Dedicated to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax and spending policies affect them.

Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #45

December 20, 2011

 

 

 

Vol. 2 Issue 45 December 20, 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. For more information, check out NTUF's BillTally Project and our partner, WashingtonWatch.com!

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 2583, Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2012

Annualized Cost: $661 million ($3.3 billion over five years)

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has sponsored the Foreign Relations Authorization Act to outline the international programs of the federal government. Spending for the Department of State and agencies under its authority, such as the United States Agency for International Development and the Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, would see an increase of five percent, or $2.2 billion, over the previous year.

The Authorization Act would also modify or expand a number of additional existing international efforts including:

  • Intellectual Property Attaché Program: Add six new attachés to reduce counterfeiting and piracy of protected intellectual property
  • Peace Corps: Approve greater security requirements for volunteers
  • Nongovernmental Organization Grants: Spending in Tibetan communities for political, economic, and social development
  • Education Assistance: Spending for partnerships between private businesses and higher education institutions in Africa
  • Gun Trafficking Prevention: Expand the program that offers rewards for preventing arms trafficking in Mexico

A new program in H.R. 2583 -- the Global Security Contingency Fund -- would require the State and Defense Departments to provide security assistance to foreign countries. As a $70 million initial cost to taxpayers, the fund would streamline diplomatic, development, and military responses in the event the U.S. needs to respond to an unforeseen situation or to “take advantage of emerging opportunities for partners to secure their own territories and regions.” The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the fund would increase spending by $984 million over five years.

NTUF estimates that H.R. 2583 would result in result in $3.3 billion in new spending over the next five years.

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


Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 1931, Temporary Tax Holiday and Government Reduction Act

Annualized Cost: -$14.0 billion (-$70.0 billion over five years)

Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) has introduced S. 1931 to extend the temporary payroll tax cut for an additional year. Payroll taxes are payments to the government, automatically taken out of paychecks, to help fund Social Security and Medicare. The payroll tax holiday would result in a revenue loss of approximately $121 billion for FY 2012 and 2013. Revenue losses to the government are not scored under BillTally rules.

However, the lost revenue would be offset by a number of provisions also contained in the bill. Unemployment compensation would be curtailed and certain Medicare premium payments would be increased for individuals making $750,000 or more per year. A pay freeze for government employees would be extended until 2015, and the federal workforce would be reduced through attrition, where only one person could be hired to replace every three employees who leave.

S. 1931 would also add an option to every personal income tax form to allow taxpayers to donate money in order to pay down the national debt.

CBO released an estimate on how S. 1931 would affect spending. The changes in direct spending, specifically the reduction in the federal workforce, would save taxpayers $70.0 billion over the next five years.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 3538, a bill to amend the Railway Labor Act to direct the National Mediation Board to apply the same procedures, including voting standards, to the direct decertification of a labor organization as is applied to elections to certify a representative, and for other purposes

Annualized Cost: “No Cost” -- Regulation

Number of Cosponsors: 160 Congressmen

Employees have the right to hold elections to authorize the formation of unions under the National Labor Relations Act. Similarly, unions can also disband through an election process called decertification. Elections and decertifications can be officiated by the National Mediation Board, which tries to resolve labor disputes through bargaining instead of strikes precluding the need for potentially economically-disruptive strikes in the railroad and airline industries.

Sponsored by Congressman John Mica (R-FL), H.R. 3538 would require the Board to use the same standards to decertify a labor organization as it uses for labor elections. The new responsibility would be a procedural regulation for the Board to follow and so would not result in new spending. It is unclear how the streamlined process would affect the functions of the Board or how labor organizations would be affected by the bill.

All 160 cosponsors are members of the Republican Party.

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


Correction

Last week’s Taxpayer’s Tab stated that H.R. 3250, the Honorable Stephanie Tubbs Jones College Fire Prevention Act, was named for the sponsor’s mother. Congresswoman Tubbs Jones is not the mother of the bill’s sponsor, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge. We regret the error.


 

See You in 2012!

This will be the last Taxpayer's Tab for 2011. We will be back with new articles and cost estimates in the New Year!


The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 3571, Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $2 million ($10 million over five years)

 

 

 

 

 

The Entrepreneur Startup Growth Act would establish a grant program to provide tax preparation assistance to individuals who are self-employed. Entrepreneurs who made $50,000 or less in the previous year would be eligible for assistance. In addition to spending tax dollars to teach people how to file their taxes, the bill calls for greater business development assistance -- such as counseling and classroom training -- that would lead to improvements in the individual’s business.

Grants would be awarded to community lending institutions including microlenders, higher-education groups, and local governments. The sponsorer of H.R. 3571, Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA), said “the most critical time of the year for new [business] owners is tax season as they learn how to comply with the different tax standards for businesses. The Act turns this tough time into an opportunity by offering affordable business tax assistance in conjunction with business development services so these companies can continue to grow and create jobs.”

According to the text of the bill, the new grant program would be authorized to spend $1.5 million for each of the next five years. BillTally rules call for spending estimates to be rounded to the nearest million dollars.

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


Missed an Issue of The Tab?

Read them online

Issue 44 - Dec 14

Issue 43 - Dec 6
November Snapshot

Issue 42 - Nov 29

Issue 41 - Nov 22
Super Committee Failure Edition



We Want You!

NTUF is looking for winter and spring associate policy analysts to participate in our internship program. Associates assist with BillTally research and other policy projects. Academic credit is possible. Email questions to ntuf@ntu.org. To apply visit our internship page. Join us and help keep a tab on Congress!



 

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.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

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.

 

 



108 N. Alfred St. Alexandria, VA 22314