Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Romney versus Obama

Posted: November 10, 2012 in Culture, Government, Politics

In some ways, America died on November 6, 2012.  Our Constitution has now been replaced by a “reign of witches” to use Jefferson’s phrase.  Should we despair?  Should we give up?  Should we start pandering to racial or ethnic minorities?  Have the American people abandoned the first principles of a free society?  Perhaps Jefferson can provide some perspective:

“A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolve, and the people, recovering their true sight, restore their government to it’s true principles. It is true that in the mean time we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war & long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission [secession], and when & where they would end? Better keep together as we are. . . . If the game runs sometimes against us at home we must have patience till luck turns, & then we shall have an opportunity of winning back the principles we have lost, for this is a game where principles are the stake. Better luck, therefore, to us all; and health, happiness, & friendly salutations to yourself.”  (Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Taylor, 1798.)

Okay, so right now we are “suffering deeply in spirit” but added to our misery is having to listen to a gaggle of Liberals and Republicans using the defeat of Mitt Romney to criticize conservatives!  Mitt may have run as a conservative in order to win in the Republican primaries but he ran as a moderate during the general election.  See:

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1012/82261.html

Now, here are a few things I said this year about Mitt Romney,

[Snip: a lot of criticisms of Romney.  He is too much of an empty suit to deserve a lot of space on this blog]

Then my concluding remarks:

These are a few of the things I said leading up to and after the nomination of Romney.  During the summer, the Supreme Court came out with its ridiculous Obamacare decision, wherein a penalty was suddenly transformed into a tax by that first-class idiot John “Taney” Roberts.  At that point, the only thing I could do was hold my nose and vote for Romney as the only way, save for outright resistance, to stop this judicial travesty from taking effect.  Now all that is left is resistance.

If the Republican Party nominates another moderate to run as their presidential candidate four years from now, they will deserve to fade away as a national political party, and good riddance.  Maybe by then a conservative party will have been formed, and can pick up the pieces of whatever is left of America.

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This was originally a part of the Multiregionalism and Race essay.  Because there was a long discussion in the comments section, I’ve decided to keep the relevant part of the essay here under the above title:

6.  Who was Carleton Putnam?

In the 1950s, many States in the United States still required racial segregation in schools and in other facilities, such as restaurants.  In this way, white society tried to exclude blacks from social interaction with whites.  I’m a white guy―at least from what I have been able to discern by way of visual inspection―but I’m sure if I had been around at that time, I would have been excluded just on general principle.

There are pictures from that era and even later times of white versus colored water fountains, or white versus colored bathrooms, or white versus colored basketball players―though I think I may be on good grounds in questioning whether there ever were white basketball players.  Such pictures have probably been faked and are part of a conspiracy to put whites into basketball games, for which they have no aptitude, and for which they have no native traditions in their own homelands that encourage basketball among native white children.

It is my opinion that most of the white vs. colored pictures sort of look like morality tales about how benighted things were in the past compared with our supposedly more enlightened age.  I can’t help but think there is a certain amount of self-righteousness at work in those who like to point out the sins of our forefathers, as if we have always been pure from sin and historically enlightened.  Modern “progressive” historians in their discussion of past racism often do so with a level of social self-righteousness that reminds one of the Pharisee who prayed thus, “God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are. . . .” (Luke 18:11).

In 1954 the Supreme Court of the United States rendered the Brown v. Board of Education decision that ended any and all school segregation in the United States based on race.  Prior to that time, the Court had upheld laws requiring separate but equal facilities: schools, universities, law schools, etc.  For instance, under the separate but equal principle if a State was going to have a white only law school, it would have to provide a law school of equal caliber for blacks.  If a State chose not to set up a segregated institution, and blacks were allowed to attend a white institution, there could be no discrimination against blacks who attended such a school.

Now, the Supreme Court’s separate-but-equal decision was more or less in keeping with the 14th Amendment.  Many people might not want to admit that fact, but then again many people do not want to admit that they enjoy a Charlie Sheen meltdown, or that they like to make genitalia jokes about Congressman Anthony Weiner mainly because of his last name, or that a Richard Simmons’ exercise video causes them to smile in a sickly way.  The fact is, the 14th Amendment only protected a black man’s fundamental rights (life, liberty, and property) not other political rights.  It was very limited in its focus, which is why another amendment was required to recognize the black man’s right to vote.

Many blacks were not satisfied because the 14th Amendment still allowed segregation and discrimination, and blacks who were represented by the NAACP wanted the Court to rule against all school segregation.  The Court obliged the NAACP in the Brown decision, which from our perspective was a wonderful decision in terms of its concordance with the Declaration of Independence.  Thomas Jefferson had nicely encapsulated the American principle―that all men are created equal, but that was only in theory.  It took a dreadfully long time for the American principle to be realized in fact.

Nevertheless, the Declaration of Independence is not the law of the land.  Despite the Court’s high-mindedness and good intentions, its decision was based upon specious reasoning about the 14th Amendment, bogus psychological studies, and worst of all, a lack of any Constitutional authority.  Under the Constitution, Supreme Court judges cannot set domestic policy for States, for such would be a violation of the 10th Amendment.  I’m not saying Judges don’t do it (to their shame) but they still don’t have the right to do it whatever they might say or do otherwise.  I can certainly rule anyway I like, but that’s because Judges are respectable folk in the community, and I do not have a reputation of that kind to worry about.

Unfortunately, the Judges decided to settle the controversial issue in much the same way Justice Taney had settled the slavery issue in Dred Scott, getting the result that was wanted no matter if it was based on flimsy grounds, and a rewriting of American history.  Still, the Brown decision is with us and even if the Court were to overturn the decision in the future, there is simply no way that schools or society would ever go back to segregation.

I would have preferred that race relations could have improved voluntarily and peacefully over the years, but the Judges blocked off the peaceful route and imposed their will on a society that was not ready for it.  The results were catastrophic.  The Court was allowed to get away with an un-Constitutional usurpation of power, and as a result race relations went downhill, black educational quality and achievement in schools reached bottom, and white flight from urban areas guaranteed that inner-city schools would be all black, a return to segregation with lower standards than before.

The Brown decision did not just worry those who saw raw “judicial activism” in the Court’s behavior.  It also lit a fire under Carleton Putnam, a Yankee businessman, who felt the need to defend the South against what he saw as Northern aggression.  In Putnam we have the segregationist mindset in full blossom, and it was mixed with a poisonous racialism that helped to discredit legitimate opposition to the concept of rule by judicial decree.

Render unto Amazon.com

Posted: April 21, 2010 in Government, Taxation

The following is a news report about attempts by North Carolina to tax sales of Amazon.com products:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-20002870-38.html

Now if Amazon.com has salesmen or representatives in a State, then Amazon must collect taxes on sales into that State.  That’s because it would have what’s called “nexus.”

Businesses have to be careful about that.  If they’ve got any reps going throughout a State, those reps would generate substantial nexus for sales tax, or even business license fees, a nasty little surprise for some businesses.

However, if a business has no reps or salesmen in a State, and only fulfills orders over the Web or over the phone, then there’s no substantial nexus, and they don’t have to charge tax.  The Supreme Court has frowned down upon States that try to force tax collections in those instances.  (See Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, National Bellas Hess v. State of Illinois, etc.)

Presumably, Amazon.com didn’t have any significant connections with North Carolina, so was not required to pay sales tax.  However, North Carolina is trying to collect customer information so they can hit up those customers for use tax.

Lots of luck on that.

It’s likely the Supreme Court would rule against it as a burden on interstate commerce, not to mention running afoul of privacy concerns.

I agree with the Congressional moratorium on Internet taxation.  One of the worst things about online orders is the shipping costs.  When you purchase over-the-counter, you don’t have to pay shipping charges, but every item purchased online costs you about $3 or $4 dollars or more of shipping per item.

I’ve cancelled a number of orders already because the shipping charges were too high.  This is a disadvantage online businesses have, and adding a tax on top of that would probably kill Internet sales.

In any case, I think it’s a long shot for North Carolina, but it would be nice if the Supreme Court would rule on it once and for all.

Vern

The Arizona Tax Research Association (ATRA) has come out with a paper supporting passage of Arizona House Bill 2512:

http://www.arizonatax.org/publications/positions/2010/2010hb2512.pdf

This bill would have the effect of preventing third-party tax administration, auditing, or collection for cities or counties.  Its immediate effect would be to prevent Revenue Discovery Systems (RDS) from contracting with cities or counties in Arizona.  (I used to work for this company.)  In addition, it would also presumably sever contractual ties between RDS and Bullhead City.

ATRA starts off by complaining about the additional administrative burden that is placed on businesses by Arizona’s two-track sales tax system.  In their view the current system requires businesses to keep “two sets of books for the payment of sales tax — one for the state and another for municipal tax obligations.”  They claim that if third parties do tax collection for the cities, it will make the situation worse.

This is misleading, however.  In Arizona, we have two different types of cities: program cities and non-program cities.  The non-program cities are self-collecting — mainly larger cities such as Phoenix, Tempe, Scottsdale, or Tucson.

Program cities are not self-collecting.  They are usually smaller cities who depend upon the Arizona Department of Revenue to collect taxes for them.

In the nature of the case, businesses will still have to keep “two sets of books” regardless of whether they file to the State or to a third-party.  On the Arizona sales tax return, it says “City tax for ‘program’ cities is also reported on the Form TPT-1.”  The instructions for the column B Region Code “identifies the county or city in which you conduct business.”  See:

http://www.azdor.gov/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=QNowY3CNLDo%3D&tabid=264&mid=868

http://az-elmirage2.civicplus.com/documents/Finance/Business%20License/TPT_1%20%20Instructions.pdf

So in actual fact, even with State collection of city taxes, businesses have to keep “two sets of books” in order to keep track of income earned in each jurisdiction.  So if businesses file with RDS, it will be no different from what they already do with the State.

A recurring complaint from ATRA is the “potential administrative burden” of audits.  They cite the Georgia Director of the Department of Revenue (DOR) as saying “it doesn’t make sense to require businesses to file a separate return for each county in which they do business.”

In addition, they cite the Director’s complaint that if the Georgia DOR collected for profit, collectors would be on “every corner interfering with legitimate business operations….”

This complaint is misdirected.  If RDS does the tax collections for Arizona’s program cities, businesses would not be filing returns with each city.  They would file only one return, viz. an RDS tax form.  The RDS form is much the same as the State’s TPT return, wherein the cities and counties are listed.  Thus, fears of overburdening business with excessive filing are not based on factual grounds.

ATRA speaks of “wrapping an extraordinarily bad idea” in the term “privatization.”  They believe the term is misapplied in that privatization “actually saves taxpayers money” whereas “contracting with RDS is an added cost to cities for a service that is currently free.”

However, the issue is not privatization, and I don’t know whether it would save money or not.  The issue is not money; it’s decentralization.  This is the true conservative position that I mentioned in my previous article “What Has Government Done to Our Money?”  The writer of ATRA’s article is confusing the libertarian idea of getting rid of government with the conservative view of decentralized government.

ATRA ends up with a reference to a class-action lawsuit filed in Alabama against RDS for a “series of violations to the Alabama Taxpayer Bill of Rights.”  I cannot comment on this lawsuit, since I don’t know the particulars, and couldn’t relay confidential information in any case.

However, ATRA’s claim leaves the impression that RDS is guilty of violating the law.  My response is that lawsuits are filed all the time by disgruntled taxpayers against taxing authorities — IRS and State revenue departments.  By ATRA’s reasoning, we should stop IRS and State tax collections for the same reason.

The issue here is not overburdening business, or the legality of third-party collections, or pending court cases.  It’s whether we are going to reaffirm a commitment to the conservative ideal of decentralization of government, or whether we will continue on the path of centralization and unresponsive, unaccountable bureaucratization.

Despite our current political circumstances involving socialized medicine, I believe the wave of the future will be decentralization.  It is too bad ATRA prefers to stand in the way of that out of a misguided sense of loyalty to the business community.

In the long run, decentralization would encourage both greater responsiveness by the cities to the business community and greater competition between the cities, thus lowering both administrative burdens and taxes.

Vern

3/29/10

For follow up, see:

http://www.bullheadcityaz.govoffice2.com/vertical/Sites/%7B1990D1CC-9371-444D-89E1-C42F66407C45%7D/uploads/%7B8C816B5C-5C75-4600-B0B6-62A2598EFF2E%7D.PDF

Note:  Revenue Discovery Systems does not give prior approval to any writings or links on this blog, nor is notified in advance of any writings or links on this blog, nor is responsible in any way whatsoever for any content expressed in any writings or links on this blog.   The views expressed above are my own opinions.

The man who flew his plane into an IRS building sounded to me like a purist libertarian, and right on schedule the purist libertarians have come out in defense of him.  Writing on the Lew Rockwell site, lawyer John Whitehead had this to say:

“Clearly, [Joseph] Stack is neither a hero nor a martyr. Nor is he technically a terrorist. Rather, he is the end product of a system that pays little heed to the disaffected, discontent and voiceless. And while Stack may have been alone in the cockpit of that Piper Cherokee plane, he is not alone in his discontent and frustration.”

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/whitehead8.1.1.html

Thus, Joe Stack, murderer and terrorist, was the end product of a system.  He apparently did not have libertarian free agency but was moved along by forces beyond his control.  This is, of course, the fundamental axiom of socialism (cf., Godwin, Fourier, Owen, et al.).  Continues Whitehead:

“Stack is representative of a burgeoning class of disaffected Americans who are waking up to the reality that the American governmental system no longer works as it was intended. . . .”

This reminds me of the moral equivalence crowd, who will not condemn acts of terrorism without somehow managing to blame the victims of it in the process.  Whitehead says Stack was “pushed to the breaking point.”  He finds a moral lesson in the incident, that it should be a “wake-up call to Americans.”

On the charge that Stack was spouting socialism or populism, Whitehead says, “But that’s the problem with people who can’t distinguish between politics and basic human decency. They have lost sight of their humanity.”

He does manage to say something critical of Stack: “The problem with the Joe Stacks of the world is that they keep relying on government to fix the problems, but government officials are not going to fix them because most of them don’t really seem to give a damn.”

So in Whitehead’s view, Stack was on the one hand forced by his libertarian desperation into flying his plane into an IRS building, but on the other hand was also forced by his anti-libertarian statism to fly his plane into an IRS building.

Whitehead’s solution for the “Joe Stacks of the world” — the “disaffected and alienated ones among us” — is (drum roll) “churches and synagogues and private institutions.”

Given that Stack hated organized religion, it’s difficult to see how churches, synagogues, or private institutions would have changed his behavior.

In his manifesto, Stack said that he grew up learning about American principles of justice, such as no taxation without representation.  However, “I have spent the total years of my adulthood unlearning that crap from only a few years of my childhood.  These days anyone who really stands up for that principal [sic] is promptly labeled a ‘crackpot’, traitor and worse.”

Stack interprets the American Revolutionary principle as practically saying no taxation at all.  Nevertheless, the facts are that the British were attempting to tax Americans to raise revenue, sidestepping colonial governments in the process — i.e., it was a kind of inverted Old Sarum politics.

The town of Old Sarum had no voters, but two representatives in Parliament, and then in the 1800s eleven voters who did not even live in the town.  Inversely, Revolutionary Americans saw themselves as having plenty of voters, but no representation.  This sort of thing happened on a large scale.

Colonists granted that England had the right to tax Americans for the regulation of trade, but not to raise revenue (without their consent).  It was not a simple populist anti-tax reaction.

We’ve had representative government for more than 200 years now.  If anyone is to blame for the development of byzantine bureaucracies and tax codes, it’s the American people.  They vote every election for representatives who add to the miasma.  Agencies such as the IRS or local taxing authorities are simply following the law as written by elected representatives.  So it is patently false that America has taxation without representation.

Stack practically admits this when he says, “I can say with a great degree of certainty that there has never been a politician cast a vote on any matter with the likes of me or my interests in mind.”

But it is one thing to complain about no representation (as the colonial Americans did), but quite another to complain about bad representation, as Stack did.  He confused the one with the other.

Stack then indulges in populist rants against corporations such as GM and against America’s health care system — with typical rich vs. poor rhetoric beloved of demagogues.

He then turns his attention to the tax code, and complains that it’s too complex even though it still holds taxpayers responsible to comply with all tax laws.

There’s no question that people are frustrated with complicated tax laws and they hate doing their taxes as much as they might hate (say) jury duty.  So what else is new?  Most who are overwhelmed will use tax software, or hand over their shoeboxes of tax information to CPAs or tax preparers.  And there are flat-tax proposals out there but if voters don’t elect the right people, nothing will change regarding our tax system.

Reading Stack’s autobiography, it appears he was a tax protestor with an irreligious bent:  He says:

“My introduction to the real American nightmare starts back in the early ‘80s. . . . Some friends introduced me to a group of people who were having ‘tax code’ readings and discussions.  In particular, zeroed in on a section relating to the wonderful ‘exemptions’ that make institutions like the vulgar, corrupt Catholic Church so incredibly wealthy.  We carefully studied the law (with the help of some of the ‘best’, high-paid, experienced tax lawyers in the business), and then began to do exactly what the ‘big boys’ were doing (except that we weren’t steeling [sic] from our congregation or lying to the government about our massive profits in the name of God).  We took a great deal of care to make it all visible, following all of the rules, exactly the way the law said it was to be done.”

So he got together with some like-minded tax protestors to exempt his income in the same way 501c3 organizations are exempt.  He goes on:

“The intent of this exercise and our efforts was to bring about a much-needed re-evaluation of the laws that allow the monsters of organized religion to make such a mockery of people who earn an honest living.  However, this is where I learned that there are two ‘interpretations’ for every law; one for the very rich, and one for the rest of us… Oh, and the monsters are the very ones making and enforcing the laws; the inquisition is still alive and well today in this country.

“That little lesson in patriotism cost me $40,000+, 10 years of my life, and set my retirement plans back to 0.  It made me realize for the first time that I live in a country with an ideology that is based on a total and complete lie.”

It seems Stack’s tax avoidance scheme was caught by the IRS, and he had to pay back-taxes.  He said that once the 10 years were up, he had dreams of being an “independent engineer” but was thwarted by the tax code.

His specific gripe involved the difference between employees and independent contractors.  The law in question was an attempt to prevent tax avoidance by computer programmers, et al. who were setting themselves up as independent contractors when instead they were really doing employee-type work.  For an explanation of the arcane tax issue, see:

http://www.taxfoundation.org/blog/show/25870.html

Since the law went into effect, software engineers and programmers who want to do piece-work for corporations, have to work for a third-party “broker” who then leases the programmer’s services for the jobs.  Companies want programmers to go through these third-parties.  If they just gave the programmer a 1099, the programmer could come back later and say they were really employees, thus exposing the company to FICA tax risk.

I happen to agree with Stack’s complaint, though not with his solution.  I see no reason why engineers or programmers should not be able to set up their own businesses as independent consultants and not have to pay third-party “pimps” or “headhunters” in the process.

But there are more than enough issues in the tax code to complain about.  The way problems are solved in this country  — including tax problems — is at the ballot box.

That was Abraham Lincoln’s point against the southern secessionists on the eve of the Civil War.  He said that “ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets; that there can be no successful appeal except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections.” (Lincoln, “Message to Congress,” July 4, 1861.)

It’s true that a heavily centralized, bloated government can make voters feel like little more than cogs in a machine and that they have no recourse against a vast, impersonal bureaucracy.  Nevertheless, the solution is decentralized government, not more government, and certainly not, as Lincoln said, a resort to violence.

Stack’s argument might be taken more seriously if there were some evidence he had actively supported efforts to decentralize government.  Instead, his populist ideas call for more government — stick it to the rich and to big corporations.  But that can only happen by making government larger and more centralized.

In addition, while Stack may have written letters, there is no indication he ever involved himself in local politics, joining local parties, or showing any concern for political process — which is the usual way things are done in America.

Despite the bad times, Stack was able to get work, but then he was laid off during the 1990s as a result of military base closings.  Later, he went through a divorce, struggled at business, then had to shut his business down because of the dot-com bust and post-911 security restrictions.  He then moved to Texas, and couldn’t find work, so he had to live on his retirement savings.  He says:

“I filed no return that year thinking that because I didn’t have any income there was no need.  The sleazy government decided that they disagreed.  But they didn’t notify me in time for me to launch a legal objection so when I attempted to get a protest filed with the court I was told I was no longer entitled to due process because the time to file ran out.  Bend over for another $10,000 helping of justice.”

So, apparently Stack did not respond to IRS inquiries or notifications within the legally required time, and thus could not bring the issue to court.  And here we come to Stack’s most recent problem:

“So now,” he says, “we come to the present. . . . [H]ere I am with a new marriage and a boatload of undocumented income, not to mention an expensive new business asset, a piano, which I had no idea how to handle.  After considerable thought I decided that it would be irresponsible NOT to get professional help; a very big mistake.”

So given all of his problems in the past with taxes, one would think Stack would give up his tax avoidance schemes.  But then he tells us he had a “boatload of undocumented income.”  And he also claims that a piano is a business asset, which would only be true if he were a professional piano player or music instructor.  He also mentions that his wife had unreported income.

The results were predictable: “This left me stuck in the middle of this disaster trying to defend transactions that have no relationship to anything tax-related (at least the tax-related transactions were poorly documented).  Things I never knew anything about and things my wife had no clue would ever matter to anyone.  The end result is… well, just look around.”

Like tax delinquents, tax cheats, tax protestors, or just sloppy taxpayers everywhere, Stack could not prove his income was exempt nor that his deductions were valid.  Not even a shoebox apparently as backup.  He says:

“I know I’m hardly the first one to decide I have had all I can stand. . . . Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn’t so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer. . . . Well, Mr. Big Brother IRS man, let’s try something different; take my pound of flesh and sleep well.”

He then concludes: “The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.  The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”

In actual fact, the communist creed is more like what George Orwell said: all are equal, but some are more equal than others.  Taxation is a fact of life, like death, and exists in any economic system, no matter how well-disguised or renamed.

It’s interesting to see that in Britain a Tea Party movement is beginning.  See:

http://www.tfa.net/the_freedom_association/2010/02/brighton-tea-party.html

However, as much as we might sympathize with those who oppose heavy taxation or complicated tax rules, we must remember that the original “Tea Party” philosophy was not about taxation per se.  It was about the nature of representation.  It is too bad that Joe Stack never learned this lesson.  For further discussion, see my essay on the American Revolution at:

https://vernerable.wordpress.com/politics-history/7-american-revolution/

 Vern

I write in protest of Arizona House Bill 2512, sponsored by Representative Rick Murphy.  This bill will prohibit Arizona cities and towns from hiring private, third-party contractors to provide tax services.

I work as a sales tax auditor for an Alabama-based company called Revenue Discovery Systems (RDS).  Formerly I worked for the Arizona Department of Revenue for about 18 years until the Arizona legislature “riffed” a third of the employees (a “reduction in force”).

Wise legislators don’t cut their tax administration and collections services during a budget crunch since tax auditors and collectors bring in many more times the dollars it costs to pay them.  But the question of whether Arizona legislators are wise is one that perhaps should be tabled for another time.

Unfortunately, HB2512 directly affects RDS’s ability to do business in Arizona.  It seems to me if the politicians at the Arizona legislature cannot even get their own budgetary house in order, why are they dictating to the cities with respect to their budgets?

I was surprised to see that ATRA, a supposedly conservative organization, supports the House Bill.  The main reason is that ATRA is responsive to business lobbyists.  These lobbyists are concerned that if cities start hiring private firms, businesses might have to do more paperwork.

I see this as a non-issue.  In fact, business will be able to file on-line and it would be a simple matter of transferring their general ledger sales information over to their online tax returns.  Why would that involve any more “paperwork” than businesses already have with the State?

Business lobbyists are also afraid retailers and other businesses will be subject to more audits.  However, RDS is not an auditing firm per se.  Their primary function is administration of taxes (accepting monthly returns, tax payments, business licenses, etc).  Auditing and collecting are additional services offered to the cities if they want to pay more for them.

I think the true conservative position in these days and times is that government should be decentralizing, not centralizing.  This bill would take away the right of cities to govern their own affairs, and would amount to unnecessary centralization of government.

Someone (in Alabama I think) has accused RDS of employing “bounty hunters” to go after delinquent taxpayers.  Apparently, being a bounty hunter is a bad thing in this person’s view!  In fact, the American institution of bounty hunting is an honorable profession.

But RDS employees are not bounty hunters, nor are they law-enforcement officials or revenue agents, nor can they capture people and throw them in jail.  Prosecution of tax cheats or delinquents is, and always will be, entirely up to state and city governments.

I think it’s sometimes easier for taxpayers to work with private auditors in that it’s not quite as “scary” as it might be in dealing with government employees.

RDS is not a get-rich-quick scheme for cities to solve their budget woes.  Just hiring RDS doesn’t mean cities will start seeing money flowing in like a torrent.  Lost revenue from the downturn in the economy isn’t something a private tax service can change.  However, RDS has enough experience and resources to enhance efficiency in tax administration, as well as to discover uncollected revenue.

Businesses will also benefit.  RDS is owned by a large collections firm, and they can presumably afford the latest in online technologies.  This will mean businesses will be better able to organize tax information.  Losing track of how much one owes in taxes can be unnerving.  So, reporting taxes to RDS can provide businesses a way to stay on top of all their tax obligations.

The bottom line is that cities should have the freedom to organize their departments, including their tax departments, in whatever way they deem beneficial.  If that includes hiring private companies, that should be their choice.

House Bill 2512 is therefore unconservative: it diminishes the freedom of local governments; it discriminates against one or two companies since the legislation will have a direct impact upon the ability of RDS to establish a business in Arizona; and it will rob cities and towns and businesses of the efficiencies that can be brought about by an experienced private tax service.

For these reasons it should be rejected.

Vern

2/13/2010

Note:  Revenue Discovery Systems does not give prior approval to any writings or links on this blog, nor is notified in advance of any writings or links on this blog, nor is responsible in any way whatsoever for any content expressed in any writings or links on this blog.   The views expressed above are my own opinions.

Ron Paulism

Posted: December 26, 2009 in Government, Politics

Here’s a good example of why many of us consider Ron Paul and his followers to be just short of having all their accounts balanced.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul627.html

Vern