May 15, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Washington Examiner on May 9, 2017
Bill Nye's new show on Netflix allows viewers to bask in all of the self-righteousness and goofy shouting that we missed from the 1990s. "Does the guy always shout this much?" asked an incredulous Redditor after seeing the Science Guy's show for the first time. Such questions, which have proliferated around the Web in recent days, show a fundamental disconnect between the "I love science" crowd and the rest of us. It's not that I'm trying to be "anti-intellectual"; I find the scientific method useful in tackling life's most pressing questions. But when propagandists such as Nye invoke "science" to the limited end of promoting dubious public policy, it's important that taxpayers know the truth.» 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 3, 2017
Fresh off his first deregulatory bout, President Trump may be aiming his firepower at the Paris Agreement next. The President pledged on the campaign trail to withdraw from the pact, and will further contemplate withdrawal over the next two weeks. In the meantime, lawmakers and pundits have rushed to the defense of the Obama-era agreement to clamp down on global carbon emissions. On the surface, the accord’s insistence that each nation do their fair share to reduce carbon emissions seems like a reasonable approach to tackle climate change. But despite the Paris Agreement’s lofty goals, the agreed-upon mechanisms in the agreement will harm nations rich and poor. While the agreed-upon reductions reached in the negotiations are nowhere near sufficient to reach the goal of zero net emissions by 2050, provisions ensure that countries will continue to up the ante on emission reductions. Every five years, nations are expected to “ratchet up” their rate of carbon reductions via more and more aggressive governmental actions. China’s announced cap-and-trade program and India’s large-scale solar deployments show just two approaches that signatories are willing to take to meet these reduction goals. This may all seem like a laudable “moonshot,” but advocates of continued involvement are ignoring the taxpayer and opportunity costs that come with a continued worldwide agreement.» 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 19, 2017
Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to sound the alarm on Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (N.Y.) nuclear bailout (which took effect April 1) that imposes unreachable and expensive renewable energy mandates on the state. The plan requires half of New York State’s energy to come from carbon-neutral (renewable) sources by 2030 and it was approved by state regulators without the consent of state lawmakers. Ratepayers and taxpayers stand to pay billions of dollars for this crony bailout and the plan has come under consistent fire from a variety of officials and stakeholders. Last week, TPA spearheaded this coalition letter urging “fiscal conservatives” in the New York Senate to do more to speak up and offer ways to stop this bailout from continuing.Click "Read Blog" below to see the full letter » Read More
February 13, 2017
For pundits, lawmakers, and has-been presidential candidates, the phrase “green jobs” has long served as a magical mantra. Claims about the economic benefits of renewable subsidies are a dime-a-dozen, but do they hold up to scrutiny? The Solar Foundation’s 2016 Solar Jobs Census Report can shine some light on this question and help taxpayers see where all of their money is going. After combing through data collected by 91,000 energy establishments, the Foundation concludes that the number of solar jobs grew by 24.52 percent between 2015 and 2016. Absolute employment figures are low, however, meaning that some 50,000 new job positions will register as large percentage increases. Additionally, the concentration of job growth over the past year has more to do with congressional brinkmanship than actual market demand. Solar and wind companies feared throughout 2015 that the production and investment tax credit would expire at the end of the year, prompting a taxpayer-subsidized hiring and investment frenzy. As the result of a bipartisan agreement reached early last year, however, renewable tax subsidies will be phased out through the next decade. This extension will put a simmer on things for a while, but guarantees renewed market instability in a few years’ time. Even if private investment can partially fill the gap left by the phase-out, skills mismatches are bound to hold back the solar industry.» 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 23, 2017
This op-ed originally ran in the Wilson County News on January 18, 2017
President Donald Trump's promise to "drain the swamp" is getting an early test from one of his closest friends. Billionaire investor and Trump confidant Carl Icahn is requesting changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard, the federal law requiring gasoline manufacturers to incorporate renewable fuels into their blends. Coincidently, Icahn would reap massive financial rewards from the "fix." Trump must push back. If truly committed to ending crony capitalism, he should end the RFS entirely. The policy has failed to help the environment or the economy and has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.» Read More
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 2, 2016
Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has made very clear our opposition to bailouts and cronyism at the federal level, but we are also fighting these battles in the states. Governors have a duty to protect taxpayers from wasting their money on initiatives and programs that will not only do financial harm on the state, but also set dangerous precedent going forward for how taxpayer money is used. In Illinois, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner has an opportunity to stand up to cronyism and wasteful spending by opposing the “Future Energy Jobs Bill” that the IL State Legislature is likely to send him any day now. The bill provides a crony bailout to nuclear plants, all owned by one company (sound familiar?) and will hit ratepayers for years to come. TPA signed this coalition letter, sent to the Governor on Thursday by American Commitment, urging him to use his power to reject this crony bailout.
Click "read more" below to see the letter» Read More
November 11, 2016
Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has continued to sound the alarm on Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.) and his nuclear bailout proposal that will force unreachable and expensive renewable energy mandates on the state. The plan requires half of New York state’s energy to come from carbon-neutral (renewable) sources by 2030 and it was approved by state regulators without the consent of state lawmakers. The plan could cost upwards of tens of billions of dollars over the long-term, and the bailout to three nuclear plants is central to keeping it afloat. The plan is under fire from a variety of officials and stakeholders, and taxpayers will be on the hook for rate increases all over the state. This week, TPA signed this coalition letter sent by American Commitment urging New York lawmakers to use their power to act and stop this crony bailout.
Click "read more" below to see the full letter» Read More
November 10, 2016
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This article appeared in Morning Consult on October 31, 2016
The 2016 presidential election will certainly go down in the books as one of the most contentious campaigns in recent history. It will also be remembered as one in which both of the candidates failed to offer much detail to Americans on policy, including how to fix a tax code that is woefully out of date. Thirty years have passed have passed since the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and it’s time, as the phrase goes, to get down to brass tacks and focus on the details of bringing our tax code into the 21st century. Reforming the tax code is not about just checking some random policy box, it is about making the tax code better for individuals and businesses.
October 11, 2016
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The concerns over New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s (D) $8 billion bailout of nuclear power plants in upstate New York grow as more stakeholders begin to weigh in on the problems that the plan would cause to the state. That criticism has even extended to include members on both sides of the political aisle in the state capital. The plan requires half of New York State’s energy to come from carbon-neutral (renewable) sources by 2030. Renewables currently make up only 23 percent of the Empire State’s energy supply, making the goal of achieving the 50 percent threshold essentially impossible without some kind of government intervention. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has been a vocal critic of Governor Cuomo’s plan, specifically the cost of the plan to taxpayers and electricity ratepayers and the subversive way the plan was approved. A new report from the New York-based Empire Center for Public Policy, Green Overload: New York State’s Ratepayer-Zapping Renewable Energy Mandate, reinforces the problems that critics of Gov. Cuomo’s proposal have been warning about. The report details the cost implications for the plan, as well as other issues that TPA and others have been citing when criticizing the plan.
October 4, 2016
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What’s happening in Pennsylvania with a new proposed pipeline is garnering national attention, and not in a good way. A recent article by the nationally-recognized Inside Sources reported that the Department of Transportation (DOT) Inspector General (IG) has begun auditing the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Technical Assistance Grants (TAG) program. The focus of the investigation is whether a non-profit group, the Pennsylvania-based Pipeline Safety Coalition, illegally used taxpayer funds for lobbying purposes.TAG grant funding is supposed to be used “to provide funding to non-profits and local governments that would act to ‘improve damage prevention, develop new technologies, or otherwise improve pipeline safety’ of natural gas or hazardous liquid pipelines.”
September 27, 2016
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This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on September 21, 2016
In recent weeks, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tirelessly defended his Clean Energy Standard plan that forces taxpayers and electric customers to bail out the state’s failing nuclear energy industry. The governor should save his breath. The controversial scheme, which Cuomo and state regulators approved in August without the consent of state lawmakers, has been hailed as a model for other states to achieve reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. But critics rightly view the Clean Energy Standard (CES) a raw deal for electric ratepayers and taxpayers that amounts to little more than an indefensible corporate welfare racket.
September 7, 2016
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Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)
When the political class sets lofty, but unrealistic goals it’s time to hold onto your wallet. That’s sound advice for New York energy consumers who must now foot the bill for a renewable energy scheme that will cost $1 billion in it’s first two years alone and go into effect beginning in April 2017. That’s when all of the state’s utilities and other energy suppliers will be required to cover the cost of carbon-free emissions from nuclear power plants by purchasing Zero-Emission Credits also known as ZECs.
August 31, 2016
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This month, the Council on Foreign Relations released a new report calculating the impacts of removing three standard business tax deductions from America’s oil and gas industry – or as they claim instituting “tax reform.” However, careful review of the study shows that many of the arguments are seriously flawed, especially when it comes to the characterization of these tax provisions and their actual impacts on America’s secure energy future. Here are the three facts behind some of the claims made by CFR.
August 24, 2016
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EPA Adminstrator Gina McCarthy
This article appeared in on SouthCoast Today on July 24, 2016
The Environmental Protection Agency just rewrote history. Citing a "new-and-improved" methodology, the agency has revised its calculations of our country's total annual methane emissions for several previous years. Now, the official record shows emissions at distressingly high levels. Distressing, that is, if this revision were justified. But it's not. This new formula is driven by a political agenda, purposefully ignoring that methane levels are plummeting thanks largely to innovations in energy production.
May 17, 2016
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This article originally appeared in Morning Consult on May 10, 2016
Does this sound familiar? A shiny new solar company comes onto the scene, satisfying the cries of the solar panel-obsessed clean energy fanatics. Somewhere along the way, Barack Obama and Congress indiscriminately award the solar company millions in taxpayer funds. A few years pass, and a slow but largely ignored descent into financial ruin ends in scandal. You may be thinking of the famed Solyndra debacle. Unfortunately for taxpayers, SunEdison, the self-proclaimed “largest green energy company,” filed for bankruptcy protection in late April. Even after becoming the 13th-most subsidized company in the United States, SunEdison misused taxpayer funds and lied, resulting in a recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
April 7, 2016
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Congress has a great deal to get done before they take their extended vacation in the summer, seven weeks as opposed to the usual six. The House is in recess right now, but the Senate is in session and moving towards another last minute deal that could cost taxpayers billions. At issue is the inclusion of tax extenders as part of S. 2658, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016. Congress has already addressed the issue of tax extenders, and now they want to retroactively include additional provisions that amount to little more than cronyism and corporate welfare. The Senate should reject this approach and the House should follow suit as they take up their own legislation on FAA reauthorization. TPA recently signed a letter sent by Americans for Prosperity calling on the Senate to oppose the inclusion of tax extenders in the FAA reauthorization bill.
Click 'read more' below to see the letter