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  • New Evidence Debunks Big Myth That Repealing Internet Rules Caused Throttling

    Ross Marchand on September 20, 2018

    This article appeared in The Federalist on September 19, 2018. 

    Since Title II internet regulations were repealed in December, supporters of the former rules for the internet have waxed apoplectic over fears about internet service providers (ISPs) and wireless carriers “throttling” (slowing down) speeds. The repealed rules were put in place to force ISPs to treat all internet data equally, which backers claimed prevented throttling and the prioritization of certain data sources. Claims that removing these “protections” would transform the internet into a tiered fiefdom ran rampant on social media and in the halls of Capitol Hill. New data, however, underscores the problems posed by strict internet regulations. 

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  • BREAKING: Taxpayers Protection Alliance Uncovers $19.3 Billion in Earmarks in Defense Spending Bill

    David Williams + Ross Marchand on September 18, 2018

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     As the President prepares to sign the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Defense Appropriations Act conference report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has uncovered 679 earmarks totaling $19.3 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. That is a 5.8 percent increase in the 642 projects requested in FY 2018 and a 35.2 percent decrease in total dollars from FY 2018. » Read More
  • Government Regulations Threaten PTA Bake Sales Across the Country

    Ross Marchand on September 18, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on September 17, 2018.

    For schools across the country, costs and incidentals can add up quickly. Property tax dollars are too-often diverted to overhead and administrative bloat, leaving items like extracurriculars and maintenance in the lurch and underfunded. Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) regularly take matters into their own hands hosting fundraisers to benefit students and future students. A 2017 report from the Center for American Progress estimated that PTAs nationwide raise more than $400 million annually, a figure that has tripled over the past 20 years. This critical funding tool, however, is being undermined by the 2016 nutritional regulations put in place by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These standards, which are currently being implemented by school districts across the country place strict conditions on school food sales as a condition of receiving federal school meal and child nutrition funding. While the aims of increasing healthy options to students are admirable, the rules are bound to backfire and hurt parents’ ability to raise money for their kids.

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  • The FDA Must Avoid Policies that Would Inflame the Opioid Crisis

    Ross Marchand on September 17, 2018

    Last week, the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) convened an expert discussion panel on the opioid crisis with Jessica Hulsey Nickel (the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Addiction Policy Forum), and  Charmaine Yoest (Associate Director at the Office of National Drug Control Policy) in the Executive Office of the President. Both Nickel and Yoest shared poignant stories about the epidemic which has claimed more than 200,000 lives over the past 20 years. Both experts agreed that a comprehensive government approach is needed to ensure that the crisis of opioid addiction and abuse is addressed without limiting access to those with legitimate needs for medications. The conversation underscored the dire seriousness of the situation, but also provided real insight into how the private and non-profit sectors can and are working with government to help end the crisis and get those affected the care and support that they need.

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  • New Poll Shows Web Users Want Less Government Control over the Internet

    Ross Marchand on September 14, 2018

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    New polling data by NetChoice, a trade association of eCommerce businesses and online consumers, makes clear that a majority of consumers want an internet open and unhindered by government regulators. The results, released on September 12, 2018, show that U.S. consumers value the services provided by tech businesses such as Google and Facebook, and believe that market forces ensure that the best companies continue to lead the pack. 

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  • South Dakota Misses the Mark in Analysis of Tobacco Tax

    Ross Marchand on September 12, 2018

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    State governments often have little understanding of the fiscal or behavioral repercussions of the policy changes they’re trying to make when taxing and regulating products they don’t like.  This is never more evident than in South Dakota where a tax increase initiative known as Measure 25 is on the November ballot. Should the initiative be approved, South Dakota would see an increase in the state cigarette excise tax by $1.00 per pack (to $2.53 per pack), and an increase in the state tax on other tobacco products from 35 percent of the wholesale purchase price to 55 percent of the wholesale purchase price. But in examining the impact of higher taxation on cigarette usage and prices, the South Dakota Legislative Research Council (SDLRC) misses the mark entirely. » Read More
  • You Won’t Believe How Much China Cheats The U.S. Post Office On Shipping Costs

    Ross Marchand on September 11, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in The Federalist on August 31, 2018.

    As the trade war between the United States and China continues unabated, President Trump assures the American people that China’s “unfair” treatment by will soon end. While eliminating tariffs is a good start to solving the problems facing American businesses, focusing on another sort of tariff may also prove useful. Thanks to convoluted international postage regulations, it is cheaper for Chinese businesses to ship goods to American consumers than for American businesses to ship to American consumers. While this is just one of many factors contributing to China’s massive export edge over the United States, it is one of few that defy market logic.

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  • IGO Watch Comments Submitted to IARC

    Ross Marchand on September 10, 2018

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    On Friday, September 7, IGO Watch submitted comments to the International Agency for Reserach on Cancer (IARC) regarding the revisions set to be made on the IARC Monographs Preamble. Previously, problems in the wording of the Preamble have led to faulty evaluation procedures by IARC, resulting in unnecessary product restrictions and undue concerns by governments and consumer groups. » Read More
  • Tech Will be the Next Tariff Victim

    David Williams on September 6, 2018

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    The tech sector is the latest industry to show signs of trouble stemming from President Trump’s trade war with China. A good deal of attention has been paid to how the President’s tariffs will hit Rust Belt manufacturers, which, paradoxically, are enjoying the benefits of the Trump administration’s tax reform of last year. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) also highlighted how American retailer JOANN Fabric and their craft customers will be negatively affected by tariffs. In testimony given before the U.S. trade representative’s office in August, Jill Soltau, CEO of Joann Fabric and Craft Stores, “The resulting tariffs on these targeted products will cause substantial harm to our customers, our employees and the economy as a whole.” 

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  • FCC looks to establish smart rules to aid local deployment of 5G

    Johnny Kampis on September 5, 2018

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    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote before the end of September on an order to help guide local governments in establishing rules to aid the rapid deployment of 5G.  This would be a significant step forward in closing the digital divide, without taxpayer money. FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr announced the plan during a press conference on the Senate floor of the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Monday morning. Carr said the order is designed to work cooperatively with states and cities rather than be an effort to impose federal oversight. For example, about 20 states have passed some form of legislation to aid the development of 5G and the FCC’s order wouldn’t disturb the provision in those bills. 

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  • Don’t Believe Net Neutrality Hype Over Verizon and California Fires

    Johnny Kampis on September 4, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on August 31, 2018.

    The mainstream and tech media are pointing to Verizon’s throttling of the data speeds of the Santa Clara County Fire Department as it battled blazes in California as another reason why net neutrality is needed. But upon closer examination, the situation points to the opposite. While Verizon erred in this case, the concept of throttling data after a cap is met is a practice that generally benefits consumers. » Read More
  • Summer Reading: Back to Work Edition

    Ross Marchand on August 31, 2018

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    By now, lawmakers should have put gas in their car, triple-checked Waze directions, and bid adieu to their constituents in preparation for the Fall session. It wouldn’t be surprising if some lawmakers are dragging their feet in making travel preparations for Washington, DC; members of Congress, after all, are experts in defer and delay. It doesn’t help that there’s a “yuuuge” pile of unfinished work left for members of Congress to attend to, ranging from spending bills to passing a fiscally responsible Farm Bill.  This list doesn’t even take into account the other issues like intellectual property protection or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) reform. To help lawmakers procrastinate just a little while longer before getting back to work, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) prepared a Summer Reading to enlighten members of Congress on the issues they need to tackle before the midterm elections.  » Read More
  • The nonprofit journalism industry lost a giant last week, and I lost a dear friend.

    Johnny Kampis on August 29, 2018

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    Trent Seibert, 47, most recently the founder of The Texas Monitor, was found dead in his Houston home on August 23. In a posting about Trent, The Texas Monitor said the death was apparently of natural causes. Trent was known for his skills as an investigative journalist, and he plied his trade literally from coast to coast – he spent his early career working jobs in New Jersey, where he grew up, and later spent a short stint at the San Diego Union-Tribune. It was during his stay at The Tuscaloosa Newsin Alabama, where he served as city editor in 2004, that I met Trent.  He pushed me to do what I still consider the best work of my career investigating allegations of voter fraud in west Alabama.

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  • TPA Condemns Dissolution of NAFTA

    David Williams on August 27, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted critically to President Trump’s announcement that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be dissolved. President Trump made the announcement this morning at a White House event with Mexican President Enrique PeñaNieto joining by conference call. » Read More
  • TPA Celebrates Life of Sen. John McCain

    David Williams on August 26, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amidst news of the passing of Sen. John McCain (R-Az.), the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) praised the lawmaker and his outstanding legacy. The senator, who was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last year, succumbed to his illness on Saturday.  TPA president David Williams commended Sen. McCain: “Sen. McCain spent years of hard work defending taxpayers across the country against wasteful spending and a corrupt earmarking process. Sen. McCain often waged a lonely battle, fighting against profligate programs supported even by his fellow Republican lawmakers. Colleagues recall a senator unafraid to loudly voice his opposition to wasteful spending, while still embracing the civility sorely lacking in today’s political climate.”
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  • Summer Reading- Freeing the Internet from Government Regulation

    Ross Marchand on August 24, 2018

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    This late in the summer, most lawmakers will soon begin the process of packing up their FDA-approved sunscreen and heading back to Washington, DC, burying their noses in proposed legislation and avoiding a government shutdown at the end of September. But with flight delays aplenty and chronic traffic surrounding the capital, members of Congress better hope they have internet access while sitting idly by. Fortunately, regulatory reform at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the past year ensures that even the people living in the boonies or by the beach will soon have the lightning-fast internet access currently enjoyed in cities across America. But not all lawmakers have gotten the memo, criticizing the FCC’s moves and defending the status-quo of onerous broadband and internet access regulations. For the lawmakers holding on for dear life to their temperamental internet connections, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance suggests ditching the smartphone and picking up our Summer Reading instead. 

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  • On Water Markets and Wildfires, the President Has a Point

    Ross Marchand on August 22, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in Economics21 on August 21, 2018. 

    As wildfires burn through hundreds of thousands of acres in California, Idaho, and Nevada, policymakers are wondering whether America is doing all it can to tame the embers. The President’s recent series of tweets on the issue suggest that states could be doing more to put out the flames, accusing California of magnifying the crisis through “bad environmental laws, which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized.” Following these pronouncements, the media and wildfire experts rushed to discredit President Trump’s linkage of water rights and wildfires. CNN, for instance, quoted University of Tennessee climatologist Henri Grissino-Mayer claiming “California does NOT divert water to the ocean. Ridiculous."

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  • Patents and Intellectual Property: Essential for Competition and Global Health

    Ross Marchand on August 21, 2018

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    For more than a century, the United States has consistently led the world in technological development. From automobiles to iPhones, America has helped to create new industries and raise the standard of living worldwide. But game-changing developments in medicine, communication, and transportation wouldn’t be possible without assurances that inventors would benefit from their contributions. The driving force in promoting innovation is protecting intellectual property (IP) through thorough patent, copyright, and trademark enforcement. 

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  • States should tread carefully in setting sports betting tax rates

    Johnny Kampis on August 20, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in on August 15, 2018.

    The dynamic screens at the Venetian sports book list the various odds of the day, and the Atlanta Braves at 16-1 are a tempting pick to win the World Series. Although the team leads the National League East and faces lesser competition in the senior league, their youth and experience could trip them up if they make the playoffs. Sharps across the country will soon be making such value judgments from their home states. Bettors in places like New Jersey and Mississippi will no longer have to travel to Nevada to make legal wagers; instead they’ll be able to purchase those tickets in casinos in their home states – or even online. In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the 1992 law that prevented sports wagers in every state but Nevada, many states have already legalized sports books or have plans to do so. But experts warn them not to overtax the games, lest they chase bettors back into the black market.

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  • Summer Reading: FDA’s Fixable Innovation Gap

    Ross Marchand on August 17, 2018

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    For the past few summer recesses, lawmakers have been dismayed to find that there is no longer “sweat proof” or “instant protection” sun tan lotion on sale to keep the harmful rays at bay. These choices were taken off shelves across the country because of regulations finalized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more than six years ago banishing broad sunscreen claims without evidence. This is just one of countless regulatory battles that the FDA has engaged in over the years, ranging from cosmetics rules to e-cigarettes.  While the agency has furthered important consumer protections since its creation in 1906 and recently allowed a quicker “right to try” process for medications (and medical procedures), the FDA has also repeatedly overstepped its bounds and diminished innovation in the process. The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has enough Summer Reading on the subject to keep members of Congress occupied for hours on the beach, hopefully under the protection of an umbrella instead of a government bureaucrat.

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