August 13, 2018
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This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on August 3, 2018.
It’s easy to groan about ever-shrinking airline seats that have little latitude for reclining. Some are taking it a step further, arguing that smaller seats 30,000 feet in the air actually harm passengers’ health and impede emergency evacuation efforts. With Congress considering reregulating airplane seat sizes via the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), consumers may soon see a change in width and legroom. This misguided crusade for “passengers’ rights,” however, ignores the right and ability of passengers to choose from a smorgasbord of seat size and pricing options. For the loyal consumers of low-cost carriers, the bargain fares made possible by bargain seating are preferable to more luxurious options. By keeping regulation off the table, Congress and the FAA can keep travel prices low for millions of Americans desperate for a summer vacation by not meddling in the size of seats.
June 7, 2018
On June 7, 2018, TPA President David Williams wrote to Congress urging the passage of the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act, H.R. 3. This would remove $15.4 billion in unnecessary funding to programs that, in previous years, have remained dormant in the budgeting process. You can find the full letter here. » Read More
TPA Renews Call for Congressional Investigation into Ana Matosantos After Adoption by Oversight Board of PREPA Fiscal PlanGrace Morgan on
April 23, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) called on the Puerto Rico Oversight Board to postpone the vote on the Puerto Rico Energy and Power Authority (PREPA) revised Fiscal Plan given recent revelations of Board Member Ana Matosantos’s significant conflicts of interest and efforts to hide implicating evidence. » Read More
January 22, 2018
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) criticized Congress for shutting down the government by failing to pass spending bills on time. The resulting federal shutdown is entering its third day, with no resolution in sight. TPA President David Williams criticized the current impasse, noting that, “short-term financing resolutions makes for short-sighted maneuvering by members of Congress. Lawmakers should be held accountable for putting unrelated demands in funding bills without allowing enough time for debate and compromise."
January 18, 2018
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This article originally appeared in The American Conservative on January 15, 2018
Solutions to Congress’s unprecedented partisan gridlock are a dime a dozen these days. Recently, pundits have lined up to defend the idea, touted by the president and congressional leadership, of resurrecting earmarks as a way to foster legislative compromise. Prominent blogger and Bloomberg View columnist Tyler Cowen provides an interesting conservatarian take on why the earmark ban has harmed the functioning of government and the advancement of free-market policy.
January 17, 2018
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on January 17, 2018
With tax reform in the rearview mirror, policymakers and voters are sizing up the next big policy battles. Chief among voter concerns is the unraveling healthcare system, which regularly sees double-digit premium increases and questionable results for taxpayer funding. Americans understand that failing to reform the health-care system via the rollback of Obamacare will continue to strain the system and result in lower-quality care at a high cost. » Read More
January 12, 2018
This article appeared in the Washington Examiner on January 12, 2018.
To citizens across the country, hopes of “draining the swamp” were fulfilled with the passage of comprehensive tax reform at the end of last year. With one step forward, however, the administration and Congress may decide to take two steps back. Earlier this week, the president and congressional leaders announced their willingness to bring back the destructive process of earmarking in an attempt to smooth out disastrous budget negotiations. In a rush to ditch continuing resolutions in favor of an actual budget, key leaders would be making a deal with the devil in bringing back earmarks. While President Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are simply trying to jump-start the budget process in good faith, allowing earmarks would once again consign taxpayer dollars to a black hole of aimless funding and failed expectations.» Read More
December 19, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), representing millions of taxpayers across the country, urges the House of Representatives to vote YES for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. TPA is encouraged by the final tax reform package crafted by the conference committee. This legislation will provide comprehensive tax relief for millions of Americans. » Read More
October 30, 2017
This article appeared in the Daily Caller on October 26, 2017.
Last week, the Department of Defense confirmed to Congress what all of Washington, DC already knew: the Pentagon is bloated. In particular, military bases have an astounding 19 percent “excess capacity.” This jives with previous yearly estimates. In fact, last years report pegged the figure at 22 percent. The Pentagon admitting that it maintains billions of dollars in wasteful structures should be a slam dunk for fiscally responsible lawmakers intent on downsizing government. But Congress on the whole rejected the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) request, even after Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) proposed a more “sensible” measure that would give Congress more control over the closure and realignment process. But counter to Congress’s posturing, the notion of taxpayers footing the bill for nearly abandoned installations is an unpopular one, and for good reason. A letter signed by the Taxpayers Protection Alliance and 44 other groups across the political spectrum reinforced the bipartisan idea of closing more bases. » Read More
October 26, 2017
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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to the passage of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget resolution in the House of Representatives. TPA President David Williams praised members of the House for, "demonstrating much-needed fiscal responsibility and continuing the path to tax reform. This budget resolution provides a strong foundation for comprehensive tax reform, paving the way for a reduction of $1.5 trillion in taxes over the next decade.”
July 24, 2017
Congress and the President are crafting the fiscal year 2018 budget, with promised cuts to gargantuan programs that have long out-lived their usefulness. Recently, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) signaled willingness to go beyond the standard conservative/libertarian formula of spending decreases and tax cuts. Speaker Ryan boldly suggests trying a second round of welfare reform, applying work requirements and wage incentives to programs with unchecked growth over the past few decades. Despite the high political price that lawmakers can pay for attempting to reform welfare, updating program rules and eligibility can improve living standards for the millions of Americans on the federal dole. As can be seen in the previous round of welfare reform, strengthening work incentives and allowing for state experimentation can make the very neediest better off while saving taxpayers billions. » Read More
June 13, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged lawmakers in the House of Representatives to oppose HR 1215, the “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017,” which forces a one-size-fits-all system of tort liability on states. A number of conservative organizations have already expressed their opposition to the legislation in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). » Read More
June 6, 2017
This article appeared in Inside Sources on May 17, 2017
Seemingly overnight, sending an email has become fraught with peril. Every day, we hear reports about phishing scams and malevolent viruses designed by cybercriminals and belligerent governments alike. But, unknown to many surfers of the digital domain, our own government has exploited loopholes and ambiguities in current law to snag important user information without obtaining permission in a court of law. In contrast to clear-cut Fourth Amendment prohibitions on physical property services, the law has little to say about privacy rights in the virtual space. And, vagueness in legal restraints leaves the door open for large, open-ended government investigations that squander hard-earned taxpayer money.» Read More
June 4, 2017
This article originally appeared in The Daily Caller on May 31, 2017.With Congress hurtling toward a debt ceiling increase this summer and another budget showdown in the Fall, their legislative agenda will be limited in 2017. Despite the (now normal) chaos, the Gaming Accountability and Modernization Enhancement (GAME) Act should move forward. The GAME Act puts the power of legalization and regulation of gambling in the hands of states where it belongs. With such a dysfunctional Congress and President, every opportunity to give states more autonomy should be encouraged.» Read More
May 30, 2017
This article originally appeared in RealClearFuture on May 21, 2017
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, voted 2-1 on May 18 to begin the process of reversing Obama administration policies that classified internet service providers as Title II public utilities and put them under the agency's thumb. Advocates of the change hope that removing the regulations will boost private-sector investment and reduce the call for taxpayer- and ratepayer-funded broadband networks.Title II classification gave the FCC more stringent oversight over those providers, allowing the agency to enforce ex-Chairman Tom Wheeler’s version of "net neutrality," purporting to prevent those companies from inhibiting or slowing down access to certain websites or web services.» Read More
May 22, 2017
With tax reform right around the corner, lawmakers must consider which onerous provisions to target first. While there’s no shortage of taxes that unfairly gauge taxpayers, inheritance (death) taxes are in a class of their own. Prevailing law requires that every deceased person’s estate worth at least $4,450,000 be subjected to a “death tax” of forty percent. This, paired with the gift tax targeting gifts over $14,000, transfers nearly $25 billion per year from landowners to bureaucrats. After a failed attempt at repeal during the Obama administration, President Trump promised on the campaign trail to remove these onerous provisions from the tax code. Next week, the House can fulfill this vision by passing H.R. 198, which plans to eliminate a host of inheritance taxes including estate, gift, and generation- skipping transfer levies. Congress can finally axe a series of taxes that are immoral, unnecessary, and burdensome to business owners.» Read More
May 12, 2017
This article appeared in The Daily Caller on May 9, 2017
In a meeting last week, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to leave his state alone when it comes to regulating online gaming. We don’t know the entire contents of that meeting, but Gov. Sandoval likely pointed out that Nevada and several other states are already effectively regulating online gaming. They are doing so on issues ranging from prevention of play by minors to geolocation to ID verification. To use that old chestnut, this is a problem that ain’t broke, but the federal government is looking to fix it. Politicians, encouraged by deep-pocketed patrons such as casino magnate Sheldon Adelson who don’t appreciate the online competition, are pushing a deeply flawed, dishonest piece of legislation called the Restore America’s Wire Act (RAWA). The legislation is flawed because it would lead to a crackdown of online gambling by Sessions and other law enforcement for no good reason. Americans by and large are OK with legal gambling as long as it is reasonably regulated. Online gambling hosted in states that allow it is hardly the Wild West.» Read More
May 9, 2017
Despite the deregulatory zeal shown by the Trump Administration and Congress, the vast majority of Obama-era rules remain in place. The cumulative effect of these interventions is large, with hundreds of billions of dollars being sucked out of the economy annually. Financial regulations, ushered in under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, had a particularly deleterious impact by targeting lending and borrowing activities. The wide-reaching legislation costs the economy as much as $36 billion a year, and imposes 73 million paperwork hours on American firms. But what can remedy this regulatory hangover? Later this month, Congress will contemplate passage of the Financial CHOICE Act. This legislation removes the onerous mandates of the Dodd-Frank Act, and places regulators on a tight leash. Independent rule-making bodies such as the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will now be required to comprehensively explain their cost-benefit logic to the American public. Congress already requires that new rules deemed to be economically “significant” be exhaustively evaluated in regulatory impact analyses, but financial regulations often slide under the radar. Given the ability of the Federal Reserve and the CFPB to usher in regulations affecting lending and borrowing for the entire economy, it’s only wise to require their methodologies to be scrutinized in the public eye.» 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 5, 2017
The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted to Congressional action on two major fronts: government spending and healthcare. After a busy week in Washington. Congress was able to pass a spending bill that guranteed government funding through late September and prevented a shutdown. The House was able to pass the American Health Care Act after pulling the legislation from the floor a few months ago. TPA President David Williams reacted to both of these developments yeasterday as dual statements were released.
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