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Taxpayers Tab


Taxpayer's Tab Issue #7

February 21, 2013

 

 

 

Vol. 4 Issue 7 February 21, 2013

Welcome to The Taxpayer's Tab -- the weekly newsletter for up-to-the-minute research from the National Taxpayers Union Foundation's BillTally Project. For more information, check out NTUF's BillTally Project and our partner, WashingtonWatch.com!


Most Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: S. 56, the Right Start Child Care and Education Act of 2013

Annualized Cost: $1.8 billion ($9.2 billion over five years)

The federal government currently provides certain tax benefits for parents to enroll their children in child care services. The child and dependent care credit can be claimed for children under the age of 13 or by households with one or more parents that are physically or mentally disabled. The credit is intended to provide relief to parents by exempting some of their child care expenses from their federal tax return. Employers are also able to receive tax credits if they provide workplace child care for their employees.

Re-introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), the Right Start Child Care and Education Act would make changes to these credits to increase the accessibility and encourage the use of child care. S. 56 would increase two tax credits related to the provision of child care. Workplaces would be eligible to claim up to $225,000 per year, up from $150,000, if they establish or continue to have employee child care facilities. Additionally, the Act would create a new credit of up to $3,000 for three years for individuals going to school or who are professionals in the field.

Senator Boxer’s bill would also double the child and dependent care credit for one child from $3,000 to 6,000. Moreover, the credit would be made refundable. This would enable filers to claim the full amount of the credit regardless of their income tax liability.

In 2009, while introducing a version of this legislation in the 111th Congress, Senator Boxer said that "[i]n this difficult economic environment, it is more important than ever that we make sure that parents don't have to choose between working and taking care of their children. This legislation is designed to help families pay for a very important service, and I want to ensure that the care that is received is top quality."

According to a 2007 report by the Tax Policy Center, making the dependent care credit refundable would increase federal spending by $9.2 billion over the first five years. Making the credit refundable would result in government spending because an individual could get more money back than they paid in taxes. There are no offsets included in the proposal.

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


Most Friended

The Bill: H.R. 523/S. 232, the Protect Medical Innovation Act of 2013

Annualized Savings: "No Cost" -- Revenue

Number of Cosponsors: 187 House Members and 28 Senators

On January 1st of 2013, a 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices went into effect. The tax, a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), applies to all medical products specified as a "taxable device" by the Food and Drug Administration. Taxable items include pacemakers, tongue depressors, oxygen tanks, and potentially even latex gloves. There are some exceptions, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, and certain devices purchased at retail for individual use.

As some within the medical industry voice concern over the new tax, Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Protect Medical Innovation Act to repeal the tax. "Placing a new tax on the backs of U.S. medical innovators and entrepreneurs who employ more than 400,000 Americans is not a prescription for economic growth or job creation," Representative Paulsen said upon introducing the bill. "Repealing the medical device tax eliminates barriers to medical innovation, ensuring patients have access to life saving technologies and reduces the burden on tight [research and development] budgets, spurring job growth in the industry."

Under NTUF's BillTally methodology, legislation that only affects tax revenue is considered as "no cost" to spending. H.R. 523, as introduced, falls under this category.

A bill introduced by Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) in the previous Congress, S. 262, was also proposed to eliminate the medical device tax established by the ACA but included a $39 billion rescission of federal spending to offset the loss in expected tax revenues over ten years. NTUF scored that bill as a $3.9 billion annualized savings.

H.R. 523's cosponsors include 166 Republican and 21 Democratic Members. Currently, 24 Republicans and four Democrats support S. 232.

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


The Wildcard: Sports Edition!

The January 24th edition of the Tab highlighted a bill named for Muhammad Ali. Below is some other sports-related legislation from the 113th Congress:

The Bill: S. 203, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Costs Offset

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) sponsored S. 203 to direct the U.S. Mint to manufacture up to 1.2 million new individual commemorative coins ranging in denominations from $.50 to $5. The coins would "support the legacy that the [Football] Hall of Fame preserves and recognize the ways that sports gives back to our communities." Located in Canton, Ohio, the Hall of Fame is where professional football players are enshrined based on their performance on the field.

The bill would spend tax dollars to design and manufacture the coins but the surcharges (counted as offsetting receipts) and revenue from their sale would likely offset the costs. Once the startup costs are recouped, the government would transfer further proceeds from the sale of the coins to the Hall of Fame in order to finance the expansion of its facilities.

The Bill: H.R. 420/S. 166, to designate the new Interstate Route 70 bridge over the Mississippi River connecting St. Louis, Missouri and southwestern Illinois as the "Stan Musial Memorial Bridge"

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Name Change

Baseball legend Stan Musial passed away this January. This pair of bills, sponsored by Congressman Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), would rename a bridge in his honor.

If enacted, the proposal would have a negligible impact on the federal budget.

 

The Bill: H.R. 215, the Baseball Diplomacy Act

Annualized Cost: "No Cost" -- Visas

The bill would lift restrictions in order to permit visas to be issued to Cubans to play professional baseball in the United States. The visas would last for the duration of the visa-holder's contract to play baseball, and the holder would be allowed to remain in the United States "only for the duration of the baseball season." The legislation is not expected to affect federal outlays. The bill was introduced by Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY).


To learn more or discuss S. 203, H.R. 420/S. 166, and H.R. 215 visit WashingtonWatch.com.

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The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is able to produce timely reports and analysis for policymakers and taxpayers with the help and support of foundations, small businesses, and Americans -- like you -- who wish to stay informed of their government's spending.

With donations from Tab subscribers and members, NTUF will be able to continue to inform taxpayers about entitlement reform, the federal budget, and proposed legislation.

Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to NTUF.

   

The Least Expensive Bill of the Week

The Bill: H.R. 75, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2013

Annualized Savings: $4.1 billion (first-year savings)

 

 

 

 

 

Each year, the United States is obligated to pay dues to support the United Nations' core budget. The amount owed is based on the size of the U.S. economy compared to those of other member countries. In 2012, America was assessed $568.8 million, which comprised 22 percent of the UN's total regular budget for operating and personnel expenses.

In addition to the assessments, the federal government also provides voluntary funding for certain UN programs. These activities can cover a variety of areas such as aid for children and international conferences. For example, the U.S. gave the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) $132 million in FY 2012. Peacekeeping activities, including providing soldiers, military equipment, and logistical assistance, can appear under the Department of State's budget for UN contributions as well. The U.S. currently contributes military personnel to six UN peacekeeping missions.

Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) has sponsored H.R. 75, which would end the United States' membership in the UN. The bill would repeal programs and laws that support funding and support of UN operations. If enacted, the Act would result in a $4.1 billion first-year spending cut. NTUF determined the savings through budgetary information of the Department of State and a 2013 report by the Congressional Research Service.

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


 NTUF's Recent Blog Posts

The Foundation's staff have been busy on NTU's Government Bytes blog detailing how proposed spending could affect taxpayers.

Speaking of Taxpayers, Feb. 15: The $83.4 Billion State of the Union

State of the Union 2013: Troop Withdrawl Proposals

President Obama's Past SOTU Addresses & Spending


Missed an Issue?

Issue 6 - Feb 14
Special Coverage of the President's SOTU Address

Issue 5 - Feb 8
21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps Act

Issue 4 - Jan 31
Congressional Pay Adjustment Act

Issue 3 - Jan 24
Medicaid Payment Fairness to the Territories Act

Issue 2 - Jan 17
Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act


About NTUF

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation is a research and educational organization dedicated solely to helping citizens of all generations understand how tax policies, spending programs, and regulations at all levels affect them now and in the future. Through NTUF's timely information, analysis, and commentary, we're empowering citizens to actively engage in the fiscal policy debate and hold public officials accountable every day.

NTUF is a 501(c)(3) research and education organization. Donations are deductible for personal income tax purposes. Please make a donation today to help further NTUF's mission of research and education!

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to aid or hinder the passage of any legislation or as a comment on any Member's fitness to serve.

 



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