The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been exposing the truth about why governments mandating the plain packaging of tobacco products is a bad idea for consumers, taxpayers, and the myth that plain packaging will reduce smoking. TPA has even submitted comments to both the Australian and Singapore governments warning them of the dangers of plain packaging policies and the implications for the economy, crime, taxpayers, and consumers. Even though plain packaging happens on a country-by-country basis, the United Nations (U.N.) has been pushing these policies globally. This is especially troublesome considering the U.N. receives $600 million (or 22 percent of their budget) from U.S. taxpayers. This means that U.S. taxpayers are paying to promulgate plain packaging regulations.
This article originally appeared in Townhall.com on May 18, 2016
It’s a well-established fact that drastic minimum wage hikes are a job killer. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) admits it and leading economists have warned against it. But unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped liberal states like New York and California and the national “Fight for $15” movement from advocating for a $15 minimum wage – to the detriment of low-wage workers and small business owners. Government shouldn't be dictating wages, the free market should.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier this week, the House released their initial markup for the fiscal year 2017 Defense Appropriations Act that will spend more than $500 billion. TPA combed through the report and found 235 earmarks totaling $11.1 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. These earmarks show that Congress’ self-imposed earmark ban is nothing more than a lie to taxpayers. There were many familiar wasteful projects on the list, including the F-35, the Littoral Combat Ship, and the Abrams Tank. All of these programs have been notorious for their waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars and have not been requested by the Pentagon.
Last night the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017, by a vote of 277-147. The issue of Pentagon spending is important to the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and making sure that elected officials are working with the Defense Department to put forward the best policies to provide for the national defense is critical. Unfortunately, wasting taxpayer money is not something that is in the best interests of national security. Time and again TPA has exposed billions of dollars in earmarks buried in defense spending, we continue to call for an end to wasteful programs like the F-35 and Abrams Tank, and there is also the issue of budget gimmicks like the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Account. Yesterday, TPA joined a broad coalition letter led by Taxpayers for Common Sense supporting an amendment to the FY 2017 NDAA that “codifies criteria developed by the Office of Management and Budget in 2010 to clarify when military spending should be designated as contingency operations and properly be part of the Overseas Contingency Operations budget.” The bipartisan amendment was sponsored by Reps. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Barbara Lee (R-CA), and Mark Sanford (R-SC) and adopted in a voice vote with several other amendments. TPA will continue to keep an eye on defense spending related bills, including the coming Defense Appropriations bill, which is likely to include more earmarks, as it has in years past.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter
This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on May 10, 2016
Does this sound familiar? A shiny new solar company comes onto the scene, satisfying the cries of the solar panel-obsessed clean energy fanatics. Somewhere along the way, Barack Obama and Congress indiscriminately award the solar company millions in taxpayer funds. A few years pass, and a slow but largely ignored descent into financial ruin ends in scandal. You may be thinking of the famed Solyndra debacle. Unfortunately for taxpayers, SunEdison, the self-proclaimed “largest green energy company,” filed for bankruptcy protection in late April. Even after becoming the 13th-most subsidized company in the United States, SunEdison misused taxpayer funds and lied, resulting in a recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently involved in several complex and controversial rulemaking proceedings, including rules proposed to require broad opt-in requirements for the use and sharing of data by Internet service providers. But as the privacy proposal’s comment period reaches its final two weeks, the comment docket remains questionably empty. This might make a good plot for a spy thriller, but for taxpayers and people who submitted comments, this is a travesty and an embarrassment for the FCC. In a letter sent to the FCC this week, Protect Internet Freedom questioned thousands of missing comments it says its supporters have filed into the docket that take issue with the FCC’s current privacy rulemaking proposal. FCC docket 16-106 currently shows just 28 filings, while the group says more than 2,200 comments have been submitted to the ECFS, the FCC’s online comment platform. As Protect Internet Freedom’s counsel notes in their letter to the FCC, several comments submitted even have FCC status numbers showing they had been received, but had yet to be posted.
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues their war on the private sector, it is becoming more clear everyday that the agency only cares about promulgating rules instead working with the good faith actors in the business community to put forth solutions that balance the needs of our environment, as well as the sustained growth of the economy. Taxpayers Protection Alliance has been a vocal critic of the policies that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy has enacted, noting that many of these policies will bring the same result: hindering growth in the energy sector. It is with that in mind that TPA joined Americans for Prosperity in a coalition of 60 organizations to send this letter House and Senate leaders urging them to take action to reform the EPA’s Ozone Standard, known as National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter
Time and again we see some of the best ideas come from those who are willing to invest their own time and resources to create, improve, and perfect the next great product or trend. Vaping is a great example of that and one of the fastest growing industries today in the market. Whether it’s new customers or those who have been a traditional tobacco user who want to try something new, the number of those using vaping products continues to increase as more choices become available in the market. Unfortunately, government regulators may have just stopped the industry dead in their tracks.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) expressed concern about the continuing financial death spiral of the United States Postal Service (USPS). Today’s reported second quarter loss of $2 billion indicates that it’s business as usual when it comes to USPS’s fiscal predicaments. The $2 billion loss for this period adds to the mountain of debt that the Postal Service has amassed. USPS has lost $36.6 billion in the last five years and has $116 billion more in unfunded liabilities on its books when also taking into account a $15 billion liability with the U.S. Treasury. As a part of this, USPS is neglecting to pay its $1.4 billion retiree benefits payment for the quarter despite the agency's legal obligation to do so. TPA is also concerned that taxpayers will be asked to bail out the agency should their financial situation worsen, which becomes an even greater possibility with each multi-billion dollar quarterly loss.
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This op-ed orignally appeared in Inside Sources on May 3, 2016
The court battle over the Environmental Protection Agency’s “breathtaking expansion” of its powers with the Clean Power Plan also means a renewed spotlight on the Obama administration’s tax and environmental policies and the chilling effect they will have on American jobs and growth. The CPP, the administration’s “signature” climate change policy that regulates power plant carbon emissions, has been challenged by West Virginia and dozens of other states. Although she subsequently disavowed her own statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton best articulated the aim of that policy when she said, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Forced to comment on the Clinton assessment, EPA chief Gina McCarthy declined to repudiate it, asserting awkwardly, “It’s certainly not good for anybody to be out of work in an economy. … I do not agree that anyone in the United States of America should go without a job.” It’s a statement marinated in irony, considering McCarthy and the Obama administration advocate continuously for tax and environmental policies that will crush American energy industry jobs, inflate the already swollen ranks of the unemployed, and raise energy costs for the entire nation.