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Taxpayers Tab

Taxpayers Tab Issue #12

April 12, 2011


Vol. 2 Issue 12 April 12, 2011


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Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 1001/S. 118, Notch Fairness Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $2.7 billion (13.5 billion over five years)

In 1977, Congress passed a bill to reform the Social Security system. The reform had an unintended consequence for those Americans who turned 65 years old between 1979 and 1988. Payments to these individuals dipped below payment rates to prior beneficiaries creating a "notch," and the individuals affected became known as "Notch Babies." "Notch Babies" have been working with legislators since the 102nd Congress to address this apparent underpayment.

Source: Senior Citizens League

The Notch Fairness Act provides two options to correct the notch. "Notch Babies" can either select a higher monthly benefit payment for the next ten years, or they can elect to receive a $5,000 lump payment that is distributed over four years. The higher monthly payments could be adjusted by five to 55 percent, according to the legislation.

During the 109th Congress, the Senior Citizens League estimated that this reform would cost $27 billion over ten years. A more recent estimate is unavailable. The Notch Fairness Act of 2011 was introduced by Congressman Mike McIntyre (NC-7) and Senator David Vitter (LA).

Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 620/S. 391, Recovering Excessive Stimulus Expenditures for Taxpayers (RESET) Act

Annualized Savings: -$7 billion (first-year savings)

Congressman Sean Duffy (WI-7) and Senator Jerry Moran (KS) introduced the RESET Act to repeal any unspent, unobligated funds associated with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or "stimulus." According to White House estimates, $7 billion remains unspent. The bill would rescind these funds and deposit them into the Treasury for deficit reduction.

A related bill -- the Stimulus Repeal Act sponsored by Congressman Rob Woodall (GA-7) -- would also repeal all unobligated "stimulus" funds and save taxpayers $7 billion.

Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 572, Clean Ports Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Regulatory

Number of Cosponsors: 55 Congressmen

H.R. 572 would "allow ports to enact and enforce clean truck programs and implement environmental programs" at or above currently federally-mandated vehicle emissions requirements. The bill is intended to replace traditional diesel trucks that haul cargo from ports and harbors with clean diesel or alternative-fuel vehicles. Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-8) sponsored the bill "to reduce pollution in a manner that has negligible effect on consumer prices, lowers public health costs to taxpayers, and does not unfairly burden the [cargo transportation] workers."

The Clean Ports Act clarifies authority for all levels of government with regards to heavy vehicles. It is a regulatory measure and would likely not result in any significant new federal spending.

Cosponsors include 55 Democratic Congressmen, 11 of the 16 states represented have direct access to coastal waters.

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The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 1275/S. 691, Maple Tapping Access Program Act

Annualized Cost: $20 million ($80 million over four years)

Congressman Peter Welch's (VT-At Large) bill would establish the Maple Tapping Access Program. The Department of Agriculture would award grants to maple syrup-producing states and tribal governments to promote research, education, and natural resource sustainability in the industry. Federal tax dollars would also be made available to owners and operators of privately held lands with maple trees if they expanded their production of the syrup or made their land available to public entities for such syrup-producing activities. The bill was also introduced in the Senate by Senator Charles Schumer (NY)

The new program would be authorized to spend up to $20 million for each of the next four years.

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About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

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