Daily Archives: December 4, 2008

>National Mall Will Be Open to the Public on Inauguration Day

>WASHINGTON, DC—In keeping with its pledge to make the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama one of the most open and accessible in history, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced today that, for the first time, the entire length of the National Mall will be opened to the public so that more people than ever before will be able to witness the swearing-in of the President from a vantage point in sight of the Capitol.

The PIC has worked closely with officials from the District of Columbia government, the National Park Service, the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) to make space at this historic location available to members of the public who are unable to obtain tickets to the swearing-in. Those who come to witness the swearing-in on the Mall will be able to watch and listen to the ceremony on large screens that will be provided by the PIC along the Mall.

“We’re grateful to local, federal, and military officials for their efforts to open up the National Mall to Americans who want to participate in this historic occasion,“ said PIC Executive Director Emmett S. Beliveau. “These arrangements represent our committee’s continuing commitment to make next year’s historic inauguration as accessible as possible to citizens in Washington, D.C., and across the country.“

“This will be an Inauguration for all Americans,“ said Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “And so we are dedicated to opening it up so that people from across the country can gather together in America’s front yard. We remain hard at work to ensure the day’s festivities are safe and accessible for visitors, residents, and businesses alike.“

In the past, the National Mall has been used as a staging area for participants in the inaugural parade. But in response to early indications that more Americans than usual may travel to Washington to join in celebration of our shared values and common purpose, officials have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to relocate the parade staging area. Inaugural parade participants will be announced next week.

In the coming days and weeks, the PIC will release further information about viewing the inauguration from the National Mall and other inaugural events. For updates, please visit  www.pic2009.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, District of Columbia, inaugration, National Mall, President-Elect, the Capital, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Washington

National Mall Will Be Open to the Public on Inauguration Day

WASHINGTON, DC—In keeping with its pledge to make the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama one of the most open and accessible in history, the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) announced today that, for the first time, the entire length of the National Mall will be opened to the public so that more people than ever before will be able to witness the swearing-in of the President from a vantage point in sight of the Capitol.

The PIC has worked closely with officials from the District of Columbia government, the National Park Service, the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), and the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) to make space at this historic location available to members of the public who are unable to obtain tickets to the swearing-in. Those who come to witness the swearing-in on the Mall will be able to watch and listen to the ceremony on large screens that will be provided by the PIC along the Mall.

“We’re grateful to local, federal, and military officials for their efforts to open up the National Mall to Americans who want to participate in this historic occasion,“ said PIC Executive Director Emmett S. Beliveau. “These arrangements represent our committee’s continuing commitment to make next year’s historic inauguration as accessible as possible to citizens in Washington, D.C., and across the country.“

“This will be an Inauguration for all Americans,“ said Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. “And so we are dedicated to opening it up so that people from across the country can gather together in America’s front yard. We remain hard at work to ensure the day’s festivities are safe and accessible for visitors, residents, and businesses alike.“

In the past, the National Mall has been used as a staging area for participants in the inaugural parade. But in response to early indications that more Americans than usual may travel to Washington to join in celebration of our shared values and common purpose, officials have worked tirelessly in recent weeks to relocate the parade staging area. Inaugural parade participants will be announced next week.

In the coming days and weeks, the PIC will release further information about viewing the inauguration from the National Mall and other inaugural events. For updates, please visit  www.pic2009.org.

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, District of Columbia, inaugration, National Mall, President-Elect, the Capital, the Presidential Inaugural Committee, Washington

>Property-tax collections climb as home prices fall

>Dennis Cauchon
USA TODAY

Property taxes are rising across the USA despite the steepest drop in home values since the Great Depression.

Home values dropped 17% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2007, reports the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. At the same time, property tax collections across the USA rose 3.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

State and local governments are on track to collect more than $400 billion in property taxes this year, the most ever. One reason: Laws in most states that prevent big tax hikes when property values soar also block big tax drops when values sink.

The housing market collapse has caused a recession that’s hurt sales and income tax collections.

But property taxes — collected mostly for public schools — have escaped serious damage. As a result, public education is one of the few sectors of the economy still adding jobs.

“Property taxes aren’t always popular, but they are a very stable tax, even in tough times,” says Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

Property taxes haven’t fallen since 1934, the BEA says.

What’s keeping property taxes up while home prices fall:

• Property tax limits. Most states cap how fast taxes rise in boom times. In bad times, the same laws keep taxes from falling and even permit modest increases on most homes.

Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada — the four states hit hardest when overheated real estate markets crashed and triggered waves of foreclosures — all have tax laws that work this way.

Tonight Show host Jay Leno’s property taxes on his Beverly Hills home will increase $1,500 this year to $54,000, even though home values in the area fell by one-third since last year, California public records show. Reason: His mansion is taxed based on the $2.5 million purchase price in 1987, plus 2% annual increases.

Nevada schools will collect $730 million in property taxes this year, up 5%, says Nevada deputy school superintendent James Wells. “Property taxes are a bright spot. Sales taxes are the problem,” he says.

•Delayed appraisals. Most states are slow to change the assessed value of homes. Some Pennsylvania counties haven’t done major reappraisals for decades. Elsewhere, homeowners must pay taxes on peak values for years before new assessments reflect plunging prices.

Colorado residents will pay taxes in 2010 and 2011 based on what their homes were worth in the first half of 2008. “The time lag can help you or hurt you, ” says Mark Lowderman, tax assessor in El Paso County, Colo., which includes Colorado Springs. “Nobody complains when prices are rising.”

Leave a comment

Filed under property taxes, USA TODAY

Property-tax collections climb as home prices fall

Dennis Cauchon
USA TODAY

Property taxes are rising across the USA despite the steepest drop in home values since the Great Depression.

Home values dropped 17% in the third quarter compared with the same period in 2007, reports the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index. At the same time, property tax collections across the USA rose 3.1%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

State and local governments are on track to collect more than $400 billion in property taxes this year, the most ever. One reason: Laws in most states that prevent big tax hikes when property values soar also block big tax drops when values sink.

The housing market collapse has caused a recession that’s hurt sales and income tax collections.

But property taxes — collected mostly for public schools — have escaped serious damage. As a result, public education is one of the few sectors of the economy still adding jobs.

“Property taxes aren’t always popular, but they are a very stable tax, even in tough times,” says Thomas Gentzel, executive director of the Pennsylvania School Board Association.

Property taxes haven’t fallen since 1934, the BEA says.

What’s keeping property taxes up while home prices fall:

• Property tax limits. Most states cap how fast taxes rise in boom times. In bad times, the same laws keep taxes from falling and even permit modest increases on most homes.

Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada — the four states hit hardest when overheated real estate markets crashed and triggered waves of foreclosures — all have tax laws that work this way.

Tonight Show host Jay Leno’s property taxes on his Beverly Hills home will increase $1,500 this year to $54,000, even though home values in the area fell by one-third since last year, California public records show. Reason: His mansion is taxed based on the $2.5 million purchase price in 1987, plus 2% annual increases.

Nevada schools will collect $730 million in property taxes this year, up 5%, says Nevada deputy school superintendent James Wells. “Property taxes are a bright spot. Sales taxes are the problem,” he says.

•Delayed appraisals. Most states are slow to change the assessed value of homes. Some Pennsylvania counties haven’t done major reappraisals for decades. Elsewhere, homeowners must pay taxes on peak values for years before new assessments reflect plunging prices.

Colorado residents will pay taxes in 2010 and 2011 based on what their homes were worth in the first half of 2008. “The time lag can help you or hurt you, ” says Mark Lowderman, tax assessor in El Paso County, Colo., which includes Colorado Springs. “Nobody complains when prices are rising.”

Leave a comment

Filed under property taxes, USA TODAY

>Hillary Clinton Constitutionally Ineligible to Serve as Secretary of State??

>According to Judical Watch’s president Tom Fitton, Hilliary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as President elect Obama’s Secretary of State.

In a blog posting on the Hill’s Congressional Blog, Fitton  states:
 “…According to the “Emoluments” or “Eligibility” Clause of the United States Constitution, no member of Congress can be appointed to an office that has benefited from a salary increase during the time that Senator or Representative served in Congress. A January 2008 Executive Order signed by President Bush during Hillary Clinton’s current Senate term increased the salary for Secretary of State, thereby rendering Senator Clinton ineligible for the position.

(Specifically, Article I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time.” The provision is seen by most as designed by our Founding Fathers to protect against corruption.)…”

Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth for the Clinton’s. 
It doesn’t seem right that no one involved in the decision to appoint Hillary as Secretary of State was aware of this provision in  the constitution, or maybe Obama’s people knew all along about it and decided to appoint her anyway to see if anyone would pick up on it. If no said anything then great, Hillary was appeased for her support during the general election, but if this little secret was exposed then the Obama camp can say “Oh well, sorry Hillary” and be seen as not wanting Hillary Clinton involved in the Obama administration.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Eligibility Clause, founding fathers, Hillary Clinton, Judical Watch, Secretary of State, Tom Fitton, US Constitution

Hillary Clinton Constitutionally Ineligible to Serve as Secretary of State??

According to Judical Watch’s president Tom Fitton, Hilliary Clinton is constitutionally ineligible to serve as President elect Obama’s Secretary of State.

In a blog posting on the Hill’s Congressional Blog, Fitton  states:
 “…According to the “Emoluments” or “Eligibility” Clause of the United States Constitution, no member of Congress can be appointed to an office that has benefited from a salary increase during the time that Senator or Representative served in Congress. A January 2008 Executive Order signed by President Bush during Hillary Clinton’s current Senate term increased the salary for Secretary of State, thereby rendering Senator Clinton ineligible for the position.

(Specifically, Article I, section 6 of the U.S. Constitution provides “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time.” The provision is seen by most as designed by our Founding Fathers to protect against corruption.)…”

Now wouldn’t that be a kick in the teeth for the Clinton’s. 
It doesn’t seem right that no one involved in the decision to appoint Hillary as Secretary of State was aware of this provision in  the constitution, or maybe Obama’s people knew all along about it and decided to appoint her anyway to see if anyone would pick up on it. If no said anything then great, Hillary was appeased for her support during the general election, but if this little secret was exposed then the Obama camp can say “Oh well, sorry Hillary” and be seen as not wanting Hillary Clinton involved in the Obama administration.
We’ll have to keep an eye on this.  

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Eligibility Clause, founding fathers, Hillary Clinton, Judical Watch, Secretary of State, Tom Fitton, US Constitution

President-elect Obama and governors tackle the economy

Speaking to an assembly of nearly all of the nation’s governors in Philadelphia this morning, President-elect Obama called for innovation and collaboration, and invited dissenting opinions on how best to fix the economy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, ChangeDotGov, economy, Philadelphia PA., President-Elect, the Nation's Governors