Tag Archives: Republican

Shakespeare, Trump and the IRS

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

The internet, newspapers, and talk radio are awash with debate, comment and opinion concerning Donald Trump’s tax returns.  What is all the fuss about?  Why such concern?  Consider this, it may well be it has little to do with his return and more to do with politics and perception.

We all pay taxes and most people would like to pay less and many people would like to have some people pay more.  The tax topic has been a hot button issue in the Democratic primary but the reality of their policies doesn’t nearly match their rhetoric.  (More on that later)

Hillary calling out Donald Trump over taxes creates a diversion from the real issues of the Presidential campaign and frankly his tax return is of little substantive value in considering him as a candidate.  How many of people so upset over not yet seeing his tax return have the tax knowledge to understand how to prepare such a return?  I am absolutely certain Donald Trump does not sit down on April 14th and write up his own return or his form 1040.

The only real question should be did he pay taxes as required by law?  He says, he is currently being audited by the IRS, ok that seems realistic considering the complexity of the return a person of wealth may have.  There are thousands of pages in the tax code and legal opinions vary as to some regulations so an audit review does not seem unreasonable.

As voters our real question and concern should be did he legally file a return based on legal interpretation of the IRS code.  The answer will be judged by the IRS auditors and that could take a considerable amount of time.  Unless the law is broken a candidate’s tax return proves little more than the fact they or their tax preparer complied with the tax laws.

Frankly the amount of tax Donald Trump paid or did not pay should be more a problem for the Democratic Party than Donald Trump.  It is a matter of record, the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate in addition to the White House during the first Obama term.   Therefore, if Trump followed the law and passes the audit he has followed the tax code the Democrats either endorsed or did not chose to change.  Hence there should be no question or concern with his return but there could well be many questions about the Democratic Party actions that set the rules for Trump to follow in preparation of his return.

Some folks are pointing out some other Presidents have disclosed their tax returns and Richard Nixon disclosed his during an audit.  It matters little if any candidate for any office discloses their tax returns it is not a requirement for office and for that matter it is not a normal requirement for any employment application.  That being said, it is common for any employer to ask for a college transcript and yet our current President had his college transcript sealed to hide the facts from public disclosure.  Many of those making a fuss over Trump’s taxes showed little concern for Obama’s transcript.

Hillary asking about Trump’s tax return brings to mind, Hamlet and the words of Queen Gertrude when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  Shakespeare was a wise and complex playwright and perhaps if he were alive today he would pen a play about this tax issue and call it Much Ado About Nothing Part II.

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The Quilt

Sewing a quilt, more than just stitching, it delivers a message.

Sewing a quilt, more than just stitching, it delivers a message.

It was a rainy late September evening when the ladies gathered in the community room of the Congregational church, woman of different faiths and traditions.  A collection of mostly older woman, it appeared to be a gathering of grandmothers.  They had come together with the idea of making a community quilt to sell for charity.

Agnes, a woman of eighty, tried to run the meeting as best she could but everyone had an opinion and many were intransigent.  Coming together with a meeting of the minds on a single quilt was soon tossed aside and it was decided they would meet through the winter and each would work on their own quilt.  The idea soon morphed into a spring quilt show.  Mabel was the oldest and sat quietly off to the side.

Each week through the winter the group would gather share stories and hand sew another patch or two to their quilts.  Mabel watched, said little and only sewed on small patches each week.  As the other quilts grew in size the others realized Mabel was doing things a little different.

Mildred soon reached out to Mabel and asked if she needed helpMabel simply explained, “My hands are frail and I sew a little slower now, so each week I come to enjoy the company, and work only on parts for my quilt.  During the week I sew each of the pieces slowly together at home when I can think about the meaning of each new patch and how it fits, into the total picture, it would be hard for me to haul the quilt here each week.’

The cold New England winter nights were warmed by the chatter and laughter as the women stitched.  Olga was proud of the progress with her Scandinavian design, she had learned to quilt at her grandma’s table.  Anne was creating a tribute to her granddaughter and her love of flowers.   Holly thought her town historical theme would surely win grand prize.   Nobody paid much attention to the little squares of cloth Mabel slowly sewed, they were more consumed by their own quilts and the appearance of their neighbor’s quilt.

On the last Saturday of May just before Memorial Day the woman all arrived early at the community room, each to hang their quilt for the afternoon show.  There was a buzz in the air, as each lady hung her finished quilt, the judging would be at noon.  At 11:00 Rachael noticed Mabel’s spot was empty and word quickly passed as thoughts of concern spread from mouth to ears.

At 11:20 a tall young man with a big box opened the door.  There coming slowly up the steps was Mabel, “I hope I am not too late, I just could not carry my quilt”.  She showed her grandson where to put the quilt and asked if he could be the one to hang it.  “I want the next generation to understand, who we are” she said.

He opened the box and ever so gently with reflection of reverence he lifted the quilt sewn by his grandmother’s frail hands and hung it up for all to see.  The room fell silent, as the others gathered around, before them was more than a quilt, before them was a work of art, a treasure of perfection.  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind the Grand Champion Blue Ribbon quilt would be Mabel’s.

What hung before them looked like a tribute to America.  A quilt large enough for a king-sized bed, with an American Flag in the four corners, along the borders were the faces of people from different cultures, and ethnicity.  The patches were filled with outlines of each State and patches depicting professionals like firemen, teachers, doctors and barbers.  There were famous American’s like Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan.

The women swelled with pride on being an American, a country so diverse and tolerant, a country more tolerant than the group had been when it first got together.  The display was not complete, for each entry had to be finished and had to have a title card.  It was nearly noon, Mabel’s card was not hung and one square in the middle was covered with a tissue.  Rose asked, “Why it was hung without being finished?”

Mabel smiled and said, “I wanted all of you to see my work without preconceptions, to think about it with an open mind, to understand what a big tent we have in this nation, that we are a sum of our parts, working together to accomplish great things for our great nation”. Voices rang out, we get it, you are so right, and some began to chant USA, USA.

Mabel raised her hands to quiet the crowd, she had only 30 seconds to finish her display.  As her grandson took out a card and pinned it to the top, Mildred tore away the tissue, and with that she yelled, “It is time to come together”.  The card read, “The Republican Party” and the center patch was the face of Donald J. Trump.

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WHERE THERE IS SMOKE THERE IS FIRE

Iphone shots 022-1It all started with an image, some promises, and dreams of better days. All it took was a wisp of creative imagination, some smoke and mirrors, a few false promises and a willing populous, ready to float like clouds through dreamland with the winds of hope and change upon their back.

What voters got was more like a wobbly three legged wooden stool. Dan Malloy as Governor, Brendan Sharky as Speaker of the House and Martin Looney as President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

Their first order of business was to deliver to the taxpayer’s of Connecticut the largest tax increase in Connecticut. Not exactly what the people were told was going to happen or what they thought they voted for, but facts don’t always match political promises.

Their second order of business was the recent creation of the second largest tax increase in Connecticut history. This coming within 6 months of Dan Malloy telling the taxpayers he made the hard choices, fixed the budget and would not be raising their taxes. Poof, the promises went up in smoke.

Where there is smoke there is fire. Today there is a firestorm of negative reaction rocking the foundations of employment and family finances across Connecticut. The legs of the wooden stool are feeling the heat of flames.

Time to fix the problem? No, remember these are tax and spend Democrats. It is time to reach for the taxpayer’s wallet to purchase fire protection for the wobbly wooden stool instead of protection for the people.

Last week the House Democratic caucus hired the Hartford public relations firm of McDowell and Jewett Communications to review their public relations operation. Of course this will be paid for with taxpayer’s dollars, after all it is time for local elections and the Democrats will need all the smoke, mirrors and Vaseline they can find to slide by the voters in this election cycle.

The funds will come from a budget provided to each legislative party caucus to hire, a legal team, legislative assistants and communications staff, functions normally associated with doing the work of the people. This reviewing of the public relations operations, is more akin to a study of how to put out the fire that threatens the wobbly stool for the tax and spend Democratic caucus.

For many taxpayers and their families the burden of increase government spending is a growing concern. This fall many communities will have a choice, more tax and spend or a new policy, a financial path followed like your family budget with restraint, reason and common sense.

We will all choose our seats. You can take your chances on another tax and spend wobbly wooden stool or a solid Republican oaken bench, you can sit on the sidelines or you can get in the game by taking the time to vote. The decision is yours.

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TIME TO TAKE A NEW ROAD AND NOT A DIVIDED HIGHWAY

The brightest future for our towns, cities, states and indeed our nation is found within the Republican Party.  While the Republican Party is diverse in thoughts and opinions there is a common thread of values founded in the strength of the individual and the responsibilities we each hold as citizens and neighbors.

Make no mistake there are fringe elements in both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.  The fringe road to the liberal left or the conservative right are not the paths to follow.  Both are narrow paths of division and intolerance.

The strength of our nation is found in the roots of our being.  We are a melting pot of cultures, beliefs and opinions.  The founding fathers understood the strength found in unification, walking not a narrow path but a wide path of inclusion and protection for an individual’s thoughts, beliefs and responsibilities.

Found in our Constitution and Bill of Rights are protections for individuals of diverse opinion.  The founding fathers recognized the need for limits on government.  They included restrictions with a system of checks and balances designed to insure the preservation of the inalienable rights of the citizens.

Today, too many folks look to government as our strength and not to the individual citizens. Today we find leaders willing to divide our citizens into special interest groups each with their hand out for government support.  Pandering politicians picking the pockets of taxpayers to pad a base of support is no way to run government.  Our goal should be to unify and build together a stronger foundation to support a better future.

The solution for inefficient government is not found in a coalition of special interests.  The special interests are the root of the problem, not the solution.  The solution is found within each of us as individuals, the solution is found in our commonality, our responsibilities and our own efforts.

The very foundation of the Republican Party has always been built on the belief in the strength of the individual over government.  This is why the best road for our future is found within the Republican Party.  It is found in the grounded thinking of pragmatic conservatives.  They provide a bonding commonality based on practical and reasonable logic with which to set policy.

If we are to prosper as a community or nation we can no longer embrace tax and spend government digging us deeper in debt, and reallocating our money for their special interest spending.  It is time to endorse and elect logical, realistic and reasonable thinkers.  Reasonable budgets are like household budgets they must be constructed with common sense, leaders must be pragmatic.  Their budgets should have limits just as your household has limits after all it really is your money.

It is time to elect pragmatic conservatives to serve in government.  It is time for a realistic approach to spending.  We need a common sense practical approach, our budgets should be based on logical rational facts.  The time for budgets based on intentions, hopes and dreams is past it was the wrong road.  It is time for pragmatic conservative Republicans.

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Fooling The People, It’s A Government Job

 

When it comes to the Connecticut State Budget it does not matter which party the Governor is a member of if, the majority in the General Assembly can override any budget veto.  What really matters is the financial views and the political courage of the elected members of the General Assembly.

Unfortunately for two long under both Republican and Democratic Governors we have had too many members of the legislature that were either ignorant of economic reality or woefully short of character and courage to act responsibly.  Instead of dealing with a budget under generally accepted accounting practices they have turned to gimmickry with smoke and mirrors.  They have kicked the can of responsibility down the path to our future and they have gotten away with it. 

The people have been placated, with words of assurance as the financial foundation of our State has eroded and with it our employment opportunities.  The spinning of numbers and facts has confused and confounded the average voter into a false sense of security.

Today State officials tell us the job market is improving.  Should we believe it?  History is a great teacher.  In the past they told us the budgets were balanced while all the while the budgets were wrought with gimmicks and reflected more a fictional best seller than a truly accountable budget.

It is a fact that the unemployment rate in Connecticut has come down BUT and that is a big but, but it is not the end of the factual story.  There needs to be a more complete disclosure of facts so that we understand the real situation.

According to Connecticut labor statistics from March of 2011 through April 2013 the number of people working has continually decreased with Connecticut losing over 36,000 jobs.   There are now 67,700 less people working or looking for work than there were in May of 2010.  Some people have just given up looking for work, some have left the state, and some have retired without their positions being filled.

Lower unemployment should mean more employment opportunities but that is not always the case.  When you employ the smoke and mirror lessons of budgeting to unemployment numbers you hiding lost opportunities and denying reality. 

Doing business the same way we have done in the past and expecting different results is lunacy.  Kicking the can of responsibility forward will only continue to lessen opportunities and bring us closer to financial hardship.  It is time to make a change in the political balance of the General Assembly.

Being elected to the General Assembly is a government job but fooling the people should never be part of the job description.  It is time for a major change in Connecticut.  It is time to remove the agents of trickery, deception and gimmicks from office. 

It is time that Connecticut voters elected a legislature that more closely reflects the diverse opinions of our State.  A legislature constituted with a diversity of opinion that would provide for more open discussion, compromise and checks and balances.

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An Eye On Ackert, Part 3, Education A Risky Proposal

ackertThere is no question as to State House Republican Tim Ackert’s interest and dedication to education.  He is the Ranking Member for his party on the Education Committee and his resume shows a history of involvement with education.  Tim has a strong desire to improve educational opportunities but his latest proposal (HB-6178) needs some scrutiny.

We have all heard the expression, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  So let’s take a look at the path Mr. Ackert wants to walk, as he offers what is no doubt a proposal of good intention.

HB-6178 is An Act Establishing A Tax Credit For Donations To School Districts it is Tim’s proposal and his alone, with no co-sponsors.  Tim is asking to amend State Statutes to provide a tax credit to individuals and businesses that donate money, supplies or equipment to local or regional boards of education.  On the surface this sounds wonderful but below the surface the idea has trouble written all over it.

This is not a tax deduction proposal, it is a tax credit, and there is a major difference.  A deduction allows for the donation to be deducted from calculations to determine the amount of money from which taxes will be paid.  A tax credit on the other hand is a direct deduction from the amount of taxes due.  The impact could be enormous and devastating to some communities and equally devastating to state government.

This proposal opens a “can of worms” a “Pandora’s Box” when it directly diverts tax dollars to a specific line item without a vote of the community but rather by the actions of individuals.  It would allow for special interests to divert tax dollars to special causes.  If we applied the same thinking to other issues we could see diversion of funding for hunting, political races or environmental protection.

To illustrate the danger let me provide a scenario.  The Town of Coventry votes in May on a budget that is developed largely from Dec. to March.  If the budget were to pass in May it would be based on anticipated tax revenue to be collected starting in July.  If however, a tax credit were to be allowed where you could donate money directly to Boards of Education in lieu of taxes the amount collect could be substantially altered.

In many towns the largest employer is the Board of Education, like it or not those employees are a special interest group that could easily wait until the budget is passed then divert a huge percentage of tax dollars to their employer.  This action could severely harm the general government budget and in fact require layoffs and major cuts in services.

The problem gets exacerbated if other top taxpayers decided to also follow suit.  Major companies could as a public relations matter suddenly decide not to support government at all and divert all tax money to educations.

There is more to government than education, we still need, roads, bridges, fire and police departments not to mention other vital services.  While the example above points out the problem if a tax credit is allowed on local taxes the same holds true for state taxes.

This proposal is a case of good intentions with risky actions, potentially opening the door to financial disaster.  Opening a door to diversion of tax dollars by individuals and businesses, while well intentioned, is not good policy.  The allocation of tax dollars should continue to be a matter voted on by the taxpayers and or their representatives.

This series will continue with the next Opining Quill

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Filed under CONNECTICUT ISSUES, Coventry CT, COVENTRY EDUCATION, CT issues, POLITICS

An Eye On Ackert, Part 2 – Inmates, Taxes and More

ackertYesterday our eyes were on State House Representative (R) Tim Ackert as your voice in Hartford.  Today we’ll take a look at some of his ideas concerning the treatment of the psychiatric disabled, revisions for the gasoline taxes and the treatment of prison inmates.

The price of gasoline has again been sky rocketing upward.   Yesterday I passed at station in CT selling gasoline at $3.97 and I later purchased in Rhode Island at $3.69.  That makes me wonder, what is Tim doing about the price of gasoline?

Years ago Connecticut had a single “motor vehicle fuels tax” collected on every gallon of gasoline pumped at the local station.  Then in 1981 a second tax called the “gross earnings tax” was add. The original legislation imposed a 2% gross earnings tax on any wholesale and retail dealers in this state. The act included a provision prohibiting companies from passing the tax on to consumers, but that provision was just a political smoke and mirrors trick later struck down in the courts as illegal.  The tax remains today at 7% and is scheduled to increase to 8.1% this coming July.

Rep. Ackert has proposed an amendment to combine the taxes (HB 5871).  This would make the tax more transparent for consumers and reduce cost of collections.  While this proposal falls a bit short of reduction in taxes most people would want, even this idea has almost no chance of passing into law this year.

While Connecticut taxpayers pay higher taxes on gasoline than other states it is not the only area we excel, we also pay higher costs for operation of our prison system.  Tim is offering a practical solution to lower the cost.  He proposes, (HB 5945) to place any inmate sentenced to a term of incarceration of eight years or more to serve that time in an out-of-state correctional institution whenever such placement is possible.

Now that is not a bad idea, but he may want to include a proviso of economic advisability.  Government often does things that are possible but not always economically so let’s make sure the taxpayers are protected against an increased burden in the future.

Tim has also shown his concern for those suffering from psychiatric disabilities and wants to expand treatment and care for them.  His proposal (HB 5992) would permit health care providers access to the records of patients in a psychiatric facility for their treatment and also allow persons involved in formulating the patient’s discharge plan to communicate with the patient’s family members concerning the plan.

This is a worthwhile attempt to expand treatment and Tim also recognizes and considers the restrictions of the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the wording of his proposal.  Protecting and caring for the disabled is a compassionate role of government.

In the next installment of “An Eye On Ackert” we’ll take a look at a good idea that may be bad, but that judgment will be left to the readers.  Come back to see what Tim has in mind for education.

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