San Marco Properties
Claude Nolan
Geer Services, Inc.
Underwoods
Geer Services, Inc.
Geer Services, Inc.
Charles Parish
Geer Services, Inc.
May 152013
 

Image Credit: Kenneth Lam/MCT/Landov(PASADENA, Md.) — When Greg Cantori and his wife, Renee, are ready to retire, they will not only have to pack up their respective offices, but also downsize their home, in a big way.

The Cantoris of Pasadena, Md., plan to retire in a 238-square-foot house on wheels they purchased two years ago for $19,000.

The couple lives with one of their two grown daughters in a 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home on the same lot where their future retirement home waits on wheels.

“We don’t know how many years it will be but we’re getting there,” said Cantori, the president of Maryland Nonprofits.

Cantori, 53, became used to living in small spaces as a 19-year-old living aboard a sailboat and then spent his honeymoon with Renee, 51, living aboard a 30-foot sailboat in the Virgin Islands for three weeks.

“We know what it’s like to live small and simple,” Cantori told ABC News.

Once on dry land, the Cantoris raised two daughters, now 19 and 22, and began to follow the “tiny house” movement in which people, like themselves, choose to abandon space for simplicity and give up luxuries to make do with less.

“This is not for everyone,” he said. “Probably 99.9 percent couldn’t conceive of doing this.”

The Cantoris, however, can completely conceive of it and have made it their “goal” to live full-time in the “tiny house” they purchased from a lawyer in Kansas and drove across the country to Maryland attached to a U-Haul.

Their “tiny house,” which consists of a kitchen, bathroom, living space and two bedroom loft, has stayed put on their property since its purchase, but once retirement comes, the Cantoris plan to move on.

“We’re thinking of moving it to Western Maryland or Nova Scotia,” Cantori said. “We may find a place we want to stay for a couple of months or a couple of years and then move from there.”

“The rigidity people have when thinking of their lifestyles, they don’t realize they have many other options,” he said in response to those who wonder how, or why, the couple would choose to downsize in such a drastic way.

“None of this is permanent,” Cantori said.

Cantori also sees adapting to a “tiny house” as a great and easy way to keep the property in the family. Both daughters, according to their father, “love” the house and their parents’ retirement plans.

“Unlike an RV or a house, you can pass it on and it’s not a burden to your children,” Cantori said.  “In this case, you can say, ‘Here it is, take it with you.’”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Mar 042013
 

Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — House Republicans unveiled a stopgap measure Monday to fund the federal government through the rest of the fiscal year, a move intended to mollify a deeply divided Congress that has fought through three years of bruising budget battles.

The continuing resolution, known around Washington as a CR, is subject to sequestration levels in its entirety, setting the top-line overall rate of spending at $982 billion, down from $1.047 trillion the previous fiscal year.

The CR keeps the FY2012 spending level as a base for 10 out of 12 appropriations bills, but notably, the legislation includes a full-year Defense appropriations bill, as well as a full-year Military Construction/Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.  These two measures, which are still subject to sequestration, were negotiated with broad bipartisan support even though they did not become law during the last session of Congress.

Aides on both sides of the aisle say the funding tactic enables lawmakers to respond to changing circumstances or address the funding priorities of an agency rather than rely on existing spending plans that may have become outdated or impractical.

“The legislation will avoid a government shutdown on March 27, prioritize DoD and Veterans programs, and allow the Pentagon some leeway to do its best with the funding it has,” Rep. Hal Rogers, the chairman of the appropriations committee, wrote in a statement Monday. “This CR package is the right thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it.”

For example, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told Congress the Pentagon has an $11 billion shortfall below the administration’s request this year for the Operations and Maintenance section of the defense budget. To close that deficit, the Defense appropriations bill included in the CR takes about $7 billion from Research and Development and Procurement and increases the authority for Operations and Maintenance by about $10.4 billion.

While in practice the rebalanced money for Operations and Maintenance cushions the effect of the arbitrary sequestration cuts, aides say legislators drafting the bill did not write the bill with the intent to offset sequestration.

“It’s just the right thing to focus on the core function of government: national security,” one House Republican aide said. “An $11 billion shortfall [in Operations and Maintenance] affects readiness.”

Democrats, however, contend that the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs are “not unique” to the funding challenges facing Washington. Rep. Nita Lowey, the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said it is “extremely disappointing” that the CR locks most of the federal government into “outdated plans and spending levels.”

“Governing by continuing resolution limits the ability of federal departments and agencies to respond to changing circumstances, implement laws enacted by Congress, eliminate unnecessary spending, and budget responsibly,” said Lowey, D-N.Y.  “It has an adverse effect on federal efforts to improve schools, health care, and homeland security; protect the environment; and create jobs and grow the economy.”

The legislation also addresses an apparent need for increased security, identified after the Benghazi attack in Libya, by including a provision to increase the current level for embassy security by about $2 billion. The CR also provides additional funding for federal prisons and includes a provision requiring Immigration and Customs Enforcement “to sustain the mandated capacity of 34,000 detention beds.”

It also extends the current pay freeze for federal employees, which includes members of Congress and Senators, even though President Obama has issued an executive order implementing a 0.5 percent pay increase.

Despite an impasse over sequestration last week, House Speaker John Boehner emerged from a meeting with President Obama and other congressional leaders Friday, assuring reporters that a government shutdown is not in the cards.

“The House is going to move a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past March 27, and I’m hopeful that we won’t have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we’re dealing with the sequester at the same time,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

The bill is expected to be on the floor for debate on Wednesday and voted on Thursday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Feb 262013
 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — House Democrats say they are not satisfied with the Republican-crafted version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, pledging to oppose it if it comes up for a vote later this week in the House.

Speaking at the Capitol Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the Republican measure a step down from the Senate bill that passed with bipartisan support earlier this month, saying that “this bill is weaker than the Senate bill, weaker than the current law.”

House Democrats said that the Republican-proposed version up for consideration this week does not provide adequate protection for the sexual crime victims associated with human trafficking or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Native American communities.

Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., who has previously detailed her experience as a sexual assault victim on the House floor, asked her GOP colleagues Tuesday afternoon to “stand up for what is right and righteous, and reconsider this ill-conceived legislation, and work together with us to pass the bipartisan Senate bill.”

A House GOP leadership aide defended the latest Republican proposal, contending that House Democrats are using the politically contentious issue as a way to divide the Republican Party. Some members of the Republican conference have pressured leadership to allow a vote on the Senate bill rather than delay passage with another political fight.

The House GOP aide said the Republican leadership believes its bill makes significant improvements to the Senate bill, claiming that every woman is protected from discrimination.

The House could vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act as soon as Thursday. However, considering the divisions in the lower chamber, it is unclear which version – the Senate bill or House bill – would come up for consideration.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Jan 182013
 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — A Virginia state lawmaker brandished an AK-47 on the floor of the state House of Delegates on Thursday.

Virginia Del. Joe Morrissey, a Democrat hailing from the Richmond area, showed off the weapon while pushing for tighter gun-control laws, The Washington Examiner reported.

“A lot of people don’t know that in many locations in the commonwealth, you can take this gun, you can walk in the middle of Main Street loaded and not be in violation of the law,” Morrissey said on the floor, according to the Examiner, assuring other lawmakers that the gun was not loaded.

A subcommittee voted Thursday night to kill a bill Morrissey introduced that would have tightened gun controls in the state, The Roanoke Times reported.  That bill would have banned the sale of so-called assault rifles and high-capacity magazines.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio