Legal experts are now warning legislators that the current lottery bill is a Double Trojan Horse. It would (1) give Indians the right to demand a compact from the Governor to set up full-fledged, Las Vegas style casinos in multiple locations around the state and (2) the bill’s loose definition of “lottery” would enable the gambling bosses we have battled for years to reopen their casinos with slot machines and other games activated by so-called “lottery tickets” purchased at casinos that have been shut down in recent years based on repeated rulings from the Alabama Supreme under our constitution’s current ban on “lotteries.”
As for the Indians, a lottery is “Class III” Gaming under federal guidelines. There is currently NO Class III allowed in Alabama. But federal law says that if ANY Class III gaming is permitted by state law, then the Indians have the right to a compact allowing them to operate ALL forms of class III gaming. Thus, legalizing a lottery will open wide Alabama’s doors to Las Vegas style casinos, gaming, replete with table games, slot machines, etc.
What would this ultimately mean for Alabama? First, of course, there is the immorality of funding our state by preying upon the poor and more vulnerable, when it should be the states responsibility to look out for those same people. Second, casino profits in the hands of a handful of gambling magnates would allow them to control Alabama politics. Do we really want gambling bosses to have the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits that will allow them to control the elections of our state for decades to come? Is a state run by the hand-picked candidates of gambling bosses the kind of state we want for our children and grandchildren?
I recently heard a lecture on an upcoming book entitled “The Wickedest City in the Country: Phenix City, Alabama”. It reminded me of that city’s 1954 horror story. Please, legislators, don’t make our citizens relive Phenix City statewide. Please reject the lottery and the resultant wholesale expansion of gambling in Alabama with its inevitable corrupting influence on all Alabama. To pay for necessary state expenditures, please use reliable, sound funding streams that do not rely on the state’s effectiveness in encouraging gambling addiction for their revenue.
On Friday, the House of Representatives will vote on a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government for the next year. This bill represents the final opportunity for the Republican-led Congress to rein in the Obama Administration using the powers given them by Article One of the Constitution .
After weeks of negotiations behind closed doors, the results are in, and once again, the American people lose while special interests and the president win. Here are five of the biggest problems with the omnibus:
Spending. When Republicans controlled only the House, they got the White House and Harry Reid to impose budget caps in 2011, one of the few accomplishments of John Boehner’s speakership. In October, although having control of both chambers, John Boehner surrendered this one accomplishment. The omnibus spends at these much higher levels set in the final Obama-Boehner budget deal, which was rejected by two-thirds of House Republicans.
Life. Planned Parenthood will continue to receive funding. In fact, no pro-life victories can be found in the bill. Republican negotiators are left bragging about their ability to keep pro-life provisions that have been attached to funding bills for years.
Immigration. No new restrictions are placed on refugee resettlement programs, sanctuary cities, or President Obama’s lawless amnesties. On the contrary, a provision was slipped in quadrupling H-2B visas in fiscal year 2016, bringing in tens of thousands more low-skilled workers.
Environment. In exchange for lifting the crude oil ban, environmentalists are given free rein to advance their destructive agenda. Nothing in this omnibus will stop President Obama from implementing the climate change agreement reached in Paris last week. Furthermore, the EPA can continue imposing new regulations in areas such as water and carbon emissions that will affect our daily lives in many ways.
National Security. Our national security will be diminished. President Obama can continue to implement his dangerous deal with Iran. Women will be allowed into combat units, lowering their overall effectiveness and increasing risks to men and women in the front lines.
With less than three days to digest a 2000+ page spending bill, no one should expect Members of Congress to fully understand what they are voting on when the omnibus comes to the floor.
Please email or callyoursenators and representativeandtell them to vote NO on the omnibus spending bill.
Congressional Republicans who voted for the Cromnibus bill are experiencing a great deal of backlash. Following are two articles on each side of the issue. One is an op-ed from Rep. Martha Roby (AL-2) published in Yellowhammer. The other is from Gaston Mooney, Executive Editor of Conservative Review.
President Obama and the Democratic leadership are trying once again to subsidize alternative energy. H.R. 1380 (A.K.A.the Natural Gas Bill or the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2011) is an effort to create a federal subsidy for production and use of natural gas vehicles. There is an effort underway to get some of the language from HR1380 and the government subsidies into a continuing resolution before Congress finishes for the year.
The national debt is now over $15 trillion dollars. We cannot afford to keep subsidizing private sector production. Even if we could afford it, the federal government should not be picking winners and losers in the marketplace. If natural gas is a viable alternative form of energy then private sector investment will provide the “subsidies” necessary to develop it. And to further add fuel to the fire, the current Senate version of the bill has a new tax on natural gas users. We need to be cutting spending–not raising taxes!
Federal subsidies have got to stop. We all saw what happened with Solyndra and that was just the tip of the iceberg. These types of subsidies distort the market and result in some companies getting taxpayer funded advantage over others. We’ve got to say “Enough is enough” and stop this kind of government interference before we wind up in a European-style debt crisis.
The latest version of the deal to raise the debt limit is not the answer to our budget woes. In fact, according to this video by the Cato Institute, the deal doesn’t cut spending at all:
The Heritage Foundation has put the following statement out about the deal, “The deal relies on an insufficient level of cuts, a “super committee” tasked with brokering a grand bargain that will lead to massive tax hikes, massive defense cuts, or both. It remains insufficient to the task at hand and the standards which Heritage Action for America has set forth during the course of the debate.”
RedState’s Erick Erickson also recognizes the holes in the Speaker’s argument that it will not allow for tax increases stating, “There will be tax increases. The Deficit Commission will have at least one weak kneed Republican and the commission will only be as strong as its weakest link. The Bush tax cuts will also absolutely expire and not be renewed.”
The bottom line: Say NO to the $2 Trillion debt deal.
Conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives are under tremendous pressure to compromise on a debt ceiling increase. Last week, House Republicans offered a solution to the crisis called “Cut, Cap, and Balance.” Unfortunately, the plan was tabled in the Senate. Now House and Senate leaders are scrambling to come up with new proposals. There are a few key elements an acceptable proposal must have if we want to save the country from crushing debt:
It must contain significant spending cuts and not just accounting gimmicks.
It cannot raise revenue. We are already over-taxed. Raising taxes even more will stifle the economy.
Entitlement spending must be addressed.
So far, the only plan offered that meets these requirement Cut, Cap and Balance. We cannot allow this country to continue down the same road of out of control spending. Our future is at stake. Please call your Senator and Representative and ask them to hold the line on the debt ceiling deal. Any plan without real spending cuts and with increased revenues is not
Alabama is not the only state facing tough decisions on retirement plans. Governors across the country are being faced with decisions about how to get by with less. Revenues are down and federal stimulus money has dried up and Governors are having to prioritize.
In Alabama, legislation for 2012 may focus on the best way for the state to continue paying pension benefits provided to retirees. The Times Daily reports:
Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, chairman of the Senate General Fund Budget Committee, believes the state cannot afford to continue paying more each year toward state and education employee pensions.
“If the employer’s share that the state pays continues to go up, it is unsustainable,” Orr said. “That is revenue that comes out of the education and General Fund budgets that also fund services.”
In one analytic assessment, state pension funds could run out of money by 2023.
The issue of public pension benefits has taken the spotlight as states trying to pull out of the recession still have lower-than-hoped tax revenue. Several states are weighing their choices on how to adequately provide promised pensions to retirees, including providing optional 401(k)-style retirement contributions with no guarantee of defined pension benefits. Alabama lawmakers increased the amounts employees will have to pay toward their pensions in this last legislative session. Whatever route the states’ choose to take, one thing is certain–the current course is unsustainable.
Senator Mitch McConnell has unveiled a proposal to give President Obama the power to raise the debt limit on his own by $2.4 trillion in three installments before the end of 2012–unless two-thirds of Congress votes to block it.
Senator McConnell’s proposal will undermine everything conservative Republicans have been working for in regard to spending cuts. The GOP was using the debt ceiling as leverage to get the President and Congress to agree to significant cuts in spending, including entitlement programs. The last thing we need to do is give President Obama the unfettered power to continue to spend us into oblivion and Senator McConnell’s proposal does not give us any real protection against that eventuality.
And that’s not all–Senator McConnell’s proposal comes out ahead of next week’s vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment. The amendment would put the U.S. on a path to reduce the federal deficit. Moody’s Investor Service has been very clear that a reduction is necessary to maintain our current credit rating. Their response to the McConnell proposal was not positive:
“the outlook assigned at that time to the government bond rating would very likely be changed to negative at the conclusion of the review unless substantial and credible agreement is achieved on a budget that includes long-term deficit reduction. To retain a stable outlook, such an agreement should include a deficit trajectory that leads to stabilization and then decline in the ratios of federal government debt to GDP and debt to revenue beginning within the next few years.”
So what can you do to stop Senator McConnell’s attempt to give President Obama an unlimited line of credit?
1. Call Senator McConnell’s office along with your Senators and Representatives and ask them not to give President Obama the authority to raise the debt limit.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a budget yesterday that eliminates funding for Planned Parenthood. The Daily Caller reports:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, signed a state budget Sunday that cut spending on education and health clinics, including Planned Parenthood centers, reported National Journal.
Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin denounced the budget. The group, which runs 27 centers statewide, says that services like cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and birth control will be cut back. Conservatives have targeted the group because it also provides abortion services.
Julaine Appling of the organization Wisconsin Family Action said, “If organizations want to do that, we’re not saying they don’t have the right to do that under the law. While we disagree with abortions entirely, they do have that right … [But] we don’t have to use taxpayer money to do that.” Read More
Wisconsin is the fourth state to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, following Kansas, North Carolina and Indiana. Unfortunately, a U.S. District Judge in Indiana has halted enforcement of their law.
Planned Parenthood funding is also under fire on the federal level. Back in February, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a budget amendment to cut funding to the organization. The Senate, still under Democrat control, has not yet followed suit. Stories like this clearly demonstrate why funding to the organization should be cut.