Ed Tarnowski

ATR Applauds Rep. Perry for Introducing the SWEET Act

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Thursday, July 25th, 2019, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.) recently introduced legislation that would lift harmful price controls on sugar products.

The Saving Workers by Eliminating Economic Tampering (SWEET) Act would repeal the Sugar Program’s protectionist subsidies that artificially raise the cost of sugar in the United States and serve as hidden taxes on American consumers.

The current U.S. sugar program is packed with price supports, import quotas and tariffs that have solely benefited the sugar industry to the detriment of consumers and taxpayers. So much so that in the United States, the average wholesale price of domestically produced sugar is roughly 2.5 times higher than the world’s average price of sugar. As a result, not only are taxpayer dollars subsidizing the sugar industry, but American consumers are being forced to pay higher prices for sugar-based products. 

The downstream effects of the sugar program are a damaging force on the U.S. economy. Roughly $3 billion in costs are shifted to manufacturers in the form of a hidden sugar tax annually, forcing consumers to pay more for food. Since the price of sugar has become artificially higher in the U.S., many manufactures have moved their operations outside of the country in order to pay the cheaper, market value for sugar.  This has inevitably led to a loss of nearly 10,000 jobs per year.

The Sugar Program’s crony capitalist policies have been put in place to benefit the sugar industry and have greatly hurt American consumers, workers, businesses, and manufacturers.

The SWEET Act would spur competition, save American jobs, and lower the price of sugar-based food products for consumers.

ATR applauds Rep. Perry for introducing the SWEET Act and for his continued efforts to create a freer, stronger economy.

Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border

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5 Reasons to Oppose Hiking the Passenger Facility Charge

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019, 3:23 PM PERMALINK

Every time you fly, you are charged a Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) of $4.50 per flight segment, capped at $18.50 for round trip flights. The PFC was created in 1990 as a supplementary funding source to grants issued to airports from the Airport Improvement Program. Congress placed a cap on the PFC to protect air passengers from runaway fees imposed by government-run airports who already receive taxpayer funding in the form of AIP grants. 

However, there has been a sustained effort led by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, to skirt the guardrails Congress put in place and raise the PFC to $8.50 per enplanement, a 90% PFC hike. 

Here are five reasons why this is a bad idea. 

  1. Government taxes and fees already account for more than 20% of the price of a typical domestic flight, as stated by Airlines for America. Congress should be working to reduce the tax burden placed upon the flying public, not adding to it. 

  2. A measly 9.1% of funds collected from the PFC are used towards airside improvements such as runways, navigation aids, lighting, and other airside safety projects.  While a whopping 30.9% of the funds go towards paying off interest on bond financing. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, “Increasing the PFC would do little to improve airport and flight safety, as only a fraction of the revenue goes towards such projects.”   

  3. According to the International Air Transport Association, a hiked PFC could reduce US GDP by $5.1 billion and kill over 52,000 jobs. 

“The decrease in passenger traffic due to the increased cost of flying would force the elimination of these jobs and inevitably take a major toll on America’s GDP.” 

  1. Airports already have plenty of revenue made available. Without raising the PFC cap, revenue generated from the PFC has steadily risen, even doubling since 2001. Since 2000, airport revenues have outpaced inflation and grown by 47%. US airports ended 2017 with a record $14.5 billion in unrestricted cash and investments. The idea that the flying public needs to cough up more money is unjustified. 

  2. Raising the PFC would slow passenger growth. A 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office found that a PFC cap increase could actually “reduce total AATF (Airport and Airway Trust Fund) revenues” due to reduced passenger demand.  

Photo Credit: Willy Vermaelen

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ATR Applauds Rep. Kevin Hern for Amendment Prohibiting a Carbon Tax

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Thursday, June 13th, 2019, 11:19 AM PERMALINK

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) has offered an amendment to an upcoming spending package that would block any funds in the bill from being used towards implementing a carbon tax.

ATR applauds Rep. Hern’s leadership and willingness to protect taxpayers from a new tax on energy that would raise the cost of energy bills for all Americans, increase the cost of gasoline and drastically expand the size of government.

Rep. Hern’s amendment states clearly, “no funds from this bill may be used to aid in the collection of Carbon Tax revenues.”

Earlier this week a coalition of over 75 conservative organizations and leaders released a letter in opposition to ANY carbon tax. In the letter, the signing organizations stated, “A carbon tax increases the cost of everything Americans buy and lowers Americans’ effective take home pay. A carbon tax increases the power, cost, and intrusiveness of the government in our lives.”  

ATR thanks Rep. Hern for his commitment to protecting American taxpayers from a carbon tax. ATR strongly urges House leadership to allow a vote on the Hern amendment and supports its adoption in the final spending package. 

 All voters have a right to know where their lawmakers stand on this issue. 

Photo Credit: Oklahoma Farm Bureau

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Trump EPA introduces plan to improve transparency and cost-benefit analysis

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Posted by Ed Tarnowski on Wednesday, May 29th, 2019, 11:31 AM PERMALINK

ATR applauds Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s new plan to improve cost-benefit analysis and transparency in the regulatory process.

In a recently released memo, Administrator Wheeler outlined four key principles for the EPA to use as guidance in developing regulatory proposals moving forward:

Performing cost-benefit analysis - Assuring that both the benefits and costs are weighed in determinations surrounding regulatory decisions by ensuring that that Agency considers whether or not the benefits of a proposed regulation outweigh the costs.

Consistency in interpretation across EPA offices – EPA should evaluate benefits and costs in a consistent application of terminology. The memo uses the specific examples of ensuring the terms “practical,” “appropriate,” “reasonable” and “feasible” have the same interpretation in all EPA offices.

Increased transparency of analysis - Offering transparency to the public in how conclusions are reached regarding regulatory decisions by stating what was and was not considered throughout the analysis.

Adhering to best practices – Offices must follow best practices in analyzing costs and benefits, follow existing guidance and adhere to peer-reviewed standards.

These principles reinforce the belief that regulatory agencies should only look to regulate when the benefits outweigh the costs. This memo promotes the Trump agenda and is in line with President Trump’s Executive Order 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda," which directs agencies to identify regulations that impose costs that exceed benefits.

The Wheeler memo goes on to instruct the Office of AIR and Radiation to be the first office to issue a proposal implementing these principles later this year, with other offices to follow.

Earlier this year, ATR led a conservative coalition urging President Trump to consider an executive order requiring full transparency of all scientific data used to justify new or pending federal regulations. This action taken by Administrator Wheeler helps achieve the goal of transparency and ATR applauds him for his leadership on the issue.

Photo Credit: Maine Public Broadcasting

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