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Archive for May, 2010

Memorial Day

As I have said repeatedly, this is the day we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice defending what legislators so cavalierly vote away. We can’t go on living this way, Comrade.

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Do You Enjoy Federal Air Conditioning?

Do you need a new refrigerator? Why, you little general welfare case. Tomorrow, you can buy a green appliance on a gamble that you’ll receive a 15% rebate, thanks to the NC General Assembly’s decision to appropriate another $1 million in ARRA funds for that purpose. The first round of rebates, already spent $7 million. It was billed as coinciding with Earth Day celebrations. Then, people could just walk in a store and anonymously collect their rebates. Now, they will have to buy the appliance and then reserve their rebate online and mail in a form if they want their rebates badly enough. Rebates will stop when the money is gone.

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Quarreling in Graham

May 17, the Graham County sheriff’s office was destroyed by arson. The commissioners and Sheriff Moody have since been at odds over whether or not he should set up shop in the old Wachovia building. To resolve the matter, Roger West (R-Marble) introduced legislation in the General Assembly. West explained:

What our bill will do is a safeguard if the commission cuts his budget and takes his equipment.

The bill specifies nothing:

4 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
5 SECTION 1. This act is designed to provide relief relating to statutory duties of
6 Graham County due to a fire that destroyed the Sheriff’s Department.
7 SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law.

The legislation is not so special in the sense that similar action was previously taken on behalf of Clay County.

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As We’re $1.7B Shy of $13T

The historic Jackson County courthouse is to be converted into a regional library. Renovations are estimated at $1.4 million.

Fundraisers were recently “excited” by receipt of $200,000 from the ARRA via the US Department of Agriculture. The article (which sports a photo of the welfare case) stated five times the funds will pay for “furniture, fixtures, and equipment.” No further elaboration was provided. Fundraisers had already raised $1,725,985.38 toward their $1.6 million goal. Thanks to the general welfare, they will now have more money to buy books, books on tape, and CD’s. Fundraisers encourage the community to continue to contribute nonetheless.

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If I Had a Dime for Every . . .

The powers that be in West Jefferson, Ashe County, want to overlay an ETJ on people who don’t want it. The reasons expressed by the opposition are the same as always. They don’t want the city putting sleaze shops in their neighborhoods, they don’t want to go homeless because they can’t afford to build to code should something happen to their grandfathered abode, they think billboards are actually good for the private-sector economy, and they want the power to vote any bum who would subject them to hyper-regulation and make them pay for the “service” out of office.

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Harbinger of Rock Bottom

A recurring theme in today’s news is local governments going around trying to recover money they feel is rightly owed them.

  • Tuesday was UNC legislative day, and a delegation of university representatives lobbied against proposals that could result in a $239.8 million funding cut for the state’s education system – lottery and strange expenditures notwithstanding.

  • The Canton Board of Aldermen crashed a meeting of the Haywood County Commissioners to appeal for restoration of its annual $30,000 recreational disbursement. The city has plans for spending up to $400,000 on recreational facilities, and faults the county for planning a $6.3 million sports complex.
  • Swain County invested in a jail hoping to earn money off housing federal inmates. Then, The Eastern Band of the Cherokee announced it wanted to build its own prison and thus capture a substantial share of the prisoner market. Now, Swain wants relief.
  • The City of Asheville is hitting all news sources for wanting to get back $2,000,000 it loaned to the Pack Square Conservancy.
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America Needs You, Dudley Doright

News: The state wants to get $7 million from federal income tax collections and $2 million from state taxes to force a railroad where the market hasn’t supported it.

Analysis: Harry Reid has given the Democrat majority all the rope it needs, but Senator Snidely Whiplash says he needs “something to use it on.”

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Another thing the state can do to justify increasing its debt at the threat of going bankrupt is give money to talented grant writers to pick winners and losers in local businesses. All one need say is “Main Street,” and the audience is covered in warm and fuzzies. $1.95 million has been awarded to local businesses from the state’s Main Street Solutions Fund.

One happy recipient of your tax contributions is the Downtown Waynesville Association. It received $300,000 for a “growth opportunity” that will “revitalize” a downtown by converting an old theater into space for two beer joints, a pizza joint, and an artists’ space. The renovation is anticipated to cost $1.4 million. The entrepreneurs don’t have the money, but are relying on investors. And, since the raison d’etre of business is jobs, the project boasts creating 98 unqualified jobs.

To be fair and balanced, I will quote opposing viewpoints on projected outcomes for various sectors of the economy increasing their dependence on government for sustenance:

For every $1 invested by the state, an additional $4.72 will be invested by the local community. – Bev Perdue

Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him. – Isaiah

Wait. That last person wasn’t politically correct. Try this one:

Good bye. – Simon Cowell

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Old Habit: Paying to Surrender Rights

It has been said many times that private ownership of land is fundamental for a free nation. That is why weekly we see adverts asking people to accept local, state, and federal dollars to convert their lands into conservation easements. The NC Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund just generously donated $345,000 of the state’s hard-earned money in order to allow a Buncombe County farmer to surrender in perpetuity the development rights on the land he now owns.

Hopefully, readers of this article will celebrate, embrace, empower, and synergize support for a bill moving through the General Assembly that would appropriate another $2 million of the state’s excess debt for similar expenditures. If teachers grow weary of going up on the chopping block, the state is near bankruptcy. A few more proposals like this might help it reach its goal. According to NC Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler, “Two million dollars is not going to go very far . . .” He believes the state should be creating ten times as many conservation easements as it now does. Since 2006, the trust fund has provided $1.27 million for preserving farmland and supporting agricultural markets in Buncombe County alone.

“It also helps leverage federal, state, and county dollars,” said the article, and “That really contributes to the [declining] local economy,” said the quote.

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Nationalize Big Oil

Why are so many prominent advocates of limited government tricked into complaining the president is not doing enough about the BP oil spill?

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May 2010
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