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Archive for June 19th, 2010

Here’s another taxpayer ripoff story. Some of the so-called stimulus money was used to subsidize a casino that rakes in $1.3 billion every year. Something to keep in mind the next time a politician tells you that there’s no waste in the budget and we need to raise taxes:

With the support of Sen. Chris Dodd, D.-Conn., the federal government has awarded $54 million to Connecticut’s politically well-connected Mohegan Indian tribe, which operates one of the highest grossing casinos in the U.S. The tribe runs the sprawling Mohegan Sun casino, halfway between New York City and Boston, which earned more than $1.3 billion in gross revenues in 2009. …Lynn Malerba, chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribal Council, defended the award of the stimulus loan to the tribe, and said that every member of Connecticut’s seven-member Congressional delegation except one had provided assistance in securing the funds. “The whole Connecticut delegation, I think aside from [Rep.] Jim Himes, who was traveling, sent a letter in support.” Bryan DeAngelis, communications director for Sen. Dodd, confirmed Dodd’s support for the loan. “Senator Dodd supported this project in the same manner and for the same reasons he supports federal assistance for other Connecticut projects – creating and preserving local jobs,” said DeAngelis. “The only factor that mattered in Dodd’s support of these loans was job creation and economic recovery in Connecticut.” A former aide to Dodd, Charles Bunnell, is Chief of Staff for External and Governmental Affairs for the tribe.

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Radley Balko’s Reason article explains how local governments install red-light cameras in ways that increase accidents because they are greedy for more revenue:

…the Florida Public Health Review published a research paper that concluded the cameras “actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them.” In particular, there has been a dramatic increase in rear-end collisions, suggesting that people are slamming on their brakes to avoid a ticket. Similarly, a 2005 Washington Post report found that after the city installed its traffic light cameras, collisions at the camera-equipped intersections went up rather than down. But the cameras brought the city $32 million in revenue. So rather than halting the program, the city chose to expand it. A number of researchers have shown that lengthening yellow lights at crash-prone intersections is much more effective at preventing collisions than issuing automated citations. (The North Carolina Urban Transit Institute, for example, came to that conclusion after an extensive study funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Other studies along those lines have been conducted by the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Texas Department of Transportation, and North Carolina A&T.) But lengthening yellow lights doesn’t add cash to city coffers, so few jurisdictions have considered it. …at least six cities have been caught shortening yellow lights after installing cameras at intersections, putting motorists in more peril while simultaneously picking their pockets when they unexpectedly run through red lights. …Until media reports and citizen complaints prompted a change in the law, motorists in Washington, D.C., who wanted to challenge an automated ticket had their claims heard not by a government court but by the same company that received a percentage of every fine collected. Such policies have sparked a backlash: As of December, 15 states and nine cities had banned automated citation cameras.

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The former communists running Russia apparently understand tax policy better than the buffoons in charge of U.S. tax policy. Not only does Russia have a 13 percent flat tax, but the government has just announced it will eliminate the capital gains tax (which shouldn’t exist in a pure flat tax anyhow). Here’s a passage from the BBC report:

Russia will scrap capital gains tax on long-term direct investment from 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev has said. …Mr Medvedev told the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that long-term direct investment was “necessary for modernisation”. …Its oil revenues fund, which has been financing the deficit, is expected to end next year, and the government wants to attract more foreign investment to boost the economy.

Sounds like President Medvedev has watched the Center for Freedom and Prosperity’s video explaining why there should be no capital gains tax. Now we just need to get American politicians to pay attention.

Welcome Instpundit readers!

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