Chad’s Morning Brief: Wendy Davis Releases Tax Returns, EPA Maps Worry Some Republicans Over Water Control, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of August 28, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Davis' Tax Return
According to the Washington Examiner, Wendy Davis finally turned over her 2013 tax return this week. The tax returns show a couple of interesting things.
After months of delay, Texas state senator and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis finally released her full 2013 tax return this week — and it turns out she was hit with a fine for late payment.
In April, her Republican opponent, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, released his 2013 tax data while Davis filed an extension, vowing she “absolutely” would release her tax returns.
“I filed an extension, which is something I've done for many years, but as soon as I complete my tax returns I absolutely will turn them over,” Davis told WFAA 8, Dallas-Fort Worth’s ABC affiliate.
But months went by without Davis fulfilling her pledge. Finally, on Aug. 22, Davis released her tax return to the media – but told reporters not to share the document or publish it in full.
Christine Ayala of the Texas Tribune wrote that the release of the full return came on Tuesday as her employer was working on a story about Davis’ conditions for the media. It is unclear whether that story was the reason Davis released her full tax return.
Her campaign did not respond to inquiries from the Washington Examiner.
Ayala laid out the basic facts of Davis’ tax return: "The tax filing lists Davis’ adjusted gross income for 2013 at $249,754 and shows she paid $70,252 in income taxes. Davis brought in $120,000 from her work as an attorney, down from the $275,000 she made the previous year. And she reported earning an additional $132,000 for a book deal. The upcoming memoir, titled Forgetting to be Afraid, is set to be published in September."
And who gave more to charity? The Democrat or the Republican?
Abbott also reported giving more to charity than Davis. Abbott donated $6,650 to charity while Davis gave $4,327.
It should be noted that the Abbott's adjusted gross income was less than Davis.
EPA Land Grab?
Is the EPA planning on a large land grab in the future? According to FOX News, some Republicans are worried about it happening.
A top House Republican is charging that the Environmental Protection Agency secretly drafted highly detailed maps of U.S. waterways to set the stage for a controversial plan to expand regulatory power over streams and wetlands, a claim the EPA strongly denies.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, released those maps on Wednesday, while firing off a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy voicing concerns over why they were created in the first place.
"These maps show the EPA's plan: to control a huge amount of private property across the country. Given the astonishing picture they paint, I understand the EPA's desire to minimize the importance of these maps," he wrote, in the letter obtained by FoxNews.com.
But an EPA spokeswoman said the maps, from the U.S. Geological Survey and Fish and Wildlife Service, do not depict which waters are subject to EPA control.
"Let us be very clear -- these maps have nothing to do with EPA's proposed rule or any other regulatory purpose," Liz Purchia said, noting they were initially created years ago and subsequently updated.
At issue is a proposal that Smith and fellow Republicans, as well as farmers and other groups, say could endanger private property rights by giving the EPA a say over temporary waterways like seasonal streams, under the Clean Water Act. That the agency had highly detailed maps drawn up has raised suspicion about their purpose.
"While the Agency marches forward with a rule that could fundamentally re-define Americans' private property rights, the EPA kept these maps hidden," Smith wrote in his letter. "Serious questions remain regarding the EPA's underlying motivations for creating such highly detailed maps."
He added: "The EPA's job is to regulate. The maps must have been created with this purpose in mind."
The high-resolution maps of each state depict a dense and veiny web of intertwining waterways. They're color-coded to distinguish everything from canals and ditches to reservoirs to marshes to various types of streams. The maps show permanent streams, but also those that contain water for only part of the year.
The EPA denied the maps were drawn to chart areas subject to the Clean Water Act. The agency said they were only drawn to identify the "extent and location" of waterways and other details.
In two letters to Smith, in late July and early August, EPA Deputy Assistant Administrator Nancy Stoner explained the documents were originally prepared in 2005, and updated last year with data from the U.S. Geological Survey.
"EPA is not aware of maps prepared by any agency, including the EPA, of waters that are currently jurisdictional under the CWA or that would be jurisdictional under the proposed rule," she wrote, adding that the maps would have to be even more detailed to be used for that purpose.
Decisions over whether the EPA has authority over "particular waters," Purchia said, are almost always made in response to requests. She told FoxNews.com the maps in question would have to involve ground surveys to actually reflect the proposed rule, which she called "prohibitively expensive."
But the map details would appear to dovetail with the type of waterways the agency is looking at regulating.
Since last year, the EPA has floated new rules that would define what kinds of waterways fall under its jurisdiction. The Clean Water Act already gives the EPA the ability to regulate "U.S. waters," but Supreme Court rulings have left the specifics unclear when it comes to waters that flow only part of the year.
To address that, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers want to define that authority -- and are eyeing waterways deemed to have some significant connection to major rivers, lakes and other systems.
The EPA claims this does not expand its authority, and only clarifies it.
But detractors claim this is an opening for the EPA to claim authority over countless waterways, including streams that only show up during heavy rainfall. Critics warn this could create more red tape for property owners and businesses if they happen to have even small streams on their land.
Other Top Stories:
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