SB 58 American Laws for American Courts is in jeopardy

According to the Florida Family Association, “SB 58, American Laws for American Courts, did not make it on the agenda for the Senate Rules Committee for Monday, April 22, 2013.  This is the last Rules Committee meeting for the 2013 Florida Legislative Session.”

The Florida House of Representatives passed American Laws for American Courts (HB 351) by a vote of 79 – 39 on April 18, 2013. SB 58 has passed all other Florida Senate Committees.

David Caton of FFA notes, “The failure of SB 58 to be heard in the Committee on Rules was unexpected.  There are enough votes in the Florida Senate to pass SB 58.  Additionally, Governor Rick Scott has said that he will sign the legislation. So why is the bill not going to be heard there?”

One Senate leader is reported to have received 300 phone calls in opposition to SB 58 during the week of April 15, 2013.  The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida web site is devoted almost entirely to defeating the American Laws for America Courts legislation (SB 58, HB 351). 

“It would appear that those who advocate (CAIR) for Sharia law are influencing top Florida Senators to derail legislation that would prohibit Islamic law from being considered in Florida Courts,” states FFA.

FFA notes, “Time is running out. The 2013 Florida Legislative Session ends May 2, 2013.”

If Florida courts accept provisions of Islamic Sharia law or other foreign laws and legal codes which are inconsistent with American laws it will undermine public policies enacted by our representative form of government and change our value system,” states FFA.

Miami, FL: Good guy with a gun, stops bad guy with a gun

This story is courtesy of Michael Dorstewitz from BizPac Review:

National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre recently remarked, “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Florida man made this point crystal clear over the weekend.

At a Burger King on Miami’s Biscayne Blvd., a robber walked in, displayed his gun and demanded that a family turn over its valuables, according to NBC-6 News Miami.

What the robber didn’t consider is that Floridians respect the Constitution, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The father pulled out his own firearm and shot the robber in the leg.

Read more.

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

Illegal aliens receive $Billions Yearly via IRS Loophole

As part of National Tax Burden Month WDW –  Florida presents this column with videos of well known and documented tax fraud.

NBC Eyewitness News 13 in Indiana reports on a massive IRS tax loophole which provides over $4 billion per year in tax credits to millions of illegal aliens. In many cases recipients of American taxpayers’ misused monies have never set foot in the United States.

Watch this exposé put together by News 13 investigative reporter Bob Segall. He spent three months looking into this tax loophole:

Indiana is approximately 1700 miles northeast of the Mexican border.

A device known as the Additional Child Tax Credit is being used to pay for children living in Mexico — who have never lived here. One illegal admitted through an interpreter that his address is being used to file tax returns for numerous children, including multiple nieces and nephews. “If the opportunity is there and they give it [to him] why not take advantage of it?” he asked in Spanish. As a stunning example, thousands in tax credits have been awarded to an illegal alien who claimed 20 children live in a single trailer, that actually housed just one little girl.

“Our tax code should not reward those who enter the country illegally,” said Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-13). “This is unacceptable, which is why last year I voted to immediately end the abuse of the Child Tax Credit by requiring those filing a claim to provide a Social Security number – a requirement that would save taxpayers $10 billion over the next decade.”

The IRS is aware of the magnitude of this fraud yet has done nothing to rectify it. In fact, this is the IRS website giving ten tips on how to apply. The application forms are easily downloadable.

J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration says report after report sent from his office has been ignored by the IRS. 

Watch the below video as the Honorable J. Russell George, Inspector General, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, delivers his opening statement at an oversight hearing on Administration of the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit. October 22, 2009.

Heritage Foundation: Amnesty Costs 70 Times More Than Enforcement

The following is provided by The Heritage Foundation:

Summary:

    The Heritage Foundation issued two studies in 2007 pointing out that the big problem with mass legalization is that (a) most illegal aliens are low-skilled and therefore do not earn enough money to pay enough taxes to cover the government benefits they receive; and (b), amnesty would eventually make them eligible for the full array of welfare and medical benefits offered by local, state and federal governments. They found the cost of allowing illegal aliens to remain in the United States, and eventually to become citizens, would be $3.7 trillion through the year 2056. That works out to a present cost of $1 trillion, at a 5 percent discount rate. In other words, immediately upon passage of an amnesty bill, the United States government would need to put $1 trillion into an investment earning 5 percent per year if it were honest about paying for the costs of amnesty.

$14 billion cost of attrition through enforcement option #1.

Source: 

      Congressional Budget office Estimate for H.R. 4437.

Summary: 

      This option is the bill H.R. 4437 sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner that passed the House of Representatives in 2005. This bill would have been so effective in combating illegal immigration that some 1 million illegal aliens marched in cities around the United States on May 1, 2006 to protest it. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cost $1.9 billion over the 5 years 2006-2010, which we extrapolate out to the year 2056 using a linear model to account for cost increases. Then we use a discount rate of 5 percent to bring the future costs back to a single present cost figure.

The resulting cost was actually $13.5 billion, which we round up to $14 billion to facilitate comparison to the other cost figures.

$177 billion cost of attrition through enforcement option #2.

Source:

       Congressional Budget Office Estimate for H.R. 4088.

Summary:

    This option is the SAVE Act (Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement Act) that was introduced in the House of Representatives in 2007. This is a strong attrition through enforcement bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would cost $40.7 billion over the 10 years 2009-2018, which we extrapolate out to the year 2056 using a linear model to account for cost increases. Then we use a discount rate of 5 percent to bring the future costs back to a single present cost figure.

Detailed Explanation:

Amnesty Would Have a Present Cost of $1 Trillion

In 2007, the Heritage Foundation issued two studies, one on the cost of low-skilled immigration and one on the cost of amnesty. The study on the cost of low-skilled immigration noted that low-skilled immigrants do work hard: “It is important to note, these families are rarely idle; they consistently work and pay taxes. However, the taxes they pay are seldom, if ever, sufficient to cover the cost of the government benefits they receive. In consequence, these households must be continually subsidized by other taxpayers.” The Heritage study concluded that low-skilled immigrant households will cost native born U.S. taxpayers $89.1 billion per year over each of the next 30 years.

The Heritage report estimated that illegal residents comprise 41 percent of low-skilled immigrant households.1 Simple multiplication indicates that illegal-immigrant households cost the U.S. taxpayer $36.5 billion each year. Over 30 years, that works out to $1.1 trillion in costs. Using a financial calculator, we assumed a discount rate of 5 percent, and computed the net present value of a cost stream of $36.5 over the next 30 years to be $589 billion.

Cost to Taxpayer for Government Benefits to Illegal Aliens:

Years Cost Each Year Total Cost Present Cost @ 5% discount rate
2007-2037 $36.5 billion $1.1 trillion $589 billion
2038-2056 $144.5 billion $2.6 trillion $410 billion
$999 billion

 

A second report was issued by the Heritage Foundation a few weeks after the report discussed above. This report discussed the costs allowing current illegal aliens to become United States citizens. They will become eligible for the full array of welfare and medical benefits offered by state and federal governments. This study concluded that the $36.5 billion per year figure is valid for the next 30 years. The average age of an illegal alien is early 30s. Beginning 30 years from now, the current illegal alien population will retire. The problem is that low-skilled illegal aliens do not earn enough money to support their families, send remittances back to their homelands, and save adequate money for retirement. The U.S. taxpayer will be stuck supporting most illegal aliens in retirement. And each retired illegal alien is projected to cost the U.S. taxpayer $17,000 per year.

The Heritage report continues, that of the 10 million retired illegal aliens, some 8.5 million will live to the retirement age of 67 years old. At that time, the statistically normal lifespan is an additional 18 years. $17,000 per year for 18 years is $306,000. That is the cost of supporting one amnestied illegal alien through retirement. Multiplied by 8.5 million people, and that comes to the astounding figure of $2.6 trillion.2 Using a financial calculator, we assumed a discount rate of 5 percent and computed the net present value of a cost stream of $144.5 billion per year for 18 years from the years 2039-2057. The net present cost was given as $410 billion.

Attrition Through Enforcement Would Have a Present Cost of as Little at $13.5 Billion

H.R. 4437, The “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005,” had Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner as its original sponsor. This bill had several features to combat illegal immigration including:

  • mandatory E-Verify 6 years from date of enactment
  • end the “catch-and-release” policy for all persons apprehended at border
  • require DHS to reimburse counties within 25 miles of the border for the costs relating to illegal aliens
  • removal orders would become final more quickly and readily
  • facilitate removal of aliens who reenter the country illegally after having been deported
  • mandatory minimum prison sentences for offenses related to illegal entry into the United States
  • additional port-of-entry inspectors and canine detection teams

This was the bill to which Sensenbrenner offered an amendment to reduce the penalty for illegal presence (aimed at visa overstayers) from a felony to a misdemeanor (Amendment 656, Roll Call Vote 655).3 However, all but 8 Democrats voted against the amendment (in other words, they voted for upgrading illegal presence to a felony) because they wanted to use the provision as a rallying point from which to stir up opposition to the bill.

The passage of this bill attracted a firestorm of opposition from the open borders lobby, including illegal alien demonstrations in a number of cities on May 1, 2006.

The illegal alien lobby was opposed to this bill because it would have been effective. This is why we can safely conclude that effective attrition through enforcement would cost as little as $13.5 billion.4

Strong Attrition Through Enforcement Would Have a Present Cost of $177 Billion

The SAVE Act (Secure America Through Verification and Enforcement) Act was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on November 6, 2007. It never made it to a vote because the House leadership would not allow it. Among the key provisions of the bill were:

  • mandatory E-Verify 4 years from the date of enactment;
  • increased employer sanctions for those knowingly employing illegal aliens;
  • a “National Birth and Death Registration System” to reduce stolen identities;
  • 140 additional Criminal Alien Program (CAP) officers to identify and remove criminal aliens detained in federal, state and local facilities;
  • training at least 250 state and local law enforcement officers on how to perform federal immigration enforcement procedures;
  • 8,000 additional beds for illegal aliens detained by immigration officials;
  • 13 additional federal district judges in border states to increase the flow of deportations, including 4 for the District of Arizona and 5 for the Southern District of California;

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would cost $40.7 billion over the 10 years between 2009-2018.5

Exposing Tax Filing Costs

As part of National Taxpayer Burden Month, Watchdog Wire is presenting a series of interviews, columns and videos dealing with the current progressive income tax system. The current income tax was created 100 years ago with the passage of the Sixteen Amendment to the US Constitution.

As part of our National Tax Burden Month activities we are highlighting a series of videos produced by Kerry Bowers, the State Director for Nevada FairTax. For 13 years Bowers lived in Florida, the last 4 as the Panhandle Director for the Florida FairTax Educational Association.

According to the Fair Tax website:

The FairTax is a national sales tax that treats every person equally and allows American businesses to thrive, while generating the same tax revenue as the current four-million-word-plus word tax code. Under the FairTax, every person living in the United States pays a sales tax on purchases of new goods and services, excluding necessities due to the prebate. The FairTax rate after necessities is 23% and equal to the lowest current income tax bracket (15%) combined with employee payroll taxes (7.65%), both of which will be eliminated.

Bowers support to FFTEA and AFFT has been through legislative expertise specific to HR 25/S 122, computer presentations, and video productions. The following is a video presentation exposing the true tax filing costs born by every taxpayer.

To video more video presentations by Kerry Bowers go to his YouTube Channel.

RELATED COLUMNS:

When is your tax freedom day?

VIDEO: Buchanan Tax Reform panel raises disturbing future without major changes

Disclaimer: The author is on the Board of Directors of the Florida FairTax Educational Association

Bill Maher: Bloomberg’s Nanny State ‘Makes Me Want to Join the Tea Party and Marry Ann Coulter’

Clash Daily reports on an interview between Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Maher:

Here is the video:

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST: Mayor Bloomberg is somebody that…

BILL MAHER: [Sighs] Ohh.

KIMMEL: Now, what do you think of his efforts to protect us from carbonated beverages and the like?

BILL MAHER: I don’t like it. You know, I think it gives liberals a bad name. I really do. It makes liberals look like bullies who want to tell people what to do. And they never met a regulation they didn’t like. I mean, obviously we do have a problem with child obesity. I don’t want our children to be 99 percent Mountain Dew. But this is not the way to go about it.

You know, I mean, because, first of all, we all do something that hurts our health, you know? We all eat stuff we shouldn’t. Probably the optimal food for primates is bread, fruit, lawn clippings and rain. But at a certain point that gets old. And we just don’t want, I mean, we don’t want to be a nanny state like this. I mean, you know, I don’t know what Mayor Bloomberg has in mind, but there’s something wrong about the seventh richest man in the world sitting in bed at night thinking, “You know what people shouldn’t do? Drink too much Sprite. Let’s make that a law.” That makes me want to join the Tea Party and marry Ann Coulter, you know, and that’s not where I want to be.

Read more.

RELATED COLUMN: 

Harsanyi: Jeremy Irons rips Michael Bloomberg, Nanny State

Wealth is coming to Florida from guess where?

Governor Rick Scott is working to make Florida business friendly. One part of what is happening, missed by the media, is the transfer of wealth from other states to the sunshine state.

The website HowMoneyWalks.com has an application that tracks how money moves between states and between counties within states. This is a great resource for anyone interested in how wealthy individuals literally vote with their feet, and bank accounts.

Below is the over view of the wealth gain for Florida from 1995-2010:

Florida

Wealth Migration 1995-2010

Gained $86.39 billion in annual AGI*

*AGI – adjusted gross income as defined by the IRS. For most people AGI is the starting point in calculating their taxable income.

Gained Wealth From:

$16.76 billion   New York
$10.20 billion   New Jersey
$6.22 billion   Illinois
$5.89 billion   Ohio
$5.68 billion   Pennsylvania

 

Lost Wealth To:

$1.38 billion   North Carolina
$710.67 million   Tennessee
$465.83 million   South Carolina
$413.47 million   Arizona
$345.49 million   Texas

 

Looking at the sixty-seven counties in Florida we find that Miami-Dade is the only county that has lost wealth between 1995-2010. Here is the view of wealth loss by Miami-Dade County, FL:

Miami-Dade County (FL)

Wealth Migration 1995-2010

Lost $2.18 billion in annual AGI*

AGI – adjusted gross income as defined by the IRS. For most people AGI is the starting point in calculating their taxable income.

Gained Wealth From:

$312.84 million   New York County, NY
$159.88 million   Queens County, NY
$105.37 million   Middlesex County, NJ
$88.39 million   Kings County, NY
$83.80 million   District Of Columbia, DC

 

Lost Wealth To:

$2.15 billion   Broward County, FL
$299.04 million   Palm Beach County, FL
$121.28 million   Orange County, FL
$107.22 million   Collier County, FL
$107.19 million   Hillsborough County, FL

 

George Mason University report ranks Florida 23rd in freedom

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University released its Freedom in the 50 States report. The report ranks states on personal and fiscal freedom, primarily based upon taxes and business climate.

Governor Scott has made it his mission to improve the business climate in Florida. He has said that the axis of unemployment are : regulation, taxation and litigation.

According to the survey Florida has improved +5 in freedom since 2009.

Florida is ranked 23rd in overall freedom, 11th in fiscal freedom, 36th in personal freedom and 32nd in regulatory freedom. Florida is ranked 23rd overall.

Governor Scott likes to compete with Governor Rick Perry from Texas. Texas is ranked 14th overall in freedom. It appears Governor Scott and the Florida legislature have some work to do.

To see where your state ranks use the below map:

Study finds red light cameras cause accidents

Barbara Langland-Orban, PhD, John T. Large, PhD, Etienne E. Pracht, PhD from the University of South Florida (USF) conducted a study on red light cameras in 2008. They updated their study in 2011. Langland-Orban, et. al. found that red light cameras (RLC) increase the number of accidents at intersections by 28%.

The 2008 study found:

“Rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes and are a ticket to higher auto insurance premiums, researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health conclude. The effective remedy to red-light running uses engineering solutions to improve intersection safety, which is particularly important to Florida’s elderly drivers, the researchers recommend.

Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections. If used in Florida, cameras could potentially create even worse outcomes due to the state’s high percent of elderly who are more likely to be injured or killed when a crash occurs.”

“The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don’t work,” said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health.

The 2011 study update states:

“It is important for the public at large and federal, state, and local officials to understand that motor vehicle safety is advanced through evidence-based methods. Attempts to generate revenue through traffic citations are directly contrary to public safety since infractions are increased by improper roadway engineering, creating hazards and expense for the public.”

The 2011 study update indicates that the media is complicit in promoting the positives of red light cameras and ignoring negatives. The 2011 study update noted:

“One journal reporter, who requested anonymity, revealed that the media can be a source of misinformation on RLCs. She disclosed that special interests that profit from cameras have threatened to reduce or withdraw their advertising revenues if the news is not reported that RLCs provide a safety benefit. The reporter explained that with such threats, journalistic ethics permit an editor to report the advertiser’s perspective if also disclosing the contrary assessment that RLCs pose a safety threat, leaving readers to form their own conclusion. However, she explained that not all editors abide by this principle, which is compounded by the many controversies surrounding RLCs. For example, a Florida newspaper reported that their local poll found support for RLCs. The second half of the article mentioned some of the concerns about RLCs, which included using them to generate revenue, failing to save lives, failing to significantly reduce crashes, and increasing rear-end crashes (Thalji, 2010).”

Cities and counties install red light cameras as a “hidden tax” on motorists. RLCs are a new revenue stream for government and those companies that produce RLCs according to the study:

Comprehensive studies from North Carolina, Virginia, and Ontario have all reported cameras are significantly associated with increases in crashes, as well as crashes involving injuries. The study by the Virginia Transportation Research Council also found that cameras were linked to increased crash costs.

Some studies that conclude cameras reduced crashes or injuries contained major “research design flaws,” such as incomplete data or inadequate analyses, and were conducted by researchers with links to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The IIHS, funded by automobile insurance companies, is the leading advocate for red-light cameras.

 The Florida legislature is considering HB 4011 which would repeal the use of red light cameras in the state.

The Human-care Complex: How It All Began

Today, January 1, 2013 Obamacare taxes hit all Americans.

This is the second in a series by Watchdog Wire to explain how we came to implement this, the most sweeping of all legislation in the history of America. To read the first column please click here.

The question to be answered is: Who and what got us to this point?

Jeanne M. Lambrew, Tom Daschle and Scott S. Greenberger in their book “Critical” published in 2006 stated, “UNTIL THE BEGINNING of the twentieth century, medical care in the United States was inexpensive because it was largely ineffective.” The authors provide no evidence for this statement but it is this progressive ideal that becomes the foundation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (HR 3590) passed by the 111th Congress commonly known as Obamacare.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote in “Critical”, “When Progressive Era [1890-1920] reformers turned their attention to workers’ health, they decided to put compulsory health insurance on the national agenda for the first time. In 1914, the American Association for Labor Legislation began drafting legislation to provide workers with free medical care, paid sick leave, and a modest death benefit. By 1917, the AALL bill had been introduced in fourteen state legislatures. The fate of the legislation foreshadowed the health insurance debates that occurred throughout the twentieth century.”

The American Association for Labor Legislation was formed to promote uniformity of labor legislation and to encourage the study of labor conditions with a view toward promoting desirable legislation. The Association was founded as a branch of the International Association for Labor Legislation. Preliminary discussions about forming the group occurred during 1905 and culminated in the first meeting of the Association held on February 15, 1906, in New York City.

“Physicians, fearing that any third-party payer, especially the government, would regulate doctors’ fees vigorously opposed it. They were allied with the insurance companies, which worried that government health insurance would undermine the private life insurance market. In a 1918 referendum, the measure was soundly defeated,” wrote Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

While the arguments against government health insurance remain the same the progressive movement did not let it die.

In 1918 some unions supported the bill, but others joined with employers to fight it. Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), denounced the proposal as “a menace to the rights, welfare, and liberty of American workers.” According to Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger “[O]pponents of national health insurance would raise the specter of ‘socialized medicine’ to great effect.”

What happened next set the stage for the creation of the Human-care Complex.

Because people had so little money, hospital occupancy rates plummeted. In search of a steady source of revenue, hospitals began offering “prepayment” plans to certain groups, such as hospital employees, teachers, and firefighters. For a monthly fee, members were guaranteed free hospital care if they ever needed it. So began the road to human-care insurance based upon expanding access based on illness rather than health.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote, “The hospital prepayment plans endured, evolving into the Blue Cross system and becoming the model for group health insurance as we know it today. One crucial feature of the plans was that they were employment-based—that is, they were offered to groups of workers large enough to spread out the cost of caring for the sick or injured. Still spooked by the prospect of government-sponsored health insurance, many employers accepted the Blue Cross system as a more palatable alternative.”

But just like all private sector solutions created through necessity, the government took an interest and become more directly involved in human-care via the tax codes.

“Our employment-based system solidified during World War II, when the federal government [tax] exempted ‘fringe benefits’ such as health insurance from wage and price,” noted Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

And so it grew. To attract workers, who were scarce because so many men were in the military during WW II, some employers offered them generous health coverage. The government’s decision to exempt health benefits from personal income taxes accelerated the trend. Unions bolstered the nascent insurance system by cutting their own deals with hospitals and later with the Blue Cross.

The next column will look into the expansion of the government/human-care industrial complex from 1945 to today.

The 10 Worst Regulations of 2012

The Heritage Foundation published its 10 worst regulations of 2012. Here they are:

1. HHS’s Contraception Mandate

The Department of Health and Human Services on February 15 finalized its mandate that all health insurance plans include coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization procedures, and contraceptives. To date, 42 cases with more than 110 plaintiffs are challenging this restriction on religious liberty.

2. EPA Emissions Standards

The EPA in February finalized strict new emissions standards for coal- and oil-fired electric utilities. The benefits are highly questionable, with the vast majority being unrelated to the emissions targeted by the regulation. The costs, however, are certain: an estimated $9.6 billion annually.

3. Fuel Efficiency Standards

In August, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in tandem with the Environmental Protection Agency, finalized fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2017–2025. The rules require a whopping average fuel economy of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Sticker prices will jump by hundreds of dollars.

4. New York’s 16-Ounce Soda Limit

Not all regulations come from Washington. On September 13, at the behest of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the New York City Board of Health banned the sale of soda and other sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.

5. Dishwasher Efficiency Standards

Regulators admit that these Department of Energy rules will do little to improve the environment. Rather, proponents claim they will save consumers money. But they will also increase the price of dishwashers, and only about one in six consumers will keep his or her dishwasher long enough to recoup the cost.

6. School Lunch Standards

The U.S. Department of Agriculture in January published stringent nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs. More than 98,000 elementary and secondary schools are affected—at a cost exceeding $3.4 billion over the next four years.

7. Quickie Union Election Rule

In April, the National Labor Relations Board issued new rules that shorten the time allowed for union-organizing elections to between 10 and 21 days. This leaves little time for employees to make a fully informed choice on unionizing, threatening to leave workers and management alike under unwanted union regimes.

8. Essential Benefits Rule

Under Obamacare, insurers in the individual and small group markets will be forced to cover services that the government deems to be essential. Published on November 26, the HHS list of very broad benefits has created enormous uncertainty about the extent of essential treatment.

9. Electronic Data Recorder Mandate

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on December 13 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to mandate installation of electronic data recorders, popularly known as “black boxes,” in most light vehicles starting in 2014. The government mandate understandably spooks privacy advocates.

10. “Simplified” Mortgage Disclosure and Servicing Rules

In July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released its proposal for a more “consumer friendly” mortgage process, with a stated goal of simplifying home loans. The rules run an astonishing 1,099 pages. Then, one month later, the bureau proposed more than 560 pages of rules for mortgage servicing.

According to the Heritage Foundation, “It seems that no aspect of American life can escape government regulation. In the past year, regulators drafted rules that addressed everything from caloric intake to dishwasher efficiency.”

“Most of these rules increase the cost of living, others hinder job creation, and many erode freedom. Not all regulations are unwarranted, of course, but increasingly, the rules imposed by the government have less to do with health and safety and more to do with whether government or individuals get to make basic pocketbook and lifestyle decisions that affect them. And it is not just the regulators who are to blame. Congress writes laws that give unelected bureaucrats the broad powers they wield,” warns the Foundation.

Gov. Scott declares war on Citizens Property Insurance

On November 30, 2012 Governor Rick Scott addressed Florida’s 6th Annual Insurance Summit in Lake Buena Vista. During his remarks he targets Citizens Property Insurance as a threat to Florida’s economic future. Below are his remarks addressing Citizens Property Insurance:

In order to decrease costs for Florida homeowners we must increase competition in the marketplace by addressing major concerns with Citizens Property Insurance.

Citizens was created to be the insurer of last resort. Today Citizens is now the largest insurer in the state.

Citizens poses three major concerns to our insurance market for Florida families who dream of owning a home:

First, the existence of Citizens Insurance increases the chance that Floridians will be hit with hurricane taxes;

Second, Citizens is grossly underfunded; and

Third, Citizens inhibits new companies from coming to Florida resulting in less competition.

First, all of Citizens policyholders are subject to a special hurricane tax. Florida families could be hit with a hurricane tax at a time when they can least afford it, right after a devastating storm. And 79% of Citizens’ policyholders have no idea that they are subject to a hurricane tax.

Think about this. The average Citizens insurance policyholder pays a premium of approximately $2,300. If a storm hits that depletes Citizens’ surplus, either one big storm or several smaller storms, Florida’s families will be assessed hurricane taxes to pay for Citizens losses. This means that the average family with a Citizens policy faces a hurricane tax of over $1000.

A family may be forced to pay this tax even though their home wasn’t hit by a storm. A family in Tampa could be insured with Citizens and face a hurricane tax to pay for losses to Citizens’ policyholders in Miami.

If Citizens can’t pay its claims, the families with Citizens policies are first up for hurricane taxes. Then, once Citizens taxes its own policyholders, they will then tax every Floridian with an insurance policy in order to get additional funds.

So, Citizens Property Insurance poses a threat to each and every Floridian with an insurance policy. If Citizens can’t pay its claims, we are all on the hook for its losses. And Floridians can be taxed multiple times. Your homeowner’s policy could be taxed; your auto policy could be taxed. Even the policy on your family pet could be taxed.

That means that the average Florida family who owns a home and two cars could be taxed three times to pay for a Citizens’ deficit.

Most families have no idea that they are liable for the potential losses of the state’s largest property insurer.

My second major concern is that Citizens is woefully underfunded. Today, Citizens has a little over $6 billion in surplus. But one storm the size of Hurricane Andrew could result in nearly $14 billion in losses to Citizens. That’s an unfunded liability of nearly $8 billion dollars. The only way to pay for those losses is by taxing Florida families.

Finally, Citizens hurts Florida families by crowding out competition in the insurance marketplace, which limits the ability to reduce costs for homeowners.

I’ve traveled the state and spoken to numerous leaders of insurance companies to ask them: “What’s preventing you from expanding your business in Florida?” Nearly every time I’ve been told that the domination of Citizens Insurance prevents new companies from coming to Florida while also preventing existing companies from expanding in Florida.

How can any private insurance company compete with a government-sponsored entity that doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t need to charge fair market prices? It can’t.

Shrinking Citizens is the first step toward increasing competition in the marketplace and driving down prices for homeowners.

Shrinking Citizens will also protect Florida families from hurricane taxes.

And, shrinking Citizens will attract new capital to Florida and help to permanently reduce the cost of property insurance.

To make the dream of homeownership a reality for more Floridians, we must reduce the size of Citizens, which has grown from an insurer of last resort to an insurance giant in just a matter of years.

We began making some progress toward this goal by giving over 400,000 Citizens policyholders the opportunity to return to the private insurance market this year.

Of course, we must also ensure Citizens is not wasteful. I recently directed the Chief Inspector General to investigate travel expenses and firings at Citizens. This report will tell us what additional steps must be taken to enforce oversight and compliance within Citizens. A taxpayer organized entity must be held to the highest standards of integrity and good stewardship of the public trust.

Florida’s Fiscal Cliff Hanger

Florida’s government run Citizens Property Insurance Corp. has more than 1.4 million policyholders statewide. However, that number only reflects approximately 23 percent of Florida’s homeowners insurance market leaving 77 percent of Florida homeowners subsidizing Citizens policies.

According to Americans for Prosperity – Florida, “Nearly half (45 percent) of all Citizens policies in the State of Florida are held by residents living in just four counties – Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe Counties. Only two counties out of 67 have a majority of their homeowners insurance policies with Citizens (Miami-Dade and Hernando Counties), meaning private policyholders in Florida’s other 65 counties are subsidizing Citizens’ homeowners insurance for residents of these two counties.”

AFP – Florida notes that in Miami-Dade and Hernando counties, 100 percent of renters, businesses, automobile policyholders, churches, charities, local governments and school boards are subsidizing their counties’ Citizens’ policyholders.

How did government take control of Florida’s property insurance?

It all started in 1972 when the Florida Windstorm Underwriting Association (FWUA) was created under Democrat Governor Reubin Askew to provide wind-only coverage in coastal regions. This was followed by the creation of the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA). FRPCJUA was created in December, 1992 under Democrat Governor Lawton Chiles because hundreds of thousands of Floridians were unable to find homeowners insurance following Hurricane Andrew.

Finally, under Republican Governor Jeb Bush FWUA and FRPCJUA were merged in 2002, creating Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Citizens offers wind-only and all-perils property insurance coverage to Floridians without private insurance options.

According to a September 2012 white paper from the Insurance Information Institute:

Limited availability of insurance coverage for the most vulnerable property was a problem before 1992, yet became amplified in Andrew’s aftermath.

By the end of 1992, the FWUA had fewer than 62,000 policies and an exposure measured by total insured value of $7.4 billion.1 Five years later, with the formation of the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association (FRPCJUA), there were 417,342 policies in the FWUA, another 487,590 policies in the FRPCJUA with a combined exposure of more than $136 billion.2

As of June 2012, Citizens Property Insurance Corp., formed in 2002 through the merger of the FWUA and FRPCJUA, had more than 1.4 million policies in force with nearly $500 billion in exposure to risk.

Thomas C. Feeney, III, President & Chief Executive Officer, Associated Industries of Florida states, “It’s unfortunate that more than three quarters of Floridians, and all of Florida business owners, are burdened with the financial responsibility of subsidizing homeowners property insurance for some Floridians in addition to paying 100 percent of their own insurance premium. With estimates that suggest Citizens Property Insurance Corp. rates are roughly 33 percent below where they need to be in order to cover its risk and pay claims…”

“In addition to the unreasonable financial burden Citizens Property Insurance Corp. places on a majority of Floridians throughout the state, the structure of the state-run insurer has also allowed for subsidized, reckless development in the most hazardous and environmentally sensitive areas of Florida. It’s time to reform Citizens in order to protect Floridians from a financial perspective, while at the same time protecting Florida’s wildlife and coast,” says Manley Fuller, President, Florida Wildlife Federation.

The greatest threat to Florida, a.k.a. Citizens Insurance, is just one hurricane away from pushing all Floridians of a fiscal cliff.

RELATED COLUMN:

Florida property owners hit with massive tax increase.

Fired investigators uncovered evidence of misconduct at Citizens’ top levels

VIDEO: Florida Supreme Court Steals Family’s Property

American’s for Prosperity – Florida released the second video in their You Be the Judge project. It tells the story of the Koontzs, a central Florida family that has been fighting for their property rights for more than 18 years!

In 2011, the Florida Supreme Court invalidated a number of lower court decisions that stated the St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD) had effectively stolen private property from the Koontz’s.  The family was awarded $367,000 in damages but the Supreme Court overturned that ruling saying that it could cause government regulation to cost too much.

The video focuses on the 2011 case of SJRWMD v Koontz in which the court invalidated a number of lower court decisions that stated the St. Johns River Water Management District had effectively stolen private property from the Koontz’s.

This is another example of the Florida Supreme Courts willingness to base their decision on the potential policy effects rather than on core fundamental rights. The Courts bias for a heavy-handed government won out against the rights of a private citizen.

The judiciary must remain independent and impartial, but in order for that to happen citizens must be knowledgeable about the Courts decisions and voice their concerns when the court oversteps their authority.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Koontz case. For more information visit www.YouBeTheJudgeFL.com.

RELATED COLUMNS:

US Supreme Court accepts another PLF property rights case!

Commentary: SCOTUS to Hear Appeal of Florida Supreme Court’s Bad Call

American Public School Students Going Hungry?

The Huffington Post column “Michelle Obama’s Low-Calorie School Lunches Slammed By ‘Hungry’ High Schoolers” reports, “Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity initiative has been the subject of conservative criticism for some time, and now there’s another group joining in on the attack.”

The group that HuffPo is referring to are public school students, whose video titled “We Are Hungry” [watch below] about school lunches has gone viral.

The video beings with the statement – Active teens require between 2,000 and 5,000 calories a day to meet energy and growth needs (“A Guide to Eating for Sports“).

According to Beverly L. Girard, PhD, MBA, RD, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Sarasota County Florida Schools, “President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act on June 4, 1946. Though school food service began long before 1946, the Act authorized the National School Lunch Program. The legislation came in response to claims that many American men had been rejected for World War II military service because of diet-related health problems [recruits were undernourished]. The federally assisted meal program was established as ‘a measure of national security, to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s children and to encourage the domestic consumption of nutritious agricultural commodities’.”

Upon signing the National School Lunch Program legislation President Truman stated, “Despite our capacity to produce food we have often failed to distribute it as well as we should … Congress has contributed immeasurably both to the welfare of our farmers and the health of our children.”

Have we met, if not surpassed, the initial legislative intent of Congress? Do we need government to be concerned about those volunteering for our military services having diet-related health problems? Do we need to be concerned about the redistribution of food given our nation wide system of grocery store chains? Is government the best determiner of a child’s eating habits? Do taxpayers need to provide welfare for farmers?

Many citizens are questioning governments expanding role in the free and reduced lunch program as amended by the Health and Hunger-Free Act of 2010. The new guidelines — the first major overhaul of school meals in 15 years — mandate public school cafeterias serve less fat and sodium and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Taxpayers are also questioning the growing number of students on free and reduced lunches. Sarasota County, one of the wealthiest counties in Florida, has 50.37% of students in the district currently eligible for free or reduced price meals according to Dr. Girard.

Dr. Girard notes, “The determining body for the revised USDA meal pattern was the Institute of Medicine, chaired by Virginia Stallings, MD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania.” Why does one institution have such power in determining what and how much children should eat?

The lunch caloric ranges for students are: elementary students – 550-650 calories; middle school students – 600 to 700 calories and high school students – 750 to 850 calories. Dr. Girard states, “If a child eats lunch at school for the 180 days of the school year, they receive about 16.4% of the meals they eat in a year at school. Sarasota school lunches represent adequate portion size and nutritional balance.”

Michelle Obama is concerned about obesity in America. It appears that the free and reduced lunch program’s initial intent to address the diet-related health problems of our draftees is no longer needed. Perhaps it is time to reconsider the need for this federal program?

If obesity is a problem then is there an over redistribution of food in America?

Is this the the American version of Hunger Games?

In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat.” ― Leon Trotsky.

Leon Trotsky was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. He was one of the leaders of the Russian October Revolution in 1917, second only to Vladimir Lenin. During the early days of the Soviet Union, he served first as People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs and later as the founder and commander of the Red Army and People’s Commissar of War. He was also among the first members of the Politburo.

RELATED VIDEO:  “We Are Hungry” done by students from Wallace County High School in Sharon Springs,Kansas.