This website is devoutly dedicated to all of Larry's friends and associates, both early and late, who have influenced and mentored him. However, it also should be noted that, being who they are, a majority of them have been late most of the time.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tax Credits for Emergency Power

 The West Virginia Legislative Interim Committee on Government Organization is reviewing the possibility of proposing tax credits for emergency power generation. Click on the link below for a news article about the first committee hearing on this issue: 
Subcommittee looks at availability of emergency power

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bar Stool Economics

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. "Since you are all such good customers," he said, "I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20." Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers?

How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But, if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay. And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before, and the first four continued to drink for free.

But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. "I only got a dollar out of the $20,"declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, "but he got $10!"

"Yeah, that's right," exclaimed the fifth man. "I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I did!"

"That's true!!" shouted the seventh man: Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!"

"Wait a minute," yelled the first four men in unison: "We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!"

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important: They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, or attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Footnote: Contributions for the re-election of West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump should be sent to "Friends of Larry D. Kump", P.O. Box 1131, Falling Waters, West Virginia 25419-1131. All contributions will be used prudently to pursue Delegate Kump's continued advocacy of the principles of economic freedom,  Constitutional liberties, and personal accountability. As long as he continues to breathe in and breathe out, he will stand where he is planted and strive to serve those principles.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Further Feedback on Highway Taxes

Dear Carol,


 Although the Commission repeatedly claimed last night that they were not campaigning for more taxes and were open to all ideas, that assertion was questioned by citizens at the meeting.

 The Commission also used a fun and fascinating, yet flawed and faux "focus group" polling of meeting participants, using high tech individual "clickers" and instant power point displays of the results to each question.

 I pointed out, in my testimony, and based of previous years of administrative experience with statistical analysis and polling protocols, that last night's polling was not a scientific sampling of all voters, and that some of the language and scope of the poll questions was troublesome.

 Even so, the meeting participants still did not "buy in" to the idea of more taxes, and expressed a strong desire for much better management of our tax dollars.


Dear Larry,

 You make too much sense.

 (Delegate Carol Miller - Huntington)

Footnote: Please see the news stories and entries posted at this website; "Avoid Rush of Highway Tax Hikes",  "Voters Resist Road Taxes" and "WV Leaders Ponder Tax  Hikes"

Voters Resist Road Taxes

Avoid "Rush" for Highway Tax Hikes

Thursday, July 11, 2013

WV Leaders Ponder Tax Hikes

West Virginia Delegate Larry D. Kump's testimony at the "Blue Ribbon Commission" public hearing regarding taxation for highways and bridges, held on Thursday, July 11th, 2013, at the Comfort Suites in Kearneysville (unexpectedly moved from theHoliday Inn in Martinsburg):

Here we go again!

After years of legislative trench warfare, and nipping right on the heels of at long last abolishing West Virginia's  cruel and regressive grocery tax, it truly is troubling that one of the first agenda issues of our government leadership is to parade a smorgasbord menu of ways for more taxing and spending, followed by an anticipated special session of the Legislature, to consider putting tax increases into law.

It is true that different states use somewhat different mechanisms to fund roads and bridges. It also is true that West Virginia is among a minority of states that manages both state and county roads and bridges. However, even with Maryland's increase of their gasoline taxes, just days ago, West Virginia still has the region's highest gasoline taxes, bar none.

Another fact is that there is a growing consensus realization that West Virginia is challenged with a need for better maintenance of roads and bridges, as well as for improvements to our transportation network.

In addition to the need for road improvements in just about every local area throughout West Virginia, two  specific examples that immediately come to mind for me is the long delayed completion of "Corridor H", as well as improvements to Route 9 West of Martinsburg. In point of fact, I recently observed one bumper sticker, that proclaimed "I pray every day. I drive Route 9!".

West Virginia's road wish list is a long one.

However, let's not rush to surrender to an anxious clamor for increased taxes and spending, while merely giving lip service to vigorously investigating ways to reform our current practices and procedures.  

All of this reminds me of me and my sister when we were children. Before every Christmas, we eagerly would go through the "Wish Book" (Sears & Roebuck catalog), circling all the toys we wanted for Christmas. Even so, we children were well aware that Mom and Dad couldn't afford to grant all of our childish wishes out of their almost empty pockets.

That also reminds me of a modern fable, illustrative of the perils of large bureaucracies, that was recently told to me by my friend and colleague, Delegate Marty Gearheart of Bluefield, WV.

As the story goes, there were two highway employees working on a median strip. One was digging holes. The other was following him and filling those holes back up. When asked what they were doing, both replied that they were dutifully doing their jobs, but admitted that there used to be three of them. One dug the hole, one planted the tree, and the other filled in the hole around the tree, but the tree planter was assigned to another job and nobody told the other two to do anything differently.

How does all of this apply to all of us  taxpayers here and now?

If we are to maximize the efficient use of our highway tax dollars, now is the time to first consider and do things better, much better.

One good place to start is to ask rank and file highway employees, the ones who know most about field operations, for their analysis and suggestions, and to receive these ideas without filtering this honest feedback through various levels of management. Taxpayers also should be encouraged to chime in with their suggestions. Hopefully, this hearing today will only be the first step in an expanded and much intensified process to do just that.

Another recommendation is to begin a comprehensive and truly independent review of current West Virginia (and even federal) laws, procedures, and staffing by a team of accomplished management analysts. Their assignment should be to come up with a matrix of what is absolutely necessary for reasonably safe highway transportation, as opposed to what would be nice but just too much Champagne for our beer budget.

To do these things only would be prudent and practical, but, in closing, let me mention just three more of a multitude of suggestions that merit serious review.

Our current practice of government mandated and inflated salaries for private contractors' employees costs Mountaineers mountains of wasted tax money, not only for roads and bridges, but also for other public projects, such as libraries and such.

Also, the State of West Virginia is forfeiting a big bundle of revenue from far too many West Virginia residents, who drive vehicles with out of state tags and use out of state drivers' licenses. Not only does the West Virginia Department of Transportation lose lots of revenue from these unpaid tags and licenses under already established law, but our other government agencies also lose loads of personal property tax revenue. Accordingly, it would be helpful if the West Virginia Department of Transportation helped coordinate information about these scofflaws with our local county sheriffs and assessors, for follow-up action by them. For those who doubt that this is a problem in our area, I invite you to just stop by one of our local elementary schools  during school days and count the out of state license tags of parents dropping off and picking up their kids from school.

Finally, with the boom of Marcellus shale and oil revenue in West Virginia, let's consider dedicating a fixed percentage of that new state income to our roads and bridges, and, although ithis does not relate to our roads and bridges, let's also investigate the Alaska example of returning a fixed percentage of this income directly to taxpayers.

You know, I've never much liked  that West Virgina slogan of "Open for Business". To me, it sent the message, "Open for Usual".

West Virginia's many years of doing business as usual in regard to our system of taxes and regulation is what puts us in competition with Mississippi for the dubious distiction of  the State with the poorest people in the nation.

We deserve better, much better.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chuck Chimes In

Dear Larry,

Thanks for devoting so much of your time and energy to preserving what so many gave their lives for.

I'll be pleased to vote for you again!

Chuck Aston