Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Jim Campi
July 29, 1999(202) 467-5300


(Washington, D.C.) – Thomas A. Schatz, President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), today testified before the House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law in support of the Taxpayer Defense Act.  Schatz later joined Chairman George Gekas (R-Penn.), Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), and Sen. Fred Thompsom (R-Tenn.) in a Capitol Hill news conference.  Following are Schatz's remarks from the news conference.  

My name is Tom Schatz.  As President of Citizens Against Government Waste, I want to congratulate Congressmen Gekas and Hayworth and Senator Thompson for their efforts to restore control of the constitutional authority to tax back into the hands of congress and out of the hands of unelected bureaucrats.

Freedom from oppressive taxation is a fundamental American principle.  There are many examples of federal agencies violating article 1, section 8 of the Constitution, which clearly states: “the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.”

Despite the fact that the U.S. Treasury seems to be bulging at the seams because Washington can’t spend taxpayers’ overpayments fast enough, agencies want to more.  In fact, bureaucrats have demonstrated extraordinary zeal and creativity in circumventing congress to tax more money from the people who actually earn it.

For example, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names, or “ICANN,” instituted the domain name tax – a $1 fee on all registrants on the internet.  Fortunately, that tax was not imposed, but without the Taxpayer’s Defense Act, it may appear again in the future.

Not only has the Federal Communications Commission imposed the Universal Service Tax, it doubled it by $1 billion this year.  To underscore its contempt for both the Constitution and the American people, the FCC also adopted a rule that would bar telephone companies from separately itemizing this tax in order to hide its actions from the taxpayers.  This is deception and subterfuge at its worst.

Existing taxes are also vulnerable to being raised by bureaucrats.  The nuclear waste fund is financed by a tax on customers of nuclear power.  However, the Department of Energy may increase this fee unless Congress disapproves the increase – a power which has been found to be unconstitutional.

Even worse, only $5.9 billion of the $16 billion generated by the nuclear waste tax has been used to fund the program.  The rest has been diverted to other uses.  Accountability is also needed to see that the revenue is properly used.

These examples of bureaucratic excess turn our system of checks and balances on its head. 

In order to restore constitutional balance and control, it is imperative that Congress remain the only branch of the federal government with the power to levy taxes.

The Taxpayer’s Defense Act provides a method of checking the ability of governmental agencies to raise taxes.  Citizens Against Government Waste congratulates the members of Congress here today who are leading the effort to restore taxation with representation.

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.


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