House Blueprint Calls for Free Market, Patient Centered Healthcare Reform

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Monday, June 27th, 2016, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Congressional Republicans recently unveiled their blueprint to repeal and replace Obamacare with commonsense free-market alternatives. Obamacare has approached healthcare with a “government knows best” mentality, and the GOP blueprint draws a sharp contrast by calling for increased choice and competition in order to lower costs, improve quality, and ensure all Americans have access to the healthcare that best suits their individual needs.

The blueprint starts by repealing Obamacare and its taxes, mandates, slush funds, and wasteful spending programs. The proposal replaces these failed policies with a series of conservative, free market reforms that end a number of distortions and promote individual choice and responsibility. The blueprint also strengthens Medicare and Medicaid to ensure these programs are equipped to provide for the most vulnerable in our society, and calls for promoting and protecting medical innovation to ensure America remains a leader in life-saving and life-improving medicines.

Repeals Obamacare Taxes, Mandates, and Slush Funds
The blueprint calls for repeal of ALL Obamacare taxes including the chronic care tax, the individual mandate tax, the tax on Flexible Savings Accounts, the tax on Health Savings Accounts, the Cadillac tax on employer health insurance, the tax on medical devices, the tax on prescription medicine, the tax on employers, and the tax on health insurers.

The proposal also ends wasteful spending programs by repealing the “Obamacare Public Health” slush fund, and stopping risk corridor and reinsurance corporate welfare payments. Finally, the plan repeals the individual and employer mandates which needlessly penalize individuals and businesses.

Provides Greater Flexibility
In place of Obamacare, the House GOP blueprint calls for a healthcare “backpack” – insurance that is tailored to individual needs and allows flexibility. One centerpiece of this proposal replaces the flawed and highly wasteful Obamacare tax credit with an efficient flat credit that is adjusted based on age. This credit is refundable so that if a plan costs less than the credit, the individual can spend whatever is leftover through an HSA-like account.

This replaces the restrictive approach taken by Obamacare with a flexible alternative that allows individuals to choose healthcare that best fits their needs.

Expands Health Savings Accounts
Health savings accounts, or HSAs are tax-advantaged accounts which are used to pay for routine, out-of-pocket medical expenses.  They are used in conjunction with insurance plans which tend to cover large and/or unexpected health events and allow individuals to make choices that best fit their needs.

The plan first eliminates the many restrictions that Obamacare placed on HSAs and then expands them to eliminate needless restrictions on contribution limits and accessibility. These reforms will better encourage healthcare freedom so Americans have access to patient centered care that best fits their needs.

Promotes Innovation
It takes about 14 years and $2 billion in research and development medical costs with more than 95 percent of drugs failing to make it through this long process. While this process is lengthy and costly, it inevitably leads to significant long-term health benefits and savings within the medical system. Obamacare has only made this arduous process worse with a tax on new medical devices, further slowing innovation.  

The GOP blueprint calls for reforms to medical innovation based off the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act passed by the House last year. This plan calls for streamlining the innovation process by reforming the FDA so that new medicines can come online faster. The plan also calls for modernizing clinical trials, providing more appropriate incentives, removing regulatory uncertainty, and increased collaboration between stakeholders.

By protecting and promoting medical innovation this plan will allow for the creation of the next generation life-saving and life-threatening medicines that will ensure stronger, most cost effective healthcare solutions in future decades.

Protects Seniors
Medicare spending will double within the next ten years and the program is projected to become insolvent by 2030. This looming insolvency is addressed through a three step approach that also strengthens the program.

First, the plan repeals the needless Medicare regulations contained in Obamacare, like the Independent Payment Advisory Board and cuts to Medicare Advantage. Second, it adopts a series of smart reforms and updating out-of-date regulations that protect the patient doctor relationship and patient choice. Third, the proposal implements reforms that ensure Medicare is around for future generations by transitioning to a more competitive premium support model that does not disrupt the current program.

Reforms and Preserves Medicaid
This year, total Medicaid spending will reach $545 billion, even as the program has been plagued by high risk of fraud and inadequate oversight. For years, federal watchdogs have warned of millions in fraudulent or improper payments and countless cases of patient abuse, neglect, and theft. Under Obamacare, millions of able bodied adults have been added to Medicaid, even as the program is failing to provide care for our most vulnerable.

The GOP blueprint calls for addressing these issues through reforms to the funding structure that set more appropriate incentives that encourage resources to the nations most vulnerable. The program also provides states with better tools, resources, and flexibility by giving them the choice of a block grant or a per capita allotment. Streamlining the funding process will not only ensure that Medicaid enrollees have access to more appropriate care, it will also cut down on waste and promote more efficient allotment of resources.


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Democrats Raise Concerns Over Obama Debt Equity Regulations

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi on Monday, June 27th, 2016, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, House Democrats expressed concern with the administration’s proposed “Debt-Equity” regulations. They now join Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and former treasury officials in sounding the alarm over these regulations.

The regulations, proposed under section 385 of the tax code were sold as a way to stop inversions, however they may actually make the issue worse. They require businesses to disclose extensive information and give the government the authority to reclassify debt as equity for federal tax purposes. Because they are so broad, 385 regulations will likely foster business uncertainty, leading to a chilling effect on investment.

Businesses are already struggling to compete against foreign competitors. As a report by Ernst & Young notes American businesses are vulnerable to acquisitions because our code is far more burdensome that our competitors. Proposing complex new regulations will only make make it even more difficult for American businesses to compete.

The U.S. has the highest corporate income tax rate in the developed world at a steep 39.1%, much higher than the global average of 25%. The U.S. rate is two to three times higher than its direct competitors, like Canada (26.3 percent), the U.K. (20 percent), and Ireland (12.5 percent).

Additionally, the U.S. is only one of six OECD countries that utilizes a worldwide system of taxation. American businesses overseas are required to pay taxes in the country it earned the income in and then pay U.S. taxes on the remaining income, essentially double-taxing American businesses.  This system of double taxation puts American businesses at an immense disadvantage, as they are competing with businesses who utilize the more modern territorial system of taxation. Ultimately, the costs of the worldwide system of taxation are passed onto employees, as much as 75 percent of the costs can be passed onto workers.  

Instead of imposing countless new regulations, the U.S. should directly address our competitiveness problem through tax reform. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and the House GOP recently released a blueprint on tax reform that would reduce the U.S. corporate rate to 20 percent, which is lower than the global average, and create a territorial system of taxation. If passed into law, these two solutions will halt inversions and ensure our businesses can again compete in the global economy. 

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Garden State Lawmakers On Verge of Passing Massive Gas Tax Hike

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Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, June 27th, 2016, 7:21 AM PERMALINK

A bill to immediately raise the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon could be brought to the floors of the New Jersey state Senate and Assembly as early as this week, after passing out of their respective Budget committees last Thursday. Sponsored by Senators Steve Oroho (R-Sussex) and Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), the bill (Senate Bill S2412) would raise the net tax burden on New Jersey residents by more than $500 million annually.

 The Bad: Gas Tax Hikes.

  • The plan would immediately raise the state gas tax from 14.5 cents per gallon by 23-cents to 37 cents per gallon, making it roughly the 7th highest in the nation. This 23 cents is calculated based on a new 12.5 percent sales tax imposed up on the current average price of gasoline. The tax would rise with higher gas prices.
  • The current 14.5-cent gas tax is made up of a 10.5-cent per gallon tax on motor fuels and a 4-cent Petroleum Products Gross Receipts tax. 
  • Not all of the currently collected gas tax revenue goes to the Transportation Trust Fund (TFF), which runs out of money on July 1. 
  • The current gas tax is projected to raise $750 million this year and a 23-cent increase would add another $1.4 billion to state coffers per year.


The Illegal: Diverting Airport Revenue to Roads and Bridges.

  • There is a provision of this legislation, which raises the effective excise tax rate imposed on jet fuel 25-fold. 
  • The New Jersey jet fuel tax is currently applied to gallons of fuel used on taxiing and takeoff (the burn-rate method), resulting in an effective tax rate of .4 cents per gallon. 
  • This proposal would raise that tax to 10-cents per gallon, a 25-fold increase. 
  • Mandating that any of this money be diverted to roads, highways, bridges or any other non-aviation purpose would violate Federal law prohibiting the diversion of airport revenue. Read more on that here.
  • A plaintiff against the state would likely win this lawsuit, resulting in a $170 million loss of anticipated revenue immediately after this tax hike passes. 


The Good. Death Tax Phase-Out and Other Cuts. 

  • The legislation begins the phase-out the estate tax over three years, a $540 million per year tax cut once fully implemented.
  • Residents filing jointly will not have to pay income taxes on retirement income, including pensions, up to $100,000, up from $20,000.
  • Creates a new tax deduction for charitable giving.
  • Voters will be asked this fall to constitutionally dedicate existing and future gas tax revenue to transportation. 


If fully phased in, the total tax cuts being considered equal about $850 million per year compared to $1.4 billion in gas tax hikes. 

This legislation does nothing to address the cost-drivers and structural issues within the Transportation Trust Fund. If proponents of a gas tax hike are serious about the Garden State’s real transportation needs, they will re-examine the rampant waste within the system and the types of public projects funded by the state. 

Instead of requiring commuters to fork over more of their hard-earned income, New Jersey lawmakers should modernize the state’s prevailing wage laws, re-examine union contracts, and introduce real competition into the bidding and contract process for transportation projects. Until then, tax hikes should be a non-starter for negotiations about short or long-term transportation needs.

Americans for Tax Reform opposes this legislation and urges the legislature to reject Senators Sarlo and Oroho’s shameless gas tax cash grab.  

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Meanwhile, in the States

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Posted by Kate Stolar on Friday, June 24th, 2016, 5:07 PM PERMALINK

Alaska: Gov. Walker may withhold Alaskan resident’s dividend checks if lawmakers don’t resolve the state’s budget problems during second special session that starts July 11.

California: Constituents faced 89 local taxes and bonds on the ballot this primary election and can expect more tax increases on the ballot this November.   

Illinois: The Chicago Teacher’s Union hit City Hall Wednesday to promote numerous tax hikes including a new tax on financial transactions, higher fuel and hotel taxes, and a tax on ride-share services.

Illinois: The state is still without a budget—12 months and counting.  

Kansas: Lawmakers entered special session on Thursday to come up with additional education funding as mandated by the State Supreme Court last month.

Louisiana: Lawmakers end the state’s second special session with nearly $284 million in new taxes.  

North Carolina: Tar Heel State lawmakers may ask voters to lock in place income tax cuts made since Republicans gained full control of the legislature and governor's office in 2013 on the ballot this November.

Pennsylvania: Rumors of a $500 million tobacco tax increase would put Pennsylvania on track for the largest state budget increase in a decade. 

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Court Bucks Obama on Fracking, EPA Embellishes CPP, and More in Energy This Week

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Posted by Bradley Wyatt on Friday, June 24th, 2016, 3:59 PM PERMALINK

This week Americans for Tax Reform has been following a number of issues in the energy policy arena, including a resounding blow to the Obama Administration’s regulatory regime from one of his own appointees, a historic update to the Toxic Substances Control Act, and House plans for Interior-EPA appropriations.

Below are just a few of the energy issues ATR has been following this week. 

Obama Appointee Strikes Down Fracking Rule:  This week a federal judge appointed by President Obama struck down the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) 2015 rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Wyoming District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl, appointed by Obama in 2011, ruled that “Congress has not delegated to the Department of Interior the authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing,” and that the rule exceeds the authority of the BLM.

Judge Skavdahl also took the opportunity to criticize the Administration on executive overreach stating, “Congress’ inability or unwillingness to pass a law desired by the executive branch does not default authority to the executive branch to act independently.”

TSCA Reform Bill Becomes Law: This week the bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, H.R. 2576, was signed into law, marking the first time in four decades the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) has been reformed. The pro growth economic reforms contained in the bill will increase consumer protections and make it easier for American businesses to transverse the interstate marketplace, which had previously suffered from over complication due a to a patchwork of state laws and regulations.  

In a letter last month, President and founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist urged lawmakers to act on TSCA reform and highlighted the need for an update of the law. “Since enactment of TSCA in 1976, industry innovations in product development and chemical safety have far outpaced the Act’s provisions leaving it outdated and untouched by lawmakers for almost 40 years,” Norquist wrote.  While some of the reforms did leave something to be desired, for instance enhancing EPA’s reach. Overall though the reforms will help to create a more cohesive national chemical regulatory program that gives businesses and states a new level of certainty with regards to consumer protections and interstate commerce. 

House Tees Up Interior-EPA Spending Bill: Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) this week announced the Interior-EPA spending bill would hit the floor the week of July 4th when lawmakers return from the Holiday recess. The Appropriations Committee approved the spending bill in early June on a 31-18 party line vote.

As part of the bill, the EPA will see it’s budget cut by over $160 million, bringing it down to around $8 billion. The bill reduces the agency’s regulatory programs by six percent, and includes language blocking the Clean Power Plan, methane rule, and Waters of the U.S., among others.

 Study Finds EPA over estimated benefits, underestimated costs of CPP: A new study released by the Manhattan Institute criticized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their flawed analysis of the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Last August, the EPA released the final version of the CPP, which is projected to kill thousands of jobs, reduce GDP, and increase energy prices. As one would expect, the unelected bureaucrats at the EPA failed to present an accurate cost-benefit analysis of the President’s signature energy legislation. The study points out a number of flaws with the Agency’s analysis of the rule.


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Stephen Heins

The EPA's Clean Power Plan and its Many Flaws

This is a response to an editorial in the recent Wall Street Journal: 'Brushing Back a Lawless EPA'.

While it may be said that calling the EPA "lawless" seems a bit extreme, there are some of us who see many basic flaws in the EPA's Clean Power Plan:

1. Medical computations of indirect health benefits from the reduction of PM 2.5 (or fine particulate matter) have never been well demonstrated;

2. Several studies used to promote the CPP are likely examples of "study-bias;"

3. The CPP places complete faith in the advancement of technology responding to political dictates instead of the marketplace;

4. The CPP lacks a full accounting of the costs of stranding electrical assets and the large investment in new infrastructure, which essentially just replicate old distribution assets;

5. The Clean Power Plan has never been properly vetted, and there never existed any state or national political mandate calling for its formulation;

6. To date, 27 states have officially challenged the legality of the Clean Power Plan;

7. President Obama and Secretary McCarthy are likely to be in the rear view mirror by the time it is fully implemented;

8. The CPP has been sold to the American public by the current administration with an expensive PR effort indistinguishable from a political campaign;

9. Actual greenhouse gas reductions from the Clean Power Plan are miniscule, and as of 2015, according to Scientific America and the Energy Information Administration (EIA), 47 states had already achieved sharp decreases in emission from 2007 levels, with reductions of over 1,000 million tons;

10. The US is already on a glide path whereby America has reduced more greenhouse gases (GHS) than any other country in the world, which even the Sierra Club acknowledges;

11. The Clean Power Plan has relied on faulty cost benefit analysis throughout all versions of the new EPA's regulations;

12. The CPP gives the EPA and state environmental agencies first class status, making all other state and federal agencies (like the Department of Energy and State Utility Regulators) second class citizens, with second class powers;

13. With “cross state” and regional emission differences, the CPP makes states and regions compete against each other in energy markets previously regulated by states, and is de facto helping to create a national emissions market;

14. The CPP is fraught with silo thinking, with no heed paid to the rapidly expanding convergence of energy, technology and telecommunications;

15. In the case of the above convergence, there is no consideration for the growing need for electricity to allow significantly more energy, energy efficiency and economic development in all 50 states;

16. The CPP suffers from a serious lack of transparency, whereby much of the information remains undisclosed. Most of the grant money provided for health and emissions studies is under-declared. The significant input provided by large environmental groups is largely buried in the footnotes. The robust public relations campaign conducted by the EPA and the White House, and a large number of related texts and emails, are shrouded in the lack of proper disclosure;

17. The EPA (and particularly Administrator Gina McCarthy) has used its legal and quasi-legal bully pulpit, afforded it in the media and through the questionable use of Social Media, to sway public opinion for its environmental crusade, much as it has done with the Clean Water Act;

18. Finally, the biggest flaw of all is the fact that, to date, the Clean Power Plan has lacked sufficient soundness to withstand challenges in the Supreme Court of the United States.

Sheriff John Rutherford Signs Written Commitment to Oppose Higher Taxes

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Friday, June 24th, 2016, 12:54 PM PERMALINK

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford (R-FL), candidate for Congress in Florida’s 4th  Congressional District, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people. The Pledge is a written commitment to the citizens of Florida and to the American people to oppose all tax increases. Rutherford is running to replace retiring Congressman Ander Crenshaw.

Rutherford served as the Jacksonville Sheriff for more than a decade, and under his tenure, Jacksonville has seen the lowest crime rate in 40 years. Sheriff Rutherford practiced “lean-management” in his department, operating it in a cost-effective fashion. He initiated “community based problem solving,” hired more officers, and the crime rate dropped.

“The American people are tired of the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington and they are looking for solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again. Signing the Pledge is the first step in that process.”

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge has been offered to every candidate for federal office since 1986. In the 114th Congress, 218 Congressmen and 48 Senators have signed the Pledge.

“We are ecstatic about Rutherford’s commitment to the taxpayers of Florida. I challenge all candidates for Florida’s 4th Congressional District to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” continued Norquist.

John Rutherford will run in Florida’s 4th Congressional District Primary on August 30th. 

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ATR Applauds House Republicans’ Tax Blueprint

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi, Alexander Hendrie on Friday, June 24th, 2016, 10:19 AM PERMALINK

ATR together with 9 free market organizations today applauded the House Tax Reform Working Group blueprint.

Standing at 74,000 pages, the U.S. tax code is too complex. Americans waste billions of hours and dollars trying to comply with the tax puzzle and the U.S. faces a serious global disadvantage with the nation’s high corporate tax rate. Tax reform is necessary to make American lives easier and to reestablish America’s global competitiveness.

The full letter is here and below.

Dear Speaker Ryan and Chairman Brady,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to applaud the efforts of the House Tax Reform Working Group. The Blueprint you have released today outlines a thoughtful approach to tax reform that would greatly benefit the individuals, families, and businesses that are hampered by a broken tax code.

Tax reform was last passed three decades ago and our code is woefully uncompetitive, overly complex, and out of date. It urgently needs to be fixed, and the working group’s Blueprint ensures this issue remains center stage. Unfortunately, the current President has proven unwilling to seriously address the issue of our uncompetitive and unfair tax code, instead deriding the pressing need to update it as a “race to the bottom.” Given the urgency of this problem, we believe it is vital that pro-growth tax reform is passed within the first hundred days of the next Congress.

While tax reform touches many issues by necessity, it is crucial that any new code prioritizes competitiveness, simplicity, and growth.

Simplify the Tax Code The tax code is more than 74,000 pages long and Americans spend over 6.1 billion hours complying with it each year, resulting in an annual economic loss of $234.4 billion. The reality is, it is difficult or impossible for American families to properly comply with the tax code. Your Blueprint takes significant, important steps toward simplicity and fairness by consolidating seven individual income tax rates into three, eliminating the alternative minimum tax, and completely killing the death tax, which has destroyed over $1.1 trillion of capital in the U.S. economy. Additionally, it streamlines individual deductions and exclusions and consolidates numerous, overlapping tax benefits for higher education. All of these changes would help reduce the monstrous tax code to a more manageable size and decrease the amount of confusion and frustration that Americans face every year when they file their taxes.

Reducing Rates to Address America’s Competitiveness Problem. Under our current system, American businesses simply cannot compete with the rest of the world. We have business taxes far higher than the rest of the developed world with a statutory corporate rate exceeding 39 percent, more than 14 points higher than the developed average. Other countries are taking advantage of our inaction as they aggressively lower their tax rates to lure American jobs and businesses to their soil. Your Blueprint reduces the corporate tax rate to 20 percent – a change that would act as a powerful economic stimulus by encouraging domestic businesses to grow and foreign businesses to relocate

to the U.S. Further, it would reduce the top rate on pass-through entities, many of which are small businesses, to 25 percent.

Tax reform must encourage economic growth, jobs and innovation. For years, growth has remained stagnant, as new jobs have failed to materialize and wages remain unchanged. Just 38,000 jobs were added in May and labor force participation has continued to drop. Congress can reverse this trend with the type of pro-growth tax reform outlined in your Blueprint. In addition to reducing rates, your plan would provide full expensing for businesses – a change that would incentivize capital investment and lead to significant economic expansion. Additionally, it would transition from a worldwide tax system to a territorial system, thereby aligning our code with much of the industrialized world and, more importantly, allowing companies to reinvest foreign earnings back into our domestic economy. Also, under your plan, the top tax rate on long term capital gains and qualified dividends is cut from 23.8 percent today to 16.5 percent, a powerful pro-growth reform.

We applaud the work of the Tax Reform Working Group and your efforts to keep this important issue at center stage. It has been far too long since Congress last passed tax reform and it is imperative that businesses and families receive relief soon. We understand that there are many details of the plan to be worked out and we look forward to participating in these discussions and working with you to enact pro-growth tax reform in the coming months and years.


Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Neil Bradley
Chief Strategy Officer, Conservative Reform Network

Jim Martin
Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Tom Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

Christine Harbin
Director of Federal Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Americans for Prosperity

Paul Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation 

Andrew Moylan
Executive Director, R Street Institute

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ATR Statement on House GOP Tax Reform Blueprint

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Friday, June 24th, 2016, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

The House Republican Conference under the leadership of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) today released their blueprint to reform the tax code. This pro-growth plan cuts taxes for ALL American families and businesses, simplifies the code, promotes strong economic growth, and allows our businesses to better compete against foreign competitors.

“The Republican blueprint for tax reform is a clear and dramatic path to strong economic growth and job creation,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “When enacted it will steer America on a sharp U-turn from our present road to serfdom. America cannot limp along on its weak and weakening ‘recovery’ -- with this blueprint the path is clear.”

Norquist continued: “The blueprint is completely consistent with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge a majority of the members of congress have signed promising the American people that they will oppose and vote against any net tax hike.”

For the typical American family, this blueprint will simplify the code so that an annual tax return can be filed on a postcard. For businesses on Main Street, this plan will cut needless bureaucratic red tape and complexity. For iconic American businesses, this blueprint will ensure they can compete, and thrive against foreign competitors. And for the economy, this plan will replace the policies that led to seven years of stagnant growth with a vision that fixes our broken code and promotes opportunity for all.  

Importantly, this proposal takes the code much closer to a system that taxes in the fairest and most efficient way – by taxing once, at the point of consumption. Basic elements of the plan include:

Individual Tax Rates: Consolidates the existing seven tax brackets into three brackets – 12 percent, 25 percent, and 33 percent.

Full Business Expensing: 100 percent immediate, full business expensing, meaning businesses will be allowed to deduct purchases immediately rather than being forced to use the arbitrary and confusing system of depreciation which distorts investment.

Business Tax Rates: Under the current code, American businesses face the highest tax rates in the developed world. This plan ends that by cutting the corporate tax rate from the existing 35 percent rate to just 20 percent. The blueprint also cuts the tax rate on pass-through entities from more than 40 percent to just 25 percent.

International Tax System: Streamlines and overhauls the confusing, complex and uncompetitive international tax system.

- Replaces the worldwide tax system with full territoriality, meaning that American businesses will no longer be subject to double taxation – once when they earn this income overseas and again when this income is brought back to the U.S.

- As part of the shift toward a consumption based system, the blueprint calls for applying businesses taxes on a destination basis. This means that American exports will not be subject to U.S. income tax but products and services sold in the U.S. will be taxed regardless of whether they were produced here, or imported from a foreign country. This ends the competitive disadvantage our exports had when competing with the rest of the world, and that foreign imports had with local competitors.

Death Tax: Repealed

Capital gains and Dividends: Reduces taxes on investment income by creating a 50 percent deduction on a taxpayer’s bracket. This means cap gains/dividends rates of 6 percent, 12.5 percent, and 16.5 percent, far below the existing 23.8 percent. While the plan is silent on section 1031 “like-kind exchanges,” it does call for a tax code that promotes business investment.

Alternative Minimum Tax: Repealed

Individual Credits:  Consolidates five family deductions into two – a larger standard deduction and a child/dependent tax credit. Preserves tax incentives for charitable giving and homeownership and eliminates all other itemized deductions.

Business Credits: Calls for simplifying the code by eliminating the majority of deductions and credits, with the R&D tax credit being one notable exception.

Interest Deduction: Allows businesses to deduct interest expense from any interest income but disallows deductions from net interest expenses. This removes the distortions in the tax code that favor debt over equity toward the ideal consumption base.

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Strong economic growth? Is that what we got with the Bush Tax Cuts, I believe it was called the Great Recession. Cutting taxes without cutting spending leads to DEBT. Even Reagan triple our Debt. No new taxes forever leads to more DEBT. Get real!!!

My political satire, entitled "Taking the Tea Party Republican Tax Pledge", is on YouTube. Here is the link

Conservatives Oppose Big Labor's "Take on Wall Street" Campaign

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Posted by Natalie De Vincenzi, Alexander Hendrie on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

Today, ATR and more than 20 other conservative organizations have voiced opposition to Big Labor’s campaign “Take on Wall Street”.

Big Labor’s campaign is radical and out of touch.  Through tax hikes and increased government involvement, the five-part campaign will restrict the ability of Americans to access important investment and retirement advice to the benefit of big labor interests.

The full letter can be found here and is below:  

As organizations representing taxpayers, Tea Party activists, limited government conservatives, libertarians, and Americans across all 50 states, we write in opposition to the radical agenda proposed by Big Labor's latest campaign, "Take on Wall Street."

This campaign is a thinly-veiled attempt to push a radical liberal agenda on the electorate under the flimsy guise of fighting monied interests on Wall Street. Nothing could be further from the truth – this plan is really about restricting the ability of Americans to access important investment and retirement advice to the benefit of big labor interests.

Their agenda is a five-point recipe for financial ruin. It includes:

Forcing the most disadvantaged to bank with the United States Post Office (USPS). Many low income Americans don’t have access to banking services and decide to borrow from check cashing and payday loan businesses in their communities. Rather than promote time-tested, conventional banking options for the poor, Big Labor is pushing the ridiculous idea that the USPS should take on banking services for low income Americans. They want to have the government shut down private business and instead direct the poor to the local post office for banking needs. They even want them to be able to receive car loans at the post office. One Obamacare is quite enough--we don't need Obamacare for banks, too. If there's one thing most Americans know, it's that the USPS is the last place you'd want to keep your money. Yet that's exactly what Big Labor wants low income Americans.

Raising capital gains taxes. The ultimate goal of the Left is to tax all capital gains as ordinary income. They are content to do this one piece at a time. Their first target is taxing carried interest capital gains at higher rates. This would hurt pension funds, charities, and colleges that depend on these investment partnerships as part of their savings goals. It would also hurt small businesses who would find themselves increasingly shut out from investment money available to them from these partnerships.

Creating a financial transaction tax. Big Labor also wants to create a brand new kind of tax that does not exist today. Sometimes known as a "Tobin tax," a financial transaction tax would put a levy on every single financial transaction done every day. This would even include simple actions like investing in an IRA or saving for a child's college in a 529 plan.

Allowing the government to rip apart banks. "Breaking up the big banks" is a rallying cry of socialist Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and at Big Labor conventions, but it makes no sense in the real world. A better solution would be ending “Too big to fail” and allow the free market, not big government to decide whether a business is too big or too small. Government's job is to fairly enforce basic laws and generally get out of the way of the market.

Imposing a tax hike "wage control" on CEOs. The government should not be allowed to tell businesses how much they can pay their employees, but that’s exactly what Big Labor wants to do by limiting the tax deductibility of CEO compensation. This was tried in the 1993 Clinton tax hike and resulted in an explosion in stock options, something Big Labor now also laments. The simple fact is it's not the government's job to say how much is too much to pay talent--that's the job of shareholders.

This five-point plan is completely divorced from reality. It is radical, out of touch, and would take our nation in the wrong direction.


Jim Martin
Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Kevin Waterman
Chairman, Annapolis Center-Right Coalition

Justin Owen
President and CEO, Beacon Center (Tennessee)

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Matt Patterson
Executive Director, Center for Worker Freedom

Chuck Muth
President, Citizen Outreach (Nevada)

Neil Bradley
Chief Strategy Officer, Conservative Reform Network

Tom Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Sal J. Nuzzo
Vice President of Policy, The James Madison Institute (Florida)

Lisa B. Nelson
CEO, Jeffersonian Project

Brett Healy
President, The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy (Wisconsin)

Seton Motley
President, Less Government

Kyle S. Hauptman
Executive Director, Main Street Growth

Dee Hodges
President, Maryland Taxpayers Association (MD)

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

Honorable Jeff Kropf (Ret)
Representative, Oregon U.S. House of Representatives
Executive Director, Oregon Capitol Watch

Paul Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation (New Mexico)

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Darcie Johnston
Founder, Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom

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Ramy Majouji

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Obama's FCC Has a Long History of Regulatory Overreach

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Posted by Daniel Savickas on Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, 9:52 AM PERMALINK

Federal Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform, Katie McAuliffe, recently published an op-ed in The Hill detailing the FCC’s illustrious past of interfering in the lives of everyday Americans. This comes in light of the FCC’s Title II regulations, more commonly known as “Net Neutrality”, being upheld by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. She elaborates:

“It doesn’t take a genius to see what the FCC is doing.  It is piling up obstacles to private investment in private networks, putting us on a glidepath to a taxpayer-funded and government-owned telecommunications and Internet structure that looks like a cross between a Yugoslavian car factory and a Soviet-era milk distribution scheme.”

The full article can be found here.

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Justin Sloan

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