Americans for Tax Reform

How Will Obama's "Jobs" Speech Compare to Other Joint Sessions of Congress?

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, September 8th, 2011, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

Historically, Joint Sessions of Congress have been used by presidents to address profound political changes overseen by their administrations. With the exclusion of State of the Union Addresses, presidents have largely assembled both chambers to comment on foreign policy, or other remarkable domestic events. The static economy and dismal job growth that has endured throughout the Obama Administration provides little reason for the President to use a Joint Session of Congress as a façade for a campaign rally. The below list shows how past presidents have used Joint Sessions to address major American events.  

  • President Nixon
    September 9, 1971: Promise to present budget plans later*
    June 1, 1972: European trip report
  • President Ford
    October 8, 1974: Inflation and the Economy
    April 10, 1975: State of the World
  • President Carter
    April 20, 1977: Energy crisis and OPEC
    September 18, 1978: Announcing the Camp David Accords
    June 18, 1979: SALT II
  • President Reagan
    April 28, 1981: Post-Assassination Attempt Address
    April 27, 1983: Establishing the Reagan doctrine on Central American communism
    November 21, 1985: Reporting after the Geneva summit with the Soviet Union
  • President George Herbert Walker Bush
    September 11, 1990: Discussion of the Gulf War and Invasion of Kuwait
    March 6, 1991: Announcing the end of the Gulf War
  • President Clinton
    September 22, 1993: Unveiling of Hillarycare
  • President George W. Bush
    September 20, 2001: September 11th, Announcing the War on Terrorism
  • President Obama
    September 9, 2009: Obamacare

*Nixon’s first joint session speech is the notable exception that proves the rule. This address was composed of broad platitudes about forthcoming economic proposals; a rhetorical dodging of responsibility we have seen President Obama employ many times before.

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Time to play Big Speech BINGO!

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011, 12:51 PM PERMALINK

Back by popular demandto help you get through the “Jobs Speech” on Thursday night (7:00 p.m. Eastern), Americans for Tax Reform once again presents Obama BINGO!  Use the cards to check off terms and phrases likely to be used by President Obama.

We've prepared five different cards so that you may compete with your friends and family:

Obama BINGO Card #1

Obama BINGO Card #2

Obama BINGO Card #3

Obama BINGO Card #4

Obama BINGO Card #5

How to win: Horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or four corners.

Hash tag: #ObamaBingo

Good luck, and let us know how it goes! 

(Or for those of you in Louisiana, let us know how it "geauxs") 

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California Democrats Move to Extend "Temporary" Utility Tax

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011, 4:41 PM PERMALINK

Apparently the sixth highest state & local tax burden, 3rd highest state marginal income tax rate, highest sales tax in the nation, highest corporate tax rate in the west, second to worst business tax climate, and a structural government overspending problem isn't enough for California lawmakers, who, in the last week of the legislative session, are scurrying to round up the votes to extend a tax on every Californian's utility bill that is slated to expire at the end of this year.

AB 724 and SBx1 28, which would extend the "temporary" utility tax enacted in 1996 and known as the Public Goods Charge, amounts to a $3 billion plus tax increase on Golden State families and businesses over the next decade. Sacramento politicians think taxpayers should be willing to pay articificially increased utility bills, despite the fact that Californians already foot the bill for one of the most bloated state governments in the country and have electricity costs that are 50% higher than the national average. Worse, the money from this tax goes into a slush fund that is doled out to politically connected green boondoggles like Solyndra.

AB 724 and SBx1 28 require at 2/3rds majority vote to pass, so two Republican votes in each chamber will be required to enact this $400 million per year tax hike. Below is the letter that ATR president Grover Norquist sent to all members of the California legislature this morning:

Dear Members of the California Legislature,

I strongly urge you to oppose and vote against AB 724 and SBx1 28, which authorize the extension of a “temporary” utility tax that pilfers approximately $400 million from Golden State households every year.  The extension of the public goods charge (PGC) program would impose an extra and unnecessary burden on California taxpayers struggling to get by in this tough economy.

One fact about the public goods charge is undeniable; voting to extend it is a vote for higher taxes. For lawmakers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a vote in favor of AB 724 and SBx1 28 is a violation of your commitment to constituents to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

Just last week the grim news was received that there was no monthly net increase in American jobs for the first time since the 1940s. Yet in California, the reality is even gloomier when it comes to jobs, with unemployment hovering at 12%, over 1/3rd higher than the national average. Gov. Jerry Brown gave a speech on the need for job creation two weeks ago. One easy way for lawmakers to incentivize job creation would be to allow the PGC to expire, reducing the cost of living and doing business, thereby increasing job-creating capacity for employers, especially those in energy intensive industries.

The public goods charge was first put into place in 1996 in order to stimulate the production of energy from renewable (read: expensive) sources. Yet many additional renewable energy mandates, regulations, and programs have been implemented since the PGC program was first enacted. Simply put, the PGC program has become superfluous, redundant, and unneeded.

Californians worked from January 1st until August 18th this year just to pay for the cost of government. At 230 days, that’s well over half the year and far too heavy a burden. Voting against AB 724 and SBx1 28 will provide needed relief to overly-burdened Golden State taxpayers. On behalf of our California members, Americans for Tax Reform urges you to reject AB 724 and SBx1 28 in its entirety. The outdated utility tax should be left to expire, granting Californians relief that they direly need.


Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

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ATR Urges Opposition to AB 155

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, August 29th, 2011, 10:19 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter this morning to all members of the California legislature, urging their opposition to AB 155, legislation which seeks to prevent California voters from having a say on the job-killing online sales tax signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in June:


Dear Members of the California Legislature,

I strongly urge you to oppose the re-enactment of a tax on Internet and remote sales with the sole purpose of circumventing Californians’ ability to vote this tax down at the ballot box.  Assembly Bill 155, under a recently outlined plan, would repeal and then re-enact recently passed legislation that dissolved the physical presence standard for tax collection, attempting to force out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales tax.

For lawmakers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a vote in favor of this plan is a violation of your commitment to constituents to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

By dramatically altering the tax code in order to raise revenue, these remote sales tax proposals do constitute a tax increase. While “use taxes” are owed by consumers, “sales taxes” are owed by companies that may legally pass the liability onto consumers. Forcing sales tax onto out-of-state businesses establishes a new form of taxation, while simultaneously dissolving the physical nexus standard and trampling on Commerce Clause jurisprudence. Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Quill v. North Dakota, a business must have a physical presence in order for the state to have the authority to require it to comply with tax laws.

To make matters worse, this attempt to re-establish a remote sales tax with minor tweaks is being undertaken almost entirely to prevent Californians from voting on the tax. It enshrines the new tax into law without the ability for voters to overturn it. This legislation represents an egregious end-run around the democratic process and demonstrates complete disdain for the will of Golden State voters, particularly in light of recent ballot measures that shot down other tax increases and enacted taxpayer protections against tax changes originating in Sacramento.

Already, the new law (enacted under ABX1 28 in June) has negatively impacted in-state businesses without leveling the playing field for tax collection. Almost immediately and predictably, it caused 25,000 online advertisers in California to lose some or all of their business. Moving forward, the law hands excessive and vague authority to the Board of Equalization, opening the door for regulatory actions ripe for legal challenge.

The recently unveiled plan to ensure the taxation of remote sales is not only a tax increase, but an affront to the democratic process and the U.S. Constitution. We urge you to reject AB 155 with proposed amendments or other related vehicles. Instead, the legislature should simply repeal ABX1 28 in its entirety. If you have any questions, please contact Kelly William Cobb or Patrick Gleason at (202) 785-0266.


Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

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From "Astro Turf" to "Terrorists"?

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011, 12:42 PM PERMALINK

WASHINGTON, D.C.— As reported by POLITICO on Monday, Vice-President Joe Biden behind closed doors described tea party Republicans as having acted like “terrorists.”  Biden later told CBS News, “I did not use the terrorism word.”

In any case, the Obama administration has held the tea party movement in utter contempt since its inception, as shown by this timeline of White House statements dating from mid-April 2009:

Apr. 14, 2009:  Asked about the Tax Day “tea parties” being held the following day (attended by hundreds of thousands of people across the country) White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said: I don't know if the President is aware of the events.”

Apr. 19, 2009:  Asked about the April 15 tea parties on Face the Nation, Obama senior advisor David Axelrod said: “I think any time you have severe economic conditions there is always an element of disaffection that can mutate into something that's unhealthy”

Apr. 29, 2009:  Speaking at a town hall meeting in St. Louis, Obama directly addressed tea party attendees"Those of you who are watching certain news channels on which I'm not very popular, and you see folks waving tea bags around, let me just remind them that I am happy to have a serious conversation about how we are going to cut our health care costs down over the long term, how we are going to stabilize Social Security…But let's not play games and pretend that the reason [for the deficit] is because of the Recovery Act."

Aug. 4, 2009:  Asked by reporters about the growing concern expressed by town hall attendees, Gibbs said: I hope people will take a jaundiced eye to what is clearly the Astro Turf nature of so-called grassroots lobbying”.  Questioned further, Gibbs said:  “This is manufactured anger”

Sept. 13, 2009:  During an interview on Face the Nation, when asked what his message was to those at the previous day’s rallies, Axelrod said:  “My message to them is they’re wrong”

Americans for Tax Reform is a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases.  For more information or to arrange an interview please contact John Kartch at (202) 785-0266 or by email at


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ATR Statement on Washington Post Editorial

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, July 21st, 2011, 11:40 AM PERMALINK

To clarify concerns that may be raised by the Washington Post editorial today, Americans for Tax Reform issued the following statement:

ATR opposes all tax increases on the American people.  Any failure to extend or make permanent the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, in whole or in part, would clearly increase taxes on the American people.  In addition, the failure to extend the AMT patch would increase taxes.  The outlines of the plans are deliberately hazy, but it appears that both Obama’s Simpson-Bowles commission proposal and the Gang-of-Six proposal dramatically increase taxes on the American people.

It is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to trade temporary tax reductions for permanent tax hikes. 

The present conversations in Washington should focus totally and exclusively on reducing government overspending.  President Barack Obama has increased the annual federal budget by almost $1 trillion dollars.  ATR has not altered either its policy positions or opposition to all tax increases whatsoever in any debt negotiations.

Tax reform that reduces tax rates and broadens the tax base on a revenue neutral basis should be done separately and not in a rush under duress from parties hostile to the interests of taxpayers. 

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What should taxpayers think about the "Gang of Six" announcement today?

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 5:32 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform today released the following statement from Grover Norquist, president of the group:

“What should taxpayers think about the 'Gang of Six' announcement today?

The Gang of Six ‘plan’ is not written in legislative language.  It is an outline.  It punts many decisions to the Senate Finance Committee.  It deals in ranges rather than specifics.  When it is eventually written down in legislative language and every American can read it, taxpayers will then learn whether the ‘plan’ raises taxes or cuts taxes and seriously reduces spending or fails to mandate spending reductions.  It is a mistake to invest one’s hopes or fears while the ‘plan’ remains unclear and subject to change by a Senate Finance Committee selected by Democratic leader Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

One is reminded of the dangers of pronouncing oneself satisfied with a product before it comes clearly into focus.  Henry VIII was assured by French ambassador Charles de Marillac that Anne of Cleves was tall and slim, ‘of middling beauty, and of very assured and resolute countenance’. 

Best to wait until we can see up close what really is and isn’t there.

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Tell Legislators to Support Gov. Corbett's Effort to Balance the State Budget Without Tax Hikes

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, June 20th, 2011, 1:31 PM PERMALINK

With state budgets across the country swimming in red ink, Pennsylvania is poised to provide leadership by showing the rest of the country how to balance a budget without raising taxes.

Governor Tom Corbett has proposed a budget that ensures the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will do what families and employers across the Keystone State must do every day: live within its means.

Urge your representatives in Harrisburg to stand with Governor Corbett in his fight for fiscal responsibility and sanity by simply filling out the form below:

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Obama and Perdue: Tax-and-spenders of a feather flock together

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, June 14th, 2011, 4:11 PM PERMALINK

In today's Daily Caller, ATR's Patrick Gleason explains how President Obama's proposals hurt North Carolina businesses, and how NC Gov. Beverly Perdue has doubled down on the President's economically destructive policies at the state level:

On Monday, President Barack Obama went to Durham, North Carolina-based Cree, Inc., to do what he does best — give a speech. The president began his remarks, which focused on the importance of job creation and economic growth, by touting the fact that his host was a “small business that a group of N.C. State engineering students founded almost 25 years ago” and “is now a global company.”

Indeed, small businesses are the engine of economic growth, creating 64% of American jobs. Yet, the president’s rhetoric doesn’t match his policy proposals.

To continue reading, click here

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