May 30, 2017
This article originally appeared in RealClearFuture on May 21, 2017
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, voted 2-1 on May 18 to begin the process of reversing Obama administration policies that classified internet service providers as Title II public utilities and put them under the agency's thumb. Advocates of the change hope that removing the regulations will boost private-sector investment and reduce the call for taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded broadband networks.Title II classification gave the FCC more stringent oversight over those providers, allowing the agency to enforce ex-Chairman Tom Wheeler’s version of "net neutrality," purporting to prevent those companies from inhibiting or slowing down access to certain websites or web services.» Read More
May 22, 2017
With tax reform right around the corner, lawmakers must consider which onerous provisions to target first. While there’s no shortage of taxes that unfairly gauge taxpayers, inheritance (death) taxes are in a class of their own. Prevailing law requires that every deceased person’s estate worth at least $4,450,000 be subjected to a “death tax” of forty percent. This, paired with the gift tax targeting gifts over $14,000, transfers nearly $25 billion per year from landowners to bureaucrats. After a failed attempt at repeal during the Obama administration, President Trump promised on the campaign trail to remove these onerous provisions from the tax code. Next week, the House can fulfill this vision by passing H.R. 198, which plans to eliminate a host of inheritance taxes including estate, gift, and generation- skipping transfer levies. Congress can finally axe a series of taxes that are immoral, unnecessary, and burdensome to business owners.» Read More
May 12, 2017
This article appeared in The Daily Caller on May 9, 2017
In a meeting last week, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to leave his state alone when it comes to regulating online gaming. We don’t know the entire contents of that meeting, but Gov. Sandoval likely pointed out that Nevada and several other states are already effectively regulating online gaming. They are doing so on issues ranging from prevention of play by minors to geolocation to ID verification. To use that old chestnut, this is a problem that ain’t broke, but the federal government is looking to fix it. Politicians, encouraged by deep-pocketed patrons such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson who don’t appreciate the online competition, are pushing a deeply flawed, dishonest piece of legislation called the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA). The legislation is flawed because it would lead to a crackdown of online gambling by Sessions and other law enforcement for no good reason. Americans by and large are OK with legal gambling as long as it is reasonably regulated. Online gambling hosted in states that allow it is hardly the Wild West.» Read More
May 9, 2017
Despite the deregulatory zeal shown by the Trump Administration and Congress, the vast majority of Obama-era rules remain in place. The cumulative effect of these interventions is large, with hundreds of billions of dollars being sucked out of the economy annually. Financial regulations, ushered in under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, had a particularly deleterious impact by targeting lending and borrowing activities. The wide-reaching legislation costs the economy as much as $36 billion a year, and imposes 73 million paperwork hours on American firms. But what can remedy this regulatory hangover? Later this month, Congress will contemplate passage of the Financial CHOICE Act. This legislation removes the onerous mandates of the Dodd-Frank Act, and places regulators on a tight leash. Independent rule-making bodies such as the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will now be required to comprehensively explain their cost-benefit logic to the American public. Congress already requires that new rules deemed to be economically “significant” be exhaustively evaluated in regulatory impact analyses, but financial regulations often slide under the radar. Given the ability of the Federal Reserve and the CFPB to usher in regulations affecting lending and borrowing for the entire economy, it’s only wise to require their methodologies to be scrutinized in the public eye.» Read More
May 8, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Hill on May 4, 2017, it was co-authored with Justin Sykes of Americans for Tax Reform
Washington seems to be getting in its own way on a number of potentially major reform initiatives in the first few months of 2017. But Congress is making progress on smaller pieces of legislation that promote better stewardship of taxpayer money and a more efficient and less intrusive bureaucracy. One area in need of heightened scrutiny and reform is the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan program that was expanded under President Obama. PACE loans allow homeowners to finance solar panels (or other “energy efficient improvements”) through a lien that is then paid back with property tax payments. Homeowners should be able to improve their homes without government intervention. However, when homeowners are making a choice on whether to finance these new additions and are leveraging property tax do so, there has to be truth in advertising.» Read More
May 5, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to Congressional action on two major fronts: government spending and healthcare. After a busy week in Washington. Congress was able to pass a spending bill that guranteed government funding through late September and prevented a shutdown. The House was able to pass the American Health Care Act after pulling the legislation from the floor a few months ago. TPA President David Williams reacted to both of these developments yeasterday as dual statements were released.
Click "Read Blog" below to see the statements» Read More
May 2, 2017
This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on April 19, 2017
Tax Day 2017 is over, and for many Americans that’s a huge relief. Unfortunately, a greater relief for taxpayers would be for Washington to make comprehensive tax reform a priority and a reality. But that has yet to happen despite having the perfect conditions to get something done. And, as the Taxpayers Protection Alliance spoke to folks from around the country, the message was clear: People from all walks of life want tax reform now. The problem with the current tax code is crystal clear: It’s too complicated. The tax code currently has 10 million words, and growing. Every year, an estimated 100,000 words are added to the tax code. This growth causes a drain on time and money by taking away billions of hours and billions of dollars from hard-working families to comply with a code that is in real need of slimming down.» Read More
May 1, 2017
The year is nearly halfway through, yet Congress still has plenty of work to get done in order to make 2017 a productive one. This week there is expected to be a vote on a spending bill that will miss the mark on any meaningful reductions in spending, but there also may be a vote on repeal and replace of Obamacare. The mixed bag from Congress and the White House so far is a bit disappointing but there are opportunities to cut wasteful programs and save taxpayers money. One such example is the SunShot Initiative. Right now taxpayers, through the Department of Energy (DOE), are paying for the program that spends $270 million per year to “induce companies to lower production and installation costs associated with photovoltaic solar panel systems and reducing the price of solar power.” This is a terrible program and that’s why TPA organized this coalition letter urging House Appropriators to eliminate funding for SunShot.
Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter» Read More
April 24, 2017
Congress returns tomorrow from a two-week vacation and they have a great deal of work to get done as a government shutdown is looming with only days of funding left, not to mention healthcare and tax reform are still big ticket items that must be addressed this year. However, there is another major piece of legislation that will soon be the focus of lawmakers on Capitol Hill: the Farm Bill. The current Farm Bill expires at the end of September in 2018, but right now the groundwork is already being done behind closed doors to get the ball rolling on the next Farm Bill. Agriculture policy is loaded with subsides, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance continues to take notice and speak out on behalf of taxpayers that want to see the giveaways just go away. Keeping that in mind, TPA signed a coalition letter recently sent to Congress urging a free-market approach to the Farm Bill and Ag policy. A country that is trillions of dollars in debt must begin to reduce spending and the multi-year, multi-billion dollar Farm Bill is prime for reform that could reduce the debt, save taxpayers money, and spur free-market growth in the Ag industry.» Read More
April 12, 2017
Tax reform continues to be major priority for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and a critical component to getting our economy back on the right track. The positive impact of overhauling our complicated tax code can reach individuals and businesses and be a major boon to productivity. While Congress continues to craft their plan, based largely on House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) Better Way for Tax Reform Blueprint, the Trump administration is still working on their own proposal. In TPA tradition, as Tax Day 2017 approaches, we took to the streets of the nation’s capital to ask Americans from all walks of life their thoughts on tax reform, and the process of getting their taxes done. Watch what they had to say!» Read More
April 11, 2017
While comprehensive tax reform continues to be a work in progress for Congress; there are some measures that Washington must take to chip away at a bloated tax code that sometimes works against Americans. One example is repealing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Any tax reform package no matter how big or small must include repeal of FATCA. While FATCA was sold under the heading of a way to catch wealthy tax dodgers, instead it has harmed many innocent Americans and threatened financial privacy in a way that no law should ever carry out. That is why the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) signed a letter urging House and Senate Leadership to include FATCA repeal in any type of tax reform legislation. Repealing FATCA is critical to preserving the financial privacy of U.S. citizens, which have been eroded by federal agencies like the Internal Revenue Service for years now. Repealing of FATCA will also help to preserve and strengthen the financial freedoms and choices of all Americans.
Click "Red Blog" below to see the full letter» Read More
April 10, 2017
This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on March 29, 2017
With health care reform on pause, Washington now turns the spotlight on the next big ticket item from the Trump administration legislative agenda: comprehensive tax reform. And while there has been much discussion on Capitol Hill about the GOP tax reform blueprint, “A Better Way” which was introduced by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the White House has so far kept details about its own plan close to the vest. That could soon change.» Read More
April 5, 2017
Transforming our nation’s moss covered tax-and-regulatory apparatus will take patience and consensus building, as demonstrated by the latest row over health care reform. Eager to reset the tone on policy reform, Congress and the Trump Administration will attempt a gargantuan rewrite of the tax code (the first since 1986). But, gone are the days when the Republicans can get away with claiming “tax reform” by only slashing individual rates. Business owners have grown weary of the cumbersome filing process that creates just another barrier to hiring and expanding. In particular, firms trying to write-off assets such as computers and furniture must grapple with a complicated depreciation schedule which favors some industries but condemns others to high tax burdens. Firms focused on acquiring the latest technologies are especially at a disadvantage, given how quickly the lifespan of “average” machines change. According to the IRS, computers have an asset life of 5 years, but this determination rewards companies that hold onto their computers for the full five years.» Read More
April 4, 2017
Spring is moving forward and Congress is working to try and move forward on initiatives related to healthcare and tax reform, but the business of regular order still eludes lawmakers in Washington. The budget process has become all but broken in the Capitol and appropriators (particularly on Defense spending) continue to try and jam earmarks into legislation regardless of the ban put in place six years ago. Keeping all of this in mind, and with budget and appropriations season coming in just weeks the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) signed this coalition letter urging the House and Senate Budget Committees to work towards fiscaly responsible solutions on spending bills throughout the coming fiscal year.» Read More
Click 'Read Blog' below to see the full letter
March 31, 2017
As March Madness comes to a close, with the Final Four this weekend and National Championship Monday night, it’s important to remember how outdated bans are failing the intended purpose to prevent betting and instead are leading to the perpetuation of a massive underground illegal economy. Here are some of the numbers, according to the American Gaming Association:
- Americans will wager $10.4 billion on March Madness this year, a 13 percent increase over last year
- Out of that $10.4 billion wagered, only about $295 million (3 percent) will be wagered legally through Nevada sports books
- The remaining $10.1 billion will be spent on illegal offshore websites
No sport has taken in more money in a specific month of legal Nevada betting than basketball did in March of 2016. It took in a record $422 Million. March of 2017 is likely to surpass that
- The amount of money illegally wagered in the entire U.S. on just the 2017 Super Bowl was $4.51 Billion, nearly identical to the amount wagered legally in all of Nevada across all sports in all of 2016.
March 29, 2017
Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) and the Center for Individual Freedom (CFIF) released findings from a new poll conducted to find out how the public viewed the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT), priorities for tax reform, and components of what may be included in upcoming legislation from Congress. The poll was conducted with a nationwide sample of 1001 likely voters (margin of error, 3.1 percent) with an additional oversample of 200 likely Republican voters.
Here are some of the key findings:
- Despite general support for exports and manufacturing, there is limited enthusiasm among consumers for paying more for goods to encourage those things.
- There’s clarity among respondents that the border adjustment will raise prices.
- A clear majority of voters prefer tax cuts to be accompanied by reductions in federal spending rather than increases in other taxes. Just 18 percent indicated they favored the current approach of offsetting tax increases; 72 percent (82 percent among Republicans) said they favored cuts in federal spending.
- Trust in Congress is limited. Just 29 percent of voters said they trusted Congress to pass the legislation in a way that helps consumers; 63 percent said they did not trust Congress to do that. Among Republicans, 67 percent trust President Trump more than Congress on tax reform; only 11 percent trust Congress more.
March 28, 2017
In the mind of the public, the concept of a “legal dispute” evokes images of black robes, a thunderous grovel, and a jury of peers. But for many cases, the public courtroom is going the way of the dodo. Customer disputes with software and telecommunication companies often end up in private arbitration, in which a mutually-chosen “private judge” hears case specifics and makes a final determination. Since the 1920s, the federal government has generally upheld arbitration resolutions as legally enforceable with a few exceptions. But soon, this may all change. A growing chorus of lawmakers have voiced disapproval with our nation’s arbitration system, claiming that rules are stacked against consumers and outcomes are tilted in corporations’ favor. Rulemaking bodies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are in the process of penning rules curbing arbitration and making it harder for corporations to avoid public courts.» Read More
March 27, 2017
The last few weeks have been filled with a flurry of action from Congress, most notably healthcare. However, there is another major battle that has dominated the Senate this month and that’s the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat left by the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. Judge Gorsuch is extremely qualified and would bring a limited government free-market approach to the bench on a host of issues. This is why Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) signed onto a coalition letter sent by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) joining mor than 50 organizations urging Senators to support confirmation of Judge Gorsuch to the high court.» Read More
Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter
March 24, 2017
This article appeared in The Hill on March 8, 2017
If you believe the IRS should be even more expensive, inefficient and bloated, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a plan for you. Last year, Warren concocted the so-called “Tax Filing Simplification Act.” The scheme actually puts the federal government in the tax preparation business. With Tax Day approaching, the senator appears to be dusting off the proposal for another go. Warren’s legislation would “direct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to develop a free, online tax preparation and filing service that taxpayers can use to prepare and file their taxes directly with the federal government.” Not surprisingly, Warren’s plan socialist-style bureaucracy has garnered the backing of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and several other misguided members of the U.S. Senate.» Read More
March 23, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) understands that this is a critical moment for taxpayers and Congress, and that is why our organization supporting for the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The status quo is deteriorating and the nation can no longer afford the disaster that is Obamacare. AHCA provides economic and regulatory relief to the millions of individuals that have continued to suffer under the grips of a failed healthcare bill that must be repealed and replaced. The American Health Care Act provides a path to accomplish the goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare and puts in place a framework that will allow for the Health and Human Services Department to also play a critical role in gutting needless and onerous regulations that have continued to plague our healthcare system. The initial bill, along with the changes made this week provide a substantive opportunity to ensure greater consumer choice and economic stability in the healthcare market. TPA encourages the House to support this legislation so that the Senate can move forward and do the same. TPA signed onto this coalition letter, organized by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), in support of the legislation.
To read the full letter, click "Read Blog" below» Read More