Efforts Under Way to Audit Election Results in Central Wisconsin County”Published June 7, 2021 Suspicion and doubts about the ‘official’ results of the 2020 election permeate the entire country. All voters in Clark County deserve verification that our election was free of irregularities. The Republican Party of Clark County Wisconsin has concluded that the only way to vindicate the results in their own county is to count the votes again. To that end, they have initiated the process to do just that. The cost of the recount will be over $1,000 and the recount will begin once all of the funds have been raised. To donate, please mail a check to: RPCC, PO Box 183, Neillsville, WI 54456. County Republican Chairperson, Rose LaBarbera, acknowledges that Trump won the county handily, but says that many people do not trust the machines. “That is why we’re going to do a hand recount. In theory, the results of the hand recount will exactly match the numbers the machines spat out. There is only one way to find out, and that’s to count them.” LaBarbera points out that even a small discrepancy could have significant implications. “If Trump lost, it was only by 20,000 votes. A couple of hundred votes siphoned away from all the Trump counties wouldn’t be missed but could really add up.” There are reports of one machine in the county requiring several attempts before the ballot results matched what the voter intended. “We actually hope to find no problems with the vote count. That would be a great outcome,” LaBarbera said. “The recount will confirm the outcome. We can’t control what happens in other areas of the country, or in Madison or Milwaukee, but we can make sure our own house is in order. We urge other counties in Wisconsin to do the same.” A website has been established to provide updates on the audit effort, at https://clarkcount.com/
On Fed restriction on states to lower taxes – buried in the “American Rescue Plan”
One of the most partisan provisions congressional democrats quietly tucked into the hastily-passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan (ARP) was language that sought to prevent republican-controlled state legislatures like Wisconsin’s from even trying to direct a portion of the $195 billion allocated to states into direct, albeit possibly temporary, tax relief. At issue is a provision in the law that could result in the Treasury Department being able to legally withhold – or recoup after the fact — ARP funds from any state that cuts any taxes. Wisconsin’s state government is set to receive over $3.4 billion in ARP dollars it doesn’t need (our 72 counties are in line to receive a crazy total of $1.1 billion, while over $1.2 billion will collectively flow to WI municipalities.)
The language in the new law quickly led to a lawsuit from 21 Republican attorneys general. In response Treasury Secretary Yellen indicated that states could still enact tax cuts in their budgets — provided that they are not offset using any of the federal funds congressional democrats have just showered down on them. Yellen also made clear that states that do choose to offset those cuts with federal funds will risk only the amount of funds used in the offset, not their entire pot of ARP money.
The Biden administration doesn’t want state legislatures to cut taxes because they know many, perhaps as many as half, will try to do just that! The lawsuit’s supporters say it’s not just about red states having the ability to cut their citizen’s taxes and backfill that lost tax revenue with ARP dollars, but also the Biden administration’s illegal attempt to try to dictate state policy decisions.
Meanwhile, all state legislatures, including ours, are anxiously awaiting further guidance from the Treasury Dept, which should include answers to some very specific questions asked, and arguments raised, in the attorneys general lawsuit.
Here’s a WSJ story on the issue from three weeks ago.
States Were Told They Can’t Use U.S. Covid-19 Aid to Cut Taxes. They Sued.
Republican lawmakers, attorneys general say provision under $1.9 trillion stimulus bill is vague and unconstitutional
By Kate Davidson
Updated April 14, 2021 11:49 am ET
A last-minute provision added to the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package last month is leading to a showdown between states and the Treasury Department over the limits of the federal government’s fiscal authority. The package, known as the American Rescue Plan, provided $195 billion for state governments to help offset soaring costs related to the pandemic and plug budget holes stemming from the economic downturn. Democrats added one important condition: States cannot use the money, directly or indirectly, to cut taxes.
Republican lawmakers and attorneys general argued the provision, which would apply for three years, is overly vague, unconstitutional and would unfairly penalize states in good fiscal health. Five states have filed lawsuits seeking an injunction against the provision—the first hearing is scheduled for the end of the month—and Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation to repeal it.
Meanwhile, state officials and tax-policy experts are pressing Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to clarify how broadly her agency will interpret the legislation, and what will happen to states that run afoul of the law. The need for guidance is urgent for many states that must complete their budgets before the fiscal year begins on July 1.
“It is potentially a significant restriction on state fiscal authority, and some of that may come down to the Treasury guidance,” said Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects at the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation. “If this became a broad restriction, that raises serious constitutional questions.”
As the virus began to spread last year, widespread lockdowns triggered business closures and millions of layoffs that weighed on state tax revenue, while spending on jobless benefits, healthcare and other social services rose.
But not all states experienced the revenue shortfalls that most initially feared. About half have seen tax collection increase, thanks in part to the strength of the housing and stock markets, which boosted property and income-tax revenues, and a surge of federal aid such as stimulus checks and enhanced jobless benefits that propped up consumer spending.
Some states with strong revenues, including Idaho, Utah, Arizona and North Carolina, are weighing tax cuts for the coming fiscal year. Those plans are now complicated by the American Rescue Plan, which says any state that accepts the federal aid may not use it “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction in the net tax revenue” of that state. Some states argue that provision interferes with their right to set their own fiscal policy.
One issue is how the federal government defines “indirectly.” If states use federal aid to pay police officers and firefighters, for example, then use the savings to lower taxes, that could be considered an indirect tax cut, Mr. Walczak said.
It is unclear how far that logic would extend. Among the questions states have asked: Would policy changes, such as new tax incentives for businesses, be considered indirect tax cuts?
West Virginia’s Legislature has considered a bill that would extend a tax credit for charitable donations to nonprofit organizations and increase the annual cap from $3 million to $5 million—a change that would reduce state revenues.
“To this point, we have been very dissatisfied with Treasury’s response” to questions, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said in a statement. He outlined his concerns in a letter last month with 20 other state attorneys general.
Mr. Morrisey has filed a joint lawsuit with several other state attorneys general in federal court in Alabama seeking to block the provision.
“West Virginia is a sovereign state with the power to independently reduce its citizens’ tax burden and decide how taxpayer funds are spent,” he said.
In a response last month to the letter from the attorneys general, Ms. Yellen said nothing in the act prevents states from enacting “a broad variety of tax cuts.” Rather, it says the federal aid money cannot be used to offset a reduction in net tax revenue, she said in a March 23 letter. If states cut taxes but find another way to replace the lost revenue, that wouldn’t violate the provision, she said.
But Ms. Yellen has acknowledged that defining what it means to use the aid as a revenue offset is tricky. “Given the fungibility of money, it’s a hard question to answer,” she told the Senate Banking Committee on March 24.
The Treasury last week clarified that states that take steps to conform with federal tax-law changes—including recently enacted tax relief for unemployed workers—won’t be considered to have violated the prohibition on tax reduction. Ms. Yellen has said the Treasury is working quickly to provide additional guidance.
Phil Berger, the GOP leader of the North Carolina state Senate, said he has no concerns, based on Ms. Yellen’s March 23 letter, that tax cuts proposed by Republican state lawmakers will run into problems under the new federal law. North Carolina Republicans want to reduce the personal income-tax rate, increase the amount of income not subject to taxes and increase the child tax credit. The state’s tax revenues have risen between 2.5% and 5% since the start of the pandemic, according to data from the Urban Institute.
“We fully have the capacity to reduce taxes in the way that we have proposed,” Mr. Berger said, “and will not have to rely on the federal dollars in order to do it.”
Tax-policy experts and congressional Republicans want more certainty. Sens. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and Mike Braun (R., Ind.), and Reps. Kevin Brady (R., Texas) and Dan Bishop (R., N.C.), have each introduced separate measures in Congress to overturn the language.
Joe Bishop-Henchman, vice president of tax policy and litigation at the National Taxpayers Union Foundation, said the Treasury guidance should make clear what baseline the agency will use to determine whether there has been a net reduction in tax revenue and who will make the determination. The foundation is a nonprofit research group affiliated with a conservative organization.
Mr. Bishop-Henchman also called on Ms. Yellen to clarify that state tax-law changes announced or enacted before the American Rescue Plan was passed won’t be subject to the provision and to specify what action the Treasury will take if it finds a state has violated the provision.
“If they do all the things we recommend in the letter, I think everyone will be happy with it, but it may not change the fact that this provision probably exceeds what Congress can constitutionally do,” he said. “And Treasury cannot do anything about that.”
Write to Kate Davidson at email@example.com
Election Reform: Florida and Kansas this week became the latest states to enact election reforms expanding voter ID and curbing ballot harvesting, among other measures.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the reform live on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning. Florida’s new law applies the same voter ID requirements to absentee voting as to in-person voting.
The new law restricts the practice of ballot harvesting by allowing a person to collect absentee ballots only for immediate family members. It also increases security for ballot drop boxes.
This comes two days after the Republican-controlled Kansas Legislature voted to override Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill limiting ballot harvesting.
Johnson Talks Border Crisis Transparency and Biden Administration’s Reckless Spending on ‘Newsmax’
In an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) discussed the lack of transparency surrounding the growing crisis at our southern border and U.S. increasing debt as the Biden administration continues its reckless spending.
A video of the interview can be found here, and excerpts are below.
“I think it’s kind of obvious exactly what the Biden administration’s doing here. They want to make sure that there aren’t any more pictures coming out of that Donna facility, and so they are getting different detention facilities to house these migrants so we can’t take pictures of it. They’ve been keeping the press out of Donna. They tried to prevent us from taking any pictures or releasing them. They were good enough to let us keep our phones, but then when we started taking pictures, our Biden administration minders were very similar to when you’re in communist China.”
“The press is by and large ignoring this, and once they start dispersing these migrants to different facilities or to hotel rooms, there won’t be any pictures available. So the result will be that there will be no story even though, Rob, over the last 28 days there were on average 5,900 migrants that have been apprehended at the southwest border each and every day. That’s a large caravan each and every day and there’s no end in sight. Of course as those numbers increase in terms of apprehensions, a lot more migrants get away, either known or unknown getaways. There’s a whole lot more drugs that could be trafficked over a very porous border, because CBP is all tied up trying to take care, as compassionately as they know how to, these migrant families and children.”
“The fact that the Federal Reserve is printing all this money and keeping interest rates ultra-low, who does that harm? It harms retirees on fixed incomes. And of course, if we inflate ourselves out of this debt, that’s going to harm those exact same retirees on fixed incomes but also low income individuals. So you have to understand the long term consequences of this as well as the dependency.”
Johnson Discusses Democrats’ Reckless Spending and Biden Border Crisis on ‘Fox Business’
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) commented on the harmful impact of Democrats’ costly funding proposals and the failure of the Biden administration to handle the crisis at the southern border during an appearance on Fox Business’ ‘Mornings With Maria’ on Friday.
A video of the interview can be found here, and excerpts are below.
“From my standpoint, I am all for infrastructure. Our roads and bridges have been ignored for far too long, but we’ve already over-authorized spending. Let’s repurpose that amount of money. We don’t have to borrow more money, and we don’t have to further mortgage our children’s future.”
“They’re enacting their radical, left wing, socialist agenda. It’s what people like me were warning America about prior to the November 2020 election. What’s frightening about this Maria, is people are already suffering from all this borrowing. If you’re a retiree, and you’re on fixed income, what kind of return are you getting on your savings? If inflation takes off, those same retirees are going to be harmed, people on the lower end of the income spectrum are also going to be harmed. So there are real consequences to all this deficit spending and our growing debt.”
“President Biden and his administration are basically reversing all the positive policies of President Trump, a more competitive tax system, they’re going to start over regulating the economy again. Take a look at what they’re doing on border, dismantling what actually worked to reduce the flow of unaccompanied children and family units that are subject to those depredations, that inhumanity that you were talking to Jason Chaffetz about. What really needs to be pointed out is the Biden administration, Vice President Harris she was on my committee, they were fully aware of the human toll of their border policies, but they’re reversing all the successful policies of President Trump and I hope America is paying attention.”