There are two basic principles that I believe alway apply to legislation coming out of Washington today. The first is the “Law of Unintended Consequences” and the second is that any legislation from Wasthington will include changes to create more government jobs and further complicate tax law.
Already, there have been a number of issues with the massive Health Care Reform bill to come to light. Another one hit CNN today - a small change to the way businesses report taxes that will create mountains of new paperwork for business.
In short, the new HCR bill requires that businesses use the 1099 form to document ANY purchase made by the company in excess of $600. Until this change, the 1099 form was used to document contract work done by individuals outside the company. Now, a company has to document purchases as well. Buy a computer from Cosco? Send them a 1099 form so you can include it in your tax paperwork. Take some business clients to lunch a couple of times, send the resteraunt a 1099 form so you can include it in your tax paperwork.
This constitutes a massive change in how the 1099 form is to be used by business. It also complicates the tax paperwork burden of small businesses that do not have large accounting departments. The Cato institute calls it a “costly, anti business nightmare”.
While the change is aimed at tightening up loopholes in tax reporting in effort to generate more revenue to pay for this massive HCR bill, the impact to businesses - both large and small - has yet to be determined. At the very least, it will require literally millions of new 1099 forms to be sent out and included business tax paperwork, further complicating the tax reporting burden of business.
This law is set to take effect in 2012 and there has already been an amendment proposed to the HCR removing this change. The IRS has yet to issue it’s regulations on this new legal requirement either so it is difficult to determine how this new requirement will be implimented.
The only concrete outcome of this new regulation is that it will require more government employees to go through this mountain of paperwork to make sure businesses are complying with whatever regulations the IRS set to meet the law. Once again, Government shows that is it a jobs program for governmental employees.
Since I am in the process of re-designing my primary website (moorcat.com), I have decided to remove the political content from Montana Bullets and Blades and bring it back here. Pragmatic Revolt was started as a place to discuss political subjects that are important to me and it seems proper to seperate those subjects from the Montana Bullets and Blades site - a site primarily devoted to crafting, knifemaking, gunsmithing/gun topics and Montana life.
I should be posting soon about some of the local political issues here (we are currently involved in a very contested mayorial race in Dillon) as well as some of the state and national issues that catch my attention. Posting may be somewhat sporatic - at least at first - but feel free to visit often and comment if you feel so inclined.
Montana Bullets and Blades is now up and running.
As promised, the new Blog is up and running. It is pretty spare at this point (little more than the structure and a couple of pages set up) but it will flesh out over the next couple of weeks. I really hope the readers that have enjoyed this blog will continue to read the new one….
Pragmatic Revolt will remain up for now (for both sentimental reasons and because I may, at some point return to it). The information is still timely and I stand by what I have written here. It is simply time I take a different direction with my writing.
I invite you all to check out the new blog and thanks for reading this one…
The Judiciary Committee of the Dillon City Council met at 3:00pm on Monday, July 28th to discuss two issues - the proposed Tree Ordinance for Dillon and the City Attorney’s Contract.
The Tree Ordinance -
This ordinance is primarily designed to address the issues of dead/diseased trees in Dillon and how the City of Dillon deals with trees in City Limits. It was loosely based on similar ordinances from Belgrade, Bozeman and Missoula and written primarily by City Councilman Mike Riley.
Many questions were raised about the proposed ordinance including the scope of the ordinance, the rates the ordinance sets for tree removal and penalties for failing to comply with the Ordinance. Councilwoman Kailey raised the issue of whether it was wise to write an ordinance that gives the City power to dictate to property owners what they will or will not do on their own property and why would they want to give the City the authority to effect changes to someone’s private property. Mr. Riley assured her that the ordinance would only be used in emergency situations and that the City Council would have the authority to override decisions made by the “Tree Board”.
The Committee made minor adjustments to the ordinance and then voted to forward the ordinance to the Dillon City Council with the recommendation that it be passed.
Mr. Gilbert’s Contract
When this issue was brought up, the question was raised why it had been sent back to the Judiciary Committee. Mr. Riley stated he felt it was the administrative task of the Mayor to assign issues to committee and he wasn’t going to second guess the Mayor. The members of the committee discussed sending the contract - as originally forwarded - back to the City Council and then comments were solicitated from the others in attendance.
The question of the the cost of the Contract, as submitted was raised, as was the current overbudget situation. I presented my “Open Letter” to the committee. Mr. Riley spoke at length about ensuring that Mr. Gilbert was paid enough to run his office and that Dillon should be glad that Mr. Gilbert was their attorney because he had argued a case before the Supreme Court.
The question was called on whether to send the contract back to the City Council - Mr. Achter voted “yes” and Mr. McIssac voted “no”. Mr. Riley broke the tie by voting “no”.
In a surprise twist, Mr. Riley suggested hiring a “Criminal Deputy” that would handle all the criminal cases for the City, freeing up Mr. Gilbert to just work on City Municipal work. Many figures were floated on what that would cost the city and how many hours could be expected for each attorney. I made the observation that unless the City moved away from the “open ended hours” model, we would never be able to accurately budget for the City Attorney and the numbers being discussed were still far in excess of what other cities our size are paying for an attorney. Mr. Riley pointed out that Dillon “was stuck” with Mr. Gilbert’s original contract until January of 2009. Former Councilman Klakkan and Mr. Gilbert got into an exchange about billable hours VS actual hours worked, and the question was raised that if the City is paying Mr. Gilbert for his office staff, if they had the right to expect City Compensation. Mr. Gilbert quoted a figure for what an attorney had been hired in a similar situation and Mr. Plutt pointed out that the person Mr. Gilbert was refering to was one of the highest paid attorneys in that job. Mr. Gilbert also testified that he would still require $110.00 an hour regardless of whether a Deputy Attorney was hired.
Again a vote was taken on whether to recommend hiring a Criminal Deputy and the vote failed. Mr. Riley directed Mr. McIssac and Mr. Achter to do research on the idea of a Criminal Deputy so as to answer their concerns and that the Committee would meet again next week and discuss the idea further.
I have some very serious concerns about the Tree Ordinance as written. Given the situation that just occured where the Mayor authorized the damage of private property without City Council involvement and (seemingly) without any authority by ordinance, what are the chances of a Mayor or Tree Board abusing an ordinance that does, seemingly, give them the authority? I have NO confidence that this administration, at least, is responsible enough with that authority and I am uncomfortable even contemplating what they will do with it. I will post a further critique of the Tree Ordinance once I have had the opportunity to study it further.
As far as Mr. Gilbert’s Contract is concerned, it is obvious that Mr. Gilbert is still demanding $110.00 an hour, retroactive to January 1, 2008. I question how that can even be done since the fiscal year closed on July 1, 2008, and you can’t do a budget adjustment after the Fiscal Year closes. There is also no question that at least Mr. Achter and Mr. Riley support that increase in Mr. Gilbert’s wages.
At this point, I do not see the Judiciary Committee stepping up to the plate to reduce the cost Mr. Gilbert represents to the City. If anything, they appear to be more than happy to give Mr. Gilbert the $110.00 an hour he is demanding from the City. The question of why the City of Dillon is expected to fund the office that Mr. Gilbert runs HIS PRIVATE PRACTICE out of also does not seem to be something anyone wants to discuss.
It seems that the Citizens of Dillon cannot expect any help or protection from the City Council. If the Citizens want to have any chance in curbing this ridiculous wage being paid to Gilbert, they are going to have to show up - en mass - to the meeting where that wage is being discussed. Maybe, just maybe, we might get someone to listen to us. Mrs. Kailey seems to understand. One can only hope that we can get the others to understand - and act.
As you can see, things have changed a little…
Me and my hosting service had a parting of the ways (more on that later) so Pragmatic Revolt has been down for a little while. I have a new hosting service and I am in the process of getting things set up… Please be patient with me while I get things settled..