Thune: Tax Day Not a Happy Time for Hard-Working Americans

Tax Day Not a Happy Time for Hard-Working Americans

“We need to cut rates for families so that Americans can spend more of the year working for themselves, and less of the year working for the federal government.”

John_Thune,_official_portrait,_111th_CongressWASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) marked Tax Day, April 15, by delivering the following remarks (as prepared for delivery) on the Senate floor:

“Mr. President, it’s been said that April is the cruelest month.

“I think that pretty much captures how Americans feel as Tax Day approaches each year.

“This year, Americans will spend 114 days working to pay for their federal, state, and local taxes.

“In other words, Americans may have submitted their federal tax returns – or be getting ready to submit them tonight – but they’re still not done working off all their taxes.

“In fact, Americans won’t start earning a dollar for themselves until April 25, almost one-third of the way through the year.

“Americans spend 6.1 billion hours every year trying to comply with the tax code.

“That’s an average of 19 hours for every man, woman, and child in the United States – or an average of 76 hours for a family of four.

“Almost half of small businesses spend more than $5,000 each year on tax compliance – that’s $5,000 on top of their tax bill.

“Mr. President, paying taxes is never going to be at the top of Americans’ list of favorite activities, but it does not have to be the torturous process it has become.

“The tax code takes too much time to comply with, and it takes too much money from hard-working Americans.

“Comprehensive tax reform is long overdue.

“Unfortunately, instead of tax reform, under the Obama administration Americans have just gotten more taxes.

“The president’s health care law created or raised taxes to the tune of more than $1 trillion over its first decade.

“And several of those taxes have hit families making less than $250,000 a year, despite the president’s campaign pledge not to raise taxes on families making less than $250,000.

“Take the Obamacare medical device tax.

“Thanks to this tax, families are now facing higher prices on life-saving medical equipment like pacemakers and insulin pumps.

“Obamacare taxes are also driving up prices for families on essential drugs like EpiPens and asthma medications.

“Other Obamacare taxes are costing American families in other ways:

“The Obamacare employer mandate tax is discouraging employers from expanding and hiring, which means fewer jobs and opportunities for American workers.

“Then there’s the individual mandate tax that last year began hitting American families without government-approved insurance.

“For 2015, the individual mandate tax penalty is $325 per person, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

“In 2016, that tax penalty will rise to $695 per person, or 2.5 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

“But that’s not all Obamacare is bringing to tax season.

“This year, a full half of Americans receiving Obamacare health insurance subsidies discovered that they have to pay back some or all of their subsidies because they didn’t estimate their income correctly.

“Ultimately, just 4 percent of households receiving subsidies had the correct subsidy advanced to their insurance companies.

“Unfortunately, the confusion and mistakes are par for the course for Obamacare.

“The administration apparently finds the law so confusing that it sent out incorrect Obamacare forms to more than 800,000 people.

“And yet the administration wants us to believe that Obamacare is working.

“Mr. President, we need to repeal this broken law and its trillion dollars’ worth of taxes.

“And we need to reform our bloated tax code.

“We need to cut rates for families so that Americans can spend more of the year working for themselves, and less of the year working for the federal government.

“And we need to cut rates for businesses large and small.

“The U.S. currently has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.

“That puts American businesses at a huge disadvantage compared to their foreign competitors, and American workers suffer the consequences: lower wages and fewer opportunities.

“Reforming both corporate and individual tax rates would go a long way toward making American businesses more competitive and opening new opportunities and higher-paying jobs for American workers.

“And of course, any tax reform measure should include reforms to the IRS.

“From mishandled customer service to the agency’s most serious offenses – the First Amendment violations involving the deliberate targeting of groups for extra scrutiny based on their political beliefs – this agency is long overdue for reform.

“The IRS commissioner himself, John Koskinen, was quoted in Monday’s Washington Post as saying “We certainly can’t afford to have taxpayer service be any worse than it is, although it’s hard to imagine it being much worse than it is.”

“When even the IRS commissioner admits that the agency’s taxpayer services can’t get much worse, that’s a signal that the agency is ripe for reform.”


Hawks rumored to announce run against Noem?

One of my commenters pointed out the following in reference to the rumor about a Democrat Legislator announcing this weekend that they’re going take on Kristi Noem:

Inside word from people in the know in the Democratic Party is that it is Rep. Paula Hawks from District 9 (Sioux Falls, Hartford). She came in second in her last four-person race, beating the 3rd place Republican by 8 votes in a Democratic district. Doesn’t sound like a strong candidate to me but she is very tall.

Anyone have confirmation, so we can get a head start?

Who drank too much Kool Aid? Dem legislator to challenge Noem?

I had someone mention to me over noon that last night on the Argus Leader’s 100 eyes webcast, Jon Ellis mentioned that, this weekend at their state dinner, a Dem legislator is supposedly going to announce that they’re going to run against Republican Kristi Noem for Congress.

I hadn’t heard of any Democrat legislators suffering debilitating head injuries robbing them of their sense, so I can only assume one has overdosed on democrat Kool-Aid.

Anyone hear who this poor unfortunate soul being offered up for sacrifice will be?

Bosworth Trial coming up in about 30 days. Watch for the pretrial silliness to accelerate.

If you noticed in the right hand RSS feed column, Gordon Howie used his crayons this morning and is slobbering over Annette Bosworth by grabbing pictures off of her facebook page and elsewhere to try to convince people that we should have sympathy for her.

Why? Well, because she’s a mom and doctor, or course.  Albeit, a mom and doctor facing around twenty or so felony charges.

So, why is Gordon investing so much effort to defend an accused felon?

As has been orchestrated since her arrest last year (wearing pearls, with publicist in tow), the continued laments of Gordon in Defense of Bosworth would appear to be just another piece in some weird pre-trial publicity plan of team boz where her allies attack the prosecutor, discredit the witnesses against her, and try to portray her sympathetically to the Hughes County jury pool.

The common thread seems to be that both Team Bosworth and Howie share(d) the services of former sado/masochism pornography photographer Lee Stranahan. Bosworth has used Stranahan for publicity since slightly before her arrest, with Stranahan also acting as spokesman for her husband, Chad Haber in his laughable race for Atty General as a Libertarian. At the same time, Stranahan also did video and other work with Howie in his latest failed campaign .

The Annette Bosworth fraud trial is currently scheduled to begin on May 18th with jury selection, and testimony commencing about May 20th if everything takes place on schedule.

With that day drawing ever closer, it’s interesting to note that Stranahan has returned to SD, as noted by those observing his presence at the conservatives lunch last week.

Are we guessing when I argue that he’s traveled back to the state to be on-site for more on the weird Bosworth three pronged pre-trial publicity strategy? (Step up the rhetoric attacking Marty Jackley, Attack witnesses, and Portray Annette in a favorable light). I’m not so sure.

Could I be wrong about that? Sure. It’s entirely possible.

But let’s see how many manufactured stories we see pushed in the next thirty days.

Regardless of whether any publicity plan exists in the minds of the players or not, with the damning mountain of evidence against her, much of it written with her own hand, in about 30 days it could be just a matter of going through the motions for a conviction to take place.

And the circus might finally leave town.

Brookings election results

In case you were wondering….

The official results for the combined Municipal/School Board Election held April 14, 2015 are as follows:

One (1) Mayor for a Term of Three (3) Years:
Keith W. Corbett 1036
Tim Reed 1622

Two (2) City Council Members each for a Term of Three (3) Years:
Patty Bacon 1134
Lyle Bowes 1127
John L. Kubal 1115
Scott Meyer 1417

Two (2) School Board Members each for a Term of Three (3) Years:
Steve Bayer 1496
Trish Matson Buus 1413
Randy Grimsley 1672

The shadow campaign for Gov 2018 keeps bubbling under the surface.

As I poke at the Democrats for having absolutely nothing in 2016, because yhey offer the real possibility of no  contested statewide races; I keep hearing more and more on a couple of the players in 2018 as they attempt to move the chess pieces around on the table to try to start the game in their own favor.

From the reports I’m getting, Marty Jackley and Mark Mickelson are the most active, as they’re going around talking to people & asking for their support.  I had the second or third recent report of them making the rounds.

And as I’m told in a case or two they’re also trying to draw people away from the other guy.

While they’re doing this, Kristi Noem has her nose to the grindstone, and is worrying about her upcoming 2016 Congressional race.

With all this early jockeying, what I think would be really interesting is to find out where people are today on their commitments.  Are they a firm yes, and they’re willing to put their name on the dotted line and say “yes, I’m on team ____.” Or is the support of those elected officials that the candidates seem to covet far more elusive at this point?

Anyone care to make their declaration?

Rounds Opening Statement at Subcommittee Hearing on Management of EPA, Fish and Wildlife, Chemical Safety Agencies

Rounds Opening Statement at Subcommittee Hearing on Management of EPA, Fish and Wildlife, Chemical Safety Agencies

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, today provided the following opening statement at a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Management of the Federal Environmental Protection, Chemical Safety, and Fish and Wildlife Agencies.”

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

The Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight is meeting for the first time today to conduct a hearing on “Oversight of the Management of the Federal Environmental Protection, Chemical Safety, and Fish and Wildlife Agencies.  I’d like to thank our witnesses, Inspector General Arthur Elkins of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall of the Department of the Interior for taking time out of their schedules to be with us today.

I am honored to be chairing this Subcommittee in the 114th Congress with my friend from Massachusetts, Senator Ed Markey, as Ranking Member.  As Subcommittee Chairman, I plan to conduct thorough oversight over the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.  The Inspectors General from these Agencies can and should serve as a resource for these reviews and today’s hearing serves as a starting point for this Oversight plan.

Inspectors General are tasked with independently conducting audits and investigations relating to agency actions and programmatic mismanagement.  Not only are they an asset to Congressional oversight, but their recommendations are effective at correcting mismanagement, waste, fraud, and abuse, at the EPA and Department of the Interior.  It is essential the Inspectors General view Congress as a partner in this oversight process.

Throughout this Congress we will be focusing chiefly on good governance and making certain the agencies are operating transparently, responsibly managing taxpayer dollars and working to achieve their core missions without the regulatory overreach so prevalent in agency actions today.  More than ever we are seeing agency regulatory regimes expanding federal jurisdiction beyond their statutory limits, encroaching into private businesses, landowner’s rights, and the States’ ability to manage and regulate the environment and land within their own borders.

Additionally, the EPA and the Department of the Interior are moving forward with implementing major environmental regulations impacting every sector of the U.S. economy and affecting hundreds of thousands of American jobs.

We must make certain that the regulations these agencies implement are being written in an open, transparent process that allows for full public participation taking into account all views regardless of the agencies’ notions of their goals.  The EPA and Fish and Wildlife Service owe it to the American people to not only provide a thorough, transparent and honest analysis of how regulations will affect them but also to base these regulations on the most current and reliable economic data and sound science.

Notably, these IG’s have conducted recent investigations on mismanagement of the Chemical Safety Board, grant management, and administrative management issues.  I look forward to hearing a review of the work the IG’s have done regarding management of the EPA, CSB, and Fish and Wildlife Service along with an update of the reviews the IG’s are currently undertaking.  Again, I’d like to thank our witnesses for being with us today and for presenting their testimony.