Thursday, June 02, 2005
I started this Blog with the intent to inform people in my district and the state of Georgia of happenings in the General Assembly. Maintaining this Blog by responding to individual posts (99% of which are outside my district and even Georgia) and by having to remove some uncooth individuals' vulgar comments, seems to not having the value added that I had expected.
I believe this is a good idea and may use it next session (Jan - Apr '06), but for now; I am siging out.
By RLF at 8:10 AM
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Here is some interesting information that I have read.
Under the Constitution, it seems, Congress DOES NOT have the ability to impose an income tax on incomes derived from purely domestic commerce.
NOTE: The Constitution makes specific statements that gives Congress the power to tax AND the power to regulate interstate commerce (commerce between the states). These are found in Article I, Section 8, Clauses 1 and 3:
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States." [Article I, Section 8, Clause 1]
"To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states*, and with the Indian tribes;" [Article I, Section 8, Clause 3]
The clause that specifically gives Congress the power to tax together with the clause that specifically gives Congress jurisdiction over interstate commerce would give Congress the power to tax incomes that are derived from interstate commerce if not for another specific statement.
The exception where Congress is specifically prohibited from taxing that which it was given the power to regulate is found in Article I, Section 9, Clause 5. Congress is specifically prohibited from taxing exports from any state:
"No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State." [Article I, Section 9, Clause 5]
These are the ONLY sections that address Congress' powers to tax. What is important to recognize is what is missing. Congress is NOT given the power to regulate intrastate commerce (commerce that occurs within the 50 states, from which most incomes are derived). Therefore, the absence of the power to regulate intrastate commerce AND the restriction on taxing exports from the states makes it impossible for Congress to impose a tax on incomes derived from purely domestic commerce (commerce that occurs inside or between the states).
The income tax law is completely consistent with this conclusion. Subchapter N, Section 861 of the federal income tax law (26 USC § 861(b) and 26 CFR § 1.861-8 and following) DOES NOT show that Congress imposed an income tax on incomes derived from purely domestic commerce.
Therefore, by careful examination of the Constitution alone, the reader discovers that the power to impose a broad income tax on the domestically earned incomes of residents of the United States that the public has been “led to believe” Congress possessed does not exist in the Constitution (therefore this power cannot exist in the law). There are two different TYPES of taxes that the Constitution permits Congress to levy - Direct and Indirect.
"Direct" taxes are per capita taxes or taxes on property.
- They must be apportioned.
"Indirect" taxes are taxes imposed upon the "importation, consumption, manufacture, and sale of certain commodities, privileges, particular business transactions, vocations, occupations, and the like" (Flint v. Stone Tracy, 220 U.S. 107 (1911)).
- They must be geographically uniform.
Apportionment means that the tax is divided up among the states according to population (which means that each person pays the same amount of tax).
Geographically uniform means that the tax applies the same regardless of geographical location in the United States (the same in Texas as in Ohio, etc.).
NOTE: The 16TH Amendment DID NOT change these Constitutional limits
By RLF at 7:48 AM
Thursday, May 05, 2005
Today House Speaker Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) appointed State Representative Ron Forster (R-Ringgold) to the House Taxpayer Bill of Rights Study Committee.
The committee will study the conditions, needs, issues, and problems regarding meaningful limits on state government taxing and spending powers as an effective method for accomplishing that citizen tax reduction. The committee was created by the passage of House Resolution 340. The study committee will end its meeting on December 1, 2005.
"I am proud to have the confidence of the Speaker to be selected for this committee. I will do my best in representing the people of Georgia in finding meaningful limits on state government taxing and spending powers", said Representative Forster.
Any suggestions from those of you who have seen examples of excessive taxation and Georgia state government spending?
By RLF at 11:53 AM
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the nation’s largest nonpartisan, individual membership organization of state legislators with over 2,400 legislator members from all fifty states.
Being the State Chair for ALEC, I have had the privilege to travel to conferences and meet other state legislators to discuss current issues. Normally there are three major conferences per year the Task Force Conference, the Annual Meeting and the State and Nation Policy Summit (SNPS).
This year the Task Force meeting will be held in Savannah (this weekend). The Annual Meeting will be in Grapevine Texas, and the SNPS is usually in Washington D.C..
The Conference will have meetings of the following Task Force's:
Commerce, Insurance & Economic Development
Health & Human Services
Tax & Fiscal Policy
Telecommunications & Information Technology
How it Started - More than a quarter century ago, a small group of state legislators and conservative policy advocates met in Chicago to implement a vision: A bipartisan membership association for conservative state lawmakers who shared a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty. Their vision and initiative resulted in the creation of a voluntary membership association for people who believed that the government closest to the people was fundamentally more effective, more just, and a better guarantor of freedom than the distant, bloated federal government in Washington, D.C.
I believe in education. I believe it is continual, that is why I volunteer for this organization to help educate our legislators on the issues, and to remind them of the constitutional principles on which this country was founded, so they (we) can make decisions based on fact and not hype.
By RLF at 12:53 PM
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The abuse of methamphetamine (a potent psycho-stimulant) is an extremely serious and growing problem. Although use of methamphetamine initially was limited to a few urban areas in the Southwest, and now rural areas throughout the Southeast are becoming more affected by the drug.
Methamphetamine begins with a normally inactive compound - ephedrine or pseudoephedrine - and other chemicals are added to produce the drug. Over-the-counter cold and asthma medications (containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine), red phosphorous, hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, lantern fuel, and antifreeze are among the ingredients most commonly used. These Methamphetamine "labs" create Acute Public Health Consequences.
Fatal kidney and lung disorders, brain damage, liver damage, blood clots, chronic depression, hallucinations, violent and aggressive behavior, malnutrition, disturbed personality development, deficient immune system, and methamphetamine psychosis, a mental disorder that may be paranoid psychosis or may mimic schizophrenia. Know the facts about this horrible drug.
Governor Sonny Perdue today visited the Food Lion Grocery Store in Chickamauga, Georgia to sign House Bill 216
. This legislation will help law enforcement combat the manufacture and abuse of methamphetamine by requiring products with pseudoephredine as the sole active ingredient to be sold behind the counter of a retail or pharmacy store. The legislation also establishes reporting procedures for wholesalers and retailers.
By RLF at 10:45 PM
Monday, April 18, 2005
The original bill banned smoking everywhere except your home (there was even mention of an amendment so you couldn't smoke in your car if there was a child riding with you). I don't smoke, don't like smoke, but I did not think it was right for the government to remove the right of private business to decide.
An extensive study at UCLA (initially funded by the American Cancer Society) shows no significant correlation between second hand smoke and increased risk of lung cancer or heart disease for adults. However many studies show significant correlation between increased risk of disease in children from environmental smoke.
Polls show that about 70% of people favor a smoking ban. Coincidentally, only about 27% of people smoke. Here in Georgia we passed a smoking ban, but exempted places of business with 10 or less employees, places that don't allow 18yrs old & under, places that have specific ventilation designed to exhaust outside, and the smoking cages at the Atlanta airport. I voted for almost every amendment.
By RLF at 8:06 AM
Saturday, April 16, 2005
I spent part of the morning Friday at a Hospital in Atlanta. My mother-in-law's mild heart attack turned out to be an "artery spasm". She is OK. Doctor said her arteries were clear - no heart damage - and she was discharged Friday afternoon. Left my wife with her mom & dad and went to the capitol to catch-up on mail and calls until after one [When we are out of session I have to make this >200 mile round trip at least twice a month to clear off my desk. E-mails and phone calls I can handle from my district office].
I then went to a Leadership meeting in Greensboro, GA where we discussed the house rules, legislative processes, and bills that passed last session. Comments were taken for what we did right & wrong. Suggestions were made for how we could improve the process for next session. This leadership meeting (the lunch, dinner and facilities) was not funded by tax dollars but by private funds through a House Political Action Committee.
By RLF at 8:45 PM