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Tax Hikes Will Dim Black Friday for Some States’ Shoppers
It’s almost Turkey time, and right after Thanksgiving many Americans will kick off the holiday shopping season with “Black Friday”; and, if not this week, soon enough even the biggest shopping procrastinators will have to scrounge up something for Mom and Dad.
For many of those generous gift-buyers the state will be taking home a more significant portion of their expenses this holiday season thanks to sales and gas tax hikes.
Three states just couldn’t manage to find a way to cut spending, and instead raised sales taxes; and ten states and the District of Columbia hiked up their gas tax rates.
California took home the crown for highest statewide sales tax rate as they rocketed their rate to 7.5 percent. More surprisingly Arkansas (up to 6.5 percent) and Virginia (up to 5.3 percent) also saw increases.
For most people shopping means driving, or having something shipped that makes somebody else drive. So the second state-level tax that will have some unpleasant surprises for citizens (and Amazon) is the gas tax.
Adding to this bane of commuters, shoppers, and taxpayers, were California (new state motto: “Bring Money”), Wyoming, Nebraska, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
For residents of these states Black Friday will seem a little bit darker this year. Is your state playing the Grinch this holiday season?
Source: Tax Foundation:0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Thanksgiving Week Taxpayer News!
No-bid fix: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are attempting to fix the failure of the Obamacare website by awarding another multi-million dollar no-bid contract. Novitas Solutions will be paid $12 million to work on the financial management of the site, which launched October 1. Reuters has more.
Payment delays: The state of Illinois’ human services organizations have been experiencing a historic backlog in payments to taxpayers. As of last week the total owed to citizens totaled $8.8 billion. More information on the State Journal Register.
Cost guzzler: A new report from the National Legal and Public Policy Center shows that Americans are paying an average of $176 for each gallon of gas saved by the public funding of the Chevy Volt. Tax dollars have “saved” over 17 million gallons of gas to date at a cost of over $3 billion.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
NTU Foundation's Michael Tasselmyer stops by to talk about the latest fiscal legislation in Congress, and Taxpayer Protection Alliance's David Williams talks about why the Ex-Im Bank should concern taxpayers. Plus, a big-time Outrage of the Week!0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
You may have seen or heard ads for Obamacare recently, but did you know that you provided funding for many of them? In this week's edition of the Taxpayer's Tab, NTUF looks at a bill designed to alert taxpayers when they're viewing a commercial they paid for.
Representative Billy Long (R-MO) introduced H.R. 3308, the Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2013, in the wake of a $700 million advertising campaign designed by the federal government to encourage Americans to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. Congressman Long's bill would require federal agencies to clearly label publicly-funded ads as such, in the hopes that more transparency will foster discussion about how taxpayer dollars are used to promote government initiatives. The bill has gained 111 cosponsors so far, and NTUF estimates that its provisions will not require any additional outlays.
Also featured this week:
For more on these bills, check out the latest issue of the Tab online here, and be sure to sign up for future email updates!0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Thanks to grassroots pressure and bipartisan support, the Ohio Legislature this week passed a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) Convention Application, growing the roster of states with BBA resolutions from 19 to 20. Thirty-four states must pass similar resolutions to reach the two-thirds threshold to call on Congress to set a time and place for a Constitutional Convention.
It’s no secret why taxpayers across the country are so eager for the passage of a BBA. Washington has run deficits during 45 of the last 50 years, proving that as an institution, Congress is no longer capable of restraining itself. Clearly, any solution to our spending crisis must come from outside Washington, D.C.
Thankfully, Article V of the Constitution allows state lawmakers to exercise certain powers to prevent a catastrophe due to federal excesses. As we wrote in “Why You Must Lead the Congress” over two decades ago:
The Founding Fathers had no way of predicting the current irresponsible spending policies of the federal government. Yet although they could not foretell the future, they were men of great wisdom. They did foresee the possibility that Congress might fail the people. It is for that reason that Article V of the U.S. Constitution enables the states to amend the Constitution.
The time has come for the states to exercise their constitutional authority over the federal government, and our hats are off to the Ohio Legislature for doing their part to seize this historic opportunity. Stay tuned to NTU.org as we continue the push for an Article V Constitutional Convention for the sole purpose of adopting a Balanced Budget Amendment.
NTU’s letter calling on Ohio leaders to pass an Article V resolution can be found HERE.1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Today’s Taxpayer News!
Political dues: The Pennsylvania teachers union has diverted $3.2 million in taxpayer funds to lobbying and spent another $2 million to give directly to candidates running for office. Other unions in the state have spent millions on political causes as well. Watchdog Wire has more.
Subsidy tax: The state of Nevada is being forced to raise nearly $16 million in new taxes to pay for Obamacare subsidies for the higher than expected number of recipients. More information at the Franklin Center.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
We’ve addressed this before, but claims about “Obamacare” being deficit neutral are STILL heard to this day. In an effort to once again diffuse this misconception, let’s examine how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been scored over time – for anyone citing old numbers, this should put to bed any “deficit-neutral” talk.
For those inclined to believe the President, its understandable why they might echo his original claims on the subject. In September 2009 the President claimed "I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits — either now or in the future."
While budget gimmickry allowed for Congressional Budget Office scores that backed these statements, anyone paying attention over the last three years should know better – there’s that word again!
Just before the law was passed in March 2010, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the law would save $130 billion over its first decade.
We started the saga of these Affordable Care Act claims with that CBO estimate, yet when picked apart, it was revealed to be rather concocted for a number of reasons.
First, the package given to the CBO ignored what’s dubbed the “doc fix”. This $371 billion Medicare reimbursement cut for doctors is routinely delayed or “fixed”, meaning Medicare habitually ignores it and spends the ever increasing sum anyway. Not including this hefty price in government healthcare artificially lowers its total cost by compartmentalizing the spending in multiple bills.
The law also double counted about $70 billion in savings from the CLASS Act, along term care program. Finally, the CBO is forced to assume that Congressional projections for health spending will be abided by and not dumped out of political convenience, another dubious notion.
As the law came ever closer to implementation, the delay in the employer mandate happened. This will cost as much as $10 billion as expected fines are not collected over the year-long postponement, according to CBO. The mandate delay is also expected to push additional Americans into the federally subsidized exchanges, which would push costs up by as much as $5 billion more.
Now, CBO has revised its ten-year cost estimate for Obamacare to upwards of $180 billion.
The CBO report is paired with a Government Accountability Office report from January which maintains most of the supposed savings from the ACA are contingent on cost saving mechanisms and assumptions that place the political burden on Congress to maintain. The GAO “expressed concerns” about the will of Congress in this regard. That same report calculated the ACA would add an additional $6.2 trillion to America’s long term deficit.
This information should preclude any claims that Obamacare is deficit-neutral or even reduces the deficit. Unfortunately, we have to keep saying “should”, which means the parties guilty of continuing these claims are likely to continue, and we can keep calling them on it.1 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
House to Vote on “Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act”
The House of Representatives plans to take up H.R. 1900, the “Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act” tomorrow. Authored by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the bipartisan legislation “aims to expedite the federal review process for natural gas pipeline permit applications.” Like the “North American Energy Infrastructure Act,” a bill that targeted cross-border pipelines and transmission lines, H.R. 1900 would streamline the permitting process for natural gas pipelines, putting in place commonsense deadlines and guidelines to remove the regulatory limbo where many projects find themselves.
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report from February 2013, found that the many stages and steps of the permitting process, that often vary from state to state, can quickly bog down projects. The GAO explains that “for those projects that were approved from January 2010 to January 2012, the average time from pre-filing to certification was 558 days…” As natural gas exploration booms around the country, moving that natural resource from one point to another is a crucial component to the growth and sustainability of the industry.
From a consumer perspective, expediting the pipeline approval process means greater availability of an increasingly abundant and relatively low-cost energy source. To understand what greater pipeline capacity could mean for consumers, look no further than New England, where many suffer from high energy prices, especially in the winter, as the Boston Globe reports:
The projects come as New England struggles to address growing demand for natural gas and supply constraints created by tight pipeline capacity. Those constraints have led to shortages and price spikes during the peak demand periods, such as extended winter cold snaps, helping to drive the region’s already high energy costs even higher.
Over the last decade, the amount of electricity in the region produced by natural gas has risen from about 15 percent to more than 50 percent, said Gordon van Welie, head of ISO New England, the region’s grid operator. In Massachusetts, natural gas accounts for 67 percent of the state’s electricity generation, and is also used to heat half the state’s homes.
“Some days there just isn’t spare gas to be sold,” van Welie said.
Additional pipeline capacity, van Welie added, would help alleviate the issue and could also lead to lower energy costs in New England …
As NTU wrote regarding the aforementioned “North American Energy Infrastructure Act,” when it comes to giant infrastructure projects such as natural gas pipelines, “the planning, personnel, and capital all depend on a transparent, predictable, and consistent regulatory environment.” By smoothing the regulatory hurdles and creating an environment of certainty for investors, H.R. 1900 would give consumers increased access to low-cost energy options and spur job-growth in an essential sector of our economy. NTU urges all Representatives to vote “Yes” on H.R. 1900.
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Today’s Taxpayer News!
Pentagon audit: Reuters recently published an investigation on Defense Department spending and found no audits have been performed for almost 20 years, resulting in billions of taxpayer dollars to go wasted on unneeded or wasteful projects. In that span DOD has spent $8.5 trillion.
The War on “isms”: The Department of Education has spent over $20 million to develop ‘Equity Assistance Centers’ for the purpose of combating “all of the –isms, like racism, ableism, orientation, etc.” Read more on CNS News.
Pro-tax study: The Small Business Administration has awarded $80,000 of taxpayer money to promote a pro-Internet sales tax study. The study advocates for passage of the ‘Marketplace Fairness Act’. More information at R Street.0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts
Can he do that? Pete & Doug react to the President's pledge to not enforce rules on "inadequate" health care plans for one year, plus Linda Gorman of the Independence Institute joins the podcast to talk about those developments and the big taxpayer victory in Colorado!0 Comments | Post a Comment | Sign up for NTU Action Alerts