Tax cuts' implications only beginning to hit
Answer: $24 million.
Question: What is the cost of the additional corporate tax cut for Indiana in 2018?
Unfortunately, Jeopardy! is not just a game. It is also the state of being for Indiana's current budget. As a reminder, under Gov. Mike Pence, two separate tax rate cuts were enacted, in 2013 and 2014. These provided for incremental cuts for corporations continuing through 2023 – meaning that more are still scheduled.
The total cost over 10 years is just over $2.1 billion. And let's not forget: Although a tax cut may be a loss on the revenue side of the budget, it is still a “spend” when we think of policy priorities.
Recent news has highlighted the troubles Indiana is having with the Department of Child Services. The legislature has steered extra dollars to the DCS budget for new caseworkers, but we still have only two of 19 regions in compliance with state statutory requirements. Indiana's children are the victims here and, as a member of the State Budget Committee, I have called on DCS and the budget agency to explain what is going on.
Where could we spend $24 million? Let's ask former DCS chief Mary Beth Bonaventura.
State Sen. Karen Tallian
Christmas Eve arson haunts for 25 years
“Merry Christmas”: Two simple words said between family and friends. But how could someone get up on Christmas morning and say “Merry Christmas,” knowing they had participated in setting a house fire that killed two people on Christmas Eve 1992?
Now, 25 years later, you're older; maybe you think you are wiser. Maybe you have a wife and family. If so, do you ever think about your children dying in a smoke-filled room? Maybe you have neighbors or friends; when there is a cookout, do you light the fire and think back to Dec. 24, 1992, when you helped kill our daughter, Joesette Purcell, and her boyfriend? I figure if you are married you go to church. Because you go to church, you now feel you are forgiven. Forgiveness is when you get off your pity pot and have the guts to come forward. All these years you have fooled your family, your friends, your minister, but you have not fooled anyone but yourself. No matter what you say, you have no feelings, no remorse, no conscience. If you are married, maybe you told your wife about the fire. Of course, she was upset, but you assured her it was just a mistake. Every one makes a mistake when they're young; murder is no big deal. When you look into the eyes of your wife, do you see the eyes of Joesette? When you kiss her, do you taste smoke?
You did not know that Joesette was within a couple of feet of a window where she could have gotten out. But you and your friends made sure the fire was hot and the smoke was thick. A few hours before with a clean conscience Joesette had told friends she had Jeff Koop, a new job and a family that loved her. No matter how you put it, you were involved.
Christmas Eve we were at the cemetery, taking Joesette a dozen roses. We have many happy memories of Joesette; what kind of memories do you have? Come forward and show people you do have a conscience. Sleep tight. Sweet dreams.
Smokers can get help with resolution to quit
The new year is fast approaching, so what is your resolution? In 2017, “quit smoking” was ranked fourth in resolutions made. Make Jan. 1 that day to free not only yourself but your family members of this addiction. Other top- ranked resolutions are improving healthy eating, making better financial decisions, and self-improvement. Those who use tobacco can accomplish all of these just by quitting. There is more help, thanks to our legislators.
Indiana has fallen from a 34 percent smoking rate to 27 percent because of the increase in funding given in the last legislative year. Tobacco-cessation programs were given a $1.6 million increase to help support people fighting to save their lives from this addictive drug.
Smoking is still the No. 1 cause of preventable death in Indiana. Making the decision to quit can dramatically reduce your risk for life-threatening diseases. More studies are coming out about nicotine and how it is the most addictive drug on the market and, therefore, the most difficult to quit.
I recently had a conversation with a smoker who was on her third try in quitting. I can only admire her for her strength, motivation and “never give up” attitude to quit this horrible habit in the name of her own health and that of her family. Never give up!
SmokeFree.gov includes these steps for having a successful quit plan:
• Pick a quit date
• Let loved ones know you are quitting
• Remove reminders of smoking
• Identify your reasons to quit smoking
• Identify your smoking triggers
• Develop coping strategies
• Have places you can turn for immediate help
• Set up rewards for quit milestones
Free, confidential help is available at 1-800-Quit-Now or QuitNowIndiana.com. Or contact Tobacco Free Allen County (260-373-4277), which can help give support and resources to kick the habit this new year.
GOP tax cuts are definition of insanity
Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” It is clear that what we are witnessing right now in Washington, D.C., is a modern example of Einstein's definition. Congressional Republicans are betting the country's future, yet again, on a failed belief that massive tax cuts for the wealthy will benefit everyone else. It's a belief and policy that has been widely disproven by numerous economic studies from across the political spectrum, yet the insanity rolls on.
The Tax Policy Center recently revealed that 83 percent of the benefits from this tax bill will go to the Americans with the top 1 percent of wealth. The amount received by the entire middle class: 10 percent. Moreover, because the individual tax cuts are temporary, the heart of the middle class, more than 70 percent of us, will actually see a tax increase by 2027 thanks to the insanity of this bill.
That number doesn't account for the increased medical costs incurred by the repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate which, again, affects the working and middle class far more than the wealthy. It also doesn't account for the next step in the current congressional Republican insanity playbook – cutting benefits for future Medicare and Social Security recipients. Because now, after passing a tax bill that will blow a $2 trillion hole in the nation's debt, congressional Republicans are suddenly worried about the deficit.
Not much of a populist, middle-class, “make America great again” message. Unless your image of America is limited to the wealthy and privileged elite, and not the millions and millions of Americans who will suffer the consequences of this reprehensible, insanity-laden bill.