Americans for Tax Reform

Missouri HB 2203 Infringes on Free Speech Rights

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, April 11th, 2016, 2:54 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to Missouri legislators regarding HB 2203:

"On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Missouri, I write today to urge you to reject HB 2203. As amended by Sen. Kurt Schaefer, this legislation will have a chilling effect on free speech by restricting the ability of charitable organizations, social welfare organizations, and individuals to engage in advocacy issues within and outside of the Show-Me State.

Under Sen. Schaefer’s bill, all 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) groups that are run by a candidate, a candidate’s spouse, or those who are employed by or have a contract with the candidate must disclose their donors even if they do not operate within the state. Campaign finance 'reformers,' like Sen. Schaefer, hide behind the notion that mandatory disclosure of donors to political causes is vital to transparency in the election process. While they may value transparency, they are undermining political plurality.

These same laws are used to intimidate and harass individuals for their political views. As a result, the amount of people choosing to exercise their rights in the name of political speech are bound to diminish, as businesspeople will have to choose between their wellbeing and their right to express themselves. 

Sen. Schaefer’s effort to remove existing free speech protections by requiring all non-profits to disclose donors even if they do not operate within the state would erode the rights of your constituents and those that reside outside your state as well.  The First Amendment is a sacred pillar of American exceptionalism that has only been curtailed in extreme circumstances. Even the United States Supreme Court has shown deference to this fundamental right. For example, in the 1958 Supreme Court case of NAACP v. Alabama the court put a stop to this type of arduous statutory restriction on free speech and free association. At the time, the Court’s decision to provide for 'immunity from state scrutiny' for organizations like the NAACP safeguarded an important protection on First Amendment rights by protecting members of organizations from intimidation and harassment. In the 2010 case, Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court further restored free-speech rights for non-profit organizations as well.

If enacted, this legislation will fly in the face of the Supreme Court precedent and erode centuries old constitutional rights. I urge you to stand up for the rights of your constituents and all Americans by voting no on this onerous legislation."

Photo Credit: 
Jimmy Emerson, DVM

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ATR Releases List of 2016 Ohio State Pledge Signers

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016, 4:41 PM PERMALINK


As today is the primary election in Ohio, Americans for Tax Reform has released an updated list of incumbents and challengers for the Ohio state legislative office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. ATR urges taxpayers to consider those who have made this commitment, as they vote today. Below is the list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Pledge:

Incumbents:

  • David Yost (State Auditor)
  • Shannon Jones (S-7)
  • Bob Peterson (S-17)
  • Andrew Brenner (H-67)
  • Thomas Brinkman Jr (H-27)
  • Mike Dovilla (H-7)
  • Anne Gonzales (H-19)
  • Cheryl Grossman (H-23)
  • David Hall (H-70)
  • Bill Hayes (H-72)
  • Ron Hood (H-78)
  • Ron Maag (H-62)
  • Jeff McClain (H-87)
  • Kristina Roegner (H-37)
  • Clifford Rosenberger (H-91)
  • Marilyn Slaby (H-38)
  • Andy Thompson (H-95)
  • Ron Young (H-63)

 

Candidates:

  • John Adams (S-12)
  • Joseph Ebbing (S-4)
  • Eric Gurr (S-4)
  • Matt Huffman (S-12)
  • Jeremiah York (S-4)
  • Bill Dean (H-74)
  • Ron Ferguson (H-96)
  • Patricia Gacoyne-Telischak (H-15)
  • Wesley Goodman (H-87)
  • Candice Keller (H-53)
  • Matt Lynch (H-76)
  • Kevin Rettig (H-83)
Photo Credit: 
Jim Bowen

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Norquist: Hillary’s Attack on Guns and Fracking Will Cost Her the Election

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, March 7th, 2016, 2:25 PM PERMALINK


In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk on the Street today, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist made the case that Hillary Clinton’s attacks on guns and fracking will cause her to lose the general election.

Norquist said:

“Whoever is the Republican nominee is up against Hillary Clinton who I think lost the election in the debate last night with two simple sentences:

The first was that under her new rules, fracking would exist almost nowhere because of the rules she wants to put in. Democrats used to be able to insult the energy industry because they lived in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Alaska – they don’t vote Democrat. But she declared war on Pennsylvania and Ohio with that statement. That’s not the way to win the election- that’s how you lose it.”

Norquist was referring to Clinton’s comment in Sunday’s Democrat debate where she said, "So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place."

Norquist continued:

“The other was her comment on guns. Hillary Clinton is old enough that she doesn’t know that since she got involved in politics, 13 million Americans now have active concealed carry permits -- five and a half percent of the adult population. She announced it was her idea to reduce the number of people who have gun. Not ‘bad people,’ she said last night ‘PEOPLE’ who have guns. There is a voting block of five percent of the electorate this did not exist 20 years ago.”

While Clinton has always been terrible on the gun issue, her anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment statement in Sunday’s debate was broad and sweeping: “I think we have to try everything that works to try to limit the numbers of people and the kinds of people who are given access to firearms.”

Americans for Tax Reform has pointed out Hillary’s support of a new national 25% sales tax on guns.

Norquist concluded:

“The reason they’re important is that Hillary doesn’t understand that attacking the energy industry is no longer attacking a handful of Republican states. They’ve already lost West Virginia because of this and now they’re going to lose Pennsylvania and Ohio. You can’t win the presidency without Pennsylvania and Ohio and those states die if you take away fracking as she announced last night she was going to. You can’t declare war on five and a half percent of Americans who have concealed carry permits and expect to win an election. That’s a new voting group.”

Photo Credit: 
JAY WESTCOTT/POLITICO

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

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


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

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

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

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

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Pete Souza [Public domain],

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Virginia Gov. McAuliffe Refuses to Recognize Ronald Reagan Day

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


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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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


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

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

 

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

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

Alabama- Robert Bentley (R)

Arizona- Doug Ducey (R)

Arkansas- Asa Hutchinson (R)

California- Jerry Brown (D)

Colorado- John Hickenlooper (D)

Florida- Rick Scott (R)

Georgia-Nathan Deal (R)

Idaho- Butch Otter (R)

Illinois- Bruce Rauner (R)

Indiana- Mike Pence (R)

Iowa- Terry Branstad (R)

Kansas- Sam Brownback (R)

Kentucky- Matt Bevin (R)

Maine- Paul LePage (R)

Maryland- Larry Hogan (R)

Massachusetts- Charlie Baker (R)

Michigan- Rick Snyder (R)

Mississippi- Phil Byant (R)

Nebraska- Pete Ricketts (R)

Nevada- Brian Sandoval (R)

New Jersey- Chris Christie (R)

New Mexico- Susana Martinez (R)

North Carolina- Pat McCrory (R)

North Dakota- Jack Dalrymple (R)

Ohio- John Kasich (R)

Oklahoma- Mary Fallin (R)

South Carolina- Nikki Haley (R)

South Dakota- Dennis Daugaard (R)

Tennessee- Bill Haslam (R)

Texas- Greg Abbott (R)

Utah- Gary Herbert (R)

Vermont- Peter Shumlin (D)

West Virginia- Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

Wisconsin- Scott Walker (R)

Wyoming- Matt Mead (R)

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

Alaska- Bill Walker (I)

Connecticut- Dannel Malloy (D)

Delaware-Jack Markell (D)

Hawaii- David Ige (D)

Louisiana- John Bel Edwards (D)

Minnesota- Mark Dayton (D)

Missouri- Jay Nixon (D)

Montana- Steve Bullock (D)

New Hampshire- Maggie Hassan (D)*

New York- Andrew Cuomo (D)

Oregon- Kate Brown (D) 

Pennsylvania- Tom Wolf (D)

Rhode Island- Gina Raimondo (D)

Virginia- Terry McAuliffe (D)

Washington- Jay Inslee (D)

 

*Still awaiting a proclamation from the Governor.

 

 

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Meanwhile, in the States...

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, January 8th, 2016, 4:26 PM PERMALINK


While there is gridlock on the tax front in Washington, there are many developments in state capitals across the country that affect taxpayers. 

Below is a roundup of state tax activity from this past week:

Florida: Lawmakers looking to make Gov. Rick Scott’s business tax cuts viable. Florida Chamber of Commerce demands an end to business rent tax.

Idaho: Lawmakers seek to avoid tax hike for infrastructure repairs.

Illinois: State budget impasse continues. Tax refunds will be delayed due to anti-fraud and identity theft efforts.

Indiana: Fantasy sports companies facing New York lawsuits invited to move headquarters to Indiana. 

Iowa: Gov. Terry Branstad proposes diverting sales tax revenue from schools to water quality projects.

Kansas: Education is likely to be at the center of state budget discussions. 

Kentucky: Gov. Matt Bevin cuts $112.5 million from transportation budget.

Maine: Residents are paying a lower income tax, higher sales tax in the new year. 

Maryland: Gov. Larry Hogan aims to allocate $700 million for demolishing, redeveloping vacant Baltimore structures.

Minnesota: Majority of cities propose property tax increases.

Mississippi: Lawmakers consider phasing out franchise tax while increasing other taxes. 

Missouri:  In light of flooding, state will prioritize a transportation bill, while considering a gas tax hike. 

Ohio: Judge dismisses state lawsuit over health care law tax. A tax agency lost tax return data for 50,000 Ohioans.

Oklahoma: Residents in 16 counties receive ‘accidental’ tax breaks. Debt rating service predicts poor outlook for the state.

Pennsylvania: An unpopular business tax has expired with the new year. Pennsylvania borrows $2 billion to pay bills amidst budget impasse.

Rhode Island: Truckers may avoid Rhode Island if it implements a new toll.

South Dakota: Voters overwhelmingly reject wheel tax. Legislature will consider a new method of assessing agricultural property for tax purposes. 

Tennessee: State seeks alternatives to gas tax increase.

Utah: Proposed bill would reward veterans with tax exemption. Residents in 13 school districts paid higher property taxes, schools have yet to receive the revenue.

Virginia: Gov.’s McAuliffe’s proposed budget would surpass record-breaking $100 billion. 

West Virginia: Numerous West Virginia cities are adding a municipal sales tax.

Wisconsin: County sales tax on transportation bill receives bipartisan support. 

 

Photo Credit: 
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Ronald Reagan Dedications in the U.S. and Abroad

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015, 12:24 PM PERMALINK


The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, started in 1997 by Grover Norquist, is committed to preserving the legacy of one of America’s greatest presidents. Since its inception, this project has grown considerably through official proclamations, domestic dedications, and international tributes.

This year was an exceptional year for the number of Governors who proclaimed Reagan Day in their respective states. The number of Governors commemorating Reagan’s birthday (Feb. 6) by issuing official proclamations is now 35.

This past year the number of domestic dedications to Ronald Regan increased to 109 in over 30 states. The most dedications reside in Illinois: Reagan’s birthplace and childhood home, and California: where his auspicious acting and subsequent political career found its start.

Additionally, Ronald Reagan is celebrated around the world with 17 dedications in nine countries. Two nations that have shown considerable respect and honor to Reagan’s legacy are: Poland, with six dedications in several different cities, and Hungary which has a 7 foot bronze statue of the “Gipper” in downtown Budapest.

To see the full list of dedications: click here.

Photo Credit: 
US National Archives

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Grover Norquist Endorses Susan Stimpson in Bid to Defeat Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015, 10:44 AM PERMALINK


Today, ATR president Grover Norquist released a statement endorsing Susan Stimpson in her bid to defeat Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell in House District 28.  

"In signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Susan Stimpson has demonstrated that she understands the problems of hardworking taxpayers in Virginia. Her written commitment to Virginia voters helps differentiate her candidacy from that of her opponent, Speaker Bill Howell."

Click here to view Susan Stimpson's Pledge to Virginia voters. 

"Speaker Howell is a serial tax-hiker. Ever since he took the helm as the top ranking Republican in Richmond in 2003, Howell has been a major force behind every major tax hike in Virginia.

Under Democrat Governor Mark Warner in 2004, Bill Howell could have prevented a $615 million tax hike. Instead, he convinced Republicans who opposed the tax to take a hike, allowing the vote to proceed and eventually be signed into law."

As PolitiFact Virginia noted, "The bill survived a hostile House committee because Howell persuaded four conservative allies to skip the vote. "

Norquist continued, "The Speaker was even more involved in tax hikes in 2007 under Democrat Governor Tim Kaine. Howell sponsored legislation that raised taxes and fees by $500 million and authorized regional tax hikes amounting to more than $600 million annually. The Supreme Court struck down the regional tax hikes as unconstitutional. 

Speaker Howell’s involvement in both of these tax hikes allowed Kaine and Warner to run for U.S. Senate campaigning as moderates who could work across the aisle with Republicans. Thanks largely to Bill Howell, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are now U.S. Senators.

Bill Howell wasn’t done. In 2013, Howell sponsored the largest tax hike in Virginia history. He raised the sales tax, property taxes, hotel taxes, hybrid vehicle taxes, and the gas tax all for special spending projects like light rail in Northern Virginia."

The 2013 vote on Speaker Howell's transportation tax hike, House Bill 2313, cost two powerful 20-year incumbents their seats that year. Americans for Tax Reform was proud to support Dave LaRock in particular, in his primary challenge to House Transportation Chair Joe May. 

Norquist concluded, "Howell embodies the type of politician who raises taxes instead of reforming government. For more than a decade, he has caved to special interests by raising taxes instead of using a Republican majority to benefit Virginia taxpayers and small businesses with a pro-growth and limited government agenda.

That is why I am proud to endorse Susan Stimpson in her bid to defeat Bill Howell in Virginia House District 28."

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ATR Does Not Support Murphy-Corker Gas Tax Plan

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014, 2:13 PM PERMALINK


ATR has not endorsed any legislation dealing with the present highway bill in the House or Senate.

ATR does not endorse the outline of a proposal by Senators Murphy and Corker today. 

The tax increases in that proposal are certain and permanent, and there is a vague and uncertain discussion of offsetting tax reductions.

ATR has been clear that the problem with the highway trust fund and the present gas tax is that the Davis-Bacon Act drives up the cost of construction by 25 percent or more and much of the gas tax money paid by drivers of cars and trucks is siphoned off to pay for mass transit.

The highway trust fund does not have an under-taxing problem.  It has an overspending problem. There is no good reason to raise the gas tax.

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