Friday, April 22, 2016

Nunes Digest for your weekend reading

The Nunes Digest is updated for your weekend reading. To view the Digest, click on the picture below:

Friday, April 15, 2016

A warning from Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is struggling with a fiscal crisis stemming, to a large degree, from its unfunded pension liabilities of $46 billion. Unable to cope with this disaster, Puerto Rico's governor signed a bill allowing his government to stop paying its debt. He also declared a state of emergency at the Government Development Bank in hopes of preserving essential government services.

The results of these catastrophic pension debts should serve as a warning in the mainland United States, where state and local public pension debts are growing rapidly. It's hard to tell exactly how big these debts are because officials often disguise them by assuming unrealistic rates of investment returns and by using other accounting gimmicks. However, Standford University Professor of Finance Joshua Rauh recently calculated the total shortfall at an astounding $3.4 trillion.

If these funds begin going insolvent, the consequences would likely include pension cuts, big losses to creditors, government fiscal crises, and damaging ripple effects throughout the wider economy. In fact, some pension fund officials seem to think they don't need to stabilize their finances at all—because if they do go bust, they believe the federal government would bail them out rather than deal with the ensuing disruptions.

I'd like to impose some discipline on these officials and rid them of their fantasies of a taxpayer-funded bailout. That's why I recently reintroduced the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act in the House of Representatives. The bill would do two main things: give state and local pension funds incentives to stop using accounting tricks when reporting their liabilities, and prohibit the federal government from bailing out any of these funds.

It's not too late to instill some accountability on public pension funds. Since many are unwilling to act responsibly on their own accord, let's give them some extra motivation.

Friday, April 1, 2016

No April Fool's Day Joke: Westside Gets 5% Allocation

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced today that westside farmers will receive a minuscule 5 percent water allocation for 2016, following zero percent allocations for the previous two years. This means westside growers will continue to struggle with critical water shortages for the near future.  

Water bureaucrats will undoubtedly continue blaming the drought and global warming. But those excuses are becoming even harder to believe in light of the wet conditions brought by El Nino. So what could possibly be responsible for this crisis? The Sacramento Bee offers a hint: "Federal and state officials have throttled back their water pumping from the Delta in recent weeks because of concerns over potential harm to Delta smelt and other endangered fish species."

As you probably know, in the House of Representatives we have passed four bills in the last four years to ease federal regulations that limit Delta water pumping. Every one of our bills has died in the Senate amid opposition from Senators Boxer and Feinstein. Last December, we made a last-ditch attempt to negotiate a compromise with Senator Feinstein that would allow us to capture more water during El Nino this year - and the senator walked away.

As extreme environmentalists continue to grieve over their precious little Delta smelt - which are not even being saved by these draconian water restrictions - westside farmers will be fallowing more land. Seeing as these people feed the nation, we need to keep fighting for them - no matter how long it takes - until their water supply is fully restored.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Alert: Avoid phone scammers this tax season

I'd like to warn you about a series of scams my constituents have reported to my office. Seeking to exploit the tax filing season, scammers are impersonating IRS agents or other government officials to cheat people out of their money or obtain personal information like social security numbers. The scams take various forms, but one of the most common is that a scammer calls people, declares that they have an outstanding tax bill, and demands immediate payment over the phone, often threatening some kind of police or court action if they fail to comply.

If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately and report the scammer to the Treasury Inspector General on this page.

These are ruthless con-artists who are stealing money from anyone they can fool or bully into cooperating with them. If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS, keep in mind that the IRS will never:

Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
Here are links for more information about these scams:

Friday, March 4, 2016

California farmers stand tall

Capay Valley, a rural area northwest of Sacramento, recently had a big turnout to celebrate its 101st annual Almond Festival. This caught my eye because extreme environmental groups have blamed California farmers in general and almond growers in particular for the state's water crisis. Of course, they rely on grossly distorted statistics to make their case, but that doesn't seem to bother many of the media outlets reporting on growers supposedly using too much water.

Like Central Valley farmers, the people of Capay Valley are defying their misguided critics. California farmers help feed the nation and ask little in return except for an adequate water supply. And even though that is no longer being provided, the state's agricultural communities continue to take pride in what they do and how they do it. Our state's farming families are steadfast and dependable—they have earned our gratitude.  
Separately, the Nunes Digest is updated for your weekend reading here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Nunes office seeking interns

Spring and summer internships are available in my Washington, D.C. and Visalia offices. If you know someone who is interested in politics and public affairs, wants to gain professional experience, and can excel in a fast-paced environment, please pass along this message.

Interns provide critical staff support and are often called on to work at public events, conduct research, and help with special projects. The application process is now open. For spring internships, candidates must submit their applications immediately; for summer internships, applications must be submitted by April 1, 2016. I accept both part-time and full-time applicants.  

All interns must be high school graduates who are enrolled in or have recently graduated from an accredited college or university. Applications can be downloaded from my website here

For answers to questions about my intern program, please call (559) 733-3861 or (202) 225-2523.