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Category: State Issues



  • What Are San Francisco Officials Smoking?

    Ross Marchand on June 24, 2019

    Image result for vaping street
    This article originally appeared on Townhall.com on June 21, 2019. 

    Looking at all the available evidence, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) war on vaping is a misguided assault on the millions of smokers trying to find a less-harmful alternative to cigarettes. But to radical San Francisco city officials, the agency doesn’t go far enough in keeping consumers “safe” from reduced-risk products. Radical in San Francisco in the 1960s and 1970s meant embracing the hippy culture and individualism, but now, San Francisco officials are embracing big government and fake science. » Read More
  • Will MTA’s New Tap-to-Pay System Keep Transit Problems at Bay?

    Ross Marchand on June 14, 2019

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    This article was originally published in the Observer on June 5, 2019. 

    Credit cards and “wallet apps” can make our lives a whole lot easier, and they’re about to have an even larger reach. Recently, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced that it would begin piloting “tap-to-pay” systems at 16 subway stations along the 4, 5 and 6 lines in Manhattan and Brooklyn—and at all Staten Island buses. This promising new technology will surely be a boon to taxpayers and consumers, and it’s a step in the right direction. But if the government really wants to increase ridership, it needs to eliminate the issues that make the transit system wasteful in the first place. » Read More
  • TPA Urges NY State Legislature to Reject S428 & A47

    Tim Andrews on June 10, 2019

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    TPA sent a letter to the New York State Legislature urging elected officials to reject S428 & A47 which would ban the sale of flavored e-cigarette products in the state. All available evidence confirms that adults are using flavored products to quit conventional tobacco products and that flavors are an important part of this trend, while not affecting youth uptake. We believe the State of New York should take an approach consistent with the science to allow for innovations that could help wean smokers off conventional products.  » Read More
  • Vinton’s Big Internet Gamble Puts Taxpayers at Risk

    Chip Baltimore on May 2, 2019

    Image result for broadband tower
    Vinton, Iowa, is an Iowa town of barely 5,000 people. Quaint and idyllic, Vinton is similar to many other rural Midwest communities in its quest to preserve its quintessential small-town charm while trying to remain viable in a technologically modern age.  While the Iowa Legislature passed a bill to legalize sports betting two weeks ago, Vinton wants to bet on more than just sports.  It’s going all-in on its future on a taxpayer and electricity ratepayer-funded broadband system that even city leaders admit will likely be no cheaper than competing providers, making it a tough sell to consumers.

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  • California ‘Bullet’ Train Just One of Countless Projects Bilking Taxpayers

    Ross Marchand on April 2, 2019

    California ‘Bullet’ Train Just One of Countless Projects Bilking Taxpayers
    Source: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

    This article was originally published in Townhall on March 27, 2019. 


    According to Alcoholics Anonymous, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward change. Political leaders at both the federal and state level can stand to learn from this philosophy, given their refusal to acknowledge massive boondoggles bilking taxpayers for billions of dollars. California, and the proposed Texas Central high speed train, show why state and federal officials need to be more vigilant and cautious when spending taxpayer money on these projects. » Read More
  • TPA President David Williams Testimony for TX State Senate Committee on Business and Commerce

    David Williams on March 19, 2019

    Image result for texas capitol building
    TPA President David Williams testified on March 19, 2019 in front of the Texas State Senate Committee on Business and Commerce. His testimony was in support SB 1152, which would end double taxation of telecommunications and keep Texas competitive and allow job creators to keep doing what they do best...create jobs. » Read More
  • Government-owned utilities aren't the answer to rural broadband access

    Chip Baltimore on January 28, 2019

    Image result for iowa state capitol
    This article originally appeared in the Des Moines Register on January 25, 2019. 

    Access to high-speed internet service is the focus of much governmental attention in today’s world. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds affirmed her priority of expanding access to high-speed internet service throughout Iowa in her 2019 Condition of the State address, requesting $20 million in state funding for broadband infrastructure for a program that will also facilitate an additional $120 million in private investment. 
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  • South Dakota Misses the Mark in Analysis of Tobacco Tax

    Ross Marchand on November 1, 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
  • Fatally Flawed Montana Initiative 125 Would Fuel Illegal Trade

    Ross Marchand on October 26, 2018


    Special-interest groups (and allied politicians) have yet to learn that even the best-sounding initiatives can be unraveled by naïve assumptions and flawed incentives. In November, Montana voters will encounter a deeply flawed referendum sponsored by “public health” groups to hike tobacco taxes (from $1.70 to $3.70 per pack), with revenues slated toward making Medicaid expansion permanent. But proponents ignore illicit tobacco trade at their own peril. Tobacco tax increases have the nasty habit of fueling illegal enterprise while undermining revenue. And even if the funding were there, there are far more worthy public health ventures than the deeply flawed Medicaid program. Voters need to take a long-hard look at the unintended consequences and bogus claims propping up Initiative 185.

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  • Atlanta Ballpark Subsidies a Strikeout for Taxpayers

    Johnny Kampis on October 2, 2018

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    As the Atlanta Braves prepare for the playoffs, for the first time since 2013, they’ll host playoff games in the house that taxpayers built. SunTrust Park, which opened last year – just 20 years after the Braves got a new stadium in Turner Field after that facility hosted much of the 1996 Summer Olympics – cost $622 million to build. The biggest losers are taxpayers, who are footing $400 million, the lion’s share of the new stadium’s cost.

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  • Ohio city may ask its residents to increase property taxes for municipal broadband

    Johnny Kampis on September 28, 2018

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    This article originally appeared on Watchdog.org on September 26, 2018.


    A possible vote to greatly expand a municipal broadband network in Hudson, Ohio, has been delayed, but city residents may still be asked to tax themselves to pay for the proposal next year. The Hudson City Council originally considered asking voters to say "yea" or "nay" on a 2.7-mill, 10-year property tax on the November ballot, but council members decided to delay the action of establishing that referendum in a recent meeting. Instead, they won’t vote whether to put the tax increase on the ballot until the council’s Nov. 13 meeting, pushing the possible referendum back to next year.

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  • Sen. McCaskill is out of Touch With Missourians

    Gregg Keller on July 31, 2018

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    According to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) campaign website, she’s just a small-town Missourian who “understands what matters most” to the people of the Show-Me state. She’s a “fighter Missourians can count on” and lists “cutting waste, fraud, and abuse” as one of her priorities. Recent news reports, however, tell a different story. Since she’s been a U.S. Senator, businesses affiliated with McCaskill’s developer husband, Joseph Shepard, have received more than $131 million in federal subsidies.

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  • Union “Fair Share” Fees Anything but Fair for Taxpayers, State Workers

    Ross Marchand on June 28, 2018

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    Big Labor is in all-out Armageddon mode, following a June 27 Supreme Court ruling (Janus v. AFSCME) allowing non-union public workers to opt out of union “fair-share” fees. In a 5-4 decision, the Court overturned the status quo, preventing “unconstitutional exactions [that result in] billions of dollars…taken from nonmembers and transferred to public-sector unions in violation of the First Amendment” in the words of Justice Alito. Proponents of “fair share” fees, however, worry that the ruling will open up a Pandora’s Box of freeriding and union-busting across the country. These fears fail to consider the wider impact of transitioning unions to a more robust “members-only” model instead of the current one-size-fits-all representation. Making public sector unions smaller and more responsive to the needs of members will lead to better representation for employees and lower costs for taxpayers. 

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  • Anti-Online Gambling Coalition Grasps at Advertising Straws

    Johnny Kampis on June 21, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on June 19, 2018.


    Having failed to get much traction on a federal prohibition of online gaming, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his coalition have pointed to targeted online ads promoting online gambling as proof that Congress should take action. But the measure is a desperate ploy, given that the ads aren’t intentionally placed on certain sites by the online casinos. Business Insider recently ran a story about the Coalition to Stop Online Gambling’s opposition to the ads. The coalition says it has found such ads on websites about gambling addiction or featuring children’s games.

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  • Supreme Court Hits One Out of the Park

    Johnny Kampis on May 21, 2018


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    This article originally appeared in the American Spectator on May 17, 2018 and was written by Johnny Kampis, TPAF Investigative Reporter.

    The Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) ruling this week that paves the way for states other than Nevada to legalize sports betting is a victory for states’ rights and should put another nail in the coffin for those attempting to ban all forms of online gaming. SCOTUS voted 6-3 in favor of New Jersey and nearly 20 other states to strike down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which made it illegal for a state other than Nevada, which was exempted, to sponsor sports wagering.
     
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  • Why 2018 Won’t Be Another ‘Year Of The Driverless Car’

    Ross Marchand on January 16, 2018


    This article originally appeared in The Federalist on January 8, 2018

    To listen to a growing, ever-more-vocal crowd, driverless cars are in America’s very near future. Commentators have taken the media to task for giving short shrift to the new technology, with some going as far as to declare 2017 “the year of the driverless car” (Or was that 20162015?). Ars Technica senior reporter Timothy Lee is confident that “driverless car adoption will only accelerate in 2018,” pointing to tests in Phoenix thanks to “permissive” regulations.

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  • States Shouldn’t Bail Out Nuclear Plants

    David Williams on September 21, 2017


    This article appeared in Inside Sources on September 19, 2017. 

    In a September 12 opinion piece supporting the bailout of nuclear power plants, John Hangar and Marc Spitzer argued that “federal courts in New York and Illinois ruled that states have the authority to place an economic value on the zero-emission production of electricity. More important, these rulings establish a precedent for other states to achieve their own goals to use clean energy credits for sources of electricity that don’t emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” In fact, these two nuclear bailouts will cost taxpayers and ratepayers billions of dollars and establish an expensive and misguided precedent.

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  • Ohio Drug Price Initiative Gives Taxpayer Money to Unnecessary Lawyers

    Hans Bader on September 19, 2017


    This article appeared on the Competitive Enterprise Institute's blog on September 14, 2017. 


    Lawyers and allied interest groups have long enriched themselves at taxpayers’ expense. But usually, it has been by bringing lawsuits, not defending them. The Ohio Drug Price Standards Initiative might change that. If passed by voters, it would give its sponsors taxpayer money to hire unnecessary lawyers, if the initiative is later challenged as unconstitutional or preempted by federal law. 

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  • Las Vegas Raids the Taxpayer to Bring in the Raiders

    Johnny Kampis on September 5, 2017


    This piece was published in the Spectator on August 30, 2017.

    It’s a nondescript location on this 114-degree June day, but in mere months construction should begin on the new home for the National Football League’s (NFL) Raiders. This will be the world’s most costly stadium, built heavily on the backs of taxpayers. As with many taxes for stadium support, tourists will largely pay the costs for the Las Vegas Stadium. The Nevada Legislature passed a lodging tax increase quickly in a 2016 special session to raise the revenue for the public subsidy when the NFL came calling. 

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  • Bailing Out Nuke Plants is a Loser for Taxpayers

    David Williams on June 12, 2017

    Image result for nuclear plants
    This article appeared on Pennlive.com on May 31, 2017.

    Lawmakers are forcing taxpayers to go nuclear. Now that nuclear energy is becoming less and less competitive nationwide, lawmakers are responding by using Americans' hard-earned dollars to bail out floundering nuclear plants. Their reasoning is that if nuclear companies close, folks will lose jobs and a valuable energy source. But government handouts are no way to protect consumers. Rather than favor certain energy sources over others, lawmakers should let consumers benefit from a competitive, level energy playing field.  
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