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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #20

August 2, 2012

 

 

 

Vol. 3 Issue 20 August 2, 2012

NTUF Issue Brief: Repealing "Obamacare": A Look Beyond the Media's Misguided Deficit Focus

Last week's edition of the Tab featured BillTaly's cost savings analysis of H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act. NTUF Senior Policy Analyst Demian Brady then expanded the article into an issue brief to counter the media's misguided coverage of the repeal bill, which tended to focus on its deficit impact. This story angle underplays the massive tax burdens and spending increases that would be repealed. It also overlooks the tenuous nature of many of the spending reductions included in "Obamacare." For more information, listen to the latest edition of Speaking of Taxpayers.

In the News: BillTally Data and Tab Content

Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliot featured information originally provided to taxpayers and policymakers in The Taxpayer's Tab in their forthcoming book, Fool Me Twice: Obama's Shocking Plans for the Next Four Years Exposed. Highlighted on Breitbart.com, the book explores what President Obama might do if reelected and cites NTUF's cost estimate for legislation to re-establish the Works Progress Administration, a New Deal program.

Wonder what other legislation the President might use? Interested in what your Representative or Senator supports? Search the NTUF BillTally database!

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 2162, Project Rebuild Act

Annualized Cost: $2.9 billion ($14.7 billion over five years)

As communities across the country continue to feel the negative consequences from the recent real estate crisis, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) has introduced the Project Rebuild Act to rehabilitate residential and commercial buildings and properties. The program was originally included in President Obama's proposed second "stimulus" -- the American Jobs Act -- in September of 2011. Senator Reed's stand-alone bill would expand the funding and authority of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which provides federal dollars to state and local governments faced with record numbers of foreclosed and abandoned properties. Through the program's competitive and formula grants, communities would be given broader authority to help demolish, renovate, or speed the transfer of nearly 150,000 properties across the country.

In addition to directly funding government efforts, S. 2162 also allows governments to partner with for-profit entities in order to redevelop properties so that they may be fit for sale and use.

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate for S. 1549, the American Jobs Act of 2011, the expansion of funding for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and associated increase funding would result in $14.9 billion in new spending in FY 2013-2017.

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


Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 6018, Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013

Annualized Savings: $390 million ($1.9 billion over five years)

The Foreign Relations Authorization Act, sponsored by Congressman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), would continue funding for certain programs related to the Department of State and other international development activities. The bill would reauthorize funding for programs including the National Endowment for Democracy (which is a private, nonprofit foundation receiving public funding charged with strengthening democratic institutions around the world), the Peace Corps, international broadcasting programs (such as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the Voice of America), and for U.S. "contributions" to international organizations and commissions (such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States).

Another section of the bill would eliminate the differences in salaries between Foreign Service Officers (FSOs) stationed overseas versus those working in Washington, DC. On average, FSOs in DC earn $21,555 more. This salary adjustment would also increase costs for benefits such as life insurance and hardship pay. These reforms would cost $25 million in FY 2013 and $49 million over the next five years.

According to CBO, the total amount proposed for foreign relations -- $16.2 billion in FY 2013 -- is approximately $1.9 billion less than current spending. This would constitute an 11 percent reduction in outlays compared to last year. CBO projects that most of the authorized amounts would be spent over the next five years.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 6048, Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act

Annualized Savings: "No Cost" -- Regulatory

Number of Cosponsors: 127 Congressmen

Last month, the Supreme Court upheld most of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), including the requirement for individuals and larger businesses to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. The mandates were ruled constitutional under the taxing power of Congress. Once the penalty is fully in place in 2016, an individual who fails or refuses to obtain a minimum level of coverage would be subject to an annual penalty of $695 or 2.5 percent of income, whichever is higher. Businesses with at least 50 employees will be required to provide insurance for all their employees or face a penalty of $2,000 per employee each year.

On the same day of the ruling, Congressman Michael Turner (R-OH) sponsored the Healthcare Tax Relief and mandate Repeal Act. The bill would repeal the mandates, allowing individuals and businesses to choose whether or not to purchase health coverage. Congressman Turner said the mandates "will have tremendous consequences on individuals, working families, businesses, and local governments… . [W]e should be focusing on reducing taxes on hardworking Americans and providing incentives for businesses to grow and create jobs."

If enacted, H.R. 6048's implementation would not directly result in any increase or decrease of federal outlays. CBO estimates that individuals would pay $55 billion in tax penalties under the mandate, and that employers will owe $106 billion over the next 10 years. Under BillTally rules, NTUF tracks bills that would change spending; however, the Act is regulatory. It is unknown to what extent repeal of the mandates would reduce ACA implementation costs for the Internal Revenue Service.

Cosponsors include 127 Republican Representatives in the House.

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.


   

The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 3609/S. 1957, Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act

Annualized Cost: $20 million ($100 million over five years)

Congressman James Lankford’s (R-OK) bill, the Sponsoring the Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act, would set up system to provide citizens with more detailed information than currently available about the federal government. The intention is that informed taxpayers would aid the effort to "make each federal program more effective and efficient by streamlining duplicative, outdated, and unnecessary programs while simultaneously improving services and outcomes." Senator Thomas Coburn (R-OK) introduced a companion version in the Senate. The bill would add new reporting requirements for agencies and federal entities regarding the administrative and overall costs of services associated with their efforts. According to the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance, the federal government operates more than 2,200 programs, projects, services, and activities that provide assistance or any government service, process, grant, contract, cooperative expense, compact, loan, lease, or agency guidance. Each one of these initiatives would be required to submit cost information to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

OMB would then compile the costs and purposes into an annual report that highlights duplicative federal programs. A similar report, produced by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last year, identified approximately $100 billion in possible savings if certain overlapping programs were consolidated or eliminated.

Initially, NTUF did not expect that the bill would have a significant impact on outlays. However, CBO determined that because of the sheer number of federal agencies and programs, the new reporting requirement in the Right-to-Know Act could cost $100 million over the next five years. OMB and other federal agencies would need to hire additional staff to compile the necessary data and complete the new reports.

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


Missed an Issue?

Issue 19 - July 26
How Much Would "Obamacare" Repeal Save?

Issue 18 - July 20
Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act

Issue 17 - July 13
Let's Grow Act

Issue 16 - July 6
Tax Reform:
Fair, Flat, & Transaction Systems

Issue 15 - June 27
Health Care Reform Alternatives



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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