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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayers Tab Issue #8

March 9, 2011

 

Vol. 2 Issue 8 March 8, 2011

 

NTUF In The News

The War on Federal Redundancy

The Ripon Forum by NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady

The Ripon Forum featured an article by NTUF's Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady about the war on federal redundancy and why duplicative government programs should be the first place Congress looks to cut. Ultimately, our fiscal problems won’t be solved until politicians tackle entitlement reform. But while that debate continues, Congress should get to work eliminating or consolidating wasteful, duplicative programs. The entire article can be here.

We Want You!

NTUF is looking for late spring and summer 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!

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 555, Universal Prekindergarten Act

Annualized Cost: $30 billion ($150 billion over five years)

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (OH-10) said "we must make the education of our youth a top priority for investment in our future." He introduced the Universal Pre-kindergarten Act to provide "children ages 3-5 years old [with] access to a high quality, full-day, full calendar year prekindergarten education."

H.R. 555 would require the Department of Health and Human Services to award matching grants to state governments. States would receive funds after submitting an 11 point plan outlining what would be taught, what agencies and departments would be involved in the program, and how they would provide for 20 percent of matching Federal funds.

Local individual schools and programs would also be required to describe how they would collaborate with existing community-based child care providers and Head Start programs, submit a plan to promote parental involvement in the program, and provide data detailing all funding sources -- including private contributions -- received by the program. Class sizes would be limited to 20 children and the programs must maintain at least a 10:1 student-to-teacher ratio.

The Prekindergarten Grant Program would initially be funded at $10 billion in FY 2012 and increase by $10 billion each of the next five years. The appropriations in H.R. 555 would be in addition to the $8.1 billion in Head Start funding that was requested by the President in his FY 2012 budget.

Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 162, Cut Federal Spending Act of 2011

Annualized Savings: $408.507 billion (first year savings)*

At the beginning of 2011, the Congressional Budget Office predicted a $1.5 trillion deficit for FY 2011. This estimate assumes that current laws remain unchanged. Senator Rand Paul's (KY) introduced S. 162 as a possible solution to the budgetary problem.

S. 162 would make budgetary cuts to all three branches of government, including 12 departments, two agencies, and four independent agencies for FY 2011. The bill would also terminate all Amtrak federal subsidies and entirely defund the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nine agencies, and seven independent agencies. Seven miscellaneous cuts appear in the Act that are scorable under NTUF's BillTally methodology such as reducing government travel. Two entities, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Social Security Administration, are explicitly spared any funding cuts.

* This is a preliminary estimate. Certain provisions of the bill are still being researched for potential costs while others may require revenue considerations.

Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 642, Broadcaster Freedom Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: No Cost

Number of Cosponsors: 124 Congressmen

The Fairness Doctrine was originally introduced in 1949 to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues, as well as requiring broadcast license holders to set aside airtime for those discussions. The policy was under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) until it was partially revoked in 1985. Federal officials stated that the policy violated free speech rights. The full repeal was ordered in 2000. Since 2005, attempts to reinstate the doctrine have been introduced in Congress but supporters have yet to reinstate the policy.

To guarantee the Fairness Doctrine is not reinstated, Congressman Mike Pence (IN-6) re-introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act. The bill prohibits the FCC from instituting any and all parts of the Doctrine.

The bill acts as a preventative measure against the FCC instituting its own policies without Congressional legislation. It limits the scope of FCC authority but does not repeal or create federal spending.

Cosponsors include two Democrats and 122 Republicans in the House.


 

The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 576, Healthy Children Through School Nutrition Education Act

Annualized Cost: To Be Determined

To combat childhood obesity, Congressman Joe Baca (CA-43) sponsored H.R. 576 to require schools to provide 50 hours of nutritional education at every grade level. According to the Congressman, "educating our children on healthy foods and nutrition… is critical to solving this [obesity] crisis." Across the country, students are currently given an average of 13 hours of nutrition education in the first four years of school.

Classes would include "enjoyable, developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant, participatory activities, such as contests, promotions, taste testing, farm visits, and school gardens." The bill requires schools to coordinate their foods programs with their meals and nutrition-related community services. A provision also calls for instruction in media literacy with an emphasis on food marketing.

It is unclear if additional federal funding would be provided to the states to help them fulfill the requirements of this mandate.


Missed an Issue of The Tab?

Read them online

Issue 7 - Mar. 2

Issue 6 - Feb. 23

Issue 5 - Feb. 18

Issue 4 - Feb. 9


 

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.

 

 



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