Tag Archives: cash

1/3 Oklahoma’s Budget Dedicated to Corporate Incentive Payouts

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

The New Economy-How do we like it so far?

Kaye Beach

Dec. 3, 2012

Welcome to the New Economy!

The New York Times spent 10 months investigating business incentives awarded by hundreds of cities, counties and states. Since there is no nationwide accounting of these incentives, The Times put together a database and found that local governments give up:

  • $80.3 billion in incentives each year
  • 1,874 No. of program

Check out the interactive map that shows spending incentive spending state by state here

Oklahoma

Oklahoma spends at least $2.19 billion per year on incentive programs, according to the most recent data available. That is roughly:

  • $584 per capita
  • 37¢ per dollar of state budget

Read more about Oklahoma

Here is the NYT accompanying news report;

Tax Incentives to Companies Bleeding Towns Dry, With Few Results

Sunday, 02 December 2012 09:51 By Louise Story, The New York Times News Service | Report

In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.

When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.

For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.

Yet at least 50 properties on the 2009 liquidation list were in towns and states that had awarded incentives, adding up to billions in taxpayer dollars, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

Some officials, desperate to keep G.M., offered more. Ohio was proposing a $56 million deal to save its Moraine plant, and Wisconsin, fighting for its Janesville factory, offered $153 million.

But their overtures were to no avail. G.M. walked away and, thanks to a federal bailout, is once again profitable. The towns have not been so fortunate, having spent scarce funds in exchange for thousands of jobs that no longer exist.

One township, Ypsilanti, Mich., is suing over the automaker’s departure. “You can’t just make these promises and throw them around like they’re spare change in the drawer,” said Doug Winters, the township’s attorney.

Yet across the country, companies have been doing just that. And the giveaways are adding up to a gigantic bill for taxpayers.

A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains.

The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid.

“How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.

The Times analyzed more than 150,000 awards and created a searchable database of incentive spending. The survey was supplemented by interviews with more than 100 officials in government and business organizations as well as corporate executives and consultants.

A portrait arises of mayors and governors who are desperate to create jobs, outmatched by multinational corporations and short on tools to fact-check what companies tell them. Many of the officials said they feared that companies would move jobs overseas if they did not get subsidies in the United States.

Over the years, corporations have increasingly exploited that fear, creating a high-stakes bazaar where they pit local officials against one another to get the most lucrative packages. States compete with other states, cities compete with surrounding suburbs, and even small towns have entered the race with the goal of defeating their neighbors.

While some jobs have certainly migrated overseas, many companies receiving incentives were not considering leaving the country, according to interviews and incentive data.

Read more

AxXiom for Liberty Live! Friday 6-8pm Turning the Tables On Turnpike Tormenters

These Florida”Troublemakers” have definitely turned the tables on the tollway tormentors in Florida who were detaining travelers for paying cash.

AxXiom  For Liberty Live! Friday  April 8, 2011 6-8pm CST

Listening info

Tonight we welcome special guests (and esteemed Troublemakers) Joel and Robert Chandler of Fogwatch.org

You may have heard about this story-

Florida drivers ‘detained’ if tolls paid with big bills

Whenever Joel Chandler tried to pay a $1 toll with a $20 bill in Polk County, he was asked by toll collectors to provide personal information.

The information, he said, included his name, phone number, address and date of birth. Unless he provided it, Chandler said, he could not proceed through the toll.

“So you all detain people until you get their personal information?” Chandler asked in one encounter he recorded with a cell phone camera.

“Yes, sir,” the toll taker said.

Last month, Chandler filed a federal lawsuit against state transportation officials saying toll workers across Florida had for at least four years refused to allow drivers through tolls if they paid with large bills — unless they provided personal details.

“They’re doing this without probable cause,” said Chandler, 47, a Lakeland man who describes himself as a public records activist who has filed numerous lawsuits against the state. “They’re doing something even police officers aren’t allowed to do.” read more

That is only the tip of the iceberg.   Friday we will be talking to Joel Chandler and find out what he and his brother Robert have uncovered about this situation through their tenacity (and Florida’s liberal open records laws).  We will also get some details on the Federal Civil Rights Class Action lawsuit filed by Joel and Robert Chandler in Tampa, Florida on February 8, 2011.

Troublemakers seem to get no respect!

Joel Chandler writes;

“On numerous occasions I have become the target of criminal investigations by law enforcement agencies because I exercised a constitutionally protected right.  These agencies have included police departments, sheriff’s departments, the Department of Homeland Security, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Federal Protective Services, Department of Energy, FBI, Secret Service and others.

Enemies of the State

Go to FogWatch.org to read more about the Chandler duo’s exploits and listen them live Friday April 8th from 6-8pm on AxXiom For Liberty with Kaye Beach and Howard Houchen

 

Asst links:

Oklahoma Open Records request template

http://journalism.okstate.edu/faculty/jsenat/requestletter.htm

About OK Open Records Act

http://andylester.com/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=3Yx2gpCgJBM%3D&tabid=81

 

License Plate Interoperability Hub ATI’s RFP

Florida Toll Travelers Detained for Paying With Large Bills

Kaye Beach

March 6, 2011

Updated March 9, 2011

A little insight:

Drivers who pass through one of the 37 toll plazas from the Broward County line to Florida City will notice something — there are no more human toll collectors.
That’s because on Saturday the toll plazas along the Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike began collecting tolls electronically with SunPass, or through a “toll-by-plate” option.  (Option???)

To automatically re-load their accounts when needed SunPass customers can link their accounts to a credit card.  They can also be re-loaded at Navarro Pharmacies and several stores.  Visit SunPass.com to find a location near you.

Drivers who do not have a SunPass will be will pay toll premiums ranging from 50 to 100 percent, depending on the toll location, as well as pay a monthly service charge of $2.50.  They will receive their bills in the mail.

Read More

 

Over the course of the last decade the toll industry has trended toward the
implementation of All Electronic Tolling (AET) away from cash collection and toll booth infrastructure. This includes new toll facility implementations and retrofitting existing cash collection points to AET. This change in revenue collection, through AET, opens the door for full North American interoperability as a means for motorists to travel acrossthe nation on any toll facility using either a single electronic device or utilizing video invoicing.

The Alliance for Toll Interoperability

http://tollinterop.org/global/docs/Legal_RFP_FINAL_02142011.pdf

Policing for Profit

Civil forfeiture laws represent one of the most serious assaults on private property rights in the nation today.  Under civil forfeiture, police and prosecutors can seize your car or other property, sell it and use the proceeds to fund agency budgets—all without so much as charging you with a crime.  Unlike criminal forfeiture, where property is taken after its owner has been found guilty in a court of law, with civil forfeiture, owners need not be charged with or convicted of a crime to lose homes, cars, cash or other property.

Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head.  With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent.

 

Read Policing for Profit

RICO, The War on Drugs and Asset Forfeiture

Civil asset forfeiture is based upon the medieval doctrine that when property is involved in a crime, the property becomes “guilty,” and can be “arrested” and forfeited, regardless of the guilt or innocence of the property’s owners. Under civil asset forfeiture, property—not an individual—is charged with an offense. The modern power of civil asset forfeiture in the United States dates back to the Civil War, when the Supreme Court affirmed the civil seizure of rebel property. In 1921 civil forfeiture was extended to violations of alcohol prohibition. During the 1980s, forfeiture was extended to drug trafficking and possession, and a host of other crimes, through the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984, the Drug Abuse Act of 1986, and other laws. The power of civil asset forfeiture is being extended to virtually all misdemeanors and felonies.

This article was written by Jarret B Wollstein back in 1993.  It is a good history refresher and a good reminder for why we should be cautious about allowing our emotions or the appeal of a “good cause” to override good judgment when it comes to lawmaking.  The foot in the door to asset forfeiture was the fight against organized crime (RICO) and  War on Drugs.

Another good article on the subject written in 1991;

Government Seizures Victimize Innocent
Part One: The Overview
February 27, 1991.

An d a recent report fro the National Institute of Justice “Policing for Profit” with state by state law analysis 2010

The Governments War on Property

Jarret B. Wollstein

“A police dog scratched at your luggage, so we’re confiscating your life savings and you’ll never get it back.” In 1989, police stopped 49-year-old Ethel Hylton at Houston’s Hobby Airport and told her she was under arrest because a drug dog had scratched at her luggage. Agents searched her bags and strip-searched her, but they found no drugs. They did find $39,110 in cash, money she had received from an insurance settlement and her life savings, accumulated by working as a hotel housekeeper and hospital janitor for more than 20 years. Ethel Hylton completely documented where she got the money and was never charged with a crime. The police kept her money anyway. Nearly four years later, she is still trying to get her money back.

Ethel Hylton is just one of a large and growing list of Americans now numbering in the hundreds of thousands—who have been victimized by civil asset forfeiture. Under civil forfeiture, everything you own can be legally taken away from you without indictment, trial, or conviction. Suspicion of offenses which, if proven, might result in a $200 fine or probation, are being used to justify seizure of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of property. Thousands of innocent Americans are losing their cars, homes, bank accounts, and businesses, based upon the claims of unidentified “informants” that illegal transactions took place on their property. Here are a few examples:

Thirty-year-old Ken Brown owned and operated Chemco, a small pool and gardening chemical supply company in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A few months after he opened his doors in 1986, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stopped by and told him to “get out of the chemical business.” A year later Ken found out why: His chief competitor in Albuquerque had an arrangement with the DEA, and neither the DEA nor the competitor wanted any competition. When Ken refused to close his doors in 1987, harassment from the DEA began and got steadily worse. First his UPS packages were opened and inspected. Then his deliveries were seized, his drivers were searched, and his suppliers were threatened. Next his house was searched by armed DEA agents. They found nothing. On November 19, 1991, the DEA arrested his manager and padlocked the doors to Chemco. The IRS was also brought in to investigate the company. The DEA charged Chemco with selling chemicals that could be used to manufacture drugs. On May 8, 1992, the DEA seized Ken Brown’s house and cars, and told him to sign an agreement to pay rent to the U.S. Marshals or “hit the street with my wife and eight-year-old son.” In May 1992 the DEA made Ken Brown an offer: “give us Chemco and we will give you all your personal belongings back.” Ken Brown refused and is still fighting.

Dr. Jonathan Wright operated the Takoma Medical Clinic in Kent, Washington. On May 6, 1992, nearly two dozen armed police and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agents broke down his clinic’s door and pointed their weapons at him and his 15-person staff, mostly women. For the next 14 hours, the staff was held at gunpoint while the FDA ransacked the clinic. Neither Dr. Wright nor any of his employees was ever charged with a crime. That didn’t stop the police and FDA from seizing Dr. Wright’s books, laboratory equipment, supplies, patient records, reference books, and computers. The raid was part of a national FDA crackdown on nutritional therapists.

Willie Jones owned a small landscaping service in Nashville, Tennessee. When he paid cash for an airline ticket at Nashville Metro Airport on February 27, 1991, the ticket agent acted strangely, and said she would have to check in back what to do with the cash. The ticket agent returned and gave Mr. Jones his ticket. Ten minutes later, drug agents stopped and searched him. They found $9,600 in cash, which Jones was going to use to buy plants for his business. Jones explained he pays in cash “because that’s the way the growers want it.” That didn’t stop the DEA from taking his money. Jones was not charged with any crime. But the government took all of his operating cash, and nearly put him out of business.

Legal rights and protections that Americans have cherished for hundreds of years have been increasingly violated during the last two decades. Most of what you learned in school about your legal rights and protections is no longer true. A combination of rising crime, the growing power of government, and increasing concern about drugs has done tremendous damage to the Bill of Rights and our heritage of liberty. Few Americans realize how grave and how ominous that damage has been. Today the government has the power legally to seize your bank account, your house, or your business, without trial, hearing, or indictment. Everything you have worked for and accumulated over a lifetime can now be taken away from you at the whim of authorities. Black or white, rich or poor, we are all potential victims. And unless the laws are changed, there is very little you can legally do to protect your property.

Civil Asset Forfeiture

The seeds of social disaster were planted in 1970 when Congress enacted the federal Racketeering and Corrupt Influence (RICO) statutes (greatly expanded in 1984). Although the rhetoric supporting RICO focused upon defeating “organized crime,” the actual “crimes” targeted by RICO were rather vague. To be cited under RICO, all a person or firm need be suspected of are two instances of mail, wire, or securities fraud. “Fraud” is so broadly defined by RICO that the law covers virtually any offense involving mail, telephone, or stocks. Far from being limited to going after organized crime, RICO is now invoked in minor business cases, landlord-tenant disputes, anti-abortion protests, and even divorce cases.

Two aspects of RICO make it a particularly grave threat to civil liberties and justice: First, RICO effectively extended the jurisdiction of the federal government to nearly every conceivable property offense committed by anyone, anywhere in the United States. Second, RICO undermined our entire system of justice by giving the government the power to freeze or seize all of an individual’s or company’s assets based upon mere suspicion that an offense had occurred. No business can survive if its assets are frozen. A business that can’t pay its bills and operating expenses is a bankrupt business. Because RICO sanctions are so potentially devastating, the guilt or innocence of a business under investigation by government agents becomes immaterial. The mere threat of RICO sanctions is sufficient to force even the largest company to plead guilty and make a deal.

RICO was only the first of many statutes passed in the last 20 years enabling government agencies to seize property without indictment, trial, or conviction for any offense. The war on drugs and fear over growing crime have given us hundreds of new state, federal, and local laws, vastly expanding the government’s power to seize and forfeit property. Because most new seizure laws are civil rather than criminal, the government does not even have to charge the owners of property with a crime before making seizures. Even if you are charged with a crime and acquitted, everything you own can still be seized and forfeited. When your property is civilly forfeited, you have no right to a court-appointed attorney, no right to confront your accusers, no presumption of innocence, and no protection from double jeopardy. Even the Constitutional right to trial by jury is frequently denied in civil forfeiture cases.

Read More

Texas Red Light (S)camera Hanky Panky

Money!

The Newspaper reports;

For years it had been a mystery how the Texas House of Representatives, 83 percent of whose members voted to ban photo enforcement, could nonetheless endorse the use of red light cameras. An ethical storm that broke around state Representative Linda Harper-Brown (R-Irving) last month provides the answer. Harper-Brown, a Transportation Committee member, accepted unreported gratuities from a traffic camera firm in return for playing the decisive role in establishing the automated ticketing industry in the Lone Star State.

Over the course of four legislative sessions from 1995 to 2003, the House outright rejected all attempts to give legislative legitimacy to intersection ticket cameras. There simply was no way to pass the legislation in an open floor vote. The industry turned to Harper-Brown, who willingly snuck a one-sentence provision allowing municipalities to issue “civil” citations for traffic crimes into unrelated legislation dealing with commercial motor vehicle standards. Most House members did not notice the provision until it was too late and were furious at what they saw as an underhanded move — the vote to strip Harper-Brown’s language passed by a three-to-one margin. The state Senate leadership, however, protected the cameras by using a parliamentary maneuver. Governor Rick Perry (R) did nothing to undo Harper-Brown’s work.

Read More

Cool Cash for Hot Tips! Turn in your Neighbor

TIPS70909

Picture taken in OKC 7/08/09

Mayor of Newark NJ offers a cool 1,000 cash for turning in your neighbor-no questions asked

Totally anonymous!