the state report indicated concern over an optimism bias in the ridership projections. For example, the city expects 60 percent of rail riders to use the bus to get to the train.  This is four times the rate of the largest new rail system built in the nation (Washington’s Metro).  Using the bus to connect to the train makes travel much slower and this factor has often been over-estimated by rail planners. This unrealistic assumption alone could qualify the Honolulu ridership forecast as among the most inaccurate in history.  Fewer riders. more money out of residents pockets.

A Billion Here, A Billion There: As if all of this were not enough, a report for the Federal Transit Administration, obtained by the Star Advertiser through a freedom of information request, indicates that the operating costs of the transit system may be understated by as much as $1 billion over the next 20 years. That’s $3,000 per Honolulu household (Note 1).

Federal Doubts: Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers expressed concern about Honolulu’s ability to afford the project in a letter to local officials, noting that the funding program is insufficient. Local taxpayers likely will need to pony up more.

Debt Limit Suspended: After having claimed it could afford the rail debt, the city suspended its debt limit — a fact discovered four months after the fact by the Star Advertiser.  Usually, breaches of trust like this become evident only much later in the rail construction process. A suspended debt limit means more money out of taxpayer pockets, or worse. Jefferson County, Alabama filed bankruptcy after not being able to afford payments on its sewer debt.

How Would Rail Change Honolulu

With rail, Honolulu there are two ways that Honolulu will be changed:

What Will Change: Walling Off the Waterfront. The elevated design of the rail system is so intrusive that the local chapter of the American Association of Architects opposes the proposal. The elevated line would run directly in front of the waterfront. Its oppressive design would separate the rest of the historic Aloha Tower area from the rest of the city and could preclude future attractive “placemaking” development (see lead photo, courtesy of the Honolulu Chapter of the American Institute of Architects).

No Traffic Relief: Despite being only the 52nd largest metropolitan area in the nation, Honolulu has the second worst traffic congestion in the nation (see figure), according to INRIX, the leading international reporting source. Honolulu and Los Angeles are the only US metropolitan areas ranked in the worst 25 out of 200 in Western Europe and the United States. Even with the rail system, local plans call for traffic congestion to get worse.

Getting the Choices Right

Incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle recently returned from a Potemkin Village tour of Manila, raving about that city’s rail system. Governor Cayateno, whose familiarity with Manila extends well beyond a scripted tour, called Mayor Carlisle’s comparison with Manila “comedic,” noting that most residents cannot afford a car or that Manila has more than 10 times as many people.  


Manila Rail System: Part the Mayor Did not See

The mayor may not have been aware that more than 4,000,000 – more than one-third – of Manila’s (National Capital Region) residents live in slums, shantytowns and informal settlements, where sewers are rare if not non-existent. Government projections indicate that the slum population will rise to 9,000,000 by 2050. More than one-half of Manila’s population will be in slums.


Manila Slum

In his recent “state of the city'” address, Mayor Carlisle mused “Manila without rail transit would be unthinkable.” That may be the view of an itinerate visitor, but not of the majority who never ride it. For millions, a Manila with sewers is unimaginable. First world urban areas all have sewers. But many do not have rail systems. Honolulu could use some genuine prioritization and less contempt for the hard earned income of its residents.

Wendell Cox is a Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris and the author of “War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life

—–

Note 1: Illinois Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen, who was minority leader of the United States Senate in the 1960s is reported to have said: “A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” The line has been often repeated, though the rise in government spending is indicated by the inflation from “millions” to “billions.”

Note 2: Manila’s rail system serves a very small market and represents a small share of transit ridership. The latest available data suggested that barely five percent of transit ridership was on rail.

Top Photo: Visual of rail system in downtown Honolulu (courtesy of American Institute of Architects, Honolulu Chapter) 

Photo credits: All others by author

Governments all over the country are on “crack” it seems. Nothing else matters.. they MUST spend-spend-spend to retain a sense of worth. Naturally, they’re spending money that is not theirs, which once again proves the point.. when you’re not wasting your own money, it’s not so important. Wasting money coerced from taxpayers isn’t “intentional”.. it’s just a necessary fact of life from the point of view of those who recline in the imperial public trough.

As in every other state, the cost for public employees is growing beyond “sustainable” levels. But public unions now control the legislatures and law makers are simply bought off. Until the people rise up in opposition, the transfer of wealth from private job creators to the public freeloaders will continue.. or until the parasite kills the host (Look to Greece for insight)

President Obama Moves Left;- Aims to pilfer from those who save and invest

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Here’s just one more part of the puzzle the Obama plan. This is just a piece of the puzzle of how he and his minions intend to rob Peter to pay Paul. Taking what is rightfully Peter’s, to ingratiate himself with Paul. Marxism discourages individual effort and encourages slovenly behavior- and ultimately, dependence on the State for your very existence. There is no escape.

The Public Employee Unions: Going Sizemore One Better | The Oregon Catalyst

larryhuss The Public Employee Unions: Going Sizemore One Better

Right From the Start

The Oregon Supreme Court announced that 28,000 Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) beneficiaries must repay $156 Million in overpayments from 2000 to 2004. So, you’re thinking to yourself, has the worm turned? Have Oregon’s politicians, including those on the Oregon Supreme Court, finally decided that enough is enough and are going to rein in Oregon’s corrupt PERS system with its gold plated benefits and its domination by Oregon’s public employee unions?

If you believe that then you are as naïve as those Ivy League twits at the United States State Department regarding Iran and/or the Arab Spring.

Here’s the reality of the situation. Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement System is between $14 Billion and $16 Billion underwater. The future unfunded liability to Oregon’s public employees in excess of current investments is so large that it exceeds Oregon’s biennial general fund budget. Worse still is that, at the behest of the public employee unions, the Oregon legislature adopted a provision that requires that payments to the PERS system be made before any other money is spent. (Just for clarification purposes, that law was introduced, passed and signed into law when the Democrats – whose elections are financed primarily by the public employee unions – held super majorities in both Houses and their favorite governor, Ted Kulongoski, was in office.)

For taxpayers this means that before any service is delivered by the State of Oregon, current PERS obligations must be funded. And you thought that maybe some common sense had returned to Oregon’s political class.

But $156 Million is nothing to sneeze at. Okay, it’s only about one percent of the unfunded future liability but it’s $156 Million that PERS didn’t have yesterday. That is if PERS actually collects it and with the Democrats still in firm control of the governor’s office, and the public employee unions still in firm control of the Democrats, that remains questionable.

Even if you view this as a setback for the public employee unions, please understand that it is only temporary and, more importantly, anticipated. (You don’t spend twenty-five years funding a succession of Democratic gubernatorial races, and the resultant appointment of Supreme Court justices without gaining early access to which way the judicial winds are blowing.)

And the public employee unions are ready. Under the guise of their unified political arm – Our Oregon – the unions have taken a page from Bill Sizemore’s political playbook and flooded the initiative process with THIRTEEN separate ballot measures. (Actually, the public employee unions make Sizemore look like a piker based on his best performance of proposing only nine measures.) But, whereas Mr. Sizemore had to go out to the general public to find signatures and funding for his efforts, the public employee unions with their nearly $130 Million biennial warchest – collected for them by the State of Oregon and its political subdivisions – have more union members than signatures required to qualify for the ballot. Mr. Sizemore would take six to nine months to collect signatures while the public employee unions can do it in less than a week as the union stewards walk through the government offices importuning their members at work. What a system!!

If this wasn’t so deadly serious it would be almost amusing about how stacked the deck is. Even more amusing is the name chosen by the public employee unions for their unified political efforts – Our Oregon. Now you might think that was chosen to suggest that they were protecting Oregon from external attacks but nothing could be further from the truth. Our Oregon means “their Oregon” – the public employees unions own it – at least they own state government. They own it, they paid for it, and by God they are going to make sure that it does exactly what they want for the foreseeable future.

When Mr. Sizemore overwhelmed the initiative process with nine measures, his thoughts were two-fold: one, it will cost the public employee unions so much to fight all nine measures that they won’t be able to fight effectively in legislative and statewide elections; and, two, with so many measures on the ballot one or more might slip through. While Mr. Sizemore correctly identified the public employee unions as the major opposing political force, it is doubtful that he, like everyone else, understood the depth of the resources available to the public employee unions.

In addition to the $130 Million available to Oregon’s public employee unions from mandatory member dues each biennium, the unions have all of the vast resources of their sister public employee unions on a state and federal level. The national public employee unions move money to and between states to support and oppose political issues. Mr. Sizemore could have offered 90 measures and still would not have exhausted the resources available to the public employee unions.

And the most pernicious among the thirteen Our Oregon initiatives are Measures 42 and 43 which embed in the Oregon Constitution the right of public employee unions to utilize the payroll checkoff system for their political activities. While the unions widely criticized Mr. Sizemore for trying to burden the Oregon constitution with matters better left to the legislature, those same unions apparently think its just fine to embed their issues in the Constitution.

Despite all of the warts, flaws and questionable activities of Mr. Sizemore, Oregon’s public employees unions and their unified political arm, Our Oregon, with their enormous financial and manpower advantage, make Mr. Sizemore look like an unsullied virgin.

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