Obama’s Tanning Tax Still Burning Taxpayers

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Posted by Caroline Anderegg on Friday, September 4th, 2015, 2:38 PM PERMALINK

In its fifth year on the books, Obamacare’s tax on the tanning industry is still burning a hole in taxpayers’ pockets. The “Snooki Tax,” as some refer to it, was the first of twenty new taxes in Obamacare implemented with the goal of paying for the broken healthcare system.

At its inception, the Joint Committee on Taxation projected that the tax would raise $2.7 billion by 2019, and $1 billion from 2011 to 2014 alone. But as it turns out this was a gross overestimation.

Instead of hitting the billion dollar mark for its first four years, the burdensome 10 percent tax has only generated about $362 million in revenue in the first four years—barely a third of what was projected. This deficit creates a gap in the Administration’s plan to offset the exorbitant $940 billion cost of implementing Obamacare.

New White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) projections have produced revised estimates that the tax will generate $955.7 million by 2019. However, if the tax continues generating revenue at current rates—an average of $90.5 million a year—it will only raise $814.5 million. The OMB estimate seems particularly gratuitous considering tanning salons are going out of business left and right. Not only is the rapid decline in “fake baking” due to ramped up awareness efforts about the risks of skin cancer associated with the practice, but consumers are also unwillingly to pay the price increase the tax has caused.

According to the National Review, this hidden Obamacare tax is actually a tax on women. The American Suntanning Association (ASA) reported that 70 percent of U.S. tanning salons are owned by women, and women comprise nearly 95 percent of staff at those salons. Since 2009, the number of people employed by the tanning industry has been cut in half, from 164,000 to 83,000 employees. That means that almost 77,000 women lost their jobs in large part because of this tax.

This damaging excise tax has not only proven to be an unreliable source of revenue, but it also is effectively squashing an entire industry. In June, right-minded representative George Holding (R-N.C.) introduced the “Tanning Tax Repeal Act of 2015” in the House, which continues to receive overwhelming bipartisan support. The ASA lauded Rep. Holding’s efforts.

"Representative Holding has shown his commitment to America's small businesses by introducing this bill," said ASA President Bart Bonn. "The tan tax is an example of a misguided policy, implemented with little forethought, which has crippled an industry and cost tens of thousands of jobs in communities across America."

If this bill passes, which is now sitting in committee, it could be the first step in chipping away at the costly provisions in Obamacare. It is imperative that Congress take action to disassemble Obamacare piece by piece in order to save taxpayers billions of dollars and thousands of jobs. 

Taxpayers Fleeing Democrat-Run States for Republican Ones

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Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, September 4th, 2015, 6:00 AM PERMALINK

In 2013, more than 200,000 people on net fled states with Democrat governors for ones run by Republicans, according to an analysis of newly released IRS data by Americans for Tax Reform. 

"People move away from high tax states to low tax states. Every tax refugee is sending a powerful message to politicians," said ATR President Grover Norquist. "They are voting with their feet. Leaders in Texas and Florida are listening. New York and California are not."

That year, Democrat-run states lost a net 226,763 taxpayers, bringing with them nearly $15.7 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI). That same year, states with Republican governors gained nearly 220,000 new taxpayers, who brought more than $14.1 billion in AGI with them.

Only one-third of states with Democrat governors gained taxpayers, compared to three-fifths of states with Republican governors.  

Top 5 loser states for Democrat governors in 2013:

·      New York (114,929 people with $5.7 billion in AGI)

·      Illinois (68,943 people with $3.8 billion in AGI)

·      California (47,458 people with 3.8 billion in AGI)

·      Connecticut (14,453 people with $1.8 billion in AGI)

·      Massachusetts (11,915 people with $1 billion in AGI)

Top 5 winner states for Republican governors in 2013:

·      Texas (152,912 people with $6 billion in AGI)

·      Florida (74,094 people with 8.3 billion in AGI)

·      South Carolina (29,176 people with 1.6 billion in AGI)

·      North Carolina (26,207 people with $1.5 billion in AGI)

·      Arizona (16,549 people with $1.5 billion in AGI)

The single largest net migration from one state to another took place between New York and Florida (17,355 people). 


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They ruin one state and then move to another, just to ruin that one too. Colorado is a perfect example...

They haven't yet realized the correlation between big government and high taxes....


Same thing with North Carolina being invaded by Noo Yawkers who bring their liberalism with them. It's like a cancer.

Manfred Hideous

"Colorado is a perfect example..."

I was thinking the same thing. All the tax refugees from Cali who invaded Co in the 90's have made it a less livable place.

IN-3: Jim Banks Makes Written Commitment to Oppose Higher Taxes

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Posted by Adam Radman on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015, 1:44 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) congratulates state Sen. Jim Banks for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written commitment to the people of Indiana to oppose higher taxes. Banks is running for Rep. Marling Stutzman’s open seat, which he left to run for the U.S. Senate.

Since 2011, Banks has chaired the Taxpayer Protection Caucus in the Indiana Senate. The caucus provides a single voice on tax issues among pro-taxpayer legislators, and forms an entire body of legislators that believe in the same principle: no new taxes.

Sen. Jim Banks also led the fight to repeal Indiana’s death tax. In 2012, ATR urged Indiana legislators to support Banks’ legislation to phase out this punitive tax on hardworking Hoosiers.

“I want to congratulate state Sen. Banks for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Until you take tax increases firmly off the table, true and lasting spending restraint is impossible,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

“The American people are tired of the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington and they are looking for solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again. Signing the Pledge is the first step in that process.”

Candidates running for office like to say they will not raise taxes, but often turn their backs on the taxpayer once elected. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge requires these candidates to put their rhetoric in writing. It is offered to every candidate for state and federal office and to all incumbents. Nearly 1,400 elected officials, from state representative to governor to US Senator, have signed the Pledge.

“Senator Banks is a leader on fiscal issues, and we are ecstatic about his commitment to the taxpayers of Indiana. I challenge all candidates for IN-03 to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” continued Norquist.

ATR will continue to follow this race closely and will provide additional updates as more candidates sign the Pledge.

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Gage Skidmore, https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

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Inspector General: HHS Failing to Conduct Due Diligence Over $402 Billion in Annual Grants

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015, 3:11 PM PERMALINK

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is failing to share grant information in order to assess risk and mitigate misuse of federal dollars, according to a recent report by HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG).

In 2014, 13 agencies within HHS awarded nearly $402 billion in grants. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency responsible for administering Obamacare, awarded 77 percent of grants, or nearly $310 billion.

As the report notes, officials responsible for grants use various tracking methods in order to mitigate risk of misuse. Nevertheless, in many cases agencies are failing to properly track funds and mitigate risk:

“Grant officials review reports to mitigate grantee risks, but these reports may be late and do not include descriptive information.”

In addition, many agencies do not share grantee information with other agencies, which creates further barriers to ensuring responsible use of taxpayer dollars:

“Less than half of awarding agencies share grantee information with other agencies; however grant officials report that they would like to receive information.”

Since 2010, CMS has awarded $5.4 billion in grants to states to construct Obamacare exchanges. Many states have misused these funds and failed to build a working exchange. Oregon and Massachusetts are under investigation for misuse of funds, Hawaii has shut its exchange down, and Vermont’s exchange remains unfinished.

In addition, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) draft report obtained by Reason Magazine found that CMS failed to track billions of dollars in grants given to state exchanges. As a result, neither the federal government nor the states are able to say how much of the $2.78 billion in Medicaid matching funds were improperly used to construct state exchanges.

The HHS OIG audit reviewed department directives available at the time and not information on specific grants. As a result, the report could not conclude to what extent grant funds were spent inappropriately. However, given the lack of controls present it seems likely that significant waste occurred.


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American Life League, https://www.flickr.com/photos/americanlifeleague/

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Andrew Laidlaw

Is there a reason your articles don't have a Facebook share button?????!!!!!!!!!!!

Congress Must Put A Stop to IRS Assault on Political Speech

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015, 1:37 PM PERMALINK

In the past few years, the IRS has failed time and time again to serve the American people. The agency has been caught red-handed targeting conservative non-profits, has struggled to properly implement and distribute Obamacare tax credits, and failed to protect 330,000 taxpayers from hackers. While these are the most well-documented cases of misconduct and ineptitude in the agency, the IRS has also taken aim at First Amendment rights by attempting to curtail political speech through intimidation. In the aftermath of these troubling revelations, it is clear that Congress needs to implement reforms that hold the agency accountable to the American people.

As a recently released bipartisan report by the Senate Finance Committee notes, the IRS targeting of conservative non-profits was part of a larger effort to restrict political speech at the urging of the White House:

 “Political pressure from the White House following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision unduly influenced the IRS and other government agencies, most notably the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission, to scrutinize political spending by 501(c) organizations. These agencies coordinated with each other on initiatives targeting conservative tax-exempt organizations.”

In addition to applying untoward scrutiny to certain non-profits, the IRS has also worked to restrict political speech through a twisted interpretation of the law that designates 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations as “persons” under the tax code. The agency has used this interpretation to justify subjecting individuals that have donated to a non-profit to the gift tax, in a clear attempt to harass taxpayers based on their ideology. No serious tax expert would agree with this interpretation, but that has not stopped the IRS.

Even after countless scandals, reform is nowhere to be found when it comes to the IRS. As the Senate Finance Committee report notes, the agency is yet to address many of the underlying problems that led to the targeting of non-profits:

 “The IRS has failed to correct many of the fundamental problems that led to the inappropriate targeting of Tea Party groups.”

Given the agency’s repeated refusal to fix these problems, it is contingent on Congress to step in and implement reform. To address the issue of political speech, Ways and Means Oversight Chairman Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has introduced H.R. 1104, the “Fair Treatment for All Donations Act,” which explicitly puts a stop to this practice of targeting donors.

This commonsense proposal passed the House unanimously back in April but has since stalled in the Senate. With Congress preparing to return from its August recess, members should quickly pass this noncontroversial legislation. 

Investigations into the Obama IRS have made it clear that the agency, and the administration as a whole worked to curtail political speech. With these findings now public, it is time for strong reform to ensure the protection of First Amendment rights. Congress must protect free speech and make it clear that it is unacceptable for government bureaucrats to intimidate taxpayers based on voluntarily donations to political non-profits.


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Howard Lake, https://www.flickr.com/photos/howardlake/

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Watchdog: Obamacare Exchanges Failing to Provide Data Vital to Determining Tax Credit Eligibility

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015, 3:20 PM PERMALINK

Obamacare exchanges are failing to provide adequate enrollment information to the IRS for the payment and verification of tax credits, according to a new report released by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

In order for the IRS to properly administer Obamacare, exchanges are required to provide monthly enrollment data, known as “Exchange Periodic Data.” As part of the law, Obamacare enrollees may elect to have their estimated tax credit sent directly to their insurance provider as partial payment for monthly premiums. But because this is only an estimate based on expected income, the IRS relies on Exchange Periodic Data to ensure that individuals have received the proper tax credit, or if they were eligible at all.

However, as the report notes, both the federal exchange and many of the 15 state exchanges have failed to provide this data:

“The IRS did not receive the required Exchange Periodic Data from all of the Exchanges as of the start of the filing season (January 20, 2015).  For example, the IRS did not receive Exchange Periodic Data for approximately 1.7 million (40 percent) of the approximately 4.2 million Federal Exchange enrollment records and did not receive the Exchange Periodic Data from six of the 15 State Exchanges.”

The report did not say which of the 15 state exchanges had failed to provided Exchange Periodic Data.

This is not the first time watchdog groups have raised concerns over Obamacare tax credits. In the past few months, at least four reports have found flaws in the system:

  • A August 2015 report by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) found that the federal exchange is failing to verify Social Security numbers, citizenship, and household income of Obamacare applicants. As a result, the exchange is unable to verify whether applicants are properly receiving tax credits.


  • A July 16, 2015 audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that 11 of 12 fake 'test' applicants received coverage for the entire 2014 coverage period despite many using fraudulent documents, and others providing no documentation at all. From these 11 applicants alone, Healthcare.gov paid $30,000 in tax credits.


  • A June 16, 2015 report released by the HHS OIG found that $2.8 billion worth of Obamacare subsidies and payments had been made in 2014 without verification.


  • A May 11, 2015 report by TIGTA found that the IRS was failing to verify whether individuals had even bought health insurance before distributing tax credits.


HHS OIG is continuing to evaluate the effectiveness of Obamacare tax credit controls, according to the latest TIGTA report. However, TIGTA issued no recommendations in the report because it was intended to provide interim information only.

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Simon Cunningham, https://www.flickr.com/photos/lendingmemo/

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Taxpayers Crown Winner of America’s Biggest Loser: New York

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Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015, 12:42 PM PERMALINK

Newly released IRS migration data from 2013 shows that New York lost more taxpayers than any other state in the nation. That year, nearly 115,000 residents left the Empire State, taking with them $5.65 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI) to spend elsewhere.

This new data shows that New York will remain America’s “Biggest Loser,” having lost nearly 1.6 million taxpayers between 1985 and 2013. Those residents took with them more than $80.8 billion in annual AGI.

The phenomenal failure of New York to retain taxpayers and businesses is directly related to its uncompetitive tax and business climates. By some measures, New Yorkers face the greatest tax burden of any state in the nation. The personal income tax system consists of eight brackets and a top rate of 8.82%. The corporate tax of 7.1% and property tax collections are $2435 per person. The Tax Foundation ranked New York 50th until this year after a set of minor tax reductions.

In 2013, New York had the largest population losses to the following states:

  • Florida -20,465 (-$1.35 billion)
  • New Jersey -16,223 (-$1.1 billion)
  • Texas -10,784 (-$354 million)
  • North Carolina -9,070 ($294 million)
  • California -7,849 (-$200 million)


Even Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo acknowledged that the status quo has “cost us dearly” being the “highest tax state in the nation.”

In an attempt to edge out some bottom-of the-list competitors, Cuomo has enacted minor property tax caps, corporate tax relief, and attempted to lure G.E. from Connecticut in the midst of that state’s massive tax hikes this year.

Who was the biggest winner in 2013? Click here to find out. 

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Bobby Jindal Signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American People

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Posted by ATR on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015, 7:00 AM PERMALINK

Governor Bobby Jindal (R-La.), a candidate for the presidency of the United States, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people. The pledge is a written commitment to the American people to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

“I commend Governor Jindal for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the hard working taxpayers of this country,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “Governor Jindal understands that government should be reformed so that it takes and spends less of the taxpayers’ money, and will oppose tax increases that paper over and continue the failures of the past."

Of the 17 GOP Presidential candidates, nine have experience serving as chief executive of a state. A study by Dan Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners, provides an apples-to-apples comparison of their record on government spending. The chart below compares the average annual increase in general fund spending during each Governor’s term. During his time in office, Gov. Jindal has the most aggressive anti-spending record:

ATR has shared the Pledge with all candidates for federal office since 1986. In the 114th Congress, 49 U.S. Senators and 218 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Pledge signers include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, and GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan are also pledge signers. On the state level, 13 incumbent governors and approximately 1,000 incumbent state legislators have signed the Pledge.

Though it is still early in the 2016 nominating process, most of the GOP candidates have already made a written commitment to the American people that they will oppose and veto any tax increase in the event they are elected to the White House. Along with Jindal, these candidates include Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Jim Gilmore.

In 2012, all candidates for the Republican nomination for president signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, with the lone exception of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. Huntsman finished seventh in Iowa and third in New Hampshire before dropping out of the race.

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Gage Skidmore https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/

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Mr. Right

It's a real travesty that Jindal isn't doing better in the polls.

New IRS Data: Florida Biggest Beneficiary of Wealth From Other States

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Posted by Caroline Anderegg on Tuesday, September 1st, 2015, 7:00 AM PERMALINK

Newly released IRS migration data from 2013 shows that Florida was the greatest recipient of new wealth of any other state in the nation. That year, more than 74,000 new residents brought with them $8.34 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI) to spend in the Sunshine State.

Between 1985 and 2013, nearly 1.8 million new residents brought with them more than $116.36 billion in annual AGI. Taxes likely have played a large role in this mass migration to the Sunshine State. Florida is one of nine states that do not tax earned income, and one of only seven that do not tax any form of personal income. On top of that, Republican Governor Rick Scott has worked with the Republican legislature to provide an additional $2.6 billion in tax relief since taking office in 2011.

In 2013, Florida had the largest population gains from the following states:

New York  20,465 ($1.35 billion)

New Jersey  12,457  ($945 million)

Pennsylvania  9,092 ($644 million)

Illinois  7,749  ($1.1 billion)

Connecticut  5,686  ($1.09 billion)

Not only has the Florida legislature worked with Gov. Scott to aggressively reduce the tax burden in Florida, Scott has worked to poach businesses like General Electric and Hertz from other high-tax states like Connecticut and New Jersey. Hertz, which relocated their world headquarters to Florida in 2013 planned to bring 700 jobs paying an average of $102,000 to Florida that year, data that will be reflected in the 2014 tax filings.

Corporate income taxes have also faced significant reductions, with the exemption increasing from $5,000 to $50,000 between 2011 and 2012.

This June, Gov. Scott signed a $427 million tax cut for the upcoming fiscal year. This most recent tax proposal cut cell phone and TV taxes, reduced business taxes, eliminated sales tax on textbooks for college students, and implemented a 10-day sales tax holiday for school supplies.

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Fleeing like real hellholes. Just wish it wasn't those same loser liberals bringing that mentality with them .

"Tremendous Pressure" from White House Costs Taxpayers $535 Million

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Posted by Timothy Wilt on Monday, August 31st, 2015, 3:05 PM PERMALINK

A new report from the Department of Energy’s Inspector General has acknowledged that White House officials placed “tremendous pressure” on DOE employees to process loan guarantee applications. This pressure played a crucial role in the calamitous approval of the 2009 Solyndra loan that cost taxpayers more than $500 million.

Solyndra, a solar-panel manufacture, was approved for a $535 million loan from the DOE under the Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In 2011, just 2 years after receiving the loan, Solyndra laid-off its 1,100 employees and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The political desire for a success-case in Obama’s new program, resulted in negligent loan practices, which tanked the company, cost thousands of jobs and millions of taxpayer dollars.

The new report has found that although Solyndra is blameworthy for providing misleading evidence to DOE officials, political pressure from the Administration and Department leadership, unnecessarily expedited the approval process, resulting in oversight directly related to the loan’s failure. This report corroborates a 2012 oversight report from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The E&C committee’s report found that intense political pressure placed on employees at the DOE and Office of Management and Budget (OMB), resulted in clear neglect of procedural elements that would have exposed Solyndra’s duplicitous financials.

In 2009 President Barack Obama signed the Americans Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a massive expansion of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The new initiative sought to inject billions of taxpayer dollars specifically into renewable energy resources. Solyndra was intended to be a poster-child for the merits of the new program.

In many ways, a poster-child is exactly what Solyndra has become. However, instead of one representing the glory and success of the President’s plan, it signifies the unflattering underbelly of “clean energy” politics, and is drawing attention to the likelihood of these policies creating a “solar bubble” within the economy.

A recent Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, has outlined the disturbing relationship between government subsidies for Big Solar, and the investment interests that are taking advantage of this lucrative opportunity. The uncouth relationship is distorting the energy economy in the U.S., and placing large solar companies on track to becoming “too big to fail”.

The neglect and waste of the Solyndra failure, has clearly not diminished Obama’s willingness to undermine the American economy by picking winners and losers in the private sector. The government created “solar bubble” is speeding to a bursting point. When it bursts, the Administration’s complicit involvement, will make another government bail-out simply too much for the public to swallow. 

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Activ Solar https://www.flickr.com/photos/activsolar/

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