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Alaskans Reaffirm Energy Tax Cut in August Referendum

Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 3:03 PM PERMALINK

Earlier this week, Alaska voters rejected liberal attempts to repeal Senate Bill 21, The More Alaska Production Act, which was passed in 2013 by a narrow 11-9 vote and gives a tax cut to oil companies in Alaska. If Senate Bill 21 was repealed, previous egregiously high taxes on Alaskan oil producers would be reinstated, placing strain on the companies and killing jobs for Alaskans. The campaign to keep the tax cut won by only 6,800 of 153,000 votes.  While there are still 14,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted, the margin was wide enough on early Wednesday for supporters of the tax cut to call it a win.

The campaigns for repealing the tax cuts were based mostly on emotion with very little fact: The Vote Yes campaign attacked the oil industry as being untrustworthy and unlikely to keep their promises to Alaskans, and called the tax cut a “giveaway”. Ultimately the facts won, with the Vote No side, supported by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Dem. Senator Mark Begich claims to have an opinion, but offers a weak excuse for his refusal to take a public stance on the issue.)  presenting solid arguments that repealing the More Alaska Production Act would be bad for Alaskans: An over-taxed corporation has to produce less, charge more for their product, and hire fewer people. 

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Tori Middelstadt

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Another 2,000 Insurance Policies Cancelled In Colorado

Posted by Greg Campbell on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 1:48 PM PERMALINK

More than 2,000 more Coloradans had their health insurance plans cancelled as a result of the Affordable Care Act, according to a letter from the state regulatory agency to state Senate Republicans.

Following a dust-up earlier this year between Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and the Division of Insurance, Republicans have requested regular updates on policies that are cancelled because they don’t conform to Obamacare or because companies are getting out of the individual insurance market.

Udall disputed the original number of nearly a quarter million cancellations in the immediate wake of Obamacare’s rollout in late 2013, arguing that almost all of those whose plans were canceled were given options for renewing them early.

Emails obtained by the website Complete Colorado showed that Udall’s staff pressured the insurance commission to make that distinction to the point where some staffers felt bullied.

“Sen. Udall says our numbers were wrong,” wrote COI director of external affairs Jo Donlin in an email to her colleagues. “They are not wrong. Cancellation notices affected 249,199 people. They want to trash our numbers. I’m holding strong while we get more details. Many have already done early renewals. Regardless, they received cancellation notices.” (RELATED: Sen. Udall Tried To ‘Trash’ Independent Obamacare Cancellation Numbers)

Udall’s critics seized on the exchange as an attempt to cover up Obamacare’s shortcomings. Most vocal is Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, who is locked in a neck-and-neck race with Udall.

“Mark Udall has voted with President Obama 99 percent of the time,” Gardner said in a new campaign ad released Thursday in which he address the issue head on. “I just wish that 1 percent [would have] been a vote against Obamacare.”

Gardner goes on to say “Mark Udall lied to the people of Colorado” for saying those who liked their existing plans and doctors can keep them.

Since the ruckus with the insurance commission became public in January, state Senate Republicans have requested regular updates from the insurance commission about continuing cancellations. In March, the commission reported 1,755 cancellations and in June another 2,320. Last week’s total was 2,105.

In all, nearly 340,000 Coloradans received cancellation notices, although not all are because they don’t conform to the ACA; some carriers are leaving the individual insurance market altogether.

The next open enrollment period for Colorado’s state-run health care exchange begins Nov. 15.

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Farm Workers to Rally Against Forced Unionization Tuesday Aug. 26 at 3:00 PM in Visalia

Posted by Center for Worker Freedom on Friday, August 22nd, 2014, 10:33 AM PERMALINK

Farm workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc. do not want to be forced to pay 3 percent of their wages to the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Last November Gerawan workers held a decertification election, but the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes in a flagrant attempt to help the UFW rob the workers of their hard-earned money. Workers and their families and supporters will hold a protest rally in front of the ALRB regional office in Visalia on Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 3:00 p.m.

 The Center for Worker Freedom has launched a statewide campaign designed to pressure California lawmakers to make the ALRB count the votes at Gerawan. "The ALRB, like its national counterpart, the NLRB, has functioned as a little more than government enforcer for Big Labor,” said CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson. “Does anyone think it is an accident that the ALRB wants to force the union on Gerawan until the election is ‘investigated?’ Or that the Board gives no time-table for when that investigation may be completed?"

 Rally details are below:


 Fresno farm workers, their families and supporters.


 Protest rally against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), led by worker Silvia Lopez and organized by the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF).



Visalia Regional Office
1642 West Walnut Avenue
Visalia, CA 93277-5348


 Tuesday August 26 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

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Tim Evanson

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Grover Norquist's Statement on FCC Involvement in Municipal Broadband

Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, 12:40 PM PERMALINK

Today, in an address to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mathew Berry, Chief of Staff to FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, made clear that states asking the FCC to preempt state law would violate the Constitution, and has no basis in legal precedent. 

In response, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement:

The bipartisan NCSL has said that it will take the FCC to court to stop any attempt by the Commission to preempt state regulation of taxpayer-funded broadband networks.  The FCC should not waste valuable time and taxpayer dollars in futile legal wrangling.  It’s none of the FCC’s business if state governments forbid cities from wasting taxpayer dollars.

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Rep. Ted Yoho Leaves the Door Open to Higher Taxes

Posted by Adam Radman on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, 9:15 AM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform calls on Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-03) to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written commitment to his constituents to oppose higher taxes. It’s time for Yoho to prove his commitment to defending taxpayers and standing up to special-interests in Washington, D.C. A refusal to sign the Pledge would signify to voters Yoho’s willingness to leave the door open to higher taxes on Floridians and their families.

Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing. With a less than conservative voting history and questionable remarks in his past, taxpayers deserve to know where Rep. Ted Yoho really stands on taxes. 

Yoho defeated former Rep. Cliff Stearns in 2012 running as an outsider, yet his ratings with several prominent conservative groups leave much to be desired. In fact, Rep. Stearns has a better lifetime rating with Freedomworks (88%-81%) and the Club for Growth (87%-76%). So far, Yoho’s actions don’t match his rhetoric. 

During an interview with the Florida Times Union, Yoho also went on record suggesting tax hikes may need to be part of a Social Security solution:

To answer your question: you increase the age, and they have been doing that.  Ahhh…probably put people on a decreased benefit…um.. means testing, and some point, taxes, if we are going to stay on the current system, may have to go up on that. Um…there’s the cap on taxable income of about $119,000 ummm … I’m talking about me personally, if that went away, I wouldn’t mind paying that…

There is only one candidate in the race willing to make a firm, written commitment to oppose higher taxes; his name is Jake Rush.

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Virginia Should Look to Florida as it Prepares for Special Session on Medicaid Reform

Posted by Alexander Bobroske on Friday, August 15th, 2014, 4:01 PM PERMALINK

As Virginia gears up for a special session next month to reform the state’s Medicaid program, legislators should take note of the success in Florida. First signed into law in 2005 under Governor Jeb Bush, Florida’s five pilot counties for Medicaid reform saved taxpayers over $100 million annually. In 2011, Governor Rick Scott signed into law a statewide expansion of that pilot program where savings could reach nearly $2 billion annually.

The pilot program in Florida shifted the risk of abuse from the taxpayer to the private market by replacing fee-for-service with premiums. Patients saw predictable rates and chose between Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Provider Service Networks (PSNs). PSNs are owned by doctor groups or non-profits rather than insurers. While both resulted in lower expenditures for the reform program counties, with reduced costs by 18 percent, those with a PSN saved on average an additional $7 more per month.

In the pilot counties, patients could choose between two and 16 different plans. This lowered monthly expenditure for the elderly and disabled by $200 and $30 a month for mothers and children. The reform program also provided incentives of up to $125 a year for healthy behaviors.

Besides saving the taxpayer millions of dollars, Florida’s Medicaid reform lead to higher patient satisfaction across the board. 100 percent of patients with PSNs were at or above the national benchmark in satisfaction.

With one-third of the 2011-2012 Florida state budget spent on Medicaid, eliminating abuse and saving taxpayer dollars was a must. The 2011 reform expanded these cost effective solutions statewide, just as Virginia should do next month. Florida was divided into 11 regions with multiple care organizations to choose from. A low-income pool was created as well as tort reform, capping practitioner liability at $200,000.

Currently 300.000 Floridians are under the Medicaid reform system with 2.9 million expected to enroll. Because of these reforms, Florida is estimated to save between $500 million and $1.9 billion annually. Virginia legislators should build off of Florida’s accomplishment when drafting Medicaid reform next month.

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There ought not to be any federal funds in the first place for social purposes.


I personally cannot see how a reasoning person could view Florida's Medicaid policy as responsible. Floridians currently pay income tax to support the Federal government which is assuming 100% of the costs associated with the Medicaid expansion. However Florida does not accept the free Federal funds. Somehow this strikes me as incredibly stupid.

Governor Cuomo Opposes New York Energy Renaissance

Posted by Alexander Bobroske on Friday, August 15th, 2014, 1:28 PM PERMALINK

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is hunkering down against fracking even while Democrats across the country are realizing that is a naive stance. While New York businesses suffer due to harsh regulations and high taxes, fracking provides a solution for upstate New York workers looking for well-paying jobs and a reduction in energy costs.

In Colorado, Pelosi lapdog, Rep. Jared Polis has already lost his battle against American natural gas. He is pulling down his two ballot initiatives against fracking at the urging of Democrats, including the vulnerable Governor John Hickenlooper (D) and Senator Mark Udall (D). Both face strong, principled opponents in their battle for re-election.

Smart Democrats know it is politically dangerous to oppose this boom in American energy which is producing thousands of jobs and providing cost relief for millions of Americans. New York’s neighbor, Pennsylvania – for instance –  gained over ten thousand jobs from 2009-2011 with average earnings of $70,000 a year due to their fracking boom. Nationally, the price of natural gas dropped drastically from a 2003-08 average of $7.20 per million BTUs down to $2.80 in 2012. American families saved $32.5 billion in 2012 while green energy mandated Europeans have seen their energy costs skyrocket.

Fracking creates well-paying jobs and encourages investment into American, rather than foreign, energy. Contact Governor Cuomo here and call him at (518) 474-8390 to tell him that fracking is the right solution for New York.

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Center for Worker Freedom Launches Billboard Campaign in Support of Fresno Farm Workers

Posted by Matt Patterson on Thursday, August 14th, 2014, 1:04 PM PERMALINK

On August 12 the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) launched the first in a series of billboards in California designed to bring attention to the plight of Fresno farm workers who are being forced into a union against their will.

The workers at Gerawan Farming, Inc. voted last November in a decertification election to rid their workplace of the United Farm Workers.  The labor bosses want to take three percent of the workers’ hard-earned pay, despite the fact that the union has negotiated no wages or working conditions for the workers in over twenty years.

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes from last fall’s decertification election in an outrageous violation of the workers’ Constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly.

Writing for Forbes this week, CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson notes:

The ALRB, like its national counterpart, the NLRB, has functioned as a little more than government enforcer for Big Labor. Does anyone think it is an accident that the ALRB wants to force the union on Gerawan until the election is investigated?  Does anyone doubt that if the union had won that election the votes would have been counted long ago?

The first CWF billboard to bring attention to the plight of the Fresno farm workers (pictured below) is located near the union’s headquarters in Delano, California, and reads, “Hey, UFW, what are you afraid of? Count the votes at Gerawan!”

CWF, a special project of Americans for Tax Reform, is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the costs and consequences of unionization.

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Norquist is educating people about the costs of unionization. Let me educate you about the cost of illegal immigration amnesties that this guy supports... it is going to cost a lot more than unions...


About time someone asks UFW correct question. Way to go, way to go!!!!

Kurt Zellers Makes Passionate Case for the Taxpayer

Posted by Jorge Marin on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014, 4:53 PM PERMALINK

Today is Minnesota’s gubernatorial primary and the fight for the Republican nomination has been heated. Voters have clearly contrasting choices when it comes to who is standing up for taxpayers. Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers opted to make a case for his candidacy in a column in the Star Tribune. The former speaker of the Minnesota House is the only candidate who has made a personal written commitment to oppose higher taxes. Given the massive tax hikes signed into law by Democrat Governor Mark Dayton, Zellers has demonstrated he understands the problems of hardworking small businesses and families in Minnesota. In his column, Zellers explains that

 “In 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton and his DFL-controlled majorities in the Legislature raised taxes on hardworking Minnesotans by more than $2 billion. According to Dayton’s own Revenue Department, the tax increases forced every Minnesotan to pay more for government, and his tax bill actually hit the poorest Minnesotans hardest.”

With this he demonstrates an understanding of the past mistakes of Minnesota’s leaders, for this reason, he states

“That’s why I made a commitment not to raise your taxes, and my plan will move Minnesota out of the top 10 in taxes…

“There is a good reason for the Star Tribune’s Aug. 4 endorsement of Republican Jeff Johnson in the upcoming primary election. Johnson has said in numerous debates and forums that he is open to extending the sales tax to clothing and food, something I am unwilling to do.”

Zellers also has the necessary experience to make the much-needed changes to Minnesota’s tax system,

“When my colleagues elected me speaker of the Minnesota House in 2011, our state was in recession and faced an unprecedented $6 billion deficit. As speaker, I led efforts to turn that record deficit into a $3 billion surplus without raising taxes during tough economic times.”

Lastly, he explains the high stakes of the upcoming elections,

The next governor will have the opportunity to reform a union-centered education system that is failing low-income and minority students; bring billions of dollars and jobs to support responsible mining in northeastern Minnesota, and make our state globally competitive for building careers.”

Kurt Zellers is the candidate most committed to standing up for the Minnesota taxpayers. As the only Republican to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he has acknowledged that something must be done about the deep-seated spending culture in Saint Paul without increasing the tax burden on Minnesotans. Voters should remember this when they cast their vote in today’s primary.

Photo Credit: Kurt Zellers Facebook

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IF this stupid organization cared about the cost of taxes, its slimy founder wouldn't support illegal immigrant amnesties that will cost the tax payer trillions after it is enacted..

Big Labor Targets California Farm Workers (and more...)

Posted by Zoe Crain on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014, 1:26 PM PERMALINK

Matt Patterson, executive director of Americans for Tax Reform’s Center for Worker Freedom wrote an op-ed  for Forbes, entitled “Big Labor, Big Government Team Up To Oppress Farm Workers,” highlighting the ALRB’s attack on California farm workers.

Last November, Silvia, along with thousands of her coworkers, voted in a decertification election to rid their workplace of the United Farm Workers (UFW), a union that had done nothing for them; the UFW had bargained no wages or conditions for the Gerawan employees, but still wanted three percent of their wages in dues.

For Silvia, that three percent is a significant sum. She saw no reason to surrender the money she earned with her own hands to union bosses, so last autumn she collected enough signatures from co-workers (3,000 to be exact) to trigger a decertification election. In November, the California Agricultural Labor Relations supervised the voting.

Unfortunately, the ALRB is refusing to count those votes. Was the UFW booted out of Gerawan? We don’t know- the ballots sit under lock and key in the Board’s office. The Board is claiming the votes can’t be counted until the election is “investigated.” Unfortunately, they are not doing any investigating, claiming they have run out of funds to do so.

Newsmax’s Greg Richter wrote a piece detailing the new confusions and challenges that will impact taxpayers next tax season as a result of Obamacare.

Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform, testified before Congress in early June that the upcoming tax season “has the potential to be one of the most chaotic in years.”

One of the main problems, Ellis said, is in the calculation of subsidies, which are done by estimate and may not reflect actual income- especially for those whose income changes dramatically during the year.

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