Burgers, Fries and Taxes: Kerala Levies a Heavy Tax on Junk Food

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Posted by Brady Wilson on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016, 3:47 PM PERMALINK

Last week, the Indian state of Kerala implemented a tax on junk food that has been called the "fat tax."  The tax is levied at a rate of 14.5%.  While currently limited to one state, the policy sets a precedent that the rest may soon follow especially after seeing the revenue that the fat tax brings Kerala.  

The state is adding the tax for one reason: money.  Kerala is not looking to fight for the health of its citizens, it just sees the chance to squeeze more money from working people.

India claims that it is using the tax to combat obesity, yet the tax falls short of that objective.  The tax only applies to brands such as the major chains McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's, and KFC.  Thus, the tax aims to push citizens away from these businesses and toward local foods which as one cafe owner noted, "A lot of local food is more fatty and unhealthy."  A dietician echoed that thought, “Why just burgers and fries? Indian food is also laden with empty calories, which give no concrete nutrition.” The tax is not truly altering the dietary habits of Indians, it is targeting certain multinationals that the government does not approve of.  

Indian lawmakers pointed to past attempts at the fat tax as their inspiration for the policy.  However, they ignore that the tax was a resounding failure in Denmark, the one country where it was previously implemented.  In short, the Danish tax led to inflation, job loss, and cross-cross border shopping while requiring massive administrative costs to operate.  When the Danish saw the drawbacks coupled with a lack of success at combating obesity, they wisely disbanded the tax in less than a year.

In a study examining the Danish fat tax, the think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs concluded that the fiasco has created lessons for policy-makers considering that tax.  The study explained that the effects on calorie consumption and obesity will be minimal while the tax itself is regressive, inefficient, and unpopular.  Yet three years later, Kerala is ignoring the evidence from Denmark to create a ridiculous tax. 

Right now it is just a small state in southern India, but as other nations see Kerala’s tax, they will see another opportunity to add to their coffers.  Countries are already debating their version of the tax including in Italy while Barbados was forced to quash rumors of a fat tax that arose after Kerala’s new policy. 

Just as other states will copy this ridiculous tax, it begs the question, what else will governments tax?  One Indian newspaper quipped that next will be a skinny tax, or a sick tax, or maybe even a dumb tax to control the behavior of its people.

If the government truly wanted to help its people make a more healthy option, it should have launched an educational campaign to help its citizens make an informed decision.  Instead, the government is using a high tax to remove the ability to choose from its people while stealing money from hardworking citizens.  



Photo Credit: Zhao

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Democratic Platform Calls for Carbon Tax

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, July 26th, 2016, 10:56 AM PERMALINK

The 2016 Democratic Party platform endorses a carbon tax on the American people. The carbon tax language, added at the last minute, states:

“Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean economy and help meet out climate goals.”

The move by Democrats to impose a carbon tax comes in clear contrast to the 2016 Republican Party platform opposition to any carbon tax:

“We oppose any carbon tax.”

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, predicts the Democrat call for a carbon tax will have electoral consequences: “When counting to 270 – the number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency – the Republicans may have already won the election in five short words: ‘We oppose any carbon tax.’ Note the overlap between new fracking states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado – and the swing states to reach 270 for any candidate.”  


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Take your tax and shove it up your Hillary.

John (magnum)

A lot of people have brought up the fact that they won't vote for Trump if he's the eventual nominee.

Lets put something in perspective.

Justice Scalia's seat is vacant. Ginsberg is 82 years old, Kennedy is 79, Breyer is 77, and Thomas is 67. Nowadays, the data shows that the average age of a Supreme Court retirement or death occurs after 75.

These are 5 vacancies that will likely come up over the next 4-8 years. The next President will have the power to potentially create a 7-2 Supreme Court skewed in their ideology.

Think about that... 7-2. If the next President appoints 5 young justices, it will guarantee control of the Supreme Court for an entire generation. And 7-2 decisions will hold up much more over time than 5-4 decisions which are seemed to be lacking in mandate.

Hillary has made it clear she will use the Supreme Court to go after the 2nd Amendment. She has literally said that the SupremeCourt was wrong in its Heller decision stating that the Court should overturn and remove the individual right to keep and bear arms. Period.

Everyone saying that they won't vote for one candidate or the other if they are the GOP nominee, please realize this. If Hillary Clinton wins and gets to make these appointments, you likely will never see another Conservative victory at the Supreme Court level for the rest of your life. Ever.

If you are a Conservative, a vote for anyone but the GOP nominee, whomever that will be, is a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Krazy Kent

....because that's why man-made global warming/cooling/climatechange or whatever they've named it this month was invented..
To bilk Americans out of more tax dollars. That's all it is, a scheme...and a made-up one at that.

Hillary’s Phony $250,000 Tax Pledge

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Posted by Toni-Anne Barry, John Kartch on Monday, July 25th, 2016, 2:17 PM PERMALINK

A real pledge or a lie to get votes?

During Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, interviewer Scott Pelley asked Clinton about her tax pledge:

Scott Pelley: “Who gets a tax increase? Who gets a tax cut?”

Hillary Clinton: “The middle class will not get a tax increase. That has been my pledge.”

Scott Pelley: “What does middle class mean?”

Hillary Clinton: “Well, we say below $250,000”

But when pressed on the issue on ABC’s This Week in Dec. 2015, Clinton balked and said her pledge was actually just a “goal”:

George Stephanopoulos: “You are also saying no tax increases at all on anyone earning $250,000. Is that a rock solid read-my-lips promise?”

Clinton: “Well, it certainly is my goal. And I’ve laid it out in this campaign. And it’s something that President Obama promised. It’s something my husband certainly tried to achieve. Because I want Americans to know that I get it.”

So, Clinton’s “pledge” is not real. She admitted as much.

“She’s up front saying ‘I’m going to lie my way into office,’” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

In addition to reducing her pledge to a mere “goal” Clinton referenced two presidents – Obama and Bill Clinton – who raised taxes on the very people they promised to spare.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama made the same promise. Speaking in Dover, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, 2008, Obama said:

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.” [Video]

In an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, President Obama restated the promise in forceful terms:

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.” [Transcript] [Video]

But Obama broke that promise. He signed into law eight tax increases that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000 per year. There are seven tax increases in Obamacare that are in violation of his pledge, such as the individual mandate non-compliance tax; an income tax hike on those with high medical bills; tax hikes on flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts; and even a 10 percent “indoor tanning tax.” Combined, these tax increases target tens of millions of Americans.

Obama first broke his pledge on the sixteenth day of his presidency, when he raised taxes on cigarettes. At the time, the median income of smokers was less than $40,000. The Associated Press rightly called out Obama for the broken promise in a national piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke.”

Hillary’s husband Bill raised the gas tax, steeply increasing the tax burden on millions of middle income Americans.

“Hillary told us that her pledge is just a tactic to try and win the election, not a principle with which to govern,” said Norquist.

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Tim Kaine Pushed for Income Tax Hikes on Families Making as Little as $17,000

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Posted by Toni-Anne Barry on Friday, July 22nd, 2016, 5:08 PM PERMALINK

As governor, Hillary’s High-Tax-Tim tried to hike taxes by billions of dollars

If prospective Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine had his way, Virginia residents would be paying billions in higher taxes. As governor, Kaine sought to impose nearly $4 billion in higher taxes, including an income tax hike on families earning as little as $17,000 a year. He pushed for tax hikes on businesses and higher taxes on distilled spirits and cigarettes:

Income Tax Hike on Working Families: Kaine tried to Increase the bottom tax rate from 5.75% to 6.75%, directing affecting low income families earning as little as $17,000 annually.

Business Tax: Tax increase on businesses collecting sales tax bumping the state rate from 4% to 4.3% 

Alcohol Tax: Kaine pushed a 2% markup on distilled spirits.

Cigarette Tax: Kaine pushed a 60-cents per pack cigarette tax increase.

Kaine’s record in support of tax hikes makes him attractive to Hillary, who has proposed a series of tax increases totaling at least $1 trillion over 10 years.

To learn more about Kaine and Clinton’s tax hike records, visit ATR’s dedicated website, HighTaxHillary.com

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EIA Study Reaffirms CPP's Impact on U.S. Economy

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Posted by Bradley Wyatt on Wednesday, July 20th, 2016, 1:16 PM PERMALINK

A new study released from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) discussed the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP). Last August, the EPA released the final version of the CPP, which is projected to kill thousands of jobs, reduce GDP, and increase energy prices.

The EIA states that the CPP will mean higher prices for residential and commercial electricity, which translates over from the higher transmission and distribution costs. It is noted within the EIA study that electricity prices will increase with rising fuel costs and expenditures for electric transmission and distribution infrastructure. Also confirmed by this study is that residential and commercial electricity prices are significantly higher than industrial prices; this mainly reflects the higher costs of distribution services for residential and commercial customers.

In addition to the EIA study, multiple sources have stated that the EPA’s proposal of the CPP is harmful to economic growth and American families. The EPA’s proposal is the MOST expensive environmental regulation that has ever imposed on the electric power sector, costing at least $41 billion per year. This added expense will be especially harmful to low, middle, and fixed income families. The 60 million low and middle income households in America have witnessed a 22% decline in income and a 27% increase in energy costs; not to mention those who are dependent on Social Security, such as fixed-income seniors, are being hit the hardest by rising energy costs. Low and middle income households spend more than twice as much as high-income households for energy.

EIA projects that although energy consumption is projected to grow from 2015-2040, that higher energy prices could reduce the demand for energy. This is due to the fact that consumers will face higher energy costs if the EPA continues their over regulation. Consumers should not have to lose out on an abundance of affordable energy that America has to offer because of the Obama Administration’s and unelected bureaucrats “green” agenda. 

Charles McConnell, the former Obama Administration’s Department of Energy Fossil Fuel Director, recently told a congressional panel that the EPA’s plan of regulation is “ideological mumbo jumbo” and he states that it will NOT significantly affect global CO2 emissions. McConnell, now executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, also explained that his ideology “is not against climate regulations, but against stupid regulations”, such as the Administration’s CPP plan.

A study from the Manhattan Institute points out the CPP will have no measurable impact on world climate. The study cites an EPA-sponsored climate model showing that the CPP will have an estimated impact of less than 0.01 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, which essentially is all cost and no benefit for U.S. consumers and businesses

Supporters of the EPA proposal ultimately argue that the U.S. must play a leadership role in reducing CO2 emissions. The EIA claims the initial impact of the CPP was to lower CO2 emissions; however, the EIA fails to mention the increase in CO2 emissions from emerging nations such as China, India, and Asian nations.  With the large amount of added expenses the CPP will burden consumers and businesses with; one would expect the CPP would have larger effects on domestic CO2 emissions.  Once again, we have failed leadership from our Administration that will only hurt, not help, American families and businesses.


Photo Credit: TexasGOPvote.com

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U.S. JAN Hosts Governors Forum on Justice Reform in Cleveland

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Posted by Krista Chavez on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016, 10:03 AM PERMALINK

On Tuesday, U.S. Justice Action Network (U.S. JAN) and GOPAC Education Fund are hosting a Governors Forum on Justice Reform at the Republican National Convention. This will occur at 11 a.m. EST at the Great Lakes Science Center at 601 Erieside Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. A live stream is available here.

Follow the forum on Twitter using the hashtag #JusticeReformRNC. Watch the live stream on Facebook here and at the bottom of this post. 

The discussion includes Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, GOPAC Chairman David Avella, and U.S. JAN Executive Director Holly Harris.

ATR and the US Justice Action Network work to reform over-regulations and produce quality solutions to prevent recidivism and unnecessary incarceration within the US justice system. Both partner in the goal to work towards improving America's future.

At the event, there is a documentary screening featuring the above listed governors, exploring the accomplishments and challenges within their respective justice systems. The governors will conduct a panel discussion after the screening which is open to the press and includes a brief media availability with the governors.

Each panel member made a significant contribution to criminal justice reform in his or her respective state or organization. Specifically…

Georgia: In 2012, Georgia lawmakers, including Gov. Deal, passed a package to create a new system of graduated sanctions for burglary, forgery, theft, and simple drug possession. Low level, first time drug offenders were given community alternatives. Prison space is now reserved for the most serious offenses. The package improved probation, drug treatment programs, accountability courts, electronic monitoring, and data collections.

Kentucky: Gov. Bevin created the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council in June 2016 to study the state’s code and suggest improvements for the 2017 General Assembly to consider. Specifically, the council will focus on sentencing and corrections. The 23-member council includes bipartisan lawmakers, judges, prosecutors, police, clergy, business leaders, and community leaders.

Oklahoma: Gov. Fallin signed a justice reform package in April 2016 to reform sentencing laws, expand drug court jurisdiction, and change lesser, nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors.

Ohio: The 2013-2014 Ohio General Assembly created the Ohio Criminal Justice Recodification Committee to examine the state’s criminal code. Meetings started in May 2015. The committee will recommend comprehensive reforms to simplify the code and efficiently consume state resources by preventing recidivism by August 1, 2016.

GOPAC Education Fund: As the organization itself notes, it is, “dedicated to furthering the common good and general welfare…by promoting conservative policies for federal, state and local governments that lower taxes, limits the size of government and sets the right business environment for job creation.” After examining conservative success through states like Texas and Georgia, GOPAC supports efforts to implement conservative policies to reform federal and state criminal justice systems.

To RSVP, contact carl@pinkstongroup.com. Shuttles for delegates and the press are provided at delegation hotels with a 10 a.m. departure time to the Great Lakes Science Center.

Follow the forum on Twitter using the hashtag #JusticeReformRNC.

ATR also encourages those who cannot attend to watch the live stream here.


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Government Says Pokemon Go is a No-Go

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Tuesday, July 19th, 2016, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

Nanny-staters are at it again. Heat Street reports that the government’s latest overregulation grab takes aim at Pokemon Go. Elected officials want to regulate the nation’s latest fad, the augmented-reality game Pokemon Go, rather than address real pressing issues our nation faces, like our rising national debt or our unsustainable criminal justice system. Felix Ortiz, Democratic New York Assemblyman, has claimed that the game brings about numerous public safety concerns and should be addressed with regulations.

Ortiz, an established “nanny-stater”, has a history of proposing too many unnecessary and unimportant regulations surrounding personal matters and choices. His past proposed regulations include banning salt in restaurants, taxing alcohol and sugary drinks, and banning admission to strip clubs. Why one’s guilty pleasure, be it a Dirty Martini or Pokemon Go, matters to the government is ludicrous.

Other critics trying to impose regulations on Pokemon Go include Senator Al Fraken, who questioned Niantic about how much information is being collected from users.

Pokemon Go has had many positive effects, all of which has been neglected. Users have reported significant spikes in their physical activity, and many have been given a reason to explore the area where they live. In fact, the employees at Cardiogram, an app for Apple Watch, found that 45 percent of users playing Pokemon Go were exercising 30 or more minutes on the day of the launch and that people were walking 62.5 percent more on the weekend after the launch than past weekends. 

Technology, its advances, and effects on personal lives hold no place in the government. Rather than focus on miniscule and irrationally drawn out “concerns” on the nation’s latest fad game, the government should focus on real issues and finding real solutions. No wonder why 3 out of 4 millennials have such a big distrust of government.


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House Passes Interior-EPA Appropriations Bill to Rein in Costly Obama Regulations

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Posted by Bradley Wyatt on Friday, July 15th, 2016, 11:23 AM PERMALINK

With a vote of 231-196, the Republican led House passed its $32 billon Interior-EPA spending bill, the first time in seven years that the House has passed such a spending bill. The final vote count was largely along party lines with 228 Republicans voting in favor and 181 Democrats in opposition. This spending bill contains a number of positive spending reductions and looks to rein in the Obama Administration’s over regulation.

The spending bill, H.R. 5538, enables reduction of wasteful spending and harmful, unnecessary regulations. The spending bill also provides $32.1 billion in funding, which is a $64 million reduction from fiscal year 2016 and $1 billion below the Administration’s budget request. Under the spending bill, the EPA would see a reduction of $164 million from FY 2016 levels, which is $291 million below the amount requested in Obama’s budget request. The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and the Land and Water Conservation Fund also see funding reductions under the bill.

The EPA-Interior spending bill would not only reduce EPA regulatory programs by 6 percent, but contains a number of provisions that would rein in costly regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the Waters of the U.S. rule (WOTUS). The Obama Administration’s myriad of proposed and enacted regulations increase the price of energy in the U.S., reduce GDP, and threaten millions of American jobs.

Provisions of the bill meant to rein in Obama’s regulatory regime include:

  • Prohibiting EPA from implementing new greenhouse gas regulations for new or existing power plants;
  • Eliminating funding for greenhouse gas “New Source Performance Standards”;
  • Prohibiting EPA implementation of WOTUS;
  • Prohibiting EPA from changing the definition of “fill materials”;
  • Prohibitions on new methane requirements;
  • Prohibiting the regulation of the lead content of ammunition and fishing tackle; and
  • Prohibitions on harmful changes to the “stream buffer rule”

Americans for Tax Reform supports H.R. 5538’s spending reductions and measures that rein in costly executive overreach. The efforts of the bill’s Sponsor Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.) and the House Republicans will help rein in spending and protect American taxpayers, consumers, and businesses, from the costly and harmful effects of regulations put forth under the Obama Administration.


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Congress Must Stop Obamacare Reinsurance Bailout

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi, Alexander Hendrie on Friday, July 15th, 2016, 10:19 AM PERMALINK

Obamacare drastically increased both federal spending as well as the costs of health insurance. In order to disguise the costs to American families, the law has relied on a web of confusing spending programs, subsidies, and taxes.

Among these programs are the reinsurance, risk corridors and risk adjustment programs which redistribute funds from different groups directly to Obamacare insurers. In the case of reinsurance, this took the form of a fee on each individual with private health insurance to raise $25 billion, including $5 billion that would go back to taxpayers via the Treasury general fund.

In practice the reinsurance program has failed to work as promised, like so many other parts of the law. As a result, the Obama Department of Health and Human Services has funneled money from treasury’s general fund in direct violation of federal law. As announced earlier this year, Obamacare insurance companies would receive $7.7 billion through the reinsurance program – $6 billion obtained from a fee on private health insurance and $1.7 billion taken from the Treasury general fund. Because HHS did the same last year, this means a total of $3.5 billion has been stolen from taxpayers using the reinsurance program.

This decision clearly violates federal law. Section 1341 of Obamacare, which establishes reinsurance, explicitly allocates taxpayer dollars that “shall be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury of the United States and may not be used for the [reinsurance] program established under this section.”

A memo released by analysts at the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that federal law “unambiguously” states funds must be deposited into the Treasury general fund. Similarly, former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray called the diverting of funds “unlawful” and questioned how it could possibly withstand legal scrutiny.

Despite this, the administration shows no signs of returning taxpayer funds. To force these funds to be returned, Congressman Mark Walker (R-N.C) recently introduced the “Taxpayers Before Insurers Act,” legislation that stops the Obama administration from illegally bailing out insurance companies through redirecting taxpayers funds to the Obamacare reinsurance slush fund. Companion legislation has also been introduced in the Senate by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE).

This pro-taxpayer legislation forces the Obama Department of Health and Human Services to obey the law and return billions in funds to their rightful owner – the American people. If they fail to do so, the legislation strips HHS of billions in taxpayer funds.

This is just one of many cases where the federal government has utilized wasteful or illegal subsidies and payments to keep Obamacare afloat.  In the past few years, the government has stolen a total of $8.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to illegally fund Obamacare through programs like reinsurance, and the law has provided more than $170 billion in corporate welfare payments to special interests.

The fact is, the $3.5 billion in Obamacare reinsurance corporate welfare payments are merely the latest effort by the administration to ignore the law to the benefit of monied special interests. Members of Congress should stop this latest cash grab and support Congressman Walker’s Taxpayers Before Insurers Act.

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obama and his communists fcku-ing American taxpayers...

ATR Supports H.R. 5818, the Mandated Expenses Tax Relief Act of 2016

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Friday, July 15th, 2016, 9:58 AM PERMALINK

Earlier this week, Congressman Rod Blum (R-Iowa) introduced the Mandated Expenses Tax Relief Act of 2016. This important legislation allows assets that are used to comply with federal laws and regulations to be immediately expensed. Under current law, businesses must comply with the arbitrary and confusing system of depreciation. H.R. 5818 will allow any assets that are used to comply with federal regulations to be immediately expensed. In doing so, it will provide much needed relief to small businesses and make it easier for them to invest in new equipment and assets.

The letter can be found here and below: 

Dear Congressman Blum:

I write in support of the Mandated Expenses Tax Relief Act of 2016, legislation to allow small businesses to immediately expense the purchase of property used to comply with federal laws and regulations.

Under current law, small businesses are allowed to expense up to $500,000 in business purchases under section 179 of the tax code. However, some of these purchases may be forced through federal regulations, rather than investments in the business.

This legislation offers relief to business owners by modifying section 179 to allow assets used to comply with federal laws and regulations to be expensed in addition to the $500,000 allowance.

In the perfect world, businesses of all kind would be permitted to immediately expense all assets against their taxable income. It makes no sense that a business can write off a box of paper clips immediately but has to wait five years to recover the full cost of purchasing a computer, or seven years to recover the full cost of purchasing a desk.

Unfortunately, that is the system we have. This outdated, complex, and bizarre system places far too much of a burden on small businesses and should be replaced with the much simpler immediate, full business expensing.

While full expensing is the desired goal, this bill moves us in the right direction. By allowing small businesses to expense purchases associated with onerous government regulations, the Mandated Expenses Tax Relief Act grants important tax relief to millions of businesses across the country. ATR encourages all Members of Congress to support and co-sponsor this important legislation.


Grover G. Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

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