|America's independent, non-partisan advocate for overburdened taxpayers.||Home | Donate | RSS | Log in|
Reflections on CPAC
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.3 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Tune into NTU's State of the Union Coverage tonight
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.
We look forward to seeing you online tonight at 9 p.m. EST!
We look forward to seeing you online tonight at 9 p.m. EST!
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:
Muck Soil Conservation Bill Scored in Latest Taxpayer’s Tab
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:
Throughout the week, NTUF will tweet summaries, spending report links, and updates concerning the latest Congressional research.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
$572 Million Net Federal Spending in Taxpayer’s Tab
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:
Taxpayer’s Tab Covers Veteran Benefits, Arson Database in New Issue
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:
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.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
How Well Run Is Your State?
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.5 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Buckeye Institute Adds Education Salaries to their Database
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:
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.
Reducing Federal Workforce, Gun Law Modernization in Taxpayer’s Tab
This week, the Taxpayer’s Tab brings you a Most Friended bill with the most cosponsors to date, 240 Congressmen and 35 Senators. Think you know what the bill covers? The answer may surprise you. NTU Foundation also presents a Least Expensive Bill section only rivaled by Issue 2’s HR 5615, which repealed the medical device tax. To check out all the exciting content the Taxpayer’s Tab offers you, subscribe and help NTUF bring Congress’s potential spending agendas to light.
The Taxpayer’s Tab Issue 11 content includes:
The NTUF Policy Analysis Team has received many requests for bill cost estimates. Do you have a suggestion? Email us and let us know what’s important to you! While you’re emailing us, send your friends a copy of the Tab and tell them if they followed us on Twitter, they could stay on top of all the ongoing research.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
We Read the Constitution
Constituting America and Let Freedom Ring have launched a joint initiative aimed at getting more Americans to read the Constitution out loud and gain a better understanding of our nation's founding documents, principles, and ideals. We often hear politicians reference the Constitution, but how many of them do you think have actually read the entire text? These two organizations will be hosting local events all across the country on September 18, where ordinary citizens can participate in a reading of the Constitution in their area. It's something every American should do and it takes less than one hour to read the whole thing!
You can sign up to host a Constitution party on WeReadTheConstitution.com or simply locate an event near you. Remember that it doesn't need to be a lavish extravaganza; host a barbeque, meet at your local recreation center, or even invite friends to recite in your living room. Check out this short video if you're not already inspired:
1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts