Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Wisconsin House passes Scott Walker’s tax cut bill, headed to governor’s desk

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker: All He Does Is Win

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: All He Does Is Win

The leftist Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reluctantly reports on another victor for Governor Scott Walker.

Excerpt:

Gov. Scott Walker’s $541 million tax cut proposal ended its trek through the Legislature on Tuesday with a final vote in the Assembly, clearing the way for the governor to sign it by next week.

The Assembly voted, 61-35, in support of the bill, with three Democrats joining all Republicans in favor of the proposal. It now goes to the Republican governor for his approval.

“That’s exactly what taxpayers want — giving their money back to them rather than keep their dollars here in Madison,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said, urging lawmakers, “Let’s give it back.”

[...]With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1 billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s tax proposal will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.

Though the state’s tax revenues are increasing, GOP lawmakers and Walker will use that growth as an occasion to trim overall state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increase it.

Rep. Jim Steineke (R-Kaukauna), a Realtor, said the state’s property taxes are a considerable barrier to people buying a home and staying in it into their old age.

“What we’re doing today does move us back in the right direction, lowering the property tax,” he said.

[...]Under Walker’s bill, the average income tax filer would receive a tax cut of $46 in April 2015 and the typical homeowner would save $131 over the existing law on this December’s bills, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.

Also, the governor has separately had his administration alter income tax withholding rates so workers have less taken out of each paycheck — about $520 a year for a married couple making a total of $80,000 a year — starting in April.

The bill also would lower income taxes for factory and farm owners by $36.8 million over the current two-year budget and $91.3 million over the following two years.

GOP supporters of the manufacturing tax cut in the bill see it as fuel for one of the state’s main economic engines. Democratic opponents see it as a giveaway with a dubious payback to some of the richest people in the state, averaging about $800 for roughly 30,000 tax filers in 2015.

The Christian Post had a story about Scott Walker as well.

Excerpt:

A Wisconsin-based atheist organization has demanded that that Governor Scott Walker remove a posting on the social media website Twitter that is religious in nature.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation stated Tuesday that they took exception to Walker’s official account, including a tweet posted Sunday that simply read, “Philippians 4:13.”

As rendered by the New King James Version, Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

On Sunday, Walker tweeted “Phillipians 4:13″ on the @GovWalker twitter handle. This is noted as being the “Official Twitter Account of the 45th Governor of the State of Wisconsin, Scott Walker.” Walker has another twitter handle, @ScottWalker.

The @GovWalker tweet of the verse citation received as of Tuesday evening 52 retweets and 76 favorites. It also received diverse responses from other Twitter accounts.

As of Wednesday, the tweet was still up. So I re-tweeted it and favorited it.

I think that in 2016 we should be looking at candidates who will take the fight to the Democrats. We don’t need another Mitt Romney. I want to see a candidate who sticks his neck out for what he believes in and comes out on top. Real accomplishments, this time. Not rhetoric. Why do we always have to care what our opponents think of us? Why not just beat them up and then be magnanimous in victory? If he runs for President on the platform of zeroing out manufacturing income tax, he will win. Every union worker will vote for him.

During the Christmas vacation, I read governor Walker’s new book, which was a Christmas present from my friend ECM. If you want to learn more about governor Walker, I recommend picking that up. I actually got the audio version, and it’s read by governor Walker himself.

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker cuts taxes again, expects $1 billion surplus in 2015

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (Republican)

Walker has actually cut taxes three times in less than a year.

I know what you’re thinking, (if you’re a Democrat). You’re thinking “how can a governor cut taxes three times and have a surplus?”.

When the government cuts taxes, people in the private sector who either create jobs or work at jobs get to keep more of their own money. They either spend or invest their money. Spending money is OK, but the magic really happens when people invest money. Even something as simple as putting money into a savings account can achieve magic, because banks lend that money to job creating businesses. What is the magic? The magic is that when people invest or save their money, the money makes its way to job-creating individuals and businesses, so that they can develop new products and services. For example, if Samsung keeps more of it’s own money, it can hire more and better employees to to develop the S5 smartphone – a new product that performs better than the previous S4 model, even though it will probably cost less than the previous S4 model.

What happens when consumers can get more functionality for less money? It means that they can do more in their own lives using the better products and services, but also means that they have more money to save or spend somewhere else. So what really drives the economy is not government handing out food stamps or government giving money to companies linked to their campaign fundraisers (e.g. – Solyndra). What really drives the economy is the private sector. That’s where new innovative products and services are made. When you thinking of government, you should think of the people with degrees in Marxist studies and women’s studies who take money away from Samsung, so they have less money to innovate with. Government takes money from Samsung and gives it to Brigham and Women’s hospital to study why lesbians are often overweight. (It’s purely a coincidence that this is where Obama’s Surgeon General nominee Vivek Murphy works, and purely a coincidence that he founded “Doctors for America” to market Obamacare to the voters).

When you keep the money in the private sector, you get new products and services that people actually want to buy. The more money that businesses keep, the more they higher workers, and the more the state collects in payroll and income taxes. The more that consumers spend to buy better products and services, the more the state collects in sales tax. The key to economic growth is to have businesses produce better products for less money. When consumers can do more and have more money left over, there is economic growth, which boosts tax revenues. Government rarely spends money as efficiently and effectively as job creators and workers can.

With that in mind, let’s see what happened when Governor Scott Walker cut taxes and let job creators and workers keep more of their own money.

The ultra-leftist Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reluctantly reports.

Excerpt:

Senate Republicans Tuesday narrowly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s $541 million tax cut proposal in a vote that guaranteed the cuts will become law.

The tax decreases — the third round of cuts by Republicans in less than a year — passed 17-15 with GOP Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center joining all Democrats in voting against the proposal. The proposal now goes to the Assembly, which passed a different version of the tax cuts last month with two Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting it.

With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s bill will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.

GOP lawmakers and Walker will use the windfall for the state as an occasion to trim overall state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increase it.

[...]Also Tuesday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a second bill to increase spending on worker training by $35.4 million through June 2015.

[...]Under Walker’s bill, the average income tax filer would receive a tax cut of $46 in April 2015 and the typical homeowner would save $131 over the existing law on this December’s bills, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.

Also, the governor has separately had his administration alter income tax withholding rates so workers have less taken out of each paycheck — about $520 a year for a married couple making a total of $80,000 a year — starting in April.

“The more money that we give back to the taxpayers, the more money they can spend or save as they wish and the more our economy will grow,” said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget committee.

The bill would also lower income taxes for factory and farm owners by $36.8 million over the current two-year budget and $91.3 million over the following two years.

GOP supporters of this manufacturing tax cut in the bill see it as fuel for one of the state’s main economic engines.

Now the nice thing about Walker is that he is no Wall Street Republican. The man has been plowing money into worker re-training programs and manufacturing, which is exactly how you draw votes from working Democrats. Working Democrats tend to prefer working to collecting welfare, so Walker is out there competing for their votes by making sure that everyone who wants a job can get a job, and that those jobs pay well. Walker knows that if he can cut taxes on manufacturing, that it will cause manufacturers in his state to hire more people in order to develop cheaper and better products. That’s going to cause them to invest more in his state, and some manufacturers will even leave other Democrat-run states (e.g. – Illinois) to move to Wisconsin.

When Democrats were running Wisconsin, they created a huge $3.6 billion dollar deficit that Walker inherited. Everything has been turned around under Scott Walker, but neighboring states like Illinois continue to decline. What a resume this guy is going to have in 2016 when he runs for President. Walker bet the farm on his pro-growth policies in a blue state, and guess what? He is reaping the rewards. He knows what he is doing, and the left can’t stand him. All he does is win.

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Nancy Pelosi: forcing workers to work fewer hours gives them “freedom”

The video above shows a typical Democrat reaction to Obamacare’s side-effect of forcing workers from full-time to part-time work. Let them eat cake!

You don’t need to get paid for 40 hours per week, do you? It’s freedom to follow your passion – you don’t really need the money and work experience, do you?

The College Fix explains how students working their way through college feel about having their workers hours cut to comply with Obamacare.

Here’s an example from their article:

Emily Klug, 22, a psychology and sociology major at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, Mo., is another Obamacare victim.

Klug’s university offered her a work-study program over the summer, which she turned down in order to accept a full-time summer job for a national retailer. This would have allowed her to pay for the coming year of college, as well as save for grad school. Shortly thereafter, Klug learned that her employer had modified their policies: she would only be allowed to work part-time.

“Their maximum limit happened to be the same one as the Obamacare classification for full-time,” she told The Fix.

She spent the summer working 20 to 25 hours weekly, unable to save for grad school.

“I’m not happy with it,” Klug added, regarding the Affordable Care Act. “I feel that it’s unconstitutional, and an infringement on my rights. I’m not looking forward to either buying insurance or paying the fine. I will probably be paying the fine. It’s my personal choice. That’s what I object to most in Obamacare – my personal choice is removed.”

Yes, but you get free condoms!!1! It’s so worth it! Maybe you could find another job. A job that uses a lot of free condoms!!! You’re free to pursue your passion. It’s about wellness! And if you have an unplanned pregnancy, then abortions and single mother welfare are free! Just follow your heart.

OK. And it’s not just off-campus work that’s being affected, it’s on-campus work, too.

Investors Business Daily explains.

Excerpt:

If one job category stands out for bearing a heavy price from ObamaCare-related cuts to work hours, it might be adjunct college faculty.

Among 313 employers now on IBD’s ObamaCare Employer Mandate List Of Cuts To Hours, Jobs that have cut work hours or permanent staff, or shifted to part-time hiring, there are 54 colleges and universities that have scaled back the hours adjunct faculty may teach.

The list also includes 80 public school districts that have cut hours or outsourced the job functions of teacher aides, cafeteria workers and other employees.

Still, the inclusion of a number of community college systems such as MaricopaIvy Techand Dallas County means that cuts in adjunct faculty hours now extend to nearly 200 college and university campuses attended by about 1.6 million students.

All over the country, adjunct teaching loads are being limited to nine credit hours — just below the 30-hour threshold at which Affordable Care Act employer penalties hit. That’s the equivalent of nine hours per week in the classroom and 18 hours of work preparing, grading, etc.

In lean budget times, many schools became heavily dependent upon modestly paid, part-time faculty members who were ineligible for health benefits. Now, faced with providing the same type of generous coverage offered tenured professors or cutting hours, many see little choice but to cut.

Of a dozen employers added to IBD’s list on Sept. 25, nine are colleges and universities. Of those, eight put new restrictions on adjunct hours. Several also cut work hours for students, a step backward for helping future grads emerge with manageable levels of student loan debt.

They told me if I didn’t vote for Obama, then college students would have a harder time paying for college. And they were right!

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Which policies have caused our low labor force participation rate?

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Jay Richards tweeted this article from the Wall Street Journal. The article is an interview with a business owner named Bob Funk whose job it is to match job seekers to job creators.

Hiring is down because of increased regulation of employers and fear of interventionism:

Here’s something you don’t often see in Washington: a businessman trying to repeal a law that helps his company. That’s Bob Funk’s latest mission in life. He’s the president and founder of Express Employment Services, the fifth-largest employment agency in America, with annual sales of $2.5 billion and more than 600 franchises across the country. This year he will place nearly half a million workers in jobs.

“ObamaCare has been an absolute boon for my business,” he says as we sit in his new office headquarters near downtown Oklahoma City. “I’m making a lot of money thanks to that law. We’re up 8% this year. But it’s just terrible for the country. I see that firsthand every day.”

Why is the health-care law good for Express but bad for the country? “Firms are just very reluctant to hire full-time workers,” Mr. Funk says. “So they are taking on more temporary help, which is what we do.” ObamaCare imposes new mandates and penalties on companies with more than 50 full-time employees—and even those working 30 hours a week are considered full-time.

He quickly adds: “The problem isn’t just ObamaCare, though. It’s the entire regulatory assault on employers coming out of Washington—everything from the EEOC”—the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hits companies hard when employees claim age, race or sex discrimination—”to the Dodd-Frank monstrosity. Employers are living in a state of fear.”

So let’s take a look at what is causing a record low labor force participation rate.

The younger generation does not have a good work ethic:

The primary jobs problem today, Mr. Funk says, is that too many workers are functionally unemployable because of attitude, behavior or lack of the most basic work skills. One discouraging statistic is that only about one of six workers who comes to Express seeking employment makes the cut. He recites a company statistic that about one in four applicants can’t even pass a drug test.

“In my 40-some years in this business, the biggest change I’ve witnessed is the erosion of the American work ethic. It just isn’t there today like it used to be,” Mr. Funk says. Asked to define “work ethic,” he replies that it’s fairly simple but vital on-the-job behavior, such as showing up on time, being conscientious and productive in every task, showing a willingness to get your hands dirty and at times working extra hours. These attributes are essential, he says, because if low-level employees show a willingness to work hard, “most employers will gladly train them with the skills to fill higher-paying jobs.”

He fears that too many of the young millennials who come knocking on his door view a paycheck as a kind of entitlement, not something to be earned. He is also concerned that the trendy concept of “life-balancing” is putting work second behind leisure.

Welfare spending discourages people from working:

When pressed to explain what Washington can do to get Americans back on the job, Mr. Funk says the first step would be to start shrinking the “vast social welfare state programs that have become a substitute for work. There’s a prevalent attitude of a lot of this generation of workers that the government will always be there to take care of them. It’s hard to get people to take entry-level jobs when they can get unemployment benefits, health care, food stamps and the rest.”

This week during the food-stamp debate in Congress, Democrats voted unanimously against work requirements and ridiculed Republicans who suggested that the expansion of food stamps to 47 million Americans has discouraged working. The Democrats are living in a fantasy world, according to Mr. Funk. He points to Congress’s decision in 2009 to increase unemployment-insurance benefits to 90 weeks or more as “a policy that held a lot of people out of the workforce until the checks stopped coming. We saw that here very clearly.”

Disability makes people less inclined to get a job:

The most abused government program, he says, is disability insurance and the 14 million Americans who now collect these benefits. Express has found that over half of the disability claims brought by its workers have turned out to be fraudulent. “We win 90% of the disability cases that we challenge in court,” Mr. Funk says.

Skills deficit makes people less employable:

Another big hurdle is the widening skills deficit. At any given time, Mr. Funk says, Express has as many as 20,000 jobs the company can’t fill because workers don’t have the skills required. His advice to young people who are looking for a solid career is to get training in accounting (thanks to Dodd-Frank’s huge expansion of paperwork), information technology, manufacturing-robotics programming, welding and engineering. He’s mystified why Express has so much trouble filling thousands of information-technology jobs when so many young, working-age adults are computer literate.

Public schools and universities don’t prepare people for work:

He blames public schools and universities for the skills mismatch. Young people looking for a financially secure future might want to heed one of his favorite pieces of cautionary advice: “If you’ve got a college degree in psych, poly-sci or sociology, sorry, I can’t help you find a job.” He urges greater emphasis on vocational and practical skills training in schools, universities and junior colleges.

With so many ideas about how to help get the country on track, Mr. Funk might seem ripe to enter politics, but he already made one electoral foray—he was a local school-board member for 11 years—and found it an exercise in pure frustration. Bringing his pay-for-performance values to the board, he spent years futilely trying to get rid of bad teachers and to reward “the 30% that are really good.”

He says “teacher tenure is by far the most corrupt social institution in our time, because it doesn’t reward excellence or weed out bad teachers.” The teachers union had operational control of the school board, and Mr. Funk couldn’t get them to budge. He says the union celebrated when he left the board.

I think that this shows the important of having private sector experience in a President. When you are looking to hire a President, you want to hire someone who has already done what he claims he wants to do, at a smaller level. If you want someone to fix health care, pick someone like Bobby Jindal who has already done it in his state. If you want someone to make schools accountable, pick Scott Walker. If you want someone to cut spending, pick Rick Scott. If you want someone to create jobs, pick Rick Perry. If you want someone to balance the budget, pick John Kasich. Pick a candidate who can do the work. Not someone who passionately speaks about how he wants to do the work. Pick someone who has been fabulously successful at actually doing what he says he wants to do.

Our current President knew nothing about running a business or how jobs are created when he was elected. He was just a community organizer. Never did a thing in the private sector. Maybe he could get lucky at making policies that would create jobs, but “lucky” our best option? Next time, let’s not take chances. Pick someone who has proved that he can do the work based on past performance. Not speeches.

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Obamacare in action: 301 employers cut employee hours and/or jobs

Investors Business Daily reports on the job creator response to Obamacare mandates.

Excerpt:

More than 300 employers have cut work hours or jobs, or otherwise shifted away from full-time staff, to limit liability under ObamaCare, according to a newly updated IBD analysis.

The ObamaCare Employer Mandate: A List Of Cuts To Work Hours, Jobs now includes 62 private employers and 239 public-sector employers. The list includes 80 school districts that have cited Affordable Care Act costs as a reason for cutting work hours — or in several cases outsourcing functions — of part-time instructional aides, cafeteria workers, custodians and bus drivers.

It also includes 46 universities and colleges — in some cases college systems — that have reduced teaching loads for adjunct faculty.

The 43 entries added to the list in the past two weeks reflect numerous actions taken before the Obama administration announced a one-year delay ofObamaCare employer mandate penalties on July 2. But the list also includes actions taken more recently, such as SeaWorld Entertainment’s decision to limit part-time workers to 28 hours per week, down from 32 hours previously.

Although the mandate won’t take effect until January 2015, fines will be based on employment levels beginning in the second half of 2014 — or earlier.

[...]In addition to SeaWorld (SEAS), 10 other private employers just added to the list include a group home for disabled adults; a YMCA; two private universities; the K-VA-T Food Stores regional supermarket; the Bealls regional department store ; and four restaurant operations.

[...]Workers in low-wage industries clocked the shortest average workweek on record in July, just 27.4 hours, an IBD analysis of the latest available Bureau of Labor Statistics industry data shows.

This low-wage segment covers 29 million private-sector workers, 25% of the total, in about 40 industry groups where nonsupervisors make up to about $14.50 an hour.

While the IBD list of private-sector hour-cutters is quite small to prove otherwise, it does offer clues that can be of help in interpreting official industry data on hours worked.

For example, the workweek at general merchandise stores tumbled from 31.1 hours in December to 29.8 hours in July. The inclusion of Wal-Mart (WMT) and Bealls on IBD’s list point to ObamaCare’s employer mandate as a significant contributing factor.

The average workweek in the hotel and accommodations industry hit a record low in July — lower than in the aftermath of 9/11 or at the bottom of the Great Recession.

In July, the workweek for nonsupervisors fell to 28.8 hours, down from 30.7 hours in March 2010, when ObamaCare was signed into law.

I’m looking forward to the 2014 elections, when we will get to vote again on this after we’ve seen “what’s in the bill”. I don’t think that the media’s blatherings are going to be able to convince people who are working under 30 hours a week that Obamacare was the right way to reform health care policy.

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