Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hyperinflation Nation Surpasses 25,000 Views in 36 Hours

Hyperinflation Nation Surpasses 25,000 Views in 36 Hours

Two New TV Stations to Broadcast Lottery Drawings Beginning July 1

Two New TV Stations to Broadcast Lottery Drawings Beginning July 1

Sign the Please, No More Taxes! Petition

The Commonwealth Foundation is gathering signatures at its
PleaseNoMoreTaxes.org asking Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pennsylvania Legislature to give Pennsylvania families and businesses a break by not raising the state income tax.

Gov. Ed Rendell's hypocrisy on taxes

Tax everyone but the guy behind the tree

By Nathan A. Benefield

Gov. Ed Rendell's hypocrisy on tax policy is on full display this budget season. While Rendell is demanding higher taxes on individuals and most businesses, he is also working to preserve the Film Tax Credit for his Hollywood buddies. He argues that without this credit, filmmakers would flee Pennsylvania (even though most filmmakers don't receive the credit, and film production has barely increased since the tax credit was enacted).

Apparently, Rendell thinks higher taxes are harmful to film executives, but everyone else can live with government taking a bigger bite of their paycheck.

Gov. Rendell's recent proposal to raise taxes on wages during the recession reveals just how out of touch he is. Defending his proposed 16 percent hike in Pennsylvania's income tax, Rendell called a Commonwealth Foundation estimate of 24,000 private sector jobs lost from his tax plan "ludicrous." Rendell questions not only the projected number of lost jobs, but suggests that businesses and individuals can simply pay higher taxes and maintain their expenditures.

To understand the baneful effect of Rendell's tax scheme, consider one of his favorite rhetorical flourishes: the personal income tax hike, he says, would cost the average household a couple of cups of coffee at Wawa each week. But if millions of Pennsylvanians give up two cups of coffee each week, how many Wawa stores will need to reduce benefits, lay off workers, freeze hiring or even close altogether?

Or consider small businesses, which Rendell claims won't lay off workers for a tax increase of $500, or $1,000, or even $5,000 per year. Perhaps not, but those businesses will cut costs somewhere — maybe they won't buy a fax machine or a new printer they were planning on. Maybe a law firm would cut back on the charts they use in court. While these business have not laid off their own workers, their cost-cutting would pinch workers at the print shop in the neighborhood, which sells fax machines and copiers and produces charts for law firms. The ripple effect of extracting $1.5 billion of Pennsylvania's economy will reach far and wide.

Gov. Rendell argues we can "afford" a tax increase because Pennsylvania has the "2nd lowest" flat rate, or top rate, of states with income taxes. Once again, Rendell's rhetoric distorts reality. Nine states have no income tax, or only assess it on interest and dividends (not coincidently, these states have the strongest economic growth). Most states have lower rates on the first few thousand dollars of income. Most have personal exemptions, marriage and child deductions, and other credits or deductions that lower their overall tax burden. And most states have no local tax income taxes, like Pennsylvania does.

In reality, Pennsylvania ranks 16th highest in state and local income taxes. More importantly, Pennsylvania's overall tax burden is even higher, 11th highest in the country, to be precise. Rendell's latest proposal would only further hinder our economic competitiveness.

But the income tax hike is not Rendell's only job-killing proposal, just his latest. He has proposed: increasing the cigarette tax, which falls disproportionately on the poor; a tax on smokeless tobacco, which would hurt small Pennsylvania tobacco farmers; and a new tax on natural gas extraction, potentially killing an emerging industry. Rendell even wants a 2 percent tax on insurance premiums, because apparently, he doesn't think health insurance is expensive enough.

Rendell also wants to cancel the scheduled reduction in the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT), and increase the tax retroactively. Yet in 2006, Rendell said the CSFT "hits Pennsylvania businesses — particularly manufacturers — hard" and a reduction was critical to our economic competitiveness.

Unfortunately for Pennsylvanians, Rendell is more than willing to sign job-crushing tax hikes if doing so means more money for him to spend. Unless of course, that tax hike would fall on his political allies.

Nathan A. Benefield is director of policy research with the Commonwealth Foundation (www.CommonwealthFoundation.org), an independent, nonprofit public policy research and educational institute based in Harrisburg.

Governor Rendell Announces Loan Programs to Help State Employees Through Budget Impasse

Governor Rendell Announces Loan Programs to Help State Employees Through Budget Impasse

Barack Obama: Biggest Mistake Ever?

It's a shame we can't cast a vote of no confidence against the Obama Administration. Six months into the era of "hope and change," we've gotten "despair and more of the same."

More than 3 million Americans have lost their jobs since Obama took office, bringing the nation's unemployment rate to nearly 10 percent.

Gas prices are creeping toward $3.00 per gallon.

The trillion-dollar "stimulus" bill turned out to be what many predicted: A Democratic Party pork bill to reward the special interests who helped get them elected.

The government has taken over the banks, the car companies and now wants to run the health care system.

If Cap and Trade passes the Senate, electricity rates will skyrocket.

And what about the price of potatoes? Yes, potatoes.

That's what tipped off Mark Cour at the Circumlocution for Dummies blog that something is terribly wrong with America in the age of Obama.

From Circumlocution:
I'm not sure if anyone other than myself noticed, but the price of practically everything you may set out to purchase has escalated of late. Escalated and then some, I’d say. On Friday I paid $6.99 for a 10-pound bag of potatoes. That same bag of spuds would have set me back for $2.99 as little as a year ago.

And as I was exiting the supermarket with my overpriced veggies in hand, I passed a guy wearing a T-shirt with that “Yes we can” bit emblazoned on it. And after a quick mumble to myself, I thought, Yes we can? Yes we can, what?

Exactly what are we doing?
It get much better. It's one of the best commentaries I've read anywhere about the current state of affairs in this country.

Read the full post, "Yes we can, what?," at Circumlocution for Dummies

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, June 29, 2009

Top 10 Reasons You Know You're on Obamacare

'Can we in good conscience ask our citizens to sacrifice more to satisfy the state's growing appetite?'

State Rep. Sam Rohrer, R-Berks, made the following comments at a PACT with PA Press Conference in Harrisburg regarding the move by Gov. Rendell and House Democrats to raise taxes for Pennsylvania families and business owners:
No Tax Increases: In simple terms, this is the most basic and distinctive Sound Budget principle. Ultimately, the adherence to this principle will define the difference between living within our means and respecting those who pay the taxes by spending only what we have OR laying down an additional burden on our already taxpayers and business because we are afraid to bring spending into line.
States all across this nation are grappling with this very principle. Which is better they are asking – reducing spending even though it is difficult OR raise taxes regardless of the burden it places on our people and our economy.

Another question is this: Can we really afford to raise taxes? What will be the impact on our taxpayers – our small businesses- our struggling economy – on jobs? If taxes are raised, can the honestly be called "temporary?" What is the likelihood of any tax being sunsetted? Is an increase in the PIT that would "only" add $15 or$20/ month really that much as the Governor has said? Should we be concerned? These are all great questions and they must be openly discussed, not twisted and spun to try and convince the public that what they know to be poison is really medicine.

Well if we look at history, this legislature hasn't done so well in regard to this principle. In 1991 we were faced with a $1 billion deficit—but instead of cutting back on spending, taxes were raised $3 billion - $ 1 Billion in needed revenue, $2 Billion to “buy” the votes. That $2Billion/yr has resulted in taxpayers losing over $35 Billion dollars. You see raising taxes is VERY expensive.

In fact, this legislature has resorted to raising taxes in every previous recession (1983, 1991, and 2003). Today, we’re facing a $3 billion+ deficit from just this current year with the need to address in this budget an equivalent of around $7Billion. Does anyone think we can afford to raise taxes without absolutely destroying our economy and breaking the backs of our taxpayers? So history doesn't look to good. Now is the time to learn from history, consider the negative impact of the previous tax increases and live within available revenues.

As to negative impact of a broad based PIT or SUT tax - Raising taxes will take more money out of our economy at a time when we can least afford it. A couple of reasons why an increase in either of these taxes is deplorable: The revenue is not predictable since revenues are falling and increase of 1% point for PIT for example really means a 30% increase in PIT. But since people are losing their jobs, being forced to accept 10%-20% reductions in pay, working 4 days instead of 5, etc. no one really knows what an increase of 1% point will generate; Secondly, people are already tapped out. With people’s pensions reduced or wiped out, property taxes climbing and incomes dropping, thousands of families are seeing their savings destroyed and foreclosures staring them in the face. They can NOT afford any more taxes particularly when all other living expenses are increasing. Raising taxes not is not only economically destructive it is the height of insensitivity and simple in my opinion, immoral.

Just a couple of facts: Fact 1: Tax Freedom Day, or the day where Americans stop working to pay taxes and start working for themselves, fell on April 13th. Pennsylvanians work a full 103 days, or three and a half months, to pay federal, state and income taxes. During 2009, you and I will pay more in taxes than we spend on food, clothing, and housing combined.

Fact 2: Pennsylvanians in particular shoulder a heavy burden: with the 11th high state and local tax burden in the country, Pennsylvanians pay on average $13,000 PER PERSON (not wage-earner) in taxes. In 2008-2009, our Pennsylvania state and local governments spent $10,000 for every man, woman, and child.

Fact 3: Raising the PIT as the Governor wants to do will destroy jobs: According to the PA State Tax Analysis Modeling Program, or PA-STAMP, a 1% increase in personal income tax would result in a net loss of 47,633 jobs next year.

Can we in good conscience ask our citizens to sacrifice more and more to satisfy the state's growing appetite. Let's take a page from their book, acknowledge the difficulties that our citizens are facing even today, and resolve to live within our means.

Sotomayor Supreme Smackdown

The Supreme Court today overturned a lower court ruling written by Judge Sonia Sotomayor establishing racial quotas in a case involving New Haven, Conn., firefighters.

The top court ruled 5-4 that racial quotas are unconstitutional and sent the case back to the appeals court.

The ruling shows clearly what an intellectual lightweight Sotomayor is and also exposes her lack of basic understanding of the U.S. Constitution. That might explain why Barack Obama picked her for the court. Peas in a Pod.

Sotomayor will still get confirmed by the intellectual lightweights in the U.S. Senate, but at least the pretense of her qualification for the Supreme Court is no longer in question.

We now understand she was nominated because she's a Hispanic woman ... and not the most qualified person for the job. Isn't that filling a racial quota?

The problem with liberals is that they're stuck in the 1960s and 1970s. Time has passed them by.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Biggest June box office debut ever

Despite mediocre reviews, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" topped the box office this weekend with an estimated $112.0 million, bringing its five-day haul to $201.2 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com

We have a certified blockbuster on our hands, a film that should end up as one of the top moneymakers of all time. The first "Transformers" film made $319 million domestically in its entire 2007 run.

From BoxOfficeMojo.com:


Rank. Movie Title (Distributor)
Weekend Gross | Theaters | Total Gross | Week #

1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Paramount (DreamWorks))
$112.0 million | 4,234 | $201.2 million | 1

2. The Proposal (Buena Vista)
$18.5 million | 3,058 | $69.1 million | 2

3. The Hangover (Warner Bros.)
$17.2 million | 3,525 | $183.2 million | 4

4. Up (Buena Vista)
$13.0 million | 3,487 | $250.2 million | 5

5. My Sister's Keeper (Warner Bros.)
$12.0 million | 2,606 | $12.0 million | 1

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Governor Rendell Signs Bills to Protect Homeowners From Mortgage Fraud

Governor Rendell Signs Bills to Protect Homeowners From Mortgage Fraud

FRC Launches Stop Kevin Jennings Campaign

FRC Launches Stop Kevin Jennings Campaign

Americans acknowledge need for more energy, but underestimate role of oil, natural gas, survey shows

Americans acknowledge need for more energy, but underestimate role of oil, natural gas, survey shows

Stop the Rendell tax hike

Can your family afford a state income tax increase right now? If not, you must make your voice heard in Harrisburg, where Gov. Ed Rendell and his doormat Democrats in the House are planning to raise the state income by 16 percent to cover the $3.2 billion budget deficit they ran up in the past year.

If you're tired of sending your paycheck to Harrisburg, if you're tired of uncontrolled spending by professional politicians, you need to send a message to your state House member that you will vote them out in 2010 if they vote to raise your taxes in 2009.

Find out more at StopPATaxHike.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

State Capitol Roundup

Here's the latest edition of State Capitol Roundup courtesy of state Rep. Bob Mensch, R-147:

House Republicans Unveil StopPATaxHike.com, Press for Budget Progress

While Gov. Ed Rendell continues to push for higher income taxes, House Republicans have unveiled a new Web site for taxpayers to voice their opinions on the plan. StopPATaxHike.com allows visitors to sign a petition against the tax increase, as well as make both written and video comments on the proposal. Thousands of Pennsylvanians have already signed up, supporting Republican claims that now is not the time to be taking more money out of the pockets of already struggling taxpayers, and that it is time to cut spending and force government to live within its means. The end of the current fiscal year and the deadline for a balanced budget is June 30. For the latest state budget news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

GOP Wants Stronger Gaming Laws Before Industry Expansion Considered

With some lawmakers calling for an expansion of the state's gaming industry to generate new revenue, House Republicans say the first priority must be reform of the current gaming law. While praising a Senate-passed reform measure, the lawmakers say additional changes are needed. Those changes include: prohibiting convicted felons from being employed in the gaming industry, making the license application process more transparent, and granting the Attorney General or Pennsylvania State Police the authority to enforce the state's gaming laws. The Senate bill is expected to be considered in the House in the near future, at which time House Republicans will offer their amendments. For the latest legislative news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Republican Tax Amnesty Proposal Could Raise an Extra $100 Million

Legislation sponsored by Rep. John C. Bear (R-Lancaster) to create a one-time tax amnesty program in Pennsylvania could bring in at least $100 million worth of delinquent taxes. Under the bill, a 90-day tax amnesty would be declared during the 2009-10 fiscal year. All penalties would be waived if the person or business filing for amnesty pays all back taxes in full or enters into an approved payment plan. Applicants for previous amnesty periods would not be eligible, nor would filers be able to apply for future amnesty programs. New Jersey recently reported that its own tax amnesty program brought in at least $400 million in back taxes, and could generate as much as $700 million in total revenue after all tax filings at the program deadline are counted. House Bill 1627 has received bipartisan support and currently has 52 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the House Finance Committee for consideration.

Lawmakers Gather to Promote Online Transparency Database

Lawmakers, led by Rep. Jim Christiana (R-Beaver), this week announced their support for an online accountability and transparency database like that proposed in House Bill 1460. The legislation, sponsored by Christiana, would create the Pennsylvania Web Accountability, Transparency and Contract Hub (PennWATCH) to organize information about state spending and government-awarded contracts. The proposal is part of a wider effort by House Republicans to restore the public's faith in government after allegations of pay-to-play relationships between the Rendell administration and several campaign donors who later received lucrative, no-bid contracts for work. For details, visit PAHouseGOP.com, and click on "government reform."

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Obama's silence

Obama can be stopped

All the propaganda. All the back room deals. All the pork amendments to buy votes.

And all Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi could get was a 219-212 margin to pass the cap and trade energy tax in the House?

Don't be surprised if the $1.9 trillion global warming tax fails in the Senate.

A 7-vote margin in the overwhelmingly Democratic House? That's pathetic. A total of 44 Demcorats voted against cap and trade! It took 8 GOP House members to pass it.

It's not looking good for Obamacare or other future Obama spending sprees.

House Democrats are beginning to worry about their re-election chances in 2010 as the Obama recession continues, unemployment is reaching record levels and the unprecedented debt Obama has piled on the U.S. takes its toll.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

8 Republicans betray American taxpayers

Democrats control the House of Representatives by a 255-178 majority, but Nancy Pelosi could barely muster enough votes to pass the $1.9 trillion cap and trade energy tax.

In fact, the Democrats didn't have enough votes until 8 Republicans crossed over to support the largest tax increase in U.S. history.

Michelle Malkin has the names and photos of the 8 turncoat Republicans who sold out the U.S. taxpayer to appease the global warming fanatics. Here are the names:

Mary Bono Mack (R-CA)
Mike Castle (R-DE)
Mark Kirk (R-IL)
Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
John McHugh (R-NY)
Dave Reichert (R-WA)
Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Electricity rates (and all energy costs) will skyrocket for American families and businesses if the cap and trade bill passes the Senate. Barack Obama has already vowed to sign the tax increase into law.

Read Malkin's full post, "The 8 cap-and-tax Republicans…and the 44 Democrats who voted no" at her blog.

And be sure to remember their names when they're up for re-election in 2010.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Saturday, June 27, 2009

GOP: Where are the jobs Obama promised?

FAIR's Response to Sen. Charles Schumer's Seven Point Plan for So-Called 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform'

FAIR's Response to Sen. Charles Schumer's Seven Point Plan for So-Called 'Comprehensive Immigration Reform'

Oxymoron: Temporary Tax

This letter from a Chester County resident originally published in The Mercury gets right to the point about the tax hike proposals being pushed by Gov. Ed Rendell and House Democrats. You should send something similar to your state representative, especialy if he's a Democrat.
No tax is ever 'temporary'

An open letter to state Rep. Paul Drucker, 157th District:

Consider yourself lucky. You have a job. Unlike many citizens of Pennsylvania who are unemployed and senior citizens who have seen their life's savings disappear in the last two years, you don't have to curtail your spending.

Now Gov. Rendell wants another temporary tax on the books, like other temporary taxes to never go away.

Remember, your job is only temporary too. It'll be easier for voters to vote you out of office than it will be for elected officials to remove a temporary tax. Keep that in mind when you cast your vote.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Global warming hoax continues

Those pesky facts keep getting in the way of the greatest hoax in human history.

From an editorial in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review exposing the global warming fraud:
Climate change Chicken Littles squawked last week and too many supposedly objective media outlets compliantly engaged in global warming stenography.

"The observed climate changes that we report are not opinions to be debated," said Jerry Melillo, one of the chief authors of a White House-released study predicting global warming Armageddon. "They are facts to be dealt with."

Selective facts presented dishonestly and dealt with hysterically, we would add.

Geophysicist David Deming offers some badly needed perspective:

• There has been no sea level rise for the past three years

• Hurricane, typhoon and tropical cyclone activity is at a 30-year low

• Satellite data don't indicate global warming but temperatures about the same or even lower than they were in 1979

• Mean global sea ice is at the same levels as it was when monitoring began that same year.

And then there's this from Dr. Deming:

"The new scare report issued by the Obama administration refers to the work of Stephen H. Schneider six times. You will recall that Schneider is infamous for telling Discover magazine (October 1989) that 'we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have ... each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.'"

Global warming is the greatest fraud ever committed by men against mankind. Who will hold these fraudsters accountable?
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

GOP: Energy tax will cost millions of jobs

Friday, June 26, 2009


Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason released the following statement regarding the Congressional Democrats' "cap and trade" energy tax:
"I am deeply concerned by President Obama and the Democrat's support for the national energy tax known as 'cap and trade'," Gleason said. "'Cap and trade' is an impractical approach to energy independence and will kill jobs and tax millions of hardworking families. In these difficult economic times, it is wrong to force the average American family to pay an extra $1200 in energy costs when many are struggling just to make ends' meet.

"'Cap and trade' will have a devastating effect on Pennsylvanians who work in the energy industry, particularly in the coal and natural gas sectors. Our Commonwealth deserves a comprehensive energy plan. Instead of a massive tax increase that will force millions of jobs overseas, we need to pursue 'all of the above' energy strategies that will decrease our dependence on foreign sources of energy while keeping jobs here at home.

"I urge all members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation to stand up for common sense and stand against this destructive tax increase."

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, implementing 'cap and trade' would cost this country $144.8 billion, or $1,218 per household. (Andrew Chamberlain, "Who Pays for Climate Policy? New Estimates of the Household Burden and Economic Impact Of A U.S. Cap-And-Trade System," Tax Foundation Working Paper #6, 3/16/09)

In order to demonstrate high costs of 'cap and trade' legislation on hardworking families, the Republican Party of Pennsylvania will be hand-delivering candles to our Democrat colleagues today. If a national energy tax is implemented in this country, candles will be the only way many Americans will be able to afford to light their homes.

Consumer Watchdog to Obama: No 'Cash for Clunkers' Without Compensation for GM Victims

Consumer Watchdog to Obama: No 'Cash for Clunkers' Without Compensation for GM Victims

PA Accepting Applications For Additional Neighborhood Stabilization Funds

PA Accepting Applications For Additional Neighborhood Stabilization Funds

Libertarian Party opposes $1.9 trillion energy tax

America's third largest political party is warning that Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats are rushing toward a massive new energy tax on American families known as "cap and trade," or the Waxman-Markey bill.

"With unemployment rising above and beyond what President Obama said it would be with the multi-hundred billion dollar stimulus bill, now is not the time to dismantle our economy with a multi-hundred billion dollar energy tax hike," said William Redpath of the Libertarian Party.

"Libertarians urge House members to defeat this job-killing tax hike on Americans," said Redpath. "Libertarian candidates are out there every day proposing proven solutions to create the jobs we need and restore our prosperity. This $1.9 trillion tax hike would destroy millions of jobs and impose dramatically higher prices for everything."

More from a Libertarian Party release:
At nearly 1,000 pages, H.R. 2454, sponsored by Democrat Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey, imposes new taxes on any economic activity that produces carbon dioxide. Pelosi hopes to rush the bill to a vote, despite no net temperature increase globally over the last decade, significant research showing man-made carbon dioxide isn't changing the climate and opposition from thousands of scientists.

The economic impact would be harsh. According to research from the independent, non-partisan Heritage Foundation, the bill would have devastating impacts on the average American family.

The research found that by 2035, gasoline prices would increase 58 percent, natural gas prices would increase 55 percent, prices for home heating oil would increase 56 percent, and worst of all, electricity prices would jump 90 percent.

While the average American would pay the tax once in the form of higher energy prices, they also pay it again in higher costs for goods that must be manufactured and services that must be provided using energy.

The average family of four could see $2,979 in higher prices per year, paying $4,609 more in 2035 alone. The total costs to the average family in higher prices, from 2012 to 2035, reach $71,493.

The bill would also destroy millions of jobs, even taking into account Obama administration promises of new “green” jobs. The research finds an average annual job loss of 1,145,000 jobs per year because of Waxman-Markey. In the worst years, 2,479,000 Americans will lose their jobs annually under Waxman-Markey.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS


Newspaper: Is bribery legal in Pennsylvania?

The revelation that Pennsylvania politicians received nearly $17 million from people connected to the gambling industry has prompted the Philadelphia Daily News to ask about the ethics and legality of cash flowing into the pockets of Pennsylvania politicos charged with overseeing gambling.

From an editorial in today's edition:
Is bribery legal in Pennsylvania politics? Thanks to the arcane rules that govern campaign donations, it's nearly impossible to know.

But a new Pennsylvania Common Cause study tracking donations from the gaming industry to state lawmakers over the last seven years suggests that anyone wanting to connect the dots can end up with a fairly ugly picture. During that time, nearly $17 million in contributions flowed to lawmakers from people with a stake in the gaming industry, including lawyers and lobbyists who represented gaming clients.

The report identifies the top donors - Ira Lubert, associated with the planned Valley Forge casino, tops the list at $455,000, with Peter DePaul & family, with interests in Foxwoods casino, a close second - as well as the top recipients. No surprise that Gov. Rendell has cleaned up at this particular table with contributions exceeding $1 million. Former state Sen. Vince Fumo, architect of the gaming bill, comes in second, at $400,000; Rep. John Perzel comes in third, at $236,000.

Even as lawmakers were cashing the checks, they were considering allowing casinos to come to Pennsylvania. The odds are good that all of this campaign cash played a role in the eventual success of the legislation.
Something to think about as Democratic House leaders push for expanded table games in Pennsylvania. Are they looking out for the interests of Pennsylvania residents or salivating at the prospect of more payouts for themselves from casinos?

Read the full editorial, "Casinos' big payouts - to lawmakers," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Thursday, June 25, 2009


The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania has launched a new Web site that connects volunteers to projects in the Greater Philadelphia area. So there's no excuse for getting involved in your community.

United Way Launches New Website to Boost Area Volunteerism

Video - Card Check: Poison for Jobs

Coalition for a Democratic Workplace Releases New YouTube Video

'Talking Politics' on the radio

The skyrocketing cost of Obamacare, estimated at $3.5 trillion, and the push by Gov. Ed Rendell and Democrats to raise the Pennsylvania income tax will be among the topics discussed today at 5 p.m. today on "Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas & Mike Pincus" on WPAZ 1370 AM

You can call the station with questions or comments at 610-326-4000.

If you can't receive the radio signal, you can listen to the broadcast online at www.pottsmerc.com or www.1370wpaz.com

Will GOP hold the line on taxes?

Veteran Harrisburg reporter Brad Bumsted does a good job of getting to the heart of the current stalemate between Gov. Rendell and his doormat House Democrats versus the Republican-controlled Senate.

Rendell and Democratic leaders want to raise the state income tax by 16 percent to make up for the $3.2 billion deficit Rendell ran up this year.

Senate Republicans (and their House counterparts) say they will not support any new taxes.

What's at stake is control of the Legislature in 2010 and beyond. Rendell is a lame duck. What he wants doesn't matter.

If Senate Republicans cave on the tax issue, they lose all credibility with voters and Democrats will chip away at the GOP's 30-20 majority.

If even one of the 99 Republicans in the House caves on the tax issue, Republicans will become a permanent minority.

Voters are angry. Angry about runaway spending. Angry about the state's economic woes, brought on largely by Rendell's failed policies.

Voters changed 1 in 3 members of the House over the past two election cycles since the infamous pay raise vote in 2005. If House members give in to Rendell and approve a tax hike, expect another large-scale voter revolt in 2010.

That's what Busted thinks, too.

From his latest column in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Will the GOP hold the line?

Are we in for a replay of the 1991 budget battle under then-Gov. Robert P. Casey when it took until mid-August to round up the votes for an income tax hike?

That began as an effort to close a $1 billion deficit. In the end, the tax hike was almost $3 billion. About $2 billion in additional spending bought members' tax votes. Hundreds of millions went for increased program spending sought by Democrat lawmakers, along with millions for their pet projects.

But the bigger question comes if the full Legislature acquiesces to Rendell and goes along with a tax increase. With the 2005 pay-jacking outrage still fresh in the minds of many, will a full-scale public revolt be next?
Read the full column, "Rendell's tax hike shell game," at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rep. Pitts: 'Cap-and-Trade' Will Hurt Pennsylvania

Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16) sharply criticized Congressional leaders today for rushing a vote on energy legislation.

Pitts made the following statement (released by his office):
"Every American should be gravely concerned about this legislation. Protecting the environment is extremely important, but we should do so wisely and carefully. This is reckless and extreme legislation that will hurt people who are already suffering and do significant damage to the American economy. It will drive manufacturing jobs out of the country to places like China. It will hurt American competitiveness in the world economy. Pennsylvania will be among the hardest hit states.

"The economics of this are simple: affordable energy is critical to prosperity. This legislation will make energy much more expensive. That translates to a less prosperous America with higher poverty rates, higher taxes, and a much bigger national debt. The right way to protect the environment is to make clean energy cheaper by encouraging proven sources of clean energy like wind, solar, and nuclear along with the development of cutting-edge technologies like plug-in hybrid cars and hydrogen fuel cells.

"I will be offering amendments to this bill in an attempt to limit its damage to the economy. However, I expect Democratic leaders to block votes on those amendments."
Pitts is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over the legislation. He is also a member of the committee's Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

New name, same ACORN nuts

Terrific editorial in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about Barack Obama's favorite group of community organizers, ACORN, changing the group's name now that it has been exposed for voter fraud. Here's the editorial:
ACORN's new name

When the term "liberal" became too big an albatross around the necks of the leftists among us, they decided to use the "progressive" moniker. But no matter what they call themselves, most people understand them to be garden-variety socialists.

Now comes word that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is changing its name. But no matter if it's ACORN or COI -- Community Organizations International -- it can run but it cannot hide.

ACORN is under investigation in at least 14 states, Pennsylvania included, for allegations of voter registration fraud. The FBI is involved. ACORN is responsible for 400,000 fraudulent voter registrations nationwide, says Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. And the Obama administration and Democrats want ACORN to have a role in next year's census?

ACORN also played no small part in the subprime mortgage mess, championing loans to those who could not afford them.

And ACORN is involved in a nasty internal mess. An embezzlement scandal of a decade ago, long kept silent, spawned whistle-blowers to act. They're now being threatened with a lawsuit, The Washington Examiner reports. An ACORN affiliate has filed a lawsuit against the voter registration whistle-blower, it says.

So, ACORN is changing its name -- Community Organizations International, or COI. Remember that new name. Remember that new acronym. And beware.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Lame duck school boards can create havoc

Five incumbent members of the Owen J. Roberts School Board were ousted by district voters in the May primary election.

So what does the school board do at its June meeting? The board voted 5-4 to fire Superintendent Myra Forrest, who has a five-year contract that runs through June 2010. District taxpayers will pay Forrest's $165,000-a-year salary even if she sits at home for the next year.

Over in neighboring Pottstown, two incumbent school board members were ousted in the May primary and another two will probably lose their seats in the November election.

The current lame duck board is considering a recommendation from its personnel committee to extend the contracts of the superintendent and other top administrators for another three years.

The current contracts run through 2010 and the logical thing to do is allow the new school board to make a decision on the administrators. A vote on extending the contracts was tabled at the last school board meeting, but could be brought back at a future meeting.

What's the solution? Shouldn't there be a law in Pennsylvania that prevents lame duck school boards from making rash decisions that could impact taxpayers for years to come?

Or maybe a new law isn't needed. A judge in Schuylkill County has removed eight elected members from the North Schuylkill School Board in a case involving a superintendent controversy. See story in the Pottsville Republican.

Read more about the OJR superintendent firing in today's edition of The Mercury.

Barack Obama ... Come to Save the Day

Jon & Kate split and the joke's on viewers

This isn't the kind of "reality" TLC had in mind when it gave the green light to a show about two young parents raising eight children, twins and sextuplets.

The happy couple have been living "separate and apart" for at least two years, Kate Gosselin says in divorce papers obtained by The Associated Press. So where's the reality, guys? You've been duping the American public for at least two years, even going as far as renewing your wedding vows in Hawaii last year. Jon and Kate should be nominated for an Emmy for their "performances" as real people.

Not that anyone's complaining. More than 10 million people tune in every week to watch Jon and Kate Gosselin and their eight kids. The couple has earned millions from the TV show and other marketing opportunities. Everyone's making money pretending to do a "reality" show.

The big news of the week is that Jon & Kate are getting divorced.

Reporter Keith Phucas, our man at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Norristown, has some of the details:
NORRISTOWN — The parents on one of television's best known reality shows — Jon and Kate Gosselin — filed for a no-fault divorce Monday in Montgomery County Court.

The Gosselins, who are featured in the TLC show "Jon & Kate Plus 8" with their eight children, created a media buzz when they let it be known they were having marital problems. The couple has been featured on tabloid magazine covers for months.

Kate Gosselin says in divorce papers that her marriage to Jon is "irretrievably broken." She says in court papers that she's willing to "negotiate a fair and reasonable" settlement with her husband of 10 years.

Now in its fifth season, the hit show has documented the Berk County family's semi-chaotic, day-to-day life, as Jon and Kate, and their occasional adult helpers, try to keep pace with their twins and sextuplets as they scurry around the house glancing off furniture, bouncing on beds and bumping into one other.

Though the couple lives in Berks County, they filed in Montgomery because the divorce lawyers practice here. Court records lists one of the attorneys as Cheryl L. Young, of Hangley, Aronchick Segal & Pudlin, in Norristown. A second lawyer is rumored to practice at the Elliot Greenleaf law firm in Blue Bell.

State residents can file divorce papers in any county they choose, according to David L. Ladov, a veteran divorce attorney with Cozen O'Connor.

"You can file for a divorce anywhere in Pennsylvania, as long as no one objects," Ladov said.

The Gosselins paid a $282.50 fee to file in Montgomery County. If they'd chosen Cameron County, the fee is only $50, he said.

"So for a quick, no-fault divorce, it's all done by mail," Ladov said, referring to the Cameron County option.

Also, the fact that divorce records are sealed in Montgomery County may have played into the couple's decision to file in Norristown.

In Berks County, divorce records are open for public inspection, according to an employee at the Berks County Prothonotary's Office.
The biggest losers appear to be the children, who have been exploited by the parents and television execs for ratings and a big pay day ... and then there's the American viewing public, which will watch anything on television.

TV viewers lost interest in the eight Gosselin children years ago. The show is really about a shrew of a wife and a hen-pecked husband. Now that they're getting divorced, what's the point of watching the show?

Read the full divorce story in Wednesday's edition of The Pottstown Mercury.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Guide to PA political pork

The Associated Press ran a three-part series this week in newspapers across the state about the pork spending by the Pennsylvania Legislature, the very same group of lawmakers who will soon have to decide if they should raise your taxes to continue funding irresponsible spending.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review couldn't help but notice that most of the spending took place in legislative districts held by legislative leaders. Funny how that works out.

From an editorial:

Against the backdrop of Harrisburg seeking more of taxpayers' hard-earned money to cover up its continued profligacy come new details of a long-outrageous practice.

The Associated Press reports that "tens of millions of dollars that support Pennsylvania lawmakers' favorite causes are directed by legislative leaders through a secretive process that appears to benefit some of the leaders' constituents the most."

To wit, Greene County, 56th out of Pennsylvania's 67 counties in population and home to Bill DeWeese, last year's House Democrat leader, ranked first in grant dollars per person, an AP analysis concluded.

Then there's Carbon County. As home to current House Speaker Keith McCall, the Democrats' whip last year, the county that ranks 40th in population ranked second in grant dollars per person.

Read the full editorial at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rendell wants $500 from you

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania released a new Web ad titled “$500” today, examining the true cost of Gov. Ed Rendell and the Democrats’ plan to raise personal income taxes by 16% on Pennsylvania families.

From a GOP press release:

“Pennsylvanians should be outraged by the Governor’s proposal to increase taxes,” said PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason. “Rather than make fiscally responsible decisions in Harrisburg, he has decided to shift the burden of the state’s $3 billion budget deficit to Pennsylvania families by calling for a major tax hike. Governor Ed Rendell’s decision to cut the annual budget of every hardworking Pennsylvania family by $500 is deplorable.”

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania encourages Pennsylvanians to contact Gov. Ed Rendell and Democrat Party leaders and to pass a fiscally responsible budget that will not increase taxes before the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

“For months, Republicans have put forth real solutions that will balance our budget without raising taxes. It is time for Democrats to do the job they are paid to do and make tough decisions in Harrisburg, not force hardworking Pennsylvanians to carry the burden of their out-of-control spending proposals and decision to increase taxes.”

The Breaking Point

"With 9.4 percent unemployment and the price of gasoline climbing to $2.69, it defies common sense why any politician could support legislation like Waxman-Markey that would kill more jobs and drive the price of a gas even higher," said Dan Varroney, senior vice president of American Solutions for Winning the Future.

American Solutions Launches New Television Ad To Stop Waxman-Markey National Energy Tax

Chester County commissioner to run for Lt. Gov.

"It's time to write a new chapter in Pennsylvania's history," says Chester County Commissioner Carol Aichele in announcing her intention to run for Pennsylvania lieutenant governor.

The two-term Republican Chester County commissioner officially launched her bid to become Pennsylvania's next lieutenant governor today.

Aichele said it was time for a new approach to governing in Harrisburg.

"Pennsylvania has steep challenges ahead that require strong leadership," Aichele said in a prepared statement. "It's time to write a new chapter in Pennsylvania's history and fix what is broken in our state. If I have the honor of serving as lieutenant governor, I'll work hard with the newly elected governor to do just that."

Aichele's first official event as a candidate is a fundraiser in King of Prussia hosted by former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Sandra Schultz Newman. The event is expected to raise $100,000 for the Aichele campaign.

Joseph "Skip" Brion, treasurer of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Chester County Republican Committee, enthusiastically endorsed Aichele and said she is the right person for the job.

"Carol Aichele has been a top vote-getter in one of Pennsylvania’s largest suburban counties," Brion said." She will help attract voters next year in all areas of the state, but especially in large suburban areas that are critical in statewide elections. Carol is the kind of accomplished and experienced leader we need working for us in Harrisburg."

Aichele, who calls herself a fiscal conservative, noted that Pennsylvania's next administration will face many daunting tasks after eight years under Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell.

"We must focus on creating jobs, fixing our economy and providing relief to families and businesses struggling with high taxes," Aichele said. "Pennsylvania needs a new beginning."

As a Chester County commissioner, Aichele led the effort to help the county achieve a Triple A bond rating from Moody's Investors Services, one of the few counties in the country to achieve this status, resulting in millions of dollars in savings for taxpayers each year, her campaign noted.

She also worked to Chester County's tax rate among the lowest in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

In addition to serving two terms as commissioner, Aichele was the first woman elected controller in Chester County and has served as the chairwoman of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Aichele, a former math and science teacher, also served six years as a member of the Tredyffrin-Easttown School Board, with two years as board president. She has served in numerous leadership positions on various boards and community organizations for more than 25 years.

Aichele is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in economics. She and her husband, Steve, have three grown children and three grandchildren.

Additional information can be found at her campaign Web site, www.CarolAichele.com

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'We support the people of Iran'

We support the people of Iran

By Rep. Mike Pence

It has been said on numerous occasions and by various politicians and pundits that it was an extraordinary week in the life of the nation of Iran. On June 12, from the very moment that the Iranian presidential election results were announced, the international community and the international press questioned the results. The primary reason for our disbelief in the declared result is that millions of paper ballots were collected and counted in mere hours. This occurred even before the extraordinary demonstrations in the street began.

The disbelief on the part of the international community was shared by many Iranian citizens. And while the defeated candidate launched a legal appeal, what ensued on the streets of Tehran, at least according to the BBC, were the largest public demonstrations in the Islamic republic’s 30-year history. It seems that many Iranians have gotten a whiff of freedom and are willing to lay down their lives in the streets of Iran to secure that freedom.

Sadly, as the people have rallied the Iranian government has responded with more violence and oppression, causing numerous fatalities and the arrest of dissidents. We have learned of reporters prevented from making their reports public and the jamming of electronic communications. We may well be witnessing a Tiananmen in Tehran.

I respect that President Obama recognizes the troubling nature of the on-going situation in Iran, but respectfully disagree with where he has drawn the line. I do not believe a strong affirmation of our ideals and engagement with those who oppose our ideals are mutually exclusive. I think it is possible, as President Reagan demonstrated and indeed as it has been demonstrated throughout our history, for the American people to stand up and speak words of encouragement to those who are oppressed while engaging their oppressors.

It seems to me in this moment the American people long to be heard. House Resolution 560, which on Friday passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming bipartisan support, provides the American people an opportunity to do just that.

The resolution, which was introduced in the Senate by Senators McCain and Lieberman, simply states that the House of Representatives condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cell phones. It affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democracy and free elections.

Lastly and most importantly, the resolution expresses our unqualified support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties and the rule of law. I have said many times this week that the cause of America is freedom and in that cause the American people will not be silent. There is no intention here to pick sides in the Iranian election, but to simply stand by those who stand up for freedom.

The intent of this resolution is to demonstrate, in a true spirit of bipartisanship, that the American people continue to be on the side of liberty and freedom.

I am glad that the United States Senate has also passed this important resolution, allowing the American people to speak with one voice in support of human rights and democracy. We have learned throughout our history that when the voice of the American people is heard in defense of democracy and human rights, it can make a difference in the advancement of liberty around the world. I believe in my heart of hearts that this important bipartisan resolution will help do so once more.

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence is a Republican who represents Indiana's 6th Congressional District.

Obama has his finger on the pulse

Governor Rendell Requests FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment for Western PA Counties

Governor Rendell Requests FEMA Preliminary Damage Assessment for Western PA Counties

Hey, Ed Rendell: No More Whining

It's not too late to stop Rendell tax hike

Can your family afford a state income tax increase right now? If not, you must make your voice heard in Harrisburg, where Gov. Ed Rendell and his doormat Democrats in the House are planning to raise the state income by 16 percent to cover the $3.2 billion budget deficit they ran up in the past year.

If you're tired of sending your paycheck to Harrisburg, if you're tired of uncontrolled spending by professional politicians, you need to send a message to your state House member that you will vote them out in 2010 if they vote to raise your taxes in 2009.

Find out more at StopPATaxHike.com

Obama abandons Iranian people

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer chides Barack Obama for his ineffective response to the Iranian crisis, essentially calling Obama a coward for his failure to act decisively as the Iranian people stand up to their tyrannical government.

From Krauthammer's latest column in Investor's Business Daily:
All hangs in the balance. The Khamenei regime is deciding whether to do a Tiananmen. And what side is the Obama administration taking? None. Except for the desire that this "vigorous debate" (press secretary Robert Gibbs' disgraceful euphemism) over election "irregularities" not stand in the way of U.S.-Iranian engagement on nuclear weapons.

Even from the narrow perspective of the nuclear issue, the administration's geopolitical calculus is absurd. There is zero chance that any such talks will denuclearize Iran. On Monday, Ahmadinejad declared yet again that the nuclear "file is shut, forever."

The only hope for a resolution of the nuclear question is regime change, which (if the successor regime were as moderate as pre-Khomeini Iran) might either stop the program, or make it manageable and nonthreatening.

That's our fundamental interest. And our fundamental values demand that we stand with demonstrators opposing a regime that is the antithesis of all we believe.

And where is our president? Afraid of "meddling." Afraid to take sides between the head-breaking, women-shackling exporters of terror — and the people in the street yearning to breathe free. This from a president who fancies himself the restorer of America's moral standing in the world.
Read the full column at the newspaper's Web site.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Monday, June 22, 2009

VA Launches 10-Year Health Study of 60,000 New Veterans

VA Launches 10-Year Health Study of 60,000 New Veterans

A new member of the club

Over the past six months, only three bloggers from the 100+ who participate in the BlogNetNews.com aggregator service have reached the coveted No. 1 position in the BlogNetNews.com/Pennsylvania Weekly Influence Index.

The trio would be TONY PHYRILLAS (13 weeks at No. 1); PAWatercooler (8 weeks at No. 1); and Suburban Guerrilla (3 weeks at No. 1).

This week, we welcome a new addition to the exclusive club. Congratulations to Gunservatively! for reaching the top spot in the latest Weekly Influence Index, although it did mean knocking me out of the No. 1 spot.

Congratulations to Gunservatively! (one of my favorite Pennsylvania bloggers) but I do want to leave you with one caveat: Getting to No. 1 is a lot easier than staying there. We'll see what happens next week.

ATA Seeks Action Against Oil Speculation Amid Rise in Diesel Prices

ATA Seeks Action Against Oil Speculation Amid Rise in Diesel Prices

Democrats can stop Rendell tax hike

Let's assume for a moment that 10 members of the Republican Senate majority go insane and vote with the 20 Senate Democrats to support Gov. Ed Rendell's 16% income tax hike, which would drain $4.5 billion from working Pennsylvanians and small business owners over the next three years.

The tax hike would still have to pass the House, where Democrats hold a 104-99 majority.

For any legislation to pass the lower chamber, a majority vote of 102 members is needed.

For Rendell's tax hike to die in the House, only three Democrats need to join the 99 Republicans in voting against an income-tax increase.

In the past two weeks, I've been posting contact information for Southeast Pennsylvania House members who are serving in their first or second terms.

Only three of the lawmakers listed below need to oppose Rendell's tax hike and stand with their constituents against higher taxes and runaway spending.

If you recognize the names below as your representative, click on the link and send them a message that you can't afford to pay any more taxes ... and remind them that you will never vote for them again if they support Rendell's tax hikes.

Rep. Brendan F. Boyle, 170th Dist.

Rep. Matthew D. Bradford, 70th Dist.

Rep. Tim Briggs, 149th Dist.

Rep. Paul J. Drucker, 157th Dist.

Rep. Tom Houghton, 13th Dist.

Rep. David R. Kessler, 130th Dist.

Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith, 156th Dist.

Standing with the people of Iran

A timely op-ed by U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts as events unfold in Iran.

Standing with the people of Iran

By Congressman Joe Pitts

The events unfolding right now in Iran are extraordinary. In the face of a repressive regime, and even violent crackdowns, the Iranian people have gathered in the hundreds of thousands to let their will be known and demand a right to a voice in their government.

Like all people, they desire freedom.

From news reports in the first days of the peaceful protests, we know that several people were killed either by Iranian security forces, or their shadowy surrogate, the Basij militia. Additional reports of violence against students and other civilians are difficult to confirm. Iranian authorities have shut down foreign media outlets and prevented them from covering the events as they unfold. Fortunately, the power of technology has allowed images and video of the marches to get through to the outside world.

These images and videos have depicted a people who yearn for freedom from a stifling and increasingly belligerent regime.

The U.S. government must stand up against the sham elections, the vote rigging, and violence against civilians taking place in Iran. We cannot sit back and watch as their people are beaten and killed by militia thugs.

The greatest moments in United States history have not come from standing idly by as tyrants and thugs oppress their own people. The greatest moments have come when our leaders have stood in steadfast support of those who seek freedom.

When John F. Kennedy spoke in Berlin in 1963 and said "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner!" (I am a Berliner) and when President Ronald Reagan stood in front of the Brandenburg Gate and said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" it gave hope to the people living in the Soviet Union who desired freedom. And it made it known worldwide that the United States everywhere and always stands with those people who seek freedom.

The silence from the White House on this issue has been deafening. The President's measured and cautious words have done little to reassure the Iranian people that the United States stands behind their cause. He has indicated he does not want to alienate the Ayatollah by appearing to meddle in internal Iranian affairs.

A statement in support of the peaceful protesters who are risking their lives on the streets of Tehran is no more meddling in the affairs of Iran than President Reagan's demand at the Berlin Wall meddled in the affairs of the Soviet Union. This is an extraordinary moment in Iranian history, and the lack of support from the leadership of the United States has been embarrassing.

This is the same Iran that continues in open defiance of the international community in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. This is the same Iran, and the same President, that has spoken of wiping Israel off the map and denied the existence of the Holocaust. Indeed, one can imagine why fair-minded Iranians may have tired of this kind of behavior by their President.

Fortunately, a bipartisan group in the House has chosen to speak out and fill the void.

On Friday, the House passed H.Res. 560, a resolution sponsored by Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence, and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Howard Berman.

The resolution states that the House of Representatives: "expresses its support for all Iranian citizens who embrace the values of freedom, human rights, civil liberties, and rule of law; condemns the ongoing violence against demonstrators by the Government of Iran and pro-government militias, as well as the ongoing government suppression of independent electronic communication through interference with the Internet and cellphones; and affirms the universality of individual rights and the importance of democratic and fair elections."

By a vote of 405 to 1, the House voted to support the Iranian people. I still hope the President chooses to do so as well.

At stake is not only the freedom and basic rights of the Iranian people, but the position of the United States in the world as a defender and supporter of freedom and human rights.

Rep. Joe Pitts is a Republican who represents Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District in parts of Berks, Chester and Lancaster counties. For more on Pitts, visit his Congressional Web site at www.house.gov/pitts

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

'Proposal' tops weekend box office

The Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds comedy "The Proposal" knocked "The Hangover" from the No. 1 spot in the weekend box office for June 19-21.

"The Proposal" earned an estimated $34.1 million, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com

"The Hangover" finished second after a two-week run at No. 1. The comedy has topped $150 million in ticket sales in just three weeks.

Here are the weekend's Top 5 films based on studio estimates, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com:

Rank. Movie Title (Distributor)
Weekend Gross | Theaters | Total Gross | Week #

1. The Proposal (Buena Vista)
$34.1 million | 3,056 | $34.1 million | 1

2. The Hangover (Warner Bros.)
$26.9 million | 3,545 | $152.9 million | 3

3. Up (Buena Vista)
$21.3 million | 3,832 | $224.1 million | 4

4. Year One (Sony / Columbia)
$20.2 million | 3,022 | $20.2 million | 1

5. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (Sony / Columbia)
$11.3 million | 3,077 | $43.3 million | 2

Final totals will be released late Monday.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

How To Read Your Credit Card Statement

How To Read Your Credit Card Statement

Obama's weak response on Iran

Pro-Democracy demonstrators are dying in the streets in Iran, but Barack Obama remains largely silent, unwilling to offend the Muslim clerics who run the country.

Will the attempt to bring Democracy to Iran fail because Obama failed to support it?

Many believe so.

"The president of the United States is supposed to lead the free world, not follow it," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said. "He's been timid and passive more than I would like."

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley also voiced disappointment at Obama's weak response: "If America stands for democracy and all of these demonstrations are going on ... obviously they are going to ask, do we really care about our principles?" Grassley said.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The true cost of Obamacare

State Capitol Roundup

Here's the latest State Capitol Roundup courtesy of Rep. Bob Mensch (R-147):

House Republicans Pledge to Fight Income Tax Hike

Gov. Ed Rendell this week called on the General Assembly to increase the Personal Income Tax by 16.28 percent to generate $1.5 billion in new revenue. The increase is expected to cost a Pennsylvania family earning $50,000 a year about $250 annually. House Republicans have rejected the necessity of such a tax increase, and instead say state government must live within its means. Additionally, another week has passed in the Democrat-controlled House with no legislative action to bring a budget proposal to the House floor, making the prospect for enacting a state budget prior to the June 30 deadline virtually impossible. House Republicans are committed to controlling spending and ensuring that already-anxious families are not saddled with higher income taxes. For the latest state budget news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Lawmakers Outline 'Pact with PA' to Reform Budget Process in Pennsylvania

Several House and Senate Republicans gathered this week to unveil the "Pact with PA" proposal, an agreement between state legislators and taxpayers to redefine the state's budgeting process to reflect what people can afford to pay instead of what government wants to spend. Pact for PA outlines five key budgetary principles: no tax increases, no additional state debt, preserving the Rainy Day Fund for its original intent, stabilizing existing financial obligations and enacting proactive tax reform to improve Pennsylvania's job climate. Lawmakers point to these principles as being essential for the state to move toward long-term fiscal stability and economic growth. For the latest legislative news, visit PAHouseGOP.com

Lawmakers Seek to Reduce Welfare Fraud During Tough Budget Year

House Republicans are renewing calls for legislation to enact stricter controls on the distribution of welfare funding following the recent arrest of 16 state and City of Philadelphia employees involved in a half-million dollar fraud operation. Legislation sponsored by Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Peach Bottom) to address several lax policies in the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has already been introduced. House Bill 1638 would require photo identification to be issued to LIHEAP recipients, establish a computerized income eligibility verification system to reduce fraud and duplication, create a case review system and establish an Office of Program Compliance for LIHEAP. The legislation is currently awaiting consideration by the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Hearing Shows Need for Unemployment Compensation Overhaul

The House Republican Policy Committee, chaired by Rep. Stan Saylor (R-York), recently held a fact-finding hearing on unemployment compensation issues in Pennsylvania. The hearing was led by Rep. Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery), who is proposing several reforms to the system. The legislation would help the unemployed find a job in their field by requiring registration with PA CareerLink; enabling departing employees to receive benefits immediately following the allowance of a severance pay period; and changing how weekly benefit rates are calculated. Testimony offered at the hearing also highlighted the potential for an estimated $2 billion in cost overruns through 2016 as a result of a diminished Unemployment Trust Fund if steps are not taken to address ballooning expenses.

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

More proof of liberal media bias

Conservatives for Patients' Rights has poured over federal election records and found that ABC network employees contributed to Barack Obama's presidential campaign by a ratio of 35-1 over John McCain. That's right: 35-1!!!!!! No liberal bias in the news media, right?

The point of the research is to show that the corrupt liberal media is working hand-in-hand with the Obama administration to force the United States into a European-style government health care program.

CPR has lists of contribution posted at its Web site, www.cprights.org

All this might explain why ABC is turning over free air time to Barack Obama to promote his socialized health care plan.

From Tom Blumer's post at NewsBusters:
Julia A. Seymour of the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute (BMI) pointed to a fact-check done by her group showing that "from January 20 to June 16 those quoted in health care stories on ABC's morning and evening news shows favored ObamaCare by a 3-to-1 margin (55 supporters to 18 critics)."
See: Why ABC Goes OBC on Health Care; Follow the Presidential Campaign Money (35-to-1 Obama-McCain)

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Victims of government-run health care

What the Obama Administration and its media allies are not telling you about the move to socialized medicine is shocking.

Check out http://www.facesofgovernmenthealthcare.com/

Congress keeps spending your money

Life is good for members of Congress and their staffers.

Despite the recession and continued mismanagement of the economy by politicians that resulted in 14.5 million Americans losing their jobs and the net worth of the nation sinking $1.33 trillion in just the first quarter of 2009, members of Congress continue to live high on the hog -- at taxpayer expense.

It's not just Nancy Pelosi and her jumbo jet. It's all 435 members of the House, according to a new report by Politico.

From a Politico expose on how Congress is spending more on itself:
While businesses across the country are cutting back, members of the House saw their own office budgets increase by an average of 7 percent between 2008 and 2009.

An office's budget — called the Member's Representational Allowance — is meant to cover the day-to-day costs of running a congressional office: staff payroll, travel expenses, rent for district offices and the like. The average MRA for 2009 is nearly $1.5 million, up almost $100,000 over 2008.

While House members have given up the automatic pay raise they would have gotten for 2010, they haven’t turned down the 7 percent hike in their 2009 MRAs — an increase that outstrips the inflation rate, the consumer price index and the 5.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment for recipients of Social Security.

There appears to be no organized movement to freeze the MRAs.
Read the full story, "Hard times, but not in the House," at Politico.

Here's an idea: Why don't we lay off Congress until the economy turns around?

Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rendell's retroacive $2B tax hike will ruin PA business climate

Gov. Ed Rendell just can't help himself. He's a spendoholic. He's addicted to spending other people's money. And he gets that money through taxes.

A day after warning that Rendell's proposed income tax hike would cut at least 24,000 jobs in the state, a coalition of business leaders is sounding the alarm about Rendell's retroactive $2 billion tax increase that would further damage Pennsylvania's economic recovery.

The National Federation of Independent Business/Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Business Council, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, and the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association joined together to issue a statement criticizing Rendell's plan to retroactively increase the Capital Stock and Franchise Tax (CSFT) to 2.89 mills and lock that higher rate in place.

That move would inflict at least $2 billion in additional taxes on the productive sector over the next three years, the business group says.

From a release issued by the coalition:
"Pennsylvania is one of the only states in the nation to tax both business income and business assets," said David N. Taylor, executive director of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association. "Because the CSFT is essentially a property tax, employers are forced to pay it even in times like these when they're losing money. With all of the challenges facing employers in this recession, the CSFT phase-out is the last pro-growth element in the state budget and sacrificing it now will only delay Pennsylvania's economic recovery."

PA Chamber Vice President Gene Barr noted that the CSFT phase-out was enacted due to widespread bipartisan acknowledgment that the tax is unfair because it has no relation to a company's profitability.

"The last thing we should be doing is delaying again the elimination of this major deterrent to business livelihood and growth. We have to make sure job creators come out of the economic downturn positioned for recovery," Barr said.
The business groups noted that Rendell himself opposed delaying these tax cuts earlier this year.

From the group's release:
In his remarks, Gov. Rendell claimed: "I am not – I repeat - I am not raising taxes on businesses. I am proposing that – in this recession – we delay further business tax cuts." But by raising the CSFT from 1.89 mills – the rate the Department of Revenue has collected from employers since January 1, 2009 – to 2.89 mills, Rendell is indisputably raising taxes on businesses.

As Rendell might recall from his February 4, 2009 budget address, delaying the CSFT phase-out is a bad idea because "rais[ing] these taxes at this time could cause a reduction in much-needed spending and business investment."

"The global recession is painful for everyone," said Pennsylvania Business Council President & CEO David W. Patti, "but it will end and when it does, Pennsylvania cannot be less competitive than it was before. In a global economy, employers 'shop price' and Pennsylvania is an expensive place to do business. Failing to end this tax now will make Pennsylvania even less attractive."

In its 2009 "Rich States, Poor States" report, the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Pennsylvania’s economic performance as 46th in the nation and Pennsylvania's economic outlook as 42nd. From 2005 through 2008, Pennsylvania's Gross Domestic Product grew at less than 3/4th of the national average.

"The sooner we eliminate the Capitol Stock and Franchise tax, the sooner we can eliminate other costly corporate welfare programs that Pennsylvania now needs to lure business to the Commonwealth," said NFIB State Director Kevin Shivers.
Originally posted at TONY PHYRILLAS