OMB Watch Comments on New Performance Evaluation Tool

During the past three years, OMB Watch has sought to increase the participation of nonprofit groups in the implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). On July 3, OMB Watch submitted comments to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on the recently issued Program Assessment Ratings Tool (PART) arising from the first meeting of the Performance Measurement Advisory Council.

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'April Surprise' Turns Into July Fright As States Begin New Budget Year

Last Monday, July 1, marked the start of a new fiscal year for most states, many of which had to resolve large deficits after years of "April Surprises" -- the affectionate name given to the larger-than-expected influx of state income tax revenue each April 15.

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Playing Chicken Over Social Security's Future

By now it should be obvious to everyone, including Congress, that it is not possible to adhere to the budget limits (caps) on discretionary spending and pass realistic spending bills for FY 2000, at least not without resorting to accounting gimmicks and trickery. Sticking to the caps means drastic and politically unfeasible cuts. This should be good news for advocates who have been arguing all along that staying within the budget caps would severely slash important spending needs, including education, health, environmental protection, housing, and a score of other beneficial programs, especially those upon which low to mid-income Americans depend.

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OMB Watch Comments on Program Assessment Ratings Tool from OMB

The following are comments sent by OMB Watch to OMB on the Program Assessment Ratings Tool (PART) tool arising from the first meeting of the Performance Measurement Advisory Council. The comments are also available in Adobe Acrobat PDF

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Estate Tax Repeal Proponents Launch New Round of Misleading Attack Ads

Repeal proponents may have failed to secure enough Senate support to make estate tax repeal permanent (see this OMB Watch article) in their June 12 vote, but that vote seems to have only strengthened their resolve. They have launched attack ads against a number of Senators who voted to for reform over repeal of the estate tax instead of repeal it.

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Bumping Our Heads Against the Debt Ceiling

On June 28, the day Congress is planning to leave for the July 4 recess, Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill has warned that the government will run out of money to pay its bills unless Congress increases the limit on how much the Treasury can borrow. This means parts of government, if not all of it, will no longer properly function, and government will default on its bills. This has been publicly described as a showdown between the Bush administration and Congress, but in fact it is really a showdown between Bush and the Republicans in the House.

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A Resounding "No" to Estate Tax Repeal

On June 12, the Senate rejected a proposal by Sen. Phil Gramm (R-TX) to make repeal of the estate tax, which under current law only expires for only one year, in 2010, permanent. Repeal advocates needed 60 votes to send the House-passed estate tax repeal bill on to the President for his signature, but only received 54 votes -- 44 Senators, including 2 Republicans, voted against repeal. This is even fewer votes than repeal proponents received in February on a non-binding .

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Budget Process, October 1, And Tax Cuts

With the expiration of key Senate budget rules on October 1, tax cuts will get easier to pass.

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Senate Rejects Permanent Repeal of the Estate Tax

Seattle Times article, June 13, 2002

This Seattle Times article reports on the efforts of pro- and anti-repeal advocates, as well as the results of the June 12 Senate vote on permanent repeal of the estate tax.

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Tax-Cut Cynicism

New York Times Editorial, June 13, 2002

This New York Times Editorial piece argues that since all but 2% of the country's estates are subject to the estate tax, "The movement to repeal the estate tax has been a cynical and fraudulent exercise. Supporters say they want to protect people inheriting family farms and small businesses. But those estates have almost all been exempted."

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