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Bills Hiring 100,000 Teaching Assistants and Cutting $39 Billion In Latest Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 03/30/11

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NTUF is hot on the heels of recently introduced legislation with cost estimates and descriptions in the most recent Taxpayer’s Tab. While releasing our final BillTally report for the 111th Congress in mid-March, we remained vigilant in getting you the bills sponsored and supported in the 112th Congress.

This week’s Most Expensive Bill would authorize the Department of Education to spend up to $1 billion for each of the next five years to employ 100,000 new teaching assistants. The paraprofessionals would help teachers with administrative support as well as help students with one-on-one instruction. The bill’s goal is to achieve a lower ratio of school workers to students. School districts who already have met the requirement (mentioned in the Tab) may use funds to help currently employed aides in obtaining teaching licenses or furthering their professional development.

Bills in Issue 10 of The Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • HR 646, A bill to authorize the appropriation of funds to be used to recruit, hire, and train 100,000 new classroom paraprofessionals in order to improve educational achievement for children
  • S 164, Withholding Tax Relief Act of 2011
  • HR 998/S 555, Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011
  • S 253, A bill to establish a commission to ensure a suitable observance of the centennial of World War I, and to designate memorials to the service of men and women of the United States in World War I
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Fairness Doctrine Prohibition Bill Highlighted in Latest Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 03/10/11

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As budget battles loom and entitlement liabilities grow, NTU Foundation is hot on the heels of federal spending proposals. This week’s Taxpayer’s Tab brings you four newly scored bills for your consideration.

One bill making ripples in the political waters is the Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011, sponsored by Senator Rand Paul. To address the projected $1.5 trillion deficit for 2011, Paul proposes cuts across many government departments and agencies -- even defunding the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nine agencies, and seven independent agencies. How much will it save taxpayers? Check out the article in its entirety here.

The latest Taxpayer’s Tab includes the following bills:

  • HR 555, Universal Prekindergarten Act
  • S 162, Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011
  • HR 642, Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2011
  • HR 576, Healthy Children Through School Nutrition Education Act

Do you or anyone you know live in Congressmen Joe Baca (CA-43), Dennis Kucinich (OH-10), or Mike Pence’s (IN-6) district or Senator Rand Paul’s (KY) state? Each of these legislators was mentioned in this week’s Tab. Read up on their proposals and keep a tab on them!

As a bonus, we also highlight a recently posted article by NTUF’s Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady. The War on Federal Redundancy, featured in The Ripon Forum, addresses why Congress should target duplicative government programs first but quickly and assertively move onto the three 500 pound gorillas, also known as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Check out the whole article here.

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Reflections on CPAC
Posted By:  - 02/12/11

Today is the third and final day of the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the largest annual gathering of conservatives and libertarians in the nation. After three days of staffing a well-visited booth, meeting with dedicated activists, and listening to dynamic speakers, I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation, but also to what the future holds for the conservative movement.

This year’s CPAC had the highest number of attendees (11,000) in the history of the conference. CPAC speakers ranged from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the House Budget Committee Chair, to Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a potential presidential candidate who gave, in my view, an outstanding keynote address, which you can read here. Also, CPAC 2011 featured a number of new participating organizations that focus on both activism and policy related to social, economic, and political issues at the federal, state, and local levels.

While attending CPAC, I had the opportunity to participate in a number of discussions about important tax and fiscal policy issues facing the United States. NTUF hosted a discussion about entitlement reform that featured experts such as Rep. Devin Nunes, Maya MacGuineas, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Steven Moore, and Dan Mitchell. The bottom line of their presentation was that we need to start tackling the problem of runaway entitlement spending before it’s too late.

But budget reform should not be restricted to social programs. CPAC also featured a panel on how the nation can reduce defense spending to a more manageable level without jeopardizing readiness. As a former military aide to a fiscally conservative Member of Congress, I was pleased to hear all of the views presented and the many ideas for maintaining an affordable defense posture. The passion the attendees displayed at the panels, and in conversations with me at the NTU table, was striking.  It bodes well for conservatives if these activists carry their views home and remain outspoken and active in the political process.

For the last several weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the media about differences in the conservative movement over certain policies and suggestions that these differences spell certain doom the conservative movement.  After three days of observing conservatives of all stripes from across the country, I can unequivocally say that reports of destructive differences among conservatives are greatly exaggerated. In fact, I would argue that the conservative movement has never been stronger and ready to bring real solutions to the many serious problems facing the nation.

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Tune into NTU's State of the Union Coverage tonight
Posted By:  - 01/25/11

Tonight at 9 p.m. EST, the National Taxpayers Union's crack government affairs and policy analysis teams will provide special online coverage of the President’s State of the Union Address, and we want you to be there and be a part of the discussion. We will be breaking down the President's proposals and what they will mean for taxpayers. Details on how you can join the conversation are below.

  • If you have a Twitter account, use the hash tags #NTUSOTU and #SOTU to link to our discussions and analyses. Hash tags are like keywords for Twitter. Just use them in each of your messages to link to the ongoing dialogue. Remember to also follow @NTU and @NTUF for all the latest commentary!
  • You can also log onto NTU’s Facebook page, where we will constantly update our newsfeed with links, comments, and memorable quotes. Be sure to join our page by clicking "Like"!
  • Even if you don’t have a Twitter of Facebook account, you can still share your thoughts and opinions by going to our special chat room. Join the chat here.
  • NTU will also be updating our blog, Government Bytes, as the night progresses. You can comment on each post as well! Just click on the “Post a Comment” link and speak your mind.

We look forward to seeing you online tonight at 9 p.m. EST!

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Conservation Corps Scored at $16 Billion in Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 12/14/10

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This week’s Taxpayer’s Tab covers a variety of legislation introduced during the 111th Congress, ranging from improving America’s small town infrastructure to eliminating sex-based pay-discrimination.

The 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act -- this week’s Most Expensive Bill -- would reestablish the Depression-era program at a cost of $16 billion each year. The Corps is intended to employ people, especially out-of-work veterans and people who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, by improving America’s parks and forests.

Be sure to check out the WildCard -- a bill to get kids and families outdoors through community program grants. You might be interested how much it costs…

The bills highlighted in Issue 23 of The Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • HR 6456/HR4318, 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act
  • HR 6246, Rural Energy Communities Development Act of 2010
  • S 3772, Paycheck Fairness Act
  • HR 6426, Moving Outdoors in Nature Act of 2010
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Muck Soil Conservation Bill Scored in Latest Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 11/30/10

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NTU Foundation continues its research efforts with four new scored bills ranging the legislative spectrum. The Taxpayer’s Tab’s 21st installment also gives taxpayers a broad range of legislators from across the nation, from coast to coast and a few Midwest states.

One bill that got our attention this week was HR 6180, which would establish a muck soil conservation program. Muck soil is a top soil that is used in producing many agricultural products, from onions to celery. The legislation calls for $50 million to be spent in the first year in the form of state grants. Farmers who perform five requirements (mentioned in the Tab) would be paid up to $500 per acre to use the muck soil.

The latest Taxpayer’s Tab includes the following bills:

  • HR 6229/S 3595, Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement (DIPLOMA) Act
  • HR 5780, Reduce and End our Deficits Using Commonsense Eliminations (REDUCE) in the Energy Program Act
  • HR 5893, Investing in American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act of 2010
  • HR 6180/S 3809, a bill to amend the conservation provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985 to promote the conservation and improvement of the soil, water, and wildlife resources of lands containing muck soils, and for other purposes

Throughout the week, NTUF will tweet summaries, spending report links, and updates concerning the latest Congressional research.

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$572 Million Net Federal Spending in Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 11/09/10

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The NTU Foundation’s Taxpayer’s Tab is back to its regular schedule and format, highlighting four newly scored Congressional bills.

Covering veterans educational benefits, the Most Expensive Bill of the Week would allow certain service members to transfer benefits to their dependents. The Least Expensive Bill of the Week would establish a comprehensive energy plan, including more domestic oil exploration, alternative technology development, and a natural gas vehicle demonstration project provision. The House version of the Prevention First Act was found to increase federal spending by $417 million in the first year.

Bills covered in the latest Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • HR 3577, Education Assistance to Realign New Eligibilities for Dependents (EARNED) Act of 2009
  • HR 3505, American Energy Production and Price Reduction Act
  • HR 463/S 21, Prevention First Act
  • S 3078/HR 4757, health Insurance Rate Authority Act of 2010
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Taxpayer’s Tab Covers Veteran Benefits, Arson Database in New Issue
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 10/21/10

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Through this busy election season, NTU Foundation continues to score the bills Congress has introduced to keep taxpayers informed. The top potential spending, savings, and law changes are again highlighted in this week’s Taxpayer’s Tab. Issue 16 examines bills that would expand military veteran and personnel educational benefits, establish an arson database, and provide for improved prison conditions throughout the world.

The latest Taxpayer’s Tab covers the following bills:

  • S 3447/HR 5933, Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act
  • S 1684/HR 1784, Managing Arson Though Criminal History (MATCH) Act of 2010
  • HR 6153/S 3798, Foreign Prison Conditions Improvement Act

Also, the Tab highlights the recent U.S. Senate Candidate Spending Analyses, which NTUF has release over the past two weeks. So far, five Pennsylvania and Florida candidates have been highlighted for their spending agendas. Some would increase while others would decrease federal spending. NTUF will be releasing more reports in the coming week. Be sure to stay up-to-date on all the latest research by checking out the NTUF homepage and following the official @NTUF Twitter feed.

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How Well Run Is Your State?
Posted By:  - 10/08/10

There's a new ranking that looks at how well states are run, or in some cases not so well run.  According to its web site, "24/7 Wall St. has completed one of the most comprehensive studies of state financial management ever performed by the mainstream media. It is based on evaluation principles used in the award-winning Best Run States In America ratings published by the Financial World Magazine during the 1990s. These studies were used by state governments to evaluate the efficiency of their own operations. The new 24/7 Wall St. study is meant to help businesses and individuals examine state operation with an unbiased eye."

Take a look and see how your state does.  Spoiler alert:  Wyoming is the best and Kentucky is the worst.

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Buckeye Institute Adds Education Salaries to their Database
Posted By:  - 09/22/10

Transparency and openness in government spending is crucial in an open society as it reinforces our system of checks and balances. When citizens know how, where, and why their tax dollars are being spent they are far better able to hold government accountable and demand changes. Government becomes more responsive to constituent's concerns, thus bolstering public confidence, promoting fiscal responsibility, and reducing the prospects of waste, fraud, and abuse.  

Over the last few years state governments across the country have been creating entirely new web portals dedicated to spending transparency, listing state employee salaries, providing state operating budgets and the like. In addition, independent organizations have jumped on the transparency bandwagon, often times filling the void in states that do not yet have official government transparency sites. They attempt to organize financial information into a user friendly and searchable format.

The Ohio-based Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions has its own searchable database of state employee, teacher and lobbyist salary information. This week the Institute  added the following colleges and universities to its "Higher Ed" searchable data tool:

Bowling Green State University (2009 & 2010)
Cleveland State University (2009 & 2010)
Kent State University (2009 & 2010)
Miami University (2009 & 2010)
Ohio University (2009 & 2010)
Shawnee State (2009 & 2010)
The Ohio State University (2009)
University of Akron (2009 & 2010)
University of Cincinnati (2009 & 2010)
University of Toledo (2009)

The new data includes the salary and estimated pension data for over 59,000 public higher education employees in Ohio, including the 4,496 employees earning $100,000 or more. Based on the current pension formula, Buckeye estimates yearly pension payout for these employees would total $428,530,218.50 and a lifetime payout total of $9,680,497,636.00 for an eighteen-year retirement. The total payroll for the ten schools based on the latest year data totaled $3,002,544,981.

Ohio taxpayers deserve to know what higher education is costing them and judge the overall value of the state’s public schools. The website has received much fanfare since its launch on April 30, 2010. According the Institute, over 99,500 visitors from 426 Ohio cities have spent over 10,500 hours on the website doing more than 732,000 searches.

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