Retransmission Consent, STELA Reauthorization, and the Future of Outdated '92 Cable Act Soon to Take Center Stage on Capitol Hill
TPA Responds to the White House FY 2015 Budget Release:
Today, President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget. The FY 2015 budget is a month late (which has become a tradition for this President) and trillions of dollars short of fiscal responsibility. The President continued his preference for spending more with a budget proposal that spends $3.9 trillion, which is an increase from the $3.8 trillion the federal government is planning to spend in FY 2014. The White House budget aims to confiscate more money from taxpayers and small business owners to fund a laundry list of big government programs disguised as “stimulus” and “infrastructure.” These new spending priorities are sure to be filled with waste and inefficiency, much like many of the programs funded by the 2009 stimulus package... Even though this is only the opening salvo in the budget war for this year, it is instructive to see that the President clearly doesn’t recognize the fiscal reality of a $17 trillion debt and an economy that remains stagnant. There is no way for taxpayers and entrepreneurs to succeed unless the White House gets serious on spending restraint and tax reform. This budget does neither and with no meaningful offers to cut spending, overhaul the tax code, or reform entitlements, this budget is simply a way to double down on the failed policies of big government spending that have been a hallmark of the Obama Presidency. There should be a clear path to fiscal responsibility through meaningful spending reductions and tax reform. That is clearly not the approach from this White House based on what we have seen today.
For the full response, click 'read more' below
TPA Sends Letter to Tennessee State Legislature Regarding New or Expanded Government Broadband Initiatives
(Joe Jansen has a decade and a half of experience working as a staff member on Capitol Hill. He has worked in almost every legislative capacity in both the House and Senate. Joe will be a frequent contributor to TPA’s blog.) The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) owes the treasury more than $24 billion. In 2012, when NFIP’s debt was “only” $17 billion, Congress enacted a set of reforms to make the program more actuarially sound. The implementation of these reforms has begun and homeowners and local communities located in flood zones are beginning to feel their impacts. The Senate has already bowed to the pressure and killed the reforms. Taxpayers should demand better. Prior to 1968, when a flood occurred in the United States, the Federal government provided disaster relief funding to the flooded areas. In an attempt to rein in spending, Congress enacted the National Flood Insurance Program. Under the program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) produces flood maps. If your home is in a flood zone, you are required to obtain flood insurance in order to get a mortgage. Unfortunately, the premiums paid by homeowners are not necessarily linked to risk. As an inducement to enter the program, some homeowners were given subsidized rates – rates that were “grandfathered” to prevent increases from reflecting actual flood risks. In years without significant flooding, the premiums might cover the actual costs of the claims. But, in years with significant events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the program is forced to borrow funds from the treasury to pay claims. The program now owes more than $24 billion – an amount it is unlikely to ever be able to repay.
It’s not often that tax reform takes center stage in Washington, D.C, but when House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Camp released his draft legislation on Wednesday, Washington, D.C., and the country, was abuzz.There was so much anticipation that folks started critiquing the plan before it was even released. Besides simplifying the tax code with an enhanced standard deduction, there are a handful of positive elements, including: the plan replaces seven brackets of income tax with three and reduces the to rate from 39 percent to 35 percent; there would be an increase in the standard deduction from $12,200 to $22,000 for married couples filing jointly. This would allow more than 90 percent of taxpayers to receive the largest reduction with the need of itemizing; the plan would lower the corporate tax rate fro 35 percent to 25 percent. This would be a huge accomplishment for businesses and the country as a whole (read previous TPA blog postings on the corporate tax here, here, and here); and Camp’s tax plan would also eliminate the tax exemptions for professional sports leagues like the National Football League (NFL) and the National Hockey League (NHL).There are some problems with the bill. The most glaring problem is the surtax on families making $450,000 or more. There is also an asset tax of 0.035 percent of financial assets for banks with assets of more than $500 billion.
IRS HQ in Washington, D.C.
A public comment was submitted yesterday by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance regarding the new proposed rule which aims to codify political targeting that the IRS engaged in over a period of the previous two elections. The deadline for comment submission regarding this rule is Thursday, February 27, 2014 at 11:59 PM EST. TPA encourages everyone to go to this link and submit a comment. This was also the topic of discussion in the second half of TPA's podcast 'Taxpayer Watch' yesterday, you can listen here.
To read the comment, click 'read more' below
(Joe Jansen has a decade and a half of experience working as a staff member on Capitol Hill. He has worked in almost every legislative capacity in both the House and Senate. Joe will be a frequent contributor to TPA’s blog.) President Obama, in his State of the Union address, said, “But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.” To address the issue, he urged Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour. The Senate will consider legislation to raise the minimum wage in the coming weeks. But is an increase the most effective way to lift Americans out of poverty? Established by the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the federal minimum wage establishes a floor for the hourly wages of most American workers. State and local governments are free to set a different rate and many have done that. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have set their minimum wage higher than the federal rate (currently $7.25 per hour). In anticipation of a congressional debate over legislation to increase the minimum wage, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) looked at what effects such an increase would have on employment and family income. Its report, released last week, concluded that an increase would have “two principal effects on low-wage workers.” First, most would receive higher pay. Second, some low-wage workers would lose their jobs. CBO projects that some 500,000 workers would lose their jobs due to an increase in the minimum wage. To be sure, an increase in the minimum wage would benefit many Americans, leading to higher salaries and increased income for some. But, an increase is not likely to make much of a dent in the poverty rate. That is because earning minimum wage is not likely to be the reason an individual lives in poverty. Unemployment is. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, 46.5 million Americans lived in poverty in 2012. Among individuals who worked full-time approximately 3 million (2.7%) fell below the poverty line. The numbers get worse as employment falls. 8 million workers living in poverty worked part of the time. And, 21 million Americans living in poverty were unemployed. The implication of the Census Bureau’s statistics is quite clear. The last thing Congress should do is pass legislation that will actually lead to fewer jobs. The best path to help lift more Americans out of poverty is through economic growth and job creation.