Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Libertarian Party of Marion County Statement on SB 621

Libertarian Party of Marion County Urges 
Governor Pence to Veto SB 621

The Indiana General Assembly has passed SB 621, a law which would eliminate all At-Large City-County Council seats in Marion County and give the Mayor unrestricted control over the budget. The Libertarian Party of Marion County stands against this legislation.

SB 621 has correctly been described as the “power grab” bill. It is an obvious attempt by the Republican super majority in the General Assembly to strip the power of the vote from the citizens of Marion County.

By eliminating the four at-large seats on the Council, the General Assembly is stripping away the combined voice of The People. While the LPMC is not convinced that the current structure of the Marion County government is necessarily the most productive and efficient model available to our citizens, we also do not believe the General Assembly should be dictating that model to us. Instead, we encourage the state legislators to introduce legislation to turn the authority to decide what model works best for Marion County over to the people of Marion County. The representatives of the other 91 counties should not be deciding how people they do not represent should be able to govern themselves.

SB 621 also gives the Mayor of Indianapolis unheard of authority to control the City budget in whatever way he seems fit. While the Council would still vote on the budget, the Mayor is given the almost unbelievable power to change that budget on a whim. The people of Marion County deserve a system of checks and balances, and this bill eliminates that.

To make matters worse, the General Assembly simply did not take the proper time to listen to the thoughts of the people of Marion County, the only county impacted by this legislation. Instead, the legislature chose to push through this bill and enforce it on us without our say.

We urge the citizens of Marion County to join us in calling on Governor Pence to reject this partisan power grab by vetoing SB 621.

Friday, April 26, 2013

LGBT Couples Benefit Greatly From Elimination of Inheritance Tax

Fellow blogger Paul Ogden makes a great point in his blog about the inheritance tax.  LGBT couples might be the biggest winners.

You see, a spouse was previously tax exempt from the inheritance tax.  But since Indiana doesn't recognize gay marriage, even lifelong couples only at best qualified as a friend, and had am enormous tax burden because of it.

Although I sincerely doubt there were any intentions of this law being to help gay couples, in many ways they benefit the most. No longer does it matter who you spent your life with when or comes to the amount of inheritance tax you pay.  A gay couple now pays the same tax treasure as a straight couple does, at least in this area.

That's a win.

Ogden has some interesting math in his big showing just how much the tax could impact a gay couple before.  Make sure you check out his blog for that info, and more details on this story.

Indiana Legislature Set to Hand Same Sex Marriage Advocates Biggest Victory Ever by Eliminating Inheritance Tax

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fireworks Used in Boston Bombs...Prepare Yourself for Ridiculous New Fireworks Legislation

Well, here we go.  It was only a matter of time until some portion of the Boston bombing story surfaced that will be used as a catalyst for ignorant, over-reaching panic legislation.  And if it didn't appear before Wednesday, it's sure here now.

Throughout the day Wednesday, news began surfacing that the Boston bombing suspects used gunpowder scavenged from fireworks to create the deadly bombs used to terrorize this year's Boston Marathon.

I'm willing to bet that before next week is out, there is a minimum of one state making lots of news because it's legislature is going to begin considering strict new fireworks legislation because of this.  That's the way it always happens with these tragedies.

  1. Something horrible happens
  2. Something the vast majority of people use safely in their lives is found to be involved
  3. Legislators panic and make rash decisions about what can be done to prevent tragedy again
  4. Mostly safe item has crazy new restrictions placed on it or is banned
  5. Hardly anyone, if anyone at all, is saved while millions deal with ridiculous new regulations

It happens every time.  Every. Single. time.  And you can bet your hind end it will happen again here.  Lawmakers across the nation are going to put new fireworks legislation in place in the name of preventing terrorism, or saving lives, or preventing fear, or whatever.  And no one will really benefit.  But many, many people will have to deal with the negative repercussions of the new laws.

Here's what I expect to see lawmakers suggesting across the nation:
  • Styles of fireworks allowed to be purchased limited to only those with the smallest amounts of powder
  • Number of fireworks purchased to be severely limited
  • Anyone attempting to buy large amounts of fireworks to have police called on them
  • Every fireworks purchaser to have their name recorded along with the contents of each purchase
  • Digital connectivity required between different fireworks resellers so that attempts to buy large amounts via small amounts purchased from several retailers will be thwarted
  • Fireworks purchaser license required
  • Background checks required for fireworks purchasers
  • Fireworks safety courses required before anyone is allowed to purchase fireworks

And who knows what else.  Trust me, here.  You are going to see at least one state proposing some of these laws within the next ten days, and a whole lot of states following suit within the next year.

Please don't misunderstand what I am saying here.  The bombings were a real tragedy.  And my thoughts and prayers are with each and every person either directly or indirectly affected.

But our states and federal governments rarely react properly to these events.  They normally jump straight into poorly thought out legislation because the public is crying for blood and they can get just about any law passed they want if it is supposedly written in the name of justice and/or prevention.

When you begin to hear about the legislation that will be proposed because of the Boston bombings, I want you to think about whether it is good legislation or forced through bad legislation.  I want you to think of the Patriot Act and the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.  I want you to think about whether the legislation actually helps us prevent any tragedies, and even if it does, at what cost to the rest of us?

And I want you to ask your representatives to please slow down, take a deep breath, and make sure they are passing legislation because it is the right thing to so.  I want you to make sure that they aren't passing laws in the name of revenge.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rhode Island Republican Senators Unanimously Support Gay Marriage

Yep.  You read that right.  An entire Republican caucus has voted in favor of legalizing gay marriage.

Sure, it's a small number of legislators, but the importance of the word "unanimous" still shouldn't be lost on you.  Especially on this topic.  Especially from Republicans.

And it's not being done without political backlash, as you might imagine.  The National Organization for Marriage has vowed to unseat at least one of the Senators, Dennis Algiere, because of his vote.

Thanks to The Washington Post for tipping me off to this story.  For more information, including links to other stories, please check out their article here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ballard's New Cricket Venue...Even the GOP is Fired Up

At a time where Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is receiving even more scrutiny than normal because of the apparent power grab he is making via the General Assembly, you would think he would perhaps lay low for a bit.  But that is definitely not the case and even his own party seems upset at his dismissive attitude towards checks and balances.

Last week, Ballard announced that Indianapolis was going to be building a $6 million cricket venue.  The project had apparently already been in the works for at least two years, but the administration had been keeping it hush hush.  To make things even more interesting, the first announcement of the plans didn't come to the residents of the City of Indianapolis, or even to an audience here in the Good Ol' US of A.  Instead, when Ballard decided to make these plans public, he did it in Hyderabad, India.


That's right, Ballard kept plans to spend six million taxpayer dollars on the down low for years, and waited until he was halfway around the world to make the information public.  And he did so with some utterly suspect quotes, obviously planted in his head by whatever group convinced him this was a great idea.

Cricket is not exceptionally strong in the U.S. right now.  I need to change that.

When people from around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis.

Can't you just hear the ego flowing out of those statements?  HE needs to change that?  Are we to believe that Ballard is some huge cricket fan that has been secretly putting together these plans in some grand scheme to make the citizens of this country suddenly believe that cricket is God's gift to the sporting world?  And does he really believe that the way that will happen is by putting a handful of fields on Post Road?

The answers, of course, are a resounding no.  Ballard doesn't care about cricket.  And making this
announcement in India shows that he doesn't really care about Indianapolis, either.  I'd be willing to lay good odds that we are going to find out that the builders of this project are somehow well-connected to Ballard, and are going to profit a healthy amount because of it.

And now things are getting even more interesting for Ballard, as his own party is expressing dismay in what is going on.  According to an article in Monday's IBJ, the City-County Council plans to discuss the matter and request more information from the Ballard administration on it.

The Council knows it is powerless to stop the park at this point, but they are seeking some specific projections on its cost and potential revenue.  Republican Councillors Ginny Cain and Janice McHenry, and Democratic Councillor Pam Hickman are quoted in the article as having expressed specific concerns. Cain and Hickman both address the budget woes the parks are already facing...among which include potential lay offs and reducing maintenance.  McHenry, who serves on the Council's Parks Committee, noted that the administration never even bothered to bring the plan before them.

As you might expect, though, spokespersons for the administration are rushing to the plan's defense.  Public Works Director Lori Miser believes that the project will be a revenue generator for the parks department.  She also believes that maintenance can be arranged through public-private partnerships.

Um...a revenue generator?  Really?  Let's just pretend that the venue can fill 10,000 spectator events (and don't get me started on where those people are going to park in that area,) and that each person's presence generates $20.  That means that it will take 30 capacity events to just break even at this location.  And that's if there are zero costs involved, which is obviously not the case.

And public-private partnerships taking care of the maintenance?  Right.  Because the Ballard Administration has such a strong track record of those partnerships working out to the taxpayers' advantage.  **cough water company cough**  **cough parking meters cough**

The truth is, this is some idea that was spoon fed to Ballard by a person or persons that stands to make a lot of money off the deal.  Just like so many other of this administration's projects, an insider is ready to make a mint off of Ballard's corrupt management of the City.  I said I'd lay good odds to that fact, and I mean it.

In fact, my money's on the soon-to-be-richer insider being David Ladd.  The IBJ article closes saying,

Ladd, a former business acquaintance of Ballard's, said the mayor first raised the idea in 2009...
Ladd agreed to help.

Keep your eye on this one, folks.  Whatever news is allowed to surface is sure to point in corruption's way.