Treasury Report Lays Plans for Financial Regulatory Reform

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Friday, June 23rd, 2017, 9:15 AM PERMALINK

President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13772 on February 2, 2017 in order to lay out core principles for regulators when creating regulations within the U.S. financial system. This order was an important step to streamlining the overly burdensome regulatory regime that has plagued the economic recovery after the Great Recession.

The Core Principles that President Trump listed out in the Executive Order are as follows:

  1. Empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;
  2. Prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;
  3. Foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry;
  4. Enable American companies to be competitive with foreign firms in domestic and foreign markets;
  5. Advance American interests in international financial regulatory negotiations and meetings;
  6. Make regulation efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored; and
  7. Restore public accountability within Federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the Federal financial regulatory framework.


Within the order, President Trump requested the Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, to give a report to the President on the extent to which current regulations, laws, guidance, and more, promote the Core Principles or inhibit them, along with subsequent reports.

This June Secretary Mnuchin released the first of many reports on the financial system’s regulatory burdens. The report covered the U.S. depository sector, which includes banks, savings associations, and credit unions. The Secretary mentions that it is of critical importance for banking regulation to align with the Core Principles. Therefore, the Secretary’s report lists out nine recommendations for regulatory reform within the depository system:

Addressing the U.S. Regulatory Structure: The current structure within the U.S. regulatory system is filled with duplication, overlap, and fragmentation, which can lead to ambiguity and repetitive regulations. This report suggests a number of changes to the function and structure of regulatory agencies in order to have greater coordination and to avoid regulatory overlap.

Refining Capital, Liquidity, and Leverage Standards: There is a heavy burden created by Dodd-Frank on banks when it comes to statutory stress testing. This report suggests raising the threshold of what is considered to be a big bank in order to ease these burdens.

Providing Credit to Fund Consumers and Businesses to Drive Economic Growth: The current regulatory burden has contributed to limited credit being passed onto consumers, which inhibits economic growth. The Treasury recommends increasing banks’ capacities to lend and their abilities to design and deliver lending products while maintaining safety standards.

Improving Market Liquidity: The many regulations implemented through Dodd-Frank have been limiting market liquidity within the banking system. By enacting significant changes to these regulations, including the Volcker Rule, the report suggests that it would support economic growth, avoid systemic risk, and minimize the risk of a taxpayer-bailout.

Allowing Community Banks and Credit Unions to Thrive: Ever since Dodd-Frank law was signed into law, community banks and credit unions have been burdened significantly with an average of one institution being shuttered daily. The report suggests exempting banks with assets under $10 billion from a number of regulatory provisions in order to ease this burden.

Advancing American Interests and Global Competitiveness: Many international regulatory standards create an unfriendly environment for banks of any size and form within the U.S. The Treasury suggests that all international standards imposed on U.S. banking agencies be reviewed in order to minimize negative economic consequences.

Improving the Regulatory Engagement Model:  With a lack of coordination and communication between governmental agencies and boards of banking organizations, there has been a decrease in effectiveness of regulations. A greater degree of inter-agency cooperation with themselves and boards of directors would allow for more transparency and accountability.

Enhancing Use of Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis: While Congress has imposed strict cost-benefit analysis requirements on regulatory agencies, the requirements are not uniform and consistent among the different agencies. Therefore, by adopting a more consistent and transparent cost-benefit analysis of regulations, there will be less confusion within the banking system.

Encouraging Foreign Investment in the U.S. Banking System: Foreign direct investment is an excellent way to diversify risk and expand economic growth. The report suggests increasing these investments in order to broaden international corporate investment in our banking system.

Photo Credit: Stephen Jaffe

 


PA Gov. Wants to Bring Back the “Tech Tax”

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Posted by Caroline Sayers on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 4:11 PM PERMALINK

Governor Tom Wolf wants to bring back the job-killing “tech tax.”

In more detail, this proposal – included in his 2017-2018 budget – would eliminate the sales and use tax exemptions in place for computer services and other industries, extending the 6 percent state rate and various local rates to data processing, hosting, and related services; custom computer programming services; computer system design services; and computer facilities management services.

Gov. Wolf’s proposed “tech tax” would not only put Pennsylvania in the same outlier category as the four states that currently tax such services, it would also make the Keystone State’s the most burdensome. Estimated to bring in about $349 million each year, the Governor Wolf’s “tech tax” would inflict a great deal of harm on taxpayers, consumers, and the state economy.

Pennsylvania has become a hub for technology businesses thanks, in large part, to its repeal of a similar “tech tax” six years ago through bipartisan effort. The Pittsburgh Technology Council found that 302,535 individuals in southwestern Pennsylvania are employed in the tech industry, making up 24 percent of the area’s workforce. But bringing back the “tech tax,” however, would put this sector of Pennsylvania’s economy at risk.

If the “tech tax” were brought back, businesses in Pennsylvania may be forced to offset the associated compliance costs by cutting wages, laying off employees or even moving to other states (Relocation is not hard for tech companies because they often have mobile business models). In that vein, the “tech tax” would also push business owners and selectors looking for a new place to launch or expand their operations away from Pennsylvania, as it suggests that lawmakers in the state care more about new ways to burden them with taxes than actually helping them grow. 

Along with chilling business growth and investment, the “tech tax” would have more immediate negative consequences in store for the people of Pennsylvania, as business would likely push at least part of the financial burden onto consumers.

Gov. Wolf’s tech tax would stifle a vibrant part of Pennsylvania’s economy. Overall, the tax would be detrimental to the people and businesses of Pennsylvania. If the legislators really care about their constituents they will reject this tech tax and prove that Pennsylvania is both pro-business and pro-growth. 

Photo Credit: 
Governor Tom Wolf

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ATR Applauds House FAA Bill for Not Including PFC Increase

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 12:28 PM PERMALINK

This week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Chaired by Representative Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), released their version of a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) applauds Chairman Shuster and the Committee for not including provisions that would increase or uncap the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).   

The PFC program allows for the collection of PFC fees for enplaned passengers at commercial airports controlled by public agencies. Airports use revenue generated from PFC fees to fund airport improvement projects that are approved by the FAA.

Currently the PFC is capped at $4.50 and maintaining the PFC at this level is a benefit to the traveling public. Given the current levels of revenue and PFC collections at airports, it is entirely possible for airports to continue making improvements without increasing the cost of flying for passengers.

According to FAA reports, U.S. airports brought in a record $27 billion in 2015 alone including record highs of $10.7 billion from airline rents and fees and $9.1 billion from non-airline revenues such as retail and food and beverage.

For 2016 PFC collections hit a new record high of over $3.1 billion according to FAA data, averaging roughly $260 million a month. FAA projections for 2017 show an additional increase of over $3.36 billion in estimated PFC collections. It is also the case that the Airport and Airway Trust Fund has reached its highest levels since 2001 with an uncommitted balance of over $6 billion. 

Government taxes and fees already overburden airline passengers – taxes make up over 20% of the cost of an average domestic flight. Given the record levels of airport revenue, billions in cash on hand, and PFC collections, there is simply no need to subject the traveling public to increased costs.

While Americans for Tax Reform looks forward to working with lawmakers on other provisions of the FAA reauthorization bill, the Committee's work to ensure that wholly unnecessary increases to the PFC are not included in the reauthorization bill is a positive step to benefit the traveling public. 

 

Photo credit: Jeff Slinker    

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Senate Bill Abolishes Obamacare’s Middle Class Taxes

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 10:52 AM PERMALINK

The Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill abolishes the many middle class taxes that were imposed by President Obama and the Democrat party in 2010. Obama promised repeatedly that he would never raise any form of tax on any household making less than $250,000 per year.

He lied.

Although you’ll never hear it from the establishment media, the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill:

  • Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits the 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and the 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This Obamacare tax imposed higher income taxes on households making an average of $53,000 per year.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage.
     

“Obamacare promised to reduce individual insurance premiums – a lot. Premiums rose – a lot,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Obama promised no tax hikes on anyone earning less than $250,000 – that was a lie. Taxes increased. Healthcare costs increased. Obamacare failed. By its own promised goals, it failed. It is time to repeal failure and reform healthcare to protect consumers, not bureaucracy.”

Photo credit: Sam Bowman

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Tax Reform Brings out the Good and Bad in Key States

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 10:47 AM PERMALINK

With 50 laboratories of democracy in the U.S., some state legislatures provide examples of smart pro-growth policies that other states would be wise to emulate, while others serve as bad examples by enacting policies that other states should avoid.

Taxachusetts Lawmakers Help The Commonwealth Earns Its Nickname

The past week has underscored this dynamic, in particular when it comes to income tax reform. In Massachusetts, state lawmakers referred a measure to the 2018 ballot that, if enacted, would move the state from having a flat income tax, to a progressive structure with income over $1,000,000 subject to a 4% surtax on top of the commonwealth’s existing 5.10% flat income tax rate. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Republicans who run the state senate and assembly announced a budget deal that will reduce personal and corporate income tax rates.

Maryland, which enacted a similar millionaires’ tax when Gov. Martin O’Malley was governor, provides a cautionary tale highlighting why Massachusetts voters should reject the surtax that will appear on their 2018 statewide ballot. A year after Maryland’s millionaire’s tax took effect, one-third of the state’s millionaires fled the state. A 2011 study, of migration patterns across the 50 states concluded that millionaires tend to leave states with high income tax rates for states with relatively lower income taxes. Enactment of a millionaires’ tax would be bad news for Massachusetts, but great news for neighboring New Hampshire, one the nine states that does not levy and income tax*.

19,600 Massachusetts tax filers would be affected by the tax increase, 900 of whom are projected to make $10 million annually and would contribute 53 percent of the revenues from the new tax. If just one-third of these 900 tax-filers left, the tax revenue lost would be about $750 million. It is not just the wealthy who would be hit by this tax hike. According to IRS data, over 10,000 Massachusetts small businesses would also be hit by this tax hike, since the majority of small businesses file under the individual income tax system.

The Beacon Hill Institute found that the surtax could cost the state more than 9,000 private sector jobs and $405 million in disposable income. While income tax hikes on the wealthy are often popular with voters, the fact is that the millionaires’ tax will hit small businesses with a 78% income tax rate hike, greatly reducing their job-creating capacity.  

In addition to making the Bay State less attractive to investment and job creators, Increased reliance on upper-income households will make Massachusetts’ revenues less stable, and budgeting more difficult. This is because increasing the progressivity of the tax code leads to greater volatility in revenue collections. One of the worst parts of this proposal is that, if it’s enacted by voters in 2018, there will be no way to amend it until the year 2023. So, if the tax ends up damaging the economy and chasing individuals, families, and employers out of state, like such tax hikes have in other states, lawmakers and voters will have to wait half a decade before they are able to rectify the problem.  

Tax Reform Train Rolls on in the Tar Heel State

Days after Massachusetts lawmakers voted to advance a massive income tax hike, North Carolina legislators announced a budget agreement that will take the Tar Heel State in the other direction by enacting another round of cuts to the personal and corporate income tax rates. Though the house and the senate rolled out similar plans with a $22.9 billion budget, there are some key differences between the proposals and how the budget is spent.

The budget deal announced by legislative leaders makes the following tax changes, which would take effect January 1, 2019:

  • Cuts the state’s flat personal income tax rate from 5.499% to 5.35%
  • Reduces the corporate tax rate from 3% to 2.5%
  • Increased the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly from $17,500 to $20,000

The budget with these reforms will pass both chambers of the legislature this week. Though the budget includes many of Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) priorities, it is unlikely he will sign this budget into law. Fortunately for North Carolina taxpayers, Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the legislature, and can enact this budget over Gov. Cooper’s objection.

In a year where 31 states are facing revenue shortfalls, North Carolina has a half a billion dollar surplus. In fact, this marks the third straight year that the state has realized a budget surplus.

These surpluses have occurred at the same time North Carolina lawmakers have approved multiple rounds of personal and corporate income tax rate cuts. In addition to the pro-growth tax changes enacted, the key to North Carolina’s fiscal and economic success has been spending restraint. Every year since Republicans took control of the state legislature, spending growth has been held before the rate of population growth and inflation. When it comes to models for pro-growth tax reform and spending restraint, other states and federal officials should look to the Tar Heel State for inspiration, and Massachusetts as an example of what not to do.    

Photo Credit: 
Murduck Rubbaduckie

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Norquist: Georgia Victory Shows that Voters Support Tax Reform


Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist appeared on Fox Business Network’s Mornings with Maria to discuss Speaker Ryan’s speech at the National Association of Manufacturers. Norquist affirmed that Republican electoral victories in Georgia and South Carolina will help Congress to pass tax reform by the end of the year:
 
Ryan’s talk yesterday was extremely important, but with the victories in the Georgia special election and the South Carolina special election, there was a huge exclamation mark on that speech because Ryan said, ‘here’s what we’re going to do,’ and then right behind him was the political strength to help make that easier to do.
 
According to Norquist, the House, Senate, and White House are largely unified on the key pillars of tax reform - including cutting the corporate rate. “They’re meeting regularly,” he reported. “They’re going to come up with a unified plan.”
 
“Every Republican is largely for every one of the tax cuts that’s being discussed,” said Norquist. “The only question is how many can fit in the box.”
 
Norquist noted that passing tax reform will help Republicans maintain their political momentum and continue to win elections in 2018. “Get this done and make it dramatically pro-growth. That’s the most important thing you can do if you want to get yourself re-elected.”
 
Victorious Republican Karen Handel signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to the taxpayers of Georgia to oppose tax increases. Democrat Jon Ossoff refused to sign the Pledge, leaving the door open to a tax hike if he had won. But he did not win at all.
 
Watch the full video here.

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Obamacare’s Health Insurance Tax Should Be Repealed Effective Immediately

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, June 21st, 2017, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

The U.S. Senate is moving forward with repeal of Obamacare, including the nearly 20 new or higher taxes that the law imposed.

These taxes directly hit middle class families and small businesses, raise the cost of healthcare, and reduce access to care. Repealing these taxes is a huge win for taxpayers across the country. 

It is expected that the Senate will phase in the repeal of these taxes over multiple years. Most Obamacare taxes are currently in effect, and relief should be offered as quickly as possible.  

Immediate repeal of the Obamacare health insurance tax is crucial because it is set to go into effect in 2018. Letting this tax go into effect next year and then repealing it at a later date will cause the cost of insurance to climb. Moreover, it will result in unnecessary complexity for middle class families and small businesses.

This tax is levied on insurance premiums, so its costs are inevitably passed to middle class families and small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees. In addition, the tax impacts the care received by seniors through Medicare advantage coverage and low-income Americans who rely on Medicaid managed care.

As a result, allowing the health insurance tax to go into effect will have significant economic consequences. Next year alone, the tax will total $12.3 billion. Over the next decade, the health insurance tax totals $145 billion.

Immediate repeal means strong tax relief for middle and low-income families. According to the American Action Forum, the tax increases premiums by as much as $5,000 over a decade. In total, the tax hits 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market, and 23 million households covered through their jobs. Roughly half of the tax is paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year.

In addition, the tax is devastating to small businesses. It is estimated to directly impact as many as 1.7 million small businesses. The National Federation of Independent Business estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

Small businesses account for half of all jobs in the US and two-thirds of new jobs in recent decades, so this tax will mean businesses across the country can spend less on investing in new equipment, hiring new workers, or providing higher wages.

American families have already been hit hard by Obamacare’s tax increases. The law imposed multiple taxes that have increased the cost of care for families and reduced choice, including taxes on Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts.

The last thing taxpayers need is for the health insurance tax to go into effect, even for one year. Conversely, permanent and immediate repeal of the health insurance tax is a huge win for Americans and will help decrease the cost of care for millions across the country. 

Photo Credit: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/pictures-of-money/

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Louisville-Owned Broadband Network: A Bad Deal for Taxpayers

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Posted by Margaret Mire on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017, 2:34 PM PERMALINK

The Louisville Metro Council is mulling the idea of a government-owned broadband network (GON). This would be an inappropriate and irresponsible use of hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

The roughly $5.4 million GON plan before the Council would span 90 miles in Jefferson County, with the majority of its footprint overbuilding KentuckyWired – a more than $330 million statewide GON currently being constructed.

While proponents of government Internet have painted a very rosy picture of the Louisville GON plan, residents of the city should not take the bait. Dozens of examples nationwide have proven GONs are a terrible deal for taxpayers. GONs in Bristol, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Marietta, Georgia and many other cities failed, and then were all sold for pennies on the dollar, leaving taxpayers on the hook for millions.

Why did all of these undertakings end in similar tragedy?

Government entities are not capable of building out and maintaining broadband networks, as they lack the expertise and resources necessary to remain up-to-date in such a rapidly changing industry. This truth is already being echoed in Louisville, as the plan pending before the Metro Council notes that half of total project dollars will be spent in the last 6.6 miles alone, a claim that private industry experts cannot piece together.

These experts have thoroughly reviewed this small stretch of land, and concluded that at least three quarters of construction in the area would be above ground. To put this point in context, the experts explained that even if the 6.6 miles required the extreme of digging up the streets, laying the fiber, and then rebuilding the streets – a method that would only be required to run fiber to the home, which is not nearly as far as the Louisville plan is intended to go – private providers estimate it should still cost about $1 million less than the city’s projected expense.

The Louisville Council, like many others that have attempted to play in the broadband industry, is way out of its element.

In addition to the Louisville GON plan being a very risky way to spend taxpayer dollars, it is also wildly inappropriate. Currently, more than 35 providers offer service in Louisville. And thanks to their commitment and investments to the area over the years, 99.9 percent of Jefferson County’s population has access to speeds of 50 Mbps. While some purport adding a GON to the mix would simply result in more competition and choices for consumers, that is a very shallow perspective.

GONs unfairly compete with private providers because government entities can subsidize costs with tax dollars, and thus charge consumers below the cost of service. Private sector providers, on the other hand, cannot do this because it would drive them out of business. As such, private providers are discouraged from expanding, investing, and remaining in areas where GONs are present, as their odds of success are hindered by unfair competition from an entity that doesn’t need to turn a profit.

Since it is vigorous competition between providers that spurs innovation, improves quality of service and drives prices down, GONs leave consumers at risk for fewer choices, outmoded technology and deteriorating service.

There is no justification for pouring millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars into “competition” with the private sector. Doing so would inflict a great deal of harm on taxpayers and consumers in Louisville, and chill innovation.

If the Metro Council truly wants to improve broadband service in Louisville, they should put the GON plan to halt, get out of the way, and allow the private sector to thrive.

Photo Credit: 
Omar

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EPA Admin Scott Pruitt Targets Clean Power Plan for Rollback

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017, 10:09 AM PERMALINK

Unveiled under former President Obama and billed as one of the Obama EPA’s signature achievements, the Clean Power Plan (CPP) is a regulatory behemoth that threatens not just affordable energy in the U.S. but state sovereignty and economic growth. Yet current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Trump are fighting to neutralize the threat of this top-down, one size fits all regulatory regime and are working to remove the rule before any widespread harm is realized.

On February 9, 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of the rule, as many businesses and state officials challenging the rule alleged the CPP was ambiguous and overly broad. Therefore, until all of the legal challenges have been played out, the CPP cannot be enacted.

Just over a year later, President Trump signed an executive order directing EPA Administrator Pruitt to look at the rule and examine how it can be changed or repealed. Both Administrator Pruitt and President Trump have now put forth a new rulemaking to rescind the rule and have sent it to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Following OMB review, the new rulemaking will be published for public comment.

If the CPP were to be enacted, it would cause numerous negative economic impacts that will affect not just states, but also businesses and consumers alike. It has been projected that the CPP would cause a 12 to 17 percent increase in prices of electricity. In this estimate, every single state within the continental United States would see an increase in rates and 44 of them would see double digit increases.

Along with the increase in rates, the CPP would decrease household spending power by $64-79 billion and the annual compliance costs would be upwards of $73 billion. With these costs, the CPP is regressive in that it disproportionally hurts low-to-middle income Americans by reducing household incomes, forcing them out of jobs, and hiking the cost of energy.  

Thankfully President Trump and Administrator Pruitt have taken up the fight against this unnecessary federal overreach by the EPA. As Administrator Pruitt has stated regarding the plans to repeal the CPP, “The days of coercive federalism are over.”

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Trump EPA Ends Taxpayer-Funded Gym Memberships

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Monday, June 19th, 2017, 5:20 PM PERMALINK

The Trump EPA under Scott Pruitt is ending taxpayer-funded gym memberships for agency employees. The move will save taxpayers $900,000 each year.

Documents brought to light earlier this year showed that the Obama-era EPA improperly purchased luxury gym memberships for agency employees. Americans for Tax Reform reported the EPA’s Las Vegas office used taxpayer funds to purchase $15,000 worth of gym memberships at 24 Hour Fitness for government employees.

Memberships included access to the gym’s “thousands of square feet of spectacular workout space, complete with premium gym equipment, unmatched amenities and some of the best studio classes around.”

As residents of Clark County, Las Vegas EPA employees already had – and still have -- access to UNLV’s state-of-the-art fitness center, which lifestyle magazine Vegas Seven named the “Best Fitness Center” in the city.

“We have ended taxpayer-funded fitness centers at EPA; a program that was costing American taxpayers $900,000 per year,” said Jahan Wilcox, EPA spokesperson. “Disinvestment in using federal funds for EPA fitness centers will allow the agency to invest this money in core activities to protect the environment.”

The announcement underscores the Trump administration’s pledge to cut government waste and provide tax relief to millions of American families and businesses. Trump’s EPA budget proposal is $5.7 billion, a 31% budget reduction from the previous administration. In total, the Trump budget will reduce spending by $3.6 trillion over the next decade.

As noted by Pruitt on Fox and Friends, “It was the previous administration that granted those memberships.” Pruitt stated, “The key, with respect to how we restructure, is recognizing that Washington has become way too big.”

As reported today by E&E News, the EPA union bosses received a notice last week:

On Thursday, EPA union leaders received an email from an agency labor attorney saying the agency planned to stop funding for fitness subsidies and fitness centers by the end of next month.

"This serves as official notice that the agency will discontinue fitness subsidies and fitness center funding agency-wide, which will result in a savings of nearly $ 900K per year for the agency. Discontinuation of this funding is targeted for July 31, 2017," said the attorney in the email, which was obtained by E&E News.

Union officials expressed anger at the EPA notice.

ATR president Grover Norquist praised the move. “Scott Pruitt, the new head of the EPA has just saved American taxpayers $1 million each and every year. Kudos to him. Shame on the EPA bureaucrats who wasted taxpayer dollars. We need more leaders like Pruitt and fewer government employees who keep sticking their hands in the pocket of working Americans.”

 

 

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