Letter from the Chairman, no 7

Section: Letter from the Chairman / WTA Blog
20 February 2015

Letter from the Chairman, no 7
February 20th 2015, Stockholm

Dear members and friends of the World Taxpayers Associations!

I hope you have had a chance to log in on our new web page www.worldtaxpayers.org Do send us your ideas or wishes for the development of this tool, which we hope will be useful for all. We are working on more tax information and a special section on member recruitment and fund raising ideas, which will be for members only. By the end of this month we should be able to send a login to all members for access to that section as well.

Economic growth – weaker than expected
The year has started with more economic uncertainty and less growth than expected. World wide the last quarter of last year ended with lower growth rates than forecasted. Even the US growth rate was adjusted down to 2.5% – and in the EU the last quarter ended at only 0.9% against 2013. To get the economies going in the EU the central bank, ECB, is planning to buy state bonds for 600 billion €, or about 75% of total GNP in the Euro countries. The economic relationship between Greece and the EU is close to a collapse, perhaps within days. We have terror attacks – this last weekend in Copenhagen. And there seems to be no end to the war in Eastern Ukraine. We think of our friends in Kiev and Odessa in the large and active taxpayers groups. Each day they face great political uncertainties and rapidly declining economic conditions. Their currency fell 70% last year and the GNP 15%.

In Sweden the national bank for the first time ever is giving a negative interest rate of 0,5 % to stimulate the economy. But the consumers and companies are not catching on – with such a low rate the conclusion is that something must be wrong and they keep saving the money instead of investing.

There will be an increased pressure to raise taxes this year in many countries – increasing defense costs and increased taxes are seen as tools to change our use of energy to “save the climate”. As taxpayers we can work for higher efficiency in all areas. An evaluation of priorities is always good and healthy. Getting politicians in election campaigns to promise not to vote for any tax increases is one way.

Bavarian debt clock going “backwards”

I was in Munich last week and saw that the “debt clock” for the state of Bavaria is actually running backwards with the debt reducing every second – even though the German total debt is still increasing. Here is a link to the Bavarian home page where you can see the debt gradually falling: http://www.steuerzahler-bayern.de/

Get published in Forbes

Lorentzo Montanari has opened a possibility to publish comments or news on the op-ed page of Forbes web news page. It is a good opportunity – if you get published there, your local press and government will take it seriously and it will strengthen also your local impact. The op-ed has to be approximately 1500 words (not less) and should be submitted to the follow address: opinion@forbes.com with cc: aroy@forbes.com and lmontanari@atr.org.

Rules for submission: http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/02/03/submitting-an-article-to-forbes-opinion/

It is a good opportunity their editor Avik Roy has made available.

Conference in Istanbul in May

Americans for Tax Reform, ATR, is planning a taxpayers conference in connection with the European Resource Bank’s meeting in Istanbul in May. The taxpayers meeting will be May 14th and 15th. The European Resource Bank’s will continue to the 17th. Here a link to the European Resource Bank’s invitation: http://www.erb2015istanbul.org/ Details on the program are still to come and will be on our web page when available and in next month’s letter.

2016 World Taxpayers Conference

Hosts, the German Taxpayers Association, are planning the 2016 World Taxpayers Conference for the dates March 17th to 20th in Berlin. It promises to be a most interesting and useful conference with great speakers. More information will follow in my letter and on the WTA home page as details become finalized.

Fundraising – the best tips

Ben Case has had a long series of tips on “How to build a major gift culture”. The last of six well developed points is The Power of Asking. The biggest reason people do not donate is because they are not asked! You can offer them the chance to participate in building a better world – in turning their resources into the “gold” of a better society. They expect to be asked and you will get valuable feed back. Initially you may not talk about money – people respond to being asked a favor – to contributing information, advice or gifts. Listening is an important part of building a good relationship. The daily tips are stimulating and over time you will surely get some good ideas how to improve your fundraising. He is happy to send his daily tips to you – send an e-mail to the following address to register:

OECD Tax pressure overview

The OECD web page has many graphs of economic developments including trends in taxation. I am adding as a supplement their overview of the tax pressure in all the OECD countries. I have re-worked it to get the countries in falling order with the highest tax pressure at the top (Denmark). Our friends in Germany say that the German figure is too low as it does not include the compulsory pension payment, which are included in the figures of most countries. Adding this they would be around level 6 or 7 on the list. Other countries may have other objections, but these are the most “official” figures available and they should give a good picture of the trends in the 33 member countries as well as a way of comparing the total tax burdens. More statistics from OECD also on http://stats.oecd.org/

Suggested reading

If you are interested in global economic developments, I suggest Nouriel Roubini’s free newsletter, published about every two weeks. He is one of the most respected and interesting analysts often speaking at for instance the Davos Forum. His overview under the title “9 Ways the Eurozone is More Fragile than the US” is a very good overview of the situation in the EU and in the US. Here is a link to this article and where you can also subscribe to his newsletter.

Member dues

Invoices for member fees are being sent to you via e-mail and are based on your previously reported membership level. According to the statutes 500 $ for the first 5.000 members or donors in the last year and then 10 dollars for each additional 1.000. It works out to 10 cents per member. Our account is now in US Dollars in Canada. If you want to pay with a credit card, contact Melanie Harvie at mharvie@taxpayer.com for instructions.

We look forward to your news – and your feed back on www.worldtaxpayers.com


Staffan Wennberg
Chairman World Taxpayers Federation
Phone+ 46 708 15 04 95