Grassroot Perspective – Sept. 15, 2003-Death Penalty Doubts; Claims Management Mismanaged; Welfare and Children's Services

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“Dick Rowland Image”

”Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)”


– Death Penalty Doubts

Is capital punishment on the way out? Juries have invoked the death
penalty only once in the last 20 federal capital cases. Perhaps the
jurors heard a startling fact: more than 100 death-row convicts have
been released in recent years because evidence proving their
innocence was discovered before they could be executed.

Examples of government failure are all around us. Should we be
surprised, then, when we learn that the criminal justice system at
times has failed horribly, rendering the greatest of injustices? And
how can the death penalty be defended if it has been shown to have
been applied unjustly?

Utilitarians, who are less concerned about individual instances of
right and wrong than about the net effects of public policy on
society as a whole, might still defend the death penalty if it is an
effective deterrent to capital crimes. “The vast preponderance of
evidence shows, however, that capital punishment does not deter
violent crimes that haven’t yet been committed,” writes Ivan Eland,
director of the Independent Institute’s Center on Peace & Liberty, in
a new op-ed.

Furthermore, a death sentence means that a lengthy appeals process
often boosts the costs of capital punishment significantly, making it
more expensive “to execute prisoners than to keep them locked up for
the rest of their lives,” Eland continues.

“Most important, to prevent the government from oppressing the
people, our judicial system was designed to err on the side of
protecting the innocent, not convicting the guilty. The biggest
travesty the system could imagine is executing an innocent person.
Yet the multitude of people on death row who have been exonerated
makes it likely that the innocent have been killed in the past and
will continue to be in the future, as long as the death penalty
remains on the books.”

Eland’s final verdict? “It is shameful that America should still have
an anachronistic, unfair, costly, and oppressive form of punishment
that is making ‘the land of the free and the brave’ a pariah in the
civilized world.”

See “Death to Capital Punishment,” by Ivan Eland (8/18/03)

Above article is quoted from The Independent Institute, The Lighthouse 8/18/03

– Claims Management Mismanaged

By Jason Mercier

Evergreen Freedom Foundation

Issue: May 2003

Washington state spends approximately $10 billion each year to provide services
and benefits to individuals … but some of the recipients are ineligible, deceased,
incarcerated, or in the state illegally. Read this report to find out about
the waste and mismanagement in Washington’s state agencies CONTACT: Evergreen
Freedom Foundation, P.O. Box 552, Olympia, WA 98507, 360/956-3482, fax 360/352-1874,

– Welfare and Children’s Services

By Jason Mercier

Evergreen Freedom Foundation

Issue: May 2003

Many states around the nation have adopted competitive bidding to provide welfare
and children’s services. That is why Washington state legislators should carefully
consider the merits of putting specific government services up for competitive
bid. Saving money isn’t the only benefit; studies have confirmed an increase
in the quality of services provided to those in need as a result of healthy
competition among providers. CONTACT: Evergreen Freedom Foundation, P.O. Box
552, Olympia, WA 98507, 360/956-3482, fax 360/352-1874,

Above article are quoted from The Heritage Foundation, The Insider May 2003

”Roots (Food for Thought)”

The California recall election has turned the eyes of the nation to the state’s economy and its tax system. As California candidates and citizens consider
the best course for righting their fiscal ship, they should understand that,
statistically speaking, every aspect of California’s tax system is antagonistic
to business development and economic growth.

Here are some basic facts on California’s tax system and how it compares to
other states:

California’s Business Tax Climate Ranks 49th:

California ranks 49th in the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index,
which measures the impact on business of five major elements of the tax system:
the percentage of income taken by all taxes, the individual income tax rates,
the corporate income taxes, the sales tax rate, and the complexity of the tax
system. Only Mississippi has a more unfriendly tax climate for business.

California’s Tax Burden is Well Above the National Average:

In 1990 California had a slightly below-average tax burden (9.7 percent compared to
a national average of 9.9 percent). Since then, state/local tax collections have risen
much faster than Californians’ incomes. Estimated now at 10.6 percent of income, California’s
state/local taxes are well above the national average of 9.7 percent.

Tax Freedom Day Arrives on April 29 in California:

Tax Freedom Day is the day when Americans finally have earned enough money to
pay off their total tax bill for the year. In 2003, California taxpayers had
to work until April 29th to pay their total tax bill, ten days later than the
national average and later than all other states except Connecticut and Massachusetts.
California taxpayers must work 38 days into the year just to pay their state
and local tax bill which, at $3,670 per-capita, is the 8th highest in the nation.

California Has One of the Most Progressive Individual Income Tax Systems:

With six brackets and a top rate that kicks in at a relatively low $38,291 of
income, California has one of the most highly progressive tax systems in the
nation for individuals and small business owners. For the taxpayer with $40,000
of taxable income, California’s 9.3 percent state income tax rate is the highest in
the nation. For families earning between $43,500 and $307,050, only Montana’s
tax rate is higher, and over $307,050 of income, only Montana’s and Vermont’s rates are higher.

Since most small businesses are either S Corporations or partnerships or sole
proprietorships, they pay their business taxes at the rates for individuals.
That makes California’s taxes on small businesses higher than virtually every
other state.

California’s Corporate Income Tax Rate is Among the Highest in the Nation:

Corporations looking to relocate, or even establish, a business in the West
may shy away from California, as the state’s 8.84 percent flat rate is the highest
corporate tax rate in the West. Nationally, only 10 other states have a higher
top corporate tax rate than California. In 2002, corporate tax collections in
California totaled $152 per capita, the sixth highest per capita level in the

California’s Tax System is a Complexity Nightmare:

California’s tax system is also a complexity nightmare for taxpayers. Particularly
damaging are the complete double taxation of income on taxes paid by corporations
and the existence of both a corporate and individual Alternative Minimum Tax
(AMT). It is widely accepted that the AMT imposes a disproportionate level
of tax complexity relative to amount of revenue raised. California is among
only 5 states that have enacted both a corporate and individual AMT (14 states
have at least one).

California’s Sales Tax Rate is Among the Highest in the Nation:

California’s state and local sales tax rate ranges from 7.25 percent to 8.75 percent. Excluding
local option sales taxes, California’s statutory rate of 7.25 percent is the highest
in the country. The sales tax affects not only consumers, but businesses as
well. The state fails to exempt many business items from the sales tax, including
manufacturing machinery, office equipment, and farm machinery. For example,
on a $100 million investment in a new plant and equipment, California’s sales
tax on machinery could add as much as $9 million in additional costs, depending
upon the type of machinery and the plant’s location.

High rates reduce revenue as consumers seek relief via cross-border shopping
(neighboring states Nevada and Oregon do not have sales taxes) or making purchases
with catalogs and/or the Internet. This is another example of California being
unfriendly tax-wise to businesses.

Property Tax Collections are Slightly Below Average:

Despite Proposition 13, property taxes in California are not as low as some
may think. In combined state/local property tax collections, California ranks
in the middle of the pack — 31st per capita, and 37th per $1,000 of personal
income, among the 50 states. Proposition 13 greatly favors longtime taxpayers
by only permitting re-evaluations at resale, but the only alternative to this
system in areas of skyrocketing property values is to force people who have
lived in the same home for decades to sell their homes.

Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures: California is a Donor State:

California taxpayers benefit less than almost any other state from each tax
dollar sent to the federal government. In 2002, only five states received less
in federal funds than they paid in federal taxes, as California taxpayers received
only 76 cents in federal expenditures for every dollar in federal taxes. In
1992, by contrast, California taxpayers were receiving 93 cents in federal expenditures
on each taxable dollar: yet another example in the rise in taxes in the state
of California.

For more information, contact Scott Hodge, President, at (202) 464-5103 or Scott
Moody, Senior Economist, at (202) 464-5107 or

Above article is quoted from the Tax Foundation

”Evergreen (Today’s Quotes)”

“The American people are overtaxed. They pay too much income tax, they pay too
much sales tax, they pay taxes on their savings, they pay taxes on their investments,
and they pay taxes when they die.” — Dick Armey

“Today’s public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and
there is some evidence that they can’t read them either.” — Gore Vidal

”’Edited by Richard O. Rowland, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, 1314 S. King Street, Suite 1163, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone/fax is 808-591-9193, cell phone is 808-864-1776. Send him an email at:”’ ”’See the Web site at:”’