A Little Here And A Little There And You Have It - In Clearwater it is not unusual for the head city accountant to be asked to find funds for a non-budgeted special project. After all, if the city accountant does not know where city funds might be raided when needed, who else would know?
Being a good faithful servant, such funds for a downtown Clearwater project was found. $500,000 here, $600,000 there, and before long about $10 million was found. All as expected by city officials.
However, when you consider that some of the places where needed project funds were "found" might need to be replenished in the next year or two, the acting of borrowing from Peter to pay Paul is perhaps not the best long-term solution for city funding of special projects. However, none of this "finding needed money" is new in Clearwater, moving city money from one place to another when needed began its creative precedent years ago with previous city elected officials. Good grief, there was actually an insurance fund where there was no risk. Of course, those funds had been taken years ago when "found."
Yes, city officials have found over the years that finalizing the city budget is incredibly difficult. Mayor Frank Hibbard believes the city budget will be another difficult task for city officials for the next fiscal year. With new land values at record highs in Clearwater, especially Clearwater Beach, perhaps the increased tax base will help hold the ad valorem tax base. Tax increases in store for Clearwater citizens? Let's hope not, but time will soon tell.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION - ILLEGAL is the KEY WORD here folks. We have 11-14 million ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who are demanding their rights. I guess they do not realize more than 70 percent of U.S. citizens do not favor rewarding people who do not obey our laws.
Haven't we done enough of that?
Backlash - wait until the 2006 elections. People I talk to are mad as he-and-two- sticks!!
Speaking About Car Taxes - Where is the best place to buy a car or truck? A recent national study group released data that shows the following states and their tax rate on buying a car.
1. New Hampshire - 0 percent
2. Oregon - 0 percent
3. Alaska - 0 percent
4. Alabama - 2 percent
5. Delaware - 2 percent
33. Florida - 5 percent
49. California - 7.9 percent
One visitor recently informed me that her home state was less costly in overall costs to live than Florida. Made me wonder where such a place might be located - Connecticut.
Tony Snow New Press Secretary - Fox News commentator Tony Snow was appointed press secretary for the Bush administration.
Snow has many years of experience in Washington having served as a speech writer for the former President George Bush.
A fellow colleague of many Washington reporters, Snow may bring a fresh, new manner in which the national media could work with the press secretary's office.
Good pick by the president?
Possibly one of the president's best administration picks in recent months.
U.S. Needs To Increase Pay To Soldiers - I recently was talking to a six-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. He left the U.S. military service due to finances. 'I just could not afford to stay in the military, even though I liked what I did (underwater demolition, Navy diver services.)" The ex-Navy diver stated he made under $19,000 a year even with extra-duty pay benefits. "Tough to live on if you are married"
Made me wonder if the pay scale for U.S. Military needed to be revisited and upgraded. Was the military pay scale fair for all levels of commissioned and non-commissioned people serving our great nation? Can we afford to lose good soldiers because they can't live on military pay?
One of the things that really bothered me about the conversation was that this ex-diver said he actually filed for food stamps and was further rejected when trying to qualify for buying a home (due in great part to his low income.) Income level so low he could qualify for food stamps?
Hmmmm, let's see, big oil companies, like Exxon, are paying retiring top officials something like $200 million as a reasonable retirement package?
Bill Gates gives money all around the world (and gets a deduction) and our U.S. soldiers are on food stamps! Here is one solution to cut some of that Exxon waste. Place an excess profits tax on companies that provide necessary items like oil, water, food, safety? Perhaps you would not see excess profits, like Exxon's excess profits. (And no new refineries!)
I'd support the excess profit tax with the express condition that all of the excess corporate tax revenues goes to help bolster military pay. (Benefits are not a part of what I'm talking about, this is about salary.)
Just think, our illustrious politicians in Washington are avoiding these issues as well as illegal immigration problems that are causing economic havoc in several southern states … and then there is a West Virginia representative who increased his personal assets in four years from $500,000 to over $6 million, mostly in what he stated were "good" real estate deals brought by an ex-associate. No, this was not a Republican … but could have been.
Folks, if we can't be more than fair with young people risking their lives for us to live in comfort, then we likely will continue to lose good soldiers. Not a good picture in the long-run.
Bonds Hits Another Home Run - Barry Bonds hit another home run (710) which means he will soon pass Babe Ruth by merely hitting five more home runs … and close in on Hank Aaron's 758 home run record.
Of course, all of this historic home run hitting by Barry Bonds has created a stir among sports writers who believe Bonds' name should have an asterisk placed it stating he took steroids. In fact, some people are wondering if major league baseball leaders will allow Bonds records-holder recognition if an investigation shows Bonds had indeed taken steroids. (Which Bonds has denied.)
Remember Pete Rose, baseball's all-time hit leaders is not allowed to enter baseball's Hall of Fame due to gambling activities while a coach at Philadelphia. Rose has been banned … much like Shoeless Joe form such recognition.
Illegal Immigration Issue Getting Caught-Up In Price Of Gas Issue - There are two important issues confronting Americans other than the war in Iraq: Illegal immigration and the price of fuel.
Of course, and if you listen to politicians in Washington, they would rather confront big oil company profits than passing laws to lighten illegal immigration. President Bush has been careful not to lead the battle on either of these issues. Quite frankly, President Bush is hiding from big oil company issues (like windfall profits) and sounds like a political liberal from California when it comes to protecting our nation's borders. Perhaps these are a few reasons why his popularity has dropped to a meager 38 percent.
With the price of fuel increasing to record highs, Bush and other politicians are using the price of gas issue to abandon any tough enforcement on illegal immigration. Big mistake.
Most Americans are tired of politicians who avoid passing tough laws on protecting our borders. In 2006 voters will vent their frustration and hopefully some seasoned politicians will be ousted by newcomers who support tougher border protection. We shall notice political rhetoric on these issues in a few months. What do I mean by political rhetoric? After all of the emotional, fist-pounding speechmaking, many of us listeners will turn and ask, "What did he say?"
If Republicans lose some congressional seats in 2006, they should thank our "road kill" president who has avoided taking a stand on illegal immigration and big oil company profits.
United 93 - This is a movie you must see. United 93. It is showing at all local theatres.
Why should you see it?
You will walk away with a better perspective about 9/11 and how vulnerable we are to attack by terrorists (who would love to drop an atomic bomb on a few American cities.) In two years some nuclear experts predict America will be bombed using a nuclear device of some type. The same nuclear experts have predicted the weapons (bombs) would most likely come from either North Korea or Iran and would be about the size of a soccer ball dropped from a small airplane.
And you think we should not have a voice in nuclear bomb development in Iran?
See the movie.
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