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Category: State Issues



  • Taxes? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Taxes!

    David Williams on January 11, 2012

    Montgomery County, Maryland ushered in its new 5 cent bag tax on January 1, 2012.  The goal is to change consumer behavior and raise money for the county.  Montgomery County follows the neighboring District of Columbia who instituted a bag tax in 2010 in trying to squeeze more money out of an already tax-weary public.  D.C.’s experience has been a complete failure.  According to a report by Americans for Tax Reform and the Beacon Hill Institute, “the bag tax will result in the elimination of more than 100 local jobs and precipitate a $5.64 million decline in aggregate disposable income for 2011. The majority of this income would have been spent in the District and, as a result of the bag tax, D.C. will now needlessly forgo an additional $108,340 in sales tax revenue and will see investment drop by $602,000, with the bulk of the loss occurring in the retail sector.”  The obvious scenario is that people will shift their purchasing behavior to patronize stores that are outside the geographical area of the tax.  The bag tax should come as no surprise to folks around the country who have been bombarded with all types of taxes to justify the expansion of government.  Taxes are also a way to avoid cutting spending to balance state and local budgets.  Besides the growing popularity of bag taxes, federal, state, and local governments are obsessed with usage and consumption taxes on telecommunications, tobacco, and alcohol.

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  • FCC Report Exposes Questionable 9-1-1 Expenditures

    David Williams on November 29, 2011

    Besides the occasional goofball complaining about a non-delivered pizza or somebody asking how to work his iPhone, most of the time when somebody calls 9-1-1 they are experiencing a dire emergency and need the system to work quickly and efficiently.  While some telecommunications taxes and fees may be controversial, mobile (and landline) customers understand the need for an efficient 9-1-1 system and are willing to pay for that system.  The number of 9-1-1 calls and the amount collected is staggering.  According to CTIA-The Wireless Association®, “Every day, 396,000 9-1-1 calls are made on wireless devices. With almost 30 percent of wireless-only Americans, mobile consumers pay more than $2 billion a year for their states’ 9-1-1 funds to ensure our nation’s first responders are properly equipped to handle wireless distress calls.”  A report earlier this month by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shows that not all money being collected from the fund is being used for the proper purposes.

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  • The Wireless Tax Fairness Act - Taxpayers and Consumers Win!

    David Williams on November 1, 2011

    It’s not very frequently that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reports on a victory, but this evening (November 1) was a banner moment for everyone that owns a cell phone.  The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1002, the Wireless Tax Fairness Act.  This bi-partisan bill, with 236 co-sponsors, freezes all new state and local taxes and fees on wireless for 5 years.  The official scoring entity of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), scored it as no additional cost to any level of government.  A true win!  Mobile devices are becoming a popular way to purchase books, music, or just download any content via the Internet.  The Wireless Tax Fairness Act stops states and local governments from imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on these items.

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  • HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Taxpayer-Funded Halloween Handouts

    Drew Johnson on October 31, 2011



    Halloween is a fun occasion for kids to dress up and go door-to-door looking for handouts of candy and other goodies. What taxpayers don’t realize is that all levels of government celebrate Trick or Treat all year long by handing out tax dollars to unnecessary programs and projects. The scary part is that taxpayers almost always end up tricked.  As the Taxpayers Protection Alliance wraps up a week-long celebration of Halloween (read previous blog postings here, here, and here), today’s offering of Trick or Treats features five frightening examples of Halloween-themed tricks on taxpayers, featuring a jack-o’-lantern carve out, subsidies for scary movies, a high-priced Halloween party, a punkin’ chuckin’ pork project and a government-subsidized corn maze. WARNING!! We repeat, we advise strong parental guidance because some material may not be suitable for children since they are the ones that will ultimately be paying for these tricks.

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  • Taxpayer Subsidized Baseball - A Swing and a Miss!

    Drew Johnson on September 6, 2011

    September is here and the dog days of summer have disappeared, which means baseball’s pennant races are heating up. Nothing is more synonymous with September in America than baseball and, unfortunately, nothing is more synonymous with baseball these days than hefty taxpayer-funded handouts to subsidize ballparks.   Minneapolis residents recently learned this the hard way when the Minnesota Twins unveiled their new stadium, Target Field.  By the time Target Field opened in 2010, Hennepin County taxpayers paid $350 million of the $555 million price tag of the new Twins ballpark, which translates to $303 for every man, woman and child in the county. Minnesota taxpayers, many of whom will never see the Twins play a game at their fancy new digs, were also forced to chip in $5.5 million towards the ballpark’s bottom line.

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  • “Wel-Fair”: Taxpayers Pay $1.4 million to Subsidize the Wyoming State Fair

    on August 18, 2011

    This week, the 99th annual Wyoming State Fair hosted a swine show, a performance pork contest and even a “pig ‘n mud” wrestling championship. But the biggest porker of all? The fair itself. The fair has become a pricey pork barrel project that uses Wyoming state tax dollars to subsidize more than three-quarters of the cost of operating the event each year. In fact, state lawmakers snatched more than $1.4 million from taxpayers to bankroll this year’s fair, which ends its eight-day run on Saturday.  If the attendance figures hold steady this year, every time someone pays the fair’s $3 admission fee, taxpayers will spend $32.29 to subsidize the rest of the cost of the attendees’ visit to the fair.

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  • Minnesota State Government Shutdown - A Citizen's Perspective

    Todd Kruse on July 1, 2011

    (Todd Kruse is a citizen and taxpayer from Minnesota) The State of Minnesota is officially “closed” today because our legislature and governor could not reach a budget agreement before the June 30th, Midnight deadline.  This is not a time to despair fellow citizens – no this is the ideal time to expect true leadership from our public officials.   Behind the headlines depicting the impasse between legislative leaders and the governor there is an ongoing legal process whereby our courts are determining what are deemed “core government functions.”  The Minnesota Zoo is a perfect example of an opportunity to fundamentally re-structure government.  Is the provision of a zoo a core function of government? As a classical liberal who celebrates limited government I would say “no” and would expect PETA to join me in this sentiment.

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  • Los Angeles Tourism Organization Needs to be Eliminated

    David Williams on June 28, 2011

    California has become known for two things:  setting trends (such as ham and pineapple pizza) and bad government. The latest example of bad government comes from our friends at Reason.com who reported that “Although excessive public-employee salaries are getting close attention in California, many ostensibly private officials – including a tourism bureau boss who makes almost $500,000 a year – are paid mostly or entirely from public money. In some cases, these compensation packages are higher than the pay of public employees who have been the focus of public outrage.” This “tourism bureau,” LA Inc., which is a non-profit organization that “functions as Los Angeles’ convention and visitors bureau,” has no seemingly justifiable existence and is funded by taxes.

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  • Creating Jobs in Tennessee

    David Williams on May 16, 2011

    Tennessee is in the middle of a taxation battle as the state legislature figures out what to do with an agreement that former Governor Phil Bredesen agreed to and current Governor Bill Haslam intends to honor which would exempt Amazon (the mega Internet seller of books and other goods) from paying state taxes, if it builds distribution centers in Tennessee.  Any legislation that invalidates this deal would be harmful to the Volunteer State and its residents.

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  • Groups Ignore Centers for Disease Control Lobbying Regulations

    David Williams on May 12, 2011

    On February 19, 2009 President Obama signed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, or more commonly known as the Stimulus Bill.  There was more than $800 billion in spending that was supposed to address unemployment and the economic dip that America had experienced.  What it did was create a myriad of new programs that have little to do with job creation and more to do with expanding government’s reach into society.

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