Has your elected official signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge?

CLICK HERE TO SEE IF YOUR LEGISLATORS HAVE SIGNED!

Proposed EPA Rules Promise Devastating Losses, Negligible Benefits


Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 10:18 AM PERMALINK


The EPA is holding public hearings on their new proposed Clean Power Plan in Atlanta, GA, Denver, CO, Pittsburgh, PA, and Washington, DC this week so that people who are concerned or interested can present comments, data and arguments about the plan. (Note that even though an event near you might be fully booked, you can still post, email, mail, or fax your comments.) If you’d like to attend and have your voice heard, you can register and find more information here.

The Clean Power Plan is a disastrous and unprecedented new set of rules that the EPA has billed as a way to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by a total of 30% (The actual goal is 30% less carbon than 2005 levels, a detail the EPA has mostly downplayed when selling this plan to the public.) over the next two decades. On the surface, this might sound like a great idea, but it starts to fall apart as soon as you begin to examine the methods and costs that would go into complying with the rules. 

Using a series of ridiculously complicated and arguably arbitrary formulas, the EPA has come up with a goal for each individual state to reduce its carbon emissions by, claiming to have based these goals on each state’s ability to reduce emissions. The agency intends to leave it up to the states themselves to come up with and implement plans to meet the goals they were assigned, offering only four “building blocks” (heat rate improvements, lower-emitting power plants, end-user energy efficiency, and zero-carbon generation) as suggestions.

Not only are the rules and deadlines unfair, unequal, and potentially problematic to varying degrees for different states, the EPA bypassed congress completely in implementing them, using their dubious power under the Clean Air Act to circumvent the normal process that would be involved in making such rules. The agency has never done this before, and it is already questionably legal, as the Clean Air Act states that the EPA may require states to adopt new standards, and to guide states in how to do so, but that the ultimate power of deciding what the standards would be lies with states. The EPA adds insult to injury by calling this a “federal-state partnership”, using a broad definition of the word “partnership” that eschews the popular idea that partnerships are typically voluntary. 

Along with being a massive overreach of authority, the new rules stand to destroy jobs and sharply drive up electricity prices, all while putting a negligible dent in our country’s overall carbon emissions. Even if, by some miracle, these rules didn’t cause widespread economic trouble, allowing the EPA to implement them will set a new precedent for them to unilaterally impose even more demands on individuals and industries later, without Congress stepping in to help ensure new rules are sensible, fair, and not outside the bounds of the EPA’s authority. 

Industries are still considering what all of this will mean for them, but from what we can see already, it doesn’t look promising.

Photo Credit: 
Alison Christine

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Individual Mandate Penalty Amounts to a Tax (and more...)


Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, July 28th, 2014, 2:07 PM PERMALINK


Chris Conover wrote an article for Forbes, detailing recent IRS releases which demonstrated that the Obamacare individual mandate non-compliance penalty amounts to a tax.

We’ve actually known for some time that the individual mandate is a tax, for reasons laid out by Americans for Tax Reform:

The individual mandate surtax was written into tax law itself by the Obamacare structure.

The surtax is collected by, and enforced by, the IRS.

Revenues derived from the individual mandate surtax have always been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as tax revenue.

Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that the individual mandate surtax is in fact a tax.

MoneyNews’s Dan Weil wrote an article regarding the necessity of corporate tax reform.

Obama has received some fierce criticism for mounting a charge against tax inversions rather than fighting for corporate tax reform.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, strongly disagrees with Obama’s strategy. “It’s the president’s fault that he has done nothing in five years to reduce corporate rates, which he said he was going to do,” Norquist tells CNBC. 

Photo Credit: 
Alan Cleaver

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


New IRS Form Proves Obama Lied About Individual Mandate Tax


Posted by John Kartch and Ryan Ellis on Friday, July 25th, 2014, 10:59 AM PERMALINK


On Thursday the IRS released a slew of draft 2014 tax forms. The new draft Form 1040 shows a new surtax line has been created for the payment of the individual mandate surtax – see line 61 of the 1040:


President Obama has repeatedly denied that the surtax is in fact actually a tax. The most prominent example was a heated exchange on ABC’s This Week in Sept. 2009, when George Stephanopoulos confronted Obama with a dictionary:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I -- I don't think I'm making it up. Merriam Webster's Dictionary: Tax -- "a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes."

OBAMA: George, the fact that you looked up Merriam's Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you're stretching a little bit right now. Otherwise, you wouldn't have gone to the dictionary to check on the definition. I mean what...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, no, but...

OBAMA: ...what you're saying is...

STEPHANOPOULOS: I wanted to check for myself. But your critics say it is a tax increase.

OBAMA: My critics say everything is a tax increase. My critics say that I'm taking over every sector of the economy. You know that.

Look, we can have a legitimate debate about whether or not we're going to have an individual mandate or not, but...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you reject that it's a tax increase?

OBAMA: I absolutely reject that notion. [Transcript]

 

 

It was always obvious that the penalty for not complying with Obamacare’s individual mandate was just another surtax:

  • The surtax is collected by, and enforced by, the IRS.
  • As shown by the newly released draft Form 1040, the surtax is paid as part of normal income tax filing by taxpayers.
  • The individual mandate surtax was written into tax law itself by the Obamacare statute.
  • Revenues derived from the individual mandate surtax have always been scored by the Congressional Budget Office as tax revenue.

 

Famously, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out that the individual mandate surtax is in fact a tax. However, that does not compel conservatives to agree that Obamacare’s individual mandate is Constitutional. The same decision declared the individual mandate unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause. Conservatives can accept that this surtax is a tax increase without accepting the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

The Obamacare individual mandate non-compliance surtax is one of at least seven Obamacare taxes that violate the President’s “firm pledge” not to raise any tax on any American making less than $250,000 per year. Thorough documentation of Obama’s promise can be found here.

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments

lysosome

The Supreme Court ruled that it's a tax.

And no - George was not checking the definition, he was showing you so that you could explain to America why the dictionary definition of a tax is different from your own.

It's a tax, it always has been and Obama has always been a liar.

Ron Perez

The definition of "crook" has Barrack Hussein Obama's photograph sitting right next to it.

Sincerely,
Richard M. Nixon

mesmereyesed

.
Look into the ~O~...
Look into the ~O~...
Look into the ~O~...

You are getting sleepy;
You are no longer in control of your life or your money;
You no longer desire a higher salary or upward mobility.

There is nothing to this TAX business.

Jonathan "Hans" Gruber and Obama did NOT Lie about the Obamacare TAX and the Federal Subsidies to States without health care exchanges (where you WILL exchange your health for sickness and disease and you WILL like it).

When I wave my Pen in the air you will wake up feeling miserable, as you should in the "New Normal" world.

You are awake. You are an Obama Zombie
.


ATR and COGC Urge Senators to Vote YES on Senator Mike Lee's Amendment to H.R. 5021


Posted by Emma Raymond; Mattie Duppler on Friday, July 25th, 2014, 10:34 AM PERMALINK


Senator Mike Lee has proposed an amendment to H.R.5021, The Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014, that is expected to come to a vote next week. Americans for Tax Reform and the Cost of Government Center urge the Senate to support this amendment:

Senator Lee’s amendment, the Transportation Empowerment Act, provides a long term solution to the struggling Highway Trust Fund by returning the fiscal responsibility and authority for transportation spending back to the state level. The amendment involves reducing the federal gas tax and allowing states to keep the revenue that would normally be funneled into the federal Highway Trust Fund to use on projects that these individual state governments deem necessary.

The current system allows taxpayer dollars to be wasted as funds that run through Washington are ultimately diverted to the pet projects and special interests of politicians. The extra layer of bureaucracy that comes from putting Washington in control siphons off resources that should be used for infrastructure. By giving more authority back to the states, the money can be better spent on pertinent transportation needs.

Senator Lee’s amendment would empower states to be stewards of their own highway dollars and allow them to prioritize and authorize projects that will most benefit their citizens. We urge all members of the United States Senate to vote YES on the Lee Amendment to the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014.

To read the full alert, click HERE

Photo Credit: 
Mark Hamilton

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments

linkeditin

Utah group files federal election complaint against Senator Lee

Part of it stems from indicted businessman Jeremy Johnson telling
investigators he laundered $50,000 in campaign contributions — at the
request of former Attorney General John Swallow, who later resigned amid a scandal — to Lee’s successful 2010 campaign.

The other part comes from Lee’s "short sale" of his home in Alpine at a
voluntary loss of $400,000 to mortgage-holder J.P. Morgan Chase, and
then renting another home from the same campaign donor, a J.P. Morgan
Chase executive, who had bought his house.

linkeditin

Lee also wants to repeal Bacon Davis wages.

Utah group files federal election complaint against Senator Lee

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/p...


ATR on PBS: Unchecked Spending Draining Highway Trust Fund


Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Thursday, July 24th, 2014, 12:55 PM PERMALINK


The Federal Highway Trust Fund, which provides the funds used to build and maintain many highways and bridges in the US, is projected to run dry in August, causing politicians in Washington to rush to find a way to keep the fund afloat before leaving for their August recess.

While some lawmakers have suggested plowing new and higher taxes into the trust fund to make it whole, ATR's Mattie Duppler sat down with PBS Newshour to discuss why more revenue can't keep the fund from going bankrupt. She highlighted the importance of not just spending money on infrastructure, but spending it wisely.  And she’s right: For example, according to Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute, inflation and improved fuel efficiency aren’t the culprits that have reduced the HTF to nearly nothing. To see what really ran the fund dry, you need only look at federal highway and transit spending in the last approximately four decades. Highway spending has doubled in the last twenty years, and an increasing number of non-highway projects – such as mass transit, bike paths and landscaping efforts – have been getting a bigger part of the pie.  You can read more of ATR's thoughts on this looming catastrophe here. 

 

Photo Credit: 
Antti

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


ATR Supports Bill Ending Marriage Penalty in Child Tax Credit


Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 2:20 PM PERMALINK


The U.S. House of Representatives this week will consider H.R. 4935, the "Child Tax Credit Improvement Act," sponsored by Congressman Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.)  This bill is a common sense update of the income tax's child tax credit provision, and we urge all Members to vote for it.

Under the tax code, filers with dependent children living with them receive a credit against tax of $1000 for each dependent child under the age of 17.  This credit begins to phase out when adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds $75,000 ($110,000 in the case of a married filing jointly couple).

There are two issues with the child tax credit which H.R. 4935 addresses:

The credit amount was never indexed to inflation.  The child tax credit was first passed in 1997, and expanded in 2001 and 2003.  Since that time, it has been set at $1000 and never indexed to inflation.  H.R. 4935 corrects that beginning in 2015.

The phaseout limit was never indexed to inflation, and contains a marriage penalty.  The phaseout limits ($110,000 for married couples, $75,000 for most others) were also never indexed to inflation.  In addition, there is a marriage penalty in that the phaseout range for married couples begins at less than double the level for other taxpayers.  The current credit phaseout range creates an incentive for parents to cohabitate rather than get married, even though the tax code should be neutral on such decisions.

H.R. 4935 corrects both problems.  The married phaseout level is set to double the "other" phaseout level ($150,000 vs. $75,000).  In addition, these phaseout rates are indexed for inflation starting in 2015.

 

Top Comments

Rednecksrule

Yes Grover this will help out all those illegal aliens and trillions of new immigrants you favor. They have tons of children... wait they don't pay much in the way of taxes due to their poverty...and they need entitlements! Fairfax County, a hugely rich bloated area due to the federal government has a ton of Grover's new immigrants on free lunch... So Grover let's sign that NO TAX Pledge... uh what are we going to do about the immigrants burgeoning in our communities?


Kurt Zellers and Dean Simpson Sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 12:30 PM PERMALINK


Former speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Zellers has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for the Republican nomination as Governor of Minnesota. His running mate, former state Representative Dean Simpson, has also signed the Pledge. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Americans for Tax Reform offers the Pledge to all candidates for state and federal office. Fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge. The Zellers/Simpson ticket is the first to sign the Pledge in their bid to secure the Republican nomination and defeat incumbent Governor Mark Dayton.

The Zellers campaign just released an ad highlighting his record of fighting against higher taxes and his personal written commitment to continue to do it as governor. 

 

“I want to congratulate Kurt Zellers and Dean Simpson for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Minnesotans deserve better than tax-and-spend policies that fall hard on the backs of hardworking families and small businesses. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and incentivize more economic growth,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Zellers and Simpson have demonstrated that they understand the problems of hard-working taxpayers in Minnesota.”

“Democrat Mark Dayton raised taxes by more than $2 billion just one year ago. Two years before that he shut the government down over his demand that the legislature raise taxes.  With Speaker Zellers presiding over the House during that time, he stopped Dayton from getting his way.”

"I challenge all candidates and their running mates in the Minnesota gubernatorial race to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued. 

To view a PDF copy of the press release, click here. 

Photo Credit: 
Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Reason.tv and Remy Mock the IRS with a Love Song


Posted by Adam Radman on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, 9:30 AM PERMALINK


A few weeks back, I highlighted how Rep. Paul Ryan ripped into IRS commissioner John Koskinen over the IRS scandal involving Lois Lerner and the targeting of free-market groups. The issue at the time came down to the failure of the IRS to produce emails related to the investigation and the inability of the commissioner to explain why the IRS couldn’t retrieve the missing data. The Daily Caller even reported that the failure to produce emails related to the investigation may have violated federal law.

Now, the IRS is singing a different tune. IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane, who oversees document production for the agency, says he’s unsure whether all the backups related to Lerner were recycled and destroyed. However, IT experts for the IRS recently declared under oath that Lerner’s hard drive had been recycled by an outside contractor.

So which is it? Can the IRS produce these missing emails or not? Sometimes the absurdity of it all requires you to step back and just laugh. For that reason, I suggest you check out Remy’s new song: What are the Chances? (An IRS Love Song)

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


For State Policy Makers, the Simple (Anti) Tax Solution for Faster Growth


Posted by Dan Mitchell on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014, 2:03 PM PERMALINK


When people in other nations ask me for evidence in favor of low taxes, I often will ask them to compare the economic performance of a high-tax nation like France with the performance of a nation such as Switzerland with less onerous taxes.

If I’m asked by Americans, I generally suggest that they compare different states. For instance, I show them evidence that California has a much more punitive tax system than Texas. And when you look at all the available state rankings, it’s clear that there’s a big difference.

And I then ask folks to compare economic performance. There’s lots of evidence that Texas is growing much faster and creating far more jobs than California.

Heck, it’s almost as if California politicians want to drive successful people out of the Golden State (fortunately, the state’s politicians didn’t read Walter Williams’ satirical column about putting a barbed-wire fence at the border). And when upper-income taxpayers leave the state, that means taxable income and tax revenue also escape.

Though it’s worth pointing out that the case for low taxes isn’t based solely on comparisons of Texas and California. We know, for instance, that states with no income taxes generally outperform other states.

Moreover, we don’t need to rely on casual empiricism. Here are some of the results from a new study published by the Mercatus Center.

…this study uses the average tax rate as a practical approximation of the overall state tax burden. …The coefficient of average tax rate is negative and statistically significant in both models, suggesting that a higher tax burden as a share of income reduces state economic growth. …Elasticity of −2.6, for example, implies that a 1 percent increase in the tax rate decreases economic growth by 2.6 percent, not percentage points. …While the aforementioned income growth results are insightful, the impact of taxation on the level of income is also important. …income tax progressivity has a significant negative relationship with real GSP per capita. …An alternative way to measure economic activity is to look at the number of private firms that operate in each state. …The main conclusion from the two regression models is that only personal income tax progressivity seems to have a significant negative effect on the growth in the number of firms. … By voting with their feet, people send a clear signal about where they prefer to live and work. …an empirical analysis of migration may show, indirectly, how taxes affect the flow of economic activity across states. …state net immigration rate is negatively related to the personal income tax rate … The net immigration rate also seems to have a significantly negative correlation with the average tax rate and income tax progressivity.

These findings should not be a surprise.

It’s common sense that economic activity – and taxpayers – will flow to states that don’t punish people for creating wealth.

Let’s now circle back to the Texas-vs-California comparisons. Take a look at this remarkable chart put together by Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute.

As you can see, total employment in Texas has jumped almost 10 percent since 2008. In California, by contrast, total employment has increased by less than 2/10ths of 1 percent.

So you can see why this Lisa Benson cartoon is so appropriate.

Speaking of humor, this Chuck Asay cartoon speculates on how future archaeologists will view California. And this joke about Texas, California, and a coyote is among my most-viewed blog posts.

All jokes aside, none of this should be interpreted to suggest that Texas is perfect. There’s too much government in the Lone Star state. It’s only a success story when compared to California.

And even though California does worse than Texas in my Moocher Index, it’s worth pointing out that Californians are the least likely of all Americans to sign up for food stamps.


Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on Individual Liberty and was republished here with permission.

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments

Rednecksrule

Hey Grover... how is the massive illegal immigration surge that you support coming along... just fine... just fine... many more new welfare recipients to provide cheap labor for your corporate clients, right you slime bag?

Please spare me the drivel about taxes when you support an invasion of illegals that need and like welfare....


EPA Moves to Scuttle Alaskan Pebble Mine


Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Monday, July 21st, 2014, 2:43 PM PERMALINK


Underneath picturesque Bristol Bay in Southwestern Alaska sit vast deposits of an estimated $300 billion worth of molybdenum, copper and gold. The waters of Bristol Bay hold the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the entire world, as well as huge populations of silver, chum, and king salmon. It is obvious that Bristol Bay is home to unbelievably valuable natural resources which could be used to create prosperity for Alaska as well as the rest of the country. Certainly, the area is delicate; a large number of local jobs rely on fisheries, and many of the residents rely on wild resources such as salmon, caribou and moose to survive. All this being said, you’d think the federal government and EPA would be interested in fostering cooperation between itself, industry, and the residents of Bristol Bay and the surrounding areas to take advantage of all this opportunity while protecting the local people and ecosystem, right? Well, not necessarily.

The Pebble Mine is a project proposed by the Pebble Partnership that would make use of the currently unutilized deposits of gold, copper and molybdenum in Bristol Bay. Before the project can start, however, Pebble Partnership will have to spend a lot of time and money acquiring permits, which is where the EPA comes into the story. Normally, when a mining project is proposed, the company who plans to do the mining applies to the Army Corps of Engineers for a permit that certifies the project complies with section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Assuming the Corps of Engineers grants the permit, the EPA then has the authority to veto it if they deem the project to be too great a risk to the environment, or, more recently, too great a risk to the EPA’s increasingly partisan politics.

And it looks like Pebble Mine’s permit might be well upon its way to being denied before it’s even applied for. The EPA has already begun to propose drastic restrictions on how the land can be used. Technically this is not a preemptive strike, but it certainly looks like one in effect. The restrictions are based on a precarious report that made a number of false assumptions about the Pebble Mine. The House Oversight Committee even has reason to believe that Philip North, a former EPA employee, had already been making plans with colleagues in 2009 to deny Pebble Partnership a permit before they even applied for it, and even before the research on the mine’s potential impacts had begun. This is currently being investigated, but Philip North has not been reached for comment, citing a number of excuses, such as a one-year boat trip around the world with his children. When subpoenaed for North’s emails, the regional EPA office conveniently claimed that they’d been lost in a hard drive crash. Sound familiar? (http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/210564-epa-says-hard-drive-crashed-emails-lost )

Speaking about the potential mining project, EPA Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran said, “The science is clear that mining the Pebble deposit would cause irreversible damage to one of the world’s last intact salmon ecosystems.” That doesn’t sound like someone who wants to have an objective discussion. It also presumes that there’s nothing the Pebble Partnership can do to sway the agency, even though they are yet to submit their permit application.   

Pebble Mine has potential to be a great benefit to local Alaskan communities, particularly the native population. Maybe the mine would work in harmony with the locals and wildlife, and improve the lives of thousands of Americans. Maybe the mine really would be too great a risk to the environment, and should be abandoned. Either way, we all knew when our parents said things like “You can’t because I said so, and that’s the end of this conversation!”, it was often because they knew their arguments wouldn’t stand up to even a child’s scrutiny. So when the EPA essentially does the same thing to a mining company, it leaves us all to wonder. Why are they so afraid of a little discussion?

Photo Credit: 
Silverback Photo

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


hidden