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Grover Norquist Discusses Taxes and the Upcoming Election Cycle (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, September 29th, 2014, 11:42 AM PERMALINK


Todd Beamon of Newsmax wrote an article about tax reform’s place in this upcoming election cycle.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, explained that Republicans are not talking much about taxes this election season because the media has focused on so many other issues.

“Do I wish everybody would talk about taxes all day?” he asked Politico. “Yes, in the same way that ministers wish everybody would read the Bible all day.”

“But am I reasonably happy that the congregation has a Bible and knows what they’re doing? Yes.”

Politico’s Brian Faler interviewed Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist about the media’s coverage of tax reform.

Grover Norquist, the influential head of Americans for Tax Reform, chalked up the lack of tax talk this year to the news media’s focus on other issues and rejected suggestions that Republicans’ enthusiasm for old-fashioned rate cuts has waned.

“Do I wish everybody would talk about taxes all day?” he asked. “Yes, in the same way that ministers wish everybody would read the Bible all day. But am I reasonably happy that the congregation has a Bible and knows what they’re doing? Yes.”

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Daily Media Spotlight for September 26, 2014

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Posted by Loren Long on Friday, September 26th, 2014, 5:10 PM PERMALINK


In an article from Statesville, North Carolina’s newspaper, titled “Norquist: Defeat Hagan, left-wing groups”, John Hamlin writes about Grover Norquist’s recent travels to North Carolina.

 “Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, says North Carolina is a make-or-break state if the Republicans hope to wrest control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.”

An article, “2014 Midterms: Nets Yawn at Dem Gaffes and Scandals, Tout GOP Problems”,  by Scott Whitlock from the Media Research Center points out that Grover Norquist, appearing on NBC, has been the only person on the network to mention Paul Davis’, Kansas’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate, stripper scandal.

“GROVER NORQUIST: The Democrat running for governor, Paul Davis, a week ago people thought might win, now because Politico did an expose on his lap dance with the naked lady in a strip club, he is not the kind of person that you can ask your sister to the vote for anymore.”

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Skyrocketing US Oil Production Keeps Gasoline Prices Down

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Friday, September 26th, 2014, 4:02 PM PERMALINK


Despite military and political turmoil in Libya, Iraq, and other major oil-producing countries, the US is producing enough oil to keep up with demand and keep prices down. The unrest in countries that are normally big producers of crude oil has caused a worldwide decrease in production of about 3 million barrels per day, but the US has made up for it and then some by producing about 4 million barrels every day, largely with the help of state- and privately-owned shale formations in North Dakota and Texas. Without this production, crude oil could cost up to $150 per barrel.

This is a significant step toward energy independence for the United States. There is much speculation as to whether the oil booms in North Dakota and Texas will continue or die out as quickly as they came, but what is clear is that the US will never have energy independence within the current administration that has steadily decreased production and exploration of oil and natural gas on federal lands (Between 2009 and 2013, production of natural gas on federal lands was reduced by 28 percent, and oil production was reduced by 6 percent) while drastically increasing the amount of time it takes to process applications for permits to drill.

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Grover Norquist Discusses Kansas Gubernatorial Race (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Thursday, September 25th, 2014, 1:17 PM PERMALINK


Human Events ran an op-ed written by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, regarding the importance of Kansas’s gubernatorial election.

The genius of Brownback’s 2013 legislation to abolish the income tax over time is that the law now states that each year that state revenue comes in above a two percent increase- and this happens in a normal period of modest growth- all the additional revenue is used to permanently reduce the state personal income tax. Beginning in 2019, after the first round of tax rate reductions are enacted, every year the personal income tax rates will fall until they hit zero. Then the corporate income tax rate will be brought down year by year to zero. Lastly, Kansas has a banking tax that will then be reduced to zero. The tax rates will ratchet down every year there is modest growth in state revenues. Kansas can- and now by law will- fund necessary government expenses out of the revenues from growth over time and use those to replace the personal and business income taxes.

Rachel Stoltzfoos of The Daily Caller wrote an article featuring Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist’s take on the impact of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax cuts.

“He’s actually governed well,” Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “They’ve had strong growth.”

More people are moving into the state than are leaving, thousands of small businesses basically no longer have a corporate income tax, and future budgets will be stronger, he said, which are all steps in the right direction. “In the next ten years, a lot of money will come in through growth and that money will go back to taxpayers, not government unions,” he told The DCNF.

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist was interviewed for an article written by HNGN’s Taylor Tyler which delved into Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s campaign.

After tax reductions are enacted, personal income tax rates will fall every year until they hit zero, claims Norquist. “Then the corporate income tax rate will be reduced to zero,” along with the banking tax.

States that follow this plan will be able to “fund necessary government expenses out of the revenues from growth over time and use those to replace the personal and business income tax,” said Norquist, concluding, “if Sam Brownback wins in November watch for more governors who have his courage to challenge anti-reform Republicans in primaries and to phase out their state income taxes.”

James Kilgore of Counterpunch wrote a piece discussing recent conservative support for criminal justice reform.

To top it off, the right wing joined the “softer on crime” fray. Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich sparked a conservative anti-imprisonment drift through their Right on Crime organization which decried the excessive use and cost of punishment. Then Rand Paul followed suit, standing shoulder to shoulder with Cory Booker to back a Redeem Act which would ease criminal penalties for juveniles. In the background a steady stream of popular advocacy combined with legislative and financial re-thinks appeared to be making major inroads into criminal justice orthodoxy. But last week, carceral optimism gave way to a much harsher reality. The Bureau of Justice’s annual statistical report on national prison population revealed that incarceration numbers were up for the first time since 2009. The rise was a mere 0.3% but even this slight uptick may have burst the bubble of the new paradigm.

John Gizzi of Newsmax wrote an article detailing a movement in Tennessee, supported by Americans for Tax Reform’s president Grover Norquist to keep the state from an enacting a state income tax.

“Basically, ‘Three’ is similar to constitutional bans on income taxes in other states, such as Florida,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told Newsmax. “Although Tennessee has no income tax and Republicans hold super-majorities in both houses of the legislature, that will not always be the case.”

“You can’t always count on tradition to protect you. With the Democratic Party so left-wing, if it ever got into a position of political power- even for a short time- it is very possible Democrats could enact an income tax. So you’ve got to have this barrier to protect the taxpayer from the income tax.”

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Amid International Pressure, Ireland Standing Firm on "Sovereign Right"

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Thursday, September 25th, 2014, 1:11 PM PERMALINK


The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a plan last Tuesday that will "change the rules of the game" to prevent corporations from shifting profits between different countries. At the same time, Washington has said it plans to crackdown on firms relocating to lower tax jurisdictions.  

Both moves take aim at Ireland’s pro-business tax policy, which has attracted hundreds of foreign firms to the Emerald Isle and has been a key factor in Irish economic success. Ireland’s extremely competitive 12.5% corporate tax rate has directly created over 150,000 jobs in Ireland and is a major reason for Ireland’s economic growth reaching seven times the European average.

Irish policies have also seen the nation place highly amongst rankings measuring competitiveness. The 2013 International Property Rights Index (IPRI) ranked Ireland 13th for Legal & Political rights and 15th for Intellectual Property Rights (out of 131 countries). In a recent report released by the Tax Foundation, Ireland ranked second for tax competitiveness amongst OECD countries. The U.S. was ranked 32nd (out of 34 countries).

President Obama announced Monday that he would take new steps to punish firms that relocate offshore. This move would prevent corporations from moving to more competitive business environments such as Ireland by making the process more complex and costly.

In the past, President Obama has branded firms that leave the U.S. as "unpatriotic", however he remains unwilling to seriously consider the root of the problem – the high US corporate rate, which at 35% is almost triple Ireland’s rate and is one of the highest in the OECD.

Meanwhile, Director of Tax Policy for the OECD, Pascal Saint-Amans, took aim at Irish policy by suggesting Dublin could not defend its low tax rate without removing some of the more controversial provisions, and that changes to the current budget "make sense".

Despite pressure to water down its tax code, Dublin is standing firm.

On Sunday, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton publicly ruled out early changes to the tax system and reiterated that while Ireland will work with the OECD, it will not be pressured into reducing Ireland’s competitiveness. In separate comments, Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to the U.S. said that the 12.5% corporate tax rate that is crucial to Irish competitiveness will remain as a “sovereign right”.

While the decision against early changes to the tax code is good news, it appears inevitable that the OECD will force Ireland to modify its business policy. For its part, Dublin has indicated its willingness to compromise on the more controversial provisions once the OECD report is completed. However, given the recent economic success of the Emerald Isle, other countries including the U.S. should consider emulating Ireland rather than demonizing it. 

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Rubio-Lee Tax Reform Plan Good for Growth, Good for Families

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Posted by Jesus Rodriguez on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014, 4:35 PM PERMALINK


Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) released an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal this morning which proposed a comprehensive tax reform plan to “simplify the structure and lower rates.” ATR is supportive of three important components of their proposed tax plan.

First, ATR supports reducing the business tax rate. The current federal personal rate (paid by sole proprietors, partnerships, S-corporations, and LLCs) is 39.6 percent, while the federal corporate rate is at 35 percent. Rubio and Lee plan to reduce the corporate and non-corporate business tax rates, integrate all forms of business taxation, and eliminate double taxation: “On the business side, we would cut the current 35% corporate tax rate to make it competitive in the global economy… while integrating all forms of business taxation into a consolidated, single-layer tax.”

Second, ATR supports Rubio and Lee’s full expensing tax relief proposal. Under the current system, business investment purchases are subject to long, multi-year deductions called "depreciation." Rubio and Lee propose: “We will also allow companies large and small to deduct their expenses and capital investments.” 

Third, ATR supports Rubio and Lee’s territorial taxation proposal. Under current tax laws, foreign income is first taxed abroad and then taxed when brought home. This hurts U.S. businesses trying to compete internationally. Rubio and Lee propose: “We will also propose that businesses only be taxed in the country where income is actually earned, rather than double-taxed when the money is brought back home.”

These tax proposals are a great contribution to the current tax debate and anyone serious about tax reform should support these measures. 

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ATR president Grover Norquist Appears on NBC's "Meet the Press" (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, September 22nd, 2014, 4:14 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” hosted by Chuck Todd to discuss the successes of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s tax cuts. An excerpt of his remarks is below:

“If you want your taxes higher, vote for a Democrat governor. If you want your taxes lowered, vote for a Republican governor. Right now, it’s overwhelmingly Republican governors in the country, and the people who are losing are guys like in Illinois, a Democrat who’s raised taxes too much in the state.”

Mike Lillis of The Hill wrote an article following Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist’s appearance on “Meet the Press.”

“They’ve had 57,000 jobs in the private sector created in Kansas; they’ve actually been spending more money, each year in the state, on education than in the past,” he said.

“The reason why the entire left in the country has jumped on top of Kansas is they have provided a model, a successful model, that will phase out the income tax,” Norquist added.

Newsmax’s Greg Richter covered the debate between Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and liberal author Thomas Frank this weekend on “Meet the Press.”

Norquist pointed out that there are 30 states with GOP governors who have cut taxes more than $30 billion over the past four years. The 20 states with Democratic governors have raised taxes $40 billion.

Those losing, Norquist said, are Democrats such as Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and even one Republican, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett

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ECPA Reform Bill Affirms Americans' 4th Amendment Rights Online

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Posted by Matthew Bruno on Thursday, September 18th, 2014, 11:08 AM PERMALINK


In the spirit of Constitution Day, tech leaders and protectors of Internet privacy released an advertisement urging reform of the outdated Electronic Communication Privacy Act (ECPA). The bipartisan Leahy-Lee (S. 607) and Yoder-Polis (H.R. 1852) bills seek to update ECPA by making it clear that the warrant standard of the U.S. Constitution applies to private digital information just as it applies to physical property. These bills have support on both sides of the aisle, as well as from consumers and businesses large and small. Although civil regulatory agencies resist reform, revising ECPA would encourage continued innovation while preserving security, privacy, and the enforcement of justice on the Internet. With approval by the Senate Judiciary Committee and over 260 House co-sponsors, ECPA reform is a straightforward issue that concerns Americans who value their digital privacy.

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Wisconsin Democrats Don't Know Much about Taxes

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Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, 3:18 PM PERMALINK


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has come under fire from his Democrat challenger Mary Burke and the Wisconsin Democrat Party for rolling back the Wisconsin Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Despite passing historic tax cuts, Walker’s Democrat opponents insist that he has raised taxes on Wisconsin’s middle class. It appears that Democrat Mary Burke and her allies need to brush up on their tax policy, because they are flat out wrong. 

The thrust of the Wisconsin Democrat attack on Gov. Walker is that he cut the Wisconsin EITC while in 1986 President Ronald Reagan expanded the Federal EITC. Thus Gov. Walker raised taxes while President Reagan cut them. Unfortunately for Mary Burke and the Wisconsin Democrat Party, there is little truth in their attacks.

Here are the facts: In both instances, the EITC is refundable, meaning that even if a taxpayer is able to zero-out their personal income tax liability, they can still claim the credit and receive money from the state. Simply put, the EITC allows for the government to use the tax code to spend money. The U.S. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation scores all refundable tax credits as spending, not as tax cuts. Democrat candidate Mary Burke, in an ad attacking Gov. Walker, praised President Reagan for expanding the EITC, saying he had a “good idea about taxes.” Burke shows a complete lack of understanding of what the EITC is by tying it to taxes. Again, Congress’s own Joint Committee on Taxation scores the EITC as spending. The Wisconsin Democrat Party takes a similar line as Burke, again showing a complete lack of knowledge regarding the EITC and what it is actually scored as. Gov. Walker did not raise taxes on Wisconsin's middle class, nor was President Ronald Reagan's expansion of the EITC a tax cut for the middle class. The EITC is scored as spending, not a tax cut or a tax increase.

In reality, Gov. Walker – by rolling back the Wisconsin EITC – cut state spending reducing the state’s reliance on taxpayers. Since taking office in 2010, Gov. Walker has enacted over $2 billion in tax relief, while creating a more efficient and effective state government that is not burdensome to taxpayers or a hindrance to economic growth.

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ATR and COGC Support House's IRS Accountability Package


Posted by Margaret Mire on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014, 4:19 PM PERMALINK


The House of Representatives is poised to consider several bills that would increase accountability of the IRS and strengthen agency oversight.  ATR and the Cost of Government Center support these reforms, and encourage members to vote in favor of passage.

H.R. 5420 would amend the Internal Revenue Code to permit the release of information regarding the status of certain investigations.  Currently, victimized taxpayers whose confidential information has been inappropriately made public by the IRS are not required to be notified.  H.R. 5420 would restore victims' rights by ensuring taxpayers would not only be made aware of what confidential information has been leaked, but would also be apprised of the progress of the investigations involving their personal information.

H.R. 5418 would prohibit IRS officers and employees from using their personal email accounts to conduct official business.  Investigation into the targeting of individuals by the IRS has found that employees have been exposing confidential taxpayer information by conducting business using their personal email accounts.  H.R. 5418 would prohibit this risky behavior, and increase both taxpayer information security by also requiring a full record of business activity conducted.

H.R. 5419 would amend the Internal Revenue Code by providing the right to an administrative appeal relating to rejection of tax-exempt status.  Current practices do not allow groups that have been denied a tax-exempt status by the IRS to seek an appeal.  H.R. 5419 would rein in the ability of faceless bureaucrats to dictate the First Amendment rights of private citizens and allow groups the right to appeal these decisions.

H.R. 5169, The SES Accountability Act, would require senior officials to face the same disciplinary protocol as those they supervise.  Probationary periods would be lengthened and expeditious termination would be required of Senior Executive Service (SES) members who underperform and partake in misconduct.  Additionally, paid administrative leave for employees on notice of termination would no longer be described as a paid vacation.  Upon termination, SES members would be required to repay the government for paid administrative leave that was accumulated while on termination notice.  This would prevent higher-ranking officials from defending against abuse in their departments by claiming ignorance of subordinates’ activities.

H.R. 5170, The Federal Records Accountability Act, would create a process for removal of employees who intentionally destroy federal records.  H.R. 5170 would prevent the utilization of non-official messaging and email accounts to conduct official business unless messages are forwarded immediately to official business accounts.  This bill would require federal agencies to automatically capture both emails and instant messages, and to preserve all electronic records in an electronic format.  Finally, agencies would be required to disclose the loss of any federal records in agency custody on their public websites.

Americans for Tax Reform and the Cost of Government Center support these efforts to rein in abusive action by the IRS and increase accountability in federal agencies.  We encourage members to vote in support of these bills.

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