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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #22

June 20, 2013

 

 

 

Vol. 4 Issue 22 June 20, 2013

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. 2109, the Back to Basics Job Creation Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: $5 billion (first-year cost)

Financing for lower-income small businesses remains difficult. While some businesses need money to expand their capacity or workforce to keep up with demand, others need funds to stay in business as the economy continues its slow recovery. Republicans contend that credit and capital is crowded out by government spending and so a market with less regulations and more economic freedom is the solution to business owners' problems. Democratic Members of Congress, in general, argue that large banks are not providing markets with loans that businesses need and so government must help finance expansions and startups to speed job growth and overall recovery.

Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) introduced the Back to Basics Job Creation Act to help employ low-income entrepreneurs who have been jobless for more than three months. The bill would create new grants that would be awarded to local, state, or tribal governments to assist individuals trying to create a new business. Those entities would be required to provide training to aspiring business owners and to give money to new small businesses "that pay employees at a living wage." The focus of the bill is not to subsidize existing jobs but to create new ones. State and local employment agencies would also be more likely to receive grants if they serve communities in high-poverty areas, focus on very small businesses (those not requiring administrative structures like technology or staffing departments), and have established partnerships with government or certain job-related organizations.

The text of H.R. 2109 would authorize $5 billion in Fiscal Year 2014. The Departments of Labor and Commerce would be required to distribute the money by the end of 2014 and recipients would have to spend the entirety of grants by the end of the following year. There are no offsets included in the proposal.

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


The Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 1182, the Stopping Needless Additional Performance Bonuses (SNAP) Act of 2013

Annualized Savings: $48 million (first-year savings)

The Department of Agriculture's food stamp program, which is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), provides food purchasing assistance to low- and no-income individuals and families. Federal funds are sent to state welfare agencies, who distribute the money to people in the form of checks, vouchers, or debit cards. Since its creation in 1939, the system has experienced problems. Ineligible people apply for and get credits, eligible people may get more than their monthly allotment, and changes in food assistance resulted in eligible people becoming ineligible. In the 2002 Farm Bill, lawmakers instituted a performance bonus system to reward states with low error rates in their SNAP sign ups. The lower the state's error rate, the larger the bonus payment that state recieves from Washington, D.C.

In the current Congress, Congressman Scott DesJarlais (R-TN) has introduced H.R. 1182 to eliminate the SNAP performance bonuses. According to Rep. DesJarlais, the bonuses do not correct the errors in SNAP systems but incentivizes states to sign up more individuals (thereby growing the pool of recipients and decreasing the error rate). With the economic downturn, he cited in 2012 that "[t]here is no need to pay states for increasing the number of food stamp recipients they enroll in the program."

According to current law, SNAP performance bonuses are fixed at $48 million per year. NTUF assumes eliminating these bonuses would result in as much savings to taxpayers. At least 13 states and two territories received bonuses in 2011.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 938/S. 462, the United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Reauthorizing Legislation

The United States provides Israel with assistance that includes military hardware transfers, loans with favorable interest rates, and a continuing commitment to assist the Jewish state. The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 was enacted last Congress to extend the support for an additional year. This bill reaffirmed the U.S.’s commitment to protecting and assisting Israel.

Now in the 113th Congress, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced H.R. 938 to reauthorize American financial and military assistance given to Israel for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015. Israel would also be included in the visa waiver program, which allows citizens to travel to America for no more than 90 days without a visa. H.R. 938 calls for certain overseas investment corporations to give financing preferences for energy and water projects in Israel. The Congressional Budget Office determined that the 2012 Act would not increase current spending levels and NTUF determined that H.R. 938 would also qualify as a reauthorization bill.

Another bill, S. 462, of the same name was introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). The Act is also a general reauthorization bill that would not change the federal spending baseline.

Cosponsors of H.R. 938 include 120 Democratic and 177 Republican Representatives. Twenty Democrats and 19 Republicans currently support S. 462.

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


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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-deductible contribution to NTUF.

   

The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 2012/S. 973, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: Unknown

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is a government-funded non-profit organization that tests, investigates, and researches the use of prohibited substances for American athletes in the Olympics, Paralympics, and in Pan-American and ParaPan American sports.

Congressmen Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) have introduced legislation to expand the authority of USADA to include horseracing. Participants in any race that is broadcast or wagered upon in more than one state would have to adhere to new federal regulations, including prohibiting race day medications, following of a harmonized medication policy framework, and the adherence of certain veterinary ethical codes. USADA would also be required to establish penalties for violators.

Though the cost of H.R. 2012 and S. 973 is unknown, the USADA received $9 million in FY 2012 from the federal government.

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



Missed an Issue?

Issue 21 - Jun 14
Legislative Spotlight: Student Loans

Issue 20 - Jun 6
Christmas Tree Tax: Round 2

Issue 19 - May 29
BillTally Report: More Budget Cuts But Greater Divide

Issue 18 - May 16
Largest and Smallest Proposals So Far

Issue 17 - May 10
Spotlight: Emergency Jobs to Restore the American Dream Act


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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