Senator Anderson Seeks to Protect Struggling Homeowners
Asking the Public’s Help to Take Action
For Immediate Release: May 23, 2013
SACRAMENTO - Sen. Joel Anderson, a San Diego Republican, is asking Californians to shine a light on the importance of the critical Mortgage Tax Relief Bill by sending letters to key legislators to pass the measure.
Sen. Anderson has co-authored SB 30 with Sen. Ron Calderon, a Montebello Democrat. SB 30 intends to shield thousands of families faced with losing their homes from paying taxes on a forgiven debt.
“More than 90,000 Californians suffered the financial blow of losing their homes through short sales last year, and if this bill doesn’t go through, they will be taxed on the loss of their homes. This is not fair to kick them while they are down,” said Anderson.
For this taxpayer protection bill to survive, SB 30 has to pass off the Senate Floor by May 31.
A short sale is when a lender agrees to forgive a homeowner of a portion of their mortgage debt when the home is sold for less than the mortgage owed. California’s tax structure currently treats the forgiven debt as income, requiring a tax payment on money received.
SB 30 would bring the state’s tax law into conformity with federal tax law and relieve the borrower of having to claim as income the forgiven mortgage debt.
Senator Anderson is asking Californians to join him in this effort and pass SB 30 by emailing his office.
Under California Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget, counties stand to lose crucial health care funding that would leave millions of people without access to care.
An estimated 3 to 4 million, or 10 percent of the state’s population, the majority from ethnic communities, will remain uninsured in 2014, according to a study by UCLA and UC Berkeley. Some of them – an estimated 1 million – will be excluded from public health programs by federal law because they are undocumented. Some will not be eligible for Medi-Cal, the federal-state funded health care program for low-income people. Others who may qualify to buy coverage on the health insurance marketplace could miss the open enrollment period or simply not be able to afford it.
Sioux City radio host Sam Clovis is considering a bid for the U.S. Senate. A well-regarded conservative with an impressive resume, Clovis might be able to gain traction with voters looking for a non-traditional candidate. He expects to make a decision next month on whether or not to pursue the Republican nomination for the seat currently held by Tom Harkin.
“The distance between the national government and the people is wide and growing everyday,” Clovis told TheIowaRepublican.com. “The people are angry and feel like they have no voice and cannot influence anything that affects their lives, particularly given the coercive nature of government today. The people I talk to are ready for someone who knows the issues, will talk straight and tell the truth, even if it makes folks uncomfortable.”
Clovis hosts a daily talk show on KSCJ-AM in Sioux City. He is also the chair of the Department of Business Administration and Economics at Morningside College. Clovis served for 25 years in the Air Force as a fighter pilot, is a former fellow at the Homeland Security Institute and is a member of the faculty at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School in California.
“We are long past waiting on someone who has the courage, leadership and will to govern in such a way as to empower Americans and Iowans,” Clovis said. “People tell me they are tired of seeing people go to D.C. who slide too easily into the inside-the-beltway mindset and who move too easily into the ‘ruling class’. Maybe it’s time for something different. I would definitely be different and would not be a conventional, establishment candidate or senator.”
Sam Clovis is an occasional guest contributor for TheIowaRepublican.com.
Ernst Still Mulling Over Senate Bid
The extended Iowa legislative session has delayed Joni Ernst’s decision-making process regarding a U.S. Senate run. The state senator from Red Oak had intended to travel to Washington, D.C. this week for discussions regarding her candidacy. However, that trip was postponed, specifically so Ernst could vote on the property tax reform package and other important bills on Wednesday.
“I am still leaning forward, quite heavily, on this,” Ernst said. “It is a huge decision and I want to make sure that it is the best decision not only for Iowa, but for myself. I do see that if I am entering into this race, I think a primary will be very healthy for the Republicans.”
Joni Ernst is the former Montgomery County auditor and has served for 18 years in the U.S. Army Reserves and Iowa Army National Guard. She was elected to the state senate in a 2010 special election, filling the vacancy created when Kim Reynolds was elected lieutenant governor. After Reynolds decided not to run for the U.S. Senate, she encouraged Ernst to enter the race.
“I have known the lieutenant governor for a number of years,” Ernst said. “We both came out of county government, so we have been supportive of each other in our endeavors through the years. That discussion was a very natural discussion. It was something that when she decided not to run, she thought, ‘Wow, I know Joni Ernst would be a great candidate.’”
Ernst said she has not yet taken the opportunity to discuss her potential bid with Governor Branstad, but will likely do so in the coming weeks. Ernst expects to finalize a decision on whether or not to run for the U.S. Senate by early summer.
“This is probably the largest decision of my life, so I need to make sure that I am giving it thoughtful consideration and making sure that it is the right decision,” Ernst said.
The 2014 Iowa Senate adjourned for the year, wrapping up their work just before midnight on Wednesday. Their final day included passage of a multifaceted property tax reform package that was three years in the making. An education reform bill that was lauded by Iowa’s homeschooling community also gained approval.
“I am particularly proud of the historic property tax reform we passed in this body today,” said Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock). “We made good on a promise that has been repeatedly been made to Iowa taxpayers. Over the coming years, the property taxes on all Iowans will be reduced by more than a half a billion dollars. That money remaining in the pockets of Iowa small businesses and families will help create jobs and expand opportunities for people to decide how to invest and spend their hard earned dollars.”
“This is huge,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Red Oak). “This has been a priority with the governor, with the House and with the senate. It is extremely important to us. It’s a comprehensive plan. It affects all classes of property, whether you’re agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial. It helps everyone.”
An education reform package passed 91-0 in the Iowa House and 40-10 in the senate. It included a handful of reforms that provide more freedom for homeschool educators. That includes eliminating annual reporting to the state, eliminating requirements for homeschooling educators to assessment reforms to their local school district and allowing parent-taught drivers education.
The Republican-led Iowa House’s work is not yet complete. They plan to continue their session on Thursday morning. The House is expected to back the property tax reform bill passed by the senate.
The other key remaining piece of legislation is a healthcare bill. A tentative compromise on expanding Medicaid to low income Iowans had been reached late Tuesday night.
Democrats wanted to simply add 150,000 more people to the Medicaid rolls, with the promise that the federal government would fully fund the expansion for three years, via Obamacare.
Governor Branstad resisted the expansion and worked to craft an Iowa based plan. The tentative agreement, titled the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, combines Branstad’s plan with the Democrats’. It calls for more accountability from participants in order to continue receiving benefits.
If Kansas wants to experience growth in income, it’s important that the legislature finish the session without raising taxes. The paper The Robust Relationship between Taxes and U.S. State Income Growth by W. Robert Reed, published in National Tax Journal, establishes a link between high taxes and negative effects on income growth. The abstract of the research report explains:
I estimate the relationship between taxes and income growth using data from 1970 to 1999 and the forty-eight continental U.S. states. I find that taxes used to fund general expenditures are associated with significant, negative effects on income growth. This finding is generally robust across alternative variable specifications, alternative estimation procedures, alternative ways of dividing the data into “five-year” periods, and across different time periods and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) regions, though state-specific estimates vary widely. I also provide an explanation for why previous research has had difficulty identifying this “robust” relationship.
“The Daily Show” has been in town again, last week filming footage at Tennessee Justice Center for an upcoming political spoof, according to an email sent out by staff attorney Michele Johnson.
Johnson didn’t give away much about the segment, but she did indicate that the topic was Tennessee’s dialing-for-healthcare program, the TennCare Standard Spend Down. Tennessee launched Spend Down in 2010 to help people with low incomes and high medical bills gain access to TennCare who would not normally qualify for the state’s Medicaid program.
The state has never set up an effective way to process applications so two to three times a year it opens up a telephone line. People end up doing competitive dialing to get an application.
The program has consistently had more slots available for coverage than people enrolled. Critics compare it to a lottery.
The Spend Down has been on comedy-show hosts radar for a while. Stephen Colbert did an extended take on it back in April. He facetiously praised the program for injecting “some suspense to that old, boring question: ‘Will I see tomorrow?’” and compared winners to contestants on “The Price is Right.”
Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey will ride in the official pace car for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 stock car race in Charlotte, N.C., after being named its honorary race director.
A press release put out by organizers of the NASCAR race — one of the biggest of the year — says that Ramsey, along with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, will also be honored at a pre-race event, attend the official drivers meeting and address the crowd at Charlotte Motor Speedway, expected to be more than 140,000 people. Ramsey will also be on hand when the trophy is presented at the end of the race.
It may seem odd for a Tennessee official to have such a major role at a North Carolina race, but the connection is a bit closer than it might first appear.
Ramsey’s district includes Bristol Motor Speedway. Both it and the Charlotte track are owned by North Carolina-based Speedway Motorsports Inc.