People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

If The Irish Can Do It ...

Our elected leaders here in Southwest Virginia could take a lesson from the Irish when it comes to the creation of economic prosperity. Ralph R. Reiland, in Rioting for Ineptitude for The American Spectator, actually directs his remarks to similarly over-taxed and over-regulated France, but the analogy holds for this forlorn region as well:
Pursuing an Irish form of Reaganomics, Ireland deregulated the economy, flashed a green light to entrepreneurship, and cut the corporate tax rate from 16 percent to 12.5 percent, well under the European Union's average of 30 percent. The result was a markedly pro-business environment that generated a flood of investment, a jump in job creation, an expansion of incomes, and, overall, an economy that nearly doubled its size in the past decade.

"Ireland's success should be attributed to an increasing reliance on free markets," explains Benjamin Powell, a social policy analyst at the Mercatus Center in Arlington, Virginia. "Over the past 10 years, Ireland has catapulted from Europe's economic backwater to the forefront of European economies."
I think I see the makings for a Southwest Virginia Free Enterprise Zone. Slash corporate and personal income tax rates. Reduce the bureaucratic red tape. Ease up on the myriad environmental restrictions that stifle growth. And watch the area prosper like it never has before.

Or follow Tim Kaine (and the French) and continually raise taxes - and see the area slide further into economic ruin.
In a milieu that's doing its best to strangle the private sector with red tape, confiscatory taxation, and litigation, it's not surprising that the French economy operates with 23 percent of its labor force working for the government ...

What appears to be insufficiently taught in French universities is the historical fact that no nation has ever regulated, litigated, or taxed itself into prosperity. [my emphasis]
That having been said, the Democratic governor of the commonwealth of Virginia is about to raise our taxes again.

Guys like him will never learn.

Unfortunately, we here in Southwest Virginia are learning the lesson the hard way.

The French Would Be Proud

Montgomery County, taking its cue from the French (see above), is raising its already exorbitant property tax rate:

Montgomery County Board of Supervisors Announce [sic] Tax Hike
By David Grimes, NRV Today

In a marathon session, which didn't end until midnight last night (Monday), the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors voted to advertise the proposed real estate tax rate at 74 cents per $100, three cents higher than what was originally

Facing a proposed operating budget of about $133.2 million, the BOS on a 4-3 vote, opted to set the rate seven cents higher than originally sought.

... each additional one cent on the tax rate will bring in about $479,000 of new revenue for the county. (link)
Couple the increased real estate tax rate with skyrocketing property value assessments and you have the makings of a monumental problem for those citizens - particularly the elderly who are "asset rich but cash poor" - who are unable to pay. The increased tax rate will also push those corporations that had been trying to decide between Blacksburg and Dublin, Ireland as to where they will relocate their facilities and invest their billions into an easy decision.

Oh well. This will at least allow for construction on all those hiking trails and bike paths up in Montgomery County to be completed.

Senator Warner Must Be French Too

John Warner proves again and again and again why he has outlived his usefulness. Our illustrious (former) Republican senator came out foursquare in favor of Governor Kaine's massive tax increase yesterday.

The not-at-all-unexpected news:
Virginia Could Lose Its Federal Road Funds
By Michael D. Shear and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post Staff Writers

RICHMOND, March 27 -- Sen. John W. Warner warned Monday that Virginia will lose federal money if the state fails to reach a budget deal that increases funding for road and transit projects.

Warner, the state's senior Republican senator, praised Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine for proposing a $1 billion tax increase and challenged members of his party in the legislature to reach a compromise that allows Virginia to receive the maximum amount in federal matching funds. (link)
In response to Warner's threat that Virginia will lose federal funds if the House Republicans don't cave in to his and the Democrats' demands for tax increases, I offer this: Horseshit.

As for his call for another Republican surrender to the threats and dire warnings from the Democrats - and Senator Chichester - when are we going to say to them enough is enough?

They pulled this stunt when Mark Warner declared an education emergency in 2004 and got the House Republicans to agree to a massive tax increase. Now we have a transportation emergency that requires another massive tax increase. When we elect our next (Democratic) governor, we'll be told there is a Medicaid emergency. Or an environmental emergency. Or another education emergency.

If our brave house Republicans don't put a stop to this madness, we'll soon have an emergency-of-the-month for God's sake.

Enough is enough.

A Sign of Our Times

From "Best of the Web Today":

A small Easter display was removed from the City Hall lobby on Wednesday out of concern that it would offend non-Christians," the Associated Press reports from St. Paul, Minn.:
The display--a cloth Easter bunny, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words "Happy Easter"--was put up by a City Council secretary. They were not purchased with city money.

Tyrone Terrill, the city's human rights director, asked that the decorations be removed.
Well, this certainly makes sense. After all, everyone knows the Easter Bunny is a Christian symbol, which has no place in the public square in St. Paul, a city named after--uh, we've forgotten. Does anyone know where St. Paul got its name?

Ah, the irony. These people deserve the scorn they ask to have heaped upon them.

On The Illegal Immigration Mess

I think today's Roanoke Times editorial entitled "Get past the politics of immigration reform" has it about right if we're ever going to straighten out the mess created by past and present political leaders in Washington not having secured our southern border with Mexico - over the last thirty years.

Except for a clumsy swipe at Senator Bill Frist and a puzzling charge that the North American Free Trade Agreement is in part to blame for illegal immigration ("... because it created an economic imbalance that encourages people to sneak north." Obviously the author is too young to have had the opportunity to visit Juarez and see a far-worse imbalance before NAFTA was enacted), the reasoning is sound:
Tighter border security should be part of comprehensive reform, but it is not the entire solution.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., crafted a bill worthy of bipartisan support. They would let current illegal immigrants earn citizenship through hard work and would ensure that construction, agriculture and other businesses have a pool of workers from which to draw. (link)
There will be a lot of political bluster coming from both sides as this legislation works its way through Congress. And my guess is the Roanoke Times will still take a few more political swipes at Republicans despite the lofty title of this editorial.

But the illegal immigration problem must be solved. Yesterday.