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Category: Taxes



  • Vinton’s Big Internet Gamble Puts Taxpayers at Risk

    Chip Baltimore on May 2, 2019

    Image result for broadband tower
    Vinton, Iowa, is an Iowa town of barely 5,000 people. Quaint and idyllic, Vinton is similar to many other rural Midwest communities in its quest to preserve its quintessential small-town charm while trying to remain viable in a technologically modern age.  While the Iowa Legislature passed a bill to legalize sports betting two weeks ago, Vinton wants to bet on more than just sports.  It’s going all-in on its future on a taxpayer and electricity ratepayer-funded broadband system that even city leaders admit will likely be no cheaper than competing providers, making it a tough sell to consumers.

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  • Board Of Supervisors Approves Massive Taxpayer-Subsidized Solar Farm In Spotsylvania, Virginia

    Johnny Kampis on April 22, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in Townhall.com on April 17, 2019. 


    The largest solar farm east of the Mississippi River will be built in Virginia after the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead on the plan. Despite fervent opposition from residents near the proposed 6,350-acre site, supervisors agreed to allow Sustainable Power Group (sPower) to build a $615 million facility that will consist of 1.8 million solar panels and generate 500 megawatts of electricity annually. The Utah-based company will sell that power to various companies and expects to be operational within two years.

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  • This Tax Day, Here’s How Congress Can Expand the Reach of Tax Reform

    Ross Marchand on April 12, 2019

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    Tax Day is upon us once again. It’s a painful and dreaded day for hundreds of millions of individuals, families, and businesses. Americans spend around 9 billion hours complying with the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) complex and often incomprehensible regulations. And,  including businesses, just filing and reviewing costs the US economy more than $400 billion per year – or over $3,000 for every American household. Tax reform, passed in December 2017, makes Tax Day a little better with 90 percent of middle-income households benefiting from across-the-board rate cuts and a simpler, easier to file tax system. But, tax bills from the federal government are still too high and compliance costs are too onerous for taxpayers across the country. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance suggests three steps that Congress should take to expand the reach of tax reform.  » Read More
  • Lawmakers Need to Say ‘Fuggedaboutit’ to Costly Taxes and Regs

    Ross Marchand on March 27, 2019

    Lawmakers Need to Say ‘Fuggedaboutit’ to Costly Taxes and Regs
    This article was originally posted in Inside Sources on March 26, 2019. 


    “The end of the Mafia as we know it?” Fuggedaboutit. The recent murder of Gambino Family crime boss Frank Cali in front of his Staten Island home shows that “La Cosa Nostra” is still alive and kicking, even if authorities aren’t exactly sure of the motivations behind the killing. On a day-to-day basis, the Mafia operates more like a stealth, corrupt government than a viper assassination squad. Construction, shipping and loansharking businesses fall under the sway of crime families, who infiltrate companies and unions to create fake jobs and siphon dollars off of bloated contracts.

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  • Taxpayer Group Releases Philadelphia Waste Report

    David Williams on March 1, 2019

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. –
     Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a report highlighting the waste and rampant abuse of taxpayer dollars by the City of Philadelphia. TPA identified a total of $278.9 million that could be better spent by city leadership. These recommendations provide the city a way to restore its fiscal and ethical credibility. » Read More
  • Tax season jammed up by shutdown, and Postal Service doesn't help

    Ross Marchand on February 25, 2019

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    This article originally appeared on Fox Business on February 21, 2019. 

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is struggling mightily to keep its head above water in the current tax season and recent developments have done little to increase trust with taxpayers. A scathing report by the National Taxpayer Advocate describes a backlog of 5 million unsorted mail pieces, as few were on call to sort mail received during the federal shutdown. Taxpayers will likely swarm the phone lines as April draws closer, since an astounding 93.3 percent of callers trying to pay over the phone during the shutdown were unable to contact a live agent. But there remains a bright spot throughout this entire frustrating process: e-filing.

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  • The Regulators You've Never Heard of Who Are Raising Prices at the Pump

    Ross Marchand on February 20, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in RealClearPolicy on February 14, 2019. 


    When the news reports on international organizations, big players such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization usually hog all of the headlines. But that may all change by the beginning of next year when the International Maritime Organization (IMO) — an organization most Americans have never heard of — implements revised fuel standards for ships. While this may sound far removed from Americans without direct ties from the maritime industry, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects ripple effects on oil prices writ large with significant negative consequences for all Americans. » Read More
  • Tackle transportation woes by steering toward pilot projects

    Ross Marchand on February 19, 2019


    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on February 11, 2019. 

    America has a pavement problem. In 2017, substandard conditions on America’s urban roads caused an average of nearly $600 in repair costs per vehicle. According to a 2016 study , U.S. drivers pay an additional $3 billion per year in maintenance calls due to pothole-related automobile damage. Meanwhile, America has a nearly $900 billionbacklog of highway and bridge capital needs, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers, who gave American roads a D grade. This rising national repair bill has prompted the Trump administration and lawmakers to call for increased infrastructure investment, rallying most often around around increasing a federal gasoline tax that has remained unchanged since 1993.

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  • Australia Experience Shows Devastating Effect of Carbon Tax

    Tim Andrews on February 14, 2019

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    This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on February 14, 2019. 

    Every year, the American public hears new proposals for a tax on carbon dioxide, peddled via fear-mongering and “Chicken Little” style climate predictions. With even some “conservative” and “free-market” groups arguing that a carbon tax is necessary, it is important to understand the devastating effects that these policies have had on taxpayers and consumers in countries that already have carbon taxes. » Read More
  • TPA Grades President Trump on his State of the Union Address

    Ross Marchand on February 5, 2019

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    WASHINGTON, D.C
    . – Tonight, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to President Trump’s second State of the Union address, grading the executive on a number of key issues discussed.  TPA President David Williams noted that, “it was unfortunate that President Trump failed to mention the $1 trillion deficit or the $22 trillion debt, or possible ways to cut spending.” » Read More
  • Michigan City Should Back Off Taxpayer-Backed Broadband Plan

    Johnny Kampis on January 22, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on January 21, 2019. 

    Even though it’s jam-packed with internet options, Traverse City, Michigan, wants to use millions in taxpayer money to build its own broadband network. It’s a foolish plan for a number of reasons, from the plethora of existing competition to the evolution in which internet will be delivered in the future. Traverse City Light & Power, the city’s public utility, is moving forward with a plan to connect all residents and businesses in the city limits with high-speed internet at an estimated cost of $16.3 million. It has picked Fujitsu and Allo as the two finalists to build and run the fiber-optic network. The utility’s board of directors is likely to choose a company at its next meeting on Jan. 22.

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  • New Congress Should Target Tariffs, Not Tax Reform

    Ross Marchand on January 16, 2019

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    This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on January 10, 2019. 

    Jan. 3rd ushered in a new, Democratic-led House of Representatives and with it, the potential for both peril and promise. Chief among the grievances of new progressive House members is the landmark tax reform that the previous, Republican-controlled Congress put into place at the end of 2017.  » Read More
  • Why are CAT Scans Cheaper for Cats than Humans?

    Ross Marchand on November 9, 2018


    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on October 29, 2018.

    Pictured above is my adorable three-legged cat Hopper. In his short year and a half of life, he’s been through quite a few surgeries and even a CAT scan. When pets need medical attention, they often benefit from the same tools, machines, and expertise that humans use at the doctor’s office or hospital. The difference, though, is cost. While humans haven’t managed to bend the “cost curve” down in medicine, veterinary medicine becomes cheaper and cheaper with the passage of time. Humans and pets may use similar types of medical resources, but there’s one key difference in the care they receive: the source of payment. Regardless of country, human healthcare is almost always predominantly paid for by someone besides the patient or patient’s family. Yet in veterinary care, things could not be more different; comprehensive insurance and government subsidization are rare.
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  • Why are CAT Scans Cheaper for Cats than Humans?

    Ross Marchand on November 9, 2018


    This article originally appeared in the Catalyst on October 29, 2018.

    Pictured above is my adorable three-legged cat Hopper. In his short year and a half of life, he’s been through quite a few surgeries and even a CAT scan. When pets need medical attention, they often benefit from the same tools, machines, and expertise that humans use at the doctor’s office or hospital. The difference, though, is cost. While humans haven’t managed to bend the “cost curve” down in medicine, veterinary medicine becomes cheaper and cheaper with the passage of time. Humans and pets may use similar types of medical resources, but there’s one key difference in the care they receive: the source of payment. Regardless of country, human healthcare is almost always predominantly paid for by someone besides the patient or patient’s family. Yet in veterinary care, things could not be more different; comprehensive insurance and government subsidization are rare.
    » Read More
  • South Dakota Misses the Mark in Analysis of Tobacco Tax

    Ross Marchand on November 1, 2018

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    State governments often have little understanding of the fiscal or behavioral repercussions of the policy changes they’re trying to make when taxing and regulating products they don’t like.  This is never more evident than in South Dakota where a tax increase initiative known as Measure 25 is on the November ballot. Should the initiative be approved, South Dakota would see an increase in the state cigarette excise tax by $1.00 per pack (to $2.53 per pack), and an increase in the state tax on other tobacco products from 35 percent of the wholesale purchase price to 55 percent of the wholesale purchase price. But in examining the impact of higher taxation on cigarette usage and prices, the South Dakota Legislative Research Council (SDLRC) misses the mark entirely. » Read More
  • TPA’s Tricks and Treats for 2018

    Ross Marchand on October 30, 2018


    It’s 4 PM right before Halloween night, and you traipse on over to the grocery store to get some Halloween candy before the kids come a-knocking, looking for their treats.  Unfortunately, the scariest part of Halloween will prove not to be the too-retro Michael Myers costumes, but rather the price tag on those mini Hershey bars. Unbeknownst to the irksome ghouls and Kylo Rens knocking at your door later, those candies have become far more expensive thanks to tariffs, continued sugar protectionism, and miscellaneous regulations. But, regardless of how many treats you have to buy to placate the kids of the neighborhood, the fearful prospect of Uncle Sam stretching out his hand to trick taxpayers is ever-present. » Read More
  • Fatally Flawed Montana Initiative 125 Would Fuel Illegal Trade

    Ross Marchand on October 26, 2018


    Special-interest groups (and allied politicians) have yet to learn that even the best-sounding initiatives can be unraveled by naïve assumptions and flawed incentives. In November, Montana voters will encounter a deeply flawed referendum sponsored by “public health” groups to hike tobacco taxes (from $1.70 to $3.70 per pack), with revenues slated toward making Medicaid expansion permanent. But proponents ignore illicit tobacco trade at their own peril. Tobacco tax increases have the nasty habit of fueling illegal enterprise while undermining revenue. And even if the funding were there, there are far more worthy public health ventures than the deeply flawed Medicaid program. Voters need to take a long-hard look at the unintended consequences and bogus claims propping up Initiative 185.

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  • States should tread carefully in setting sports betting tax rates

    Johnny Kampis on August 20, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in Watchdog.org on August 15, 2018.

    The dynamic screens at the Venetian sports book list the various odds of the day, and the Atlanta Braves at 16-1 are a tempting pick to win the World Series. Although the team leads the National League East and faces lesser competition in the senior league, their youth and experience could trip them up if they make the playoffs. Sharps across the country will soon be making such value judgments from their home states. Bettors in places like New Jersey and Mississippi will no longer have to travel to Nevada to make legal wagers; instead they’ll be able to purchase those tickets in casinos in their home states – or even online. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1992 law that prevented sports wagers in every state but Nevada, many states have already legalized sports books or have plans to do so. But experts warn them not to overtax the games, lest they chase bettors back into the black market.

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  • Summer Reading: Tax Reform 2.0

    Ross Marchand on August 10, 2018

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    Anyone who has been on the Eastern seaboard recently will notice that a torrential downpour can ruin even the best-laid beach plans. Should the unthinkable happen, tanners can at least retreat to their ocean chateaus and turn on a movie. Be careful when watching a movie sequel because the only movie sequel that even comes close to being as good as the first is Rocky II.  But, with Tax Reform 2.0 just around the corner, there could be another sequel where the underdog (taxpayers) win. » Read More
  • Instead of Carbon Taxes, Lawmakers Should Lessen Federal Footprint

    Ross Marchand on July 30, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in Economics21 on July 27, 2018.

    In the days since Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) introduced new carbon tax legislation, limited government advocates have set about criticizing what they see as a misguided scheme. Many have decried the carbon tax as an ineffective environmental policy that would come at a gargantuan cost to low-income Americans, while others fault it for creating more federal bureaucracy and producing thinly-veiled wealth redistribution. » Read More
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