April 21, 2017
When it comes to “sensibly managing markets”, regulatory agencies talk a big game but deliver preciously little. A heap of regulations passed over the past decade were said to make marketplaces a less threatening environment for shoppers and startups, with more competition and less monopolistic behavior. In reality, bureaucrats overstated “market failures” to justify putting rules in place that exacerbated problems and created unintended consequences. But thanks to a new Administration and Congress, public servants skeptical of these destructive regulations are emboldened and taking the fight to unnecessary rules. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairwoman Maureen Ohlhausen are two of these figures, successfully leading the fight to deregulate and return control to market players closest to the action. The pair successfully advocated for the repeal of a “digital privacy” regulation that would’ve entrusted consumers’ browsing history to bureaucrats with a poor cybersecurity track record.» Read More
April 3, 2017
While there has been endless coverage of the changes taking place in the Executive Branch under the new Trump Administration, there are still some very critical posts and appointments that have received little or no coverage. For example, the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb as the next Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could have a lasting impact on innovation and health. Dr. Gottlieb is a scholar, a physician, and has prior experience at the agency - he also understands that the FDA impacts the lives of all Americans.» Read More
March 13, 2017
As a child of the nineties, nine planets in our solar system will forever be lassoed to my memory by a silly pneumonic device. But then came 2006, when a fateful decision by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) relegated Pluto to “dwarf planet” status and beefed up standards for planethood. After eleven years, Pluto-lovers may finally have their day in the sun, as a team of NASA scientists fights for an expanded definition of “planet.” But the scientists don’t want to stop at Pluto; their definition would include, “basically…anything that's big and round and isn't a star.” Popular Mechanics writer Andrew Moseman estimates that the expanded count would include a whopping 110 bodies, beyond the reach of any classroom acronym. While this may seem like an academic feud worthy of The Big Bang Theory, taxpayers stand to lose from a “big tent” definition of planets.» Read More
March 8, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been an outspoken critic of the broadband privacy order that came down during the tenure of ex-Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler. The rule does nothing to promote privacy or protect consumers and it also grants new authority to the FCC Chair that needn't be created. This week, following a stay of the rule, TPA submitted comments support mulitple petitions to reconsider the rule. It is critical that the rule be abanadonded so that the FCC can end the cycle of growing regulations it experienced under ex-Chairman Wheeler, and move towards promoting a more consumer and taxpayer friendly agency under new Chairman Ajit Pai.
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March 6, 2017
Ever since November 8, 2016, the future of taxpayer-funded healthcare has been in the spotlight. Taxpayers want the government to be compassionate and thrifty. One issue where these two ideals intersect is end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Like most chronic disease patients, people living with ESRD often find out that managing their care can be as difficult as managing their condition. The need for multiple doctors, specialists, prescriptions and facilities can often leave patients feeling confused about how to get the most effective care – which they often don’t. What’s more, poorly managed care compounds inefficiencies and increases costs across the health care system. The good news is that Medicare is experimenting with ways to produce better care for ESRD patients at lower costs. The largest such demonstration project created ESRD Seamless Care Organizations (ESCOs), which currently exist in 37 locations across the country. Under this model, care managers assist patients with tasks such as making doctor appointments, getting answers from pharmacists and cutting through red tape with dentists or state assistance programs.» Read More
March 3, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to believe that the private sector has the tools to expand wireless deployment while also protecting taxpayers from potential risk. Innovation thrives when the government moves out of the way and that is a point that TPA made clear to the Senate Commerce Committee as they held a hearing on the challenges ahead for a potential infrastructure bill and how that legislation may encompass expansion of broadband. The coalition letter TPA sent (click here to read) reinforces the point that the private sector is best equipped to lead the way on expanding broadband infrastructure and that lawmakers in Congress should avoid the mistakes of the past that have contributed to the creation of many failing government owned networks (GONs) across the country.» Read More
Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter
February 23, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on February 13, 2017
President Donald Trump recently designated Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner Ajit Pai to be chairman of the FCC. This choice is an excellent one since Pai was a strong opponent of former Chairman Tom Wheeler’s policy to expand taxpayer-funded municipal broadband networks. Taxpayer-funded municipal broadband networks across the country have failed at an alarming rate. Last year, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a study highlighting the 12 worst networks. The study outlined how these government networks put taxpayer dollars at risk and explained why local lawmakers should not compete with private sector job creators to provide broadband and fiber service. As a follow up to that report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF) just launched a new website with a map outlining 215 government internet failures. The website details how much taxpayers in cities from California to Connecticut have lost when their local leaders decided to enter the market for internet and cable. Combined with the “Dirty Dozen” study issued last July, which found that in 12 cities alone local officials wasted $2 trillion in taxpayer revenue, it is clear Pai’s position is the right one.» Read More
February 15, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has long advocated that the private sector has the tools to expand wireless deployment throughout the country and now there is strong momentum to meet the needs of millions wireless consumers nationwide, while protecting taxpayers. TPA continues to push for more innovation when it comes to how these new networks are deployed and it is up to government to get out of the way and let the market do what it does best in these instances. TPA is hopeful that state legislatures will begin to put in place uniform rules that will encourage investment and innovation in these new networks. Keeping that in mind, TPA recently sent the following letter to the Virginia General Assembly urging them to pass legislation (SB 1282) that would create a set of standards allowing for 5G development and deployment, which would bring better technology and service to wireless consumers all across the country and spare taxpayers the risk of exposure and increased government bureaucracy.
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February 7, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC – The Taxpayers Protection Alliance Foundation (TPAF) today unveiled Broadband Boondoggles, a comprehensive collection of information about taxpayer-funded government internet projects. Broadband Boondoggles is an online interactive map displaying information such as cost to taxpayers, debt, revenues, number of customers, and other facts related to more than 200 municipal broadband internet projects across America. The data contained in Broadband Boondoggles indicates publicly funded internet projects are a universal failure. Government broadband networks cost American taxpayers billions of dollars a year while failing to stimulate economic growth, falling short of projected customer and revenue numbers, struggling to keep up with advancements in technology, and using tax dollars to compete against existing private companies, TPAF discovered.» Read More
January 30, 2017
This article originally appeared in the Washington Times on Jabuary 24, 2017
Last week, Reps. Kevin Yoder, Kansas Republican, and Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, reintroduced the Email Privacy Act, a bill that will protect Americans’ privacy rights from bureaucratic overreach by updating the grossly outdated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). Last April, the Email Privacy Act passed the House with a stunning 419-0 vote in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterward, the Senate version of the bill was compromised with controversial amendments, causing it to never make it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Now, however, all signs point to the clean version passing both houses of Congress this session. The ECPA allows law enforcement to gain possession of any emails or messages that are more than 180 days old. This is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, making us less safe because it overwhelms our bureaucrats with excessive information.» Read More
January 25, 2017
This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a series of issue briefs for the 115th Congress titled Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity. The publication puts forward an aggressive reform agenda for Congress. The publication focuses on 14 different policy areas where reform is needed to help reduce the size of government, cut spending, enact tax reform, and help get the economy back on track. Issues covered in the publication include Defense Spending, Earmarks, Energy, Health Care, Intellectual Property, Mergers, Regulatory Reform, Solar Subsidies, Tax Reform, Telecommunications Policy, Trade Policy, United Nations/World Health Organization and United States Postal Service Reform. TPA President David Williams said of the release, “The newly elected Congress has No More Excuses for not acting on real and meaningful reform when it comes to reducing spending and getting the debt under control. TPA’s Roadmap to Fiscal Sanity provides a path forward.”» Read More
January 24, 2017
As 2017 gets into gear, state legislators and governors are crafting budgets and struggling to stretch out dwindling tax dollars. While roads, schools, and police departments are typically on the top of spending wish lists, another priority, taxpayer-funded broadband has increasingly turned the heads of lawmakers. Some non-profit and advocacy groups have increasingly pushed for broadband investments over the past ten years, advocating for municipal and state-level network expansions. Given the continued failures of taxpayer-funded networks, state legislators should stay away from spending any tax dollars on these boondoggles.» Read More
January 18, 2017
On January 9, 2017, Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) reintroduced The Email Privacy Act. This legislation would upgrade America’s digital privacy laws by establishing protections against warrantless searches of private emails. This legislation is needed because the Fourth Amendment’s protection of property against “unlawful searches and seizures” is constantly under siege from home intrusions to warrantless wiretapping. Lawmakers feared that similar abuses would arise in the digital domain, and passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) in 1986 to safeguard emails from wonton searches. The law, however, was written at a time when “clouds” referred only to liquid droplets and not storage for information.» Read More
January 17, 2017
The Trump Presidency will officially begin this Friday, and with that start there are many nominees that will fill the President’s Cabinet. On a wide range of issues, these nominees will have a chance to make real reforms that can turn back the tide of Federal Agency overreach that became commonplace under the Obama Administration. However, there are also areas where it would be prudent for the new Administration to hold back on policy changes. On the issue of Internet gambling, the question of a potential revisiting of the Wire Act was asked to Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). The question was asked by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has advocated in the past for a federal ban on Internet gambling. TPA and others took this opportunity to sign on to a coalition letter, sent by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, calling on Vice-President Elect Pence and Senator Sessions to protect the Tenth Amendment and resist any move toward a federal ban on Internet gambling.» Read More
Click 'Read Blog' below to see the full letter
January 2, 2017
The New Year has begun, and after saying goodbye to 2016, taxpayers are ready to welcome 2017. While many people resolve to shed a few pounds and break some bad habits, this year’s list of resolutions highlights all of the major issues that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will focus on throughout the year.
The resolution for Congress in 2017 is clear: No More Excuses. Washington (including the incoming Trump administration) have no more excuses for not getting things done for taxpayers. On a wide range of issues, including tax reform and regulatory reform, members of the House and Senate can longer make excuses for not doing the necessary work to fix some of the major problems impacting taxpayers. It is time for Congress to get to work. For more on Congress, click here.
Click "Read Blog" below to see all of TPA's 2017 Resolutions!» Read More
December 29, 2016
This article originally appeared in USA Today on December 16, 2016
In the 1990 Oscar nominated film “Field of Dreams,” Kevin Costner’s character hears a promise from above: “If you build it, he will come.” Viewers, and Costner, aren’t sure who “he” is, but it’s one of the most memorable movie lines of all time and is enough to get Costner to level his cornfield and build a ball field. That faith is enchanting in the movies, but in real life can be problematic. KentuckyWired, the Bluegrass State’s government-owned broadband network, is a great example of real life being out of tune with fantasy. Upon taking office, Gov. Matt Bevin seemed to -- wisely -- be pulling back from this project, which is now more than a year behind schedule. Now he has reversed that position and basically told taxpayers in a press conference earlier this year, “If the state builds it, we’ll find a way to pay for it.”» Read More
December 26, 2016
A version of this op-ed was recently published in the Sun Prairie Star
Across the country, public officials are continuously duped into following the siren call of government-owned broadband systems. While it is certainly tempting to score political points with constituents who initially benefit from high-speed internet, these short-term gains are invariably canceled out by long-term costs that bedevil those same constituents. That’s why city officials in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin now have an opportunity to be trendsetters. Instead of pressing ahead with its current broadband initiative, they ought to carefully consider the examples of recent history and reverse course. When a project is government-owned, this also means it is taxpayer-funded and that’s a problem when construction costs skyrocket and subscription numbers do not keep up with projections. Guess who foots the bill when that happens? Taxpayers, or course. And, with a recent vote to approve an additional $4.5 M for project expansion in Sun Prairie, it is important to look at what has happened across the country with these projects.» Read More
December 23, 2016
This article appaeared in Inside Sources on December 21, 2016
As people celebrate the holidays in different ways across the country, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance is celebrating Festivus. The holiday created by the television show “Seinfeld” challenges all the normal rules of gift giving and decorations and is essentially a day of telling people why you’re upset with them about the choices they’ve made over the last year.
Airing of Grievances
The first tradition of Festivus is “the airing of grievances.” This part of Festivus expresses the ways that taxpayers have been disappointed over the last year. While there could have been an entire book written on taxpayer grievances, here are just a few grievances that taxpayers have with bureaucrats and lawmakers.» Read More
December 22, 2016
The importance of protecting Intellectual Property (IP) is undeniable. Now, a December 6 report from the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) titled, Copyright Industries in the U.S. Economy: The 2016 Report, confirms the economic impact. According to the report, copyright industries are responsible for adding $1.2 trillion to the U.S. economy as well as employing 5.5 million workers in America. These numbers (and others from the report) show indisputable proof that Congress must act to modernize the Copyright Office to foster even more growth in the copyright industry. It should come as no surprise that copyright has such a strong economic impact. The Department of Commerce released a report in October that detailed the importance of all IP to the economy. That report, titled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: 2016 Update,” showed that 45 million jobs are directly or indirectly tied to IP, and that IP-intensive industries accounted for $6.6 trillion in GDP value.» Read More
December 21, 2016
Below is testimony from Carl Szabo, Senior Policy Counsel with NetChoice, stating opposition to the Tennessee Department of Revenue Proposed Regulation 1320-05-01-.63; 1320-05-01-.129 – Creating a New Tax Rule. The testimony was given on December 14, 2016 and it can also be found online here.
We ask you to reject the Department of Revenue’s Regulation 1320-05-01-.63; 1320-05-01-.129 (“Rule”) as it creates costs, burdens, and new taxes on Tennessee citizens. This Rule’s problems began with its introduction and will continue through the expected legal battles. And if the Rule were to survive constitutional challenges, it would impose new burdens on your businesses and citizens.
Click "read blog" below to see the full tesimony» Read More