Jim Moran’s immigration forum last night was largely uneventful. A few dozen people showed up and there were some interesting presentations made, but other than that, it was basically an advocacy event with sprinkles of partisanship. But it is interesting that ever since this site started calling out Jim Moran for not holding public meetings, he’s held two forums in two months. We, including you supporters, are making a difference!
Jim Moran has pulled his biennial Earth Day publicity stunt again, introducing a bill to impose a national tax on paper and plastic bags at restaurants and retail stores. You’re probably familiar with these taxes because they’ve been imposed in D.C. and Montgomery County, MD.
Ironically, Moran introduced the bill on the same day that three Democratic Montgomery County Council members announced they are planning to repeal the tax on bags at retail stores.
Jim Moran wants you to walk into JCPenney or Best Buy with a reusable bag, or get hit with a tax. That places a burden on the customer – 80 year old D.C. resident Rosa McNair told the Wall Street Journal as she walked out of a Target, “It’s very aggravating. What are you going to do, carry all your boxes on the bus?”
But the burdens have been greater on business owners in Montgomery County, who have run into trouble charging the tax and preventing shoplifting, which is easier with reusable bags – in fact, one councilmember has alleged that the tax creates more racial profiling against minorities shopping with reusable bags. The fear of shoplifting that comes with increased usage of reusable bags has caused some businesses to raise prices to pay for preventative measures. Montgomery County has collected more than double the amount of revenue from the five cent tax than it expected, which calls into question whether the tax actually works in reducing bag usage. Officials said bag usage would decline 60% in fiscal 2013 to 33.1 million, but in the first five months of fiscal 2013 (through January), bag usage had already reached 24.8 million.
The tax has also created all sorts of problems in D.C., where the tax applies to businesses that sell food. Politics & Prose bookstore sold one food item – mints – and had to drop the mints rather than have to tax its customers for every bag, even if they don’t buy anything remotely close to food. Chocolate Moose sells gifts, jewelry, and candy has had to impose the tax even though candy only accounts for 10%-20% of its sales. These minute details and exceptions have caused a regulatory nightmare – “The law specifically excludes bags that ‘package bulk items, such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, candy, or small hardware items’, [bags that] ‘contain or wrap frozen foods, meat, or fish…flowers, potted plants, or other items where dampness may be a problem’. Other exceptions include unwrapped prepared foods and bakery goods, as well as bags provided by pharmacists to contain prescription drugs, newspaper bags, door-hanger bags and laundry dry-cleaning bags. Also tax free: ‘Bags sold in packages containing multiple bags intended for use as garbage, pet waste, or yard waste bags.’” Can you imagine the regulatory disaster on a national scale? How would the federal government enforce this on 50 states – 300 million people and millions of businesses – when governments can’t even do it at the city/county level?
When Moran introduced the bill in 2011, the Center for Consumer Freedom criticized the idea, saying polls show most Americans oppose such taxes and pointing to Ireland, where plastic bag usage actually increased 400% after they started imposing a tax. In fact, the CCF pointed out, manufacturing reusable bags creates a carbon footprint 28 times larger than the footprint required to make plastic bags.
Moran’s intentions may be good – who doesn’t want to see less plastic bag litter? But imposing a national bag tax when the effect of local bag taxes has thus far been mixed at best is simply ridiculous.
Our prayers are with the victims of the murderous acts that took place today, and with the people of Boston, and our families. Jim Moran hails from Boston so we especially pray for his friends and family. God bless America. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.” — Psalm 23:4
Jim Moran is freaking out over losing $100,000 of our tax dollars and having to cut down his staff by one person. From the Washington Examiner:
Two senior Democrats complained at a House Appropriations Committee hearing Tuesday that the combination of cuts over the past two years has robbed them of nearly 11 percent of their personal budgets, which average $1.3 million.
Now House officials are looking at an additional 8.2 percent cut, or about $100,000. Total cut over three years: nearly 20 percent.
‘If it’s a $100,000 reduction in your [allowance] you really need to start preparing for a staff change,’ said Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va. ‘That’s a whole person!’
This one exclamation really shows just how out of touch Jim Moran is. Who hasn’t experienced a job loss or a pay cut over the last few years? Very few people, and those few people can immediately name a family member or friend who has. Instead of fighting to balance the budget and improve the economy so people can find jobs, Jim Moran is whining over losing a tiny percentage of his million dollar office budget.
Mr. Moran, your spend without consequence attitude has helped cause millions of job losses and pay cuts. If the American people are fighting to stay above water in tight budgets, you need to as well.
Last night was the first public forum of any kind Jim Moran has held in nearly two years. It was a forum entitled “A Conversation on Gun Violence in America” (an important topic, yes, but we haven’t been able to meet with him in a public forum in so long, aren’t there other issues like taxes, sequestration, and jobs that we should be talking about?). Moran spent the last half hour answering questions from citizens – minus the “answering” part. He rushed people through their questions, then gave a non-answer, answered a strawman, or just blatantly moved to the next person without any response. It was as far from an actual conversation as you can get. (Perhaps the evasion was a new anger management technique; we all remember the last town hall he held when he directly answered someone who disagreed with him.)
The first questioner, a young woman, asked Moran why he wasn’t pro-choice when it comes to self-defense for women, citing the example of a female college student in Colorado who was raped at gunpoint; the student had a concealed carry permit but wasn’t carrying her gun because the campus was a “gun free zone” (the rapist obviously didn’t heed that law). Moran blatantly ignored the question – he actually ordered his staff to move to the next questioner. Violence against women must be a sore subject for him. Video:
Here’s a compilation of Moran ignoring questions:
One constituent had to educate Moran on the Constitution:
Here’s the full video of citizens challenging Moran:
His first public town hall in two years.
“Preventing Another Newtown: A Conversation on Gun Violence in America”
When: Monday, March 11, 2013
7:00PM – 9:00PM
Where: Washington-Lee High School Auditorium
1301 N Stafford Street
Arlington, VA 22201