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
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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
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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
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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
February 24, 2015
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."» Read More
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement
February 12, 2015
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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
February 9, 2015
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Congress has always been very good at hitting taxpayers for more revenue just when relief is finally in sight. The latest example of this nasty habit is the seemingly bipartisan urge to raise the gas tax, something that would harm many working families just as they are starting to enjoy lower prices at the pump. Under the guise of paying for the Highway Trust Fund, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have signaled they are open to raising the 18.4 cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline and the 24.4 cent-a-gallon tax on diesel fuel. This prompted TPA and others to sign a coalition letter led by Americans for Prosperity to urge Congress to oppose any efforts to raise the gas tax.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter
February 3, 2015
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continued our work on looking at how the United States Postal Service (USPS) is mismanaging time and resources, including taxpayer dollars, on services they should not be involved in. Last week, TPA submitted public comments to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) in response to the agencies Annual Compliance Report for the year 2014. The comment stresses the need for “more thorough reporting and transparency with regard to Postal Service product cost attribution,” with the ultimate goal being that the USPS “fulfill its mission to deliver letters.”
Click ‘read more’ below to see the full comment» Read More
February 2, 2015
Today, President Obama released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget. Unfortunately, this budget will harm taxpayers and do more damage to the country’s national debt. Just like Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter, taxpayers will see many more years of deficit spending with the President’s budget. The bad news is that there are projected spending increases in both discretionary and mandatory accounts. “The FY 2016 budget request from President Obama offers nothing in the way of spending restraint at a time when our debt is $18 trillion and climbing. In fact it does the opposite by adding $3 trillion to the national debt between 2016 and 2020. As working families continue to make hard financial choices that are necessary to everyday Americans, the President is looking to ask those same working families to send more money to Washington and undo the spending limits he and Congress put in place only a few years ago,” said David Williams, President of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.» Read More
Click 'read more' below to see the full response from TPA
January 28, 2015
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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan
Last week, newly sworn in Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) released his fiscal year 2016 spending plan. Though the budget must be passed ultimately by the Democrat-controlled State legislature, the details of the first budget proposal from Gov. Hogan show that he is making moves towards getting the state’s fiscal situation under control by addressing spending. This is a step forward following eight years of the tax and spend policies of Gov. Martin O’Malley, Gov. O’Malley’s budget grew by more than $10 billion from $28.8 billion in 2007 to $39 billion in 2014. Gov. Hogan’s $39 billion budget for FY2016 puts an emphasis on spending cuts that will help save the state money to make up for the $700 million budget gap left by Gov. O’Malley.
January 26, 2015
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There is probably no agency feared or disliked more in the federal government than the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS can make one phone call and wreak havoc on the lives of any working American, striking fear at a moments notice. Much of the disdain for the agency has grown in recent years as IRS bureaucrats have wasted taxpayer money on spoof seminar videos and lavish conferences, while others have been targeting political opponents in an attempt to stifle free speech. Now, the agency is complaining about recently passed budget cuts. The budget cuts the IRS is lamenting were actually passed by the House back in July of 2014, under an amendment from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).
January 14, 2015
TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS: MUNICIPAL BROADBAND IS AFFORDABLE LIKE OBAMACARE IS AFFORDABLE
Taxpayers Protection Alliance leader discusses the cost of Internet access ahead of President Obama’s trip to Iowa
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in advance of President Obama’s Iowa speech addressing the need to increase access to high-speed Internet across the country: “Municipal broadband is affordable like ObamaCare is affordable – in other words, it is not. Cedar Falls boasts that it offers its citizens the ‘gold standard’ in broadband connections. This gold standard comes at a steep price of nearly $140 per month for rural residents. In contrast, the costs soar to almost $1,000 a month for businesses, subsequently causing a significant impact on the amount of money small businesses will have to reinvest in their own growth. Access to high-speed Internet is hailed by big-government spenders as a pseudo human right, but what they gloss over are the enormous costs to taxpayers that are not recouped when broadband networks fail or are sold.» Read More
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement from TPA
January 5, 2015
A new session of Congress begins this week, and the new Senate will look different in more ways than the obvious one of Republicans taking control. One significant change will be the absence of now former Sen. Tom. Coburn (R- Okla.). Sen. Coburn’s legacy will be that he exposed government waste wherever it was. The annual ‘Wastebook’ released by Sen. Coburn’s office highlighted billions in government waste across a wide array of federal agencies, leaving no department untouched. Though the ‘Wastebook’ has seen it’s last release from Sen. Coburn’s office, the Senator made sure to leave Capitol Hill delivering one last shot at bloated government with a detailed report on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In short, the report stated that, “Homeland Security is not successfully executing any of its five main missions.”
December 2, 2014
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The latest example of President Obama’s reliance on rhetoric over substance was in full view earlier last month after Republicans reclaimed control of the Senate in the midterm elections. The President tried to use language to soften up the American electorate by speaking to the fact that, unlike the last six years, he has plans for Democrats and Republicans to work together during his last two years in office. He focused on two issues—tax reform and infrastructure improvement—precisely because they are the only pressing issues around which there is broad agreement that changes must be enacted. But, the President has fallen short on a solution for both tax reform and infrastructure by tying the two issues together. He noted, “Traditionally both parties have been for creating jobs rebuilding our infrastructure — our roads, bridges, ports, waterways…I think we can hone in on a way to pay for it, through tax reform that closes loopholes and makes it more attractive for companies to create jobs here in the United States.” His comments went on to suggest that he favors closing the gaps in the in the Highway Trust Fund with revenues from a corporate tax holiday. A corporate tax holiday, or repatriation, would allow companies to bring profits made overseas back to the United States at a reduced tax rate. This gimmick would serve to plug a temporary hole but fix none of the underlying structural issues with our tax code. With both Republicans and Democrats seemingly willing to work together, an opportunity like tax reform should not be so limited in scope.
November 25, 2014
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With the Congress in a short Lame Duck recess (slated to return next week) and the government running out of funding on December 11th, it is nearing the point where there will be some type of legislation needed to keep the government open for the remainder of the year and into 2015. The real question right now is what type of stopgap funding measure will there be from Congress to make sure the government remains open for business after the latest Continuing Resolution (passed in September) expires. Will it be another CR? Or will there be a massive omnibus spending bill headed to the President’s desk? If it is the latter, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be concerned and taxpayers should be too with the possibility of earmarks being inserted into the bill. Though earmarks were banned, lawmakers have found a way around the process and they continue to be a problem. Right now the tide appears to be with the Omnibus, and there are reports out that show there’s not even interest in a short-term Continuing Resolution. John T. Bennett of Defense News said this much last week in an article Thursday.
November 17, 2014
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on November 14, 2014
For many years, earmarks were business as usual in Washington, D.C. That changed in 2006 when Republicans lost control of the House of Representatives partly due to their excessive spending on earmarks. Responding to that voter pressure, Congress instituted transparency rules for earmarks starting in 2008 and then in 2010, the House and Senate agreed to a two-year moratorium. The moratorium was extended and most earmarks disappeared, except for the defense spending bill. In fact, TPA uncovered 186 earmarks worth $7 billion (click here to see the full list) in the Defense Appropriations Bill that was part of H.R. 3547, the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act, aka the Omnibus appropriations bill. One member of Congress tried to unsuccessfully bring back earmarks. A post from Redstate.com on November 14 noted that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) tried to introduce an amendment to House rules that “would allow an exception to the earmarks ban for ‘State, locality (including county and city governments), or a public utility or other public entity.’”» Read More
November 12, 2014
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Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse for taxpayers, along comes another way for government to waste money, broadband in national parks. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has documented the lousy track record the public sector has when it comes to government broadband and with examples like the ones in Tennessee, Louisiana and Utah (read here, here, and here), it defies logic why more attempts would be made. Just last week, reports surfaced about another proposed expansion of government broadband, but this time in national parks. For example, Yellowstone National Park is on the verge of adding to an already established broadband apparatus as part of the “Go Digital” campaign. This proposal comes at the same time that Yellowstone is in the midst of considering a fee increase that would hit the millions of annual visitors to the park. Taxpayers should not be on the hook for providing broadband in the national parks. A trip to a national park should be spent enjoying the natural beauty of nature, not posting nature “selfies” to social media.
November 10, 2014
National Governors Association 2014 Winter Meeting
Stephen Adkins is a research fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. Which governors do best at protecting taxpayers’ money and controlling state spending? That’s the questions answered by the Cato Institute’s 12th biennial “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors.” Residents of North Carolina, Kansas, Maine, and Indiana are in good hands, according to the report card. The study finds that, while some state executives responded to widespread upticks in state revenues by lowering tax burdens on their constituents, others, predictably, have decided to go on spending sprees. » Read More
November 6, 2014
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The midterm elections took place this week and with the lame duck session of Congress coming next week (click here to see TPA’s wish list for that session) there are already warning signs of troubling policy initiatives that taxpayers may get from these rushed remaining congressional working days of the year. For example, tomorrow the White House will be meeting with Senate and House leaders to discuss the long-term agenda for the new Congress, but also the short-term agenda for the lame duck. There is already word on a move with corporate taxes that will be bad for taxpayers and small businesses. Speaking yesterday in his first press conference since the midterm elections, President Obama once again called for a transportation bill that would be paid for by corporate tax reform.
October 23, 2014
The Department of Defense has long been seen as one of the primary areas where reform is needed when it comes to how taxpayer money is spent. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has highlighted not only the wasteful spending practices that exist in the Pentagon, but there is also the fact that transparency and accountability at the agency is lacking and has been for quite some time. Unfortunately, another example of waste and mismanagement has been uncovered showing once again that taxpayers aren’t being best served by DOD. Andrea Shalal of Reuters reported in early October on a fleet of planes for Afghanistan, which came courtesy of American taxpayers, is being sold for scrap.