WTA Chairman’s Update #13: April-June 2019

Section: Letter from the Chairman / WTA Blog
19 April 2019


Dear WTA members, observers and friends:
Allow me to open by thanking all of you for the great privilege it has been to serve as chairman of World Taxpayers Associations for the past three years. I have enjoyed all of it – especially the many exchanges of ideas, best practices and comradery shared at regional forums and related events around the world.

I want to recognize and thank our Executive Committee: my predecessor Staffan Wennberg, Chris Butler, John O’Connell, Eudes Baufreton and Pete Sepp. And, I especially want to recognize and thank our volunteer secretary and finance manager Melanie Harvie and our Secretary General Cristina Berechet. You have all done great work and have been amazing to work with!

I will have more to present at our annual meeting on May 23rd in Sydney but suffice to say WTA is more networked and connected than it has ever been. I am optimistic about the organization going forward and encourage all of you to support John O’Connell to lead us as the next WTA chairman in that process.
Look forward to seeing you all in Sydney.

Upcoming WTA Events:

17th World Taxpayers Conference in Sydney, Australia May 23-27, 2019
REGISTER NOW for the 17thWorld Taxpayers Conference in Sydney!

In May 2019 World Taxpayers Associations along with the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and Tax and Super Australia are pleased to invite delegates from across the world to gather in Sydney for four days exchanging ideas and best practices to advance the cause of limited and accountable government. This gathering will also hold the General Meeting and board elections for WTA.

Only paid up members of WTA can vote in this year’s General Meeting and board elections. Also, a reminder that while WTA regional conferences are free for WTA members, the biannual World Taxpayers Conferences are not, due to much higher costs.

Join over 500 taxpayer activists and freedom fighters in Sydney for what will be the biggest and best pro-liberty event of 2019 – the 17th World Taxpayers’ Conference combined with the 7th Annual Friedman Conference!

All the details regarding the venue, agenda, accommodation and visas are available here. You can also follow the updates regarding the conference on Facebook.

We recommend you arrive no later than Wednesday, May 22nd as the General Meeting for World Taxpayers Associations will take place on ThursdayMay 23rd. Also, there is an optional Wine Tour to the Hunter Valley taking place after the conference on Monday, May 27thPlease keep these events in mind when booking your flight.

Our friends at the Atlas Network will be hosting “Strategic Marcom 360” – a two day course on effective marketing and communications for think tanks and advocacy groups – on May 21 and 22. Please click HERE for more details.

International guests for the conference MUST apply for a visa in advance of traveling to Australia. This applies to ALL countries. We strongly recommend applying as soon as possible so that any issues may be sorted out in time. You can find more information regarding visa applications here.

Draft Agenda

Tuesday 21st May and Wednesday 22nd May
Atlas Network Training: STRATEGIC MARCOM 360

Thursday 23rd May
2019 World Taxpayers’ Conference
Venue: Aerial UTS Function Centre

9:30 AM 11:00 AM WTA Board of Directors Meeting
      Chair: Troy Lanigan, Chair of World Taxpayers Associations
11:00 AM 11:30 AM Break
11:30 AM 1:30 PM World Taxpayers Associations’ General Meeting and Election of Board Officers
      Chair: Peter Phelps
1:30 PM 2:30 PM Lunch break
2:30 PM 4:00 PM Asia Pacific Taxpayers Association’s Meeting Coalition Leaders Forum (ATR) Taxpayers Association of Europe’ s Meeting
7:00 PM 9:00 PM Conference Opening Reception


Friday 24th May

8:30 AM 9:00 AM Registration
9:00 AM 5:00 PM World Taxpayers’ Conference
5:30 PM VIP Drinks (By invitation only)
7:00 PM Gala Dinner Celebrating 100 Years of Tax & Super Australia

Saturday 25th May

9:00 AM 5:00 PM 17th Biennial World Taxpayers’ Conference and 7th Annual Friedman Conference
7:00 PM Harbour Cruise Dinner along Sydney Harbour

Sunday 26th May

9:00 AM 5:00 PM 17th Biennial World Taxpayers’ Conference and 7th Annual Friedman Conference


Monday 27th May

09:00 AM “Wine and Wildlife”: Optional Wine Tour to the Hunter Valley and Zoo



Past Events:

Regional Taxpayers Forum in Chisinau, Moldova, March 28-29, 2019
Thirty delegates from 11 countries joined in Chisinau, Moldova for the Regional Taxpayers Forum of 2019. The event sponsored by World Taxpayers AssociationsAmericans for Tax Reform and the European Resource Bank Meetingfocused on advancing the taxpayer movement in Europe. Attendees shared ideas on fundraising, communications and tax reform. Following the event, the European Resource Bank Meeting was held where more than 90 attendees gathered to learn the techniques and skills necessary to spread the liberty movement’s message and to campaign in the most effective way. Thank-you, to ATR and the European Resource Bank meeting for their collaboration and to everyone who participated.

Member News:

ARGENTINA: Launched the Taxpayer Protection Pledge
On March 7th WTA’s newest member, Nosotros los Contribuyentes (We the Taxpayers), launched the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The first person to sign it was the National Deputy Carlos Roma from PRO. Also, on March 21st, they organized a rally in front of the National Congress to ask for tax cuts as the only path towards economic growth. Finally they’ve launched their first working group with the Agricultural Sector in order to develop technical proposals, and to present specific bills in the National Congress.

PERU: New Tax Calculator
The Peruvian Taxpayers Association launched the first Peruvian Taxpayers Calculator. This initiative was possible thanks to Atlas Network and also to the good example of the Lithuanian Free Market Institute.
If any other organizations are interested in implementing a tax calculator, let us know and we will put you in contact with the right people that can be helpful.

UNITED KINGDOM: Victory for Taxpayers!
Thanks to Taxpayers’ Alliance work, senior staff leaving public sector roles will soon have payouts capped at £95,000.  The Treasury announced that it is implementing the cap on public sector ‘exit payments’. This is a huge victory for the TPA – and is of course good news for taxpayers. The Public Sector Rich List 2015 publication sparked a national debate on golden goodbyes, with mandarins and council staff leaving their jobs with eye-watering payoffs. Quite often, the same people would then walk in to another senior public sector role not long after. TPA thought that was unacceptable, and so thanks to their campaigning the government of the day put a cap of £95,000 into law, through the Enterprise Act 2016. For that to be enacted fully, though, politicians must then enact secondary legislation, often through a statutory instrument. So the golden goodbyes continued. Exit payments across the public sector were £1.2 billion in 2016-2017.

TPA team has been in close contact with the Treasury and their comments received national media coverage in: Daily TelegraphThe TimesCity A.M. and Daily Express. A consultation will now be launched to outline how the government will introduce the cap. The UK Civil Service, local government, police forces, schools and the NHS are included in a first round of implementation which will cover the vast majority of public sector workers. So they still need to be on our guard – and make sure that the proposals are not watered down. TPA needs to drive home the big savings for taxpayers. And their team will continue to speak to the Treasury to ensure that they deliver on their promises.

CANADA: Fighting for Taxpayers in the Courts
Former Canadian Taxpayers Federation president Jason Kenney was elected premier of Alberta – not Canada’s largest province but certainly its wealthiest and an important voice in national affairs. Premier-elect Kenney now joins five other Canadian provinces lined up in opposition to carbon taxes – a battle the CTF has waged for years.

The CTF is also involved in a court battle in which a provincial government charged taxes to out of province beer companies that was deemed unconstitutional. The tax was dropped but the government refuses to return the money it took illegally.  Concerned about this precedent, the CTF is in court demanding governments that collect illegal taxes should be forced to pay them back. Stay tuned! To read more about this case click here.

NEW ZEALAND: Taxpayers Union Fends off Capital Gains Tax
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced she has completely and totally ruled out a capital gains tax under her leadership.

New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union worked hard to oppose the tax including a report: Inflating the Cost of Tax: Why failing to adjust capital gains tax for inflation is unfair and a campaign site www.AxeThisTax.nz that led to Kiwis bombarding Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters with messages telling them to scrap this unfair, complex, and costly tax. In addition, NZTU’s efforts last year ensured that the vast majority of submissions to the Tax Working Group resisted a capital gains tax. The efforts paid off!

UNITED STATES: NTU to celebrate its 50th Anniversary

Since its founding in 1969, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has proudly served as the “Voice of America’s Taxpayers.” Their guiding mission over the past fifty years: to achieve favorable policy outcomes using the most effective pro-taxpayer lobbying team on Capitol Hill and in the states. NTU was an influential force behind the Reagan tax reforms of 1981 and 1986 and the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act just last year. And along the way, NTU led the charge on countless tax and spending cut initiatives in all 50 states.  With these achievements in mind, NTU will celebrate their historic 50 years with a Golden Anniversary Dinner.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019  Grand Hyatt Washington


OECD: Taxing Wages
Income tax and social security contributions declined slightly for the average worker across the OECD in 2018, driven by major reforms in a handful of countries, according to Taxing Wages OECD’s report.

Taxing Wages 2019 shows that the “tax wedge” – total taxes on labour costs paid by employees and employers, minus family benefits, as a percentage of the labour cost to the employer – was 36.1% in 2018. This represents a fall of 0.16 percentage points from 2017, and is the fourth consecutive annual decrease in the tax wedge on the average OECD worker.

The decline between 2017 and 2018 was caused by large decreases in four countries: Estonia (2.54 percentage points), the United States (2.19 percentage points), Hungary (1.11 percentage points) and Belgium (1.09 percentage points). Even though the tax wedge on the average worker across the OECD declined between 2017 and 2018, small increases in the tax wedge were actually observed in 22 countries, or nearly two-thirds of the OECD. At the same time, small decreases in the tax wedge were observed in the remaining 10 OECD countries.

Tax Foundation: How Austria can become more Competitive
Austria needs to pursue comprehensive business and individual tax reform if it wants to remain competitive. Tax Foundation’s new guide explores several ways the Austrian government can achieve a simpler, more pro-growth tax code. You can read the report here.

Tax Foundation also launched a new section: Global Tax Maps
Providing journalists, taxpayers and policymakers with basic data on taxes and spending is a cornerstone of the Tax Foundation’s educational mission. One of the best, most engaging ways to do that is by visualizing tax data in the form of maps. Every week, Tax Foundation releases a new global tax map comparing OECD countries on important measures of tax rates, collections, burdens and more. These maps can be very useful for your organization. Check and share them here.

Save the Date!
Upcoming Atlas Network Events:

Europe Liberty Forum 2019
May 9-10
Athens, Greece

Latin America Liberty Forum 2019
Dominican Republic

Africa Liberty Forum 2019
August 22-23
Nairobi, Kenya

Liberty Forum and Freedom Dinner 2019
November 6-7
New York, United States

Deadlines for the Regional Liberty Award by Atlas Network:
2019 Latin America Liberty Award application deadline: May 15, 2019.
2019 Africa Liberty Award application deadline: July 1, 2019.
2019 Middle East & North Africa Liberty Award application deadline: October 25, 2019.

In closing, I’d like to encourage everyone to please visit our website and our Facebook group. Our community is only as strong and as beneficial as we choose to make it. Please work with our Secretary General Cristina Berechet to feed good content into this newsletter and our network at large.

Keep up the fight and we’ll see you in Sydney next month!

Troy Lanigan
Chair, World Taxpayers Associations
Past President, Canadian Taxpayers Federation
E-mail | troy.lanigan@worldtaxpayers.org
Skype | troy_lanigan