Updates: Electoral College, Carbon Tax, Tax Reform

The benches along this sidewalk are still missing, having been removed for the gun rights rally. Can we have them back for next week’s February Thaw?  Please.

By Steve Haner

Catching up on several issues previously discussed, with links to the original posts:

Virginia’s 2020 Electoral Votes Still Ours to Award. Pending legislation to enact the National Popular Vote regime has now failed in both House and Senate committees, although nothing is really dead in this process until final adjournment in March.  The House bill died in House Privileges and Elections Friday, with three Democrats joining nine Republicans to reject. The Senate version was stricken at the request of the patron a few days earlier. The National Popular Vote is an interstate compact of states agreeing to grant their electoral votes to the presidential candidate with the highest national total vote, but it only kicks in once enough states to control the outcome have joined. Perhaps the idea of Virginia’s electoral votes going to Donald J. Trump, without regard to Virginia’s vote, finally occurred to some Democrats. But complaints about the Electoral College persist and so will this idea.

Secretary of Natural Resources on Transportation and Climate Initiative. Twice last week Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler faced questions from Republican legislators about the state’s plans with regard to the proposed interstate compact on fossil fuels used in cars and trucks. He downplayed it. “It’s a conversation, it’s not a regulation, not something that is binding on the Commonwealth, it is something that is being considered,” he told a House subcommittee. To call it rationing was “hyperbolic.” He told a Senate subcommittee earlier in the week that he hadn’t even read the Georgetown University report released in December that indicated the carbon allowances fuel wholesalers would need to buy translate into about 15- to 20-cent-per-gallon of fuel. Strickler did promise that final decisions on joining TCI would be made by the legislature, presumably in 2021 (and after the administration’s traditional gas taxes are all safely approved). At the administration’s request, however, the House subcommittee used a party-line vote to kill proposed legislation requiring General Assembly approval to proceed with TCI.

We’re Going to Keep Looking at Tax Reform. Promise. As the final two House bills with strong tax-reform overtones disappeared from consideration earlier this week (there are no good Senate bills on this topic), House Finance Chairwoman Vivian Watts, D-Annandale, promised to keep pushing. In impromptu remarks Wednesday in committee she expressed, as she has before, concerns about how regressive Virginia’s income tax code is, placing a relatively high tax on lower income workers. Ironically, this will become more evident as the minimum wage shoots up (my comment, not hers) and the state takes a healthy cut off the top. The final two bills were from Del. Lee Ware, R-Powhatan, who sought to further increase the state’s standard deduction, and Del.Jason Miyares, R-Virginia Beach, who sought to provide the $220 “conformity rebates” to 2019 taxpayers who lost them by filing late returns with authorized extensions. The Miyares bill was endorsed 5-2 by a Finance subcommittee but was tabled in full committee. Ware’s bill never got a proper hearing at all. He was given two sentences to describe it before a motion to carry it over to 2021.

Life in the New Tight Security Environment Settles In. After the initial rough start, the Capitol Hill and Pocahontas Building regulars have adapted. There is a new way into Pocahontas off Main Street just for legislative employees with badges, and the line at the back door off Bank Street is not too long (at least not if you show up at 7:15 am when I now do). The Main Street entrance for the lobbyists, press and public can be tremendously long still. Compared to prior years, the police presence remains heavy, and one is seldom out of sight of a uniformed Capitol Police officer or State Police trooper. There are foot patrols on all floors, police standing in and outside of packed committee rooms, and teams trailing legislative leaders. The cost, if ever captured, will turn out to be enormous. For the gun rights rally two weeks ago the popular park benches on Capitol Square were removed and have not returned. With the temperature predicted to hit the 70s in the coming week, it sure would be nice for the traditional “February Thaw” lunch in the sun beside that lovely sidewalk that rises toward the Washington Statue to have them back. Somebody call General Services.

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13 responses to “Updates: Electoral College, Carbon Tax, Tax Reform

  1. Our intrepid reporter Steve reports:

    “Compared to prior years, the police presence remains heavy, and one is seldom out of sight of a uniformed Capitol Police officer or State Police trooper. There are foot patrols on all floors, police standing in and outside of packed committee rooms, and teams trailing legislative leaders.”

    My God, can this be happening? The Richmond leftists now occupying the State Capital are guarded by their own Jackboots, formerly know as State Troopers, right there in the building.

    Are these leftist state police akin to the Jackboots on Whitehall, have they really arrived in and conquered Richmond. Say it ain’t so, Steve.

  2. Steve suggests that “Virginia’s 2020 Electoral Votes Still Ours to Award”.

    That is good news, but for how long?

    Most likely, all our electoral votes within our states will be taken from us by the leftist majority as soon as the leftists gain a decisive majority in enough heavily populated states.

    Once that happens, the rights of the minority in national elections, including those in the great majority of non coastal states and small states, will lose all power over the politics of executive branch of their federal government in Washington DC.

    Thus the Electoral College will be neutered by unconstitutional means, whereby a majority of ideologues (really a few elite) destroy the Constitutional Rights of the rest of their American citizens.

    Of course by then, the Constitution’s rule mandating two senators per state also will be under virulent attack by the leftists, now intent on handing over absolute power in the Senate to themselves, the leftists, as well.

    The final act of destroying the Constitution altogether then will be the easy obliteration of the Federal Government’s independent judiciary and its court system. This third and last branch of our Federal government, after its forcible destruction, will also become the political arm of the leftist majority, and the injustices of these political show courts will ravage all its opponents.

    Hence, the dreams and ambitions of the American leftists dating back to the Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, and Bret Cavinaugh Supreme Court hearings will be realized in full, our Federal Government then rebuilt into a tool whereby the majority can terrorize an ever changing and diminishing minority.

    If all history be our guide, then this system of majority rule will quickly distill into a totalitarian state that is controlled first by an ever smaller group of oligarchs who, after eating all people in opposition and finally each other alive until exhaustion of all involved, will settle upon a single strongman.

    • Whoa, get hold of yourself, Reed! Just how will the “leftist majority” “neuter the Electoral College by “unconstitutional means”? If you are talking about the interstate compact Steve refers to, that is not “unconstitutional”. There is nothing in the Constitution that says how the electors are to vote.

      As for the two Senat0rs per state, the only way to change that is to amend the Constitution. Amending the Constitution is not “unconstitutional”. It has been done a number of times. And the legislatures in those small states that might lose representation in the Senate would have to vote to do so because three-fourths of legislatures have to approve an amendment for it to go into effect.

      “Easy obliteration” of the independence of the federal judiciary? Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have already accomplished that.

      • When government rulers rule by buying people’s votes with other people’s money, ripping off the public trust and treasury to enrich themselves, and by weaponizing the laws of the nation to instill fear in, and coerce, others who disagree with them, so as to force their rule upon everyone around them,

        In such events as you have now,

        then by definition you are being consumed by the fires of a lawless society, groveling and reveling with the devils in a state of brutish tyranny that is the norm for most all human societies historically,

        a fate that America has for roughly 230 years diluted far more successfully than most nations in human history,

        until now where we are likely to remain one election away from losing what’s left of a once great nation, losing all that in one last fall from any chance for grace.

        Of course, very very few people see this, since they are too busy dancing and gorging around the Bonfires of the Vanities.

        My best guess is that we’ve near crossed the line of phase one of the French Revolution and there likely will be no going back, a event we postponed by a hair after the Adams Jefferson election, and have done so miraculously for the ensuing 230 years, only now most likely to be on our way to being consumed by such chaos, despair, and human depravity most human societies endure, should we fail to escape the present course you and your political friends are steering us on relentlessly.

        Although now there appears to be a growing chance that the Democratic Party may in its feverish orgy of destruction succeed in consuming, obliterating, and blowing itself apart before it destroys the nation. Let’s all hope so.

        We’ve see.

        Meanwhile, I will forever treasure this memo of foolishness from current events:

        ““Easy obliteration” of the independence of the federal judiciary? Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have already accomplished that.”

        • I few days ago, I said:

          “Although now there appears to be a growing chance that the Democratic Party may in its feverish orgy of destruction succeed in consuming, obliterating, and blowing itself apart before it destroys the nation. Let’s all hope so.”

          It’s happening now in full sight of the entire nation. The Democratic party in a wild display of disarray just failed to hold Iowa Caucus of 2000 voters planned for a full year.

          Will we will now watch an historic dysfunction of America’s electoral process grow and spread in chaos? Increasingly now this appears quite likely. Watch the billionaires step into the void.

        • The hours pass by, one by one mounting ever higher, and still Iowa Democratic Party continues its silence, unable to tell the public who won its caucuses, or to tally any votes at all. Meanwhile, no less than five Democratic candidates there have mounted the stage to claim great victories for themselves over their opponents, powering each one of them on to collect almost sure victories in New Hampshire.

          Of course, too claims are being made of technical glitches in getting out the vote tallies, when the only rationale explanation at this point is that the caucus process is too complicated and requires to much cooperation and mutual respect for the voting process for today’s Democratic Party to handle.

          Here again, we are reminded too of what’s been happening in Charlottesville, Virginia since the spring of 2017 and now too in Richmond since a Democratic regime took control there after the last election.

          Meanwhile the Democrats years long Impeachment Hoax started in summer of 2016 continues, while the country’s economic and security health under the Republican Administration sails onward and upward, setting historic records across the boards.

      • By now it is becoming plainer by the day that what is happening right now in the Commonwealth of Virginia by reason of the leftist regime just installed there (whose virulent ideology is matched only by the leftist faculty regime installed at the University of Virginia), is quickly becoming the face of America’s future should the Democratic Party seize control of America’s federal government in the 2020 elections.

        Hence Virginia’s importance today on our national stage rivals its importance to the nation in the last decade of the 18th Century, say 1790 to 1800+. So what’s happening in the bowels of Virginia’s new leftist political machine today shows all of America what the new modern Democratic Party has planned for the balance of the nation should it gain full control in 2020.

  3. First day of volunteer taxes. Made a point of asking folks if they got their extra “refunds” 110/220. I got quizzical looks or “not sures”!
    Seriously. Got asked “what refunds?”.

    Oh… and there was no “heavy security”except, we DID have someone come around who said they were checking security and they wanted to make sure that the cookies on the table were not a danger. 😉

    • Yeah, those rebates were political genius, were’nt they? People flooded the phones at TAX asking, what is this? Really saved a bunch of R seats….oh, wait…..

  4. Just a thought about carbon tax, we already tax it out the roof. What I mean by that, we have natural gas home heat. Right now nat gas is at historical low price, but the homeowners do not see that. My perception is gas is $2 I think homeowners pay $8 bucks or so. Then that is only small part of bill, we also pay admin fees, which I can’t think of any service being done in return for the fees. So it seems like all profit margin. So while it probably makes some sense to tax carbon, the low hanging fruit has already been grabbed by someone. I’ll have to run some figures on nat gas to house vs. a heat pump. Then liberals try to say renewables are as cheap as fossil fuels, but that is sans all the profit margin (and gaso taxes etc) which makes up the lions share of the fossil fuel cost.

  5. @Tbill – where are you getting this? I use propane which is way more expensive than natural gas and my last delivery was $2.60 a gallon.

    By the way, we have a dual fuel HVAC, 10 years old so mature technology. It automatically switches between heat pump and propane depending on the temperature, i.e. it picks the less expensive fuel.

    It has nothing to do with “liberals” or fossil fuels or renewables or Climate – but simple non-partisan economics.

    And that’s all solar/wind are – in the basic scheme of things – just another fuel source that we can switch to (like that dual fuel furnace) when wind/solar are less expensive than fossil fuels.

    It just turns out that the more efficient we are, the more we conserve and the less we pollute.

    All of these things used to be just common sense conservatism – and anyone who cared about a dollar whether they were liberal or conservative – cared about conservation of energy and dollars.

    Now, I agree, in todays hyper-partisan environment, we got folks on both sides extreme flanks making this about politics but we still have an opportunity for enough folks to use some common sense – and support wind/solar if/when they make sense and not when they do not.

    I’m worried about Climate Change but I cannot change other folks minds, and we are on a course that is determined by how the majority think about it – for good or bad, life or death, – the fate of the earth is going to be decided by majority vote – and so be it.

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.

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