AP file photo

Gary Johnson: ‘Abolish the IRS’

By  |  July 14, 2014  |  No Comments

BUH-BYE TO THE IRS: Gary Johnson wants to eliminate the IRS and replace income and corporate taxes with a single consumption tax.

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Study: Only executives get richer in crony capitalism

National  |  4:00 am

By M.D. Kittle | Watchdog.org

MADISON, Wis. – In what may come as heartbreak for the U.S. lobbying industry, a new study suggests business success or failure has little to do with political connections.

The study, published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University finds that political activity has no significant effect on the performance of most firms and industries.

Company executives, however, well, that’s a different story.

CONFLICTING VIEWS: Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding (left) and former Deputy Secretary Tom Pelham (right) don't see eye-to-eye on Vermont's economic outlook.

Former VT deputy secretary of administration: State’s economy ‘stagnant’

Vermont  |  4:00 am

While leaders of the Gov. Peter Shumlin administration continue to talk of economic recovery, Vermont’s former deputy secretary of administration says 2014 annual revenue shows the state’s economy has become “stagnant.”

SPENDING VS. RESULTS: New Mexico consistently finishes in the bottom tier in public education studies but a study from the NEA puts the state 25th in how much it spends per student.

Washington initiative would reduce class sizes

Washington  |  4:00 am

By Mary C. Tillotson | Watchdog.org
A group in Washington has filed a ballot initiative to reduce class sizes in the state’s public schools.
The campaign has raised $630,000, including $350,000 from the National Education Association.
Estimated cost of the reductions — including hiring more teachers and building new schools — is in the billions of dollars. The initiative doesn’t specify a [...]

STANDING ROOM ONLY: Lawmakers and lobbyists pack the state Senate Rules Room last month for an appropriations meeting that was scheduled to include liquor reform. The room fills up fast during important meetings, meaning some people can be left on the outside looking in.

Pennsylvania’s budget process cramped, crowded and hot

Pennsylvania  |  4:00 am

If the famous saying is true – that, like sausage, it is best not to see how laws are made – then the Pennsylvania Legislature has certainly done its part to shield taxpayers during this year’s rocky budget season.

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Mouthy judge who told Supreme Court to ‘STFU’ will keep blogging

Nebraska  |  July 11, 2014

A mouthy federal judge in Nebraska has taken a lot of heat for writing that the U.S. Supreme Court should have “STFU” rather than weigh in on the Hobby Lobby case – but has decided not to shut down his blog.

A Laotian farm worker trafficked to Hawaii shows investigators the tiny chicken coup he was forced to live in on an Oahu farm

State Department documents rise in human trafficking

Hawaii  |  July 11, 2014

Americans celebrated independence, liberty and freedom on Fourth of July, but a new report from the U.S. State Department shows there are plenty of people in this country who aren’t free.

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Ohio State faces lawsuit over campus gun ban

Ohio  |  July 11, 2014

You can’t carry a gun on the campus of The Ohio State University. Nor can you possess, in and around campus housing, any chemical and dry ice bombs, explosives, bows and arrows, darts, fireworks, knives, paint guns, BB guns, pellet guns, airsoft guns, Tasers/stun-guns, nightsticks, and martial arts implements. But maybe not for long.

SNAP'd: After several years of rising errors, Kansas has finally managed to get its SNAP payments under control.

Kansas SNAPs streak of rising food stamp errors

Kansas  |  July 11, 2014

Kansas flubbed more than $18.9 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Payments during FY2013.

But hey, look on the bright side, the state has finally managed to snap its streak of rising payment errors stretching back to 2010.

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Mary Burke fails to practice what she preaches in governor’s race

Wisconsin  |  July 11, 2014

By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON, Wis. – Mary Burke’s campaign hypocrisy seems to be flowing at biblical proportions.

You know, the why-beholdest-thou-mote-that-is-in-thy-brother’s-eye-but-considerest-not-the-beam-that-is-in-thine-own-eye kind.

TACKLING THE FEDS: Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, is leading a charge to get info from the feds on the whereabouts of 7,000 illegal immigrants who have committed crimes in the county since 2008.

Virginia county takes on federal government that ‘refuses to do its job’

Virginia  |  July 11, 2014

For Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the border crisis isn’t something far away — or something new.

SPECIAL REPORT

VIDEOS

PLAIN ENGLISH: While Gov. Sam Brownback has been characterized as uncaring in his opposition to Obamacare, the governor says it's a simple matter of fiscal prudence for those who realize the federal government doesn't always keep its promises.

Video: Brownback states plainly why Medicaid expansion hurts Kansas

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Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has been on the business end of numerous barbs and critiques for taking a stand against Obamacare and Medicaid expansion in the Sunflower State.

Those with unwavering faith in the federal government have characterized the conservative governor as an uncaring obstructionist for his opposition, but in an exclusive interview with the Daily Signal, Brownback laid out the argument against Obamacare in his own words.

little free library

Leawood throws the book at Little Free Library

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The city of Leawood is using the full power of the law to protect property values from the threat of, uh, free cabinet-sized libraries.

A municipal statute designed to ban all detached structures is being levied against Leawood residents Brian and Sarah Collins after their 9-year-old son, Spencer, worked with his dad and grandpa to build the Little Free Library as a Mother’s Day gift.

WATCHBLOG

 |  Virginia

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

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FROM AROUND THE WEB

By Damon Root | Reason
The Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee gave its stamp of approval today to a proposed constitutional amendment that would effectively strip the First Amendment of any power to stop federal and state lawmakers from imposing campaign finance restrictions. Here’s the text of S.J. Res. 19, which now moves to the full Senate for [...]

Senate Judiciary Committee backs amendment to restrict free speech

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
On June 16, Gov. Nikki Haley announced that Singapore-based Giti Tire would locate a $560 million manufacturing plant in Chester County, bringing 1,700 jobs over 10 years.
Less than two weeks earlier, on June 5, the county was approved for a $35,775,000 state grant to “offset the costs of land acquisition [...]

SC officials won’t release details of $35.7M grant for tire plant

By Charlie Hayward | Maryland Reporter
In the last four years, the Department of Human Resources overspent its budget by $27 million — and inadvertently masked its overruns with improper accounting adjustments, an audit of the department has revealed.
After the audit came out, DHR removed the director of the grants management office due to concerns about [...]

MD human resources sloppy with its money — to the tune of $27M

By John Hrabe | Cal Watchdog
Fresno residents will have the final say on the city’s controversial plan to double water rates in the coming years.
On Tuesday, election officials certified that the petition drive spearheaded by former Fresno County Supervisor Doug Vagim has enough valid signatures to place the referendum on the November ballot. More than [...]

Fresno water rate referendum headed for ballot

By Brian Hughes | Washington Examiner
President Obama in a hastily arranged press conference Wednesday insisted that he had not visited the U.S.-Mexico border during a trip toTexas because it would amount to political theater.
“This isn’t theater. This is a problem,” Obama said in Dallas following a meeting with Texas Gov. Rick Perry to discuss the surge in unaccompanied minors [...]

Why Obama says he didn’t visit the U.S.-Mexico border

By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
Gov. Nikki Haley wasn’t bashful when news broke that the state’s unemployment rate had fallen to 5.3 percent in April – the lowest rate in 13 years, as proudly noted by the Republican governor.
“This kind of progress says a lot about our state, our workforce, and all the businesses that [...]

Food stamp use soars in South Carolina

By Conner Edwards | Freedom Foundation
This month, the management team at the Puget Sound Partnership – a taxpayer-funded state agency – decided to follow in the footsteps of such famous apparel lines as Nike and American Apparel by establishing its own “brand.”
No other agency has garnered as much public attention – for all the wrong [...]

WA state agency asks taxpayers for $60,000 to ‘rebrand’ itself

By Margaret Sessa Hawkins | Maryland Reporter
There are over 1,300 licensed assisted living facilities in Maryland caring for thousands of residents not quite able to care for themselves. But year after year over the past decade the state health department has failed to do annual inspections for a majority of them.
Another audit of the Department [...]

Maryland health department fails to inspect most assisted living facilities

By Tom Gantert | Michigan Capitol Confidential.
What started out as a $155 million tab in 2012 for public school employee pension and retirement health care costs will increase to $945 million by 2015, according to the Senate Fiscal Agency.
The driver of the escalating costs is MPSERS’ unfunded liability. The pension system’s unfunded liability was $25.8 billion in 2013, [...]

Michigan teacher pension costs climb to nearly $1B per year