Members’ Area

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/

Tobacco Monitoring First Step To Increased Sin Industry Scrutiny

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
27 May 2016 | Tobacco Monitoring First Step To Increased Sin Industry Scrutiny

By Yaël Ossowski

Huffington Post – Business Canada – The Blog

Using the image of a puppet pulled by strings from above by a mysterious figure, the World Health Organization is pulling out all the stops in its effort to turn public opinion against the tobacco industry.

The oft-used trope is a popular one in modern conspiracy theories, that of the puppet master behind the scenes controlling world affairs — or in this case, popular opinion.

This image is part of the WHO campaign to launch “monitoring centres” in cities across the world, tasked with unmasking the tactics of the tobacco industry and its attempts to “interfere” with public health policy.

“These new units are the watchtowers of the public health movement, helping us to see the tobacco-control landscape in greater detail,” said Dr. Vera da Costa e Silva, the head of the secretariat of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

She announced the new monitoring centres in Rio de Janeiro to much pomp and circumstance at the end of March, foreshadowing the opening of dozens of more in the coming months and those that will focus on much more than just the tobacco industry.

“They will communicate with professionals at the national level, but they also have an international function in communicating with one another to create a global tapestry describing the behaviour of the tobacco industry across continents,” she proclaimed.

The Brazilian Observatory at Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ), the first of these centres, has already set its sights on the tobacco industry in the powerful developing country.

“The tobacco industry requires constant monitoring of its power and restrictive legal treatment because it brings no social or economic benefit to the country,” said Silvana Turci, a researcher at the observatory.

But the tobacco industry is not the only target.

Indeed, the scope of the first monitoring centre’s mission is being finely tuned in order to focus on the sugar and fat industries as well.

“It will also serve as a model to monitor the actions of other industries, such as processed food, alcoholic and soft drinks, considering that there are undeniable similarities between the strategies used by all these companies in order to undermine public policies,” states the observatory’s website.

The World Health Organization is ensuring this remains a top priority in its aim to monitor international public health.

“We must understand the ways in which the industry does this. How does it operate — what is its strategy and what are its tactics? How far is it willing to go? And does it operate different approaches in different parts of the world?” said Dr. da Costa e Silva.

Thus far, the monitoring centres aim to create “wiki” systems in order to track and disseminate the information gathered from their campaigns. An example was put together by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, calling attention to the individuals and institutions “promoting a pro-tobacco agenda.”

Such efforts are being funded in order to implement the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control, implemented by the Conference of the Parties held in Moscow in October 2014. It was made up of representatives from practically every country in the world, and remains closed only to participating parties and select governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The next Conference of the Parties is set to take place in New Delhi India in November 2016, where the next level of global tobacco regulation is due to be agreed upon.

The goal of the conference is to advance the “work of the WHO FCTC, thereby strengthening the global battle against the devastating consequences of tobacco use,” according to the website.

Actions taken within this forum are not subject to democratic appraisal and have generally bypassed national legislatures. At present there is no mechanism or body by which to challenge the outcomes of the Conference of the Parties’ agreement. That may be a troubling trend for democracy and the rule of law.

In the meantime, the World Health Organization will continue investing in monitoring centres to counteract the “darkness” of sin industries such as tobacco, sugar, alcohol and processed foods.

“Brazil’s observatory exists to help us better understand what the industry is doing,” added Dr. da Costa e Silva. “It’s an important link in our new global chain, and helps us see into areas that were previously covered by darkness, the darkness that the tobacco industry prefers and embraces.”

Yaël Ossowski is a Canadian journalist living in Vienna, Austria. He is currently a program director for Students For Liberty.

Read more

Happy Tax Freedom Day New Zealand!

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
27 May 2016 | Happy Tax Freedom Day New Zealand!

Today is 2016 “Tax Freedom Day”. At 11:12am this morning the average New Zealanders will stop working for the government and for the first time this year begin working for themselves.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Tax Freedom Day is based on OECD figures showing that general government total outlays are now equivalent to 40.0% of the economy. That means that up until today Kiwis have effectively been working for the Government.”

“On behalf of the thousands of Kiwis who are members and supporters of the Taxpayers’ Union, we would like to wish every New Zealander a Happy Tax Freedom Day.”

New Zealand’s 2016 Tax Freedom Day is 15 days later than Australia, three days later than Canada, and later than all the years Helen Clark was Prime Minister.

More information about Tax Freedom Day is available at http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/tax_freedom_day_2016

Read more

Targeting Foundation Prospects in 7 Steps

Section: Fundraising Tips / Members Highlights / WTA Blog
27 May 2016 | Targeting Foundation Prospects in 7 Steps

by Ann C. Fitzgerald and DAVID MCLAUGHLIN

The first step in successful fundraising is identifying prospects. When it comes to grantmaking foundations, nonprofits tend to have an overabundance of prospects, but a dearth of strategic steps. In order to create the best strategies to solicit foundations, begin with a strong research plan.

  1. Assemble your tools. FoundationSearch and Foundation Directory Online are two fee-based options that make foundation research much simpler. If you are on a tight budget, visit foundationcenter.org/find-us. Here you will see the locations of Foundation Center offices, as well as libraries and universities where you can get free access to Foundation Directory. Free resources such as Guidestar and the Grantsmanship Center provide access to the foundations’ tax returns (Form 990-PF), grantwriting tips and funders by state.
  2. Know your organization. This may seem obvious, but it’s a critical step. In some organizations, the development and program staffs are less integrated. Fundraisers must understand their nonprofit’s mission and vision, as well as the priority projects that require funding.
  3. Identify your competitors and who funds them. Competing nonprofits often lead you to foundation prospects. Using the databases mentioned above, review the foundations that are supporting your competitors.
  4. Compile basic information to aid in decision-making. To determine if you have identified a good prospect, weigh several factors such as the foundation’s giving interests, its grants to like-minded groups, its giving restrictions and its board members.
  5. Take your list and cut it down. That’s right. Hone the list so that you are targeting your top five to ten best foundation prospects. Success with foundations is not about volume. It’s about carefully matching your mission to the foundation’s philanthropic interests and beginning a conversation.
  6. Create detailed profiles for top prospects: Focusing on your five to ten prospects, flesh out a detailed profile including the foundation’s contacts, history, grants and deadlines. Consider calling a friendly competing nonprofit that receives a grant to get additional insights.
  7. Map out the strategic steps. If you’ve done your homework, you are ready to approach the foundation. In some cases, the first step is to submit a short letter of inquiry. Ideally, you can take a more personal approach through a call or meeting. Your objective is to learn more about the interests of the foundation and lay the groundwork for submitting a proposal.

With a little time, patience and focused activity, foundations can become an important, long-term source of revenue for your nonprofit organization.

If you would like assistance in identifying foundation prospects, please contact us.

Read more

Book Recommendation: Catching Capital: The Ethics of Tax Competition by Peter Dietsch

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
27 May 2016 | Book Recommendation: Catching Capital: The Ethics of Tax Competition by Peter Dietsch

Rich people stash away trillions of dollars in tax havens like Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, or Singapore. Multinational corporations shift their profits to low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland or Panama to avoid paying tax. Recent stories in the media about Apple, Google, Starbucks, and Fiat are just the tip of the iceberg. There is hardly any multinational today that respects not just the letter but also the spirit of tax laws. All this becomes possible due to tax competition, with countries strategically designing fiscal policy to attract capital from abroad. The loopholes in national tax regimes that tax competition generates and exploits draw into question political economic life as we presently know it. They undermine the fiscal autonomy of political communities and contribute to rising inequalities in income and wealth.

Building on a careful analysis of the ethical challenges raised by a world of tax competition, this book puts forward a normative and institutional framework to regulate the practice. In short, individuals and corporations should pay tax in the jurisdictions of which they are members, where this membership can come in degrees. Moreover, the strategic tax setting of states should be limited in important ways. An International Tax Organisation (ITO) should be created to enforce the principles of tax justice.

The author defends this call for reform against two important objections. First, Dietsch refutes the suggestion that regulating tax competition is inefficient. Second, he argues that regulation of this sort, rather than representing a constraint on national sovereignty, in fact turns out to be a requirement of sovereignty in a global economy. The book closes with a series of reflections on the obligations that the beneficiaries of tax competition have towards the losers both prior to any institutional reform as well as in its aftermath.

Find it on www.amazon.com.

Read more

Institute for Economic Studies – Summer Seminar on Political Economy

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
20 May 2016 | Institute for Economic Studies – Summer Seminar on Political Economy

Summer Seminar on Political Economy
July 05 – 10, 2016
Aix-Marseille Université • Avenue Robert Schumann • Aix-en-Provence, France.
http://ies-europe.org/displayArticle.php?articleId=44#.Vz9W3ORvrDe

In 2016, IES-Europe will bring back the spirit of these meetings to life and invite people from all over Europe and beyond to join distinguished speakers from the fields of economics, philosophy, history, and law, for what will be IES-Europe first edition of an open summer seminar that will mix intellectual stimulation with friendship in a sunny and convivial atmosphere.

Read more

Europe Liberty Forum – Atlas Network & Institute for Economic Affairs

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
20 May 2016 | Europe Liberty Forum – Atlas Network & Institute for Economic Affairs

Europe Liberty Forum
8 June 2016 (All day) – 9 June 2016 (All day)
London, United Kingdom

Co-hosted by Atlas Network and the Institute of Economic Affairs

http://europelibertyforum.com/

Atlas Network and the Institute of Economic Affairs are delighted to host the first annual Europe Liberty Forum. Champions of free people and free markets from across Europe and the United States are invited to London for two days of leadership development, sharing of best practices and discussion of the policy battles that lie ahead.

The conference will include keynote addresses and breakout sessions, superior networking opportunities and friendly competition among think tanks. The Europe Liberty Forum Gala Dinner on the evening of the 9th will feature Atlas Network’s announcement of 2016 Europe Liberty Award winner.

Read more

Tobacco tax hike: It’s all about the money

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
20 May 2016 | New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union / New Zealand

New Zealand

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union have written a report entitled the Passive Income: How the Government Uses Smokers as Cash Cows.The report details the effect of tobacco excise increases, the failure of the Government to legalise the sale of healthier alternatives which would minimise harm, and the misuse of taxpayers’ money given to not-for-profits which lobby the government.

Politicians claim higher tobacco taxes are necessary to promote better health, but the Government has prevented the sale of new generation smoking alternatives such as e-cigarettes which are 95% less harmful and are the most popular smoking cessation tool used in England.

While politicians cry crocodile tears about the harms of smoking, they are refusing to allow the sale of healthier alternatives. It appears the only reason is to protect the revenue stream from the taxes on traditional cigarettes.

From today, a $20 20-pack of cigarettes includes nearly $16 dollars of tax

cigarette-tax.jpg

It makes a complete mockery of the National Party’s election promise not to increase taxes.

Increases in tobacco excise tax are often held up as interventions that are effective at reducing consumption amongst low socio-economic groups. However, significant tax increases have coincided with an increase in the socio-economic smoking gradient. Counterintuitively, the poor are the least likely to respond to tax hikes. That means they, and their families, go without.

Just because a consumer base is poor, it does not mean that the Government is any more justified in making consumer health choices for them. Worse, increasing taxes well in excess of the health costs of tobacco, knowing that they are being paid by those least able to afford it, is morally questionable.

http://www.taxpayers.org.nz/passive_income

Read more

Troy Lanigan’s Fundraising Principles

Section: WTA Blog
20 May 2016 | Troy Lanigan’s Fundraising Principles

Due to popular demand, I am posting Troy Lanigan’s presentation on fundraising from the WTA Conference in Berlin. He did a great job breaking down the basics of fundraising, keeping it simple and to the point.

Fundraising can be a daunting task, but if you keep these principles in mind, it will make it much more manageable. It’s also a well put together PowerPoint presentation for your reference.

Power Point – Fundraising – WTC Berlin – 16 March_Lanigan

 

Read more

Panama Papers Exposed

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
13 May 2016 | Panama Papers Exposed

For your own research, it may very much interest you to see if your country, businesses or individuals located in your country are connected to the offshore entities in the Panama Papers:

https://offshoreleaks.icij.org/

Read more

New Book Recommendation – Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics

Section: Members Highlights / WTA Blog
8 May 2016 | New Book Recommendation – Chicagonomics: The Evolution of Chicago Free Market Economics

Chicagonomics explores the history and development of classical liberalism as taught and explored at the University of Chicago. Ebenstein’s tenth book in the history of economic and political thought, it deals specifically in the area of classical liberalism, examining the ideas of Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, and is the first comprehensive history of economics at the University of Chicago from the founding of the University in 1892 until the present. The reader will learn why Chicago had such influence, to what extent different schools of thought in economics existed at Chicago, the Chicago tradition, vision, and what Chicago economic perspectives have to say about current economic and social circumstances.

http://www.amazon.com/Chicagonomics-Evolution-Chicago-Market-Economics/dp/0230621953

Read more