September 21, 2015
» Read More
The 2014 Senate takeover by the Republican party presented an opportunity for Congress to return to regular order and pass appropriations bills to fund the government. You know, the way it’s supposed to happen. That opportunity has been squandered and the country is now just days away, once again, from running out of money and a potential government shutdown. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and others have been calling on Congress to pass appropriations bills instead of waiting for deadlines to nearly hit and passing short-term stop-gap spending measures. Unfortunately, those calls have been ignored and now a more important fight is creeping up: the debate over raising the Budget Control Act (BCA) spending level caps and undoing sequestration.
September 18, 2015
This article appeared in The Courier-Journal on September 17, 2015
» Read More
Governments at all levels have squandered billions of dollars on wasteful and unnecessary projects. At the federal level pork-barrel earmarks funded everything from indoor rainforests to tattoo removal programs to gigantic subsidies for the solar energy industry. At the state and local level, Boston taxpayers watched as Boston went $10 billion over budget for the “Big Dig,” one of the biggest transportation infrastructure boondoggles in U.S. history. Today some of the most egregious cases of taxpayer waste are government-owned broadband networks. In fact, Kentucky is working to secure $324 million for a government-owned network (GON) that the state will, despite a partnership with an Australian financial firm, maintain and operate. State taxpayers will contribute $30 million to this project while federal taxpayers will kick in another $23.5 million. This project is a bad idea for five reasons: the state’s partner on this project, the likelihood of cost overruns, consumer cost considerations, privacy concerns and the weight of competing government spending priorities.
September 12, 2015
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance Releases New Report on NFL Stadium Financing
Washington, D.C. - This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a new report, “Sacking Taxpayers: How NFL Stadium Subsidies Waste Money and Fall Short on Their Promises of Economic Development” detailing the public financing deals for NFL stadiums across the country. The report examines the economic impact of taxpayer-financed NFL stadiums on the people who pay the taxes that fund the construction of those very stadiums. Since 1995, a staggering 29 of the 31 stadiums that house NFL teams received public subsidies for construction, renovation or both. Over the last twenty years, taxpayers have been forced to spend nearly $7 billion subsidizing NFL stadium construction and renovation projects. “Americans love watching the NFL and football fans love going see their team play each week at stadiums across the country,” said David Williams, TPA President. “Unfortunately, beneath all of the glitz and glamour, these venues are nothing more than monuments to corporate welfare and taxpayer handouts. These stadiums have been built on the backs of taxpayers who had no or little say in the matter and in many cases have benefitted little or not at all.” The report comes as the NFL opens its 2015 season, which began on Thursday night September 10 as the Pittsburgh Steelers were defeated by the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The game was played in Gillette Stadium, which was built using $72 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.» Read More
September 9, 2015
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance Releases New Report on NFL Stadium Financing
Washington, D.C. - Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a new report, “Sacking Taxpayers: How NFL Stadium Subsidies Waste Money and Fall Short on Their Promises of Economic Development” detailing the public financing deals for NFL stadiums across the country. The report examines the economic impact of taxpayer-financed NFL stadiums on the people who pay the taxes that fund the construction of those very stadiums. Since 1995, a staggering 29 of the 31 stadiums that house NFL teams received public subsidies for construction, renovation or both. Over the last twenty years, taxpayers have been forced to spend nearly $7 billion subsidizing NFL stadium construction and renovation projects. “Americans love watching the NFL and football fans love going see their team play each week at stadiums across the country,” said David Williams, TPA President. “Unfortunately, beneath all of the glitz and glamour, these venues are nothing more than monuments to corporate welfare and taxpayer handouts. These stadiums have been built on the backs of taxpayers who had no or little say in the matter and in many cases have benefitted little or not at all.” The report comes as the NFL prepares to open its 2015 season on Thursday night September 10 as the Pittsburgh Steelers visit the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The game will be played in Gillette Stadium, which was built using $72 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money.» Read More
August 30, 2015
August 29th marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in the Gulf Coast. Katrina’s aftermath brought a legacy of physical and emotional damage to a region that is still working to rebuild a decade later. There is also another unfortunate legacy that was left in the wreckage of the devastating natural disaster: government waste. One of the most memorable symbols of government failure was the thousands of pounds of ice sent to Louisiana that was eventually sent back and than melted at a cost of $12.5 million. The recovery for residents in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi has been a long process and still ongoing for many. However, the taxpayer money that has been wasted is something that gets little attention in the coverage yet it’s critically important to understanding the level of waste so that when future disasters occur taxpayer money can be better spent. » Read More
August 26, 2015
» Read More
Flooding in New Orelans, LA caused by Hurricane Katrina
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in the Gulf Coast. Katrina’s aftermath brought a legacy of physical and emotional damage to a region that is still working to rebuild a decade later. There is also another unfortunate legacy that was left in the wreckage of the devastating natural disaster: government waste. One of the most memorable symbols of government failure was the thousands of pounds of ice sent to Louisiana that was eventually sent back and than melted at a cost of $12.5 million. The recovery for residents in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi has been a long process and still ongoing for many. However, the taxpayer money that has been wasted is something that gets little attention in the coverage yet it’s critically important to understanding the level of waste so that when future disasters occur taxpayer money can be better spent. The incompetent response to the disaster was apparent immediately. The waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer-funded aid following Hurricane Katrina was apparent to government watchdogs less than a year after the storm. Eric Lipton wrote an extensive piece for the New York Times in June of 2006 detailing many of the worst offenses of taxpayer waste related to the post-Katrina recovery.
August 18, 2015
» Read More
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on August 12, 2015
The future of the Republican approach to foreign policy and national security was on full display during the first presidential debates. The candidates made pledges to take on the Islamic State and to rip up the Iran nuclear deal, but unfortunately, they failed to offer a grand vision or strategy on how to deal with the security challenges of today and the years to come. They also failed to address Pentagon spending and how to reform the Pentagon to be more equipped fiscally and physically to fight the next war. Instead, many simply reiterated false narratives and stale talking points to justify throwing more money at the military.
August 12, 2015
» Read More
(MacMillin Slobodien is the Executive Director of Our Generation, a grouop dedicated to research, educate and promote long-term, free market solutions to today’s public policy concerns.) Today, a growing number of Americans rely on the Social Security program as an income source when they reach an age where they can no longer work. Two thirds of seniors depend on Social Security for a majority of their retirement income, and one third of seniors rely on it for at least 90 percent of their income. Payroll taxes are supposed to finance Social Security programs. These taxes are imposed on employers and employees and are collected and paid to the taxing jurisdiction by the employers. These taxes are deposited into a trust fund the Department of Treasury manages. The way the Department of Treasury manages the trust fund suggests that there is no real money in the trust fund. Instead, it appears to consist of IOUs that are not worth anything unless people continue to buy United States’ national debt. Most Americans believe there is an actual trust fund with money in it. Instead there are IOUs to be paid with debt or current taxes. For the last 30 years, Congress has raided the Social Security Trust Fund. More than over $2.6 trillion has been taken from the trust fund to feather the nests of politicians. In addition, the total unfunded liabilities of the United States government exceeds any reasonable ability to pay. Beneficiaries need financial security and transparency for Social Security.
United States Postal Service Doubling Down on Mismanagement by Planning Expanded Grocery Delivery ServiceDavid Williams on
June 23, 2015
» Read More
On June 22, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced that they wanted to expand their grocery delivery service to New York City. This announcement comes on the heels of unanswered questions about previous attempts at grocery delivery service, a quarterly loss of $1.5 billion, and a plan to spend $6 billion on a new fleet of trucks. Instead of trying to compete with the private sector to deliver groceries and buy new trucks, the USPS needs to get their fiscal house in order and focus on their core mission: delivering mail. Last October, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance submitted comments to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) warning about expansion of grocery delivery without knowing the full fiscal impact of such a move. In those comments TPA noted, “Perhaps even more startling, the USPS is near a point of financial collapse losing millions of dollars a day and billions of dollars every year. Earlier this month, the agency once again defaulted on their $5.5 billion pre-payment for their employee healthcare benefits. The USPS needs to definitively show that the previous 60-day test of grocery delivery services was successful and that the USPS did not lose money on this project. They should not be moving into new and unknown markets before understanding the possible consequences.”
May 28, 2015
» Read More
John Kasich was a member of Congress that conservatives could trust when it came to fiscal issues. His co-sponsorship of the Penny/Kasich plan (named after former Democrat Tim Penny from Minnesota and John Kasich), which would have cut spending and eliminated the deficit, showed that he understood spending. Unfortunately, his recent actions as Governor may be a sign that he may need a refresher course on tax policy. In February, Gov. Kasich delivered his fiscal year 2016 budget to the Ohio legislature. In the State of the State Address, he described the proposal as “a message to job creators around the state, around the country and around the globe that Ohio is open for business.” Unfortunately, the $5.2 billion increase in sales, commercial activity, and energy and tobacco taxes packaged in the plan is hardly a welcome mat for economic growth. Not surprisingly, the plan drew immediate and acute criticism.
May 26, 2015
Earlier this month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2016 by a vote of 269-151. TPA continues to be encouraged by the open process the House uses in markup and on amendments because it is important for taxpayers to see what Congress is doing when it comes to spending their hard earned money, while preserving the importance of national security concerns that come with the NDAA. While TPA has continued to praise the open process, there are still issues with spending, which were addressed in a recent coalition letter (below) from groups across the ideological spectrum. As the NDAA moves to the Senate, TPA is hopeful that concerns on spending can be addressed. Unfortunately, the concerns that groups have on transparency will not be satisfied, as Senate Armed Services Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has made clear that the committee will continue the long-standing tradition of keeping the process closed. As we start a new week just after the Memorial Day holiday, it is imortant to keep in mind the sacrifices made by those who have fought to defend our freedoms. TPA will continue to press for action on greater transparency and more responsible spending when it comes to defense, because spending taxpayer money wisely can be one of the most effective tools utilized not just by the Pentagon, but all federal agencies.
Click 'read more' below to see the coalition letter» Read More
May 19, 2015
» Read More
On May 12, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed north of Philadelphia while en route to New York. In the aftermath of the damage done, eight individuals lost their lives, and more than 200 others were injured. The event immediately dominated the news on the internet, television, radio, and print with folks looking for answers and brave first responders doing what they could to get passengers away from the wreckage to safety. Unfortunately, amid the chaos and bravery in the aftermath of the accident there was a horrid display of selfish political cowardice from some who sought to use the tragedy as means to make a political point, as well as a play for taxpayer money.
May 18, 2015
This week the Senate will vote on whether or not to approve Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), a critical tool needed in order for the Obama Administration to finalize trade agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Taxpayers Protection Alliance supports TPA (yes, you read that right) and we are encouraged by recent developments in Congress as we near votes on this important legislation. However, there are still some things that are causing problems for the U.S. with some of our potential trade partners and one of those is the wasteful and duplicative USDA catfish inspection program, which TPA has continuously fought against. It has already had an impact on negotiations for the TPP as ten Asia/Pacific countries have written to the United States Trade Representative calling the program an obvious violation of international law. The program itself will cost taxpayers a minimum of $170 million dollars but the impact on bilateral trade could be almost incalculable. With that in mind, TPA joined with Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, and Taxpayers for Common Sense to show our support for efforts in the Senate, particularly those of Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), to get rid of the program.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter » Read More
May 11, 2015
» Read More
Another fiscal quarter for the United States Postal Service (USPS) has come and gone, and unsurprisingly, the outcome has proven more of the same. After maxing out their $15 billion line of credit with the U.S. Treasury and sustaining $50 billion in losses over the last eight years, there is no end in sight to USPS’s financial decline. The latest quarterly deficit totaled $1.5 billion, which means they are now more than $2.2 billion in the red for 2015 and yet are still continuing to operate beyond their means. With these figures, the U.S. Postal Service has run a deficit in 24 of the past 26 quarters. The agency was originally created to provide letter mail delivery service to everyone in the country, no matter where they live, at a reasonable rate. Delivering letter mail represents the core function of the Postal Service. According to their most recent Annual Compliance Report, standard mail letters and first class mail both cover their costs by more than 200 percent. Instead of focusing on money-losing ventures like deliveries of flowers and groceries, the U.S. Postal Service needs to focus on their main responsibility – mail delivery.
May 8, 2015
» Read More
The Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is set to run out of cash on May 31, 2015. Established nearly sixty years ago by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the HTF is a federal fund for transportation projects and programs that derives money from the federal gas tax (18.3 cents per gallon on gasoline, 24.4 cents per gallon on diesel fuel, and other related excise taxes). As Congress prepares to replenish the trust fund, some members of Congress (from both parties) are looking at options to raise taxes to keep the fund solvent. A bad idea that would do little to solve America’s transportation problems. Last month, USA Today reported that Democrats in Congress and their union allies are fighting to pass a gas tax increase before the end of May. But it isn’t just Democrats, there is legislation in Congress introduced by Rep. James Renacci (R-Ohio) that, “would allow gas taxes to rise as high as necessary to cover funding shortfalls, unless Congress agrees to an alternative solution by the end of 2016.” Raising the federal gas tax is a copout. The truth is that Americans are not just paying 18.3 cents per gallon, there are also state taxes on gasoline that need to be taken into account.
April 17, 2015
It’s been just a few weeks since Congress passed a budget, and in that time TPA has been watching to see what will happen next. Just this week, both the House and Senate voted to set up a conference on the budget so that each Chamber’s version can be formed into one that can be voted on for final passage. Although Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) recognized some positive reforms sought after in the budget resolution, there continue to be problems for taxpayers. Right now the key issue is in the Pentagon spending portion and specifically the money in the House version allocated for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Account. Last week, TPA joined a coalition effort led by Taxpayers for Common Sense urging the conferees to adhere to a Senate point of order “against Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) spending that exceeds the generous level included in the budget request, roughly $58 billion.” The letter was also signed by Campaign for Liberty, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, Niskanen Center, and R Street Institute. TPA will be watching the conference closely and will keep you updated as more develops.
Click read more below to see the full letter» Read More
March 24, 2015
Last week House Budget Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) released a $1.017 Trillion Budget. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) recognized some positive reforms sought after in the budget resolution, but there are some key problems that should worry taxpayers. While the plan utilizes spending caps as an important way to rein in spending, there still needs improvement in the Pentagon spending portion. Last week, TPA joined in a transpartisan coalition letter urging responsible cuts to certain programs contained in the Pentagon spending piece of the budget. These cuts would help to rein in spending, make the agency more efficient, and ensure taxpayers are getting the greatest return on investment while preserving the national security concerns shared by everyone during these challenging times for the country.
Click 'read more' below to read the full letter» Read More
March 20, 2015
» Read More
House GOP FY 2016 Budget Resolution
The $1.017 Trillion Budget released this week by House Budget Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) is a major step forward in fiscal responsibility. The most important takeaway from this budget is that the House GOP does see that spending caps are an important way to rein in spending and having a responsible blueprint in order put the country on a path to major deficit reduction. The one area that still needs improvement in the budget is Defense spending. While the Chairman has kept Pentagon spending at its $523 billion cap, there is a $90 billion request for the Overseas Contingency Operations Account (OCO), which is essentially a slush fund that is used year after year to fund pet programs and other various projects that really have no value to taxpayers or the Defense of the country. The legislation struggled to get out of the Budget Committee on Thursday, but a promise from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that an additional $20 billion that was balked at by some Republicans was promised to be put back in during the Rules Committee mark up. That $20 billion was supposed to be offset with spending cuts, but a handful of Republicans refused to vote for a bill that didn’t include the additional $20 billion. At least one Republican saw through the charade. According to The Hill, “’Finding an additional $20 billion of waste should not be a serious problem,’ said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), a Budget member who opposed getting rid of offsets.”
March 10, 2015
» Read More
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been a major advocate of reforming the practices of federal agencies that are wasting taxpayer money on wasteful projects and endeavors, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been a major concern as they continue to lose billions and yet keep expanding into services they have no business at even attempting. TPA also released a video in December of 2014 highlighting these issues (watch here). Now, with Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) open docket to consider the U.S. Postal Service’s Proposal Thirteen regarding the City Carrier Street Time Model (Docket No. RM2015-7), TPA is weighing in calling for transparency and full accounting of how the agency is working to do their best to ensure that the best service at the greatest value to taxpayers is being provided.
March 9, 2015
» Read More
It’s budget season in Washington D.C. and that means elected officials will be looking at another attempt to break the spending levels that have been set into law by the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which ultimately led to sequestration. One of the biggest challenges seems to be Pentagon spending due to the continued calls for increased spending and ending of sequestration by some of the most influential members in Congress. Recently, the Chairman of both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) called for defense spending levels over that which President Obama requested. Keeping that in mind, TPA singed onto a letter sent by Taxpayers for Common Sense, cosigned by Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Coalition to Reduce Spending, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, National Taxpayers Union, Niskanen Center, and the R Street Institute to House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) calling on Congress to ensure that any budget/spending legislation maintain the spending levels set forth by law.
Click 'read more' below to see the letter