August 5, 2015
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Here we go again. Another election season is quickly approaching and the first sign of the 2016 election is the first debate. On Thursday August 6, ten republicans will square off in the first of many debates in an attempt to win the hearts and minds of republican voters. Thursday’s debate in Ohio will be the first (and certainly not the last time) for the presidential hopefuls to tell the voters why they should be the party’s nominee for President. Even though the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will not endorse anybody for President, we do have a Top Ten list of issues should be addressed by the candidates.
July 28, 2015
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A verision of this article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on July 15, 2015
Despite a frustrating ruling from the Supreme Court that kept the state and federal subsidies intact for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), there are still opportunities to chip away at some of the law’s more damaging provisions, including many of the taxes that were put in place to help offset some of the financial costs of Obamacare. Many of those taxes – which aren’t generating the promised revenue – shouldn’t have been created in the first place, and are now wreaking havoc on the economy. Even though a full repeal of Obamacare may not be realistic, Congress does have the ability to remove components of Obamacare that have bipartisan opposition. One such component is the tanning tax. Currently, there is legislation in the House of Representatives sponsored by Rep. George Holding (R-N.C.) to repeal the tanning tax, H.R.2698, the “Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015.” The bill is a simple one-page piece of legislation that eliminates the tanning tax on indoor tanning salons. The bipartisan bill has 30 cosponsors, including Brad Ashford (D-Neb.) and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). The 10 percent tax on indoor tanning is the perfect example of a tax not generating the revenue promised. In 2010, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) projected that the new tax would generate $1 billion between 2010-2014. The IRS reports that the tax only produced $86.3 million in fiscal year (FY) 2011, $91.5 million in FY 2012, and $92 million in both FY 2013 and FY 2014 – a total of only $362 million. With a difference of $600 million, those numbers are far from what was expected.
July 6, 2015
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This article originally appeared in The Hill on June 25, 2015
With the Highway Trust Fund set to run out of money yet again in the coming weeks, members of Congress have focused their efforts around various ideas to provide a sustainable, long-term solution to the funding shortfall. At least some of them have. A fix to the Fund will not be easy. And the failure of Congress to work toward a real solution has led some politicians to resort to their age-old answer of raising taxes. This is a monumentally bad idea because in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon that consumers are paying in federal gas taxes, the average state gas tax is 20 cents per gallon, making the total taxes paid at the gas pump to be 38 cents per gallon. Another option is to use taxes received from repatriated funds (money brought back into the country by corporations). Whether it’s raising the gas tax or using repatriated tax revenue, attempts to shore up the Fund by shifting money from other budgets will not be a long term solution. And, these gimmicks will not solve transportation problems.
June 30, 2015
July 1st marks the beginning of the fiscal year for states across the country, and with that comes the end for many legislative sessions where budgets have been completed and difficult choices on spending have been made. Unfortunately, many states have defaulted to the tired and repeated mistake of taxing tobacco products and some legislatures are even looking to go after those who partake in vaping with new taxes on what is a growing industry, the last thing it needs is excise taxes to harm that potential. This is sadly a bipartisan affair, as states run by Democrats and Republicans are getting in on the haphazardly scheme of taxing tobacco and vapor products. Here are some of the states that have done a disservice to the taxpayers that put them in office by enacting these misguided policies that do more harm than good.» Read More
June 25, 2015
TPA Reaction to SCOTUS Obamacare Decision
Taxpayer Group Slams Decision to Keep Subsidies, Urges Full Repeal
Washington, D.C. - Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) slammed the United States Supreme Court after a disappointing ruling in King v. Burwell. This ruling on Obamacare is bad for taxpayers and the whole country. Obamacare has been a flawed and failed piece of legislation from the beginning. Today, the Supreme Court deepened the pain of working families as millions of Americans continue to pay for a program that has forced people onto lower quality plans, forced families to lose their preferred coverage, put the privacy of the public at risk, and will cost taxpayers over $1 trillion in just the next decade alone.
Even with this disappointing ruling, TPA will continue to call for a full repeal in the House and Senate so that Washington can encourage incentive-based, private sector solutions to healthcare that will lower costs and provide greater access for all Americans who need quality health care in this country. Obamacare isn’t the answer, and after the continued failure of many key components of the law, bipartisan repeal of specific provisions of the bill, and record unpopularity there should be no doubt that this program needs to end. » Read More
June 16, 2015
In what amounts to a new spin on a bad idea from Washington, yesterday saw the introduction of an online sales tax bill, the “Remote Transactions Parity Act” (RTPA), sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). The Senate passed the loathsome Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) in 2013, which fortunately, never saw the light of day in the House of Representatives. Rep. Chaffetz's legislation is bad news for taxpayers because it would hit total sales, no matter the amount of sales in online business transactions. This new attempt by Rep. Chafftez should be rejected by House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and opposed by all members. Rep. Chaffetez's bill would target small businesses and harm the internet economy by discouraging innovation and investment. With that in mind, TPA joined a coalition effort led by the R Street Institute who sent this letter to Congress outlining the problems with the Chaffetz RTPA legislation and urging members to oppose the bill.
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June 15, 2015
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Last week the House of Representatives (on a voice vote) passed H.R. 235, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA), which would forever ban internet access taxes. This is an important piece of legislation for several reasons and taxpayers should be encouraged that the House has once again moved in a bipartisan way to protect internet users from needless taxes that would be imposed simply for going online. The bill was sponsored by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.); and he, along with cosponsors Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Tom Marino (R-Pa.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).
June 1, 2015
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Time is running out for this current session of Congress to address many issues. While there has been some positive movement on important legislation dealing with trade and the budget, there are several issues outstanding that elected officials need to address before the end of the year. Corporate tax reform is one of the easiest and most important of the unresolved issues facing Congress. Tax reform is critical and corporate tax reform could be the key to unleashing a major boost in energy production. The United States has had the corporate tax rate the world since April 1, 2012. This is not something to be proud of and it is the reason businesses are fleeing the country at a disturbing pace.
May 28, 2015
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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 15, 2015
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This article originally appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer on Wednesdsay, May 6, 2015
Pennsylvania is not different from any other state where legislators are confronted with decisions on whether to raise taxes or cut spending to balance their books. The easiest (and laziest) option is to raise taxes. Gov. Wolf seems to be taking the lazy way out by proposing a $4.5 billion tax increase. Some Pennsylvania legislators are trying to help the governor by introducing a bill that would increase the state 911 fee on wireless service from $1 to $1.65 (a 65 percent increase). This would result in a $78 million annual fee increase on wireless consumers ($114 million annually when including the increase on home phone and VOIP services). Wolf's broader tax plan, which calls for increasing income and sales taxes while cutting property taxes, is getting a chilly reception.
May 8, 2015
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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 30, 2015
The United Nations Condemned by Groups from Across the Globe for Silencing the Media and Attacking Press Freedom
Taxpayer groups, government watchdog organizations and think tanks from six continents demand transparency and accountability from the taxpayer-funded UN
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Government watchdog groups, taxpayer organizations and think tanks from across the globe have united to condemn the taxpayer-funded United Nations (UN) for denying freedom of the press just hours before the launch of the UN’s annual “World Press Freedom Day.” More than 30 organizations representing 14 countries on six continents signed an open letter (click here) to the UN recounting examples of the organization’s unacceptable treatment of the media. The letter demands that the UN uphold the same standards of press freedom it expects from its member nations. World Press Freedom Day, which takes place on Sunday, May 3, is a celebration of the vital role the media plays in a free society and an attempt to promote a free, independent press in countries where that right is not yet appropriately valued. But the UN’s shameless assault on the same press freedoms the organization claims to defend has turned the event into a mockery and an embarrassment.
Click "read more" below to see the full release and letter» Read More
April 14, 2015
Tax Day 2015 is tomorrow! As taxpayers around the country do what they need to finish up their annual tax filings, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) thought it would be the perfect time to go out and talk to people about tax reform. TPA hit the streets of Washington D.C. to talk to everyday Americans from around the country about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax reform (click here to see the video). People from all walks of life in our nation's capitol spoke with TPA about their views on what Congress should do to benefit all taxpayers. The video is a sobering reminder of just how important individual and corporate reform is to the economy, and how views of the IRS are still plagued by the bad image the agency has after recent scandals. TPA invites you to sit back and watch as folks take a minute to have their voice heard in honor of Tax Day 2015! And, please let us know what you think of the tax system by e-mailing us at email@example.com. Please feel free to send us your own tax reform videos so we can share your story and ideas with the rest of the country.
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April 13, 2015
Tax Day 2015 is this week and there’s no better time to remind Washington that the need for real and comprehensive tax reform is critical. The tax code continues to be extremely complicated, as TPA’s recent interviews on the streets of DC (see video here) showed. Congress needs to act in way that will both to increase investment for American businesses and have a positive impact for working families nationwide. This morning, Taxpayers Protection Alliance submitted public comments to the Senate Finance Committee on both individual and corporate tax reform. TPA encourages others to comment at Individual@finance.senate.gov and Business@finance.senate.gov.
Click 'read more' below to see TPA's comments » Read More
April 8, 2015
It’s almost that time. Tax Day 2015 is a week away! As taxpayers around the country do what they need to finish up their annual tax filings, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) thought it would be the perfect time to go out and talk to people about tax reform. TPA hit the streets of Washington D.C. to talk to everyday Americans from around the country about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and tax reform (click here to see the video). People from all walks of life in our nation's capitol spoke with TPA about their views on what Congress should do to benefit all taxpayers. The video is a sobering reminder of just how important individual and corporate reform is to the economy, and how views of the IRS are still plagued by the bad image the agency has after recent scandals. TPA invites you to sit back and watch as folks take a minute to have their voice heard in honor of Tax Day 2015! And, please let us know what you think of the tax system by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please feel free to send us your own tax reform videos so we can share your story and ideas with the rest of the country.
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March 13, 2015
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This week a group of bipartisan Senators reintroduced the poorly named Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA), better known as the Online Sales Tax, in yet another attempt to get this terrible legislation through Congress. In 2013, the Marketplace Fairness Act passed the Senate in bipartisan fashion but the House wisely left the legislation dead on the floor. Toward the end of 2014, attempts were made to shove the bill into the Cromnibus although thankfully it did not happen. House Speaker John Boehner has said the measure is going nowhere in the House, but that didn’t stop the group of Senators from reviving it a few days ago. Keeping that in mind, TPA signed onto a letter to the Senate led by the R Street Institute and co-signed by American Commitment, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Individual Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Digital Liberty, FreedomWorks, Generation Opportunity, The Heartland Institute, Heritage Action for America, Institute for Policy Innovation, Less Government, National Taxpayers Union, and Rio Grande Foundation urging Senators to reject MFA and protect taxpayers from a massive tax increase that will do great harm to the internet economy, which accounts for billions of dollars on Cyber Monday (largest online shopping holiday each year, the Monday after Thanksgiving) alone.
Click 'read more' below to read the full letter
March 11, 2015
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah)
One of the most important issues facing the country right now is the need for real and comprehensive tax reform. The tax code is excruciatingly complicated and Congress must act in way that will help to grow investment for American businesses, but also positively impact working families. Last week, a step in the right direction occurred when Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) released their plan for comprehensive tax reform, the Economic Growth And Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan, or as it is becoming known as, the Rubio-Lee plan. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) welcomes the Rubio-Lee plan and would like to see Congress take steps to working on making these reforms a reality.
March 4, 2015
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The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is an oft-repeated line, especially when it comes to elected officials and policy prescriptions. Over the years taxpayers have been subject to policies that have robbed their wallets, while doing little to address the real concerns of working families. This logic is especially true for Washington and Alabama considering that the Governors of those respective states have called for an increase in tobacco taxes. Lavendrick Smith at The Olympian outlined details of the proposal from Washington Governor Jay Inslee (D). The Washington State Senate has introduced legislation, Senate Bills 5729 and 5808, which would impose higher taxes on cigarettes and create new taxes on E-cigarettes. This would be a costly reality for taxpayers, while doing little to address the problems that Gov. Inslee is looking to fix. The increase would push the state’s tax to $3.53 per pack, making it the second highest only to New York’s $4.35 tax per pack. It is unfathomable that Gov. Inslee would lean on old failed policies that will disproportionately harm the working class, and would in turn breaking pledges made when first running for the office he now holds.
March 3, 2015
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There are still many questions to be answered from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) e-mail scandals from 2010 and 2013. But, as the investigation continues, there are other remedies being put in place to stop political targeting at the IRS. On February 26, 2015, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Il.) did his part to curb IRS abuses by introducing H.R. 1104, the Fair Treatment for All Donations Act. This legislation will help stop the targeting of nonprofits by the IRS in the future by clarifying IRS law that any gift over $14,000 would not be subject to the gift tax. Currently, any gift that is more than $14,000 is subject to the gift tax, except donations to nonprofit organizations. These types of donations have been classified as tax free but in recent years the IRS has threatened to change that classification so that gifts to non- profit organizations classified as a 501 (c) (4), 501 (c) (5), or 501 (c) (6) would be subject to the gift tax. Roskam’s legislation would provide clarity and certainty so that the donations remained gift-tax free.
March 2, 2015
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A number of states around the country have begun legislative work for the calendar year. While each state has different priorities as well as different challenges, what they have in common is that taxpayers are in need of serious relief. One state where taxpayers could soon see some good news is Florida, where a new proposal to cut taxes has emerged that could benefit wireless consumers statewide who are feeling the pain of high excise taxes on their cell phone bill. Sunshine State Governor Rick Scott is pushing a massive tax cut that will include a lowering of the state’s wireless tax rate for all cell phone users. Wireless consumers are burdened every month with a slew of taxes that provide little explanation but heavy weight to their bill. Last October, a report from the Tax Foundation found that the average taxes on wireless combining state/federal/local are just over 17 percent. The report also showed the size and scale of just how many individuals were impacted by wireless taxes noting that 90 percent of adult Americans have a cellphone, and 58 percent of adult Americans have a smartphone. Those in Florida who are a part of that overall 90 percent are now faced with the real possibility that rates could be lowered on that monthly bill, and this is welcome news that Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) supports.