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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #3

January 19, 2012

 

 

 

Vol. 3 Issue 3 January 19, 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.

 

 

 

 

In Case You Missed It

Data from NTUF's BillTally project was featured in Investor's Business Daily. The article is entitled "Lawmakers Proposed $1 Tril In New Spending Last Year." It's a must read!

Mark Your Calendars

January 24th is the President's State of the Union address.  NTUF will once again have its line-by-line cost estimate of the speech available the morning after. 

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 2935, Defending Special Education Students and Families Act

Annualized Cost: $6.2 billion ($31.1 billion over five years)

When it passed the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), Congress pledged to pay 40 percent of the cost associated with educating and providing services to disabled students. According to Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO), “the federal government covers only about 16 percent of the special education costs.” In FY 2011, Congress appropriated $11.5 billion in IDEA spending.  H.R. 2935 would increase IDEA funding over the next five years.  The bill commits the federal government to the 40 percent funding level going forward.

To offset some of the bill’s cost, H.R. 2935 would make cuts to certain defense programs including:

  • Joint Strike Fighter: Navy and Marine versions of the F-35 fighter aircraft would be terminated. Those affected services would be authorized to procure new F/A-18 Super Hornets to fill fighter gaps.
  • Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle: Research, development, and orders made for the Marine amphibious assault vehicle would be canceled.
  • Aircraft Carriers: One Navy carrier group and its air wing would be decommissioned.

NTUF estimates that the spending increases in H.R. 2935 total $49.9 billion, while the spending cuts total $18.8 billion. Thus, the net change in annual federal spending would be $31.1 billion.

A previous edition of The Taxpayer’s Tab looked at a related bill, H.R. 864, the Keep Our PACT Act. That legislation would fully fund IDEA as well as certain sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The bill, introduced by Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), would result in an annual cost of $23.1 billion. The bill does not include any offsets in spending. You can read the article here.

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



The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 3643/S. 1981, No Budget, No Pay Act

Annualized Cost: Not Applicable Under BillTally Rules

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 laid out a time line to ensure that Congress completed its budgetary work on time. The act requires the President to submit a budget to Congress by the first Monday in February. Congress then has until April 15th to adopt a budget resolution, although this date is frequently missed. The budget resolution establishes the framework for the tax and spending decisions that Members of Congress will make during the appropriations process. Appropriations bills should be passed and signed into law by the beginning of a new fiscal year, which is October 1st. Despite the statuary requirement that Congress adopt a budget resolution, the federal government has been without a budget for over 1,000 days. The last time that Congress passed all of the appropriations bills before the start of a new fiscal year was 1997.

The No Budget, No Pay Act -- sponsored by Congressman Jim Cooper (D-TN) and Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) -- would penalize Members of Congress for failing to complete the budget process on time. If Congress failed to pass the budget and appropriations bills by October 1st, Members would not be paid. The proposed legislation prevents Members from being paid retroactively once a budget is in place.

NTUF is not able to include the possible savings from this bill in the BillTally system because of the bill's conditional nature. It is impossible to determine when, or if, Congress might act in a timely manner to receive their full pay.

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

 

Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 3465, National Forest Roadless Conservation Act

Annualized Cost: “No Cost” -- Regulation

Number of Cosponsors: 113 Congressmen

Since the late 1970s, the US Forest Service has designated certain lands as roadless areas. The designation is intended to protect wilderness areas that are under the control of the federal government. While the regulation restricts the building of new roads, it does not prohibit other activities, such as timber harvesting or oil drilling in these areas. While the rule applies to a limited area (60 million acres or two percent of total land in the United States), the bulk of affected lands are in the western U.S.

Legal challenges to the rule have arisen since its inception. A 2005 case debated whether governors were permitted to implement the roadless rule in their own states or if the federal government had the power to override a state’s decision. Currently, states are able to determine their participation and to what degree the Forest Service can institute the regulation. Other challenges have been filed by resource extraction businesses, as the rule can limit the activities of the lumber and mining industries.

The bill sponsored by Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) would codify the recommendations of an environmental study written by the Forest Service in 2000. The report designates areas throughout the country as eligible under the conservation measure.

If enacted, the National Forest Roadless Conservation Act would impose new regulations on industries dependent on doing business within federal forest lands, such as tourism and livestock grazing. The regulatory measure does not call for new federal spending. However, it is unclear if tax dollars would be needed to manage the new regulation in the forms of enforcement, environmental studies, and administrative costs.

Cosponsors include 112 Democratic and one Republican Members of Congress. Approximately 30 percent of supporters of H.R. 3465 represent Western states, or states west of the Plains.

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 simplify important entitlement reform plans, examine budgets, and score legislation. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to NTUF.

 

Least Expensive Bill
of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 3372, Dairy Pricing Deregulation Act

Annualized Cost: -$500 million (-$2.5 billion over five years)

 

 

 

 

 



The Dairy Pricing Deregulation Act would phase out the price controls on milk that have been in place since the 1930s. Those controls, known as the Federal Milk Marketing Order system, require “regulated milk processors to pay minimum prices for milk” and to adhere to additional rules. The program aims to ensure there is a stable supply and price of milk.

Congressman Joe Walsh (R-IL), who sponsored H.R. 3372, said “most taxpayers are unaware that they are paying for their milk twice. Currently families are taxed to pay for a federal program that directly increases the cost of their milk. … The price of milk should be set through market demand not government regulations.”

According to the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, H.R. 3372 would reduce spending by the Department of Agriculture by $2.5 billion over the next five years.

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

 


Missed an Issue?
Read them online

Issue 2 - Jan 11

 Issue 1 - Jan 5
December Snapshot

Issue 45 - Dec 20

Issue 44 - Dec 15



 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.

 

 



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