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Welcome to the WTA Members Blog. Here is where members update one another with their latest news and campaigns. All members can send their submissions to http://worldtaxpayers.org/members-update/

UPDATED – 16th Biennial WTA Conference – Berlin – 17th-19th March 2016

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
4 January 2016 | UPDATED – 16th Biennial WTA Conference – Berlin – 17th-19th March 2016

WTA Conference

16th Biennial World Conference in Berlin, 17th-19th March 2016

Conference theme:
Good Governance and Low Taxes – Necessities in an Uncertain World?!

The World Taxpayers Associations cordially invites its members to its biennial worldwide conference in 2016, from the 17th – 19th March at the Mercure Hotel in Berlin.

Key stakeholders and globally acclaimed experts will discuss a wide range of important aspects of economic growth and growth of freedom and democracy. You will have a unique chance to meet with like-minded persons from all parts of the world (200-250), to learn and be inspired and build relations of future importance for your organization!

We hope you can attend!

Location:
Mercure Hotel Berlin Tempelhof
Hermannstrasse 214-216, D-12049 Berlin, Germany

Keynote Speakers
http://www.taxpayers.events/keynote-speakers/

Conference Agenda
http://www.taxpayers.events/program/

Hotel
Book your Hotel at a Discount – Extended deadline to 15th January 2016!
Use code WoConf  for your discount

E-mail: h1894-re@accor.com

Registration
Until the 15th January 2016 we are offering an Early Bird Special!

After 15th January 2016 the regular price will apply. REGISTER TODAY!
€395 – Early Bird, €495 – Regular, €250 – Partner ticket (social events only)

Visa Information
http://www.taxpayers.events/visa/

If You Need Visa Support from Conference Organizers – please email Daniel Junker, d.junker@steuerzahler.de and cc Michael Jaeger, michael.jaeger@steuerzahler-bayern.de, and Sarah Elliott at sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org.

WTA Conference Scholarships

Please contact Sarah Elliott, sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org, with “WTA Scholarship Application” in the subject line, answering these questions in the email: 1. Why are you interested in attending the WTA Conference? 2. What are your biggest goals for your organization in the upcoming year? 3. How much would you be able to contribute to your attendance?

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16th World Taxpayers Conference in Berlin, March 17-19th, 2016

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
29 December 2015 | 16th World Taxpayers Conference in Berlin, March 17-19th, 2016

World Taxpayers Associations’

16th World Conference in Berlin, March 17-19th, 2016

Conference theme:
Good Governance and Low Taxes – Necessities in an Uncertain World?!

The World Taxpayers Association cordially invites its members to its biennial worldwide conference in 2016, from the 17th to the 19th March in the Mercure Hotel in Berlin.

Key stakeholders and globally acclaimed experts will discuss a wide range of important aspects of economic growth and growth of freedom and democracy. You will have a unique chance to meet with like-minded persons from all parts of the world, to learn and be inspired and build relations of future importance for your organization.

Location:
Mercure Hotel Berlin Tempelhof
Hermannstrasse 214-216, D-12049 Berlin, Germany

Program

Wednesday, March 16th

From 1 pm until morning of March 17th

TaxPayers Leaders Forum and Coalition Leaders Forum

Hosted by Americans for Tax Reform

Invitation only – please contact Lorenzo Montanari for more information – lmontanari@atr.org

Thursday, March 17th
From 9 am until 1 pm

Free Market Road Show – one of more than 30 presentations and discussions around Europe by economic experts, commenting on current issues and economic prospects.

From 1 pm –general meetings of WTA and Taxpayer’s Association of Europe and the Asia Pacific Taxpayers Association.
Members’ up-date and presentation of new members.

Thursday, 7 pm
Welcome reception in a special location in Berlin.

Friday, March 18th

Main themes – morning

  • International stability – low taxes for economic growth. Future alternatives.
  • Public-private partnerships. Alternatives to financing infrastructure and welfare.

Lunch presentation about currency changes and how the economies were stabilized in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Main themes afternoon

  • The need for good governance and good governance in practice.
  • Interest policy, currency issues, cross boarder taxation and creating
    a growth climate.

Evening – Dinner with a typical Berlin variety show

Saturday, March 19th

  • Six workshops on themes like: Campaigning and fund raising, media coaching, alternative marketing and PR – trends and resources, styling and appearance, facts on the climate issue, up date on social media usage.
  • From 3 pm Tour of Berlin and visits to point of specific interest.

Gala dinner with special speaker, award-winning journalist and controversial climate-change critic, James Delingpole.

European Resource Bank will also be held in parallel sessions at the same location with the WTA Conference. You must register for that separately  – click here.

Practical Information and Application

To facilitate our planning, could you already now indicate your interest – this is without final commitment. We will then also send you more detailed information on speakers and seminars.

If you need help with visa applications, let us know immediately.

Name

E-mail

Organization

Send to sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org

Costs and Booking Information

Booking information: Conference fee €495, and get a €100 discount for a net fee of €395 for early bird registration (to be announced very soon!). There will be a reduced fee for accompanying persons of €200 to include all social events and dinners. The Conference fee includes all lectures and programs, lunches and transport to events, the welcome reception, the dinner Friday with a variety show, and the last night gala dinner. Registration site will be up and running very soon! Stay Tuned Here for Details!

Hotel

Book for 100 discount by December 31st 2015!

We are getting close to the end of the year, and we urgently want an indication of your interest and the dates you want to participate. The hotel rates definitely go up January 1st, so we are trying to at least make preliminary books for all who are interested. This will save you money and make the planning easier.

Book your hotel room with a discount before December 31st!

MERCURE HOTEL BERLIN TEMPELHOF AIRPORT

Hermannstraße 214-216

D-12049 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 627 80 130

E-mail: h1894-re@accor.com   Use code WoConf  for your discount.

We advise you to arrive latest Thursday, March 17th mid-day. Arrive Wednesday if you want to participate in extra events Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning which include the Free Market Road Show and a special meeting with TaxPayers Leaders Forum, arranged by Americans for Tax Reform (invite only).

Do write to Sarah Elliott at sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org with “Interest in WTA Conference” in the subject line.  Then we can catch your interest and can plan. Write as well if you have specific needs, are in need of some financial support to attend the conference etc. We have a few scholarship openings.

WTA Conference Scholarships

Please contact Sarah Elliott, sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayer.org, with “WTA Scholarship Application” in the subject line, answering these questions in the email: 1. Why are you interested in attending the WTA Conference? 2. What are your biggest goals for your organization in the upcoming year? 3. How much would you be able to contribute to your attendance?

VISA Assistance for the WTA Conference

Don’t wait until the last minute!

Do a need a Visa?

Please visit the following link for a list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter Germany.

How do I apply for a visa?

Please visit the German Immigration Service website for general information about the requirements for applying for a visa and the application process.

Important note: A registration confirmation letter from Taxpayers Association of Europe be required when applying for a visa. Please see who to contact below.

When and where do I apply for a visa?

Please be aware that the visa application process can take a considerable amount of time. You may submit your visa application 3 months before your departure date to Germany; however, all necessary application paperwork must be obtained and completed in advance to ensure that you are prepared to submit your application exactly 3 months prior to departure.

Please consult the website of the relevant German Embassy for information about how and where to apply for visa. A list of all German Embassies can be found here

If you need Visa assistance from the conference organizers – please email Daniel Junker – d.junker@steuerzahler.de, and cc Michael.Jaeger@taxpayers-europe.org and sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org with “VISA Assistance – WTA Conference” in the subject line, and what you need from the organizers in the body of the email. Be as specific as possible. Thank you.

 

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Letter from the Chairman, No 16

Section: Letter from the Chairman / WTA Blog
19 December 2015 | Letter from the Chairman, No 16

Letter from the Chairman, no 16

Stockholm December 19th 2015

Dear members and friends of the World Taxpayers Associations!

The news of an increase in interest rates from the Fed in the US is getting headlines this morning. What does it mean? The large economic answer is that in a normal economic cycle the consumer driven US economy picks up first, closely followed by the financially driven British economy. The countries depending on export of heavy, investment machinery lags 1.5-2 years behind, like Germany or Sweden. The difference today is of course the large importance of China both in the consumer and industrial side – and increasingly like the US depending on the attitude of the interior consumers.

The low price of oil also plays an important role – stimulating spending but holding back some investments. The Saudi rulers seem to want to keep the pressure on their political and religious opponents in Iran, Iraq, Syria – and Russia.

The new contacts between Russia and the US might be the road to peace in Syria. With a military cooperation between the US, EU and Russia in Syria the war could soon be over. But on the way, agreements would have to be made both on the future of the Assad regime in Syria and the Russian attitude and activities in eastern Ukraine. For 2016, it unfortunately seems that we will continue with the same uncertainties and problems.

On the Conference of Parties (COP21) final “agreement” (more of a letter of intent actually) companies are starting to get on the band wagon in a much larger scale not to be hurt by new policies and rather to get part of the government subsidies and investments in “green” projects. The economic rational seems to take a back seat as well as the effective use of tax money. The World Bank wants 100 billion dollars per year to invest in the developing world. The terms are more favorable than commercial loans, but most of the investments are still to be considered loans and make the receiving countries dependent on the support and directives of the Washington based institution and its 10,000 employees. More will be added to handle the increasing tasks. This may or may not be the fastest way to a higher living standard in these countries.

World Taxpayers Conference 2016 – 17-20th March 2016 – Berlin:

We are getting close to the end of the year, and we urgently want an indication of your interest and the dates you want to participate. The hotel rates definitely go up January 15th, so we are trying to at least make preliminary books for all who are interested. This will save you money and make the planning easier.

You have a summary of the conference themes and dates on our web page under http://worldtaxpayers.org/conferences-events/

Do write to Sarah Elliott at sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org with “Interest in WTA Conference” in the subject line. Then we can catch your interest and can plan. Write as well if you have specific needs, are in need of some financial support to attend the conference etc. We have a few scholarship openings.

WTA Conference Scholarships:

Please contact Sarah Elliott, sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayer.org, with “WTA Scholarship Application” in the subject line, answering these questions in the email: 1. Why are you interested in attending the WTA Conference? 2. What are your biggest goals for your organization in the upcoming year? 3. How much would you be able to contribute to your attendance?

VISA Assistance for the WTA Conference:

Don’t wait until the last minute!

Do a need a Visa?

Please visit the following link for a list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter Germany.

How do I apply for a visa?

Please visit the German Immigration Service website for general information about the requirements for applying for a visa and the application process.

Important note: A registration confirmation letter from Taxpayers Association of Europe be required when applying for a visa. Please see who to contact below.

When and where do I apply for a visa?

Please be aware that the visa application process can take a considerable amount of time. You may submit your visa application 3 months before your departure date to Germany; however, all necessary application paperwork must be obtained and completed in advance to ensure that you are prepared to submit your application exactly 3 months prior to departure.

Please consult the website of the relevant German Embassy for information about how and where to apply for visa. A list of all German Embassies can be found here

If you need Visa assistance from the conference organizers – please email Daniel Junker – d.junker@steuerzahler.de, and cc Michael.Jaeger@taxpayers-europe.org and sarah.elliott@worldtaxpayers.org with ”VISA Assistance – WTA Conference” in the subject line.

Speakers

We have a very high number of experts to discuss the main themes of international stability and conditions for economic growth, public private partnerships and the future of infrastructure investments, good governance in practice and currency issues including cross border taxation.

Some of our confirmed speakers include Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in the UK, Prof Neville Norman, Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne, Laurent Picheral, CEO Hotel Services Central and Eastern Europe ACCOR Hotels, Dr. Joachim Nagel, Member of Board of the German Central Bank, and James Delingpole, journalist, author and broadcaster, winner of the Bastiat Prize for Journalism.

The seminar side gives a wide selection for your interests – from the latest in social media, to fundraising and even styling and appearance coaching.

The conference also gives a unique chance of broadening you contacts as the European Resource Bank will be part of our activities and with a separate pre program including leading international economic experts.

But the most important part might be the exchange you can have with like-minded persons in your general geographic area, the interchange and sharing of experiences and the facilitating of future contacts of great value for your organization.

Member activities
The Swedish Taxpayers are putting the finger on the large number of very expensive infrastructure projects. The politicians generally love these to make their mark, they usually run way over original budget and there is little analysis of smarter and cheaper alternatives. The latest “fad” is high-speed rail connections even though the upkeep of current train lines could be better…

Jonathan Isaby, Chief executive of the British Taxpayers Alliance writes in the Daily Telegraph and other papers about the need for a robust Freedom of Information Act. Read his article here (sorry for the long link add it together if broken…). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/council-spending/12041981/Public-bodies-are-trying-to-destroy-Freedom-of-Information-the-same-law-that-holds-them-to-account.html?utm_source=TPA+Supporters&utm_campaign=aa33001bed-151023_TPA_Bulletin10_23_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fded8e0455-aa33001bed-417856741&mc_cid=aa33001bed&mc_eid=6bad081cb4

The freedom of public information is an important key to more transparency and lower taxes.

OECD tax pressure figures
The OECD’s figures of the tax pressure, or taxes share of GNP, are published in this article in the Wall Street Journal. These figures are sometimes questioned as compulsory pension payments are in some countries included in the taxes and in countries like Germany and probably Sweden at least partly not included depending on how they are paid – included in the direct taxes, paid as a tax by the employer or as a compulsory payment by the tax payer.

With this in mind, the figures still give a good indication how taxes within a country change in totality and how the countries compare. Read more here:
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2015/12/07/how-the-low-tax-u-s-stacks-up-against-other-countries/

The Human Freedom Index – reference and reading

This is an important document comparing the state of freedom in 152 countries around the world based on a number of factors. It is produced by the Fraser Institute in Canada in cooperation with other organisations. You can download or even order a printed copy here:
http://www.cato.org/human-freedom-index

Do write to me or Sarah with any questions on the conference or with questions how we might help you in your efforts. We want you to benefit from our exciting network and its wealth of experience and connections!

Finally we want to wish you a great holiday period and look forward to even closer contacts – and seeing you in 2016!

 

Staffan

Staffan Wennberg

Chairman World Taxpayers Associations

staffan.wennberg@worldtaxpayers.org

Phone+ 46 708 15 04 95

Read the full letter

International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.39

Section: Members Highlights / Taxpayer Leaders Forum / WTA Blog
11 December 2015 | Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) / United States

United States

International Taxpayer Leaders Forum Newsletter, N.39 – Dec 7, 2015

Follow us on Twitter

@taxpayerforum

North America

Online Shopping Tops Stores on Black Friday Weekend

Holiday shopping isn’t what it used to be. A National Retail Federation survey on Sunday found that more people shopped online than in stores during the Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, a sign of how quickly and deeply American shopping habits have changed. Continue Reading

 

Pentagon Crew Lived Large in $150 Million Afghan Villas

A Pentagon task force established in 2006 to help lure private businesses first to Iraq and then Afghanistan allegedly blew as much as $150 million on lavish villas in Afghanistan for a few lucky members of its staff—instead of lodging them cheaply, or for free, at the U.S. embassy or any one of numerous large American military bases in the war-torn country. Continue Reading

 

GM / Chrysler Bailout Cost Canadian Taxpayers $3.7 Billion

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) today released an analysis of the 2009 government bailouts of GM and Chrysler, finding that once the sale of stock and repayments are accounted for, the final cost to Ontario and federal taxpayers was approximately $3.7 billion. Continue Reading

 

War over soda taxes coming to a polling place near you

Government do-gooders and conservatives worried that America is becoming a nanny state have one more thing to fight about in 2016: Soda taxes. Public health advocates, flush from victories in Mexico and Berkeley, Calif., are plotting to bring voter referendums and legislation to tax soda in as many as a dozen U.S. cities in 2016. It’s all part of an international strategy backed by billionaires in New York and Texas, including former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to reduce consumption of sodas, juices and other sugary drinks in the fight against spiraling rates of obesity, diabetes and other diet-related diseases. Continue Reading

 

Four Principles to Boost America’s Economic Ladder of Opportunity

In conversations with statists, I’ve learned that many of them actually believe the economy is a fixed pie. This misconception leads them to think that rich people get rich only by somehow making others poor.In this simplistic worldview, a bigger slice for one person means less for everyone else. In reality, though, their fixation on the distribution of income leads them to support policies that hinder growth. Continue Reading

 

Everything You Need to Know about Deductions, Loopholes, and Special-Interest Tax Provisions

Why does the tax code require more than 10,000,000 words and more than 75,000 pages?There are several reasons and none of them are good. But if you had to pick one cause for all the mess, it would be the fact that politicians have worked with interest groups and lobbyists to create myriad deductions, credits, exclusions, preferences, exemptions, and other loopholes. Continue Reading

 

Millennials Pay Very Little in Income Taxes

Almost every day, I see another article about millennials – the cohort of Americans born between 1980 and 2000 that are “forging a distinct path into adulthood” and “reshaping America.” But surprisingly, not much has been written about millennials and U.S. tax policy. Continue Reading

 

CANADIAN TAXPAYERS FEDERATION CALLS ON ONTARIO GOVERNMENT TO SCRAP GREEN ENERGY ACT AND END CORPORATE WELFARE IN WAKE OF AG REPORT

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) is calling on the Wynne government to scrap the Green Energy Act and end all corporate welfare payments in light of today’s Auditor General report. Among other findings, the Auditor General found that Ontario electricity consumers will pay a total of $9.2 billion more for solar and wind projects as a result of the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act, which provides 20-year guaranteed prices for wind and solar. Continue Reading

 

ATR Urges Lawmakers to Oppose the Solar ITC and Wind PTC

As lawmakers meet this week during negotiations over the tax extenders deal, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) encourages them to oppose any efforts to extend the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar past 2016 and also urges opposition to reviving the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind. American taxpayers have already been forced to pay billions in handouts to the wind and solar industries and the time has come to end such anti-free market practices. Continue Reading

 

Europe

EU to Announce Probe Into McDonald’s Tax Affairs

McDonald’s Corp. will become the fourth U.S. multinational to be targeted by European Union regulators as part of a widening investigation into alleged illegal tax deals, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. Continue Reading

 

Dixon: EU-Turkey deal is historic, if it sticks

The deal agreed between the European Union and Turkey on Nov. 29 is historic – provided it sticks. The EU has dangled the prospect that Turkey can join the Union, offered its citizens visa-free travel throughout most of the bloc and promised the government a chunk of cash in return for Ankara agreeing to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. Not all of the pact looks deliverable – but some big issues look closer to being addressed. Continue Reading

 

Sweden to return 22,000 migrants

Swedish police faced by the end of October a task of deporting 21,748 people from the country, reports daily Aftonbladet. It is the largest number ever. As many as 14,140 of the people have disappeared and are registered by the police as being “wanted.” Continue Reading

 

Finding The Best Management Accountant In Rotterdam

If you own an organization or work in one, you understand the importance of finding a reliable management consultant. You need someone who will help you to monitor the flow of cash in your organization so that you can track your expenditures and income apart from planning for the future. The following tips should help you to find a reliable management accountant in Rotterdam. Continue Reading

 

Taxation trends in the European Union

This report contains a detailed statistical and economic analysis of the tax systems of the Member States of the European Union, plus Iceland and Norway, which are Members of the European Economic Area. The main body of the report is a set of ‘country chapters’ which give an overview of the main trends in taxation for each of the 30 countries covered by the report. The chapters have a standardized layout: the first page contains a summary table and graphs showing trends in the country’s tax revenues under the main tax headings for the period 2004 to 2013. Continue Reading

 

Sadly, The OECD Entirely Misunderstands Corporate Taxation

It’s OK, well it’s sorta OK, when politicians bloviating away shout that companies have to pay their fair share of taxes. It’s a great deal more worrying when an organisation supposedly there to give us all the accurate skinny on economics does the same thing. For it’s an absolutely standard part of the basic economics of taxation that corporations just do not pay taxes. Continue Reading

 

Asia

Start-up North Korea?

North Korea usually only makes the news due to renewed military aggression, or when a defector publishes an account of their escape. Rarely is there any positive news coming out of the most isolated economy in the world. But today, the Washington Post reports on a hopeful new development in the Hermit Kingdom: the establishment of 20 “economic zones”, where residents will be allowed to experiment with capitalism. Continue Reading

 

ASEAN issues await the next Philippine president

The 2016 presidential election in the Philippines may yet to be the most challenging in the country’s electoral history. Apart from varied domestic concerns and problems, divisive regional issues await the next president of the Philippines. Continue Reading

 

Ibero America

The big picture of Argentina’s elections

The results of the second round of Argentina’s presidential elections will very likely provoke a major reconfiguration both in the country and in South America. On the one hand, the very structure of power of the Peronist party has been severely damaged. On the other, Argentina has provided a region victimized by populism with a success story on overcoming the tragedy. Continue Reading

 

Venezuelan Opposition Wins Congressional Midterm Elections

Venezuela’s opposition, riding a wave of voter anger amid a deep economic crisis, swept to a big victory in midterm elections on Sunday, delivering a major blow to the ruling Socialist party and President Nicolás Maduro. Continue Reading

 

Venezuela Votes “No” to Socialism

After 17 years of economic and societal deterioration under the rule of the socialist party, Venezuelan’s took action. In yesterday’s elections, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) won 99 seats in Parliament compared to only 46 for the established United Social Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Continue Reading

 

Africa

What does China’s role in Africa say about its growing global footprint?

China’s ties to Africa are likely to get stronger this year as the world’s biggest economy appears poised to once again double its investments across the fast-growing continent. The run-up to the sixth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held early next month in South Africa is under way. The forum – in its 15th year and the first held under President Xi Jinping’s administration – has been the main venue for setting the investment, trade and integration agenda between China and countries in Africa. Continue Reading

 

Manufacturers say the innovation statement needs to include tax breaks for intellectual property

With the federal government about to unveil new policies in the innovation statement today, a new study suggests Australia needs more competitive taxation for intellectual property. The Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC) report focuses on “knowledge-rich manufacturing”. Countries must compete with each other to attract investment, both by foreign and domestic companies, it says. Continue Reading

 

Australia

Manufacturers say the innovation statement needs to include tax breaks for intellectual property

With the federal government about to unveil new policies in the innovation statement today, a new study suggests Australia needs more competitive taxation for intellectual property. The Australian Advanced Manufacturing Council (AAMC) report focuses on “knowledge-rich manufacturing”. Countries must compete with each other to attract investment, both by foreign and domestic companies, it says. Continue Reading

 

Free Trade

Wilson Perspectives: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

By any measure, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the 21st century’s most significant trade agreement. In 30 chapters and more than 5,000 pages, it lays down new rules of the road for 12 countries, 40 percent of the world economy, and 26 percent of world trade. From Latin America to the Asia-Pacific, on issues from workers’ rights to digital commerce, this deal will have an impact. It takes a wide-angle, multidisciplinary lens to study all of its aspects. Continue Reading

 All recipients are free to copy and redistribute the newsletter in any medium or format with proper attribution to Taxpayer Leaders Forum/Americans for Tax Reform

 

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The Taxi Industry has Just What it Deserves

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
11 December 2015 | Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance / Australia

Australia

The Daily Telegraph, Australia

The Taxi Industry has Just What it Deserves

by Tim Andrews

WHEN the first automobile hit the streets of Sydney, investors in horse and carriage companies didn’t get a penny in compensation.

Australia embraced the car and has led the world in embracing all new technologies, whether they be digital cameras, smartphones, or digital downloads. Obsolete industries from camera-film sellers and typewriter salesmen to BetaMax video store owners were never bailed out by the NSW taxpayer.

So why is it that today, with the ­introduction of Uber, Airbnb, Freelancer, Airtasker, and other new technologies making our lives easier, politicians want to tax us to bail out obsolete technologies?

The taxi industry is no different to the hundreds of other businesses faced with the inevitable task of adapting or risking something new and better coming along.

This is an industry characterised by bad service, exorbitant prices, and a complete lack of care for consumers. We have all been in dirty cabs with rude drivers who insist on taking the “scenic” route, ripping us off — and then demanding an extra 10 per cent just to use a credit card.

Now that technology has given us an alternative, with safe, clean, reviewed, and GPS-tracked UBER, the rivers of gold that the cab monopoly has received from gouging NSW consumers is drying up. Have they tried to improve? Have they tried to provide better services? No, they have simply tried to get the government to ban their competition, and continue their closed shop monopoly.

It’s expected that within weeks the NSW government will finally give in to public pressure and announce it will legalise Uber. And about time. But they are also considering imposing a supertax on us, the consumer, just to pay off Cabcharge.

Up to 1000 taxi plates in NSW are controlled by Cabcharge, a multi-million dollar corporation that the Federal Court and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found guilty of gouging consumers. They were fined $14 million just a few years ago for unethical practices.

Yet the NSW government is seriously considering a new supertax, paid for by us, to bail them out.

We are going to pay a new tax to give money to these people. It seems the only thing Cabcharge can do well is pay for great lobbyists.

If I made a huge loss on the stock market with a bad investment I wouldn’t go running to the government for a bailout. Why is the government even considering bailing out investors in the failing taxi industry? When Kodak went bust the shareholders didn’t get a handout from the taxpayer. Nobody compensated BetaMax shareholders for ­investing in a less popular product. Nobody gave Sony a taxpayer ­funded handout when Walkmans ­became a thing of the past.

The answer to the challenges of new disruptive technology should not be to ask taxpayers to fork out their hard-earned cash to compensate the industries that have failed to keep up. The answer is to let the market do what it does best.

Consumers have been penalised by the taxi industry for decades. The NSW public shouldn’t foot the bill for an industry’s failure to innovate. Any tax on either the consumer or a new market entrant like Uber, just to pay out corporations who have failed to provide a good service, is not just bad economics. It’s downright immoral.

Tim Andrews is executive director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.

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The OECD Threatens Ireland’s Low Corporate Tax Success

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
4 December 2015 | Hibernian Forum / Ireland

Ireland

The OECD Threatens Ireland’s Low Corporate Tax Success

Eamon DelaneyCampaign, info, web

obama pint

By Cormac Lucey, in The Times, digital edition, 20 November 2015

Repeating this statement does nothing to dilute its impact or its importance: Ireland would be unrecognisable without foreign direct investment. Not only do we depend on mainly American-owned companies for a considerable portion of our jobs, incomes and tax revenues, but the modernising impact of those companies has transformed our society.

Remember when, back in the 1950s, Ireland was a sort of Catholic version of North Korea with open borders — up to a third of people born here used to flee the country. That changed towards the end of that decade, when the tax law was transformed to free export profits from corporation tax. Over the years that tax break has morphed into today’s 12.5 per cent corporation rate, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the big “welcome” mat that Ireland puts at the front door when foreign multinationals come knocking.

A recent report from the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland highlighted some of the key benefits that we derive from this strategy. American companies have invested $277 billion in Ireland since 1990; the comparable figure for Brazil is $92 billion; for Russia it’s $10 billion and in China it’s $51 billion.

American direct investment stock in Ireland totalled a record $240 billion in 2013, a greater investment stake than Germany and France combined ($196 billion). Total US investment in Europe in the first nine months of last year was $115 billion, 19 per cent lower than the same period in 2013, but American flows to Ireland surged nearly 42 per cent to $37 billion. Companies from the US spend €13 billion on pay, goods and services in Ireland. Last, but not least, they contribute €3 billion to the Irish Exchequer in taxes each year. And that figure looks like it’s rising fast.

Germany and France have long criticised our low corporation tax rate as representing unfair competition. And the most powerful man in the world is also on our case. President Obama has slammed American companies that “magically become Irish” to avoid paying taxes in the US and criticised the “inversion” system, in which a large US company may acquire a smaller company domiciled in Ireland and arrange for the larger, merged, entity to pay the lower tax rate.

Mr Obama also called US multinationals who register in Ireland “corporate deserters” and said that because citizens don’t choose their tax rates, neither should companies. So the top item on the agenda of the G8 summit in Fermanagh in 2013 was a commitment “to fight the scourge of tax evasion”.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was asked to come up with proposals on base erosion and profit shifting, or BEPS. This refers to the effect of multinational companies shifting profits to low-tax states through the use of transfer pricing. Multinationals based in Ireland are frequently accused of practising this.

Now, the OECD is dutifully presenting the first results of its work. From an Irish perspective, the easiest way to judge its potential impact is by looking at the OECD’s three main headings: substance, coherence and transparency.

Under the substance heading, the OECD aims to align corporate taxes with real-value generating activity. Here the transfer prices that multinationals use to invoice sales from their Irish subsidiary to other subsidiaries are crucial. This could damage multinational units producing in Ireland if it can be established that they are using transfer prices to shift profits from high-tax jurisdictions to low-tax Ireland. Furthermore, the OECD plans to close down aggressive tax structures which use “Caribbean cash box” companies as holding locations for intellectual property.

The problem for the organisation is that multinationals located in Ireland generally have commercial substance. Peter Reilly, of the accountants PwC, even suggests that as sustaining very low corporate tax rates becomes increasingly difficult, Ireland’s 12.5 per cent rate may appear even more attractive.

The OECD’s examination of coherence looks at areas such as interest deductions, taxation of foreign subsidiaries and scenarios that lead to anomalous outcomes — a company that isn’t tax resident in any country. The main risk to Ireland is that other tax jurisdictions may change their domestic rules and thereby weaken the country’s appeal as an investment destination, but it remains to be seen what — if anything — happens under this heading.

Transparency is the main area in which the OECD can claim progress. There is to be an automatic exchange of tax rulings between member states that will hinder the scope for aggressive tax planning.

This will also involve the introduction of country-by-country reporting: all multinationals with revenues greater than €750 million will be required to disclose global revenue and expense data by country. This may expose how they use transfer pricing to shift profits from high-tax countries to good, old low-tax Ireland. It may not have any immediate impact, but could trigger adverse knock-on effects.

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On balance, however, BEPS doesn’t yet seem to be an existential challenge. This is why The Economist dubbed the BEPS project “an opportunity lost” and complained that “in some of the most important areas, such as grappling with how to tax cross-border online sales, cans have been kicked down the road”.

Britain has reduced its corporation tax rate to 20 per cent and said that this will fall to 19 per cent in 2017 and 18 per cent in 2020. This week it was announced that Northern Ireland will also adopt a 12.5 per cent rate. They appear to have passed their own judgment on the threat posed to Ireland by BEPS by concluding that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.

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International Property Rights Newsletter – December 4 2015, N. 39

Section: Taxpayer Leaders Forum / WTA Blog
4 December 2015 | International Property Rights Newsletter – December 4 2015, N. 39

International Property Rights Newsletter – December 4 2015, N. 39

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Please check the International Guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights supported by 85 Think Tanks

NEWS

2015 International Property Rights Index officially launched

The Property Rights Alliance has officially launched the 2015 International Property Rights Index in Malaysia on November 16th.  Click here for the executive summary or visit the website here: http://internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/

9th Annual IP Attaché Roundtable on December 15th, 2015

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) will host the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) IP Attachés from around the world to discuss the protection and enforcement of IP rights outside of the United States. For more information & RSVP please click here

North America

President Obama Signs Bill Recognizing Asteroid Resource Property Rights into Law

On Thursday, President Obama signed the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act into law, which grants companies the rights to whatever they manage to pluck out of these extraterrestrial bodies. The new Space Act of 2015 requires approval from the House of Representatives before moving on to President Obama. Meteorites – chunks that survive and fall to earth after asteroids disintegrate in the atmosphere – yield significant amounts of precious metals like platinum, rhodium, iridium, rhenium, osmium, ruthenium, palladium, germanium and gold. Continue Reading

Copyright Principles and Priorities to Foster a Creative Digital Marketplace

Over the course of the last two years, Congress has engaged in a comprehensive review of the Copyright Act. This is the first such review in nearly two generations, and it lays the groundwork for further inquiries and proposals regarding how the law might be amended and how the institution responsible for its administration—the U.S. Copyright Office— might be modernized and restructured to better support a thriving digital marketplace of unprecedented creativity and innovation. Continue Reading

Digital Ad Industry Will Gain $8.2 Billion By Eliminating Fraud And Flaws In Internet Supply Chain, IAB & EY Study Shows

Fraudulent impressions, infringed content, and malvertising cost the U.S. digital marketing, advertising, and media industry $8.2 billion annually. That money can be recouped if companies fix badly designed business processes and repair obvious flaws in the digital advertising supply chain, a new study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and EY shows. Continue Reading

 

YouTube Seeks Streaming Rights to TV Shows, Movies

YouTube is seeking streaming rights to TV series and movies to bolster its new subscription service, intensifying its rivalry with Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Hulu in the competitive market for online video. Continue Reading

 

NSA bulk phone surveillance program shutting down Sunday

The National Security Agency will no longer be allowed to collect phone metadata in bulk beginning Sunday, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The controversial surveillance program was shut down under the USA Freedom Act, signed by President Obama in early June, and has been in a six-month transition period that ends Nov. 29. Continue Reading

 

Kobe Bryant’s company files for trademarks linked to his final season

Kobe Bryant has taken an even bigger step into the business world on the heels of his officially announced retirement. Bryant’s company, Kobe Inc., which was incorporated in California in 2013, has filed for various trademarks that are linked to his own marketing campaign for his final season. Continue Reading

 

Game Companies and Intellectual Property Rights

We have been asked many times what game companies can do to protect their games, assets and IP. This is the first of a series of blog posts aiming to answer that question. We will start from the most fundamental matters. Legal affairs are often seen as complicated and time consuming. This conception is understandable, and even relatively correct in some cases, but for game companies the most essential issues are actually quite straight forward. The most important legal matter is the management of intellectual property rights (IPR). Continue Reading

 

Why Silicon Valley is heading right

A couple of years ago New York Magazine did some work on the political orientation of Silicon Valley in which they reported the big news that some of the giants of the tech world were – shock! horror! – moving to the right, albeit very tentatively. The irony is that this should be newsworthy since the evidence of a rightward trend was so very paltry. Continue Reading

 

Library of Congress, Copyright Office butt heads over IT vision

The Library of Congress took a critical step in hiring a chief information officer in September, a senior Government Accountability Office official told lawmakers. But, he said, it’s still unclear whether Library of Congress’ newly minted tech exec has the power to sort out the digital woes plaguing the agency. “It remains to be seen whether this position will have clear responsibility and adequate authority to drive needed improvements,” said Joel Willemssen, GAO’s managing director for information technology. Continue Reading

 

COPYRIGHT OFFICE NEEDS MORE TECH AND DATA EXPERTS

To keep pace with the demands of the digital age, the U.S. Copyright Office needs fewer file clerks and more techies, Maria Pallante, the office’s director, told lawmakers on Wednesday. “It used to be catalogers, now it needs to be technology and data [experts],” Pallante described the agency’s hiring needs. “I don’t know how we can administer the law without it.” Continue Reading

 

Europe

Trademark reform in Italy: a shift in focus

In what is a significant shift, impending EU trademark reforms in Italy will allow parties to challenge granted trademarks on both relative and absolute grounds. Luigi Manna of Martini Manna Avvocati reports. Continue Reading

 

Building Value: The Role of Trademarks for Economic Development

Investment in brands drives the allocation of resources in our economy. It increases competition, pushes firms to innovate, and decreases asymmetries in the market leading to a higher level of economic development Investment in brands and intangibles has seen an increase in the last fifteen years, especially in advanced economies such as the EU and the US. The US is a pioneer when we talk about investment in brands, whereas the EU is still investing a higher share of GDP in tangible assets. Continue Reading

 

Copyright reform in Europe: getting EU copyright fit for the digital age

In May 2015, the European Commission put copyright reform as key part of the Digital Single Market strategy. techUK’s Laura Weidinger argues why it is essential that the forthcoming reforms, the first major update since 2001, gets the detail right to create a functioning copyright framework fit for the digital age. Continue Reading

 

New Administrative Rules for Well-Known Trademarks in Russia

On October 13, 2015, new administrative rules on declaring trademarks well known entered into force in Russia. The main change concerns the prescribed time limit for the Rospatent to determine whether a trademark is well known. Continue Reading

Asia

How does the opening of the ASEAN community relate to Bangkokians? : Suggestions for adaptation (3)

Considering the effects and opportunities that will be occurring as the country enters into the ASEAN Community in the year 2015 that I have explained in the previous article, Bangkokians need to prepare and accept the change. Important areas where Bangkokians need to be prepared for are as follows: Continue Reading

 

Mickey Mouse operations: China fines five fake ‘Disney hotels’ in Shanghai ahead of giant theme park opening

Shanghai has fined a hotel chain for infringing on Disney’s trademarks at five of its branches as part of an effort to protect the US entertainment giant’s brand in the run-up to the opening of its theme park next year. The five hotels owned by the Shenzhen Vienna Hotels Group in Pudong district, where the theme park is due to open in the first half of next year, were found to have used the Chinese characters for Disney on their signboards, websites and electronic displays in their lobbies without authorisation, the Shanghai regulators said. Continue Reading

 

China Vows To Protect US Firms

US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) conference concluded with the commitment from both countries to protect the companies’ intellectual property (IP), minimize the trade theft, and provide them better legal protection. US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker called the US-China JCCT “Meaningful”. Breakthroughs were expected at the meeting held in in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. The three-day conference also addressed the issues like standards, IP, and geographical indications to prevent unauthorized content, sports broadcasting, and many more. Continue Reading

 

India names new head of IP office

Sh O P Gupta has taken over as controller general of patents, designs and trademarks in India. The former chairman and managing director of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co was installed as the head of the Indian Intellectual Property Office on 16 November. Continue Reading

 

Qualcomm Inks License Deal With China’s Xiaomi

Qualcomm Inc. said it reached a patent-licensing deal with Xiaomi Corp., one of China’s largest smartphone makers, a sign of progress in easing the chip maker’s struggles in the country. The San Diego-based company’s stock jumped 5.6% to $52.03 in afternoon trading on Wednesday in response to the announcement. Continue Reading

 

New national Intellectual Property Rights policy likely by December end: Amitabh Kant

The government is likely to come out with a new national Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) policy by the month-end, DIPP Secretary Amitabh Kant said on Thursday. The task force appointed by the government on the matter has already submitted its report, Kant said while speaking at a conference organised by Observer Research Foundation here. Continue Reading

 

Middle East

Israel freezes the EU out of peace talks with the Palestinians

Israel has frozen the EU out of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in retaliation for Europe’s decision to label products made in West Bank settlements.Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, reacted furiously when the labelling decision was announced two weeks ago and on Sunday said he was suspending diplomatic contact with the EU on peace issues. Continue Reading

 

Africa

At WIPO, Former South Africa Judge Calls For Balance In IP Rights Enforcement

Alongside this week’s meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on enforcement, an event featured a former South African Supreme Court judge presenting his views on IP enforcement. There is a need to go for the “big fish,” he said, and to bring balance in sanctions and enforcement procedures. He also described courts as finding that exceptions to copyright are a public right. Continue Reading

 

Nigerian Journalists Dig Deep Into Land and Property Rights

Reporters from Nigeria’s leading media outlets were among the 55 professional journalists and 48 students who attended a unique journalism workshop on “Covering Land and Property Rights” held in Lagos on November 24 and 25. Continue Reading

 

Ibero-America

US and Brazil ink PPH to solve patent delay

The US and Brazil have agreed to form a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) aimed at speeding up patent applications in both jurisdictions. Continue Reading

 

Proposed law may remove indigenous land rights in Brazil

Maria Valdenice Nukini believes it’s her duty to protect her ancestral territory in northern Brazil and raise awareness of the role indigenous communities play in protecting nature. That’s why she recently traveled 4,700 kilometers from her isolated reserve in the northern state of Acre to Rio de Janeiro to protest oil and gas exploration that may take place near her community, located on the border with Peru. Continue Reading

 

Australia

Gearing and Protecting Intellectual Property for the World Market

Trade has been a big focus for the Australian Government in recent months. Newly minted bi-lateral and multi-lateral international trade agreements are in place, which are sure to open up greater export and investment opportunities for Australian companies. However, if you want to participate, can you be sure your intellectual property is protected? It is important that Australian suppliers fully protect their IP rights in those overseas markets – in relation to trademarks, patents and designs, and copyright. Continue Reading

 

Free Trade and Property Rights

USTR review notes gains in PHL compliance with international labor rights

The Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) has noted gains on the Philippines’s adherence to international labor standards, paving the way for the country to fully enjoy the benefits under the preferential trade scheme. A USTR news statement release on Friday said that the conclusion of its review is “…based on progress by the Philippine government in addressing worker rights issues in that country, including through reforms of labor laws and regulations.” Continue Reading

 

THE PHILIPPINES and the European Free Trade Association (Efta) have substantially moved forward negotiations on a free trade agreement following the fourth round of talks last week. “The meetings were held in a positive and efficient atmosphere and substantial progress was achieved in all areas,” the Efta said. According to Efta, the working groups convened on November 24-27 in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss all areas under negotiation, including trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights Continue Reading

 

Plain Packaging

Plain packaging celebrates its third birthday as France green-lights brand-free tobacco packs

Plain packaging is officially three years old today, and last week France took a significant step towards becoming the latest country to introduce legislation for the presentation of tobacco products. However, as the spread of plain packaging continues, pro-IP voices are getting lost in the mix, with the narrative framed as boiling down to ‘pro-health interests v big tobacco’. Continue Reading

 

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WTA Letter from the Chairman – November 2015

Section: Members Highlights
20 November 2015 | WTA Letter from the Chairman – November 2015

Letter from the Chairman, no 15
Stockholm November 20th, 2015

Dear members and friends of the World Taxpayers Associations!

Terror against freedom. The Islamic State (IS) has demonstrated that they have the will and resources to take their terror and aggression around the world. The confirmed blow up of the Russian plane with 244 tourists, the attack in Beirut which killed 34 and now the coordinated attacks in Paris which in the end may have killed more than 130 innocent people. In total, last year over 30,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks, most in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Police – and military – around Europe are given special resources and permissions to search and question suspects.

Politicians in Europe and President Obama do not understand the religiously based drive. What is the road ahead? Many want more control – will it threaten the freedom we cherish? Europe has been slow to react to the threats, but now borders are closing and the EU is threatening to again become more divided between states. The attitude towards the continuing stream of migrants is vastly differing. Sweden is still getting over 10,000 per week. Plus many just going underground without registering, though this flow has slowed with increased control. Other countries – including the US – are offering to take per year what Sweden is getting per week! Germany is looking at over 1 million new migrants this year alone.

The world is quickly changing. The UN is trying to create more of a worldwide regime with international taxation and amassing big funds for “climate investments” in the so called third world. The climate issue has been strongly and cleverly used for political and economic purposes. It is not so much about science – where experts differ – but about money and power.

The road ahead must mean a defence of freedom – down to the school yard. A spirit of suspicion and fear should not prevail. A recent report in Britain says that over half of 11 year-olds have problems sleeping because of fear of climate change. They should be rejoicing in the fantastic possibilities they have ahead – and in how our world has been able to adapt with more freedom, greater wealth and resources, more food and higher possibilities for all. Each generation has to find and defend their own freedom, ask their own question about the future and set their own goals. There lies the road ahead. And doing it across any borders of race, religion, social class, wealth or politics. In the long run freedom will win. It always has. In the mean time our national resources must join in a fair and open way to work for peace and isolate those who think they have a right to destroy the lives of others.

World Taxpayers Conference 2016

Now is the time to plan and book your participation at the WTA Conference in Berlin March 17-20th next year!

Key stakeholders and globally acclaimed experts will discuss a wide range of important aspects of economic growth and growth of freedom and democracy. You will have a unique chance to meet with likeminded persons from all parts of the world, to learn and be inspired and build relations of future importance for your organization.

We promise you an exciting and very useful program. Our German hosts are doing their best to add also points of social and general interest. The welcome reception in a unique location a dinner combined with a Berlin-style variety show and a gala dinner with a special speaker.

The conference will combine with three other events on the 16th and 17th March 2016:

The Taxpayers Leaders Forum, initiated by Americans for Tax Reform, and it will be a chance to share and learn from others experiences. This will take place in the afternoon of Wednesday March 16th and in the morning of March 17th.

The Free Market Road Show – a high-level discussion of economic issues and how enterprises and economic growth can be stimulated. Time: The morning of March 17th.

The European Resource Bank meeting. This is a meeting of more business oriented think tanks across Europe and we will share the main meetings on Friday and they will add other seminars and workshops on Saturday.

These combinations means a large and varied conference with an expected 250 participants, so write us about your interest soon.

WTA and National Taxpayers Union in the US will be offering some scholarships for those with special needs, so write us of your interest even if you are uncertain about the expense. And if you need a visa to Germany, it is urgent that you contact us about that immediately, so it can be arranged. It may take some time considering the pressure on these authorities.

A special web page will be active soon also with payment routines for the conference fee. On the WTA website you will find information under http://worldtaxpayers.org/conferences-events/news-and-details-of-upcoming-events/.

Member activities
Our network keeps growing. We now have seven active organizations in Africa. Some of them are working under difficult circumstances. We also have new groups starting up in Asia and South America. We want to give them all the encouragement, advice and support we can.

We are very encouraged by the National Taxpayers Association (NTA) in Kenya. They are a well established group since ten years. Visit their web page describing their many activities under www.nta.or.ke It is in English.

Content marketing
Content marketing is a popular term these days. In its simplest sense it means that we have to know our stuff – to stand on our know-how of taxes, how they hit different groups, create difficulties for start up businesses or whatever the issue is. In Sweden the Taxpayers Organization has published a small pocketbook with Facts for Taxpayers for 49 years! In 36 overviews on 48 pages they give all the key facts about not only taxes, but other economic facts like international comparisons. You might find interesting ideas here – even if it is in Swedish! You can down load the report here: http://www.skattebetalarna.se/nyheter/fakta-skattebetalare-2015
We will be happy to translate details for you!

In Ghana the Taxpayers’ Alliance has made an extensive comment to the national budget for 2016. You find comments on the news page Modern Ghana here: https://www.modernghana.com/news/655609/1/tax-payers-alliance-on-2016-budget.html

In Britain, the TaxPayers’ Alliance made a “telephone catalogue” size report detailing what might be needed to balance the budget in connection with the latest election. Even the summary was book size!

They are currently getting great media coverage and political reaction based on their “Public Sector Rich List” listing public employees earning more than £100,000 per year. Many reactions on this. Here is an example from one newspaper: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/debate/columnists/jonathan-isaby-freedom-of-information-is-a-weapon-against-town-hall-waste-1-7568559

Suggested reading

In my readings, I often find interesting comments from John Mauldin. In his latest letter he adds a long analysis by George Friedman – of Europe, migration and the terrorist threat. I am adding it as a pdf at the end of the letter for those of you who want to get more in depth comments on the current situation and where we are heading. You can also find newsletter and previous ones directly on this link: http://www.mauldineconomics.com/outsidethebox/archive

Do write to me or Sarah with any questions on the conference or with questions how we might help you in your efforts. We want you to benefit from our exciting network and its wealth of experience and connections!

Best wishes,

Staffan

Staffan Wennberg

Chairman World Taxpayers Associations

staffan.wennberg@worldtaxpayers.org

Phone+ 46 708 15 04 95

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