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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Hallett’

Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette Skew Fundraising Tables, Downplay GOP Momentum

April 23rd, 2010 Matt Comments off

Ohio House Republicans only need 4 seats to win the majority back, and they are running circles around Speaker Budish and his caucus:

COLUMBUS –The Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC) today stated they are pleased to see the respective amounts in the second filing period of 2010 for the House Republican and House Democratic caucuses. The Republican Caucus filed $515,473.34, while the Democratic majority filed $405,855.52.

“With less than seven months remaining for Ohioans to choose who is more qualified to lead Ohio through the next General Assembly, today was a significant measure of the attitude by contributors,” said House Republican Leader William G. Batchelder (R-Medina).  “Although in the minority, House Republicans are able to demonstrate their ability to outraise majority Democrats.”

In recent memory there are NO example of a minority caucus out-fundraising the majority… This is a BIG DEAL, as lobbyists and political observers are clearly reading the T.E.A. leaves, as they know angry voters are ready to throw Democrats out of the majority. And with Jon Husted and Matt Dolan out of the picture, the GOP caucus is distinctly different and vastly more conservative than the one which lost the majority.

So what did Hallett and Niquette do? They decided to use this visible chart in print… While sticking to this reporting period for all races EXCEPT for the legislature:

They can report the numbers however they want to with whatever time-frame they wish. But this is an important example of why pinhead reporter hacks like these guys are worried about blogs: Because it means they no longer have a monopoly on framing such issues and thus watering down in the minds of readers where the political momentum in Columbus is.

And contract the work of the minority in the House with that of Ohio Senate Democrats, who are fundraising with all the momentum of a Ted Strickland 3-C snail train.

Update at 12:30: Sandy Theis’ üntershtudie Julie Carr Smyth also played with reporting periods on behalf of Gov. Strickland. Nice catch, Jon.

Old Man Joe Hallett Doesn’t Understand the Internets

April 20th, 2010 Matt Comments off

From a Joe Hallett “news article” in The Dispatch:

Around the time last month that federal agents arrested eight members of a Michigan militia for allegedly plotting murder and anarchy, an ad for the Republican candidate for Ohio governor appeared on the Northern Michigan Backyard Protection Militia website.

Why would John Kasich buy ad space at that moment, on a site that surely put him in unwanted company, in a state where nobody can vote for him?

The answer: He didn’t – or, to be more precise, he did not intend to.

“We didn’t and we wouldn’t target a site like this,” said Rob Nichols, spokesman for the Kasich campaign.

The ad – a click-on video featuring Kasich and his running mate, Mary Taylor – was placed on the Michigan militia site by Google, which is aggressively seeking to increase its share of political advertising dollars during this year’s midterm elections.

The Kasich campaign, perhaps taking a page from Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s successful playbook last year, is investing heavily in online advertising, viewing Google as an emerging tool for focusing ads on groups of voters.

This is beyond stupid. Google ads also advertises all sorts of crazy stuff on my site, based on what it thinks is relevant. I’ve seen ads on my site for Democrats… Does that mean I support Democrats? of course not. In fact, the ad placement was probably more about geography, and someone visiting the militia website from a computer outside Ohio would certainly not see the ad.

And it should be up to Google to not allow advertisements on such websites.

My question is, why is Joe Hallett hanging around on militia websites? The answer is he is not, and this is some stupid story fed to him by the Strickland campaign… It’s so weak that it doesn’t have Sandy Theis’ distinct stench on it, but it’s a nice headline of “KASICH’S CAMPAIGN AD LANDS ON MILITA SITE” (OH MY GOSH JOHN’S GONNA KILL SOMEBODY!!!!!!!!)  regardless.

Joe, my advice is to turn off the computer. You don’t know what you’re doing. Just stick to your slide rule and/or abacus.

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Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette Grasp for Something… ANYTHING to Throw at Republicans

March 1st, 2010 Matt Comments off

This has been a good few weeks for Republicans. Polls are up, Obama is down. TrooperGate is exploding, Kent Markus is updating his resume, and Strickland is getting hammered on his 39MPH 3-C slow train. The Republicans biggest controversy right now is a debate about how fast can we scrap the state income tax. very cool!

But Joe Hallett and Mark Niquette had to write something different for the big Sunday edition. They thought to themselves, “Hmmm.. how can we really poke at Republicans?”

Then after old man Joe’s Viagra sent a burst of blood to his brain, BAM! He said to himself, “Hey why don’t we see how the hell Tom Noe is doing?”:

In an exclusive Dispatch interview last week at the Hocking Correctional Facility near Nelsonville, his first since being sentenced to 18 years after being convicted in 2006, Noe was both defiant and repentant, saying he has put his fate in God’s hands.

“God has a plan for me, and what I’m going to do (is) I’m going to make the best of my time in Hocking,” said Noe, dressed in prison blues and white tennis shoes.

“If that’s a year from now or two years from now or 15 years from now, I’m going to make the best of this time. And anybody that knows me, that knows me well, knows that I am a very, very positive person. I’ve always said a negative thought’s a down payment on failure. I’m not going to fail. I’m not going to fail on the outside. I’m not going to fail as a prisoner.”

Before his conviction in one of the biggest fraud cases in Ohio history, failure, indeed, was not a part of Noe’s resume. With his magnetic personality and insatiable drive to succeed, he became chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, befriending the highest GOP officials from the Statehouse to the White House.

An acknowledged national expert in rare coins, Noe used his connections with two Republican governors – George V. Voinovich and Bob Taft – to land successive $25 million contracts to invest money from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in his rare-coin business.

And when it all came crashing down in his conviction for stealing more than $13 million from the fund, so did Noe’s life. The $5 million oceanfront home in the Florida Keys has been traded for a bunk in a sterile dormitory with 200 other men, average age 64. Razor wire, not blue water, is in every sight line.

Who cares?

This is not to say “CoinGate” doesn’t still matter. The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is one of many state services that should be completely privatized (47 other states have already figured this out). And Hallett and his friends in the dinosaur media made sure that Voinovich didn’t tossed out of the Senate when this scandal exploded, even though he is the one who made the changes that allowed Noe to invest state funds in coins.

And I suppose it’s too late to interview Paul Mifsud‘s corpse.

I’m sure Tom is privately laughing right now at the type of influence peddling that still continues- the misallocations of TARP funds, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and endless piles of stimulus/Third Frontier money going to politically connected interests. These are swindles that cost taxpayers TRILLIONS, while Noe’s gold coins actually earned a profit.

Noe was just a grain on sand of the endless beach of corruption that is inherent in any government when it becomes too large. May he rot in prison peacefully.

John Adams on the Income Tax

February 2nd, 2010 Matt Comments off

Rep. John Adam, once again, lays the smack down on old man Joe Hallett and kicks his wrinkled ass… Navy Seal style. Oh the carnage!

In his January 24 editorial, “How will Ohio pay for its schools if it kills the income tax,” Joe Hallett raised many questions about my proposal to phase out the state income tax. Opponents and even some editorial columnists will attempt to mischaracterize my bill because they know propaganda is a successful tool, but legislative discussions should consist of substance, not political theater or shock value.

As a father of seven children, I am not willing to let schools in Shelby County or Ohio’s other 87 counties risk closure. Mr. Hallett, you are correct that the income tax was instituted in 1971 to aid schools, but you failed to mention that since that time, the state income tax has grown into an insatiable beast that feeds numerous areas of a bloated state government which consumes tax dollars that could be better spent. Since the 1970s Ohio’s tax burden has exploded going from the sixth lowest to the seventh highest, losing hundreds of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Contrary to your claim, I do not plan to “starve” the government of money but instead will reduce the wasteful annual average rate of spending. When looking at the last six years, total state spending increased in Ohio an average 2.4 percent while the General Revenue Fund averaged 4.5 percent growth. My plan cuts these two rates of spending growth in half and devotes the difference to phasing out the punitive and economically damaging income tax. Mr. Hallett, there are no spending cuts here.

Your argument that blames Ohio’s economic misfortune on the cold weather isn’t new but certainly is flawed. According to the 2009 ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitive Index, some of America’s northernmost (and coldest) states clearly outperformed Ohio’s economy. You overlooked that Montana ranked fourth and Washington ranked fifth for their economic growth, while North and South Dakota ranked 14th and 11th, respectively.

Although five of the nine states without income taxes have higher sales tax rates than Ohio, you also failed to mention that five of the “tax-haven” states are among the 10 most prosperous economies in the nation over the past decade. Believe it or not, Alaska and New Hampshire have neither a general income tax nor a sales tax, yet they still have schools and still pave roads. While you might rationalize why these states still prosper while Ohio flounders, the Buckeye State historically has had its own ace in the hole: a flourishing manufacturing industry…which just so happens to have packed up and relocated because our tax burden is too high.

Ohioans are well aware of our economic challenges, ranking 49th in economic performance over the past decade – beating out only beleaguered Michigan. Mr. Hallett, if you are happy with this economic status quo in Ohio, then you may continue to attack my plan to make Ohio a tax-haven state and bring about economic revitalization. However, I hope you and your readers will join in my efforts to create jobs today, and bring about a positive change in the way our state does business for generations to come.

“Oh snap!”

Instead of asking “How do we pay for schools?”, the question should instead be “How do we unleash entrepreneurs  to create jobs and build the type of wealth the state confiscates to pay for schools?” At the very least, Hallett should not write about the income tax when in his official capacity as as supposed “reporter,” since he is the leading defender of the gift from John Gilligan which keeps on giving.

Two Eldery, Moth-Eaten, Moldy Editors of Ohio’s 2 Largest Newspapers Defend Income Tax

January 25th, 2010 Matt Comments off

You know it is Sunday when Joe Hallett is once again proclaiming the good word… about taxes! And this week, he is joined in his chorus by editor emeritus Brent Larkin of The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Together, with more than 450 years of combined experience bloviating about state politics, they came out swinging today in defense of Ohio’s job-killing tax rates.

First, Mr. Hallett starts out with an assault on State Rep. John Adams, a kick-ass Navy Seal and principled conservative, who is finally getting a hearing on his proposal to scrap the income tax only because pathetic Democrats wants to use the opportunity to flog John Kasich, who also supports gutting the tax. Here is part of Joe’s column, which was perhaps ghost written by Gov. Strickland’s budget director/lesbian pirate Pari Sabety:

Here are some questions for John Adams, the live Republican state representative from Sidney, not the dead president from Massachusetts.

You have introduced a bill to phase out the state income tax over 10 years. This year, the income tax will raise $7.6 billion, accounting for 45 percent of all tax revenue raised by the state. If you succeed in killing the income tax, how will you replace the lost revenue?

Are you prepared, Representative Adams, to raise the state sales tax by 6 cents to a national high of 11.5 cents on the dollar? That’s how much would be needed to replace revenue lost by killing the income tax. How do you think your friends at the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the National Federation of Independent Businesses would react to more than doubling the sales tax?

Are you willing to let schools in your home county of Shelby and others close? In the current two-year budget, the state is spending $14.2 billion from its general revenue fund on primary and secondary schools. That’s roughly how much the state income tax will generate during those two years for the fund.

Without the income tax, how will you keep schools open? The tax was instituted by the General Assembly in 1971 because financially ailing schools all over the state were closing. When Republicans asked Ohioans to repeal the tax a year later, the voters opted by a 69-31 margin to keep it.

The state of Ohio this year will spend $2,220 for every man, woman and child living in Shelby County, Representative Adams. Are you prepared to tell them they can expect to be less educated, less safe, less healthy and more inconvenienced because of drastic cuts of services that would result from killing the income tax?

At a legislative hearing last week on your bill, Representative Adams, you said: “This is falsely reported as requiring cuts in government spending. Government spending will continue to grow under my plan.”

How can that be, when you deprive government of one of its primary sources of funding? And isn’t reducing government spending by starving it of money a big reason why you want kill the income tax?

As Hallett remembers, when he was slightly-less old, Ohio was able to perform all the functions of government without an income tax.

Proposals to scrap the income tax always involve a series of benchmarks overtime, because even though the future is impossible to predict (as we saw with the recent economic collapse), the logic behind the econometrics are solid: That as Ohio reduces its income tax, it becomes a friendlier place to conduct business- Ohio’s population grows and businesses prosper. And as Ohio is slowly seen as essentially a tax haven for entrepreneurs and high net-worth individuals, the revenue that is collected- not just through a sales tax but perhaps with a slight increase in the CAT tax or property tax- would allow government to function perfectly well after a series of cuts in spending that are entirely possible and VERY necessary!

As to the question of education, it is clear that more money to school districts does not equate with higher tax scores and graduation rates. With private and religious instruction often costing a fraction of their public counterparts, an increase in an emphasis on school choice would save the state tremendous amounts of money.

But why would the cuts need to be specifically in education? Joe Hallett is simply using education to play on readers emotions, as it involve children and education. Let’s think about what else could be cut, that might not tug on your heart strings. For example:

- Repeal the recent state SCHIP and healthcare expansion

- Eliminate the Ohio EPA (a duplicate of the Federal EPA, except with an extra layer of unique, expensive red tape for business)

- Reform medicaid with cheaper alternatives like income care, and don’t pay for extra services, such as chiropractic. Or privatize the system entirely, by subsidizing private insurance plans of their choice or even fund HSAs.

- Eliminate the Department of Development, the epicenter of pork and corporate welfare. Stop wasting money on “green initiatives” and what not.

- Eliminate e-Tech Ohio

- Eliminate the Commission on Minoirty Health

- Reform state employee perks and pensions

- Implement House Republican Leader Bill Batchleder’s plan to restructure state government and easily save approximately $1 billion/year.

These are just a few ideas… I am sure there are plenty more ideas, but what do I know… I’m just some jerk blogger! But my point is, Joe Hallett is not intellectually curious enough to explore such possibilities.

Then, not to be outdone, Brett Larkin attacks John Kasich for his support of reducing and scrapping the state income tax… saying he is as EXTREME as Ken Blackwell! OH MY! THE HORROR!

But instead of a winning plan, Kasich has offered up a reckless one — a 10-year phaseout of the state’s income tax. And it will enable the governor to spend millions on an advertising message that his Republican opponent is an extremist who advocates policies that would destroy Ohio’s schools and universities, while punishing its most vulnerable citizens — especially children.

Ohio has never been a state to take big risks in electing governors. Three Republicans — Jim Rhodes, George Voinovich and Bob Taft — served as governor of Ohio in 32 of the 44 years from 1963 to 2007. All three were political moderates.

In 2006, Ken Blackwell became the most conservative Republican gubernatorial nominee in at least a half-century — perhaps ever. And though Blackwell’s landslide loss to Strickland can be attributed to many factors — some beyond the candidate’s control — one of those factors was Blackwell’s support for a constitutional amendment called the Tax and Expenditure Limitation, which would have dramatically limited state and local-government spending.

Republican moderates hated it, as did educators. With GOP business leaders poised to oppose the TEL, the Republican-run legislature allowed Blackwell to save face by passing a version so watered down that it meant essentially nothing.

Nevertheless, the TEL cemented Blackwell’s reputation — fairly or not — as an extremist who advocated policies far from the mainstream. Of Cuyahoga County’s 1,434 precincts, several hundred enjoy a Republican advantage. On Election Day 2006, Blackwell outpolled Strickland in three precincts.

You may not be aware of my involvement in the TEL campaign, but I know more about the Amendment than most. In fact, in the heat of the primary battle against liberal Republican Jim Petro, I was responsible for writing the talking points in defense of the Amendment.

The TEL Amendment wouldn’t have “dramatically limited state and local government spending.” It would have capped increases at 3.5% or the rate of inflation, plus adjustments for population growth. It was an improvement over the impressive Colorado Tabor, as their amendment capped taxation, but it ultimately failed because: 1) It allowed voters to create an exemption for taxation for education. (The TEL did not) and 2) It had a “ratchet down” effect, where in bad economic times when tax collections were down, the mandate for the next year was kept at that lower level (The TEL never decreased spending.).

Blackwell campaign internal polling showed the TEL Amendment was actually wildly popular, even among so-called “Republican moderates”… as long as they weren’t moderate office holders who wanted to use the amendment as a weapon to support Jim Petro. The amendment, while perfect in concept, was poorly written because it did not properly define various forms of local government, didn’t differentiate between tax increases being acceptable if approved by a majority of all registered voters or only the voters who showed up on election day, and it would have been tied up in the courts for years.

So, Speaker Husted and Republican leaders had passed a so-called “legislative TEL”, which was attached to the end of tobacco legislation. So far, state budgets have not surpassed Blackwell’s limitations, because Ted Strickland likes to get more creative with spending: through bond issues, fees, and mandate-infested Federal stimulus dollars.

Mr. Larkin would be wise to speak to OU Economist Richard Vedder, who has written extensively about the fact that when states focus more resources on higher education, the state is actually worse off. To get the cost of higher education under control, it would be wise to eliminate grants, have all education loans handled through private banks, and have any money that does go for higher education follow the student… even if they wish to leave the state. Universities are never asked to reform or shed themselves of burdensome unions… and it is about time for a change.

Larkin and Hallett don’t even try to hide their ideology, and are clearly more interested in ad hominem attacks than a serious debate over policy. This is a serious disservice to their readers, who are currently living in a state that has been economically devastated by the very policies John Kasich wants to change.

Ohio Super-Duper Lobbyist Files for Bankruptcy in Florida

January 6th, 2010 Matt Comments off

The buzz floating around Columbus yesterday was that Neil Clark filed for bankruptcy, and did so during the Christmas holiday hoping to minimize press coverage. Today, Joe Hallett reports:

Clark’s filing shows his monthly income at $72,130, mostly from his lobbying business, Grant Street Consultants, and his political-media business, Midwest Communications and Media. Clark’s filing estimates he made nearly $3.5 million over the past three years.

Tipps, 73, said yesterday that Clark owes him $1 million.

In his filing, Clark claims assets of $1.25 million and liabilities of almost $6.4 million, including more than $1.3 million in personal income taxes owed to the Internal Revenue Service, $12,422 owed to the Ohio Department of Taxation, and $18,307 to the Franklin County treasurer.

Clark, 56, filed for bankruptcy in Florida, where he owns a Naples home. Clark is seeking to liquidate his assets and stave off creditors under Chapter 7 of the code.

Republican Neil S. Clark and Democrat Paul Tipps, a lobbying duo who had an outsized influence on public policy at the Statehouse for nearly two decades, have dropped lawsuits against each other in Franklin County Common Pleas Court while Clark is seeking bankruptcy protection.

A bitter feud between two former influential lobbying partners has moved from a Columbus trial court to a Florida bankruptcy court.

Nice work if you can get it, huh? Even though you and I could probably be ok with $72,130/month, Clark had well over $100,000/month in expenses….. after all, ex-wives are expensive.

Just like Tom Noe’s wife, Clark filed in Florida because their laws make it essentially impossible to take his house during bankruptcy. Unfortunately, reports are that Neil has no or negative equity in the house anyway. But can Neil claim to be a resident of Florida?

Neil was heavily involved in failed ballot issues to expand gambling in Ohio, but I’m not sure if he worked with Sandy Theis on the anti-Penn National campaign effort. Their office on State St., which I walk past all the time, still has Tipps and Clark’s  names on it.

Neil’s tell-all book about Ohio politics, which is due out in about a year, will be fascinating.

John Adams vs. Joe Hallett

January 6th, 2010 Matt Comments off

The Navy Seal rightfully throws Hallett around like a pansy-ass Somali pirate:

As a Navy SEAL, I quickly learned the meaning of the phrase, “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” In his Dec. 20 column, “Term limits get in the way of lawmakers seeing big picture,” Dispatch Senior Editor Joe Hallett suggested that Gov. Ted Strickland’s leadership has displayed backbone.

Having a backbone is demonstrated by knowing how and when to say no to out-of-control spending.

Ohio citizens know that when there is no money to pay the bills, you don’t borrow more. Small businesses all over Ohio are surviving, and legislators who lack a backbone stick them with higher taxes and higher regulatory costs.

Please examine more closely Strickland’s $2 billion in cuts to the general-revenue fund. When examining the two-year, all-funds budget, one discovers it has increased by more than 10 percent compared with the previous biennial budget.

The “big-picture focus on Ohio’s greater good” is not lost among the new members of the General Assembly. “Rookies” have provided the policies to create an environment for new jobs to be created and others to be sustained. I authored House Bill 25, a complete restructuring of how Ohio does business in a more cost-efficient manner.

Government efficiency is fostered by the creation of jobs. Ohio is not competitive with the states that believe in less-expensive government and fewer taxes on job creators. A continual phase-down of the personal income tax will make us competitive again.

Ohio is a great state, and we need to make every effort to keep it great for future generations.

REP. JOHN ADAMS
78th Ohio House District
(Sidney)

Joe Hallett Wears Many Hats: Liberal Columnist AND an Unbiased, Objective Reporter Extraordinaire

December 22nd, 2009 Matt Comments off

The problem is, I can’t tell where The Dispatch’s obfuscating octogenarian Joe Hallett draws the line between his two jobs, both of which he is handsomely paid for in gold bars.

Click to continue reading “Joe Hallett Wears Many Hats: Liberal Columnist AND an Unbiased, Objective Reporter Extraordinaire”

Joe Hallett on 2009′s Successful Gambling Campaign & Husted’s Transparency Bill

December 13th, 2009 Matt Comments off

joehallettseat

From the latest column by old man Joe:

Unless they want to voluntarily disclose that information, we probably will never know if or how much Withrow, Bennett, Douglas and others were paid from the nearly $50 million spent by Michigan online-lender Dan Gilbert and Penn National Gaming of Pennsylvania, owners of the Ohio casinos.

Campaign finance reports made public Friday offered scant details. About $8 million of the Gilbert and Penn National largesse since March went to Strategic Public Partners Group, a firm headed by Tom Whatman, former executive director of the Ohio Republican Party, and millions more went to Elsass’ two media companies.

Whatman employs his former boss, [former Ohio GOP Chairman Bob] Bennett, but the report does not reveal how much Bennett was paid for his casino advocacy. The Milenthal Group’s Bob Tenenbaum was hired by Whatman as spokesman for Issue 3, but there’s no hint of how much the Milenthal firm was paid. Indeed, Whatman paid a veritable who’s who of former-officials-turned-influence-peddlers to help pass Issue 3.

Their names legally do not have to appear in the casino operators’ campaign finance reports. Unlike Michigan, Indiana, West Virginia and 21 other states, there is no requirement in Ohio law that a campaign committee disclose the names of subcontractors hired by primary consultants.

“During the casino campaign, while it was clear who was paying for things, what the money was used for and who was receiving it was not clear,” said state Sen. Jon Husted, R-Kettering.

Husted soon will introduce legislation to require campaigns to disclose the identities and amounts paid to so-called sub-vendors.

“We need more transparency in the process,” Husted said. “If you’re advocating for a particular position, the way in which voters perceive your advocacy might change if they knew you were being paid to do it.”

[Former Ohio Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow] Withrow said she cut the TV ads because she long has favored casinos in Ohio so the state could capture money being spent by Ohioans at border-state casinos.

As you watched her in the TV commercials, would you have felt differently about what she was saying if you knew she was getting paid to say it?

I haven’t seen a copy of legislation, but I’d rather see more transparency in state government instead of forcing transparency upon private consulting firms.  Money is speech, and soft-money and independent groups, such as 527s and 501c4s, play an essential role in getting around speech-silencing laws such as McCain-Feingold.  (Husted will learn this the hard way with trying to figure out how to fight back against George Soros’ Secretary of State Project, which spent many thousands in 2006 for Jennifer Brunner.) More disclosure of “sub-vendors” could scare people away from the political process, as they could be setting themselves up for political retribution. Or, such legislation could encourage LESS disclosure as such campaigns seem to always find new, creative ways to hide money.

And why pick on Bob Tenenbaum but not Sandy Theis? Unlike Sandy, at least Bob was open about working on behalf of a gambling interest.

Also, as you read Joe’s column, “would you have felt differently about what he was saying if you knew he was getting paid (handsomely) to [write] it” by John Wolfe’s newspaper, which has just started its campaign to keep a casino away from Wolfe’s business interests in the Arena District? Joe, were you PAID to write about this, and told to put your weekly campaign for higher taxes aside for today? huh? huh? We need disclosure, Joe!

Liberal, Tax Raising Matt Dolan

November 18th, 2009 Matt Comments off

The decrepit, mummified remains of Joe Hallett, fresh off of his campaign for the Columbus income tax increase (which didn’t provide the promised increases in city safety services) continues using the extensive resources of the Columbus Dispatch for his endless hard-hitting investigative reporting campaign for higher taxes. He describes liberal Cleveland Republican Matt Dolan in a way that can only be described, without getting too graphic, as the print equivalent of a sexual act:

But it is high time for the people who are in the policy business to ignore the inane gamesmanship of just-win-the-day politics and get serious about what this state is facing. We don’t have time for obfuscation. Ohio is in dire straits, and the two candidates for governor — Strickland and Republican John Kasich — need to be forthright about what lies ahead.

An example for them was set Oct. 21 when state Rep. Matthew Dolan, a Cleveland-area Republican, rose to speak on the floor of the Ohio House. Dolan hushed the chamber with his passion and stunned members of his GOP caucus by announcing that he would support Strickland’s call to fill an $851 million hole in the budget by delaying a 4.2 percent state income-tax cut.

Although delaying the tax cut is the most painless and logical way to plug the budget, Republicans in the House — and now in the Senate — oppose it because they’d rather have the tax-hike issue to use against Democrats.

But a leader was born when Dolan rose and warned colleagues that after the federal stimulus money is gone, and with tax revenues in a free fall, a “tidal wave” of misery “is going to hit our citizens so hard that they’ll be looking for anything to grab onto.”

Dolan was unconcerned that his vote for the tax delay might deprive Republicans of a political issue. “There are no more sacred cows in Ohio state government,” he said. “No more can we hide behind partisan walls so that we are protected in a future election.”

Rather, Dolan said, Republicans must acknowledge that the nearly $4 billion already carved from the state budget is causing real hardship for Ohioans, and the pain will be worse in the next budget. There are millions to be saved through such things as reforming prison sentencing guidelines, and it’s time for Republicans to stop casting anyone who supports such reforms as “soft on crime,” Dolan said.

Likewise, he continued, Democrats must acknowledge that millions can be saved by reforming collective bargaining and “no longer can you stand up and say, ‘You are against teachers,’ so nothing gets done.” Workers’ compensation reform also can save the state millions, Dolan told the Democrats, urging them not to stymie it by accusing reformers of being “against injured workers.”

Unlike Redfern and other political pontificators, Dolan is in the policy business. He bespoke a great truth in his remarkable speech when he said that governing must be more than “a gotcha moment.”

Why does casting aside politics and working for the people of Ohio always seem to involve bigger government and higher taxes?  I’m not sure why a politician should be applauded for supporting what can only be described as a job-killing, burdensome tax increase- as in, Ohio taxpayers, this fiscal year, will have less money in their pocket then they otherwise would of.

If you can stomach it, here is the pious, syrupy, rambling 11 minute speech of Rep. Dolan that Hallett glowingly writes about, from October 21:

Dolan, if the Republicans would have held onto a slim majority in the Ohio House in 2008, would have most certainly been the predecessor to Jon Husted as Speaker. At the time, Dolan was in a hotly contested battle with now-Minority Leader Bill Batchelder, a veteran of Ohio politics and perhaps the original member of the so-called “caveman caucus” of principled conservatives in the legislature. While some important county party chairmen, such as Doug Preisse of Franklin County and Alex Arshinkoff of Summit supported Batchelder, it was assumed that Dolan, who was born a a rich heir to the Cleveland Indians franchise, would use his establishment support and financial resources to become Speaker.

What Joe Hallet doesn’t mention is that Dolan, by supporting Ted Strickland’s tax increase, was going against his own caucus who has an extensive plan to make the hard decisions that Gov. Strickland is not willing to do: reform state government and cut spending. State government hasn’t been reorganized in any noticeable way in more than 50 years, and looking at reducing the inherent bloat and duplication of government could most certainly fill the $900 million budget deficit without a tax increase.

And this is far from Dolan’s first departure from Republican principles. He was also 1 of only 5 Republicans to support lawsuit-inducing regulations on landlords who dare not rent to homosexuals, and voted for Ohio’s pre-Obama stimulus infrastructure package.

Ultimately, Matt Dolan showed himself to be supremely political, as he is willing to cast aside the principles of his political party as part of his campaign to become the new “executive” of Cuyahoga County… whatever the hell that is. And he is willing to spend $1 million on his campaign, which is money that might be better spent on the Indians.

You Know It is Sunday, Because Joe Hallett Has Yet ANOTHER Column Calling for Higher Taxes

August 23rd, 2009 Matt Comments off

OK This is just embarrassing- He is like a broken record, and probably wouldn’t shut up until the combined local/state/federal tax rate is in the 100% range, so Obama/Strickland/Coleman/Wolfe can control your children and build a new socialist utopia:

Education is crucial to Ohio’s success in the new economy, and Strickland deserves credit for a reform plan that calls for, among other things, all-day kindergarten, 20 more school days to catch up with the 200-day school year in most advanced countries, better teacher training and keeping a lid on college tuition.

Unfortunately, there is no money to implement the changes. Until 2007, there had been only two years in the past 50 when the state’s general-fund revenue actually declined from the previous year. Now, Ohio is in what is expected to be its fourth consecutive year of declining year-to-year state operating revenue, with another one projected. State income-tax receipts last year plummeted by 16.3 percent, by far the steepest decline since the tax was enacted in 1971.

The recession is largely to blame. But part of the reason also is the five-year, 21 percent state income-tax cut passed by a GOP legislature, signed into law by Taft and retained by Strickland. As a result, Ohio has about $2 billion less in revenue a year. Strickland and GOP leaders insist the tax cut will draw more businesses, resulting in more jobs. But since 2007, Ohio has lost 303,900 jobs.

Did you hear that? Who knew Gov. Taft & Speaker Larry Householder were anti-government tax-cutting crazies! After their reforms, Ohio is still the 7th worst state in terms of local/state tax burden and only 3 states have a worse business climate, sooooooooooooo we create jobs by… dumping more burden on the shoulders of small business owners?

Education reform- especially the type proposed by Gov. Strickland- is not “crucial to Ohio’s success in the new economy.” (And by “NEW,” Hallett is referring to unprofitable “alternative energy” technology which statists like him want to see propped up not by venture capitalists, but by taxpayers.)  As Professor Richard Vedder said on Reason TV, there is an over-emphasis on college education. And with the rigorous curriculum of the public education system, will 20 more days of learning how to put condoms on cucumbers and re-watching “Heather has Two Mommies” really help that much? Those days are taken out of the summer, when boys should be outside playing sports and hurting themselves, instead of being held prisoner in a school and turned into the type of limp-wristed, effeminate liberals you might find on Buckeye Statist Blog or LootandPlunder.

What I especially like about Joe is that he will write this sort of nonsense on Sunday, then no one is supposed to ask questions on Monday when he puts on his other hat as a supposedly objective reporter.

I Read Joe Hallett, So You Don’t Have to

August 16th, 2009 Matt Comments off

To paraphraseJoe Hallett what a friend said this morning, you know it is Sunday because The Dispatch’s enfeebled octogenarian columnist Joe Hallett has another column calling for higher taxes!

Fresh off of his successful campaign for more Columbus city infrastructure spending on various Wolfe family investments, elderly Hallett, a registered Republican, pooped out a wide-ranging column which may be the worst of his career. It is so bad that Joe should probably hire security, as pink-cheeks Ben Marrison, with his bare hands, might personally put an end to the source of the flaccid columns which cost his publication hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Much like a mosquito at a nudist colony, I don’t know quite where to begin.

First, Joe’s Alzheimer’s-riddled mind wanders to South Carolina:

Quotes reported from a recent town-hall meeting in South Carolina and the Aug. 1 “tea party” at the Statehouse:

“Keep your government hands off my Medicare.”

“I want the right to drive a gas guzzler.”

Maybe the two protesters got confused by listening to the new Three Stooges — Rush, Sean and Glenn. Medicare is the government, the same one that upholds our right to drive a guzzler but will pay us to trade it if it’s a clunker.

Observing the tea parties and watching town-hall meetings on TV makes me wonder if this country has gone crazy. The outbursts and chants often have no grounding in fact or common sense. Are we really that ill-informed, that angry and that uncivil?

Here, Joe is parroting the latest leftist talking point to defend ObamaCare. The argument is essentially: Medicare is socialist, so what could be bad about Government taking over 15% of the private economy? This argument is used to redirect the attention of politically-powerful seniors, who would most certainly see, under ObamaCare, cuts in Medicare benefits and might not be pleased about the end-of-life “consultation.” And even though such current entitlements are on track to consume ALL federal tax revenues by 2052, in this debate, Joe’s talk about Medicare is an unconstructive red herring.

And who is defending cash-for-clunkers? C-f-C distorts the market and diverts money away from charity, while increasing the cost of used cars the poor might be able to otherwise afford. I suppose it is relevant to this debate, only as another example of how “progressive” policies are about controlling your life: telling you how to live, when you should die, how you should travel to work, et cetera.

Also, the people I met at the Columbus tea party were quite civil and friendly. A majority of the protests appear to come from Glenn Beck’s rather unorganized 9/12 group, and Hallett might be shocked to learn how many otherwise apolitical people show up at these tea parties simply because they feel like they must become politically engaged because of what the left is doing to America.

Then, the real fun began…

Ronald Reagan told us government was the enemy, and we could have it all for less. He cut taxes across the board and increased defense spending. The result was a brief economic boom, an end to the Cold War and deep federal deficits.

We could have it all for less? No, Reagan was about empowering entrepreneurs, and having less government for less money. And if President Reagan was to talk about big-government “compassionate conservativism” in the terms used by President George W. Bush, Reagan would have spontaneously burst into flames.

And even though Tip O’Neil and the Democrat-controlled congress only allowed about half of President Reagan’s proposed tax cuts to be implemented, the deficit as a percentage of GDP declined.

When the “stagflation” of the Carter era hit the hardest, the deficit, according to the US Office of Management and Budget’s historical tables, was 6.3% of GDP in 1983. But by 1987, it was only 3.4% of GDP, 1988 it was 3.2% of GDP, and in 1989 it shrunk to 2.9% of GDP in 1989. In actual dollars, the deficit was $221.2 billion in 1986, and dropped to $152.5 billion by Reagan’s final year in office, when unemployment also fell to 5.3%.

After Reagan cut taxes and Fed Chair Volcker squeezed inflation out of the economy (it was 13.5% in 1980 and the prime lending rate was a staggering 21.5%!), even though it is not intellectually serious to assign booms and busts solely to Presidents, the “brief economic boom” Hallett mentions is actually the longest peacetime economic boom in US history.

George H.W. Bush raised taxes in 1990 and Bill Clinton followed suit in 1993. The deficits disappeared, the federal budget came into balance, and the economy purred. Still, we punished them for raising taxes: Bush lost re-election in 1992 and Clinton lost Congress to the Republicans in 1994.

Wrong again, Joe! The first President Bush’s budget deal with Congress is why, in 1990, the deficit skyrockted to $290.4 billion. After his breaking his “read my lips” tax pledge, Bush did away with the Gramm-Rudman spending limits and it was a record breaking tax hike, which also shrank the tax base. President Clinton continued this trend by passing the largest tax increases in American history.

And only projected deficits disappeared under Clinton, and he was dragged kicking and screaming to that point by Newt Gingrich, Ohio’s next Governor John Kasich, and the rest of the fiscal conservatives in Congress. In reality, the deficit hasn’t truly disappeared since President Andrew Jackson.

The federal deficit and huge debt reappeared under George W. Bush. He started in 2001 by cutting taxes $1.35 trillion over 10 years and then pushed more tax cuts through Congress two years later. Bush ballooned the bureaucracy, spent us into oblivion and bailed out the banks, leaving office with the nation in deep recession. Still, we had it all, including a costly new and unfunded Medicare prescription-drug benefit.

Yes, Medicare Part D was a terrible idea. But President Bush “spent us into oblivion?” President Obama has already made President Bush look like a miserly Scrooge McPenny-Pincher:

wapoobamabudget1Then, as if Joe took a break from writing his column, lost his train of thought, and ALMOST returns with a sensible opinion, he concludes with this:

During the campaign and now, Obama promised to extend health insurance to all Americans, pretending that the 10-year, trillion-dollar cost could be realized merely by soaking the rich. His $787 billion stimulus, or at least a portion of it, might have been necessary, but it has cast the country deeper into a financial black hole.

So here we are now, $11.6 trillion in debt and at the breaking point. All these years of irresponsible budgeting have caught up with us. We show up at town-hall meetings and tea parties and rant because everything that we are entitled to — Social Security, Medicare, national security, health care, education — now is impossible without higher taxes.

Damned if we’re going to pay them.

We are paying for them Joe, but “higher taxes” are sooo 1993. Today’s statists would rather print more money and borrow. But instead of blaming Ronald Reagan for America’s problems, you should blame the same tax-raising Democrats, sleazy big-city Mayors, and RINOs you have spent a career defending.

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Joe “tax lovin’” Hallett vs. Emily “bone crusher” Riemer

August 11th, 2009 Matt View Comments

They debated the results Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman’s city income tax ballot issue. When it was over, only one was left standing…

Rob Portman is Wrong on Cash for Clunkers

August 5th, 2009 Matt View Comments

Distinguished senior citizen Joe Hallett of The Dispatch reports that Senate Candidate Rob Portman supports C-f-C. This is the same program which diverts money away from legitimate charities, destroys cheap cars that the poor would have been able to afford, and has a website which makes your home computer the property of the Federal government. geesh

Perhaps I was onto something when noting Portman’s website’s new “green” color scheme.

Lee Fisher’s Research Dumping (Or, How Liberals Finally Decided to Care about Joe “the Plumber”)

July 20th, 2009 Matt View Comments

In his column yesterday, Joe Hallett explained how Lee Fisher is the Democrat version of Jim Petro and Mitt Romney, as he is yet another candidate who had road to Damascus-like conversions on hot-button social issues exactly at a time most convenient to their political aspirations. Fisher’s flip-flops of choice are: the death penalty and homosexual marriage.

And at the end of his column, Hallett picks up on an issue which really only matters in the minds of Ohio’s pea-brained liberal bloggers:

But that’s how this Democratic Senate race is going to unfold, because both the Fisher and Brunner campaigns are so afraid of making mistakes that they won’t stop making them. Dirty tricks, dodges and cover-ups already are trumping straightforwardness.

Brunner took a hit when her Senate campaign got caught trying to use office equipment that might have been illegally transferred from a previous campaign. Then, she and her husband, Rick, made it worse with a cockamamie story about a secret agreement permitting the Senate campaign to use the equipment in exchange for a donation to charity.

Fisher’s campaign is under suspicion of using a “Joe the Plumber” plant in the Ohio Department of Taxation to dig up dirt on Brunner’s husband and leak it to the media. “Completely baseless,” Fisher said of the charge.

Joe adds no details about the story he is referring to, but what he is talking about is about separate stories from Mark Naymik of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The first is about Senate candidate Jennifer Brunner’s lazy, pot head son forgetting to pay taxes on the house mommy and daddy bought for him. And the second story, which is more serious, about Jennifer Brunner husband not paying property taxes on an office building:

Rick Brunner, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s husband, has a history of making late property tax payments on a Columbus office building he bought with his wife.

Brunner paid small penalties and interest charges in six of the last 11 tax years on his 545 Town Street property, purchased by the Brunners in 1996.

The fines, which range from about $165 in 2002 to a high of $742 in 2007, total around $2,500. The $410,000 building has an annual tax bill of about $10,500 and Brunner is current on the building’s taxes, according Franklin County records.

Rick and Jennifer Brunner, who is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, transferred the property in 1999 to a holding company, Town and Walnut Holdings LLC. Jennifer Brunner listed the company as an asset on her 2007 Ohio Ethics Commission financial disclosure statement but she is no longer a member of the company.

In 2009, Rick Brunner was fined $282 for paying late a portion of his 2008 bill. Rick was in Washington attending the inaugural with his wife.

The 545 property houses The Brunner Law Firm and also used to be home to Jennifer Brunner’s campaign headquarters when she was a candidate for secretary of state.

This is a good, relevant story, right? Of course it is! But leftists over at Buckeye State Blog are certain that the bigger story here involves Lee Fisher’s campaign handing over the information to Naymik, as if they are just SHOCKED and outraged to learn that campaigns, on a regular basis, feed information to lazy reporters. And to add to this uninteresting conspiracy, the Fisher campaign won’t even admit to it! oh hum. yawn. This is about as interesting as the fact that Jennifer Brunner’s campaign is working with the Buckeye State Blog to make this situation into a meaningful distraction.

The conspiracy theory is that John Kohlstrand, Ohio Department of Taxation spokesman and hatchet man for Ohio Democrat Party Chairman Chris Redfern, must have illegally snooped around to find the information about Mr. Brunner. This is a fascinating story if true, but there is NO EVIDENCE thus far. And while it is clear that Sam “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher had his personal records illegally looked at by Strickland/Fisher administration officials, the Kohlsrand connection has simply not been established, no matter how much Team Brunner and her kook blogger friends want it to be true.

And if it is true, I would certainly hope this would give liberal Ohio bloggers pause, as they are outraged by the inherent intrusiveness of the same big government which they advocate for. And when there is a tax code which requires all Ohioans to justify every penny they earn, those records can always be used by corrupt bureaucrats trying to score points with the political elite.

And just when you thought this story as over, now apparently the Fisher campaign is apparently yet again to blame for bad news for Team Brunner. This time, it involves a blog post by James Nash of The Columbus Dispatch, accusing their spokesbabe of ethical violations:

Sandy Theis is a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Theis also is a spokeswoman and operative for a group trying to derail a proposed November ballot initiative for casinos – a matter, it so happens, that Brunner’s office will decide Tuesday.

Some observers questioned today whether Theis’ dual roles pose a conflict of interest. After all, they said, wouldn’t Brunner be more apt to take the side of someone who’s working for her campaign?

This sounds like an interesting story worth checking into. But liberal bloggers dismiss James Nash, who is a liberal card-carrying member of the ACLU, as a “closeted Republican!” Good grief, these guys couldn’t buy a clue in a clue store with a pocket of clue-bucks.

In the end, Jennifer Brunner’s tax issues matter, her misuse of campaign funds matter, and Shady Sandy’s duel-roles matter. They are all legitimate stories worth reporting on, just like it would be legitimate to report if there was any illegal snooping of government records. Liberal bloggers support Brunner because she is farther to the right than Lee Fisher, and are working to turn every negative story into some sort of wild conspiracy.

If Team Brunner spent half as much effort paying their taxes on time and hiring ethical employees as they spend on spinning brainless bloggers, all of this mess could have been avoided.

Chris Redfern’s Mountaineer Melee

July 16th, 2009 Matt View Comments

Marc Kovac from the Capital Blog posted press conference with Chris Redfern, Ohio Democrat Chairman and unregistered lobbyist for Mountaineer Gaming on YouTube in 6 portions [1,2,3,4,5,6].

During the question and answer segment, Joe Hallett from The Columbus Dispatch fires the opening salvo with what would turn out to be almost 15 minutes of questions about his highly questionable involvement in his wife’s lobbying affairs.

After repeating a Clintonesque line of he “has no recollection” of speaking to the Governor specifcally about Mountaineer Gambling and chastised Joe Hallett for daring to ask what he speaks about his wife at the dinner table. He then dodged the issue by: 1) pointing out that school choice campaigns give a lot of money to Republicans, which…um….. apparently means Republicans are as dirty as Democrats are, 2) The same people who are attacking his wife and he are just upset because of their strong support of the Ohio sodomite lobby (I’m sure the homosexuals love being used as a political shield like that!), and 3) This is just some crazy story started and pushed by yours truly (Scroll to 3:50):

Notice that right after he comments about me, they called for “last question,” as they knew it would only go down-hill from that point.

Chris, seriously, lay off the bloggers. That is just embarrassing.

You are perhaps the most powerful Democrat in Ohio, and you would be the first one criticizing a Republican leader if his wealth increased by this incredible last-minute flip-flop of the Governor’s. Some people would have been happy to have your good fortune of having a wife with a wealthy ex-husband who died in a tragic car crash, but your personal greed knows no limits. You are willing to disregard the beliefs of Ohioans who, on four separate occasions have said NO to gambling, and place the burden of balancing the state budget on the backs of the working class, all to benefit your wife’s personal business interests. How shameful!

You called me out because you wish to intimidate me into silence, but it won’t work and there is much more to this story that WILL NOT remain hidden behind your partisan liberal allies in the Ohio MSM. And as you saw today, they are already turning on you.

Chris Redfern, you are a corrupt slimeball and embody everything in which you have made a career out of accusing Republicans of being. I’m gunning for you Chris. Watch out!

Incoming Message From the Old Man on the Mountaintop…

July 13th, 2009 Matt View Comments

I forgot to post this yesterday, but its worth linking to.jhallett

What does Columbus Dispatch reporter Joe Hallett thinks Ohio needs to do to improve its situation? Answer: Raise taxes & re-elect George “pop tax” Voinovich.

Absolutely genius! This is why it takes two strong donkeys to carry Hallett’s heavy, massive paycheck up the stairs to his office.

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