February 25, 2015
TPA PRESIDENT DAVID WLLIAMS TO FCC: SCRAP THE PRESIDENT’S NET NEUTRALITY PLAN
Taxpayers Protection Alliance President slams upcoming vote by the Federal Communications Commission on President Obama’s net neutrality rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), a national taxpayer watchdog group representing concerned citizens all across the country, criticized plans by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler to vote on new rule making regarding net neutrality and reclassification of the Internet under Title II. The new rules reflect proposed plans from the Obama Administration that would undercut the very essence of an open Internet and stifle innovation and commerce, while harming taxpayers and consumers. TPA President David Williams slammed the proposal in a statement released today: “The proposal coming from the White House and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is completely antithetical to the innovative nature that has been a hallmark of the Internet for nearly two decades. There is absolutely no rationale for moving forward with an aggressive regulatory approach to keep the Internet open.” Williams also talked about the harm to taxpayers and the economy, noting that, “Reclassification of the Internet could lead to new taxes, which would be a disaster for taxpayers, consumers, and businesses at time when there are already massive taxes on telecommunications.”» Read More
Click 'read more' below to see the full statement
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 17, 2015
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This article appeared in The Desert News on February 6, 2015
There have been serious rumblings that Congress will attempt to tackle comprehensive tax reform this legislative session. This is encouraging news. Even more encouraging are reports that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, sat down and discussed the issue after the midterm elections. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, have even established working groups to study tax reform. And remarks from the president in his State of the Union speech last month and from Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, in the Republican response further illustrated that both parties may be willing to work together to do something when it comes to tax reform. Chairman Hatch has called tax reform “very difficult to do” and noted “we may have to do it in stages, but I think we can do it.” The last major reform of the tax code was the Tax Reform Act of 1986, and it was a bipartisan effort. For the sake of public interest, let’s hope Sen. Hatch is right and Republicans and Democrats can once again come together to make a serious run at real tax reform.
February 16, 2015
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Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) sent written testimony in support of Indiana Senate Bill 80, the Indiana Tax Freedom Act. The legislation would ensure "that neither the statenor a political subdivision may impose, assess, collect, or attempt tocollect a tax on Internet access or the use of Internet access." TPA has been a strong supporter of keeping the ban on Internet access taxes permanaent and we have repeatedly called on Congress to do the right thing for taxpayers and the economy by passing a permanent ban that applies to all states. SB80 would safeguard against a worst case scenario of failure to act by Congress before the ban expires in 226 days. TPA hopes the Indiana General Assembly will pass this legislation and protect taxpayers from new taxes on Internet access.
Click 'read more' below to read TPA's written testimony on SB80
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 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 23, 2015
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This article originally appeard in The Daily Caller on January 13, 2015
The November midterm elections are in the rearview mirror and 2015 has begun with a bang, with battles on Capitol Hill taking shape on a variety of agenda items. The new Republican Senate and the emboldened Republican House have a great deal of issues on the table to be dealt with this year, but one in particular could be a major victory for taxpayers: Internet taxes. Last year was mainly filled with good news for taxpayers on the Internet tax front, but the victories were temporary, reinforcing the need for permanent solutions to ensure stability for millions of American taxpayers, consumers, and businesses that use the Internet on a regular basis. The moratorium on Internet access taxes continues to be a temporary barrier between Internet users and a flood of new taxes. The Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) of 1998 was the first real protection for Internet users against taxes for accessing broadband services, created with the goal of ensuring innovation and commerce through a vibrant Internet.
January 19, 2015
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On Tuesday night, the President will be giving his sixth State of the Union address to Congress and the country. After you get past all the pomp and circumstance of his arrival on Capitol Hill and shaking the hands of members of Congress, President Obama will launch into his policy agenda for the next year. The speech will not only be a preview for next year, but also be a peek into what his priorities will be and how he intends to deal with the new Republican majority in the Senate and increased Republican majority in the House. There will be opportunities for the President to reach out to the Congress to pass much-needed reform, but there will also be differences. Besides listening for buzzwords like “investment” which really means more spending, TPA will be listening very intently to the whole speech, but there will be a few issues that taxpayers should especially be listening for when President Obama speaks to the nation tomorrow night.
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.
December 1, 2014
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Today is “Cyber Monday,” the busiest online shopping day of the season. And, with millions of Americans grabbing as many deals as they can from their favorite websites, there’s no better time to remind elected officials that the time is now to permanently extend the moratorium on internet access taxes; and to tell lawmakers that an Internet sales tax has no place in an ever-expanding online economy. The total tally for online shopping won’t be know for a few days, but Cyber Monday will certainly bring in a great deal of online sales to many businesses. Lawmakers should look at last year’s numbers as their guide as to why the Internet should remain free of taxes. According to data obtained shortly after last year’s Cyber Monday (December 2, 2013) online sales totaled more than $2 billion and shoppers were going online to buy with more than just a computer, according to USA Today.
November 20, 2014
(Will Rinehart is the Director of Technology and Innovation Policy at American Action Forum, this post originally appeared on the AAF website Wednesday, November 18, 2014) Under proposed changes currently being circulated by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Wheeler the E-rate program is set to expand nearly 123 percent from 2008 levels. The program, which provides funds to schools and libraries for telecommunications services, has been the target of reform for years due to its onerous requirements. Instead of streamlining the process and ensuring that the neediest schools receive assistance, the new plan merely expands the program without the overdue reforms. E-rate is the name given to the one part of the Universal Service Fund (USF). The fund was set up in the wake of the 1996 Telecommunications Act and now has four major programs to promote access to various telecommunications services: a program for rural and high-cost areas; low income consumers; rural health care facilities; and schools and libraries. As consumers have moved away from landline telephone services and adopted wireless phones and broadband connections, the fund has come under financial pressures. Funding caps were set on E-rate at $2.25 billion in 1997, but was not indexed for inflation until late 2010. Since then, inflation adjustments have shifted the cap to $2.4 billion. Although the Chairman claims that 60 percent of “$1.5 billion cap increase represents simply a ‘catch up’ of the lost inflation adjustment from 1997 to 2010,” the cap didn’t become an issue until 2010 because the fund never reached the threshold.» Read More
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
October 20, 2014
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The evolution of the cellular phone has come a long way, so much so that what consumers use their phones for has become a crucial part of how many of us go about our daily lives. Unfortunately with that innovation and advancement in technology that has taken us from the flip phones of yesterday to the smartphones of today, comes a heavy tax burden from federal and state government. Regardless of what state someone resides in, they’re paying excessive taxes for something that has become commonplace in their life. On October 8, the Tax Foundation released a study that examines wireless tax rates for each of the fifty states. Joseph Henchman of The Tax Foundation and Economist Scott Mackey, authors of Wireless Taxation in the United States 2014, give plenty of information to sift through in this report.
UN Health Conference Bans Media Day After Kicking Out Public and Then Passes Massive Global Tobacco Tax in SecretDrew Johnson on
October 14, 2014
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Drew Johnson is a Senior Fellow with The Taxpayers Protection Alliance
After booting the public from its meetings on Monday, the World Health Organization’s tobacco control convention ramped up its assault on transparency on Tuesday when the press was also banned from the Moscow conference. Shortly after the media was removed from the convention, the United Nations’ health agency secretly passed the world’s first ever global tax – an outrageous scheme requiring nearly 180 countries to apply a minimum tax on tobacco products. All indications were that the global tobacco tax would not pass until Thursday or Friday, if at all. Without the public and the media there to watch, delegates ratified the tax almost immediately. When I, and a handful of other accredited journalists, showed up for a Tuesday morning press briefing, we were told that the briefing was cancelled and the press was no longer allowed to attend any convention events at all. The rest of the convention, which cost world taxpayers nearly $20 million, will now take place in secret, behind closed doors. It’s a chilling and disturbing attack on the freedom of the press – especially given the impact decisions made at the convention will have on people throughout the world.
October 13, 2014
A version of this op-ed ran in The Washington Times
A tobacco reduction conference hosted by the World Health Organization, the United Nation’s public health agency, took a hostile and alarming turn on Monday when the public was kicked out of the meeting. The tyrannical attack on the principles of transparency and accountability took place when delegates from more than 175 countries who are part of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, a UN global anti-tobacco treaty, agreed unanimously to boot spectators. Delegates then voted to ban the public from the Moscow conference center where the event is taking place for the duration of the week-long meeting.» Read More
October 10, 2014
Beginning next week in Moscow, the World Health Organization’s COP6 (the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties) will be held in Moscow, Russian Federation from October 13-18. There are many issues that will be on the agenda for this international event, but there are some issues in particular that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be keeping a close watch on to see what develops out of the meeting. One issue in particular is taxation, as there are those who may be seeking to introduce new taxes or have a ‘harmonizing’ of tax rates beyond sovereign borders. Keeping that in mind, TPA signed onto an International Coalition Letter expressing direct opposition to any of those types of proposals that may come from the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
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Click 'read more' below to read the full letter
October 8, 2014
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Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett
States are constantly looking for ways to get more money from taxpayers, and no matter how many times a tax increase fails to generate the desired result, we see this tactic repeated over and over again. Unfortunately, now comes yet another disappointment from a state legislature looking to fix problems with budget shortfalls. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania recently moved in a bipartisan manner to increase cigarette taxes by $2 with the approval of the state’s Republican Governor. The move comes under the heading of aiding a troubled education sector in Philadelphia. While there’s nothing wrong with improving education standards for children in areas where the improvement is needed, the way in which those reforms are achieved can become problematic. The tax increase the Governor signed is designed to fund the school district to help Philadelphia public schools but the negative impact that tax increases can have may end up putting the state in real jeopardy of falling short in terms of fulfilling their commitment to the schools and students in that district. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been a vocal critic of this type of tax increase and there is reason to show why it can actually do more harm than good on multiple levels.
October 1, 2014
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Last week the Obama Administration acted unilaterally, again, proposing new restrictions through the Treasury Department aimed at halting the growing trend of tax inversions by U.S.-based companies. President Obama has been one of the loudest critics of the practice of inversions, but he is one of the main reasons why we have seen such an uptick in inversions over the last few years. Inversions occur when “an American company reincorporates for tax purposes in a tax-friendlier country such as the U.K. or Ireland, typically while maintaining much of their operations in the U.S.A.” Just a little over a week ago, the Treasury Department announced new rules and regulations regarding tax inversions by companies headquartered in the United States. Actions taken by the Treasury Department to change the current inversion rules include various measures designed to make inversions more difficult to complete.