Friday, May 06, 2005

Speak Up!

I found it very rewarding to stand before the County Council and voice my opposition to the proposed wheel tax. I strongly urge opponents of new taxes, larger government, and more spending to do likewise, especially if you are a Libertarian candidate or official. It's an opportunity to let the councils know that there is real opposition, and that they could face continued opposition at the ballot box. The citizens who agreed with my positions came up to me after the meeting to shake my hand, and I talked about getting them involved with the Libertarian Party. Plus, a quote in the newspaper is always a possibility.

I've done the legwork for you. Here are some meetings coming to a Town Hall near you:

Monday, May 9, 7pm / Indianapolis / Smoking Ban
Monday, May 9, 7pm / Westfield / possibly, 1% Restaurant Tax
Tuesday, May 10, 7pm / Noblesville / possibly, 1% Restaurant Tax
Monday, May 16, 7pm / Carmel / possibly, 1% Restaurant Tax
Monday, May 16, 7pm / Fishers / possibly, 1% Restaurant Tax

If you are a resident of these places, you have standing to speak before the Councils and voice opposition to new taxes. You could be the persuasive voice that makes the difference!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Please Forgive My Cynicism

Actually, I'm a real sucker for motivational stuff- everything from the motivational speakers to their products, like the posters that have a picture of an eagle soaring over a canyon with a message about leadership. Also, I'm generally not a big fan of Dilbert or the kind of guy who takes the 'Same Stuff, Different Day' approach. I like work and believe in what I do, so that stuff is generally oppressive to me.

And yet, a co-worker led me to, and I laughed and laughed. The site' s parody of the motivational stuff I enjoy so much is so brutal, so hopelessly cyncial as to bring serious comic relief. After all, there is the man who loves what he does and has serious goals, and then there's the man who desperately needs for someone to take the piss out of him.

Here's a priceless example of one of their posters. It's an image of a snowball that has rolled down a hill, growing in the process.

A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of distruction.

Kind of like the Legislature! Sorry. Was that too cynical?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Meeting Notes

It was interesting to appear at the Hamilton County Council Meeting tonight to speak in opposition to the County's proposed wheel tax. Noblesville Ledger story.

The first thing that struck me was that there were five residents who appeared and spoke. All five spoke in opposition to the new tax. Four elected officials spoke. Three were in favor. Kudos to Commissioner Steve Holt, who spoke in opposition, urging the Council to let this pass for one year to see if the County and State resolve their differences on COIT money that the County claims is owed to it by the State.

Interestingly, the three officials who spoke in favor represent municipalities and serve on city or town councils. This new tax would generate money that is split between the county and the municipalities. In other words, it is a tax that the County Councilor would be responsible for enacting, but the city and town councilors who would not be on record as having voted for a new tax would still see the benefit of that tax in their municipalities. Keep in mind that all of these officials are Republicans.

Now, you might think that the County Councilors would object to this move by the cities, taking all of the money and none of the responsibility. Who would you complain to? The GOP County Chair? Oh, that's right. The Chair is Charlie White, and he spoke in support of the tax on behalf of the Town of Fishers, where he is a Town Councilor. The other Republican councilors who spoke in favor of the new tax: Terry Busby of Noblesville, and Kevin Kirby.

It was interesting to hear the County Councilors speak of cutting budgets. If you closed your eyes and forgot you were in Hamilton County, you would have thought that Democrats were speaking. One councilor commented: "What would you have us cut? Police or other safety forces?" It seems that whenever you suggest any kind of budget cut to a Republican or Democrat, the inevitable response is this. No, don't cut police or other safety. Look at everything else first. If departments get new vehicles every 5 years, make it 7. If new computers are bought every 3 years, make it 4.

There was a dare to inspect the budget and find the fat to cut. That's a challenge I'm willing to accept. I'm betting there is plenty to cut. That the Republicans can't- or, more likely, won't- find anything to cut, it just serves as further proof that they aren't the fiscal conservatives they campaign they are.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Laughable Letter

What happens when you drink the GOP's Kool-Aid by the 55 gallon drum? You write letters like this one, which appeared in today's Star:
The end of do-less, spend-more politicians

Gov. Mitch Daniels had a great start, but citizens are the real winners in the legislative session. Better conditions for business, lower cost of running the state and balanced budgets do not just happen; leaders must lead the needed change. For too long the state was run by spend-more, do-less politicians who cared little for how tax dollars were spent as long as they remained in power.

Those days are over, and we as citizens should remain alert to see they do not return.

Carl Hoffman

Let's see... The GOP dominated legislature saw to it that the budget grew and was not cut. The Republicans Governor added new layers of bureaucracy, and did not eliminate. Tax increases were put on the table. Some passed, some failed. No tax cuts were even put on the table. No spending cuts were put on the table, but some increases in spending that were lower than last year's increases were adopted.

With fiscal conservatives like the Hoosier GOP, who needs liberal Democrats? You don't want the days of the tax-and-spenders to return? They never left.

The GOP has no commitment to lower taxes and smaller government. The only way you'll get that is by voting Libertarian.
So, Where's The Surprise?

I was chuckling in amusement when I saw this morning's Indy Star's headline for the Colts stadium deal:

Surprise! Check the bill
Stadium deal lets cities raise dining tax but doesn't guarantee low-priced Colts tickets.

Surprise? Where?! This is precisely what I expected and predicted. This is exactly what has happened in virtually every other city that has provided subsidized sports. All taxpayers end up paying a portion of the bill, but the tickets in the new luxury palace are placed out of reach for the average or poorer taxpayer.

Why would you expect any different? The crux of team owner Jim Irsay's "problem" was that the team only made middling profits when compared to the rest of the NFL. He felt he needed to be up higher.

Well, if you do nothing to improve the product- which is very good, by the way- or fail to offer more of it, all you can do to rake in more profit is charge higher prices.

In the vernacular of the average 12-year-old: DUH.

Do read the entire article in order to find out how you will be further screwed. Several cities and counties were given the ability to raise taxes in their locales, with little direction on how to spend the money. You can bet that these locales will impose these taxes.

In Hamilton County, the next County Council meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4, at 7pm in the Commissioners Chambers, in the newer Judicial Center. I will be there along with other Libertarians in order to speak out against the raising of any new taxes, on behalf of the citizens of the county and the businesses that would be affected by them. Be there to speak out, no matter where you live!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Quick Convention Observations

The Libertarian Party of Indiana hosted its' annual convention this past weekend in Clarksville, which is on the Ohio River, just across from Louisville, KY. Top 5 observations:

1. This convention was very well attended, which is a great thing when considering that there were no high profile candidates to select for the ballot, there is no ballot in 2005, and the location was at one extreme end of the state. The delegate total was one greater than in the 2004 convention, which selected the high-profile gubernatorial candidate, and was staged centrally, in Indianapolis. This points to significant growth, and a commitment on the part of those from the northern part of the state.

2. The speakers were relevant. Too often, LP conventions feature little besides libertarian speakers. Don't get me wrong- I enjoy hearing top libertarian speakers. However, I got more insights from Jason Shelley of the National Federation of Independent Business than I would from, say, a James Bovard. Shelley represents small business owners, and that is a core constituency we aim to capture. Best to know what his group wants, and more importantly, what specific policies they suffer under.

3. The events flowed. Convention co-ordinator Cindy Kirkpatrick did a masterful job of making sure everything started and ended on time, so that there was a minimum of down time. Some down time is great, because it allows you to mingle. Too much is just boredom.

4. The focus on the floor was on business. Even with one contentious item on the floor for debate, no lines were drawn, and no blood spilled. Good direction of traffic and remarks by Chair Mark Rutherford made it so.

5. There seemed to be a growing readiness to accept my campaign. I like that for the obvious reasons, but more importantly, I had sensed a resistance to get involved with any campaign up to this point, mainly because the November 2006 ballot seems so far away. I think the majority of the members get the dual reality that there is serious business ahead as well as huge political opportunities to be siezed now.

All of this gives me hope for a spectacular 2006 convention. If trends continue, we will have more delegates and attendees than ever before, and business on the floor that points us towards more growth and to electoral success.