Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist Statement on FCC Set Top Box Rule Delay


Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Friday, September 30th, 2016, 2:51 PM PERMALINK


The Federal Communications Commission has repeatedly designed rules that will allow them to insert themselves in between consumers and their video content.  

The FCC has tried to justify its rule-making by arguing that cable television "set top boxes", drive up costs, saying that we need more competition.  But the FCC overreach went beyond this claim. The FCC is demanding part of the control of the program licensing process.  Ominously, no one has yet seen the actual rules that would grant them this power.  

As the FCC final vote has drawn closer the opposition among Americans has intensified.

Still, no one has seen these rules that were about to become regulation.  Under increasing pressure, Chairman Tom Wheeler was forced to delay the vote; delayed, not rejected.

Even with the uproar, Chairman Wheeler insists that the vote will still happen and without public comment.

The following can be attributed to Grover Norquist:

It is good news that the FCC has announced it will "delay" a vote on its regulations regarding 'set top box' rules.  This delay is the result of public opposition and anger at the lack of transparency.

The demand for transparency is non-negotiable.

It is the law that the public have time to comment on proposed rules before a vote, and significant change requires public comment as well.

It hard to believe the proposed rules haven't changed drastically from the first round put out for public comment.

The call for transparency isn't just a request; it is the law.  I hope the FCC decides to follow the law this time.

 

Sign the petition asking the FCC for transparency here:  

Stop The Federal Government from Getting between You and Your TV

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Tim Kaine Pushed Adult Beverage Tax Hike

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, September 30th, 2016, 11:40 AM PERMALINK


Kaine tried to force a two percent markup on all Virginians  shopping in state-run ABC stores  

With Monday's VP debate approaching, the Clinton-Kaine campaign keeps trying to fashion Tim Kaine as an "everyman." But what kind of everyman tries to make your adult beverages more expensive? That's exactly what Kaine did as governor when he pushed an across the board tax hike on beverages sold in Virginia's fully monopolized state-owned retail stores.

By law, Virginia residents and businesses must purchase distilled spirits from the monopoly Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) stores. Residents can't even escape the regime by buying their beverages elsewhere, because Virginia only allows residents to bring home one gallon from another state.

Rather than reform the system, Kaine tried to squeeze more money out of hard working Virginians. He called for a two percent across the board markup, which would have raised the retail price for people shopping in ABC stores as well as those enjoying a beverage in a restaurant. Virginians would have had no choice but to pay the Kaine-imposed markup.

Kaine's attempted $8 million beverage tax hike was part of his final budget proposal, released Dec. 18, 2009. Kaine's same budget called for an income tax increase on all Virginians, even those households making $17,000 per year.

"Tim Kaine ran for governor promising not to raise taxes. Days after taking office he released a massive plan to hike taxes by $1 billion," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Adding insult to injury Kaine wanted to hike the price of spirits. If Kaine's other tax hikes drove you to drink...he got you again."

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Top Reasons Rhode Island Should Oppose a Carbon Tax

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Posted by Johnathan Sargent on Friday, September 30th, 2016, 9:35 AM PERMALINK


The state of Rhode Island is facing a new threat from forces outside of and within the state that are working to make the Ocean State the first to impose a carbon tax upon its citizens. Such a tax will have a crippling impact on the affordability of energy within the state and will hurt Rhode Island’s most vulnerable citizens.

The issue of a carbon tax has been raised by misguided lawmakers and environmental extremists in recent years with efforts targeting multiple states, such as Vermont and Washington. The effort in Rhode Island, led by a special interest group called Energize Rhode Island emerged earlier this year when State Representative Aaron Regunberg (D-Providence) introduced H. 7325. This bill, titled Energize Rhode Island: Clean Energy Investment and Carbon Pricing Act of 2016, will impose an additional fee on natural gas, gasoline, and other energy commodities.

Listed below are the top reasons why lawmakers and residents in Rhode Island should oppose a carbon tax:

  • Increased gas prices. The proposed legislation would add an additional tax of 15 cents per gallon of gas. This is a 50 percent increase on the current tax applied to gasoline in Rhode Island, which currently ranks as one of the top ten states with the highest gas tax. 
  • Skyrocketing energy prices. According to a study by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) a carbon tax would increase the cost of using natural gas upwards of 40 percent. Increasing energy costs in a state already ranked as having some of the highest energy costs in the country is simply bad policy, and would make it more expensive for citizens to cook food and heat their homes.
  • Impact to Rhode Island’s Economy. Rhode Island is currently facing a deficit of over $150 million. According to the study conducted by NAM a carbon tax would result in a loss of worker income equivalent to 2,000 to 5000 jobs. This loss of income would lead to growing budget deficits and worsen the state’s economic health.
  • Negative impact on Rhode Island’s most vulnerable. Raising the prices for natural gas and gasoline hurts lower income households the most because of their reliance on cheap energy and products. Low to middle income households spend a larger portion of their monthly income on energy costs and a state carbon tax would only increase that burden.

 

If implemented the carbon tax will have a devastating impact on the citizens of Rhode Island, a state ranked the 5th worst in the country for taxpayer burden. This tax does nothing but hurt lower income families and further burdens the residents of Rhode Island.

If H. 7325 passes in Rhode Island it could have a domino effect and lead to other states adopting a similar tax, thus resulting in the skyrocketing of energy prices for every American. Lawmakers and voters in Rhode Island should oppose such misguided carbon tax legislation that will only impact the most vulnerable citizens and reduce the state’s competitiveness

Photo Credit: Talk Radio News Service

 

 

 

 

 

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jfreed27

Better than a carbon tax is a carbon fee , with all proceeds returned to citizens on an equal basis. Such policy is in BC Canada, which reduced emissions and returned fees by reducing taxes. Bills are in Congress would reduce emissions faster than CPP alone and would cancel increases in energy. Carbon mercenaries there will attack any attempts to solve this slow crisis.

And BTW: climate change is an enormous, unseen tax. Increased government costs in FEMA, fire fighting, crop and flood insurance...all will increase, perhaps past the point of no return.


County Office Building First In Kansas To Be Named After Reagan

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Posted by Rayanne Matlock on Thursday, September 29th, 2016, 10:23 AM PERMALINK


The former IRS building in downtown Wichita, Kansas will be the first structure in the Sunflower State to be named after the late President Ronald Reagan. The building is now home to various county and city offices and is located near other municipal buildings. Leading the effort in Kansas, Sedgewick County Commissioner Karl Peterjohn explains why he has been pushing to name buildings after Reagan for years:

“Ronald Reagan’s eight years as president was a transformational turning point for the United States.  Domestically, the era of ‘malaise,’ was eradicated with a re-vitalized economy that served the American people well while providing a market oriented and taxpayer friendly model for the rest of the world.  Internationally, President Reagan was able to implement international arms agreements, and paved the way for creating the climate where, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,’ was transformed from a dream for eastern Europeans, to shortly after he left office, a reality that signaled an end to the Cold War for everyone.”

Americans for Tax Reform is excited to add this building in Kansas to its archive of dedications to Ronald Reagan, aptly named the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project. The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project was started in 1997 by Grover G. Norquist. It pushes for states to name as many buildings, roads, landmarks, and other structures to commemorate the late president. The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project also encourages states to dedicate February 6th as Ronald Reagan Day. The purpose is to serve as a reminder of the legacy Ronald Reagan left behind. There are 17 international dedications to Ronald Reagan, and the county office building in Kansas will make 151 domestic dedications.

Reagan’s leadership left a resounding impact on the lives of citizens here at home and individuals worldwide.  His policies led us out of double-digit inflation, twenty percent plus interest rates, and double-digit unemployment.  Abroad, his disdain for communism moved him to set in place policies that would see the Soviet Union fall.

Grover Norquist, chairman of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, said this of the effort in Wichita, Kansas:

“Every school, road, courthouse or any landmark that we name after Ronald Reagan becomes a teaching moment. It will open the door for parents to explain to young children who Ronald Reagan was. That is the path that Kansas is taking. I praise the county commissioners in Wichita leading the effort to get this building named after Reagan.”

Sedgewick County has taken an important step towards preserving the legacy of Ronald Reagan. The building will be officially renamed with the ribbon cutting ceremony on October 11th.

 

 

 

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Pennsylvania SB 869 Supports Citizens’ Fifth Amendment Rights

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Posted by Krista Chavez on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016, 4:04 PM PERMALINK


Today, the Pennsylvania General Assembly is voting on Senate Bill 869 which, if passed, would increase due process rights for innocent property owners in civil forfeiture cases and preserve the ability for police officers to confiscate illicit profits of actual offenders.

Pennsylvania police collect about $10.9 million on forfeitures alone per year on average. Police also seized over $118 million from property owners between 2000 and 2013.

The proposal, introduced by Senator Folmer (R-48), would increase the standard of proof to “clear and convincing evidence,” and simplify asset forfeiture laws in one chapter of the Pennsylvania Code to increase transparency for the practice. It also requires reporting on seized assets so community members can track the final location of money received from the sale of confiscated assets.

Americans for Tax Reform sent the Assembly a letter of support yesterday where President Grover Norquist stated:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Pennsylvania, I write today in strong support of Senate Bill 869 that, if passed, would advance the Fifth Amendment rights of your constituents…

Innocent property owners in Pennsylvania have had their entire homes seized based on accusations that their family members sold drugs in the property. Property rights are integral to liberty, they must be better protected.

To help curb these abuses, the new law would increase the standard of proof from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing.” Though ultimately a conviction should be required of any asset forfeiture, this shift of the burden of proof balances the onus against the state in a positive way.

Moreover, these new reforms would simplify the asset forfeiture laws, placing them in one chapter of the Pennsylvania Code, which will help enhance transparency and rationalize the practice. SB 869 also requires increased reporting on seized assets, so that legislators in Harrisburg, and their constituents, can keep better track of the funding police agencies get from the sale of confiscated assets.

Police forces need the trust of their communities to do their jobs effectively. Civil asset forfeiture, erodes that trust and antagonizes innocent civilians. These reforms help to restore trust in local and state police by reassuring constituents that their civil liberties are paramount in Pennsylvania law.

I encourage you to extend your support for this important legislation.”

Find a copy of the full letter here.

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Another Win for The Sharing Economy: Ride-sharing Reduces Traffic Congestion

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Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016, 2:30 PM PERMALINK


A new study on the effect of ride-sharing on traffic congestion was just released by the W. P. Carey School of Business. This study by Li, Hong and Zhang proves that ride-sharing, and Uber specifically, actually decrease congestion significantly.

“Our findings provide empirical evidence that ride-sharing services such as Uber significantly decrease the traffic congestion after entering an urban area.”

They argue this is mostly due to the fact that ride-sharing vehicles have more people in them on average than taxis (1.8 vs 1.1) and because Uber causes a reduction in car ownership. From a study done in San Francisco researchers found that one ride-sharing vehicle replaced 9 to 13 vehicles.

Less congestion is not only beneficial in a direct way but also in an indirect way. Less congestion means less fuel use, less pollution and better air quality. Next to that it also reduces stress in people significantly as being stuck in traffic is terrible for your mood.

With the evidence of the sharing economy having a profound positive effect on society piling up you would expect Democrats to be all for it. Ironically enough many top Democrats have come out against the sharing economy and ride-sharing in particular.

For instance, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has said "I am not a great fan of Uber—you can quote me on that." Sanders started backing Hillary after promises of increased input of progressives in the Democrat platform this year. But perhaps this extra input wasn’t even necessary, as Clinton is also hostile to wha she derisively deemed the “so-called gig economy”. She said she would “Crack down” on independent contractors working in the sharing economy.

Democrats can’t keep their head in the sand forever for the sake of union bosses and special interests in the taxi & hotel industries who don’t want ride-sharing to take off. The sharing economy is here to stay.

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Here’s Why Millennials Should Be Wary of Obamacare

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016, 4:32 PM PERMALINK


Today, Obama held a millennial outreach summit in an attempt to revitalize Obamacare and grab more young, healthy enrollees. But millennials shouldn’t buy into it. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, David Barnes, Policy Director of Generation Opportunity, speaks the truth about Obama’s event:

“Young Americans aren’t looking for “outreach” and “engagement” from President Obama. We’re looking for affordable health-insurance plans—and ObamaCare doesn’t offer them.”

In order for Obamacare to work, there needs to be a significant portion of young healthy people to offset the cost of older, less healthy people. For a sustainable Obamacare, 40% of all enrollees need to be in the “golden” 18-34 age. However, Obamacare does not have its 40%. According to HHS, only 28% of enrollees are in this “golden” age range. While Obamacare relies on young people, it is the young people who get the brunt of the deal. Here’s why:

1. Pay this or Pay that

Young people are forced to pay one way or another. Either they buy unaffordable insurance or pay a penalty. Even if a young person is healthy and does not need insurance, they do not have the option to not pay for health insurance and save their money. Money will be spent towards Obamacare regardless. If a millennial chooses to not participate in Obamacare, they must pay the individual mandate tax penalty. In 2016, the annual fee was $695. So, in essence, as a millennial you must pay $695 or 2.5% of your household income (whichever is higher) for “noncompliance” or pay more for health insurance you may not use in order to subsidize older, more costly people.

2. One size fits all

The costs of Obamacare are just way too high. Young people are paying for insurance they simply do not need or does not fit their needs. They are stuck having to buy a more expensive option and get more coverage than necessary. If a millennial does not have coverage that meets the requirements of Obamacare or what fits them best, then they will be charged the individual mandate anyway.

3. Unstable

The health insurance marketplace is far from stable. Insurers are hiking premiums and fleeing exchanges. Insurers operating on Obamacare exchanges have requested an average premium hike of 24 percent across the country, according to independent analyst Charles Gaba.  Even as they request higher premiums, many insurers have announced plans to flee exchanges or reduce their involvement, leaving enrollees with fewer options and more expensive insurance. Due to insurmountable losses, the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth, will be pulling out of 26 of the 34 exchanges it participated in last year. Following United’s footsteps, Aetna announced that it would pull out of all but 4 states and remain in only 242 counties. Additionally, Obamacare co-ops are continually collapsing. Seventeen have completely collapsed, and only 6 of the original 23 are hanging on by a thread.  So even though you may have insurance today, who knows if it will still be up and running tomorrow?

 

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Congress to Vote on Legislation to Protect Americans from Failed Co-Ops

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Tuesday, September 27th, 2016, 1:54 PM PERMALINK


Congress will vote on an important piece of legislation today—the Co-Op Consumer Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 954). This legislation would protect individuals who were enrolled on a failed Obamacare co-op from having to pay the individual mandate tax. Hundreds of thousands of Americans are without insurance because Obamacare has failed them.

These taxpayers were enrolled on Obamacare and were then dropped because the system crumbled underneath them. It is unfair to force these Americans to pay a tax that is intended for people who don’t want to enroll in Obamacare.

In all, seventeen co-ops have failed. Of the original 23 co-ops, only 6 remain. These 6 however are struggling to keep afloat. Even with billions of taxpayer dollars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to finance co-ops with start-up and solvency loans, the remaining are hanging on by a thread and our bound to collapse like the others. 

A total of $1,820,114,940 has been lost in taxpayer dollars from these failed co-ops and hundreds of thousands are without coverage despite Obama’s promises.

ATR President Grover Norquist wrote a letter to Congress urging members of Congress to support this legislation that would protect the American people from Obamacare’s failure. See the letter here or below. 
 

September 27, 2016

The Honorable Adrian Smith
United States House of Representatives
2241 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Congressman Smith

I write in support of H.R. 954, the Co-Op Consumer Protection Act of 2016. This important legislation protects individuals who enrolled on a failed Obamacare co-op from the individual mandate tax. Members of Congress should support and co-sponsor this important legislation.

Failed Obamacare co-ops have displaced hundreds of thousands of individuals who have found themselves without insurance through no fault of their own. These individuals have also been hit with the Obamacare individual mandate tax penalty for not having insurance, despite doing nothing wrong.

The Co-Op Consumer Protection Act address this problem by exempting any individual from the individual mandate tax penalty if they lost their coverage because of a failed co-op. This will result in significant tax relief – for a family of four the tax penalty exceeds $2000 or 2.5 percent of income.

Co-ops were created under Obamacare as not-for-profit alternatives to traditional insurance companies. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) financed co-ops with startup and solvency loans, totaling more than $2.4 billion in taxpayer dollars. They have failed to become sustainable with many collapsing amid the failure of Obamacare exchanges. 

Seventeen Obamacare co-ops have now failed, losing millions despite receiving enormous government subsidies. Since September last year, 14 Obamacare co-ops have collapsed, with only six of the original 23 co-ops remaining. In July, co-ops in Oregon and Illinois collapsed leaving close to 100,000 without insurance. In all, failed co-ops have cost taxpayers more than $1.8 billion in funds that may never be recovered. The Health Republic insurance of New Jersey announced it would close earlier this month, leaving 35,000 members without coverage next year. The New Jersey co-op, which received almost $110 million in taxpayer loans now joins a list of 16 other Obamacare co-ops that have collapsed since Obamacare has been implemented.

The failure of Obamacare co-ops is just one of the many broken promises coming from the healthcare law. While lawmakers should work to replace Obamacare with patient centered, free market healthcare, they should also work to protect Americans from the failure of the President’s healthcare bill. The Co-Op Consumer Protection Act is a key way to do the latter. As such, all Members of Congress should support this important legislation.

Onward,

Grover Norquist 
President, Americans for Tax Reform

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Congress Acts Unanimously to Prevent IRS from Looting Innocent Taxpayers

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Posted by Krista Chavez on Monday, September 26th, 2016, 4:53 PM PERMALINK


On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass H.R. 5523, the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers-RESPECT Act, to end the Internal Revenue Service’s abuse of asset forfeiture in structuring cases. Americans for Tax Reforms applauds Congress for acting efficiently against these violations.

Specifically, the bill prohibits the IRS from seizing funds from property owners who allegedly committed structuring violations unless the agency can prove that the money was used in criminal activity.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) named the legislation for Andrew Clyde, Jeffery, Richard, and Mitch Hirsch, and Randy Sowers. These American small business owners were wrongfully persecuted by the IRS under the structuring rule.

In May 2016, Roskam held a hearing for Protecting Small Businesses from IRS Abuse, where a bipartisan coalition joined to denounce the IRS and the Justice Department’s actions that seized the property of law-abiding Americans. Facing serious backlash from Congress, the IRS agreed in June 2016 to give some or all of the money back to those who it had seized assets on structuring accusations.

“Structuring” refers to the phenomenon that allows the IRS to seize funds from bank accounts when authorities suspect that account deposits are designed to avoid reporting laws.

About the bill, Roskam noted,

“Today we took a big step toward delivering justice for victims of IRS abuse. It’s clear to everyone involved that the IRS and DOJ abused their authority and took money from people who did nothing wrong. With today’s legislation, we’re making sure they can never do it again. I want to thank the Clyde, Hirsch, Sowers, and Taylor families for their bravery and willingness to share their stories in the hopes of preventing future injustice. I appreciate the support of Ranking Member John Lewis and Congressman Joe Crowley on this bipartisan bill. I’m glad we can finally put this ugly chapter to rest.”

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Congress for taking unanimous action against the blatant violation of taxpayer rights by the IRS. 

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Hillary's Death Tax Hypocrisy

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Monday, September 26th, 2016, 3:02 PM PERMALINK


Hillary has organized her own finances in a way to shield her estate from death taxes. 

Hillary Clinton has adopted the proposal of socialist Bernie Sanders to increase the top Death Tax rate to 65 percent.

 

Clinton previously called for a hike to the top Death Tax rate, from 40 to 45 percent, as part of a more than $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) net tax increase on the American People over the next ten years. The true net tax hike figure is likely much higher because Clinton’s campaign has not released specific details for many proposals. To date, the campaign has proposed multiple capital gains tax hikes, an income tax increase, a business tax increase, a tax on stock trading, an "Exit Tax" and even a “fairness” tax.

Clinton’s tax plan offers no tax rate reduction for any individual or business.

And now, Hillary is proposing Death Tax brackets of 50 percent, 55 percent, and 65 percent.

As noted by the Wall Street Journal:

The left claims only the super-wealthy will pay high rates, but the Sanders plan that Mrs. Clinton is copying did not index exemption levels for inflation. One reason a bipartisan movement emerged to reform the death tax in the 1990s was because the then 55% rate engulfed ever more taxpayers over time. Mrs. Clinton would also end the “step-up in basis” on stock valuations for many filers, triggering big capital gains taxes for a much broader population.

She also knows most of her rich friends will set up foundations, as she and Bill Clinton have, to shelter most of their riches from the estate tax. As Americans have learned, these supposed charities can be terrific vehicles for employing political operatives while they wait for Chelsea to run for the Senate.

While Hillary continues to push for a steep Death Tax on the American people, when it comes to her own finances, it is a different story. Clinton’s newly released tax returns show she still uses tax avoidance strategies to shield her Death Tax liability.

According to a 2014 report by Bloomberg News, the Clintons created trusts in 2010 and shifted ownership of their New York home to it in 2011. In doing so, they will avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in future death taxes.

As Bloomberg reports:

To reduce the tax pinch, the Clintons are using financial planning strategies befitting the top 1 percent of U.S. households in wealth. These moves, common among multimillionaires, will help shield some of their estate from the tax that now tops out at 40 percent of assets upon death.

The Clintons created residence trusts in 2010 and shifted ownership of their New York house into them in 2011, according to federal financial disclosures and local property records.

But Hillary Clinton’s official campaign website, in calling for a steep Death Tax hike, scolds:

She will also close complex loopholes, including methods that people can now use to make their estates appear to be worth less than they really are.

Oh! Let’s go back to the Bloomberg article:

Among the tax advantages of such trusts is that any appreciation in the house’s value can happen outside their taxable estate. The move could save the Clintons hundreds of thousands of dollars in estate taxes, said David Scott Sloan, a partner at Holland & Knight LLP in Boston.

“The goal is really be thoughtful and try to build up the nontaxable estate, and that’s really what this is,” Sloan said. “You’re creating things that are going to be on the nontaxable side of the balance sheet when they die.”

Interesting.

Clinton said that “the estate tax has been historically part of our very fundamental belief that we should have a meritocracy.”

The newly released Clinton tax return shows the continued use of an Article 4 Trust, as shown on Schedule E, page 2.


Hillary has a long history of opposing Death Tax relief:

- In 2001, Clinton voted no on H.R. 1836, “the Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act,” which contained a series of tax cuts, one of which increased the Death Tax exemption level to $3.5 million.

- In 2005, Clinton voted no on H.R. 8, “the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005,” which fully repealed the Death Tax.

- In 2006, Clinton voted no on H.R. 5970, “the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act of 2006,” which increased the Death Tax exemption level to $5 million.

- In 2008, Clinton voted no on S.Amdt.4191, legislation to increase the Death Tax exemption level to $5 million.

To learn more about Hillary’s tax hike plan, visit ATR’s dedicated website,www.HighTaxHillary.com

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