The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is continuing with their push to make new rules for net neutrality, and Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is watching closely to see what will come from the agency’s February 26th meeting. TPA has called on Congress to act noting that the time for waiting is over because the FCC and the President are poised to move forward. Keeping that mind, TPA signed onto a coalition letter spearheaded by TechFreedom that included Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, Center for Individual Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Institute for Liberty, Institute for Policy Innovation, International Center for Law & Economics, and Lincoln Labs (as well as a group of individual signers you can see here) that detailed principles for action by Congress that would “prevent a slippery slope towards broader regulation of the Internet.”
Click 'read more' below to read the full letter
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
Last week, newly sworn in Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) released his fiscal year 2016 spending plan. Though the budget must be passed ultimately by the Democrat-controlled State legislature, the details of the first budget proposal from Gov. Hogan show that he is making moves towards getting the state’s fiscal situation under control by addressing spending. This is a step forward following eight years of the tax and spend policies of Gov. Martin O’Malley, Gov. O’Malley’s budget grew by more than $10 billion from $28.8 billion in 2007 to $39 billion in 2014. Gov. Hogan’s $39 billion budget for FY2016 puts an emphasis on spending cuts that will help save the state money to make up for the $700 million budget gap left by Gov. O’Malley.
Attorney General Nominee Loretta Lynch
The confirmation process is always an opportunity for knowledge and information to be gathered regarding the views and judgments of a particular nominee for the courts, a federal agency, or other Presidential appointment. Tomorrow the two-day confirmation for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch will begin and there are many questions that need to be answered in terms of her views on a variety of issues. One issue of interest is where she stands on ‘Operation Choke Point’, the rouge program that DOJ has used to intimidate and shut down legitimate businesses the Obama administration doesn’t like (i.e. gun stores, pay-day lenders). Today, TPA delivered a coalition letter signed by American Commitment, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Individual Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Frontiers of Freedom, Institute for Liberty, Less Government, Liberty Coalition, and the US Consumer Coalition calling on Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to press for answers from Ms. Lynch on where she stands regarding ‘Operation Choke Point’ and whether or not she will end the program, if she were to be nominated.
Click 'read more' below to see the letter
There is probably no agency feared or disliked more in the federal government than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS can make one phone call and wreak havoc on the lives of any working American, striking fear at a moments notice. Much of the disdain for the agency has grown in recent years as IRS bureaucrats have wasted taxpayer money on spoof seminar videos and lavish conferences, while others have been targeting political opponents in an attempt to stifle free speech. Now, the agency is complaining about recently passed budget cuts. The budget cuts the IRS is lamenting were actually passed by the House back in July of 2014, under an amendment from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).
This article originally appeard in The Daily Caller on January 13, 2015
The November midterm elections are in the rearview mirror and 2015 has begun with a bang, with battles on Capitol Hill taking shape on a variety of agenda items. The new Republican Senate and the emboldened Republican House have a great deal of issues on the table to be dealt with this year, but one in particular could be a major victory for taxpayers: Internet taxes. Last year was mainly filled with good news for taxpayers on the Internet tax front, but the victories were temporary, reinforcing the need for permanent solutions to ensure stability for millions of American taxpayers, consumers, and businesses that use the Internet on a regular basis. The moratorium on Internet access taxes continues to be a temporary barrier between Internet users and a flood of new taxes. The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) of 1998 was the first real protection for Internet users against taxes for accessing broadband services, created with the goal of ensuring innovation and commerce through a vibrant Internet.
One of the main powers and responsibilities of Congress is to spend money. Often times this authority is abused and taxpayers end up burdened by the costs of wasteful spending on pet projects (earmarks) and needless programs that otherwise wouldn’t be approved. However, sometimes there are issues that are misrepresented. Another responsibility of Congress is to finalize water rights settlements that have already been negotiated by Congress. This is an issue that that hasn’t gotten much attention but is costing taxpayers. A Republican-controlled Congress may be able to move these settlements forward. As Congress makes progress in taking care of these settlements, some may want to characterize these as earmarks. While some have said these settlement agreements are tantamount to earmarks, that is not simply the case. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is fully aware of what constitutes an earmark in Congress and these are not even close. TPA has been exposing earmarks for years. The latest expose of earmarks by TPA was the 293 earmarks hidden in the Defense appropriations bill worth more than $13 billion (click here for a full list). The settlements reached by Congress regarding these water and land disputes are not earmarks and shouldn’t classified as such.
This article originally appeared in Roll Call January 20, 2014
On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama will give his sixth State of the Union Address and there is no doubt that the speech will contain familiar themes on policy initiatives his administration has long championed. Perhaps chief among them though is telecommunications policy, an area that Congress and the president must address if the country is to remain competitive around the world. For starters, it has been almost 20 years since the Communications Act has been updated. Coincidentally, the last time the Act was updated, there was a Democrat in the White House and a GOP-controlled Congress. Much has changed technologically in the last two decades, and with the massive change in virtually every facet of telecommunications, it is crucial to make sure that innovation can still be a key ingredient.
On Tuesday night, the President will be giving his sixth State of the Union address to Congress and the country. After you get past all the pomp and circumstance of his arrival on Capitol Hill and shaking the hands of members of Congress, President Obama will launch into his policy agenda for the next year. The speech will not only be a preview for next year, but also be a peek into what his priorities will be and how he intends to deal with the new Republican majority in the Senate and increased Republican majority in the House. There will be opportunities for the President to reach out to the Congress to pass much-needed reform, but there will also be differences. Besides listening for buzzwords like “investment” which really means more spending, TPA will be listening very intently to the whole speech, but there will be a few issues that taxpayers should especially be listening for when President Obama speaks to the nation tomorrow night.
This ariticle appeared in Inside Sources on January 12, 2015
Sean Paige is a Senior Fellow with TPA. The sun-kissed state of Arizona seems an obvious place for the solar energy craze to really catch fire, which to some extent it has. But Arizona’s also a good place to see the potential shadier side of the solar industry in action, as companies jockey to cash-in and carve out a slice of the pie, with the help of generous taxpayer subsidies and government-mandated markets. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that Arizona’s also where some of the shine may be coming off solar, as watchdogs begin asking questions about how the industry is operating. It’s no doubt been a sweet and easy ride for solar energy in recent years, given the political favoritism and fawning media treatment that almost always casts it in warm and positive light. It’s hard to pick-up a paper or surf news sites without reading or seeing some breathless account of solar’s latest breakthrough. Some media cheerleaders even have taken to calling 2015 the “Year of Solar Energy” (as long as the subsidies and mandated-markets don’t go away).
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TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS: MUNICIPAL BROADBAND IS AFFORDABLE LIKE OBAMACARE IS AFFORDABLE
Taxpayers Protection Alliance leader discusses the cost of Internet access ahead of President Obama’s trip to Iowa
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in advance of President Obama’s Iowa speech addressing the need to increase access to high-speed Internet across the country: “Municipal broadband is affordable like ObamaCare is affordable – in other words, it is not. Cedar Falls boasts that it offers its citizens the ‘gold standard’ in broadband connections. This gold standard comes at a steep price of nearly $140 per month for rural residents. In contrast, the costs soar to almost $1,000 a month for businesses, subsequently causing a significant impact on the amount of money small businesses will have to reinvest in their own growth. Access to high-speed Internet is hailed by big-government spenders as a pseudo human right, but what they gloss over are the enormous costs to taxpayers that are not recouped when broadband networks fail or are sold.
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement from TPA