The LuLac Edition #953, Sept. 25th, 2009
DOING THE CHEW
The brain trusts in the State Legislature have done it again. Caving in to lobbyists, the lawmakers refused to do an across the board tax on all tobacco products. If you are a cigarette smoker, the proposed budget includes a 25 cent-per-pack increase in the state tax on cigarettes, to $1.60. That tax also is being extended this year to little cigars — small cigars sold in packs of 20, just like cigarettes.
So if you “do the chew”, you are exempt from state taxes. And to be sure, this is not grandpa’s chewing tobacco. Remember when the old man would open up a crusty old can and take a pinch with his fingers? Nope. Today the tobacco comes in sanitary little white dissolvable packets that melt in your mouth like M&Ms. The public health people are disappointed, but it is the taxpayers that should be angry. First off the legislator does what it does best: be inconsistent. Second: by not taxing this stuff the state lost more than 50 million dollars in new revenue. If they had taxed it by 60% of the wholesale price, the revenue projections could have been over 100 million dollars. Just still another reason to pony up some opposition for the 2010 primary election in your legislative district.
So I was told that a citizen, Wil Toole happened to be at the Commissioner’s meeting Thursday. Toole is running for Controller as an Independent. But that’s not what this is about. Toole showed up early at the meeting and gave prepared remarks. Afterward he put them on a table for anyone interested to pick up. In his statement there was no reference to his candidacy. It wasn’t a campaign commercial. But I was told by three sources that the papers he put on the table were overturned so no one would pick them up, see them, take one or Jesus Lord above possibly read them. It is the type of close mindedness that makes government in the Courthouse what it is. If you have an idea, some small minded flunky or lackey will stifle that information. I’ll bet a hundred bucks the same person who turned that paper over in an attempt to muzzle information from the public is the same deadbeat you see at the polls trying to hand off palm cards to save his worthless county and politically funded ass. Here’s Toole’s remarks……..and hey Walter Griffith, Carolee Medico and anyone else …………..if they do the same to you……………..send your stuff to LuLac.
My first comment is with regard to the planned sale of the Valley Crest property and the sales commission involved. Why? Why should the county pay a 6% commission for the sale of the most desirable property in Wyoming Valley? This should be a negotiated commission and not the standard 6%. We have fiscal problems and I can't see paying more than a 4% commission and I agree to that very reluctantly. I urge you to not award that contract to anyone for anything more than a 4% commission. You could also have the value appraised and sell it without a broker.
Did we really need to spend almost $200 thousand dollars to learn what the budget short fall is?
Sure there are problems but spending a million dollars on an ice skating rink doesn't solve budget problems.
Paying off the Tax Anticipation Note early last year and losing $400 thousand dollars in reinvestment funds doesn't solve budget problems.
Paying the Philly law firm 2 million dollars as a commission on recovered pension funds when you cashed in the Wells fund investment will not solve budget problems; these things only adds to them.
I've come before you many times and have offered suggestions and some of those suggestions are now being acted upon but there are others that remain dormant or ignored. There is talk about additional layoffs but it is impossible to balance the budget on the backs of the employees. There are services to be performed and jobs to be done. It is not the responsibility of county government to fund community development plans. Do the taxpayers of Luzerne County need to pay a million dollars toward the upkeep of the Lackawanna County stadium. They changed it from a multi use stadium to a baseball stadium and now they want us to pay the costs? Why don't they ask Wyoming or Monroe county to foot the bill. They have as much to do with it as we do. All I ask is that you slow down, stop spending, evaluate what must be done, what needs to be done and then do what we the taxpayers can afford. Finally, Mr Urban can lead by example and pay the 10% for health coverage that you demand of the employees. ……. All meetings should be held early evening so working taxpayers can attend.
A state appeals court has upheld Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty's write-in victory as the Republican nominee in the 2009 Mayor’s race in the city of Scranton. Mr. Doherty is a Democrat who also won the Democratic nomination in the May primary. Businessman Bob Bolus was the candidate on the GOP primary ballot. He was barred from holding public office because of a past felony conviction. More Republicans voted for Doherty's write-in candidacy in the election than Bolus’ total votes. Bolus lost an appeal in Lackawanna County Court, and a three-judge panel of the state Commonwealth Court upheld that ruling this week. The long and short of it is that Doherty will be listed on the city's Nov. 3 ballot as both parties' nominee for mayor. Doherty, like many other Dems in the state is considering a run for the Democratic nomination for governor next year
We can’t let the week pass by without an acknowledgment of the passing of Steve Lukasik. Lukasik died this past week and his work in the photography business as well as the political world is legendary. He was there at almost every Presidential trip to the area, every Friendly Sons dinner as well as any big news event you can think of. His photos of the Knox Mine Disaster hang in museums and his work was internationally used by the various wire services. With the advent of digital cameras, we now have a world of “do overs”. With guys like Lukasik, the first few shots were critical and literally works of speed, dexterity and art. He lived a full life but his legacy will always be that if it happened, he’d have proof.
For Luzerne County Controller:
Walter Griffith: http://waltergriffith.tripod.com/
Luzerne County Judges:
Tina Polachek Gartley
45 YEARS AGO: THE COLLAPSE
Sept. 25th, ’64 Phillies.
Despite Richie Allen’s inside the park home run and Johnny Callison’s blast, the Phils and left Chris Short fall again to the Milwaukee Braves 7 to 5. Joe Torre and Felipe Alou lead the hit assault with Torre hitting a two run home. Rookie Clay Carroll gets the nod over Short who escaped the loss. John Boozer in relief is tagged with the defeat. A struggling Tony Gonzalez goes 0 for 4.
The Warren Commission Report, the first official investigation of the assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy, is published. That weekend, network news shows ran specials that lasted for hours, and newspapers had special elongated editions. The Kennedy assassination wound that was healing was torn open again. President Johnson, noting the criticism of the Secret Service in the report kind of went crazy at a Boston campaign rally the next day. As if to prove his belief in the Secret Service, Johnson plunged into crowds constantly that day pressing the flesh and demonstrating subtle support for the much maligned agents….in Pennsylvania incumbent Senator Hugh Scott seeking a second term distances himself from GOP nominee Barry Goldwater…Mrs. Anna Abraham of 32 Blackman Street holds up the Blackman Street project. She is the sole occupant on the street that was designated for redevelopment. Mrs. Abraham first said she had no money to move, when the State reimbursed her, she told city and state officials she had nowhere to move to. The woman continued her negotiations with the American Asphalt Company….and 45 years ago this week the number 1 song in America and LuLac land was “It Hurts To Be In Love” by Gene Pitney.