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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #13

June 15, 2012

 

 

 

Vol. 3 Issue 13 June 15, 2012

 

Welcome to The Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project. For more information, check out NTUF's BillTally Project and our partner, WashingtonWatch.com!

 

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 2331/S. 1156, Prepare All Kids Act of 2011

Annualized Cost: $7 billion ($35 billion over five years)

Introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Senator Robert Casey (D-PA), the Prepare All Kids Act would establish a new education grant program focused on children who are between the ages of three and five. State agencies would receive federal dollars from the Prekindergarten Incentive Fund, which would award grants to establish, expand, or enhance voluntary full-day programs.

Prekindergarten providers who receive grants would be required to provide children with cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development activities that help them prepare for a successful transition to kindergarten. Administrators may also use tax dollars to make their programs full-day and year-round. Funds could also be used for transportation and professional development costs. To qualify for funding, providers would be required to have no more than 20 children for every classroom teacher as well as maintain a ratio of 10 children to one teacher‘s aide. Additionally, H.R. 2331 and S. 1156 would authorize similar spending for programs to help educate and develop younger children from birth to age three.

According to the version of the Prepare All Kids Act introduced in the 110th Congress, the bill would increase federal spending by $35 billion over a five year period. Congresswoman Maloney was a sponsor of both versions of the bill. The version of the text in this Congress authorizes such sums as necessary.

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


Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 4363, Federal Employee Phased Retirement Act

Annualized Savings: $40 million ($198 million over five years)

As highlighted in a previous Tab, the federal pension system faces mounting challenges. Fewer workers are supporting a growing retired population, placing pressure on the two main federal pensions, the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). The two systems face a combined deficit of $673 billion; however, this figure will fall slightly if FERS is able to eliminate the $9.7 billion shortfall as expected. If the liabilities are not funded, taxpayers will once again foot the bill in the form of more spending to keep the systems solvent. An outright bailout may be required.

The Federal Employee Phased Retirement Act would change how federal workers may transition into retirement. Currently, civil employees must be either fully employed or fully retired. The Act, sponsored by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA), would allow individuals to move from a full-time to a part-time work schedule before fully retiring. Part-time individuals would be required to spending 20 percent of their time mentoring workers to pass on their knowledge and experiences to others. According to the Office of Personnel Management, approximately 1,000 employees would opt into the part-time system annually.

H.R. 4363 would save tax dollars because workers who enter into phased retirement would put off receiving their full retirement payments for up to three years while still paying into CSRS or FERS. As employees work less, the federal agencies that employ them would be obligated to contribute less to the pension systems.

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), H.R. 4363 would reduce spending by $198 million over the next five years.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 2106, Syria Freedom Support Act

Annualized Cost: $1 million ($4 million over four years)

Number of Cosponsors: 67 Congressmen

As Syria edges closer to all-out civil war, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) has sponsored the Syria Freedom Support Act. The bill would impose new sanctions on the Syrian government as well as extend sanctions already in effect on entities doing business with Syria.

Many of the new sanctions relate to limiting the flow of money and physical resources into Syria. People who give aid to Syria’s biological, chemical, nuclear, or advanced conventional weapons programs would see their assets seized and the materials confiscated. Similar measures would deny foreign support of Syria’s energy sector, specifically its petroleum and petroleum products infrastructure.

To further reinforce existing sanctions, H.R. 2106 amends the restrictions on visas issued for individuals from Syria or doing business with the country. If it is found that they have a connection to the recent human rights abuses, such as the massacres in Aleppo and Deir al-Zour, or have been found to be supplying Syria with materials linked to the development of weapons of mass destruction, their visa will be revoked or denied.

The sanctions would be terminated when, and if, it is verified that Syria is no longer pursuing weapons of mass destruction, funding terrorist activities, and denying free and fair elections for a new government. An independent judiciary and general recognition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would also be required for the lifting of sanctions.

Federal funds would also go toward supporting democratic change in Syria. The President would be authorized to fund the creation of independent pro-democracy radio and television that could reach the Syrian population.

According to a CBO estimate, H.R. 2106 would result in $4 million in new spending over the FY 2014-2017 period. New regulations and financial tracking would lead to increased administrative expenses, however, the sanctions themselves would not result in any new spending or increased revenues.

Cosponsors include 17 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

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


Support NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans -- like you --who wish to stay informed of their government's spending.

With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to inform taxpayers about entitlement reform, the federal budget, and proposed legislation.

Please consider making a tax-deductable contribution to NTUF.

 

We Want You!

NTUF is looking for fall and winter 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!


 

Save the Date!

NTUF is hosting a birthday party in Alexandria, Virginia, to commemorate the late economist Milton Friedman on July 31st. More details to come!


The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 4203, Women’s Procurement Program Improvement Act of 2012

Annualized Cost: $5 million ($25 million over five years)

 

 

 

 

 

The federal government awards contracts for various purposes to many different kinds of businesses. Contracting out to the private sector generally reduces costs compared to building and maintaining larger bureaucratic structures capable of handling the array of tasks required. A portion of these contracts are set aside for certain businesses, such as those owned by minorities, women, or people in economically disadvantaged situations. For women-owned companies, the federal government has set a goal of awarding five percent of total contracting dollars to these firms. In FY 2010, women-owned businesses received $17.5 billion in contracts. Data for FY 2011 has not been released yet.

H.R. 4203 would expand the goals of government contracting entities like the Small Business Administration to surpass the five percent goal. Sponsored by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), the Act also calls for more contracts to be awarded to women-owned enterprises in certain industries where women are considered underrepresented.

With the increase in contracts, more SBA officers would need to be trained and familiarized with the new regulations. According to CBO, the Women’s Procurement Program Improvement Act would cost taxpayers $5 million in new spending annually.

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


Missed an Issue?

Issue 12 - June 12
Student Success Act

Issue 11 - May 31
Tariff & Duties Suspension Spotlight Edition

Issue 10 - May 11
College Tax Cut Extension Act

Issue 9 - May 3
Pension Reform Spotlight Edition

Special Edition - Apr 6
GOP Presidential Candidates Spending Studies



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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