<![CDATA[Center for a Brighter Future - Brighter Future Blog]]>Wed, 10 Feb 2016 00:47:19 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Bill Maloney: Let’s create a tax system that’s a model for America]]>Mon, 20 Apr 2015 19:15:55 GMThttp://www.centerforabrighterfuture.org/brighter-future-blog/bill-maloney-lets-create-a-tax-system-thats-a-model-for-americaFrom February of 2011 to November 2012, my campaign team and I traveled to every corner of West Virginia in our campaigns for governor.

As an outsider who started with nothing, grew a business and raised a family in West Virginia, I and my team had a simple message of basic fundamental principles based on our own experience: If we could fix our legal climate, tax code, education system and break the culture of corruption, our state would be a better place to live and raise a family.

During this past legislative session, lawmakers took great strides in tackling legal reforms. A few initiatives dealing with education and corruption also passed.

This past Monday it was truly refreshing to be in the front row and witness the tax reform effort launched that day. All spoke eloquently of the need to modernize and create a fair and broad-based code, where we quit picking winners and losers and create a growing, robust economy. Now the devil will be in the details.

If you live in West Virginia we tax your dog (not your cat), your lawnmower, your car and even your above-ground pool.

If you’re in business we tax your equipment, your inventory, and then, whatever profits are left.

The list goes on and on. Frankly, not much in our current tax code makes much sense.

We hear a lot about taking 10, 20 even 40-year-old ideas and just dusting them off because they still apply today. That’s nice to hear but it doesn’t meet current reality.

Other states are passing us by with robust economies created in no small part by addressing their own tax code issues.

Many of our misguided friends in West Virginia (who in the immortal words of Ronald Reagan “never knew a government program they didn’t like”) brag about how “fiscally responsible” we are. West Virginia continues to lose more population than any other state and has had the lowest workforce participation rate in the country since the Nixon administration.

Our state is a broken ship that is sinking, yet these folks don’t even realize we’re going down. It’s beyond time to take the bold steps needed with our tax code and keep our best and brightest here.

I was fortunate enough to meet and develop relationships with many of the governors that have instituted broad-based tax reform. Some like Pat McCrory in North Carolina have done well. Others, like my friend Sam Brownback in Kansas, have made some mistakes. West Virginia has a huge opportunity right now to fix a tax code gone awry. We must learn from other states successes and also their shortcomings.

In North Carolina, a joint study was conducted in 2013 by the Tax Foundation and the Carolina Business Coalition.

The first step in their action plan was to eliminate all tax credits.

Next the personal income tax was lowered from a top rate of 7.75 percent to 5.75 percent, with further reductions going forward, the goal being no personal income tax.

The latest CNBC rankings for America’s top states for business have North Carolina at No. 5 while West Virginia continues to languish at No. 48.

Kansas had the same goal of a zero personal income tax rate. The Kansas plan included a similar elimination of tax credits, followed by a reduction in income tax rates. Also included was immediate elimination of all income tax on partnerships and LLC’s.

This led to a huge inflow of business from its neighbors but also caused severe budget shortfalls when companies switched filing status to take advantage of a zero tax rate.

Lesson learned – You need a thorough and thoughtful study of all unintended consequences.

A recent poll conducted by our Center for a Brighter Future Inc. (www.cfabf.org) showed 98 percent of West Virginians favor small businesses and want to see them grow and prosper.

What better way is there to grow the economy than to help small business by making our tax code fair and simple?

Let’s do the right thing and create a system of taxation that is a true model for America!

Bill Maloney, a former Republican gubernatorial candidate, is founder of the Center for a Brighter Future think tank.
<![CDATA[Bill Maloney: What a difference a year makes]]>Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:36:04 GMThttp://www.centerforabrighterfuture.org/brighter-future-blog/bill-maloney-what-a-difference-a-year-makesLast year at this time the Legislature was awash in only one subject; how to fix the water crisis that had affected the health and well being of those clustered around the golden dome. 

The big fix that followed in Senate Bill 373 made everybody involved feel good but did it solve anything? 

Those in industries affected by this monumental accomplishment of the 2014 legislative session have only seen regulatory burdens increase along with insurance rates.

This year the Legislature is run by a different crowd that beats to a different drum. Instead of protecting the status quo and their “well connected” friends, they are taking on the tough issues that have held West Virginia back for generations. It was truly refreshing to walk under the dome last week and know that, soon, maybe we wouldn’t need to spend so much time there. 

The fix is on starting with repeal of alternative fuel mandates, numerous legal reforms and legislation lowering the cost of infrastructure development by reigning in the “unprevailing wage” for public construction. 

Next up are debates on workplace freedom and education. 

Doing the right thing on these issues will go a long way toward our common goal of growing the economy and giving hope to future generations. As one newspaper editor put it: “Page 1 Wednesday had four articles from the Legislature that would have been monumental news on their own in years past”

As we reflect on the early success of this year’s session, we are reminded that there is much more to do. 

A poll released by our Center for a Brighter Future Inc. (www.cfabf.org) indicated voters continue to prioritize jobs and the economy as their most important electoral issue. In fact, nearly everyone surveyed (98 percent) say that issue was important in determining for whom they would vote last November. 

Small businesses provide the majority of jobs in the Mountain State and, unsurprisingly, 92 percent of respondents to the survey have a favorable opinion of West Virginia small businesses (significantly higher than the other groups and organizations evaluated). 

On issues that related directly to the economy, three in five (66 percent) believe often government regulation is prohibitive to economic development and job growth opposed to the 30 percent of respondents who are more likely to agree government regulation is necessary and often serves the public good. 

Most respondents oppose measures that afford special tax credits and incentives to a select few industries or organizations. 

Also, noteworthy, a strong majority (76 percent) supports measures which would require greater financial disclosure from lobbyists. 

The findings around these questions would seem to codify the electoral message sent in the last election that voters not only support but prioritize major economic reforms. It is reasonable to assume that these voters, who place such a premium on the economy and job creation, are receptive (and would likely support) to measures aimed at improving their economic condition. 

Reading further between the lines, wouldn’t it be nice if the 95 percent of West Virginia employers who are small business could worry more about growing, and less about burdensome regulation, targeted tax breaks and lobbyists? 

Just think: If every one of the 118,040 small businesses identified in West Virginia by the Small Business Administration in 2014 added just one employee, our economy would truly grow and diversify without government having to partner with anyone or thing.

Bill Maloney is a former West Virginia gubernatorial candidate and Morgantown businessman who now serves as president of Center for a Brighter Future.
<![CDATA[Time for campaign finance reform]]>Thu, 29 Jan 2015 21:33:47 GMThttp://www.centerforabrighterfuture.org/brighter-future-blog/test-testIn light of the latest intrusion of “stealth” money from both sides it’s beyond time (as we pointed out over two years ago in the Charleston Gazette) for serious campaign finance reform in West Virginia:
  • The Center for Public Integrity: "Who tried to buy the 2014 state elections?" - Read more
  • Charleston Gazette: "Secretive conservative group holds $25K fundraiser at Edgewood" - Read more
Read Bill Maloney's Op-Ed about elections and ethics reform posted below:

Op-Ed Commentaries
January 7, 2013
Bill Maloney: Time for election and ethics reforms

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Much has been written of late about campaign finance. Just as we all got tired of negative ads, the latest blasphemy is even worse.

No one runs for office wanting to self-fund any portion of their campaign. However, when you enter the arena you quickly realize that many of the tactics used by the entrenched political elite in our state make it exceedingly difficult for a challenger to compete. From pulled permits, to tax audits, to investigations, to state contracts being pulled - we have heard it all. In a free society, we should not allow threats, incumbent-self-protection techniques, and machine politics to discourage fresh faces with bold new ideas from entering the political process. When a candidate self-finances, it is merely an attempt to counteract the natural, and frequently inappropriate advantages of incumbency. Ultimately, our elected officials work for the people of the state and should not be beholden to wealthy special interests and the politically well connected. Our founding fathers envisioned good people of high moral character serving in public office. They must be rolling over in their graves to see how difficult it is for non-incumbents to compete in today's political environment!

Another factor which needs to be addressed is the proliferation of outside groups and obscure organizations. Lately they have gained dramatic influence. It should be easier for candidates to promote their own message and not rely on third parties of narrow special interest. One way this could be accomplished is by raising individual contribution limits. Wouldn't West Virginians prefer a system where voters hear more from candidates instead of third parties who aren't subject to campaign finance limits? 

Too many of our native sons and daughters have to leave the state to find work. Too many children die from abuse and neglect in West Virginia. Over the last year, we lost more jobs than any other state. Workers in West Virginia earn smaller paychecks than anywhere else in the nation. West Virginia was again ranked last for legal fairness and continues to be near the top of the Judicial Hellhole list. Our state deserves better!

While the result of our race was disappointing, we are incredibly proud of what we accomplished in West Virginia against a liberal nationwide tidal wave. We have a new Attorney General, Patrick Morrisey, and a State Supreme Court Justice in Allen Loughry who will both uphold the values of Adams, Jefferson and Washington. The Legislature is filled with many likeminded Mountaineers who ran for no other reason than to help others. For the first time in nearly a century, the House of Delegates is truly a two-party chamber.

Running for governor has been the honor of my life. I have had the opportunity to meet and connect with incredible people, who share the same desire to bring a brighter future to West Virginia for generations to come. Sharon and I made a choice to contribute and improve our state. This choice came with great sacrifice over the course of the last two years, both in time and resources. We cannot imagine any other endeavor that had such a profound effect on so many.
West Virginia is an incredible place to call home and I am proud to be a Mountaineer. It is worth fighting for and I ask you to continue with me in that fight. Let's take a serious look at election and ethics reforms, before it's too late. We desperately need to attract more good people to seek public office.

Maloney is the principal of Cow Run Energy LLC and Drill Leader LLC. He is a founder of many successful West Virginia companies including North American Drillers, Inc. He used his expertise to rescue 33 Chilean miners in 2010 and was the Republican candidate for governor of West Virginia in both 2011 and 2012.