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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Treasury Department Warns U.S. Will Reach Debt Limit Soon

Bush Sets Record on Deficit: According to a chart released by Reuters last week, this year's $304 billion deficit that arose under the Bush Administration's watch is the largest in the last 30 years. Though many economists agree that temporary deficits at a time of a slowed economy are beneficial, most are concerned that the permanent commitment of the country's vital resources to providing permanent and costly tax cuts to the very wealthy will only create more trouble for the economy in the long-run. The Treasury Department issued a warning last week that the federal government would soon reach its current borrowing limit of $6.4 trillion, if Congressional action were not taken to raise it. As reported in the June 24 edition of the Watcher, this announcement regularly sets up a struggle between the Administration and Members of Congress, who do not want to appear to be spending beyond the government’s debt limit. As this Washington Post article points out, this most recent announcement is particularly troublesome, given that the President is also requesting a $674 billion tax cut.

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Bush Budget Calls for Permanent Estate Tax Repeal -- At Great Cost

On February 3, Virginia’s House of Delegates voted 69-29 to repeal its state estate tax, bucking a trend among state legislatures to work to preserve the tax’s revenue in a time of record setting state deficits. Governor Mark Warner (D) had petitioned hard to preserve this piece of revenue for Virginia, which is facing an estimated 1.1 billion budget gap for FY 2004, but the vote is being touted by the Republican-controlled legislative body as a “veto-proof” majority. Though repeal advocates in Virginia argued that repeal would protect the state’s small farms and family businesses, data from the USDA and the Federal Reserve show that both the average large farm and family business in Virginia already fall well below the current $1 million exemption under federal law.

The President (faced with a 6 percent unemployment rate, increased homeland security needs and costs, and a projected $300 billion deficit for the coming year) has decided that repeal of the estate tax must be made permanent – at all costs. And the costs are great: nearly $56 billion in the first full year of repeal. But you wouldn’t know it from the President’s budget charts.

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Bush Dividend Tax Cut Deepens Deficit-Ridden State Budgets

Far from providing desperately needed financial assistance to the states, Bush’s tax cut package would actually drain more than $4 billion from state treasuries each year. Take a look at what just his $364 billion dividend tax cut would do to your state. State: Est. FY 2004 Budget Shortfall ($millions): Bush Dividend Tax Cut Will Cost(FY 2004 est. in $millions): Notes: Source, State FY 2004 budget data: "State Budget Deficits for Fiscal Year 2004 Are Huge And Growing," Iris Lav and Nicholas Johnson, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), January 23, 2003.

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NPP Releases State of the States Report; ITEP Shows Who Pays

The National Priorities Project recently released two comprehensive reports that provide very useful state-by-state, as well as nation-wide, data. The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy's Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in all Fifty States shows that, on average, state and local tax systems require the poorest taxpayers to pay the highest effective tax rates.

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Fair Taxes for All is Back!

In the face of Bush’s new tax proposal (misleadingly billed as a “growth and jobs plan to strengthen the economy”), the Fair Taxes For All Coalition has been reconvened by People for the American Way, the National Women’s Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). A petition is being circulated opposing the Bush tax cut proposal:

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The Estate Tax - Reform It, Don't Repeal It!

On January 13, 2003, Responsible Wealth held a press conference on preserving the federal estate tax, which featured William H. Gates, Sr., the co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, George Soros, chair of Soros Fund Management, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), and Chuck Collins, co-founder of United for a Fair Economy.

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What Are Some Good Economic Stimulus Plans?

The chart in this article provides a comparison of some economic stimulus plans that have not come out of Congress. For a comparison of the Bush plan with Congressional plans, see this chart.

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House Republicans Institute Dynamic Scoring; Waive Debt-Ceiling Votes

Included among its questionable first actions in the 108th Congress, the Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee made two new troubling rule changes that will govern House legislation around the federal budget.

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The New Round of Bush Tax Cuts--Inequitable, Ineffective and Costly

Bush’s new tax cuts, thinly disguised as an economic stimulus plan, fail every test – whether that of equity, economic stimulus, or responsible budgeting that addresses the nation’s needs. The only test that the Bush plan passes is that of making the President’s wealthier constituents richer while forcing diminished government services upon the rest of us.

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The Bush ?Economic Growth Plan?: Where's the Growth? Or the Fairness?

OMB Watch strongly opposes the President’s “Growth and Jobs Plan to Strengthen the American Economy” for a host of reasons. There is no question that the President’s plan is bold. But it is unlikely to provide an economic stimulus now, when it is so needed; it moves the country in the wrong direction over the long-term; and it will adversely affect services upon which Americans depend while doing nothing to increase economic growth and jobs.

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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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