New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Obama's Agenda Faces Challenges in Congress

President Barack Obama proposed an ambitious agenda when he unveiled his budget outline at the end of February. In addition to significant funding increases for many key public investments including housing, education, and job training, the president also put on the table landmark legislation that would provide universal health care and begin addressing global climate change. There are, however, a number of obstacles that may hinder the implementation of the president's agenda. During the week of March 16, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) revised its deficit projection upward, and fiscally conservative senators and representatives noted their intent to hamper the president's efforts through parliamentary procedure. As Congress begins drafting its budget plans, it remains uncertain whether it will include all of the president's spending proposals.

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Will Obama’s Budget Increase Health and Safety Spending?

An article in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal points out that President Obama’s proposed FY 2010 budget blueprint, released last week, promises boosts in funding for regulatory standard setting and enforcement.

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Obama Releases FY 2010 Budget -- Sort Of

While not a complete budget with details of the myriad programs and offices the federal government runs, the document released yesterday by the Obama Administration does indicate the general outline of what and how the operations of the federal government are funded.

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President Obama to Release His Fiscal Year 2010 Budget

President Barack Obama is expected to release his Fiscal Year 2010 budget on Feb. 26. Details of the spending blueprint remain vague, but media reports indicate that the president's budget, unlike those of his predecessor, will hew closer to real-world situations. For example, Obama's budget will include spending on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, physician reimbursements under Medicare, costs associated with natural disasters, and lost revenues from changes in the alternative minimum tax.

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The President's FY 2009 Budget Request

The president released his FY 2009 budget this morning. His $3 trillion request is a first, and it comes six years after another historical request - the first $2 trillion request.

Budget of the United States Government: Fiscal Year 2009

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Democracy Alive and Well in Connecticut

With the President's FY 2007 budget soon to be released, the House must still take one more vote on the FY 2006 budget cuts bill it struggled with for almost all of last year, and some moderate Republicans are starting to break out of the stranglehold of party loyalty. Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT), who initially voted against the cuts, then voted for them in December, has announced today that he has re-evaluated his position again and will vote against the bill on Feburary 1.

Simmons' office released the following Kerry-esque statement:

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FY 2007 Budget Request Will Show Tight Spending Constraints

The release of the President's budget is less than a month away, and Treasury Secretary John Snow has made it clear the budget will "call for sacrifices, no doubt about it." Like last year's "tough budget," this year's slicing and dicing is an attempt by the administration both to appear tough on spending, as well as help them pare the down the deficit -- a whopping $318 billion last year -- even further.

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Economic Policy: Looking Ahead To A Second Term

As President Bush faces a second term, one of his first actions will be to define his goals and lay out agenda for the next four years. As Bush outlined on November 3rd, two of his most ambitious plans include both reforming the federal tax code and making changes to social security, all while continuing to fight a war against terrorism.

While this ambitious agenda is perhaps helped by the fact that the President has majority support in both Houses of Congress, it is hampered by some of the policy changes he forced through during his first term. Bush begins his second term with the economy in somewhat of a different state than he faced when first taking office. While in 2000 the nation enjoyed a healthy budget surplus, this year has the nation facing a large deficit as well as growing homeland security and defense needs. Federal tax revenue was $100 billion lower this year than it was when Bush first took office. On top of this, spending was $400 billion higher. This large discrepancy between revenue and spending has helped to create the largest budget deficit in our history. And, in response to four years of rising budget deficits, the Treasury announced on Wednesday that the government will borrow $147 billion in the first three months of 2005, to help fund its programs and policies. This level of borrowing, when it occurs, will be a new quarterly record.

Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution recently said, "On the domestic side, huge budget and current account deficits, historically low federal revenues as a share of GDP, the approaching retirement of the baby-boom generation, health care cost inflation, and escalating spending pressure for homeland security and defense will handcuff a president hoping to pursue new policy initiatives.

This administration will seriously be looking into trying to make permanent some of the tax cuts they passed over the last four years, and Bush has already laid some of the groundwork for this. Permanent tax cuts would greatly impact the amount of federal revenue collected by the government, and would cause even greater financial strain for agencies and institutions that rely on the government for funding. It is estimated that permanent tax cuts could cost the government $1 trillion dollars in revenue between 2005 and 2014.

When Bush sends his version of the budget to Capitol Hill early next February, it will clearly demonstrate how far this administration is willing to go to push the policies they outlined at both the Republican National Convention and on the campaign trail. For more information on second-term tax and budget issues, click here and here.

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Deeper into Debt

The new request for military funding will put us another $25 billion in debt - still no revenue solution in sight.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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