Welcome to the Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project.
Since 1991, NTUF has computed the legislative spending agendas of Members of Congress by analyzing the costs -- and savings -- of the bills that they sponsor and cosponsor. Our goal is to provide you with objective information about what Congress wants to do with your tax dollars in an open and transparent manner.
Each week, NTUF will bring you updates on the week's most and least expensive bills, the ones with the most cosponsors ("the most friended"), and a few bills we've termed Wildcards -- bills that we think you might find interesting.
For more information on the National Taxpayers Union Foundation or the BillTally Project, check out our website and methodology.
In Case You Missed It
NTU Foundation not only examines bills introduced by Congressmen and Senators but also the potential spending agendas for candidates hoping to someday represent Americans in Washington, DC. NTUF's U.S. Senate Candidate Spending Analyses utilizes campaign statements, transcripts of debates, and news sources -- using the candidates' own words -- to estimate how much he or she would spend if elected.
On Monday, NTU Foundation released federal budget spending agenda reports for three of Florida's senatorial candidates: Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek, and Marco Rubio. NTUF's analysis of the Florida candidates' agendas is one of several we are currently conducting. Last week, NTUF released a federal budget spending agenda report for Pennsylvania's two senatorial front-runners, Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey. Most Expensive and Most Friended Bill of the Week
The Bill: S. 3447/H.R. 5933, Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act
Annualized Cost: $256 million ($1.28 billion over five years)
Number of Cosponsors: 121 Congressmen and 27 Senators
S. 3447 tops two Taxpayer's Tab categories: The Most Expensive and Most Friended Bill of the Week. Senator Daniel Akaka (HI) and Congressman Walter Minnick (ID-1) introduced the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act in July of this year. The bill expands educational benefits for veterans and members of the Armed Forces.
Military personnel attending a private university, college, or vocational school will receive, on average, the same dollar amounts of tuition and fee assistance as public institution attendees. Higher public education students will continue to have their full tuition and fees paid for. If they attend a private institution, the average amount given to members attending state schools will be given. The Act redefines educational establishments as not only traditional colleges but on-the-job training, such as apprenticeships and flight instruction. The Act authorizes soldiers, sailors, and airmen to designate dependents to receive benefits once that member is no longer in the Armed Forces.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates S. 3447 would increase federal spending by $1.28 billion over the next five years.
Cosponsors include 107 Democrats and 14 Republicans in the House. In the Senate, 23 Democrats, 3 Republicans, and 1 Independent support S. 3447.
Least Expensive Bill of the Week
The Bill: S. 1684/H.R. 1727, Managing Arson Through Criminal History (MATCH) Act of 2010
Annualized Cost: $3 million ($17 million over five years)
To better combat arsonists and bombers, Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA) and Barbara Boxer (CA) introduced the MATCH Act, while Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (CA-45) and Congressman Adam Schiff (CA-29) have sponsored H.R. 1727. The bill would require those convicted of committing, attempting, or conspiring to commit acts of either arson or bombing to register with their states of residence.
The federal government would provide grants to states, territories, and Indian tribes to hire personnel to verify information. Other federal funds would be made available to establish the registry's infrastructure, develop software, and create a web site. The web site would only be available to law enforcement officers and not the public.
Bono Mack said, "[f]irefighters put their lives on the line to keep our communities safe, and they deserve to have all the resources they need to combat arson and the devastation it causes." According to Bono Mack's press release, "55 percent of arsonists will return to jail within two years of their parole."
We Want You!
NTUF is looking for late summer/fall associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit and a stipend are possible. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!