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Best Line of the Day
Posted By:  - 05/10/11

Former New Hampshire Senator John Sununu has a very informative piece on energy tax breaks at Boston.com.  I commend it to all of our recent energy commentors.  Anyway, the Senator in discussing the hyperbolic rhetoric surrounding this issue has to have the best line of the day:

"If cars ran on crazy talk, we’d all drive for free."

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NTU Launches Million-Dollar Campaign to Fight New Energy Taxes
Posted By:  - 05/04/11

NTU has launched a $1.25 million television, radio, and online advertising campaign to oppose new energy taxes currently under consideration in Washington.  A release about the campaign is here.

You can watch the tv ad below.

 

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More Social Security Payouts & Maple Syrup Bill Covered in Latest Taxpayer’s Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 04/13/11

Tab Insert

As the federal government narrowly escaped a shutdown and the President delivers a speech on his long-term fiscal plans, NTU Foundation has been scoring the bills introduced by your elected officials. Some bills would greatly increase the spending of tax dollars while others would scale back spending and reduce the budget. It is our intention to present both kinds of bills to inform taxpayers.

The most expensive bill scored in the past week would increase payments to Americans who turned 65 between 1979 and 1988. Because of earlier reforms to the Social Security entitlement program, this age group, called “Notch Babies,” apparently received up to 55 percent less in payments than those entering the system, before and after. The measure would allow seniors either to accept a lump payment of $5,000 over four years or to accept a modified benefit payment plan over ten years. Check out the history and the costs of the Notch Fairness Act in Issue 12 of the Taxpayer’s Tab.

Bills covered in the latest Taxpayer’s Tab includes:

  • HR 1001/S 118, Notch Fairness Act of 2011
  • HR 620/S 391, Recovering Excessive Stimulus Expenditures for Taxpayers (RESET) Act
  • HR 572, Clean Ports Act of 2011
  • HR 1275/S 691, Maple Tapping Access Program Act

Join NTUF on Twitter! We broadcast our latest work and highlight the spending agendas of the legislators representing you in Washington DC. Not a Twitterer? Sign up for the Tab so you get the most out of our research. Like what you see? Support NTUF and ride the wave of transparency.

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SNAP Food Stamp Bill Scored in Latest Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 03/02/11

Tab Insert

NTU Foundation’s weekly newsletter brings you a variety of bills this week with an environmental management plan bill for the Chesapeake Bay region, an act to establish a commission to study the nation’s justice system, a measure to create a domestic supply of medical isotopes, and a proposal to expand anti-hunger activities throughout the United States.

The bill to increase funding for community food initiatives and to expand some of the federal-to-state food stamp reimbursements is this week’s Most Expensive Bill of the Week. At $200 million in new federal spending for each of the next five years, HR 350 would direct tax dollars to nonprofit hunger groups within 20 designated geographic areas. The groups would present their plans and goals to receive operational grants and/or technical assistance grants. @NTUF will keep taxpayers informed about the different aspects of this bill, as well as the other three bills we detailed in Issue 7 of the Tab. Not much of a twitterer? No problem! Subscribing to the Tab is the best way to stay informed about all the exciting research coming out of NTU Foundation.

Newly scored bills highlighted in the latest Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • HR 350, Anti-hunger Empowerment Act of 2011
  • HR 258, Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act of 2011
  • S 306, National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2011
  • S 99, American Medical Isotopes Production Act of 2011

Do you or anyone you know live in Congressmen Jose Serrano (NY-16) or Rob Wittman (VA-1), or Senators Jeff Bingaman (NM), Lisa Murkowski (AK), or Jim Webb’s (VA) states? Each of these legislators were mentioned in this week’s Tab. Check it out and keep a tab on your representatives!

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Fair Tax Act, Gun Control Bill Highlighted in Latest Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 02/24/11

Tab Insert

After our entitlement reform panel at CPAC and releasing our report on the President’s FY 2012 budget, NTUF has a new Taxpayer’s Tab with four newly scored bills. We’ve got a lot of research going on at the Foundation so be sure to keep up-to-date with @NTUF and be even more sure to support NTUF so we can get you the information you’ve come to expect!

One of the issues that have surfaced in the 112th Congress is tax reform. Many legislators are calling for tax simplification while others support a different stance: system replacement. The Fair Tax is one of those system alternatives that has gained more attention in the last few years. NTUF scored the Fair Tax Act at an $11 billion annualized savings. Check out the full Fair Tax description and how NTUF estimated the savings in the latest Tab edition.

Scored bills in Issue 6 of the Taxpayer’s Tab include:

  • HR 301, New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence
  • HR 25/S 13, Fair Tax Act of 2011
  • HR 308/S 32, Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
  • HR 365, National Blue Alert Act of 2011
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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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The Latest Energy Tax-Hike Disguise
Posted By: Pete Sepp - 02/10/11

What is it with Washington’s warped calendar anyway? Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, but a group of Senators apparently can’t wait until Halloween. How else to explain a recent letter from leading Senate Democrats, calling on House Republican leaders to end “taxpayer-funded handouts to big oil companies that add little to our economic or energy security” so as to “make a down payment toward reducing nation’s deficit.” We shouldn’t be fooled by the disguise of deficit reduction; what the Senators propose is a very ugly tax hike.

Almost no other area of policy sees the terms “subsidies” and “spending” mangled, mutilated, and otherwise misused than energy. The list of signatories to the letter, which include Sens. Bill Nelson and Bob Menendez, ought to provide the first clue that we’re in for a linguistic contortion act. These are the same sponsors of legislation in the 111th Congress to do away with two provisions of the Tax Code that are available to a wide range of industries – but only for U.S. oil and gas companies. The Section 199 domestic manufacturers’ deduction and the dual capacity tax credit are, respectively, aimed at creating jobs and offsetting taxes paid to other countries, and provide tax relief for companies throughout the economy.

Question: In what world do laws that thousands of businesses of all kinds use to offset liabilities from a burdensome corporate tax system become “subsidies” when a handful of those businesses develop oil and gas? The answer, apparently, is a world of the Senators’ own creation, where they decide which companies “making billions in record breaking profits” should get singled out for higher tax bills.

Next Question: In what world does raising the tax burden of an individual or a company become, in the words of the Senators, “a good first step towards cutting spending”? The answer, again, is a world only Washington can inhabit, where deciding not to take 100 percent of everything Americans earn is an “expenditure” that needs to be budgeted.

Several recent NTU posts on Government Bytes and elsewhere have exposed these follies of fiscal thinking, but a few points bear repeating:

  • Accepting for a moment the government’s flawed definition of “expenditure,” data from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that so-called "big oil" receives only a fraction of the amount in energy-specific "tax expenditures" as compared to the renewables sector. Renewables are projected to receive an average of $12.5 billion in "tax expenditures" each year between FY 2009 and FY 2013, while major companies in the demonized American oil and gas industry are slated for less than a billion dollars. Where is the outcry among these Senators to “cut” the “budget” for renewables?
  • Last year a study estimated the economic costs of repealing the dual capacity and Section 199 provisions for oil and gas would total over 154,000 jobs lost in 2011 alone, not only in the energy sector but across the whole economy. Doing so would also result in more than $341 billion in lost U.S. economic output and over $68 billion in lost wages. So it’s puzzling that the Senators would want to proceed this way, especially since their letter states, “It defies common sense to cut programs that are creating jobs, helping jumpstart our manufacturing sector and strengthening the middle class …”

It’s one thing if Congress wants to revisit these provisions across the board in the name of tax reform that will cut rates. It’s quite another when lawmakers hide their high-tax agenda behind the mask of “deficit reduction.” Welcome to Halloween in Washington. Be afraid … be very afraid.

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Panel on Entitlement Reform, SOTU Analysis Covered in Latest Tab
Posted By: Dan Barrett - 02/02/11

Tab Insert

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation released the latest information on the President’s State of the Union speech this morning. Covered on CNBC, US News & World Report, and Investors Business Daily, the study authored by Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady also appeared at the top of the Drudge Report. A part of the Foundation’s SOTU coverage, Brady examined the speech line-by-line to give taxpayers a cost of the President’s proposed agenda. Here are a few highlights:

  • 2011 SOTU Net Spending: $21.349 billion per year
  • 2010 SOTU Net Spending: $70.46 billion per year
  • Number of Spending Proposals: 15 (5 boost spending, 3 cut spending, 7 unknown spending impact)
  • Largest Spending Increase Item: “Investment” in transportation infrastructure ($50 billion)
  • Largest Spending Cut Item: Two-year extension of last year’s proposed three-year discretionary spending freeze (-$15 billion)
  • Highest NTUF Recorded SOTU Net Spending: President Clinton’s 1999 speech ($305 billion)
  • Lowest NTUF Recorded SOTU Net Spending: President Bush’s 2006 speech ($1 billion)

NTUF also announced the panelists who will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week in Washington DC:

  • The Honorable Devin Nunes of the House of Representatives
  • Maya MacGuineas, President, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
  • Dan Mitchell, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute
  • Steve Moore, Wall Street Journal

The Taxpayer’s Tab included four newly scored bills in the 112th Congress:

  • HR 403, Homes for Heroes Act of 2011
  • HR 38, a bill to rescind funds appropriated to the Health Insurance Reform Implementation Fund under the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
  • HR 27, Lumbee Recognition Act
  • HR 90, a bill to provide for federal research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities to enable the development of farms tha are net producers of both frood and energy, and for other purposes.
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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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Obama Targets Oil and Natural Gas Industry
Posted By:  - 01/25/11

Here we go again:

I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own.

We know what this means: higher taxes! Many of you probably remember our ad campaign that we launched last year to fight the very taxes President Obama just promised.

In a blog post last September, NTU Executive Vice President explains what is at stake if proposed energy taxes are implemented into law:

"Congress is considering an extremely destructive 'double tax, through repealing a widely available credit that offsets taxes paid to other countries. However, this new “double tax” would apply only to energy providers here in the U.S. – meaning state-owned companies in countries like Venezuela and China will effectively receive a competitive edge over American firms. Ironically, even BP – the target of Congress’s ire over the Gulf spill – will gain a tax advantage. Also under consideration in the U.S. Senate is a repeal of Section 199 of the U.S. tax code, a manufacturers’ deduction, for only the oil and gas industry. The deduction allows companies to reinvest revenue into creating jobs and domestic economic growth."

And here are two of the letters we distributed in strong opposition to the tax hikes:

http://www.ntu.org/news-and-issues/health-care/job-killing-energy-tax.html

http://www.ntu.org/news-and-issues/health-care/full-repeal-1099.html

Clearly this issue isn't going away.

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