In Oakland, California, nearly a year after a tax was imposed on “sugary” drinks, the city government has yet to figure out how to spend the revenue collected, which was supposedly to be used for “health related purposes, even if that wasn’t written into the [legislation].”
Another Pigouvian tax success story.
STRANGE THAT I SAW NO MENTION WHATSOEVER OF THIS WHEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED: SENATE DEMOCRATS HAVE PROPOSED AN ESTATE TAX INCREASE
I didn’t learn about it until this morning when I read the estate planning update that I receive weekly from Thomson Reuters/RIA. According to that update, Senator Schumer introduced on March 7 “a $1 trillion infrastructure proposal, to be financed by tax increases, including, among other things, elimination of the increased estate tax exemption under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017."
The update from Thomson Reuters/RIA links to a subscription only service, but I did find a story about it that elaborates on the proposed tax increases, which would apparently reverse many of the cuts that were just enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
This is off topic.
I don't have any answers for the problem of what to do about the de-institutionalized mentally ill. I do believe, however, that mass de-institutionalization created at least as big of a problem as it solved.
I have talked to several people recently with questions about whether or not a particular writing (document) qualifies as a will. The questions usually come up, unfortunately, in this context: my family member died, this is the what they wrote down about what happens to their property, is it enforceable?
I’ll have new report on this subject soon, since it comes up frequently. In the meantime, you can read what I wrote about it in 2016, in my newsletter archive.
Remember the saga of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh from back n the 1980s? I remember it mostly because of the series of “Bloom County” comic strips about it that appeared shortly after the Bhagwan made headlines.
It turns out that there was a land use angle to the story. You may or may not recall that the Bhagwan started a commune on land that he and his followers (the “Rajneeshees”) purchased in a rural area in Oregon. The land use angle is that government agencies and growth-control advocates used Oregon’s stringent land use controls to thwart the Rajneeshees’ efforts to build permanent housing on their land. Their planned community supposedly would have housed several thousand people.
Antiplanner has more of the story, including a link to a documentary on the Rajneeshees that’s now out on Netflix.
We still have in our house the “Bloom County” comic book that includes that series of strips. Now I’m going to have to find that series and read it again.
MORE CRITICISM OF THE LAW ALLOWING THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO DENY YOUR PASSPORT APPLICATION IF YOU OWE MORE THAN $51,000 IN BACK TAXES
This time the commentator suggests that limiting the ability of U. S. citizens to travel abroad is a liberty interest that implicates due process. I agree that you should be afforded due process before your passport application is denied, but it doesn’t sound to me like that’s an issue with seriously delinquent tax debts. If you’re in that kind of hock to the IRS, you have probably had plenty of opportunity to work it out.
If you are a public official, it’s usually not a good idea to send to your constituents a letter threatening them with sign code enforcement because they put up signs criticizing your official actions. And don’t have another public official do it for you, either, such as a selectman having the building code inspector do it.
If you’re thinking about trying to regulate a sign because of what it says, you may want to think twice.
I think I may have linked to this before, but it’s worth re-reading. Professor Bainbridge explains the law defining the obligation of corporate directors to maximize return to shareholders, while at the same time recognizing the broad latitude accorded to directors in determining how to best meet that obligation. It’s a worthwhile read, and not too long or opaque.
Why do advocates feel compelled to blatantly overstate their case? It may fool the uninformed, but it undermines the advocates’ credibility with people whose opinions matter (such as, in the situation I’m going to reference in a second, the county supervisors and the judge presiding over their lawsuit). Some examples from a muckraking article that appeared at AZCentral.com on February 28:
The “gravity of pollution from [the egg farms is comparable to the water contamination in] Flint, Michigan, where dangerous levels were found in the drinking water?” The pollution from the egg farms is ammonia in the air. That’s really as harmful as lead in the drinking water?
Egg farms “are now factories – they are manufacturing plants, there’s no bones about it.” An agricultural operation pollutes to the same degree as a manufacturing plant? Never mind that there’s no comparison between an agricultural operation and any manufacturing facility using chemicals. Let’s just talk about smell. Have you ever lived near a paper mill?
And finally, no, Tonopah and Arlington are not “on the western edge of metro Phoenix.” They are closer to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, west of Buckeye, than they are to Buckeye, a historically (and currently) agricultural community that could be considered on the western edge of metro Phoenix.
Now, none of those overstatements are from the residents who are complaining about the egg farms in western Arizona. They are from advocates. But as an advocate, I’m here to tell you that overstating your case to that degree is not effective advocacy.
The situation with the egg farms doesn’t sound like it implicates the hoary, and confusing, legal concept know as “coming to the nuisance.” I’ll have to discuss that some other time.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.