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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.
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.1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Panel on Entitlement Reform, SOTU Analysis Covered in Latest Tab
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:
NTUF also announced the panelists who will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week in Washington DC:
The Taxpayer’s Tab included four newly scored bills in the 112th Congress:
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!
Obama Targets Oil and Natural Gas Industry
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:
Clearly this issue isn't going away.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Senators Oppose Higher Ethanol Blending Requirements
The Hill's E2 Wire is reporting that "A bipartisan coalition of senators are mounting increased opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow some vehicles to fuel up with higher blends of ethanol in their gasoline."
Ethanol has been hanging around Washington for decades, but perhaps there's a sense now that it's time to put an end to it.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
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:
Drilling Ban Reimposed
Back in October, I wrote about the Obama Administration’s move to lift its 6-month ban on deepwater drilling. While we were cautiously pleased with their decision, we had concerns surrounding the timeline and when oil rigs would actually be able to resume drilling. Operations were told that they would be subject to a permit review process, but the Interior Department has yet to approve a new permit.
Now, however…you ready for this?...the Obama Administration has implemented a 7-year drilling moratorium for the entire East Coast as well as the eastern part of the Gulf of Mexico. This plan comes in spite of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s October announcement that safety risks had been significantly reduced.
This moratorium will inevitably lead to fewer jobs in an industry that employs or supports 9 million Americans and a trillion dollars of economic activity annually. Given today’s reports that unemployment rose to 9.8% in November, it is unfathomable for the President to authorize this devastating ban. How can Obama be serious about making jobs his number one priority when he’s acting to destroy them in a region that’s already suffered immensely throughout this economic crisis?
My other fear surrounding October’s so-called moratorium lift was that it would amount to nothing more than a political tactic to help vulnerable Gulf Coast Members of Congress in the mid-term elections. Was it? I’ll let you be the judge. But I think it’s certainly safe to say that we were right to be skeptical. We’ve seen these types of games played before.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
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
Al Gore Comes Clean on Ethanol
Not certain why Al Gore chose a conference on green energy to come clean about corn-based ethanol, but better late than never. He doesn't think that it's all that energy-efficient. And, are you sitting down for this one? He says that his support was driven, in part, by the desire to get the farm vote! Shocking. I am almost at a loss for words -- almost.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
NASA and Haiti Reforestation Acts Covered in Taxpayer’s Tab
As legislators head into the Lame Duck session and taxpayers begin to make holiday plans, NTUF continues its efforts in bringing officials and citizens the most up-to-date potential spending picture.
The latest edition of The Taxpayer’s Tab covers a wide range of topics and policy goals. One bill already signed into law is the NASA Authorization bill. Many have voiced their positions on whether space travel should remain in the realm of the government agency or privatized to let NASA focus on science and traveling to other planets. Budget hawks have cited the large bureaucracy and lack of direction shows NASA needs to be reformed. S. 3729 provides more money to NASA, on average $1.1 billion in the next three years, for more science, more encouragement of private rocket competition, and another shuttle mission.
Legislation covered in the new Taxpayer’s Tab includes: