UN Health Conference Bans Media Day After Kicking Out Public and Then Passes Massive Global Tobacco Tax in SecretDrew Johnson on
October 14, 2014
» Read More
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).
» Read More
Click 'read more' below to read the full letter
October 8, 2014
» Read More
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
» Read More
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.
September 25, 2014
» Read More
This article orginally appeared on Pennlive.com on September 18, 2014
The U.S. economy has gained real steam in recent months. Last quarter, the groos domestic product grew at a very solid 4 percent. And, the most recent jobs report shows that the job market added nearly 210,000 positions in July. The energy industry is a major contributor to this revival. American oil and natural gas businesses are in the midst of an unprecedented blossoming. In fact, the United States recently surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the number one energy producer in the world. Federal lawmakers need to be wary of undermining this success. Destructive policies can stifle energy industry expansion and choke off the creation of new employment opportunities and general economic growth.
September 24, 2014
» Read More
On Monday, the Obama Administration and the United States Treasury Department took executive action towards the practice of tax inversions. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) President David Williams released the following statement today in reaction to the move by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew:
“The Obama Administration has once again shown that they don’t understand the real problems of tax policy in the United States, and more specifically the corporate tax. The executive action announced by Secretary Lew on Monday aimed at punishing companies who engage in tax inversions is not only the wrong move for the private sector, but it continues the willful ignorance of the federal government to fix our corporate tax structure. It’s been more than two years since the United States surpassed Japan in reaching the highest effective corporate tax rate in the world, and in those two years we’ve seen nothing but demonizing of the private sector from the Obama Administration and their allies in Congress. There should not be new rules and regulations that will make it more difficult for companies to compete in the global economy. There should be drastic reform of the corporate tax rate to reduce the cost of doing business in America so that jobs can be created and companies can be rewarded for their innovation. If President Obama is serious about keeping U.S. businesses in the U.S., he should support comprehensive tax reform, and specifically call for an immediate reduction in the corporate tax rate. TPA will continue to press for bipartisan, bicameral action from Congress on reducing the corporate tax, and in turn fixing the real problem that is plaguing business.”
September 22, 2014
» Read More
(Stephen Adkins is a research fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.) In July President Obama noted that, “I don’t care if it’s legal, it’s wrong. It sticks you for the tab to make up for what they’re stashing offshore.” This was said to a crowd of supporters at a Los Angeles area technical college. After defending the record of his administration, emphasizing the challenges posed by the financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession, Obama then turned his attention to the growing phenomenon of tax inversion (American businesses engaging in cross-border mergers in order to escape heavy corporate tax rates here at home). In a July 24th speech Obama declared that, “stopping companies from renouncing their citizenship just to get out of paying their fair share of taxes is something that cannot wait.” While being careful to refer to this practice as “tax avoidance” (not to be confused with its illegal cousin “tax evasion”), Obama railed against so-called “corporate deserters,” whining that American businesses require a renewed “economic patriotism.” In other words, American businesses’ primary responsibility is not, as one might think, to maximize shareholder value, but instead to stay put and let the Internal Revenue Service bleed them dry. And that, is somehow patriotic.
September 17, 2014
Tonight, the House of Representatives passed yet another short-term spending bill to keep the government open, by a vote of 319 to 108. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a statement saying, in part: Tonight, the United States House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 11, 2014 and the legislation is on its way to the Senate for likely passage and then to the President for his signature. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is extremely disappointed in this latest half-measure to fund the government that not only ensures continued protection for the crony Export-Import Bank, but also leaves in doubt whether or not taxpayers will be able to be protected from Internet Access taxes in the long-term. TPA has several issues with this continuing resolution but there are a few that stand out. First, the extension of the Export-Import Bank that is included in the CR is a troubling development on a fight that has been taking up a great deal of debate on Capitol Hill over recent months. The extension goes well into 2015, leaving the possibility that a long-term extension for Ex-Im may be in the works. TPA opposes extension of the bank because it is a major enabler of the worst kind of corporate welfare that leaves taxpayers at risk, costs American jobs, and undercuts the very idea of free-market principles in a global economy. Second, the bill includes only a mere five-week extension to the moratorium on Internet Access taxes. The moratorium was originally set to expire on November 1, 2014; now it is slated to expire in early December. This sets up yet another debate on the issue and TPA is very concerned there will be an attempt to couple a permanent extension with passage of an Internet Sales tax. The two issues are separate and should not be handled in a lame duck session of Congress, when politicians are unlikely to be held accountable.
To read the full statement, click 'read more' below » Read More
September 16, 2014
Congress is set for a final week of business and unfortunately we still have yet to see an extension of the Internet Access tax moratorium. What is worse is that a short-term extension into December is in the works, but there are legitimate fears that this minor extension is a precursor to a renewed push to merge a long-term extension of the Internet Access tax moratorium with the harmful Internet Sales Tax, otherwise known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. TPA has continued to voice our opposition for any legislation that puts these together. With that in mind, TPA signed a letter sent by the R Street Institute and cosigned American Commitment, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Individual Freedom, Citizens Against Government Waste, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Digital Liberty, FreedomWorks, The Heartland Institute, Heritage Action for America, Institute for Policy Innovation, Less Government, and National Taxpayers Union urging Congress to oppose S. 2609, the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act. The legislation merges both the issues of Internet Access taxes and Internet Sales tax in an attempt to confuse and disguise bad policy by acting as though both should be resolved at the same time in the same bill.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter » Read More
September 8, 2014
The clock is ticking for taxpayers as there are only slightly more than 53 days left until the moratorium on Internet access taxes expires, and Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is helping to keep the focus on making sure the moratorium is extended permanently. Congress returns to Washington, D.C. after a more than month-long recess and this issue is something that they must address in the limited working time they have remaining this session. Last week, Americans for Tax Reform and Digital Liberty sent a coalition letter to the hill urging Congress act and imploring the Senate to follow the lead of the House and pass a bill that will extend the moratorium on Internet access taxes. In the letter, TPA, along with many state and national organizations praise the House for passing H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA); and urges the Senate to pass S. 1432, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act (ITFFA), sponsored by Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). TPA hopes the Senate will act soon so that millions of Americans can continue to utilize the web without the threat of added Internet taxes looming over them.
Click 'read more' below to see the full letter » Read More
September 4, 2014
» Read More
This article orginally appeared in Townhall.com on August 28, 2014
Most people don't associate the concept of restraint with a federal government that's spending taxpayer dollars at a rate of $7 million a minute and passing so many new regulations that the Code of Federal Regulations is now over 175,000 pages, and growing. But give credit where credit is due. The Feds have shown remarkable restraint and foresight when it comes to not burdening the Internet with unnecessary regulations and taxes. Ever since the Internet emerged as a consumer tool in the early 1990s, politicians and regulators recognized that the technology was developing in ways they couldn't predict. Instead of legislating yesterday’s Internet, they decided to let it evolve with minimal government intrusion into the Internet we have today. Washington has held to this "light touch" approach and the benefits speak for themselves: the web has transformed the way we live, work, and play. America is the undisputed Internet creativity capital of the world with companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter being household names the world over.
August 29, 2014
This week the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), in partnership with Our Generation, released a report detailing the costs of congressional compensation and the sobering figures of how much the taxpayer is paying when it comes to pay, and benefits for elected officials. The report, “Are Members of Congress Overpaid? An Analysis of Congressional Compensation” (which you can read here) shows that in addition to a salary of $174,000 per year, which by itself puts DC representatives among the highest-paid 5 percent of US workers, members of Congress also receive more generous benefits than typical employees, with total congressional compensation including benefits adding up to $286,000 per year. The report also reveals that members of Congress make 3.2 times more than the average full-time American worker. With a $17.7 trillion debt and budget deadlines nearing, there is something to be said about the quality of work being done by Congress in comparison to their compensation. The report details specific attempts made in the past year to scale-back pay for Congress, even as some members say they are “underpaid.” TPA encourages everyone to take a look at the report so that more attention can be brought to this very underreported issue. » Read More
August 26, 2014
This morning the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), in partnership with Our Gerneration, released a report detailing the costs of congressional compensation and the sobering figures of how much the taxpayer is paying when it comes to pay, and benefits for elected officials. The report, “Are Members of Congress Overpaid? An Analysis of Congressional Compensation” (which you can read here) shows that in addition to a salary of $174,000 per year, which by itself puts DC representatives among the highest-paid 5 percent of US workers, members of Congress also receive more generous benefits than typical employees, with total congressional compensation including benefits adding up to $286,000 per year. The report also reveals that members of Congress make 3.2 times more than the average full-time American worker. With a $17.7 trillion debt and budget deadlines nearing, there is something to be said about the quality of work being done by Congress in comparison to their compensation. The report details specific attempts made in the past year to scale-back pay for Congress, even as some members say they are “underpaid.” TPA encourages everyone to take a look at the report so that more attention can be brought to this very underreported issue.
Click 'read more' below to read the full report » Read More
August 22, 2014
» Read More
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues its Summer Reading series with yet another issue that Congress should address when they return from their month-long recess, reforming the corporate tax structure. Corporate tax reform is an issue where there is unique bipartisan, bi-cameral, and multi-branch agreement in Washington. The reason for this unprecedented agreement is that the United States, with a 39 percent corporate tax rate, has the highest corporate tax rate among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. It is long past due that Congress and the White House come together and fix what has become a major ailment to a still struggling economy. Corporate tax reform has taken on a great deal of importance in the last several months. The economic driver, corporate investment, has taken a hit and our high corporate tax rate is responsible for much of that burden. In the spring of this year, retiring House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) put forth his plan for overhauling the tax code, which included lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, something that would be welcome news for small businesses all over the country. TPA supported Congressman Camp’s efforts to even take this issue on at a time when not much of anything is getting done in Washington.
August 15, 2014
» Read More
Last week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) began the Congressional recess Summer Reading series with an update on internet access taxes and what Congress (specifically the Senate) must do when they return from vacation and prevent tax increases on millions of Americans across the country. This week, the Death Tax takes center stage and there’s much work for Congress to do. The good news is the momentum is building for some positive developments that could occur in a matter of weeks. The first time the government imposed a form of the Death Tax was back in the late 1700s with the Stamp Act. Then the tax was used to help finance the Civil War (as an inheritance tax). And then again in 1916 when the Revenue Act became law (ushering in income tax), the estate tax came with it. Like before, when conflict arose in World War I (WWI), the tax became the vehicle for revenue generation. However unlike the previous two, the post –WWI Death tax was not repealed and is the foundation for what is in the current tax code. Today, per the fiscal cliff deal, the federal estate tax exemption is $5 million per person ($5.34 million in 2014), and the 40 percent tax rate applies to any amount over the exemption.
August 8, 2014
» Read More
When school ends for many children, their teachers assign summer reading to help them to be prepared for the next school year. In that spirit, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be assigning crucial summer reading for Congress so that they are prepared when they return from their five-week summer recess. With not much time left between now and the November midterm elections (less so this year since Congress is only scheduled to be in session from September 8 to September 23), the clock is even more limited than usual. The first installment of our ‘Summer Reading’ series centers on internet access taxes. Congress took a major step earlier this year in making sure that internet access taxes would end for good when they passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (view the House bill here) on a voice vote. TPA urged every member of the House of Representatives to vote YES on the legislation. The passage of the legislation was a welcome development in what has been a very long battle. However, the work is only halfway done as now the Senate must take action and pass their version (view the Senate bill here).
July 14, 2014
This afternoon, Congress took a major step forward in stopping Internet access taxes for good by passing the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (see House bill here) on a voice vote. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged all members of the House of Representatives to vote YES on the measure and we are pleased that the bill can now move forward and have the Senate take action on their own bill (here is the Senate version) . TPA, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition (ITFA) have been working hard to focus on the importance of keeping the internet tax free. With November approaching and the tax moratorium set to expire, it is imperative that Senate follow the House's lead and take action and pass bipartisan legislation to prevent Internet access taxes from becoming a reality. Americans must be assured they will never be taxed just for going online. Just a few weeks ago, TPA's Michi Iljazi was on the National Mall interviewong folks from all over the country and this point could not be more clear: Americans do not want new taxes on the Internet. Watch the video here and read this bipartisan letter below the video from a wide number of organizations urging Congress to pass the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act. TPA is thrilled with this news and now implores the Senate act!
» Read More
TPA Coalition Letter Urges Congress to Act on Comprehensive Tax Reform Without Shortcuts or GimmicksMichi Iljazi on
July 8, 2014
The clock is running out on the legislative calendar for 2014, with the August recess fast approaching and the midterm elections around the corner there isn’t much time left for Congress to act on important issues facing the country. One such issue is tax reform, but not all the talk has been welcome news for taxpayers. Though leaders on Capitol Hill have had discussions as well as some substantive proposals, including one from House Ways & Means Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), there’s still not much taxpayers are seeing out of Congress on comprehensive tax reform. Keeping that in mind, TPA led a coalition in sending this letter to leaders on both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee urging them that any tax reform Congress decides to do should be done in a way that benefits taxpayers, as opposed to any minimal changes to the tax code (corporate or otherwise) that would be used to pay for special projects. Tax reform shouldn’t be a vessel for politicians to find more ways to spend taxpayer dollars, it should be done to broaden the base and save individual taxpayers money across the board. TPA was joined by American Commitment, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Center for Individual Freedom, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Frontiers of Freedom, Hispanic Leadership Fund, Independent Women's Forum, Independent Women's Voice, Less Government, Log Cabin Republicans, National Taxpayers Union, R Street Institute, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, and Taxpayers for Common Sense in telling Congress to stay away from attempts at tax reform that would simply be done to give Washington more money to spend and we urge all taxpayers to tell their representatives in both chambers of Congress the same.
To see the full letter, click 'read more' below » Read More
July 3, 2014
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance, and the Internet Tax Freedom Act Coalition (ITFA) has continued to focus on the importance of keeping the internet tax free. With November approaching and the tax moratorium set to expire, it is imperative that Congress take action and pass bipartisan legislation (House version, Senate version) to prevent Internet access taxes from becoming a reality. Americans must be assured they will never be taxed just for going online. With that in mind, and the July 4th holiday upon us, TPA spoke to visitors to the nation’s capital where we asked them how they would feel about this new tax, and if should Congress act so that all Americans could declare their independence from Internet access taxes! Click here to view the video.
Click Here to the see the video » Read More