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Assemblyman Hawley deems delay of state tax refunds 'unacceptable'

By Billie Owens

Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C—Batavia) responded thusly to Governor Paterson’s proposal to temporarily withhold state-tax refunds from New York residents.

“This week’s announcement by Governor Paterson that he plans to delay state income-tax refunds is unacceptable and just another prime example of Albany’s inability to manage taxpayer dollars,” Hawley said. “Many families and small businesses depend on receiving their refunds on time in order to make large purchases, which in turn boost their local economy. By withholding these refunds, Albany is adding to the unreasonable financial strain New Yorkers are already being forced to bear.”

The Paterson administration is considering a plan to withhold $500 million dollars in refunds, in order to help close the budget gap. In doing so, the state does not have to pay interest on withholding the tax refunds until 45 days after April 15, giving the state an interest-free loan from taxpayers. According to the governor’s office, tax refunds will be sent to filers no later than the first two weeks of April.

“Taxpayers are mandated to submit their tax returns on time every year or face an interest penalty. If the state is late in paying refunds, why shouldn’t it be forced to pay taxpayers back with interest, too? It is my hope that in the coming days, the governor will reconsider this ill-advised proposal and give taxpayers the refunds they deserve. Otherwise, my advice to New Yorkers is the same that I give to my own family: take more exemptions on your future tax filings because it’s your money to begin with, not their's,” Hawley concluded.

C. M. Barons

Another salvo from Hypocrite Hawley. He's consistent. He won't do anything to avert the budget crisis, but he sure knows how to criticize the governor's efforts.

Feb 19, 2010, 1:21am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

C.M., once again, you have no inability to find words to criticize Hawley, but have no words to say what you would do yourself. Anybody can be a critic.

Feb 19, 2010, 7:12am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

I have no idea why people use the government as a savings bank. Steve is right; you should correct your withholding problems and open a savings account.

The governor has his back against the wall. The state is broke and the special interest groups and the state unions will never let him live to cut anything.

Feb 19, 2010, 7:53am Permalink
Steve Ognibene

" What Efforts " Our governor has no efforts other than to tax us and find more ways to bleed us new yorkers dry. It's clearly you support our governor C.M. why I do not know? He has not done anything good for our state at all since taking over. In case you did not read the article clearly it also effects you and everyone in NY.

Feb 19, 2010, 7:55am Permalink
Karen Miconi

Maybe Patterson should consider paying us interest on our money, and give us a kickback for stalling our refunds. God knows the people of NYS pay enough in rediculiously large interest already, so why not government?
Hey does anyone know about Patterson considering closing state parks in NY? I heard on the radio, that he is considering closing Letchworth State Park, because its to expensive to run. That is just crazy(if thats the case). Has he even visited this beautiful, historic area? Has he bothered to look into the blood, sweat, and tears, it took to build?
I Love NY, but it is the most messed up state in the union.

Feb 19, 2010, 9:08am Permalink
John Roach

Over and over you, you fail to say how Hawley could do anything. He is a minority member. Try to give us what you think he could do, as a member of the minority, just for once.

Governor Patterson brought this on himself when he raised spending last year, after saying it would be a disaster.

He's done for. The Dems. will throw him under the bus for Andrew Cuomo. They really have no choice. If they keep Patterson, the Republicans will win the governors race and maybe take back the State Senate.

With Cuomo, they will probably keep the governor's office and might keep the Senate.

Feb 19, 2010, 9:26am Permalink
Chelsea O'Brien

State parks are incredibly inefficient when it comes to money and labor. Privatizing parks, by selling them with regulations in place, would save the state and counties an incredible amount of money. Other services could be privatized, such as USPS, and road services, which could save the state money.

Unions are in part to blame, but the state does not regulate the parks properly (few states do), and the parks cost us a crap ton of money.

Once again, people are for "cuts" as long as they don't affect people personally. Why should representatives be motivated to make cuts at all?

Feb 19, 2010, 9:29am Permalink
Dave Olsen

“Taxpayers are mandated to submit their tax returns on time every year or face an interest penalty. If the state is late in paying refunds, why shouldn’t it be forced to pay taxpayers back with interest, too? "
I agree with Steve, I don't mind if the state needs to use my money a little longer, I'll help, but I want interest. I have more withheld than I should for the express reason that if I make a mistake and end up owing the State money, they won't care, they want it now or will charge interest AND a penalty. (see: Joseph Stack, Austin, TX for more on that) What's OK for them to do, is OK for me also. Karen; I read about the parks too, it's not right.

Feb 19, 2010, 9:43am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Dave, Joseph Stack didn't crash his plane and murder people because of taxes, he did it because he was a disturbed individual. Normal people, no matter how much they don't like paying taxes (and in Mr. Stack's case simply filing returns) don't resort to murder/suicide as a way to get relief. If this guy becomes the Teabagger poster boy I'm gonna lose my damn mind.

Feb 19, 2010, 9:51am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Even a rumor of an impending cut gives politicians bad press.

Don’t close that prison! Don’t close that park! Don’t cut education spending! That’s stupid…

New Yorkers love government spending and our politicians do what they are told.

Feb 19, 2010, 10:03am Permalink
Dave Olsen

After thinking about this for a couple minutes, my solution to the Gov's problem would be to make it voluntary not mandatory. In this economic climate, some people need their money ASAP. If you can wait, then you could receive interest. Sound fair?

Feb 19, 2010, 10:05am Permalink
bud prevost

Chris said "If this guy becomes the Teabagger poster boy I'm gonna lose my damn mind."

I'd do a system backup on your mind now then. He will be a martyr in the eyes of the way out there extreme right.
To be perfectly honest, I'm surprised it has happened more often. The role of tax collector has been reviled since the days of Caesar, and the indifference that some IRS employees show puts them in the same class.

Feb 19, 2010, 10:10am Permalink
bud prevost

Please let me be clear though, I in no way condone Stack's action. To take life is wrong, and he had no right at all to do what he did.

Feb 19, 2010, 10:12am Permalink
Karen Miconi

Charlie, my problem is that government is going after, and attacking our very fountation, things that are the MOST important, instead of the real Pork spending problems. Schools, Prisons, Letchworth??? Come on, they are avoiding, at all expense, the real money-sucking entities. Is nothing sacred anymore? No, lets shoot from the hip, make the middle class our slaves, and attack them, and make them suffer. Not on my clock! More smoke and mirrors. The rich sit pretty, at our expense. God Forbid, they look to make cuts in their own back yards (government). I see right threw the scams. Governor Pattinghispocketson is going to far. Is he part of a terrorist network, trying to ruin NYS? His head is up his keester.(in my opinion)

Feb 19, 2010, 10:29am Permalink
C. M. Barons

Steve Hawley does nothing but ape party line. He squats in his chair making no practical effort to fix the deficit. He merely sits back and criticizes everything the governor either does or suggests. I have been this route before; look back, you will see that I have made suggestions. BUT IT IS NOT I collecting dust (and a paycheck) in Albany. I don't have to be accountable; Hypocrite Hawley does!

Defending Hawley is indicative of the why none of the bums (encumbents) ever get thrown out. It's always someone else's bum the public has in mind...

Feb 19, 2010, 11:20am Permalink
Charlie Mallow

Karen, he can’t close a park. What would he do, build a wall around it? Obviously we don’t have the whole story. There is some pork in that park and we can't close our eyes to change because it is important to us. We all have to keep in mind that when cuts are suggested there is an immediate backlash that takes place. This backlash comes from those who are losing their piece of pork.

There are two ways out of the hole this state is in. Either we lose services (pork) we have had for years or we pay more. We have tried option #2 and that hasn’t worked.

Feb 19, 2010, 11:22am Permalink
C. M. Barons

And why do we have a "minority member" in assembly? (Minority member- sounds like a deformity) That's something else voters could repair.

Feb 19, 2010, 11:23am Permalink
bud prevost

Charlie said "Karen, he can’t close a park. What would he do, build a wall around it?"

We'll still have law enforcement available at these locations, who would have the ability to arrest trespassers and town courts, to collect fines and state government, to suck up those mandated surcharges. Sounds like NY found a way to hose seasonal, non union employees, and increase the state coffers at the same time. Brilliant

Feb 19, 2010, 11:30am Permalink
C. M. Barons

Blaming Paterson for the poor standing of our state is like blaming the baby for the pregnancy. Our Assembly and Senate have been receiving dysfunctional government awards for decades. They are the guilty-ones who can't pass a budget until the pork goes in. Ask Hawley about the nice Xmas lights on Batavia's Main Street- that's what I'm talking about.

Feb 19, 2010, 11:37am Permalink
John Roach

You still have avoided my question; try again. What do YOU think Hawley, as a minority member, can do? Give concrete examples, not the "fuzzy" you gave so far.

And remember, in Albany, minority members have no power, none, zero, zip.

You are right about the Assembly and Senate, they do not work, but Patterson could have vetoed the budget last year, if for no other reason than to make a point. Instead of even holding spending at the prior year level, he went along with raising it.

Watch, I bet the Dems in the Assembly and Senate blame Patterson for the mess when they throw him overboard. Then they will still raise taxes and spending.

Feb 19, 2010, 12:09pm Permalink
John Roach

Why do you think attacking somebody's physical appearance is OK? Should be go back and make fun of Patterson, or are you arguments that weak?

Feb 19, 2010, 12:11pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

C.M. came in here a couple months back and listed a ton of things he thought the state could do to save money. I recall him being very specific. However, it is not C.M.'s job to offer up the cuts, it is Hawley's. Mr. Hawley has been called out several times in the past months by local Republicans about his 'Cut spending but not over here' hypocrisy. He was challenged three times by a certain local farmer to do more than yap about government spending and offer up a real solution. He still has not done so.

I agree with Mr. Hawley that tax refunds shouldn't be held up simply to move the budget along, but Hawley and his party have not been a part of the solution. Unless he intends to offer up a fix, he'd better get used to people playing whack-a-mole every time he criticizes Democrats.

Feb 19, 2010, 12:27pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

John, I am not the one in Albany. I did not vote for a minority member of Assembly, so I will not be held accountable for Genesee County's impotency. If Steve Hawley stood on his chair in the Assembly and proclaimed, "let's fix the deficit," it would be more than he is doing now. His action on behalf of NY's fiscal crisis has been limited to advocating the retention of unspent funds. Philosphically, that is no different than the delay-payment treatments he's attacking Paterson for. Stop-gap measures do nothing to end the budget-bloat or reduce the deficit; it's a bandaid instead of needed surgery. Hawley would lose his Hypocrite crown if he told the truth instead of spouting party-sponsored nonsense.

Feb 19, 2010, 12:34pm Permalink
Mark Janofsky

Chelsea, You start your cuts at the largest cost where fraud is most likely. Just offering the nation wide average for Medicare/Medicaid would be huge in reducing spending.

Summary of the 2006 Medicare/Medicaid spending (1/2 fed, 1/4 state, 1/4 county):

NYS total $44,712,222,361
NYS per capita $2,317
Nation wide per capita $1009
NYS total if locked at nation wide per capita $19.5B
The difference between actual and the pipe dream $25.2B
This equates to the following not being spent:
Federal $12.6B
NY State $6.3B
Genesee County $19.6M

Feb 19, 2010, 12:36pm Permalink
John Roach

My point is that the way both parties have set the Assembly and Senate rules up, the minority party has no say at all.

Both Republicans and Democrats have kept the rules that way and are not about to change them. So even if Hawley gave 15 pages of ideas (and he has posted ides on the Batavian before), it would not make any difference. Assembly leader Silver is not going to let them, or any other Republican idea, see the light of day. And when the Republicans had control of the State Senate, they did the same thing.

But, like last years budget, this will be an all Democrat budget, so lets see what they do.

Feb 19, 2010, 12:40pm Permalink
Jennifer Keys

So, let me get this right: the governor wants to withhold our tax returns to close the gap in the budget after he has increased taxes AND spending since he became governor and the plan is to give us our money back without interest in 45 days because the gap will be closed with permanent revenue by then, or after the 45 days with interest? Call me skeptical, but I think we will never see our money unless we sue the state and how would that close the budget gap?

In addition, what people are saying here is that our parks system is broken and corrupt and privatizing or closing them would help with our financial woes. How would privatized parks work exactly? and how would they fit into the scheme of things in our state as far as tourism dollars go? and if they were privatized would residents use them anymore? That sounds like a gated community to always correct me if I'm wrong.

Perhaps we need to revise our laws that allowed someone we didn't elect to remain as governor for so long! Perhaps we SHOULD consider withholding our taxes in an account and budgeting to pay the bill on April 15 as we may never see our returns again! Those seem to be solutions WE the people act on.

Feb 19, 2010, 12:52pm Permalink
bud prevost

Park land still owned by the state, with private companies to run and manage. Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn't it? Same could be done with prisons. If big corporations outsource everything, why can't NYS do the same?

Feb 19, 2010, 1:54pm Permalink

I agree with Steve on this.

That being said, I love how parties point fingers at each other. The Democrats have done a horrible job in power on EVERY level of this government since they won! They will say it's because of the Republicans even though they controlled everything! Funny.

When a Democrat does something stinky, the Republicans will run out and scream "we're powerless!" EVEN though they spent us into a hole the previous seven years before that!

This state/federal government has become a polarized, uselss mess. If you are in a party, defending it tooth and nail, I will ask you this; Why? What has EITHER one of your parties done in the past decade that has made this country a better place? Please give us details.

I am not a Teabagger, but I'm happy that it's happening! I'm glad that citizens of this nation are getting so pissed and fed up with the way both of these parties are behaving that there is a challenge.

What makes me just crazy is that Cuomo will probably win the Governor's race. He stands for nothing except the staus quo and yet, there will not be a candidate with the money backing them to defeat him.

Feb 19, 2010, 1:59pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Broadbrush attacks, name calling, etc. serve no useful purpose.

C.M., you have a habit of attacking Hawley, but never in a way that is anything specific.

Sure, you've said in the past what you think should be done, but you've never said how you could get it done if you were in Steve's place. How would you function in a dysfunctional system where the minority party is so diminished in power that it can't even act as an honest check on the balance of power shifting to the other party.

Above you complain about "minority party" -- are you advocating one party rule?

I just don't see how your constant brow-beating Hawley serves any useful purpose. It makes no sense to me, except maybe you offer a hint above -- you would be happier with all Democrats in Albany.

Feb 19, 2010, 3:17pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

What I've gotten from all of C.M.'s past posts is that he would be happy if our representative and his peers spent more time working on fixing the issues of New York State and less time running their never-ending re-election campaigns.

Feb 19, 2010, 3:31pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

"never ending re-election campaigns" is the end result of partisan politics. The system is broken, and chief at fault is people putting party above public interest, which is a fault of both Republicans and Democrats equally, both those in office and out.

Feb 19, 2010, 3:46pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

There's nothing wrong with partisan politics as long as the debates stem from honest positions. Opposing the other party simply because they're the other party is asinine; it's also what happens every day at the state and federal level.

Feb 19, 2010, 4:07pm Permalink
Charlie Mallow

I have to strongly agree with Howard when it comes to political parties. Our system could correct a lot of its past problems if they were eliminated. I know that loyalists on both sides are good people and they try to do the right thing. The party system just manipulates them into never being able to find middle ground for the common good. Parties are divisive.

I have also never gotten the feeling that C.M. was over the top partisan. His feelings are pretty strong when it comes to the state assembly but, that is his right.

Feb 19, 2010, 6:43pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, for the partyman, there's no such thing as an honest position, there's only winning elections in order to maintain or achieve majority in order to receive or ensure the perks that go with majority. Period. Neither party, at the leadership level, which means non-elected positions, mostly, is about public or civic policy. Both parties are entirely about getting and/or maintaining power. I've seen this from the inside. The major political parties serve only themselves, not the people.

That's not a statement against any of the individuals involved, especially at the local level, that's merely a statement of fact about state and national machines.

Feb 19, 2010, 6:48pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

You're absolutely wrong Howard. It is the party structure's responsibility to recruit and put forward candidates that will work for and do what's right for the people who elect them. The two major parties have differing philosophies on how to reach that end but at the root of it, the goal is a noble and honest one.

I find your statement that 'there is no such thing as an honest position for a partyman' simply absurd, and to say such a thing is a slap in the face to all of the people on both sides of the proverbial aisle who work so hard to improve our political system through hard work, dedication and principled debate with those who disagree with us.

Now the peanut gallery will chime in here and call me an idealist but I have news for them as well: Your apathy and pessimism aren't welcome at my table.

I am a PARTY MAN, Howard. I am a Pro-Gun, Pro-Health Care, Pro-Business, goddamn Democrat and I arrived at all of those positions honestly and faithfully. There are people within my party who disagree with me and they have honest positions as well. There are scores upon scores of Republicans whose only goal is the betterment of our society. I have nothing but respect for all of these people and I'll be damned if I'm going to listen to anyone say that they don't have honest positions or that they'll sell out for a win.

I'm sorry your time working in the California Legislature left you so jaded but I'm here to tell you that your single experience, while not unique, does not a paradigm make.

Feb 19, 2010, 8:03pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

Okay, Howard and John, if I were in Hawley's place and my hands were (I'll give him the benefit of doubt) tied, I'd be doing things on the homefront to make the situation less painful. First off, as an agricultural district, I'd help organize an Ag Coop for all farmers to join. I'd set as a priority for this coop- finding new markets, sharing resources, accessing financing resources and helping cut costs and bolster revenue for the agricultural community. I'd do similar for the other public entities such as schools and local governments- instead of begging for additional state funds, I'd pool local talent and encourage local govt to join together in cost-cutting, sharing and better optimizing the resources at hand. In general, I would be a leader in abetting a community of talented and resourceful individuals toward fiscal independence instead of throwing stones and hurling mud in a flaccid gesture of victimhood. I'd be a stalwart for consolidation and promote the able-bodied workforce that exists in our communities.
By example, the GLOW region could be the go-to for projecting recovery instead of a bankrupt symbol of defeat.
I think that summarizes my proactive approach to leadership.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:16am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, my experience in California was merely eye opening. Everything I've observed since then both of Washington and Albany, especially Albany, only confirm the truth: Neither party, as organizations, give one rip about you or me. They only care about power and perks.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:29am Permalink
C. M. Barons

And for the record, my support for Paterson resides in respect for ACTION to rectify the financial crisis in our state. I don't endorse all of his proposals, but he is DOING something- more than can be said for the two houses who are mired in fatalistic hand-wringing. Paterson can present a budget, and he can approve what the Assemby/Senate return to him. The legislature has the ultimate responsibility for the final draft- which categorically and historically translates: expenditures exceed revenue. From the posts in this forum, one would assume that Paterson was some kind of despot. He hasn't even got the support of his own party- no less the opposition!

Feb 20, 2010, 12:30am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Now, C.M., which part of that is even remotely part of a sitting Legislator's job description? All nice stuff, but it's all stuff you don't have to be elected to do, so why aren't you doing it?

Feb 20, 2010, 12:32am Permalink
C. M. Barons

As for party affiliation- I'm a member of the Green Party; it doesn't get more minor than that. I have no real preference in terms of democrat or republican. I cast my vote for policies not party. If I had my way, there would be no parties. (Check the Constitution- no party mentioned.) The whole sad mess, defined as a battle between two parties defines the very gridlock that undermines effective government. Add to that the corporate manipulation of politics and the cost of campaigning... It's enough to make a sane person watch reality TV.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:42am Permalink
C. M. Barons

Howard asks, "so why aren't you doing it?"

Because I work seven days a week, 9 - 11 hour shift for my keep. I live alone, so I have to do the dishes, laundry, take out the trash and sleep occasionally. In the winter I shovel snow; in the summer I mow grass. I live in a 100+ year-old house that has maintenance issues. I read the newspaper, magazines and books. I'm an author and try to do some writing each day. And I have an obligation to participate in my favorite webnews/blog, The Batavian.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:52am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

FWIW: I'm not here to defend Steve Hawley. I really don't know if he's a party man or a sincere conservative. I suspect he's a sincere conservative and that his views, statements, actions just happen to align with being a pretty straight party Republican.

And while I think that Republican Party, lke the Democratcs, at the top of the food chain is basically corrupt, that doesn't mean that individual Republicans, nor Democrats, can't be sincere in pursuing ideologies that align greatly with the general direction of their parties.

Chris calls himself a partyman. I would like to believe he's more independent minded than that, even if his core beliefs align closely with the Democratic platform.

What can't the same also be true of Steve Hawley.

While I bash the parties, I try not to pass judgment on the individuals. I can't see into their souls. I have no idea if they're taking positions out of sincere belief or merely to gain more influence and power within the party.

And C.M., that's what bugs me most about your constant bashing of Hawley. I don't think you have enough information to broad brush him, nor do I believe that you can really honestly say that you would do anything differently if you were in his shoes.

Your criticism of Hawley, as amply demonstrated by the first post in this thread, are generally without substance, which is remarkably not how you normally operate in your commentary, but when it comes to Hawley, you bash first and then try to justify later. That that seems exceptionally unhelpful to me.

Maybe Mr. Hawley's criticisms of the governor are entirely partisan hackery, or maybe they are expressions of sincere concern about issues that Mr. Hawley believes it is his duty to speak out on. You don't know either way. You couldn't possibly know. I certainly don't know.

It strikes me as a much more honest form of political dialogue to acknowledge that you don't know what's in another man's heart and avoid reacting to assumptions you might make about his motivations and rather deal honestly with his actual statements and actions, and either praise or criticize in those specific terms, and leave the personal bashing out of it.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:53am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Well, don't forget your final obligation! Surely, that's more important than taking out the trash! Though, I'll concede, working on your next novel is probably slightly more important.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:54am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Howard said:

"It strikes me as a much more honest form of political dialogue to acknowledge that you don't know what's in another man's heart and avoid reacting to assumptions you might make about his motivations and rather deal honestly with his actual statements and actions, and either praise or criticize in those specific terms, and leave the personal bashing out of it."

Funny you should say that Howard since your stated beliefs about political parties and the people within them tend to run to the contrary.

Feb 20, 2010, 9:06am Permalink

Chris is a Party man and I respect the passion and love that he has trying to build it up and recruit new talent. I really feel that he is not the majority though.

We have seen it at every level, if you go against the party line, you are punished. Sure, you are allowed to have your individual ideals, but you are expected to get in line when told. Why do you think so many moderates are leaving? Party purists have become more vocal over the past year or so, and with it has come an even deeper partisan divide.

Last night I watched Bill Maher. While I find most of what he says VERY funny, he had a piece at the end ridculing the Tea Baggers. He made them out to be uneducated hicks, finalizing his rant by saying they didn't know that taxes were lowered for 95% of Americans. People applauded his quip. I took offense, here's why:

This wonderous tax break that he was so quick to point out to praise, has given the average Americian just $16 per paycheck, it sunsets next year and was apart of one of the largest spending measures in this nation's history. That is not reform and really will end up costing us so much more.

Like I said, I'm not a Tea Bagger, but I am sick and tired of Leftists and Uber-conservatives having the loudest voices.

Feb 20, 2010, 9:39am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Tax cuts cost money Phil. That's why Bush's tax cuts for the wealthy coupled with a very expensive two-front war created the largets deficit ins U.S history.

I watched that show as well and Maher's point was that only 6% of the people from a movement about high taxes had any idea that President Obama had cut their taxes at all. The rest beleived that there had either been a tax increase or that taxes had stayed the same. The underlying message there is that the Tea Party folks are being used as tools by the Republicans and they've taken the bait hook, line and sinker.

Feb 20, 2010, 9:47am Permalink

I know that they cost money, Chris. I also know that the Bush Admin. was an absolute joke and spent us into the largest deficit in our history. What I take offense to is that this tax cut is a joke on so many levels. What has it really given back to hard working middle class Americans?

The Tea Party may be a talking point for Republicans in the views of many Democrats, but I also feel that the anger is sincere and justified. The Democratic party has been in Total Power for a year and they have not done much. True, I don't agree with much of their policy, but they still claim how the Republicians have stopped them. Really? That was one point that even I gave to our Former Governor (By the way, I love how Spitzer was pulling out the "immoral" card last night on Cheney! Not that I diagree, but that HE is the one saying it made me chuckle!).

Maher made them out to be dumb hicks in a "cult" without an opinion of their own, but so many Americans feel the way they do. They are tired of this government doing nothing but make excuses about why they can't do nothing! Maybe the reason why only 6% of them knew the answer was because the money they recieved was so small!!!

Feb 20, 2010, 10:03am Permalink
Chris Charvella

My share of the tax cut is about $20/ week. That pays for diapers and I'm thankful for it.

I'll agree that Democrats haven't accomplished as much as they would have liked to this year. That's partly due to an inability within the party to agree on what color the sky is, but also due to vitriol, lies and obstruction coming from the opposition party. The Republicans are very good at agreeing with eachother and marching in line when they receive their orders. The stated goal of the Republican Party has been, and will continue to be, for President Obama to fail. I'm not sure how many olive branches the White house can hold out to Republican leadership before they just give up on bi-partisanship, but based on what I've been seeing the last few days in the news I have to think that a more stern and, honestly more 'Bush-like, Executive Branch is on the horizon.

Feb 20, 2010, 10:24am Permalink

Hey $20 bucks is $20 bucks...I hear that, but I also know that it's going away in a year and we are no closer to any kind of promised tax reform.

While I won't disagree with you on the Republicans wanting Obama to fail, that's pretty clear, I can't also say that it wasn't the same way when Bush was in office, then Clinton before him and so on. That is unfortunately what Washington has become. It's a joke to me. Which is why I understand the creation of the Tea Party.

Keep up the good works, Chris. Like I said, I respect your passion.

Feb 20, 2010, 10:40am Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Chris, I've never said anything that contradicts that statement.

I have taken issue with the conduct of unnamed individuals who lead the parties, but that isn't a matter of seeing into their hearts. That's observing their actions.

Feb 20, 2010, 11:34am Permalink
Jeff Allen

Chris, show us real research that directly associates the Bush tax cuts with the increased deficit. I have heard this espoused by the left so many times but no one has made a direct correlation. You can say "I got a hair cut, and subsequenlty lost 30 lbs.", it doesn't mean the two have anything to do with each other from a cause and effect standpoint.

Feb 20, 2010, 11:41am Permalink
Chris Charvella

Jeff, Bush increased spending and decreased revenue. Can't get much clearer than that.

Edit: To clarify, you can't just hand out tax cuts, they have to be funded. Bush didn't bother to fund the tax cuts through spending decreases, he instead relied on that old chestnut: trickle down economics. The assumption is that increasing the disposable income of the wealthy causes them to spend more money. This is supposed to translate to a jump in the consumer economy and result in the tax cut paying for itself. This never happens by the way. It works in theory, but the practice has never panned out.

Bush then involved us in two wars and didn't bother to pay for them with real money. They were funded off budget and by borrowing from other countries. Traditionally when our country has gone to war (of the extended and expensive variety) we have been asked to make sacrifices, rationing, working in the factories, war taxes etc... Bush didn't ask for that although I still believe that many Americans would have been ready and willing. Instead he asked us to go shopping, I understand that he did this in an attempt to instill confidence in the American people and I'm not making fun of him for it as many Dems are prone to doing, I just think it was a gross miscalculation of what the market was capable of at that point in time.

It was Bush's blind faith and overconfidence in an economic theory that caused the massive deficit hike. Here's the reality, sometimes you can lower taxes, sometimes you can't, but you absolutely must pay for what you provide. Not every theory works in every situation particularly when your talking about something as fragile as the world economy.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:24pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

I once went to a meeting on wind turbines and the pro turbine guy made the statement that when Norway invested in wind turbines their GDP increased by 20%??????. If your answer is as simple as Bush increased spending and decreased revenue then my tax return would not be as complicated as it is.
The reality is that government makes up too large a portion of our GDP. When people have more money in their pockets, they spend more and that is good for the economy. When government spends more without offsetting the spending by making cuts(not just the knee jerk reaction of raising taxes) our overall economy is adversely affected. If government made up less of our economy and people and businesses had more to spend then our economy would be positively impacted. High federal spending is not just a Democratic issue, I will concede that Bush spent far too much of our money, but when the next move is always to increase taxes (or window dress it with miniscule tax rebates and temporary $20 a week cuts) instead of cutting fat then the temporary increase in revenue will soon reverse itself in losses in the free market and individual confidence resulting in an overall economic loss.
Without factoring all economic indicators, the statement that Bush tax cuts are directly responsible for record deficits cannot be justified.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:22pm Permalink
Chris Charvella

Jeff, it was the tax cuts paired with increased spending, I thought I was pretty clear on that but I may have been editing as you were typing.

Feb 20, 2010, 12:27pm Permalink
Jeff Allen

Chris, I absolutely agree that the Bush tax rebates were a failed policy. Putting $600 to $1800 dollars in our pockets was a miscalculation since most did not use it for stimulative spending but to pay down exisitng debt. It was good that individuals did that, but did not have the desired affect on the economy. I will also concede that you are correct that tax cuts without spending cuts are just band-aids when surgery is needed.
I still however would rather put my faith in the American people and the free markets than in larger government percentage of the economy for long term financial recovery.

Feb 20, 2010, 6:08pm Permalink

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