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National Taxpayer Group Slams FCC for Net Neutrality and Municipal Broadband Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a national taxpayer watchdog group representing concerned citizens all across the country, was disappointed and shocked by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) vote to reclassify Broadband Internet service under Title II regulation. The FCC also decided to let municipal broadband projects like Chattanooga EPB expand beyond their borders.   EPB has been the poster child for government waste and overreach.  TPA submitted extensive comments to the FCC in September of 2014 as to why Chattanooga EPB has been a failure and how they used intimidation tactics to thwart transparency (see full comments here). This overly aggressive regulatory approach is completely unnecessary and undermines the very foundation the Internet has been built on since its conception over 20 years ago. Title II reclassification threatens to suppress innovation and commerce, while harming taxpayers and consumers. The FCC choosing to reclassify the Internet under Title II will create an environment that could lead to new taxes for consumers and businesses in the already heavily taxed telecommunications marketplace.  This would prove disastrous for the economy.

Click 'read more' below to see the full reaction from TPA



wheeler

TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS TO FCC:
SCRAP THE PRESIDENT’S NET NEUTRALITY PLAN

Taxpayers Protection Alliance President slams upcoming vote by the Federal Communications Commission on President Obama’s net neutrality rules

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a national taxpayer watchdog group representing concerned citizens all across the country, criticized  plans by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to vote on new rule making regarding net neutrality and reclassification of the Internet under Title II. The new rules reflect proposed plans from the Obama Administration that would undercut the very essence of an open Internet and stifle innovation and commerce, while harming taxpayers and consumers. TPA President David Williams slammed the proposal in a statement released today: “The proposal coming from the White House and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is completely antithetical to the innovative nature that has been a hallmark of the Internet for nearly two decades. There is absolutely no rationale for moving forward with an aggressive regulatory approach to keep the Internet open.” Williams also talked about the harm to taxpayers and the economy, noting that, “Reclassification of the Internet could lead to new taxes, which would be a disaster for taxpayers, consumers, and businesses at time when there are already massive taxes on telecommunications.”

Click 'read more' below to see the full statement



broad

TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS: FCC ACTION WOULD HARM LOCAL TAXPAYERS
Taxpayers Protection Alliance leader discusses the high-cost of government-owned broadband ahead of FCC decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in advance of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote whether to allow two government-owned broadband networks to expand beyond their state-mandated boundaries: “FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will ask his fellow commissioners on Thursday to vote on Chattanooga, Tenn.’s and Wilson, N.C.’s petitions to override municipal broadband laws in their respective states. For the fiscal well being of taxpayers, and in the interest of protecting states’ rights, TPA urges Wheeler’s colleagues to uphold these state laws in Chattanooga and Wilson, which have placed prudent restrictions on government-owned broadband networks."

Click 'read more' below to see the full statement



exim

This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on February 18, 2015

The government has apparently decided to start “spring cleaning” a little early this year – at least when it comes to the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank.  All data relating to this controversial institution appears to have vanished from the publicly-accessible federal repository at Data.gov. The Ex-Im Bank, one of the more obscure outposts of bureaucracy tucked away in Washington, D.C., first entered the consciousness of many Americans last summer when the question of its reauthorization by Congress snowballed into a larger debate over crony capitalism.  Opponents of Ex-Im, from U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to onetime presidential hopeful and Green Party member Ralph Nader, argued that the institution not only funneled too much taxpayer-backed funding to major corporations that didn’t need it, but that it was a textbook example of an ineffective, unnecessary government agency to boot.  Ex-Im is the poster child of corporate welfare and crony capitalism and its elimination should be supported by all parties. Moreover, some of the deals Ex-Im conducted may actually threaten American jobs by favoring certain industries over others.  The Air Line Pilots Association, for example, estimated that around 7,500 jobs have been lost at U.S.-based airlines due to the Ex-Im Bank regularly helping their foreign, state-supported competitors like Air India and Emirates purchase Boeing jets at below-market rates.



fcc

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has continued to fight against cronyism that gives preferential treatment to certain groups or businesses.  These handouts ioccur in many areas in the federal government, including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). TPA has warned about this in terms of spectrum auctions (read previous TPA blogs on spectrum here and here) being handled by the FCC.  Yesterday, citing a recent auction last fall, TPA submitted joint comments with Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Individual Freedom, and the National Taxpayers Union to the FCC calling attention to and pressing for reforms within the Designated Entity program and how some have taken advantage of it in spectrum auctions, at the expense of taxpayers.

Click 'read more' below to read the comments in full


cloud

One of the major policy debates in Washington D.C. is how to protect the privacy rights of all Americans. One piece of legislation that could help with privacy concerns is the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (LEADS Act).  Introduced by Chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Conn.), the LEADS Act would provide better tools for the United States government to obtain needed information abroad in criminal pursuits, but at the same ensure privacy protections for Americans while respecting the laws of other countries.

Alan Daley of the American Consumer Institute described the balance of pursuing criminals and protecting privacy in a piece for The Daily Caller on February 12, 2015:

LEADS will improve and facilitate the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process to address issues inherent in issue involving U.S. companies operating abroad, much like the case seeking an Irish citizen’s email. LEADS will also discourage countries from establishing data localization requirements, which has become a movement in reaction to privacy violation resentments. Data localization laws inhibit storing foreign individuals’ information on U.S. located severs – essentially, which would be a competitive and economic disadvantage to U.S. firms operating overseas.



02-17-2015 at 08:11 am - David Williams - Posted in: Tax Reform, Sen. Orrin Hatch, Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Taxes, David Williams, Congress - 0 Comment

capitol

This article appeared in The Desert News on February 6, 2015

There have been serious rumblings that Congress will attempt to tackle comprehensive tax reform this legislative session. This is encouraging news. Even more encouraging are reports that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, sat down and discussed the issue after the midterm elections. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, have even established working groups to study tax reform. And remarks from the president in his State of the Union speech last month and from Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, in the Republican response further illustrated that both parties may be willing to work together to do something when it comes to tax reform. Chairman Hatch has called tax reform “very difficult to do” and noted “we may have to do it in stages, but I think we can do it.” The last major reform of the tax code was the Tax Reform Act of 1986, and it was a bipartisan effort. For the sake of public interest, let’s hope Sen. Hatch is right and Republicans and Democrats can once again come together to make a serious run at real tax reform.



02-16-2015 at 10:35 am - Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Taxes, Michi Iljazi, Internet tax, Internet, David Williams, Indiana - 0 Comment

internet

Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) sent written testimony in support of Indiana Senate Bill 80, the Indiana Tax Freedom Act. The legislation would ensure "that neither the statenor a political subdivision may impose, assess, collect, or attempt tocollect a tax on Internet access or the use of Internet access." TPA has been a strong supporter of keeping the ban on Internet access taxes permanaent and we have repeatedly called on Congress to do the right thing for taxpayers and the economy by passing a permanent ban that applies to all states. SB80 would safeguard against a worst case scenario of failure to act by Congress before the ban expires in 226 days. TPA hopes the Indiana General Assembly will pass this legislation and protect taxpayers from new taxes on Internet access.

Click 'read more' below to read TPA's written testimony on SB80



02-12-2015 at 02:17 pm - David Williams, Sean Paige, and Michi Iljazi - Posted in: Taxpayers Protection Alliance, Subsidy, Spending, SolarSecrets, Solar, Sean Paige, President Obama, Michi Iljazi, Green energy, David Williams, Corporate welfare, Congress - 0 Comment

solar

Billions Blown on Solar Offer Little Bang for the Bucks

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) today published the first in a series of "Solar Spotlight" issue briefs, as part of a national campaign to educate Americans about the fiscal, economic and even environmental impacts of government support for the heavily-subsidized solar energy industry. In a new report, Filling the Solar Sinkhole: Billions of Bucks Have Delivered Too Little Bang, TPA concludes that solar subsidies, tax breaks and other preferences have cost taxpayers more than $39 billion annually — exposing Americans to substantial financial risk while distorting our nation’s energy markets. “American taxpayers spent an average of $39 billion a year over the past 5 years financing grants, subsidizing tax credits, guaranteeing loans, bailing out failed solar energy boondoggles and otherwise underwriting every idea under the sun to make solar energy cheaper and more popular,” concludes the TPA report—the first in a multi-part expose on the solar industry.  “But none of it has worked. Solar energy remains prohibitively expensive—often three times more than electricity produced from natural gas and other sources.  As a result, less than 1 percent of the electricity consumers by Americans comes from solar energy sources.”  Furthermore, over the past five years, the federal government spent an estimated $150 billion on solar energy and other renewable energy projects.

Click 'read more' below to see the full release



bigben

A version of this piece appeared in the Washington Times

The right of companies to sell their products in packaging that features their legally protected trademarks and branding seems like a no-brainer in a free market economy. In fact it is one of the key components of preserving Intellectual Property (IP) in today’s global economy. But that right is under attack from an unlikely place: The Conservative Government of United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron. Britain’s health minister, Jane Ellison, announced recently that, this spring, the government will propose a “plain packaging” scheme for cigarettes that will remove all logos, colors, unique lettering and other brand identification from packs and replace them with a drab brown packaging. The only graphic, beside the brand’s name in small block font would be a graphic picture of a tobacco-related ailment and several large health warnings. Mr. Cameron’s plain packaging idea is based on a similar law in Australia, which stripped cigarette packages bare except for large color photos of rotting teeth, dead fetuses and diseased eyeballs. The anti-smoking scare tactic was lauded as revolutionary when it was mandated by the Australian government in December 2012, but the policy has been an abject failure.



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