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Friday, July 21, 2006
Kings Extort Arena Sales Tax
Yesterday, amongst much fanfare, it was announced that a group of local politicians had gone toe-to-toe with the owners of the Sacramento Kings and after much vigorous negotiation they gave the Kings ownership everything they had demanded. Then these same politicians declared victory for all concerned parties. This rather “French” version of victory disguised as complete and unconditional surrender is in the form of a quarter percent sales tax. It has been argued that this new 1.2 billion dollar tax will bring millions in new business to the Sacramento area.
This is nuts. If I offered you ten cents for every dollar that you gave me, you would rightly conclude that I either was insane or perpetuating some type of fraud.
That is unless you hold elected office. Then you would proclaim my virtue for giving you a dollar in additional taxes and then being grateful for the ten cent return on my tax dollar that I have been promised at some future date. If I go along with this scheme then I am called enlightened and community minded. And if I dare to call it a fraud and a money grab to cover-up some of the looming debt crisis that is built into the system supported by these local government politicians then I am selfish and anti-community.
Let’s look at the facts.
○ This tax is projected to result in more than double the amount of money required to build this project.
○ This over taxation serves two purposes: first it attempts to get around the law that a sales tax that is earmarked for a dedicated purpose requires a two-thirds majority of voter approval and secondly spreading more money around various cities within Sacramento County is a way to deal with shortfalls in revenue that have been papered over by developer fees.
○ Neither the City, County nor anyone else acquires any ownership percentage of the Kings. The taxpayers are only buying a very expensive building that will never pay for itself.
○ There is no land that is currently owned either by the Kings or local government on which to put the new arena. The rail yards are in limbo and may not be the ideal spot for this project. Everyone knows that the rail yards are a toxic waste zone and there are still many unresolved issues.
○ In the final analysis, all the sales tax money will go into the general fund of Sacramento County. The County will then spend it as they see fit.
○ If voters approve the tax and the Kings leave Sacramento after the November election, the tax will still be collected, even if the arena is never built!
This last point is important. Once the tax is authorized it will be collected. How it is spent is up to the Board of Supervisors.
Remember when Al Davis was looking to move the Raiders from Los Angeles back to the northern part of California and Sacramento Mayor Joe Serna got an authorization to raise fifty million dollars? Well the Raiders went back to Oakland and not Sacramento. So what happened to the fifty million dollars earmarked for the Raiders? The city of Sacramento quietly spent every last dime on other projects.
This sales tax is a one-way street. Once you head down this road you can never stop or turn around.
My preference is for the sales tax to fail. However, if there is to be a true stadium tax then let that be the sole purpose of the tax. Go for the supermajority approval. My other condition for building a new arena is that our community acquires some reasonable percentage in the ownership of the Kings in exchange for buying a new arena. .
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Israel At War
Thanks to Israel for opening up a front on the terrorists next door. Iran and their pawns need a good spanking. It is time you retook some of the land that you unilaterally abandoned to the Palistinians.
I just hope that the United States is providing some assistance to your efforts.
Read Yoni’s Blog at http://yoni.townhall.com
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
But They Were Such Good Kids
Children are often regarded as a blessing from the Lord. But for some, they are a curse and a shame. I have two instances that are currently being played-out in the lives of people with whom I am acquainted.
The family situations of these two children are very different. One family consists of a single mom; the other is husband and wife in a stable marriage. One child was raised in church while the one with a single mom has probably never heard a sermon.
Both children are in rebellion against their parents and society in general. Both under performed in school and want to party and be with their friends. Both are found in the bowels of MySpace.com. Text messaging on cell phones is their link to their friends. Abusing alcohol and sexual promiscuity are important components of social interaction.
Both children are financially irresponsible and are aided by others in perpetuating their behavior. One of these children is underage and is living at his girlfriend’s house with the blessing of her parents. What tales of his home-life he has told to them is not known but can easily be imagined. They are enabling his rebellion and re-enforcing bad behavior. The other child has credit cards; a sympathetic mother and a sugar daddy, professional athlete, that help her persist in irresponsible behavior.
Both children have broken the hearts of their parents. The hardest thing the parents have to struggle with is cutting-off their children while still hoping for repentance and enlightenment. Their desire is to have a restored relationship with their offspring.
Neither child was raised with an appreciation for the church or its teachings. This includes of course the Ten Commandments. The fifth of these is
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
Notice the part about long life as a promise of obeying God’s and their parent’s instruction. I’m sure that Rushdoony would argue that this is a two way street but when children willfully violate the instruction of parents, Scripture and civil law it is clear they are without excuse and will reap what the sew.
Many years ago, I was instructing the brother of one of these children in the Lord’s Prayer. He was ten years old at the time and raised in a “Bible Believing” Baptist church and never knew that Jesus has instructed that when your pray you should say
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The parent’s reaction was that she did not want her child “to be taught all that Catholic crap”. Sorry, it’s verbatim from the New Testament and there were no denominations back then. You either believed Jesus and followed him or you didn’t. (Seems like it is still that way today.)
Whether the parents made all the right decisions or not when they raised their children; neither family viewed their job as complete when their child chose to leave. “My house, my rules” is the universal motto of any responsible parent.
Now that the children have chosen to learn from the school of hard knocks, all we can do is pray for the parties involved and trust God that they will live long enough to amend their ways.