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Category: Spending

  • Will MTA’s New Tap-to-Pay System Keep Transit Problems at Bay?

    Ross Marchand on June 14, 2019

    Image result for new york mta pay
    This article was originally published in the Observer on June 5, 2019. 

    Credit cards and “wallet apps” can make our lives a whole lot easier, and they’re about to have an even larger reach. Recently, New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) announced that it would begin piloting “tap-to-pay” systems at 16 subway stations along the 4, 5 and 6 lines in Manhattan and Brooklyn—and at all Staten Island buses. This promising new technology will surely be a boon to taxpayers and consumers, and it’s a step in the right direction. But if the government really wants to increase ridership, it needs to eliminate the issues that make the transit system wasteful in the first place. » Read More
  • California ‘Bullet’ Train Just One of Countless Projects Bilking Taxpayers

    Ross Marchand on April 2, 2019

    California ‘Bullet’ Train Just One of Countless Projects Bilking Taxpayers
    Source: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

    This article was originally published in Townhall on March 27, 2019. 

    According to Alcoholics Anonymous, admitting you have a problem is the first step toward change. Political leaders at both the federal and state level can stand to learn from this philosophy, given their refusal to acknowledge massive boondoggles bilking taxpayers for billions of dollars. California, and the proposed Texas Central high speed train, show why state and federal officials need to be more vigilant and cautious when spending taxpayer money on these projects. » Read More
  • Watchdog Group Praises Intercity Streetcar Project

    Ross Marchand on April 1, 2019

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    . –Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted favorably to federal and state officials’ latest plan to build a national streetcar network from Washington, DC to New York City. The network’s recently-appointed management promised yesterday that the DC-NY streetcar will have the efficiency of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and the fiscal discipline of the California bullet train. Streetcars are expected to reach top speeds of more than 3 miles per hour, far surpassing current Amtrak speeds. » Read More
  • NASA Needs to Stop Spending Like a Drunken Cosmonaut

    Ross Marchand on March 15, 2019

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    This article was originally published in InsideSources on February 21, 2019. 

    Over the last several Congresses, many lawmakers have rightly pointed out the federal government’s addiction to wasteful programs and harebrained economic intervention schemes. Sen. Joni Ernst,  R-Iowa, for instance, recently awarded her monthly “squeal” award to the National Institutes of Health for supporting 10 cat studies — funded from grants totaling $1.3 million of taxpayer money — that concluded “classical music has an effect on cat behaviors.” When it comes to wasteful spending at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, however, it would seem that mum’s the word in Washington.

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  • Taxpayer Group Releases Philadelphia Waste Report

    David Williams on March 1, 2019

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     Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) released a report highlighting the waste and rampant abuse of taxpayer dollars by the City of Philadelphia. TPA identified a total of $278.9 million that could be better spent by city leadership. These recommendations provide the city a way to restore its fiscal and ethical credibility. » Read More
  • Pentagon Needs Better System to Track Fraudulent Spending

    Ross Marchand and Mandy Smithberger on December 21, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in DefenseOne on December 17, 2018 and was co-authored with Mandy Smithberger, Director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). 

    The incoming Congress should tie defense budgets to accounting improvements. While the public is generally familiar with weapons manufacturers delivering fighter jets and other costly products behind schedule and over budget, similar overruns have now crept into service contracting as well. Fortunately, the Justice Department is starting to strike back against rampant misuse of taxpayer funds, seeking criminal indictments and civil penalties against some of the worst abusers of the system. Now Congress must do its part.

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  • TPA submits public comments on utilizing international price controls in Medicare Part B

    David Williams on December 19, 2018

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    The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), representing millions of consumers and taxpayers across the country, urges the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind its proposed rule to subject drugs administered under Medicare Part B to a new “International Pricing Model” (IPI). Such a change would drastically decrease the availability of current, life-saving drugs, as well as the research and development (R&D) necessary to create future therapies for a variety of ailments. » Read More
  • NASA’s new missions: Short on insights, high on costs

    Ross Marchand on December 17, 2018

    Image result for nasa space mars
    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on December 10, 2018. 

    Taxpayers justifiably balk at giving money to Uncle Sam without a clear purpose in mind. When free-market groups and lawmakers publish long compendia of wasteful government spending, the line-items are typically over-the-top and bereft of purpose. Case in point: the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which spends more than $1 billioneach year to seek “technical assistance, research, and education” for soil quality, grassland, rangeland, etc. But at least this service, which was featured in Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford’s “Federal Fumbles” waste report, and which came under criticism from congressional Republicans, still provides some small benefit to taxpayers. It studies ground and dirt that could be useful to farmers and ranchers. 

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  • TPA’s Tricks and Treats for 2018

    Ross Marchand on October 30, 2018

    It’s 4 PM right before Halloween night, and you traipse on over to the grocery store to get some Halloween candy before the kids come a-knocking, looking for their treats.  Unfortunately, the scariest part of Halloween will prove not to be the too-retro Michael Myers costumes, but rather the price tag on those mini Hershey bars. Unbeknownst to the irksome ghouls and Kylo Rens knocking at your door later, those candies have become far more expensive thanks to tariffs, continued sugar protectionism, and miscellaneous regulations. But, regardless of how many treats you have to buy to placate the kids of the neighborhood, the fearful prospect of Uncle Sam stretching out his hand to trick taxpayers is ever-present. » Read More
  • At UN Security Council Meeting, Trump Must Sound Alarm on Wasteful Spending

    Ross Marchand on September 25, 2018

    This article appeared in The Daily Caller on September 24, 2018. 

    This week, President Trump arrives at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to lead the security council meeting. Though the issue of frivolous spending at the international governmental organization (IGO) will likely not be addressed, the Trump administration has set the admirable tone of cutting down waste and introducing much-needed oversight. President Trump has already begun to take action on the big-picture spending items,withdrawing $2 billion from the Green Climate Fund, a U.N. project rife with ineptitude and prioritization woes that ensure poor returns for taxpayers.

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  • BREAKING: Taxpayers Protection Alliance Uncovers $19.3 Billion in Earmarks in Defense Spending Bill

    David Williams + Ross Marchand on September 18, 2018

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     As the President prepares to sign the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Defense Appropriations Act conference report, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) has uncovered 679 earmarks totaling $19.3 billion (click here to see the full list) that were not requested by the Pentagon and inserted by members of Congress. That is a 5.8 percent increase in the 642 projects requested in FY 2018 and a 35.2 percent decrease in total dollars from FY 2018. » Read More
  • TPA Condemns Dissolution of NAFTA

    David Williams on August 27, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) reacted critically to President Trump’s announcement that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be dissolved. President Trump made the announcement this morning at a White House event with Mexican President Enrique PeñaNieto joining by conference call. » Read More
  • Abolish the census

    Ross Marchand on August 15, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on August 13, 2018.

    In less than two years, the federal government will embark on a time-honored, decennial ritual: the U.S. census. One could be forgiven by thinking, that, 230 years and nearly two dozen censuses later, Washington, D.C. knows how to count people. Yet, despite a declining number of individuals per household and the rise in low-cost digital correspondence, the cost of the census is rising far above the rate of inflation. According to the Government Accountability Office, “the average cost for counting a housing unit increased from about $16 in 1970 to around $92 in 2010.” The report further notes that, over the past three years, the U.S. Census Bureau has underestimated how much it will cost to conduct the 2020 census. 
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  • Electric buses will only leave cities seeing red

    Ross Marchand on August 14, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Washington Examiner on August 5, 2018.

    According to green energy advocates, U.S. cities are on the cusp of large-scale electric bus purchases, paving the way for a greener and zero-emissions future. This year, for instance, San Francisco committed to a fully-electric vehicle fleet by 2035, before testing electric buses on the hilly routes of the city. San Francisco is hardly alone; Seattle signed onto an international pledge to only use electric buses starting in 2025. Dallas unveiled their own electric fleet, introducingseven vehicles for downtown services with the help of more than $7 million from the Federal Transit Administration (aka federal taxpayers). 
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  • Sen. McCaskill is out of Touch With Missourians

    Gregg Keller on July 31, 2018

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    According to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) campaign website, she’s just a small-town Missourian who “understands what matters most” to the people of the Show-Me state. She’s a “fighter Missourians can count on” and lists “cutting waste, fraud, and abuse” as one of her priorities. Recent news reports, however, tell a different story. Since she’s been a U.S. Senator, businesses affiliated with McCaskill’s developer husband, Joseph Shepard, have received more than $131 million in federal subsidies.

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  • Taxpayers Protection Alliance Launches World Cup Watchdog to Fight Soccer Cronyism

    David Williams on June 13, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) announced the World Cup Watchdog project to monitor taxpayer subsidies and privileges directed toward the World Cup.  The move comes as the 2026 World Cup was awarded to the United States, Canada, and Mexico this morning, setting the stage for billions of taxpayer dollars to be directed toward the major sporting event. » Read More
  • Larger Trucks Would Stick Taxpayers With Mile-Long Maintenance Bills

    Ross Marchand on June 5, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the Daily Caller on May 31, 2018

    America’s highway infrastructure is in big trouble, with trillions of dollars in needed repairs across the nation’s roadways and thoroughfares. Elected officials at all levels of government have talked a big talk about this problem, with successive administrations and Congresses proposing grand plans to shore up crumbling roads and bridges. Unfortunately, when it comes to government, one hand often does not know what the other is doing.

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  • When UN Peacekeeping Goes Horribly Wrong

    Ross Marchand on May 22, 2018

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    This article originally appeared in the American Conservative on May 17, 2018.

    Whenever the U.S. deploys soldiers to global hotspots such as Iraq and Afghanistan, the circumstances are hardly ideal. Complex counterinsurgency tactics cost substantial blood and treasure, and temporary gains rarely translate to long-term stability. But at least the deployments are public knowledge, and a code of conduct is in place to address civilian safety. Unfortunately, not all Pentagon (i.e. taxpayer-funded) missions are held to the same standards of warfare. The Department of Defense foots the bill for more than a quarter of the United Nations’ $7 billion annual “peacekeeping” budget. But the UN’s sloppily conceived missions fail to live up to their namesake, exacerbating global issues and resulting in human rights abuses. While U.S. leaders have been moving to curtail these annual contributions, they haven’t moved quickly enough. Taxpayers cannot afford to shovel billions of dollars a year to such an unaccountable organization mired in failure. 

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  • Watchdog Calls for Congress to Vote for Reform of Wasteful and Expensive Sugar Program

    David Williams on May 16, 2018

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    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) urged all members of Congress to vote for the Sugar Policy Modernization Act as an amendment to the 2018 Farm Bill. The Sugar Program was established more than 80 years ago and keeps the cost of sugar high with import quotas and tariffs. » Read More
  • Taxpayers Protection Alliance Praises Rescissions Package

    Grace Morgan on May 8, 2018

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) applauded President Trump for offering a $15 billion rescissions package.  According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the package will include, “unobligated balances from prior-year appropriations and reductions to budget authority for mandatory programs. These proposals include rescissions of funding that is no longer needed for the purpose for which it was appropriated by the Congress; in many cases, these funds have been left unspent by agencies for years.”
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