Flemington, NJ Tea Party

The website for the Flemington Tea Party (SM) group, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dingell (D-Michigan): "Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax"

Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan), at yesterday's Congressional hearing, questioning his "dear friend" (his words), the Grand High Exaltant Mystic Ruler of Global Warming, Al Gore:


"Nobody in this country realizes that cap-and-trade is a tax, and it's a great big one"


It's at 40 seconds into this video clip:




(And just by the way, the Goracle indicated that he's in favor of both a carbon tax and the cap & trade scheme)

"Electricity Rates Would Necessarily Skyrocket"

In our President's own words, from January of 2008. Our elected "representatives" probably think we don't remember this:





A more recent story on the issue from our Fox News Masters:

Don't We Need to Fight Cap & Tax as Well?

I was sitting here typing up my notes from the Hunterdon County Freeholder's meeting, while listening to Larry Kudlow on WABC talking about the "Cap & Trade" legislation.

It's looking likely that the Democrats will push this through the Senate using the "reconciliation" procedure, which will allow them to bypass the threat of filibuster and enact "Cap & Trade" with a simple majority of 50 votes. The Senate would do this by including the "Cap & Trade" legislation with the budget legislation, which may be voted on as early as this coming week.

It occurred to me that in the long run, "Cap & Trade" has a much greater potential for harm than a tax increase. After all, tax increases can be repealed, taxes can be lowered, and so on.

But it's simply beyond all rationality that this government would willingly curtail the exploitation of our own natural resources, and bring about economic hardship and a lower quality of life for its citizens, in the name of fighting a phenomenon which is being called more and more into question by reputable scientists.

I'm curious to know what others think about this. I'm going to put a "poll question" on the Yahoo Groups website, asking if you think th
at the "Tea Party" movement should take an "official" position on the Cap & Trade legislation. When you have a chance, please take a minute to answer it. Thanks!

Al Gore, Grand High Exaltant Mystic Ruler of
Global Warming Alarmism



Meeting Summary: Hunterdon Freeholders Introduce Tax-Hike Budget

The Hunterdon County Freeholders introduced the 2009 budget this past Tursday, 4/23, by a 3-to-2 vote. The budget features a tax-rate increase of 1-cent per $100 of assessed valuation, from 27.78 cents/$100 to 28.78 cents/$100. This represents an increase of 3.6 percent.

Freeholders Mennen and Peterson voted against the introduction, primarily because they preferred to find additional budget cuts rather than raise the tax rate. Freeholders Melick, Holt and Sworen voted in favor of it. All the Freeholders expressed a commitment to finding additional cuts.

The meeting was attended by approximately 40 members of the public, several of whom rose to addressed their comments to the board. All of them spoke against the tax increase; no one spoke in favor of it.

Budget Figures
Some figures given out at the meeting:

2009 budget amount: $96.8 million
2008 budget amount: $96.9 million

Current budget surplus: $33.9 million
Surplus after usage by 2009 budget: $25 million (approx. 26%)

Public Objections
The public raised several objections to the raising of taxes:
  • Why not use more of the surplus, to avoid the tax increase?
  • Why raise taxes in the middle of a recession, when families are already facing economic hardship?
  • Raising taxes in a gubernatorial election year, when we have a vulnerable incumbent governor with a reputation as a big taxer, sends the wrong message at the wrong time to those who would be inclined to vote against him.

Opposing Views on the Surplus
Freeholder Melick addressed the surplus question by pointing out that the board has followed a rule of setting aside approximately 25% of the cost of annual operations in the surplus. He didn't indicate how the figure of 25% was arrived at. He also indicated that the surplus is a factor in the county's AAA credit rating, although he said it was not "paramount" in that rating.

Freeholder Peterson, on the other hand, expressed his belief that the surplus is there to be used "for times like this". He also indicated that our surplus is significantly higher, as a percent of the budget, when compared to other NJ counties that also have a AAA credit rating. Therefore, he does not believe that use of the surplus would be a threat to the credit rating.

Views on Raising the Tax Rate
Freeholder Sworen indicated that he has had many discussions with the county's financial people, whom he "trusts implicitly", and believes they've done a lot of work in cutting costs, in areas such as communication & phone systems, electricity, heating, cooling, etc., while at the same time pointing out that many of these savings will not manifest themselves for 3 to 18 months. He
seemed to be saying that the tax rate increase was necessary, because as much cost cutting as possible had already been done. (My conclusion, not his explicit statement).

Freeholder Sworen also said that "if the economy turns around [this year]", we can use the surplus to reduce tax rates next year". (By the way: he also said that the county's roads and bridges will be repaired with federal government stimulus money over the next 3-4 years. This is something we can put on our "to-do" list and keep an eye on!)

Freeholder Mennen stated that he "knows in his gut it's wrong to raise taxes in this environment". He said he would prefer to aggressively cut spending, and indicated that a 1-cent tax hike equals about $2.5 million. He also said the board is united in finding additional spending reductions.

Next Steps
1. The Freeholders indicated they are open to suggestions from the public for additional cost-cutting.

If you have suggestions for cost-cutting, send them to: budget@co.hunterdon.nj.us

Well, we took home a paper copy of the budget from the meeting, and frankly, it's difficult for us "average citizens" to pore over the many pages of the budget and try to identify areas for cost cutting. Also, if the proposed budget is available on the county website, I couldn't find it. (I'll call them Monday and ask about this.)

One thing that jumps out in looking over the budget is this: there are many line items that are being reduced from last year to this, which is good. However, there are also many line items that are going up!

So one general suggestion for the freeholders could then be: hold those line items flat, don't increase them. And, if it's absolutely mandatory that some of those line items be increased, then pay for them out of the surplus, not from a tax hike.

2. Call or email Freeholders Peterson and Mennen, and thank them for voting against the tax hike. There appears to be only one phone number listed on the county website for all the Freeholders; it is 908-788-1102. The email addresses are:

Freeholder Peterson:
epeterson@co.hunterdon.nj.us
Freeholder Mennen: wmennen@co.hunterdon.nj.us

3. Call or email the other Freeholders and express your disappointment that they decided to vote for raising taxes during these tough economic times:

Freeholder Melick:
freeholders@co.hunterdon.nj.us (Didn't have a specific address on his web page)
Freeholder Holt: mholt@co.hunterdon.nj.us
Freeholder Sworen:
rsworen@co.hunterdon.nj.us

The general Freeholders website is:
http://co.hunterdon.nj.us/frholder/frindex.htm


4. Attend the next Freeh
older's meeting on May 19th, which was called the "final hearing" on the budget, and make your opposition to the tax hike known.

While it may be too late to substantially change the current budget, we have to think long-term. This is an opportunity for all of us to learn the ins and outs of how the Freeholders develop the budget, which is vital if we're going to influence the budget in the future.

What's clear is that the general public (that's us) needs to get involved, in a meaningful way, in the budget process much sooner than April. Part of that involvement is to attend these meetings, and gain familiarity with the way things are done.




Friday, April 24, 2009

Report: Democrats Refuse to Allow Skeptic to Testify Alongside Gore At Congressional Hearing

Washington, DC -- UK's Lord Christopher Monckton, a former science advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, claimed House Democrats have refused to allow him to appear alongside former Vice President Al Gore at a high profile global warming hearing on Friday April 24, 2009 at 10am in Washington.

Apparently, the Democrats didn't want any heretics around to possibly embarrass the Grand High Exaltant Mystic Ruler of their religion called "Climate Change" (formerly known as "Global Warming").

Read the whole story at:



Thursday, April 23, 2009

Reminder: Hunterdon County Freeholder's Budget Meeting This Evening, April 23rd, 8pm

A reminder that the Hunterdon County Freeholder's 2009 budget meeting will be held this evening, Thursday, April 23rd, at 8:00 PM, in the Freeholders’ Meeting Room, Main Street County Complex, Building #1, Second Floor, 71 Main StreetFlemington

The proposed budget features a tax-rate increase of 1-cent per $100 of assessed valuation, even though Hunterdon County currently has a budget surplus, and even though the Freeholders say they are committed to cutting costs.

According to the Hunterdon County Democrat, the tax rate is being increased "to 28.28 cents per $100". I take that to mean the rate is currently 27.28 cents per $100, so based on these numbers this works out to a 3.6 percent increase.

Hope to see everyone there!

Payback to UAW in Chrysler "bailout" negotiations

From PowerLine blog:

One senses that the government is not exactly operating as an impartial arbiter of the interests at stake in Chrysyler's restructuring. The Journal reports that one assumption upsetting to some lenders was that Chrysler would pay about $3 billion total to a UAW retiree health-care fund in 2009 and 2010, which is owed about $10 billion and would also get an unknown amount of equity in the new Chrysler even though the fund is behind the banks, Cerberus, Daimler and the U.S. in the order to be paid.

Toward the end of the hard copy of the article in the Journal yesterday comes a memorable paragraph that I don't see in the article's online version:

Many of the lenders were angered by the demands made by the head of the administration's auto team, Steven Rattner, who wanted the banks to forgive $5.8 billion of the $6.9 billion owed them in exchange for nothing.

... The article then quotes one of the bank participants in the negotiations: "What the government was asking for was completely without precedent in the history of bankruptcy in the United States. Our reaction to their proposal was, 'Forget it.'"



Wednesday, April 22, 2009

“The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009”


"Chairman Henry A. Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward J. Markey of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee announced that the Energy and Commerce Committee will hold four days of legislative hearings on the discussion draft of 'The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.' "

That's the euphemistic name for the so-called "Cap & Trade" legislation. This is the legislation which candidate Obama said would "necessarily cause electric rates to skyrocket", and "bankrupt the coal industry".

Anyone who's concerned about high taxes should be concerned about this legislation. It will do exactly what candidate Obama promised, as well as place a huge part of the American economy under the control of the Federal government, apparently all to make Al Gore happy.



Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2009

Check out this bill to conduct an audit of the Federal Reserve. It's sponsored by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), and has 58 co-sponsors and bipartisan support.

Now why on earth would any elected official possibly be against this?

http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h1207/show

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

President Obama, Please Don't Insult Our Intelligence

Dear President Obama:

Please don't insult the intelligence of the American people with cheap publicity stunts like the one you pulled this past Monday, the 20th. I'm talking about your staged cabinet meeting, at which you made a point of exhorting your cabinet members to come up with 100 million dollars in budget savings.

Your proposed budget totals 3.6 trillion dollars. We can do the math, Mr. President, and we have. Your much-advertised savings of $100 million comes to about 0.0028% of your proposed budget. In words, that's about 3 one-thousandths of one percent!

Put another way, the amount of your "savings" represents about 13 minutes of Federal Government spending, based on what it's expected to spend this year. (White House on defensive over spending cuts)

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words (or in this case, 3.6 trillion dollars). The Heritage Organization has created a very useful visual aid to put the "$100 million savings" in perspective:





Mr. President, when even the Associated Press questions the sincerity of this "belt tightening" (SPIN METER: Saving federal money the easy way), and when the White House press corps grills your press secretary over it, you have to face the fact that most people see through your cheap publicity stunt.

And Mr. President, please don't then add injury to insult by proposing a 100 billion dollar loan to the IMF on the very same day you stage this cheap publicity stunt (Obama’s “belt-tightening” just useless spin).

30 Minute Version of the Film "I.O.U.S.A."

There's a 30-minute version of the film "I.O.U.S.A.", from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, available on YouTube at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_TjBNjc9B

Not an endorsement, since I haven't seen the film myself, but this 30-minute version is an interesting summary of some of the ideas behind the Tea Parties!

American Solutions asks, "What's Next for the Tea Parties?"

American Solutions, Newt Gingrich's organization, is asking people that question. You can go here to answer them:

http://www.americansolutions.com/General/?Page=a6386a2f-6bb2-4ee5-b230-b46b54c887e4

A Glimmer of Hope? Press Does its JOB?!

Members of the White House press corps push White House press secretary Robert Gibbs for an answer to a question about Obama's ridiculous "$100 million dollar savings" cheap publicity stunt yesterday.

Interesting. Maybe they're getting tired of being treated like bowling pins?

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/04/20/ap_tapper_confront_obama_admin_over_100_million.html


In time of victory, why is the left so angry?


By: Byron York
Chief Political Correspondent
04/20/09 9:00 PM
The Washington Examiner

These should be happy times for liberals and the Democratic party as a whole. They control the White House and both houses of Congress, while opposition Republicans are leaderless and lost. So why do some Democrats, particularly those farther to the left, appear so angry?

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/In-time-of-victory-why-is-the-left-so-angry-43315892.html

Monday, April 20, 2009

Freeholders to Introduce Budget This Thursday

The Hunterdon County Board of Chosen Freeholders will introduce the 2009 budget at a meeting this Thursday, April 23rd, at the County Complex, 71 Main Street, Flemington. (Note that this meeting had been previously scheduled for Tuesday, 4/21, at 4pm)

The proposed budget features a tax-rate increase of 1-cent per $100 of assessed valuation, even though Hunterdon County currently has a budget surplus, and even though the Freeholders say they are committed to cutting costs.

According to the Hunterdon County Democrat, the tax rate is being increased "to 28.28 cents per $100". I take that to mean the rate is currently 27.28 cents per $100, so based on these numbers this works out to a 3.6 percent increase.

Hope to see everyone there!

Meeting Details

Date: Thursday, April 23rd

Time: 8:00 PM

Location: Freeholders’ Meeting Room, Main Street County Complex, Building #1, Second Floor, 71 Main Street, Flemington, New Jersey 08822


Here's a link to Hunterdon County's event calendar web page:

http://www.calendarwiz.com/calendars/calendar.php?crd=hccalendar&PHPSESSID=88d73282f87fc72e78867ef46d7b67c3&jsenabled=1&winH=674


Here's a link to the Hunterdon County Democrat article about the budget:

http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2009/04/hunterdon_county_freeholders_a.html

Next Steps for Tea Parties

It looks like the next steps for the "Tea Party Movement" are becoming clearer.

First, it appears that most of the national groups are looking at scheduling the next set of local Tea Parties for the Fourth of July.

Then, a national Tea Party in Washington, D.C. is being planned for September 12th - more info on that one here: http://912dc.org

I've also sent this info out via email. To gauge level of interest, please send me an email indicating if you'd be interested in either or both of these dates.