Tea Party Patriots Ordinary citizens reclaiming America's founding principles.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Senior Pastor at Old Stone Church & Former President of Downtown Cleveland Residents Association: "Vote No on Issue 7 - The Sin Tax"

The below is an opinion piece against Issue 7, the Sin Tax, by R. Mark Giuliano - the senior pastor of the Old Stone Church on Public Square and the former president of the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association...


Great things are happening in Cleveland, there's no doubt about it. As a downtown resident, immediate past president of the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association, and senior pastor of the historic Old Stone Church on Public Square, I have seen, firsthand, the emerging strength of our city core over the last six years, and would be discouraged, to say the least, to see it stop or even slow now. But a new Cleveland needs a new way of doing business and that could very well start by ending the so called “sin tax.”

Do our stadiums bring added economic and social value to downtown Cleveland and the region as a whole? Yes; clearly! The Gateway District alone is booming with new restaurants, pubs and, most importantly, new residents who bring a demand for more housing and retail in downtown such as the new Heinen's 33,000-square-foot grocery store at East Ninth Street and Euclid Avenue. Do the stadiums belong to us and not the teams who play in them? Yes; we are all shareholders. As owners and landlords of these community assets, do we need to provide periodic maintenance and upgrades? Again, yes; if we want pro sports teams and the ability to host major concerts and events, of course we do. But is a sin tax the way to get the job done in the most equitable and helpful way? Probably not.

Growing cities look for smart ways of powering their cultural economic engines. Let our esteemed council people take the lead by exploring more just and contemporary ways of funding our important stadiums and the economic dividend they bring.

Besides, the research shows that sin taxes do not work the way some revenue-hungry benefactors claim they do. In their 2009 article, "Taxing Sin," for the market-oriented research group, the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, Richard Williams and Katelyn Christ debunk the myths surrounding sin taxes: Sin taxes don't discourage unhealthy behaviors such as drinking and smoking (the original argument for sin tax). And more often than not, monies raised are less likely to fund programs that help those with unhealthy behaviors (research, cessation programs, etc.) and more likely to fund stadiums and the arts. Moreover, sin taxes create a codependent relationship, where those funded need those taxed to continue in their unhealthy ways in order to keep the revenue stream flowing.

Of greatest concern to me, and anyone else who cares about what is just, is the fact that a sin tax is a tax where a targeted group of citizens bears the burden of the whole. And sin taxes usually fall, say Williams and Christ, "disproportionately on consumers at the lower end of the income distribution," those least likely, financially speaking, to be able to enjoy the benefits of our pro sporting and entertainment events. A sin tax, in other words, singles out and places an unjust burden on the few, often those with less means, to generate benefits for the many.

The sin tax is an easy but unimaginative and grossly unfair way of generating necessary funds to sustain Cleveland’s amenities. I'm all for taking care of our stadiums and our exceptional arts programs, but why not do it through a fairer and more sophisticated, multilayered approach which spreads out the tax burden of stadium ownership while nudging up rental fees. Or, at the very least, why not extend a small fractional sales tax levied on all citizens? After all, if we all benefit, and I think we do, then we should all contribute. Let’s love the sin and hate the tax!

R. Mark Giuliano is the senior pastor of the Old Stone Church on Public Square and the former president of the Downtown Cleveland Residents Association.

Vote No on Issue 7
Stop the Sin Tax!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Art credit: zazzle.com

From Appleseeds blog:

The Easter Lily

The Easter Lily. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life—the spiritual essence of Easter.

History, mythology, literature, poetry and the world of art are rife with stories and images that speak of the beauty and majesty of the elegant white flowers. Often called the “white-robed apostles of hope,” lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. Churches continue this tradition at Easter time by banking their altars and surrounding their crosses with masses of Easter Lilies, to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and hope of life everlasting.

More of the history of the Easter Lily is here.

Happy Easter from Cleveland Tea Party Patriots

Junk Science Behind Junk Food

First, it was skyrocketing premiums. Then, it was non-compliant plans. Now, the far-reaching effects of Obamacare are coming to a vending machine near you. Food labeling regulations, namely Section 4205 of the Affordable Care Act, were finalized on April 3 by the Food and Drug Administration, requiring vending machines to now post the calorie content of all food items. This latest action sets into motion another costly measure that will have a profound impact on businesses.

Companies operating 20 or more vending machines, which dispense prepackaged and premade food items, will have to adhere to the new rule. According to the FDA’s own analysis, millions of machines will be affected.

“FDA estimates that there would be approximately 10,800 operators under the proposed requirements, controlling between 4 million and 5.6 million machines that sell covered vending machine foods. The initial mean estimated cost of complying with the proposed requirements is $25.8 million, with an estimated mean ongoing cost of $24.0 million… Per operator costs are estimated to be $2,400. FDA estimates that average per machine costs are less than $10 annually.” [1]
The FDA report tried to make this unreasonable mandate appear more palatable with its $10-per-machine breakdown. However, as Ohio Watchdog.org pointed out, it’s going to financially squeeze small businesses.
“Chris Heaton, director of sales for Enterprise Vending Inc., said his company can now begin to calculate costs. It won’t be cheap.

“It’s an investment without any return to the company,” Heaton said.

If the FDA estimates of less than $10 per vending machine for compliance costs are accurate, “the impact to Enterprise will be close to $500,000 annually.”

Based on industry estimates of one vending machine for every 40 adults, the total cost for Ohio businesses could be more than $2.2 million each year…

Does the FDA expect vending companies to eat the cost of the regulation?

“Unfortunately, that is realistic to expect,” Heaton said. “Just knowing the industry, the costs and the prices, there will be companies that struggle with the cost, the needed manpower, the labor and the printing to be able to cover the mandate with their current prices.”

He doesn’t think his competition will allow Enterprise to pass along the costs.” [2]

The added expense isn’t the only hurdle the industry faces in bringing the machines into compliance. The FDA originally estimated it would take 14 million hours annually for vending companies to comply. 

This generated outcry from industry experts, including National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Sr. VP Government Affairs Ned Monroe, who stated, “Our industry has always understood that consumers need access to product nutritional information, but requiring an industry to invest 14 million hours annually is absurd and sure to kill jobs. We are opposed to the colossal burden these regulations impose on our industry and this report just confirms what an enormous and unfair burden it truly is.” [3] Through further data collection, the FDA decreased the hours of burden to 816,000. [1] 

This massive effort to “fundamentally transform” vending machines into calorie-conscious reminders at the expense of businesses must provide substantial benefits to do all this, right? Think again. FDA openly admitted:

“FDA has not estimated the actual benefits associated with proposed requirements. Food choice and consumption decisions are complex and FDA is unaware of any comprehensive data allowing accurate predictions of the effect of the proposed requirements on consumer choice and vended foods.” [1]

What’s even more disturbing is that there are published studies proving food labeling does nothing to modify consumer choice or curb obesity. [4]

Expensive, ineffective regulations backed by junk science or assumptions – what else can we expect from Obamacare?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jenny Beth Martin on the IRS scandal: they want us in jail

Art credit: tsu3rdvp.blogspot.com

“One prosecution would make an impact” 
From Istook at The Washington Times:
IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader 
“They want to throw us in jail,” says Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin about the latest bombshell news of the IRS‘ targeting of the Tea Party movement.
Emails released under a federal court order showed the Obama administration’s Justice Department and the IRS‘ Lois Lerner discussed working together to find a tea party case they could prosecute for supposed false claims about political activity.
“One prosecution would make an impact,” Ms. Lerner wrote in one of her emails.
Ms. Lerner has pleaded the Fifth Amendment rather than testify to Congress. She faces contempt of Congress charges because she had already made self-serving statements before clamming up when questioned.
“Clearly they were trying to find ways to throw us in jail,” says Ms. Martin, co-founder and president of Tea Party Patriots, the largest national grassroots Tea Party group. “They were looking to trump up charges to throw us in jail,” she told me in an interview on my daily talk show on The Washington Times Radio Network.
“I cannot overstate the silencing effect this has already had on groups all across the country,” said Ms. Martin. “While the IRS lied to Congress … they were looking for ways to trump up charges to throw us in jail.”
The new batch of emails was not provided by the IRS to congressional investigators, but was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch.
One of the emails specifically mentioned “Tea Party Patriots,” so Ms. Martin said the news of the Justice Department’s coordination with the IRS caught her immediate attention:
“All day long I just kept thinking, had the inspector general not come out with his report, would I have been in jail yesterday? Would they have found some reason to throw me in jail and would my 11-year-old twins be wondering what Mommy did wrong to throw me in jail, when indeed I hadn’t done anything wrong. It was just this Obama administration, this corrupt administration, trying to make people who disagreed with them be quiet.
“It’s sickening. We have to get to the bottom of this. The people who did this must be held accountable. We will do everything we can to make sure they are held accountable. We are not backing down. We will not let this government intimidate us.”
Nevertheless, she says the IRS effort already has suppressed conservative groups: “I cannot overstate the silencing effect this has already had on groups all over the country.”
Ms. Martin also told my listeners that Tea Party Patriots has filed its own FOIA lawsuit against the IRS and the Treasury Department. The goal is to force disclosure of the secretive “off-plan” process used to develop proposed new stifling regulations on nonprofits that try to inform the public about what government is doing.
Responses to those FOIA requests were due in January, but the IRS kept dragging them out, most recently trying to extend its deadline until July. Instead, the Tea Party Patriots filed suit on April 15 to force the IRS to divulge the background and origin of those proposed regulations. More than 150,000 comments were submitted in response — a record number — mostly in opposition.
Ms. Martin says the regulations appear to be an extension of an out-of-control effort to target and suppress the tea party and other conservative groups.
“While they lied to Congress they were looking for ways to trump up charges to throw us in jail,” she told my audience. “We have government that has gone wild.
“To think that they were trying to throw volunteers in jail for speaking out against our government and being concerned about the direction of our country, for being concerned about our $17 trillion in debt … shows just how out of touch with reality and our founding principles the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., the Obama administration and the ‘Department of In-Justice’ are.
“It’s astounding that this is what’s happening in our government and our country. It’s not justice to try to punish people that disagree with you politically.”

Former Rep. Istook serves on the national board of Tea Party Patriots. Hear his daily radio show, noon to 3 p.m. Eastern, at www.kzlsam.com.   

Keep Cleveland Strong: Vote No on Sin Tax Issue 7!

It is time for all hands on deck to beat Issue 7 the proposed Sin Tax extension!  

Not surprisingly, on the pro-Sin Tax side the corporate cabal that has been fleecing the residents of Cuyahoga County for far too long - the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) - has been running a constant campaign of misleading half truths and shameful scare tactics in the efforts to pass the Sin Tax.

Under the leadership of the same so-called corporate & elected leaders supporting the Sin Tax extension, the Cleveland/Cuyahoga County has continually rated in the top rankings of Worst City, Most Miserable City or Most Dangerous to live in the U.S. (201020112012 2013).  

And, I guess in trying to out do themselves being the 7th most financially distressed region in the U.S. for 2012 - the Cleveland/Cuyahoga area was rated the #1 Most Miserable City to live and one of the Worst Run Cities in the U.S. in 2014!

So as you see - while the pro-Sin Tax cabal has claimed the tag "Keep Cleveland Strong" it is clear this Cuyahoga County cadre of corporate clowns just want to "Keep Doing Cleveland Wrong!"

Why Should You Vote No on Issue 7?

If giving more money to the same corporate & elected leaders whose continued failed leadership earned us the above "stellar & cellar" rankings is not enough to Vote No on Issue 7 maybe how they are continuing to fleece the region for their pet projects will....

We still owe approximately $70 million on the Gateway bonds and will be paying those until 2023 to cover cost over runs in building Progressive Field & Quicken Loans Arena and to cover the poorly negotiated team leases.

The same Greater Cleveland Partnership fronted groups pushing for the Sin Tax are made up from the same corporate social club that pushed and received the forced sales tax increase for the Med Mart. In which we just paid another $3 million to part ways with the original developer MMPI.

And in the latest endeavor of feeding at the public trough is the proposed redesigning of Public Square at the cost of $60 million by Land Studios - another Greater Cleveland Partnership controlled front group.  

The City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County have each pledged $10 million towards this project. That would be $20 million of your money! Forget about being responsible and using this money for their poorly negotiated leases, the Sin Tax or maybe important things like fixing our failing infrastructure & roads - we need more grass, green space and park benches! 

To summarize the Sin Tax -- 

The Sin Tax is set to expire in August 2015. 

Using their money & influence as the largest Chamber of Commerce in Ohio and one of the largest metropolitan chambers of commerce in the nation, the GCP had the GOP controlled Ohio Legislature add in a last minute provision to Governor Kasich's budget bill that would give Cuyahoga County the option to extend the Sin Tax beyond the scheduled 2015 expiration. 

Yes, the so-called "Party of Lower Taxes" controlling the Ohio legislature supported a tax extension. A better way of saying it is - the Ohio legislature dare not and know better than to defy the wishes of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.  

In conducting what amounted to nothing more than a dog & pony show for their pre-determined outcome and, without any meaningful discussions or consideration on alternative funding, the Cuyahoga County Council - doing their bidding for the GCP - immediately looked to your pocket book, and unanimously voted to put Issue 7 the Sin Tax extension on the upcoming May primary ballot.

To be clear with an indisputable fact - there was no need to immediately ask the voters to pay for the Sin Tax extension - there was plenty of time and it could have been put on the November 2014 or May 2015 ballot. And furthermore, there is no danger of losing our beloved sports teams should the Sin Tax extension be voted down.

If they wanted, the so-called corporate & elected "leaders" in Cuyahoga County had and still have more than enough time to explore alternative funding avenues for the Sin Tax.  

Without jeopardizing any funding or violating the leases, the Sin Tax extension could have been placed on the November 2014 or May 2015 ballot. Instead, and as usual in Cuyahoga County, they immediately look to the voters to support this "Billionaire Bailout" for the stadiums. 

By voting No on Issue 7 - it will simply force the so-called corporate & elected leaders to do their due diligence - which they did not do when the original leases were negotiated or now when they came straight to the voters asking for what amounts to a stimulus for the stadiums and/or a bailout for billionaires.

Most importantly voting No on Issue 7 will send a message that we the people of Cuyahoga County will no longer stand for the status quo that was supposed to have stopped with the Greater Cleveland Partnership pushed County Reform.

It is time to say enough is enough! 
Vote No on Issue 7!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Speaker Boehner's Electile Dysfunction

There is only one thing that can be said about this video - Priceless!

The below video is from J.D. Winteregg (http://www.jdwinteregg.com/) who is running against Speaker Boehner in the Ohio 8th Congressional District...

To find out more about J.D. Winteregg click here.