Wyoming Liberty Group

We here at the Wyoming Liberty Group strive to bring you the latest information. Please enjoy the blogs and comment on them often.

States Grow More Dependent on Federal Funds

More than five years ago I warned about how the states are growing dangerously dependent on money from the federal government:

These state–federal joint ventures create a number of problems. They make it difficult for voters to hold the President, Senators, Representatives, state legisla­tors, and governors accountable. If New York spends more on Medicaid, is that because New York voters demanded that their state government expand Medic­aid or because the voters gave the federal government a mandate to expand the program nationwide? If New York voters want to restrain state spending, should they turn to Albany or Washington? Blurred responsibilities between states and the federal government also make it easier for lawmak­ers to sneak government-growing bills in under the voters’ radar.

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Government Sector Pension Plans – Who Pays?

  • Taxpayers contribute $7.70 for every $1 contributed by bureaucrats 

Governor Mead’s recent budget announcement is potential gold for government workers. In addition to a salary increase, the governor proposes to roll back modest pension reforms that provided some relief to taxpayers.

Instead of forcing taxpayers, many of whom do not even have a pension plan, to pay more towards the pensions of government workers, government workers must themselves contribute more to their own pension plans.

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Data System Follies

Governments around the world, attempting to appear as if they’re doing something to solve every problem under the sun, are creating big data systems to hold their citizens’ private personal information. This will, according to the hype: allow governments to reduce waste; make sure programs are effective; produce safe, educated and productive citizens; and employ reliable up-to-date data for decision making.  

Oh really?

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Eight Percent Is the New Affordable

by Regina Meena

Under the federal health care act – I do not refer to it by its common liberal slogan, the “Affordable Care Act,” because that gimmick and all it implies is disingenuous. Furthermore, it is an insult to the intelligence of Americans and mocks our trusting spirit – people are given a choice between either purchasing health insurance or paying a tax.

Given the hideously high price tag on health insurance premiums, many are dropping coverage and electing to pay the tax. Some will do neither because the law does not grant the Internal Revenue Service authority to collect the “shared responsibility payment.” Per the IRS Final Rules, page 74, the IRS is prevented from charging individuals with criminal prosecution or penalty for the failure to pay the shared responsibility payment in a timely manner. Plus, the Secretary of the Treasury will neither file notice of lien nor levy on any property of the taxpayer for the failure to pay. The only recourse available to the IRS is to deduct the shared responsibility payment from any overpayment (tax refund check) due to the taxpayer. It seems there is no incentive to buy health insurance plans with laughable price tags when the tax for not doing so carries no negative consequences.

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Governor Mead’s Budget Report – A Reality Check

In his budget for the upcoming legislative session, Governor Mead goes to great lengths to paint the Wyoming economy in rosy colors. Here is an excerpt:

Two years ago, Wyoming received Standard & Poor’s highest credit rating – at a time when many states and the nation were in declining financial circumstances. Wyoming has retained this AAA rating and, in the last three years, has garnered other top national rankings as well. For example, Wyoming has been named the 4th fastest growing state, has ranked as the number 1 or number 2 best run state … This year, the accolades continue with Wyoming’s repeat ranking as number 1 among the states for its business friendly tax climate … .

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Wyoming Squanders Economic Advantages

In my blog Wyoming the High-Tax State I explained that our state is by no means the low-tax paradise it is sometimes portrayed as. With a top-four national ranking for state and local taxes in 2011, Wyoming has effectively squandered the economic advantages that come with the absence of individual and corporate income taxes. Our state GDP is stalled, the private sector is producing very few new jobs and even the minerals industry, critical as it is to large parts of the state, is to some degree stagnant.

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Pension-Plan Paradox

Beneficiaries of Wyoming’s state pension plans received big promises from politicians who don’t seem to have put much thought into how to pay for those promises. With state pension liabilities still rising, Wyoming’s legislature is looking at another tweak to the state’s pension plans. Without substantial reform, however, another quick fix is likely to leave both pensioners and taxpayers at risk.

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