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Category: Congress

  • TPA's Tricks and Treats for 2016

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on October 28, 2016


    Halloween is just around the corner! Families across America will soon be ready to celebrate with candy, costumes, and fun! The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is preparing for the “scary season” in a much different way by watching what government has done to spook taxpayers this past year. You guessed it, it’s time for TPA’s annual Taxpayer Tricks and Treats! This year, there’s no shortage for taxpayers to be terrified by with wasteful spending, missed opportunities, and the frightening prospect of lawmakers returning for some last minute scares!  Not to worry, there were some treats. They weren’t easy to find, but we found some. And, we wrapped up the list with items that were tricks and treats.  ENJOY!!

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  • TPA's Tricks and Treats for 2016

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on October 24, 2016


    Halloween is almost here! Families across America will soon be ready to celebrate with candy, costumes, and fun! The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is preparing for the “scary season” in a much different way by watching what government has done to spook taxpayers this past year. You guessed it, it’s time for TPA’s annual Taxpayer Tricks and Treats! This year, there’s no shortage for taxpayers to be terrified by with wasteful spending, missed opportunities, and the frightening prospect of lawmakers returning for some last minute scares!  Not to worry, there were some treats. They weren’t easy to find, but we found some. And, we wrapped up the list with items that were tricks and treats.  ENJOY!!

    Click 'read more' below to see the 2016 Tricks and Treats!

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  • Tax Reform Turns 30 — Celebrate by Doing It All Over Again

    David Williams on October 21, 2016


    This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on October 19, 2016

    Thirty years is a long time, especially considering how much can happen in that time span. For example, the phrase “iPhone” was just poor grammar and “tweeting” was exclusively for birds. Yet, with all the changes and advancements in the world and in the United States, taxpayers are saddled with a tax code that hasn’t been overhauled since 1986. Comprehensive tax reform and bipartisanship is possible. On October 22, 1986, Congress and the White House came together in a rare display of bicameral, bipartisan cooperation to pass comprehensive tax reform. Republican President Ronald Reagan worked with a split Congress (Republican Senate and Democrat House) to accomplish the largest overhaul of the tax code in the United States. The anniversary of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 provides a perfect opportunity to make the case once again for a major overhaul of our tax system.

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  • 30 Years is Too Long to Wait For Tax Reform – Part IV: A Look Back At Tax Day 2016 and TPA's Hill Briefing

    Michi Iljazi on October 20, 2016


    In just a few days, it will be the 30th anniversary for the last time comprehensive tax reform was passed. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has used this week to highlight individual and corporate tax reform (click here and here), and new Treasury regulations and the Death Tax (click here). Today, TPA presents a look back at two videos focused on tax reform with the 2016 Tax Day "Man on the Street" video and the Hill Briefing on Tax Reform from July.

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  • 30 Years is Too Long to Wait For Tax Reform – Part III: 385 Regulations and Death Tax

    Michi Iljazi on October 19, 2016

    President Obama and Treasury Secretary Lew

    As the 30th anniversary approaches for the last time comprehensive tax reform was passed, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has already highlighted individual and corporate tax reform (click here and here).  Today, new Treasury regulations and the Death Tax take center stage in the discussion.

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  • 30 Years is Too Long to Wait For Tax Reform – Part II: Corporate Tax Reform

    Michi Iljazi on October 18, 2016


    This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is focusing on the 30th Anniversary of the last time comprehensive tax reform was passed.  We started the series with a look at tax reform for individuals (click here).  With a corporate tax rate exceeding 39 percent (the highest in the developed world), reforming the corporate tax code is essential to strengthening the economy and keeping businesses from leaving the United States. The high corporate tax rate is having a devastating effect on the ability of the United States to compete in a rapidly changing global economy. At nearly 40 percent, the corporate tax rate has been the highest in the developed world since April of 2012. The worldwide average is just below 23 percent.  So, not only does the U.S. hold the dubious distinction of having the highest corporate tax rate, that current rate is well above the global average making it more difficult to compete with other nations.

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  • 30 Years is Too Long to Wait For Tax Reform – Part I: Individual Taxes

    Michi Iljazi on October 17, 2016


    Saturday October 22nd marks three decades since the last time comprehensive tax reform was passed. Throughout the week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) will be using the anniversary to remind lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as well as the Presidential candidates, that tax reform is important and long overdue. Any serious talk about tax reform has to start with individual tax reform. The complexity of the tax code is a major issue for individuals as the tax code has increased from 409,000 words in 1955, to 2.4 million words today.  The increasing complexity costs taxpayers billions of dollars and hours each year as compliance takes up time and money. A recent analysis from the National Taxpayers Union found that the time spent on 1040 form individual filings amounted to nearly 2 billion hours, totaling $64.6 billion in lost productivity.

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  • More than 50 Groups Urge Congress to Protect Taxpayers from Obamacare Bailouts

    Michi Iljazi on October 13, 2016


    continues to cause problems for working families and the economy, as premiums continue to rise and consumers continue to find themselves with decreasing options. It is a law that was sold on a bill of goods that has turned out to be the opposite in every way, and things are likely to get worse with more rate increases on the horizon. Enrollment numbers are getting worse and it seems like each month we see another state-based exchange go under. There are so many problems with Obamacare that it is surprising to think it is still standing. One of the components of the President’s health care law is what is known as the Risk Corridor program. The Risk Corridor Program allows insurance companies to underwrite risky policies wouldn’t be covered otherwise, in turn making taxpayers responsible for risky policies. Due to massive losses, insurance companies want a bailout using the Risk Corridor program and while the law prohibits the use of money appropriated for the Fiscal Year 2016 to pay for the Risk Corridor program, that hasn’t stopped the Obama Administration from looking for alternative ways to get taxpayer money. This week, Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) joined a coalition effort of more than 50 groups led by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce sending this letter urging Congress to protect taxpayers against any insurance company bailout through the Obamacare Risk Corridor program.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • TPA Releases Report on Taxpayer Funding of the World Health Organization

    Michi Iljazi on October 6, 2016


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a new report detailing the public funding of the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the United Nation’s (UN) tobacco-control agency. The report (linked here), titled The World Health Organization in Intensive Care, lays out the massive amount of taxpayer money that is going to further some of the anti-freedom, anti-intellectual property activities of the United Nations. The United States funds the UN and the WHO and those organizations continue to express ideas and engage in policies that are contrary to the values and principles that America stands for when it comes to press-freedom, transparency, and intellectual property.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full press release

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  • What TPA Wants to Hear in Tonight's First Trump-Clinton Debate

    David Williams and Michi Iljazi on September 26, 2016


    With just more than six weeks until the 2016 Presidential election, tonight will mark the first of three debates between Republican candidate Donald Trump and the Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. The event is expected to shatter ratings records because the race is tightening up and voters want to see the first one on one debate between the two candidates.  There has been way too much rhetoric and not enough substance so far in the campaign.   Voters want to hear about the issues, not personal attacks.  The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has a long list of issues to address, but there are four areas in particular that taxpayers want to hear about from the candidates.

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  • No Matter How House Chooses to Proceed, IRS is in Need of Leadership, Accountability

    Michi Iljazi on September 20, 2016


    Congress has little time left in the September work period, and they have much to do. Even with all of the unfinished business Congress has yet to address, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance continues to urge House Leadership to at least hold a vote on repealing the USDA Catfish Inspection program and pass a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until a new Congress is sworn in to avoid a lame duck session. One issue that Congress is currently looking at in September is the possible impeachment of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen.  If this were to eventually happen, Koskinen would be the first ever IRS chief impeached.

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  • TPA Joins Coalition Urging Senate to Reject Ex-Im Provision in Continuing Resolution

    Michi Iljazi on September 19, 2016


    This week the Senate will be moving forward on action to pass a short term continuing resolution that will fund the government until early December. Their goal is to pass this legislation so they can adjourn for the duration of the election campaign and return for a lame duck session after Thanksgiving. Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has already come out against a lame duck, knowing that taxpayers will be the ones at risk for a short-term session of Congress with many members who will have zero accountability for their actions due to either retiring or being replaced by the voters in the upcoming election. Unfortunately, these stopgap-spending bills always manage to include things other than just essential funding to keep the government open. One provision that Senators are looking to add on will make giving loans to the crony Export-Import Bank easier by subverting the current approval process for Ex-Im board members. TPA joined a coalition effort last week led by Americans for Prosperity and signed this letter, with over 30 other groups, urging the Senate to reject this provision. Ex-Im doesn’t need more loans with less oversight; they need fewer loans and more oversight.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • Coalition Supports Recorded Votes in Committees for Spending Authorization

    Michi Iljazi on September 15, 2016


    As Congress continues to move toward the possibility of a lame duck session, there is still time left for important work to get done in the coming weeks. Catfish repeal, National Defense Authorization Act, funding the government, and appropriations bills are all still left to be completed. The need for greater accountability is also something that is necessary and doable in the current Congress. One way lawmakers can achieve that aim is by moving forward with a rule change that would require committees to have recorded votes on legislation that would authorize or appropriate $100 million or more. This would be similar to H.R. 427, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (REINS Act), which Taxpayers Protection Alliance has supported, and has passed the House already. This week, affirming our support for greater transparency and accountability on spending, TPA signed a coalition letter sent to Congress by FreedomWorks calling for this very change in House rules. Taxpayers are tired of seeing their money so carelessly wasted by their elected officials, and the more they know about who is supporting these massive spending measures, the better prepared they can be to hold those members accountable.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • New Treasury Rules Could Mean Windfall for Big Banks

    David Williams on September 12, 2016

    United States Treasury Department (Washington, D.C.)

    With only a few weeks left until Congress once again goes on hiatus, there is quite a laundry list of items members must tackle before September 30th. However, there is one item in the pipeline that may seem like “inside baseball” to the average taxpayer but should become a top priority for lawmakers this month, as it could have serious consequences for the U.S. economy and taxpayers Late last week, InsideSources highlighted the unintended consequences of the Treasury Department’s new proposed rules aimed at industrial corporations as part of an aggressive effort by the Obama Administration to fight international tax avoidance. While the new rules have been a point of contention for quite some time, the article published by the investigative news source actually introduces the argument that this rule could not only hurt American business, but “end up benefiting large banks on Wall Street and elsewhere in the world.”

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  • Calling for Real Postal Reform, Coalition Delivers Letter to Congress Opposing H.R. 5714

    Michi Iljazi on September 9, 2016


    Congress has returned from their seven-week vacation and with Zika funding, defense authorization, and government funding on the agenda, there is clearly much work to be done. Postal reform is a real priority for many Americans, and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) continues to call on Congress to get serious about fixing the beleaguered agency. Recent quarterly reports show the United States Postal Service (USPS) is keeping with the trend of billion dollar losses, and the end seems nowhere in sight. This week over 20 organizations, led by Americans for Tax Reform, had a special delivery for Congress: a coalition letter urging opposition to the recently introduced H.R. 5714, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2016. The letter calls attention to the fact that the “reforms” in the bill are nothing more than window dressing and will add to the financial problems that are keeping the agency in a mountain of debt. Postal reform is critical if the agency is going to survive, but is not the best route to take as Congress looks to tackle the issue.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • Catfish Rule Has to Go and McCarthy Can Make it Happen

    David Williams on September 6, 2016

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.)

    This article originally appeared in The Bakersfield Californian on August 9, 2016

    When LeBron James left Cleveland to join the Miami Heat, fans across the city burned his jersey in effigy. A shocking turn of events from when he was first signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But, when he returned to Cleveland in 2014, fans greeted him with open arms. They were rewarded for their loyalty when the Cavaliers won an NBA championship this year. Now, LeBron is a true hero and fan favorite for his hard work. Coming home has that effect for many, not just athletes. Taxpayers across the country hope House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s time at home during Congress’ August recess will remind him of his fiscally conservative roots and why he went to Washington in the first place. McCarthy’s website says that, “Washington needs more accountability, transparency, and leadership to manage out-of- control spending and a staggering multi-trillion dollar national debt.” We couldn't agree more.

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  • As Congress Returns, Threat of Lame Duck Session Looms

    Michi Iljazi on September 2, 2016


    Labor Day marks the end of the seven-week Congressional Summer recess.  With lawmakers set to return on Tuesday there are a number of things that need to get done before the election. Repealing the USDA Catfish Program should be a top priority as it’s already garnered enough bicameral and bipartisan support.  The question is whether the Republican leadership can get it together and put legislation on the floor repealing a duplicative and wasteful program. This would be the easiest vote in a very long time considering the Senate has already passed a bill to repeal and the President is ready to sign. Beyond Catfish repeal there is the National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2017, sitting in conference right now awaiting a compromise bill that can pass the House and Senate and be signed by the President. Zika funding is also unfinished business that needs to be addressed. Not withstanding the importance of those issues, there is another issue that lawmakers will face in the coming weeks: how to fund the government when money runs out in September.

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  • TPA Signs Coalition Letter Urging NDAA Conferees to Preserve FOIA Process

    Michi Iljazi on August 30, 2016


    The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2017 is still being negotiated as House and Senate conferees are working to put together a compromise bill. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has always been in favor of greater transparency when it comes to the Pentagon and currently there are provisions in the Senate version of the bill that could weaken the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, making it easier for government to get away with wasting taxpayer money.  At a time when deficits are on the rise and we see story after story that shows just how much money is being thrown away on defense, it is important that the FOIA process not be weakened by lawmakers, instead it should be strengthened so that all Americans are able to see exactly where their hard earned money is going. Keeping that goal in mind, TPA signed onto this letter, urging NDAA conferees to remove a particular section of the Senate’s version of the NDAA that would weaken the current FOIA process. As the NDAA moves through conference, TPA will be keeping an eye on what changes are made and how the negotiated version ultimately looks.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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  • Taxpayers Should be Wary of False Sugar Reform Proposals

    David Williams on August 29, 2016


    This article orginally appeared in The Hill on August 16, 2016

    The U.S. sugar lobby constantly reminds people that crony capitalism is alive and well in Washington, D.C., as they continue to protect their sweet deal of federal subsidies that come at the expense of American consumers and taxpayers. To make matters worse, the sugar lobby is promoting a plan (called “zero-for-zero”) to push all other countries to get rid of their sugar subsidies before we do anything about our own. If it sounds unreasonable, that is because it is. Not only is this so-called “zero-for-zero” proposal for sugar policy unreasonable, it is also highly unlikely that other nations will abandon their protectionist subsidies, especially when the country demanding this false reform has a sugar industry that is so highly subsidized. Clearly, the only real purpose of “zero-for-zero” is to give the U.S. sugar lobby an excuse for zero reform. As an organization committed to protecting taxpayers and holding government accountable, it is troubling that some members of Congress who bill themselves as conservatives are advocating this proposal on behalf of the sugar lobby. The fact is, to reform sugar subsidies, Congress needs to begin with our own subsidies. America should lead by example. The U.S. sugar program is in desperate need for reform. That is because there are few, if any, federal policies that mandate more government intrusion in the marketplace than the U.S. sugar program.

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  • TPA Joins Over 30 Organizations to Support Occupational Licensing Reform

    Michi Iljazi on August 23, 2016


    The regulatory burdens that have been holding the economy back are a real problem, for businesses of all sizes. Another component of business that has been harmed by the increasing amount of regulations over the last several years is occupational licensing. Today the amount of jobs that require some form of occupational licensing has grown from five percent to twenty five percent. That kind of growth can be seen all over the country as millions of Americans are beginning to start small businesses, grow existing ones. The problem is the current laws for occupational licensing are costly both in terms of time and money. These laws are harming all Americans, especially women, young adults, and minorities. Right now there is legislation from Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) that would reform occupational licensing laws in Washington D.C. and the nation’s military bases. The bill is the Alternatives to Licensing that Lower Obstacles to Work (ALLOW) Act, and just last week Taxpayers Protection Alliance signed this letter with over 30 other groups, sent by Americans for Prosperity urging the Senate support the ALLOW Act. This bill should be the beginning of a new wave of reforms to current, and restrictive occupational licensing laws. The economy works better for all Americans when businesses are allowed to flourish without excessive regulations getting in the way of opportunity and growth.

    Click 'read more' below to see the full letter

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