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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #36

October 18, 2011

 

 

 

Vol. 2 Issue 36 October 18, 2011

 

Welcome to the Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project. NTUF gives you the most and least expensive bills that affects not only the nation's ledger but your pocketbook.

Head-to-Head Bills

The Bill: S. 782, Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $205 million ($1.024 billion over five years)

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) – an agency within the Department of Commerce – was created in 1965 "to generate jobs, help retain existing jobs, and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically distressed areas of the United States."  EDA partners with state and local governments, public and private organizations, and Native American tribes to implement locally-developed economic growth strategies. In addition to long-term planning and support, EDA also assists communities affected by severe economic shocks, such as natural disasters or the closure of military installations or other government facilities.  The agency also provides trade adjustment assistance to communities and firms that have lost jobs due to global competition.

The agency has not been authorized in law since September 30, 2008.  It has continued to receive funds through the appropriations process, however.

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has introduced S. 782, the Economic Development Revitalization Act, to reauthorize the agency for five years.  The bill would also make changes to a number of existing programs. Planning grants would be expanded to include the fostering of private investment for infrastructure and recovery projects.  Research and training grants would be modified to include the creation of regional economic development districts.  Funds would be allocated to redevelop abandoned property through the use of renewable energy technologies.

S. 782 would also make changes to the level of funding that states and local entities could receive for projects.  Under current law, the federal government covers 50 percent of a project's cost.  Depending upon the level of economic distress in the area (which is determined by the unemployment rate and per capita income), the federal government could contribute an additional 30 percent of the project's cost.  S. 782 would lower that threshold which would allow greater federal assistance.  The federal government's minimum share of grants made to Native American tribes would rise from 50 percent to 75 percent.  Any area that is declared a disaster area by the President would be given 100 percent of new project costs.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


The Bill: H.R. 3090, EDA Elimination Act of 2011

Annualized Savings:-$292 million (first-year savings)

Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has sponsored H.R. 3090 to eliminate the EDA.  In a press release, Congressman Pompeo stated, "I believe investing should be done by private citizens with their own money, not by federal agencies. …With state, local, and, most importantly, private sector sources of funding, economic development projects can -- and should -- move forward without utilizing EDA as a crutch."  The bill would end the EDA in the first fiscal year after enactment, or 2013 at the earliest, except for the Trade Adjustment Agency.  That agency would most likely be transferred to a different agency.

According to the CBO report for S. 782, the Economic Development Revitalization Act, and the President's FY 2011 proposed budget, ending EDA would result in a $292 million savings in the first year. The figure is the total amount appropriated in FY 2011 ($246 million) and the 2011 operating budget of EDA ($46 million).

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.

 

Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 1476, Federal Workforce Reduction and Reform Act of 2011

Annualized Savings: -$60 billion (-$300 billion over five years)

So far in the 112th Congress, NTUF has scored four bills that would significantly reduce the size of the federal workforce.  S. 1476 is the fifth.  All of the bills would reduce the number of federal employees through attrition -- the process of hiring fewer employees as others retire.  The Federal Workforce Reduction and Reform Act is the largest workforce reduction bill scored to date.

S. 1476 would extend the current two-year pay freeze for an additional three years, while also freezing government bonuses.  The bill requires that the President, in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget, reduce the number of federal employees by 15 percent, or approximately 300,000 individuals, over the next 10 years.  Most of those cuts would come from attrition.  The number of contract employees would also be cut by 15 percent over the same period.

The bill also calls for a 75 percent reduction in the government's travel budget. The cut would begin gradually at 50 percent for Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 and increase to 75 percent for FY 2014 and beyond. The Department of Defense is the only entity exempted from the travel requirement.

Citing numbers from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the sponsor estimates that the bill would reduce federal spending by $600 billion over ten years.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 2966/S. 1176, American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $4 million ($20 million over five years)

Number of Cosponsors:77 Congressmen and 24 Senators

Sponsored by Congressman Dan Burton (R-IN) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act aims to protect horses from being slaughtered for the purpose of being consumed by humans. The bill prohibits the movement or commercial activities related to the slaughtering of horses or horse-like animals (equines) if the end result or intention is the human consumption of horse meat.

Current federal spending related to the investigation and prevention of illegal horse slaughtering totals $500,000.  H.R. 2966 and S. 1176 would increase that spending to $5 million.

Cosponsors include 58 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the House. In the Senate, 19 Democratic and five Republican Senators currently support S. 1176.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


 

The Wildcard

The Bill: S. 1401, Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $18 million ($91 million over five years)

 

 

 

 

When re-introducing the Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said the bill "would sustain thriving wild salmon populations … to preserve the economic, ecological, cultural, and health benefits of wild Pacific salmon… ."  S. 1401 would establish a partnership committee compromised of government officials and private landowners.  The committee would compile plans, strategies, and information on salmon populations.  Grants would then be awarded to projects that protect and restore salmon populations.

Based on a CBO report for a prior version of the bill, NTUF estimates that S. 1401 would cost taxpayers $91 million in the first five years after enactment.

To learn more or discuss this bill visit WashingtonWatch.com.


Missed an Issue of The Tab?

Read them online

Issue 35 - Oct 11

Issue 34 - Oct 4
September Snapshot

Issue 33 - Sept 27

Issue 32 - Sept 20

Issue 31 - Sept 13



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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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This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 



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