WATCHDOG GROUP URGES PASSAGE OF TAXPAYER DIVIDEND PROTECTION ACT

For Immediate Release Contact: Jim Campi
Wednesday, July 23, 1997 (202) 467-5300

(Washington, D.C.) – At a Capitol Hill news conference today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) joined Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.) and House GOP Conference Chairman John Boehner (R-Ohio) in support of the Taxpayer Dividend Protection Act.  The bill would guarantee that surplus money generated by balancing the federal budget will be returned to the taxpayers or be used to retire the $5.4 trillion debt.

“When it comes to eliminating government waste, it pays to stay ahead of the curve,” stated CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “Deficit hawks need to prepare now to ensure that future revenue surpluses don’t wind up being spent on new programs and bigger government.  The Taxpayer Dividend Act is a major step toward that goal.”

If enacted, the Taxpayer Dividend Act would create a fund for all revenues over the next five years in excess of Balanced Budget Act targets.  This money would only be available for tax cuts or, if no tax cuts are passed, would automatically go toward retiring the debt. 

“According to recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, the Balanced Budget Act will generate $135 billion more revenue than is necessary to balance the budget in 2002,” Schatz noted.  “A surplus this large will be an irresistible target for the notorious big spenders that lurk on Capitol Hill.”

Already, several legislators are devising intricate plans to spend as much of the future surplus as possible.  Most notably, House Transportation Chairman Bud Shuster (R-Pa.) is pushing an authorization bill that would spend a quarter of the surplus on transportation projects.  “Mr. Shuster, the undisputed prince of pavement pork, can’t wait to get his greedy paws on the future surplus,” Schatz said.

Schatz is urging quick passage of the Taxpayer Dividend Act before spending fantasies become too tempting to resist.  “All too often, members of Congress forget that the money they spend so freely is not their own,” Schatz remarked.  “They need to realize that too much money has already been thrown away on ineffective programs and redundant bureaucracies.  Future surpluses must not be wasted in the same spurious way.”

CCAGW is a private, non-partisan lobbying organization dedicated to enacting legislation to eliminate waste, inefficiency, and mismanagement in the federal government.

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