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A Bus Stop For the Price of a Bus Terminal
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 03/22/13

I live in Arlington, Virginia, a tiny county that happens to be right next to our nation’s capitol. One of the many reasons I live there is that the state of Virginia seems to have a much better handle on spending and the size of government, especially when compared to neighboring Maryland and Washington DC. So much so that the state had a $220 million surplus back in July. There are other great benefits to living in Arlington including amazing food trucks, access to the Metro system, and Arlington Cemetery. BUT the county seems to want people to be impressed with a piece of nondescript concrete a mere 6 blocks from where I live. It’s a bus stop. It cost $1 million and I’m not the only one who paid for it. You did too.

According to Arlington Now, the county just completed the “Super Stop,” which is the first of 24 such advanced bus pickup points with a shelter for “some 15 passengers, lighting, an electronic display that shows when the next buses are coming, and a number of unbranded newspaper boxes.” It took a year and a half to construct. An Arlington County spokeswoman reported that $575,000 was spent for construction and $440,000 went towards management and inspections. First point: I am not read up on the intricacies of Arlington and Virginia building codes but if just a forth of the latter amount ($110,000) was spent on inspections then this is a serious case of overregulation.

Now to what all of this has to do with you taxpayers across the country. The county paid $200,000 for the glorified street corner and got the remaining $815,000 from the Virginia Department of Transportation, who in turn will get $996.9 million federal funds for road infrastructure projects in FY 2013. Second point: According to Reed Construction Data and their 2008 numbers, it costs an average $1.294 million to construct a basic 12,000 square foot single-story bus terminal using union labor. To clarify, it is conceivable that Arlington County could have built a terminal with the costs of this single bus stop. I estimate that the bus stop is around 180 square feet but, even if it was double that (360 sq ft), they spent $2,828 per square foot.

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The Late Edition: March 21, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/21/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTUF’s Michael Tasselmyer on the CBO’s new report exploring ways the Department of Defense can cut spending without sacrificing national security.

Restaurants are feeling the bite of the payroll tax increase that took place January 1st, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

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The American Maverick Show Interviews Pete Sepp at CPAC on the Sequester (AUDIO)
Posted By:  - 03/21/13

The American Maverick Show, a conservative show hosted on Red State Talk Radio Network, interviews NTU's Pete Sepp on the sequester live at CPAC.

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The Late Edition: March 20, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/20/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Heartland reviews the pros and cons of the House’s proposed budget.

Forbes contributor Tim Worstall on why taxpayer-funded farm subsidies are unnecessary.

A new poll from McLaughlin & Associates showcases the American people’s still tepid reaction to ObamaCare three years later, according to the Washington Post. The chart below shows a majority of respondents would either repeal or alter the law.


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The Late Edition: March 13, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/13/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Pete Sepp weighs in on how private sector pensions stack up when compared to those of government employees in this CNBC article.

Democrats, led by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), are unveiling a budget blueprint today that calls for approximately $1 trillion in new revenues. Read more from International Business Times.

NTU will be at CPAC this year, so don’t forget to stop by and see us at booth #537.

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Post-Sequester Survival Tips, New Universal Healthcare Bill - Speaking of Taxpayers, March 8 (AUDIO)
Posted By:  - 03/10/13

Subscribe to our podcast "Speaking of Taxpayers" via iTunes!


Pete & Doug bring you the aftermath of the sequester, as well as an update on some hefty spending legislation hitting Congress with NTUF's Dan Barrett. Congratulations to our Students for Liberty contest winner Annie-Laurie Stetten who joins the program, and the Outrage of the Week!
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The Late Edition: March 7, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/07/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU joined sixteen other fiscally conservative groups in support of the legislation introduced by Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), calling for reductions in crop insurance subsidies. 

Although the sequester cut discretionary spending, as Fox News contributor W. James Antle III explains in this op-ed, it is entitlements that are the real budget busters.

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Time to Put an End to the "Human Shield" Defense against Responsible Budgeting
Posted By: Douglas Kellogg - 03/07/13

How have you fared in the aftermath of the “sequester” deadline’s passage? It’s kind of ironic that unions put Twinkies out of business just in time for the fiscal apocalypse; let’s hope our canned goods last until this tragedy is over.

What’s that you say? The grocery stores are stocked? The schools are open? Firemen and police are still on the job? Surely the TSA is not actually getting new uniforms!? (Let’s give TSA a brief round of applause for their uncanny ability to get bad headlines; do they have a public information officer?)

Well then, so far it seems like the “sequester” hits about as hard as the “snowquester.” Still, let us mourn the loss of bureaucrats’ $5,000 carpentry projects for at least a moment… That at least one loss that any American might actually notice in day-to-day life, one specific American bureaucrat, but someone nonetheless! That is however, if the administration would make an honest effort to target waste and inefficiencies in the budget before cutting anything that could be of political consequence.

Unfortunately, the “human shield” defense to sensible budget reductions is alive and well. That is, intentionally punishing the populace by stopping garbage pickup, or trying to slow down air travel, or perhaps getting rid of food inspectors rather than dropping one of the plentiful number of TSA agents or perhaps a green energy loan, anything that the public might actually be happy to see go.

Some of the broad threats:

“Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that 800,000 Pentagon employees could face furlough, while Education Secretary Arne Duncan said 70,000 fewer low-income families would have access to the pre-kindergarten Head Start Program. And Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has said travelers could face 90-minute departure delays at airports due to air traffic controllers being forced into unpaid leave.”

A recent email between a USDA official and the Obama administration shines light on the dark side of the executive branch’s efforts to make the public feel the “sequester."

In this day and age of Internet media, this diabolical and open political maneuvering and blatant abdication of responsibility, completely intended to be at the expense of ordinary citizens to the benefit of those who reap government largess and inefficiency, should not stand.

Too many media outlets played right along with the President’s “Chicken Little” strategy, proclaiming doom and gloom. The extent of this phenomenon is well outlined in this piece by Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center.

All while there are more than enough cut options available. The federal government reportedly lost $261 billion to waste, fraud, and abuse last year (you’ll recall the sequester simply shaves outlays by $85 billion).

Here at NTU we have combined with USPIRG to create two reports on bi-partisan cuts to a variety of wasteful efforts, adding up to nearly $1 trillion. Additionally, some have rightfully pointed to Senator Tom Coburn’s reports on waste as containing good targets for savings.

The sad, or hilarious (depending on your sense of humor), examples of programs too vital to trim include:

  • The FCC’s cell phone program that continues to grow.
  • The White House Easter Egg hunt will continue, even though tours are shut down.
  • Government still pays $1.7 billion for empty buildings it owns (referenced here, as well as in the NTU/USPIRG report).

Perhaps, the epitome of the strong-handed tactics we are seeing is Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano’s threats to release undocumented detainees. Yet, Citizens Against Government Waste’s Tom Schatz called out DHS for having $9 billion in “preparedness funds” – presumably so they never have to do precisely what they are now doing!

The examples go on and on. It is not difficult to find loads of examples of budget items the general population would never notice should they be slashed. It’s high time illegitimate government functions, failed programs, and waste are not protected with disingenuous fear-mongering.  

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The Late Edition: March 6, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/06/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Pete Sepp discusses taxpayer-subsidized loans to rebuild areas affected by Hurricane Sandy in this WNYC piece.

The Tax Foundation explains how Obamacare taxes will be felt by all Americans, not just upper-income earners.

Today the House voted on a $982 billion ‘continuing resolution’ bill to fund the federal government beyond the March 27th deadline. Read more from the Huffington Post.

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The Late Edition: March 5, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/05/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Pete Sepp speaks out against energy tax hikes as part of sequestration in this US News op-ed.

Several limited-government organizations, including NTU, support the Public Employee Pension Transparency Act (PEPTA). Read more from

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