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Director of Congressional Analysis

Jordan Forbes
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Kristina Rasmussen
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Vice President for Communications

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The Official Blog of National Taxpayers Union

New Blog Link & RSS Feed, and New Website!
Posted by Demian Brady - February 20, 2010

At long last, I am pleased to announce that NTU's new website is up and running at www.ntu.org. The new layout will make it easier for folks to see the latest work from NTU and NTU Foundation on federal and state issues, find the reports and information they are looking for, and stay involved with our new ... Read more


CPAC Day 3
Posted by Jordan Forbes - February 20, 2010

I'm up here on Blogger's Row, blogging live from the third day of CPAC 2010. We have an exciting lineup of speakers for today: Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. I'll be posting excerpts and analyses throughout the day, so stay tuned! The energy in here is incredible and I'm looking forward to an exciting final day. Click here to watch live!... Read more


Mike Pence at CPAC on Fiscal Discipline
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 19, 2010

Indiana Representative Mike Pence was a headliner at Friday’s Conservative Political Action Conference. He began by declaring, “You proved Thomas Jefferson right. He said “The people are the ultimate guardians of their own liberty.” Because of you, the American people have been o... Read more


Tim Pawlenty at CPAC Day 2
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 19, 2010

Grover Norquist introduced Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a critic of federal healthcare reform and increasing debt, spoke at 10AM on the second day of CPAC in Washington DC. After praising the recent DC snow storm for shutting down Congress, he described the Obama Administration as “hope and change and teleprompters.” His PAC, ... Read more


My Day at CPAC
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 19, 2010

I had the opportunity to cover the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference’s first day for the National Taxpayers Union. As a blogger, we were given a room overlooking the floor of the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel but that didn’t stop the discussion amongst the tech savvy sect of the conservative and free-market blogosphere. While speakers were headlining initiatives like the ... Read more


Boehner Finishes up CPAC Day 1
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

Standing amidst a standing ovation, Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner spoke of his efforts throughout his career centering on doing the right thing and be willing to listen to supporters and opponents. Since 1991, Boehner has served in the US House of Representatives representing Ohio’s 8th District. He stated three lessons he lives by: Be open, transparent, and willing to li... Read more


“Thank you Massachusetts”
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

Citing Barack Obama’s downhill direction in the polls, Mitt Romney spoke at CPAC of the “4 million Americans who lost their jobs last year and millions more who stopped looking for work.” He cited how pillars of business, such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Sam Walton, shaped their enterprises and in so doing, shaped our nation. Capitalism has lifted billions out of poverty but President Obama and fellow “liberals are convinced government knows b... Read more


Scott Brown makes surprise appearance at CPAC
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

In one of his first public appearances since being elected as a US Senator from Massachusetts, Scott Brown spoke on the first day of CPAC just before 2PM. Citing his election, he feels it happened so fast that it’s just now sinking in that we have changed the course of American politics.” Brown was sworn on February 4th. He introduced former Massachusetts Governor and former Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.... Read more


Moylan Moderates CPAC Panel on Mobilizing Grassroots
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

National Taxpayers Union’s Director of Government Affairs spoke at a CPAC panel focused on helping the grassroots organizers how to organize and to connect with other groups and individuals for promoting greater freedoms. The Saving Freedom One Patriot at a Time panel had many prominent innovators of the freedom movement: Ginni Thomas, LibertyCentral.org Dana Loesch, ... Read more


Dick Cheney makes surprise visit to CPAC
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

After a rousing speech by Liz Cheney about the security and defense situation of the United States, she introduced her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney. He spoke of the recent elections and rallies as encouraging and stated “I think Barack Obama is a one-term President.” He called for the younger generation to get more active and to encourage citizens to get involved in the cause of freedom.... Read more


Ohio State Representative Josh Mandel at CPAC
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

Representing a northern Ohio district, predominately an opposition electorate, Josh Mandel spoke around 11 o’clock on the first day of CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, in Washington DC. He spoke of the many challenges he has faced. After being elected to a city council position, Mandel set about lowering the local property taxes and mobilizing a community in the process. The young, actively serving US Marine, took an intellect... Read more


Marco Rubio kicks off CPAC
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

Senator Jim DeMint introduced Marco Rubio who said, “2010 is a referendum on the very identity of our nation and issues are so big… that many of the old rules of political engagement don’t apply.” CPAC started off with an articulated speech by the Florida Senatorial Candidate who pushed for jobs... Read more


NTU Covers CPAC
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 18, 2010

The National Taxpayers Union will be covering this year’s CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, being held in Washington DC. It is one of the largest organizing events between grassroots organizers, political leaders, and everyday citizens. This three-day event will feature well-known national figures such as: Nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts Herman Cain and Gl... Read more


Leviathan is Hungry: Tax Audits on the Rise
Posted by Demian Brady - February 18, 2010

CNN reports that 1.4 million taxpayers were audited last year, the most in a decade. And expect even more audits this year with the Administration's $8.2 billion budget for tax enforcement - a 10 percent increase over last year. Hat tip: ... Read more


Stimulus turns a year old, Gets continued spending and fake jobs as presents
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 17, 2010

On the first anniversary of the Stimulus package’s signing, it’s time to take stock of President Obama’s cure-all for the kaput housing market and continuing economic decline. Back in the infancy of the President’s term, the American Recovery and Reinv... Read more


Lawmakers preventing Postal Service from being responsible
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 16, 2010

Who ever thought cuts would cost so much? The US Postal Service is in deep financial trouble and is looking to balance its books, mostly because it would literally take an act of Congress to bail out the federal letter carriers, by cutting Saturday deliveries. Both Congress and the White House want to see your neighborhood postal worker walking... Read more


Presidents' Day Trivia Flashback
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 15, 2010

Here is a presidential trivia quiz from OpinionJournal.com's James Taranto. The quiz was originally posted on Sept. 1, 2006 and has been reposted on this site a couple of times. If you haven't tried it before, give it a go. If you have, see how much you still remember. Enjoy. ... Read more


Airborne Laser works after billions spent
Posted by Dan Barrett - February 12, 2010

A low-power laser mounted on a modified Boeing 747 has accomplished its goal of destroying a launched missile in its boost phase. While impressive, perhaps amazing, we need to ask those questions big spenders hate to hear: How much has it cost? How will this help? What's its future worth? The A... Read more


"Stimulus" Used to Fight Weeds
Posted by Demian Brady - February 12, 2010

WAPT News in Mississippi found that the state's forestry service is using $1.2 million of "stimulus" funds to clear Kudzu and other weeds from private property. This is a good time to introduce a new pork and waste mascot, Pig Rider: Ride the Pig! ... Read more


Carton Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 12, 2010

HT: Nate Beeler, Washington Examiner ... Read more


California Use Tax Update
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 11, 2010

An update on yesterday's item about California proposed requirement that small businesses file use tax returns. Forbes.com reports: A member of California's state-tax-collection-agency governing board said Thursday he would... Read more


"Stimulus" Used for iPods
Posted by Demian Brady - February 11, 2010

Florida's Polk County school district is spending $350,000 in federal "stimulus" money on iPods to be given out as rewards to parents who fill out a 10-minute online survey. It is because of wasteful programs like this (and, of course, the fraudulent "jobs saved or created" metric) that I always refer to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a touc... Read more


Here's a Shocker Headline
Posted by Demian Brady - February 10, 2010

Courtesy of the Associated Press:Jobs bill won't add many jobs... Read more


California Use Tax Reporting Requirement Hits Small Biz
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 10, 2010

According to Forbes.com: Upward of 180,000 California businesses are being ordered to register with the state's tax collection agency, the Board of Equalization, and to file a new tax return covering just one levy--the state's "use" tax, a sales tax on items purchased from out-of-state retailers--ov... Read more


Snowmageddon Update
Posted by Demian Brady - February 10, 2010

The federal government has now been shut on account of weather for three days as the DC-area has been pummeled by back-to-back blizzards. Actually, since the government closed early last Friday, it has now been shut for 3 and 1/2 days. According to the Office of Personnel Management's website, federal telework employees who have arrangements to work remotely are still expected to perform... Read more


Frivolous Tax Arguments
Posted by Demian Brady - February 09, 2010

In an earlier post on our blog, someone named JT commented that citizens have no legal obligation to file and pay income taxes. He should take a look at the IRS's latest list of frivolous tax arguments and the legal references that refute those arguments. Claims that there is no legal obligation to... Read more


Boom Times for the Transportation Lobby
Posted by Demian Brady - February 08, 2010

The Center for Public Integrity has a new report out about the massive transportation lobby seeking federal funding. Some of their findings:As lawmakers grappled with renewal of an expiring multi-year transportation law last September, the number of cities and counties lobbying on transportation had grown by 80 percent sin... Read more


Raising the Penalty for Tax Protesters/Deniers
Posted by Demian Brady - February 05, 2010

Under current law, the willful failure to pay taxes is a misdemeanor. You could go to jail for up to a year and pay a maximum fine of $25K (for individuals, $100K for corporations) for each year you fail to file a return. There is a proposal in the new budget to increase the penalty for repeated failure to file a tax return:Any person who willfully fails to file tax returns in any three years within any five consecutive year period, i... Read more


Doing it again
Posted by Tom Horne - February 04, 2010

In President Obama’s State of the Union address he called for a slew of new spending proposals which include taking 30 billion dollars worth of money that banks have paid back to the government and giving it to other banks to make small business loans. I might be taking an unpopular stance on this because everyone wants to help small busine... Read more


Arming Up the IRS
Posted by Demian Brady - February 03, 2010

The IRS posted a request for quotes for the purchase of 60 rifles:The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) intends to purchase sixty Remington Model 870 Police RAMAC #24587 12 gauge pump-action shotguns for the Criminal Investigation Division. The Remington parkerized shotguns, with fourteen inc... Read more


When the Government Lends, Taxpayers Pay
Posted by Demian Brady - February 03, 2010

The government is heavily involved in lending (through both direct loans and taxpayer-backed guarantees) via education, housing, and dozens of other programs. The good news is that the subsidy rate for defaults is relatively low (although I would like to see how this compares to private lenders): for FY 2009 the government's total direct loan write-off and guaranteed loan termination subsidy rate is 1.3 percent. The bad news is that this ra... Read more


Former Governor and Everest-climber to take on much tougher job reforming government
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - February 02, 2010

One of NTU’s members alerted us to an upcoming event in the DC-area featuring Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico and successful climber of Mt. Everest!. The two-term governor of New Mexico is an entrepreneur and former owner of a New Mexican construction company. He had a long list of taxpayer-friendly accomplishments while in office, and now he’ll be in Annandale, Virginia to discuss a task far more difficult: reforming our govern... Read more


10 Frightening Facts on Obama's Budget
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 02, 2010

After President Obama released his $3,800,000,000,000 budget yesterday, analysts with our Foundation plowed through and found some things that should keep taxpayers awake at night. They are... - - - - - - - 1) Debts Arrive Sooner. Last year’s budget projected that Gross Federal Debt would hit 100 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)... Read more


Terminations, Reductions, and Savings in the FY 2011 Budget
Posted by Demian Brady - February 01, 2010

Discretionary Cuts The White House's Terminations, Reductions, and Savings in the FY 2011 Budget lists cuts and reductions to 78 discretionary programs totaling $10.27 billion. 24 of these items (representing $4.477 billion in savings) were also included in last year's list of savings and terminations, which means they were rejected by Congress (6 of these were also proposed in President Bush's 2009 budget). The largest of the repe... Read more


Where do your tax dollars go?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 01, 2010

Ever wondered exactly how many of your tax dollars go to which programs? Sure, there are any number of sources that can give you a vague idea of the answer, but the USA Today has a terrific visualization today that allows you to enter your income and generate a detailed "report" right before your eyes. For example, let's say that you earne... Read more


How 'bout that spending freeze?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 01, 2010

In typically brilliant fashion, our friend Matthias (better known as the "10,000 pennies guy") lets you visualize just exactly what President Obama's spending freeze would do to the budget in context... ... Read more


Hypocrisy
Posted by Tom Horne - January 29, 2010

When the failing Merrill Lynch’s new CEO John Thaine remodeled his office he was publicly excoriated. He spent 1.22 million dollars by the time he was done on such things as the famous designer Michael Smith and a 19th century credenza. CNBC, CNN, and the blogosphere pick... Read more


State of the States Part II
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 29, 2010

Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri plans to revive the state’s economy through tax credits rather than tax increases and by continuing to cut government spending. Two of his priorities include balancing the budget with less revenue and job creation. Utah Governor Gary Herbert called on law... Read more


Economics Meets Pop Culture
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 29, 2010

Russ Roberts, Professor of Economics at George Mason University, released the first of several videos planned for EconStories.TV. This creative video features two of the great economists of the 20th century, John Maynard Keynes and F.A. Hayek, break out in a rap – “Fear the Boom and Bust.” While it scores h... Read more


SOTU Update: Cost Estimate for Nuclear Energy Loan Guarantees
Posted by Demian Brady - January 29, 2010

In a surprising move, President Obama made a pitch for nuclear energy in his State of the Union address:"[T]o create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country.”In NTU Foundation's line-by-line analysis of the spe... Read more


Spending and Budget Issues in the State of the Union
Posted by Demian Brady - January 28, 2010

During the State of the Union address, Presidents generally trot out a laundry list of items and bring a few issues in particular to the top of the agenda, and this year was no different. President Obama laid out an ambitious agenda for Congress to enact, including a jobs bill, final passage of a cap-and-trade bill, and increased assistance for military families. According to NTU Foundation's ... Read more


Jobs Bill
Posted by Tom Horne - January 28, 2010

There is some backwards thinking among politicians on the topic of job creation. In the private economy, jobs are considered an input used towards the production of a good or service. Businesses need to hire workers just as they need to purchase the raw materials used or the overhead the work is done in. Labor is simply another factor of production. Although there are entire disciplines of economics dedicated to studying labor markets, its ... Read more


Rhetoric vs. Reality
Posted by Jordan Forbes - January 27, 2010

Did anyone else find it strange that the President fervently praised his stimulus plan at the onset of the SOTU tonight? I guess it should not have come as too much of a shock since he was desperate to get that post-speech bump that would bring him out of an approval rating in the 40s. I do not know if he achieved that goal, but I do know that he deceived the American people. Despite package of the American "Recovery" Act, 2.5 million jobs hav... Read more


Health Care Alternatives
Posted by Jordan Forbes - January 27, 2010

Here is another segment from President Obama's SOTU address: "But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know." I wonder if he has seen the alternative proposal from the Republican Study Committee (RSC). H.R. 3400, the Empowering Patients First Act, would increase access to cove... Read more


Bipartisanship?
Posted by Jordan Forbes - January 27, 2010

The President said he will veto any financial reform bill that does not meet HIS definition of true reform. He was referring to H.R. 4173, the so-called "Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act," that passed the House on December 11, 2009. This 1,300 page bill creates a new "consumer" agency, funded by billions in new taxes on financial companies - many of which did not create the fiscal crisis we currently face. The new Consumer Finan... Read more


Here we go!
Posted by Jordan Forbes - January 27, 2010

Word on the street is that the President will focus on a package of "modest" initiatives to aid middle-class families in tonight's SOTU. The big question is how he will fit the issue of health care reform into the context of these proposals. Or will he even try? Here's an excerpt of the President's speech taken from a Washington Post blog just a few minutes ago: "By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their h... Read more


Video Submission
Posted by Tom Horne - January 26, 2010

We recently received this video from one of our enthusiastic members highlighting a board game he's created aptly named, “Screw the Taxpayer”. We applaud all of our members like Mr. White and encourage you all to keep fighting the good fight!... Read more


Reminder: Tomorrow's NTU Online Coverage of the State of the Union
Posted by Dan Barrett - January 26, 2010

Don't forget: Tomorrow night at 9 p.m., NTU will provide special online coverage of the President's State of the Union message, and we want you to be there. Details on how you can join the conversation are below. See you online tomorrow night at 9 p.m. Eastern. If you have a Twitter account, use the hash tag #SOTU to link into our discussions and analyses. Hash tags are like keywords for Twitter. Just use them in each of your messages ... Read more


State of the States Part I
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 26, 2010

Across the country governors are giving their annual State of the State addresses. Below are a few summaries of the addresses with explicit fiscal impacts: South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford offered three goals for his final year in office: overhaul the Employment Security Commission, require governors and lieutenant governors to run on the same tic... Read more


You're Invited to NTU's Online Coverage of the State of the Union
Posted by Dan Barrett - January 21, 2010

As a friend of the National Taxpayers Union, you're invited to be a part of for our special online coverage of the President's 2010 State of the Union address starting at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, January 27th. NTU's analysts and experts will be sharing their ideas and comments online using Twitter, Facebook, ... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Senators Vote "NO" on H.J. Res. 45
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - January 21, 2010

NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on H.J. Res. 45, a massive increase in the national debt limit of nearly $1 trillion. Congress has ramped up spending at an appalling rate, and approval of this resolution will only pile more onto the crushing burdens borne by Americans now and in the future. In order to best protect taxpayers, we urge that you support amendments to reduce hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful spending and oppose a... Read more


Coalition Calls for Health Care Transparency
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - January 20, 2010

NTU and a diverse coalition have called on Members of the U.S. House to support a resolution that would urge "Congress and the Obama Administration to conduct all negotiations surrounding landmark health care reform legislation 'in full public view and not behind closed doors.'" The coalition's letter is available here. ... Read more


One Election Is Not Enough
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - January 20, 2010

NTU's Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp makes an important point regarding the Massachusetts special election yesterday, "we are under no illusions that one Senate election will silence advocates of massive government expansion. This is why we will continue to use every resource we have to fight back until Washington takes the advice NTU members have offered all along: stop listening to special interests and start listening t... Read more


The Fate of Health Care Reform
Posted by Demian Brady - January 20, 2010

The Washington Post recently wrote about President Obama's rhetorical use of the phrase, "Let me be absolutely clear." As someone quoted in the article observed, frequent use of that phrase begs the question of whether he is perhaps being unclear when he doesn't employ it. Obama spoke to ... Read more


Reading the Tax Code
Posted by Demian Brady - January 20, 2010

The TaxGirl blog is having a trivia contest: Assuming that you read out loud at the same speed as you count (on average), how many days would it take to read the entire Tax Code out loud without stopping? The first person to provide her with the correct a... Read more


Policy Priorities in the State of the Union Address
Posted by Demian Brady - January 19, 2010

Last November, word was that the President was going to focus on deficit reduction in the upcoming State of the Union Address. From Politico:President Barack Obama plans to announce in next year's State of the Union address that he wants to focus extensively on cutting the federal deficit in 2010 – and will downplay other new domestic spending beyond jo... Read more


NTU Letter to the FCC Regarding Net Neutrality
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 19, 2010

Last week, NTU sent a letter to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the Proposed Rulemaking on Preserving the Open Internet and Broadband Industry Practices. We believe that there is little justification to proceed with rulemaking over “open Internet” access, instead for the publi... Read more


The Budget Then and Now
Posted by Demian Brady - January 19, 2010

Yesterday I was reviewing a statement that former NTU Executive Vice President David Keating gave before a House of Representatives' special Conference in 1994. The Conference was about a bipartisan spending reduction proposal under consideration in the 103rd Congress. David said that the proposal should be the first order of business for both the House and the Senate given that at that time, the national debt exceeds $4.5 trillion and the annual... Read more


CBO Report on Unauthorized Appropriations and Expiring Authorizations
Posted by Demian Brady - January 18, 2010

The Congressional Budget Office released its 2010 report on Unauthorized Appropriations and Expiring Authorizations. It is required to produce this each January to give Congress a heads up on those programs being funded even though their authorizations have expired and those programs whose authorization are due to expire this year. For 2010, Congress has appropriated $290 bil... Read more


Private Sector Jobs Now!
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - January 15, 2010

This afternoon NTU's Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp joined other free-market allies to discuss the importance of private sector jobs. The group met at the National Press Club to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the Bureau of the Budget Bulletin (known today as the Office of Management and Budget). On January 15, 1955 the Eisenhower Administration published a document stating, "The federal government will not start... Read more


CBO Made Easy-to-Understand
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 15, 2010

Huge thanks to Matthias Shapiro for maintaining the blog, Political Math. Shapiro uses this medium to take data that are free for anyone to read through and transform them into something that is much easier to understand. In his most recent post, Shapiro communicates in a single image how much the top (and su... Read more


Government Waste
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 15, 2010

Not that you need another example of government waste, but take a minute to check out this blog post, you will find it interesting. The author received a sales tax audit for Alabama- a three year audit despite having operated in Alabama for only six months. When he called to request more information from the auditor about why t... Read more


Shadegg not to seek reelection
Posted by Dan Barrett - January 14, 2010

Congressman Shadegg of Arizona’s Third District, a House Member who was elected during the Republican Revolution 1994, announced today he would Not run for a ninth term of office. The fifth-highest ranked Republican in the House has been a prominent figure in the debate over healthcare reform,... Read more


From bad to worse
Posted by Tom Horne - January 13, 2010

On Dec 18th, the federal Office of Management and Budget released a 24 page memo outlining a brand new accounting process to replace the much maligned ‘jobs saved or created’ count. Its been a long time coming. Besides the fact that 'saved or created' is obvious political spin, it’s already been ... Read more


The Danger of Populism in Big Groups
Posted by Dan Barrett - January 12, 2010

Standing at the steps of the Ohio Statehouse on April 15th and on the US Capitol’s lawn on 9-12, I felt the rumbling of a nation. We all let the government get bigger and bigger until it mushroom clouded into some of the biggest spending bills in history BUT we saw the error of our ways, either in our p... Read more


There's always another example of waste
Posted by Tom Horne - January 08, 2010

I should really be used to this by now. Over the past year I’ve made it a habit to check up on the recovery websites, typically I stick to the 18 million (tax)dollar recovery.gov and the privately run (woohoo) recovery.org. These sites have all kinds of miserable information. There’s been federal taxpayer money spent on things like small town bus amenities (excess of 1 million), ‘reclading the façade’ on an office building in Cleveland (110 mi... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - January 05, 2010

Cartoon by Chip Bok... Read more


Health care lobbying begs a fundamental question
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - January 05, 2010

On December 28th, the Politico web site ran a long article entitled "Wielding influence in health care fight" which lays out the influence and impact of various lobbying groups on the health care "reform" debate. The groups, including organizations representing "Big Pharma", hospitals, health insurance companies, and the medical device companies each have... Read more


Not-so-fun facts
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 05, 2010

I'm in the process of digging through every single roll call vote that Congress took last year for our annual Rating of Congress. Every year, we plow through ALL of the votes Congress takes and include ALL that have a significant impact on taxpayers, whether through tax, spending, regulatory, or trade policy. In 2008, both houses of Congress cast an incredible total of 9... Read more


What are we supposed to say, Thank you Big Government?
Posted by Dan Barrett - January 04, 2010

If slow-moving bureaucracy and unreliable plans haven’t dogged your New Year yet, check out Saturday’s New York Times article. Although extrapolated, the author estimates “6 million people in households with no income” receive food stamps – a doubling of recipients. While this is not too surprising, given ... Read more


Economists Actually Agree
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - December 21, 2009

My Econ 101 prof always joked about how economists can only agree on one thing- that they will never agree on anything. Yet, House Minority Leader John Boehner released a list of 222 economists across the United States that actually agree that we must rein in federal spending rather than adding more “stimulus” spending. Listen to what the group ... Read more


Ben Nelson Gets Purchased
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 19, 2009

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) has long been thought of as the most likely to withhold his vote on the Senate's health care bill because of concerns he had about the way it dealt with abortion. Well, it looks like the oldest trick in the book was enough to secure Senator Nelson's vote on the final bill: a payoff. The amendment introduced by Majority Leader H... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Senators vote "NO" on H.R. 3590
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 19, 2009

NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on H.R. 3590, the so-called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” This $2.5 trillion bill is NOT real reform, but rather a political ploy to deceive taxpayers and to expand the size and scope of the federal government in a way that is both unprecedented and unsustainable. For months, you have heard from the American people through their phone calls, emails, town halls, and office visits. The... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - December 16, 2009

... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on H.R. 2847
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 16, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 2847, the so-called Jobs for Main Street Act. Introduced by Representative David Obey (D-WI), this misnamed “job creation” bill would pour $150 billion in taxpayer dollars into programs that have failed to spur job growth and decrease unemployment through the recently-enacted “stimulus” bill. H.R. 2847 would set aside $48 billion for various infrastructure projects such as Trans... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on H.R. 4314
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 16, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 4314, which would increase the national debt limit by $290 billion, from $12.1 trillion to $12.4 trillion. The nation’s debt has escalated by 39 percent since January of 2007, and the ceiling has already been lifted once this year through passage of the first stimulus package. The premise is simple: the more we spend, the more we must borrow. Due to the unb... Read more


A "Dark Knight" for Taxpayers
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 16, 2009

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spent $10,000 on a “fee for agency participation in Dark Knight Gala” in Chicago in 2008. The Dark Knight Gala was an event honoring Christopher Nolan, the director of the most recent Batman films, and included a screening of The Dark Knight and a dinner reception. For the general public, ti... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Senators vote "YES" on the Crapo motion to recommit
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 15, 2009

NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on the Crapo motion to commit H.R. 3590, the vehicle for the Senate health care bill. This motion would codify an oft-repeated promise by clarifying that no provision in the health care bill shall result in a tax increase on individuals earning less than $200,000 per year or families earning less than $250,000 per year. President Obama and Congressional leaders have claimed, time and time again, th... Read more


Was the Death Tax Revived so that Spending Agendas Could Thrive?
Posted by Demian Brady - December 11, 2009

When the House of Representatives voted last week to create a permanent 45% federal estate tax instead of repealing it next year, supporters of the move said they were helping to reduce the deficit. But an analysis of the vote shows using NTU Foundation's BillTally data, shows that those who voted in favor of the tax had, on average, larger spending agendas of those who oppo... Read more


Health Care Legislation Would Bust State Budgets
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 11, 2009

Much of the debate over national health-care legislation has centered on flashpoints like higher taxes, abortion and immigration. Yet one major aspect of the health-care plans being developed on Capitol Hill has received relatively scant attention. House and Senate Democrats are planning on significantly expanding Medicaid in an attempt to decrease the number of uninsured. Medicaid was launched in 1965 as a joint federal-state safety net th... Read more


The Geithner Penalty Waiver Act
Posted by Demian Brady - December 11, 2009

Representatives John Carter, Lynn Westmorland, and Michael Burgess have introduced H.R. 4172 to ensure that taxpayers who applied for the Treasury Department's tax amnesty plan for unreported income pay the same penalty on that income that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner paid for his unreported income while working for the International Monetary Fund: zero. ... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on H.R. 4173
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 10, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 4173, the so-called Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. This 1,300-page bill, introduced by Representative Barney Frank (D-VT), would unduly expand the federal government’s regulatory power over our free market while continuing to put taxpayers at risk with serious liabilities. Among many other disastrous provisions, H.R. 4173 would establish yet another bureaucracy kno... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on H.R. 3288
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 10, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 3288, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2009. This “multibus” package includes six of the seven remaining appropriations bills: CJS, Financial Services, Labor-HHS, MilCon-Veterans, State-Foreign Ops, and THUD. H.R. 3288 contains a total of nearly $450 billion – 13 percent above the 2009 enacted level. At a time when our nation is faced with a sagging economy, the last thing ... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on S. Amdt. #2793
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 09, 2009

NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the drug importation amendment (S. Amdt. #2793). This amendment, introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), would be tacked on to pending health care reform legislation in an effort to open the floodgates for drug importation to the United States. More specifically, the Dorgan amendment would waive the limitation, as administered through the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which allows impo... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on H.R. 4213
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 09, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 4213, the “Tax Extenders Act of 2009,” introduced by Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY). This legislation extends dozens of expiring provisions of the tax code that reduce burdens on American families and businesses, such as the state and local sales and property tax deductions and the research and development tax credit. Unfortunately, H.R. 4213 immediately offsets tha... Read more


NTU Testifies on MN Spending Amendment
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 08, 2009

NTU's State Government Affairs Manager Joshua Culling has testimony in support of Governor Tim Pawlenty's "Spending Accountability Amendment." You can read it here. ... Read more


New Transparency Portal
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - December 07, 2009

The Illinois Policy Institute just launched a new transparency website, IllinoisOpenGov.org. The website gives taxpayers in Illinois an easily accessible source of information on spending in the state. It provides information on each agency or person. IllionoisOpenGov.org takes raw spending data, provided directly from gov... Read more


Trimming TARP
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 07, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal: The Obama administration, buoyed by a resurgent Wall Street, plans to cut the projected long-term cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program by more than $200 billion, in a move that could smooth the way for the introduction of a new jobs program.NTU has supported efforts to ... Read more


Just in Time for Christmas -- a Carbon Crackdown
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 07, 2009

According to the New York Times: The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday will finalize its determination that greenhouse gases pose a danger to human health and the environment, paving the way for regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants, factories refineries and other major sources.It's j... Read more


Carton Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 04, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Air Travel Perks for Members of Congress
Posted by Demian Brady - December 02, 2009

On Thanksgiving morning, my 6-year son told me he saw my colleague, Pete Sepp, on CNN discussing travel. I finally found the link to the video, and the topic is outrageous. Talk about a conflict of interest. The airlines give valuable perks to the people who write the laws to regulate the airlines: Members of Congress. Lawmakers get ... Read more


Fun with Numbers
Posted by Tom Horne - December 02, 2009

According to the (84 million dollar) Recovery.gov website, Puerto Rico is claiming that the nearly 2 billion dollars in stimulus funds they received has resulted in 17,500 jobs 'saved/created'. That number is more than the number of jobs claimed in DC, Vermont, Delaware, South Dakota, Idaho, Rhode Island, Maine, Hawaii, North Dakota and Wyoming COMBINED. In fact, if that number is correct our ... Read more


The Zen of Free Speech & The False Prophet of Regulation
Posted by Dan Barrett - December 02, 2009

The Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian-leaning public-interest law firm, filed suit in federal court over the Commonwealth of Virginia's regulation of yoga and free speech. Under current law, people who wish to teach others how to be yoga instructors must submit paperwork, ... Read more


Vote on Death Tax "Relief" Looms
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 02, 2009

Just when you thought that Congress might bring you an early Christmas gift -- permanent estate tax "relief" -- you find out that how you spell "relief" is not how Congress spells it. You may recall that the Death Tax is set to disappear next year but returns in 2011. If you're concerned about that happening, the title of H.R. 4154,... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - December 02, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 4154, the so-called Permanent Estate Tax “Relief” for Families, Farmers, and Small Businesses Act. Introduced by Representative Earl Pomeroy (D-ND), this bill would dramatically hike taxes by canceling repeal of the death tax in 2010, while moving toward an exemption level of $3.5 million and 45 percent. The economic implications of the death tax are clear: it destroys hard-earned sav... Read more


Does the IRS Have a Check Waiting for You?
Posted by Demian Brady - December 01, 2009

Could you use some extra cash during this holiday season? Each year, thousands of income tax refund checks are returned to the IRS as undeliverable because the taxpayer has moved, changed his or her name, or simply because the check has an incomplete or improper address. Are you due a refund? Check out NTU's online Tax Refund Finder to see whether the IRS has some... Read more


US Foreign Policy’s Definition of Democracy
Posted by Dan Barrett - November 30, 2009

It appears the conservative candidate, Porfirio Lobo Jr., will be named the winner in Sunday’s Honduran presidential election. Normally, foreign leaders would make statements praising the democratic process and how the will of the people always prevails when freedom is allowed to flourish, but many leaders are ... Read more


Ready for Some Outrage?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 27, 2009

Ready for some leftovers? Football? How about some outrage? If you're done shopping and have finished rummaging through the fridge, check out our online voting booth and vote for the "Outrage of the Month." ... Read more


Fiscally Conservative?
Posted by Jordan Forbes - November 25, 2009

Our friends over at the National Republican Congressional Committee devised a list of who they thought were vulnerable Democrats in 2010. We then proceeded to track the votes of each of those Members on the most important fiscal bills over the past year: both TARP bills, the auto bailout, stimulus, budget, cap-and-trade, Republican motion-to-recommit H.R. 3962, the House health care "reform" bill, and final passage of H.R. 3962. Keep these vo... Read more


New York Court Approves Eminent Domain Use
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 24, 2009

After years of delay, New York's Court of Appeals has cleared the way for the use of eminent domain on behalf of a private developer, according to the New York Times. NTU spoke out against this project back in 2004. ... Read more


Tax Panel Willfully Breaks Nevada Law
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - November 23, 2009

The Nevada Tax Commission has violated state law for over ten years. Its failure to issue a statutorily required tax policy manual to ensure that the state’s county assessors uniformly appraise property across the state has led to significant disparities among county assessors in how they value property for tax purposes. Our friends at the ... Read more


NTU Statement on Cloture Vote
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 21, 2009

Taxpayer Group Condemns Senate for Moving Forward with Massive Government-Run Health Care Bill The nation’s oldest taxpayer group slammed the Senate for moving forward with debate on Majority Leader Harry Reid’s enormous health care “reform” legislation. Packed to the gills with tax hikes, more government spending, and damaging regulations, this bill would add tremendous burdens to taxpayers while ignoring some of the fundamental problems with... Read more


Thank You for Voting No
Posted by Jordan Forbes - November 20, 2009

Thank you to the 183 Republicans and Democrats who voted against H.R. 3961, the so-called “Doc Fix” legislation. As many of you know, we had grave concerns with this legislation. Our concerns did not necessarily stem from the underlying policy, but rather the partisan political tactic being played. H.R. 3961 was an underhanded attempt to deceive taxpayers and artificially deflate the cost of the House-passed health “reform” bill. That health care... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 20, 2009

HT: TaxGuru If you would like to support NTU's efforts to defeat Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid's efforts to "reform" your health care, you can make a financial contribution of support using our secure server here. ... Read more


Senate Phone Lines
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 20, 2009

A little bird has told me that some of the Senate phone circuits are very busy. If you can't call your Senators about tomorrow's health care vote, you can email them here or you can call, write, or tweet at highnoonforhealthcare.org. The time to speak out is now! ... Read more


Who Is Paying Taxes?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 20, 2009

Tim Wise from ACTA passes along this chart from ... Read more


Do They Get Overtime?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 20, 2009

The lights will be burning on Capitol Hill again this weekend as the Senate takes a procedural vote on the Reid health care bill late Saturday, according to CQ. It's not too late to let your Senators know that you oppose tax hikes and more governmental control over health c... Read more


NTU Study Finds Every GM Vehicle Sold Costs Taxpayers $12,200
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - November 19, 2009

The season of giving is near, and leave it to the government to think it has the prerogative to “give” away taxpayer money. It was bad enough that the federal government bailed out banks last fall, but then they went a step further in the wrong direction by bailing out the automotive industry. To date, $78.9 BILLION in taxpayers' money has gone to bailout GM,... Read more


A Look at Reid's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Posted by Demian Brady - November 18, 2009

Senator Reid tonight released the latest version of the many health care reform packages that are slowly working their way through Congress. His is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and weighs in at 2,074 pages -- over twice as long as House Speaker Pelosi's America's Affordable Health Choices Act. Here is a link to a Google Spreadsheet NTU Foundation put together that contains a word count of the key terms in Pelosi's orig... Read more


Stimulus Transparency?
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - November 18, 2009

Thanks to our friends at the Mercatus Center for giving us the heads up that the new version of Stimulus Watch is now available! The original site featured proposed stimulus projects taken from the US Conference of Mayors survey. The new version contains actual stimulus spending across the country. The information comes directly from the official recipient reports available at ... Read more


"Best" Bill -- Ever!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 18, 2009

From The Hill: "Of all the bills we've seen, it'll be the best," Reid said. "Saves more money, is more protective of Medicare, is a bill that's good for the American people." He added confidently: "I think if you're not impressed, you should be."And how impressed should you be? How about $849 billio... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Senators vote "No" on any motion to proceed to Reid's health care bill
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - November 18, 2009

NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on ANY motion to proceed to the health care bill being introduced by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). All published reports suggest that this bill will dramatically expand the size and scope of our federal government, boost taxes on millions of small businesses and families, and increase health costs at a very difficult time for many Americans. There is a bipartisan consensus that our health care syst... Read more


Still more "jobs created or saved" lies and errors
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - November 17, 2009

After the Associated Press broke the left-leaning media's cone of silence about the Administration errors and/or lies regarding jobs "created or saved" with so-called "stimulus" money, other would-be journalists and even Democratic politicians have found a bit of courage and are castigating the reported statistics. On Monday, ... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on H.R. 3961
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - November 17, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 3961, the so-called “Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act.” Introduced by Representative John Dingell (D-MI), this bill is part of an appalling display of bait-and-switch to reduce the apparent cost of health care reform. H.R. 3962, the recently passed House health care “reform” bill, received a 10-year cost estimate from the Congressional Budget Office of $1.05 trillion. It achieved that... Read more


Best Line of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 16, 2009

From today's Wall Street Journal editorial entitled "The Rationing Commission": The core problem with government-run health care is that it doesn't make decisions in the best interests of patients, but in the best interests of government. ... Read more


About those jobs...
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 16, 2009

Following up on Ross Kaminsky's post about problems with the Obama Administration's stimulus job estimates, I took a closer look at the Illinois job numbers. What I found wasn't pretty. Some examples: ... Read more


Will a Budget Commission Work?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 13, 2009

According to the Journal's Washington Wire: "After months of behind-the-scene discussions, Sens. Kent Conrad (D., S.D.) and Judd Gregg (R., N.H.), the Budget Committee's chairman and top Republican, have agreed in principle on a bill to establish a powerful commission to try to solve the government’s serious fiscal problems." The panel ... Read more


More "jobs created or saved" lies and errors
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - November 13, 2009

I reported a couple of weeks ago on an AP story describing how errors or lies are massively inflating the "jobs created or saved" number touted by the Administration as a sign of the effectiveness of the so-called "stimulus". In that note, I pointed out that when as pro-Obama an organization as the AP is critical of the Administration, the offense m... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- Just Trust 'em
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 13, 2009

Tim Wise sends along this cartoon that makes me -- as a Mac user -- laugh and as a taxpayer cry. And if you haven't seen the inspiration for the cartoon, here it is: ... Read more


Mounting Debt
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 12, 2009

George Will talking about America's growing national debt: Gold increasingly looks to investors to be a more reliable store of value than governments' bonds are, especially U.S. bonds as the U.S. government threatens to pile a mammoth health care entitlement onto the nation's Ponzi welfare state, increasing the nation's debt and... Read more


Veteran's Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 11, 2009

Thanks to those who serve, have served, and the families who support them. ... Read more


A Fundamental Disconnect
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 10, 2009

From CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf blogging about a recent presentation to the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management: I concluded the talk by emphasizing that fiscal policy is on an unsustainable path to an extent that cannot be solved by minor tinkering. The country faces a fundamental disconnect between the services the people expect the government to prov... Read more


"Mr. Obama, Tear Up That Bill!"
Posted by Demian Brady - November 10, 2009

This is posted on behalf of NTU Research Analyst Eric Sundheim. 20 years ago yesterday, the West won the Cold War and the Berlin Wall was torn down. Last Friday, I attended an event at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library which featured Secretary of State George Schultz, Attorney General Ed Meese, and Steve Forbes among others. It was amazing to hear the perspectives of those who helped engender and were greatly affected by this momen... Read more


The Devil's Dictionary of Healthcare Reform
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - November 10, 2009

One of the strengths of the American left is their mastery of using language. They say things that mean exactly the opposite of what they sound like (such as the "Employee Free Choice Act" which means to strip the right to a private ballot in a decision about unionizing.) And, with the help of a credulous press and often lazy electorate, they get away with it more often than not. In no area is the understanding of the difference between what t... Read more


$1 million stimulus payout to study new taxes?
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 08, 2009

We've heard of plenty dubious uses of federal stimulus money. Those dollars have paid for doorbells, road signs, and, most recently iPods for underserved residents - all while unemployment continues to rise. But the latest stimulus #fail should have taxpayers' collective blood boiling. The University... Read more


List of 36 Democrats who once opposed the health bill, then voted for it anyway
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 07, 2009

I wrote earlier about the list of 69 Democrats who had expressed opposition to the health care bill at some point. Well, digging through the roll call vote records, I've compiled a list of people who appear to have gone back on their earlier statements. They are... Marion Berry (... Read more


$1 Trillion Health Care Bill Passes...Barely
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 07, 2009

The House of Representatives just narrowly passed the massive $1 trillion health care bill by a vote of 220-215 (they needed 218 to pass it). Despite the fact that at least 69 Democrats had expressed some sort of opposition to the bill, only 39 had the guts to ac... Read more


Health Care Whip Count
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 06, 2009

The Hill has updated its whip count of Democrats for this weekend's health care bill vote. See where your Representative is and then let them know how you feel about the bill. ... Read more


National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - November 06, 2009

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 3962, the “Affordable” Health Care for America Act. This 1,990-page, $1 trillion bill is NOT health care reform, but rather a political ploy to deceive taxpayers and forever distort the relationship between government and the people it serves. While there are innumerable provisions in this legislation that we oppose, we have chosen to highlight those that we believe are most detrimental to taxpay... Read more


NTU's Pictures from the November 5th House Call Event
Posted by Rachael Slobodien - November 06, 2009

NTU joined conservatives and libertarians on Capitol Hill yesterday to protest Pelosi's health care bill. The event had tens of thousands of participants from all across our nation. Pretty phenomenal turn out, especially when the entire event was planned in only four days! Go to our Flickr page to view NTU's pictures from the event. ... Read more


America's Public Option for Mail Continues Slip into Fiscal Quagmire
Posted by Demian Brady - November 06, 2009

The Government Accountability Office reports that the U.S. Postal Service's recent efforts to cut costs and increase revenues have been a $7 billion bust, the third consecutive year of losses and the largest in decades. And in keeping in the spirit of Bailout Nation, Congress shipped $4 billion to the Postal Service to help it make its mandatory payment to prefund emplo... Read more


US unemployment rate rises to 26 year high of 10.2%. How many jobs has Obama "created or saved now"?
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - November 06, 2009

Not much needs to be added to the somber statistic except to wonder how it will effect waivering Democratic votes on the House health care "reform" bill, given that all but the most far-left of the Dems must understand that the measure will be extremely destructive to American employment. ... Read more


House Health Care Vote This Saturday
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 05, 2009

From AP: The second-ranking House Democrat predicted that historic health care legislation will be passed Saturday, extending coverage to tens of millions of uninsured and banning the industry from turning people away. Rep. Steny Hoyer told reporters House leaders would have the 218 votes needed to pass the sweepi... Read more


A "Tax Horror Show"
Posted by Jordan Forbes - November 04, 2009

This morning, I had the privilege of a one-on-one interview with Congressman John Fleming (LA-4) to discuss his thoughts surrounding the prevailing health care debate. It was interesting to get his take on an issue that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is now saying could very well carry over to next year. While it is good news t... Read more


NTU Ad Campaign
Posted by Jordan Forbes - November 03, 2009

In a continued effort to speak out against government-run health care, NTU has launched an aggressive campaign in key Democratic districts across the nation. We will sponsor radio ads and phone banks opposing the $1 trillion health care bill, and the following Members of Congress will be targeted: Travis Childers, MS-01 Mike McIntyre, NC-07 Heath Shuler, NC-11 Dina Titus, NV-03 Ann Kirkpatrick, AZ-01 Glenn Nye, VA-02 Harry Teague, NM-02 ... Read more


House Call on Washington
Posted by Jordan Forbes - November 03, 2009

The House of Representatives may vote on health care legislation THIS WEEK, and we need your help to try to stop them. Right now, we are hearing that Speaker Pelosi does not have the votes, but will bring the bill to the floor as soon as she reaches the magic number of 218. WE CANNOT LET THIS HAPPEN! The $1 trillion bill, complete with its massive tax hikes, government-forced insurance, new regulations and bureaucracies – all leading to... Read more


Defeat in hand; Obama administration claims victory
Posted by Tom Horne - November 03, 2009

Everyone remembers the famous (infamous?) shot of President Bush on the aircraft carrier with the mission accomplished banner waving, in my head I substitute in Obama and pretend the war was against the economy. Instead of acknowledging that their stimulus has clearly NOT worked (unemployment heading over 10%) they're simply claiming victory... Read more


Election Night Primer
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 02, 2009

I'm blogging today from the State Policy Network Annual Meeting in gorgeous Asheville, NC. It's a phenomenal conference for anyone with an interest in state fiscal and economic issues, as it brings together the leaders of free market think tanks across the country for policy discussions, training seminars, and networking. This year's event could not come at a better time, as Election Night falls smack dab in the m... Read more


The Christmas Party You Paid For
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - November 02, 2009

Thanks to our friends at the Idaho Freedom Foundation for this story. We’re approaching the holiday season and already the Christmas commercials are playing and the malls are displaying their holiday merchandise. So as you begin thinking about planning your Christmas party, you may be interested to hear about the party that you p... Read more


Authorizations and Appropriations in the Affordable Health Care for America Act
Posted by Demian Brady - November 02, 2009

Here is a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet I put together of all the authorizations and appropriations available in H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The dollar figures in the bill total in excess of $100 billion, plus there are 32 additional authorizations for "such sums as may be necessary." ... Read more


Amtrak Understates Losses
Posted by Demian Brady - November 02, 2009

Note: This article is posted on behalf of NTU Foundation Research Analyst Eric Sundheim. A recent study by Subsidyscope (a project of Pew Charitable Trusts "to raise public awareness about the role of federal subsidies in the economy") estimates that Amtrak loses $32 per passenger- four times the $8 figure Amtrak ... Read more


The fiscal disaster of Pelosicare
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - November 02, 2009

Just like the Baucus bill, the health care "reform" bill which is being pushed by Nancy Pelosi (and which she might or might not have the votes to get through the House) is nothing more than financial smoke and mirrors, a massive tax and spend program which will cost far more than Pelosi or her useful idiots at the CBO want you to believe. Please see my full discussion of the subject in my ... Read more


Best Line of the Week
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 30, 2009

Holman W. Jenkins Jr writing in yesterday's Wall Street Journal: "It's no exaggeration to say the Senate health-care bill taking shape is the equivalent of climbing aboard a train about to plunge into a canyon and deciding what it really needs is a bomb on board." Now, that is a well-turned phrase. ... Read more


A Matter of Simple Fairness
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 30, 2009

Today, Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State and member of our Board of Directors, has a fantastic op-ed in The Examiner. The piece, entitled “Hiking the death tax is an insult to Jack Kemp’s legacy,” discusses the need for a permanent repeal of the death tax – a core goal of NTU. Mr. Blackwell eloquently captures Jack Kemp’s history of protecting the rights of minorities. Whether through the Civil Rights Movement, enterprise ... Read more


Righting a Federal Wrong: Compensation for Bone Marrow Donations
Posted by Dan Barrett - October 30, 2009

The Institute for Justice, a civil liberties law firm, filed suit against the U.S. Attorney General on Monday “to put an end to a ban on offering compensation to bone marrow donors.” Currently, the ... Read more


When even the AP suggests the stimulus isn't working...
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 30, 2009

When even the liberal Associated Press suggests the stimulus isn't working as we're told, you know the bloom is coming off the Obama rose, and Americans are slowly but surely learning the destructive fiscal folly of his economic policies. In an article reprinted in the Denver Post yesterday entitled "Stimulus jobs overcounted nationwide", two AP reporters lay out details of co... Read more


Democrats dead-on with comparisons.
Posted by Tom Horne - October 30, 2009

On Thursday, house democrats decided to hold a press conference (supporters-only rally?) outside the capitol to celebrate the grand unveiling of an $894 billion dollar health package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted saying It is with great pride and with great humility that we come before you to follow in the footsteps of tho... Read more


Speaker Pelosi's Health Care Press Conference
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 29, 2009

Earlier today, Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the newest House health care bill at a press conference on the West Front of the Capitol. The Democratic bill is nearly 2,000 pages in length – twice as long as the original, but “essentially the same.” How is that even possible? I attended the press conference, but was unable to get in because there was a list at the door. I have been around the Hill for several years now and can assure you that wa... Read more


Town Hall Meetings in Cyberspace
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 29, 2009

How would you like less interaction with your Member of Congress at the expense of real scientific research that could potentially cure our world’s most debilitating illnesses? A new study released by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) reveals that Internet “town hall” meetings supposedly increase constituent trust and perception in their lawmakers. To that end, CMF is hosting a briefing tomorrow to discuss these findings and how M... Read more


My Letter to MoveOn.org
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 28, 2009

Today, I wrote a letter to our good friends at MoveOn.org. In a recent television ad starring actress Heather Graham, they state, "Competition is as American as applie pie." Check it out. It's a very well done, slick advertisement. It's really amazing that they were able to put this together with a budget only ten times as large as we corporate fat-cats. ... Read more


Highlighting Washington Initiative 1033
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - October 28, 2009

In a previous post, I blogged about NTU’s release of the 2009 General Election Ballot guide. Included in the guide is information on Washington Initiative 1033. The National Taxpayers Union organized a coalition of taxpayers and policy advocates to launch taxpayersfor1033.com, which contains a variety of information about the measure. Initiative 1033 would institute... Read more


Hang out with Nancy Pelosi!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 28, 2009

In a manner of speaking. Tomorrow, Nancy Pelosi will hold a big fancy press conference to discuss health care at the West Front of the United States Capitol Building (where we helped to organize hundreds of thousands of conservatives for the 9/12 March on Washington). Being good civic-minded individuals, we wanted to do our level best to ensure that citizens attend e... Read more


Info on Maine Question 4
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - October 28, 2009

Earlier this week, I blogged about NTU’s release of the 2009 General Election Ballot guide. Included in the guide is information on Maine Question 4, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). The National Taxpayers Union organized a coalition of taxpayers and policy advocates to launch maine4taxpayers.com, which c... Read more


NTU's Pete Sepp on Fox News
Posted by Demian Brady - October 27, 2009

Pete Sepp was recently on Fox News discussing the NEH grants that my colleague Dan Barrett just blogged about: ... Read more


Nickel-and-diming the taxpayer
Posted by Dan Barrett - October 27, 2009

Fox News reported on the National Endowment for the Humanities’ projects, detailing some of the more surprising and, arguably, selfish grants handed out to educators around the country. While the National Taxpayers Union’s own Pete Sepp concluded the program’s aims were ... Read more


Rappin' 'Bout Economic Principles & EFCA
Posted by Demian Brady - October 27, 2009

Greg Mankiw's blog links to this rap, "Rhythm, Rhymes, Results" about 10 economic principles. And Remy, the genius behind the "Arlington Rap," lays down some new rhymes on the Orwellian legislati... Read more


The Opt-Out Cop Out
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 27, 2009

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced a new health care plan that included a revival of sorts for the so-called "public option," or government-run insurance plan. Supposedly as a nod to moderates from states that are not supportive of the government plan, his bill will have a p... Read more


General Election Ballot Guide 2009
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - October 26, 2009

While this is an “off-year” for most statewide elections, many citizens will have the chance to vote on important tax and spending questions through the initiative and referendum process. We have put together a Ballot Guide (PDF format) that covers more than 40 initiative and referendum measures in 12 states. There are two measures in particular that taxpayers may be... Read more


O Stimulus, Where Art Thou?
Posted by Demian Brady - October 26, 2009

I thought the stimulus was supposed to be timely and targeted? But according to the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment declined in 49 states and D.C. in September compared to last year. Only Louisiana gained construction jobs. The contractors say "the industry awaits stimulus, recovery."... Read more


TABOR and Education
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 23, 2009

Note: This piece was first posted on the Maine 4 Taxpayers blog. For more information on Maine Question 4 (TABOR), which would limit the annual growth of government spending and allow citizens to vote on any tax increase, visit maine4taxpayers.com. -JC Question 4 opponents' favorite strategy is to play on voter fears about public education. They claim that by limiting the growth of government s... Read more


"Stimulus" Used to Buy $196K of Frisbees, Sunglasses, and Beach Balls?
Posted by Demian Brady - October 23, 2009

I found a contract award of so-called "stimulus" funds in the amount of $196,472 for the purchase of frisbees, floating key chains, crayons, insulated can holders, sunglasses, sunglass holder straps, pens, beach balls,... Read more


Reverse Robin Hood on Social Security
Posted by Paul Gessing - October 22, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, because the federal government’s cost of living indicators are showing slight deflation, there will be no cost of living increase for Social Security recipients next year. Of course, seniors vote in large numbers and are a politically-powerful voting bloc, so as soon as word came down that there would be no COLA, spineless members of Congress and President Obama started looking for ways to give seniors money anyway. ... Read more


FCC Net Neutrality Decision
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 22, 2009

As I mentioned on a blog post earlier this week, the FCC was set to vote today on a proposed set of "net neutrality" rules. The proposal passed unanimously and will immediately put into motion a series of new regulatory procedures. While this undeniably indicates the onset of yet another government takeover, it is not too late to take action. The final rule will not be voted on until early next year. Visit the FCC's ... Read more


Amtrak Received More Money from Taxpayers Than from Ticket Sales
Posted by Demian Brady - October 22, 2009

[This blog article is posted on behalf of NTU Foundation's Research Analyst, Eric Sundheim] Amtrak received $2.37 billion in 2009, yet only $1.6 billion of that revenue came from ticket sales: the remainder came courtesy of the American taxpayer. This deficit was conveniently ignored in Amtrak's recent ... Read more


DC School Choice Film Released
Posted by Dan Barrett - October 22, 2009

On Tuesday, I had the distinct pleasure to attend the premier of Let Me Rise, a 30-minute film on the fundamental need for the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. Established in 2004, the voucher pro... Read more


Health Care Video Message Project
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 21, 2009

As many of you may know, NTU recently launched a campaign where we asked taxpayers from across the nation to submit videos to NTU about their thoughts on the health care debate and what they would like to see their elected officials do. After receiving a host of responses, NTU staff converted these messages into DVDs and delivered them to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill. To view a sampling of these videos, visit NTU’s YouTube channel, ... Read more


Hidden Fees are Still Taxes
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - October 21, 2009

Our Friends at the Evergreen Freedom Foundation reported this nugget of opaque government- changes to the form drivers send in to pay their license fees. Drivers in Washington must like their state parks, right? So the State Parks Department would like you to believe. Washington State collected ... Read more


The Quarter-Trillion Dollar Sneak Attack
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 19, 2009

Today, NTU released a coalition letter that we circulated that was signed by 20 state and national groups in opposition to an attempt to deceive the American public about the true costs of health care reform. Tomorrow evening, the U.S. Senate will vote on S. 1776, the so-called "Medicare Physicians Fairness Act." This legislation, worth $247 billion (all rack... Read more


Net Neutrality Rears Its Ugly Head
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 19, 2009

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote Thursday on a proposal that would impose federal government regulations on network managers. The so-called “net neutrality” rules would add to existing guidelines adopted in 2005 on Internet network operations. While the proposal is expected to pass with full support from FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and the Obama administration, we encourage you to speak out and let your voice be heard, as... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 16, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Reid Suggests Health Care Reform to Cost $2 Trillion
Posted by Demian Brady - October 15, 2009

... Read more


Taxing your Tailgate Party
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - October 14, 2009

Tailgating is one of our favorite pastimes: we tailgate before the Packer’s games, we tailgate before the Brewer’s games, we tailgate before pretty much any sporting event. C’mon, who doesn’t enjoy sipping some of Wisconsin’s finest before the game? Yet now, our legislators have found yet another way to cash in on our leisure time. The Wisconsin State Assembly Committee on Public Safety held its first public hearing yesterday on a bill to ... Read more


Disgusted Taxpayers
Posted by Demian Brady - October 14, 2009

All it takes is one person to get a movement started. Michael Hirsch knew he paid high municipal taxes but never realized why:That is, until he opened The Journal News one April morning and saw that the top 50 wage earners in Clarkstown were police officers. Three of them made more than $300,000 and an overwhelming majority made more than $100,000 in 2008, making... Read more


Hidden Taxes in the Baucus Bill
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 14, 2009

Writing in today's Wall Street Journal, Douglas Holtz-Eakin echoes our concerns that the Baucus bill raises taxes.... Read more


Here a Job, There a Job
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 14, 2009

White House numbers on jobs created by the stimulus package might not add up. ... Read more


An alternative to ObamaCare from the states
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 13, 2009

Earlier today Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty explained to BigGovernment.com readers how the Baucus health care plan is a prescription for higher taxes and higher premiums. In keeping with the theme that good perspectives and ideas often come from the states, 33 state-based think tanks came together this morning to ... Read more


Virginians: Watch Out for Hidden Taxes
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - October 13, 2009

Over the long weekend, Virginia had an energy efficient sales tax holiday (Oct 9-12). During the holiday, certain appliances bearing the EPA’s Energy Star label were exempt from the state’s sales tax. This sounds like a good idea: retailers boost sales, shoppers save money, environmentalists like greater efficiency and so on. So why should Virginians be concerned? Unfortunately, ... Read more


The Value-Added-Tax: What Is It and What Does It Mean for the Economy?
Posted by Demian Brady - October 12, 2009

Pete Sepp, NTU's VP of Communication, sits down with Fox News to explain the value-added-tax, aka, the VAT. (Video hosted on breitbart.tv.) ... Read more


CBO Revisits Budget Savings from Medical Tort Reform
Posted by Demian Brady - October 12, 2009

The Congressional Budget Office released a letter last week updating its analysis on tort reform. In addition to savings from lower premiums, there will also be savings from reduced utilization of health care services:Many analysts surmise that the current medical liability system encourages providers to increase the volume or intensity of the health care services ... Read more


Census 2010 Costs Continue to Climb
Posted by Demian Brady - October 09, 2009

As mandated by the Constitution, every ten years a census is taken of the U.S. population and that information is used to apportion the number of House seats among the states and is also used to guide the distribution of federal funds for various programs. Initial estimates put the cost of the 2010 census at $11.5 billion but that figure has gradually crept higher. In the summer of 2008 the GAO forecast that it would cost between $13.7 billion an... Read more


It's All About the Uncertainity
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 08, 2009

Andrew has already touched on the "scoring" of the Baucus bill. I wanted to highlight a couple of items from the CBO Director's blog on this subject. Regarding costs beyond the 10-year budget window: In subsequent years, the collective effect of those provisions would probably be continued redu... Read more


The Baucus "Bill" CBO Score: Deficit Deception
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 08, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, the Congressional Budget Office released the long-awaited score of the health care plan drafted by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT). Baucus has yet to introduce an actual bill (after all, that would expose it to real scrutiny by the public, and we can't allow that!), but the CBO looked at the draft that the Finance Committee had marked up. ... Read more


Trade in your clunker, get a broken economy
Posted by Dan Barrett - October 08, 2009

Cash for Clunkers helped auto sales “in a fast and furious way.” Sure sounds like a government program. The $3 billion program, which lasted for a month, was intended to last years, or so a Princeton professor, who pushed for such an incentive program, thought. Perhaps he ... Read more


Is Dick Durbin too Cynical?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 07, 2009

Ok, perhaps I'm too cynical but maybe Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is too. In response to reports that Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning wants legislation posted online for 72 hours with a CBO estimate before the Senate votes on it, Durbin responded: "They dream up new way... Read more


Downsizing the Federal Government
Posted by Jordan Forbes - October 06, 2009

Our friends over at CATO just launched a great project called Downsizing the Federal Government, which provides a department-by-department guide to cutting the federal government's budget. We all know that spending is out of control, but we also know that taxpayers often struggle to find the resources and ammunition they need to fight back. Downsizing the Federal Government is desi... Read more


So how's that stimulus working out for you?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 05, 2009

Illinois is asking for $3.2 billion in federal "high-speed rail" stimulus funds. That's a lofty goal, considering that there's a grand total of $8 billion available, and over 40 states have put in applications asking for a total of more than $100 billion. The real kicker? The $3.2 billion that Illinois wants would be used to increase the average speed ... Read more


Shopping with Max Baucus
Posted by Sam Batkins - October 05, 2009

Over the weekend, I had the misfortune of shopping in the same grocery store with the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus. Senator Baucus is currently front-and-center in the debate over health care reform, and the bill that passes through his committee could be the final version that the President signs. During the Senator’s shopping experience I passed him in the wine section. Chairman Baucus, like many shoppers, was in th... Read more


Pennsylvania Tax Hike Mania!
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 02, 2009

For Pennsylvania tax hikers, it appears the best things in life are worth waiting for. After three months without a state budget, the PA state House passed a budget tonight that saddles working families with roughly $1 billion in new taxes to appease a merry band of spendthrifts in Harrisburg. House Democrats decided to throttle past the "three caucus" budget agreement, which would have added an apparently insufficient $800 millionish burden to P... Read more


Big Government Health Care PSA
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 02, 2009

... Read more


Where are the $5k Toilet Seats When You Need Them?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 02, 2009

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reports that stimulus spending czar Vice President Joe Biden is concerned that the government isn't spending stimulus monies fast enough: Biden wants about $299 billion -- 60% of the $499 billion for spending on projects and aid -- out the door by the end of the year. "I ap... Read more


Happy Birthday, TARP!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 02, 2009

Forbes.com points out that Saturday will be the Troubled Asset Relief Program's (aka TARP's) first birthday and suggests that the program might make it to the terrible twos. What does one get a program that already has $700 billion? ... Read more


Carton Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 02, 2009

HT: Keith Capp ... Read more


Gov. Quinn: Short-term solution is tax hikes; long-term solution is tax hikes
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 01, 2009

So far, IL Gov. Pat Quinn's quixotic quest to fix the state budget has produced very little. He's sticking to his tax-and-spend guns, though: Gov. Pat Quinn says a proposed cigarette tax could be a short-term solution to restore funding to the state's largest financial aid program for college students. Quinn told student... Read more


Tax Hike Ted
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 30, 2009

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is finally embracing his inner liberal, proposing an $844 million income tax hike on Ohioans of all income levels. Tax Hike Ted gave a problematic and misleading speech this... Read more


Health-care Flashback
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 29, 2009

From an editorial discussing an individual mandate in today's Wall Street Journal: In the 1994 health-care debate, the Congressional Budget Office called the individual mandate "an unprecedented form of federal action." This is because "The government has never required people to buy any good or service as a condition of law... Read more


Us vs. Them on Health Care Taxes
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 28, 2009

Recently, we've heard more and more rumblings about the idea of imposing a "value-added tax" (VAT) to pay for a massive $1 trillion+ government-run health care program. A VAT is essentially a national sales tax imposed on producers of a good at every step of production. Our cold neighbors to the north in Canada, for example, pay 5% on each and every p... Read more


Two Flat Tires
Posted by Dan Barrett - September 28, 2009

Obama wishes to inspire the companies who have gone overseas to bring their production capacities back to US shores. This philosophy has breached reality with a 35% tariff on Chinese tires coming into the country. Unfortunately for consumers and producers alike, such a homecoming would unravel the modern global economy as we know it – the same economy America has built i... Read more


What Is Bruce Bartlett Thinking?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 25, 2009

I don't know if Bruce Barlett lives inside the Beltway or not, but I think he's fallen victim to Beltway-itis: raising taxes is the answer to any problem. Writing at Forbes.com, Barlett lays bare the spending excesses of the Bush administration -- something that NTU opposed at every turn and that didn't make us very popul... Read more


How About Doing Something Different?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 24, 2009

My United States Senator, Mark R. Warner from the Commonwealth of Virginia, just sent me an email entitled "The cost of doing nothing" in which he states: Doing nothing means doubling the health care premium costs for American families. Doing nothing means exploding the federal deficit. And doing nothing means that American companies will be less competitive in a global market and our small businesses will continue to face signifi... Read more


Iraq and Afghanistan Operations Funding
Posted by Demian Brady - September 24, 2009

Taxpayers were promised that big savings would result from scaling back operations in Iraq. How is that working out? A July CBO cost estimate for the Senate's National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2010 (S. 1390) reports that the bill would authorize $129 billion for "overseas contingency operations," a decrease of 11.5 percent from the FY 09 appropriations level of... Read more


The Special Delivery Project
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 24, 2009

Let NTU deliver YOUR video message on health care to Congress! ... Read more


The Story of Spending
Posted by Jordan Forbes - September 23, 2009

Our friends at the Commonwealth Foundation recently put out a fantastic video called “The Story of Spending.” The 7 minute clip cleverly and artistically documents the reckless spending policies of every president from FDR to George W. Bush and Barack Obama – and how these policies are bankrupting our nation. A very good synopsis of the negative impact of unbridled spending on taxpayers, I highly recommend you check it out. ... Read more


Break Out Your Dictionary, Mr. President
Posted by Jordan Forbes - September 21, 2009

Check out the YouTube footage of “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos and President Obama. Yesterday, Stephanopoulos put pressure on the President to explain how the individual mandate in Senator Baucus’ health reform proposal would not constitute a tax increase on the middle class. The individual mandate says that you will be required to purchase health insurance, and fined if you do not. The President claims this is not a tax increase, but ra... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- the Monday Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 21, 2009

HT: WSJ.com ... Read more


Is 65% Right for Virginia's Students?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 21, 2009

This early Monday email from the Virginia Education Association made me chuckle: Virginia Tomorrow just posted an analysis we did on the McDonnell/Bolling education plan. Regardless of your political leanings, the plan is seriously flawed. Please check out the analysis. I mean, I was shocked to see that the teachers' union was panning an educational plan laid ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 18, 2009

... Read more


Reason in the Chaos
Posted by Dan Barrett - September 17, 2009

With a title like “Storming Wall Street”, one imagines a contingent of Leftist freedom fighters, with more romantic passion than knowledge, to be taking back Wall Street from the chaos-loving barons and greedy CEOs. So, to find out that Anthony Randazzo’s latest paper co... Read more


Another Government Takeover
Posted by Jordan Forbes - September 17, 2009

If health care was not enough, it looks as though we are on track to nationalize student lending. Today, the House of Representatives passed the so-called “Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility” Act – legislation that would eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and shift student loans to a government-run and taxpayer-financed system under the Federal Direct Lending Program (FDLP). Specifically, H.R. 3221 does the following: ... Read more


Happy Constitution Day!
Posted by Demian Brady - September 17, 2009

In honor of Constitution Day, here is a dramatic reading of the Preamble from Captain James T. Kirk: ... Read more


Max Baucus's health care errors and lies
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - September 17, 2009

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed yesterday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Max Baucus (D-MT), lays out his lies case for his version of health care "reform". The beauty of the recent turn of events/tone in the health care debate is that the public is now actually listening to the con... Read more


That Giant Sucking Sound...
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 16, 2009

Is coming from your wallet! According to CBS News: A previously unreleased analysis prepared by the U.S. Department of Treasury says the total in new taxes would be between $100 billion to $200 billion a year. At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year.... Read more


Protectionist Policies Risk Killing Free Trade
Posted by Dan Barrett - September 16, 2009

The Obama Administration has taken it upon itself to not only fix the environment, the overregulated financial system, and healthcare but to also trigger a trade war. With Friday’s decision to raise Chinese tire imports to 35%, the special interests (i.e. organized labor) have started their protectionist campaign – a quest benefitting... Read more


GM's Money-Back Guarantee
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 15, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog: In a rousing, campaign-like address, Obama hailed the return of 150 workers here yesterday, and the pending return of more than 1,000 more in the next three weeks as the plant gears up to build more Chevrolet Cobalts. Inventories of the small cars were depleted by the "cash for... Read more


Health Care Reform to Slow Medical Advances?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 15, 2009

From Rupert Darwall in today's Wall Street Journal: In 1965, economist (and future Nobel laureate) James Buchanan observed of the 17-year old NHS that "hospital facilities are overcrowded, and long delays in securing treatment, save for strictly emergency cases, are universally noted." Forty-four years later, matters are littl... Read more


NYC Considers Expanding Smoking Ban
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 14, 2009

The New York Times reports: "The city's health commissioner, Dr. Thomas A. Farley, announced on Monday that the Bloomberg administration would seek to ban smoking in city parks and beaches." As former FDA Commissioner Dr. David A. Kessler points out: "It's not only us, but our kids in these parks and beaches." (emp... Read more


The 9/12 March on Washington: What I Saw
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 12, 2009

We came, we marched, and we sent politicians a message they'll never forget! Check out some of the early pictures from the 9/12 March on Washington. Months ago, NTU sat down with FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, and other organiza... Read more


Tackling Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Medicare and Medicaid
Posted by Demian Brady - September 11, 2009

Administration officials say two-thirds of the trillion dollar health care reform bill will be financed by savings in the Medicare and Medicaid programs and cutting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the health care system. Senator Baucus is working on a reform bill that projects that around half the revenue needed to offset its cost would come from anti-fr... Read more


Remembering...
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 11, 2009

... Read more


Still Waiting for Those Details
Posted by Demian Brady - September 11, 2009

The President delivered yet another big speech on health care reform, this time promising to lay out what he wants to see in legislation. But he really didn't offer much that was new which was why his Congressional audience had a good laugh when he said "there remain some significant details to be ironed out." How do you expand coverage yet spend less money? How will the miraculous Holy Grail of savings in Medicare and Medicaid actually be found?... Read more


Video: ObamaCare and Federal Entitlements
Posted by Sam Batkins - September 10, 2009

The following video illustrates our current unfunded liabilities and the burdens H.R. 3200 will add. ... Read more


Live from the 912 Liberty Summit
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 10, 2009

I'm blogging live from the kickoff to the 912 March on Washington this morning at the DC Armory. Folks from Texas, Idaho, Arizona, California, and countless other states stopped by the NTU booth this morning, excited for Saturday's historic march down Pennsylvania Ave. to the steps of the U.S. Capitol. The Liberty Summit is a series of policy and advocacy panels on everything from health care to bailouts to cap-... Read more


A Missed Opportunity
Posted by Jordan Forbes - September 09, 2009

I had the honor of attending President Obama’s health care Joint Session of Congress this evening. It was predictable – strong – because the President undeniably knows how to deliver feel-good rhetoric that he thinks the American people want to hear. The problem is that he underestimates the people he serves. The nation did not tune in to hear a partisan stump speech. They tuned in hoping to find a leader who would, for an hour, put ideology asid... Read more


5 Ideas the President Should Have in His Speech
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 09, 2009

The Hoover Institution's Scott W. Atlas has a column at Forbes.com outlining "five concrete steps that can increase competition among health insurers without positioning government as the dominant insurer itself." 1. "strip back the out-of-control mandates on health insurance coverage" 2. "eliminate the co... Read more


Tax Causes Sales to Fall
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - September 08, 2009

Last week, in this blog post, I wrote about Wisconsin’s increased cigarette tax and the dangers of doing so. If you need further proof, just look to Florida whose cigarette sales have dropped and have caused consumers to cross state lines to purchase cigarettes. Case and point.... Read more


Ritter Wrong Again on Transparency
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 08, 2009

It appears that back in June I had my own "Mission Accomplished" moment. I declared that "transparency had arrived" in Colorado after Gov. Bill Ritter signed Rep. BJ Nikkel's HB 1288 into law. The bill mandated that state government open up its checkbook for all to see, placing expenditures and revenues online in a searchable, sortable format. All we had to do was wait for the execut... Read more


Cell Phone Tax Should be Repealed
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 03, 2009

CTIA, the wireless telecommunications industry group, has called on the IRS to repeal the tax on the personal use of employer-provided cell phones calling the proposed rules "burdensome and poorly understood." For more on this see here and ... Read more


Traficant is Out!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 02, 2009

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire reports that former Ohio Congressman and convicted felon Jim Traficant is out of prison: "Traficant was released this morning. He didn’t answer reporters' questions and a cab whisked him away. Sartorial note: AP reports he was wearing a gray T-shirt, white shorts and white knee-high socks."... Read more


Illinois Alcohol, Candy, and Soap Taxes Going Up Today
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 01, 2009

Yes. Soap. Illinois is increasing its taxes on personal hygiene products. This could be a smelly example of where "taxing something and getting less of it" is a decision legislators will regret come August in Springfield. Just ask Harry Reid. You can read all about the ... Read more


Ramming Health Care Through
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 01, 2009

A report in the Washington Examiner suggests that Senate Democrats will try to pass health care legislation using the budget reconciliation process, which requires just 51 votes rather than 60. If you haven't contacted your Members of Congress yet to share your thoughts on health care reform, you ... Read more


A Drag on the Economy
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - September 01, 2009

Today, Wisconsin’s cigarette tax went up 75 cents per pack, making it the fifth-highest tax in the country and the most expensive among neighboring states. The latest increase, taking the state tax to $2.52 per pack, comes less than two years after a $1 per pack increase in 2008. In April, federal cigarette taxes went up 62 cents to $1.01 per pack. While health advoca... Read more


Tax Code Complexity
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 28, 2009

Apparently, complying with the Tax Code isn't challenging enough. According to Forbes.com, the IRS has released draft tax forms that could make filing your 2009 taxes even more exciting. Watch for the 21-step "Schedule L--Standard Deducti... Read more


Why Can't Our Federal Government Run Health Care?
Posted by Jordan Forbes - August 28, 2009

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, offers his insight: 1. Government Can’t Be Trusted With a Credit Card American families know how to stick to a budget during an economic downturn. They are cutting back to make ends meet – Congress should be doing the same. 2. Government Can’t Even Give Free Money Away Effectively The cash-for-clunkers program has been an utter disaster. Budgeted to sell 250,000 in three m... Read more


Stimulating Kmart
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 28, 2009

Is this an appropriate use of federal stimulus dollars?Helping low-income families buy new school clothes is one way Sangamon County [Illinois] is using federal stimulus money to help people in need. With the infusion of stimulus cash, the county Community Resources Office has created pr... Read more


I'm Sorry (Almost) That I Missed It
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 27, 2009

My Member of Congress is Jim Moran of Virginia. The Washington Examiner describes Moran's health care townhall this way: Rep. Jim Moran's town hall meeting descended into chaos Tuesday night as protestors clashed -- in one case violently -- with supporters of a broad federal health care expansion, leading... Read more


A nationwide movement storms Washington
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 26, 2009

A bubbling undercurrent of frustration with President Obama's spending problem came to a head in February, when CNBC reporter commentator Rick Santelli called for a taxpayer tea party in Chicago: ... Read more


Deficit news (in case you missed it)
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - August 25, 2009

Last week, the Administration leaked news of a reduced 2009-2010 budget deficit estimate (even though the reduction was basically smoke and mirrors) during a mid-week morning. Then they tried to bury the real news of the week, that the 10-year budget estimate is actually being increased by more than 25% to over $9 trillion. No, that’s not a typo. The deficits and the way the Administration handled the news are (in my opinion) an interesting ... Read more


And Then They Came for the FSAs
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 24, 2009

The so-called "Gang of Six" is looking for revenue to pay for health care reform -- just $300 billion or so. We've heard about surtaxes, income tax hikes, taxes on high-end plans, and taxes on insurance companies. Now, according to the Journal's Washington Wire blog: "[The Gang] thought they found about ... Read more


On Clunkers & Health Care
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 24, 2009

From today's Journal editorial entitled "Cash for Clunkers is Another Government Failure": We keep hearing this is a brave new era of public confidence in the virtues of government planning. But the lesson of cash for clunkers is that if this government can't manage a free lunch, it can hardly be trusted to decide whether you ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 21, 2009

HT: TaxGuru Today's cartoon piggy-backs a report from the Journal's Washington Wire blog: "The Democrats' emerging go-it-alone strategy on health care increases the odds of passage for a House proposal to impos... Read more


Rose Friedman, RIP
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 20, 2009

According to the Journal editorial page, Rose Friedman -- wife of Milton Friedman and economist in her own right -- died Tuesday. The Friedman Foundation says that she was believed to be 98. The Friedman Foundation has a brief bio here. From the J... Read more


Don't Like Our Bill...Tough!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 20, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports that "The White House and Senate Democratic leaders, seeing little chance of bipartisan support for their health-care overhaul, are considering a strategy shift that would break the legislation into two parts and pass the most expensive provisions solely with Democratic votes." Image from WallSteetJournal.com... Read more


Google Quotation of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 19, 2009

If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates. -- Jay Leno... Read more


Lemonade Stand Update
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 19, 2009

An update on an item from yesterday. The New York Post reports that "The 10-year-old West Side girl who got a $50 ticket for selling lemonade in Riverside Park was back in business yesterday and had a special customer -- Parks Commissioner Adri... Read more


History repeats with Obama's anti-growth policies
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - August 18, 2009

During the economic downturn from roughly 1929 to 1939, Franklin Roosevelt implemented a raft of anti-capitalist, anti-growth policies, from wage controls to higher taxes to simple badgering of businesses (especially utilities). The result was that Europe emerged from the depression sooner while Democratic economic policies turned what could have been just a bad recession into the Great Depression. The Obama Administration suffers the same fat... Read more


I Smell Something Fishy
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - August 18, 2009

Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering a two-year contract of up to $32,000 to Nahkeeta Northwest Wildlife Services to continue the Puget Sound Green Crab Monitoring Program. The program is meant to stop European green crabs from taking jobs away from American crabs. ... Read more


Idaho Officials Cruising Around in Style
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - August 18, 2009

Idaho government workers spent nearly $20 million on furniture, cars, trucks and computer equipment during the 2008-09 budget year that ended in June, according to this analysis of records from the state controller’s office. Roughly 30% of that total, $5.9 million, came directly fro... Read more


Why Do They Hate Lemonade Stands?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 18, 2009

A report on WCBS.tv has the following headline: "Girl, 10, Fined $50 For Lemonade Stand At NY Park". It's similar to the case of Daniela Earnest in California earlier this month. Ok, the girl and her father were in the park, but why didn't officials just let the two leave rather ... Read more


Bob Novak, RIP
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 18, 2009

Political columnist Robert Novak has died. The Chicago Sun-Times has a remembrance here. The Sun-Times says the following was Novak's advice for young people just starting out, but I think it's great advice for anyone of any age: “Always love your country — but never trust your government! “That should not be misun... Read more


Obama & Charter Schools
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 17, 2009

The Virginia Education Association seemed concerned about this New York Times article entitled "Dangling Money, Obama Pushes Education Shift." Here's the opening paragraph: Holding out billions of dollars as a potential windfall, the Obama administration is persuading state after state to rewrite education laws to open the door to more charter... Read more


If We Didn't Spend a Dime
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 17, 2009

Something to think about from today's Roll Call Budget Briefing Room: "Considering that the budget deficit for fiscal 2009 is already pegged at $1.3 trillion, the elimination of all discretionary funding would not eliminate the annual deficit." [emphasis added] ... Read more


Specter Supports Modified Card-Check
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 17, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: "Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter continued remaking himself as a Democrat at Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh [Friday] afternoon, when he said he would support a cloture vote on a modified version of the Employee Free Choice Act." ... Read more


It's Funny Because It Is True
Posted by Demian Brady - August 14, 2009

Jeff posted a cartoon about taxing young entrepreneurs. This reminded me of a press release I saw this week from the IRS, Seven Tips for Students with a Summer Job:Many students do odd jobs over the summer to make extra cash. Earnings you received from self-employment are s... Read more


What are states spending on stimulus road signs?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 14, 2009

How much is Illinois spending on political propaganda signs to tout stimulus projects? A freedom of information act request submitted by the Illinois Policy Institute came back to us from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) wit... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 14, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Maybe I Should Eat Organic
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 14, 2009

ABC is reporting that some Whole Foods store customers are upset with the company's CEO John Mackey for his op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal on health care reform. The report highlights some comments made on the company's forum page: "'You should know who butter... Read more


Australia Rejects Greenhouse Cap Plan
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 13, 2009

According to the BBC: "The Australian parliament has rejected government plans to introduce an ambitious carbon trading scheme to tackle global warming." ... Read more


A Democrat on the Democrats' health care plan
Posted by Keith Capp - August 12, 2009

From Camille Paglia's column on Salon.com this week: The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities. You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're h... Read more


Congratulations, Jim!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 12, 2009

Now for some good news.... NTU friend and great American Jim Blasingame has received the "Champion of the Chamber Movement" award from the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. Jim is the host of the syndicated radio show "The Small Business Advocate Show" and has been kind enough to have me as a guest in the past. Congratulations, Jim!... Read more


Sen. Specter's Town Hall
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 12, 2009

This New York Times piece reports on Senator Specter's town hall meeting yesterday. What I didn't see mentioned was the burst of applause and cheers when one gentleman mentioned the need for term limits. ... Read more


The President Needs a New Analogy
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 11, 2009

The President has once again compared the "public option" to UPS and FedEx competing against the Post Office: "If you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems." Let's put aside the issue that the Post Office has a monopoly on first-class mail, if you haven't ... Read more


It's Their Scare Tactics That Are the Problem
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 11, 2009

This AP story on the President's health care town hall reminded me of my favorite line from my favorite movie: 1776. If you're unfamiliar with the film, the setting is Philadelphia in 1776 as the Continental Congress struggles with declaring independence from Great Britain. T... Read more


Incentives Matter
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 10, 2009

Writing at Forbes.com, John Tamny points out that tax rates and incentives can affect behavior -- for good or bad. He closes with this bit of wisdom: History, as they say, is repeating itself. Contrary to what politicians frequently assume, raising taxes is not the equivalent of raising re... Read more


Farmers Lobby EPA on Ethanol
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 10, 2009

According to the Lincoln Journal Star: "The Nebraska Corn Board says nearly 5,000 farmers sent postcards urging the Environmental Protection Agency to approve blending more ethanol with gasoline." The EPA is considering whether to allow the sale of 15% ethanol. If approved, watch your wallet and your gas m... Read more


The Steamboat Institute's Inaugural Freedom Conference
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - August 07, 2009

Talk about trying to do something about a problem (in the case the problem of the ongoing assault on liberty and fundamental principles of the American Founding.) I'm extremely proud of my colleague from the Leadership Program of the Rockies' Advisory Board, Jennifer Schubert-Akin who has not only founded The Steamboat Institute, a pro-liberty organization in Steamboat Springs, but... Read more


Obama's Math: Ten > Tens of Thousands
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 07, 2009

Here's your opportunity to sound off to YOUR representatives telling them that you're REAL and you oppose government-run health care! Send them a message telling them you oppose such a plan, and if they don't, you'll oppose THEM for re-election! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - President Obama's government health... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 07, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


The Elites Don't Like All This Democracy
Posted by Demian Brady - August 06, 2009

The townhall protests are working. You can tell by the reaction of key Democrats. According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, when citizens express their opinions to their elected officials and urge Washington not to move the country in the direction of a single payer health insurance system, they are "sabotaging" the democratic process. Sen. Reid from ... Read more


If All You Have is a Hammer...
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 06, 2009

The Fresno Bee reports that a code enforcer for the city of Tulare, California, shut down a lemonade stand owned by an 8 year old girl for not having a business license. The scofflaw, Daniela Earnest, was trying to earn money for a trip to Disneyland. The community, as one might expect, rose to her defense. Here is what makes me want to slam my head against my desk... Read more


Townhall Protesters Are Just Modifying Obama's Advice
Posted by Demian Brady - August 06, 2009

During the campaign, Obama the candidate urged his supporters to plead his case, "Talk to your friends, and talk to your neighbors ... argue with them and get in their face." ... Read more


Report Yourself to the White House
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 05, 2009

The White House put up an interesting blog post yesterday about what they now call "health insurance reform." In it, they claim that groups like NTU and people like you are spreading "scary" emails and videos opposing government-run health care. They're urging anyone who hears something "fishy," whether through "emails or through casual conversation," to rep... Read more


$500 for a Hammer, $2,103,688 for some Traffic Lights
Posted by NTU Gov - August 05, 2009

For the most part it would seem that funds already dispersed to state and local agents in the great gem of the South, Georgia, have been put to use in ostensibly reasonable areas. There haven’t been any ‘ham’ incidents or funding of assorted ‘... Read more


On Walls and Deficits
Posted by Demian Brady - August 04, 2009

Traverse walls, built for climbing sideways, are the latest trend in physical education. Start to type the word "traverse" into Google and the search engine will suggest the phrase "traversing walls for schools." Four schools in Milford, Connecticut paid for their new traverse climbing walls through parent-teacher association ... Read more


Two More Jobs "Saved" by the "Stimulus"!
Posted by Demian Brady - August 04, 2009

From the Grand Island Independent:The Hastings Symphony Orchestra was awarded a $15,254 grant to keep its executive secretary and conductor/artistic director. ... The grants' funding came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly known as the federal stimulus package.... Read more


Discussing the Price of ObamaCare
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 03, 2009

Senior Forbes editors Mike Maiello and Mike Ozanian discuss the price tag of ObamaCare. ... Read more


Exposing the difference between Dems' rhetoric and reality
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 31, 2009

We just launched a video exposing the fact that the words President Obama uses to promote government health care and what the bill Democrats came up with ACTUALLY SAYS. Watch the video, send it to your friends, and then contact your Representatives to demand that they vote NO on higher taxes, more regulation, and less freedom in dealing with the health of our famil... Read more


I Agree with Bruce Bartlett!!!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 31, 2009

I can't believe it. Bruce Bartlett and I agree on something!!! His column entitled "A Surtax On The Top 1%" is on Forbes.com. Oh, and if you're wondering what we agree on -- it's the 1% thing not the VAT-thing. ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 31, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Health Care Reform: Rhetoric vs. Reality, Visualized
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 30, 2009

... Read more


Minnesota: The New Vacation Destination
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - July 29, 2009

As a Wisconsinite, I enjoy taunting my foes in purple every now and again. Yet, right now Minnesotans should be equally ashamed of the ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. In addition to the gorilla habitat funding request, the city of St. Paul is also asking its taxpayers to pay for a waterpark at Como Park. The park recently demolished its public swimming pool because it was old and costly to maintain. So what does the city want to do no... Read more


Analyzing Obama's Health Care Rhetoric
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 29, 2009

A little while back, my colleagues did an analysis of the Democrats' health care bill and how many times certain words appeared in it. They found some disturbing, but not terribly surprising results. The bill is littered with words like "require," "regulate," and "tax." Meanwhile, words like "choice," "marketplace," and "freedom" are very scarce. In fac... Read more


Taxes on the Rise in Buckeye State
Posted by NTU Gov - July 28, 2009

On August 4, Columbus residents will head to the polls to vote on a proposed 25% income tax hike in order to reduce the city government’s projected budget deficit by $90 million dollars. The increase, which will raise the city income tax from 2.0 to 2.5%, will boost Columbus’ general operating fund, which is used primarily to pay for local police, fire, and sanitation services. But with the state’s unemployment rate sitting at ... Read more


UK foreshadows political future for US banks
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - July 27, 2009

The BBC is reporting that Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (roughly equivalent to our Treasury Secretary), is interested in questioning banks over whether their interest rates for small business loans and mortgages are too high. According to the BBC article, Mr Darling's comments come after a report by financial website Moneyfacts sai... Read more


Federal Domestic Spending Increases 9.3 Percent in FY ’08
Posted by Demian Brady - July 26, 2009

According to a new Census Bureau report, federal domestic spending reached $2.79 trillion ($9,184 per person) in FY 2008, a 9.3 percent increase over 2007.Entitlement programs Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security comprised 48 percent of all federal spending, accounting for $1.35 trillion. Of that amount, $659 billion went ... Read more


What will they tax next?
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 24, 2009

Federal and state governments alike have embraced arbitrary tax proposals to nickel-and-dime consumers of specific products like sugary drinks, cigarettes and gasoline. If cap-and-trade passes the U.S. Senate this year, Americans will be taxed every time they consume energy. Here's a preview of what that may look like: ... Read more


File this under: good ideas likely to be ignored by Congress
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 24, 2009

Today, Representative Pete Olson (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3309, a bill to postpone the costly increase in the minimum wage. We've explained several times why a hike in the minimum wage isn't a good idea, despite how it might feel. ITTET (my new extremely clever acronym for "In these toug... Read more


Representative McHenry Prested with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - July 23, 2009

Tuesday, Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. McHenry's fourth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


California budget deal a net win for taxpayers
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 22, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders in California announced an agreement this week to close a $26.3 billion budget gap without raising taxes. California serves as the nation's best example of liberal policies taken to the extreme, and the inevitable public backlash after years of overspending, borrowing and tax hikes. On September 23, 2008,... Read more


Recovery.gov Update
Posted by Demian Brady - July 22, 2009

The same day that the Drudge Report dug up some controversial contracts awarded under the "stimulus" program, Recovery.Gov changed its formatting so that the description of work or service performed for each contract was not clearly displayed on its web pages (see our earlier blog post). It seemed as though the government's web site, which was intended to be a u... Read more


Appropriations Gaming
Posted by Jordan Forbes - July 21, 2009

Want another example of the majority’s efforts to expand the role of government and stiffen the voices of the American people? Look no further than the so-called appropriations debate on the House floor. Democratic leaders are utilizing a bold, albeit appalling, tactic to push their spending agenda one step closer into law. During consideration of a string of appropriations bills, the majority has authorized unprecedented change in House ru... Read more


"Rationing" Is All in Your Head
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 21, 2009

Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl suggests that "rationing" is all in your head. According to Kohl: I want to be clear that lowering costs has nothing to do with limiting access to care, though opponents of health care reform will try to convince America otherwise. The idea of "rationing" is a myth, and anyt... Read more


Reading Between the Lines
Posted by NTU Gov - July 21, 2009

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the political handbook: take an extremely complicated issue, simplify it down to a few buzzwords, make some empty promises, and then refuse to offer specifics until everyone is so confused they don’t know what they’re voting for or against. At least, this seems to be the strategy being adopted by the current administration and proponents of increased government control over health care. Thankfully, our friends at ... Read more


Honk if you'd pay $1,000 for high-speed rail
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - July 21, 2009

Would you pay $1,000 so that someone – probably not you – can ride high-speed trains less than 60 miles a year? I'm going to guess you answered "no way" to that question. I certainly did, and I'm an Amtrak rider. In a new report released by the Illinois Policy Institute on the false promises of high-speed rail, transit expert Randal O'Tool... Read more


Oh Yeah, THAT $100 Million in Cuts
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 20, 2009

Jonathan Weisman reporting for the Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reminds us that the President promised to deliver $100 million in cuts in just 90 days. According to Weisman: Well, on this, the 91st day, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki and White House budget office spokesman Ken Baer rel... Read more


A Step Backward for Transparency at Recovery.gov
Posted by Demian Brady - July 20, 2009

This morning the Drudge Report and several people on Twitter were linking to questionable projects funded by the "stimulus" bill. The items, such as $1.5 million for mozzarella cheese and $1.2 million for sliced ham, were found by browsing Recovery.gov, a website whose purpose is to "foster greater accountability and transparency in the use of covered funds." But over the course of the day, Re... Read more


Paying for Direction
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - July 20, 2009

What would you pay to prevent getting lost ever again on your way to the airport? Apparently Minnesota taxpayers could be paying $2.2 million dollars! Check out this article written by Phil Krinkie, of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. The Metropolitan Air... Read more


Congressman Jared Polis makes an impression on health care
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - July 20, 2009

You have to hand it to Jared Polis: For a freshman Congressman to be quoted in the the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal within 24 hours (and not for some misdeed) is an achievement. Polis, who represents my district, is no doubt a "Boulder liberal", but I neverthe... Read more


Health Care Fact III - Rationing
Posted by Keith Capp - July 20, 2009

#2 – Government health care programs eventually have some sort of rationing. The United Kingdom didn’t start off with a rationing system in place for their health care system, but in order to control costs the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has instituted a system of cost-benefit analysis to determine what care should be provided, procedures used, and/or medicines prescribed. In fact, NICE has a formula ca... Read more


One Good Amendment
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 18, 2009

As the nation watches the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress attempt to nationalize our health care system, we can find hope in the efforts of some members who refuse to idly sit by and watch detrimental legislation be implemented into law. On Friday, as the House Energy and Commerce Committee continued consideration of H.R. 3200, the Democrats' health care bill, Congressman John Sullivan (R-OK) offered a good government, common s... Read more


A Wise Use of Tax Dollars? $700,000 used to help reduce stress
Posted by NTU Gov - July 17, 2009

The United States Social Security Administration recently held a luxurious “motivational management” conference at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Arizona for 675 SSA managers courtesy of your tax dollars. According to an article written by Josh Bernstein of ABC 15, the $700,... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 17, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Congress should oppose Obama's upcoming tax attack on US multi-nationals
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - July 17, 2009

In May, the Obama Administration announced their proposals to modify the way American companies are taxed on foreign-earned income (and related expenses.) The measures, likely to come before the House of Representatives after their August recess, represent a direct threat to the economy’s nascent recovery and are likely to be extremely damaging to employment in Colorado and across the United States. Given the Administration and the Democratic... Read more


"National Defense" Earmarks
Posted by Demian Brady - July 16, 2009

The House Appropriations Committee released a table of Congressionally Directed Spending Items, which are more colloquially known as "earmarks." It is available as a 59-page pdf, and includes lots of items only tangentially related to national defense. For example, there are several earmarks for state and locally-based counter-drug programs that seem to be focused at t... Read more


Transparency: It's Just Around the Corner -- Maybe
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 16, 2009

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire blog reports that recipients of stimulus money are getting a break on reporting how the funds are being used: Soon after the stimulus plan was signed in to law, the White House Office of Management and Budget set a July deadline for states, local governments and private ... Read more


The Transportation Debate
Posted by Jordan Forbes - July 16, 2009

Just when you thought health care was the only pressing issue on this month's congressional to-do list, we draw your attention to the transportation tug of war game on Capitol Hill. With the Highway Trust Fund, which collects and distributes fuel taxes and other user fees, set to go bankrupt at the end of August, time is of the essence as lawmakers decide whether to extend or completely overhaul the current transportation formula. House offici... Read more


Senator Vitter Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - July 16, 2009

Wednesday, Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Senator David Vitter (R-LA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Senator Vitter's first award as a U.S. Senator. Congratulations. ... Read more


Get Card Checked!
Posted by NTU Gov - July 16, 2009

Have you ever wanted to see into the future? Ever wished we could “test drive” legislation before actually having to suffer its consequences? Well, now we can. Today, our friend Brian Johnson at the Alliance for Worker Freedom, a special project group of Americans for Tax Reform, launched Card Checked: The Game, an interactiv... Read more


The Health Care Reform Bill in Its Own Words
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 15, 2009

We've spent a little time looking at the language in the House Democrat's 1,018-page health care reform bill, "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009," and a couple of things stand out. First, the legislation empowers a very busy bureaucracy. The term "Secretary" -- as in the Secretaries of Health & Human Services, Labor, Defense, and Veterans Affairs – appears 1,124 times in the bill. The Secretaries -- along with Commissioners (199... Read more


Paul Ryan - A Great Politician, or the Best Politician?
Posted by NTU Gov - July 15, 2009

Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin's First Congressional District has a terrible case of rationality. NTU would recommend that Representative Ryan continue to get eight hours of sleep each night and exercise frequently. Why? It seems that Rep. Ryan knows a problem when he sees one - President Obama and the Majority in Congress are trying their hardest right now to push health care reform. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing, but a... Read more


Health Care Fact 1 - Cancer survival rates
Posted by Keith Capp - July 15, 2009

Health care reform has turned into the major political battle of the month. So, I thought I would assemble some health care facts that should be important in any debate of health care reform. #1 – Cancer survival rates are higher in the United States than in Europe. Cancer survival for men in the US is 66% compared to 45% in England. Further, a... Read more


NTU's 40th Anniversary
Posted by Keith Capp - July 15, 2009

For the last 40 years NTU has fought on behalf of the taxpayer. In honor of our anniversary, we have produced a brief documentary that details the last 40 years. Enjoy! ... Read more


Independence Institute on Obama Care
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 14, 2009

Our friends at the Independence Institute with another great video: ... Read more


National Taxpayers Conference Pictures and Video
Posted by Keith Capp - July 14, 2009

Did you miss the National Taxpayers Conference? Did you attend the conference and want to review some of the sessions? Pictures are now up on NTU’s Flickr page and videos are up on NTU’s YouTube channel. Check them out and let us know what you thought. ... Read more


Representative Rohrabacher Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - July 14, 2009

Today, Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Rohrabacher's sixteenth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Representative Johnson Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - July 14, 2009

Today, Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Sam Johnson (R-TX) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Johnson's fourteenth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Obama to Cut Taxes?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 14, 2009

John Stossel -- who btw spoke at Taxpayers Conference '09 -- suggests that the President wants to cut taxes.... Read more


Reason #12 Billion and 1 for Tax Reform
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 13, 2009

According to Forbes.com, the IRS is planning to crack down on hobbyists for taking improper deductions: At a time when the federal government is desperate for revenue, the Internal Revenue Service has issued a new manual to help its agents ferret out taxpayers improperly writing off the costs of hobbies. The latest "audit t... Read more


Illinois income tax hike dead ... for now
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - July 11, 2009

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has announced that he will shelve his demand for a tax increase until November. This is great news for the families and businesses of Illinois, who were facing the threat of a 50 percent income tax increase in the mid... Read more


Representative Lamborn Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - July 10, 2009

Thursday, Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Lamborn's second award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Representative Miller Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - July 10, 2009

Thursday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Jeff Miller (R-FL) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Miller's seventh award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Thousands rally next to Capitol
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 09, 2009

This beautiful 4th of July here in the nation's capital, I spoke at the March for Liberty's DC Tea Party. According to officials, about 3,200 freedom-loving Americans marched to the U.S. Capitol lawn and spoke out against higher taxes, bigger government, and less freedom. In my speech, I warned of the myriad tax hikes that middle class Americans will face if Obama and his allies have their way. Despite the fact that he made a "firm pledge" n... Read more


Goldwater Institute Video on Arizona Tax Hike Scheme
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 09, 2009

This fantastic video from our friends at the Goldwater Institute outlines Gov. Brewer's painful sales tax hike scheme: ... Read more


Pennsylvania Taxpayers, Where Does Your Legislator Stand on Tax Hikes?
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 09, 2009

The Commonwealth Foundation has asked Pennsylvania lawmakers to take a stand for or against a budget without tax increases. As of yesterday, 83 legislators have said "Yes we can balance the budget, protect public safety and human services, and educate our children without raising taxes." See the list here. The ... Read more


Help Stop Rendell's Tax Hike in PA!
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 08, 2009

Gov. Ed Rendell is campaigning hard for his tax-hike platform, and he's playing fast and loose with the facts in the process. The Governor claims to have cut $2 billion from the budget, but in reality spending will rise by $1 billion under his plan. "The governor uses numbers to make a point," said his spokesman. "His numbers are not inaccurate, although sometimes they do not tell the whole story." That's because telling "the whole s... Read more


Congress Takes Interest in Antitrust Issues
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 08, 2009

Concerned that Americans are in same way being harmed without knowing it, Senators are calling for antitrust probes of the wireless industry and college sports. As is typical of Washington, it's important to lo... Read more


Google Quotation of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 07, 2009

"Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be." -- Jim Horning Advice for Members of Congress to keep in mind when bailing out private corporations, taking over the auto industry, trying to stimulate the economy, trying to reduce carbon emissions, and when trying to provide health insurance to all Americans. ... Read more


Update From the States
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - July 07, 2009

After much Ado, Hawaii Governor Lingle signed into law SB 659, the transparency legislation that passed the state legislature in May. The bill will establish and maintain a website accessible to the public providing information about state spending. It will contain data for fiscal year 2008 and each fiscal year thereafter. Now Hawaii taxpayers wil... Read more


Wisconsin Taxpayers Foot the Bill Again
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - July 06, 2009

Over the past two years, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and his staff have been negligent about reporting travel expenses. This Journal Times article reports that nearly three-fourths of the time, Doyle and his staff did not supply the necessary receipts as required under state travel policy. When taxpayers are picking up the tab, we should hold our leaders ac... Read more


Tax Appeals, Tax Refunds, & Taxing Amazon
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 06, 2009

A couple of interesting tax stories that you might have missed because of the holiday. The New York Times reports on the increase in the number of individuals appealing their property tax assessments. Shameless plug: NTU does offer a helpful guide to appealing one's property taxes in our ... Read more


Who Are the Uninsured?
Posted by Demian Brady - July 06, 2009

From a study by the Employment Policies Institute:[A]at least 43 percent of [uninsured] Americans in the 18–64 year-old age group have incomes at or above 2.5 times the poverty line, indicating they likely have the means to obtain healthcare coverage and thus may be classified as "voluntarily" uninsured.... Read more


Cap-and-Trade: Tell your Senator "we won't get fooled again"
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - July 06, 2009

Dr. Alan Carlin, an employee of the EPA since 1971, has made public his “Comments on Draft Technical Support Document for Endangerment Analysis for Greenhouse Gas Emissions under the Clean Air Act” that an ... Read more


Happy 4th!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 04, 2009

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they shoul... Read more


Earmark Lists
Posted by Demian Brady - July 01, 2009

Excel spreadsheets were made available today of earmarks included in three House bills: House Interior and Environment Appropriations Act, H.R. 2996 (as passed by the House on June 26, 2009) House Homeland Security Appropriations Act, H.R. 2892 (as Passed by the House on... Read more


National Taxpayer Advocate's Mid-Year Report
Posted by Demian Brady - July 01, 2009

The Office of the IRS's Taxpayer Advocate released a report laying out its objectives for the next year (available as a pdf). One section that caught my eye was how the number of refundable credits created by the "stimulus" bill will present challenges to the IRS:... Read more


The Power of Coffee
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - July 01, 2009

This morning, while sipping my coffee, I read this article recounting yesterday’s mishap. New York State Senator Frank Padavan walked through the Senate chamber in search of a cup of coffee. It just so happened that it was at the exact moment when 31 Democrats were convening a regular session. They argue that Padavan’s presence provi... Read more


ObamaCare Losing Steam
Posted by NTU Gov - June 30, 2009

Well, it seems that the gig is finally up on ObamaCare as more and more Americans begin to voice their concerns about a move towards socialized medicine. Along with questions about how a government-run health care system would preserve patient satisfaction and quality of treatment, there is a growing consensus that public provision of insurance would lead employers to drop employee health care plans and drive private insurers out of the market, ... Read more


Fiscal Advice from Jack Handey
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 30, 2009

With billions and billions for bailouts and stimulus spending, Congress seems to have taken fiscal advice from that renowned financial expert Jack Handey: "I hope that when I die, people say about me, 'Boy, that guy sure owed me a lot of money.'" ... Read more


No Matter How you Spin it- A Tax Hike is a Tax Hike
Posted by Kristine Tuinstra - June 29, 2009

Governor Deval Patrick said Friday that he will sign more than $1 billion in tax increases for Massachusetts residents. The House and Senate approved the tax increases last week- increasing the sales tax for the first time in a generation. The new tax rate, which goes into effect August 1, will in... Read more


What Was in the Cap & Trade Bill?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 29, 2009

Last Friday, House Minority Leader John Boehner took a "couple" of minutes to question some of items in the manager's amendment -- the 300+ page amendment to the 1,200 page bill. I will buy an ice cream for the first person who can answer all of Boehner's questions. Watch below or read the transcript here. ... Read more


Cap-and-trade passes House narrowly
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 26, 2009

The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that we've been lobbying so hard against just narrowly passed the House, by a 219-212 margin. Attention now turns towards the Senate, where the intensity will only ratchet up. In particular, the two Senators Nelson (Democrats of Nebraska and Florida), Martinez (R-FL), Landrieu (D-LA), both Senators from Arkansas Lincoln and Pryor ... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - June 26, 2009

#1: California's budget crisis continues. #2: Metro crash may facilitate federal funding. #3: New Jersey legislators passed a budget that will hike taxes by almost $1 billio... Read more


Mark my words: cap-and-trade undecideds will get MILLIONS in earmarks.
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 26, 2009

I just posted a list of the remaining undecided votes on Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation, a.k.a. a $2 trillion energy tax. I just want to put something on record, right here, right now. If the Democrat leadership is successful in forcing 8 out of the 12 undecideds to vote for the bill, it will be because they promised MILLIONS in earmarks to the Members. Democrat leaders are on the floor right this minute, as I type this, trying ... Read more


Down to the wire!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 26, 2009

The cap-and-trade debate is really coming down to the wire. My sources have the current count at 210 FOR, 210 AGAINST, with 14 remaining undecided (12 of which are Democrats). The undecideds are... Arcuri - NY Boccieri - OH Brown - FL Carney - PA Dicks - WA Donnelly - IN Green, Al - TX Kind - WI Kirk - IL (Republican) Kirkpatrick - AZ Petri - WI (Republican) Space - OH Teague - NM Tonko - NY Email them ... Read more


Understand What Is at Stake
Posted by Demian Brady - June 26, 2009

Lest anyone forget, here is Obama in his own words on his cap-and-trade plan: "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket." ... Read more


More good news! 1,200 page bill is now 1,500 pages.
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 26, 2009

The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that NTU has been hammering away on all week is now miraculously 300 pages longer than before. The new language was added to the bill at about 3:00am this morning, and the House is expected to vote TODAY! There is very little time left to make your voice heard on this. Take a minute, click the link above, and send them an email p... Read more


Senate Approps for Commerce/Justice/Science Up 12 Percent
Posted by Demian Brady - June 26, 2009

The Senate Appropriations Committee is working on the FY 2010 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies funding bill. The legislation calls for $64.9 billion, $200 million above the President's request. This is also an increase of 12 percent over the amount enacted last year. ... Read more


Congress Intent on Ignoring the $1.8 Trillion Deficit
Posted by Demian Brady - June 25, 2009

According to White House budget figures, federal departments and agencies will be responsible for directing $267 billion from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act over 2009-2010. This bill included a lot of programs that members of Congress had been trying to enact in previous legislation to no avail, but earlier this year they just had to argue the funding would "stimulate the economy," and voila, now they're law. Well that's not entirely ... Read more


An Image from Today's Health Care for America Now Rally
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - June 25, 2009

Notice how the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) made "UNTAXED" the largest word on these t-shirts. The logo was also printed on the hats these attendees were wearing.... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Vote "NO" on Waxman-Markey!
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - June 25, 2009

NTU sent the following vote alert to the entire House of Representatives today: ***************************************************************************************** NTU urges all Representatives to vote "NO" on H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act." This "cap-and-trade" legislation constitutes a mammoth $2 trillion energy tax hike on top of existing burdens and would crush our already-ailing econo... Read more


Obsolete, outdated, wasteful? Let's keep it!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 25, 2009

In all the frenzied action over big-ticket items like a $2 trillion energy tax and government-run health care, the appropriations process seems to have disappeared from the media map. That's unfortunate because the appropriations process is how we fund our government. In that process, there are dozens and dozens of opportunities to cut wasteful spending, most of which are glossed over or ignored completely. Well, yesterday, freshman ... Read more


Robert Reich's "public option" deceptions
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - June 25, 2009

Although this note may seem similar in content and intent to my note yesterday about Barack Obama's outrageous news conference, Robert Reich's Wednesday WSJ plea for government-run health care deserves an equal smack-down. Reich's entire article is filled with ... Read more


Delaware Taxpayers: Tell Your Representatives to Hold the Line Against Tax Hikes!
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 24, 2009

Last week, politicians in Dover attempted to sneak $50 million in tax hikes through the Legislature. Thankfully, Republicans in the House sniffed out these regressive, job-killing “sin” taxes and held the line in opposition. However, it looks like the tax hike bills are back on the table, and you need to urge your lawmakers to continue to say NO to any tax increases! House Bills 210, 211, and 212 would increase taxes on alcohol and ciga... Read more


ObamaCare: Far worse than economically ignorant
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - June 24, 2009

In a news conference yesterday, Barack Obama demonstrated a remarkable ignorance of and antipathy for free markets and free enterprise when speaking about the possibility of a “public option” as part of “health care reform.” It’s not easy for Obama to surprise me but the vacuousness of his statements combined with their casual disregard for the power of government when “competing” with private companies was truly shocking. According to an A... Read more


Taxpayer March on DC!
Posted by NTU Gov - June 23, 2009

The National Taxpayers Union, along with coalition partners fighting for smaller, more transparent government, will be expanding the "Tea Party" movement and participating in a march on the capital (perhaps the Capitol?). So mark your calendar - beginning the 10th of September, come join NTU, our fellow taxpayer advocacy groups, myriad speakers and fiscally-responsible congressmen in Washington, D.C. for an event like none other. Check out ... Read more


Good news! 1,200 page bill with $2 trillion tax hike being jammed through Congress.
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 23, 2009

Stop me if you've heard this story before... Nancy Pelosi and other folks in House Leadership are attempting to jam a 1,200 page bill through Congress in a surprise move. This beauty contains a $2 trillion tax increase. That's two trillion, with a T, or more than $6,600 for every man, woman, and child alive in America today. We've been ... Read more


Survey Shows Deep Concern Over Obama's Deficits
Posted by Demian Brady - June 23, 2009

In a recent L.A. Times survey of 1,001 Americans, 90 percent of respondents "are worried to some degree about the exploding federal spending deficit, a galactic number certain to gain politicians' attention on both sides." And this is before health care reform.... Read more


That's the Unions for You
Posted by Demian Brady - June 23, 2009

In many states, the unemployment rate is reaching or exceeding 10 percent. People who want to work, can't find a way to earn a paycheck. But in NYC, around 700 teachers get paid for nothing. They get to pass the workday playing scrabble, or if it their prerogative, simply staring at a wall. According to AP, many of these teachers are in trouble ... Read more


A Little Good News
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 22, 2009

A little change of pace from our regular fare. NebraskaStatePaper.com has the story of Robert "Lindy" Lenhart, age 90, who recently received his World War II medals, including a Bronze Star for combat service, a combat infantry badge, and campaign victory medals. The reporter closes the story with this paragraph: The importance... Read more


NTU Helps Roll Out Sunset Caucus
Posted by NTU Gov - June 19, 2009

NTU staffers pose at Sunset Caucus rally. On Wednesday June 17, 2009, several NTU staffers helped roll out the Republican Study Committee's brand new "Sunset Caucus... Read more


Man Made Drought in California
Posted by NTU Gov - June 19, 2009

Sean Hannity recently aired an ... Read more


Updates from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - June 19, 2009

#1: Californians consider a flat tax. #2: State government revenues from personal income taxes fall by $28.8 billion. #3: Texans lower business taxes.... Read more


Stop a Sneaky Tax Hike in Delaware
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 18, 2009

Click here to take action! The federal government is committed to showering the state of Delaware with hundreds of millions of dollars in "stimulus," bailing out politicians intent on perpetual and unsustainable spending growth. Yet those same politicians in Dover insist that the only way to dig the state out of recession is to increase taxes, ignoring decades of evidence to the contrary. The Del... Read more


Taxing the Top
Posted by NTU Gov - June 18, 2009

Our friend, Curtis Dubay, over at the Heritage Foundation recently published a paper on the potential economic consequences of this Administration’s tax policies. His paper, entitled “Income Tax Will Become More Progressive Under Obama Tax Plan,” highlights President Obama’s 2010 budget and how it will significantly increase the tax burden on upper-income taxpayers and millions of small business owners over the next decade. Additionally, Dubay ... Read more


Fair and Balanced?
Posted by Jordan Forbes - June 17, 2009

It looks like President Obama will get even more prime-time to promote his political agenda on network television. It has been reported that ABC will turn its programming over to the President on the night of June 24 for a special - 'Prescription for America' - that will center on the Administration's controversial health care plan. The one-hour telecast will be set up as a town-hall discussion, with a question and answer portion of the program; ... Read more


Now IRS Wants to Repeal Cellphone Tax
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 17, 2009

According to the Wall Street Journal: IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman on Tuesday asked Congress to repeal the 20-year-old law to ensure that neither companies nor workers will be subject to taxes for employees' personal use of work cellphones. The request is a turnabout from last week, when the IRS proposed measures to improve enforcement of the la... Read more


Google Quotation of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 16, 2009

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it. - Thomas Jefferson... Read more


Trouble at AmeriCorps
Posted by Demian Brady - June 15, 2009

By any rational standard of acceptable roles of government, AmeriCorps, the federal "paid volunteer" program, is itself a huge waste of money. But AmeriCorps' own inspector general, Gerald Walpin, found examples of abuse within the program that even meet the federal government's definition of waste. Feathers were ruffled on the board that oversees AmeriCorps. Then last week, Mr. Walpin got a call from the Special Counsel to the President for Eth... Read more


More "Monuments to Me"
Posted by Demian Brady - June 15, 2009

Andy Roth at the Club for Growth blogged about an effort to ban "monuments to me" in appropriations bills this year. These are earmarks for programs named for politicians, such as the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center. NTU Foundation frequently comes across proposals to create or fund such monuments in our review of legislation for ... Read more


Novel Idea
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 11, 2009

Senator Mike Johanns of Nebraska, a first-termer who has shown real promise thus far into his tenure, is introducing the Free Enterprise Act. It contains a simple (and terrific) idea: requiring Congressional approval for release of TARP funds that would end up with government owning shares of a business. Too bad Congress didn't think of that when drafting TARP, huh? Johanns, BTW, wasn't around when that abomination was passed, and he's been ... Read more


Misery in New Jersey
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 11, 2009

From the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance: According to a new index unveiled Tuesday by the New Jersey Taxpayers Association (NJTA) New Jersey is the most miserable of states as it pertains to a rapidly growing tax burden and debt, runaway spending and soaring unemployment. The group's new metric - the Misery Index - reveals New Jersey's misery has grown by nearly 25 percent since 2005, the year before Governor Corzine took office, ... Read more


IRS Considering Cell Phone Tax
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 11, 2009

The Wall Street Journal reports that "The IRS is weighing a proposal to deem one-quarter of employees' use of work cellphones as personal use and therefore subject to tax as a fringe benefit." Give it a read, and then make sure the next time that you call home that you use a landline. ... Read more


Nationalized Medicine Threatens Women's Health
Posted by NTU Gov - June 10, 2009

The fact that the current health care system in America leaves some people uninsured is an accepted one. No one is denying that each year the inability to access medical care results in missed diagnoses and preventable deaths. But nationalizing health care in order to cover all US citizens, á la the plans of the current administration, would only necessitate the rationing of treatment, further reducing the number of patients receiving adequate a... Read more


C-SPAN Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 10, 2009

Just caught a few minutes of Illinois Senator Dick Durbin speaking about health care reform on the Senate floor. You have to give Durbin credit. He can weave together a straw man with the best of them. This morning he was challenging Republicans who are opposed to the health care bill to come to the floor and defend the insurance companies because Republicans want "no change" in the current system. (On a tangent, I wonder who is more popular ... Read more


TARP - A Big (Really, Really Big) Mistake
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 10, 2009

An appropriately titled column ("The $787 Billion Mistake") on TARP at Forbes.com. ... Read more


Representative Pitts Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 10, 2009

Monday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Pitts’ eighth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Representative Westmoreland Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 10, 2009

Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Westmoreland’s fourth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Oh Canada
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 09, 2009

Dr. David Gratzer, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has a troubling piece on the Canadian health care system in today's Wall Street Journal. Earlier this morning New York Senator Chuck Schumer was on on the floor of the Senate saying that a "public option" in health care reform legislation was to be a check on private insurance companies because no o... Read more


Transparency Has Arrived in Colorado
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 08, 2009

Last Thursday CO Gov. Bill Ritter signed HB 1288, which will implement an online searchable database of all state government revenues and expenditures. Taxpayers in Colorado will now have easy access to detailed information about how their money is being spent. The Governor should be commended for embracing the bill and abandoning his previous proposal, a considerably w... Read more


"Bailout" for Transportation Agencies?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 05, 2009

CQ.com is reporting the following: "Passenger rail and bus advocates are pressing conferees on the war supplemental bill to include a Senate-passed provision that would allow public transit agencies to spend some of their stimulus dollars on operating expenses, instead of capital improvements." According to the article, transit agencies received $8.4 billion in stimulus funds. Does this not sou... Read more


Representative Price Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 05, 2009

Thursday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Price's third award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Representative Culberson Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 05, 2009

Thursday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Culberson's s second award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Representative Foxx Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 05, 2009

Thursday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congresswoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for her consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Foxx's third award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Representative Barrett Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 05, 2009

Thursday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan and Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp presented Congressman J. Gresham Barrett (R-SC) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Barrett's sixth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Senator Enzi Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 05, 2009

Tuesday, President Duane Parde and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan presented Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Sen. Enzi's eighth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Senator Kyl Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - June 05, 2009

Tuesday, President Duane Parde and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan presented Senator Jon Jyl (R-AZ) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Sen. Kyl's fourteenth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Shocking: Sugar Cartel Opposes Sugar Imports
Posted by Demian Brady - June 05, 2009

In a previous blog post, Jeff Dircksen wrote about cartels working to raise barriers to competition. That reminded me of a press release I saw earlier this week from the American Sugar Alliance with this headline:Study Sh... Read more


The Tax Code is Soooo Complicated...
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 05, 2009

How complicated you might ask? It's so complicated that in the future only specially approved experts will be able to interpret it for the masses. Rather than seeking ways to make the Tax Code less complicated and less burdensome to comply with, the IRS is considering requiring paid tax preparers to be licensed by the government, according to the Wall Street Jour... Read more


Bartlett Jumps on the VAT Bandwagon
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 05, 2009

Forbes.com columnist Bruce Bartlett has jumped on the "we need a VAT" bandwagon with a piece that has this subhead "A money machine that conservatives shouldn't oppose." Bartlett writes: The irony is that the VAT is probably the ideal tax from a conservative point of view. As a broad-based tax on consumption it creates le... Read more


Earmarks: Diverse and Resilient
Posted by Demian Brady - June 04, 2009

Andy Roth at the Club for Growth and NTU's Jeff Dircksen each noted a few of the pork projects in the House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Subcommittee's official list of earmarks. Here's more frui... Read more


Murtha Earmark Project to Live On
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 04, 2009

The National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, PA, which has been at the center of earmark controversies involving Congressman John Murtha will live on. Last month The Hill reported that the Obama administration supported the program and was working to find it a "permanent funding source." While it might no... Read more


Federal Truck Stops
Posted by Demian Brady - June 04, 2009

I was unaware that the government spends $6.5 million on truck parking facilities which are in competition with private truck stops. This was one of the items proposed for elimination in a document released today by House Republicans. As Tad DeHaven of CATO points out, the cuts... Read more


Reid Cracks the Whip
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 04, 2009

From the Wall Street Journal's ... Read more


US House Office Expenses To Be Posted Online!
Posted by Keith Capp - June 04, 2009

Back in February, NTU produced a short YouTube video calling on the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) of the US House of Representatives to post House spending reports online. Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi wrote to the CAO requesting that he post House office expense reports online! The CAO’s office has stated that the expense reports will be posted by August 31 in PDF fo... Read more


NTU's Pete Sepp on Fox Business Network
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - June 03, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp appeared on Fox Business Network's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" last night to discuss what individual states pay in federal taxes compared to how much they get back in federal spending. ... Read more


Looking Out for Our "Investment"
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 03, 2009

Following on Ross's post from yesterday regarding Government Motors, Illinois Senator Dick Durbin wants to protect "our" investment. From CQ.com: "I have some concerns about things that have been expressed in bankruptcy courts, and I’m going to explore those," Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin told reporters, referring t... Read more


Back to the...uhh...Past
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 02, 2009

I recently blogged about a new health care proposal introduced by Senators Coburn and Burr and Representatives Ryan and Nunes. While it was promoted as a conservative alternative to government-run health care proposals emanating from the left, one of the most prominent health experts on the free-market side of the world raised some serious questions. Michael Cannon, an... Read more


Government Motors
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - June 02, 2009

For those of you interested in my view on GM's bankruptcy and the future emergence of Government Motors, please see my article at HumanEvents.com. (My agreement with Human Events does not permit me to post the text of the article here.)see “GM Bankrupt: Obama Takes Over", Ross Kaminsky, HumanEvents.com, 6/1/09 http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=32085... Read more


$200 Million to Save the Republic ... from Bed Bugs!
Posted by Demian Brady - June 02, 2009

Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) has sponsored the Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act. The bill would create a four year $200 million Bed Bug Inspection Grant Program. Seriously, you can't make this stuff up.... Read more


Tax Collectors Unite!
Posted by Demian Brady - June 02, 2009

The OECD has a report titled "Tax collectors worldwide to co-operate in revenue-raising to offset fiscal deficits." A a two-day meeting, tax commissioners also discussed ways that the advanced countries "can help emerging economies to improve tax-collecting capacity and capabilities which will enhance the fiscal capacity of their govern... Read more


A Magical Ferry Land
Posted by Demian Brady - June 02, 2009

The government has quite a track record in transportation. The feds have been losing money in the train business for years and is currently busy branching out into the auto industry. What else could the government do to help us get from one place to another? Rep. Rick Larsen and Sen. Patty Murray (both Democrats from the state of Washington) have introduced the United States Ferry Systems Investment Act (... Read more


NTU Confirms John Stossel to Speak at 2009 Conference
Posted by Jordan Forbes - June 01, 2009

We are thrilled to announce that award-winning news correspondent John Stossel will speak at our June 11-13 National Taxpayers Conference in Washington, DC. A co-host for ABC’s 20/20, Stossel has received 19 Emmy Awards and has been honored five times for excellence in consumer reporting by the National Press Club. Stossel remains an influential advocate for smaller go... Read more


Nevada Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 01, 2009

Gov. Jim Gibbons took a principled stand against a $781 million tax hike passed with the help of some squishy GOP Senators last month, vetoing it promptly. Needing a two-thirds vote to override his veto, five Senate Republicans broke ranks with the supposed party of small government and ... Read more


Gov. Brewer Spends $$$ to Lobby for Tax Hikes
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 01, 2009

Arizona is staring down a $3 billion budget deficit, and has until the end of this month to sort it out. Taxpayers, once cheering the departure of Janet Napolitano to Washington, are stuck with Gov. Jan Brewer (R) as her replacement. I've written about tax-hiking GOP governors before, but neglected to add Brewer to the list. She has bee... Read more


New Automobile Voucher Act
Posted by Demian Brady - June 01, 2009

Rep. Don Manzullo (R-IL) introduced the New Automobile Voucher Act of 2009. Under the bill, vouchers worth $5,000 would be redeemable toward the purchase of a new car. The program would be run by Treasury. Price tag of the legislation: $75 billion. This tops Sen. Feinstein's "Cash for Cl... Read more


Quinncome Tax Hike Fails in Illinois
Posted by Joshua Culling - June 01, 2009

Gov. Pat Quinn's proposed 50 percent income tax hike failed in the House yesterday by a healthy 32 vote margin. Under Rod Blagojevich, politicians in Springfield spent themselves into an $11.6 billion hole. Rather than deal with state government's perpetual frivolity, Quinn chose to soak the taxpayers. Perhaps the only good thing to come out... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - May 29, 2009

#1: Minnesotans brainstorm about repairing the ruins. #2: How the recession impacts firefighters. #3: ... Read more


Health Care Alternatives
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 29, 2009

Our good friends at the Cato Institute posted an update on the Coburn-Burr-Ryan-Nunes health care proposal. Cato’s health care guru Michael Cannon discussed what the bill would entail: •Mandate that states create a new regulatory bureaucracy called a "State Health Insurance Exchange," •Mandate that all p... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 29, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


States Fight Back Against EFCA and Card Check
Posted by NTU Gov - May 29, 2009

Our friend Brian Johnson at the Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF) has posted an update on the grassroots effort to oppose the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Sixteen state legislatures have introduced resolutions opposing the measure, with eight of the resolutions having passed at least one chamber. EFCA, als... Read more


Free Our Health Care
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 28, 2009

Check out this Free Our Health Care Petition. Because remember boys and girls, when health care is "free" you're going to be paying out your nose for it.... Read more


I Guess He's Not All Bad
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 28, 2009

It'd be tough to call British PM Gordon Brown a free market crusader. But bully to Gordon Brown for penning this fabulous column in the Wall Street Journal in which he argues: There can be no recovery in the global economy without a revival of world trade. Trade was the driver of postwar recovery in Japan, Germany, the rest of Europe and the U.S., ... Read more


"Sin" Taxes Hurt Sinners and Saints Alike
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 28, 2009

NTU State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling breaks down so-called "sin" taxes -- small, targeted excise taxes on goods such as cigarettes and alcohol -- in the June 2009 issue of Townhall Magazine. Lawmakers in many of the 45 states facing budget shortfalls through fiscal year 2010 are eyeing sin taxes as a politically convenient way to raise the most revenue f... Read more


An Open Letter to the Vermont Legislature: Cigarette Taxes Are No Way Out of the Budget Hole
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 28, 2009

March 28, 2009 Dear Legislator: On behalf of the taxpayers and small business owners of Vermont, over 1,000 of whom belong to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to oppose any increase in the cigarette tax. As our 360,000 members in other states can attest, such a proposal is the exact opposite of what Vermont needs in the midst of a painful recession. The Legislature’s 25-cent-per-pack tax increase and Gov. Douglas’ 45-cent-per... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 28, 2009

In this week's RedCounty.com podcast, "The Taxpayer's Turn," we discuss the $2 trillion climate tax making its way toward the House floor. Listen below: ... Read more


What do to when no one likes your $3.2 billion tax hike plan
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 28, 2009

If you're Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, you propose an even BIGGER tax hike! That's right -- after taxpayers said "no way" to Quinn's $3.2 billion income tax hike plan, he comes back with new proposal to take $4 billion from families and businesses. ... Read more


An Open Letter to NV GOP Senators: Uphold Gov. Gibbons' Veto of Tax Increases
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 27, 2009

The following letter was sent to Sen. Minority Leader Bill Raggio and four other GOP Senators who broke ranks with the party and voted for a $781 million tax increase in Nevada. Gov. Gibbons will veto the tax increases tomorrow, but we need four of the five Republicans who voted for the tax increase to reverse course, or the veto will be overturned. **** May 28, 2009 Sen. William Raggio Nevada Senate 401 South Carson Street, Room 216... Read more


Tax Foundation on NJ Gubernatorial Tax Plans
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 27, 2009

The New Jersey gubernatorial primary takes place next Tuesday, and there is plenty of work to be done to get the state's economy back on track. Joe Henchman at the Tax Foundation has authored analyses of the tax plans of current Gov. Jon Corzine as well as those of GOP candidates Chris Christie and Steve Lonegan.... Read more


The Ethics of Layoffs
Posted by Demian Brady - May 27, 2009

Randy Cohen, the New York Times' staff "ethicist," has a piece today examining the morality of mass layoffs. The gist is that since employees are dependent upon their employers, companies that downsize have an obligation to ensure that federal assistance programs are "robustly funded." If Caterpillar is to relegate legions of employ... Read more


Retroactive Tax Hikes in Some States
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 26, 2009

Forbes.com has a troubling piece on states that raised taxes retroactively. Here are the opening paragraphs: So you've filed your 2008 tax return and were hoping you wouldn't have to talk to (or pay) your tax accountant for a while. Bad news: If you live in California, New York or Hawaii, you might n... Read more


"Soak the Rich" Taxes Hitting MD Middle-Class
Posted by Keith Capp - May 26, 2009

What was the result of Maryland’s tax increase on those making over $1 million a year? Maryland is taking in considerably less tax revenue then the legislature projected! The Wall Street Journal writes: One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed ... Read more


This Week's NTU Web Poll
Posted by Keith Capp - May 26, 2009

Take NTU’s short web poll on the best state transparency websites!Here are the links to the state transparency websites: KansasMissouri... Read more


Discounted Conference Hotel Rate Extended to May 29
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 26, 2009

The discounted room rate of $169 for National Taxpayers Conference 2009 has been extended to this Friday, May 29. Be sure to take advantage of this deal soon -- register for National Taxpayers Conference 2009 and contact the Hyatt Regency Crystal City (... Read more


My Representatives are Lousier Than Your Representatives
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 26, 2009

Our pals across the pond are riled up by the corruption of their Members of Parliament. If you want to feel better about the folks you elected (or are just really into schadenfreude) be sure to check out this clip of MP Andrew MacKay's constitutents take him to task at a town meeting after it came to light that he and his wife (another MP) abused their h... Read more


Our Problem Is Our Solution Isn't Enough Like Our Problem
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 23, 2009

Well, we are out of money now. We are operating in deep deficits, not caused by any decisions we've made on health care so far. This is a consequence of the crisis that we've seen and in fact our failure to make some good decisions on health care over the last several decades. So we've got a short-term problem, which is we had to spend a lot of money to salvage our financial system, we had to deal with the auto companies, a huge r... Read more


Who Elects These People?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 22, 2009

Last night Congress had a vote on funding John Murtha's personal DC shuttle (paid for, by you, to the tune of $200 million). And I know this is going to shock you, but they voted to keep shoveling your tax dollars (an "aye" vote is to cut off funding) on an ai... Read more


Rep. Jordan Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Today, V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (left) and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (right) presented Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Jordan's second award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Senator Bunning Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Wednesday, President Duane Parde presented Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Sen. Bunning's seventh award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Senator DeMint Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Tuesday, President Duane Parde (left) and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (right) presented Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Sen. DeMint's ninth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Blackburn Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for her consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Blackburn's fifth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Nunes Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Tuesday, V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (left) and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (right) presented Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Nunes' first award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Marchant Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-TX) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Marchant's first award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Sensenbrenner Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 21, 2009

Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and Federal Government Affairs Manager Jordan Forbes (right) presented Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-WI) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Rep. Sensenbrenner has collected a very impressive 17 awards! Congratulations. ... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 21, 2009

Pete and I discuss the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009 in NTU's weekly RedCounty.com podcast, "The Taxpayer's Turn." Airline passengers could be subject to an additional $2 billion per year in taxes. Listen below: ... Read more


Medicare and Colonoscopies, an example of National Health care?
Posted by Keith Capp - May 21, 2009

Do you wonder what is going to happen if we have a nationalized health care plan like Medicare and Medicaid? Well, most likely it will lead to cuts in covered procedures or stifle the growth of new forms of treatment as the health care program attempts to control costs. Recently the Wall Street Journal wrote, All this is merely a preview of ... Read more


"The best fiscal news out of California in 30 years"
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 21, 2009

That's what the Wall Street Journal says about Tuesday's special election results. What happened roughly 30 years ago in the Golden State? The passage of Proposition 13, which capped property taxes, insti... Read more


There They Go again XXXII
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 20, 2009

Another in an ongoing series intended to highlight the actions of legislators/governmental officials/bureaucrats/do-gooders who want to expand the nanny state in an attempt to improve your life. According to the ... Read more


California Voters Voice Outrage
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 20, 2009

The results are finalized in California, and taxpayers finally took a stand. Propositions 1A through 1E were soundly defeated last night. Here's a rundown: Proposition 1A would have been the most damaging to taxpayers, as it would extend tax hikes on sales, income, and vehicles for two years, to the tune of $16 billion. It was disguised as a spendin... Read more


California Voters Either Apathetic or Angry
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 19, 2009

Californians go to the polls today to vote on a package of budget measures consisting of a variety of tax hikes and debt increases. Proposition 1A is the most serious measure, as it would impose a $16 billion tax hike on Californians, masked by a weak spending limit. It's just before 2:00 out West, and according to the LA Times, voter turnout has... Read more


House Marks Up Cap & Trade Bill
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 19, 2009

The House Energy and Commerce Committee's mark up of H.R. 2454, the cap and trade bill, is currently on hold while committee members vote on the floor. The mark up will continue after the floor votes are concluded. Why not take advantage of this break and let your Members of Congress know how you feel about cap & trade? Speak out on behalf of taxpayers today! ... Read more


Epstein on "Vigorous" Antitrust
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 19, 2009

University of Chicago law professor Richard A. Epstein has a piece at Forbes.com on Christine Varney's ,the new Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, push for "vigorous" antitrust enforcement. It's worth a read. ... Read more


The Climate Collaborators
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - May 18, 2009

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and socialist “climate adviser” Carol Browner recently met with members of the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), companies who are angling for “free” CO2 emission permits for themse... Read more


"By The Time the Great Depression Hits We're in Trenton, NJ"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 16, 2009

Yet another great way to illustrate the spending spree we experienced over the past nine years (and certifiable orgy of spending we've experienced over the past five months). It's the great generational theft roadtrip: ... Read more


Education Secretary on "Listening Tour"
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 15, 2009

Here's something I never thought that I would write in this space: thanks NEA! This week's NEA Education Insider reports that "U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has embarked on a cross-country 'listening tour.'" Who knew? You can learn about the Secretary's trip to Detroit on the the Department's blog. According to the Department's ... Read more


Ethanol Industry Struggling
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 15, 2009

MarketWatch.com has article detailing the financial woes of the ethanol industry. I found this observation interesting: But the industry remains beholden to federal rules, which essentially forged the market through a combination of mandated production volumes, tax credits doled out to refiners, and high hopes that ethanol ... Read more


Cap & Trade -- Coming Soon to Your Wallet
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 15, 2009

According to the New York Times: House Democrats have reached agreement on several key pieces of a major climate change and energy bill, including a national renewable electricity standard, greenhouse gas emissions limits for 2020 and the distribution of valuable emissions credits to electric uti... Read more


McCain, Blackburn, Price & Moore
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 15, 2009

Senator John McCain, Representatives Marsha Blackburn and Tom Price, M.D., and Moore -- yes, Steve Moore -- will be speaking at National Taxpayers Conference 2009! You can check out the list of other great speakers here. Don't miss your chance to hear all of them! National Taxpayers Conference 2009 will June 11-13, 2009, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel at Reaga... Read more


Don't Be a Flake?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 14, 2009

Jack Murtha's ethics problems are legendary. The liberal group CREW has labeled him one of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress. Murtha has also been the target of a string of recent ethics questions. The Washington Post has ... Read more


Senator Inhofe Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 14, 2009

Today, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and President Duane Parde (right) presented Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Sen. Inhofe has won this award 11 times. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Bachmann Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 14, 2009

Today, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for her consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Bachmann's second award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Shadegg Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 14, 2009

Today, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Rep. Shadegg has won this award 13 out of 14 times! Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Hensarling Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 14, 2009

On Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Rep. Hensarling had the 5th highest rating among House Members and collected his fifth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Royce Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 14, 2009

On Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Rep. Royce has won this award 15 times out of his 16 years in Congress! Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Linder Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 14, 2009

On Tuesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. John Linder (R-GA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Linder’s 4th award. Congratulations. ... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 14, 2009

If the Trustees of Medicare sound an alarm in the forest (or halls of the Capitol) and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Time will tell -- but not much time, as Pete and I discuss in this week's NTU podcast on RedCounty.com, "The Taxpayer's Turn." Listen below for more: ... Read more


John McCain to Speak at National Taxpayers Conference
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 13, 2009

Senator John McCain will speak on Friday, June 12th, at National Taxpayers Conference 2009. McCain, who has won multiple Taxpayers Friend Awards from NTU, will speak during Friday morning's opening session. More information about Taxpayers Conference 2009, visit our ... Read more


Perdue Follows in the Footsteps of Republican Failure
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 13, 2009

With a large number of states considering tax hikes to balance their budgets, I looked at Georgia as a state with an opportunity to pass real pro-growth legislation. Rep. Tom Graves introduced the JOBS Act, which would have cut the capital gains tax in half and phased out the corporate inco... Read more


What's the Upside to Keeping You Alive?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 12, 2009

We conservatives often debate national health care (or socialized health care, if you prefer) by talking about increased costs, reduced quality of care, waiting lines, and lack of freedom. And those are all good arguments against nationalizing the health care system. Today in the Senate Finance Committee, however, Prof Stuart Altman reminded us of the most important reason to oppose government health care: When Uncle Sam is picking up the ta... Read more


A Soda Tax? What will they think of next?
Posted by Keith Capp - May 12, 2009

It has a different name depending on where you are. If you are in Wisconsin its soda, in other states pop, and in the South its Coke. Regardless of its name you might be paying more for the can of soda, if you want a cold beverage on a hot summer day. US Senate leaders are considering creating a new federal tax on sodas and other sugary drinks to fund the Democrats and Obama’s expansion of health care. The ... Read more


CA deficit projections continue to climb
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 12, 2009

Gov. Schwarzenegger told the Legislature on Monday that the budget deficit could reach $21.3 billion. News flash: It "could reach" a number much higher than that, as some estimates have put the future shortfall at $60 billion. Voters will be asked to approve more tax increases in a May 19th special election, which will take a small bite out of the deficit, putting it at $15.4 b... Read more


Taking a short drive or stopping on the way home. . . .
Posted by Keith Capp - May 12, 2009

In March 2008, I blogged about the sales tax increase in Chicago (Cook County, IL) and the potential savings someone could make by just driving North through Lake County, IL and up into Kenosha, WI. Well, it turns out I was right about what was going to happen. Poor residents are repressively taxed because it is difficult for them to shop in the suburbs. Small busines... Read more


J to the C on Hawaii Taxes
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 11, 2009

I had the misfortune of being sent on a business trip to Honolulu two weeks ago (HA!). While there, I sat down with Tom McAuliffe of the Grassroot Institute to talk about tax policy in the Aloha State. You can find the podcast here. ... Read more


Reserve Your Room Today!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 11, 2009

National Taxpayers Conference 2009 will be June 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City right outside Washington, DC. We've secured great room rates from the Hyatt (singles and doubles for just $169 a night; triples for $194, and quads for $219), but those great rates end May ... Read more


A reason for holding corporate income abroad
Posted by Keith Capp - May 11, 2009

Saturday, the Chicago Tribune had a great editorial about the original reasoning behind allowing corporations to defer taxes on overseas revenue. Here is an excerpt from their editorial: Most countries don't tax their companies' foreign profits -- and most hav... Read more


Staggering Stat of the Day
Posted by Demian Brady - May 11, 2009

From ABC News:For the current year, the government would borrow 46 cents for every dollar it takes to run the government under the administration's plan.... Read more


What Comes Next?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 11, 2009

I was at my local car dealer this morning watching Fox News when they reported that the federal budget deficit is expected to top $1.8 trillion. A gentleman on the sales floor asked one of the salesmen, "What comes after a trillion?" Well, here's the mathematical answer -- a quadrillion. The taxpayer answer -- higher taxes, much higher taxes. ... Read more


Rep. Mack Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 11, 2009

Last Thursday, V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (left) and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (right) presented Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Mack's first award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Broun Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 11, 2009

Last Thursday, V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (left) and Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (right) presented Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Finishing third among House Members, Rep. Broun received his first award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Flake Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 11, 2009

Last Thursday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. Rep. Flake received the number 1 rank among House Members, scoring a 98%. This is his eighth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Stearns Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 08, 2009

On Wednesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (center) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Stearn's seventh award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Deal Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 08, 2009

On Wednesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Nathan Deal (R-GA) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Deal's fifth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Rep. Garrett Presented with Taxpayers' Friend Award
Posted by NTU Gov - May 08, 2009

On Wednesday, Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan (left) and V.P. for Communications Pete Sepp (right) presented Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) with NTU's Taxpayers' Friend Award for his consistent support of lower taxes and limited government. This is Rep. Garrett's sixth award. Congratulations. ... Read more


Google & Healthcare Costs
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 08, 2009

Was just reading an article about Google's annual shareholder meeting and noticed this: The other proposal, in support of universal health, was made by Brandon Rees, representing the AFL-CIO labor union and was also voted down. While noting Google and other big U.S. companies, such as IBM, McDonald'... Read more


No Pats on the Back Yet
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 08, 2009

President Obama promised us he's going to make "hard choices" to cut waste out of the federal budget. I'll give him a gold star for wanting to make a tough choice. But did he? Head budget honcho Peter Orszag unveiled $17 billion in proposed cuts to the f... Read more


Someone who gets it: Mike Johanns
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 07, 2009

Time and time again, earmarks have gotten Members of Congress into trouble. Some have ended up in jail, some have been voted out of office, some have been disgraced (but remain in office). Despite all of that, many Members of Congress and many Republicans continue to ask for earmarks. Those people don't get it. Senator Mike Johanns (R-NE), a freshman, gets it. He has... Read more


Medical Records Held for Ransom
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 07, 2009

Last month I blogged about an article at Forbes.com on electronic medical records. This was the opening sentence to the Forbes article: "Digitizing medical data is easy. Using it to improve care will be hard." Apparently, stealing them might be easy too. According to ... Read more


The Administration's Savings Proposals
Posted by Demian Brady - May 07, 2009

The Administration has finished its "line-by-line review" of the government and has proposed to cut $17 billion -- 1/2 of 1 percent -- from the FY2010 $3.4 trillion budget. One hopes this was just a first run through, perhaps hastily done because of staffing shortages. A 113-page document with further information is available as a pdf. By contrast, Bush... Read more


Would the government pass a stress test?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 06, 2009

Check out the results. ... Read more


Getting Paid to do Nothing
Posted by Christy Paavola - May 06, 2009

In a time when thousands of people are losing their jobs each week, some teachers in Los Angeles are literally being paid to do nothing. The L.A. Unified School District is spending roughly $10 million a year to pay 160 teachers to sit around while it is being determined whether or not they are fit to teach. This is the same dist... Read more


SC Senate Democrat Leader: Cigarette Tax Hike "Wastes Money"
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 06, 2009

We've been on record against the 714 percent cigarette tax increase in South Carolina, and now the top Democrat in the Senate has joined us. John Land, the Senate Minority Leader, will not support the tax increase... Read more


HI Gov. Lingle Invites Public to Veto Ceremony
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 06, 2009

Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has invited the public to a ceremony at the State Capitol tomorrow celebrating her veto of a variety of tax hikes recently passed by the Legislature. A release from the Governor's office: HONOLULU – Governor Linda Lingle is inviting members of the public to join her at the State Capitol Rotun... Read more


New Book about the Tea Party Movement
Posted by Demian Brady - May 06, 2009

Bruce Bexley has written The Tea Party Movement: Why It Started, What It's About, and How You Can Get Involved.The book is a defense of the Tea Party movement. I trace its historical and ideological foundations, refute the movement's detractors, and suggest where the protests might lead.Available on ... Read more


I Give it a Week
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 06, 2009

After this, how long before Snarlin' Arlen makes a dramatic speech about how he became an Obama Democrat but since then the Democrat party has moved too far to the left and became intolerant of moderates? ... Read more


Spending Transparency on the Way in Colorado
Posted by Joshua Culling - May 05, 2009

It's been a long, hard fight, but HB 1288 has passed in Colorado. An email from Rep. BJ Nikkel, the bill's sponsor: House just gave final passage to HB1288. 65-0 the amendments simply wrapped the Exec Order into the bill while retaining the substance of my bill language. We also dropped the fiscal note to 0 because of tying it into the EO. We at NTU are proud to have played a role in seeing this bill through to Gov... Read more


Obama's "Tax Havens" Proposal: Fresh Hell for American Businesses
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 05, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp released the following analysis today of Obama's plan to shut down so-called "tax havens": President Obama's proposal to shut down or cut back what he calls "tax havens" is aimed at the wrong target during the worst possible time. America's tax system already inflicts a great deal of harm on busine... Read more


Lofty Revenue Projections Lead to Budget Shortfalls
Posted by NTU Gov - May 05, 2009

Ohio’s State Budget Director Pari Sabety held a press conference this morning delivering news that Ohio may have a $600-900 million budget shortfall with less than two months left in the fiscal year. One might trace a portion of this shortfall back to February, recalling the 62-cents-a-pack federal tax hike, in hopes to increase revenue. It seems that just the opposite has occurred. A $129 million ... Read more


Sign the CITIZEN Pledge!
Posted by NTU Gov - May 05, 2009

Our Tertium Quids friends in Virginia are promoting a great effort: ___ Sign Tertium Quids' "RAISE MY TAXES - LOSE MY VOTE" pledge, make a strong statement to the politicians, and get your free bumper sticker! TMG members, At Tax Day Tea Parties in Charlottesville and Richmond Wednesday, Tertium Quids announced its new grassroots campaign to return the citizens of Virginia to their rightful role as Sovereigns (remember We ... Read more


Why Sir? Why?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 04, 2009

That's what DC parents ask President Obama in this ReasonTV video on the Obama administration's decision to kill the DC voucher program that's helped a couple thousand kids get a good education, improve test scores, and go to the same schools as the President's children: ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Housing Bill Amendments
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 04, 2009

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on Amendments #1016 and #1026 to the Housing Bill, S. 896. Offered by Senators Vitter and DeMint, respectively, these amendments would add some sorely needed taxpayer protections to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which has been a miserable failure so far. Senator Vitter's Amendment #1016 would simply allow banks ... Read more


No more bailouts, Br'er Durbin?!?
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - May 04, 2009

Last week brought a rare victory for the free markets and the sanctity of private contracts: By a 51-45 vote, the Senate defeated a measure championed by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin (Illinois) which would have allowed judges to reduce the principle amount of a mortgage on a primary residence during a bankruptcy proceeding. Twelve Democrats, including Arlen Specter, voted against the plan. The idea was typical Democrat fare, representing a c... Read more


Goodbye Jack Kemp
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 03, 2009

Last night former Congressman and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp passed away after a battle with cancer. Kemp was one of the great leaders of our time. He was the architect of the first Reagan tax cuts and was a tireless advocate for tax reform, school choice, free trade, and enterprise zones. Kemp wasn't just a politici... Read more


Real Solutions in Nevada
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 01, 2009

Much of the time, fiscal conservatives are forced to play defense to protect taxpayers from an ever-expanding government. That's why it's nice to see a group taking the initiative to put forward their own, positive solutions. The Nevada Policy Research Institute has done just that. They put together "Nevada's Freedom Budget", an alternative budget in... Read more


Don't Turn America Into Another France
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 01, 2009

Our friends at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity and Reason.TV have put together this terrific video warning of the dangers of the French model.... The economic model, not their first lady. She's not so bad. ... Read more


An Ominous Warning from GAO
Posted by Demian Brady - May 01, 2009

From The Nation's Long-Term Fiscal Outlook March 2009 Update:The longer that action to deal with the federal government's long-term fiscal outlook is delayed, the greater the risk that the eventual changes will be disruptive and destabilizing.... Read more


About that Moderate Health Care Plan...
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 01, 2009

During the campaign, then-candidate Obama said he offered a middle course on health care between evil right wingers and the Hillary/Canada cabal. Well, thanks to Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), now we know the President's plan is a straight shot to socialized health care. ... Read more


Remember Obama's "tax cut"? Well, the IRS is going to want some of that back.
Posted by Demian Brady - May 01, 2009

AP: Taxpayers to get rude surpriseMillions of Americans enjoying their small windfall from President Barack Obama's "Making Work Pay" tax credit are in for an unpleasant surprise next spring. The government is going to want some of that money back. The tax credit is supposed to provide up to $400 to individuals and $800 to marrie... Read more


TweetIllinois.org Launched!
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - April 30, 2009

Today, the Illinois Policy Institute, the state’s leading free market think tank, announced the launch of TweetIllinois.org, a website designed to encourage better communication between legislators and constituents. Tweet Illinois echoes the format of a successful national site, ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Oppose Senate Cramdown, FDIC Borrowing Bills
Posted by Pete Sepp - April 30, 2009

The National Taxpayers Union distributed the following Vote Alert to all Senators earlier today: NTU urges Senators to vote “NO” on S. 896, the so-called “Helping Families Save Their Homes Act,” as well as S. 895, the mortgage “cramdown” legislation that will likely be offered as an amendment. In a report on House legislation that embodied many concepts of S. 895, the Congressional Budget Office noted that “Economists and bankruptcy expert... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 30, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Quote of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 30, 2009

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. -- George Orwell ... Read more


New NTU Poll: Tax Reform Choices
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 30, 2009

... Read more


An Unfortunate Four Decade Trend
Posted by Christy Paavola - April 29, 2009

According to the recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores - a respected federal test - U.S. high school students still have not shown any significant progress in raising reading and math scores. This is the same news taxpayers have heard for the last four decades. The achievement gaps between white and minority students have decreased b... Read more


Pence to Speak at National Taxpayers Conference
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 28, 2009

Congressman Mike Pence from Indiana -- who has won multiple Taxpayers' Friend Awards from NTU -- will speak at National Taxpayers Conference 2009! Other confirmed speakers include Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State; Matt Blunt, former Missouri Governor; James K. Glassman, author & former Under Secretary of State; and, David M. Walker, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Don't forget: Early Bird Registra... Read more


Specter Switches Party
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 28, 2009

Pennsylvania Arlen Specter has announced that he will leave the Republican party and become a Democrat. Specter has said that he will not be a "party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans." The interesting question from our perspective is how might this affect taxpayers? The table below lists Senator Specter... Read more


NTU Vote Alert Against Budget Conference Resolution
Posted by Andrew Moylan - April 28, 2009

April 28, 2009 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “No” on the Budget Resolution Conference Report (S. Con. Res. 13). Should the provisions of this plan be adopted, the national debt would double in less than a decade, small business employers and investors would suffer from higher taxes, families would see the return of the immoral and economically destructive death... Read more


Death Tax Reduction on Cutting Room Floor?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - April 27, 2009

Per our friends at the American Family Business Institute, the Kyl-Lincoln amendment reducing the death tax might be on the cutting room floor during final budget negotiations. The amendment would have permanently established a lower 35% rate (from the proposed 45%) and a higher exemption of $10 million (as opposed to $7 million). After being just a few votes shy of full repeal a few ye... Read more


How Big is $100 Million
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 27, 2009

Brilliant explanation of how much that $100 million President Obama wants to cut out of the budget is: ... Read more


Busting Bank of America
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 27, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has a must read editorial on the absolute mess the Feds have made of the financial system, and specifically Hank Paulsen's scheme that nearly killed Bank of America. The money quote: In the name of containing "systemic risk," our regulators spread it. In order to keep Mr. Lewis quiet, they all but ordered him to deceive his own shareholders. And in the name of restoring financial confidence, they have ... Read more


Sen. McCaskill No Fan of Tax Cuts
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 26, 2009

Missouri House Republicans have proposed using $1 billion of the federal stimulus package to cut state income taxes. The plan would reduce the top personal income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. To be clear, that top rate kicks in at $9,000 of income, so this isn't exactly a "tax cut for the rich." This is one of the... Read more


Electronic Medical Records
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 25, 2009

One supposed cost savings for the Federal government in years to come is digitizing health care records. Forbes.com has an interesting article on the subject. Here's the opening: "Digitizing medical data is easy. Using it to improve care will be hard." ... Read more


ABC on the Johnstown AirPork
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 24, 2009

ABC News has a must-see piece on John Murtha's Johnstown Airport (I've been, it's pretty classy, albeit deserted): ... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - April 24, 2009

#1: State budget deficits bring tax hikes. #2: Stimulate through rebate, Missouri style. #3: Tax evasion isn't limited to federal appointees.... Read more


Shocker of the Day: the NEA Hates Vouchers
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 24, 2009

Today's NEA Education Insider contains the "R"- word. Yes, it's true, it actually says "Republican" -- more than once even. Anyway, the NEA seems to like Republicans as long as they also hate vouchers. Here's the item: Check out “Republicans Opposing Voucher Efforts” Website Republicans who support public education and oppose private school vouchers can express those views through a website at www.ROVE2009.org (Republicans Oppo... Read more


Rep. Dingell on Cap and Trade
Posted by Keith Capp - April 24, 2009

During today’s US House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment hearing on the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) stated, Nobody in this country realizes that cap and trade is a tax and it’s a great big one. Well, we here at NTU ... Read more


This is how you use stimulus dollars
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 24, 2009

Three cheers for the Show Me State. The Missouri House Republican caucus announced today that it will use $1 billion in federal stimulus to cut taxes. They will abandon millions of dollars in pet projects and new spending to do so. GOP lawmakers will look to cut the personal income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. A stimulus package that will actually hav... Read more


Schedule of Events for Taxpayers Conference '09 Is Available
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 24, 2009

The schedule of events for National Taxpayers Conference has been released. You can view the schedule online here or download it in PDF. Be a part of the movement that's sweeping the nation -- "Tax Revolt 2.0"!... Read more


Electronic Medical Records
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 24, 2009

One supposed cost savings for the Federal government in years to come is digitizing health care records. Forbes.com has an interesting article on the subject. Here's the opening: "Digitizing medical data is easy. Using it to improve care will be hard." ... Read more


Early Bird Registration Ends April 30th!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 24, 2009

Early Bird Registration ends next week -- April 30th. Don't miss your chance to attend National Taxpayers Conference for just $99. For more information visit our Conference information page. To register click here.... Read more


Bailouts and Bankruptcy
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 24, 2009

Now that Chrysler is preparing for Chapter 11, can someone explain to me why taxpayers had to spend billions to help them last an extra four months? ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert -- Health Care Freedom Motion on Budget Resolution
Posted by Pete Sepp - April 23, 2009

NTU distributed the following Vote Alert earlier today in favor of a motion affirming the right to health care freedom of choice: NTU urges all Senators to vote YES on Senator DeMint’s Motion to Instruct regarding health care policy in the conference version of S. Con. Res. 13. Based on the budget blueprints that passed each chamber several weeks ago, we have little faith that the final package to which Confer... Read more


$200 million for an airport that has 6 flights a day!
Posted by Keith Capp - April 23, 2009

Representative John Murtha (PA-12) has done well for the airport that was named after him. In fact, Rep. Murtha has probably kept the commercial terminal of the airport open by providing over $200 million in earmarks for an airport that sees just 3 arrivals and 3 departures per day! Probably the most ridiculous project at John... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Support Senate Amendments to Limit TARP Bailout
Posted by Pete Sepp - April 23, 2009

NTU sent the following Vote Alert earlier today in support of Amendments offered on the Senate floor to limit the taxpayer-funded financial industry bailout: As Senators undertake consideration of S. 386, NTU urges “YES” votes on amendments sponsored by Sens. DeMint, Ensign, Inhofe, and Vitter, which would establish badly needed limits and reforms on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Although many Mem... Read more


Keep that Tea Party Momentum Going at National Taxpayers Conference 2009!
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 23, 2009

The Tax Day tea parties are over. Now what? There was a lot of grassroots buildup against big government and overspending in the weeks and months leading up to April 15. Can taxpayer activists maintain that momentum? National Taxpayers Conference 2009, to be held June 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, provides the perfect organizing opportunity for taxpayers to turn their frustra... Read more


State Spending Transparency News
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - April 22, 2009

This week's state spending transparency newsletter is available here.... Read more


Federal Government Spends $100 Million Every 15 Minutes
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 22, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy & Communications Pete Sepp discussed President Obama's calling for Cabinet members to cut $100 million from the federal budget. To put this in perspective: "The federal government spends a total of $100 million approximately every 15 minutes of the year," Pete said. "What Mr. Obama is doing is basically telling his departments, 'Come up with enough spending cuts to give the taxpayers an extra 15 minutes.... Read more


Are You Unhinged?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 21, 2009

The head of the New Hampshire Democratic party had an interesting observation about Tea Party participants: ... Read more


Early Bird Registration Extended!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 21, 2009

The early bird registration for National Taxpayers Conference 2009 has been extended until April 30th! Check out our Conference information page here, or register here to take advantage of the Early Bird price discount. ... Read more


What does it cost to develop a state spending website?
Posted by Keith Capp - April 21, 2009

Question: What is the average cost for a state to develop a spending-transparency website? A) $90,000 B) $140,000 C) $300,000 D) $750,000 E) 1,500,000 To place your answer: Select "Post Comment" and enter your answer into a comment. The correct answer is the first comment. The Mercatus Center of George Mason University did a ... Read more


NTU Team Taxpayer Reports from the Tea Parties
Posted by Andrew Moylan - April 21, 2009

We texted NTU Team Taxpayer and asked them to relate their experiences at the Tea Parties across the country. We wanted to know where they were, how many were in attendance, and what the best signs were. Out of hundreds of responses, here are some of the most interesting comments... "Huntsville, AL. Over 2500 people. Best sign ive seen at any te... Read more


I Guess It's A Start...
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 21, 2009

For those of you keeping track, the President's plan to cut $100 million from the federal budget, amounts to a grand 0.006% of the $1.75 trillion budget deficit. To put that in perspective, economist Greg Mankiw compares it to cutting $3 from a $100,000 family budget (fancy Harvard professors can have a $100,000 family budget). Or to quot... Read more


Again, the case for CO HB 1288
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 20, 2009

Colorado Rep. BJ Nikkel (R-Berthoud) and Sen. Michael Knopp (R-Littleton) have an op-ed in Saturday's Coloradan that makes the case for HB 1288, the Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act. This legislation recently passed the House and is headed to the Senate. Similar legislation, SB 57, would have created a transparency database for public schools, and passed... Read more


Chart: Where your taxes go
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - April 20, 2009

Thanks to Ike from OccamsRazr.com for this fantastic link: (Click on link or image to see larger version.) http://img297.imageshack.us/img297/5927/wallstatsdatlarge.jpg ... Read more


Patriots' Day
Posted by Demian Brady - April 19, 2009

Today is Patriots' Day, marking the battles of Lexington and Concord at the beginning of the American Revolutionary War. The Examiner has more information and two videos about reaffirming the Oath of the Constitution. There is also an event scheduled in Lexington: ... Read more


More Tea Parties Scheduled for April 18
Posted by Demian Brady - April 18, 2009

The Tea Parties are still going on! April 18: Philadelphia, PA 12-2PM The courtyard of what's now known as Independence Hall. More info Jacksonville, NC 5:30pm Marina Cafe & Marina, 110 S Marine Blvd, Jacksonville, NC 28540 ... Read more


Chicago Tea Party Photos
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - April 17, 2009

John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute and I both had the amazing opportunity of addressing the 4,000 people who showed up to the Chicago Tea Party. Check out John's rousing speech to the crowd: ... Read more


MSNBC Doesn't Like You.
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 17, 2009

Last night on MSNBC Janeane Garofalo told the washed up sportscaster Tax Day Tea Party participants are racist. According to Garofalo: Let's be very honest about what this is about. This is not about bashing Democrats. It's not about taxes. They have no idea what the Boston Tea party was about. Th... Read more


Tax Day Tea Party Turnout By State
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 16, 2009

While MSNBC and CNN were busy making obscene jokes, more than a quarter million Americans turned out for Tax Day Tea Parties. The numbers aren't exact with countless tea parties, like the one held in my favorite place on earth (... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 16, 2009

Check out NTU's weekly RedCounty.com podcast, "The Taxpayer's Turn." This week's topic: tax-filing burdens. Listen below: ... Read more


Tax Day Dance Party?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 16, 2009

For all you Lady Gaga fans who happen to hate taxes, this is a must see (granted the kid is goofy, but it's still a pretty impressive parody): ... Read more


You Have a Ticket to Ride
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 16, 2009

According to CNN, the President has released a "blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines." According to the report: [The] plan would be funded in part through the recently passed $787 billion stimulus plan, which includes a total of $8 billion for improvements in rail service. Obama has also proposed a separate five-year, ... Read more


DC Tea Party Update -- II
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 15, 2009

Another photo from DC's Tea Party courtesy of Patty Brady. ... Read more


Unsurprising Tax Day News
Posted by Keith Capp - April 15, 2009

For those of you who have followed the President’s proposed budget The Hill’s headline “Obama’s tax reckoning” is unsurprising. The Hill’s Walter Alarkson and Ian Swanson interviewed economists and found that: Many economists, including some who voted for Obama, do not believe that he can indefinitely avoid imposing ta... Read more


Sounds Good in Theory
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 15, 2009

From Reuters: Seeking to tap into public exasperation with the tax system, Obama said: "We need to simplify a monstrous tax code that is far too complicated for most Americans to understand, but just complicated enough for the insiders who know how to work the system." "It will take time to undo the damage of ye... Read more


iTunes Taxes Proliferating
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 15, 2009

Back in February, I posted about Wisconsin's Governor wanting his state to adopt an iTunes tax to help close an expected budget shortfall. Apparently, it's a tax that's spreading in popularity. A kind Government Bytes! reader -- Simon Owens -- has forwarded a rather troubling ... Read more


DC Tea Party Update
Posted by Demian Brady - April 15, 2009

There were supposed to be two Tea Parties in DC today but there was some kind of last minute problem with the permit for the site near the Treasury Department. Attendance has been strong around the corner at the Lafayette Park. (Photo by Patty Brady) ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- the Tax Day Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 15, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


NTU Study: Individuals, Corporations Spend Nearly $300 Billion on Tax Compliance
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 14, 2009

NTU Released its 11th annual study of tax complexity trends today. Among the findings: Taxpayers using any of the 1040 tax form series will spend an average of 26.4 hours and $209 completing their returns for the most current tax year, up from 25.4 hours and $185 four years ago. Treasury Department paperwork, some 90 percent of which consists of pe... Read more


California's plight: There are no words
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 14, 2009

From the San Francisco Chronicle: Under current worst-case scenarios, including the failure of three budget-related measures on the May 19 special election ballot, lawmakers may be looking at a $14 billion budget shortfall. Read the whole thing.... Read more


New Yorkers: What Would You Cut from the State Budget?
Posted by Demian Brady - April 14, 2009

The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, NY is soliciting budget advice for New York's Governor Patterson. ... Read more


Transparency on the docket in Colorado tomorrow
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 14, 2009

CO HB 1288, the Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act, will be heard at 8:00 AM tomorrow in the House Appropriations Committee. NTU has been active in supporting this legislation over Gov. Bill Ritter's Executive Order. The Governor's order has no teeth an... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- the Tea Party Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 14, 2009

HT: Tim Wise As Andrew mentioned below, you can find Tea Parties in your area by visiting here or ... Read more


Mitt on Card Check
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 13, 2009

The Orwellian Employee Free Choice Act is generally opposed by folks like me because it would eliminate employee's right to the secret ballot when deciding whether to join a union. But a less frequently invoked reason to oppose the Employee Forced Choice Act is the mandatory arbitration clause. Mitt Romney, who knows a thing or two about creating jobs, explains why the mandatory arbitration clause and elimination of secret ballot would be "ca... Read more


Coming to a town near you: Tea Party Revolts!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - April 13, 2009

DoomsTax Day is almost upon us and folks across the country are sounding off in opposition to runaway spending and bailouts by organizing taxpayer "Tea Parties." NTU has already helped to create several of these events in places like Nebraska and New Hampshire, but the Big Kahuna will be on Tax Day, this Wednesday the 15th. There will literally be hundreds of simultaneous events in towns nationwide with thousands of participant... Read more


MSNBC: 12-Year-Old Boys Think We're Hilarious!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 13, 2009

Taxpayers across the country are fed up. We're mad about taxes. We're mad about spending. We're mad about bailouts, and pork, and sweetheart deals for the well-connected. In response, taxpayers have come together at the grassroots to organize tea parties to protest Washington. Just this weekend, in my beloved Pittsburgh, thousands gathered for a tax protest. ... Read more


Note to Obama Cabinet: Tax Day is Coming
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 13, 2009

In light of all the trouble President Obama's cabinet nominees have been having paying their taxes, the folks over at the Young Conservatives Coalition put together a public service announcement reminding them that Tax Day applies to the well connected too. ... Read more


It's An Easter Miracle!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 12, 2009

The DC Voucher Program has been a success. Test scores are up. Parents like their new schools. And the Department of Education knows it works. So of course, the Obama Administration killed the program. But in a minor Easter miracle, the Wa... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - April 11, 2009

#1: State sales and income tax hikes appear likely. #2: See who acts as your state's "stimulus czar" by clicking here. #3: Taxes increase in New York.... Read more


More on NTU Rates Congress
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 11, 2009

Natasha already gave you some highlights from NTU's Congress Ratings. To help you dig into the numbers a bit more, here are a couple charts: ... Read more


Tax The Rich!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - April 11, 2009

... Read more


NTU Talks "Sin Taxes" on Fox Business Network
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 10, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp discusses "sin taxes" -- those levied on politically incorrect behavior -- on Fox Business Network's "Money for Breakfast" this morning: ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 10, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn, Week 4
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 09, 2009

As I wrote earlier, NTU released its 2008 Rating of Congress today. Pete and I discussed some of the findings on NTU's weekly RedCounty.com podcast, "The Taxpayer's Turn." Listen below: ... Read more


Some Commendable Ideas
Posted by Christy Paavola - April 09, 2009

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has been championing a couple of education reform ideas lately that deserve attention. Earlier this week in Denver he conveyed his support for keeping children in school longer - six or seven days a week; 11, 12 months a year. Schools in many other countries, as well as charter schools in the United States, have longer school days and ... Read more


NTU Releases 2008 Rating of Congress
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 09, 2009

NTU released its 30th annual Rating of Congress today, which takes a look at every roll call vote affecting tax, spending, and regulatory issues. The 2008 Rating was based on 286 votes -- 182 in the House and 104 in the Senate -- in the second session of the 110th Congress (all of 2008). Major findings: In 2008, only 48 lawmakers attaine... Read more


Capitalism vs. Socialism
Posted by Demian Brady - April 09, 2009

Rasmussen has a disturbing poll claiming that just 53 percent of respondents believe that capitalism is better than socialism. Perhaps there is a correlation with this data from the Tax Policy Center estim... Read more


State Spending Transparency News
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - April 08, 2009

News on state spending transparency is available here.... Read more


"Stimulus" Rewarding Failure
Posted by Demian Brady - April 08, 2009

The USA Today has an exclusive report on 61 housing agencies that have repeatedly failed audits but have been cleared anyway to get $300 million in "stimulus" funding:Congress gave the Obama administration permission to withhold stimulus aid from housing authorities that the Department of Housing and Urban Development lists as "trou... Read more


Spam Overwhelms Email
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 08, 2009

A "shocking" headline from the BBC: "Spam overwhelms e-mail messages". The report cites a Microsoft study that finds "97% of all e-mails sent over the net are unwanted." If only someone would pass a law. Oh, wait...nevermind. ... Read more


TPPF: Stimulus a job-killer in Texas
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 07, 2009

The Texas Public Policy Foundation released a report on the impact the stimulus package will have on the state's economy. The results don't look so good. The report, "The Economic Impact of Federal Spending on State Economic Performance - A Texas Perspective", finds that the stimulus package would adversely effect the ... Read more


NTU Supports FL Consumer Choice and Protection Act
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 07, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp sent a letter to the Florida Legislature yesterday supporting the Florida Consumer Choice and Protection Act (HB 1465 in the House and SB 2626 in the Senate). Pete writes: Florida's telecommunications market suffers from laws created years ago, before innovations such as fiber-optic networks and cable TV-b... Read more


Georgia HB 481 (JOBS Act) Passes House
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 06, 2009

Georgia HB 481, which phases out a number of taxes on business and job creation, passed the House of Representatives on Friday. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Tom Graves. From his press release, the bill includes the following: Create a quarterly tax credit towards the unemployment insurance tax for each eligible employee hired. This credit would be ... Read more


No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
Posted by Christy Paavola - April 03, 2009

My old boss, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, has summed up the Democrat's cap-and-trade plan I think best by declaring recently, "They seem to give people the impression that it's going to be a huge environmentally friendly free lunch. This lunch is not free." It's funny how the Democrats fail to mention that this $646 billion plan w... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 03, 2009

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


The Definition of Hubris?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 02, 2009

Wrapping up debate on the House budget resolution, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer just stated that during the last year of the Clinton administration "we created 1.9 million new jobs." (emphasis mine) We? I'm thinking that private companies -- large and small -- created those jobs, not Congress or the White House. Perhaps Members need to be reminded of that. ... Read more


Three Reasons Gov. Ritter's Transparency Order Doesn't Shed Light on Denver
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 02, 2009

Taxpayers in Colorado deserve to see where their hard-earned dollars are going, but the executive order signed by Gov. Bill Ritter (D) today would hardly achieve that, according to the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has more than 7,300 members in Colorado. NTU State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling highlighted the three main reasons taxpayers should oppose the Governor's order and inst... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn, Week 3
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 02, 2009

On the National Taxpayers Union's third weekly RedCounty.com podcast, "The Taxpayer's Turn," we discuss the Death Tax, which will soon threaten hard-working families with a highest-in-the-WORLD 55 percent rate -- unless Congress steps in and does something. Tune in every Thursday! Listen here: ... Read more


We Don't Want to Work That Much -- Do We?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 02, 2009

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has been on the floor today urging his colleagues not to ask for recorded votes on the 230 or so pending amendments to the Senate budget resolution. Conrad estimates that if every Senator insisted on a roll call vote that Senators would have to spend the next three days voting to get through all of the amendments. Instead, Conrad has asked that Senators accept voice votes or attempt to attach the ame... Read more


CO Gov. Ritter to Sign Pointless Transparency Order Today
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 02, 2009

CO Gov. Ritter has embraced spending transparency in his rhetoric lately, and today will sign an executive order to create the Transparency Options Project (TOP), a searchable Web site of state revenues and expenditures. Unfortunately, there are significant problems with the Governor's proposal. First, transparency would be much better achieved through the legislature than by executive order. By codifying the legislation in statute, it is much... Read more


More Government "Volunteer" Opportunities
Posted by Demian Brady - April 02, 2009

Congress has already passed a 5-year $7 billion "volunteer" bill. Wasn't that more than enough cash? Apparently not. Rep. Weiner (D-NY) has introduced the GothamCorps Authorization Act of 2009 which would spend $260 million a year to subsidize "volunteer" efforts in large cities. Goth... Read more


NTU's Discusses Space Programs' Spending Problems on WTTG-TV
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - April 02, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp discusses GAO reports on NASA and Defense Department space exploration programs plagued with overspending and scheduling problems. "The money just needs to be managed better," Sepp says. "We can't even contemplate things like returning people to the moon or to mars under a government program until NASA gets its act together." ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert -- Senate Budget Resolution
Posted by Pete Sepp - April 02, 2009

The following was distributed to all Senate offices last night: National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “No” on the Majority’s Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 13). Should the provisions of this plan be adopted, the national debt would double in short order, entitlement spending would receive an unsustainable boost, higher taxes would punish small business employers and investors, the death tax would return with a... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: House Budget Resolution
Posted by Pete Sepp - April 02, 2009

The following was distributed to all House offices last night: National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “No” on the Majority’s Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 85). Should the provisions of this plan be adopted, the national debt would double in less than a decade, entitlement spending would receive an unwarranted trillion-dollar boost, higher taxes would punish small business employers and investors, the death tax ... Read more


Reactions to Obama's First Tax Hike
Posted by Demian Brady - April 02, 2009

How is Obama's first new tax playing out? Below are several links and headlines from across the Republic. A lot of smokers were surprised, others vow to quit, and if enough people do quit or seek to trade in what will probably become a burgeoning market in bootleg butts, the feds will have to find something else to tax to pay for bigger government. And AP has the gall to ... Read more


Busting Leninism
Posted by Demian Brady - April 01, 2009

In honor of April Fool's Day, some Russians used explosives to blow a hole in the rear of a statue of Lenin in St. Petersburg. Photos here.... Read more


Proposed Tax Hikes Across the Country
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - April 01, 2009

FoxNews.com reports on proposed tax increases in various states. See what's been proposed where you live. ... Read more


Nationwide 2-1-1 Referral Legislation
Posted by Demian Brady - April 01, 2009

Volunteering has become very expensive since President Clinton first pushed through AmeriCorps. Congress just passed the "Serve Act" to fund $7 billion in "volunteer" activities of the next five years. The bill also creates a commission to seek ways to expand the government's role in volunteering in the future. Apparently, big government wants your time as well as your money. ... Read more


A look at the California budget ballot
Posted by Joshua Culling - April 01, 2009

Our friends at Americans for Tax Reform have a look at the May 19th special election in California, which takes the tax-hiking budget deal directly to the voters. The ballot includes a mix of tax hikes and gimmicks that tap one-time funding sources while ignoring California's overarching fiscal problems. We at NTU join ATR in opposing the mind-numbing stupidity of t... Read more


Tackling the Problems at Hand
Posted by Christy Paavola - April 01, 2009

Today in the Wall Street Journal Congressman Paul Ryan has a great opinion piece that discusses the House Republican budget - a plan that he believes will keep America great and keep the government from imposing on people's rights. He states, "rather than attempting to equalize the results of peoples' lives and micromanaging their affairs, we seek to pre... Read more


Chambers of Commerce on the Dole
Posted by Demian Brady - April 01, 2009

The Salt Lake Tribune asks whether Chambers of Commerce deserve taxpayer money:"... [T]he South Salt Lake Chamber now receives $50,000 a year from the city, plus free office space, making it one of the valley's sweetest government deals for chambers of commerce. 'Obscene is the word for it,' [Mayor] Losser grouses."... Read more


Do Any Democrats Pay Taxes?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 31, 2009

You'd think it was April Fool's Day.... Read more


Rep. Grayson and his idea of "performance based" salaries
Posted by Keith Capp - March 31, 2009

Recently, the Washington Examiner interviewed Rep. Alan Grayson (FL-8) about his bill, the Pay for Performance Act of 2009, which would regulate the pay of anyone who works at a company that received an investment from the Federal government under the stimulus or TARP legislation. During the interv... Read more


NTU YouTube Video Quoted in the Washington Times
Posted by Keith Capp - March 31, 2009

Today, in his commentary for the Washington Times, Kerry Picket wrote about the federal tobacco tax increase that takes affect tomorrow... Read more


Twitter for transparency
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - March 31, 2009

The Offices of Rhode Island's General Treasurer, Frank Caprio, are using Twitter to make RI more transparent. Follow updates at twitter.com/RITreasury!... Read more


Important Transparency Legislation Faces Second Hurdle in Colorado!
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 30, 2009

Friends in Colorado, It's time for spending transparency in Colorado, and you can help by urging your lawmakers to pass HB 1288, the Colorado Taxpayer Transparency Act! Coloradans pay over $4,000 per capita every year in state and local taxes, but have no way of easily accessing information on how that money is spent. Legislation before the Colorado House Appropriations Committee would change that, creating an online searchable database of... Read more


"This Budget Spends Too Much, Taxes Too Much, and Borrows Too Much"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 30, 2009

I just saw Sen. Judd Gregg's (R-NH) response to the President's radio address. While most of it is pretty boilerplate, I found this statement pretty stunning: "If you take all the debt of our country run up by all of our presidents from George Washington through George W. Bush, the total debt over all those 200 plus years since we started as a nation, it is President Obama’s plan to double that debt in just the first five years that he is in ... Read more


Early Bird Registration Extended!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 30, 2009

Great news -- Early Bird Registration for National Taxpayers Conference 2009 has been extended until April 13th. This means you can still be part of Tax Revolt 2.0 for just $99. Here are a few session topics on the preliminary agenda: Using Initiative and Referenda to Advance t... Read more


Now they realize the Big Three aren't viable?
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - March 30, 2009

I'm somewhat pleased to say that the Obama Administration is rejecting the restructuring plans of GM and Chrysler. The bad news is that the Administration has already given them billions of our (taxpayer) dollars and will continue to fund them (Chrysler for 30 days and GM for 60 days) with taxpayer money, at the end of which the companies will likely (in my ... Read more


Finally Finding Debt We Don't Like
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 30, 2009

Today we learned the Obama Administration forced GM CEO Rick Wagoner to resign. Administration officials cited the need for "change" in leadership before the taxpayers would spend more money bailing out the auto-giant. (Wagoner, of course, presided over GM for the past nine years as the company racked up billions in debt.) So to recap: If you're a ... Read more


NTU Letter Cited During House Budget Committee Markup
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 29, 2009

Representative Devin Nunes (R-CA) cites NTU's March 24 endorsement letter of his bill, H. Res. 276, which would put in place reasonable earmark reforms: ... Read more


Taxpayer Tea Party Roundup!
Posted by Demian Brady - March 28, 2009

It is amazing the way this taxpayer protest movement has gathered such momentum. Yet, while people around the country are holding peaceful Tea Parties against Washington's redistributive tax and spend policies, what does the New York Times report on? Two freaks who sent a bomb to the IRS in 1990. Never mind the NYT, on to the good news! Pics fr... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 27, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Taxpayer Tea Parties This Weekend
Posted by Demian Brady - March 27, 2009

1) Saturday in Raleigh County, West Virginia.“Many taxpayers feel we are being taxed without representation,” said Steve O’Brien, an organizer of a petition-signing event set for Saturday in Beckley. “Many are tired of seeing massive amounts of tax dollars being spent without knowing where it’s going. We believe it will eventually lead to eve... Read more


NTU Podcast: The Taxpayer's Turn, Week 2
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 26, 2009

The National Taxpayers Union's second weekly podcast on RedCounty.com, "... Read more


Sales, cigarette tax hikes on the table in Florida
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 26, 2009

Per the Miami Herald. See NTU's press release on the damaging effect a cigarette tax would have on the Sunshine State here.... Read more


SHOCKER: AR cigarette tax revenue to fall short of projections
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 26, 2009

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe recently signed a cigarette tax hike of 56 cents-per-pack into law. The state projected a $85.4 million revenue increase to be dedicated to a new statewide trauma system. On Tuesday I warned the South Carolina legislature that these tax... Read more


If Having a Roof Over Your Head Isn't Enough Reward for Paying Your Mortgage
Posted by Demian Brady - March 26, 2009

... then Representative Bill Shuster (R-PA) has introduced a bill for you! H.R. 1317 would create a refundable credit for people who pay their mortgage on time. And a refundable credit is the sort that could put money in your wallet: if the value of the credit exceeds the amount of taxes you owe, you get the difference in the form of a check from the U.S. Tre... Read more


And in more important news. . . .
Posted by Keith Capp - March 26, 2009

At a time of economic crisis, a government budget deficit estimated to reach $1.85 trillion, and unemployment expected to reach almost 10%, the US Senate has decided to finally take up a very important piece of legislation! They ... Read more


HAHAHA!!! Alternate title: EPIC FAIL
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 26, 2009

The 2008 Chamber of Commerce Spirit of Enterprise Award results have been released. Among the winners: such notable defenders of free markets as Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), and Representative Don Young (R-AK). NOT among the winners: such notable enemies of free markets as Representative Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC). If ... Read more


The Latest Taxpayer Protest
Posted by Demian Brady - March 26, 2009

... happened yesterday in Indianapolis.Nearly 200 activists fed up with inaction by state government on a host of issues and filled with a revolutionary spirit flocked to the Statehouse from every corner of Indiana on Wednesday to stage a protest in the Capitol rotunda. Their message: "The government is not paying attention t... Read more


Long overdue...
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - March 25, 2009

The launch of Minnesota's spending transparency website (now almost 15 months late) will be announced tomorrow. ... Read more


Obama's Tax Code Trip-Up
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 25, 2009

(Alexandria, VA) -- Today the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) responded to an inconsistency in President Obama's statement during Sunday's "60 Minutes" interview that he doesn't believe in using the U.S. Tax Code to punish people. The grassroots citizen group noted that Obama's energy plan pursues precisely this line of attack. Responding to a question about the House Bill that would impose a tax ... Read more


No Credibility on Fiscal Sustainability
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 25, 2009

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro just slammed Republicans on the House Budget Committee for having no credibility on fiscal sustainability -- a charge leveled by someone who has earned "F"s in NTU's Rating of Congress every year from 1992 through 2007. I hope that fiscal conservatives on the Hill are gnashing their teeth when the likes of... Read more


Tax System to be Rebalanced
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 25, 2009

According to Bloomberg.com, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker is to lead a presidential taskforce charged with "closing loopholes, streamlining the law and generating revenue" in an effort to "rebalance the tax system." A few years ago, NTU submitted co... Read more


You Are the Devalued Prime Minister of a Devalued Government
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 25, 2009

I have a practice of trying my best not to listen to Europeans talk about the economy. But this clip of an MEP tearing into English Prime Minister Gordon Brown is just priceless. If only more American politicians would stand up and criticize our government for "willfully worsening our situtation by wantonly spending what little we have left." ... Read more


About Cutting the Deficit in Half
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 24, 2009

For those of you who managed to watch the President's press conference tonight (I made it about 20 minutes before bitterness over American Idol being preempted made me turn off the television) would have heard the President say repeatedly that he'd "Cut the deficit in half in five years." Well that sounds super, but is it? President Obama's budget deficit this year is ... Read more


Standing up for "the Cornerstone of our Democracy"
Posted by Christy Paavola - March 24, 2009

Proponents of allowing Americans to keep their right to a secret ballot received some good news today when Senator Arlen Specter announced that he will not vote for cloture on the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a bill that would eliminate workers' right to a secret ballot in union elections. Specter's refusal to vote for EF... Read more


An Open Letter to AR Governor Beebe: Veto the Milk Tax (HB 1451)!
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 24, 2009

Dear Governor Beebe: On behalf of the more than 3,000 Arkansas members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to veto HB 1451 should it be approved by the Legislature. Such an arbitrary and regressive tax hike on dairy products is bad policy, and it reverses much of the good achieved by the grocery tax cut you signed into law last week. In addition, the scheme would be imposed in the midst of a serious recession that is hitting yo... Read more


714% Cigarette Tax Hike Up in South Carolina Today
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 24, 2009

SC House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) has introduced a bill, HB 3584, that would increase the cigarette tax 714 percent to fund a $139 million low-income health care program. Nevermind the fact that cigarette tax increases rarely meet their ... Read more


Hiking MS Cigarette Tax Would Harm State's Poorest Residents, Overall Economy
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 24, 2009

Mississippi lawmakers already are counting on growing government by using one unstable funding source -- federal stimulus funds -- and should not further jeopardize the state's struggling economy by hiking its moderate cigarette tax to a much higher rate than its neighbors. That's the assessment of the 362,000-member NTU, which has more than 2,100 Mississippi members. "Federal taxpayers across the country are footing a more than $1.6 billion s... Read more


An Open Letter to the Georgia Senate: Eliminate Telecom Slush Fund!
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 23, 2009

Dear Senator, On behalf of the nearly 8,300 Georgia members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to support H.B. 168, which would eliminate the superfluous Universal Access Fund. The Fund was created to ease the burden on rural telecom providers with subsidies, but has since evolved into a wasteful slush fund that lavishes taxpayer dollars on questionable and unnecessary spending projects. By supporting H.B. 168 and repealing the... Read more


Gov. Sanford's reasoning on not accepting "Stimulus" funds
Posted by Keith Capp - March 23, 2009

This weekend I came across an Opinion Journal article by South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford about why he does not want to accept $700 million of the “stimulus” package for his state. Sanford points out that SC already spends 11% of its tax revenue on its debt service and that the 2 year revenue infusion from the federal ... Read more


NY's "Secret" Plan to Raise Taxes
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 23, 2009

According to the New York Post: "GOV. PATERSON and legislative Democrats have secretly agreed on an $8 billion, two- year tax hike on individuals making more than $500,000 a year that will 'sunset' around the time he plans to run for election in 2010, legislative sources told The Post." But, ssshhhhh, it's still a se... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - March 21, 2009

#1: Like a handful of other governors, Alaska's Sarah Palin will not accept a portion of the stimulus. #2: Mike Cox, Michigan's Attorney General, ... Read more


The "What, Me Worry?" Budget
Posted by Demian Brady - March 21, 2009

CBO released a dire warning about the deficits that will result from President Obama's proposed budget. AP reports:By CBO's calculation, Obama's budget would generate deficits averaging almost $1 trillion a year of red ink over 2010-2019. Worst of all, CBO says the deficit under ... Read more


Jared Polis, in context, warns businesses against getting too close to government
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - March 21, 2009

[Update: At about 6:50 of THIS VIDEO CLIP, economist Arthur Laffer praises Jared Polis' remarks made in the House of Representatives.] [Update 2: Conservative anti-tax stalwart Tom McClintock (R-CA) made the following statement ab... Read more


Congresswoman Virginia Foxx Discusses Spending, Stimulus with NTU
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 21, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp recently sat down with Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), two-time Taxpayer Friend Award winner, to discuss the stimulus and debt. ... Read more


Quotation of the Day
Posted by Demian Brady - March 20, 2009

John McCaslin cites a constituent complaint to Representative Marsha Blackburn:I'm tired of the government spending money I have not made yet for programs I don't want.... Read more


Obama administration "incorrect" about deficit estimates
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - March 20, 2009

I used the word "incorrect" in the title because I'm feeling momentarily generous. A more precise word would probably have been "lied". Today's news about deficits is, not surprisingly, much worse than the already-bad picture painted for us by the Obama administration and their ridiculously rosy economic forecasts. An AP article entitled "$1 trillion ... Read more


The Tax Man is Coming to eBay
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 20, 2009

William P. Barrett has an interesting article on Forbes.com for those who sell on eBay. According to Barrett, "Congress last year passed legislation requiring processors of third-party payments and settlements--mainly payment card companies and services like Paypal--to report to the IRS individuals and business entities tha... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 20, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


NTU Op-Ed: Obama Budget Will Bring Back $4/Gallon Gas
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 20, 2009

NTU Director of Government Affairs Andrew Moylan has an excellent op-ed in today's DC Examiner on the energy component of Obama's budget outline. Moylan writes: The Obama budget's massive tax increases on domestic energy have somehow slipped under the radar, yet it's these tax hikes and other punitive measures that will surely reduce domestic ... Read more


Congress You Ignorant S***!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 20, 2009

For the past few weeks we've been subjected to Congress and the President telling us that they're shocked and confused that AIG gave out bonuses. Heck, even Chris Dodd who wrote the loophole in the bailout to let AIG use your money to pay $165 million in bonuses is shocked: ... Read more


The AIG tax bill's possible benefits
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - March 20, 2009

In a fit of economic idiocy driven by misdirected populist outrage, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1586 on Thursday afternoon, subjecting to a 90% tax rate any bonus paid to a person who works at any institution which has received at least $5 billion in TARP money whose: (1) family income is over $250,000 (2) individual income is over $125,000 if he/s... Read more


Listen to NTU's Inaugural Weekly RedCounty.com Podcast!
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 19, 2009

The National Taxpayers Union's first weekly podcast on RedCounty.com, "The Taxpayer's Turn," is up and running. Tune in every Thursday! ... Read more


Walker, Blackwell, Blunt & Glassman at Taxpayers Conf. '09
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 19, 2009

President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation David M. Walker, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, and former Under Secretary of State and author James K. Glassman have all been invited to speak at National Taxpayers Conference 2009. I think hearing just those four gentleman would be worth the price of admission, but wait, there's more -- more speakers, more panels, more information, mor... Read more


Dangerous AIG Bill on Floor
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 19, 2009

We've all been outraged in recent days after hearing that AIG, a company we taxpayers have been forced to bailout to the tune of $160 billion, handed out $165 million in bonuses to some of their employees. There was no bigger opponent to the bailouts than NTU, but there's a very ... Read more


"Stimulus" Dollars Literally Poured into Toilet(s)
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 19, 2009

...in a manner of speaking. In the first of many absurd anecdotes that would be hilarious if our tax dollars weren't paying for them, one of the first stimulus contracts is going to pay for "precast concrete toilet buildings" in Missouri. Hat tip: Allahpundit from HotAir.... Read more


A Peach of a Bill in Georgia
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 19, 2009

To our faithful blog readers and 8,300 members in Georgia, want to lower your phone bill AND eliminate a wasteful subsidy? There's a bill before the State Senate that would do exactly that. H.B. 168 would eliminate the Universal Access Fund once and for all. Georgia... Read more


NTU Submits Statement in Support of Colorado School Transparency
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 19, 2009

As NTU State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling noted, the House Education Committee today will hear SB 57, a bill that would require public schools to post their revenue and expenditures on the Internet in an easily accessible and searchable format. NTU submitted a following statement in support of the Pub... Read more


NTU Featured in Property Tax-Fighting News
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 19, 2009

As much as 60 percent of taxable property in the United States is over-assessed, and don't expect property tax relief any time soon just because home prices have plummeted. This news segment below from a Nashville, Tenn. CBS affiliate was just one of hundreds of similar ones that aired across the country this week on property tax woes -- and citing NTU data on the issue. ... Read more


It Could Be a Long Weekend
Posted by Demian Brady - March 19, 2009

Obama has a new video urging people to go canvassing door-to-door this Saturday to build support for his 5-year $15 trillion budget. It will be interesting to see how strong an effort there is beyond groups like ACORN, notorious for its "... Read more


Public school transparency looms in Colorado
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 19, 2009

Tomorrow in Colorado, the House Education Committee will hear SB 57, a bill that would require public schools to post their revenue and expenditures on the Internet in an easily accessible and searchable format. After a groundswell of grassroots support, it passed the Senate a few weeks ago. The Independence Institute's Amy Oliver has a blog post detailing the state's... Read more


New Mexico's Answer to Economic Woes: A Regressive Tax Hike
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 18, 2009

In the midst of this economic storm, New Mexico has taken a novel approach: raising taxes in order to fund more government spending. If that doesn't sound like a recipe for success to you, that's because you're an intelligent person who realizes that it's unwise to mix a difficult economy with a tax hike. The same can't be said for 37 Members of the New Mexico House, unfortun... Read more


www.showmethespending.com Transparency Update
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - March 18, 2009

This week's www.showmethespending.com state spending transparency update is available here. ... Read more


I Guess It Depends on What You Mean by "Fiscal Conservatism"
Posted by Demian Brady - March 18, 2009

From today's USBUDGET DAILY about the Blue Dog Coalition, who plan to release their own budget outline:The fiscally conservative group of Democrats has largely praised President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2010 budget for its “honest accounting” of costs to run the federal government. The Blue Dog’s plan will reflect the president’s priorities, especially on expanded h... Read more


Universal Pre-Kindergarten Legislation
Posted by Demian Brady - March 18, 2009

While browsing through some of the bills Congress has introduced this year, I did a double take on Rep. Kucinich's Universal Prekindergarten Act, H.R. 555. The bill would authorize $150 billion over the next five years.... Read more


EU Bureaucrats to Spend Time Down on the Farm
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 18, 2009

The BBC reports that "EU agriculture staff are to swap suits and laptops for overalls and shovels under a plan to improve policy-making." Bureaucrats from Brussels will start spending time down on the farm in 2010 as part of a plan that will, among other things, "train bureaucrats to use simpler language, in order to help farmers spend less time ploughing through paperwo... Read more


NTU Press Release: Cigarette Tax Hike Would Harm Florida's Economy, Smokers and Non-Smokers Alike
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 18, 2009

(Alexandria, VA) -- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is already counting on growing government using one unsustainable funding source -- federal stimulus funds -- and should not further jeopardize the state's struggling economy by hiking cigarette taxes. That's the assessment of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has more than 24,000 Florida members. "Florida stands to receive as much as $13 billion in federal stimulus f... Read more


Tea Party Coverage
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 18, 2009

As Natasha has noted, at 6PM (Central) NTU will be bringing a tea party protest to Omaha, Nebraska. To get all you Nebraskans in the mood for protesting, here's a look at the tea parties so far: ... Read more


Massive Tax Hike Proposed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - March 18, 2009

Illinois taxpayers, beware! Earlier today Governor Pat Quinn announced a massive tax hike plan. He's seeking to increase the state's flat 3 percent personal income tax rate to 4.5 percent. Other taxes, like corporate income and tobacco taxes, would also go up. The ... Read more


TARP Still Needs Real Transparency
Posted by Demian Brady - March 18, 2009

Americans are outraged that AIG used taxpayer funds through TARP to give out bonuses to its upper level employees. In addition, AIG paid out billions to Goldman Sachs (was this the source money it wanted to use to repay its own TARP-infusion early?) and billions to European banks. Finally some light has been shined on the this program, but who knows what other shenanigans the TARP companies are up to? Just last week Representatives were compla... Read more


Anti-Tax Rally in Fairfax County
Posted by NTU Gov - March 18, 2009

Are you a Fairfax County resident concerned with the current tax hike proposals to the real estate tax? Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin wants to increase the rate 14.5 cents to $1.05 per $100 of assessed value. This would raise the average tax bill in the county around $60. The Northern Virginia GOP and Republicans United for Tax Relief will be hosting an “Anti-Tax Rally” in front of the Fairfax County Government Center from 6-7 p... Read more


AIG: "A Mistake at the beginning"
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - March 18, 2009

The media and political furor of the week is the employee bonuses paid by AIG under contracts that existed prior to the government’s effective takeover of the company. And while the President as well as politicians of both parties are fulminating about the payouts, voter anger should be directed more at those very politicians than at AIG. In a truly remarkable statement yesterday, GOP Senator Charles Grassley (R-Farm Subsidies, or R-Iowa) ... Read more


Obama Budget Underestimates Cap-and-Trade Tax
Posted by Demian Brady - March 18, 2009

If there is anything conservative in Obama's budget plan, it was its estimate for its cap-and-trade plan. According to a Washington Times report, an Obama administration staffer told Senate staffers that the cap-and-trade tax could cost up to three times its early estimate of $646 billion. So that adds about $1.3 trillion in... Read more


Some Startling Figures
Posted by Christy Paavola - March 17, 2009

We all know that President Obama's budget contains a massive amount of spending, so to help wade through it Congressman Paul Ryan has released a series of graphs that highlight the most egregious aspects of the President's budget. When looking at the graphs you will see that entitlement spending under Obama's plan will increase by $1.012 trillion... Read more


NTU, Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom to Host Omaha Taxpayer "Tea Party"
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 17, 2009

Media Advisory Nation's Largest Taxpayer Group, Treasurer Shane Osborn to Join Activists at "Tea Party" Protest of Uncontrollable Government Spending (Alexandria, VA) -- The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), which has nearly 2,500 members in Nebraska, and Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom (NTF) are holdi... Read more


A Heavyweight Slugfest: Brown v Owen
Posted by NTU Gov - March 17, 2009

Posted by Government Affairs Associate: Andrew Alonso Taxpayers have been taking a real beating as of late, but last week brought news about a victory in a Washington State court battle over a 2/3 supermajority for tax hikes. State Senator Lisa Brown, Democratic Majority Leader... Read more


12 13 Steps for Gov. Quinn before raising taxes
Posted by Keith Capp - March 17, 2009

The Chicago Tribune has a great editorial today that lists 12 steps that Governor Pat Quinn (D) should take before raising the states income tax rate. The editorial board’s steps are: A wage and hiring freeze for state employees Lower the cost of internal se... Read more


Some States Looking at Income Tax Hikes
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 16, 2009

With almost every state in the union facing a budget shortfall, some are considering hiking the personal income tax on high-earners. This is a bad idea, as these citizens tend to be small business owners that create jobs. They are also free to relocate to states with a lower tax burden. Burdening the most productive segment of your population in the middle of a recession probably isn't the best idea, but these revenue-hungry states don't seem to ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Lands Omnibus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 16, 2009

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on H.R. 146, the vehicle for the “Omnibus Public Land Management Act.” Despite a frenzied binge of spending amounting to $1.2 trillion in the last few weeks alone, this bill would heap more than $6 billion of brand new expenditures onto the pile, including $900 million in freshly minted entitlements. The bill includes myr... Read more


NTU Supports "Business Activity Tax Simplification Act"
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 16, 2009

******************************** March 16, 2009 An Open Letter to the United States Congress: Support the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act! Dear Member of Congress: On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to cosponsor and work to enact H.R. 1083, the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act. This legislation is an important element of broader tax simplification efforts. By establishing... Read more


NE Treasurer Shane Osborn: Spending transparency holds politicians accountable
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 15, 2009

Treasurer Osborn is a champion of spending transparency. See his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal for more info on NebraskaSpending.com and the need for open, accountable government at all levels.... Read more


Victory for Whom?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 13, 2009

From today's NEA Education Insider: Defeat of [the DC school voucher program] was a major victory for NEA that could not have been achieved without your help. While NEA has successfully fought voucher proposals in the past, support for the DC program has been strong among some Members of Congress and ending the pilot program has been an uphill battle. In fact, last year, Congress extended the program for one additional year ... Read more


NTU Applauds Governors Sanford and Perry for Refusing "Stimulus" Money
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 13, 2009

(Alexandria, Va.) – The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has applauded South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for their decisions this week to refuse part of the federal stimulus package earmarked for their respective states. Sanford will accept $700 million only if the President allows him to use it to pay down debts rather than create new spending obligations. Perry has refused outright $555 million for ... Read more


Tax Reform Legislation in the 111th Congress
Posted by Demian Brady - March 13, 2009

OpenCRS.com has obtained and made available a new Congressional Research Service publication, Tax Reform: An Overview of Proposals in the 111th Congress. (summary of report) (pdf of complete report) (About OpenCRS.com)... Read more


US Rep. Devin Nunes before, during, and after the bailouts
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 13, 2009

Here's a video that compiles clips of US Rep. Devin Nunes opposing the bailouts: ... Read more


J.O.B.S. Act passes the Georgia House
Posted by NTU Gov - March 12, 2009

The Jobs, Opportunity, and Business Success Act (J.O.B.S. Act) passed the Georgia House today by a vote of 164-4. The bill provides tax credits to employers for each unemployed person hired, suspends the “start-up” fees for one year, and eliminates the state sales tax deposit. "For some reason people in Washington seem to think that only big government spending programs can lift us out of this economic recession," said Rep. Tom Graves (R- R... Read more


Read the Bill
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 11, 2009

When she took over as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi promised us the "most open and honest Congress in history." As part of that promise she declared "Lawmakers must have the opportunity to read every bill before they vote on it. It’s common sense." Well, for ... Read more


NTU Supports "No Cost Stimulus Act"
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 11, 2009

NTU released this letter in support of the No Cost Stimulus Act, a bill introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT). I'm glad to see that some folks in Congress are crafting smart, common-sense plans to increase economic growth without heaping more burdens on taxpayers. ******************** An Open Letter to the United ... Read more


Sanford: "The first order of business is to stop digging"
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 11, 2009

In a letter to the South Carolina legislature yesterday, Gov. Mark Sanford outlined his plan to reject calls for new spending programs using the portion of federal stimulus dollars under his control. Sanford's claims that his office has discretion over $700 million. Instead of new spending, he will use that money to pay down the state's debt. He also takes the general i... Read more


Back Off Me!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 11, 2009

Whoopi Goldberg, not known for being a raging conservative, has three words for the taxman (which I'm nominating to be the new official NTU motto): "Back off me!" ... Read more


Achieving Carbon-Neutrality Is Tricky Business
Posted by Demian Brady - March 10, 2009

The Associated Press reports that the House quietly abandoned its pledge to become "carbon-neutral" because, as I've long suspected, there is no way to verify that "carbon offset" schemes actually offset any carbon.It turned out that the House's goal to become carbon neutral — by removing as much carbon dioxide f... Read more


NTU Open Letter: Ensure Transparency and Accountability by Posting Stimulus Expenditures Online
Posted by Joshua Culling - March 10, 2009

Dear Governor: Recently, President Obama signed into law a $787 billion package that supporters claim will stimulate the economy. Unfortunately, the legislation is packed with wasteful spending, most of which will fail to reverse the downturn and will, instead plunge our country further into debt. On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union nationwide, I ask you to reject the portion of the stimulus package to be directed ... Read more


A Long-Term CR?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 10, 2009

According to US Budget News Service: If Senate Republicans succeed in amending the $410 billion omnibus bill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Tuesday, Congress may just punt on the package altogether and pass another continuing resolution to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year. The Senate appears poised to vote Tuesday on an amendment by Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) that would require Members ... Read more


Stimulus Spending by State
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 10, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has put together an interactive map of per capita education, pell grant, HUD, and Medicaid spending as well as dollars per square mile transportation spending. In case you were wondering, the District of Columbia will receive $1,807,256 per square mile in transportation money. The next largest -- Rhode Island at just $88... Read more


Video Contest
Posted by NTU Gov - March 10, 2009

Heritage and Americans for Prosperity have teamed up to create a video contest called “Stop Spending Our Future”. They want you to submit videos responding to the question: What's your biggest frustration about the government's appetite for more spending in... Read more


NTU Statement on Obama Energy Plan: Tax Hikes, Resource Restrictions Counterproductive
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 10, 2009

NTU released a statement today criticizing President Obama's energy plan as outlined in his budget: From NTU President Duane Parde: "At a time when so many households are facing previously unimaginable financial constraints, it's more counterproductive than ever for Washington to subsidize politically favored industries while punishing others with tax hikes.... Read more


Rewarding Those Who Can Teach
Posted by Christy Paavola - March 10, 2009

In the last few months President Obama has spent billions of dollars on education - not all of which will necessarily help students learn. A prime example of this is the $21 billion for school modernization. Today, however, he released his education agenda which includes a merit pay plan for teachers. We know that one of the number one factors in determining ... Read more


Kleptocracy -- Collect All Three
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 10, 2009

The cynical folks at Despair.com bring you three new t-shirts based on the new game sweeping the nation -- Kleptocracy. In case the Community Cheat or Cheat cards in the pic above are too small to read at this resolution, here's what they say: Your 'investment' in Congress paid off. Get out of Jail, Free. You ... Read more


New State and Local Taxpayer Groups
Posted by Christy Paavola - March 09, 2009

Recently eight new taxpayer groups from the states of New Hampshire, Connecticut, California, Alaska, Illinois and North Dakota were added to NTU's extensive list of state and local taxpayer groups. Make sure to check out our list to find a taxpayer group in your area! ... Read more


New Litmus Test for GOP Candidates
Posted by NTU Gov - March 09, 2009

Stephen Gordon with The Next Right has proposed that a new “litmus test” be implemented for 2012 Republican Presidential candidates. In the current era of massive government spending, Gordon proposes a different approach from the pro-life litmus test of the ... Read more


Early Registration Ends March 31st
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 09, 2009

Early-bird registration for National Taxpayers Conference 2009 ends March 31st -- so time is running out. The event will be held June 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel in Arlington, VA. Read more -- and register -- here. ... Read more


News from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - March 06, 2009

#1: Transparency in state spending continues to spread. Enormous deficits on the one hand, and large flows of stimulus spending on the other, have been raising citizens' interest and expectations about the degree to which government reveals how officials steward taxpayer dollars. #2: ... Read more


Johnnie Walker Needs Our Help!
Posted by Demian Brady - March 06, 2009

As a member of the Striding Man Society, I received this email: Dear Demian, As someone who enjoys great brands such as Smirnoff, Crown Royal, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, Ketel One, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray, Guinness, Beaulieu Vineyard or Sterling Vineyards wines, you are a member of the Diageo family. As a member of our family, you need to be aware that in the coming months, lawmakers will be proposing tax increases that will... Read more


"Spending Fatigue"
Posted by Demian Brady - March 06, 2009

Congress couldn't come to a deal on the bloated omnibus spending bill. The deadline to pass it was today, but instead they're passing a Continuing Resolution to push the deadline back to next week. The $410 billion package covers the remaining spending bills leftover from the last Congress. Republicans tried to push for a spending freeze as an alternative to the omnibus's 8 percent increase, but that amendment was defeated. House Appropriat... Read more


Top 10 Cities with Lowest Tax Burden
Posted by Demian Brady - March 06, 2009

YahooFinance! has a Kiplinger's listing of the ten cities with the lowest tax burdens. Anchorage tops the list with a state & local tax burden of 3.6 percent. Surprisingly, Chicago slips into tenth place on the list, this runs counter to everything I've heard about that city.... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - March 06, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Omnibus Appropriations
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 05, 2009

March 6, 2009 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on H.R. 1105, the omnibus appropriations bill. This $410 billion legislation heaps an additional 8.7 percent spending hike on top of the recent binge embodied in the $800 billion+ “stimulus” plan. Furthermore, the bill contains more than 8,500 earmarks at a cost of $7.7 billion. The federal government faces a... Read more


NTU Testifies in Support of MD Taxpayer Protection Act
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 05, 2009

NTU State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling is testifying before the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee this afternoon in support of HB 684, the Taxpayer Protection Act, which would amend the state Constitution to require a three-fifths majority of each House of the General Assembly to approve an increase in any existing tax rate or the creation of any new tax... Read more


Obama Benefited from School Choice; Why Can't They?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - March 05, 2009

That's the message in this terrific video from the Heritage Foundation: ... Read more


Transparency Legislation Moves Forward in Colorado
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - March 04, 2009

On March 4th, Colorado House Bill 1288 unanimously passed (11-0) the House Finance Committee and will now be considered by Appropriations. The bill requires the creation of a searchable site of state expenditures by no later than January 1, 2010. This bill, ... Read more


Earmark Kings
Posted by NTU Gov - March 04, 2009

Taxpayers for Common Sense released a list of the biggest earmarkers in the Senate. The list only includes earmarks from the FY 2009 Omnibus bill, leaving out three spending bills that were passed in the fall (Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs). Those 3 bills contained 2,000 e... Read more


People Got a Lotta Nerve
Posted by Demian Brady - March 04, 2009

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Timmy "Turbo Tax" Geithner had the nerve to testify before Rep. Charlie "Sunny Isles Beach... Read more


Join NTU's Team Taxpayer
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - March 04, 2009

We alert. You call. They listen! Fight big government with your mobile phone. Text "FIGHT" to 54608 to sign up for NTU's text messaging advocacy service. It's free beyond standard messaging rates of your mobile plan. E-mails can be easily ignored by Congressional staffers and the offices of state legislators, but hundreds -- or thousands --... Read more


"We're Giving the American People a Slap in the Face"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 03, 2009

During the presidential campaign Sen. McCain was generally about as exciting to watch as the National Spelling Bee (OK, except for the year that kid passed out). But, being a presidential loser has livened up the senior senator from Arizona. In his most recent foray, Senator McCain savages the bloated, pork-filled budget recently passed by the House: ... Read more


Tuesday market thoughts...another day
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - March 03, 2009

On Tuesday, the stock markets put in another dismal performance, with all major indices closing down on the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 6726, down 37 points, about 20 points above its low and 125 points below its mid-day high. And immediately after the bell, futures are trading substantially lower, as if the Dow were down another 25 points or so. The market closed at levels last seen in October, 1996. Technology stocks ... Read more


The Cap-and-Trade Tax
Posted by Demian Brady - March 03, 2009

The President's budget includes a proposal to enact a cap-and-trade program for emissions. Certain industries would be required to buy allowances for their carbon emissions, which represents a hefty new tax expected to raise about $80 billion a year. I just received an email from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities with this subject line: Administration's Cap & Trade Proposal is Not a Tax Increase; Raises Revenues to Help Consumers ... Read more


"The Greatest Wealth Destruction I've Seen by a President"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 03, 2009

Jim Cramer, who admittedly is given to excess, has officially fallen out of love with our President. On the Today show this morning Cramer declared: "We have an agenda in this country that I would regard as a radical agenda. We have a budget that came out that basically put a level of fear in this country that I have not seen, ever, in my life...This is the greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a President." You can watch Uncle Jim spiral... Read more


Do Any Democrats Pay Taxes?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 02, 2009

Ron Kirk, who was nominated to be U.S. Trade Rep by President Obama owes the IRS $10,000. To recap: Rep. Charlie Rangel (chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee), Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Tom Daschle (nominee for Health and Human Services secretary) and Nancy Killefer (nominee for chief performance officer) all f... Read more


DC Kids Ask To Go To School
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - March 02, 2009

Click below to see beneficiaries of DC's school voucher program ask President Obama to let them go to the school of their choice: ... Read more


A Budget Time Line
Posted by Demian Brady - February 27, 2009

1952: First time budget outlays top $500 billion (1) 1979: Outlays exceed $1 trillion (1) 2003: Outlays exceed $2 trillion (1) 2008: Outlays pass $3 trillion (1) 2009: Outlays projected to pass $3.9 trillion (2) 2014: Outlays projected to exceed $4 trillion (2) 2019: Outlays projected to exceed $5 trillion (2) (1) FY 2009 Historical Tables of the U.S. Budget, in constant dollars. (2) From on Obama's ... Read more


Another Stimulus? Will This Never End?
Posted by Sam Batkins - February 27, 2009

Thought the last stimulus was bad? According to the National Journal’s poll of insiders, 65 percent of Democrats expect another stimulus, mainly because “it may be wise to invest as much money to fix the problem.” Sixty-three percent of Republican insiders believe there will be another stimulus package. Let’s hope the “insiders” are wrong and Specter... Read more


Spending Transparency in Minnesota?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 27, 2009

Although Minnesota's spending transparency database was supposed to have been launched thirteen months ago, it's still not live. Read more in NTUF's article from today's minnpost.com.... Read more


NPR Highlights "Text 'FIGHT' to 54608"
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 27, 2009

NTU is asking mobile phone users to sign up for our new text messaging service by texting "FIGHT" to 54608. National Public Radio was at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday; NPR covered NTU's text messaging service in this story.... Read more


I Liked the Campaign Obama Better
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 26, 2009

... Read more


Pay Up!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 26, 2009

Toby Harnden, of The Telegraph, has done some numbers crunching on President Obama's budget. And it's depressing. According to Mr. Harnden, the President's $3.552 trillion budget will cost each American taxpayer $25,573.48. To put that in perspective, that's the equivalent of a ... Read more


Now That's a Lot of Change
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 26, 2009

In Tuesday's joint session, President Obama rightly beat up on President Bush for running up deficits over the past eight years. And he was right to do it. But now the time for speechifying is over, and President Obama wrote a budget. And sadly, it looks like he learned all the worst lessons from the Bush administration. In just his first year in offi... Read more


Tax Cuts and "Tax Cuts" in Obama's Budget
Posted by Demian Brady - February 26, 2009

The Good -- Makes the R&E tax cut permanent. The Semi-Good -- Freezes estate tax at 2009 levels of a $3.5 million exemption and 45 percent top rate (not as good as full repeal in 2010 but much better than a reversion to a $1 million exemption and 55 percent rate). "Tax Cuts" -- The budget cites $278.6 billion in new tax cuts for families and individuals over five years. However, 42 percent ($118 billion of these "tax cuts" are refundable --... Read more


Taxes in Obama's Budget
Posted by Demian Brady - February 26, 2009

Obama's new budget preview is heavily dependent on higher taxes. Table S-1 projects that federal receipts will grow by over 13 percent in each of years 2011 and 2012. That would be the biggest one year jump in tax receipts since 1969 saw a 15.2 percent increase from 1968, however, the receipts dropped over the next two years. 1951 an... Read more


Some real stimulus oversight
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 26, 2009

Today, a group of Senators and Members of the House got together to launch the Fiscal Responsibility Working Group. The goal, according to their press release, is to promote accountability and transparency in the stimulus bill. Unfortunately for all of us, Congress didn't see fit to create an actual Congressional oversight board in the legislation, so these brave Members of Congress are forming their own group to tackle the issues. Led by Se... Read more


US House office expenses should be online!
Posted by Keith Capp - February 26, 2009

Earlier this month, NTU’s Kristina Rasmussen wrote a letter to the U.S. House Committee on Administration. In the letter, Rasmussen requests that the committee direct the House’s Chief Administrative Officer Daniel P. Beard to publish the Disbursements of the House on the CAO’s website. The Disburs... Read more


Fewer Children = Savings
Posted by Demian Brady - February 26, 2009

I've been browsing through the budget and noticed that it assumes a ten-year savings of $190 million by "expanding availability of family planning services under Medicaid."... Read more


Budget Heads Up
Posted by Demian Brady - February 26, 2009

The Administration is releasing a preview of its budget today, available as a pdf here: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy10/pdf/fy10-newera.pdf (146 pages). The complete set of budget documents will be released in April. ... Read more


Goodbye, NTU!
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 25, 2009

Dear friends, colleagues, and GovernmentBYTES fans: After three-and-a-half wonderful years with the National Taxpayers Union, I’m joining the Illinois Policy Institute as their new Executive Vice President . The Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research organiza... Read more


Come join our Taxpayer Tea Party!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 25, 2009

Sick of bailouts, mind-boggling spending, and politicians in DC and your state that just don't get it? Join the crowd! NTU is joining together with several other conservative organizations to start a "New American Tea Party" protest. When the colonists got sick of the out-of-touch British and their absurd taxes, they revolted and pitched shipments of tea into Boston Harbor. Let's reprise that effort and start a new Tea Party of our own! Join... Read more


House Passes Omnibus Spending
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 25, 2009

The House has passed H.R. 1105, the Omnibus Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2009, by a vote of 245-178. Despite what you might have heard about reforming or ending earmarks, you might be shocked to learn that the bill contains earmarks. You can download an Excel file of earmarks compiled by the Appropriations staff to see what pork -- I mean, Congressionally-directed spending --... Read more


A Fiscal Look at the President's Address to the Nation
Posted by Demian Brady - February 25, 2009

Last night, President Obama laid out the agenda that will be released soon in his first official budget. His speech last night continued some of the main themes he discussed during the campaign, such as expanded access to health care and education. However, his more recent emphasis on stronger fiscal discipline still lacks a list of remedies to make a prognosis of lower budget deficits in the near future. Health Care (unknown): Th... Read more


Spending transparency passes unanimously in Virginia
Posted by Joshua Culling - February 25, 2009

From Norm Leahy at Tertium Quids: HB 2285, Del. Ben Cline's budget transparency bill, passed the Senate today 40-0. Ken Cuccinelli's transparency bill (which mirrors Cline's) passed the House 100-0. Let the sun shine in. NTU has been involved in this fight from the beginning, and though the legislation was watered down a... Read more


NTU Supports "Secret Ballot Protection Act of 2009"
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 25, 2009

NTU sent a letter to Congress today in support of the "Secret Ballot Protection Act of 2009," introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Reps. John Kline (R-MN), Tom Price (R-GA), and Howard McKeon (R-CA). NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan writes: American workers should be allowed to make decisions about joining a union in private, free of retribution fr... Read more


His, Mine, Ours?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 25, 2009

An insightful observation from political analyst Rich Galen regarding President Obama's address to Congress: President's story about the bank executive who shared his bonus with his employees. The Members applauded because they think they do that all the time. The difference is: He gave away his money. They give away our money. ... Read more


Tax Relief in Maine is Just One Election Away
Posted by Joshua Culling - February 24, 2009

The Maine Secretary of State has certified two important initiatives for the 2009 ballot. The TABOR NOW initiative (An Act to Provide Tax Relief) would enact a Taxpayers Bill of Rights in Maine, limiting the growth of government spending, giving voters the right to approve or deny new taxes, and refunding surplus revenue to the taxpayers. TABOR would go a long way in restoring sound pro-growth economi... Read more


Using Tax Dollars to Teach Students What They Already Know
Posted by Christy Paavola - February 24, 2009

In light of California's budget problems you would hope that the state would try to cut spending on wasteful projects. However, in California's public schools that seems not to be the case. One middle school is using taxpayers' dollars for an AP Spanish class that consists mainly of students from Mexico, or the sons and daughters of Mexican immigrants. In a class o... Read more


NTU Launches Weekly Internet Radio Program
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 24, 2009

NTU has begun a weekly Internet radio show called "Speaking of Taxpayers" on gmmy.com, which nets tens of thousands of site visitors each month. The 30-minute program airs every Sunday from at 3 p.m. ET, 2 p.m. CT, 1 p.m. MT, and 12 p.m. PT. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp and I host the show, which features interviews with NTU policy experts, the latest news on important taxpayer is... Read more


A mortgage bailout is a bad deal!
Posted by Keith Capp - February 24, 2009

It’s the last week of the month and time for myself and millions of other Americans to cut a check to our landlord. I rent because at this time in my life I feel that it is the smart decision. I don’t want to be saddled with a house and mortgage I can’t afford or being stuck with a house when my life circumstances change. Like many in the country, I agree with CNBC’s Rick... Read more


Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn Interviewed about Nebraska's Spending Database
Posted by Keith Capp - February 23, 2009

NTU has continued its work with the Show Me the Spending Coalition and periodically interviews champions of the government transparency movement. Recently, NTU’s Kristina Rasmussen was able to speak with Nebraska Treasurer Shane Osborn about Nebraska’s online spending database and his goals for it in the future. You can ... Read more


Washington Tea Party
Posted by NTU Gov - February 23, 2009

New American Tea Party and The American Spectator will be hosting a Tea Party Rally on Friday February 27th. The event will take place from 12-2 pm at the Washington Monument. The National Taxpayers Union will be co-sponsoring the event. Several other Tea Party events will be held simultaneously across the country. Take a break from CPAC on Friday and... Read more


12 Brave Senators
Posted by NTU Gov - February 23, 2009

The Club For Growth's Andy Roth has posted the names of the only 12 U.S. Senators that voted NO on the auto bailout, TARP, and the stimulus. Here they are: Barrasso (R-WY) Bunning (R-KY) Cochran (R-MS) Crapo (R-ID) DeMint (R-SC) Enzi (R-WY) Inhofe (R-OK) Roberts (R-KS) Sessions (R-AL) Shelby (R-AL) Vitter (R-LA) Wicker (... Read more


Biden to Oversee Stimulus Spending
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 23, 2009

According to reports, Vice President Joe Biden has been tasked with overseeing the implementation of the stimulus package. In selecting Biden as the guardian of nearly $800 billion in taxpayer money, President Obama said, "The fact that I'm asking my vice president to personally lead this effort shows how important it is for our c... Read more


Why Do Some Governors Oppose the Stimulus?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 23, 2009

Governors Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Mark Sanford (South Carolina), Butch Otter (Idaho), Rick Perry (Texas), and Bobby Jindal (Louisiana) strongly oppose the states receiving certain cuts of the federal stimulus package. Why? In two years, the federal funds designated to increase state spending on welfare, education, and health care will no longer flow to th... Read more


How to start a taxpayer group
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 21, 2009

Mad about your property taxes? Interested in starting up a taxpayer group? Find out how you can start and run a successful state or local taxpayer association by reading this short tutorial authored by NTU for Heritage Foundation's The Insider magazine. ... Read more


Does your state let you see how it spends your money?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 20, 2009

Ever wondered what it takes to see exactly how government spends your taxpayer dollars? Click below and hear what Ed Martin, Chief of Staff to former Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, has to say about putting up the Missouri Accountability Portal: ... Read more


New NTU poll: housing bailout
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 20, 2009

... Read more


Wisconsin Gov. Wants iTunes Tax
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 20, 2009

According to Macintosh News Network, "Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle would like iTunes customers to help pay for the state's budget shortfall, according to the Associated Press." It is hoped that the tax would raise $11 million over the next two years, which will certainly help close the $600 million budget gap the state now faces and the $5.7 billion defici... Read more


Stadium Deal is about "Public Benefit", Not Dollars
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 20, 2009

When politicians push a publicly-financed stadium deal in their communities, they usually highlight how the new stadium will be an engine for economic growth and generate an economic return for taxpayers. Again, that's what usually happens, but apparently that's not the case in Prince George's County Maryland. PG County -- as it's known locally -- wants to build a soccer stadium for DC United, the Major League Soccer franchise that had been... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 20, 2009

HT: Andrew Moylan, Andy Roth, and IBD ... Read more


Rick Santelli Isn't Happy
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 19, 2009

I think this speaks for itself: ... Read more


NTU Letter Supporting Spending Commission
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 19, 2009

Last week, NTU and our friends at Citizens Against Government Waste hosted a press conference to urge Congress to oppose the stimulus and begin systematically addressing the absurd amount of waste in the federal budget. At that conference, Representative John Sullivan (R-OK) announced that he was introducing a bill called the "Federal Agency Program Realignment and Clos... Read more


NTU Testifies in Support of MD TABOR
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 19, 2009

NTU State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling is in Maryland today testifying before the House Ways & Means Committee in support of Del. Warren Miller's Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. Maryland presently faces a budget deficit of $2 billion, despite a number of significant tax hikes that have recently been in... Read more


Manny gets a bailout
Posted by Joshua Culling - February 19, 2009

Per The Onion.... Read more


Laugh at this immediately
Posted by Joshua Culling - February 19, 2009

Best. Video. Ever. ... Read more


Your Stimulus is So Fat...
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 18, 2009

We know the spendulus is big and bloated and porky. But thanks to one scrappy numbers cruncher now we know that the stimulus weighs more than the punchline to a "Your Momma's so fat" joke. So the math: every dollar bill (and every other US bill) weighs about one gram. 1 million grams = 10... Read more


This Week's Transparency Newsletter Posted
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 18, 2009

Click here and scroll down to see this week's state spending transparency update. Speaking of transparency, as California's crisis continues be sure and refer folks to this... Read more


Yes, We Care!
Posted by NTU Gov - February 18, 2009

Conservative syndicated columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin organized a rally to protest the President signing the “porkulus bill” in Denver, Colorado yesterday. Food and entertainment were supplied at the protest. The event featured both a live pig, as well as a roasted one for attendees to enjoy. Along with the hundreds of taxpayers in attendance, Jim Pfaff of Colorado Americans for Prosperity, Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute... Read more


Fiscal Responsibility Summit
Posted by NTU Gov - February 18, 2009

The White House has announced that President Barack Obama will hold a “Fiscal Responsibility Summit” on Monday the 23rd. The three-hour bipartisan summit has invited 90 people, which include 30 House members, 30 Senators and 30 representatives of advocacy groups. NTU has yet to receive an invitation. In the wake of signing the largest spending bill in history, President Obama would now like to demonstrate “fairness” by holding a summit to di... Read more


The real cost of the Generational Theft Act
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - February 17, 2009

It's a sad day for America, as The Chosen One flew to Denver (what a sad statement about our formerly excellent state) to sign one of the most ill-conceived pieces of legislation in American history. If anyone tries to defend it to you in the next 48 hours, please ask him (or her) what percentage of the bill he has read or believes he understands. One point that must be made: The media is talking about this bill as if it's $787 billion...al... Read more


NTU Letter Supporting H. Res. 85
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 17, 2009

NTU released this letter today supporting Taxpayers' Best Friend Representative Jeff Flake's resolution to close a loophole in earmark accountability rules. As it stands right now, the House Ethics Manual specifically states that getting campaig... Read more


NTU Op-Ed: Obama Cabinet Nominee Withdrawals Demonstrate Tax Code Must Be Reformed Now
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 17, 2009

NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan has an op-ed in today's Examiner (DC) calling for Tax Code reform with a new twist. NTU has long supported overhauling the nation's Tax Code for a simpler and more transparent version. But now, we have some new arguments on our side: namely, Trea... Read more


Oregon Legislators Target the per Barrel Tax on Beer
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - February 16, 2009

Here's the full story including the video. Ben Canon (Oregon Legislator): "We know that this [sin tax] works and it pays for itself many tim... Read more


What Exactly Was the Rush?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 16, 2009

On Friday, Congressional Democrats rushed through the passage of the stimu-LIE about 12 hours after the thousand-page bill became public. The reason, apparently, was so we could get the money to the people as fast as possible. But three days later, and the bill been signed yet. In fact, the bill won't be signed until Tuesday ... Read more


Got (Crunchy) Pork?
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - February 16, 2009

Michelle Malkin has the great story to go along with these rinds. ... Read more


I've Got 7 New Valentines
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 14, 2009

House and (most) Senate Republicans deserve praise for voting no on the Stimul-LIE. But let's not forget about the seven House Democrats who stood up to their party and voted "nay" on the bill. They're not always with us, but when it came to bucking a popular president of their own party on his pet issue, these Congressmen put the taxpayer first: Bobby Bri... Read more


Thank You, John Boehner and House Republicans
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 13, 2009

Today, the House voted 246-183 in favor of the spendulus bill. The House Republicans voted 0-176. That, ladies and gents, is a big deal. So taxpayers owe a big "thank you" to Minority Leader John Boehner, his Whip Eric Cantor, and the rest of the House Republican Leadership team for saying no to heaping more debt on our children for a package that is unlikely to stimulat... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 13, 2009

#1: Despite expected gains from the stimulus, the California state budget and the budgets of other states will still be in the red. #2: Transparency: The transparency of Colorado's education spending is at stake: Senator Ted Harvey's legislation, if passed in ac... Read more


"Not One Member Has Read This Bill"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 13, 2009

... Read more


What $13 Trillion Means
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 13, 2009

My good friend Cord Blomquist over at the Competitive Enterprise Institute posted some truthy goodness over at OpenMarket today where he explains exactly what $13 trillion really means. Here's the portion that really struck me:"Then there’s the interest on this staggering debt, which isn’t exactly small. Paying the interest on the curr... Read more


What's in the final stimulus
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 13, 2009

From a congressional source: The bad news. The final bill: •INCLUDES a $1 billion earmark for the “FutureGen” near zero emission sci-fi plant in Matoon, Illinois that is a pet project of Senator Durbin and disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich. The Washington Post has called the project “prohibitively expense” and scientists at MIT oppose the project. •INCLUDES House language that funds a back-door effort to socialize medi... Read more


Pencil In Your Last Minute Requests
Posted by NTU Gov - February 13, 2009

Congressman Tom Price (R-GA) released a video this morning uncovering the freshly edited “porkulus” bill. The final bill was made available to the members last night at 11pm. The draft contains over 1,000 pages. The House is set to cast their final vote today. Congressman Price reveals that the bill they received contains several pages with hand written edits. One of these penciled-in additions was altering funding for a project from $100... Read more


An Union Attempt to Revoke Freedom
Posted by Christy Paavola - February 13, 2009

It is widely known that the number one priority for Big Labor is the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), a grossly misnamed bill that would take away employees' right to a secret ballot in union elections. Today the Wall Street Journal writes about an attempt by Anna Burger, chair of the Change to Win Federation, to ensure that opposition to this bill is st... Read more


NTU Op-Ed: Va. Needs Spending Transparency
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 13, 2009

NTU State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling has an op-ed today in the Fredericksburg, Va.-based Free Lance-Star supporting transparency legislation in Virginia. SB 936, sponsored by Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, and HB 2285, sponsored by Del. Ben Cline, would create online searchable databases of state expenditures. Transparency has enjoyed bipartisan support at t... Read more


Now That's Change I Can Believe In!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 13, 2009

We were promised the most open and ethical government in history. And I guess this kind of counts. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) told us, "No, I don’t think anyone will have the chance to [read the entire stimulus]." So, Congress won't read the stimulus. And Speaker Pelosi br... Read more


Register Now for National Taxpayers Conference 2009
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 13, 2009

Online registration is now available for National Taxpayers Conference 2009, June 11-13 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City just outside Washington, DC. Visit NTU's National Taxpayers Conference hub online, where you can: ... Read more


White House's Stimulus Job Numbers Don't Add Up
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 12, 2009

According to Ben Smith over at Politico, White House numbers on the stimulus's job creation targets are not adding up...... Read more


Chairman Rangel is flummoxed about the stimulus
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 12, 2009

... Read more


Stimulus details
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 12, 2009

The Republican Whip’s Office just released the following information on the "stimulus" deal: DEMOCRATS MADE TAX RELIEF SMALLER… • Cut car credit (potentially from $11.5 billion to $2 billion) • Cut “Make Work Pay” credit from $500/individual to $400/individual, and from $1,000/couple to $800/couple (approximately $28 billion less in tax relief) • Cut home buyer credit from $35 billion to $3-5 b (limited to f... Read more


NTU/CCAGW Press Conference Photos
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 12, 2009

We had a great turnout at this morning's press conference against the stimulus -- thanks to everyone who attended. NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp, flanked by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), CCAGW President Tom Schatz, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), addresses reporters and other audi... Read more


Don't we deserve our 48 hours?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 12, 2009

We're told that the stimulus conferees have worked out a $789 billion deal behind closed doors. Votes could happen as soon as tomorrow. One small catch. On Tuesday the House voted unanimously to have the final text posted for 48 hours before voting on it. Waiting 48 hours would give us a vote on Saturday, yet Members are ready to hightail it out of Washington ASAP. Ap... Read more


NTU, CCAGW Form "Ax Brigade" to Urge Federal Budget Cuts
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 12, 2009

NTU and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) have formed a new alliance to recommend concrete budget cuts and save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. From NTU's press release: As leaders of the new "ax brigade," NTU and CCAGW will offer extensive lists of areas ripe for a reduction in fed... Read more


Taking on the porkulus with Fox Business News
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 11, 2009

... Read more


Transparency in Virginia
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 11, 2009

According to the Tertium Quids, prospects for transparency are looking bright in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Senate Bill 936 passed unanimously and is o... Read more


Olympia Snowe's 2006 Congressional Candidate Survey
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 11, 2009

Answers from Olympia Snowe's 2006 NTU Congressional Candidate Survey: 4. SPENDING RESTRAINT. I will work and vote for a freeze of total non-defense discretionary spending for at least the first two fiscal years beginning after the 2006 general election. I will not vote for any budgetary gimmicks (such as claiming non-emergency spending as emergency spending) and w... Read more


NTU and CAGW to Host Press Conference on Waste
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 11, 2009

The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) and National Taxpayers Union will hold a press conference tomorrow, Thursday, February 12, 2009 at the National Press Club to urge members of Congress to take this last opportunity to vote FOR the taxpayers and AGAINST the bloated, wasteful “stimulus” package, and to immediately embark on a new congressional war on wasteful spending on behalf of taxpayers. Who: The Council for C... Read more


Open Illinois Week!
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 11, 2009

During February 23-27, citizens in Illinois can join with the Illinois Policy Institute in calling on county officials to increase local transparency. This project, sponsored by Sunshine Review, seeks to make every one of the state's 102 counties transparent to taxpayers. Citizen... Read more


Markets to Obama Administration: Here's what we think of your bailouts
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - February 11, 2009

On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped 382 points, or about 4.6%, to 7889, its biggest drop since December 1st, 2008, its lowest close since November 20th, 2008, and its second-lowest close since March 14, 2003. And what happened on Tuesday? The Senate, with the help of 3 RINOs, at least one of whom (Arlen Specter) I hope to see lose a primary challenge in less than two years, passed its version of the "stimulus" bill. A... Read more


California Controller Immune to Budget Crisis
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 10, 2009

**A guest post from Government Affairs and Communications Associate Matt Gall** Facing a $40 billion budget deficit, California's State Controller John Chiang seems oblivious to the ruin around him. According to purchase orders, the controller's office spent $2 million for new office furniture as recently as a few weeks ago, AND is requesting an additional $1 million in the 09-10 budget. It has also been reported that Chiang had his hand in... Read more


"The American People Really Don't Care"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 10, 2009

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) tells us, "The American really don't care" about pork in the stimulus: ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - February 10, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


On That Lost Decade...
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 09, 2009

In tonight's press debacle, President Obama declared: [I]f you delay acting on an economy of this severity, then you potentially create a negative spiral that becomes much more difficult for us to get out of. We saw this happen in Japan in the 1990s, where they did not act boldly and swiftly enough and, as a consequence, they suffered... Read more


Fire the Press
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 09, 2009

We're on the eve of the Senate enacting a trillion dollar spending bill. A trillion dollars. And so the President called a press conference. One would think the members of the fourth estate would have grilled the President on his bill. Perhaps someone could have asked him about the Congressional Budget Office report that said his spending bill will end up hurting the economy. Perhaps they could have challenged his assertion that there we... Read more


Didn't know you elected a used car salesman, did you?
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - February 09, 2009

Another sign that this legislation goes in the, "You know you've got a lemon when..." file: This blog has no advertising relationship with the entity being advertised. The ad is simply noted for its opportunistic wording.... Read more


KY Governor, legislators propose a bunch of tax hikes to balance budget
Posted by Joshua Culling - February 09, 2009

Kentucky is facing a $456 million budget deficit for the current fiscal year, and a variety of excise tax hikes are on the table to close it. Rather than come to terms with the state's overspending problem, leadership in Frankfort is insisting on increasing taxes on cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor. Gov. Beshear requested a 70-cent increase in the cigare... Read more


What does your governor think of a federal stimulus?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 09, 2009

Click here to see how various governors have reacted to the idea. ... Read more


NTU Senate Vote Alert: Stimulus Substitute
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 09, 2009

National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the Collins/Nelson substitute to the “stimulus” package. The so-called reductions in this compromise bring the total cost to $827 billion – that’s $7 billion more than the House-passed version! Strong taxpayer concerns remain about the size, scope, and duration of this bill (let alone its underlying economic wisdom). Our members question many of the remaining speci... Read more


With all due respect, Mr. President...
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 09, 2009

... Read more


Questionable spending in the Senate compromise
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 09, 2009

Below is a list of wasteful and non-stimulative spending that Senator Coburn's office has identified in the Nelson-Collins substitute: • $2 billion earmark for FutureGen near zero emissions power plant in Mattoon, IL • $39 billion slush fund for "state fiscal stabilization" bailout • $5.5 billion for making federal buildings "green" (including $448 million for DHS HQ) • $200 million for workplace safety in USDA facilities • $275 million f... Read more


The clock is ticking on the stimulus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 09, 2009

If you want to get involved and stop the spendulus plan, time is running out. The Senate is voting on the bill TONIGHT. Contact your Senators now and tell them we can't pork our way to prosperity! Join the 4,100 people who've participated just since Friday night!... Read more


CBO: The Stimulus Will Hurt the Economy
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 08, 2009

That's right. The spendulus that we've been told time and again is necessary to prevent Armageddon will actually hurt our economy over the long haul. According to the Washington Times: President Obama's economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, ... Read more


Another voice for teacher salary transparency
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 08, 2009

J.H. Snider, president of iSolon.org writes in today's Washington Post in favor of teacher salary transparency. He notes that: As of June 30, about 111 teachers and guidance counselors in Anne Arundel [Maryland] earned more than $100,000 a year in salary, with the top salar... Read more


NTU to Obama, Reid: Time to Read, Review Bill
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 08, 2009

An Open Letter to Majority Leader Reid and President Obama February 7, 2009 To: Senate Majority Leader Reid, President Obama Americans face a time of great economic challenge, and have watched with equally great interest as the House of Representatives and now the Senate have crafted legislation designed to address that challenge. Last night, news of a comp... Read more


Why non-smokers should care about Cigarette Taxes!
Posted by Keith Capp - February 08, 2009

At NTU we are trying to make more YouTube videos about taxpayer issues! Our first video is about why non-smokers should care about cigarette taxes. What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for future projects or comments? Leave a comment below and maybe your topic will be online soon! ... Read more


Senator Landrieu's sickening honesty
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - February 07, 2009

I'm not going to get the quotes exactly right, but close enough to exactly right that you'll get the point... Last night, I saw Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) interviewed on Fox News by Greta Van Susteren. Greta asked the Senator how the numbers for each line item were arrived at to which the Senator replied "People can look at any line item in the bill and find something they don't like." Now, I'm sure she didn't mean it the way it so... Read more


Senator Kerry is scared of you
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 07, 2009

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on the Senate floor during the stimulus fight: I've supported many tax cuts over the years, and there are tax cuts in this proposal. But a tax cut is non-targeted. If you put a tax cut into the hands of a business or family, there's no guarantee that they're going to invest that or invest it in America. They're free to go invest anywhere that they want if they choose to invest. (my emphasis)... Read more


More stimulus phone numbers, email addresses
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 06, 2009

Reach out to the following Senate offices (phone and email) and tell them to stop wobblingon the "stimulus" hoax: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) jane_alonso@collins.senate.gov District phone numbers: (207) 622-8414 (207) 945-0417 (207) 283-1101 (207) 493-7873 (207) 784-6969 (207) 780-3575 Senator Olympia Snowe (... Read more


Find out how the famous are connected
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 06, 2009

Want to learn more about someone you've just seen on TV? What about basic information on people such as Timothy Geithner, John Thain, or Jason Furman? To get the scoop on famous individuals and to see their connection... Read more


Stimulis: Because all economies have performance issues
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 06, 2009

... Read more


What does 600,000 new government jobs look like?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 06, 2009

Obama's pledge to create 600,000 new government jobs would be like creating six new Internal Revenue Services. Scary.... Read more


Senate Math
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 06, 2009

A very smart House staffer friend of mine wrote something interesting this morning. Much is being made of the bipartisan group of Senators who are trying to cut back on wasteful spending in the spendulus in the hopes that the Senate can pass something today. But this staffer friend reminded us to not get confused about what the baseline is... $820 billion (House-passed stimulus) + $100 billion (Senate's additional lard) - $100 billion (cutti... Read more


New welfare spending in the "stimulus"
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 06, 2009

Heritage's Robert Rector writes about how the House stimulus package has $264 billion in new means-tested welfare spending. That's about 32 percent of the total spending in the bill, and it equals about "$6,700 in new welfare spending for every poor person in the U.S." But that's not all. Because of budget gimmicks, the real 10-year cost for this extra welfare i... Read more


Don't let them scare you into socialism
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - February 06, 2009

In at least three public appearances yesterday, Barack Obama cried that our economic troubles would turn into a catastrophe if we don't pass his "stimulus" bill. Other Democrats are making the same pitch, including Nancy Pelosi's statement that "500 million Americans will lose their jobs every month." On Friday morning, we received an employment report that was even worse than bad expectations. Payrolls were down by 598,000 jobs, the most in... Read more


NTU in Deroy Murdock Column
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 06, 2009

Syndicated columnist Deroy Murdock cites NTU's Pete Sepp in his column today about the struggle to shape the stimulus among President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Had Obama pushed harder for his proposals, Congressional Democrats wouldn't have turned the bill into the free-for-all that it's become, Mur... Read more


I'm Glad Someone Thinks This is Funny
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 06, 2009

Byron York reports President Obama gave the following justification for the spendulus bill at the Democrat retreat: So then you get the argument, well, this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? (Laughter and applause.) That's the whole point. No, seriously. (Laughter.) Th... Read more


Yes We Are Serious.
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 05, 2009

Today President Obama asked of opponents of the spendulus, "Are these folks serious?" It seems our President wants us to "rise to the occasion" and shut the heck up. It's no surprise our President doesn't want us to talk about his spendulus plan. Because the more we learn about this bill, the more we're left asking, "Mr. President, are YOU seri... Read more


Tax Code = FAIL
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 05, 2009

Word has now come out that Labor Secretary nominee Hilda Solis' husband paid $6,400 to settle tax liens yesterday. It really makes you wonder, do any of these high-ranking officials pay all of their taxes on time? But perhaps more importantly (caps warning), WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO ACCEPT A TAX CODE THAT IS A) THIS HARD TO FIGURE O... Read more


Show Me the Spending Coalition Grows
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 05, 2009

Transparency in how the government spends your money has long been a hobby horse of NTU. A key part of that effort has been searchable databases (databasi?) of government spending. Today The Economist joins our efforts to force all states to "Show Me the Spending(.com)." ... Read more


The New President Signs His First Tax Hike
Posted by Demian Brady - February 05, 2009

Yesterday Obama signed an expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program at a cost of nearly $74 billion over the next ten years. This bill will drive more people out of the private health care market and increase dependency on the federal government. And as we see with TARP, an increase in dependency leads to a loss of freedom -- the federal government then feels it has the right to regulate just about everything you do. The progr... Read more


NTU Op-Ed: Real Stimulus Wouldn't Empty Wallets
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 05, 2009

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp has an op-ed on the "spendulus" in Investor's Business Daily: The single largest spending bill in congressional history, this $850 billion "stimulus" is a massive expansion of government that will ultimately shortchange its financiers -- American taxpayers... Read more


Public Transit at its Worst
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - February 05, 2009

Today, multiple train malfunctions caused major headaches for commuters on Metro's red line. Packed platform at Dupont Circle station. The Examiner reports that local transportation officials are clamoring for stimulus funds: Metro, meanwhile, has c... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Ensign Amendment to Stimulus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 05, 2009

February 5, 2009 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the Ensign “Fix Housing First” amendment to H.R. 1, the so-called economic “stimulus” package. Language to buy up and convert mortgages to a 4% rate would exacerbate the many problems of our bloated federal government by effectively nationalizing tens of millions of loans. This policy, which repeats ... Read more


A Few Good Men...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 04, 2009

My current boss at NTU Pete Sepp and my former boss at Cato Neal McCluskey are both quoted in this good article from CNS News questioning whether spending $140 billion on education can be called "stimulus." The education funding in the "spendulus" plan is just one item on a long list of things that are clearly liberal wish-list items, not geared towards a... Read more


NTU Senate Vote Alert: Stimulus Amendments
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 04, 2009

National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on the following amendments to the “spendulus” package (S. 1): • Senator DeMint’s “American Option” amendment, which would truly stimulate the economy by enacting a series of tax cuts. Reducing the tax burden now on individuals and institutions will ensure long-term economic prosperity later. • Senator Vitter’s “Eliminate Wasteful Spending” amendment, which would s... Read more


82% of Americans don't want to join a union
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 04, 2009

Today, the Center for Union Facts (CUF) released a unique new poll which found that 82% of non-unionized American workers would not like their jobs to be unionized. No wonder the unions are pushing so desperately for card check, so they can publicly bully more people into joining their ranks. The only union this taxp... Read more


Obama's 1 percent pork claim untrue
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 04, 2009

On CBS Evening News, President Obama claimed that less than 1 percent of the spending in the Senate "porkulus" bill was potentially non-stimulative in nature. In the same vein, the Financial Times is reporting that, according to White Ho... Read more


Would-Be Chief Performance Officer Withdraws
Posted by Andrew Moylan - February 03, 2009

*A guest post from Government Affairs Associate Andrew Alonso* - - As Dominic posted, another appointed Obama official is at the heart of controversy. Nancy Killefer was Barack Obama's choice for the newly-created position of Chief Performance Officer. NTU wrote Ms. Killefer a letter last week providing some ... Read more


Seriously?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - February 03, 2009

This is a like a bad joke. First we find out Charlie Rangel, the guy who is in charge of writing tax laws in the House of Representatives, was about $5,000 short on his tax bill. Then Tim Geithner, the guy President Obama picked to run the IRS, told us he ... Read more


Stock market shows little hope for Obama
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - February 03, 2009

For those of you who haven't been paying attention to financial markets (which is probably somewhere between 0% and 2% of my readers), I'd like to point out that the Dow Jones was not only down 9% in January, but it's down 17% since the election of The Chosen One. Here's the ... Read more


More reasons to oppose the Senate "stimulus" spending bill
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 02, 2009

This excellent round-up was provided by Senator Tom Coburn's office. Wasteful Spending Provisions$2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Dept. of Energy defunded last year because the project was inefficient A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film $650 million for the digital television (DTV) converter box coupon pro... Read more


Vote on Mayors' "Wish List" Projects for Your City
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - February 02, 2009

Remember the protest against the Conference of Mayors' wish list? Mayors throughout the United States sent Congress a $96.6 billion wish list of "shovel-ready" projects that would allegedly create jobs and improve the nation's infrastructure. Now you can read about, comment, and ... Read more


Taxpayers left in the cold by Stimulus' Health IT
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - February 02, 2009

Two things caught my eye this morning with regards to the ""Health Information Technology" Standards Committee in the Senate's stimulus bill. But first, what is the purpose behind this new arm of government? According to this summary by the WSJ's Kimberley Strassel: Under th... Read more


State Highlights
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 31, 2009

#1: The national unemployment rate is at 7.2%. That link features an interactive map which allows one to see how unemployment has changed in each state since November 2007. #2: Should a fiscally sound state a... Read more


Best Line of the Week
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 31, 2009

In the wake of prominent Democrats discovering that they forgot to pay their taxes (we're looking at you Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel, HHS Secretary-Nominee Tom Daschle, and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor had what might be the funniest line of the week. As reported at the ... Read more


Taking on the "Porkulus"
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 31, 2009

And no, Scott Rasmussen is NOT my... Read more


TARP Junket
Posted by Demian Brady - January 30, 2009

If it is wrong for companies that have taken TARP funds (these companies shall henceforth be referred to as GSE's, as in Government Sponsored Enterprises) to buy jets or to provide productivity incentives (i.e., bonuses) to their employees, then it is surely wrong for one of these GSEs to send Congressmen on a junket to St. Marten. If ... Read more


NTU Senate Vote Alert: Vote No on S. 1
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 30, 2009

NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the $888 billion “stimulus” package (S. 1). Bloated government budgets don’t make economies soar. Our 362,000 members understand that shifting money from individuals to a mishmash of government programs (many with questionable performance records) will not “stimulate” lasting economic growth. Our members also question the wisdom behind many of the specific spending provisions in the bill. Spending $4... Read more


Paul Ryan on the Stimu-LIE
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 29, 2009

One of the highlights from last night's stimu-LIE debate was Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) speech in favor of Rep. Camp's (R-MI) alternative: ... Read more


The Beginning of the End
Posted by Christy Paavola - January 29, 2009

As Kristina pointed out in an earlier post states will receive a significant portion of money for education under the Democrat's stimulus bill. These funds will help to open the floodgates for even greater federal intrusion in public education and bloated education budgets. Michael J. Petrilli of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute summed this problem up best by stating: ... Read more


If I Didn't Laugh, I'd Cry
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 29, 2009

There's not a lot to like about the Stimu-LIE, but if there is one bright spot, it is watching Speaker Pelosi try to explain how her pork will stimulate the economy. Here she is trying to defend STD Prevention on the Early Show: ... Read more


Hey Dad, Park That Pork over Here!
Posted by Demian Brady - January 29, 2009

The National Parks Service is set to receive $2.25 billion in the Stimu-LIE bill, as much as it would normally get in a year. Is it any coincidence that House Appropriations Chairman David Obey's son is a lobbyist for the National Parks Conservation Association? The Washington Times has the ... Read more


Porkulus
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 29, 2009

That's Rush Limbaugh's name for the non-stimulus bill. This is why he get's paid the big bucks. ... Read more


Obama's So-Called Stimulus: Good for Government, Bad for the Economy
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 29, 2009

Cato's Dan Mitchell explains why government spending does not spur economic growth. ... Read more


The 11 Democrats
Posted by Demian Brady - January 28, 2009

... who voted against the so-called "economic stimulus" package: Boyd, Allen (Florida, 2nd) (Blue Dog) Bright, Bobby (Alabama, 2nd) (Freshman) Cooper, Jim (Tennessee, 5th) (Blue Dog) Ellsworth, Brad (Indiana, 8th) (Blue Dog) Griffith, Parker (Alabama, 5th) (Freshman) Kanjorski, Paul (Pennsylvania, 11th) Kratovil, Paul (Maryland, 1st) (Freshman/Blue Dog) Minnick, Walt (Idaho, 1st) (Freshman) Peterson, Collin (Minnesota, 7th) (Blue Dog... Read more


Is runaway education spending the root problem?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 28, 2009

The $79 billion state bailout (a.k.a "State Fiscal Stabilization Fund") in the House Democrats' stimulus bill will be administered by the Department of Education. At least 61 percent of the "State Fiscal Stabilization Fund" must be spend on education. Is this a defacto admission that runaway education spending (thanks, teachers unions!) is what "destabilizes" states' fiscal picture in the first place?... Read more


We don't need Obama's porky spending plans.
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 28, 2009

The House just voted to pass the $1.1 trillion stimulus package, but not a single Republican voted in favor of the wasteful spending bill. Not one. Kudos for standing up for taxpayers. Eleven Democrats saw the light and voted no, as well. Your calls and your emails made a difference, NTU supporters. Thank you. Now call your senators at (202) 224-3121! ... Read more


A New Car for Every New Upper-Level Bureaucrat
Posted by Demian Brady - January 28, 2009

The "Stimulus" provides $600 million to the General Services Administration for the acquisition of motor vehicles, including plug-in and alternative fuel vehicles. According to the FTC, new cars cost an average $28,400 which means the government will be able to buy 21,126 new cars. If you feel left out, don't worry, our dear leaders have it covered. There is another bill... Read more


Happy Birthday, National Park Service: Here's Your Slice of Stimulus Cake
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 28, 2009

As part of the House Democrats' "stimulus" bill the National Park Service to slated to get $100,000,000 for its Centennial Challenge program, which is prepping the National Park Service for its 100th birthday. In 2016. Wow. ... Read more


Non-Stimulus in the So-Called Stimulus Bill
Posted by Demian Brady - January 28, 2009

Drudge and Dominic wrote earlier today about the STD funding in the emergency package that is supposed to stimulate the economy. Here are a few other items in the bill of questionable stimulative merit: $160 million to expand AmerCorps; $120 million for the Department of State for the design and construction of a backup information management facility; $99 million for cybersecurity. If Congress wants to fund these various programs, it... Read more


"We won the election. We wrote the bill."
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 28, 2009

Or so said Speaker Pelosi about the stimulus bill. A significant portion of the stimulus would be directed toward government programs that will probably not be temporary. In the words of Thomas Sowell, "This administration and Congress are now in a position to do ... Read more


Clap for the Stimulus!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 28, 2009

It's time to stop calling the "stimulus" a stimulus. Page 147 of the "stimulus" (which you can read at NTU's ReadTheStimulus.org), authorizes "not less than $335,000,000" for STD prevention programs. So to recap: the bill is loaded with pork, will provide little to no stimulus, and will drive us even deeper into debt.... Read more


Pro-taxpayer amendments to House stimulus bill
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 28, 2009

The House is voting on the stimulus today, and taxpayers should pay special attention to the following amendments: Neugebauer (TX): #109 Would strike the appropriations provisions from the bill. Flake (AZ): #132 Would strike funding for Amtrak. Shuster (PA): #95 Would clarify that federal funds received by States under the bill for highway m... Read more


Better late than never
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 28, 2009

It took the Washington Post a while, but they finally picked up on that fact that the House "stimulus" bill only contains $40 billion for highway and rail (less than 5 percent of the total spending). So much for this being an "infrastructure" package. I ... Read more


Governors seek public employee compensation concessions
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 28, 2009

From the AP:Governors across the nation are seeking significant concessions from public employee unions in hopes of helping to balance their teetering budgets during the economic downturn. From Maryland to California, Ohio to Hawaii, governors have asked or ordered state workers to accept furloughs, salary reduction... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: H.R. 1
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 27, 2009

NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on the $604 billion spending package (H.R. 1). Bloated government budgets simply don’t make economies soar. They didn’t work in the 1970s, the last time Washington tried spending its way out of a slump. It would be an outrage to now add $6,700 to each household’s share of the national debt to pay for a misguided, rushed, and desperate attempt to “do something, anything” about the economy. Our 362,000 members... Read more


Tuesday Must Read
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 27, 2009

Our friends at Heritage ask Nancy Pelosi, "What is the spending multiplier on a pack of condoms?" ... Read more


New Administration's pressure forces Citigroup to cancel jet purchase
Posted by Keith Capp - January 27, 2009

In a move that might bring a hint of a smile to taxpayers, the Obama administration has "suggested" to Citigroup that they cancel the order for their new $50 million Dassault Falcon 7X corporate jet. ... Read more


Invasion of the Conservative Snatchers
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - January 27, 2009

There’s been a large number of science-fiction movies and shows, like “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or the evil “Borg” from Star Trek: The Next Generation, in which an alien force takes over individuals, usually leaving them appearing to be nearly normal...but the viewer knows better. In every case, there’s at least one character in the movie who seems able to avoid being taken over or “assimilated” by the Pod People, the evil blob, or whatev... Read more


Hilarious: Corrupting Bill's File is...Corrupted
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 27, 2009

File this under "Hilarious, but terrible:" the PDF file containing the text of the Senate's version of the appropriations title of the stimulus bill is corrupted. Maybe all those toxic earmarks it was stuffed with corrupted the file once and for all. That means that NTU and the other watchdogs that started ReadTheStimulus.org can't begin to convert the file into a searchable format.... Read more


Iceland Melts
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - January 27, 2009

If you read between the lines of this story I think you might see what I do: Iceland's Social Democrat government is looking for an EU bailout. According to the recently released Index of Economic Freedom: "Iceland is relatively weaker in terms of fiscal freedom, monetary free... Read more


House Members Obscure Expense Reports
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 26, 2009

Paul Singer of Roll Call released a story today about how House members are obscuring their expense reports. I blogged about this problem back in 2006:Unfortunately, aggregate sums are simply not good enough for taxpayers footing the bill. We’re already seeing a de facto t... Read more


Totally Predictable Bailout Outrage of the Day
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 26, 2009

Bank of America spent $15 billion on bonuses for Merrill Lynch executives while they received $20 billion in bailout money removed directly from taxpayer pockets. Aren’t you glad that Congress and the President swooped in to save the economy with a giant pile of our money? Think what would have happened ... Read more


ReadTheStimulus.org, NTU in TIME
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 26, 2009

More than 27,260 people have visited ReadTheStimulus.org, where you can search, read, and comment on the Democrats' spending plans. TIME caught on to ReadTheStimulus.org, and quoted NTU on some of the silly provisions in the bill.... Read more


"Critical" Investments?!?! Really, Congress?!?!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 26, 2009

Time and time again, we've heard from the left that their ginormous $825 billion "stimulus" plan includes "critical investments" in infrastructure and other needs. Doing a simple Google search for "stimulus critical investments" brings up over 1.4 million hits. I am shocked, SHOCKED, that so many people think their projects are so critical that they're deserving of my tax dollars. "Critical?" I beg to differ. By definition, the stimulus pl... Read more


Why States Are in Trouble
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 26, 2009

In this article, the Wall Street Journal explains why states such as California are so insolvent. Even taking the recession into account, "the states aren't innocent victims. Their revenues have collapsed of late, but the main reason so many states are broke today is becau... Read more


Dave Camp and the Economic Stimulus Plan
Posted by Keith Capp - January 26, 2009

There is something very telling about the current stimulus plan that was exposed by Ranking Member Dave Camp (MI-4) in last week’s US House Ways and Means Committee hearing. Rep. Camp pointed out that with a cost of almost $1 trillion dollars the Joint Taxation Committee staff did not have an estimate if a single job could ... Read more


Highlights from the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 24, 2009

#1: California’s budget crisis continues, but politicians are looking hopefully toward the $11 billion that they could receive from the federal stimulus package (which might be passed in the House as early as next week). #2: ... Read more


Video from Pork Protest!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 23, 2009

Check out the video from last weekend's protest of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and their ridiculous pork... ... Read more


Carton Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - January 23, 2009

HT: TaxGuru... Read more


Totally Predictable Bailout Outrage of the Day
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 23, 2009

Banks who have received bailout money are continuing to lobby the feds, racking up millions in costs while taxpayers shovel billions onto their balance sheets. But of course there's no connection between the two...No siree, not at all. GMAC, the financial arm of General Motors, actually more than tripled to $4.6 million in 2008. This i... Read more


Gillibrand Will Replace Hillary Clinton
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 23, 2009

New York Governor David Paterson has reportedly chosen Representative Kirsten Gillibrand to serve in the United States Senate seat vacated by now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Gillibrand is a surprise, given her relative youth (just 42) and the fact that she's only been in Congress for two years. You can bet your bottom dollar that ... Read more


RIP Two Buck Chuck
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 22, 2009

For those of us sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollars in college and grad school debt, the finer things in life tend to reside on the McDonald's Dollar Menu (on special occasions the two Sausage Egg McMuffin for $3 deal works too). And for those who enjoy imbibing from time to time there's no finer wine than the inestimable Two Buck Chuck. The super cl... Read more


VA Transparency Bill's Fiscal Impact Statement: $3 Million?!
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 22, 2009

Today, the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget released a fiscal impact statement for Sen. Cucinelli's SB 936, which would create a searchable online database of state spending. It came out to $1.5 million, magically $500,000 more than last year's estimate. This number is vastly inflated, as other states have ... Read more


House Passes TARP Disapproval Resolution
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 22, 2009

Too bad the next $350 billion will get spent anyways! The House just passed a resolution of disapproval for the second half of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout by a vote of 270-155. On the surface, that seems like a good sign, but to quote the prophets from Public Enemy, "Don't believe the hype!" The Senate already ... Read more


CA Republicans back down, put tax hikes back on table
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 22, 2009

California's well-publicized budget crisis has thusfar been met by Republican legislators' staunch opposition to tax hikes. Unfortunately, their steadfast commitment to a meaningful pro-growth solution to the $41 billion deficit appears to be no more. After months of holding firm on a "no new taxes" pledge, some Republican lawmakers said Wednesday that they are willin... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on House TARP Disapproval Resolution
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 22, 2009

January 22, 2009 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “YES” on H.J. Res. 3, introduced by Representative Foxx, to disapprove releasing the second $350 billion of the bailout program. Despite the federal government’s actions to exhaust the first installment of $350 billion worth of taxpayer money through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), our economy is in la... Read more


Depressing Statistic of the Day
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 21, 2009

More people are employed by government than manufacturing and construction combined. You can expect that disparity to grow as we enter the era of: The question we ask today is not whether our government is too large or too small, but whether it works...... Read more


GM to shrink to 4 brands in U.S.
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 21, 2009

GM will reduce its brand lineup to four core brands in the future (Buick, Chevy, Cadillac, and GMC). Sort of. I say sort of because it doesn't look like they'll actually kill off the other brands, just shift their "focus" to those four. I've always said that GM has way too many brands. They end up creating too many similar cars... Read more


California government spending
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 21, 2009

It appears likely that another federal stimulus package will pass soon, especially since the fiscal outlook remains bleak for some states. For example, according to this page about the California state budget, unless California is able to increase its revenues in the near future, the state will have a deficit of $346 million by the end of February, and a wh... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- The Post-Inagural Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - January 21, 2009

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Barack Obama, meet Mr. Dow and Mr. Jones
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - January 20, 2009

I'm not necessarily attributing causality when all we really know is correlation, but the stock market dropped 180 points, or about 2.25% in the 4 hours after The Chosen One became the 44th President of the United States. My mother asked me if there were likely to be any substantial stock market rally in the next few days because of the new president. I said I thought the opposite to be more likely, and that any fanciful hope for Obama to be ... Read more


"Ineffective" programs list disappears from ExpectMore.gov
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 20, 2009

Obama is giving his inaugural speech as I type this. He's spoke of making government "work" again, so I went to check on the web site (ExpectMore.gov) that reviews the performance of individual federal programs. I clicked on the link for the list of "not performing" programs. ... Read more


Pork Protest Saw Good Turnout
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 19, 2009

NTU's protest on Saturday against the U.S. Conference of Mayors' porky wish list had a good turnout -- thanks to all of you who braved the cold to oppose the mayors' "shovel-ready" projects! A few photo highlights: ... Read more


Mayors' job numbers highly suspect
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 19, 2009

Many of our good readers know that NTU organized a protest this past Saturday of the porky spending plan put together by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The Mayors' claim to be able to create 1,604,371 jobs with their list of spending projects. But how strong is that number? Here's just... Read more


Sorry drivers, stimulus bill favors rail over roads.
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 18, 2009

Out of the $550 billion “stimulus” spending plan, $30 billion is dedicated to highway infrastructure investments. $10 billion is marked for transit/rail. Let's look at which transportation mode people actually use. According to the Bureau of Transportation... Read more


Toothless "Responsibility" Provision in Stimulus Bill?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 18, 2009

With the help of the search function at ReadTheStimulus.org, I found this provision regarding the “appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.” Basically, to get any money for projects, the chief executive of a state or city (think Governor, Mayor) must certify that “the infrastructure inve... Read more


State Highlights and News
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 17, 2009

#1: Officials in many states hope to receive a portion of the $825 billion national stimulus package that Congress may pass in coming months. Despite the apparent benefits of such legislation, federal aid to the states would actually undermine the otherwise-clear message budget shortfalls convey: "we need to change how we're spending money." #2: State ... Read more


ReadTheStimulus.org
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 17, 2009

NTU is proud to announce its cosponsorship of ReadTheStimulus.org, where you can read, search, and comment on the 334 page, $850 billion stimulus bill from the House Democrats. I've already posted a few comments on the weak transparency, accountability, and restriction provisions in the bill. Won't you join the conversation?... Read more


Government performance tools
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 16, 2009

According to OMB, each federal program, GAO high risk area, and government-wide management reform effort has:Performance goals, Plans for accomplishing the goals by specific dates, Senior managers who are held accountable for implementing the plans as promised, and Transparency to keep all constituent groups informed of the performance relative to the goals.Here's where to find them: ... Read more


NTU: Ex-Presidents Earn Millions in Lifetime Pension Benefits
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 16, 2009

A study by NTU has found that ex-presidents are earning millions in annual lifetime pension benefits -- excluding hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for staff, travel, and other office expense reimbursements. The following Presidential pension estimates are based on public records concerning length of federal service, age at the time of retirement, life expectancy... Read more


Pence Slams Stimulus
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 16, 2009

Taxpayer Friend Mike Pence takes on the stimulus and rebate schemes on Fox News: ... Read more


More Stimulus Skeptics
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 16, 2009

While NTU promotes real fiscal stimulus plans, Washington porkers are busily trying to decide how to get their hands on your tax dollars. The current Democratic plan would spend $825 billion, but even according to research done by Bara... Read more


NTU on Fox Business Network
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 16, 2009

NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan appeared on Fox Business Network's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" last night to discuss cutting "ax-ready" waste rather than funding so-called "shovel-ready" projects in the U.S. Conference of Mayors' wish list. ... Read more


Polling goes against higher taxes
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 16, 2009

From CQ Politics: Harvard pollster Robert Blendon said in an interview after the briefing that his separate polling at the state level as the recession deepens shows that people are “furious” at the idea of raising state taxes to close budget shortfalls. ... Read more


Senate Votes to Flush $350 Billion More of Your Money
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 15, 2009

The Senate just voted 42-52, FAILING to pass a resolution of disapproval on spending $350 billion more on the TARP bailout plan. That means that they supported the second half of the bailout. The measure will now move to the House where, if it passes, it will certainly be signed into law. FAILout, part II. Apparently that first $350 billion was so effective that the Senate couldn't help itself but to vote for the second half, too. It's tim... Read more


Recovery.gov: Not good enough.
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 15, 2009

We've now got legislative language for the de-stimulus spending package. It says there will be a consolidated report on the use of funds posted annually on Recovery.gov. We don't want annual. We don't want consolidated. We want real-time, detailed information. Even USASpending.gov is updated... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Senate TARP Disapproval Resolution
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 15, 2009

January 15, 2009 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on S.J. Res. 5, introduced by Senator Vitter (R-LA), to disapprove releasing the second $350 billion of the bailout program. Despite the federal government’s actions to exhaust the first installment of $350 billion worth of taxpayer money through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), our economy is in... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Frank TARP Bill
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 15, 2009

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 384, the “TARP Reform and Accountability Act.” This legislation, sponsored by Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), would authorize the disbursement of an additional $350 billion for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), while attaching some conditions and provisos to supposedly “fix” the defects encountered... Read more


THIS is your "tax cut" plan?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 15, 2009

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has released an outline of the "tax cut" policies we'll likely see in the Democratic "stimulus package." Nary a broad-based rate cut to be found. But I did want to point out some of the zanier ideas:Removes repayment requirement on $7,500 first-time home buyer credit for homes purchased after 2008 and before terminati... Read more


A New Car in Every Driveway!
Posted by Demian Brady - January 15, 2009

Senator Feinstein has introduced a "Cash for Clunkers" bill to give people vouchers worth up to $4,500 for trading in their old cars so they could buy a new fuel-efficient vehicle or use public transportation. The price tag for the taxpayers? AP reports estimates range up to $2 billion a year. I see a market for speculators in cheap old cars! Unless of course, with all the... Read more


How House freshmen voted on first tax hike
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 15, 2009

Yesterday NTU issued a Vote Alert on H.R. 2, which sought to increase the federal excise tax on tobacco by 156 percent. Here are the names, states, and party of House freshmen who voted “YES” to increase taxes: Adler (D-NJ) Austria (R-OH Boccieri (D-OH) Cao (R-LA) Connolly (D-VA) Dahlkem... Read more


Nevada Launches Spending Transparency Site Tomorrow
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 14, 2009

As Governor Gibbons gives his state of the state speech tomorrow evening, 9 PM EST, be sure to visit www.nevadaspending.com and take a look at financial data such as the state's actual expenditures or the Governor's budget estimations for 2010 and 2011.... Read more


Vote Transparency Passes SC House
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 14, 2009

The Spending Accountability Resolution passed the South Carolina House today 115-0. According to Rep. Nikki Haley, it requires the following votes to be recorded: Every second reading of a bill (where debate occurs) All amended 3rd readings (Final passage of a bill) All conference committee reports (when the House and Senate compromise) all Senate amendments (bills that are amended from the Senate that come back for appr... Read more


Let's Simplify the Tax Code
Posted by Demian Brady - January 14, 2009

If the incoming Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who will be in charge of the IRS, can't figure out how to properly pay his taxes, how can the rest of us be expected to? From AP:Obama told reporters Wednesday that Geithner had "corrected" his tax situation, which Obama said was the result of "innocent mistakes."So when needed, m... Read more


Blagojevich impeached, again
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 14, 2009

In case you were wondering about Representative Rob Blagojevich's NTU Rates Congress scores (which include all fiscal floor votes), here they are: 2001 Grade: F 2000 Grade: F 1999 Grade: F 1998 Grade: F 1997 Grade: F And no, we don't "sell" A grades to the highest bidder. ... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: Vote NO on HR 2, Tobacco Tax Hike
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 14, 2009

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU strongly urges all Members to vote “NO” on H.R. 2, the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This bill would increase spending – and the corresponding burden on taxpayers – for SCHIP by an additional $35 billion over the next four-and-a-half years. Some states already use SCHIP to cover adults and/or households earning up to three... Read more


Call and support Virginia Transparency Bill
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 14, 2009

Virginia's spending transparency bill is SB936, and it has been referred to the Senate General Laws Committee. The Committee meets today! NTU endorsed a previous version of this bill last session. Don’t you deserve to know how your tax dollars are spent? Ca... Read more


Your Greed, Not Ours
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 14, 2009

The regional director of a government employee union in Ohio (AFSCME) sent in a rather windy letter to the editor in response to Cal Thomas' "Santa Claus Government" article that took aim at the ... Read more


You want stimulus? We got it.
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 14, 2009

NTU has endorsed the Economic Recovery and Middle-Class Tax Relief Act. (H.R. 470). While some in Congress are considering spending upwards of $1 trillion on government programs and projects, we know this would be a grievous mistake. Shifting money from individuals to government programs (many with questionable performance records) will not "stimulate" sus... Read more


Cut "Ax-Ready" Waste Before Funding "Shovel-Ready" Projects
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 14, 2009

NTU and CCAGW are offering an alternative to the U.S. Conference of Mayors' list of "shovel-ready" projects to stimulate the economy: an updated list of "ax-ready" programs and legislation that would reduce wasteful spending. Instead of the mayors' $96.6 billion wish list of "ready-to-go" projects to... Read more


Join us on 1/17 to Protest Mayors' Porky Projects
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 13, 2009

RSVP via Facebook.com here. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has submitted a list of "ready to go" projects to Congress for consideration as part of a "stimulus" spending package. If the mayors get their way, taxpayers would have to shell out over $96,000,000,000 for silly projects like the following: •$6,000,000 for snowmaking at a ski resort in Minnesota. •$... Read more


Stop Congress's Automatic Pay Hike
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 13, 2009

NTU Director of Government Affairs sent a letter to the House today urging cosponsorship of bipartisan legislation (H.R. 156) that would prevent an automatic $4,700 ... Read more


Congress Should Reject 2nd Half of TARP
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 13, 2009

NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan sent a letter to Congress today urging lawmakers to reject the authorization of the remaining $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). What about that first $350 billion? Oh, that's right -- it was a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. Andrew explains: Despite expenditures of $350 billion to prop up fin... Read more


Let's Hope He Listens to His Advisors
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 12, 2009

In Saturday's New York Times Greg Mankiw has an indispensable column on the merits of government spending versus tax cuts to stimulate the economy. As much as the folks we send to Washington think spending is the best way to stimulate the economy, in fact government spending has a very limited effect on GD... Read more


Death Tax to Live On
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - January 12, 2009

According to the Wall Street Journal: "President-elect Barack Obama and congressional leaders plan to move soon to block the estate tax from disappearing in 2010, suggesting the levy might outlive the "Death Tax Repeal" movement that has tried mightily to kill it." I must say that I'm shocked, shocked that Congress wouldn't let the Death Tax expire.... Read more


Baldacci unveils budget plan
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 12, 2009

On Friday, Maine Gov. Baldacci unveiled a two-year budget $200 million smaller than the state's current budget. It is not without its tax hikes, though, calling for "$4.1 million from increased fees charged by the departments of Conservation, Marine Resources, and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife" and an increase in the smokeless tobacco tax, which will almost certainly create a future budget... Read more


State Info for the New Year
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 09, 2009

Here are some highlights since January 1st, useful information about what's coming next in the states, and where to track those events as they happen: #1: Transparency in government spending spreads. Kentucky, Georgia, and Maryland have all made ... Read more


E-mail Congress: Stop the "Stimulus" Spending Spree
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 09, 2009

E-mail Congress here. ... Read more


When is your Governor's State of the State Address?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 09, 2009

ND Gov. John Hoeven started off this year's round of state of the state addresses on Tuesday, warning of the possibility of the nation's economic decline reaching North Dakota. Next up were CT Gov. Jodi Rell and NY Gov. David Paterson, who had a massive tax hiking budget proposal to defend. Other addresses of... Read more


I Live to Frolf!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 09, 2009

The US Conference of Mayor's Main Street Economic Recovery Report continues to entertain. Yesterday we noted the tiny town of Edwardsville, Ala., requested $1,933,382.47 per resident in federal stimulus money. Today, I went through the "ready to go" pro... Read more


Told You So
Posted by Andrew Moylan - January 09, 2009

Good news! The TARP program is still a disaster. The Tarp oversight board, which I like to call "staters of the obvious," is appalled at how Treasury has handled the program. In a new report, they criticize them for not ensuring that banks actually lend the money they receive, not having any measure for success, and for ignoring requests... Read more


Rep. Flake not assigned to Appropriations Committee
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 09, 2009

House Republican Leadership missed a big opportunity to promote fiscal responsibility when they failed to put Taxpayers' Best Friend Rep. Jeff Flake on the porky Appropriations Committee. Rep. Flake has a strong record as a crusader against earmarks, most of which come out ... Read more


10 Governors Express Opposition to Card Check
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 09, 2009

The following governors signed a letter to Congress expressing their opposition to card-check legislation, which would eliminate secret-ballot elections when employees are asked to decide on union representation. Gov. Sonny Perdue, Georgia Gov. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Gov. Haley Barbour, Mississippi Gov. Jim Gibbons, Nevada Gov. Joh... Read more


I'd Rather Give the Money To Larry Flynt
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 08, 2009

Yesterday Kristina told you about Larry Flynt seeking a bailout for the porn industry. Well today a little town in Alabama is asking for a bailout almost as obscene. Edwardsville, Alabama, population 194, is ... Read more


Another Nail Hammered into Medicare’s Fiscal Coffin
Posted by Pete Sepp - January 08, 2009

One tiny item in the House Democrats’ new rules package that few noticed as the Minority’s procedural rights were weakened earlier this week could mean big trouble in years to come. Here’s the provision, from Section 3(e): “Medicare Cost Containment- Section 803 of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Mode... Read more


Kristina on Fox Business Network
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - January 08, 2009

NTU Director of Government Affairs Kristina Rasmussen discussed President-Elect Barack Obama's newly appointed Chief Performance Officer on Fox Business Network's "America's Nightly Scoreboard" last night. ... Read more


New anti-tax group launched in Illinois
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 07, 2009

The Illinois Alliance for Growth, a winner of a Standing Together grant from NTU, launched today. Organized under 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code, the group will actively lobby at the statehouse and at the grassroots for policies that enable greater economic growth and less government intrusion in our lives. ... Read more


Economists express concern over spending "stimulus"
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 07, 2009

Earlier we told you about how the incoming administration couldn't manage to find any dissent with their plans for the government to spend us into prosperity. Plenty of economists have since expressed their concern with government spending as stimulus. Says Justin Ros... Read more


Porn Industry Wants Government Bailout
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 07, 2009

I wish I were making this up, but I'm not. The "adult entertainment industry" wants a $5 billion bailout from Washington. Says Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis, the industry needs the federal assistance "just to see us through hard times." He continued, "Congress seems willing to help shore up our nation's most important businesses, we feel we d... Read more


The Law of Unintended Consequences Strikes Again
Posted by Demian Brady - January 07, 2009

Last year, Congress passed a law to require that children's products be tested for lead. At first, that sounds sensible. Over the past year there were several major recalls of toys found to contain dangerous levels of lead. Most, if not all, of these products, as I recall, were imported. But the law that was passed casts a very wide net. It requires that all makers of children's products in the United States or imported to the U.S. have their ite... Read more


Florida's deficit probably higher than first thought
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 06, 2009

Florida lawmakers are now looking at a $2.4 billion projected budget deficit, up $100 million from previous estimates. They're considering hiking traffic fines as one way to plug the hole.... Read more


House Vote Alert: Rules Changes on Tax Hikes and Excessive Spending
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - January 06, 2009

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU strongly urges all Members to oppose House rules changes that would severely limit the minority party’s ability to alter or amend fiscal policy with a procedure known as a motion to recommit, on a “promptly” basis. This tool has been used in past Congresses to express dissent over big-government taxing and spending policies, but the rules change currently u... Read more


Keeping 'Tabs' on Elected Officials
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - January 06, 2009

Do you want the most recent news about what government officials are doing in the states? Then add www.statebooks.org to your list of favorite sites. Tweets (short messages and updates) dealing with news and insight on state fiscal and economic policies are tracked through this new site. Use #statebooks as the ... Read more


FL special budget session convenes today
Posted by Joshua Culling - January 05, 2009

The Florida legislature convenes today for a special session to cut $2.3 billion from the budget. Officially off the table are cigarette and alcohol tax hikes, which Gov. Crist had previously considered. Borrowing may play a significant role in eliminating the deficit, however. ... Read more


So That's How We Got in This Mess
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 05, 2009

The legal nerds over at The Volokh Conspiracy uncovered a 1912 law that explains quite a bit. I'll let you decide what exactly it explains. Warning: although it's appropriate in historical context, there is some non-PC language used in the title of the law.... Read more


An Economist's Appreciation of Failing Firms
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - January 05, 2009

While visiting family in California over the Christmas holidays, I passed a lot of former Mervyns stores with their doors permanently closed. Another casualty of our current times. I have to admit it was a depressing sight as many past Mervyns purchases floated through my mind. After the third such store, the economist within me finally wo... Read more


Weekend Tax Reading
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 03, 2009

For those of you killing time before the Colts-Chargers game (because really, who cares about the NFC?), be sure to check out this column by Steve Forbes on the corporate tax. Forbes notes that all those people who want corporations to fork over more money to Uncle Sam wou... Read more


Kiddie Tax
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 02, 2009

Over at Bloomberg, Amity Shales has a great column on the dangers of the so-called Kiddie Tax: To grow again, the economy requires more than stimuli; it needs innovation. Very few people in a wage job come up with an innovation. You need the engineers and the finance hotshots. And only innovation leads to the sort of ... Read more


Not Exactly a "Free" Press
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - January 02, 2009

After emerging from a deep depression caused by yesterday's unpleasantness I assumed today would have to be better. But then I learned that our "free press" might not be so interested in being free anymore. That's right, bailout fev... Read more


Happy New Year!: Here's an I.O.U.
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - December 31, 2008

In California, you might be getting an IOU instead of your normal state tax refund check. From "Calif. Taxpayers Due Refunds May Get IOUs" (MSNBC): "Those who could be most affected are taxpayers who routinely plan for large refunds as a means of saving for anticipated expenses, such as property taxes which are also due in April. But with notice coming at year's end... Read more


NTUF research cited in book from Laffer, Moore
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 29, 2008

NTUF's cost estimate for Barack Obama's campaign promises was cited in The End of Prosperity: How Higher Taxes Will Doom the Economy -- If We Let It Happen, a book out from Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore, and Peter Tanous.... Read more


Save the Date: National Taxpayers Conference 2009
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - December 29, 2008

Just a friendly reminder that National Taxpayers Conference 2009 will take place June 11-13, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. Stay tuned to www.ntu.org for updates and more information.... Read more


States Can't Stand Being #3, Want to be #1 in Taxpayers' Wallets
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 23, 2008

As some state governments keep yapping for a bailout from federal taxpayers, keep the following in mind. Federal spending on aid to the states is already the third-largest item in the federal budget after Social Security and national defense, so says Cato's Chris Edwards. Continues Mr. Edwards:...federal aid stimulates overspending by the st... Read more


Guess who else wants a bailout?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 23, 2008

Amtrak! I eat breakfast and watch Washington Journal on C-SPAN every morning (yes, I'm that much of a nerd), and today's guest is Joseph Boardman, Amtrak's President and CEO. One quote stood out to me...(I'm paraphrasing after quickly scribbling this down)"We need billions, maybe even beyond billions, to move people in an economy that will be very different by 2025."Wait, so you mean to tell me that Amtrak, a company th... Read more


The national debt as of today is $10,598,195,081,084.56
Posted by Joshua Culling - December 22, 2008

For daily updates, go to www.twitter.com/nationaldebt.... Read more


Teacher Strikes in Pennsylvania
Posted by Christy Paavola - December 22, 2008

Today the Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece on teacher strikes in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of strikes per year, despite the fact that teacher salaries in the state rank in the top 20% nationwide. As a result of these strikes children's education is jeopardized and parents are often put in difficult situati... Read more


“Change” We Don’t Believe In
Posted by Pete Sepp - December 22, 2008

If Barack Obama and Members of the upcoming 111th Congress think they know what kind of “change” Americans voted for last month, here’s a little reading they ought to do before they ride into Washington on their high horses. A recent poll of 1,000 heads of households conducted by the American Consumer Institute found that ... Read more


Biden's Small World
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 22, 2008

A comment from Vice President-elect Joe Biden on government "stimulus" spending caught my eye. Says Mr. Biden:Every single person I've spoken to agrees with every major economist. There is going to be real significant investment, whether it's $600 billion or more, or $700 billion, the clear notion is, it's a number no one thought about a year ... Read more


Winston Churchil on appropriations
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 21, 2008

In his weekly column, George Will highlighted this a Winston Churchill quote on naval appropriations:The Admiralty had demanded six ships: the economists offered four: and we finally compromised on eight.How true. Reminds me of the 2007 fight over the Water Resources Development Act. Notes ... Read more


Busted: Ford Workers' Liquid Lunches
Posted by Demian Brady - December 19, 2008

Is this another union perk? Channel 4 in Detroit did an undercover investigation of Ford's UAW workers taking 3-4 hour lunches at local watering holes. Here's the video. ... Read more


Find Out How Much Your State's Employees Get Paid
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - December 19, 2008

Curious about the salaries of your state's employees? Click here to find out more. If you know information about salary levels in your state but don't see it on that page, just add a comment to this post and tell everyone where to find it. ... Read more


Conservative hashtags on Twitter
Posted by Joshua Culling - December 19, 2008

Here's a list of hashtags used by conservatives and libertarians (small c, small l) on Twitter. Due to the need to manually code every link on this list, it's probably going to take me about 2 hours to compile. You can thank me in the comments. 1. #TCOT: Top Conservatives on Twitter – used for tweets that have to do with conservative thought, action and advocacy. List of top conservative... Read more


Say Goodbye to $17 Billion
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 19, 2008

I've had my fair share of disappointment with President Bush. His Medicare plan is a disaster. His unwillingness to veto any bills (especially spending bills) in his first term was sad. And his full on embrace of pork, well, it made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. But all that would have been forgiven if he resisted the urge to bailout GM and Chrysler. After the Congress (you know the folks that are supposed to make laws) refused to ... Read more


Wanted: Economists Skeptical of Stimulus Spending
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 19, 2008

From a Hill contact: An AP story indicates President-elect Obama and his advisors are contemplating an economic “stimulus” spending bill with a price tag as large as $1 trillion, with the vast majority of that number going to new spending on government programs and projects. The article quotes Obama transition officials as saying “[o]nly one outsid... Read more


GOP says Paterson's budget will cost $3,875 per family
Posted by Joshua Culling - December 19, 2008

$88 a year more for cable TV, $558 more in local property taxes, $720 more in college tuition and fees, among a smorgasbord of other middle class-killers. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has the story.... Read more


Representative Hilda Solis' Record
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 19, 2008

Here's how Obama's nominee for Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis looks through the NTU lens. Kristina gave the skinny on Transportation nominee Ray LaHood, so I figured we should do the same for Solis, a Democrat from California. She achieved ... Read more


Rep. Ray LaHood's Fiscal Record
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 19, 2008

Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL) is expected to be named Transportation Secretary by President-elect Barack Obama. Here's a look at his NTU Rates Congress record: 2007 Grade: C- 2006 Grade: C- 2005 Grade: C- 2004 Gr... Read more


Get ready for massive deficits...BEFORE any stimulus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 19, 2008

Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution posts a ... Read more


Quote of the Day 12/18/2008
Posted by Keith Capp - December 18, 2008

"We can't tax the hell out of people and then not give them the basic service of plowing roads." - Ald. Tom Allen (38th Ward of Chicago) and chairman of the Transportation Committee On the bright side he at least realizes how he is taxing people. If only the taxpayers of Chicago could get a refund because their city... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- The Christmas Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 18, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Keynesian Economics Is Wrong: Bigger Gov't Is Not Stimulus
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 17, 2008

... Read more


New Year, New Fears: Ten Tax-Hike Threats in the 111th Congress
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 17, 2008

Get the list of tax hike threats in the 111th Congress. Here's a run down:Repeal/Expiration of the 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts. Payroll Tax Increases. Smaller Alternative Minimum Tax Patches. Imposition of “Windfall Profits” Energy Taxes. Modification of Health Care Tax Treatment. Increase in the Federal Excise T... Read more


Obama's Energy choice wants you to pay $8.00 per gallon
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 17, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama has announced his selection for Secretary of Energy: Dr. Steven Chu, an experimental physicist, Nobel Prize winner, and one of the more intriguing cabinet selections. Impressive though his bio is, one thing about Dr. Chu jumped out at me: he wants gas prices to be MUCH higher than they are now or even this summer. As in, twice as expensive thanks to government dictate."Somehow we have to figure out how t... Read more


Obama plan may corrupt program on accountability
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 17, 2008

The Hill ran my opinion piece, Obama plan may corrupt program on accountability, where I argue that Obama’s “reforms” to the Program Assessment Rating Tool (ExpectMore.gov), could create another partisan ally in the fight to grow government.... Read more


Time to Bailout Uncle Sam
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 16, 2008

It's official, we're bankrupt. As reported in the DC Examiner: Federal obligations now exceed the collective net worth of all Americans, according to the New York-based Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Washington politicians and bureaucrats have essentially mortgaged everything We the People own so they can keep spending our tax doll... Read more


California and Illinois state budget and government spending
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - December 16, 2008

Ever wondered about the difference between how much California has budgeted to spend and how much it actually spends each year? What about the annual rate of increase in how much Illinois plans to spend? For states experiencing an economic downturn, deficits, possible state salary decreases, and belt-tightening for government spending, it's valuable to answer these types of questions with as much transparency as possible. For answers, visi... Read more


Arne Duncan gets Boaz'd
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 16, 2008

One of my favorite writers is the Cato Institute's David Boaz, partially because he's sharp as a tack, but also because he's hilarious. Here's his priceless response to the nomination of former Chicago Public School system head Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education:"In seven years running the Chicago public schools, this longtime friend of Obama was ... Read more


Ten problems with a stimulus for the states
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 15, 2008

The Cato Institute's Chris Edwards has ten problems with a stimulus for the states. ... Read more


Pork Requests from New Jersey's Mayors
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 15, 2008

We've highlighted the shameless request for more pork from the Conference of Mayors, and our very good friends at the New Jersey Taxpayers' Association scoured the report and found these NJ gems (and provided the commentary): East Orange - $4,500,000 to add 25 additional police officers = $180,000/officer Elizab... Read more


Ethicist hired by Alexandria, VA to help with budget cuts
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 14, 2008

The latest spending outrage from NTU's hometown: Faced with painful choices about who will suffer most from looming budget cuts, Alexandria officials have taken the unusual step of paying a professional ethicist to help them grapple with the moral issues involved. Cost to local taxpayers: $9,000 annual consu... Read more


14 People to Thank
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 12, 2008

Thanksgiving is over, but there are 14 people that you NEED to thank if you oppose bailouts. 14 is the number of Senators who voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout AND the auto company bailout that failed last night. From an email I got from a policy friend here in DC, these are the few Senators that managed to get both votes right and stand up for taxpayers... Wayne Allard (R-CO) - Call Allard and thank him at (202) 224-5941 J... Read more


State legislators signing petition against state and local bailout
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 12, 2008

The American Legislative Exchange Council is circulating a petition to Congress against a federal bailout of state and localities. State legislators are welcome to sign. Here's what we -- and over 60 other groups -- had to say ab... Read more


Coburn to the rescue!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 12, 2008

OK, not really, but here's a terrific report he put together on the worst examples of earmark waste. Some of Coburn's "favorite" examples...• $188,000 for Lobster Institute in Maine, home of the “LobsterCam” • $1 million for bike paths on Louisiana levees while levees awa... Read more


Is the Bailout Dead?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 11, 2008

The cloture vote on the bailout bill fell eight votes short in the Senate tonight, with 52 senators voting in favor and 35 voting no. The other 12 were gone fishing. See if your senator gets a gold star here. Of course, if we learned anything with the last round of bailouts, it's that it takes more t... Read more


So That's Why She's Wearing Red
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 11, 2008

Barbara Boxer (D-Ca), just made my favorite argument for bailouts ever. Clad in red (just like Santa), the Senator from California (who has scored an F every year she's been in Congress) passionately argued: This is the Christmas Season. My goodness, let's take a chance on this. Let's take a chance on this. That's right, bailou... Read more


Rep. Dave Camp is Ranking Member on House Ways & Means
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 11, 2008

Rep. Dave Camp (MI) has been certified as the Ranking Member (chief Republican) on the House Ways & Means Commitee (tax policy epicenter). Here's a look at his NTU Rates Congress record: 2007 Grade: B 2006 Grade: B- 2005 Grade: C+ 2004 Grade: C+ 2003 Grade: C+ 2002 Grade: B- 2001 Grade: B 2000 Grade: B- 1999 Gra... Read more


Bailout Passes House
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 11, 2008

Last night the House of Representatives votes 237-170-1 to pass a $14 billion auto bailout. 205 Democrats and 32 Republicans supported the bailout. 150 Republicans and 20 Democrats opposed it. John Campbell (R-Ca) voted present. And 26 members didn't show up. According to the New York Times, the bailout bill is a "government rescue of the American automobil... Read more


Do you have unclaimed property?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 11, 2008

As states scramble to balance their budgets, take a moment to check if you have any outstanding “unclaimed property.” The Council on State Taxation has an excellent report on unclaimed property that details how many state governments "balance their budgets on the backs of the lost owners whose property ultimately becomes reportable as unclaimed prope... Read more


Blagojevich questions censored on change.gov
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 10, 2008

The Politico's Ben Smith points out that Obama boosters are censoring Blagojevich questions on Open for Questions, a feature of the change.gov website that allows folks to submit (and vote for) questions to the president elect. Says Smith:It was suggested when it launched that the tool would bring... Read more


Senate Seat up on eBay
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 10, 2008

The Illinois Policy Institute put up this tongue-in-cheek eBay.com posting for the Senate seat allegedly being "sold" by Illinois Governor Blagojevich.... Read more


An Unnecessary Burden
Posted by Christy Paavola - December 10, 2008

As Congress gets ready to vote on a bailout for the Big Three auto makers James Sherk at the Heritage Foundation has released an interesting study on the wages of the UAW workers. According to the study UAW workers make an average of $70 an hour in wages and benefits. What is particularly interesting is the comparison of UAW workers to private sector workers. In ... Read more


Huh? Do you want the money or not, Mr. Mayor?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 10, 2008

Yesterday we highlighted the shameless request for more pork from the Conference of Mayors, and our very own Pete Sepp was quoted in this Boston Herald article about the gimme list. The ar... Read more


Will Obama wave his magic wand and make UnionReports.gov disappear?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 10, 2008

UnionReports.gov provides important transparency reports that detail how union bosses spend rank-and-file dues. David Freddoso with National Review Online writes how leftist forces are pushing back against the the Labor Department's Offic... Read more


Shocker: Blagojevich was terrible in Congress too...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 10, 2008

During Rod Blagojevich's tenure in Congress, he averaged 20.2% on our annual Rating of Congress, receiving a grade of "F" every single year. Most of the coverage thus far has focused on his shocking corruption as Governor. Even as an enormous cynic about politicians and the culture of corruption, I am pretty dumbfounded by the Bl... Read more


Blagojevich: Bad Boy or Boy Toy?
Posted by Pete Sepp - December 09, 2008

Move over Alex Rodriquez, a.k.a. “A-Rod” – you may soon have a competitor for Madonna’s affections. Given past precedent in the State of Illinois, being a boy-toy may be the only paying line of work that Gov. Rod Blagojevich, “G-Rod,” will be able to pursue if he’s convicted of the public corruption crimes he was arrested for today. That’s because G-Rod’s predecessor, George Ryan, was stripped of all pension benefits he earned as a public emp... Read more


Senate Vote Alert on Auto Bailout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 09, 2008

Earlier, you saw our House Vote Alert opposing the bailout. Now here's the Senate version, given the news that they could vote as early as tonight. December 9, 2008 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the auto industry bailout package that may come before you this week. Taxpay... Read more


Vote Alert on Auto Bailout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 09, 2008

December 9, 2008 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on the auto industry bailout package that may come before you this week. Taxpayers should not have to pick up the tab for tens of billions for America’s faltering auto companies. Fundamental problems in the cost structures and business models of the American car manufacturers are not recent phenomen... Read more


Massachusetts for All?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 09, 2008

Phillis Schlafly has a good column on Townhall.com today about health care in Massachusetts. Turns out that, after basically forcing government-run health care on all its citizens, Taxachusetts is now experiencing some problems. Surprise surprise, the laws of economics still apply. But perhaps the... Read more


Sanford wants to cut South Carolina taxes
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 09, 2008

In a refreshing change from the "bail out my state/locality" mania, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is pushing major tax cuts for individuals and businesses as a way to spur economic growth. Details:Enact an optional income tax cut of nearly 50 percent, cutting the state's top marginal rate from the cur... Read more


The Drilling Stimulus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 09, 2008

A new study released by ICF International estimated the economic impact of opening up federal lands (both on- and off-shore) to energy development at $4 TRILLION over the life of the resources. A trillion here, a trillion there (in today's world of trillion dollar bailouts), and pretty soon you're talking real money. It also estimated that an additional 160,000 jobs would b... Read more


Save the Economy: Cut Taxes!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 09, 2008

Writing for Forbes.com, Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein have a novel suggestion for stimulating the economy: Why not eliminate corporate taxes all together? During fiscal year 2008, the U.S. Treasury collected $304 billion in corporate taxes--elimination would cost roughly half of what the Obama stimulus plan may co... Read more


Real Tax Reform
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 09, 2008

Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Taxpayer's Friend and owner of a terrific southern accent, is introducing a wonderful piece of tax reform legislation. The bill, called the "State and Local Sales Tax Deduction Expansion Act," would permanently establish a deduction for state and local income AND sales taxes on your federal ta... Read more


Sidewalks: Our Path to Economic Growth
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 09, 2008

The United States Conference of Mayors sent this porky wish list to the Hill yesterday. They're calling it "America's Mayors Report to the Nation on Projects to Strengthen Metro Economies and Create Jobs Now." I'm calling it a joke. A word search of the document found 790 hits for "sidewalk." Most of those are for individual... Read more


Treasury's Bailout Party in "The Cash Room"
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 09, 2008

As the economy reels from bailout mania, millions of American businesses and families are cutting back their spending on non-essentials. One example, no doubt, is that many fewer businesses will host fancy holiday parties to celebrate the year that was. Rest easy though, dear taxpayer, for though you may not enjoy the privilege of a celebration yourself, your beloved Department of the Treasury will soldier on and hold a big self-congratulatory ... Read more


The Headlines
Posted by Demian Brady - December 09, 2008

I was on a vacation of sorts for the past four days so I paid little attention to what was going on in the world. Now that I am trying to get back into the swing of things, I'm getting caught up on the headlines, and man, are they depressing. Makes you almost want to hide out in a bunker: horrible job loss report, riots in Athens, unprecedented parliamentary questions in Canada, a car "czar", bailouts every day, deficit "not a concern," wealth sp... Read more


Transparency Legislation in NJ
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - December 09, 2008

Yesterday witnessed a transparency press conference at which New Jersey Senators Tom Kean and Joe Pennacchio gathered to support S-445, the "Transparency in Government Act." They, joined by the New Jersey Taxpayers' Association, Grover Norquist, and others, spoke on the importance of transparency in state spendin... Read more


Tom Cole for Approps?
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 08, 2008

That is the question, now that Roll Call is reporting that Boehner will support him. What kind of news is that for taxpayers? Not terribly good. Cole has middling scores on our Rating of Congress, his lowest being a 57% and his highest... Read more


Farm Subsidy Database!
Posted by Keith Capp - December 08, 2008

Are you wondering where the US Government is sending farm subsidies? Wondering where your tax dollars are going in your state, congressional district, and/or county? Then check out the Environmental Working Group’s Farm Subsidy Database. The database is interactive and easy to use! Today, I learned that Texas, Iowa, and Illinois received 25.7% of the total USDA subsidies betw... Read more


Taxpayers Need Real Bailout Transparency
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - December 08, 2008

About $8.5 TRILLION -- that's trillion, with a "T" -- in taxpayer money has been committed to bailout initiatives in one form another. Surprised? So are we. That's why NTU, along with OpentheGovernment.org, spearheaded a coalition of 78 organizations from across the political spectrum that's demanding more transparency in financial ... Read more


Calling Colorado Teachers
Posted by Joshua Culling - December 08, 2008

This video from the Independence Institute reminds you that you have exactly one week to get a refund of dues you may have had deducted by the powerful Colorado Education Association. There's a very good chance those funds went toward the $1 million+ the teacher's union gave to liberal candidates and causes this cycle. ... Read more


Mayors next up to the trough
Posted by Joshua Culling - December 08, 2008

According to WSJ, mayors across the country, including Michael Bloomberg of New York and Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, are now lining up for bailout funds. For more information on state (and now local) responses to the economic downturn, follow the Twitter conversation at http://search.twitter.com/search?q=state... Read more


State budget deficits
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 06, 2008

According to Stateline.org, states are facing budget deficits worth $97 billion over the next two years:Arizona is expecting a budget gap in 2010 that will exceed 24 percent of its general fund budget. Other states expecting huge budget holes include: New York (20 percent), California (18 percent), Wisconsin (17.2 percent), Minnesota (14.7) and ... Read more


NTU talks Congressional Ethics on Pajamas TV
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 05, 2008

Club for Growth's Andy Roth and I speak about Congressional ethics and lobbying rules on Pajamas TV.... Read more


Ken Blackwell Running for RNC Chair
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - December 05, 2008

NTU Board Member Ken Blackwell is officially running for RNC Chair. The GOP could benefit from his principled leadership. Read some of Ken's recent commentary: An ACORN Falls from the Tree The Post-Racial McCain... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 05, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


They've Still Got Some Cash
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 04, 2008

The Big Three are asking you for a couple billion dollars. But they've still got money to spend on lobbying. According to CBS, the Big Three have spent $50 million lobbying Congress in the first nine months of this year. That shouldn't surprise you. And it's probably a sign of things to come. After all, when we decide to socialize... Read more


Higher cigarette tax leads to smuggling
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - December 04, 2008

A new report from Michigan's Mackinac Center for Public Policy finds that the state's $2 excise tax has made cigarette smuggling a profitable option for small-time bargain hunters and commercial traffickers. An estimated 35 percent of all cigarettes consumed in Michigan in 2006 were smuggled in -- that's more than half of Michigan's legal cigarette market. The study co... Read more


Don't Let Congress Find Out About This
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - December 04, 2008

According to the BBC, the Kenyan Parliament has established a commission to review the compensation of its members after the body voted down a plan to tax member's allowances. According to the report, "Kenya's 222 MPs each earn more than $10,000 (£6,800) a month but only pay tax on their basic pay of $2,500." I think I hear support for tax cuts surging on Capitol Hi... Read more


Reason #138,642 to oppose the Big 3 bailout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 04, 2008

And that reason is...Michael Moore! He supports a bailout. Sort of. What he supports isn't exactly the bailout that the industry is asking for, but the use of billions of taxpayer dollars to simply nationalize the company. Because, you know, the government is so efficient and masterful at running things. What I find strange is that Moore spends mos... Read more


CPAC 2009 is just around the corner!
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - December 03, 2008

We're already counting down to CPAC 2009: ... Read more


A Step in the Right Direction
Posted by Demian Brady - December 03, 2008

Obama has scrapped (for now, anyway) his so-called "Windfall Profits" Tax. Now he needs to work on backing off from some of his other campaign tax hike proposals.... Read more


Just Give Us the Data! Transparency Prospects for an Obama Administration
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - December 02, 2008

Join the Cato Institute at noon on Wednesday, December 10th for a free luncheon and symposium on government transparency. Providing citizens with information about how government operates can empower those citizens to improve and reform government. At this event, questions such as "What are the possibilities for open gover... Read more


What Governors have supported bailout money for their states?
Posted by Joshua Culling - December 02, 2008

I'll admit, I was getting jealous. With all the bailout talk at the federal level, the state government affairs guys such as myself were starting to feel left out. Then the Governator started begging, and now bailout fever has spread to state governments. Why control your spending addictions when you can get free money from the feds? With the number of Governor's mansions calling for bailout money increasing daily, I figured I'd put together a li... Read more


Governors Perry and Sanford Oppose Bailouts; How to Get Involved
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - December 02, 2008

"As governors and citizens, we've grown increasingly concerned over the past weeks as Washington has thrown bailout after bailout at the national economy with little to show for it. In the process, the federal government is not only burying future generations under mountains of debt. It is also taking our country in a very dangerous direction -- toward a "bailout... Read more


The Case for Bigger Government
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 01, 2008

It seems logical: if some is good more is better. And if some is bad, more is worse. Such an argument might lead you to think we just have too many Congressmen. And frankly I'd tend to agree. But in fact that's exactly wrong. Over the break a faithful reader forwarded me this podcast from Lew Rockwell, which ... Read more


My New Favorite Congressman
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - December 01, 2008

Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX), has always been a solid member of the House. Since he's been in Congress he's never scored lower than a B+ on his NTU Ratings, but he's never quite been at Jeff Flake or ... Read more


Progressive Taxation
Posted by Andrew Moylan - December 01, 2008

A very interesting table, over at Real Clear Markets, shows just how progressive our income tax rates are. When you look at the top 10% of households in each country, we have the highest tax-to-income ratio of any OECD country, meaning the percentage of their income those folks pay in taxes versus the total share of the nation's incom... Read more


Citi/Taxpayers Field
Posted by Keith Capp - November 26, 2008

In the news today: 2 New York City Council members want to rename the new Met's stadium Citi/Taxpayer Field in honor of the taxpayers who are bailing out Citi. Finally, if you are deep frying a turkey this Thanksgiving, be careful! ... Read more


Just How Big is the Bailout?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 25, 2008

Over at The Big Picture, they've run the numbers on the bailout, and it is stunning. Currently the cost of the bailout is running taxpayers $4.615 trillion dollars. To put those numbers in perspective they've found the bailout exceeds the cost of all these giant government expenditures combined ... Read more


60 Percent of Independents say: "Don't Bailout GM"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 24, 2008

Proving once again that average Americans have good economic sense, Rasmussen Reports* released a poll today showing 60 percent of unaffiliated voters are opposed to bailing out GM. Just 25 percent support a bailout. Republicans oppose bailouts by a similar 64 to 25 percent margin. Even among Democrat... Read more


Join NTU in Pennsylvania
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 24, 2008

Join NTU at the 2009 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference. Come hear from Michael Reagan, Dick Armey, Pat Toomey, and Robert Walker (not to mention NTU staff). Sign up today! ... Read more


Who Would Jeff Join?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 24, 2008

Jeff Flake is pushing to join the Appropriations Committee. So I thought it'd be fun to see who Congressman Flake will join on the committee. We don't have the new members of the committee yet, but looking at the committee membership from last year, it's clear, one of these members is not like the other: ... Read more


SNL Spoofs an Automotive Bailout
Posted by Keith Capp - November 24, 2008

Whether or not you agree with the bailout, SNL did a funny sketch of a theoretical second automotive industry bailout this weekend. It is worth a look and a good debate over whether or not a bailout would solve any of the problems of the industry. ENJOY! ... Read more


Government Mandate for Flex Fuel Cars Drives Up Gas Use
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 24, 2008

So get this. Government wanted to go green and passed a mandate for more "flex fuel" vehicles in federal fleet. But things didn't go according to plan, as reported by the Washington Post. The Postal Service illustrates the problem. It estimates that its 37,000 newer alternative-fuel... Read more


History Returns to the Mall
Posted by Demian Brady - November 24, 2008

The Smithsonian American History Museum reopened this past weekend. It was shut for 2 whole years while it underwent an $85 million restoration and reorganization. I didn't make it down there yet, that will be on the agenda next weekend. And, potentially, again in December for some Christmas shopping. Before the renovation ... Read more


Fresh Off the Press
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 21, 2008

It looks as though Hillary Clinton will be the new Secretary of State. ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 21, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


And this is what the bailout has been like...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 21, 2008

Hilarious hat tip: ... Read more


This is how I felt when the bailout passed...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 21, 2008

Hilarious hat tip: ... Read more


Calling all Twitter users
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 21, 2008

Just a reminder that NTU and some members of staff are on Twitter; follow us for updates ranging from what Josh had for breakfast to which states are begging for federal bailout money. NTU: http://www.twitter.com/ntu Kristina Rasmussen: http://www.twitter.com/kmrasmussen Andrew Moylan: http://www.twitter.com/... Read more


There they go again XXXI
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 20, 2008

Another in an ongoing series intended to highlight the actions of legislators/governmental officials/bureaucrats/do-gooders who want to expand the nanny state in an attempt to improve your life. Australians may be facing a toilet tax, according to the Register.com: Australians could face 'pay as you dump' charges as part of a Toilet... Read more


Starting a New Chapter in Detroit: Eleven
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 20, 2008

Following up on yesterday's post urging bankruptcy as the only way to save American cars, here's Mitt Romney on Morning Joe arguing for Chapter 11 not bailouts: ... Read more


2008 Earmark Database Available
Posted by Demian Brady - November 20, 2008

LegiStorm has teamed up with Taxpayers for Common Sense to launch a database of 2008 earmarks. Here is the press release, and here is the bilious pork.... Read more


Flake for Appropriations!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 20, 2008

Hey, remember last year when we blogged about the prospect of Jeff Flake on the Appropriations Committee, only to have Republican Leadership ignore us and get slaughtered in this year's election? Good times! Well, we're getting the band back together! Flake is again putting his hat in the r... Read more


Persistence Pays Off for Anti-Tax Activist
Posted by Demian Brady - November 20, 2008

Local officials were afraid this would happen. The final tally is in and the liberal bastion of Montgomery County, Maryland approved a measure to make it more difficult for the County Council to ex... Read more


Paterson's $21k rug
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 20, 2008

I broke my BlackBerry this morning, so I was already in a questionable mood when I got to the office. NY Gov. David Paterson has exacerbated my condition, upon this report that he is the proud new owner of a $21,000 Turkish rug, purchased at taxpayer expense. While stressing that she was not familiar with the mansion's rug, Lucille Laufer of th... Read more


SC Comptroller Promotes Transparency
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 19, 2008

"And at a time when so many have lost their faith in government and when the cost and spending of government is skyrocketing, sunshine is more important than ever." Three cheers for a government official so bold about promoting transparency!... Read more


Italian Government Sells Alitalia
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 19, 2008

The BBC is reporting that the Italian government has agreed to sell Italy's bankrupt airline to a private business group. According to the report, "The airline filed for bankruptcy in August, weighed down by high labour costs, strikes, surging oil prices and political interference." Does that sound a bit like anyone that you know -- Detroit perhaps? Perhaps bankruptc... Read more


New RSC Chair
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 19, 2008

Rep. Tom Price (GA) has been nominated to chair the Republican Study Committee, a group of House conservatives, in the 111th Congress. His NTU Rates Congress 2007 rating = A.... Read more


Tax Foundation Podcast
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 19, 2008

I did a podcast with the Tax Foundation this afternoon about ballot initiative results. You can find it here.... Read more


I'm happy Joe Knollenberg lost...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 19, 2008

Joe Knollenberg is (theoretically) a Republican from Michigan's 9th district, where I grew up and my family still lives. Knollenberg lost his Congressional seat in this most recent election and I am HAPPY about it. Why am I so happy? Because Joe Knollenberg doesn't think he's bailing people out with OUR money... ... Read more


Good news from down under
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 19, 2008

Tax cuts could be on their way in New Zealand... ... Read more


Big Labor's Christmas Wish List
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 19, 2008

The Alliance for Worker Freedom has a great list of big labor legislation we're likely to see in the 111th Congress. ... Read more


MyPrivateBallot.com
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 19, 2008

A great ad... ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Auto Bailout, Stimulus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators and Representatives to vote “NO” on the various unemployment insurance, stimulus spending, and auto industry bailout packages that may come before you this week. Our members know that government doesn’t create wealth; it either redistributes or destroys it. Shifting money from individuals to government programs (many ... Read more


The TARP Bailout Queue
Posted by Demian Brady - November 19, 2008

MoneyNing.com put together a list of the companies that have applied for a bailout via the Troubles Asset Relief Program: 1. First Midwest Bancorp Inc. (FMBI) - Received preliminary approval for about $193 million worth of investment 2. South Financial Group Inc. (TSFG) - Applied 3. CoBiz Financial Inc.... Read more


Quotation of the Day
Posted by Demian Brady - November 19, 2008

Duane Parde, president of the National Taxpayers Union, likened ethanol to a 30-year-old deadbeat still living rent-free in his parent's basement. "It's time for all of us to march into that basement and say, 'Happy 30th birthday, ethanol — now grow up and get out of our house!' " Parde said. Link.... Read more


Gov. Paterson and his crew head to DC
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 19, 2008

NY Gov. David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and probable Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith are headed to Washington today to ask for federal bailout money to resolve their pending budget crisis, according the PolitickerNY. They'll be meeting with New York's Congressional delegation, along with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Senate Majority Lead... Read more


Want to Save Detroit? Let Them Go Bankrupt.
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 19, 2008

I don't know much about medicine, but I do watch both House and Scrubs. I'm pretty sure that makes me a medical expert. One thing I've learned from those shows, is that when a vital organ fails you can buy time by hooking a person up to machines. But ultimately, you're going to need a transplant to fix the ... Read more


Carton Blogging -- the Wednesday Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 19, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


I present the funniest series of YouTube videos ever created
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 19, 2008

I figured we'd start of this morning with a laugh completely unrelated to fiscal policy. Yesterday at lunch, Andrew Moylan mentioned the video posted below. Naturally when I got home I scoured the intertubes for it. Anyone who grew up in my generation fondly remembers trips to Chuck E Cheese (those such as myself from Toledo, Ohio prefer Major Magic's)... ... Read more


The zig-zagging bailout roils markets and the economy
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - November 19, 2008

It's not really Hank Paulson's fault that he's had to switch gears so many times in the few weeks since the bailout bill was passed. The mandate of the "TARP" has changed at least weekly since then, as Paulson reacts to what he's learning about how it's functioning -- or not functioning. Still, this sort of chaos was predictable with government getting into areas that it shouldn't, taking on problems that are even bigger than our Federal Treas... Read more


The 145th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 19, 2008

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg address at the dedication of the Gettysburg national military cemetery. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History highlights the anniversary of the address by making it the Institute's featured document of the week. ... Read more


Buying in for a Bailout
Posted by Demian Brady - November 18, 2008

CNBC reports a Dutch firm, Aegon, is considering buying a US thrift so it could be eligible for a sweet slice of bailout pie.... Read more


NY Senate Republicans prefer bailouts to spending cuts?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 18, 2008

Posted on behalf of NTU's State Government Affairs Manager, Josh Culling: NY Gov. David Paterson had proposed $5.2 billion in budget cuts to confront a looming state budget crisis. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, apparently thought it would be political advantageous to resist the cuts. He first urged a vote on the cuts, which he knew would ... Read more


Paying for firewood in a wooded state park
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 18, 2008

Maine's transparency database allows users to post comments on spending information they view. This comment by user "upg52" caught my eye (and made me laugh):BAXTER STATE PARK: Let me try to understand this. Baxter State Park Authority paid Baxter State Park $4,280 for firewood, in o... Read more


Public Transit Needs Help Too
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 18, 2008

Apparently, recent record-high gas prices and spikes in ridership weren't enough to keep America's public transit systems from imploding along with the financial system, state governments, and the auto industry. CQ.com is reporting today that "transit agencies hope Congress will include a provision requiring the Treasury Department to guarantee billions of dollars in financing agreements at risk because of American International Group Inc.'s col... Read more


Just say no to a state bailout
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 18, 2008

Steve Malanga has an excellent guest opinion in the Wall Street Journal on how governors need to learn to use fat years to prepare for lean ones. He points out how states were in D.C. this time last year demanding a SCHIP spending expansion, but now they're begging for a bailout: "This zigzagging -- beseeching the feds to let them spend mor... Read more


The Georgia Senate Runoff & the FairTax
Posted by Demian Brady - November 17, 2008

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the FairTax is turning into an important issue in the runoff between Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin.... Read more


You are not alone
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 17, 2008

Governor Mark Sanford (SC) started his Sunday WSJ “Don't Bail Out My State” op-ed with: “I find myself in a lonely position. While many states and local governments are lining up for a bailout from Congress, I went to Washington recently to oppose such bailouts. I may be the only governor to do so.” I’m pleased to report that you are not alone, Governor Sanfo... Read more


New Yorkers prefer spending cuts to tax hikes, and it's not even close
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 17, 2008

According to a Siena College poll, New York voters overwhelmingly support spending cuts, rather than tax increases, to eliminate a projected $2 billion budget gap. Seventy-five percent of voters think the state budget gap of $2 billion for this fiscal year should be closed by cutting spending, while 10 percent support increasing taxes and nine per... Read more


How McCain Could Have Bailed Out Taxpayers
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 17, 2008

In today's print and online versions of the DC Examiner, I make the argument that McCain could have protected taxpayers, improved his chances of being elected President, and perhaps more importantly, changed the course of the bailout, in one fell swoop. By opposing the bailout, McCain could have separated himself from the unpo... Read more


Thoughts on an Auto Bailout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 17, 2008

NTU sent a letter opposing a $25 billion auto bailout as Congress apparently gears up to work on one this week. Two interesting thoughts... First, as an aside, I heard that organized labor raised $80 million for this year's presidential election. Am I the only one who thinks maybe they should have instead raised $80 million for their retirement and healt... Read more


Tax Foundation Sales Tax Rate Map
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 17, 2008

Joseph Henchman prepared a useful map of sales taxes in the United States.... Read more


Required Bailout Reading for the Weekend
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 16, 2008

Prof. Russ Roberts, writing for NPR, has some interesting thoughts on the problem with the bailout: Hank Paulson. According to Roberts: When no one knows how the rules of the game are going to change — and they seem to change from week to week — who wants to take a risk? Who wants to borrow money? Who wants to invest? Business and consumers a... Read more


Carton Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 14, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Auto Bailout: Lemon Socialism
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 14, 2008

Says Charles Krauthammer for National Review Online: Saving Detroit means saving it from bankruptcy. As we have seen with the airlines, bankruptcy can allow operations to continue while helping shed fatally unsupportable obligations. For Detroit, this means release from ruinous wage deals with their astronomical benefits (the ... Read more


Transparency: Achieved in Louisiana, Progressing in Montana
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 14, 2008

Spending transparency has come to Louisiana! Check out the new government spending database, LA Trac (Louisiana Accountability and Transparency). The database resulted from an executive order by Governor Jindal and the authorization of the legislature. As the Commissioner of Administration, Angele Davis, ... Read more


State Taxes
Posted by Demian Brady - November 14, 2008

TaxGirl has begun what should be an interesting series of reviews of tax policy in each state of the Republic. Here's her intro to the series. She's also looking for feedback:I really do welcome personal anecdotes about your experiences in various states. I’m especially interested in folks who have mo... Read more


A Simpsons Parable
Posted by Demian Brady - November 14, 2008

Here's some levity for a dreary, cloudy (at least it is in DC) Friday. In the 1998 episode "Trash of the Titans," Homer Simpson is elected as Springfield's Sanitation Commissioner after running on the slogan, ""Can't Someone Else Do It?" Thanks to Fox's ruthless, Internet-trolling team of lawyers, only this montage clip is available of Homer's campaign theme song, "The Garbage Man Can": ... Read more


Hurry, holiday shoppers! Is a sales tax coming to the Internet?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 14, 2008

According to Forbes, a web sales tax is looming. Here’s why the tax grabbers should be stopped. ... Read more


Way Cooler Than Those Nerdy Segways
Posted by Demian Brady - November 13, 2008

Coming soon from the Defense agency that gave us the Internet: flying cars!... Read more


That's the Government for Ya
Posted by Demian Brady - November 13, 2008

The Administration and Congress stampeded head over heels to get the $700 billion financial bailout package passed into law, and since then it turns out there has been much foot dragging and delay when it comes to oversight of the program. (By the way, we were told Paulson needed authority to go out there and buy up the toxic asse... Read more


A Closer Look at the Big Three Auto Makers
Posted by Christy Paavola - November 13, 2008

As lawmakers contemplate giving more taxpayers' money to the Big Three auto makers, Michelle Malkin received an interesting letter from an auto industry worker that highlights some of the reasons these unionized companies are in need of a bailout. The letter states: Their business practices are not a tax payer problem, b... Read more


Governator catches bailout fever
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 13, 2008

Gov. Schwarzenegger has asked the federal government to give some bailout money to the states as part of a stimulus package while "insisting that such aid would not be a bailout" and insisting that "the important thing is not to confuse spending with investing."... Read more


Taxes and the Economy
Posted by Demian Brady - November 13, 2008

Amity Shlaes warns that the expected Democratic tax hikes - especially on capital gains - of 2009 will undermine efforts to restore the economy.... Read more


Three possible tax hikes out west
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 13, 2008

Governors in Nevada, California, and Oregon have hinted at the possibility of tax hikes in the near future.... Read more


Should the government stop dumping money into a giant hole?
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 13, 2008

Warning: there is one instance of the s-word in this hilariously relevant video from the Onion. ... Read more


Wiki Your Way to Transparency
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 12, 2008

For taxpayer activists, one of the most important issues is transparency in government spending. If we can see how government officials use taxpayer dollars, then we can hold those officials accountable for their actions. Today, the National Taxpayers Union is announcing a project that will help you promote government transparency in your state or locale. You may have visited www.... Read more


Subsidizing Failure
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 12, 2008

Be sure to check out today's Cato podcast on, "What to do with GM?" Hint: The answer isn't subsidizing abject failure. ... Read more


Even More Estimates of Obama's Health Plan
Posted by Demian Brady - November 12, 2008

Back in October, the Heritage Foundation reviewed several competing analyses of Obama's health care plan. Heritage concluded that the plan would reduce the number of uninsured, expand government control, and lead to considerable increases in federal spending.... Read more


Another Estimate on Obama's Health Care Plan
Posted by Demian Brady - November 12, 2008

During the campaign, Obama said his health plan would cost $65 billion a year. The Washington Post editorialized that he was given himself credit for savings that might not materialize, they put the price tag at $110 billion. Economist Jonat... Read more


No Easy Ride
Posted by Demian Brady - November 12, 2008

While Congress is planning on throwing more money at the auto industry, a Brit newspaper reports that Obama's team is studying Manchester's car congestion tax to see if it can be brought across the pond.... Read more


Chicago on the Paulson Plan
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 12, 2008

The University of Chicago School of Business has weighed in on the bailout. Here's the conclusion: We analyze the market response to the revised Paulson plan and show that, possible systemic effects aside, this plan does not create any value in the banking sector: it amounts to a massive redistribution from taxpayers to bondholders. Whil... Read more


Deja Vu
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 12, 2008

Over in The Corner John Derbyshire is experiencing a bout of deja vu with our fearless leaders' plan to bailout the auto industry: It's all a bit too creepily similar to the travails of the British auto industry in the 1960s. That en... Read more


2008 Fiscal Ballot Measure Recap
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 11, 2008

As promised, you can now read NTU's recap of 2008 fiscal ballot measure results (PDF).... Read more


$27.8 budget shortfall in California
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 11, 2008

California's Legislative Analyst Office just dropped a bombshell by announcing that California will need $27.8 billion in budget "solutions" over the next 20 months. Taxpayers, hold on to your wallets/handbags. HT: Jon Coupal, HJTA... Read more


GM Retread
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 11, 2008

Back in July, I wrote a post entitled "People can write checks for that amount." In it, I discussed the trials and tribulations of General Motors. The title referred to a quote from an analyst saying,"What's GM worth now -- $7 billion?" asked Bruce Birger, managing director of Birger Capital Management. "People can write checks for that amount."... Read more


With Thanks to All Who Served
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 11, 2008

... Read more


New Jersey insists on drowning future generations in debt
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 10, 2008

In my remarks at the New Jersey Statehouse last month, I mentioned that New Jersey has the 5th highest per capita debt burden in the country. Now, according to to the state Treasury Department, it has the 3rd highest absolute debt burden in the country at $31.9 billion and counting. Sounds like a case for... Read more


Maine tax repeal may lead to more relief
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 10, 2008

In our 2008 Ballot Guide (PDF), NTU came out in support of Maine's Question 1, which repealed beverage taxes meant to fund the state's Dirigo health program. With its success last week, Mainers are poised to vote on two more pro-taxpayer initiatives next year. Next year, voters are expecte... Read more


Monday Bailout Roundup
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 10, 2008

That took forever! (That's what she said) ... Read more


CA continues to self-harm
Posted by Joshua Culling - November 10, 2008

After reviewing the impact of 2008 ballot initiatives on taxpayers across the country, it's never too early to look ahead to 2009. California's now-routine fiscal crisis has already ballooned to an $11.2 billion deficit, just over six weeks after Gov. Schwarzenegger signed the budget... Read more


Hank Paulson: Enabler-in-Chief
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 10, 2008

First Uncle Sam loaned AIG $85 billion of your money. Then AIG asked for $37 billion more. Well, turns out $123 billion wasn't enough! That's right, now we're giving, AIG an even $150 billion bailout. I guess because that number is easier to subtract than $123 billion (r... Read more


Ouch
Posted by Demian Brady - November 10, 2008

Fannie Mae (formerly a GSE -- Government Sponsored Enterprise -- but now a GCE -- Government Controlled Enterprise) reported a third quarter $29 billion loss.... Read more


Need To Know Basis...
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 10, 2008

And apparently you don't need to know. Since September 14, the Fed has loaned nearly $2 trillion of your money to various financial institutions. I say "various financial institutions" because Uncle Sam won't tell us to whom he's lending your money. I guess Hank Paulson was just kidding when he said, "We need protection. We need tra... Read more


New Mexico Voters Vote Down Spaceport Tax
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 08, 2008

Otero County (NM) voters rejected a tax hike that would have helped to finance a commercial inland spaceport. Taxpayers across the galaxy rejoice. ... Read more


Big Union Money in Massachusetts Ballot Question
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 08, 2008

The Massachusetts income tax repeal question was rejected by voters on Tuesday. Even so, big-government boosters were concerned enough with the possibility of passage that they spent $6.12 million on “vote no” advertising. The pro side spent $81,000. Turns out that 86 percent of the funding for the “vote no” effort came from teachers unions. ... Read more


Plastic Bags Targeted with a Sin Tax
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 08, 2008

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to tax plastic bags. NYC, along with many other cities, is facing falling sales tax revenues. But is a bag tax really the best way to go? Taxing the very bags that carry new... Read more


Byrd Goes; Pork Stays
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 07, 2008

CNN is reporting that Robert Byrd is stepping down as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. While that might sound like good news for taxpayers, the story quotes Byrd as saying: "I am now confident that stepping aside as Chairman will not adversely impact my home state of West Virginia." Translation: I've got min... Read more


Rich Galen on Auto Industry Bailout
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 07, 2008

I thought professional spinmeister and political commentator Rich Galen's take on the auto industry bailout was both amusing and succinct: Let me understand this. General Motors is going to go bankrupt next year because it insists on building cars no one wants to buy and, to forestall that, it wants to buy Chrysler which builds cars homeless people don't even want to ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 07, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Obama's Election = Farm Bill Reform?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 06, 2008

Could Obama's election translate into cuts to agriculture subsidies? Let's hope so. ... Read more


A Raw Deal?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - November 06, 2008

Over at NRO Radio, Burton Folsom takes on the New Deal and tells us why we shouldn't have a New New Deal.... Read more


Deadline to Claim Refund Checks is Approaching
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 06, 2008

If you're still missing an income tax refund or economic stimulus check, you need to use our online refund database soon and then get in touch with the IRS. According to Bankrate.com, "By law, the rebate checks must be sent out by Dec. 31. So the IRS has established the late-November address change cu... Read more


Fascinating poll results
Posted by Andrew Moylan - November 06, 2008

Our friends at the Club for Growth have some terrifically interesting poll data from swing districts. What I found interesting is that these districts essentially tracked the national outcome in terms of who they planned to support for President and for Congress. They supported Obama over McCain by a margin of 48 to 44 and Democrats to Republi... Read more


A Fiscal Snapshot of Rahm Emanuel
Posted by Demian Brady - November 05, 2008

There is a lot of speculation as to whether Obama will govern as a leftist (based on his platform and background) or as a moderate (based on his rhetoric, which has generally glossed over his platform and background). Well, one of his first decisions was to ask Rep. Rahm Emanuel to be his chief of staff. Here are some fiscal... Read more


An Opportunity for Reform of Perks for Ex-Presidents?
Posted by Demian Brady - November 05, 2008

With Bush's approval ratings in the tank, perhaps Congress could be persuaded to enact reform of the expensive benefits bestowed upon former presidents. Last year, the Toledo Blade examined the tab to taxpayers for providing a very generous pension, office and travel expenses, postage, and security to ex-presidents. ... Read more


Some Athletes Trying to Minimize the Portion of Their Wealth That Would Be Redistributed
Posted by Demian Brady - November 05, 2008

From the AP:MLB agents ponder beating potential tax increase Looking ahead to the possibility of an Obama administration, some baseball agents already are thinking about trying to beat a possible tax increase for their well-paid clients. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has proposed increasing the top federal income tax rate from ... Read more


Wins for Colorado Taxpayers
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 05, 2008

Earlier in the campaign season, NTU's Joshua Culling identified Colorado's Amendment 59 as the number one ballot prioritry. Colorado enjoys one of the strongest taxpayer protection laws in the nation, the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR guarantees that government cannot raise taxes without going to the voters first. Amendment 59 would have gutted TABOR, openi... Read more


2 TFA Losses in House; 0 in Senate
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 05, 2008

Two 2007 "Taxpayer Friend Award" winners did not keep their House seats: Rep. Tom Feeney (FL) Rep. Steve Chabot (OH) No 2007 Senate "Taxpayer Friend Award" winners lost their seat.... Read more


A Look at What May Be Coming
Posted by Demian Brady - November 04, 2008

Congressman Jim "I'll earmark the *#&@ out of it" Moran opens his mouth again. This time he isn't expressing his enthusiasm for pork, but his disapproval of one of the fundamental rights of a free society - the right to the fruit of one's labor. ... Read more


Wanted: A Non-Keynsian President
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 04, 2008

"Wanted: A Non-Keynsian President" is the title of Brian S. Wesbury and Robert Stein's column this week at Forbes.com. They highlight the downside of yet another stimulus package: As a whole, another short-term stimulus will just leave the U.S. deeper in debt with no change in the incentive to work, save o... Read more


It's Election Day!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 04, 2008

... Read more


I&R Under Attack?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 04, 2008

Today’s highlighted measures from NTU’s informational ballot guide Colorado Ref O, Ohio Issue #1, and Wyoming Amendment B. These measures share something in common: if approved, each would make getting citizen-driven questions on the ballot more difficult. Colorado’s Referendum O would make it harder for citizens – and taxpayers – to place a constitutional a... Read more


Washington's Reduce Traffic Congestion Initiative
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 03, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Washington’s I-985, the Reduce Traffic Congestion Initiative. I-985 would implement some of the recommendations issued by the Washington State Auditor’s Office in a recent transportation performance audit review. Specifically, I-985 would open carpool lanes for everyone durin... Read more


NTU Discusses Ballot Measures on the Radio
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 03, 2008

NTU's Pete Sepp talks with Lowman Henry of ... Read more


The Big Poo Resurfaces
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 03, 2008

The editors over at National Review Online have picked up on "The Big Poo" in the Minnesota sales tax hike fight.... Read more


Taxpayer Information for the Final Stretch
Posted by Demian Brady - November 03, 2008

The Candidates on Fiscal Policy Below are links to Excel files with all the available NTU or NTUF data for Barr, McCain, and Obama. NTU Rates Congress BillTally VoteTally NTUF Presidential Cand... Read more


Arizona's Proposition 105
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 03, 2008

Why Majority Rule Makes Sense for Arizona Taxpayers.... Read more


More Clouds on the Financial Horizon
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 03, 2008

Forbes magazine has a sobering article entitled "2020 Vision" that is certainly worth a read or two. Here's the intro: If you make more than $250,000 you are perhaps fretting about how much the bailout and the fiscal stimulus will cost and how much you will pay for them. Tune out these dark thoughts. There is something much bigger to think about: the risin... Read more


Fact Checking a Fact Check
Posted by Demian Brady - November 03, 2008

Obama has repeatedly claimed that he has offered spending cuts above and beyond the cost of his proposals. NTU Foundation could not find enough savings in his proposals to add up, and neither could CBS News. Using budget and third-party sources to verify Obama's spending claims, NTU Foundation's ... Read more


Ballot Measure Poll Tracking
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 03, 2008

Ballotpedia is tracking ballot measure polls. The measure to repeal South Dakota's term limits is down, 55 to 30. ... Read more


Transparency Website for Kentucky, Coming January 1, 2009
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - November 03, 2008

In less than two months, Kentucky will launch Kentucky's Open Door, "a full-service, user-friendly e-Transparency Web site that will allow you to find out how your tax dollars are being spent." This is a homepage prototype, and some possible page designs incl... Read more


Louisiana's Amendment 5: Property tax reforms for homes taken by eminent domain
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 02, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Louisiana’s Amendment 5. Amendment No. 5 would allow residents to transfer their fixed property tax assessment level with them to a new home if the relocation was made necessary by the government’s expropriation of the resident’s original property. If this amendment is enact... Read more


Quotation of the Weekend
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - November 01, 2008

"Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks." -- Doug Larson... Read more


Possible sales tax hikes in Florida
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - November 01, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Florida’s Amendment 8. Amendment 8 would authorize local sales tax options to fund community colleges. Even though the tax hikes would require voter approval and sunset after 5 years, this amendment would open the door to yet more taxes. Sales tax hikes are also on the ba... Read more


Celebrities Say The Darndest Things
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 31, 2008

There's been some confusion coming from the Obama camp regarding whom to tax. Happily Whoopi Goldberg is clearing things up for us. According to Whoopi, "Everyone's taxes are going up." As much as it pains me to say this about someone on The View, I think she's right. ... Read more


Responding to Andrew on Obama's definition of rich
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 31, 2008

Andrew, By coincidence, I modified my note before reading yours to include the possibility of a doughnut hole in Obama's plans, i.e. to lower taxes on incomes below $X and raise them on incomes above $Y while doing nothing in between. My understanding, by the way, separate from the infomercial, is that Obama was promising a tax increase for individuals making over $200K and families making over $250K. Do you believe that's incorrect? My... Read more


My Remarks to the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 31, 2008

Yesterday I participated in a press conference announcing the formation of the New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance, a coalition of business groups and taxpayer advocates (including NTU) dedicated to reversing decades of harmful economic policies in the Garden State. The scariest things I've encountered this Halloween are New Jersey's economic indicators (ZING!). Below is a transcript of my remarks. -- On behalf of the more than 10,000 New Jersey... Read more


Obama's Definition of "Rich"
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 31, 2008

I'm not often compelled to jump to the defense of Barack Obama's tax policy, but I think something should be clarified for our readers in response to Ross' post. I don't know if this is necessary, but I suppose it's worth pointing out that this post should NOT be considered as any kind of endorsement for Obama or his tax plan. I think any tax hikes are a bad idea, pa... Read more


Bill Richardson lowers Obama's definition of "rich"
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 31, 2008

This morning, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, and enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama, continued the downward ratchet of the level of income at which Barack Obama intends to confiscate income. Obama started at $250,000, then said $200,000. Joe Biden then dropped the bar to $150,000 three days ago. And now, Bill Richardson says that "there is a tax cut for those" making $120... Read more


Where's My Bailout?
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 31, 2008

HT: ... Read more


Study Shows Minnesota Senate Candidates Differ Greatly on Spending
Posted by Christy Paavola - October 31, 2008

NTUF has recently released a cost analysis of Minnesota Senate candidates Norm Coleman's and Al Franken's platforms and the difference is staggering. An unparalleled $600 billion separates the two candidates proposals. Among the findings: Norm Coleman has outlined a fiscal agenda that would in its entirety increase annual federal spending by a net of $2.07 billion. All told, he has offered 21 propsals that would affect the budget... Read more


Labor law reform in Colorado
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 31, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measures from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Colorado’s Amendment 47 and Amendment 49. Amendment 47 contains “right to work” protections that would prevent the mandatory joining of a union as a condition to work. Learn more about Amendment 47. Amendment ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 31, 2008

HT: Tax Guru ... Read more


Corporate Tax Must Come Down
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 31, 2008

Check out the winning entry of the Tax Foundation's CompeteUSA YouTube contest. ... Read more


Obama's Capital Punishment
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 31, 2008

In a speech in Sarasota, Florida on Thursday, Barack Obama said he "will eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses and start-up companies that are the engine of job creation in this country." Sit back and think about that for a minute, especially in combination with what he said to Joe the Plumber. What does Obama think the goal of someone who starts a small business is? To stay small? How much clearer could Obama be that he doe... Read more


A $50 Billion Difference
Posted by Christy Paavola - October 30, 2008

When voters in Colorado go to vote on Tuesday they will have a choice between Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Bob Schaffer for Senate, two men with stark differences of opinion on spending. According to the NTU Foundation's recent fiscal analysis of the two candidates' platforms a $50 billion difference exists. Among the findings: Udall has offered 54 proposals that would affect federal spending - 25 of which would increase ann... Read more


NTU's Tax Refund Database is Online
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 30, 2008

Still waiting for an income tax refund or stimulus check? It's possible the IRS still has it. More than 380,000 Americans who are owed a total of $266 million fall into that category. By searching NTU's online tax refund database, you can determine whether the IRS might have a check waiting for you. ... Read more


Great news from Florida!
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 30, 2008

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction in our Florida ballot speech case, which suspends Florida’s “electioneering communications” law and allows us to talk about the amendments on the Florida ballot. Here’s mo... Read more


Utah's Amendment B: the State Trust Fund Amendment
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 30, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Utah’s Constitutional Amendment B. Constitutional Amendment B, the Utah State Trust Fund Amendment, would allow the permanent state trust fund set up for the 1998 tobacco settlement to receive other forms of money, including severance tax revenues gained from natural resource... Read more


New Jersey Civic and Business Leaders Announce Formation of New Jersey Taxpayers Alliance
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 29, 2008

What: Press Conference Where: New Jersey Statehouse, Trenton, New Jersey Committee Room #10, Annex Building When: Thursday, October 30th, 1:30 p.m. I'll be there, giving a "situational analysis" of New Jersey's current tax climate. Spoiler alert: It's absolutely abysmal. Stop by the New Jersey Taxpayers Association for more details on tomorrow's event.... Read more


No Thanks to the Stimulus 2 Cash
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 29, 2008

As supplicants for Stimulus 2 cash gather today on the Hill, I’d like to point out two must-reads: First, testimony from South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who points out “there may be better routes to recovery than a blanket bailout, including offering states like mine more in the way of flexibility and freedom from federal mandates instead of a ... Read more


Ohio's #5
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 29, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Ohio’s Issue #5. Issue #5 asks voters to approve a law that effectively puts payday lending services and their employees out of business in Ohio by making it unprofitable to offer these loans. If payday loans are driven out of existence, there could be additional political pr... Read more


Bailout Blackout Continues
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 29, 2008

The Agitator covers the ongoing saga of the lack of transparency in the bailout. Contracts with major financial firms are being posted with large chunks of information redacted. This is precisely why NTU put together this 39-group coalition letter... Read more


That short, blond chick from that one show drops some knowledge...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 29, 2008

...on voting, taxes, and whales. Clearly, she has her finger on the pulse of the three most important issues to everyday Americans. CNS News has the story. Hayden Panettiere, Wikipedia tells me, is an actress from the show Heroes, which I have never once watched. I... Read more


NTU Releases Congressional Candidate Survey Results
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 29, 2008

For two decades, NTU has been asking Congressional candidates about their views on taxes, spending, and debt. The 2008 responses have been compiled and are now available for download (Excel file) here. See how candidates on your ballot responded to NTU's questions. ... Read more


Revving Up For Another Bailout
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 28, 2008

Did you love the last round of bailouts? Well Christmas came early this year. Congress and the White House are now looking to bailout the auto industry. Bailout lovers can celebrate. I'll be busy trying to decide if I should laugh or cry.... Read more


California's Proposition 1A: Oppose the Open Taxpayer Checkbook
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 28, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: California’s Proposition 1A. Proposition 1A would issue $9.95 billion in bonds to partially fund a $45 billion high-speed rail service project between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Taxpayers would pay $19.4 billion over 30 years to cover bond costs. Transportation experts ha... Read more


Newspeak from Speaker Pelosi
Posted by Demian Brady - October 28, 2008

"But I do tell you that if the Democrats win, and have substantial majorities, Congress of the United States will be more bipartisan." ABC News.... Read more


Predicting Outcomes of State Ballot Measures
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 28, 2008

Recent, national economic events will shape how many voters respond to statewide ballot measures. According to this article, aftermath from the financial crisis will incline citizens to vote for measures mandating that state governments spend and tax less. People reason, “If hard times force us to be frugal, shouldn’t the government react in a similar fashion?... Read more


Quote of the Day
Posted by Demian Brady - October 27, 2008

While doing some work, I was listening to my music and audio files collection on random selection and this ol' Ronald Reagan quote came up which is even more true now than when it was originally spoken (to loud applause): "Our government is too big and it spends too much." ... Read more


Wesbury: Paving the Road to France
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 27, 2008

A dose of economic reality just as Americans need it most: see "Paving the Road to France", by Brian Wesbury and Robert Stein, 10/27/08 http://www.ftportfolios.com/Commentary/EconomicResearch/2008/10/27/paving_the_road_to_france... Read more


Ted Stevens convicted, will still receive $122,000 taxpayer-funded pension
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 27, 2008

Even though Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) has been convicted of a felony, he will still receive his taxpayer-funded pension of $122,000 per year. We wrote about the huge loopholes in the "no pensions for felons" law that was passed last year, but this issue illustrates it pretty darned clearly. Stevens' ... Read more


Sad note: Dean Barnett passes at age 41
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 27, 2008

Dean Barnett, one of the most eloquent writers you'd ever encounter, blogosphere or elsewhere, died today after a long battle with cystic fibrosis. I didn't always agree with him, but I ran into his writings first at Townhall.com a few years ago. He alone kept me coming back to that blog, day in and day out. He then moved on to the Weekly... Read more


Stop the presses: Thomas Friedman says something I agree with...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 27, 2008

The Club for Growth points me to a Thomas Friedman column in yesterday's New York Times which actually contains something I agree with. I think Friedman is powerfully wrong when he advocates for more taxpayer funding for and government control of so-called "alternative energy," but in this case, he makes a whole lot of sense. Friedman argues that go... Read more


Bailout Roundup
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 27, 2008

Got a "case of the Mondays" today? In the first installment of what I hope will be a weekly roundup of some of the best bailout blogging content, I make my first obscure movie reference. Office Space fans rejoice! On to the best posts of the week... -Russell Roberts at Cafe Hayek writes of the ... Read more


Tragedy of the Civil Rights Movement: Not Enough Taxes
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 27, 2008

Drudge this morning is linking to a radio interview from 2001 in which then-state senator Barack Obama declares: But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints th... Read more


I laughed multiple times while reading this article
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 27, 2008

An article in the New York Times this morning about the resignation of Charles O'Byrne, a top aide to Gov. David Paterson, made me laugh. First, the title: Paterson Aide Quits in Furor Over His Taxes I literally thought that, in a moment of sudden awareness, O'Byrne became ticked off about New York's oppressive tax burden, the 2nd highest in the country... Read more


Find Out Why McCain Cited NTU as a Government Watchdog in Two Debates
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - October 27, 2008

In the last two Presidential debates, John McCain has highlighted the National Taxpayers Union as a government "watchdog" guarding fiscal responsibility. With just over two weeks until Election Day, NTU is urging taxpayers to visit NTU's Web site to get the latest and most comprehensive analyses of fiscal policy available -- including legislative records and campaign promises of both John McCain and Barack Obama. ... Read more


Oklahoma's Question 741: More tax forms on the way?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 26, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Oklahoma’s Question No. 741. State Question No. 741 is a constitutional amendment that would require a person or business to file an application in order to be considered for a property tax exemption. Adding bureaucratic hassles to the tax burden already faced by small bus... Read more


Why Aren't Candidates Talking about the Foundations of Prosperity?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - October 25, 2008

During election season, candidates make a lot of promises about how they are going to make people better off. The importance and value of the American worker has been mentioned in a couple of debates. Yes, American workers contribute to societal prosperity, but they are not the essential feature. Our workers could not be prosperous in the absence of certain foundational institutions (for an international example: communism didn’t fail because ... Read more


Taxpayers and Georgia's Forest Preservation Amendment
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 25, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Georgia’s Proposed Amendment 1, or the Forest Preservation Amendment. Proposed Amendment 1 would allow the state to assess and tax certain privately owned tracts of timberland according to their “current use,” rather than to assess and tax based on a property’s highest-valued... Read more


Ever wondered what SC state employees get paid?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 24, 2008

Probably not until you read that subject line (and maybe not even then). At least now, though, you can sate your curiosity here. Kudos to the Comptroller's Office for putting that link on the official South Carolina Spending Transparency page. ... Read more


Rainy Day Raid in Alabama
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 24, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Alabama’s Statewide Amendment Number One. Amendment One would expand a “rainy day” fund for education spending and relax associated borrowing rules. The measure would allow for an increase in the amount of money borrowed from the fund, and the repayment period would increase ... Read more


Can we find the blacked out bailout contracts on USASpending.gov?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 24, 2008

Yesterday I linked to Jim Harper’s post on the blacked out bailout contract documents. Would it be possible to find the hidden details at www.USASpending.gov, which is supposed to provide information on government contracts over $25,000? Unfortunately, no. ... Read more


Blagojevich Acting Shady
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 23, 2008

IL Gov. Rod Blagojevich won't tell taxpayers how much of their money he's spending on state-subsidized health care: First, Gov. Rod Blagojevich gave out state-subsidized health care without permission. Now, he won’t tell taxpayers how many people are participating, how much tax money has been spent, or even which state account he’s using ... Read more


Blacked Out: Where’s the transparency in this bailout?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 23, 2008

What was that about transparency and the government bailout ? Scroll to page 25 of this Treasury agreement with the Bank of New York Mellon to carry out aspects of the bailout. Notice that the compensation details have been blacked out. Think “big black marker” b... Read more


North Dakota's Measure 2
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 23, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: North Dakota’s Statutory Measure No. 2. Measure 2 would lower the state corporate income tax by 15 percent and cut the state personal income tax in half. North Dakota is projected to have a $1.3 billion budget surplus, and Measure Two could save taxpayers over $415 millio... Read more


Nebraska Senate Candidates Will Cost Taxpayers $6.2 Billion to $19.9 Billion
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - October 23, 2008

The NTU Foundation has released the second of several studies on U.S. Senate races around the country, which found that roughly $14 billion separates the platforms of Democrat Scott Kleeb and Republican Mike Johanns. Among the findings: Kleeb has offered 49 proposals that would affect federal spending -- 13 of which would increase annual outlays and 36 of which have unknown fiscal effects -- for a net annual spending hike of $19.9 bil... Read more


More Fun With Bailouts
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 23, 2008

If it's good for the goose it's good for the corn growers I guess. That's right, now the ethanol industry is in line for a bailout. I'm at a loss. ... Read more


The Moral Case for Tax Havens
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 23, 2008

The always-indispensable Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute makes the case for tax havens in a recent video (below) for the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. He makes the case not just on financial grounds, but on moral grounds. It's an interesting angle that one doesn't often think of, but things aren't quite as America-centric as we 'Mericans tend to think they are (or as West-centric as we... Read more


NTU Launches New Website: BeyondBailouts.org
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 23, 2008

As time wears on post-bailout, conservatives and libertarians will be engaged in a long battle with liberals to define the root causes of our current financial difficulties and their proper remedies. In an attempt to counteract the rapidly proliferating view that “deregulation and the excesses of capitalism” were the cause of our probems, NTU has joined with ou... Read more


Context Matters
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 22, 2008

In the wake of Barack Obama's promise to "spread the wealth around," some have defended the comment by quoting Adam Smith. Folks like prolific blogger Andrew Sullivan and ... Read more


What a Pro-Taxpayer Stimulus Bill Would Contain
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 22, 2008

Instead of more spending, how about some stimulating tax policy:Suspend minimum withdrawal rules for IRAs. No one should be forced to withdraw from their Individual Retirement Account just because they hit a certain age, especially if they'd prefer to wait for a market uptick. This change would address the concerns of older taxpayers, many of whom respo... Read more


South Dakota's Measure 10
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 22, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: South Dakota’s Measure 10. Measure 10 would prohibit taxpayer funds from being used for lobbying, bar legislators and their staff from being able to use their positions to secure state-contracted jobs, outlaw the process of trading state contracts for campaign donations, and ... Read more


Lower property tax assessments on the way?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 22, 2008

The Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership recently analyzed property taxes in the metro Atlanta neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosure. The findings, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution? If today’s assessments remain unchanged, the 15 ZIP codes with the highest for... Read more


Do Taxpayer-Funded Campaigns Actually Save Taxpayer Dollars?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 22, 2008

Based on a case study of Maine and Arizona, the Center for Competitive Politics says no. ... Read more


Oil Prices Down 52% Since July
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 21, 2008

A silver lining, perhaps? Oil prices have dropped 52 percent from their record-high of $147.27 per barrel on July 11th of this year. They now stand just over $70 per barrel. Anecdotally, I've now started seeing sub-$3.00 per gallon gasoline all over the DC metro area, which tends to suffer from higher gas prices than many parts of the ... Read more


New Mexico Senate Candidates Will Cost Taxpayers $345 Million to $25.3 Billion
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - October 21, 2008

The NTU Foundation has released the first of several studies on U.S. Senate races around the country, which found that roughly $24.9 billion separates the platforms of Democrat Tom Udall and Republican Steve Pearce. Among the findings: U.S. Rep. Udall (NM-3) has offered 19 proposals that would impact federal spending -- seven of which would increase annual outlays and 12 of which have unknown fiscal effects -- for a net annual spend... Read more


Voting Early? Take NTU's Ballot Guide with You
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 21, 2008

According to ComputerWorld early voting has started in 31 states. Before you head out for early voting, make sure that you take a look at NTU's 2008 Ballot Guide (available here in PDF). If you're planning to vote absentee, take a look at... Read more


When I Say 3% I Really Mean 35.7%
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 21, 2008

Newsflash: politicians aren't great at telling the truth. Sadly, neither is USA Today. As the Heritage Foundation points out, Barack Obama's claim that his tax plan would only hurt 3% of small businesses is "highly deceptive." In fact, ... Read more


"Yes I Believe Later on There Should be Tax Increases."
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 20, 2008

Well at least he's honest. House Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), speaking on CNBC today tells Maria Bartiromo, "Yes I believe later on there should be tax increases. Speaking personally I think there a lot of very rich people out there we can tax down the road." You can watch him promise to raise "a lot of very rich people" here at the 4:30 mark... Read more


Tune in Tomorrow
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 20, 2008

At 10 AM tomorrow, Megan Rhyne, Executive Director of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government, will be featured on the Tertium Quids radio program, a show sponsored by the Tertium Quids (Tertium Quid meaning "third ent... Read more


Cato Rates America's Governors
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 20, 2008

Our friends at the Cato Institute dropped some knowledge this morning, releasing their annual Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors. It rates governors' policy decisions on tax and spending issues since 2003; those in favor of big government receive lower scores. Many of those on either extreme end of the ranking will come as no surprise to readers of this blog. Study author Chri... Read more


Q. What Else Will Cost Taxpayers $700 Billion?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 20, 2008

A. Unfunded public employee pensions. Says Time Magazine:A study by analysts at Barclays Global Investors in San Francisco estimates that public-employee pension funds in the U.S. are short $700 billion. That's more than all state and local governments collected last year in property, sales and corporate income taxes combined. As a result... Read more


Jon Caldara on CO Amendment 49
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 20, 2008

For other important ballot measures in Colorado and... Read more


Local Government Tax Cap Effort Underway in Florida
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 20, 2008

NFIB Florida is organizing a petition drive to put an amendment on the 2010 ballot that would place a revenue cap on local governments. Called Your Dollar, Your Decision, the amendment would tie local government revenue growth to inflation and would be breakable with the approval of voters. Interested individuals can find ... Read more


Do you vote for tax hikers?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 18, 2008

Get your free "I Don't Vote for Tax Hikers" bumper sticker! ... Read more


New Jersey's Question 1: Taxpayer Approval of Bonding
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 18, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: New Jersey’s Public Question 1. Public Question 1 is an amendment to the state constitution mandating that any legislation that issues state authority bonds would require voter approval prior to its passage and execution, thereby injecting taxpayer oversight into the budgetar... Read more


'Tax'achusetts No Longer?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 17, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Massachusetts’ Question 1. Question 1, otherwise known as the Small Government Act to End the Income Tax, would reduce the state individual income tax from 5.3 percent to 2.65 percent for all Massachusetts taxpayers beginning in 2009. The state income tax would be completely ... Read more


I&R Measures in 2008: What Taxpayers Need to Know
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 17, 2008

Budget & Tax News printed our roundup of the tax-related initiative and referenda on the 2008 ballot. There’s also a summary of other fiscal measures (funding shifts, gaming questions, good government reforms) up for consideration.... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 17, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Coalition Against Colorado Amendment 59 Forming
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 16, 2008

After publishing our annual Ballot Guide last week, NTU has identified Colorado Amendment 59 as our number one ballot priority looming in November. It would be disastrous for taxpayers in the state, essentially wiping out the TABOR amendment they fought for and won in 1992. Special interests have been lining up to weaken TABOR for 16 years. 59 would be the final blow. Am... Read more


NTU/CAGW to Presidential Candidates: "Want to cut spending? Here's how!"
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 16, 2008

NTU joined with our friends at Citizens Against Government Waste to write a letter telling Senators McCain and Obama, “You want to go through the budget line-by-line to root out waste? Good news! We’ve been doing that for decades, and here’s where you can start…” We discuss just some of the projects that our respective organizations have been working to iden... Read more


"Joe the Plumber"
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 16, 2008

The person in this crazy campaign who has made the most sense on taxes isn't a candidate. That's right, it's "Joe the Plumber" on Good Morning America: Diane Sawyer: "Well if people making $250,000 should not be taxed additionally — by the way, it's 3% from 36% to 39% under Senator Obama's plan. If those people should not be taxed additionally, even though they're in the top 5% of America, what about people who make $1 millio... Read more


Oregon's Measure 56
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 16, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Oregon’s Measure 56. Measure 56 would change the state constitution to have property tax elections decided by a majority of voters voting. This measure would weaken the “double majority” rule (which has stopped numerous tax hikes) requiring 50 percent of registered voters to ... Read more


More Fiscal Factchecking
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 16, 2008

Senator Obama is having some trouble with the facts. As Demian noted, an NTUF study has debunked Sen. Obama's claim to be a spending cutter, his “scalpel” notwithstanding. And on corporate tax rates the Obama campaign appears to be, to put it charitably, confused. Sen. Obama has told you, “we actually see our businesses pay effectively one of the lowest tax rates in... Read more


Stimulus 2
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 16, 2008

Is Stimulus 2 and its billions in new spending back from the dead? Republican House Leader Boehner warns against “Pork in Stimulus Clothing.”... Read more


An Open Invitation to Joe the Plumber
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 16, 2008

Dear Joe the Plumber (and every other interested taxpayer), We at the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) understand your concerns about tax hikes and their negative effect on small businesses, and we invite you to join the more than 362,000 NTU members ... Read more


They did it again...
Posted by Demian Brady - October 15, 2008

McCain again recommended that voters check out the National Taxpayers Union's and the Citizens Against Government Waste's reports on the fiscal records of the candidates. And Obama again claimed that he is a spending cutter. NTU's research arm, NTU Foundation, examined the savi... Read more


Liberal media ignores Obama's overt socialism
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 15, 2008

It's stunning how little the press is covering Barack Obama's overt socialism as expressed in response to a question he received from a plumber near Toledo, Ohio on Sunday. Plumber Joe Wurzelbacher had a conversation with Obama that included the following exchange. (Some of Wurzelbacher's lines may have been in a different order...it's hard to piece together...but this is the essence of it.) JW: "I'm getting ready to buy a company that mak... Read more


Arizona's Proposition 105
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 15, 2008

Today’s highlighted taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide: Arizona’s Proposition 105. Proposition 105, otherwise known as “Majority Rules,” would place a strong majority vote requirement on future plans to increase taxes or spending via the ballot box. Specifically, a vote of support from a majority of qualified electors would be nec... Read more


National Taxpayers Union on LinkedIn
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 15, 2008

NTU has a group on LinkedIn. You're welcome to join us.... Read more


At Moment of Truth, Where was Dagny Taggart?
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 15, 2008

The following letter was written by Joseph Bast, President of the Heartland Institute, in response to an article in the Wall Street Journal which Bast believes has sinister implications...and I agree. At Moment of Truth, Where was Dagny Taggart? By Joseph L. Bast The front page of today’s Wall Street Journal carries a story titled “At Moment of Truth, U.S. Forced Big Bankers to Blink... Read more


OpenIllinois.org: Come In, We're Open!
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 15, 2008

The OpenIllinois.org website does a great job of highlighting which Illinois cities and school districts are transparent with how they spend your tax dollars. OpenIllinois.org also has a transparency pledge for candidates, ... Read more


Colorado's Amendment 59 -- Saying Goodbye to TABOR Tax Rebates?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 14, 2008

From now until Election Day, I’m going to feature an important taxpayer-related measure from NTU’s informational ballot guide. Today’s measure is Colorado Amendment 59. Colorado’s Amendment 59 (otherwise known as the Savings Account for Education plan, or SAFE) would effectively undo Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR restricts the annual g... Read more


Walter Williams on Socialism
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 14, 2008

Walter Williams, one of the best voices for economic freedom in America today, is interviewed over at National Review Radio on his book Liberty Versus the Tyranny of Socialism. Be sure to have a listen. You'll be glad you did.... Read more


Good News for Alabama's Taxpayers
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 13, 2008

Thanks to the work of the Alabama Policy Institute, Alabama may soon be among those states that post expenditures online. During the next legislative session, State Senator Arthur Orr plans to sponsor legislation that would, among other things, make the state's check register readily available in a digital, accessible format. To... Read more


Beverage Taxes in Maine: Impact of Question 1
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 10, 2008

Recently, the National Taxpayers Union published its 2008 Ballot Guide. As NTU mentioned, voters in Maine will be able to vote on Question 1, which would repeal a newly created tax on beverages in the state (see page 4 of the Ballot Guide). Now Dr. Todd Gabe, an economist at the University of Maine, ha... Read more


Cartoon Blogging: Some Levity on a Grim Day
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 10, 2008

From our friends at Tennessee Tax Revolt, look out below! Hat tip: Who else? Andy Roth at the Club for Growth.... Read more


ATR Launches Fascinating 401k Calculator
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 10, 2008

As we watch the volatility in the stock market today, it's instructive to think about the value of one's retirement savings. There's not much that any individual can do to stop a short-term slide in stock prices, but we can help determine whose tax policies reign in the coming years through elections. Along those lines, our friends at Americans for Tax Reform put together this great 401k calculator, which allows you to punch in a value... Read more


Washington Post Shocker: Proposal too Costly and Unnecessary
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 09, 2008

The Washington Post has editorialized that Senator McCain's proposed $300 billion mortgage buy back plan is unnecessary and too costly: "...unless Mr. McCain can demonstrate that this concession to borrowers is needed to alleviate the crisis and would be more effective than other measures already adopted by the Bus... Read more


Sir, Can You Spare 378,000,000,000 Dimes?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 09, 2008

AIG is out of cash. That's right those precocious insurers you just lent $85 billion, might just need another $37.8 billion from you. Gee, who would have guessed writing checks to failing companies wasn't an effective way to run an economy? ... Read more


Rhode Island Independent Transparency Site Launched
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - October 08, 2008

Recently, the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition Foundation launched its new transparency website, www.themoneytrail.org. This site provides citizens with access to public documents from several levels of Rhode Island government, including the state itself, municipalities, and school districts. These documents provide financial d... Read more


Obama a Net Spending Cutter?
Posted by Demian Brady - October 07, 2008

During Tuesday night's presidential debate, Senator Obama claimed he will cut net federal spending if he is elected. An admirable pledge: with a $3 trillion budget there is a lot of waste and there are certainly duplicative programs that could be eliminated. But it is not clear how Obama would follow through on this pledge. Back in July I blogged about this topic aft... Read more


NTU in the Presidential Debate
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 07, 2008

For those of you who missed it, NTU got a shout out tonight in the Presidential Debate. You can watch it here: ... Read more


Sharing Burdens
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 07, 2008

Barack Obama noted we should try to share burdens. And I agree. Thankfully, NTU has data on that as well. As we note on our Who Pays Income Taxes page, this is how we currently "share the burden": Top 1 percent pays 39.89 percent of income taxes; Top 5 percent pays 60.14 percent of income taxes; Top 10 percent pays 70.79 percent of income taxes; T... Read more


Taking Senator McCain's Advice
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 07, 2008

John McCain just said in the debate that y'all should look to the National Taxpayers Union for the facts on the candidates' fiscal records and promises. To help y'all out, here are some quick links: John McCain's spending plans Barack Obama's spending plans ... Read more


Update On the SNL Bailout Sketch
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 07, 2008

The mystery of the missing SNL bailout sketch is solved. According to Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke, NBC is editing the video to protect themselves from a likely lawsuit f... Read more


FWIW...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 07, 2008

For what it's worth, the Dow has dropped nearly 1,200 points since the bailout passed the House at about 1:30pm Friday. Gee, it sure is a good thing that we were able to avoid the apocalyptic scenario that Brad Sherman described as some of the warnings coming from ... Read more


You're Gonna Need a Bigger Clock
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 07, 2008

NBC Nightly News reports that the national debt has become so large that the National Debt Clock in New York City doesn't have enough digits. Greeeatttttt.... ... Read more


Don't Like the Financial Mess? You're a Bigot.
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 06, 2008

That's right. Our old pal Barney "I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidized housing" Frank (D-MA) says all of you who think a government policy of pushing reckless loans was, well, reckless are actually racist. ... Read more


Who Took Down the SNL Bailout Skit?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 06, 2008

The Saturday Night Live skit lampooning the bailout package has been removed from the SNL website without explanation (the screen reads: Video Not Found!). Reader comments give possible explanations: OK, what is going on here? Why is this video no longer available all of a sudden? Jimharsh This skit was one of a handful of truly funny skits amidst a s... Read more


Fitting...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 06, 2008

On a day when the Dow is plunging and the true scope of the bailout is still being discovered, I figured it was as good a time as any to quote some fascinating survey data. 59% of Americans would like to replace EVERY SINGLE Member of Congress, if they could. That, my friends, i... Read more


Book: Global Tax Revolution
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 06, 2008

Cato has released Global Tax Revolution, which describes tax reforms around the world since the 1980s, as well as challenges to the American economy in an age of globalization. Here's a NRO op-ed describing some of the ways that America... Read more


Say It Ain't So Joe Part Deux
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 06, 2008

On Saturday, I noted how absurd Joe Biden's statement on the McCain health care plan was. Now Michael Cannon is jumping on the bandwagon with a great column on "Joe Biden's health care whopper." Of course, if you're too lazy to ... Read more


2008 Ballot Guide
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 06, 2008

Election season is well underway, but candidates shouldn’t be your only focus right now. Many taxpayers will have the opportunity to vote on important tax and spending questions down-ballot. To help navigate the waters, your friends at the National Taxpayers Union have put together this Ballot Guide that covers more than 100 initiative and referendum measures... Read more


FAILout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 06, 2008

The Dow is currently down more than 550 points as I write this (10:40am). Apparently the markets don't like the bailout passing much more than they liked it not passing. Sure makes you wish we didn't make policy based on a single day's swing in the market, doesn't it? Update 2:26 pm: We're now down 719 points. Good thing our benevolent overlords passed that bailout, eh?... Read more


Is It Just Me...
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 05, 2008

Is it just me, or does SNL come closer to explaining the cause of the bailout than NBC News? ... Read more


Confict of Interest in the Bailout Implementation?
Posted by Demian Brady - October 04, 2008

The Washington Post reports on Paulson's likely choices to manage the bailout's implementation, and lo and behold, the same people who were involved in the investment banks' decisions to pour money into the now toxic mortgage-based securities will be the Secretary's go-to-guys. After all, they are the expert... Read more


IRS snooping in the bailout bill?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 04, 2008

What you need to know (thanks to this CNET article by Declan McCullagh): There's another section of the bailout bill worth noting. It lets the IRS give information from individual tax returns to any federal law enforcement agency investigating suspected "terrorist" activity, which can, in turn, share it with local and state police. Intellig... Read more


Jealous?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 04, 2008

I was trying to compute a tip on a $46.00 tab last night, so of course, I decided to double the tax. But then I realized my tax was only $1.94. After getting stuck with a $700 Billion Bailout, I feel like this taxpayer victory almost makes up for it. Sadly, thanks to my complete inability to calculate a tip without doubling the tax, I'm pretty sure our waitress Connie is going to need a bailout.... Read more


Say It Ain't So Joe
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 04, 2008

For those of you who watched Thursday's VP Debate, you probably remember Joe Biden's clever line about John McCain's health care plan being "the ultimate bridge to nowhere." (Never mind that Joe Biden voted to fund the Bridge to Nowhere instead of diverting the money to Katrina relief). But while it was a good line, Joe Biden was dead wrong about ... Read more


"High Taxes are Good for You"
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 04, 2008

I saw An American Carol last night. My favorite line? “Jimmy Carter” saying “high taxes are good for you.” Sounds familiar. ... Read more


That was fast
Posted by Demian Brady - October 03, 2008

The bailout bills has been signed and sealed, now all that remains is to deliver all that dough. Personally, I find it disturbing how pleased Paulson looks about this: Associated Press President Bush is greeted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson after the House passed the bailout bill.... Read more


Bailout Vote Soon in the House
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 03, 2008

The moment of truth is nearly upon us. The House of Representatives will vote on the reprehensible bailout package around 12:45pm. Stay tuned here for updates on the vote total. UPDATE 1:26pm: Current count is 263-171. It passed handily. Full breakdown soon.... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - October 03, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Bailout Bill Horrors
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - October 02, 2008

While I can't say I've read the whole "financial rescue" bill, I have read the tables of contents of the whole bill and then read the sections I found most interesting. Please read my thoughts on the pork and horrible legislation jammed into this travesty of a bill...a travesty which I expect will pass the House narrowly tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it fails aga... Read more


StopACORN.org
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - October 02, 2008

Ken Blackwell’s article on how Democrats were trying to funnel money in the bailout package to a hyper-partisan organization known as ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is definitely worth a read.As the weekend progressed, reports were constantly emerging of the sticking points preventing a final agreement. One of t... Read more


Jim DeMint's Must-See Bailout Speech
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - October 02, 2008

Congress, the President, and our presidential candidates have been absolutely incoherent over the past few weeks when talking about the bailout mess. Per usual, Jim DeMint (R-SC) has come to the rescue to explain what caused the mess and why the bailout won't help. ... Read more


In Reply to Brent Bozell
Posted by Demian Brady - October 02, 2008

In a NY Post column, Brent Bozell asks about Obama's so-called "tax cut":How is it possible to cut 95 percent of Americans' taxes when the Tax Foundation reports that 40 percent of Americans don't pay any income tax? (This math apparently is too sophisticated for the guardians of "fact," who are now... Read more


The few, the proud...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 02, 2008

the . . . Senators who voted no on the $700 billion bailout package last night, which passed 74-25. They are... Wayne Allard (R-CO) John Barrasso (R-WY) Sam Brownback (R-KS) Jim Bunning (R-KY) Maria Cantwell (D-WA) Thad Cochran (R-MS) Mike Crapo (R-ID) Jim DeMint (R-SC) Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) Byr... Read more


NTU Foundation on "The O'Reilly Factor"
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - October 02, 2008

Findings from NTU Foundation's latest update to its Presidential Candidate Cost Analysis Project were cited on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday. ... Read more


Calling the Senate
Posted by Demian Brady - October 01, 2008

I just tried calling my Senators. Warner's line wouldn't work, no ring at all, and Webb's line has a recording saying to call back during business hours, then click, no option to leave a message. Not very user-friendly. Off to try the web forms, not as satisfying as reaching an actual person, but my Senators aren't making it easy to get through. And now I'll likely get put on their email lists. Update: After sending a message through Webb's... Read more


27 Groups Urge Senate to Oppose the Bailout
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - October 01, 2008

An NTU-led coalition of 27 groups representing millions of taxpayers sent a letter to the Senate today urging lawmakers to vote against the $700 billion bailout. "It would be naïve to suggest there are no problems that need rectifying in today's financial markets," the letter states. "However, it is equally naïve to think that elected officials and bureaucrats can solve tho... Read more


Senate Bailout Bill Stuffed With Pork
Posted by Joshua Culling - October 01, 2008

Follow Twitter user "foundinthebill" at http://www.twitter.com/foundinthebill for insight into the types of pork barrel spending being jammed into the Senate bailout bill. My personal favorite, tweeted about an hour ago: "Sec. 503: Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children."Without this provision, the very idea of credit as we kno... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Bailout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - October 01, 2008

October 1, 2008 ****************************************** NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the $700 billion financial industry bailout plan. This unconscionable scheme forces the vast majority of taxpayers who were honest and prudent to bail out firms on Wall Street that made bad business decisions. This version of the legislation heaps on even more bad policy to the original proposal, including an amendment from Sen. Sanders (I-VT... Read more


Taxes and Spending
Posted by Demian Brady - October 01, 2008

Last Friday's debate (it seems much longer ago than that) featured some interesting quotes about taxes and spending. Senator Obama said that McCain wants to spend $300 billion on tax cuts. I'm paraphrasing here but he did use the word "spend" in reference to McCain's income tax cuts. Now this is only spending if one takes the view that the federal government has proprietorial rights to your income. Changing the laws to allow people keep more o... Read more


Mark-to-Market Rules Eased
Posted by Demian Brady - September 30, 2008

This is good news. From the Washington Post: SEC Clarification May Help Markets. It is worth trying to implement reforms like this before ponying up $700 billion or more taxpayer dollars. ... Read more


A Theme Song for Obama?
Posted by Demian Brady - September 30, 2008

Recently, Obama said to call him if he could be helpful in regards to the bailout bill: I wonder if his phone ha... Read more


Hilarious: House Websites Nearly Crashed by Bailout Fury
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 30, 2008

The Hill has this fascinating story today about the House having to limit web traffic to prevent a crash after constituents like you started flooding Congressional offices with messages in opposition to the bailout. Sounds to me like a perfect opportunity to pile on! So go sign our ... Read more


Using Tax Money to Lobby for More Tax Money!
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 30, 2008

The Minnesota Office of the State Auditor released a report on what local governments (mostly cities, counties and school districts) spend lobbying the state Legislature. The total dollar amount for 2007? $7,817,620, or 10.7 percent more than in 2006. That’s right; your tax dollars are going to your localities so they can turn aro... Read more


Remember Stimulus 2?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 30, 2008

The bailout fight has been so consuming, I wanted to highlight the fact that the Senate killed Stimulus 2’s $50-60 billion in new spending. The President has promised to veto the bill should it land on his desk. Remember, the House’s version of the bill (which passed) included languag... Read more


Transparency Developments in South Dakota
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 30, 2008

Recently, South Dakota placed a searchable spending database online. This is great news for taxpayers, but some believe there may be more to this story. Back in January, State Representative Hal Wick, who received the American Legislativ... Read more


House torpedoes bailout plan
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - September 29, 2008

The House of Representatives defeated the Administration's proposed bailout/buyout plan by 205-228. In the few minutes after the vote, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 700 points. After attempting a recovery, it fell again in the last hour and closed on the biggest closing downticks (i.e. the size of the drop between the next to the last trade of the day and the last, closing, trade of the day) that I've seen in 21 years of trading, closi... Read more


Bailout In Trouble
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 29, 2008

As of 2:02 the House is split with 207 Yea votes and 226 Nay votes on the bailout with time expired. You can watch the arm twisting live on CSPAN, or at your computer here. (The CSPAN site isn't working for me, but this foxnews feed is to CSPAN.) The vote breakdown right now is: Democrats: 141 Yea 94 Nay Republicans: 66 Yea 132 Nay 1 Not Voting ... Read more


Rep. Jeff Flake's Floor Speech Against the Bailout
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 29, 2008

... Read more


Watch Massachusetts
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 29, 2008

This November, residents of Massachusetts will be able to vote on a ballot question that, if adopted, would save the average taxpayer $3,600 in state income taxes. Question 1 proposes to eliminate the Massachusetts’s income tax over a two-year period. And officials are worri... Read more


Club for Growth keeping track of floor proceedings
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 29, 2008

Our good friends at the Club for Growth are keeping track of House floor speeches in favor and opposed to the bailout plan. My count as of 12:54pm is 7 in favor, 14 opposed. Let's hope that keeps up.... Read more


"Move along, nothing to see here."
Posted by Demian Brady - September 29, 2008

Someone put together this YouTube video of Democrats vociferously defending Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as fine, upstanding entities with "risk-less" assets that did not need better regulatory and Congressional oversight. This was in response to a 2004 report warning of billions of dollars in accounting errors at Fannie Mae. ... Read more


"A $700 Billion Picture"
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 29, 2008

Source: Digg... Read more


Pelosi: House Republicans Are Unpatriotic
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 28, 2008

Nancy Pelosi, proving once again what a classy lady she is, announced House Republicans were "unpatriotic" for not showing up to a negotiation over Bush's Budget Busting Bailout. Now, I might agree with her if the Republicans had just stormed off and refused to negotiate some sort of plan. But that's not quite what happened. As Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) noted, the Republicans didn't show up because ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Bailout
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 28, 2008

September 28, 2008 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members of Congress to vote “NO” on the $700 billion financial industry bailout plan. This unconscionable scheme forces the vast majority of taxpayers who were honest and prudent to bail out firms on Wall Street that made bad business decisions. Furthermore, it does nothing to address the root causes of today’s market diff... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: Stimulus
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 26, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on H.R. 7110, the “Stimulus 2” package, which would spend tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on a hodgepodge legislative wish list. In some cases, H.R. 7110 gives spending priority to projects that “can award contracts based on bids within 120 days of enactment.” In other cases, it favors “those activities that are labor inte... Read more


Bush Stands Up on Shale Ban
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 26, 2008

Today, President Bush released what's called a "Statement of Administration Policy" (SAP) on S. 3604, the Senate's version of the continuing resolution to fund the government. As I reported yesterday, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was attempting to slip a ban on development of American shale oil resources into the bill, figuring that nobody would pay attention with ... Read more


Outsiders Should Stay Out of It?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 26, 2008

Majority Leader Harry Reid just got on TV and said to John McCain "outsiders should stay out of it." "It" being the Senate. John McCain is a Senator, and personally, I'd like both Senator Obama and Senator McCain to do what I'm paying them to do: show up to their day job as a member of the US Senate.... Read more


Keep Calling, Writing on the Bailout
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 25, 2008

When I was in Senate offices this week, the phone was ringing off the hook with folks angry about the finance bailout. Keep those calls coming. You can also sign NTU’s petition here. ... Read more


A Comprehensive Look at the Presidential Candidates' Spending Plans
Posted by Demian Brady - September 25, 2008

NTUF released an update of its analysis of the spending platforms of Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, plus a new look at the agenda of Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. Some... Read more


Just when you think it's out...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 25, 2008

They keep putting it back in. What's the "it" I'm talking about? A ban on oil shale development. I wrote earlier today about a great victory for taxpayers when it came out that leaders in the House would not include any o... Read more


The Bailout: Upset with Myself
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - September 25, 2008

For about 48 hours, I found myself grudgingly supporting the Paulson bailout plan. I admit it: For those 48 hours, I was a moron, or at least very naive. I believed the problem was so obviously serious that even Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and Chuckie Schumer would have to put through a streamlined piece of legislation without larding it up with Democrat goodies and class warfare. That was naive of me. Also, separately from my naiveté, I di... Read more


And the War Rages On...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 25, 2008

We may have won the battle on the domestic energy production bans, but we have a long way to go before the war is won. Our friends at the Institute for Energy research lay out the many steps between here and there. As o... Read more


Economists Against Bush's Budget Busting Bailout
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 24, 2008

Via the indispensable Greg Mankiw, here are just some economists against the Paulson Plan. ... Read more


McCain Suspends Campaign, Makes Me Look Silly
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 24, 2008

Yesterday I had some pretty harsh words for both presidential candidates for their collective lack of leadership on Bush's Budget Busting Bailout. Well, as far as John McCain goes, mea culpa Senator. John McCain has announced he is suspending his president... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: Continuing Resolution
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 24, 2008

NTU urges all Members to vote "NO" on H.R. 2638. This "stopgap" measure would go far beyond extending the federal government's funding at current levels until early March of 2009. In fact, H.R. 2638 would pile on billions in new spending, including an additional $2.5 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, $22.9 billion for disaster relief spending, and a $2.5 billion increase for Pell Grants. If Congress believes these program... Read more


Just 1,200 Earmarks
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 24, 2008

Representative Jeff Flake (AZ) was just on the House floor highlighting the 1,200 earmarks in H.R. 2638 - The Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, 2009. According to Flake, 60% of the earmarks go to members of the "leadership" rather than rank-and-file members. And, best of all, the earmarks can't be challenged under the rule. ... Read more


Transparency Website Launched in Maine
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 24, 2008

Today the Maine Policy Heritage Center announced the launch of its new transparency website, www.maineopengov.org. The site provides state payroll information (on Maine's 90,000 plus employees), as well as information on government expenditures. Detailed expenditure information is searchable by criteria such a... Read more


NTU on CNN's Situation Room
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - September 24, 2008

NTU Vice President for Policy and Communications Pete Sepp discusses taxpayer outrage over the Administration's bailout plan in an interview from Capitol Hill on Monday. ... Read more


House GOP Tells Cheney Where to Put His Bailout
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 23, 2008

The Politico is reporting House GOPers gave Dick Cheney and representatives from the Bush administration of piece of their mind on Bush's Budget Busting Bailout plan. According to the Politico: House Republicans rose up en masse against their vice president on Tuesday... Read more


America To Congress: Slow Down!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 23, 2008

According to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports, just 25 percent of Americans are getting behind the Budget Busting Bailout. 44 percent are opposed and 31 percent are keeping their powder dry. ... Read more


Does the bailout spending dash hopes of extending the tax cuts?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 23, 2008

Stan Collender has an opinion article in today’s Roll Call ($) that explores the future fiscal impact of the bailout plan on the nation’s budget. Here’s what he has to say about its impact on the presidential candidates’ spending plans and extending the tax cuts: It’s hard t... Read more


Bailout Roundup Part III: Presidential Candidates Find Common Ground
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 23, 2008

Barack Obama and John McCain have been getting into cat fights recently over any number of issues that don't really matter to anyone. But now that the taxpayers are faced with a $700 billion taxpayer bailout, the two have found startling unanimity. Both agree that the blank check being given to Hank Paulson by the bailout plan. But more i... Read more


Bailout Roundup Part II: What's So Great About the Bailout?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 23, 2008

The current bailout plan is a dramatic expansion of spending and executive power. As NTU argues: The price tag for recent federal or federally sanctioned forays into the financial market has, by some estimates, approached more than $800 billion. Congress will soon contemplate legislation which could double that total -- or worse. Despite the alrea... Read more


A conservative alternative?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 23, 2008

The Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative House members, has come out with an alternative to the Paulson bailout plan. Here are their core ideas:REFORMING A TAX CODE THAT DISCOURAGES CAPITAL FORMATION Two-Year Suspension of the Capital Gains: Immediately suspend the capital gains rate from 15% for individuals and 35% for corporations. By e... Read more


Bailout Roundup Part I: How Did We Get Here?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 23, 2008

Washington's bailout fever has turned into a five-alarm fire. What just a few weeks ago was troubling bailouts of individual firms has become a $700 billion taxpayer giveaway to an entire sector of the economy. In the interest of getting some perspective, I've culled some of the best writings on the web to get a better understanding of why we're here, what we're talking about, and how to move forward. As the ... Read more


Joe Biden's "patriotic" theft
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - September 23, 2008

I realize this topic was addressed briefly on these pages already, but it's such a remarkable story that I thought it would bear some further exploration... In a brazen display of a 1950’s style Communist leader, Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate announced this week that it is the patriotic duty of successful Americans to pay more taxes in order to “take money and put it back in the pocket of middle class people.” In this ... Read more


Wherein I Become a Stereotype
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 22, 2008

For years taxers have attacked people like me as wanting to help the rich at the expense of the poor. To which, people like me have responded, no, we want everyone to pay lower taxes, not just the rich. Well, I think today I'll conform to stereotype and agree with Glenn Reynolds who notes the lower ends of the economic spectrum should pay more taxes. W... Read more


Taxpayers Are Sick of Washington's Bailout Fever!
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - September 22, 2008

Amid the calls for quick fixes for what could be the greatest fiscal policy fiasco in our nation's history, NTU has sent a letter to Congress outlining actions lawmakers can and should take to stem a financial crisis without putting taxpayers on the hook. Among the recommendations: 1. Don't Rush. 2. Restrain the Executive Branch. 3. Limit the Scope and Duration of Any ... Read more


The Grass is Just as Lousy Over There
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 20, 2008

Last November the editor of the Des Moines Register learned not to ask Fred Thompson to raise his hand. ... Read more


Going for the Yogi Vote
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 20, 2008

Across the pond everyone's favorite Frenchman, Nicolas Sarkozy is working hard to win the undying devotion of Yogi Bear. ... Read more


Bet on State Capitals, Not Capitol Hill
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 19, 2008

My piece in Human Events details the importance of a focus on state politics in enacting tax reform in '09. Speaking of state outreach, I'm currently representing NTU in Nevada for the Conservative Leadership Conference in Vegas. Stop by if you're in town!... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 19, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Drilling for Subsidies
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 19, 2008

That's the title of my piece in today's edition of the Washington Times about the Gang of 10 energy plan. Though there's now confusion about whether or not the Gang of 10 proposal will see a vote before the election, I still think it poses the greatest threat to success on the drilling issue.... Read more


Sign NTU’s “No More Bailouts” Petition
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 19, 2008

Are you tired of hearing about how your tax dollars are going to bail out government-sponsored enterprises and private institutions? We are. Did you send your hard-earned money to the IRS to cover the fiscal mismanagement at Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, and AIG? We didn’t. Do you like the sound of a new $25 billion bailout for big auto companies? We don’t. It’s time to say “enough is enough!” Sign our “No More Bailouts” petiti... Read more


Patriotic to pay higher taxes?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 18, 2008

Senator Joe Biden thinks it’s patriotic for wealthy Americans to pay more in taxes. If your patriotism is measured by how much you pay, I would argue that the wealthy are pretty gosh darn patriotic. According to our handy Who Pays Income Taxes... Read more


Utah’s tobacco tax to go up by 187 percent?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 17, 2008

A proposal to hike Utah’s tobacco tax by 187 percent was introduced today. Says the Deseret News: “The tax would be the biggest single cigarette tax ever and would make the state tax on cigarettes the sixth highest in the country.” Ouch. Not a smoker? Why should you care? Here’s just one reason: Elevated tobacco taxes reflect a propensity to tax other types o... Read more


California's Budget Drama Continues
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 17, 2008

After 78 days without an approved budget, some might have hoped that California had finally resolved its fiscal woes when an official budget passed yesterday. But the drama hasn't ended yet. According to the Wall Street Journal and various other sources, ... Read more


EnjoyBottledWater.org
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 16, 2008

Enjoy bottled water? Don't want to see it regulated away or banned? Sign a petition supporting it here. Read about efforts to tax bottled water here. In Chicago, the city government levies a tax of five cents per bottle. On a typical 24-bottle case, that's an effective tax rate of 30 percent! The Illinois constitu... Read more


Santa Barbara’s Ballot Shenanigans: When “Reducing” Taxes = A Tax Hike
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 16, 2008

Read this ballot question wording for the City of Santa Barbara’s Measure G:Shall Santa Barbara adopt an ordinance reducing the telecommunications utility users tax from 6% to 5.75%, to fund police, fire, 911, parks/recreation, gang prevention and after school programs for at-risk youth, senior services, street repairs, public transit, and other ... Read more


Do you vote for tax hikers?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 16, 2008

The counter at NoTaxHikers.org is over 7,400! Be sure to visit NoTaxHikers.org for your free “I Don’t Vote for Tax Hikers” sticker. ... Read more


Obama's Tax Plan
Posted by Paul Gessing - September 15, 2008

At the Rio Grande Foundation we spend a vast majority of our time analyzing and discussing New Mexico-specific issues and policies. But, I was given a chance recently by a national syndicate to write an opinion piece on Barack Obama's tax plan. Not that many Obama defenders would be on the NTU blog, but lest liberal readers who stumble upon ... Read more


China Wants to Trace your Internet Activity
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 15, 2008

Trivia of the Day: Which country in the United Nations wants to do away with IP privacy on the Internet? China. Big surprise. Amazing how a United Nations agency working behind “closed doors” wants to do away with Internet privacy. What next, ... Read more


Update: Bills to Cut Spending in Congress
Posted by Demian Brady - September 15, 2008

NTU Foundation's BillTally program tracks the cost or savings of bills introduced in the House and Senate. And Congress has been extra busy drafting legislation this Session. So far 10,300+ bills have been drafted and BillTally researchers have found cost estimates for over 2,350 bills including 90 that would reduce spending. The list of savings proposals can be downloaded ... Read more


California Legislators Reach Budget Compromise with No Tax Hike
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 15, 2008

After a record 76-day budget standoff, California legislators appear to have reached a compromise on how to eliminate a projected $15.2 billion deficit. Shockingly, they have decided to rely in large part on spending cuts to get it done. For the fiscal year that began on July 1, they have pledged to trim $9 billion of fat off the $103.4 billion budget. Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed "temp... Read more


Charles Rangel's Mistake
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 15, 2008

"If even the nation's top tax writer can't figure out what to declare as income, and what not to declare, how can the rest of us be expected to get it right?" ... Read more


Nevada Research Policy Institute Launches Transparency Site
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 12, 2008

Check out the Nevada Research Policy Institute's new transparency website, www.transparentnevada.com. Launched earlier this week, the site enables users to search through county and state financial data such as purchasing contracts, lobby... Read more


Higher taxes for gas stamps? No thanks.
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 12, 2008

The latest harebrained idea from pols eager for re-election: gas stamps. $241 million. That’s the amount of food stamp trafficking that the Government Accountability Office estimated occurred in 2005. Let’s not go down that road. As with the 2006 plan ... Read more


Think we should drill here, drill now? Tell the Feds!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 12, 2008

The U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) is considering the creation of a new five-year plan starting in 2010 that will determine when and how offshore drilling for oil will be allowed. This is your chance to weigh in and tell the MMS that we need greater domestic energy exploration NOW. You can email your comments to 5YearRFIComments@mms.gov. So why is it important that you contact this relatively obscure federal agency and weigh in with ... Read more


Defense Authorization Bill Stuffed with Earmarks
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 12, 2008

Our friends at Taxpayers for Common Sense uncovered some enormous and questionable earmarks in the Senate Defense Authorization bill. The senior Senator from my home state, Carl Levin, is among the biggest culprits:"Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) requested an astoun... Read more


Joe Biden isn't qualified for pre-algebra
Posted by David Adams - September 11, 2008

12 minus 5 equals 7, right? I mean, if you have 12 toes -- bear with me here -- and a wild cannibal from Kenya came along and ate five of them -- just kidding! -- you would only have seven left, wouldn't you? But you didn't start off with twelve toes. And that's Sen. Joe Biden's problem. When Joe says Sen. John McCain's healthcare plan would raise your taxe... Read more


NTU on Glamocracy
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 11, 2008

NTU makes an appearance on Glamour Magazine’s Glamocracy blog.... Read more


Join Our "I Don't Vote for Tax Hikers" Facebook Group
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 11, 2008

Join NTU’s “I Don’t Vote for Tax Hikers” Facebook group. Get your free “I Don’t Vote for Tax Hikers” bumper sticker here. The counter is at 6,720 and is going up, up, up… ... Read more


Taxpayers Say No to More Government Spending in “Stimulus 2”
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 11, 2008

As Congress scrambles to complete work on a number of issues during the final three weeks of the current session, an open letter from more than 40 citizen groups urged lawmakers "to reject a massive increase in government spending disingenuously disguised with a 'Stimulus 2' moniker." The joint statement was organized by NTU, and noted: Although the... Read more


Palin, the Bridge to Nowhere, and Spending
Posted by Colin Grabow - September 11, 2008

To pile on Dominic's earlier post on the subject, I think that any reasonable observer should concede that there is less to Palin's much-ballyhooed opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere than meets the eye. (Although noted earmark foe Tom Coburn gives her ... Read more


IER Blows Pelosi Plan Out of the Water
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 11, 2008

Our friends at the Institute for Energy Research posted this gem on their blog today about the Democrats' new energy plan. Using actual numbers, they point out the failures of their drilling language. When combined with our complaints in today's press ... Read more


NTU Press Release on Democrats' Energy Plan
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 11, 2008

For Immediate Release Thursday, September 11, 2008 A Pound of Cheer, Ton of Jeers for Democrats’ Lightweight Energy Plan, Taxpayer Group Says (Alexandria, VA) – After months of mounting pressure from citizens in favor of increased domestic energy production, Democratic Leadership in the House has finally drafted a bill to allow for more oil and gas exploration. According to the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), however, the pl... Read more


Five Trillion Here, Five Trillion There
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 10, 2008

As a result of Uncle Sam's takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Congressional Budget Office believes the two previously quasi-private/public entities should now be included in the federal budget. According to the Financial Times:The two mortgage companies have between them $5,400bn in liabilities, equal to the entir... Read more


First Annual Florida Taxpayers Summit
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 10, 2008

September 6, 2008 witnessed the first annual Florida Taxpayers Summit. The Florida Taxpayers Union is an Affiliate of the National Taxpayers Union and one of this year's participants in NTU's Standing Together grant program. The event, hosted in Orlando, FL, was a tremendous success; activists ... Read more


Transparency Brings Accountability
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 10, 2008

At the end of August, the National Taxpayers Union issued a press release detailing what NTU found after taking a close look at the Missouri Accountability Portal. According to NTU, Missouri’s searchable transparency website revealed that, from 2000 through 2008, the state spen... Read more


Tax Hikes Pending at the State Level?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 10, 2008

posted on behalf of Joshua Culling, NTU's State Government Affairs Manager --------- Hold the tentative applause for New York Gov. David Paterson. At a meeting of 1,000 business leaders in Manhattan, he admitted that a tax hike may be on the horizon:"If we demonstrate fiscal responsi... Read more


Bridging the Bridge Flap
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 09, 2008

As y'all know, NTU, isn't exactly a fan of the Bridge to Nowhere. And many of us have had some issues with its sponsors. So I can't say that I'm disappointed the Obama campaign and the McCain campaign are fighting over who is most opposed to the Bridge to Nowhere. But, politicians being politicians, not all of them are pure as snow on this issue. Sarah Palin has declared she said "thanks, but no thanks" on the Bridge to Nowhere. And it's... Read more


Saving Their Fannie
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 08, 2008

With Sunday's bailout of Fannie and Freddie, I think it's fair to say, in the words of David Boaz, we are a Bailout Nation. As Boaz notes: But the Fannie-Freddie takeover is not the only bailout in the works these days. There was the Bear Stearns bailout back in March. Which might not be considered a real bailout, as Bear Stearns shareholders los... Read more


What They Said at the Conventions
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 07, 2008

This is probably the first and last time I link to the New York Times, but I found this incredibly interesting: word clouds on the speeches at the Democrat and Republican conventions. (HT: Andrew Roth at CFG)... Read more


Photos from the Pit Bulls and Pigs Reception
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 07, 2008

NTU and CCAGW teamed up to host a Pit Bulls and Pigs Reception on September 2 during the RNC. Here are some shots from the event: Duane Parde and Tom Schatz thanking guests for attending: ... Read more


Runnin On Empty
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 06, 2008

Like just about everything else in Washington, now the highway trust fund is just about bankrupt, and Washington is ready to help, with an extra $8 billion (with a "B") in spending. However, rather than coming from gas taxes (which is where highway funds are supposed to come from), Congress and the White House have agreed to take th... Read more


Grocery Bag Tax In California?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 06, 2008

Jon Coupal skewers efforts to pass a 25-cent tax on paper and plastic grocery bags in California.... Read more


Pennsylvania's Transparency Increasing
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - September 05, 2008

In this article, a member of the Commonwealth Foundation argues that more transparency is needed in Pennsylvania’s government. Yet, despite the need for more “sunshine” in PA, there are signs that the clouds are beginning to break over Harrisburg. F... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 05, 2008

HT: TaxGuru You can take a look at NTUF's analysis of Obama's and McCain's spending platforms here. ... Read more


So That's Why They Don't Think Taxes Are Too High
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - September 05, 2008

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which happens to write your tax code, had a little trouble figuring out exactly how much he owed Uncle Sam. Over the past twenty years Charlie Rangel (yes that Charlie Rangel) has earned about $75,000 by renting out a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. That's all fine and dandy, except for one problem, ... Read more


Highlight of the Evening: Andrea Mitchell Drowning in Balloons
Posted by Andrew Moylan - September 05, 2008

John McCain gave his acceptance speech last night at the Republican National Convention, but the highlight of the night, for me, was watching Andrea Mitchell's report from the floor. I don't know if it was a concerted effort by convention attendees to bury her in red, white, and blue mylar (Republicans ha... Read more


Minnesotans Tax Dollars Went to This?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 04, 2008

This fall Minnesota voters will consider a ... Read more


It's Not as Bad as You've Heard
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 04, 2008

Apparently, the US economy is doing better than most people expect. According to the BBC, "The US economy has been faring better than thought, according to figures on productivity and the service sector....figures suggest the world's largest economy is in better shape than had previously been thought." Always good to get some positive, if surprising, economic n... Read more


Google Quotation of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - September 03, 2008

An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous. -- Henry Ford... Read more


New Hampshire Close to Cigarette Tax Hike
Posted by Joshua Culling - September 03, 2008

Here we go again: New Hampshire is poised to add itself to the list of states who have chosen to raise taxes on cigarettes. Nevermind the lesson learned in Maryland in July, when a tax increase led to a revenue decrease. ... Read more


Pit Bulls and Pigs Reception
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 03, 2008

Derek Brigham, blogging for True North, has a photo and highlights from our Pit Bulls and Pigs reception last night. I’ll have more photos to share soon.... Read more


Get Your Free “I Don’t Vote for Tax Hikers” Bumper Sticker
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - September 01, 2008

On both the federal and state level, governments are now facing the unpleasant prospect of having to pay the piper for years of irresponsible and wasteful spending. So what’s the answer? If you believe many of the lawmakers that got us into this mess, the “solution” is to boost your taxes even higher! At NTU, we have a different answer: Don’t Vote for Tax Hikers! We’re launching a website called ... Read more


Gee, It’s a Bummer When You Cope with High Gas Prices So Well
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 31, 2008

Peder Jensen, a “transportation expert” for the EU’s European Environment Agency in Copenhagen had this to say about stubborn motorists who insist on driving even with high fuel prices:One had hoped that these prices would deter driving, but people have coped better than we hoped they would." Coped better than we hoped they would?!? It’s... Read more


Sarah Barracuda
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 30, 2008

The Washington Post sums up in two paragraphs why I'm excited about Sarah "Barracuda" Palin stepping onto the national stage: One of Palin's first official acts as governor was to sell on eBay a gubernatorial jet that [Republican Governor Frank] Murkowski had bought. But she has angered tw... Read more


Missouri Tax Dollars Going to Bra Shops and Beauty Salons?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 29, 2008

(Alexandria, VA) -- A review by the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) of an online database listing Missouri’s public expenditures found more than $2.4 million of taxpayer money spent for questionable purposes over the past eight years, including purchases made at bakeries, beauty salons, bra stores, coffee shops, and picture-framing galleries, among others. So says the ... Read more


Palin Pushed Spending Transparency in Alaska
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 29, 2008

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin received kudos from spending transparency reformers when she posted the state’s check book online via the Alaska's Division of Finance Government Expenditure Database earlier this year. The database provides info on: All vendors and grantees who received a... Read more


Porkbuster Ticket
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 29, 2008

John McCain has done quite a lot to rile up free-marketers. But one thing no one can question is his credentials as a verifiable porkbuster. With the apparent addition of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to the ticket I think it's safe to say the duo anti-pork from top to bottom. Palin after all ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 29, 2008

HT: TaxGuru... Read more


Quote of the Day
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 29, 2008

"Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship." -- Harry S Truman... Read more


America's non-recession gets even non-recessionier
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 28, 2008

If you've been watching the Democratic National Convention, then you'd know that we have a devastatingly terrible economy that is crushing people under the boot of evil capitalism. Personally, I have trouble not tripping over beggars on my way to work. Behold, ladies and gentlemen, as the media ignores the fact that the economy grew at a rate of 3.3% in... Read more


CCAGW Rates Congress
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 28, 2008

Our good friends at the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste have released their 2007 Congressional Rating. Because CCAGW people are smart, it should surprise nobody that their top three House winners (Jeff Flake, Jeb Hensarling, James Sensenbrenner) are regular winners of our ... Read more


Strong Opposition to a Tax Increase in Maine
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 27, 2008

Question 1 on Maine's ballot in November will ask voters to repeal a tax increase on beverage and insurance claims. It was passed by legislators this past spring. The opposition has fired its "opening salvo": Richmond convenience store owner Gary Emmons said he's not comfortable in front of a camera, but he felt compelled to appear in a new television commer... Read more


Biden Scores Low on Fiscal Policy Test
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - August 27, 2008

NTU's post from The Hill's Congress Blog. Related: Jeff's Government Bytes post from earlier this week.... Read more


Georgia's Transparency in Government Initiative Web Site Goes Live
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 26, 2008

Georgia launched their spending transparency database, called The Transparency in Government Initiative Web site. NTU was part of the grassroots effort to get this created (see here and here). Read ... Read more


Privatizing the PA Turnpike
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 26, 2008

Interesting front page article in today's Wall Journal about efforts to lease the Pennsylvania Turnpike to a private firm. You can read it here (subscription required). ... Read more


How Transparent is Your Local Government Website?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 25, 2008

Sunshine Review is working on the My Government Website Project for “people from all around the country to collaboratively determine the extent to which government-managed websites contain the information people need.” Basically, they’re setting up a wiki-style Website that hosts user reviews of local government Websites. Think about it: ... Read more


More Evidence of Massachusetts' Spending Addiction
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 25, 2008

From the Boston Herald: Gov. Deval Patrick has added almost 2,000 new workers to the state payroll in the past year even as he warns of dire budget cuts in the face of a $1 billion deficit, a Herald review shows. And his administration continues to dole out millions in overtime, with nearly 80 pris... Read more


Amtrak Ridership at "Record" Levels, More Subsidies Needed
Posted by Paul Gessing - August 23, 2008

News stories this week cited the fact that Amtrak ridership has risen significantly in recent months in response to high gas prices. In a free market, a record number of riders would mean record profits (or at least increased profits), but Amtrak is America's state-owned, socialist rail system (government ownership of the means of production, in this case a railroa... Read more


Joe Biden's Fiscal Record
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 23, 2008

Even if you didn't get a text message at 3 am ET Saturday, you might have heard that Barack Obama selected Joe Biden to be his running mate. With a nod to another Joe -- Friday that is -- here are the facts on Joe Biden's fiscal record. NTU Congressional R... Read more


Wait, What?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 22, 2008

Barack Obama's greatest strength (and weakness) is his "newness." Unfortunately, for voters, it also means he doesn't have a long history of votes to help us gauge his views. I know what you're going to say, "But the National Journal ranked him the most liberal Senator in 2007, and ... Read more


Senator Coburn Looks at AWOL Federal Employee Time
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - August 22, 2008

Senator Coburn is watching out for your tax money: As part of my commitment to oversee how federal agencies in Washington, D.C. spend your money, I am releasing a series of oversight reports on federal agencies. My hope is that this effort will assist the agencies – and those of us in Congress overseeing their budgets – to rein in wasteful spending and to demand measurable results before asking taxpayers to send more money to th... Read more


Worth Reading
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 22, 2008

George McGovern, former SD Senator and ’72 Democratic presidential candidate, penned a reasoned op-ed against anti-democratic card check legislation in “My Party Should Respect Secret Union Ballots.”... Read more


Bastiat on Friday
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 22, 2008

“There is only one difference between a bad economist and a good one: the bad economist confines himself to the visible effect; the good economist takes into account both the effect that can be seen and those effects that must be foreseen.” That comment, from the essay “What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen” by French political economist Frederic Bastia... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 22, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Tentative Applause for Gov. Paterson
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 21, 2008

Faced with a huge deficit in '09, Gov. David Paterson led the New York legislature in cutting $427 million from the budget. This particular quote makes me smile: Never before in modern state history have lawmakers cut an adopted budget without also raising taxes, and doing it weeks before facing re-election. The Governor acknow... Read more


California's Misleading "Long-Term Tax Cut"
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 21, 2008

Gov. Schwarzenegger has come up with another unacceptable solution to California's 52-day budget stalemate: Schwarzenegger's proposal calls for a three-year, 1-cent increase in the state's sales tax, after which the rate would drop by 1.25 cents. Californians currently pay state and local sales taxes of at least 7.25 cents per $1 spent – even more in some counties. Schw... Read more


Buckeye Institute Launches Transparency Center
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 20, 2008

As we mentioned last week in www.showmethespending.org’s transparency newsletter, the Buckeye Institute has launched its Center for Transparent and Accountable Government. The Center will be directed by ... Read more


"Gang of 10" Energy Plan Fails to Deliver on Domestic Production
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - August 20, 2008

The much-touted "Gang of 10" energy proposals offers very limited drilling and rehashes the same failed policies of the past 30 years: subsidies for so-called "alternative energy," stricter mandates for the use of "cleaner-burning vehicles," and punitive tax hikes on domestic oil and gas companies. It's the same broken package wrapped up with a bipartisan bow. Read ... Read more


Tax Revolts Brewing
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 20, 2008

In today's Journal (subscription required), Tom Herman looks at a few of the tax revolts brewing at the state level. He also has a podcast available on the subject. ... Read more


Now That Deserves a Paid Vacation
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 19, 2008

As reported today in the Wall Street Journal this Congress has passed fewer public laws than any in the past twenty years. Of course, they have found the time to designate July as National Watermelon Month. I guess that warrants a month long vacation. ... Read more


The People of New York Have Spoken!
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 19, 2008

New York voters overwhelmingly support spending cuts in lieu of tax increases to balance that state budget. I would have ventured that guess before this Siena College survey, cited in the New York Post, proved it as fact. The Siena College survey found 80 percent of voters - including 77 percent of New York City voters and 71... Read more


Does It Pay to Compromise?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 18, 2008

Back in February, Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota vetoed a $6.6 billion transportation bill that, among other things, would’ve raised Minnesota’s gas tax for the first time in 20 years. To cancel Pawlenty’s veto, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) needed six Republicans to vote in favor of the override. Republican Rep. Rod Hamilton was one of those who... Read more


Hopping on the Drilling Bandwagon
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 16, 2008

Following up on Andrew's excellent column in the Journal, it appears our cuddly Congress critters are finally cozying up to the idea of drilling. Early this year, John McCain became a verifiable born-again dril... Read more


Let's Drill Our Way to Lower Taxes
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 16, 2008

In today's Wall Street Journal, I argue that we ought to open up our vast domestic oil resources to development and use the nearly $2 trillion in resulting revenue to help solve some of our most intractable tax problems, like the Alternative Minimum Tax. There wasn't space to put this into the article, but I think it's worth poin... Read more


How the Government Views Itself
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 15, 2008

This link, to www.expectmore.gov, provides analyses of the efficacy of 1,006 U.S. federal programs. The programs, ranging from those of the African Development Foundation to those of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, are rated as either “Performing” (with three subsets--Effective, Moderately Effective, and Adequate) or “Not Performing” (with two subsets--Ineffect... Read more


Food or Fuel?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 13, 2008

Reason TV lays out the case against ethanol: ... Read more


Costs of Crime
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 13, 2008

According to this article, Florida's taxpayers bear a strange burden: the healthcare costs of the incarcerated elderly. There are over 14,000 inmates of 50 years or older in Florida's penal system, and when 83 year-old Hugo "Bud" Kladivko (convicted of murdering his wife) entered into Florida's prison system in July, he had the di... Read more


NTU Shares Insights at Young Republicans' Tax Reform Symposium
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - August 12, 2008

NTU Director of Government Affairs Kristina Rasmussen discusses federal excise taxes at the Wake County Young Republicans' Tax Reform Symposium in North Carolina on Monday. Video courtes... Read more


Irresponsible and Opaque Spending in NC
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 12, 2008

The News & Observer in North Carolina asks a very relevant question today: Where do gas taxes really go? Blame state political leaders who take gas tax money from the Highway Trust Fund -- and then spend it on other stuff. "For the last couple of years, they've taken hundreds of millions of dollars," said Minor, 60, a Raleigh legal secretary. "This ... Read more


NTU in North Carolina tonight
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 11, 2008

I’ll be speaking at a tax reform symposium tonight in Raleigh, NC. Maybe I’ll see you there! Meeting Details: • Date: Monday, August 11th, 2008 • Time: Light hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. Symposium begins at 7:00 pm. • Location: The Velvet Cloak 1505 Hillsborough St. Raleigh, NC 27605 For more information please contact: Jonathan R. Bandy (919) 452-4916 jbandy13@gmail.com ... Read more


Windfall Profits Tax in Alaska
Posted by Joshua Culling - August 11, 2008

Echoes of Barack Obama's energy policy can be found in oil-rich Alaska in the form of a progressive windfall profits tax: Palin's administration last week gained legislative approval for a special $1,200 payment to every Alaskan to help cope with gas prices, which are among the highest in the country. As NTU Government Affairs ... Read more


States and Cigarettes
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 11, 2008

According to this article, Maryland’s $2 a pack cigarette tax hike has backfired. Since the tax went up from $1 to $2 last year, cigarette sales in Maryland have actually dropped by 25%. Legislators didn't expect this, since they hoped revenues from the tax would fund health-care expenses. Meanwhile, smokers are going else... Read more


A Kentucky tax increase plan fails quietly
Posted by David Adams - August 09, 2008

Immediately after taking office last December, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) started talking about a coming "revenue shortfall" in the state's General Fund. Media outlets reported each month's official revenue statistics along with speculation that inflows were sure to crater at any time. Tax increases were, they insisted, immediately necessary. But a funny thing happened on the way to big-government utopia. Revenues never declined. And ... Read more


Those Sneaky Bureaucrats
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 09, 2008

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities isn't known for being scrupulously non-partisan. Suffice to say, they aren't exactly candidates for the no-spin zone. Their latest "policy report" is no exception. The Center really doesn't like tax cuts. And in response to a ... Read more


NTU and Others File Amicus Brief Today
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 08, 2008

Since its implementation of Initiative 601 in 1993, Washington State has had a law requiring that a two-thirds supermajority must be reached in the House and Senate before any bill which would increase taxes could be passed. That law is being challenged as unconstitutional by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. Back in March, a Senate bill to increase taxes on liquor d... Read more


Are You Getting What You Paid For?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 08, 2008

Tim Wise from ACTA questions whether Virginia's taxpayers are getting any benefit from sending more of their tax dollars to Richmond.... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - August 08, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Victory for King Corn
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 07, 2008

The 2007 Energy Bill, requires 9 billion gallons of ethanol be blended with gasoline from September 1, 2008 to August 31, 2009. As we've noted time and again, Uncle Sam's well-meaning ethanol subsidies have only marginal environmental benefits and may actually be killing people (when corn is ... Read more


Stop Drilling our Wallets, Start Drilling our Oil
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - August 06, 2008

Guest post by Government Affairs Intern Kristine Tuinstra Yesterday afternoon as House Republicans were leaving the Chamber, NTU staff and interns headed to Capitol Hill to join in the debate over the energy crisis. Moveon.org organized a protest attempting to tie the GOP to Big Oil and demand "solutions" through alternative energy sources. There were met by staff members from a variety of Conservative organizations who were there to ... Read more


Your very presence costs me money
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 06, 2008

While “age-restricted” communities (think 55+ developments like Leisure World of Maryland) are fairly commonplace, efforts to de-link the tax burden paid by older homeowners from government programs they don’t directly use have had mixed results, at best. Now, we’ve all heard the arguments on why John and Jane Taxpayer should support public schools even if they don’t have any enrolled children... Read more


NTU Press Release on Obama's Energy Plan
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 06, 2008

Today, we released this, which criticizes Obama's energy plan as a relic of the tax-and-spend past. His plan would, quite literally, have the opposite effect of lowering prices. He proposes a windfall profits tax, which would decrease supply, and a $1,000 "energy rebate," which will increase demand. What happens when those two things meet? Say it with ... Read more


What Do Corporate Tax Incentives and Batman Have in Common?
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 06, 2008

Check out Zach Patton's post to learn about a scene from The Dark Knight that relates to how local corporate tax incentives develop. ... Read more


Arkansas Votes Naturally?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - August 05, 2008

The slogan for the Arkansas Secretary of State’s election resource page is “Vote Naturally.” Can someone tell me if this means voters should come to the polls in the buff? ... Read more


The Olympics, but at what cost?
Posted by Keith Capp - August 05, 2008

The costs keep climbing. The 2004 Olympics in Athens have been estimated to cost anywhere between $7 billion and $14 billion dollars. It is estimated that the 2008 Olympics in Beijing could cost the Chinese people $42 billion dollars between building of the infrastructure and stadiums, cleaning up the city, and the costs of keeping the factories around Beijing closed till the end of the Olympics. While I believe in the Olympic movement, I ... Read more


Another reason to hate Ohio State...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 05, 2008

Some of their fans are there using campaign funds. Go Blue! EDIT: A commenter rightly pointed out that campaign dollars, not taxpayer funds, are underwriting the cost of the tickets. Language changed to reflect that.... Read more


Energy Uproar
Posted by Andrew Moylan - August 05, 2008

A guest post from NTU Government Affairs Intern Kristine Tuinstra... ********** Yesterday afternoon Representative Tim Walberg escorted me along with several other constituents into the House Chamber to hear first-hand his concerns with the current energy crisis. Among the Members were Reps. Jeb Hensarling, Steve King, and Mike Pence. As you may know, on Friday House Republicans began ... Read more


Discriminatory Tax on Consumers of Satellite Television
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 05, 2008

H.B. 599, the Ohio Video Tax Fairness Act, is up for passage in Columbus. Currently, the estimated 980,000 Ohioans who watch television by satellite pay a 5.5% sales tax for those services. Meanwhile, cable consumers are exempt from this tax, putting satellite companies at a distinct disadvantage. H.B. 599, sponsored by state Representative Louis Blessing, would end this discriminatory sales tax. Even if H.B. 599 passes, though, there are... Read more


Comparing Tax Policies
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - August 04, 2008

In this article, economist Michael Boskin outlines differences between current tax rates and Senator Obama’s proposed fiscal policies. Note especially the proposed 13% increase in taxes on capital gains and dividends. As a supplement to Dr. Boskin’s article, check out ... Read more


State Socialized Medicine Blows Budget Gaskets and Kills People
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - August 03, 2008

Mitt Romney recently wrote that Massachusetts' version of "universal" health care was a working experiment in progress in the Wall Street Journal. However, even the Journal is examining the matter a bit more closely now... Read more


No Drilling, Even If Gas Reaches $10/Gallon
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 02, 2008

... Read more


Boudreaux Smackdown
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - August 02, 2008

Prof. Boudreaux on Barack Obama's tax on oil companies: Barack Obama proposes to deal with rising gasoline prices by giving a $1,000 "emergency rebate" to consumers - a rebate to be paid for by taxing the so-called "windfall profits" of oil producers ("Obama pitches $1,000 energy rebate checks," August 2). In other words, a critical part of... Read more


Ted Stevens Will Still Get $100K+ Pension
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - August 01, 2008

Even if Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is convicted of all seven counts of financial corruption listed in the indictment against him, he'll still be eligible to collect his taxpayer-funded pension of roughly $122,000 if he steps down in 2009. Why? Ethics legislation enacted last September deprives a lawmaker of his or her pension only for final conviction of certain offenses committed after the bill's enactment. Most of the charges against Ste... Read more


Celebrating Freedom
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - August 01, 2008

Guest Post by Government Affairs Intern Kristine Tuinstra Last night the National Taxpayers Union and several key members of local taxpayers groups met to honor the legacy of one of the most influential economists and carry on his vision. July 31 would have been Milton Freidman's 96th birthday so we met to reflect on his life. The event brought together taxpayers from all over Virginia. In addition to sharing a meal, we shared idea... Read more


Fuel Subsidies: Expensive Abroad and at Home
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 31, 2008

In this article, The New York Times explores how fuel subsidies in Indonesia, China, India, and Mexico lower the cost of oil for consumers in those nations. Gasoline costs only $2.30 per gallon in Jakarta due to Idonesia's fuel subsidies (which total $20 billion, second only to China’s estimated $40 billion... Read more


Maryland Takes Economics 101
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 31, 2008

In January, Maryland decided to double its cigarette tax to $2 a pack in order to close a hole in the budget and expand state-subsidized health care. The result, as anyone reading this blog knows as common sense, was a dramatic decrease in cigarette tax revenues. The reason is simple: unless you can find a way to fence your residents in, they're goi... Read more


Looks Like The Feeling Is Mutual
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 30, 2008

If we learned anything last week, it's that Europe likes Barack Obama. A lot. Well, it looks like the feeling is mutual. In a new video, Dan Mitchell, my favorite tax nerd, explains why Barack Obama's tax plan will make America look a lot more like France. ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert: Flake-Campbell Amendment
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 30, 2008

July 30, 2008 ***************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “YES” on the Flake-Campbell Amendment to H.R. 6599, the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill. This amendment would remove funding for wasteful earmarked projects from the bill. This legislation, whose provisions constitute a 14 percent increase in spending from last year’s bill, is stuffed wi... Read more


The Aliens Get Congress's Earmarks
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - July 29, 2008

The Defense Department has its ear to the sky for extraterrestrial life forms. (Do you feel safer?) The earmark is highlighted in the most recent video from Reason.tv: ... Read more


Residents Pay Twice for the Same Service
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - July 29, 2008

A group of homeowners in Virginia are being charged twice for the same service thanks to taxes. The homeowners association maintains and provides a storm water management system for the community. The county required the association to take on this responsibility since development of the area. This is a heavy expense representing a large part of the increase in yearly homeowner assessments. Expensive or not, it does make sense for the homeown... Read more


Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) Indicted on Corruption Charges
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 29, 2008

Wow! I'm sure this one will get more interesting as the details develop, but it's safe to say that this is a blockbuster of a story. For what it's worth, Mr. Stevens was the recipient of a 43%, C- grade on our 2007 version of NTU Rates Congress. His highest ever was a 73%, his l... Read more


NTU @ NSCL
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - July 29, 2008

National Taxpayers Union Director of Government Affairs Kristina Rasmussen and State Government Affairs Manager Josh Culling attended the National Conference of State Legislatures in New Orleans last week. Kristina greets a visitor at NTU's booth. ... Read more


Fiscal Transparency and Education
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 29, 2008

While standards of fiscal transparency and accountability are important for all branches and agencies of government, they are especially important for education. Knowing that children are involved can blind voters and legislators to previous financial mismanagement. Take a look at this article by Jerry Cantrell, President of... Read more


XM-Sirius Merger FINALLY Approved
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 28, 2008

The merger between satellite radio companies XM and Sirius has FINALLY been approved by the FCC after a year and a half of waiting. NTU sent a letter in support of the merger back when it was originally proposed. As ... Read more


NTU Vote Alert on Coburn Omnibus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 28, 2008

July 28, 2008 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on S. 3297, the “Advancing America’s Priorities Act,” better known as the Coburn Omnibus. This bill would authorize more than $11 billion in spending and create more than 30 new programs without a comprehensive debate. This bill is stuffed with wasteful pork-barrel projects that should be subject to greater ... Read more


Tax Policy and the States
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 25, 2008

Today on Capitol Hill, economist Stephen Moore and Virginia’s Speaker of the House of Delegates, William Howell, spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the American Legislative Exchange Council. Their topic was “Rich States, Poor States: What Can Congress Learn from the States?” Both of the speakers made excellent points, some of which are highlighted below. According to Howell, many states, year ... Read more


A Fiscal Snapshot of Potential VPs
Posted by Demian Brady - July 25, 2008

Who will Obama and McCain each pick for a running mate? Who will get to set up residence at Number One Observatory Circle and have the honor of casting crucial tie-breaking votes in the Senate? There is a lot of media speculation about the veepstakes, and although we here at NTU and NTU Foundation can't divine who will get the nod, we can shed some light on the fiscal records... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 25, 2008

... Read more


Time For Chicken to Give Up Pork
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 24, 2008

Around here we often equate opposing pork with political courage. And so we're never all that surprised when Congressmen load up spending bills like a Wendy's Baconator. Well, it turns out those porkers are the tough guys. Only 29 percent of voters actually want Congressmen ... Read more


Watch Your Fannie
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 24, 2008

John McCain hasn't always been the best friend of the taxpayer. But every now and then he comes through for us. He's famous for his crusades against pork, the farm bill, highway bills, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Act. Well, now the Senator from Arizona is at least talking the talk on the Fannie and Freddie buyouts: Fannie and Freddi... Read more


Obama Proposing a Net Cut in Spending?
Posted by Demian Brady - July 24, 2008

Yesterday afternoon I attended a lively discussion hosted by the Tax Policy Center about the tax plans of the two major party candidates for President. The forum featured Douglas Hotz-Eakin and Austan Goolsbee, old friends who happen to be the respective economic advisers to the McCain and Obama campaigns. The Center's Leonard Burman opened with a brief overview of the candidates' propo... Read more


Hilarious Update on Coburn Omnibus
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 23, 2008

Our friend Rob Bluey has a good post up at RedState about what has been ingeniously dubbed as "Harry Reid's Monkey Pork Bill." Right on, Rob!... Read more


House Passes Stupidity 387-37
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 23, 2008

We sent out a Vote Alert today on a terrible budget gimmick that would swipe $8 billion from the General Fund in order to backfill the chronically-mismanaged Highway Trust Fund. Congress has spent years stuffing transportation bills full of wasteful earmarks that have siphoned off much-needed dollars for silly projects or non-transportat... Read more


Rising Oil Prices and Conflicting Interests
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 23, 2008

According to this article from the Charleston Gazette, the National Resources Defense Council recently published a report which ranks the 50 states according to a) their oil vulnerability (how heavily each state’s drivers are affected by increases in oil prices), and b) the policies they’ve ena... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: The "American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act"
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - July 23, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges Members to vote "NO" on both the rule (H. Res. 1363) and the underlying legislation (House Amendment to H.R. 3221) associated with the "American Housing Rescue and Foreclosure Prevention Act." The already objectionable original language of H.R. 3221, with its $300 billion expansion of the Federal Housing Administration’s portfolio and a new affordable ho... Read more


NTU Letter on "Coburn Omnibus"
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 23, 2008

July 23, 2008 An Open Letter to the United States Senate: Support Taxpayers and Oppose the “Coburn Omnibus!” Dear Senator: On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to oppose the so-called “Coburn Omnibus.” This bill is so named because it intends to suppress the objections of Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to 35 separate pieces of legislation. Unfortunately for taxpayers, the legislation includes at ... Read more


Spending Bills in Congress Crowd Out Savings Proposals
Posted by Demian Brady - July 23, 2008

During the First Session of Congress, NTUF's BillTally program identified 1,078 House bills that would increase spending (over one-third more than the last Congress), and 50 bills that, if passed into law, would cut outlays. In other words, each savings bill was outnumbered by 22 bills to boost spending. Senators authored 745 spending bills and 25 savings bills - a ratio of 30 to 1, which, believe it or not, is lower than the spending-to-s... Read more


Congrats to Our "Standing Together" Taxpayer Grant Recipients
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - July 23, 2008

NTU has announced the inaugural recipients of our "Standing Together" Taxpayer Grant Program, which has helped launch nine state- and local-level taxpayer groups from Florida to New Hampshire and points in between: State Groups Florida Taxpayers Union ... Read more


How Much of Your Tax Dollars Do Your Representatives and Senators Propose to Spend?
Posted by Demian Brady - July 22, 2008

The latest NTU Foundation BillTally study was released today. This study asks a simple question: What are the costs of the proposals backed by each Member of Congress? NTUF's researchers examine nearly every piece of legislation introduced in Congress to identify those bills that affect spending by $1 million or more. These spending bills are then cross-indexed with the list of bills either sponsored or cosponsored by each Member of Congress. ... Read more


Wikipedia's Overlooked Use
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 22, 2008

Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has become a website to which people refer constantly for information. Given its popularity, Wikipedia can also be used as a general measure of how much interest people have in a topic. To learn how often a specific article has been viewed, visit this website and enter the title of the article you’d l... Read more


Who Pays Income Taxes
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 21, 2008

Have you been wondering whether the richest taxpayers in America paid their fair share of income taxes in 2006? Well, you're in luck. The IRS has released data showing that the percentage of income taxes paid by the top 1% of filers increased slightly for tax year 2006. As the table below shows, the top 10% of filers paid nearly 71% of all income taxes paid. The share paid by the bottom 50% drop from 3.07% in 2005 to 2.99% in 2006. You can s... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act (H.R. 3999)
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - July 21, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on the National Highway Bridge Reconstruction and Inspection Act (H.R. 3999). In addition to instituting new inspection requirements, the bill would authorize $1 billion for bridge replacement and rehabilitation in Fiscal Year 2009. The federal government doesn’t need to spend more money on infrastructure. The 2005 highway ... Read more


The $100 Billion Banknote
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 21, 2008

"Zimbabwe is to introduce a bank-note worth Z$100bn in response to rampant inflation -- but the note will barely cover the cost of a loaf of bread," according to the BBC. While a $100 billion bill is quite large, they still have a ways to go to get to a $1 trilli... Read more


EU Proposes Tariff Cuts
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 21, 2008

The ... Read more


Kristina @ the Texas Defending the American Dream Summit
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - July 19, 2008

Kristina just gave a great presentation on spending transparency at the Texas Defending the American Dream Summit sponsored by RightOnline. Update: By the way, I am live tweeting this over at http://www.twitter.com/EATerrell... Read more


Lay the Housing Crisis at the Government's Front Door
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 18, 2008

Yaron Brook of BH Equity Research and the Ayn Rand Institute has an interesting piece on Forbes.com where he suggests that government actions -- not an unregulated free market as lamented by politicians and the media -- are responsible for the housing crisis. He argues that the Community Reinvestment Act, the Federal Reserve's easy ... Read more


California...Sigh...
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 18, 2008

California's budget debacle has been well publicized. Now, Democrats in the Legislature are pushing yet another tax increase to make up for a $15 billion shortfall. Their plan to balance the state budget would raise the wealthiest Californians' income taxes -- already the highest in the nation -- to a level not seen anywhere in the country in ye... Read more


An Interesting Tax Avoidance Scheme
Posted by Demian Brady - July 18, 2008

The Chicago Tribune has a story about a man who has declared his $3 million home is a church, which would be a property tax break of $80 K. Naturally, officials are challenging."It's a honkin' house," said Shields Township Assessor Teresia Yakes ... . Link to full article.... Read more


NTUF at AFP's Texas Defending the American Dream Summit
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - July 18, 2008

Hi there readers! I was lucky enough to run into Doug El Sanadi representing NTUF at the Texas Defending the American Dream Summit: I'm going to be talking about the power and potential of video messaging on a panel at 2:30, so if you're in the beautiful town of Austin and participating i... Read more


It's Funny 'Cause It's True...
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 18, 2008

And also really depressing... Hat tip: Andy Roth, Club for Growth.... Read more


Flushing Taxpayer Money
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - July 17, 2008

A guest blog post from Kristine Tuinstra, NTU’s government affairs intern: An attempt to provide added restroom convenience for Seattle residents turned out to be an inconvenience for their wallets. Turns out that Seattle spent over $5 million to fund five automated public toilets. These restrooms, which were installed in 2004, have become so overru... Read more


Freedom and Prosperity: Where do they come from?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - July 17, 2008

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing Acton Media's new movie The Birth of Freedom. This movie has stronger religious overtones than last year's excellent production The Call of the Entrepreneur, but asks an important question: "How is freedom born?" It serves as a good reminder that freedom and prosperi... Read more


A Second Chance for Nevada Tax Reform
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 16, 2008

A cap on property tax increases got a second chance at life today in Nevada. We the People, a Nevada-based taxpayer advocacy group, submitted signatures to get an initiative on the ballot similar to California's Prop 13 that would have capped yearly increases in property taxes at 2 percent. Unfortunately, when they submitted their signatures, the Secretary of State refused to acc... Read more


Fannie-Freddie Bailout Burdens Taxpayers …
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - July 16, 2008

… by about half a trillion dollars in new liabilities -- or $2,000 for every American -- when coupled with legislation to increase the Federal Housing Administration’s loan portfolio. Read more on NTU's post on The Hill's Congress Blog.... Read more


NTU Supports Double Taxation Elimination Act
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 15, 2008

We wrote this ... Read more


Costly UK Farm Bureaucracy
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 15, 2008

From The Register:[A House of Commons] committee found that claims cost about £750 each to process and in many cases exceeded the value of the claims. It says that cutting costs depends on greater automation in processing small, standard claims, as well as reducing staff costs through a reduction in overtime and shift working. The s... Read more


Standing up to "Authority"
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 15, 2008

I had the privilege of standing with Bud Miller, President of Alexandria Taxpayers United, last week in denouncement of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority at what is likely their final public hearing. The Alexandria Times has run an op-ed written by Bud that summarizes his comments to the NVTA. Give it a read, and c... Read more


An Open Letter to the Arkansas Legislature: Return Overpaid Taxes!
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 14, 2008

Dear Legislator: On behalf of the nearly 3,200 Arkansas members of the National Taxpayers Union, I urge you to devote the $260 million surplus currently facing the Legislature to tax relief. By sending more money from their livelihoods to Little Rock than necessary, your constituents have effectively overpaid their taxes. There are a number of policy options being considered to make use of the additional funds, most of which involve spendin... Read more


America’s Top States for Business, 2008
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 14, 2008

CNBC posted its 2008 ranking of the top states for business. Using forty measures of competitiveness (divided into ten categories such as Quality of Life, Cost of Living, Access to Capitol, and others), CNBC generated the following list: Top 5, 2008: 1. Texas 2. Virginia 3. Utah ... Read more


Taxpayer Impact: National Taxpayers United of Illinois
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 14, 2008

Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Illinois legislators are in the middle of contentious budget hearings, seeking to avoid something similiar to last year's fiasco. The Governor has rightly slashed $1.4 billion in spending from the budget plan, and the Legislature will recon... Read more


Kansas Legislators Spend Less
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 14, 2008

State revenues are falling in Kansas, and lawmakers have responded by cutting the budget. Why is this news? Because, instead of trying to balance the budget painlessly (by raising taxes or borrowing more, as other states tend to do), legislators have recognized that something has to give. “Balancing the budget” often serves as an excuse to raise taxes and burden c... Read more


President to Lift Executive Ban on Offshore Drilling
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 14, 2008

President Bush will give a speech this afternoon in the Rose Garden where he'll announce that he's lifting the executive order banning offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. To this, I say two things. 1) Bravo! and 2) It took you 7 1/2 years to do this?!?! The Texas oil man took 7 1/2 years to lift a Presidentially-imposed restriction on do... Read more


Fair is (Not Quite) Fair
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 13, 2008

My three-year-old cousin has a pretty interesting take on fairness. For her fair is getting everything she wants, and if she can take it away from her sister, even better. Well, I think Barack Obama may have hired her as an economic advisor. Barack doesn't think taxes are fair. And to make it fair he's going to try to take even more money away from one group of taxpayers and give it to another. It sounds pretty good (if you're in the rig... Read more


Fair Tax Follies
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 12, 2008

Proving once again that you don't need to understand economics to report on economics, The Salt Lake Tribune unleashed this editorial on their readers. The Tribune is upset Utah's legislature is considering a switch to a revenue-neutral consumption tax. Rather than debating the plan... Read more


Tony Snow, RIP
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 12, 2008

From Fox News: "Tony Snow, the former White House press secretary and conservative pundit who bedeviled the press corps and charmed millions as a FOX News television and radio host, died after a long bout with cancer. He was 53." Our thoughts and sympathies go to his family.... Read more


Imprudent Budgets and Long-run Consequences
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 11, 2008

On the Fourth of July, Governor Edward Rendell signed Pennsylvania’s 2008-2009 budget, which totals $28.3 billion. The new budget will raise spending by 3.98% compared to last year. This increase comes even though the state’s revenues have only grown 1.7% in the past 12 months, and despite how economists predict Pennsylvania’s economic growth will not exceed 2% in the next 12 months. Unless something changes, Pennsylvanians can anticipate a de... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 11, 2008

... Read more


Virginia Tax Hikes Defeated!
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 10, 2008

In a victory for taxpayers, Virginia's special session ended yesterday with no tax hikes. Special thanks to all the grassroots supporters of sound fiscal policy, who put our side over the top in this closely contested battle.... Read more


Corporate Tax Rates
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 10, 2008

Yesterday’s article on www.mises.org rebuts a suggestion made by Senator Obama and proves that lower U.S. corporate taxes would foster entrepreneurial innovation and economic growth. Given the comparatively high corporate tax rates in the United States, it comes as no surprise that we continue to lose firms to nations with more profitable tax environments. Although raising taxes on corpo... Read more


Town hall Participant Gives Candidate a Piece of Her Mind
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - July 09, 2008

Though I've left NTUF to become a modern media professional in the private sector, I am lucky enough to still work with many non-profits and that's making this professional transition feel just right. I am appreciative that I too will still be able to express my tax displeasure, here, on GovernmentBYTES! just... Read more


Virginia SB 6009 Voted Down in House
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 09, 2008

The Democrat-sponsored SB 6009 was just voted down in the House by a 39-59 vote, per Garren Shipley's liveblog of the proceedings. The gas tax component was removed via amendment prior to the bill going for a vote, by a 95-1 margin. Coming up for debate shortly will be HB 6055, the Republican-sponsored tax hike. But first, HB 6046, a private audit of ... Read more


Best Email Subject Line Ever!
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 09, 2008

Whoever writes the email subject lines for the Alliance for Virginia's Students deserves a raise. I've marveled at their boldness and creativity in the past, but yesterday's subject line deserves some kind of award. Who wouldn't open an email with this subject line: "Don't Let them Pave Over Virginia's Students!"? The imagery is so concrete, pardon the pun. All I can say is kudos. My hat is off to you. [If you're not from Virginia and are u... Read more


An Open Letter to the Virginia General Assembly
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 09, 2008

July 9, 2008 An Open Letter to the Virginia General Assembly: Reject Tax Hikes for Transportation! Dear General Assembly Member: On behalf of the more than 9,000 Virginia members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to reject two proposed tax-increase packages currently under consideration. SB 6009 and HB 6055 both threaten taxpayers in a time of great economic uncertainty, and must not be enacted. When policymakers ... Read more


VA Special Session Convenes at 1:00 PM
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 09, 2008

The Virginia House reconvenes its special session at 1:00 today, where it will consider multiple transportation funding bills with serious implications for taxpayers. HB 6055's Republican sponsors claim that Democrats are behind the opposition to the bill. Riley at the Virginia Virtucon says ... Read more


Beware Killer Robots!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 08, 2008

In another gem from the indispensable Drew Carey Project over at Reason, Drew takes on the robot threat! Reminds me of this classic piece of free trade satire.... Read more


G8 Dines on Caviar While Wringing Hands Over Global Food Crisis
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 08, 2008

The Guardian reports on the state of cuisine at the recent G8 summit, which many have called the "world food shortages summit." I'm sure regular GovernmentBytes! readers will be shocked, SHOCKED, to learn that our benevolent leaders spent their food crisis summit time dining on the glorious workings of a renowned chef in a posh hotel (at a total con... Read more


Winners and Losers for FY 2008
Posted by Sam Batkins - July 08, 2008

Summer brings about the end of the fiscal year for most states. The National Association of State Budget Officers recently released their Fiscal Survey of the States. The final numbers for FY 2008 are in and there are some surprises in the overall general fund spending category. Top Spenders: 1. Oregon (Kulongoski-D): +31.2% 2. Montana (Schweitzer-D): +26.6% 3. North Dakota (Hoeven-R): +18.9% 4. Utah (Huntsman-R): +17.9% 5. Mississipp... Read more


The Northern Virginia Transportation Mess
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 08, 2008

It's not excessive rush hour traffic causing the latest outcry over Northern Virginia's transportation situation. It's--you guessed it--more proposed tax hikes. It started with 2007's transportation bill, HB 3202, which attempted to give multiple unelected bureaucratic bodies the right to levy hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes on citizens within their jurisdictions. This February, ... Read more


And why does anyone think government works?
Posted by Ross Kaminsky - July 08, 2008

Two Rasmussen Reports surveys released today cause me to wonder (as I often do) why so many people believe that government is the solution rather than the problem. First, the Congressional Performance survey in which "Congressional approval fell to single digits for the first time ever. "This month, jus... Read more


The Important Work of Government
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 07, 2008

Congress is back in session this week to start the mad sprint to the August recess. And thank God they're back, otherwise they wouldn't be able to deal with highly important bills like... H.R. 5975 - To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 101 West Main Street in Waterville, New York, as the "Cpl. John P. Sigsbee Post Office" (Sponsored by Rep. Arcuri / Oversight and Government Reform Committee) H.R. 6061 -... Read more


Behind Schedule
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 07, 2008

Although California’s fiscal year began last Tuesday, lawmakers still haven’t settled on a budget. Why the delay? Legislators anticipate a deficit of over $15 billion. This is not the first year Californians have had difficulty balancing the budget, which suggests underlying problems in California’s financial policies. Adding to those struc... Read more


World Bank President Urges Cuts in Biofuels
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 07, 2008

From the BBC: "World Bank President Robert Zoellick has called for reform of biofuel policies in rich countries, urging them to grow more food to feed the hungry." According to Zoellick, "The US and Europe also need to take action to reduce mandates, subsidies and tariffs benefiting grain and oil seed biofuels that take food off the table for millions." Sounds like a... Read more


OMB Issues Regulation CBA Report
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 07, 2008

In case you missed it, OMB released its annual report on the benefits and costs of Federal regulations last week. According to OMB:This report features the estimates of the total benefits and costs of regulations reviewed by OMB. Similar to previous reports, the report includes a ten-year look-back at major Federal regulations reviewed by... Read more


The Coburn Omnibus
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 06, 2008

The Senate's most intractable taxpayer advocate is at it again (scroll to the bottom).... Read more


Have a Happy & Safe 4th
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 04, 2008

... Read more


Pawlenty's Fiscal Record - Take 2
Posted by Pete Sepp - July 03, 2008

Recently another entry on "Government Bytes!" examined data that would indicate mediocre fiscal trends under Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Administration. To lend some additional perspective, I will step out of character and respectfully point out some of the positives that have occurred in Minnesota under his leadership. Yes, overall spending has grown on Pawlenty’s watch, but less so than the 14% average two-year-cycle boost that previous Governors to... Read more


Someone Else Wants Your Wallet
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 03, 2008

We're all used to Congress, state legislatures, administrative agencies, and local governments taking money out of our pockets. But, Leona Helmsley is so kind to remind us they aren't the only ones reaching for your wallet. When Ms. Helmsley died, she left a bundle to her dogs. A $12 milllion bundle. Normal? Maybe not. But, I imagine most of us can agree that wh... Read more


Pushing Back the Bounds of My Ignorance
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - July 03, 2008

Most American school children can probably recite the first few words of the Declaration of Independence ("When in the course of human events...") or identify its most famous passage ("We hold these truths to be self-evident..."). But, when reflecting on independence day I realized I went through grade school, high school, college, and law school never having r... Read more


Two Approaches to Balancing Budgets
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - July 03, 2008

At 5:00 AM on Tuesday, Delaware’s lawmakers had just finished their final revision of the budget for fiscal year 2009. Disagreement last week over how to meet an anticipated $200 million deficit had forced legislators back to the drawing-board. The General Assembly finally adjourned with a balanced budget, reached in part by some last-minute c... Read more


Preserve Proposition 13!
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 03, 2008

Confronted with a $15.2 billion budget shortfall, California legislators are mulling a change to Proposition 13, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Prop 13, approved by voters in 1978, slashed property taxes and instituted a limit on annual increases. Though the law is still immensely popular among ... Read more


North Carolina Budget Woes: Coltrane vs. Taxpayers?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - July 03, 2008

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley (D) is struggling to find a budget compromise with the leaders of the General Assembly (both chambers controlled by Ds). Some politicians are suggesting doing away with agreed-upon relief of the gift tax, among other things, to fill a $70 million hole in the budget. NTU has ... Read more


"People can write checks for that amount."
Posted by Andrew Moylan - July 03, 2008

More ultra-depressing news from the land of my birth, the Motor City. Auto sales have slumped dramatically in the last year and people are starting to talk very seriously about liquidity problems that could render some of the automakers incapable of financing their ongoing operations. For the uninitiated, that essentially means they might n... Read more


Pawlenty's Fiscal Record
Posted by Sam Batkins - July 02, 2008

Administrator’s Reminder: The opinions of Guest Bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of National Taxpayers Union or National Taxpayers Union Foundation. As promised, Tim Pawlenty’s Fiscal Record in Minnesota: Spending: Like Governor Romney, Pawlenty’s spending record started off strong. During his first year in office, Pawlenty was actually able to cut general fund spending by 1.2%. This penchant for fiscal probity waned in l... Read more


Clear the Crowd: Concentrate Bus Services?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - July 02, 2008

A new regulation has been proposed for Washington DC. The idea is to force all intercity buses to pick-up/drop-off in one location in order to remove congestion in other areas. Private businesses have concerns about the impact of this regulation on their customers (and thus their business). Some of the bus lines that would be affected are relatively small operati... Read more


BBC Glosses Over Cost of MA Healthcare "Reform"
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - July 02, 2008

The BBC has an article here that is supposed to explore whether Massachusetts's health care reforms could serve as a model for the country. The BBC leaves the cost issue for the second to last graph saying: "There is one problem: paying for the programme has only been possible because of extra cash from the federal government." According to the ... Read more


Taxpayer Impact: Taxpayers Union of Louisiana
Posted by Joshua Culling - July 01, 2008

Governor Jindal's veto yesterday of a $28 million pay raise for legislators in Louisiana constitutes a resounding victory for taxpayers in the state. The newly founded Taxpayers Union of Louisiana should be thanked for its significant grassroots contribution to this effort. Headed by John Roberts, the Taxpayers Union of Louisiana formed recently after receiving one ... Read more


Protecting Industry from State Budgets
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 30, 2008

State budget deadlines are coming up all around the country. Some states seem more likely to have a working budget on time than others. New Jersey, however, recently enacted a law that protects a certain industry in case of budgetary delays. If you are going to keep open one essential industry during a budget shutdown, what would it be? In this case, it is the ... Read more


Thanks to Both of You & Good Luck
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 30, 2008

Today, the NTU Foundation says goodbye to Elizabeth Terrell and Brianna Cardiff. Elizabeth has been a policy analyst in the Foundation for several years and moves on to the private sector. Brianna was our first Koch Associate, and she leaves us for grad school. My thanks to both of you!... Read more


And You Want Who In Charge?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 27, 2008

Last week a certain friendly blogger, who moonlights as a state government worker, got a letter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania informing him he would not be receiving a paycheck starting in July. Why you might ask? Because Pennsylvania isn't very good at making a budget. Which got me thinking. Government can't pass a budget to pay state workers in PA. It failed totally at every level after Katrina. It was responsible for a complete... Read more


Record Energy Prices, Housing Bust, Weak Dollar...Economy Still Growing
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 27, 2008

Somebody, maybe Kierkegaard, or Dick Van Patten, once quipped that "the media has successfully predicted 10 of the last 3 recessions." Well, guess what, folks...We're still NOT in a recession!!! We haven't even had one quarter of negative growth, let alone the two in a row that would constitute a recession. As that story points out, our economy g... Read more


NTU & NTUF Legacy Dinner was a Success
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - June 27, 2008

We at National Taxpayers Union and Foundation would like to thank everyone for their support in making possible Wednesday night's Legacy Dinner honoring the late John Berthoud. More than 200 people -- including Members of Congress and our friends in the public policy community -- gathered at the St. Regis hotel to celebrate the life and work of NTU's and NTUF's former President. ... Read more


There they go again XXX -- the Euro Edition
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 27, 2008

Another in an ongoing series intended to highlight the actions of legislators/governmental officials/bureaucrats/do-gooders who want to expand the nanny state in an attempt to improve your life. Thank goodness the EU is looking out for the health of its citizens. From the Daily Mail (HT: Demian Brad... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 27, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


GOP Leaders in Virginia House of Delegates Push Tax Hike Plan
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 27, 2008

This. Is. Really. Disgusting. Can someone tell the Virginia GOP to stop pushing tax hikes? Apparently they didn’t get the memo. ... Read more


Lack of Confidence in American Institutions
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 27, 2008

Americans’ outlook is a bit bleak these days. Gallup recently released results from its public opinion survey on the confidence placed in certain American institutions. Of the sixteen institutions surveyed, people have the least confidence in Congress which received its lowest rating in the history of the poll. Confidence in general se... Read more


Senator Jim Bunning Receives a 2007 Taxpayers Friend Award!
Posted by Keith Capp - June 26, 2008

Today, Senator Jim Bunning (KY) received his 4th Taxpayers’ Friend Award as a Member of the U.S. Senate. Senator Bunning earned a rating of 80%, which ranked him as the 9th most taxpayer friendly Senator. Congratulations on your award Senator, please keep up the fight! ... Read more


New Budget Data: Romney's Mediocre Record
Posted by Sam Batkins - June 26, 2008

Last week the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) released their Fiscal Survey of the States. It includes the final data on Mitt Romney’s fiscal legacy in the Bay State. Spending: Romney’s spending record started off strong, but like most politicians, it degraded over time. During his first two years in office, the general fund budget grew at 0.1% and 4.1%, respectively, which is exceptional. The next two years, howe... Read more


Government: Not the Only Solution
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 26, 2008

An opinion piece today urging immediate action on legislation dealing with global warming inspired me to respond. The article cites the efforts going on at the local level, but indicates that a national plan is really what is needed to address the problem. This seems to confuse the notion of boundaries. If the atmosphere can cross l... Read more


Who Does and Doesn’t Pay Federal Income Taxes
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 25, 2008

Our “Who Pays Income Taxes” has been around for a while (and is one of the most popular features on ntu.org), but I also wanted to alert our readers to the new “Who Doesn’t Pay Income Taxes” page. The numbers are pretty staggering. Check it out. ... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: Mass Transit Slush Fund
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 25, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on the Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act (H.R. 6052). This bill would authorize $1.7 billion in additional grants to mass transit agencies, even though only about 2 percent of commuters nationwide utilize public transportation. H.R. 6052 would also require most federal agencies to offer employees additional subsid... Read more


Republicans Won't Have Earmark Vote After All
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 25, 2008

I just got word from a Senate friend of mine that the Senate Republican Conference won't actually have the vote that they had planned on earmark reform. Word is that appropriators are putting the kibosh on reform efforts because they see them as too strong. I've stopped being surprised by the destructive efforts o... Read more


A Change of Socks
Posted by Demian Brady - June 25, 2008

The military assigns acrylic and nylon socks to our soldiers. Acrylic is a somewhat resilient fiber, but, as one soldier serving in Iraq put it in an email that was shared with me, "My feet sweat like crazy in these." I'm surprised Congress hasn't held hearings on this, perhaps the People's Branch has been too preoccupied with steroids in baseball and horse racing. But not to worry, private citizens have stepped up to provide relief for our... Read more


This Isn't Really a Change
Posted by Demian Brady - June 25, 2008

For someone who talks constantly about bringing CHANGE! to Washington, Senator Obama is sounding a lot like a typical politician. The Washington Post reported in a story this morning that “… Barack Obama mocked his rival as crafting energy policies that merely pander to voters.” I assume that was mea... Read more


Interested in Change?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 25, 2008

Unhappy citizens in Michigan are considering a proposal that would make substantial changes to the Michigan government. The proposal that people are currently collecting signatures for would eliminate several government positions, institute government worker pay cuts and change districting rules. Seen as a “sweeping revision of the Michi... Read more


Virginia's Proposed Tax Increase & Evaluating Tax Policy
Posted by Doug El Sanadi - June 25, 2008

On Monday, Virginia’s Governor Timothy Kaine recommended a $1 billion tax hike to fund more of the State’s transportation development and expenses. Heated Republican opposition makes it unlikely that this proposal will become law in the near future. Regardless of the outcome, though, evaluating Kaine’s proposal provides an opportunity to review several principles that should inform any changes made to federal or state tax policy. First, a ta... Read more


No Need to Put Off Discussion in an Election Year
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 24, 2008

As Rep. Shadegg told a group of bloggers today, sometimes messages need to be repeated before they gain traction. With this encouragement, I will again post about America’s fiscal crisis connected to the future of entitlement programs. Rep. Ryan has recently introduced a bill that takes on the long term fiscal issues. His explanation of the bill today before a group o... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: H.R. 6346
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 24, 2008

June 24, 2008 ****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on H.R. 6346, the “Federal Price Gouging Prevention Act.” This bill would establish vague, poorly defined standards for price gouging in gasoline sales during energy emergencies and authorize civil penalties for entities that charge “unconscionably excessive” prices. Such a bill would effectively impose federa... Read more


They Can Take Our Lives, But They'll Never Take Our Spirits!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 23, 2008

In 1791, Alexander Hamilton convinced Congress to tax distilled spirits. As a result frontier grain farmers at the Oliver Miller Homestead in present-day Allegheny County began what would come to be known as the Whiskey Rebellion. Although the insurrection was put down (with the help of 12,500 federal militia members), the whiskey tax was repealed in 1803. Now, residents of Allegheny County are on the move again. The Allegheny County Coun... Read more


Indiana's Tax Echo
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 22, 2008

An editorial today discusses a possible “tax echo” occurring in Indiana. Recent shifts in the tax burden will lower property taxes in 2008 (as compared to 2007), but may result in a slight increase in 2009 (creating a “tax echo”). There are a couple things to think about with this situation. First is the “shifting” of taxes. Pr... Read more


Cartoon Blogging -- Back from Summer Vacation
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 20, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


State Spending Our Own Fault?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 20, 2008

As most of you know, states are feeling the pinch from the economic downturn when it comes to their budgets. It seems strange that when citizens are suffering from their own tighter budgets that states would consider raising taxes (possibly in conjunction with cutting spending). After all, why should governments take more from a group that is already under monetary pressure? In some ways, governments tightening their belts would seem like a sh... Read more


My New (Second) Favorite Website
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 19, 2008

As any of you out there who read this site on a regular basis know, there are few things in this world I love more than a good chart. Well I just struck gold. Our old pal Ross "Godfather of the Chart" Perot has a new website called, you guessed it: Perot Charts. Complete with dozens of charts on issues ranging from ... Read more


Thoughts from one taxpayer
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 19, 2008

You may have read my op-ed in favor of keeping an interstate tax cartel off Internet purchases. Here’s the other side (penned by Mark Weisbrot , co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research). A Mr. Jim Denkert of Yorktown, Virginia, had this to say in response to Mr. Weisbrot: ... Read more


Taking on the Tax Code
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 19, 2008

The Tax Foundation is “taking on the Tax Code,” yee-haw! Worth a watch! ... Read more


Wisdom for Graduates -- and for Politicians too
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 19, 2008

The "Notable & Quotable" in today's Wall Street Journal excerpts a commencement address given by Arthur Laffer at Mercer University: Pursuing your dream of prospering will benefit everyone . . . When I graduated from Yale University, we had a serious commencement speaker not like the one you are stuck with today. The commencement speaker was President John F. Kennedy. And the point I'm making today is the same point he made all tho... Read more


Future Savings and Current Revenue
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 19, 2008

It is difficult to do long term thinking when faced with an immediate problem. Such is the case in California where battle lines are forming over the state budget. Republicans recently proposed a spending cap and setting up a “rainy day” fund to handle downturns like the present. Among other arguments against this proposal, some say that it will not do anything to imp... Read more


How to make a cushy public job even cushier
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 18, 2008

The House is likely to consider (H.R. 5781) a major expansion of federal employee benefits sometime this week – the bill would add a guaranteed four weeks paid leave following the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. With the consent of higher ups in the personnel bureaucracy, federal employees could get up to eight weeks paid leave. Nice, huh? Unless you’re the taxpayer footing the bill. You can read our letter against H.R. 5781 ... Read more


White House Says No to a Pork Laden Farm Bill
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - June 18, 2008

From the President earlier this afternoon: "For a year and a half, I have consistently asked that the Congress pass a good farm bill that I can sign. Regrettably, the Congress has failed to do so. At a time of high food prices and record farm income, this bill lacks program reform and fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wea... Read more


Democracy is Wacky Sometimes
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 18, 2008

BBC: "Romania village elects dead mayor"... Read more


Taxpayer Impact: New Jersey Taxpayers Association
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 18, 2008

Taxpayers are working hard across the country to monitor governments. It is important to support and recognize each other as we work toward common goals. One such group that deserves recognition is the New Jersey Taxpayers Association. New Jersey Taxpayers Association (NJTA) is a grass roots org... Read more


Other Means Besides Taxpayers
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 17, 2008

Last Thursday the House passed the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act which will provide an extra 13 weeks worth of unemployment benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will cost the federal government over $5 billion in the first year. Where does this ... Read more


Earmarks: How To Guide
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 16, 2008

Today I came across an article instructing people about how to get Congress to fund their pet projects. It is sort of like a guide of how to land an earmark. One important suggestion was to have lots of details about the benefits of the program on hand. This highlights a difficulty with the earmark system. Those that are pushing for an e... Read more


Pay Up
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 15, 2008

On Friday, Barack Obama made it official. He formally outlined his plan for Social Security, and (shocker) his plan is to raise taxes. According to our pal Barack: I think the best way forward is to first look to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like me pay a little bit more and people in need are pro... Read more


It Pays to be Injured
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 13, 2008

Guest Blogging from NTU Government Affairs Intern Kristine Tuinstra According to this Budget & Tax News article, the Boston Firefighters Union once again finds itself in a fiery situation. Amid the misuse of sick-leave and disability policies, several firemen were eliminated from their positions due to substance abuse. In fact, two died with alcohol and cocaine in ... Read more


Tax-grabbers must be stopped
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 13, 2008

Read my take on the latest (but not greatest) efforts to force a sales tax collection cartel on Internet purchases here.... Read more


The Bright Side of Budget Cuts
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 13, 2008

Unlike the methods of law makers in some states, Florida Governor Crist is dealing with budget problems the old-fashioned way – by cutting spending. He recently ordered an across-the-board 4 percent cut. Agencies are taking this rather hard, although some saw it coming and plann... Read more


Other Means Besides Taxpayers
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 12, 2008

Last Thursday the House passed the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act which will provide an extra 13 weeks worth of unemployment benefits. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will cost the federal government over $5 billion in the first year. Where does this ... Read more


LA Leg. Triples Its Salary; Jindal Will Not Veto
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - June 12, 2008

Much as Michigan legislators discussed changing their term limits last week (as discussed here), now the Louisiana State House is hammering through a bill to TRIPLE their income and tie it to U.S. Congressional pay raises before the close of this legislative session. As stated in the NTU press r... Read more


Star Trek, Inc.
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 12, 2008

For all those techy (Treky?) small government advocates out there in internet land, Glen Reynold's has a fascinating article up over at the Atlantic about the future of space: free market exploration of the last frontier. Sayeth Reynolds: JFK's decision to go to the moon was a tremendous case of wish-fulfillment for space enthusiasts—instead of a s... Read more


Rep. John Boehner Receives His Taxpayer Friend Award
Posted by Keith Capp - June 12, 2008

This week, House Minority Leader John Boehner (OH-8) received a Taxpayers’ Friend Award for his votes in 2007. Rep. Boehner earned an 87% in the annual Ranking, which placed him in the 24th spot in the US House. Rep. Boehner is the highest ranking leader in the House to receive a TFA. Presenting the award to Rep. ... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: Unemployment Compensation Act (H.R. 5749)
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 12, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on the Emergency Extended Unemployment Compensation Act (H.R. 5749). The current dynamics of the labor market do not warrant the over-expansion of benefits contained in this bill. Unemployment rates are still moderate by historical standards, and some states have employment rates topping 97 percent. Imposing a “one size fits al... Read more


Your Favorite Kind of Tax
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 12, 2008

An article today on Stateline.org discusses the states’ approaches to current budget shortfalls highlighting revenue trends (elections seem to be a reason many states are avoiding a simple tax increase). There are a variety of creative solutions being tried. One interesting tactic is referred to by an expert as a “property-tax swap” where the (unpopular) ... Read more


Initiative and Referendum 2008
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 11, 2008

Our friends over at Budget & Tax News are reporting that a Right to Work initiative qualified for the 2008 ballot in Colorado. A quick glance at Ballotpedia.org shows that there are many state measures taxpayers should be on the lookout for this fall – some good and some bad. Rea... Read more


Podcast: Resident Energy Expert
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - June 11, 2008

Some bad energy bills recently have failed on the Senate floor, but as NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan discusses in this podcast, these proposals -- and possibly worse -- are likely to resurface in the near future. Moylan also discusses gas pr... Read more


Observations on Taxing Oil Companies
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 11, 2008

Oil companies are safe from a windfall profit tax… for now. The tax proposal failed to get cloture in the senate yesterday. Amongst all the buzz about this issue (not least of which because of the elections coming up), I want to point out a few things. Some senators believe that if such a measure were to pass, we would become ... Read more


Pretty Picture, But Why Am I Paying for It?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 10, 2008

I know what you're thinking: "Wow, that sure is a pretty picture." (Or maybe some of you are thinking "Grandma?") It's part of an exhibit called Being Human that features photographs taken by Ken Heyman. A lot of the pictures are interesting and funny. And this one sure does tickle my fa... Read more


Over-Protective or Merely Concerned?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 10, 2008

There is some disagreement over the merits of a foreclosure prevention bill making its way through Congress. The head of the Federal Housing Administration highlights a potential problem with the bill: “We don't want to dramatically enlarge FHA's portfolio, with a substantial portion of the portfolio problema... Read more


NTU Senate Vote Alert: Energy Bills
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 09, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on both S. 3044, the “Consumer-First Energy Act,” and H.R. 6049, the “Energy and Tax Extenders Act.” •S. 3044: This bill contains $17 billion in punitive tax hikes, a new 25 percent “windfall profits tax,” and a raft of ill-advised regulations that will raise the cost of doing business in the oil industry. History tells us t... Read more


Gas Profits: Consumers Friend or Enemy?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 09, 2008

What purpose do profits serve? Some seem to think that profits are a sign of exploitation. Someone is getting rich by ripping everyone else off. But is this really the case? In a competitive industry, profits are the difference between the price of a good and the cost of the good. Therefore, one way to make profits is to charge a lot more for a good than it costs to make. However, this is a very short sighted method. If people are buyi... Read more


US Nixes English Plane Tax
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 07, 2008

From the BBC: "The US embassy in London has criticised a government plan to tax airlines on each plane rather than each passenger, from November next year."... Read more


Lieberman-Warner Fails on Senate Floor
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 06, 2008

The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act just failed to reach the 60 vote threshold on the Senate floor by a vote of 48-36. Apparently some of the Senators got the memo and actually heeded it! Some interesting things to note...... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - June 06, 2008

... Read more


Oil, Oil Everywhere but not a drop for my car
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 06, 2008

In addition to eliminating gas taxes, there are a couple of ways to reduce the price of gas. These are based on every economists’ old friends: supply and demand. Decreasing demand tends to lower prices. This seems like a highly unlikely occurrence considering the state of the world. In addition to the traditional demand of developed countries, ... Read more


Gas Price Protest!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 05, 2008

Unlike those kooky efforts to not purchase gasoline on the 14th day of the month to "teach a lesson," here's a gas price protest that reasonable people can actually get behind! NTU is now part of the Gas Price Protest coalition urging Congress to suspend the federal gas tax (paid for by an elimination of wasteful earmarks), increase domestic oil exploration, and clear away the regulatory cobwebs preventing expansion of refinery capacity. So i... Read more


Public Employee Salaries Info -- KS Hides, NJ Shines
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 05, 2008

We recently alerted our Kansas members to the fact that a new online spending database called “KanView” is missing the information on salaries and wages, including compensation paid to individual state employees, which is required by the language of the Kansas Taxpayer Transparency law . Kansas resi... Read more


NTU Senate Vote Alert: Lieberman-Warner Cap-and-Trade
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 05, 2008

****************************************** NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act. Under the guise of counteracting climate change, this bill saddles Americans with a colossal $1.2 trillion tax hike while massively expanding the size and scope of the federal government. It creates an enormous new bureaucratic structure to implement a cap-and-trade regime and contains provisions that would ere... Read more


NTU House Vote Alert: Budget
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 05, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members to vote “NO” on the Concurrent Budget Resolution for 2009 (S. Con. Res. 70). This budget plan is clearly a bad deal for taxpayers when judged on either tax or spending policy considerations. The budget report sets the stage for a massive tax hike by requiring Americans to send in hundreds of billions of dollars more (on top of the trilli... Read more


NTU Senate Vote Alert: Farm Bill Redux
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - June 05, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Senators to vote “NO” on the Farm Bill “redux” (H.R. 6124). The clerical errors that resulted in Title III being left out of the Farm Bill language vetoed by the President afford a second chance for Senators to demonstrate their commitment to fiscal responsibility. On June 2, you received a letter from 28 taxpayer groups (including national, sta... Read more


The Politics of Climate Change
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 05, 2008

Government Bytes readers have heard a lot about the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill – how expensive it is, other prices it may increase, concerns about its effectiveness. Now let’s look at the politics of it. As ... Read more


mlive.com Asks: End/Change Term Limits for Michigan Leg.?
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - June 04, 2008

Here's a very interesting article on Michigan's legislators and their discussion of changing their term limit rules. Evidently, "an increasingly common opinion among business leaders, particular in Southeast Michigan, who believe that term limits have prevented legislators from effectively understanding complex issues facing mode... Read more


Political Identities
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 04, 2008

Natan Sharansky spoke to a group of bloggers yesterday about his new book Defending Identity: Its Indispensable Role in Protecting Democracy. Sharansky’s interesting thesis is that identity and freedom are allies. Although Sharansky highlights national identities, I was wondering if we could take the idea one step down and look at identit... Read more


As Primary Season Winds Down, Spending Promises Ratchet Up
Posted by Demian Brady - June 03, 2008

NTU Foundation released an updated analysis of the Presidential candidates' spending proposals. Here is a summary table: New Spending Proposed by 2008 Presidential Candidates ... Read more


Climate or Dinner?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 03, 2008

A new study highlighted on Senator Inhofe’s website, discusses the potential costs of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Change bill (amendments for the bill will be debated tomorrow) will impose on agriculture. The study likened passing the legislation to a $6-$12 billion tax on some crops in... Read more


This Just In: Markets Work
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 03, 2008

For anybody interested in the automotive business, the community has been buzzing with the news that Hummer sales are down dramatically and now GM is mulling a potential sale of the brand. Since last year, Hummer sales have declined nearly 62%. General Motors Light Truck sales overall have declined 39.3% in a year,... Read more


Who Isn't Paying Income Tax?
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - June 02, 2008

To combat the myth of wealthy folks making out like bandits under the current tax code, NTU has told you "Who Pays Income Taxes." The answer, of course, is upwards of 96 percent of income taxes are paid by those in the top 50 percent of the tax brackets. The top one percent incidentally pays nearly 40 p... Read more


$1.2 trillion tax hike got you down? Yell at your Senator!
Posted by Andrew Moylan - June 02, 2008

We've been doing some blogging about the tremendous costs associated with the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill lately. But Andrew, you may ask, how do I do my part to stop this insanity? Well, dear reader, here's your chance. Click through to our Taxpayer Action Center, where you can read more ab... Read more


The First Solution Legislators Turn To
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - June 02, 2008

In the past year, we have been reminded of the importance of infrastructure and road maintenance. Virginia needs some expensive road work done. Although most legislators agree on that point, there is no consensus as to how the projects should be funded. C... Read more


$17,000 To Save the Planet
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 31, 2008

Proponents of the Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill argue it is a sensible solution to our climate change problem. But just how sensible is it? According to Washington Watch the per family cost of the bill is $16,989.49! That is, when the bill is passed, every American family would need to put $16,989.49 in the bank to pay for all the spending mandated... Read more


Savings Bills in Congress
Posted by Demian Brady - May 30, 2008

We've posted an Excel file with the bills in the current Congress that would reduce spending. NTU Foundation examines nearly every bill introduced in Congress to determine its impact on federal outlays. For more information, read about BillTally. Here is the link to the savings bills: http://www.n... Read more


US-EU Differ on Tech Taxes
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 30, 2008

From Internetnews.com: "U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab charged that the EU is defying its responsibilities under the 1996 Information Technology Agreement, or ITA, which holds that certain tech products are exempt from international duties and taxes. The United States filed a complaint with the WTO, appealing for formal consultation on the matter with ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 30, 2008

HT: Tim Wise ... Read more


Can I Get an Amen?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 30, 2008

Here’s some Farm Bill common sense from a Congressional candidate up in Pennsylvania. While I don’t agree with Toni Gilhooley’s idea of guaranteeing minimum income for family farms at 3 to 4 times the poverty rate, she’s right on when she points out that: The bill should contain far lower income caps and tighter me... Read more


Climate Change Legislation Hurts the Environment?!?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 30, 2008

The Lieberman-Warner bill may have its problems (like its cost and impact on GDP), but at least it would help the environment, right? Not necessarily according to one economist at the University of Maryl... Read more


Porked
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 29, 2008

For all you fellow pork haters out there, tune into Fox News Channel on Sunday to see Porked: Earmarks for Profit. According to the teaser: Congressional 'earmarks' have become a national scandal – and a national joke: Lawmakers wasting tax dollars on their pet projects, and costing Americans up to $60 billion a year. But this exclusive investigation ... Read more


Aussie Environmental Death Calculator
Posted by Demian Brady - May 29, 2008

This will come in handy when the enviro-fascists take over: a website that helps you calculate "what age you should die at so you don't use more than your fair share of Earth's resources!" And I bet the folks who designed it are none too pleased about the upcoming "... Read more


Lieberman-Warner State-by-State
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 28, 2008

Andrew already noted why NTU opposes the massive Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade tax hike. To see just how the tax will impact your state economically in terms of energy costs, jobs lost, and household income check out this study done by our pals over at Heritage. As Andrew ... Read more


If You Can't Take the Heat...
Posted by Drew Nordgren - May 28, 2008

Governor Tim Kaine seems to be losing his patience with Virginians who wish to keep more of their income. Taxpayers all throughout the state have tried to voice their concerns over Kaine’s proposal to raise taxes for transportation funding. However, their efforts have been met with Kaine’s cold shoulder. When confronted by a group of citizens opposing the tax proposal at a Staunton town hall meeting, a frustrated Kaine replied, “Then stay off... Read more


Did I Mention How Much I Admire Governor Sanford?
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 28, 2008

Yesterday we told you about the veto of a tobacco tax hike from South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Read our press release here. Just got news that the Governor also vetoed 69 ... Read more


NTU Opposes Lieberman-Warner Cap-and-Trade Bill
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 28, 2008

An Open Letter to the U.S. Senate: Oppose S. 2191, the Lieberman-Warner "Climate Security Act"! Dear Senator: On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I urge you to oppose S. 2191, the Lieberman-Warner "Climate Security Act." This bill would impose an annual cap on the emissions of six greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, and would establish a trading system for emissions allowances. This "cap-and-tra... Read more


Gambling Tax is a Sure Bet for State Revenue
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 28, 2008

Rather than raising taxes to bring in more money, many states hope to expand revenues from already heavily taxed sources. Taxes on gambling are an appealing revenue source. Most constituents do not consider these taxes when enjoying a night at the racetrack or casino, yet they are a substantial revenue source. Racetrack casinos (aka “racinos”) have especially ... Read more


A Harvest of Disgrace
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 28, 2008

The Economist takes on the Farm Bill. Read it and weep: IF YOU measure the success of a pressure group by its ability to cram lousy policy through Congress, you might imagine that Big Oil or Wall Street would top the league: they are the lobbies most berated on the campaign trail. You would be wrong. If there were an... Read more


Kudos to SC Governor Mark Sanford
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 27, 2008

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford just vetoed a proposed 50-cent-per-pack increase to his state’s tobacco tax. As his veto message noted: I am hereby vetoing H. 3567, R-288, which increases the tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack…I do so because the revenue from this tax increase is dedicated to the start of additional spendi... Read more


Congress Considering Bill that could Increase Gas Prices
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 27, 2008

Congress is considering a bill that may raise the cost of gasoline. The Heritage Foundation recently came out with a study examining the state-by-state affects of this proposed legislation. Nationally the bill could raise the cost of gasoline... Read more


More Professional Athletic Facility Subsidy Skepticism
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - May 25, 2008

In the video below, Nick Gillespie of reason.tv discusses the Washington Nationals baseball stadium project and research on pro-athletic facility subsidies. You may recall that our own Andrew Moylan discussed a few other professional athletic facility projects on ... Read more


The Birthday of a Warrior: We will honor him June 25.
Posted by Elizabeth Terrell - May 23, 2008

Just a reminder that we will be honoring John on June 25 with a special dinner and reception. It will also mark the inaugural presentation of the Happy Warrior Award for Taxpayer Freedom. Please take a look at the invitation for more information.... Read more


Dr. Jones, Dr. Jones!
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 23, 2008

For those of you who are getting ready to rush out to see the newest Indiana Jones movie should get ready to shell out an extra dollar for ticket prices. According to Nikki Finke's blog (yes, I think this is the first and only time this site has linked to an entertainment news blog): Movie theaters are raising ticket prices... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 23, 2008

... Read more


Paid Leave: Will this Ultimately Help Mothers?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 23, 2008

The concern about proposed new benefits that Congress introduces is what will actually happen regarding the presumed outcomes. Outcomes may often be considered in light of the current situation, but the world is dynamic. The effects of a seemingly minor change can ripple through a wide range of people bringing about consequences that are unexpected. One such example is ... Read more


So That Explains It
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 22, 2008

I was both shocked and confused to find out that House Republicans have a "Fiscal Integrity Task Force." I didn't understand how a Congress that produced fiscal ineptitude like billions in pork, a couple of subsidy-laden farm bills, the Medicare prescription drug bill, and mountains of debt could have a fiscal integrity task force. But then I saw ... Read more


CBO Data on Federal Taxes and Household Income
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 22, 2008

According to the CBO Director's blog, CBO has created a new page on their web site that contains "CBO's most recent estimates of federal effective tax rates (taxes as a percentage of income) across household income groups for the four largest sources of federal revenues--individual income taxes,... Read more


Route to Entitlement Reform?
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 22, 2008

David Keating at the Club for Growth has a nice piece on Congressman Paul Ryan's road map to entitlement reform. Give it a read. ... Read more


Congress Hurts My Head
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 21, 2008

Apparently now Bush needs to re-veto the Farm Bill. ... Read more


Quack, Quack
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 21, 2008

Just hours after the President vetoed the Farm Bill the House voted 316-108 to override the President's veto. That quacking you guys in DC are hearing is coming from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. ... Read more


Americans for Secure Retirement Forum
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 21, 2008

The increasing demands on Social Security from the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation makes personal planning for retirement an important consideration. Americans for Secure Retirement, a coalition “working to ensure that every person has an adequate standard of living throughout … retirement,” hosted a forum in the Capital today which highlighted retirement issues for w... Read more


Farm Bill Vetoed; Brace for the Override
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 21, 2008

President Bush just vetoed the $300 billion farm bill. Although, given the veto-proof majorities with which it passed, I'm not optimistic that this is going to accomplish much of anything beyond a couple-week delay in its implementation. TO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 2419, the "Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008." For a year and a half, I have consistently asked th... Read more


The Armed Services Committee Cancels the Constitution
Posted by Andrew Moylan - May 21, 2008

While that might be a smidge hyperbolic, the story is outrageous nonetheless. The Armed Services Committee has inserted a provision which would cancel the President's executive order dictating that future earmarks must actually appear in legislative text to be carried out. To recap the executive order issue, currently up... Read more


NTU House and Senate Vote Alert: Budget
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 21, 2008

****************************************** National Taxpayers Union Vote Alert NTU urges all Members and Senators to vote “NO” on the Concurrent Budget Resolution for 2009 (S. Con. Res. 70). This budget plan is clearly a bad deal for taxpayers when judged on either tax or spending policy considerations. First, this budget conference report sets the stage for a massive tax hike by requiring Americans to send in hundreds of billions of do... Read more


People + Institution = Spending?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 21, 2008

Office of Management and Budget Director Jim Nussle commented yesterday that “the Congressional Budget is the same old tax and spend blueprint that we objected to at its inception. It contains the largest tax increase in history and nearly $25 billion in overspending …” The same old tax and spend plan. A couple of years ago, Americans indicated that they wanted a change in Congressional spending by swapping the majority in Congress. The peopl... Read more


Ted Kennedy
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 20, 2008

Ted Kennedy and I don't agree on much. He's scored an "F" in every NTU Rates Congress scorecard. But news that the liberal lion of the Senate has brain cancer is incredibly saddening. I'll be praying for his recovery, and hoping that I have the chance to disagree with him for years to come. ... Read more


Farming for Votes
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 20, 2008

Even though none of the Presidential candidates (except for our old pal Ron Paul) took time off the campaign trail to vote on the Farm Bill (Dr. Paul, true to form voted "no"), each has made clear his or her stand on that awful legislation. I'll let you decide whose position is correct. Senator Barack Obama: “I ... Read more


EU to Reform Farm Policy
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 20, 2008

The BBC reports that European Union is looking to revamp its farm policies: "The proposals are aimed at making farmers more responsive to market forces amid rapidly rising food prices." Now, if Congress would only follow suit. ... Read more


No new cell phone taxes
Posted by Kristina Rasmussen - May 20, 2008

Jack Kemp weighs in on the need to stop new cell phone taxes.... Read more


Kentucky Knowledge
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 20, 2008

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is hesitant about announcing some water and sewer projects due to concern over the state’s debt rating. He wants to make sure “that funds actually exist” for these projects and says “We need to understand the status of all projects as we move forward to manage the large volume of projects authorized, both old and new.” There are several... Read more


About That Rebate ...
Posted by Natasha Altamirano - May 19, 2008

If you aren't sure whether you're getting a stimulus rebate or how much it might be, check out NTU's rebate guide.... Read more


PA Lawmakers Have Sweet Rides Too
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 19, 2008

Members of Congress have taken a little heat lately for leasing expensive cars on the taxpayers' dime (see here and here). Now, Tim Wise of ACTA passes along ... Read more


No Good Time to Be Tough on Spending
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 19, 2008

Today, I came across an article that claims Congress’ budget resolution “postpones the tough decisions on taxes and spending until next year.” And why not? Next year is after elections. It is easier to get tough on spending when one has more job security. Or will it be? With a new president just getting in the swing of things, it may not seem like a good time to shak... Read more


Forbes on Ethanol
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 16, 2008

Forbes.com has a series on everyone's favorite biofuel, ethanol. Links to the articles are below. Here is an interesting tidbit pulled from the "Getting There" piece that I had not heard before: The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates it will take roughly 2 million train carloads, 50 thousand barge loads and 20 million truck loads to move 20 billion gallons of ethanol to market. America's transportation infrastructure ... Read more


Cartoon Blogging
Posted by Jeff Dircksen - May 16, 2008

HT: TaxGuru ... Read more


Big Bills or Small Bills: Which are best?
Posted by Brianna Cardiff - May 16, 2008

In addition to the conflict between the Administration and Congress on the Farm bill, President Bush is not pleased with the handling of the Supplemental Appropriations bill (H.R. 2642). The original purpose of the bill was to fund the War in Iraq, however both the House an... Read more


Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 15, 2008

This afternoon the Senate followed the House's lead and backed the Farm Bill by a veto-proof majority of 81-15. All three Presidential candidates missed the vote. The fifteen senators who voted against the bill are: Bennett (R-UT) Coburn (R-OK) Collins (R-ME) DeMint (R-SC) Do... Read more


Against the Grain Part Deux
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 15, 2008

Earlier today I took note of Democrat Ron Kind for his opposition to the Farm Bill. Now in the spirit of bipartisanship, I'd like to commend Republican Jim Jordan. Jordan is a freshman Congressman from an agriculture-heavy district. It would have made a lot of political sense to do the easy thing and vote for the pork giveaway to millionaire farmers just like most o... Read more


Going Against the Grain
Posted by Dominic Rupprecht - May 15, 2008

Today the House passed the Farm Bill by a whopping 318-106 margin. Majorities in both parties voted for the bill. They voted for it even though the bill: Is chock full of big subsidies to wealthy farmers; Busts the budget; Raises prices of food, which are already at record highs; and Contains hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarks. H... Read more