The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case Regarding The Citizenship Question On The Census

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article details some of the history of the question:

The Enumeration Clause in Article I of the Constitution requires a nationwide census be taken every ten years. The Census Act empowers the head of the Commerce Department to determine what the census will ask, aside from the number of persons residing at every address in the nation. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided for the Trump administration that the census will ask each person in the nation next year if that person is a citizen of the United States.

That was a recurring question on census forms until recently. The first census to ask about citizenship was the one conducted in 1820, and the last was 1950. After 1950, the Census Bureau – which is part of the Commerce Department – has continued to ask that question on the “long form” census form that goes to some census-takers, as well as on its yearly questionnaire that goes to a small number of households each year, called the American Community Survey (ACS).

…However, when Ross put that question on the 2020 census, leftwing partisans sued, claiming that inserting this question violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). More surprising to many, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed, writing a 277-page decision (which is shockingly long) holding that it is illegal to ask about citizenship.

The article explains that the case revolves around the APA:

There are three issues in the case. The first is whether it violates the APA for the census to ask about citizenship. The second is whether courts can look beyond the administrative record to probe the thinking of top-ranking government officials in an APA case. The justices inserted a third issue of their own, asking whether asking that if the APA allows the question, would that question nonetheless violate the Enumeration Clause.

In other words, the case is about whether asking about citizenship violates either federal law or the Constitution, and also whether it is out of bounds to chase down a member of the president’s Cabinet in such lawsuits.

This case has very significant implications. Legislative districting lines for Congress and statehouses are based on census data. Dozens of congressional seats and perhaps hundreds of state seats could shift if states drew lines based on citizenship, instead of total numbers of persons. Some even argue that congressional seats, and with them Electoral College votes for president, could be reallocated among the states based on citizenship data. At minimum, billions of dollars in federal spending is based on census numbers.

The states that will probably lose representatives and electoral college votes if the citizenship questions is on the census are California, New York, Arizona, and possibly New Mexico.

The question to me is whether or not people who are in America but not citizens should have a voice in our government. Would you allow a guest in your house to determine your household budget?

Good Security Matters

The Independent U.K. reported today that police arrested a man in St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York who was carrying two full gas cans, lighter fluid and lighters. The man claimed to be cutting through the cathedral to get to Madison Avenue where his car was out of gas. The police accompanied him to his car and found that it was not out of gas. At that point the man was taken into custody.

The article notes:

The 37-year-old New Jersey man allegedly pulled up in a minivan outside the landmark in Manhattan on Wednesday night, walked around the area, and then returned to the vehicle to retrieve the items, said New York Police Department (NYPD).

“As he enters the cathedral he’s confronted by a cathedral security officer who asks him where he’s going and informs him he can’t proceed into the cathedral carrying these things,” said NYPD deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism John Miller.

“At that point some gasoline apparently spills out onto the floor as he’s turned around.”

Security then raised the alarm with counter-terrorism officers who were standing outside, Mr Miller said. 

It is encouraging to me that there were counter-terrorism officers standing outside.

The article reports:

He added: “It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were, but I think the totality of circumstances of an individual walking into an iconic location like St Patrick’s Cathedral carrying over four gallons of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and lighters is something that we would have great concern over.”

“It’s hard to say exactly what his intentions were…” Are you kidding me? That has to be the understatement of the year.

At any rate, I suspect that the police and security avoided what might have been a really awful event.

Irony At Its Best

The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.

Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.

The article reports:

Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.

A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.

For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.

There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.

It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.

The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.

The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:

People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.

Did They Plan On A Backlash?

Townhall posted an article today about the consequences of the recent trend in some states to make abortion more available. The idea of aborting babies right up until birth has created a backlash resulting in growth in the pro-life movement.

The article reports:

A recent Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus shows a significant increase just over the past month in the number of Americans who identify as “pro-life.”

The survey found that Americans are now just as likely to identify as “pro-life” (47 percent) as “pro-choice” (47 percent). This is a large increase from a similar survey last month, when another Marist Poll found Americans “more likely to identify as pro-choice than as pro-life by 17 percentage points (55 to 38 percent).”

The poll marks the first time since 2009 that the same amount of Americans identified as “pro-life” as “pro-choice.”

The increase in pro-life identification occurred among Americans under the age of 45 and among Democrats.

The article continues:

Another key finding by Marist was that 80 percent of Americans supported limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, a 5 percent increase in that view since last month’s poll.

“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” Carvalho emphasized.

“Arguments in favor of late-term abortion are simply not convincing the American people,” Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson remarked on the findings. “If anything, since these proposals have been unveiled, people are moving noticeably in the pro-life direction. It is now clear that these radical policies are being pursued despite the opposition of the majority of Americans of both parties.”

This trend is going to force Democrat candidates to choose between campaign money from Planned Parenthood PAC’s and actual voters. We should see that choice being made during the next year. Watch for members of Congress who realize the significance of these poll numbers to begin to distance themselves from the extreme position on abortion expressed in the New York law and attempted by the Virginia legislature. Other states are following suit on liberal election laws. It will be interesting to see how these new laws impact the election of state governors and legislators.

Most People Got Bigger Tax Refunds This Year Than Last Year

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about this year’s tax refunds. The article was in response to a Washington Post article claiming that people were getting lower tax refunds this year than last year.

The article at Hot Air pointed out a number of things that might result in getting a smaller tax refund:

But since we have to play this game, let’s figure out why your refund is smaller. Did you get a raise or a significant bonus last year? Did you perhaps start a new job that pays more? Were there any other major changes in your financial situation? Tax filing company Intuit has a list of possible explanations you could look for. They include things such as your filing status changing, the selling of assets or the possibility that you were hit with a penalty.

There will be a small number of people who lost out on part of their SALT (state and local tax) deductions, but that should really only have a significant impact on people in high-tax states like New York who are earning well into six figures. As for everyone else, if your income went up, did you adjust your withholdings accordingly? If not, perhaps you need to have a chat with an accountant.

The article also reminds us that a tax refund is a refund of the money that you gave to the government during the year. You allowed them to have that money interest free until you filed your tax return and they were obligated to give the money back to you. Ideally, your tax refund should be small–that means that you correctly calculated the amount of money you actually owed the government. The question is not how big your tax refund is–the question is how much money you actually paid in taxes. The size of your tax refund is simply a reflection of how much money the government took from you during the year.

A Sobering Thought

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Tuesday night, expanding abortion access and codifying a woman’s right to abort under state law.

Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the Reproductive Health Act on the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, making good on his promise to add abortion protections to the state constitution, according to the New York Post.

Roe v. Wade gave women the constitutional right to an abortion under the 14th Amendment on Jan. 22, 1973. The ruling extended the right to abort up to the point of fetal “viability,” a slippery term that continues to foster debate as neonatal care advances.

The bill codified a woman’s right to abort under state law and removes abortion from New York’s criminal code.

The bill will also allow women to have abortions after 24 weeks in cases where “there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health,” according to the legislation. Nurse practitioners, physicians’ assistants and qualified health care professionals can provide abortions under the legislation.

Meanwhile, CNS News reported:

Last Thursday, Jan. 17, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stated that undercover video footage filmed by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which showed Planned Parenthood employees discussing the sale of tissue from aborted fetuses, was “authentic” and “not deceptively edited.”

The federal appeals court also vacated an injunction by a district court, which had barred the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) from terminating Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood affiliates throughout Texas. The federal appeals court sent the case back to the district court.

…In 2015, the CMP, a pro-life organization, released several hours of undercover video footage that showed employees and doctors from various Planned Parenthood affiliates discussing potential research partnerships with individuals who expressed interest in obtaining body parts of fetuses aborted during the second trimester of pregnancy and paying a handling and shipping fee for those parts.

After the footage was released, the OIG sent Planned Parenthood affiliates a notice of termination of their Medicaid agreements. The OIG argued that the affiliates had violated “accepted medical standards, as reflected in federal and state law,” and were no longer “qualified to provide medical services in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner.”

The article at CNS News concludes:

CMP founder David Daleiden wrote that the court’s decision “vindicated” the CMP’s “citizen journalism work” by “debunking Planned Parenthood’s smear that the videos were ‘heavily edited’ or ‘doctored.’”

“Now, it is time for the U.S. Department of Justice to do its job and hold Planned Parenthood accountable to the law,” Daleiden added.

Since the videos were released in 2015, Planned Parenthood has claimed CMP’s footage was heavily and deceptively edited. Many mainstream news outlets have reported that the footage was altered or distorted, using, as the basis for these claims, a Fusion GPS report that was commissioned and funded by Planned Parenthood.

It’s amazing how the same names keep coming up.

In April 2016, Life News reported:

On average, Planned Parenthood receives approximately $500 million a year in taxpayer funds, as a GAO report indicated last year.

Theoretically, this money does not pay for abortions.

In September 2018l Live Action reported:

Taxpayer-funded abortion corporation Planned Parenthood has announced its political arms are joining other “progressive” groups to invest an “unprecedented” $30 million to influence who is elected to key state and federal offices in the 2018 midterm elections.

Does anyone else object to the idea that an organization that takes money from the federal government contributes to political campaigns?

 

Choosing Winners And Losers

Fox5 is reporting today that Amazon has decided to open two new facilities–one in Alexandria, Virginia, and one in Long Island City, New York.

The article reports:

New York state is kicking in more than $1.5 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives for getting half of Amazon’s second headquarters located in a section of Queens.

The Seattle-based company made its long-awaited announcement Tuesday, saying Long Island City and Alexandria, Virginia, will each get 25,000 jobs. The online retailer also said it will open an operations hub in Nashville, creating 5,000 jobs.

…New York state’s incentives are nearly triple those of Virginia’s, while Tennessee’s are $102 million.

According to Amazon, the cost per job for New York taxpayers is $48,000, compared to $22,000 for Virginia and $13,000 for Tennessee.

In a statement released by Amazon, Cuomo called the agreement “one of the largest, most competitive economic development investments in U.S. history.”

I have a few questions. How many years will these tax incentives last? Will Amazon leave the state when the incentives end? If each job cost New York taxpayers $48,000, how much do these jobs pay? The company is getting tremendous tax breaks to come to New York and create jobs, can New Yorkers afford the increases in their taxes to pay for those jobs? Wouldn’t it be better to cut taxes for all businesses in New York and make the state more attractive to businesses looking for a place to relocate? Lowering taxes across the board actually increases revenue, choosing winners and losers simply makes people angry.

Now This Begins To Make Sense

Michael Cohen has changed his testimony regarding President Trump a number of times. Either he can’t make up his mind or his memory just isn’t working properly. Or maybe someone has entered the picture that has altered the way Mr. Cohen looks at things.

The DC Whisperer posted an article yesterday that provides some insight into what is going on.

The article reminds us:

Weeks earlier D.C. Whispers warned readers of Lanny Davis’s sudden appearance at the side of former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen. Mr. Davis is a longtime Clinton operative and as recently as 2016 was helping to manage Hillary Clinton’s presidential run. His longstanding ties to the Clintons affords him strong ties with both the Democrat and Republican establishments, vast D.C. lobbying powers, and media moguls. In short, he is as Deep State as Deep State gets. 

Now he’s using Michael Cohen to add manufactured fuel to the “get President Trump” fire as the Clintons sit back and watch and wait…

Remember Hillary Clinton’s illegal private server troubles that had her staff destroying evidence and lying to the FBI? 99.9% of the population would have faced some very serious charges for those violations. Not Hillary. Then there are the even more serious money laundering allegations tied to the Clinton Foundation and again – no formal charges from the government.

And guess who was acting as the mediator between the Clintons’ interests and the FBI and DOJ back in 2015 and 2016?

That’s right – Lanny Davis.

Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein, both longtime Deep State operatives, push for an investigation into Michael Cohen. Raids on Cohen’s homes and offices follow. Charges are manufactured. Cohen is isolated, afraid, and eventually, all too willing to do whatever necessary to save himself.

Once again, enter Lanny Davis who takes Cohen by the hand and leads him to a “say anything” plea deal with wording scripted by Clinton and Obama-appointed prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The prosecutor leading the case against Cohen is Robert S. Khuzami whose ties with the Clintons date back to the 1990’s.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It explains exactly how the deep state is working to protect its interests and keep the swamp that is Washington operating as usual.

The article concludes:

Far-fetched you say? Consider this – Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to non-crimes as they relate to Donald Trump. He has tax issues, fraud issues, but what Davis was most concerned with is the alleged “hush money” payments that Cohen now says were directed by then-candidate Trump in 2016. That is the only legal item that involves the president directly regarding the Cohen plea – and it isn’t a crime. It’s a fake charge but Cohen is playing ball with the prosecution because of the other charges he is facing. This is how the U.S. government works. It can manufacture anything to go after anyone at any time and no entity has done this more often and more aggressively than the Clinton Crime Syndicate.

Bad Decisions Based On Faulty Premises

There are still some legislators that believe raising taxes increases revenue. Up to a point it does, but only up to a point. At a certain level, increased taxes result in people finding creative ways to avoid those taxes.

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a proposed tax increase in the Rhode Island 2019 budget. The proposal would levy an 80 percent wholesale tax on all vapor products and related equipment in the state. There was an attempt to include this tax in the Rhode Island 2018 budget, but the attempt failed.

The article reports:

The tax would effectively label electronic nicotine delivery systems as tobacco products, despite containing no actual tobacco. Vaping advocates argue the tax will harm overall public health in the state by cutting off former smokers’ access to vapor products. They also note the proposal will fail to boost state revenues due to diminished sales, coupled with consumers crossing into neighboring states to buy their vapor products.

Rhode Island is a relatively small state–you don’t have to drive too far to cross into another state. That is what people will probably do to avoid this tax.

The article lists the problems with the proposal:

First, these are not tobacco products. The state plans to tax them under the same category, despite the fact that there is no tobacco involved in the process. Further, the tax applies to the equipment used to “vape” the liquid nicotine. Compare that to the tax system applied to tobacco. Even the worst sin taxing states haven’t tried applying that sort of a penalty to buying a pipe.

Next, as noted above, the damage to the nascent vaping industry will be epic just as it was in Pennsylvania when they instituted a 40% tax. After the tax went into effect, more than one hundred new businesses shut down just in the greater Philadelphia region.

In terms of health, not only will this likely push people who managed to quit cigarettes by switching to vaping back to tobacco, but new vapers who have probably developed a habit may feel compelled to go try smoking cigarettes for the first time. Rather than allowing this new technology to continue to help people quit smoking, a tax such as this will likely lead to the opposite effect, creating a new generation of smokers who find it more economically practical to light up rather than vape.

And finally, in terms of raising revenue for the state, this scheme never works. Every time states push for a big new sin tax on tobacco it blows up in their face and that’s what going to happen to a vaping tax as well. In 2016, New York State actually lost a half billion dollars in tax revenue on tobacco rather than seeing an increase.

This is a picture of the Laffer Curve:

The Laffer Curve is simply a representation of how human nature responds to increased taxes. When taxes reach a certain point, people begin to look for ways to avoid them, and tax revenue goes down. That is exactly what will happen if the tax on vapor products and equipment in Rhode Island becomes law. People will make the trip to neighboring states rather than pay the increased tax. As an unintended consequence, the vaping industry in Rhode Island will be destroyed, and more people will make the trip to Foxwoods to buy cigarettes to avoid the cigarette tax.

The Numbers Behind The Conclusions

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the mathematics and science between the claims of global warming. The title of the editorial is, “The Stunning Statistical Fraud Behind The Global Warming Scare.”

The editorial points out:

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) has made repeated “adjustments” to its data, for the presumed scientific reason of making the data sets more accurate.

Nothing wrong with that. Except, all their changes point to one thing — lowering previously measured temperatures to show cooler weather in the past, and raising more recent temperatures to show warming in the recent present.

This creates a data illusion of ever-rising temperatures to match the increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere since the mid-1800s, which global warming advocates say is a cause-and-effect relationship. The more CO2, the more warming.

The editorial includes some examples of how NOAA has altered temperatures to conform to their theory:

This winter, for instance, as measured by temperature in city after city  and by snow-storm severity, has been one of the coldest on record in the Northeast.

But after the NOAA’s wizards finished with the data, it was merely about average.

Climate analyst Paul Homewood notes for instance that in New York state, measured temperatures this year were 2.7 degrees or more colder than in 1943. Not to NOAA. Its data show temperatures this year as 0.9 degrees cooler than the actual data in 1943.

…By the way, a similar result occurred after the brutally cold 2013-2014 winter in New York. It was simply adjusted away. Do this year after year, and with the goal of radically altering the temperature record to fit the global warming narrative, and you have what amounts to climate fraud.

“Clearly NOAA’s highly homogenized and adjusted version of the Central Lakes temperature record bears no resemblance at all the the actual station data,” writes Homewood. “And if this one division is so badly in error, what confidence can there be that the rest of the U.S. is any better?”

That’s the big question. And for those who think that government officials don’t have political, cultural or other agendas, that’s naivete of the highest sort. They do.

Since the official government mantra for all of the bureaucracies at least since the Clinton era is that CO2 production is an evil that inevitably leads to runaway global warming, those who toil in the bureaucracies’ statistical sweat shops know that their careers and future funding depend on having the politically correct answers — not the scientifically correct ones.

Who would have thought that research into climate science has reached the point where it is simply about money.

More Taxpayers Voting With Their Feet

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about migration within the United States. The states that lost the most population in 2017 were Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

The article reports:

United Van Lines, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns, found that Illinois was the top state for outbound migration with 63 percent of moves going out of state.

“The Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit with New Jersey (63 percent outbound), New York (61 percent) and Connecticut (57 percent) making the list of top outbound states for the third consecutive year,” the report states. “Massachusetts (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list this year.”

The other states that led the nation for the highest outbound migration were Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah, and Wisconsin.

It is interesting that the top four states are controlled by the Democratic party and have high taxes (also cold weather).

The states that grew in population were also listed in the article:

The 10 states with the highest inbound migration were Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama. The data find that more Americans are moving to the Mountain West and the South.

The article concludes:

According to the Tax Foundation, there is a relationship between taxes and migration.

“Individuals move for a variety of factors,” the group states. “Climate, job opportunities, family, among others, impact the decision to relocate. Taxes can influence the decision too.”

“Tax rates and structure affect a state’s economy; states with less burdensome tax structures and lower rates tend to have better economic growth,” the foundation explains. “Increased job opportunities can result from the better economic growth.”

“Someone moving to Chicago for a new job could decide to live in Illinois or commute from Indiana,” the group says. “Indiana’s 3.3 percent individual income tax rate could be an encouragement to locate in that state over Illinois’ 3.75 percent rate. An individual moving to the Washington, D.C., area could decide to live in Virginia instead of the District because income taxes are lower.”

As more people leave the higher-tax states, the tax burden on the people remaining will increase. That is going to create situations like Detroit, where people simply leave their homes because they can’t afford the taxes. In some of these high-tax states, elderly people on fixed incomes are being forced out of their homes because they cannot afford the taxes.

Voting with your feet is a great idea as long as the people moving to lower-tax states don’t bring their high-tax ideas with them.

The Definition Of Serendipity

Serendipity means a “fortunate or happy unplanned coincidence”. We may be seeing an example of that concept in one of the unintended consequences of the recently passed tax bill.

Yesterday the Associated Press reported the following:

In New Jersey and California, top Democratic officials want to let people make charitable contributions to the state instead of paying certain taxes. In Connecticut and New York, officials are exploring a switch from income taxes to new ones on payroll. A few governors have even called for tax cuts.

The ideas are bubbling up as state lawmakers begin their 2018 sessions and assess the effects of the Republican tax overhaul that President Donald Trump signed into law last month. Lawmakers and governors in some states are grappling with how to protect their constituents.

Loosely translated this is what is happening as a result of the fact that states with low state taxes will no longer be subsidizing states with high state taxes. Under the current plan, if your real estate taxes were $20,000 a year, which is not unusual in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey or California, you knew you could deduct them on your federal income tax, so it really wasn’t that important to you. Now those deductions will be limited to $10,000 and you will still have to pay the balance to your state.

No one likes it when their gravy train is cut off.

The article further reports:

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his state-of-the-state speech to pledge to sue over the GOP tax plan, which he called “an assault” by the federal government. A lawsuit would add taxes to the growing list of Trump administration policies that Democratic states have challenged in court.

Other states have not committed to sue, but some leaders have indicated they’ll explore the idea.

“I’m certainly not a constitutional lawyer, but the notion that this is not constitutional is something we want to pursue,” said Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor-elect.

Officials in California and Connecticut also said this week they were considering legal options.

In high-tax states, officials have been focused on protecting taxpayers from the impact of a new $10,000 cap on deductions for paying state and local taxes. In California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, more than one-third of tax filers claim the state and local tax deduction on federal taxes; the average deduction in each state is over $15,000.

The Constitution gives Congress the right to levy taxes. Good luck with your lawsuit.

It is remotely possible that fiscal responsibility may be forced on some of our high-taxed states. When you consider that the Founding Fathers saw each state as a laboratory to experiment with unique ideas, it becomes obvious that some states did better than others in controlling expenses. Those states which controlled expenses have been subsidizing those that spent wildly for years. It is nice that things are changing. Now the governments of those states who have overspent need to change.

Where Are People Going?

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article citing the statistics of where Americans are relocating. The article leaves me wondering if liberalism is so wonderful, why are Americans leaving the most liberal states:

The article reports:

Three Democratic-leaning states hemorrhaged hundreds of thousands of people in 2016 and 2017 as crime, high taxes and, in some cases, crummy weather had residents seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

The exodus of residents was most pronounced in New York, which saw about 190,000 people leave the state between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released last week.

…Despite the massive domestic out-migration flow, New York’s net population grew slightly, largely due to high levels of international immigration and a so-called “natural increase” — the difference between births and deaths in a given year. New York’s net migration was about minus 60,000 residents, but the state had 73,000 more births than deaths, resulting in a net population growth of about 13,000.

 Illinois was not so fortunate. Long-beset by twin budget and pension crises and the erosion of its tax base, Illinois lost so many residents that it dropped from the fifth to the sixth-most populous state in 2017, losing its previous spot to Pennsylvania.

Just under 115,000 Illinois residents decamped for other states between July 2016 and July 2017. Since 2010, the Land of Lincoln has lost about 650,000 residents to other states on net, equal to the combined population of the state’s four largest cities other than Chicago, according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

California was the third deep blue state to experience significant domestic out-migration between July 2016 and July 2017, and it couldn’t blame the outflow on retirees searching for a more agreeable climate. About 138,000 residents left the state during that time period, second only to New York.

However, because California was the top receiving state for international migrants, its net migration was actually 27,000. Add to that number a “natural increase” of 214,000 people, and California’s population grew by about just over 240,000, according to the Census Bureau.

The increased migration from other countries into California is a partial explanation of the fact that in recent decades California has gone from a reliably red state to a totally blue state.

All three of these states have high state taxes. Those taxes will no longer be fully deductible under the new tax laws. It will be interesting to see how the new tax laws impact future migration from these states.

I Love This Story

This story is from September, but I love it so much I am posting it anyway.

The New York Post posted an article on September 7 about a Viking skeleton that has been discovered.

The article reports:

The remains of a powerful Viking — long thought to be a man — was in fact a real-life Xena Warrior Princess, a study released Friday reveals.

The lady war boss was buried in the mid-10th century along with deadly weapons and two horses, leading archaeologists and historians to assume she was a man, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Wrong.

“It’s actually a woman, somewhere over the age of 30 and fairly tall, too, measuring around [5 feet 6 inches] tall,” archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson of Uppsala University, who conducted the study, told The Local.

And she was likely in charge.

The article concludes:

The Viking grave was first found and excavated by Swedish archaeologist Hjalmar Stolpe in the late 1800s.

But a few years ago, osteologist Anna Kjellström of Stockholm University noticed its skeleton had fine cheekbones and feminine hip bones, researches said.

They conducted DNA analysis and confirmed it was a female.

“This image of the male warrior in a patriarchal society was reinforced by research traditions and contemporary preconceptions. Hence, the biological sex of the individual was taken for granted,” Hedenstierna-Jonson and other researchers wrote in the report.

The research was led by the Stockholm and Uppsala universities.

I love this.

Eliminating A Tax Break That Only Benefits The Rich

The class warfare that surrounds tax reform is bothersome. It’s not constructive and most of the information is false. The reason some tax cuts appear to benefit the rich is that the rich pay 80 percent of the taxes. They are the ones who need tax breaks. However, there is one tax break that generally impacts the rich that may disappear if the tax code is truly reformed.

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes. The article explains how this deduction impacts the residents of California:

Yes, California has high state income taxes. For instance, the rate for millionaires is 13.3 percent. It’s not insanely lower for the middle class, either: A married couple making $103,000 or more would pay a 9.3 percent rate, and while $103,000 might go far in plenty of areas in the United States, California’s outrageously high housing prices ensure that such a couple wouldn’t have an easy time paying all the bills.

But those Hollywood liberals raking in the big bucks and paying the 13.3 percent rate? Well, they’re not actually paying the 13.3 percent rate, thanks to our current U.S. tax code, which allows deduction for state and local taxes.

Let me explain. Currently, if anyone files taxes with itemized deductions, he can deduct his state and local taxes. In other words, if Joe Random makes $250,000 a year, and pays $26,000 in state and local taxes, and then donates an additional $14,000 to charity annually, he could deduct $40,000 from his salary—and pay federal taxes on only $210,000.

This deduction has big benefits for wealthy Californians. According to The Heritage Foundation’s research, that deduction means the effective tax rate for rich lefties in the Golden State is 8 percent, not 13.3 percent.

Essentially the rest of the country is subsidizing California’s high tax burden.

The article further reports:

Furthermore, for individuals pulling in over $200,000 a year, the average benefit of the state and local tax deduction is $6,296, according to Heritage research. For those making in the range of $40,000 to $50,000, that benefit shrinks to $134.

And it’s not just California whose blue-state government is currently raking in the perks thanks to the tax code.

“Just seven states receive 53 percent of the value of the state and local tax deduction: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut,” write Rachel Greszler, Kevin D. Dayaratna, and Michael Sargent in their upcoming report for The Heritage Foundation.

Why should Americans from red states and lower-tax blue states be subsidizing other states? If states like California want to embrace big government, that’s fine—but they should also have to finance it themselves, not ask for a handout from the rest of the country.

Ending the deduction for state taxes would help make the income tax more equitable for everyone. There will be loud cries from the states it will impact, but it still needs to be done. Hopefully the Republicans will have the courage to do it.

People Vote With Their Feet

The Albany Times Union posted a story today about states that are losing population and states that are gaining population.

The article reports:

United Van Lines reported Tuesday that nearly two-thirds of the moves involving New York households were outbound, a higher proportion than any other state except New Jersey and Illinois.

The 2016 National Movers Study by Fenton, Mo.- based United also found that almost 59 percent of the moves within the eastern United States were outbound.

Where were people moving? Mostly to western states and the Carolinas, with one exception. That exception was Vermont, which ranked second on the list of states with the highest proportion  — 67 percent — of inbound moves.

 South Dakota had the highest share of inbound moves, at 68 percent. 

New Jersey and Illinois, like New York, saw outbound moves making up 63 percent of all moves. 

The article also posted another interesting statistic:

In New York, inbound millennials were 27 percent of inbound moves and 19 percent of those moving out. But of those over 65, 26 percent were outbound and 20 percent were inbound.

So what is going on here? Millennials in many cases have limited life experience–they don’t realize how high taxes and high real estate prices will impact their standard of living. Also, many of them are in fields where they could potentially earn a large income, and they are not thinking about how much it costs to live in places like New York. The Carolinas have worked hard in recent years to lower taxes and attract businesses in order to keep the cost of living lower. South Dakota has a booming economy because of the oil industry there. As taxes increase in many northeastern states (as they tend to do under Democratic control), it will be interesting to track the migration of Americans. In recent years we have seen many companies move from California to Texas because of tax issues. It will be interesting to see if that trend continues.

The Experiment Of The States

America is made up of 50 different states. Each state is unique–politically, economically,  geographically, ethnically, etc. So if people could live anywhere they wanted to, where would they live? Actually, the age of the internet has made that somewhat possible–telecommuting has grown in recent years. So let’s look at where people live.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about a study of trends in population growth in states within America. The data for the study came from the IRS. The results were not really surprising.

The article reports the findings of the study:

To measure the states that are most attractive to Americans on the move, we developed an “attraction” ratio that measures the number of domestic in-migrants per 100 out-migrants. A state that has a rating of 100 would be perfectly balanced between those leaving and coming.

Overall, the biggest winner — both in absolute numbers and in our ranking — is Texas. In 2014 the Lone Star State posted a remarkable 156 attraction ratio, gaining 229,000 more migrants than it lost, roughly twice as many as went to No. 3 Florida, which clocked an impressive 126.7 attraction ratio.

Most of the top gainers of domestic migrants are low-tax, low-regulation states, including No. 2 South Carolina, with an attraction ratio of 127.3, as well as No. 5 North Dakota, and No. 7 Nevada.

…Overall, many of the most affluent states are the ones hemorrhaging high-income earners the most rapidly. As in overall migration, New York sets the standard, with the highest outmigration of high income earners (defined as annual income over $200,000) relative to in-migrants (attraction ratio: 53). New York is followed closely by Illinois, the District of Columbia and New Jersey, which are all losing the over-$200,000-a-year crowd at a faster pace than California.

The big winners in terms of affluent migration tend to be historically poorer states, mainly in the Sun Belt and the Intermountain West. Florida has an attraction ratio for people earning over $200,000 a year of 223, the highest in the nation, followed by South Carolina, Montana, Idaho and North Carolina.

Given the opportunity, Americans move to states with lower taxes and less regulation over their businesses and daily lives. Now if we could only teach them to vote that way in national elections…

 

Is This Even Legal?

Lady Liberty 1885 posted an article today about some campaign donations accepted by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The article reports:

A review of Roy Cooper’s second quarter campaign finance filings with the NC Board of Elections reveals that a donation has come from one of the parties involved in suing North Carolina over House Bill 2 (HB2).

On May 2nd, 2016 Rachel Tiven was made the CEO of Lambda Legal, which is involved on multiple legal fronts involving HB2. In fact, Lambda Legal is involved in the HB2 related lawsuit, Carcaño v. McCrory.  Read  full complaint.

On May 4th, 2016, Tiven, who lists her address in NYC, donated the maximum amount of $5,100 to Roy Cooper’s campaign.

According to the 2nd quarter filings for the Cooper campaign, Tiven listed her occupation as “Attorney” with “Immigrant Justice Corps.” and not that of CEO of  Lambda Legal. According to Immigrant Justice Corps’ 2014 press release, Tiven was named as their new Executive Director.

In March of 2016, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced that he would not support HB2. I am sure that the fact that he will not defend HB2 has nothing to do with the fact that he has taken large campaign contributions form those organizations attacking HB2. Yeah, right.

The article further reports:

Cooper’s second quarter totals showed that $821,931 came from outside the state of North Carolina.

The top out of state donations were made by 277 donors in New York which totaled $276,930. California came in second with 231 donations to the tune of $92,073. Washington D.C. rounded out the top three, with 136 donations totaling $58,681.

These three states represent more than half of all of the out of state donations made in the second quarter.

Other NY Donations of note include:

04-07-16 George Soros $5,100
04-07-16 Alexander Soros $5,100
04-26-16 William E. Little Jr., $1,000
05-18-15 Lorne Michaels $1,000
05-18-16 George Little, $1,000
06-24-16 William E. Little Jr., $2,000

I am not in favor of limiting campaign donations in any way. However, I am very much in favor of letting the voters know where their candidates money is coming from. Roy Cooper’s list of out of state donors tells us all we need to know about who the man is working for.

American Educators Have Totally Lost Their Minds

On Tuesday, The Washington Post posted an article about a school in New York that cancelled its annual year-end kindergarten show.

This is a screenshot of the letter sent to parents followed by the text of the letter:

KindergartenShowApril 25, 2014

Dear Kindergarten Parents and Guardians,

We hope this letter serves to help you better understand how the demands of the 21st century are changing schools, and, more specifically, to clarify, misperceptions about the Kindergarten show. It is most important to keep in mind is [sic] that this issue is not unique to Elwood. Although the movement toward more rigorous learning standards has been in the national news for more than a decade, the changing face of education is beginning to feel unsettling for some people. What and how we teach is changing to meet the demands of a changing world.

The reason for eliminating the Kindergarten show is simple. We are responsible for preparing children for college and career with valuable lifelong skills and know that we can best do that by having them become strong readers, writers, coworkers and problem solvers. Please do not fault us for making professional decisions that we know will never be able to please everyone. But know that we are making these decisions with the interests of all children in mind.

Sincerely,

Ellen Best-Laimit

Angela Casano

Keri Colmone

Stefanie Gallagher

Martha DeMartini

The elementary school my children attended did a lot of plays. The plays were a chance for children to work on their memorization skills, their singing skills (if they had them) and to learn about different things. There were plays about outer space, Mary Poppins, and Alice in Wonderland. Those plays were part of their learning experience. It is a shame these teachers have decided that participating in the arts is not valuable for children–it is.

The First Amendment Is In Danger

The First Amendment protects the right of free speech. It reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Evidently some of our state attorneys general are not aware of this law.

On Friday, The Blaze reported:

It only took a week before the warnings from free speech advocates to come to fruition about the 17 state attorneys general launching investigations into climate change skeptics, as the probe has expanded beyond an energy company to a think tank.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank in Washington, moved to quash a subpoena from the U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker.

The Virgin Islands subpoenaed 10 years worth of communications, emails, statements, drafts, and other documents regarding CEI’s research on climate change and energy policy. This included private donor information. The demand is for information from 1997 to 2007.

“CEI will vigorously fight to quash this subpoena,” CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman said in a statement. “It is an affront to our First Amendment rights of free speech and association for Attorney General Walker to bring such intimidating demands against a nonprofit group.”

The subpoena itself is part of several states’ investigations into whether Exxon-Mobil violated any laws in showing skepticism about climate change. Several other states, led by New York state Attorney General Erich Schneiderman, are using the racketeering statutes – commonly used to go after organized crime – to investigate companies government officials say might have misled the public about global warming.

States are investigating whether Exxon-Mobil violated laws by showing skepticism about climate change. What? Showing skepticism about something is now a crime?

On Monday, The Daily Signal reported:

Speaking at a press conference on March 29, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “The bottom line is simple: Climate change is real.” He went on to say that if companies are committing fraud by “lying” about the dangers of climate change, they will “pursue them to the fullest extent of the law.”

The coalition of 17 inquisitors are calling themselves “AGs United for Clean Power.” The coalition consists of 15 state attorneys general (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington State), as well as the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Sixteen of the seventeen members are Democrats, while the attorney general for the Virgin Islands, Claude Walker, is an independent.

The inquisitors are threatening legal action and huge fines against anyone who declines to believe in an unproven scientific theory.

In the Middle Ages, I believe that those who stated that the earth was round were treated the way that climate change skeptics are being treated by these attorneys general.

The Daily Signal further reports:

The officials on hand during the announcement talked only about targeting large companies. But Anthony Sadar, a certified consulting meteorologist and author of “In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail,” fears it could expand to individuals.

“RICO, to my knowledge, is meant to target organized crime, drug traffickers and illegal gambling, not energy companies,” Sadar told TheBlaze. “If it can be used to make big industries cave, then they could go after others that view long-range global climate projections with some skepticism.”

Attorney and author Chris Horner, a senior fellow at CEI, agrees.

“It is clear that, with most opposition already chilled and most support for opponents already scared off, the itch this effort is trying to scratch is the desire to coerce a massive fund to underwrite the global warming industry,” Horner told TheBlaze.

“That explains the call for civil RICO. Still, if they manage to get an investigation rolling into political speech as racketeering, nothing inherently limits it from turning into a criminal pursuit; any state or federal department of justice official who joined in in such a scheme would have already abandoned any normal restraining impulses,” Horner said. “Similarly, there is nothing inherently limiting these investigations to corporations or groups.”

It is my fondest hope that the companies investigated will sue the state attorneys general involved in this into the next galaxy. This is a total affront to free speech. It also sounds very much like a totalitarian government bringing in the thought police. This is a total misuse of the RICO statutes. There needs to be a huge pushback against the states that are involved in this.

When watching this situation, we need to remember that climate change could very quickly become a billion dollar industry. To some extent it already has. Government subsidies finance alternative energy companies, and the United Nations wants to redistribute the wealth of prosperous countries in the name of past sins that may have impacted the climate. Oddly enough, the wealth would move from free countries to countries where the  money would go to tyrants leading the country and not to the poorer people who might actually need it.

For anyone new to reading this blog, one of the most informative sites on the internet for valid information on climate change is wattsupwiththat. I strongly recommend checking that site periodically to see the next stunt attempted by those who will profit greatly if they can convince the rest of us that we cause climate change.

The Laffer Curve Also Applies To Cigarette Taxes

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about the increased cigarette taxes in New York State.

The article reports:

The state of New York thought it would reap a bonanza after increasing taxes on cigarettes. But there was no bonanza. In fact, the tax take actually fell. New Yorkers, may we introduce Art Laffer?

Art Laffer is the creator of the Laffer Curve, seen below:

LafferCurveThe Laffer Curve illustrates the relationship between tax rates and revenue, showing that increasing tax rates will only increase revenue up to a point.

The article further reports:

The New York Post cites a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report that says the state’s losses are much bigger — some $1.3 billion in taxes aren’t collected each year, due to behavioral changes.

Of course, some of that loss might be considered favorable in that it represents people who simply quit rather than pay the higher levy. Indeed, estimates say that 19% of those who smoked have quit in the last decade.

Taxable sales, however, are down 54% in the same period. If the goal of the higher tax was just to get some smokers to quit, then mission accomplished. But if the goal was twofold — get smokers to quit and raise revenue — then it has failed.

But for many others who still smoke, the behavioral changes haven’t been as favorable. Some just pay up. But others simply buy black-market cigarettes, supplied mostly by organized crime. The Tax Foundation estimates that 58% of cigarettes in New York come from out of state. So roughly 6 in 10 cigarettes now are not taxed by New York.

The article also points out that the year after the tax increase imposed, a household earning less than $30,000 a year spent 23.6% on cigarettes, as opposed to 11.6% in 2004. A family earning over $60,000 a year, spent 2.2% on cigarettes. Seems a little uneven to me.

The article concludes:

So is it any surprise that the tax take is shrinking? No. This was in fact entirely foreseeable. But, of course, foreseeing it would have required New York voters and the politicians they put into office to actually learn something about economics.

Agreed.

This Is Ridiculoous

I realize that there is a small group of people in America who oppose the Second Amendment. Some of them understand it, but don’t understand the reasoning behind it, and some simply have no idea why it is there. Occasionally it is somewhat amusing to watch the gyrations of the people who oppose guns.Today Hot Air posted a really good example of people going over the edge on the subject.

The article reports:

Three dozen online retailers will no longer be able to sell realistic-looking toy guns, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

Schneiderman reached a settlement with 30 online toy gun retailers who sell their products through Amazon.com. The third-party retailers have sold over 5,000 imitation toy guns in New York, and they are illegal because they did not meet state safety standards, he said.

“When toy guns are mistaken for real guns, there can be tragic consequences,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “New York state law prohibits the sale of imitation weapons that closely resemble real guns.”

…We may not be able to put the actual criminals in jail at a reasonable rate, but by golly we’re going to stick it to those toy retailers. The 30 or so retailers are paying fines which total more than $27K. (That’s on top of his move back in August when he nailed Amazon, Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart and ACTA for $300K, so if nothing else the state coffers are getting fatter.) If these scofflaws want to peddle their dangerous wares in the Empire State in the future they will have to be colored “white or bright red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink or purple.”

I realize that occasionally mistakes are made, but I refuse to believe that toy guns are a major part of any gun problem. However, you notice that this new law will provide money for the state. The law serves two purposes–it pleases a certain political group and it provides money for the state. Unfortunately, it does nothing to deal with criminals with guns.

When Is A Hate Crime Not A Hate Crime?

Haaretz is reporting today that the New York City Police Department has identified the arsonist who has set fire to seven Bukharan Jewish homes in Forest Hills, a heavily Jewish neighborhood of Queens.

The article reports:

Police said the fires are not hate crimes, but were motivated by the arsonist’s opposition to new construction of Bukharan Jewish homes in Forest Hills, a heavily Jewish neighborhood of Queens.

…“If seven Jewish homes had been burned in France within a month, there would be much more of an uproar,” said Boris Yuabov, a doctor who has lived in the community for the past six years.

“We are scared,” he added. “These fires are started in the dead of night in a neighborhood with many children and elderly individuals. This is a life-threatening situation.”

This is what anti-Semitism looks like. If these houses had belonged to a different group of people, I wonder if it would have been considered a hate crime.

There Is A Problem In The United Nations

It is becoming very obvious that the world has a terrorism problem. The civil war in Syria and the rise of ISIS in the Middle East have caused a tremendous amount of instability in the region and around the world. The goal of both the Iranians and ISIS is the establishment of a world-wide caliphate to be ruled by Sharia Law. They are in total agreement on that—what they don’t agree on is whether the Shia or the Sunnis should run the caliphate. Iran and ISIS have a lot in common in the way they treat non-Muslims, gays, and anyone who stands in the way of their desire for this caliphate. Enter the United Nations, established after World War II to prevent any more wars.

CNS News posted an article today about the United Nations’ comments on the cause of the violence in the Middle East.

The article stated:

Amid a wave of jihadist terrorism in France, Sinai, Lebanon and Mali, members of the United Nations met on Monday to focus on “Palestine,” with several speakers accusing Israel of fueling the violence across the region.

“The continued Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territory is the main challenge before the international community to achieve peace and stability in the region and the world,” said Arab League secretary-general Nabil al-Arabi, in a speech read out by his representative.

“This occupation represents the main cause for the spread of terrorism and extremist ideology in the region,” he said.

“Failure to find a just solution to the Palestinian cause – as the core issue in the Middle East – has started fueling conflicts in the region, threatening to affect international peace and security,” said Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary-General Iyad Ameen Madani.

This statement is a result of what has happened to the United Nations in recent years. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has become the major voting bloc in the United Nations. One of the goals of the OIC is to rid the Middle East of the State of Israel. In attempting to reach this goal, the OIC has been behind numerous votes in the United Nations citing Israel for civil rights violations, war crimes, and anything else they could invent. The average consumer of news has no idea who the people behind these charges are or what their goals are.

The article further reports:

“We cannot separate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from this global threat,” he said.

Monday’s meeting in New York kicked off an annual intensive U.N. focus on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. This year’s U.N. “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinia People,” Nov. 29, falls on a Sunday so was marked instead on Monday.

Later on Monday, the U.N. General Assembly began considering a raft of reports and draft resolutions related to two ongoing agenda items, “the question of Palestine” and “the situation in the Middle East.”

(At the U.N., the “situation in the Middle East” does not refer to the situation in the Middle East writ large – for example, to developments in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Iran – but deals solely with Israel and its relations with the Palestinians and neighbors like Syria.)

It is long past time for America to get out of the United Nations and remove them from New York City. The United Nations is telling the U.S. government how many and which refugees to accept from the Middle East. The United Nations is also involved in attempted to undermine the Second Amendment rights of Americans. The United Nations is also attempting to impose a legal definition of free speech on its member countries that would put those countries in compliance with Sharia Law. Any altruistic goals that might have been there at the founding of the United Nations have long since been replaced by petty politics. It is time to end what might have been a good idea at the time, but has become a miserable failure.

The Economic Recovery Is Still Struggling

Market Watch is reporting today that New York area manufacturing conditions fell rapidly in August.

The article reports:

The Empire State general business conditions index nose-dived to a reading of negative 14.9, from positive 3.9 in July, marking the worst level since April 2009, the New York Fed said. The index, on a scale where any positive number indicates improving conditions, was far worse than the positive 4.5 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll.

The article includes the following chart:

NewYorkStateManufacturingConditions

The only good news in this is that the decline may cause the Federal Reserve to delay interest increases for a while.