Next Monday is “Cyber Monday,” the busiest online shopping day of the year. Last year, there was a record number of online sales with one-day purchases exceeding $2 billion. According to CNN, this is an increase of 17 percent over 2013. With renewed threats of Internet sales taxes coming out of Congress, there’s no better time to look at why e-commerce is so important and how Washington can make sure it continues to be a key driver of the economy. The increase in online shopping from 2013-2014 shows that the Internet is a key driver in a strong economy. That makes it even more baffling to think that some in Congress would be so out of touch to continue to push the idea of creating new taxes for Internet sales (click here to listen to the Taxpayer Watch that discuses the online sales taxes). Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) recently introduced new online sales tax legislation. H.R. 2775, the “Remote Transactions Parity Act” (RTPA) would hit total sales, no matter the amount of sales in online business transactions.
The time of year is here again when working families all across the country get together and gather around the dinner table and celebrate Thanksgiving. Even though the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is thankful for many things, we are also looking out for taxpayers because there are plenty of turkeys causing trouble. So, in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, TPA once again is highlighting our Taxpayer Turkeys of the year! Be sure to listen to TPA’s podcast where we talk about this year’s turkeys (click here).
Click "read more" below to see TPA's 2015 Taxpayer Turkeys!
This article appeared in Rare on November 16, 2015
After the previous three Republican presidential debates devolved into a series of spectacles marked by petty infighting and general disorder, the most recent one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was marketed as the first real opportunity for substantive discussion. One exchange, in particular, did highlight an incredibly important topic for conservatives: Congress’ addiction to blindly giving the Pentagon as much money as it wants. In an exchange with Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rand Paul asked whether Rubio, and by extension other Republicans, could be true conservatives promising “to make the country safe” while supporting unlimited military spending that contributes to the national debt. The short answer is no, they can’t.
This article appeared on Townhall.com on November 2, 2015
The millions of dollars of corporate lobbying for reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank seems to have finally paid off. Despite the fact that taxpayers won a victory when Congress allowed the beleaguered, corruption-laden bank to expire on June 30, a group of weak-willed Republicans, led by Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), joined with Democrats and used a little known and rarely used tool called a “discharge petition” to resurrect the Bank from the dead. The House of Representatives has abandoned common sense as Boeing’s Bank may be coming back. The discharge petition circumvented the authority of the House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), whose committee had jurisdiction over the bill and rightfully decided earlier this summer to let the Bank expire. The discharge petition allowed the bill to come directly to the House floor for a vote.
The last few weeks in Washington have been centered on a flurry of major news stories and events. The election of new House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the continuing Presidential debates for the 2016 nomination, a major budget deal, and now the Paris attack that killed more than 100 people last Friday night. Lost in the constant cycle of continuing coverage of these other things is the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that was passed (again) by both the House and Senate that is now awaiting President Obama’s signature before becoming law. The very little attention that was paid to the NDAA’s journey through Congress was mainly focused on the first time it passed when President Obama promptly vetoed it. Year after year President Obama has made veto threats but this was the first time that he actually made good on the threat. The reasoning behind the rare White House veto was detailed through a statement from the administration at the time of the signing on October 22.
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance sent a letter yesterday urging House members to use today's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) oversight hearing in the Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee as an opportunity to raise important questions regarding the agency's actions on preempting state laws around the country as it relates to municipal broadband. The FCC must answer for their role in overreaching into the states, without proper authority, on broadband expansion.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter
This article orginally appeared in The Washington Examiner on November 5, 2015
Late last month, a group of leading Senate Democrats launched a new initiative that would overhaul the nation's energy policies through a package of tax measures and, of course, a vast new program of government subsidies for pet clean energy technologies. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., described this legislative push as a "a technology-driven pathway to a clean energy future." This so-called pathway is, not by accident, aimed at derailing efforts from Republicans and oil patch Democrats who have sensibly pushed for policies that would increase the availability and affordability of the energy the economy actually needs. This plan is not tax reform and will not help the country be more competitive. A key element of the Democrats' plan is to use the tax code to further disadvantage domestic energy producers and funnel taxpayer funding to pet green energy companies. But to make these crony capitalist schemes more palatable to the public, they trot out the canard about oil and gas firms receiving subsidies and corporate welfare.
Today, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) released its financial results detailing a loss of $5.1 billion for the 2015 fiscal year. As a continuation of the Postal Service’s financial meltdown, this year marks its ninth consecutive year-end loss of more than a billion dollars. In response to the figures released by the USPS and the subsequent analysis from their leadership, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President, David Williams, made it clear that more transparent management and accounting is needed to repair the agency.
Click 'read more' below to see the full press release
The growth of government comes in some of the most obvious and costly measures for the economy by way of wasteful spending and higher taxes. But, another way that big government wreaks havoc on the private sector is through regulations. The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has been a repeat offender when it comes to using regulatory power to stifle growth and investment in certain parts of the telecommunications sector. Now, their reach is broadening beyond telecom and hitting in parts of the private sector that could have harmful consequences going forward for a variety of industries. In September, the FCC cited Lyft for what they deemed violations of consumer protections relating to automated messaging for mobile users.
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Massachusetts State House (Boston, MA)
Municipal broadband, or government broadband, has been an increasing problem for taxpayers. Local lawmakers use it as a “shiny object” sold as a new, better, and more affordable alternative to private sector broadband options. Unfortunately these networks are expensive and unnecessary, usually costing taxpayers more while failing to deliver the quality of service that’s promised. TPA has been working to fight and expose government owned networks (GONs) all around the country and the latest example comes from Massachusetts. Today, lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy will consider testimony on a bill that would move the state closer to their own government broadband service. Yesterday, TPA submitted a letter as testimony, urging the committee members to oppose the bill.
Click "read more" below to see the full letter: