CAN'T SEE IT: The IRS can't get its grubby hands on the fruits of the shadow economy. Maybe that's why it's become a larger and larger share of the American economic pie in recent years.

Dodging taxes? You might be keeping U.S. economy afloat

By  |  April 18, 2014  |  No Comments

Each April 15, millions of Americans dutifully trudge to the local Post Office to mail their tax returns to federal, state and local governments.

PAID PETITIONING: North Dakotans for Clean Water Wildlife and Parks, a coalition of interests backing a ballot measure to divert oil tax revenues to conservation projects, is using paid petition circulators again even after getting burned by signature fraud in the 2012 election cycle.

Despite trouble, conservation revenue backers paying petitioners again

North Dakota  |  4:00 am

By Rob Port | Watchdog.org North Dakota Bureau
BISMARCK, N.D. — A coalition backing a ballot measure to divert oil revenue to conservation, stung by signature fraud two years ago, is again looking to hire petitioners.
A posting on North Dakotans for Clean Water, Wildlife & Parks’ Facebook page links to a Craigslist ad for a position in Grand Forks for [...]

takebackmiami.blogspot.com

Alleged scammers burn Miami-Dade fire department from within

Florida  |  4:00 am

By William Patrick | Florida Watchdog
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — South Florida is no stranger to insurance fraud.
But a recently exposed scam involving public workers is sure to leave taxpayers seething and give Miami-Dade’s bravest a black eye.
Anthony Dorta, a fire inspector with the county’s Fire Rescue Department was arrested last week, accused of submitting a bogus insurance [...]

MO STUDENTS, MO MONEY? Will sending all six year olds to school cost Illinois?

Academics, culture help mom choose private school

Tennessee  |  4:00 am

Marilyn Johnson couldn’t afford to put her son, Marshall, in a private school. But, she said, she couldn’t afford not to.

PRE-CRIME: With police targeting those who intend to commit crimes, is "pre-crime" going to be the next thing to make the leap from science-fiction to reality?

Heavy-handed police bring ‘Minority Report’ to life

New Jersey  |  4:00 am

From coast-to-coast, police departments are starting to crack down on individuals considered “likely” to commit a crime, even if they have yet to do so.

PRIVACY AND PERSONAL DATA RIGHTS AND WRONGS:  Copyright MN House of Representatives. Photo by Paul Battaglia.

Safeguarding rights to privacy behind proposed MN commission

Minnesota  |  4:00 am

To see why a commission to safeguard Minnesotans’ rights to privacy and access to public data may be a slam dunk at the Capitol, check out the complex questions posed to state officials at Open Secrets MN.

FEUDING REPUBLICANS: A recent party election is being contested by a group of candidates claiming the vote was hijacked by Democrats.

GOP duels over Dems crashing Fauquier party

Virginia  |  4:00 am

Republicans in heavily GOP Fauquier County are feuding over the outcome of a local party election.

Investigation2

TN state senator: Law enforcement must further investigate Heitman death

Tennessee  |  4:00 am

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog
KNOXVILLE — A state senator from east Tennessee said law enforcement agencies should do more to investigate the death of Alex Heitman, an Oak Ridge School District official who reported people using taxpayer money to buy meth.
State Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, said Wednesday he has contacted the Tennessee Bureau of [...]

TAKE AWAY YOUR TAKE-OUT: A proposed ban on certain types of foam dishes would leave residents of Minneapolis eating cold take-out.

Nanny-state city of the week: Minneapolis wants to ban take-out trays

National  |  4:00 am

By Eric Boehm | Watchdog.org
MINNEAPOLIS — They came for your plastic bags, and now they’re coming for your take-out trays.
Minneapolis City Councilman Andrew Johnson says the largest city in Minnesota should join an ever-growing list of cities to ban foam containers, like the ones used by many restaurants for take-out food or hot tea and coffee.
In [...]

obamacare_signup_rtr_328

GAO to investigate Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange

Hawaii  |  April 17, 2014

By Malia Zimmerman | Watchdog.org
HONOLULU – The U.S. Government Accountability Office said Wednesday it will investigate Hawaii Health Connector’s spending of its $204 million federal grant.
Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom filed a complaint March 27, asking for the investigation.
He was the only one of 76 legislators to vote against the establishment of the state Obamacare exchange.
Slom pointed out [...]

KSN clip

Watchdog report spurs Wichita police spending scrutiny

Kansas  |  April 17, 2014

The Wichita Police Department can’t seem to catch a break.

Only hours after Kansas Watchdog revealed yesterday the law enforcement agency’s massive spike in drug tax revenue – the spending of which Capt. Doug Nolte said the police department doesn’t track – local media pounced.

SPECIAL REPORT

VIDEOS

EdSchultz

Is the mainstream media being unfair to Obamacare?

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By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — Need a good laugh?
Check out what MSNBC host Ed Schultz had to say Monday about the mainstream media’s handling of Obamacare.
Trust me, you’ll want to sit down for this one.

Contrary to Schultz’s claims, a major Gallup survey released Monday indicates that sign-ups through the Affordable Care Act are [...]

WATCHBLOG

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – State Delegate Barbara Comstock is inflating her energy record to pump up her congressional bid.
The McLean Republican’s congressional campaign webpage declares that she “authored Virginia’s law to allow for offshore exploration of energy.”
In fact, Comstock’s “major legislation” did no such thing. Her 2010 bill, HB 900, [...]

Comstock goes overboard with offshore energy claim

 |  Texas

While taxpayers were picking up the tab for intensive, outpatient care for mentally ill patients, those patients were playing games and watching movies.

Medicare fraud: $97 million for mentally ill patients to watch movies, play games

By Josh Peterson | Watchdog.org
State public utilities regulators are calling for an easy way for consumers to compare complaints against the nation’s phone companies.
Currently, consumers can file complaints about their telecommunications service with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, but those complaints aren’t publicly available in an online format for consumers.
On Wednesday, Chris [...]

Regulators push for public database of complaints against phone companies

 |  Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has saved almost $2 billion staving off welfare fraud, waste and abuse under Gov. Tom Corbett, said Beverly Mackereth, the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Welfare.

DPW chief: PA saves billions fighting welfare fraud

 |  Montana

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org
For some, ignorance is bliss, but for Democrat Jon Tester, it’s an important campaign tactic.
Sure, the second-term senator from Montana isn’t up for re-election until 2018, but that won’t stop him from using disingenuous attacks on the wealthy to scare his constituents into sending him campaign cash.
“Today, it looks like the billionaire Koch [...]

Tester launches disingenuous attack on the Koch brothers

 |  Pennsylvania

With no debate and a nearly party-line vote, the state House passed a bill that eliminates a loophole in the law state defining the crime of stalking.

PA House approves ‘stalking’ bill

Section 7

FROM AROUND THE WEB

By Maxford Nelsen | Freedom Foundation
The frenetic push for a $15 minimum wage in Seattle has some sensible observers asking the question: Why not $14 or $16? And if increasing the minimum wage is good for the economy, why not boost it to $50 an hour?
At this juncture, minimum wage advocates typically chuckle nervously and [...]

Why ‘$15 now’ has nothing to do with productivity or a ‘living wage’

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential
After failing to get its teachers’ evaluations done in time, one school district’s solution to simply lay off the least-experienced educators may be against the law.
MLive reported that Concord Community Schools Superintendent Terri Mileski and School Board President Brian Philson supported a proposal to lay off the “least senior staff [...]

MI school district may violate state law in removing teachers on seniority

By Sarah Tincher | for Maryland Reporter
ANNAPOLIS – With the Maryland gubernatorial election approaching at the end of the year, the seven major candidates are taking a stance on one of the state’s hot-button issues: taxes.
In response to a Capital News Service questionnaire, the gubernatorial hopefuls expressed their thoughts on the state’s current estate tax and [...]

MD gubernatorial candidates divided on how to handle state taxes

By Scott Roberts | for Freedom Foundation
Last week, using officers dressed up like soldiers going into combat, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sought to confiscate one Nevada ranch family’s cattle. In response, neighbors, other citizens, and state legislators from across the West stood with the Bundy family against the federal action. The situation rapidly [...]

Big Government stares down Cliven Bundy, feds flinch first

By James Poulos | Cal Watchdog
As the last blanket deadline extension arrived, late signups slowed down on Covered California, the state’s Obamacare exchange.
Difficulties brought on by the website’s inability to process a wave of applicants gave officials an opportunity to push back the original March 31 deadline. That, in turn, caused exchange administrators to require applicants to [...]

Covered California gains only modest sign-ups at deadline

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
If you’re going to experience the court system in South Carolina, chances are it will be in either magistrate or municipal court.
That’s where you’ll go to take care of traffic tickets or if you’re charged with a crime that carries a sentence of no more than 30 days in jail. [...]

SC judicial income disclosure forms don’t disclose much

By Anita Folsom | for Michigan Capitol Confidential
Failed government subsidies have existed in U.S. history from George Washington to Barack Obama.
But what’s especially remarkable about the stream of government aid — subsidies to the fur trade, steamships, railroads, airplanes, and even ethanol today — is that private citizens, with no federal funds, almost always outperform [...]

Government subsidies run wild in Michigan

By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf | Maryland Reporter
Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.
The minimum wage will increase to $10.10 over the [...]

Tipped workers left behind in MD minimum wage hike

By John Seiler | Cal Watchdog
CalWatchDog.com Editor-in-Chief Brian Calle interviews Rebecca Friedrichs. She is an Orange County schoolteacher who is fighting for her right not to be associated with the political activity the nation’s most powerful union, the National Education Association, and its state affiliate, the California Teachers’ Association. She ready to take her fight [...]

California teacher takes on teachers’ union agenda