Dedicated to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax and spending policies affect them.

Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #25

July 12, 2013

 

 

 

Vol. 4 Issue 25 July 11, 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!


The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 2617, the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act

Annualized Cost: Unknown

Between 1969 and 1972, American astronauts traveled to the Moon to both win the Space Race and study the geology of the Earth’s closest neighbor. The footprints and equipment left by the six successful missions will likely stay exactly as they were left for thousands of years to come. According to a treaty signed by over 100 nations during the Space Race, the Moon cannot be claimed in parts or whole by any nation but, that any launched object on the surface remains the property of the home country.

Introduced by Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) and Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), the Apollo Lunar Landing Legacy Act would establish a national historical parkland at each of the six landing sites and also the site where instruments from the aborted Apollo 13 mission fell to the surface. If enacted, the Department of the Interior would be required to carry out a management plan to ensure the proper monitoring of the areas. Interior would also be required to work with the Smithsonian Institution to catalog items in the new National Historical Park. Additionally, the government would have to coordinate with other spacefaring nations and private companies to manage site access.

H.R. 2617 would possibly require new federal spending to accomplish the administrative goals set out in the text, however, a cost estimate is currently not available. Similar to other historical sites, officials would be required to provide public access to and directly manage the sites. In the unlikely event that such activities would require a permanent human presence on the Moon, the cost of one lunar base could cost $4 billion annually, according to research NTUF compiled for Newt Gingrich’s new space policy during the 2012 GOP Primaries. It is also unclear what the locality pay rate would be for any new "astro-rangers".

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


Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 2428, the Strengthen and Fortify Existing (SAFE) Bridges Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: $1.1 billion ($5.5 billion over five years)

After this year's I-5 bridge collapse in Washington State and the I-35 collapse in Minnesota in 2007, the Department of Transportation and state safety agencies concluded that there are 151,497 bridges that need to be repaired or replaced. To facilitate this construction, Congressman Nick Rahall (D-WV) sponsored the SAFE Bridges Act.

The bill would establish a dedicated program to oversee bridge work. State governments would receive federal tax dollars based on how many deficient and obsolete bridges their state has relative to other states. Projects would be required to be completely finished, leaving the structure in good or better condition. Rep. Rehall said that "[o]ur bridges don't just support the cars and trucks over them. They support jobs and economic opportunity while connecting our communities to one another. Providing the means for safe and reliable transportation infrastructure is one of the core functions of our government and this legislation helps fulfill that responsibility."

The text of H.R. 2428 would authorize $2.75 billion to be spent for each of Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014. NTUF assumes that identifying the projects and obligating the funds would take five years.

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


The Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 91, the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act of 2013

Annualized Savings: $1 billion ($5 billion over five years)

The Child Tax Credit serves to give relief to households who have children. For middle and higher-income earners, the credit reduces any income taxes ultimately owed to the government. Up to $1,000 can be claimed for each child, stepchild, or dependent.

For households with low or no income, residents can claim the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), which is refundable. Refundable tax credits count as public spending because a recipient is able to receive more money back from the government than they originally owed in taxes. The latest budget estimates that the ACTC will have an outlay cost of $23.1 billion in Fiscal Year 2013.

Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has introduced the Child Tax Credit Integrity Preservation Act to limit the eligibility for the credit. The bill would require applicants to include valid identification for the head and any child of the household. According to an article in The Hill by Senator Vitter, S. 91 serves to prevent illegal immigrants from claiming the refundable portion of the credit.

According to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate from the previous Congress, requiring Social Security numbers for the Child Tax Credit would lead to $5 billion in less spending over five years. Approximately $2.6 billion would be saved in the first year and an average $831 million in each of the following four years.

Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) is expected to introduce companion legislation that would result in the same $5 billion savings.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 543, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: $55 million ($276 million over five years)

Number of Cosponsors: 126 Congressmen

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. military used numerous herbicides, such as Agent Orange, to clear areas of the jungle so that personnel could identify enemy positions and transportation routes. Many of the chemicals used were later found to be toxic to not only enemies but to allies in the surrounding areas. Many veterans later developed various types of cancers and disorders. In 1977, the Department of Veterans Affairs began to compensate certain veterans for their exposure to dioxin, a key and toxic ingredient in Agent Orange. Veterans also sued herbicidal manufacturers and Congress added dioxin exposure to the list of presumptive conditions for which veterans can receive regular treatment and compensation.

Congressman Christopher Gibson (R-NY) introduced H.R. 543 to expand treatment to members of the U.S. Navy who served in Vietnam between 1962 and 1972. Sailors who were in ships that were within 12 miles of the shoreline would be made eligible for dioxin exposure compensation. According to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, "Members of the United States Navy, Coast Guard and Fleet Marines who served offshore Vietnam ... have been removed by the VA from their coverage under the Agent Orange Act of 1991, and are denied health care and compensation benefits for all herbicide-related diseases and disabilities ... ."

However, the Department of Veterans submitted testimony in late 2012 stating that "there is insufficient evidence to determine whether Blue Water Navy Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange-associated herbicides during the Vietnam War… [and] does not support establishing a presumption of expose for [them]."

According to the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, CBO scored a previous version of the bill as a $276 million new cost.

Cosponsors include 84 Democratic and 42 Republican Representatives.

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-deductible contribution to NTUF.




We Want You!

NTUF is looking for fall 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!


Missed an Issue?

Issue 24 - Jul 5
Visualizing the President's International Travel

Issue 23 - Jun 27
Presidential Travel: Obama Spends More Time Abroad than All But One Predecessor

Issue 22 - Jun 20
Back to Basics Job Creation Act

Issue 21 - Jun 14
Legislative Spotlight: Student Loans

Issue 20 - Jun 6
Christmas Tree Tax: Round 2


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.

 

 



108 N. Alfred St. Alexandria, VA 22314