EDITORIAL: Short takes [Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va.]
(Charleston Daily Mail (WV) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 05--NOW that Republicans have more members of the House of Delegates than they have had in 82 years -- still not enough for a majority -- they want to make sure future elections are fair and clean.
House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, D-Kanawha, said a top priority will be requiring people to show photo IDs to vote, just as they do to buy cigarettes or beer.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 33 states have already done this.
"Requiring identification when voting is a simple step that we can take to make our elections fairer and to ensure that the outcome of our elections actually reflects the will of our citizens," Armstead told the Register-Herald in Beckley.
"People are required to show identification to cash a check, to enter many sporting and other events, and to open bank accounts."
But the state's chief election officer -- Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant -- is opposed. She said voter ID was not the issue in Democratic absentee ballot fraud in Lincoln and Logan counties.
"A stronger voter ID law would not have stopped what took place there," Tennant told the Register-Herald. "We don't have a problem with voter impersonation. We may have a problem with people trying to manipulate the system in other ways, but let's not focus on finding a solution to a problem that doesn't exist."
How do we know we don't have an impersonation problem if no one is ever carded
The proposal is not about absentee ballot fraud. It's about making sure people vote only once.
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IN 1970, Illinois voters changed their state constitution to prohibit reductions in pension benefits for state employees.
Since Illinois pensions are underfunded by
$100 billion and mounting by $17 million a day, that decision will cost taxpayers dearly.
To be fair, nearly 80 percent of Illinois state employees pay no Social Security tax, meaning they
receive no credit toward Social Security during their years of government service.
Nevertheless, the power of state employee unions to destroy a state's finances is mind-boggling.
"There's a lot of attention to taking care of everybody and not the fiscal conservatism of 'How are you going to pay for that ' " said Richard Dye, an economist at the University of Illinois' Institute of Government and Public Affairs.
That's a question no one seemed to ask in 1970. Now Illinoisans are paying through the nose.
Voters in West Virginia must bear this in mind.
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TAXES rose an average of $679 for 77 percent of taxpayers under the new fiscal cliff deal.
But Hollywood will continue to enjoy $430
million in special tax breaks, ABC News reported.
The tax increase for most people comes as the
result of the end of the payroll tax holiday. Those taxes will now return to 12.4 percent -- the total of the direct tax (6.2 percent) that comes out of each paycheck and the employer match.
But Section 317 continues a 2004 tax break that was meant to help producers of small movies.
After Democrats took control of Congress, they
extended the tax break to all movies and TV shows. The break was meant to expire in 2011, but the new fiscal cliff law makes the break permanent, the conservative Breitbart news organization reported.
A sweetheart deal for a reliable source of Democratic campaign funds is something to think about the next time a millionaire Hollywood star complains about the rich not paying their fair share of taxes.
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MANY West Virginians worry about the impact of the TV show, "Buckwild," an MTV production that is supposed to be "Jersey Shore" in Sissonville.
We should all relax a bit. Most Americans like West Virginia, according to an online poll by Widmeyer Communications, a public relations firm based in New York and Washington.
"Based on what we learned from this survey,
nearly 75 million Americans are likely to visit WV within the next three years," said CEO Scott
Widmeyer in a press release.
"Secondly, the small-town friendly charm that West Virginia offers is something the state needs to capitalize on. This can be a real magnet to attract people who are looking for getaway vacations that offer recreation, leisure and relaxation."
The poll is reassuring and it comes from someone who understands the state.
Widmeyer is a graduate of West Virginia Univer-sity and a generous supporter of it.
West Virginians can be too touchy for their own good sometimes. Sometimes, as wise public relations executives will tell you, it pays to accentuate the
positive rather than be defensive.
(c)2013 the Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.)
Visit the Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, W.Va.) at www.dailymail.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
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