Competitive Enterprise Institute May 4, 2016
The annual report Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State released today by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) describes a $1.885 trillion hidden tax on American consumers and the U.S. economy in 2015 due to federal regulations and intervention. Authored by CEI Vice President for Policy Clyde Wayne
Crews Jr., the report has become a go-to resource on federal regulations’ impact on the American public. Crews offers recommendations for how members of Congress can increase transparency and accountability when it comes to new and existing federal regulations.
“The federal government has become very savvy in hiding costs by expanding their reach beyond taxes into regulations,” said Crews. “Unfortunately, regulatory costs get little attention in policy debates, because unlike taxes, they are difficult to quantify because they are unbudgeted and often indirect. But the impacts of burdensome regulations are very real and increase costs for consumers and businesses, limiting productivity and a thriving free market.
”Highlights in the 2016 edition of Ten Thousand Commandments include:
- Federal regulation is a hidden tax that amounts to nearly $15,000 per U.S. household each year.
- In 2015, 114 laws were enacted by Congress during the calendar year, while 3,410 rules were issued by agencies. Thus, 30 rules were issued for every law enacted last year. The average “Unconstitutionality Index,” the ratio of regulations issued by agencies to laws passed by Congress and signed by the president, for the decade has been 26. This disparity highlights the delegation of lawmaking power to unelected agency officials.
- Many Americans complain about taxes, but regulatory compliance costs exceed the $1.82 trillion that the IRS is expected to collect in both individual and corporate income taxes from 2015.
- Some 60 federal departments, agencies, and commissions have 3,297 regulations in development at various stages in the pipeline. The top five federal rule making agencies account for 41 percent of all federal regulations. These are the Departments of the Treasury, Commerce, Interior, Health and Human Services, and Transportation.
- The 2015 Federal Register contains 80,260 pages, the third highest page count in its history. Of the seven all-time highest Federal Register total page counts, six occurred under President Obama.
- The George W. Bush administration averaged 62 major regulations annually over eight years, while the Obama administration has averaged 81 major regulations annually over seven years.
Thousand Oaks City Council votes to increase pay, perks of city execs – Decision comes just before summer recess
By Kyle Jorrey July 20, 2017 firstname.lastname@example.org
Department heads and other executives for the City of Thousand Oaks are receiving an increase in their pay and benefits.
The group of 10 positions, plus the city manager and city attorney, is the only one at City Hall not represented by a union.
Because they are not covered by a collective bargaining agreement or contract, their compensation is established via City Council resolution.
On July 11, the council voted 5-0 in favor of giving the group an across-the-board pay raise of 2.57 percent in fiscal year 2017-18 and 2.64 percent in FY 2018-19.
The raises will cost taxpayers $53,892 this year and $56,833 next year. The group last received raises in July 2015.
Employees covered under the amendment: assistant city manager, city clerk, deputy city manager/department head, community development director, cultural affairs director, deputy city manager, finance director, human resources director, library services director and public works director.
In addition, the city plans to dole out merit-based raises to individual executives, up to 3.5 percent for exceptional performance, according to a staff report.
Employees, rated by the city manager, who receive a rating of at least “good work” will receive a 1.5 percent raise effective July 1, 2017, and another effective June 30, 2018.
Under the new agreement, executive managers will no longer receive Christmas Eve as a paid holiday. Prior to the resolution, managers got paid for four holiday hours on Dec. 24 (1 to 5 p.m.). As a replacement, they will be allowed to take a floating holiday of at least 10 hours.
The new floating holiday can be taken anytime during the calendar year, Human Resources Director Gary Rogers said.
Also increasing under the new amendment: the taxpayer paid contribution to the employees’ health-insurance plans, which will go from $680 per month to $730 a month on Jan. 1, 2018, and from $730 to $780 on Jan. 1, 2019, and the executives’ monthly car allowance, which will increase from $419.11 to $429.59.
“These are people who are responsible for a tremendous amount of municipal services and responsibilities,” Councilmember Andy Fox said before the July 11 vote. “I would say that in looking at the comparisons with other cities, the salaries we’re paying from our entry-level employees right up to our executive managers are certainly competitive, but they’re right in the range of other cities both in California and in Ventura (County).”
By Dr. Kevin McNamee January 2, 2020
Thousand Oaks City Council should put the brakes on the decision for a 15 year renewal with Waste Management and E.J. Harrison and Sons, the city’s two waste-hauling providers, until a competitive bid process takes place. This especially needs to occur when the proposed agreement will cause city residents a 13% fee increase and commercial customers a staggering 67% fee increase – which will be passed along to Conejo consumers.
City council at the December 10 meeting voted three to two to postpone voting on a 15 year contract that will give a monopoly to the current waste-hauling companies so council members can “think” about the need for a competitive. What is there to think about? This decision to postpone is a no brainer. It should have been unanimous.
The first rule in economics is the consumer searches for the lowest price for the greatest value of a product or service. Second rule in economics is competitive bids for a product or service allows the consumer to find the highest quality product for the lowest price.
City council members and city managers are custodians of wise spending of our tax dollars for the highest service at the lowest price. A competitive bid process will do this. Keep the money in your pocket, not theirs. You spend it the wisest.
Hoover Institute Economist Thomas Sowell says what is important to a healthy economy is both the amount of money flowing through the market but also the velocity it moves from person to person. By city council members not going to a competitive bid does not ensure the best use of our tax dollars. This is an example of when people in authority spending other peoples’s money, the price goes up.
By Dr. Kevin McNamee February 20, 2020
Thousand Oaks City Council voted 5-0 to send the city’s trash-hauling contract to open bid. Good news for lower rates until you read further.
Council approved $200,000 for the “city staff to work with a consultant to write the request for proposals and the system the city will use to select a service provider.”
Holy cow Batman, that is a lot of money for a proposal. Is the consultant working overtime on this proposal? Put into perspective, $200,000 is more than double the annual gross income of the majority of city residents. City management, please justify this number.
The city softens the consultant price tag by saying “($200,000) is typically reimbursed by the company winning the bidding process.” Not true. The company winning the bid is not paying for the consultants fee, the Thousand Oaks residents are. The bid will price in the consultants costs ($200,000) which the consumer ultimately pays through higher trash pickup fees. Absent the high consultant fee, the bid amounts would be lower.
Also, the city should move away from a 15 year agreement which chases competition out and raises rates. A three year bid renewal is reasonable. It will keep competition interested, remain in the area and compete for our business. Previous request for proposal can be used for future bids reducing consultant fees.
As General McAuliffe of the 101st Airborne Divisions famous single-word reply when he was surrounded at Bastonge by the Germans during World War II’s Battle of the Bulge, and was given a surrender ultimatum. He responded with “NUTS!”
To the city council and managers, $200,000 for consultant fees to write a proposal – NUTS!
By Dr. Kevin McNamee March 7, 2019
Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel estimates 90 percent of his officer’s calls concerning the homeless stem from those with mental health and/or drug addiction issues.
Part of the problem, I believe, is a MediCal Catch-22 that I heard a mental health expert talk about. MediCal provides free counseling and medication for the homeless. Once the person is stable, they enter the work force and transitional housing, eventually moving into their own housing. But to
qualify for MediCal services, a person can have no more than a dollar maximum in the bank.
So, if a mentally ill person is benefiting from these services and gets housing and a job, as soon as they accrue more than the dollar maximum in the bank, they lose free counseling and medication. The patient cannot afford the medication and counseling services and becomes unstable, loses their job and housing and are back on the street. Now they’re eligible for the counseling and medication that will get them stable. The cycle continues.
The current maximum in the bank rule to qualify for MediCal needs to be adjusted upward to today’s cost of living. Most homeless don’t want to seek services at outpatient mental health facilities because of transportation issues and fear of losing their shopping cart full of “stuff” when inside.
The expert suggested that mental health services go to the homeless. See them in the field.
Currently, Thousand Oaks Police Department has two mental health professionals who ride along to calls concerning mental health. I asked at a recent meeting, “Why not combine services of a mental health professional, riding with and protected by the police, and go see the homeless to provide their medication in the field? Can the city support such a service?”
A city official said it’s the county’s responsibility, not the city.
I say we need to find a way to support an “in-field” therapist to provide the needed medications to the homeless unwilling to come into the outpatient facilities.
At the very least, the homeless becomes less disruptive and stop consuming valuable police resources. The best outcome is they become purposeful and enter society again—permanently.