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 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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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 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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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.
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.).