Adam Radman

How the Taxpayer Protection Pledge Enables True Tax Reform

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Posted by Adam Radman on Thursday, October 16th, 2014, 11:51 AM PERMALINK


During ATR president Grover Norquist’s inaugural podcast, he discusses the history of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and why it has been such a powerful tool in protecting taxpayers from tax hikes and facilitating real tax reform on the state and federal level. 

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U.S. Senate Candidate Ed Gillespie on Taxes


Posted by Adam Radman on Monday, October 13th, 2014, 10:17 PM PERMALINK


Republican candidate Ed Gillespie ​did not sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Gillespie informed ATR that he has a policy against signing pledges. However, he did make a firm public commitment to the taxpayers of Virginia that he would oppose higher taxes.

The following statement by Ed Gillespie makes that abundantly clear:

Raising taxes on American families and businesses that are already too high would only impede economic growth and make the problem worse. We do not have deficits because taxes aren’t high enough, we have deficits because Federal spending is out of control and our economy is not creating enough jobs. I promise my fellow Virginians I will fight and vote against any efforts to increase marginal income tax rates on individuals and businesses, and oppose any net reduction or elimination of tax deductions and credits unless they are matched by equal reductions in tax rates. Growing our economy and getting spending under control are the keys to resolving our burgeoning federal debt, not further adding to the tax burden on American families and businesses.

ATR displayed Gillespie in the database as having written a letter to the taxpayers of Virginia. We did not display a copy of a Pledge, because he did not sign one.

Sen. Warner, on the other hand, voted to impose 20 different taxes on Virginians when he voted for Obamacare. He has voted for all the tax hikes Harry Reid told him to.

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Sen. Mark Udall Wants to Raise Taxes on Colorado Families

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Posted by Adam Radman on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, 3:53 PM PERMALINK


Rep. Cory Gardner and Sen. Mark Udall are locked in one of the most highly contested senate races in the country. According to the Real Clear Politics Average, Gardner leads Udall by less than one percentage point. While the polls couldn’t be closer, their positions on taxes are miles apart.

During yesterday’s debate, the moderator asked Sen. Udall to respond to Rep. Cory Gardner’s comments on taxes. Whereas Gardner said he didn’t believe higher taxes were necessary to reform the tax code, Udall came out in support of the Simpson-Bowles commission:

You all know, and I’ve worked with you and many of you in this room that I’ve been a longtime proponent of the Simpson-Bowles proposal…

This is the typical response one expects of a Senator who votes with President Obama 96% of the time. Not only is the Simpson-Bowles proposal a terrible idea, it has an explicit revenue target of 21 percent of GDP. Historically, tax revenues have averaged 18% of the economy (GDP). What Simpson-Bowles wants to achieve is a federal tax burden hitherto unheard-of in American history, and keep it there forever. To get an idea of the tax hike’s size, raising tax revenue by 1% would equate to a roughly $180 billion tax hike in the first year. 

Let’s not forget, Sen. Udall already voted for a trillion dollars in higher taxes with Obamacare. President Obama’s “signature” piece of legislation contains 20 new or higher taxes; including 5 that specifically target the middle class:

1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax

3. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax

5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning

Below is a transcript of Rep. Gardner’s response to the question of higher taxes. His response is the appropriate and classic pro-taxpayer response. The government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. There is no reason to raise taxes:

Moderator: One of the issues that you’ll have to deal with in the next Congress, Congressman Gardner, is taxes. The business community is of course concerned about that issue. But in 2009, you also signed Grover Norquist’s no tax increase pledge. While you have advocated for tax reform, would you oppose any tax reform deal that includes a dime of a net revenue increase from taxes?

Gardner: I don’t think increasing taxes is the answer. I think the federal government has plenty of money. We ought to focus on ways that we can actually reduce spending, make the federal government balance its own books, make sure the government is spending its money wisely the way it should be doing, before it turns around and asks the people of Colorado for one more dime of their hard earned dollars.

Look, if you just look at the bill that I introduced on wasteful spending, over two hundred billion dollars could be saved simply because we eliminated duplicative and overlapping programs. I support a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. We must make sure that we are reducing spending, reforming taxes. We have to reform taxes; we have to make sure that small businesses are able to keep more of their own dollars in their own pockets to invest into job creation.

That’s why I support comprehensive tax reform. That’s why I believe that we can allow Coloradans to invest more money into their own ideas and their own families if they’re allowed to keep that money. Now, Senator Udall has voted for the largest estate tax increase in the history of our country, he’s voted for higher taxes time and time again. He had a balanced budget amendment that exempted a great degree of spending.  He likes to call himself a fiscal hawk, but Senator Udall I think you plucked the fiscal hawk when you voted for the stimulus bill.

Photo Credit: 
Jeffrey Beall

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Like the Walking Dead, DSCC’s Bogus Claims about The Taxpayer Protection Pledge Won’t Die

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Posted by Adam Radman on Tuesday, September 30th, 2014, 2:50 PM PERMALINK


Iowa voters must be wondering if they are experiencing a case of déjà vu as the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee has revived a completely phony line of attack against GOP senate candidate Joni Ernst for making a written commitment to the people of Iowa to oppose tax hikes.

The claims in the TV ad have been rehashed every election cycle since 2010 and fact-checkers such as the Associated Press, Factcheck.org, and Politifact have all rated the claims FALSE.

The most recent fact check came August 5 when Politifact reviewed identical claims made by Leftwing Billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate SuperPac and found them to be false:

Even though the ad is new, this claim -- that a person who signs the Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge is in favor of tax breaks that encourage outsourcing -- is not…

Ernst signed the Taxpayer Protection pledge, a promise promoted by Americans for Tax Reform, which is a broad vow to oppose all tax increases. It does not specify protecting tax loopholes for companies that have employees overseas.

We rate this claim False.

Factcheck.org had this to say in 2010 about the same attack used against a candidate four years ago, in a previous election cycle:

But we find the ad to be false. The pledge only protects corporations from an increase in taxation overall. It explicitly allows elimination of any specific tax deduction or credit if matched dollar-for-dollar by an overall cut in rates. And it says nothing about jobs.

The fact check continues:

 To characterize his opposition to raising taxes as protecting tax breaks that send jobs abroad is wrong. Any tax benefit can be eliminated and offset by a rate cut or by other benefits without raising taxes overall, and without violating the terms of that pledge. This attack ad is false.

Politifact came to the same conclusion as Factcheck.org in a separate race in 2010:

But the fact that someone signed the pledge doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to closing loopholes for off-shore companies.

Our friends at FactCheck.org have been knocking down this claim since April, when the DCCC ran a TV ad against a Republican House candidate in Hawaii. They recently debunked the same claim in an ad in the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Here’s the problem: The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.

[The attack is] a huge leap of logic and it doesn’t prove Hurt supports the offshore loopholes. So we find the claim False.

It’s sad that the DSCC’s best line of attack against Ernst is to channel their inner-George Romero and once again resurrect this patently false monster.

Photo Credit: 
Med PhotoBlog

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Rep. Ted Yoho Leaves the Door Open to Higher Taxes

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Posted by Adam Radman on Wednesday, August 20th, 2014, 9:15 AM PERMALINK


Today, Americans for Tax Reform calls on Rep. Ted Yoho (FL-03) to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written commitment to his constituents to oppose higher taxes. It’s time for Yoho to prove his commitment to defending taxpayers and standing up to special-interests in Washington, D.C. A refusal to sign the Pledge would signify to voters Yoho’s willingness to leave the door open to higher taxes on Floridians and their families.

Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing. With a less than conservative voting history and questionable remarks in his past, taxpayers deserve to know where Rep. Ted Yoho really stands on taxes. 

Yoho defeated former Rep. Cliff Stearns in 2012 running as an outsider, yet his ratings with several prominent conservative groups leave much to be desired. In fact, Rep. Stearns has a better lifetime rating with Freedomworks (88%-81%) and the Club for Growth (87%-76%). So far, Yoho’s actions don’t match his rhetoric. 

During an interview with the Florida Times Union, Yoho also went on record suggesting tax hikes may need to be part of a Social Security solution:

To answer your question: you increase the age, and they have been doing that.  Ahhh…probably put people on a decreased benefit…um.. means testing, and some point, taxes, if we are going to stay on the current system, may have to go up on that. Um…there’s the cap on taxable income of about $119,000 ummm … I’m talking about me personally, if that went away, I wouldn’t mind paying that…

There is only one candidate in the race willing to make a firm, written commitment to oppose higher taxes; his name is Jake Rush.

Photo Credit: 
Gage Skidmore

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Tom Steyer Cheated by His Consultants Who Sold Him a Plagiarized (and false) Attack Ad on Joni Ernst

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Posted by John Kartch, Adam Radman on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 12:49 PM PERMALINK


Left wing San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has been ill-used by consultants getting rich off his $100 million in campaign spending. The consultants have simply recycled and plagiarized ads from 2010 campaigns that they didn’t tell Steyer had already been debunked.  As shown by a newly launched false attack ad against Joni Ernst, Steyer is being cheated.

Ernst has made a written commitment to the people of Iowa to oppose tax hikes. The Pledge prevents politicians from raising taxes.

It seems Steyer’s consultants have stooped to rehashing provably false lines of attack against candidates who have sworn off higher taxes. Steyer’s ad makes a false claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by nonpartisan fact checking organizations:

Factcheck.org had this to say in 2010 about the same attack used against a candidate four years ago, in a previous election cycle:

But we find the ad to be false. The pledge only protects corporations from an increase in taxation overall. It explicitly allows elimination of any specific tax deduction or credit if matched dollar-for-dollar by an overall cut in rates. And it says nothing about jobs.

The fact check continues:

 To characterize his opposition to raising taxes as protecting tax breaks that send jobs abroad is wrong. Any tax benefit can be eliminated and offset by a rate cut or by other benefits without raising taxes overall, and without violating the terms of that pledge. This attack ad is false.

Politifact came to the same conclusion as Factcheck.org in a separate race in 2010:

But the fact that someone signed the pledge doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to closing loopholes for off-shore companies.

Our friends at FactCheck.org have been knocking down this claim since April, when the DCCC ran a TV ad against a Republican House candidate in Hawaii. They recently debunked the same claim in an ad in the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Here’s the problem: The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.

[The attack is] a huge leap of logic and it doesn’t prove Hurt supports the offshore loopholes. So we find the claim False.

“Tom Steyer needs to find honest and original consultants,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The plagiarized attack ads he’s running have already been proven false by several fact checkers four years ago, in 2010. Rather than attacking Joni Ernst, he should be praising her for her principled stand against higher taxes. Taxpayers in Iowa are looking for someone to stand up to the special interests in Washington and she is exactly the candidate to do that. Steyer deserves a refund from those who cheated him.”

Photo Credit: 
Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Green

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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)

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Rep. Paul Ryan Tees off on IRS Commissioner Over Lerner’s Lost Emails


Posted by Adam Radman on Thursday, June 26th, 2014, 2:44 PM PERMALINK


In a recent hearing on the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative and free-market groups, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) ripped into IRS commissioner John Koskinen after the agency admitted it lost 2 years’ worth of emails from Lois Lerner. The agency had previously agreed to turn over all emails related to the investigation.

Lerner’s computer conveniently crashed ten days after Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich) first requested information related to the scandal. Lerner reportedly asked the IT department to recover the data from her computer, but they were unable to do so.

The Daily Caller reported that the inability of the IRS to produce Lerner's emails appears to violate federal laws, as they are required to keep records of all emails and print out hard copies as a backup. In fact, the U.S. Archivist admitted to Congress during a House Oversight and Government Reform hearing that the IRS “did not follow the law” when it failed to report the lost Lerner emails. However, he did not say they broke the law.

If you have a moment, it is definitely worth your time to watch Rep. Ryan's questioning of Commissioner Koskinen. As Rep. Ryan says:

You are the Internal Revenue Service. You can reach into the lives of hardworking taxpayers and with a phone call, email, or a letter; you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang on to seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited, and you can’t keep six months worth of employees’ emails?

What do you think? Is it too much to ask the IRS to hold on to their records for as long as taxpayers are required to keep theirs?

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ATR Releases 2014 List of Federal Pledge Signers Ahead of Primaries in CO, MD, NY, and OK

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Posted by John Beattie McEwan, Adam Radman on Monday, June 23rd, 2014, 2:02 PM PERMALINK


With the primary elections of several states slated to take place Tuesday, Americans for Tax Reform has released an updated list of elected officials and challengers for congressional office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for the states of Colorado, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. ATR strongly encourages taxpayers to consider those who have made this commitment when they vote on June 24. The list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and will be on the ballot Tuesday can be found in the following links:

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ATR Releases 2014 List of Federal Pledge Signers in IA-03 Ahead of the June 21 GOP Convention

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Posted by John Beattie McEwan, Adam Radman on Friday, June 20th, 2014, 10:30 AM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform released an updated list of US Congressional candidates in IA-03 who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to never raise their taxes. The list of candidates who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is as follows:

Challengers

  • Rob Cramer (IA-03)
  • Matt Schultz (IA-03)*
  • Monte Shaw (IA-03)
  • David Young (IA-03)
  • Brad Zaun (IA-03)
     

*Matt Schultz signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge as Secretary of State

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