National Taxpayers Union

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Founded in 1969, the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) describes itself as a" nonprofit, non-partisan citizen group whose members work every day for lower taxes and smaller government at all levels.he Our guiding principle has always been: "This is your money and the government should return it to you."" It sees tax reform as a means toward overall political reform, ending "the game of picking winners and losers under the tax laws and break the cycle of dependence between lobbyists and politicians." It wants to see the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service, and two Constitutional amendments:[1]

It was started by Grover Norquist, before the Reagan Administration asked him to start Americans for Tax Reform.

Organization

It has a staff of approximately 20. NTU proper is principally a lobbying organization. There are two subordinate organizations:[2]

  • NTU Foundation, established in 1977 as "the charitable, research, and educational affiliate of NTU."
  • National Taxpayers Union Campaign Fund (NTUCF), formed in 1994, which "makes endorsements of candidates, distributes information to voters on the tax records — good and bad — of officeseekers, and which conducts its own self-directed "independent expenditure" campaigns in certain political contests."

It assigns ratings by the effect on the budget of various votes: [3]

  1. A weight, from 1 to 100, is assigned to each vote /A low weight was assigned to votes that had relatively little effect on the size of the federal budget, while a high weight was assigned to votes with the most significant effect on federal spending. Weights were based solely on the relative effect of each vote on the total amount of federal spending.
  2. Consideration was given to the political effect of a vote on the future federal spending, even though relatively little spending might be immediately at issue. A vote with average importance should have a weight close to 10.
  3. Scores were computed by dividing the weighted total of votes cast against higher spending (or taxes or for lower spending or taxes), by the weighted total number of spending and tax issues on which the member of Congress voted.
  4. Average scores for each state were also computed using the weighted total of votes cast by each state delegation.

Current activities

The group resonates with the frustration seen in the Tea Party Movement, which began with an anti-tax theme. Andrew Moylan, its Director of Government Affairs, described that movement as “"an outgrowth of the frustration people have had with the Republican Party...“I think a lot of people have been angry at Republicans for betraying our trust." [4] It was a Platinum Sponsor of the 9-12-2009 tax protest in Washington organized by FreedomWorks.

It is leading a call for health care reform transparency, defined by H. Res. 847, a "Sunshine Resolution," sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Florida), which calls for all negotiations to be "in full public view and not behind closed doors." The NTU letter, joined by groups including , states:
Our health care system affects too many lives and too many dollars to allow legislation reforming it to be designed in secret.Should such a bill become law, it would alter the circumstances of tens of millions of families and businesses. Those Americans need full access to any meetings in which decisions will be made regarding final language and details about how each chamber will proceed to the legislation, whether between Members, their legislative staff, or outside interests.



Signing this discharge petition will not be an act of politics, but one of principle/ It will demonstrate your belief in the values of transparency and openness in government that enjoy overwhelming support by the American people and have been touted by President Obama and Congressional leaders. [5]

For a discharge petition to force a vote on the resolution, 218 Representatives would have to sign it. There were 166 signatures as of today.

References

  1. About NTU, National Taxpayers Union
  2. National Taxpayers Union, Right Wing Watch, People for the American Way
  3. NTU Rates Congress, National Taxpayers Union
  4. Alex Isenstadt (11 October 2009), "Tea partiers turn on GOP leadership", Politico
  5. "NTU calls for transparency and openness in negotiations on health care reform legislation", Medical News, 22 January 2010