Taxpayers Regional Forum for Europe and Africa on January 12th, 2021

Taxpayers Regional Forum for Europe and Africa on January 12th, 2021

The first WTA-sponsored Virtual Taxpayers Regional Forum of 2021 will take place via Zoom on January 12th at 4 PM CET (10 AM EST).
In January 2021 World Taxpayers Associations is pleased to invite delegates to join us in an exchange of ideas and best practices to advance taxpayer advocacy in Europe and Africa.


4:00 PM 4:10 PM  John O’Connell. Chairman and President,
      World Taxpayers Associations

Welcome and Introduction to Advocacy

4:10 PM 4:40 PM Fundraising and Communication in changing times
      Chair: John O’Connell. Chairman and President, World Taxpayers Associations

Pete Sepp. President, National Taxpayers Union (NTU): New Strategies for Defending Taxpayers’ Rights

Scott Hennig. President & CEO, Canadian Taxpayers Federation

4:40 PM 5:30 PM Activity and Blue Sky Session
      Chair: Cristina Berechet. Secretary General, WTA.
      This session provides taxpayer/ invited think tanks’ leaders the opportunity to introduce themselves. Also, leaders are encouraged to present new ideas, with an emphasis on collaboration, that have the potential to advance taxpayer advocacy.

Daniel Bunn. Vice President of Global Projects, Tax Foundation (United States)

Christian Ekström. CEO, Swedish Taxpayers Association

Irene Otieno. National Coordinator, National Taxpayers Association (Kenya)

Martin Gundinger. Senior Fellow, Austrian Economics Center

Mykhailo Lavrovskyi. CEO, UEFF (Ukraine)


Cristina Berechet: Hello, good morning, we are going to wait a couple of minutes more and then we will start

Scott Hennig: Hi, Stefan how are you? You are mute still.

Stefan Wennberg: *muted*

Scott Henning: Good to see you, it’s been ages!

Stefan Wennberg: *muted*

Scott Henning: Stefan, you are mute still.

Stefan Wennberg: Can you hear me now?

Scott Hennig: Yes, I can hear you.

Stefan Wennberg: Ok. So, I assume everyone else can hear me too.

Scott Hennig: Yes. It’s so quiet, I just wanted to say hello.

Stefan Wennberg: Very good.

Scott Hennig: Are you keeping well?

Stefan Wennberg: Yes. We have our first real winter day today. But you have a lot of them in Canada, I’m sure.

Scott Hennig: Actually It has been nice here. It was -2 I think yesterday.

Stefan Wennberg: Ok, we are -2 -3.

Scott Hennig: I see John smiling.

Stefan Wennberg: …-12 or — 14 Good for skiing.

Scott Hennig: Cross-Country or downhill skiing?

Stefan Wennberg: Cross-country, we’ll see. We’ll do a bit of both.

Scott Hennig: That’s good, my brother-in-law taught me how to do cross-country skiing last week.

Stefan Wennberg: Oh, ok.

Scott Hennig: Which…

Stefan Wennberg: Takes a lot of power.

Scott Hennig: I like it, though.

Stefan Wennberg: It’s faster, it’s more like running.

Scott Hennig: Yes, that was excellent. I really liked it. Sorry Cristina, we just going to chat until you cut us off.

Stefan Wennberg: I’d rather go to Spain this time of year, it’s +10 or 12.

Scott Hennig: Yes, that would be nice. It’s nice to go anywhere

Stefan Wennberg: Yes, exactly.

Cristina Berechet: Even though it’s snowing. It’s not a good time to come. It’s covered by snow. Ok, I think we are missing a couple of people, I think we can start, John.


John O’Connell : Ok thank you, Cristina. Thanks everyone joining us this afternoon for this taxpayers regional forum for Europe and Africa, I hope everybody can hear me OK.  Just a couple of house rules: This is the second version of this type of event that we’ve tried, it worked really well on the last session with guys from North and South America, where everybody can liberally use the chat function to keep conversations throughout the sessions, and to keep everyone informed.

I wanted to open our forum by talking about the challenges that members of World Taxpayers Association Network have to face with the pandemic, huge challenges both in big picture sense politically with a big state response being necessary for almost anywhere around the world in order to fight back against the pandemic, and it’s going to be quite hard for groups like ours to talk about the need for lower taxes and to cut spending over the next few years, because there are going to be some huge challenges, then of course on a more granular level for our day-to-day operations, hopefully while doing on our session we will help to flash out and share the experiences on how we raise funds, conduct our communications, replace such things as physical and campaigning events, how  we are managing to do that throughout 2020 and probably for a decent part of 2021. With every challenge also comes an opportunity, we’ve been making a case in the UK (I run the UK Tax Alliance) that the reason that we ask/argue for fiscal sanity in the good times, is so that we can respond in emergencies like this in the way that we have. If you take the UK for example, if we had gone into the pandemic public finances being in much worse shape than they already were, it would be very hard to roll out replacement schemes such as furlough and other. We’ve been making a case to centralize the approaches that work and the interest is very heavily centralized, it doesn’t perform the same as it does on European systems, and I think it’s partly because of pandemic. We’ve also gone back to basics in the UK. If the government is going to spend more money, and it will, over the course of the next five years we need to make sure we’re letting the public know through the usual means like the media and the social media that they aren’t necessarily spending it very well, that is a refocus on wasteful spending which I think is key for all taxpayers’ groups around the world, which is to make case that when politicians take your money, they don’t spend it very well at all, as they tend to waste it. I think this event in and of itself shows us the opportunities that came out of a pandemic, we do tend to like to meet on our regional forums which I think we should continue doing in the future, but in the interim  periods we can certainly meet on approved technological platforms like Zoom and Google Meet, so were really trying to take these opportunities and come out of pandemic to make sure the network stays alive keep moving forward. I won’t speak for too much longer I think we’re going to go right into the first session just to end on what we want to do with the World Taxpayers Association into 2021 is to continue events such as these on digital platforms while we need to, but then we need to rekindle our face-to-face meetings where I think a lot of ideas and informal conversations help us to innovate, and we did want to have an event in Ghana in 2020, we’re unfortunately obviously unable to do so, so maybe if the vaccination program works as well as it should, then maybe it will be something we can look out for later in this year, and potentially another event in Sweden as well in October, so as well as our online events for the year we are going to look to bring back and rekindle our physical events which are obviously much nicer when we get a free drink at the end of session, but  I’m  looking forward to this session  immensely, I really want to hear some inspiring stories from around the world and what you;ve been up to in terms of keeping the taxpayer movement going, but we’ll dive right into the first session and for it we’re doing to be joined by Scott Hennig from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and Pete Sepp from the National Taxpayers Union, and we’re going to be talking mostly about innovative ways in which we’ve managed to keep going in terms of fundraising and communications during pandemic and just to kick this off I wonder, Scott, if you could talk us through anything that the Canadian Taxpayers Federation have been doing in order to keep money coming in.

Scott Hennig:  Yes, that’s the key one, isn’t it? I don’t mean to paraphrase Troy Lanigan who is the former president who liked to paraphrase the founder of the Leadership Institute: “You can’t save the world if you can’t pay the rent” and that’s the line that Troy Lanigan would have echoing in my ears, who’s my predecessor, John’s predecessor at the WTA. We’ve had to pivot hard into the online fundraising side of things, it’s been something that we’ve been wanting to, we’ve been sort of working towards, over the past few years so, happy that we were sort of preparing and getting ready for this prior to the pandemic but yes I mean look the big one on for online fundraising is gathering up a lot of people and then convincing them that you need to get money, so it’s kind of like a permission marketing type program where you bring people in through some sort of innovative way and I really do mean that trying to get someone’s email address is not the easiest thing in the world you can’t just put a little box in the corner of your website saying “give us your email” and people will sign up that’s a very poor way of doing it you’re not going to collect many emails that way. Ways that we’ve found that have been successful at collecting emails – petitions. People are still very interested in signing petitions that’s one big one, giving away something that’s another one, I mean you think about your own daily life you don’t generally give away your email address because someone’s going to send you an email, so giving them something, some sort of product, we found that ebooks have been fairly popular and ebooks are quite simple to make you can pretty much take them in any which way you want. One way that we’ve done it is actually transcribing podcasts which sounds crazy and when I first was told about it I thought it would never work it’s actually been extremely successful taking your podcast that you’re already doing handing it off to a program like it’s a transcription service they can transcribe it for you edit it and place it out as an ebook. What we’re finding is that older donors/older people are more interested in reading a podcast than listening to it, but they’re also interested in supporting podcasts because they know that’s the way that young people are getting their information, so we found that’s been a successful way, we’ve also turned some of our reports, we all write dozens of reports every year a lot of them don’t get read that heavily, changing up, putting a new cover on it, giving it a more attractive title like “the secret behind the upcoming wealth tax” or “the five things you didn’t know about carbon taxes”  and rebranding your report as an ebook has got lots of people downloading it, and we found that it’s a good way to bring people into the organization and start getting their email address and then from there you can do various innovative ways to get them to give you money through further surveys through calls to action and campaigns that you need funding for. I can elaborate but I’ll stop there and let Pete talk about this as well.

Pete Sepp: Well thank you, and yes it has been a challenging year and I think the challenges have just begun for 2021. I think in the United States we face several different kinds of fundraising challenges those from whom we were able to raise money through traditional direct mailing methods or email methods, are looking for some reassurance in the current political environment that there is someone defending their interests from what will likely be a number of attempts to increase taxes, increase debt, on the other hand, there are major business donors and those who might want to see donations go to research, that we’re doing, who have different concerns they might be looking for stability, a way for an organization to provide relevance at a time when there might be opportunities in a sharply divided government such as ours, even though the democratic party controls both branches of our congress and the presidency, they do so very narrowly. What opportunities will exist where we can make a practical difference, so we really have several different groups of businesses and individuals from whom we’re seeking to raise money in different ways, we’ve actually begun an online fundraising program after thinking about it for quite a number of years. Now, in the United States it is somewhat easier to do what is called prospecting by email than in other countries because there is a relatively ready supply of email addresses and prospects of those who have donated to things such as political campaigns for candidates, and were able to utilize that information and market to them. That may not be possible in other countries and for advocacy organizations in the United States this is actually a relatively new thing, mostly email fundraising and online fundraising has been successful to the largest degree with candidates, political campaigns, rather than advocacy organizations, so we’d like to share the results as they come in for this campaign we’re utilizing a firm in the United States called “Optimize Consulting”, which has had some degree of success in this area for advocacy groups as opposed to political candidates, and we’re hopeful that this will be the first of a number of successes in that area, but by no means guarantee I know that our direct mail program after suffering some very serious losses in the first half and into the third quarter of 2020 has now recovered a great deal, in fact we are seeing better rates of return using traditional mail at the end of 2020 than we did at the end of 2019 so now I think the pandemic has exerted whatever effects we were going to see on direct mail fundraising, and we may now proceed on the assumption that as long as our messaging is correct the method is going to be successful, and I’d just like to mention that exploiting every opportunity to raise funds is now more  important than ever, those who sort of thought this prior to the pandemic must actually put it into action, we have had to take advantage of things like the zoom technology and our weekly webcast which is featuring a special guest from government to talk about an important taxpayer policy, and we allow donors at the very end of this webcast to have a private chat room with that public official so that they can exchange views and ideas that’s a way of not replacing but at least providing some kind of alternative to the face-to-face interaction that was so crucial to our fundraising. Let me also give some praise to you Scott, this card I received in the mail from you is a very clever one, this was a holiday greeting card I received about 50 of these or more every season around Christmas, New Year’s Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and other winter holidays. And enclosed with this card is 50 million dollars, I can hardly believe it, from the reserve bank of Zimbabwe  and  Scott congratulates me with this message and I’m sure he did so with many others that I am a Zimbabwean millionaire and of course these notes are fairly worthless owing to that government’s fiscal policy he includes his business card in here I can tell you this is the one greeting card that I will retain rather than throw away from the 2020 holiday season because it is an effective message, it grabs the recipient’s attention, Scott provides his contact information. If I were a major donor or a prospect receiving this I probably think the same way too and say well in the basket of cards I’m throwing out I think I’ll hold on to this one, I think that’s a very innovative way of marketing and I would urge everyone goodness knows we have no monopoly on fundraising advice here, and we’re all learning this as we go along, yet I think that blending technologies with traditional methods, finding new projects that are appealing to donors such as a new litigation center that National Taxpayers Union Foundation has begun, we can talk about that later on in the segment, and simply recognizing that every opportunity to get in front of a potential donor whether through the mail, online, on the telephone or through greeting cards, you’ve got to take advantage of them, I remind myself of that every single day and hopefully that will allow us to get through what are very turbulent times.

John O’Connell: Yes that’s really interesting, thanks! Scott, just jumping back to you, obviously Pete’s got a greeting card as a way of innovating in times when you obviously can’t meet donors face to face to try and grab their attention I guess, I know you’ve also been working on a supporter survey tool or email that you’ve been sending out so if you talk through that…

Scott Hennig: Sure, yes I wasn’t planning the type of the greeting card, but Pete you’re right, I sent those to about 200 people probably and I think about 40 of them were either major donors already of ours or prospects, and some of the prospects I had been asking for meetings for months on and not all of them but a few of them definitely reached out after receiving that and contacted me, and we’ve got calls set up in the next few weeks so it has been effective, and I think it’s a good message right now, I mean with every government’s spending, borrowing, and printing money and Zimbabwe money is actually fairly inexpensive unsurprisingly, so if you go on Ebay I bought about 400 of those 50 million bills they cost about 60 cents each so it wasn’t extremely expensive, and we’re actually looking at perhaps doing it with the direct mail campaign, doing it as a front end premium so putting it in the first letter as a way to get people to respond to your direct mail, so I highly recommend it, it’s gone better than I was expecting. On the survey, John was referencing something I was mentioning from the other day, we do a year and supporters survey, so we have every year we do surveys throughout the year we find valuable information for our communication staff, especially if there’s an emerging issue hitting not our whole list of people but picking a small group of them and asking the question, but every end of December, sort of at years end, traditionally for about several years now we’ve done this very long supporters survey it’s probably 100 questions, takes like half an hour to fill it out and with that we usually send a big long email that goes through all of our victories and our campaigns for the year and then it also has an addition to the survey link and it has a donation link. It’s been successful for us over the years, and we probably do around  5 000 people will fill up the survey, and we usually get about 200 donations online through that. This year it was advised we also have some consultants to work with on the digital site NextAfter, and they have a lot of free resources and free webinars. I highly recommend them check them out. They recommended to us that we changed it up that we not ask people for money in our email, but instead we ask them to do the survey and try to get more people to do the survey and then once they’re done the survey have them automatically redirected to a donation page that then lays up the case for all the good stuff we did this year and why they should donate to us they also recommended rather than sort of sending one email which we usually would send one email, and then we would follow up maybe a week later with a a resend of that email to people who didn’t open our first one, they said to us well don’t do that, send six emails saying here is the survey it’s ending we’re going to close it off after two weeks, you’ve got two weeks to fill it out and then go send a second email have it be very similar to that except for now you’ve got a week and a half another one with a week, another one to three days, another one with one day, another one with “this is your last chance to build the survey”.  What we found from that, I think tomorrow is our very last email but even to this point right now we’ve already got 25 000 people have filled up the survey, so we’ve seen a five-fold increase in people who have filled the survey and I haven’t checked the latest numbers but as of last week we were already over 800 donations, so we’ve got a four-fold increase in the number of donations. Dollars are about almost two times higher than what we usually get, so we’re seeing slightly lower average gift, smaller, lower on an average a gift but that’s a good thing, getting someone to make their very first donation even if it’s five dollars to you is very  important it makes them invested it gets them involved with your campaigns and it helps identify people and I can’t even count the number of people we’ve been able to use research methods to dig up that they are in fact someone who’s extremely wealthy and could be giving us a lot more when they gave us ten dollars to a campaign, we run that through different software systems there’s one called iWave, there are various ones that you can pay for and use where you can  import a list of all of your donors and it’ll go through and start to screen them this is maybe probably I guess there’s got to be some European ones as well I know that one’s probably more North American than it is anything else but it’s been highly effective at picking out what they call hidden gems and giving us here are 40 people out of that thousand you told us you had as donors who are giving millions of dollars to other groups that we never knew about and being able to prospect that so just getting any donation is a pretty good way of getting people involved and finding future donors so that one’s done really well and I highly recommend it but I would say the one thing I would say with supporter surveys is don’t do a three-question survey where they’re all pushed questions where they’re very obvious answers that people see through that ask legitimate questions that you want answers to and really look at the results and our staff spend a lot of time analyzing and cutting apart the results, trying to help us with what campaigns we should be going after, so it benefits us that way, but we also benefit from the donation side as well.

Pete Sepp: Yes, and to add to the realism, the authenticity that a donor feels with these email follow-ups it’s often a good idea to have if they’re well-trained, less senior members of staff follow up with emails or phone calls for some of the more modest donors and then have your senior staff follow up with those who give above a certain amount and I found initially at least that utilizing the wealth screening tool you mentioned Scott we use something called “donor search” there’s also something called “wealth engine” that I believe has a European version I believe it does and those are all very helpful and doing the personal outreach after receiving some kind of acknowledgement through email in the form of a contribution or response to a survey can really pay off in many cases it will be an offer of a phone call via email and then you get on the phone with them.

John O’Connell: It’s a really interesting point Scott, I suppose when you ask questions in a survey you’ve really got to commit to analyzing the data that comes back right you can’t just ask a bunch of questions and then ignore the answers just really as an email exercise?

Scott Hennig: Yes, so we do two I mean, we have one survey that’s I would say it’s “evergreen” we use it as part of a welcome series so anyone who comes in and makes a first time donation to us gets put in an automatic email series of I think it’s now up to 11 emails over like a two-month period but it’s automatic so it gets someone engaged and one of the first ones we send them is a welcome survey and that one’s around 10 questions and it asks questions about what’s the most  important things for them I go and check that one probably once a month and there’ll be another 500 answers on it every month kind of thing, and I find it fascinating to see how things are moving throughout the year but definitely our supporters survey that we do that’s the big long one I will probably spend four or five days just looking at every answer and cutting apart different segments so looking at different regions within our country how they’ve answered a question looking at whether someone’s a donor not a donor to us already and how they answered questions we see sometimes a big difference between people who are merely supporters who have given us an email told us they like our work and those who are actually giving us money how they answer surveys and that gives us a bit of insight as who are your near donors, who’s someone who likes your work but doesn’t like it enough to give you money and where are they at and how do you need to either move them or move towards them to get them on board, we’ve got so many questions in there that I do I really do spend a lot of time and so do our staff like our staff are just bugging me right now when can they get in and start digging the data apart because it’s really useful the one thing I also find useful and I don’t necessarily find it useful in terms of getting answers but in terms of making people feel heard is always having lots of boxes for people to type in their own answers, so we always have the “other” area so a b c d and then “other” and we usually find about probably about ten percent of people fill up the other box and I and usually I have time to read them all there’s a few hundred there’s a few thousand on the ones that we’re just doing right now, so I won’t have time to read them all, but we know for sure that if we don’t do that we’ll be getting emails back from people saying I didn’t like this question because it didn’t give me an opportunity to give my answer and my answer is something completely different from what you thought of sometimes we find that’s useful in helping us design the next survey, but more than anything it really helps people feel like they’ve been heard by you and that it’s actually  impacting the work you do and it is I mean truthfully it is, so I find it to be a very useful tool for fundraising but I find it a useful tool for just making sure that what’s going on with people who support your organization more than anything.

John O’Conell:  Yes that’s really interesting and before I ask Pete about communications in a sec but just to finish on that do you ever have donors of any size really but perhaps more significant donors who fill out all of these surveys they perhaps don’t align with what you actually do in a year and then become quite angry and say “you didn’t look up to any of my suggestions, why should I probably talk to you?”


Scott Hennig: Yes, so occasionally you’ll get someone saying that’s not the way I filled out the survey, I find that if we published our results not all of them, but we have a magazine that we print three times a year, the next edition that comes out I will pick probably 10 or 15 or maybe even 20 of the questions and print the results, and we never get 100, I mean the best we can hope for is like 95 percent of people, even if we say don’t raise taxes do you agree or disagree we’ll have five percent of our supporters people who give us money even who will say I’m fine with raising taxes I actually support you guys because you’re good on government weights or you’re good on accountability issues but I don’t care about taxes, which is mind-blowing to me in a certain way but in other ways they get what we’re doing, so I usually am able to walk someone through if they’re mad like well I don’t know why you took this position and I’ve got supporter survey data come back saying look I know you disagree but you’re in the 5 who disagree and look I know that may be a big issue for you and that may be a deal breaker but let’s look at the other questions that you answered where you do agree with the work we’re doing, and we can usually bring someone back around I mean they generally agree that we’re not able to go against what 95 percent of our supporters want despite the fact that they want it now I mean if that’s someone’s only issue you’re going to lose them but you were going to lose them anyway.

John O’Connell: Right, that’s fair enough Pete, just to focus a bit on communications to what extent do you think lots of groups have moved to online space, they’re running online events with an online event right now, is there a sense in the US that perhaps that there’s a fatigue, that they’re signing up less and less for these events and there is a real hunger back for physical events?

Pete Sepp: Well yes, I think that people are continuing to sign up for the events they’re just not attending them, they would rather turn off their camera mute their microphone and listen in casually or not listen at all they are simply attending events in name only and are not actually participating and so that is more difficult as time goes on as far as how we engage those folks who have more and more demands upon their time and more and more invitations we often have to go back and make personal outreach to convince people that the events that we are trying to sponsor will be worth their while directly, again offering the opportunity to engage one-on-one with a public official offering the opportunity to participate as a client or litigant in an  important lawsuit that we will be filing in court to protect taxpayers rights, those types of outreach are going to become more  important as there are more competing demands on people’s time, now in traditional media of course the events of the last few days here in the United States are going to make the environment somewhat more difficult for taxpayer organizations, especially those who might be deeply involved in electoral politics, we’re rather fortunate at national taxpayers union and that we don’t endorse candidates for office our primary involvement in election type politics is with direct democracy measures, referendums and initiatives at the state and local level but many organizations that actively endorsed political candidates in the 2020 election are going to find themselves frozen out of many traditional media sources and many social media sources.

John O’Connell: And just to finish on the situation in America given it has profound  implications particularly on what’s happening with the social media platforms, do you feel that there’s going to be some big knock-on effects for users of the social media platforms whether they’re in the US. or not?

Pete Sepp: Yes ,there will be and I think that what will happen is of course there will be the development of alternative social media sources, Parler for example in the United States, they have been dropped from hosting platforms like Amazon and now there’s a lot of discussion about a public policy response that might involve breaking up these companies, something which we would object to of course, but there are also other forms of social media that we’ve been attempting to utilize such as Pinterest and Instagram, these are normally social media sources for consumers of goods and services in many cases or very light social activities but now we’re going to have to figure out ways to more aggressively get our message through those channels as others might become somewhat more l limited to us, advertising on Facebook for example in our country for issues not candidates is getting more and more difficult as review of content gets more strict.

John O’Connell: Thanks Pete. Scott, just to finish off this session, what challenges have you faced on the communication sites over the last year and do you feel it’s going to get easier over 2021 or if you just adapted and you’ve got new methods now that you’re going to keep forever?

Scott Hennig: Well John, I’m going to answer this by also asking you to answer questions so be prepared, it’s the one that I was trying to ask you a few weeks ago that we didn’t get to, so and one that I would say is we’ve seen a significant reduction in the amount of journalists out there, I remember when I started doing communications in the media 15 years ago and I could go down to the local legislature building and there would be 30 reporters in the basement that I could wander around chatting with, and now I can shoot a cannon off in the basement of the legislature and not hit anyone like there are no reporters there, everyone’s cut in the back, there’s no money in it for any of these groups now there are some opportunities with editorial pages that are always looking for content, and you give them a lot of free content, we’re getting our office published much easier than we did 15 years ago, but on the other side there’s a lack of investigative journalists out there digging up government waste stories and so one thing we’ve done in the last year or I guess it’s been just over a year ago, last November we hired our first investigative journalists to dig up nothing but government waste stories and all they do is file access to information requests with the governments and writing stories for us, and we sometimes get them picked up by mainstream media other times we tell them on our own and it’s been not only very popular with their donors but it’s been a way that we’ve been able to contribute back to the lack of media out there that’s doing government waste, now I think that’s great but it’s not nearly as great as what John’s group’s done here recently. John, why don’t you tell everyone about your big success with digging up government waste.

John O’Connell: Thanks Scott, but I think it’s really interesting you’re hiring the investigative journalist by the way I think it’s absolutely true that there’s an appetite in most major ecosystems for primary data that takes time to acquire and most mainstream media outlets less resource than they used to be for this kind of work so that’s where groups like ours could step in and last summer we spoke to a newspaper in the UK called The Daily Mail which is now the biggest selling newspaper in the UK, in the genesis of the conversation, it was almost by accident really we were talking to members of their features and the idea for a joint project started to develop and The Daily Mail commissioned us to undertake a whole bunch of original research uncovering examples of wasteful spending and the project was very two ways that The Daily Mail had in their mind how they wanted the features to look on the newspaper what areas they wanted us to look into. It’s really a time-pressure project it was done in about three months when we really could have done it in about six to be honest, but the results were great, we were splashed on the front page of the Daily Mail and then for four days after that we had big double page features running into four pages in some instances which were really, full of color we sourced pictures for them as well which is always a handy tip if you’re gonna do some wasteful spending stuff try and get pictures for instance we local authorities in the UK commissioned lots of paintings of their esteemed counsellors to hang on the walls, and we went down to a couple of local authority buildings and took pictures of the paintings and sent them to the Daily Mail so went alongside the story really nicely, it’s a good it’s a good example of working exclusively with one outlet as opposed to just sending a press release out for general release it worked really well. In fact, we’re going to be following up with The Daily Mail again this year on more specific projects and lots more on that to come but yes, it worked very well and as Scott alluded to in Independence, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation hiring and journalists there has a huge appetite for wasteful spending stories and I think that I mentioned it in the intro that governments across the world will be spending billions more across the board, and they’re no doubt going to waste a lot of it so for groups like ours it’s just the golden opportunity really just to make that case when politicians and civil servants take your money there and not spend it very well. That’s that project in a nutshell and in fact I might follow up and send around a few snaps for people in an email.

Scott Hennig: Good, it’s very  impressive John and of course don’t forget that this is also an excellent fundraising vehicle, hiring an investigative reporter or working directly with the media on a project like this is a great thing to tell donors.

John O’Conell: Absolutely, and they can see the results, and it does work well with donors particularly those who support your core mission of exposing wasteful spending. Again, just to finish off I’ve said that before but Daniel Dunn from the Tax Foundation, you mentioned something in chat there that I wanted you just to elaborate on if you’ve got spare minute to do so you mentioned search engine optimization how does that work for you?

Daniel Bunn: So one of the things that we recognize is that a lot of people find our resources through Google or Bing or whatever search engine they use and the investment that we’ve done through our marketing team and making sure that our blogs, our reports, our tables our data, are optimized to be in those first few results in google have paid dividends. We were on a call with some of our donors earlier this year and one of them asked about the excess profits taxes that have been discussed recently and our marketing associate was on the call, and he  immediately googled excess profits taxes, and because it wasn’t anything he had done specifically for this in particular blog or report but because we made it part of every single report and blog post, tax foundation popped up near the top of the results and that was something that was really powerful for people to be able to say “oh if I’m asking about the Biden tax plan” or “if I’m asking about digital taxes or excess profit taxes that these resources the text foundation is in the top of those results. One other thing that we’ve done is make sure that we are tailoring things for the very basic questions that people are asking a lot of you may be familiar with Investopedia with all the various definitions for investment ideas or things in corporate finance, and we’ve taken that concept and turned it into a tax basics program where we have very short 200 words or less definitions or simple tax policy terms and help to drive people to our content through those basic questions like “what’s the tax rate” or “what is the corporate tax” or “what is cost recovery” and things like that. So it’s really just been ingrained into our entire online platform making sure that those people search for themselves our stuff it’s right there at the top.

John O’Connell: That’s really interesting and I suppose just as a marker of why it’s useful I think that what you say our opponents on the left use it very well actually, and if they’re making good use of it then we probably should too. Thanks, Daniel for just adding to that session, and we’ll wrap up there what we’ll do is finish by just of course thanking Scott and Pete for their contributions to fundraising and comms if you have any questions about anything of the grades do use the chat function or if you want to follow up by email afterwards on anything specific please feel free and Cristina can invite you with anyone’s email address should you need it and talking of Cristina I’m going to hand over to her now to chair the next part of our session which is we’re going to have contributions from other members, so Cristina the word goes to you.

Cristina Berechet: Good afternoon, so we are moving on to activity in the blue sky. We are going to follow the order in the agenda that you will receive Daniel, Christian, Irene, Martin and Mikhailo. After that all of you are invited to present yourself and share your ideas with emphasis on cooperation, so we are starting with Daniel Bunn who is the Vice President of Global Projects, Tax Foundation (United States) who will talk about the partnership opportunities and also data resources available at the tax foundation.

Daniel Bunn: Thanks Cristina, so a lot of you are likely familiar with the international tax competitiveness index, this has been a product that tax foundation has published for several years now, I’m not going to explain the index, but I am going to explain how we are using the index to build partnerships and expand the reach of the index particularly in Europe. Tax foundation likes to think of itself as a platform, we design models or indices that allow people to evaluate different tax policy ideas, compare one tax system to another and then build that into a message for tax reform or counter narrative against tax policies that would hurt economic growth. The tax international tax competitiveness index was born out of an idea that well it’s not just an idea the fact that the US tax system was so out of line with  the tax systems in other developed countries and after tax reform in 2017 we decided that it would be valuable to start using the international index as a partnership tool to say that there are other dipping tanks that in countries where they see their tax systems out of line with  what other countries are doing and being able to play up on that competitive spirit and basically hold lawmakers to account in when they are designing tax policies to say whether this will move things towards a better position or a worse position the international index I’m going to share my screen real fast and run through a couple of things. So first of all this is the European map of the international tax competitiveness index and the reason we decided to focus on building partnerships in Europe is because in Europe you have both the best tax systems up in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania is in the top ten and some of the worst with Italy at the bottom of the index, France close to the bottom as well, and we started looking at different potential partner organizations for building out the index we started building out an interactive website where people can go in and explore the data and look at where their country ranks on the different variables the index covers all these different areas of tax policy, and we were able to establish with a couple of organizations particularly first in Greece and then in Germany organizations that say “this is something that we want to have as part of our policy agenda KEFIM  in Greece is a free market Think Tank that’s focused on  improving policy for RICKS, and we were able to build a relationship with them that turned into KEFIM  translating the international tax competitiveness index into Greece this is the second year that they’ve done this. KEFIM  is a real big leader in being able to get media reach from our perspective on things like tax freedom day they get huge media boosts every year for that and it was a fantastic partnership to work with them on translating the index for a Greek audience, and we were able to get significant media coverage in Greece for the international index KEFIM  set up an event with a deputy finance minister who was able to talk about the reforms Greece is looking at in the context of the index ,and we were able to identify ways that they could move up on the index or would potentially fall back on the index if things weren’t changed. Similarly, we were able to partner with Prometheus in Germany swamping tank in Germany again starting in 2019 and then in 2020 with the translation effort and similar to KEFIM  we partnered with them on a public event where there were policy-makers tax policy leaders in industry who are able to look at the current situation for not only the Germany’s rank generally but in the context of the pandemic in the context of thinking about what it might mean for Germany or for example Greece what it might mean for those economies to recover after the pandemic, what sort of tax policy reforms might need to be on the table. One thing that Prometheus did as Prometheus that I mentioned is a relatively small group they’re also looking for future talent, they’re looking for people who will be able to expand the reach of this sort of tax policy conversation, and they were able to use the index in the context of an essay competition, so they put out an essay competition international tax competitiveness index as part of the event launching the 2020 version they were able to reward the author of the best essay and be able to identify potentially a talent pipeline for themselves on this particular issue we also partnered with Epicenter  you may be familiar with Epicenter the network of think tanks in Europe on an event describing the index where we had I believe four other tax policy or policy minds from tanks talking about tax policies in their countries tax policies and the pandemic, what’s policy and the recovery looking forward to ways to remove barriers to innovation and to growth, and Epicenter also hosted an essay competition which wrapped up I believe in December, and we’re waiting for the awards on that, but the way this works is tax foundation completed our work on the 2020 version of the international tax competitiveness index in June, we were completely done with all the tables all the text, and we were ready for it to be published if we wanted to publish it in June but instead we knew that we had an opportunity to work with partners to provide them with the resources early and get them prepared for the launch in their timeline, so we provided those partners in Greece in Germany and in a few other countries with the index as a package deal. Here’s the English version, here’s all the data, we’d love for you to trumpet this to be a megaphone for this product when we release it in October here’s our plan for the release in the US if there’s a date that works for you to release your translated version you can customize the schedule to your preferences into your media market, and we were able to invite planning ahead and partnering and identifying different organizations that were interested in this sort of tax competitiveness, pro growth tax policy narrative. Yes Scott, we’ll translate it into Canadian next year. The plan was able to come out so that we were able to work in parallel streams on this project with multiple partner organizations and I’ll share just one more thing that we’re trying to do to be able to provide other policy groups with comparative information. We think comparative information is one of the best things that groups can do to be able to say “our country is here somebody else is here” and we have several reports that come out every year that compare different OECD countries to one another so what we’ve done is we’ve started building this right here this data resource this tax data by country we already have all this data in dozens of spreadsheets, but we took time to organize it in a way that our web developer was able to put it all into one page, so this is taxes in France so for here you can select a different country Scott you’re talking about Canada, so we’ll switch over to Canada here, we have our international tax competitiveness index score where Canada stands on the overall score where things have changed on the different parts we have access to the full report and to the data we use a platform called Github to basically organize and keep all our data accessible to make it really easy to build these websites, and then we have our “where does how does Canada raise its revenue?”, “what does the corporate tax rate look like compared to the worldwide average?” or “the worldwide weighted average”. We have a huge report that comes out every year that covers more than 100  jurisdictions I think more than 200 jurisdictions corporate tax rates we’re able to have that data out here individual taxation “this is the tax burden on labor”, 69.5 for the f for of a hundred dollars paid to an employee less than 70 percent goes in after tax income and then all these various different data points. If there’s something that another group is working on any one of these issues the data is as accessible and user-friendly as possible, if you’re interested in working with us my email is or you can get in touch with John or Cristina I’m sure they can connect you with us, but we again see this especially for our global project the potential for allowing other groups to use our information for the audiences and for the policy debates that they think it’s relevant for has more power to us because as we were talking about earlier with the donor conversation if we can go back to our donors and say that we are having a multiplicative effort through these different partnerships then it’s more valuable long term not just for tax foundation but valuable long term also for policy faiths around the world and with that I’ll turn it back over to Cristina.

Cristina Berechet: Thank you, Daniel in the end we’ll have time. I’m gonna explain a little bit what we are doing here in Spain with the tax competitiveness index for the regions and also with the Tax Foundation. Okay so we are moving on to Christian Ekström. CEO, Swedish Taxpayers Association as you might already know the Swedish taxpayer association is celebrating this year its 100th anniversary so congratulations.

Christian Ekström: Thank you Cristina and thanks so much for having me here I’m gonna talk a bit about since some of you might know we since 11 years back we have this Waste Ombudsman it’s a project where we scrutinize the spending of tax money and the waste on this money is a person that now is a full-time employee at the Swedish taxpayers association, and she, because it’s she, Josephine, today she scrutinizes how the public money is used, so as a part of this job she or we have a competition annually let’s call it the worst waste of tax money of the year, so this competition has been held we’ve had “the waste of this month” since 2010 but the annual competition has been held since 2014 and in the beginning we had invited our members to vote but now everybody can vote on Facebook so this year we today we have 14 000 votes, and we try to combine big systematic waste of tax money with more bizarre examples and an example form is the sheeting with the welfare system which annually costs about 2 billion euro and half of it is neglect and the other half is crime based actually so criminals are using the Swedish Welfare System to finance their operations like drug trafficking or activities such as that. An example of the latter is Sweden’s third biggest city, and they receive hundreds of millions euros every year from other municipalities and from the states because the municipality is very ill managed, and they use their money for strange purposes so this year they are they’re competing with this example that they paid 50 000 euro to produce the sound of Malmö, it’s a sound identity for the municipality, and they have recorded amongst other things the silence in the libraries and other sounds in Malmö and for this they use the taxpayers money to produce this to make this some profile of Malmö, Sweden’s third biggest city. Another example is the municipality in Sweden the small municipality that has bottled their tap water for a couple of years now for promotion purposes they haven’t sold a single litre since they started in 2015, yet they still continue doing this and it costs hundreds of thousands of krons every year I think the total bill is up to twenty-five thousand euros and the last example I will give you is Sweden’s second biggest city Gothenburg, and they have they’re municipalities producing more than 20 different podcasts and every one of them has very few listeners some of them are hardly any listeners at all still they continue to produce them. So we list these competitors in our magazine, and we promote them on Facebook and Twitter and try to have a Swedish local media outlets write about these examples and making it a local thing that their municipality is competing in this annual event, and we regularly the last few years we’ve had between fifteen thousand twenty thousand votes every year so that’s quite good. The Waste Ombudsman today has a hundred thousand followers plus on Facebook and about, I think, fifteen thousand on Twitter and in comparison that is in Sweden that’s quite a lot Sweden’s second biggest party the moderate party has a bit more followers on Facebook but their bigger party. So this competition will be open until it started in mid-December when we launched the competition and it will proceed until this the end of this week the winner last year was the Swedish climate policy that is focused on decreasing emissions in Sweden but it costs very much a lot of my big amounts of money but it has very little effect on the total emissions in global. This year’s winner is not it will be presented next week but it looks like it’s going to be the sheeting with the welfare system that is going to be the winner usually we have quite a lot of attention from the media when we present this the winner especially if it’s a local example. So the goal of this competition is to because the Waste Ombudsman, she gets followers on a social media platform that we usually can’t reach people that is that don’t tend to think that we have too high taxes still get angry when they see that tax money is wasted so this is like to call it our gateway drug to lower taxes so if you see that a lot of money is wasted some people will start to think that we could have lower taxes or spend the tax money more wisely and it could be the starting point to get people to embrace low and fair taxes and that’s our overall goal, so I hope this is an eye-opener to people especially in Sweden of course. So that’s a brief of what we’re doing with our annual competition.

Cristina Berechet: Okay thank you, Christian we are moving on to Irene Otieno who is the National Coordinator at National Taxpayers Association (Kenya)

Irene Otieno: Hello Christina, hello friends, I don’t know whether you can hear me and see me can you?

John O’Connell: Yes we can see and hear you

Irene Otieno: Thank you I was on the road, so I’ve just looked for a place to have this conversation but I’m very happy to be here as Cristina has said my name is Irene Otieno from Kenya and today I represent National taxpayers association I just want to give a short brief of what it is an institution, we are advocating that taxes that are collected by government are then used for a provision of essential services because we’ve noticed our government has started going the way of public private partnerships so much more at the expense of the public services with the knowing the level of development in Kenya that then means that there isn’t a lot of liquidity and it closes out a lot of people so that’s generally what we do, however for what I want to just have a short discussion with us is the opportunity we felt that the Covid-19 pandemic, I know no one might see an opportunity with the Covid-19 but for us there was a lot of outcry really from the taxpaying public, that money was not being applied well and interesting that the office of the auditor general did a special report on the grants and some of the loans we had gotten as a country to manage the situation, unfortunately the report pointed to the fact that the money had not been applied well, and within that time our government had temporarily given us some reprieve, so they reduced their value from 16 to 14. they gave a raft of what they felt were reliefs but that was very short relieve, so they came back and saying because of the death situation that Kenya has I know there are different schools of thought but majorly the fact is that our debt levels are not at the right place and so the push from the government and even then from the world bank the G20 group was you cannot continue to give your people this tax reprints because then it would  impact that negatively on our capacity to pay our lenders, so we came together as civil society organizations under the banner “save the economy” (from Swahili) so that brought in people with different expertise of course we have people who are concerned about anti-corruption so you are saying okay yes government is saying it cannot give us debt reprieves for long, but we felt that if we hadn’t addressed debt because that was the real reason why government cannot then cushion us, their priority was how will the leaders view them and not how the electorate and how we as citizens would view them, so we felt we need to attack dead fast and if we sort out the debt issues then it means you can have lower taxation to some extent there’s that room but when the debt is pressing it then doesn’t give the government a lot of room to give us those tax returns so really give us a very short live period so then the quality coalition brought in different civil society organizations the media, the public the academia, all those, and so we drafted we did a few papers which were comparing what’s the debt level really of Kenya comparing the other jurisdictions because damage was growing and treasury says hey look at Japan, look at this rich country that their debt our debt is really not as bad, but we are telling them as they were called to the coalition that they’re only comparing the level of debt, but they weren’t comparing the level of services offered by these countries I think if you look at the state of service delivery in those countries then you say the acquisition of the debt then finally it  I’m proves services and even disputing projects that can pay back the debt but for us the projects like the railway gauge the new regulator that we have is really not even taken care of, it’s not bringing back enough to pay the debt itself so you have to add tax from the citizens, so those are a bit of the conversations that we are having so some papers we managed to put out there was a lot of media campaign just to let the public understand that this is really a big issue because there wasn’t a lot of appreciation of that fact it was left more to civil society the elites but the people paying the tax we’re not collecting the dollar so how then we reach out to this group so the campaign is still ongoing really, but they’ve been mixed results, I’d say first for us a good one for us we report from that campaign is that then our government has reduced or given some sense of independence to the debt office here in Kenya, before that the debt management office was part of finance and treasury so then whatever the executive says they have to pay for, but with the link with the limited independence that we see we hope we haven’t seen that but the ideal situation is that would bring some sense of urgency for depend for more transparency of how this debt is acquired the other bit of the campaign was also to speak with the lenders and ask them would you just learn to a country without putting safeguards in as much as governance and issues like that so there was a lot of conversations with the world bank here you can hear the country representative here in Kenya and others they obviously say this regarding government conversation a bit but with some of our partners we are happy that… Let me pack that a bit so the second bit also was we were saying can you then allow us not to pay our debts as they fold you maybe for the next six months so that the government will prioritize the citizens, so our government was reluctant to take that direction because at that point we  impact negatively on their next escape they’re trying to acquire more debts, but we are happy that by yesterdays the lender has agreed to give us a six-month period that then now we don’t have to pay that debt but first we focus on the citizens I know it isn’t a winning per se because it’s only postponing our problem but for now we as the citizens are at least a bit happy and their government and the lenders also insisted that there has to be a bit more disclosure on where the funds are going to be applied so in terms of open data we go to treasury and be able to follow where that debt has gone because the auditor general pointed out that he cannot track when the money landed in Kenya then you cannot track which probably 19 management areas was this money being applied to the third thing that we have noted, and we are happy about this campaign really has been that those tax reliefs that government wanted to remove completely at least they managed to retain two for the long, so those ones have used permanent now where they say anyone earning less than 240 USD in a month they will not pay tax will be zero taxation, so that is a plus because these are really the people the fridges of the economy, and we benefit from that within this current time that we have sadly we lost the battle to retain value-added tax at the lower 14 percent that moved to 16 and noting that this is a consumption tax then it affects it’s a bit in our view regressive and not progressive in terms of the effects of that transition so as they recall to be coalition we still continuing particularly on full disclosure transparency around the next acquisition because we felt our previous strategies are pushing and saying reduce tax those have not really been giving us as much positive effects but if we then reduce the debt which has been the driver of coming in the last finance bill as a finance act as a country we got new three new taxes digital services tax minimum tax and the likes and so what they were saying that the developed countries are having the DST, so we are only saying hey if the developers are doing it then copy and paste it to our context, so I think within the 2021 what we want to do with partners is to research the application of these taxes in the developed countries is it something that they find really good or is the government that’s showing this in our face it says anything in the developed world must be domesticated in our context without looking at the pros and cons within that context and how we then say that even if we must apply such type of taxes so my apologies I wasn’t able really to share the entire presentation but I’m happy to share with Cristina the petition because then we had the public sign this petition and give it to the members of the national assembly who we feel have let us down as taxpayers they have continued to increase the debt ceiling for the last three years it goes on increasing it’s six trillion they’ve now moved it to nine trillion today we hear it has again been upped so there aren’t really being a good oversight to the executive to say “give us past the debt register where is it being applied have you addressed the concerns from the auditor general in the last test that you acquired on the lines so there is a petition” also that the public was signing, and we are hoping that this would also push the parliamentarians to not just pass budgets which they are doing very well but look at the revenue bid how will then finance that budget which must then be from debt only but it’s vastly in a sense a balanced budget that a country must live within its means so that’s in a nutshell what we are doing here in regards and what we view as a win in terms of advocating for taxpayers context here thank you Cristina, and friends thank you.

Cristina Berechet:  Congratulations, so we are moving on to Martin Gundinger I’m not sure I pronounced that well the Senior Fellow, Austrian Economics Center.

 Martin Gundinger: You did fine, greetings from the birthplace of Austrian Economics where it is currently snowing. What did we do this year? We made a Corona report where we argued the taxes should be lowered as a response to the crisis we did that with Daniel, we got much media attention because of the report because one party that is in opposition attacked us massively for the report, we weren’t too angry about that because thanks for the attention I guess, then we made the “Green market revolution” book where my colleague Kai made most of the work, and this book was made with the idea in mind that people have to see that the climate crisis does not necessarily need to be tackled with taxpayers money and I think it’s after Corona is less of an  important issue I think the climate issue will be back full steam, and we should really focus on how to tackle the climate crisis without using too much tax, another idea I would suggest is we started a video series called “What would Hayek say?” where we tackle some issues and just argue what may be Hayek’s position this issue, maybe some of you want to  implement the idea with tax-related issues and just use other economies like for example “what would Bastiat say?” I think it’s a good idea because unfortunately the attention spans of people are getting less and less and videos are consumed by more people and younger people than texts so maybe focus more on videos I think it’s worth trying, and the last thing I would say is the tax freedom day I calculated every year for Austria and it’s in 16th of August but one issue I have with the tax freedom day is that I fear not all of us use the same methodology so maybe we should just coordinate the methodology to make sure that his freedom days are comparable and to end all of this  I want to talk a little bit about the thoughts I have in regard to Corona with regard to texts, I think there are huge challenges coming up with the Corona measures the governments are picking winners and losers on our behalf the market mechanism is detector disabled currently we are consuming our capital stock at a shocking rate despite all of this I think there’s relatively little public opposition and instead there is the  impression of many people that government can and should help which is a very wrong and very dangerous belief in my opinion, one reason for this maybe is that the benefits of all of this are concentrated and visible while the costs are dispersed and not seen readily, and we have to make sure that people understand that the debts of today are the tax heights of tomorrow and just a few questions to all of you maybe you can help me, maybe you have ideas on how to tackle this how do we make the costs more visible and clear to people, how to make people see the negative effects of all the government programs  implemented and how to get rid of the government programs because as Milton Friedman said “0there is no such thing as a temporary government”, thank you.

Cristina Berechet: Thank you, Martin, okay our next big speaker is Mykhailo Lavrovskyi from he’s the CEO of Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation in Ukraine

Mykhailo Lavrovskyi: Yes, hello thank you first of all thank you for all for the invitation and yes the last year was kind of crazy I think for all of us but for our organization it was really hard especially because the first half of the year we’ve been working really hard basically on the only one issue which is the land market in Ukraine so as I think few of you know that Ukraine was actually the last country in Europe that didn’t have the agricultural land market, and we’ve been working on this issue for at least the last four years and finally even with the lockdowns and everything we’ve been able to basically lift the material on Ukraine’s agricultural land market and starting this year people will be able to sell their land because for the last almost 20 years starting from 2001 people could own land they could do whatever they want to with this land but unfortunately they cannot sell it so the property rights protection in this case was a huge deal for us right now one of the projects we’re working on is regarding car  imports to Ukraine so again Ukraine is one of the few countries in Europe that still has this crazy taxation used cars for example you want to  import the car from for example Poland if you buy the car you call it for 1000 euros and this car is old for example starting like it was built in 2005 you’ll need to pay approximately 300% in taxes which includes different exercises and taxes so the idea for us is to abolish excise at all which is approximately 54% of the whole tax when you  import cars and it will be a huge deal because if you’re buying a new car in Ukraine it’s much cheaper in terms of if you have a lot of money it’s cheaper to buy a new car because you will need to pay approximately only 20% in taxes from the price of the car and if you’re buying an old car you need to pay like from 200% to almost 400% percent because this excise is calculated by the age of the car and by the time of the engine, so we really hope that by the end of this year Ukrainians will be able to buy used cars for a normal price and that is a huge deal because especially in rural areas people are trying to, the economy really depends on how mobile people are, so we really hope that by the end of this year we will deal with this issue and the last thing is not really about the taxes I could say that Lorenzo is here he knows about that, so we’re planning to erect the monument to Ronald Reagan in Kyiv, and the funny thing is that the location of this monument will be just in front of the Parliamentary Committee on Taxation. So we really hope that by the end of this year we’ll have the monument to Ronald Reagan that will remind our parliamentarians that they need to think more about taxes.

Cristina Berechet: Thank you Mykhailo, I hope you’ll be as successful as you’ve been with the land reform with this strong project too. Okay, so I think that Nikolai Popov from the Bulgarian Taxpayers Association also asked to talk during this session, so I’m gonna give the report to him .

Nikolai Popov: Hello all, congratulations to Christian for 400 years of the existence of the Swedish taxpayers union. This year the Bulgarian taxpayer union is also having 30 years of its existence in December we were planning to make  a couple of events  together with the Bulgarian chamber of commerce and industry with this organization we were very strong for many years, we continue our taxpayers tax consultations, great for the taxpayers together with the chamber, also we had a very interesting year about corruption in our country  probably many of you have heard that more than 120 maybe 150 days people were on the streets protesting  against the corruption from the ruling party the government we have now, in 2021 we have two major upcoming events two elections the parliamentary elections and the president’s elections so politically our country is quite turbulent I would say because still these days we have a very small number of people keep on protesting,  last year  due to the protests  the finance minister was afraid, even though the results despite the pandemic shows very stable fiscal policy, the government that very good collection of the taxes paid by the taxpayers, so taxpayers are very loyal to the country, release was not by our organization, but he there was released a black book on the bad tax spendings from the government with a German foundation which is a very interesting material and  due to pandemic we were not very active we are working on a couple of surveys with the chamber which I will release later and sent to Cristina to be sent over to everyone, we continue our work, and we are always happy to share with you and to learn from your organizations and to work in a partnership thank you, if you have any questions to my expertise I am ready to answer.

Cristina Berechet: Okay thank you, Nikolai, so if anyone else would like to speak Anders, Muyumba Sibote or John Lorenzo?

John O’Conell: No maybe not is that the end of the list Cristina?

Cristina Berechet: Yes

John O’Conell: OK guys that was fascinating thank you so much for taking the time to share with us it’s particularly at the moment everybody you know it feels so isolated and everybody’s stuck in their own home so it’s so nice and cheering to hear about the great work that’s being done around the world and I always come away from these meetings very positive you know even though we’re facing tough circumstances, re-energized and knowing that we can still continue to make a change in our respective countries so and I think that events and forums like this and networks like World Taxpayers Association really help share these excellent ideas and I’ve got a page full of notes next to me to steal some ideas from all of you and yes I hope that all of you have found something that you can take away from it too, so I think we’ll wrap it up there and let people go on about their days but I do want to take the time again just to thank you all so much for joining and sharing all of your experiences and details of your campaigns and if anybody has any questions or wants to follow up on anything Cristina and I will be happy to help by email but in the meantime I thank you and see you again.

Поділитись новиною:
Останні новини
Схожі новини
Отримуйте кваліфіковану допомогу та захист, навчайтесь, поліпшуйте умови ведення вашого бізнесу та розвивайте свої бізнес-зв'язки разом із АППУ