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Governor Markell in a distraction to focus attention away from Charter Schools breaking all sorts of statutes, has proposed a controversial 10 cent tax increase on each gallon of gas…

If you are like me at all, and I’m sure a large number of you are, when you first heard that you probably echoed my words or something to it.  “Are you effin crazy?  We just finally got prices back down under $3.33 a gallon (the feel good mark since $10 will buy you 3 gallons which will get you 60 miles or 150 in you have a 50 mpg car…. )!!!

Seriously, how are we going to get back on our feet?

Then I saw the car in front of me swerve and I didn’t and hit the pot hole digging it out another inch… Someone’s got to fix those I said…

Light bulb.

Now I have to get an alignment….  The cheapest alignment in Delaware is $69.95…  but I know the guy.  He charges everyone else $89.95…   So I asked myself how often to I have to get an alignment?  The correct answer if I was being truthful to myself?…. every time I hit a pot hole.  How much does it cost me if I don’t get alignments?  At $150 per tire, $600 dollars.  $300 if I just do the front…

I don’t know if you have noticed but there are an awful lot of potholes that just showed up this week.  i can name locations of about 20, some of which are pretty scary.

Is it cheaper for me to  pay 10 cents a gallon I wondered instead of buying new tires?   So I turned off Rick Jensen and did the math.

At 10 cents a gallon, my cheap alignment would equal  699.5 gallons.   Meaning if I didn’t pay the tax and suffered paying alignments, I would have to  burn up 699 gallons to break even… At  gallon 700, the cost  of the alignment becomes cheaper than the tax on the gas.  And that is a cheap alignment.  The $89.95 version would cost you 899 gallons of gas.  When you burn gallon 900, no tax and the allignment becomes cheaper.

How far does 899 gallons take you?… At 20 miles per gallon, it would carry you 17,980 miles….   if you get 25 mpg, it takes you up to 22,475 miles.  That is almost 2 years of driving in a leased car…. It is almost a year of driving for a normal family car with teen age kids.

So  if you don’t pay taxes on gas at 10 cents a gallon and just pay for alignments, at mile 22,476 you break even.  How many alignments will you have over that time? Bad as roads are today, possibly 4. at 3 month intervals…   Therefore by saving 10 cents a gallon, you would be spending  the amount for 4 alignments, or $359… in 22,476 miles…   So which would you rather pay?  $89.95 or $359 each year?

So what if you buck it and skip the alignments and just buy tires when the metal pokes through?  Well,  in two days since the pothole incident, I’ve lost all the tread off the corners of my tires, or about 50,000 miles worth.  The centers are still like new so at that rate, it would probably be a month before I have to buy two new front tires, and the going rate for big tires on sale is near $150 each installed, some more, some less of course. That equals 3 alignments right there…

So what if I don’t pay 10 cents a gallon tax, and never hit a pot hole… What happens then?   Fat chance that will ever happen, but if such a miracle ever were to occur, it would have saved you  $89.95 across every 22,475 miles…..

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Now I certainly understand the emotional side of putting ones foot down and saying no to paying 10 cents more per gallon.   if you are like me you watched gas go up after George Bush was elected, and climb, and climb, and climb, and climb, and climb, and then, when the speculators had to cover their margins, it dropped to $1.40 a gallon.  Remember that?  Today the sell-shorts are larger than the sell-longs. That means BIG money is betting on the price of oil to fall over time, not rise.  Prices will continue to be near this level for a long time.  It sort amounts to a savings for us when we fill up at the pump.  A weeks driving at $4.00 cost us $100.  Now it costs us $83.25…  We have $16.75 to spend on other things,  Like 5.67th Rita Water Ices….which honestly, we wouldn’t have bought if gas was $4.00 a gallon….

I understand the emotional backlash.

It’s like being frustrated and behind, frustrated and behind, frustrated and behind, and finally there is an opening, a break going our way, and someone is trying to scoop that up away from us… How dare they!..Makes perfect sense….. that is on an emotional level….

But, what if you had a leaky roof?

Would you, when money finally came into your possession after a long drought, say, well we need to have some fun, lets blow it, whoopee?

Maybe… but if you had a roof that dripped, and could never have afforded the cost of a patch or replacement, and fatalistically accepted your plight in life with buckets mapped out in precise arrangements every time precipitation was announced,  would that change your calculations?  Would it make sense to first use that first extra money coming in, to fix that roof now, instead of letting it go, increasing its future repair cost with each month it goes unfixed?  Wouldn’t it be wise to put off going to the beach and use more extra money, instead of going now on the little bit you have, and having the roof cost more later?

That is where we are with this 10 cents a gallon controversy.  We want to spend our money at the beach this summer, and let the roof go.  But we should fix the roof first, and we all know it…  we just don’t want to do it…..

Politics aside, this is just a smart decision.  Putting a tiny bit aside now from everyone, to prevent a huge cost later in the future.  If you look at the costs of doing nothing, this 10 cents a gallon saves us money…. It really doesn’t hurt us; it really does help us save beaucoup de dollars…

Between last Thursday night and last Friday morning, the price of gas jumped 12 cents. from $3.27 up to $3.39.   Has anyone complained vociferously?  Have you heard anyone complain vociferously?  Have you seen any news media outlets running stories on the corporate price hike that was 20% HIGHER than the proposed gas tax increase?…. No.

Because it really isn’t that big of a deal.  Compare that to how many people you tell when you buy tires and get the sticker shock!  Because that is a big deal…

There are 1 million people in Delaware.  But 70 times that, 70 million come into Delaware every summer to visit our beaches…  Mathematically that  means the gas tax will be paid by 1 million Delawareans for 52 weeks a year and 70 million for one week a year while they are here on vacation.  So if we use 50 gallons of gas per week, per person (imagine little babies driving cars, lol)  that $5 of extra tax would be generate from Delaware’s citizenry, ($5.00 X i million X 52 weeks per year) or  $260 million each year, and from the visitors, ($5.00 X 70 million X 1 week)  or $350 million would be added to our coffers.  So the total  would be $260 of which came from us, and $350 which comes from our visitors.

Delaware then gets a benefit of $610 million dollars while coughing up $260 million… which as we said above, really doesn’t hurt us at all on an individual scale.  So if people were cars, we’d have $610 million.  But, the ratios opf in-state and out-of-state automobiles remain the same, since the allotment of vehicles is similarly proportioned to the amount of people.  Just with Motor Vehicle data I didn’t bother to look for, we can make a very close calculation in dollar figures which should closely mirror the  42% of the total received revenue that Delawareans would actually pay…..

It is very rare when one finds a tax where it costs one less to pay, than not to pay….  This one is…

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Holy Crap… Eleven amendments…  To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Richard The Third,… “Was ever such a bill woo’d?  Was ever such a bill, won?”

for those rough on Shakespearean English, the point is that the impossible is occurring right before our eyes.  In a noble attempt to save face for “the party’s governor” Jack Markell, a really, horrible, super bad bill is being amendmentized to try to get it through….

Eleven amendments so far…   how ever did such a horribly construed bill ever make it on the floor?  (oh right, it was done in secret without vetting, I forgot)…

Names of sponsors first.

Kowalko, Kowalko, Jacques, Baumbach, Baumbach, Baumbach, Baumbach, Baumbach, Baumbach, Baumbach, Hefferman . (in order)

Those not tied by corporate hands seem to be leading the charge on this bill.  New Designation:  “The Untainted Ones”… lol.

Just the synopsis for now…

number one… This amendment removes the creation of the Charter School Performance Fund. Applications for the fund would have been evaluated by the Department of Education. The fund was subject to appropriation and limited to $5 million annually… (k)

number 2….   This amendment requires that all charter school applications are first submitted to the local school board. If the school board denies the application, the applicant may then request that the Department of Education consider its application.  (k)

number 3…   This amendment clarifies that charter schools are not allowed to factor in a potential attendee’s qualification under a national school breakfast or lunch program when determining enrollment, but the charter school’s obligation to provide breakfast and lunch at low or no cost to a student who would qualify for that program commences with the 2014-2015 school year.   The amendment provides for procedural due process before the Department would redirect a district’s future State funding to a charter school if the district is behind on its required payments.  The amendment expressly includes in the best interest analysis the children likely to attend a traditional public school in the community. The approval process described in Section 511 is also expressly required under the amendment for a charter’s approval.  
The amendment adds “growth” to “achievement” in order to more accurately reflect this emphasis for Delaware education policy.  
Employees are added as a factor in the charter school closure protocol.  
The amendment proportionately returns funds from the State’s general appropriations to the districts that receive those students for the school year in which the charter school closed.  The Enrollment Preferences Task Force from House Bill No. 90 is specifically charged with reporting on charter school enrollment preferences and practices.   The amendment corrects a few technical items, including a cross-reference, a notation that a section of the bill only amends a subsection of the Code, and a repetition of two lines.(j)

number 4…..  This amendment is designed to keep family siblings within the same (elementary, middle, and high school) school grouping together, to minimize family driving, but is designed also to open our charter schools to greater availability to additional families.(b)

number 5.… This amendment also removes the five-mile radius limitation which disadvantages students from rural Sussex and from the City of Wilmington from receiving preferential admission to charter schools which are in their district but which are more than five miles from their home. The transportation funding for charter schools is analogous to that for vocational-technical schools, which similarly serve students beyond a five-mile radius.(b)

number 6... The amendment provides that the annual evaluation of the charter school will include a review of turnover in the board, executive staff and teaching staff.(b)

number 7…This amendment recognizes that charter schools are owned by the non-profit organization and not the State. Thus, they are fundamentally different from all other Delaware public schools, including State-owned vocational-technical schools. As such, charter schools should not be eligible for capital funding of any sort, for this would represent a give-away of State tax dollars to private entities, for minor capital improvements that do not accrue to the Delaware taxpayer.(b)

number 8…This amendment expressly provides that an application for a charter school must satisfy the criteria in Section 512.(b)

number 9…. The amendment requires that the high-quality plans for the receipt of funds directly serve traditionally under-served students.(b)

number 10…Under this amendment, the limitation is lowered to $1 million for the performance fund.

number 11… The amendment requires that preference is given to high-quality plans directly serving traditionally under-served students, rural students, or students with disabilities. Those programs are to receive at least 50% of the fund.(h)

More to come from the other side on the floor… For sure…

This is a really, really bad bill….

In a new parlor game, reminiscent of one played in Uncle Scrooge’s nephew’s house on Christmas Day present,  the question was:… what is the biggest difference between the Head of Delaware’s Senate, and  the Head of Delaware’s House?

……………………….   Finally after multiple answers, all correct but deemed wrong, we get the answer.

One  licks the governor’s butt on rare occasion; the other licks it all session long.

That was too poetic not to pass on.


Right click to open full image… Pictograph Courtesy of Viral..

So, can someone tell me again, why we shouldn’t tax the rich, and instead, balance the budget on the backs of everyone else?…….

I seem to be missing that little detail where that all makes sense……

i’m concerned.

With a lot of discussion aimed at one particular person who is employed by the state, and works for it as well, that something will get washed under the bridge without anyone mentioning it.

That is,

If we disallow state employees to run for office, who does that leave to run? People with Republican sympathies…..

Let me explain. Delaware only pays a legislator $42,000 a year. One can’t live on that… Therefore the only people who can physically serve are those who do not have to work 40 hours for their income…. That can be someone retired,or someone fabulously wealthy, or someone who doesn’t need forty hours of pay to stay alive….

Therefore, every legislator if not independently wealthy, needs a benefactor. If that benefactor is not the state, or other forms of government, it has to be a private concern…. And… a private concern will be much more emphatic that their “owned” legislator, does their bidding…. For proof of this, look no further than Scott Walker, John Kasich, an Rick Scott.

Currently, allowing someone to work as a state employee, and serve as a part time legislator, is the only way a person representing working people, can afford to be a legislator.

It can create some problems of course, such as funneling money to a certain bureau but that pales in comparison to having another friend of Delmarva Power, Bank of America, Waste Management, Dupont, Positive Growth Alliance, Pam Scott Realitors, serving in our state legislator.

Only someone independent of corporate influence can see clearly when it comes time to balance the needs of corporations versus the needs of our state’s people…

One, we’ve already lost that balance. Forcing a legislator to have a corporate benefactor, will only push that balance further in the wrong direction….

So if we force this disconnection between a working state employee and a position as an elected official, we need to also have a way of having voices independent serve on our state boards…

Currently you have land use issues around this state. Residents are in an uproar over changes to their neighborhoods. But, none of them can run… Who can run? A realtor…. So properties get zoned for quick sales, irregardless of the consequences they actually impose upon those who live there!

This is the direction this bill will take us… unless we have something in it to balance corporate takeovers…

I propose that we pull the plug and make our legislators full time….

Jump the salary from $42,000 a year to $100,000 a year…. Wow, that’s a 138% increase in a time of recession!

Yes, but it will better equal our capacity to serve the whole of our states population.

Any government worker, can afford to quit to serve as his constituents representative. Any corporate representative, can afford to quit, to serve as his constituents representative…. Any human being, can afford to serve the needs of his constituents, without having to sell his soul to represent some narrow interest group once in….

How much will this cost?

41 plus 21 times $58,000…. equals $3.5 million dollars. or roughly 1 percent of our state’s budget. Whereas that may sound like a lot, we could easily increase the top 1% tax rate slightly to counteract it, and with the stroke of a pen, finally have a government independent of corporate, or labor, or another state department’s influence.

Such is the cost of excellence….

Other state’s paying for full time legislators, are…. California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania… Once looking a the the list of salaries paid state by state nationwide, it becomes rather apparent why across this great nation of ours, the whims of government can be quickly changed by one good meal……

The News Journal was apparently prodded from above, to finally give in and show some publicity to the forces, led by the Sussex County developer’s community, to apply pressure to Pete Schwartzkopf….

This has nothing to do with the upcoming election.

This does have to do with pressuring Pete to vote the developers line in the state’s General Assembly whenever “their” bills come up for a vote…

One can tell this is true by it’s timing… Why now….. No voter in hell (or Sussex County), cares about elections this early. Resurrecting an old Pink Floyd cliche... and applying it to Pete Schwartzkopf this close to the end of the legislative session, can be for one reason…

Intimidation…

Now Pete, brushes this off. As well as he should… Let us look at the evidence we have and just what exactly it means….

We have a truck, a billboard, pamphlets, a website.

The website is free, anyone can do that. The pamphlets depending on the number, could be done for $10.00… The billboard, we learn, is free. The only expense so far, is the truck.. Perhaps?….

That depends on Chuck Gritton. I would venture to guess that this was done at company expense. No sums changed hands?

So what looks like an attempted protest, is simply the whinings of one or two pathetic people… One is Christian Hudson, a developer who won’t rest until Sussex County looks like Harlem…

These developers intimidated Sussex County for years… To my knowledge, only two men, and one women, have been brave enough not to kowtow to them, and say no…

The entire state of Delaware owes Pete Schwartzkoph considerable thanks, for keeping our beaches in competent hands….

Who are these people? These people want to build with no environmental laws. They don’t care what damage is done to the land. These people don’t care how long you have to wait to get onto your highway, or how long you have to wait for the light to go green, and then, ten feet later, stop at the next stop light… They don’t care. All they care about is selling the land they got for nothing and making themselves too much money to spend in their lifetimes… For that, all of Sussex County has to suffer..

They have taken a page from Osama Bin Laden. When you don’t have support, use money to wreak havoc. In a sense, they have resorted to terrorist tactics.

Terrorist tactics? Isn’t that a little extreme?

Let’s look at it. Let’s compare Osama Bin Laden to say, whoever is trying to pressure Pete Schwartzkoph.

Both work in secret, with a small cadre of close assistants, who move through society incognito.

Both are fanatic about minority opinions that no one even cares about.

Both, have no concern for collateral damage or the innocent people who suffer from their actions…

The bottom line, is that their statements are so ludicrous, they can’t make them in public without getting laughed off stage…

Pete raised taxes in Sussex County? As all astute people know, the budget is compiled by the Joint Finance Committee… Pete has not even a member of the Joint Finance Committee since the Legislature changed in 2008. Back when he was a member, Republican controlled the House, so the following people, who if this accusation is to foolishly to be believed, all deserve Pigs-On-trucks attached to their names…. Oberle, Amick, Cloutier, Booth, Miro, and Wagner

These are the people who need to get blamed for your raised taxes… Not Pete Schwartzkoph.

For more silliness, you can find them here…

http://onlywhenpigsfly.org/

Their website fails to mention that because of the mismanagement caused by developers such as Christain Hudson and his supporters, our state was facing a shortfall… It costs every citizen less to pay a tiny residual in taxes, than have to pay full price for those services they now get for free..

Pete is on the right boat. Those terrorists who can’t debate in public without losing the second they open their mouth. are not…

Bottom line.

This is just fun and games by two pathetic people, who have this bone to pick with Pete Schwartzkoph…. No one should take it seriously… especially the News Journal….