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Taxpayer's Tab Issue #27

July 25, 2013

 

 

 

Vol. 4 Issue 27 July 25, 2013

NTUF Toasts Milton Friedman

In celebrating the life and work of the late economist Milton Friedman, the National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) invites members from across the country to take part in this year's Milton Friedman Legacy Day. NTUF and our co-hosts at the Tax Foundation will provide both an online and in-person event so that all of our members can commemorate Friedman’s contributions to the economic freedom movement.

ONLINE: Taxpayers outside of the Washington, DC metro-area can go to our special webpage and vote for their preferred plan to reform the Tax Code. Then, you can give a shout out to other taxpayers on what part of Friedman's legacy you celebrate. Entrants will be placed in a drawing for a chance to win a $50 iTunes gift card or other prizes! Anyone can cast their vote and show Congress which fundamental tax change they support.

The reforms highlighted in this year's contest include:

  • FairTax
  • Flat Tax
  • National Transaction Tax
  • The Current Progressive Tax System
  • Value-Added Tax (VAT)

All you need to do is go to our special webpage and pick your favorite reform. Be sure to vote by the end of the Friedman Legacy Week (Friday, August 2nd)!

IN-PERSON: For individuals near the Beltway, NTUF and the Tax Foundation are hosting a gathering of Friedman enthusiasts at the Laughing Man Tavern in downtown Washington, DC. Be sure to stop by and cast your vote in person for a chance to win a $50 iTunes gift card!

  • Location: The Laughing Man Tavern
    Bottom Floor Game Room
    1306 G Street, N.W.
    Washington, DC, 20005
  • When: July 31, 2013
    6:00PM-9:00PM
  • RSVP: Check out our event on Facebook!

The cosponsors will provide complementary drinks so that taxpayers can toast Mr. Friedman and his ideas.

Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 2706, the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act

Annualized Cost: $2.4 billion ($11.8 billion over five years)

Congressmen John Yarmuth (D-KY) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced the LEARN Act to "develop and implement comprehensive literacy plans for children from birth to 12th grade." In spite of ever increasing education spending, the sponsors reported that reading ability among 17-year-olds is at a standstill and that in-demand professions demand high literacy skills. The bill would authorize new grants to address the issue.

State governments would be eligible for a one-time grant to fund literacy improvement programs for children through 12th grade. In consultation with other agencies and organizations, a state would be required to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses how literacy programs would interact with early childhood programs like Head Start. These grants would be awarded on a one-year basis.

The legislation also offers implementation grants to fund these proposals. Administrators of state-level education agencies could use the funds to provide technical assistance and professional development to educators, as long as it is associated with expanding literacy resources. Officials would encourage collaboration among educational personnel and higher education institutions for better literacy results.

Two subgrant categories would be established to channel the funding from the implementation grants. One would support developmental language and literacy programs for children from birth through kindergarten. The other would allocate money to help students from kindergarten to 12th grade by improving literacy education, growing educator knowledge of the best practices for teaching reading skills, and training local administrators to evaluate ongoing results. Both subgrants would exclusively be awarded to local school districts.

If enacted, H.R. 2706 would authorize $2.35 billion in new spending over the 2014-2018 period. The grants would be in addition to any current spending associated with literacy education. If the total authorized amount was appropriated for the implementation grants, $352.5 million would go towards early childhood programs, $940 million would be spent on K-5th graders, $940 million would be used for 6-12th grade literacy, and $117.5 million would be used for state administration and data collection.

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


The Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 1506, the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditures (SANE) Act

Annualized Savings: $10 billion ($50 billion over five years)

After long-time former Senator John Kerry (D-MA) became President Obama's new Secretary of State, Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA) beat his Republican challenger Gabriel Gomez in the special election for the open seat. Since taking office on June 25th, Senator Markey has yet to introduce any legislation in the upper chamber. It is possible that he might introduce a bill in the Senate that he sponsored before leaving the House, which is the Least Expensive Bill of the Week.

H.R. 1506 would make targeted cuts to all three parts of America's nuclear armament in the following areas:

  • Submarines: Reduce the number of ballistic-missile submarines from its current level of 18 to eight; Limit the number of submarine-launched ballistic missiles from its current 550 to 250; Put a ten-year hold on the Ohio-class replacement-sub and limit any procurement to maintain an eight sub fleet indefinitely.
  • Bombers: Prohibit the B-2 and B-52 bombers from carrying a nuclear weapon; Cancel any funding associated with making the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter able to carry nuclear weapons; Put a ten-year hold on developing a long-range bomber to replace the B-2.
  • Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs): Reduce the number of ICBMs from its current level of 500 to 200; Terminate current ICBM or shorter-range missile life extension programs; Prohibit the procurement of any new ICBMs indefinitely; Cancel the medium extended air defense system (the replacement for the PATRIOT system).

The bill would also terminate funding for three fuel projects and facilities that deal with manufacturing nuclear weapons.

The savings amount for H.R. 1506 was provided by Rep Markey's office in the previous Congress. NTUF assumes that the figures would be the same if the bill was enacted in the 113th Congress. It is also assumed that canceling all of the projects would take at least five years to realize the savings.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 2738/S. 119, the Global Democracy Promotion Act

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Regulatory

Number of Cosponsors: 114 Congressmen and 13 Senators

In 1961, the U.S. Congress passed the Foreign Assistance Act to reorganize and consolidate existing foreign aid programs, as well as establish the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to oversee non-military assistance programs. A major function of the law was to establish guidelines that determine whether a foreign country is eligible to receive non-military aid.

An Executive Order originally signed by President Reagan prohibited foreign nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from receiving United States funding unless they agreed not to promote or assist in the provision of information about obtaining abortions, even if the procedure was legal in that organization’s country. The policy was overturned by the Clinton administration then reinstated by President George W. Bush. Early in his first term, President Obama again reversed the policy.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act to make the repeal permanent. In a statement, Rep Lowey said "[p]ermanent repeal of the [provision] would ... create a more predictable policy climate for organizations that provide family planning and reproductive health services in the developing world." Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced similar legislation in the Senate earlier this year.

The Act has 114 Democratic cosponsors in the House. Twelve Democrats and one Republican have cosponsored the Senate version.

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

   

The Wildcard

The Bill: H.R. 1807, The Residential Energy and Economic Savings (TREES) Act

Annualized Cost: Unknown

The TREES Act would "establish a grant program to assist electric utilities with energy conservation programs that use targeted tree planting to reduce residential energy demand." Companies would determine the best locations to plant trees to maximize tree shade, which would result in lower cooling costs for residents and lower operating costs for the companies. Using tax dollars, electric companies would contract with nonprofit tree-planting organizations, which would monitor the health of the trees and conduct public awareness campaigns detailing the benefits of increased tree shade. If such organizations are not available, administrators would be authorized to contract with local governments or conservation districts. Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) reintroduced the measure that was originally proposed in the previous Congress.

H.R. 1807 calls for "such sums as may be necessary" to carry out its goals. A cost estimate is currently not available.

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.



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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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