It’s no mathematical error: The federal government has proposed raising taxes on premium cigars, the kind Newman’s family has been rolling for decades in Ybor City, by as much as 20,000 percent.
As part of an increase in tobacco taxes designed to pay for children’s health insurance, the nickel-per-cigar tax that has ruled the industry could rise to as much as $10 per cigar.
“I’m not sure in the history of man, since our forefathers founded the country in 1776, that there’s ever been a tax increase of 20,000 percent,” said Newman, who runs the Tampa business founded by grandfather Julius Caesar Newman. “They had the Boston Tea Party for less than this.”
Here’s the source of the controversy: The Democrat controlled Congress has sought an extra $35-billion to $50-billion for the state children’s health insurance program. The program distributes payments to the states to help buy coverage for kids not poor enough for Medicaid.
A U.S. Senate version of the bill under consideration today in the Finance Committee sets the maximum tax per cigar at $10.
The Bush administration may inadvertently come to the industry’s aid. The president has vowed to veto the bill, not over the cigar provision but over objections to expanding federally financed health care for the non-indigent.
From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: Kaine: fees only for Va. motorists:
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s office was behind the exclusion of out-of-state motorists from new hefty driving fees that have generated considerable outrage around the state.
Republican members of the General Assembly have taken most of the heat, but their original transportation bill in this year’s General Assembly session included out-of-state motorists.
“We feel Virginians’ concerns,” said Hall, who added that Kaine would work with the assembly next year in trying to find a way to include out-of-state motorists.
The fees cover not only serious driving offenses but many misdemeanors. For instance, a reckless-driving conviction mandates $1,050 in fees over a three-year period — as does a misdemeanor conviction for failure to give a proper signal.
Any felony conviction results in $3,000 in fees, in three annual payments, on top of court-imposed penalties. Most misdemeanors, including driving with “below-standard tires,” amount to $900.
The fees have stirred outrage and an online petition drive that has garnered close to 100,000 signatures. Petitioners appear most upset that the fees apply only to in-state motorists.
Albo and others have been promoting bad-driver fees for three years. Kaine endorsed them last year and again this year in his State of the Commonwealth address.
What a bunch of geniuses. I hope, Governor, that you have set aside some money for the (hopefully) soon to be filed federal lawsuit. Not to mention, that the fines that would normally go to the local jurisdiction will probably be suspended by the judge now. Nothing like a Northern Virginia/Hampton Roads money grab.
For those who didn’t know, Delegate David B. Albo (R-Fairfax), is a lawyer, and co-founder of a law firm that specializes in the defense of traffic offenses. No conflict of interest there, eh?
From the AP via FindLaw.com: D.C. to appeal its right to ban unlicensed handguns to the Supreme Court:
Plagued by high homicide rates, officials in the U.S. capital said Monday they will petition the Supreme Court as they seek to defend Washington’s 30-year-old ban on most handguns.
A federal appeals court panel struck down the law in March, rejecting the city’s argument that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which upholds people’s right to bear arms, applied only to militias. The full appeals court refused to reconsider the decision in May. The law has remained in effect during the appeals process.
“We have made the determination that this law can and should be defended,” Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said in a statement Monday.
“The handgun ban in the District of Columbia has saved many lives since then and will continue to do so if it remains enforced,” he added.
Police Chief Cathy Lanier said 75 of Washington’s 97 homicides this year were committed with firearms.
Washington’s gun law dates back to 1976, and bars residents from keeping handguns in their homes and carrying a gun without a license. Registered firearms must be kept unloaded and disassembled. The city’s sweeping gun ban is matched only by Chicago among large U.S. cities.
D.C. officials say the law is necessary in a city that has been plagued by high homicide rates.
Are these people dense? 77.3% of your homicides are committed with firearms and you think the ban is working? You have had some of the highest murder rates per capita anywhere and you want to continue with a policy that bans firearms from law abiding citizens? Bravo, D.C., bravo.
It must not be a duck, from Los Angeles’ CBS 2: Rape Trial Order Angers L.A. Victim’s Family:
The father of a San Fernando Valley college student said his daughter is being railroaded by a Nebraska judge who has ordered her not to use the word “rape” on the witness stand at the trial for a man accused of having sex with her against her will.
Last week in Lincoln, Neb., Tory Bowen was ordered by a judge to sign a written order that would compel her not to use the word rape at the retrial of the man accused of having intercourse with her when she was intoxicated.
A jury at his first trial could not return a verdict, and at a pretrial hearing for the retrial, Lancaster County District Court Judge Jeffre Cheuvront ordered all witnesses to avoid the words victim, assailant and rape, and to not use the terms sexual assault kit or sexual assault nurse, at the second trial.
George Orwell would be proud.
Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ
From WTVR CBS 6 in Richmond [photo credit: Ibid]:
Caroline County Deputies catch a 21-year-old man trying to solicit sex from a teenager over the internet. And James Street admits he did it to CBS 6 News.
“I’m just a young guy who was kinda bored at home and you know nothing really to do and got on a chat room,” James Street says.
“I’m so upset at myself. I know better and it just sucks,” he went on to say.
He’s knows better? To do it or get caught?
Caroline Sheriff Tony Lippa says Street thought he was talking to a 13-year-old girl, but it was really a Caroline Deputy. After two hours of sexually explicit chat, deputies set up a meeting time and place. Street never showed up, but the sheriff says they had enough to arrest him anyway. It’s against state law to try to solicit sex from a teen over the internet, and a felony.
“I’m not a predator. I’m just a young kid who made a mistake. I mean it’s not like, it’s not like I was really going to pursue anything,” Street tells CBS 6.
You’re not a predator? You’re a 21-year-old that attempted to solicit a 13-year-old. I think your picture is in the dictionary under the word “predator”.
He’s charged with indecent liberties and using a computer to solicit sex from a minor. Even worse, Street works at a local camp with teens. He’s free on bond.
Good job Caroline Sheriff’s Office.
As a bonus, here’s his interview with Jon Burkett of WTVR: [googlevideo=http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3216419653316809793]