News Briefs and PSAs
Bill to Prevent Lawmakers and Federal Employees from Cheating on Taxes
U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today regarding two bills he has introduced that will crack down on federal employees and members of Congress and staff who are cheating on their taxes. S. 3790 will make federal employees who have seriously delinquent tax debts ineligible for federal employment. S. 3791 will require Members of Congress to disclose delinquent tax liability, require an ethics inquiry, and garnish the wages of a Member with federal tax liability.
“Taxpayers are fed up with those in Washington living under a different set of rules than the rest of America. At a time when Congress may allow taxes to increase on some or even all Americans, Congress should not expect other Americans to pay more taxes when they are not even paying the taxes they owe under the rates they set themselves,” Dr. Coburn said.
In 2009, the Internal Revenue Service found nearly 100,000 civil-ian federal employees were delinquent on their federal income taxes, owing over $1 billion in unpaid federal income taxes. When considering retirees and military, more than 282,000 federal employees owed $3.3 billion in taxes. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has reported that congressional staff, and possibly lawmakers, had tax delinquency totaling at least $9.3 million last year.
“Legislators and government employees should not be exempt from the laws they write and enforce. The very nature of ‘public service’ demands those being paid by taxpayers contribute their fair share of taxes. They should lead by example or be held accountable if they believe they are above the law,” Dr. Coburn said.
Office of Sen. Tom Coburn
Bozeman-Based Fishing Products Recall
Simms fishing products of Bozeman, Montana, is recalling about 3,000 Simms wading staffs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced in September
The CPSC advises consumers to immediately stop using the recalled product and contact Simms fishing products or an authorized dealer to receive a free replacement staff or a full refund. Simms fishing products can be reached toll-free at (877) 789-6555 between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. MST. The CPSC advises that it is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.
The wading staff can collapse posing a fall hazard to consumers. To date, no incidents or injuries have been reported. The recalled product is a wading staff used to assist in wading rivers and streams. The staffs are sterling silver in color and identified as Simms item numbers AWS101152 and AWS101156 (UPC numbers 94264-10102 or 942 64-10103). The item number and UPC numbers can be found on the product hangtag attached to the staff at time of purchase. Affected wading staffs are visibly identifiable by a silver cable connector. The recalled Simms wading staffs were manufactured in the United States and sold by authorized dealers from March 2010 through June 2010 for about $120.
November 2 Ballot Issues: Constitutional Convention, Call No. 2
A call for a Constitutional Convention required by the Montana Constitution Article XIV, sections 3 and 4, of the Montana Constitution requires the question of holding an unlimited Constitutional Convention to be submitted to the people at the general election in each 20th year following its last submission. If a majority of those voting on the question answer in the affirmative, the Legislature shall provide for the calling thereof at its next session.
FOR calling a Constitutional Convention
AGAINST calling a Constitutional Convention
Constitutional Initiative 105
A Constitutional Amendment Proposed By Initiative Petition
There is no existing state or local tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property in Montana. CI-105 amends the Montana Constitution to prohibit state or local governments from imposing any new tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property, such as residential homes, apartments, condominiums, townhouses, farms, ranches, land, and commercial property, after January 1, 2010.
FOR amending the Montana Constitution to prohibit state or local governments from imposing any new tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property.
AGAINST amending the Montana Constitution to prohibit state or local governments from imposing any new tax on transactions that sell or transfer real property.
A Law Proposed By Initiative Petition
I-161 revises the laws related to nonresident big game and deer hunting licenses. It abolishes outfitter-sponsored nonresident big game and deer combination licenses, replacing the 5,500 outfitter-sponsored big game licenses with 5,500 additional general nonresident big game licen-ses. It also increases the nonresident big game combination license fee from $628 to $897 and the nonresident deer combination license fee from $328 to $527. It provides for future adjustment of these for inflation. The Initiative allocates a share of the proceeds from these nonresident hunting license fees to provide hunting access and preserve and restores habitat.
I-161 increases state revenues over the next four years by an estimated $700,000 annually for hunting access and an estimated $1.5 million annually for habitat preservation and restoration, assuming that all nonresident hunting licenses are sold. It also increases general nonresident hunting licenses revenues by inflation.
FOR abolishing outfitter-spon-sored hunting licenses, replacing outfitter-sponsored big game licen-ses with nonresident licenses, increasing nonresident license fees, and increasing funding for hunting access and habitat.
AGAINST abolishing outfitter-sponsored hunting licenses, replacing outfitter-sponsored big game licenses with nonresident licenses, increasing nonresident license fees, and increasing funding for hunting access and habitat.
A Law Proposed By Initiative Petition
Under Montana law, deferred deposit (payday) lenders may charge fees equaling one-fourth of the loan, which, as an annual interest rate could range from 300 percent to 650 percent. Title lenders may charge similar interest rates. I-164 reduces the interest, fees, and charges that payday lenders, title lenders, retail installment lenders, and consumer loan licensees may charge to an annual interest rate of 36 percent. It prohibits businesses from structuring other transactions to avoid the rate limit. It also revises statutes applicable to Pawn Brokers and Junk Dealers.
I-164 reduces the licenses and examination fee revenue paid to the state because certain lenders may not renew their licenses.
FOR reducing the annual interest, fees, and charges payday, title and retail installment lenders and consumer loan licensees may charge on loans to 36 percent
AGAINST reducing the annual interest, fees, and charges payday, title, and retail installment lenders and consumer loan licensees may charge on loans to 36 percent.
Livingston Civic Center Closed for Retrofitting
The City of Livingston’s Civic Center is closed to all activities for the months of September, October and possibly the first two weeks of November 2010. The City has received a grant from the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, an energy efficiency conservation block grant for $156,975 for energy efficiency retrofits to the Civic Center. Northwestern Energy is providing rebates for the retrofits in the amount of $41,783. The purpose of the Livingston Civic Center energy retrofits project is to reduce energy consumption in the city-owned Civic Center and create and sustain jobs in Montana. The City of Livingston proposes to make the following modifications to the building which will result in energy savings that pay for the project over a period not longer than 15 years: installation of insulation and a thermal barrier to the walls, roof, rim joists and attics; installation of insulated commercial overhead doors and openers for the shop; furring out of the shop and office walls with 2x4 framing and addition of drywall, tape, texture, and paint over the insulation; replacement of all 35 single pane windows with double pane low-e insulated glass windows; and, replacement of existing lighting controls with high efficiency lighting and occupancy sensor controls. The City of Livingston would like to apologize for any inconvenience this may cause to possible renters. Once the updates are completed the Civic Center will be open and available for rentals of all types.
City of Livingston
Website Tracks Tweets From State Elected Officials
Bozeman’s Montana Policy Institute announces a new website, www. tweetmontana.org, that allows the public to view Tweets from every Montana elected official at the state or federal level on one website.
Twitter is the popular social media tool that allows users to send short messages to 'followers.' The Montana Policy Institute spent several months developing the site.
"Instead of people having to track down every lawmaker and 'follow' them, we put all the information in one place with this site," said MPI President Carl Graham. "This is a great tool for voters to stay informed on what their elected officials are thinking and saying."
The site includes 'tweets' from more than a dozen state officials. As more lawmakers and officials begin Tweeting, their accounts will be added to the site. The tool should be especially useful during the upcoming session of the state legislature in 2011. For additional information or call 219-0508.
D.C. Press Conference on
UFOs/Malmstrom Air Force Base
Testimony from more than 120 former or retired military personnel points to ongoing intervention by unidentified aerial objects at nuclear weapons sites, as recently as 2003. In some cases, several nuclear missiles simultaneously and inexplic-ably malfunctioned while a disc-shaped object silently hovered nearby. Six former U.S. Air Force officers and one former enlisted man broke their silence about these events on Sept. 27 at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., part of which made the FOX Report with Shepard Smith the following day, CNN, and CBS.com, and urged the government to confirm their reality.
One of the participants, ICBM launch officer Captain Robert Salas, was on duty during one missile disruption incident at central Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base and ordered to never discuss it. Another, Col. Charles Halt (Ret.), observed a disc-shaped object directing beams of light down into the RAF Bentwaters Airbase in England and heard on the radio that objects landed in the Nuclear Weapons Storage Area. Both men provided details about the events and revealed how the U.S. military responded.
Captain Salas noted, “The U.S. Air force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it.” Col. Halt added, “I believe the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted…to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practiced methods of disinformation.”
Speakers at the press conference discussed national security implications of these and similar incidents and urged the government to reveal all relevant information.
Declassified government documents distributed at the event provided evidence of similar activity at nuclear weapons sites back to 1948. The press conference, described as addressing a “public awareness issue,” also addressed abuse of government secrecy and the ongoing threat of nuclear weapons. Researcher Robert Hastings moderated a panel of former USAF officers involved in incidents at sites near Malmstrom (Montana), F.E. Warren, and Walker Air Force bases, as well as the Nuclear Weapons Depot at RAF Bentwaters. Participants included Dwynne Arneson, USAF Lt. Col. Ret. Communications Center Officer-in-charge; Bruce Fenstermach-er, former USAF nuclear missile launch officer; Charles Halt, USAF Col. Ret., former Deputy Base Commander; Robert Hastings, author; Robert Jamison, former USAF nuclear missile targeting officer; Patrick McDonough, former USAF nuclear missile site geodetic surveyor; Jerome Nelson, former USAF nuclear missile launch officer; and Robert Salas, former USAF nuclear missile launch officer.
Robert Hastings, email: hastings [email protected]
State Unemployment Rate 7.4 Percent
(HELENA)—Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percent in August up to 7.4 percent after holding steady at 7.3 percent for two months. The Montana rate increase was the same as the 0.1 percent increase in the national unemployment rate, which is at 9.6 percent for August.
“Montana’s unemployment rate mirrored the national economy by increasing slightly in August,” says Labor Commissioner Keith Kelly. “Although both the U.S. and Montana economies are in recovery, job growth remains slow.”
Payroll employment estimates fell by 2,600 jobs in August, led by job losses in the government sector with the departure of the Census workers from federal payrolls. The estimate for the total number of Montanans who are working, including agricultural, payroll, and self-employed workers, indicated a job loss of approximately 1,500 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.
The seasonally adjusted Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers increased 0.3 percent in August. The price increase was due to an increase in the energy index. The index for all items less food and energy, also called core inflation, was unchanged for the month.
*Unemployment figures are seasonally adjusted. Seasonally adjusted numbers remove the effects of events that follow a more or less regular month-to-month pattern each year. These adjustments make nonseasonal patterns easier to identify. The margin of error for the unemployment rate is plus or minus 1.0 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level. All questions relating to the calculation of unemployment rates should be directed to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry’s Research and Analysis Bureau at 1-800-541-3904.
The September 2010 Labor Situation Report will be released on Friday, October 22, 2010.
Barbara Wagner, Senior Economist, Montana Department of Labor and Industry
BBBS Walking the Talk
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Park County is back in the schools implementing an After School Mentoring Program, Oct. 5. BBBS-PC is partnering with LINKS For Learning and the Livingston School District to offer a one-to-one mentoring program to youth ages 6-12. The weekly program will take place at Washington School on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour and a half. The program focuses on relationship build-ing between matches and assistance for the Littles with academics. During the match meetings BBBS-PC and LINKS staff facilitate games and activities, strengthening relationships between matches. Additionally, Bigs help Littles with homework and assist with reading and math. Our mentors are unique because our Bigs are Park High students, who can earn community service hours required to graduate. We currently have 25 Park High students enrolled.
Thank you to the Lore Kann and Pamida foundations for generosity toward this program.
Dream BIG Breakfast: Start your day with BBBS and Start Something in Park County. When: October 28; Where: The Elks Club, basement- 130 S. 2nd Street; Time: 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. RSVP only event. Please call or email the BBBS office to secure your seat. For more details visit our bbbsparkcounty.org.
BBBS-PC/LINKS for Learning After School Program