Obama Budget Will Crush Medical Innovation

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, 4:16 PM PERMALINK

President Obama’s final budget includes a proposal to reduce the period of brand exclusivity available for biopharmaceuticals. While it may sound innocuous, this proposal would squeeze the ability of researchers to recoup the steep costs associated with creating new medicines, which in turn will crush their ability to create the next generation of medicines.      

Under current law, a new biologic is given 12 years of exclusivity. This number was not plucked out of thin air by lawmakers, it was created to ensure innovators are able to recoup the extensive R&D costs. The Obama budget proposes to cut this exclusivity period to just seven years and would prohibit additional periods of exclusivity when the product formulation of a biologic is altered.

These changes will take a heavy toll on the creation of new cures. Currently, it costs researchers an average of $2.6 billion and over ten years to develop a new medicine. In 2014 alone, pharmaceutical firms spent over $51 billion on research, while over 50 new drugs entered the market. In order to maintain this rate of innovation, companies are faced with a delicate balance to ensure they are able to finance new research and development.

The Obama budget claims these proposals will increase access to medicine through the development of generics. But by eroding innovator protections, the administration will cut off the stream of resources that allows the development of new medicines for decades to come.

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Obama Budget Calls for $1 Billion More for the IRS

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, 2:18 PM PERMALINK

President Obama’s final budget calls for over $1 billion in additional funding for the IRS, which would bring the agency’s total budget to over $12.3 billion in 2017. Given the IRS's record of ineptitude and incompetence, the last thing the agency needs is more money.

The budget proposal includes an additional $530 million in direct, discretionary funding and $515 million for a “multi-year program integrity cap adjustment for tax enforcement.”

Over the past year, the IRS management has repeatedly claimed the agency is starved of taxpayer dollars.

But in reality, the agency is poorly managed and has failed time and time again at its basic responsibilities. Taxpayers are being ill-served by inept bureaucrats that are more concerned about harassing conservatives and businesses than doing their job:

-The agency has continued to drag its feet in implementing reforms, even following the agency targeting conservative groups between 2009 and 2012. This targeting resulted in just one conservative non-profit being granted tax exempt status over a three year period.

-A pair of reports released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that serious internal control flaws mean the IRS may still be unfairly selecting Americans for an audit “based on an organization’s religious, educational, political, or other views.”

-In addition to misspending funds targeting first amendment rights, the agency has failed to properly allocate spending. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate’s 2015 Annual Report to Congress the IRS is unable to justify spending decisions. As the report stated:

“The IRS lacks a principled basis for making the difficult resource allocation decisions necessitated by today’s tight budget environment.”

-The IRS failed to properly prioritize funding even when budgetary pressure did not exist. The agency has failed to produce a single report on tax complexity since 2002, despite federal law requiring one be compiled each year.

-In fact, the IRS budget has doubled in the past 30 years, even after adjusting for inflation, according to an analysis by Cato Institute economist Dan Mitchell, Although its funding has declined since 2010, it remains higher than mid 2000s levels.

Rather than throwing away over a billion dollars in new taxpayer funding to the IRS, the agency should be held accountable to the American people through a series of reforms that limit the power of unelected bureaucrats.


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Obama Budget Calls for $3.4 Trillion Tax Hike

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, 11:51 AM PERMALINK

President Obama’s final budget will increase taxes on the American people by up to $3.4 trillion over the next ten years, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.

The President’s adjusted baseline predicts revenues of $43.1 trillion over the ten year window, while his proposed budget calls for revenues totaling $46.5 trillion – an increase of $3.4 trillion.

The Obama budget will result in massive new taxes on already overtaxed American families.

Many of Obama’s new tax hikes violate the spirit – if not the letter -- of Obama’s “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on any American earning less than $250,000.

One previously announced tax hike in the Obama budget calls for a $320 billion energy tax increase on the American people. This new tax comes in the form of a $10 tax per barrel of oil that will be passed onto drivers in the form of higher prices at the pump.

This tax hike would be used to finance a massive new “clean transportation” program that would spend billions on bullet trains, self-driving cars, and a “climate smart fund.”

See also:

Obama Budget Contains $320 Billion Energy Tax Hike

Obama's Final Budget: Highest Cap Gains Tax Since 1997


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The madman is at it again. The only part of running a country he's good at is running it into the ground.

Obama's Final Budget: Highest Cap Gains Tax Since 1997

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, 11:32 AM PERMALINK

President Obama's final budget calls for a hike in the capital gains and dividends tax rate from 23.8% today (20% plus 3.8% Obamacare surtax) to 28% (including the Obamacare surtax).

The capital gains tax has not been that high since President Clinton signed a rate cut in 1997.  

It would represent a massive hike in the rate since Obama took office. When he was sworn in, the rate was 15%. He proposes to nearly double it to 28% in the twilight of his administration.

"Bill Clinton signed Republican legislation reducing the capital gains tax from 28% to 20%. The economy strengthened," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "During his presidency Barack Obama has increased the capital gains tax from 15% to 20%, then from 20% to 23.8% and now he wants to increase it again to 28%. As a result Obama's 'recovery' has been the weakest since 1960. Obama has a sluggish economy and a very slow learning curve."

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ATR Applauds Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Defense of Taxpayers in Gas Tax Hike Talks

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Posted by Miriam Roff on Tuesday, February 9th, 2016, 10:58 AM PERMALINK

In a time when taxpayers can finally afford to fuel their cars, some state legislators are jumping on the gas tax hike bandwagon. The latest set of state legislators capitalizing on the moment are Indiana House Republicans. Despite having a $2 billion surplus, these legislators want taxpayers to foot the bill for expanding state transportation needs. Others, though, have vocally acknowledged that a state’s new and current transportation needs can be met through smarter budgeting, instead of gas tax hikes. Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) is the most recent governor to take this approach.  

“[W]e will NOT raise taxes to fund our highways. Specifically, there will be no new taxes on gasoline, diesel fuel or sales tax. With our economy still on the mend and with families who are still struggling to make ends meet, now is not the time to raise taxes,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson’s governing stands in stark contrast to Hoosier legislators. Under his leadership, the Natural State ended its 2015 budget year with a $191.6 million net surplus. And as a true friend to taxpayers, the governor is asking lawmakers to address spending problems through “[government] efficiency” and “budget savings” in order to meet the funding requirements of the federal transportation bill, rather than to tax Arkansas taxpayers to high heaven. According to the governor, raising the gas tax at this time would be a shot in the foot to taxpayers and to the budget.

In comparison to neighboring states, Arkansas has the lowest annual percent of general revenue that is used for highway funding at 0.01 percent. In order to obtain $2 billion in Federal Highway Trust Fund resources over the next decade, the governor proposed a transportation budget last month that involves appropriating a mixture of its surplus funds and general revenue to the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department. This mixture alone would produce $750 million for highway projects over the next ten years without increasing fees or taxes.

Under his proposal, funding for the first year will originate from $40 million in allocated surplus funds—a combination of funds from fiscal year 2015’s unobligated surplus fund and the governor’s rainy day fund.  After funding obligations are met in the years following, 25 percent of unallocated surpluses will transfer to the Highway Department. Gov. Hutchinson is also calling for the transportation fund to draw money from sales taxes on new and used vehicles, which will cap out at $25 million, general revenue funds that are collected through diesel taxes, which totals around $4 million, and through state sales taxes garnered from the 12 cent highway sales tax that was passed by voters in 2012. The highway sales tax would also bring in $5.4 million.

In just his second year of office, Gov. Hutchinson demonstrates that you can address significant short and long-term transportation needs without raising taxes. ATR applauds the governor’s efforts to improve government efficiency through existing revenue streams and urges lawmakers to pass his budget.  


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Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides Aims to Extort Ridesharing Customers

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Posted by Dennis Cakert on Monday, February 8th, 2016, 6:21 PM PERMALINK

Mayor Mike Pantelides has proposed an ordinance to fleece ridesharing customers in Annapolis. Rather than deregulate the taxi industry, Mayor Pantelides has elected to charge every ridesharing customer an additional $0.25 on every ride they take.


In May, Maryland state passed a bill which granted Maryland counties and municipalities the power to tax transportation network companies (TNCs). The $0.25 per ride tax is the maximum amount Mayor Pantelides is authorized to extract.

The state bill details the flow of new tax revenue generated from TNCs. First, the state authorizes counties and municipalities to levy a tax on every completed ride. TNCs are required to collect the tax from their drivers and submit to the state comptroller “the assessments and other revenues collected by the transportation network company on behalf of the transportation network operators"

“Assessment” is defined earlier in the bill as “A charge imposed by a local jurisdiction on each transportation network service."

The tax revenues are gathered from all Maryland municipalities and counties into one “Transportation Network Fund” operated by the state treasurer. The fund is then redistributed from the state back to the municipalities and counties where the ride took place. The bill does not specify any further where the funds are to be spent. In order to ensure compliance, the state is granted the power to inspect TNC’s records once per year.

Mayor Pantelides’ proposal takes cash out of customers’ pockets and redirects it through a maze of government bureaucracy and back into his own municipality’s hands, while failing to disclose how that money will be spent. City officials claim they are trying to level the playing field between taxis and TNCs. If that were the case they would deregulate the taxi industry, rather than extort ride sharing customers for $0.25 on every ride they take.

Mayor Pantelides proposal is on the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting at 7pm. 

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Virginia Gov. McAuliffe Refuses to Recognize Ronald Reagan Day

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, February 5th, 2016, 9:52 PM PERMALINK

This year 34 states -- four with Democrat governors -- issued proclamations recognizing the late president on his birthday. A notable omission from this list is Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.). who has refused to issue a Ronald Reagan Proclamation.

The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project asks governors from all 50 states to proclaim February 6 as "Ronald Reagan Day" annually. This year 34 states -- four with Democrat governors -- issued proclamations recognizing the late president on his birthday.

The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project  was founded by Grover Norquist in 1997.  This project is committed to upholding the legacy of the 40th President throughout the United States and abroad. To recognize his legacy, the project encourages the naming of buildings, landmarks, roads, and schools after the late President. There are currently 150 domestic dedications in 32 states and the District of Columbia, and 17 international dedications in nine countries

When Reagan ran for President in 1980 and 1984 he won in Virginia. Despite his popularity in the state, Governor McAuliffe has refused to issue a proclamation honoring President Reagan’s accomplishments and legacy. 

“McAuliffe ran for governor of Virginia, not to help the state, but to play politics for Hillary in 2016. While other states proclaimed Reagan's birthday, February 6 as "Ronald Reagan Day" McAuliffe churlishly refuses. A politician who never learned how to be a governor,” said Norquist.


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35 Governors Declare Feb. 6 as “Ronald Reagan Day”

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, February 5th, 2016, 6:26 PM PERMALINK

Each year the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project sends requests to governors from all 50 states to issue a proclamation declaring February 6 "Ronald Reagan Day". This year, to celebrate Reagan's 105th birthday, 35 states -- four with Democrat governors -- signed official proclamations recognizing the late president.

Grover Norquist founded the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project  in 1997.  The project is committed to preserving the legacy of the 40th President of the United States throughout the nation and abroad, and also works to encourage the naming of buildings, roads, landmarks, and schools after the late President. There are currently 150 domestic dedications in 32 states and the District of Columbia, and 17 international dedications in nine countries. 


Norquist said: “Reagan reduced the size and scope of government, cut taxes for all Americans, and laid the foundation for economic prosperity. By the time he left office, America was freer, safer, and stronger in every way. And although he has been out of office for over a quarter of a century, he remains the leader his successors should emulate. “

The following 35 Governors have issued proclamations declaring today as Ronald Reagan Day in their states:

Alabama- Robert Bentley (R)

Arizona- Doug Ducey (R)

Arkansas- Asa Hutchinson (R)

California- Jerry Brown (D)

Colorado- John Hickenlooper (D)

Florida- Rick Scott (R)

Georgia-Nathan Deal (R)

Idaho- Butch Otter (R)

Illinois- Bruce Rauner (R)

Indiana- Mike Pence (R)

Iowa- Terry Branstad (R)

Kansas- Sam Brownback (R)

Kentucky- Matt Bevin (R)

Maine- Paul LePage (R)

Maryland- Larry Hogan (R)

Massachusetts- Charlie Baker (R)

Michigan- Rick Snyder (R)

Mississippi- Phil Byant (R)

Nebraska- Pete Ricketts (R)

Nevada- Brian Sandoval (R)

New Jersey- Chris Christie (R)

New Mexico- Susana Martinez (R)

North Carolina- Pat McCrory (R)

North Dakota- Jack Dalrymple (R)

Ohio- John Kasich (R)

Oklahoma- Mary Fallin (R)

South Carolina- Nikki Haley (R)

South Dakota- Dennis Daugaard (R)

Tennessee- Bill Haslam (R)

Texas- Greg Abbott (R)

Utah- Gary Herbert (R)

Vermont- Peter Shumlin (D)

West Virginia- Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

Wisconsin- Scott Walker (R)

Wyoming- Matt Mead (R)

There are 15 governors who have not issued a proclamation declaring Ronald Reagan Day in their states:

Alaska- Bill Walker (I)

Connecticut- Dannel Malloy (D)

Delaware-Jack Markell (D)

Hawaii- David Ige (D)

Louisiana- John Bel Edwards (D)

Minnesota- Mark Dayton (D)

Missouri- Jay Nixon (D)

Montana- Steve Bullock (D)

New Hampshire- Maggie Hassan (D)*

New York- Andrew Cuomo (D)

Oregon- Kate Brown (D) 

Pennsylvania- Tom Wolf (D)

Rhode Island- Gina Raimondo (D)

Virginia- Terry McAuliffe (D)

Washington- Jay Inslee (D)


*Still awaiting a proclamation from the Governor.



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Obama Budget Contains $320 Billion Energy Tax Hike

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Friday, February 5th, 2016, 5:50 PM PERMALINK

President Obama’s soon to be released 2017 budget proposal contains a $320 billion tax hike over ten years to fund a new “clean transportation” plan. This massive new spending plan calls for a tax increase on the American people – a $10 tax per barrel of oil that will be passed onto drivers in the form of higher prices at the pump.

Obama’s budget will propose over $200 billion in new spending on “bullet trains” and other transit systems, $100 billion on a “climate smart fund,” and $20 billion research into clean transportation including self-driving cars.

The new $10 tax will be phased in over five years. The tax could increase the cost of gas by as much as 25 cents, according to Politico.

Obama’s new tax hike violates the spirit – if not the letter -- of Obama’s “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on any American earning less than $250,000.

Obama has already broken his middle class tax pledge when he signed Obamacare into law, and when he vetoed legislation that repealed 16 Obamacare taxes, including seven that directly raise taxes on middle-income Americans.

This latest proposal continues in this direction and will leave middle class Americans again on the hook for a massive, wasteful new spending program. 

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Jeff Dangeau

Our domestic oil and gas industry has has been one of America's primary economic engines over the last decade, even through the Great Recession. It even brought us to the brink of energy independence before being hit hard by the change in OPEC policy. Now with the industry fighting for survival, the guys in the White House want to finish the shut down of U.S. Production that Saudi Arabia started by imposing a new tax equal to approximately 1/3 the current price of oil. If our domestic producers are crippled beyond the point where they can make a quick recovery, Saudi Arabia and Russia will have the ability to create a major oil price spike at will.

Jeff Dangeau

See the following excerpt from the American Petroleum Institute website below for more on the economic impact of our oil and gas industry.

When vast swaths of the U.S. economy were shedding jobs during the recession, employment growth in oil and natural gas industry professions was one of the bright spots in the economy. Why? Because of large innovations and larger investments in developing energy from shale. In the Marcellus Shale alone, between 2012 and 2013, there was a 40 percent increase in jobs in eight trades (union and non-union members included).

Business consulting firm IHS has taken an in-depth look at the economic impacts of U.S. unconventional oil and natural gas development and found that the development of energy from shale and other tight formations supported 2.1 million jobs in 2012.

With policy choices that support safe and responsible development the full unconventional value chain — the oil and natural gas industry’s upstream, midstream and downstream sectors and energy-related chemical industries — could support 3.3 million jobs by 2020 and nearly 3.9 million by 2025. With the right policies the U.S. is looking at significant job creation from energy developed with hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. This includes the oil and natural gas industry itself, sectors that support the industry with materials, supplies and equipment and areas that benefit as workers and families in these groups pay for housing and buy food, clothing and consumer goods.

- See more at: http://www.americanenergyworks...


Politico is assuming every gallon of oil produces a gallon of gas.

Meanwhile, in the States...

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Posted by Emily Leayman on Friday, February 5th, 2016, 1:12 PM PERMALINK

Arkansas: Committee lobbies Little Rock voters on hotel tax for art center improvements. 

Arizona: Lawmakers advance tax vouchers for attending private schools. 

California: Davis City Council decides not to pursue soda tax.

Colorado:  Amazon sales tax collection begins in state.

Connecticut: Gov. Malloy (D) calls for 1,000 state job cuts, no tax increases. 

Florida: House committee passes tax cuts without Gov. Scott’s budget centerpiece. 

Illinois: Illinois comptroller says state would need to double the income tax rate to combat debt.

Indiana: Indiana House OKs cigarette, gas tax hikes to pay for roads. 

Kansas: Legislators offer proposals to close budget gap. 

Louisiana: State expects more money for road fund from low gas prices. 

Maryland: Gov. Hogan (R) touts good tax record in state of the state address. 

Missouri: Republicans push no-tax plan to fund road repairs.

New Jersey: Democrats push for $15 minimum wage. 

New Mexico: Bill seeks to unlock $ 1 billion in unspent money for infrastructure.  

Pennsylvania: Gov. Wolf (D) asks for $200 million increase for next budget. 

Utah: Lawmakers pressured to increase taxes for school funding.


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