Americans for Tax Reform

For Pennsylvania Taxpayers, the Choice is Clear

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Saturday, October 16th, 2010, 5:15 PM PERMALINK

As the two Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates prepare for their second debate in Pittsburgh this evening, Democrat Dan Onorato and his supporters continue to issue misinformation and false claims that his opponent, Republican Tom Corbett, has contradicted his Pledge to oppose and veto any and all efforts to raise taxes.

However, they fact remains that Tom Corbett has done or said nothing to break or contradict his important pledge to not raise taxes on Pennsylvanians. Furthermore, Tom Corbett’s campaign has been unequivocal in response to Onorato’s false and misleading attacks. The campaign reiterated the following in a press release just yesterday: it a tax, fee or contribution – Tom Corbett is not going to raise it as the next Governor of Pennsylvania. 

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Tom Corbett’s principled commitment to represent and look out for Pennsylvania taxpayers, as opposed to the tenured bureaucrats and union bosses that have controlled Harrisburg for the past eight years.

Tom Corbett recognizes the only way to rein in unsustainable and out of control spending in Harrisburg is by taking higher taxes off the table and that raising taxes is the preferred solution of those who do not wish to actually govern. Standing in contrast is Dan Onorato, whose most significant legislative achievement is presiding over the largest tax increase in Allegheny County history. In fact, Dan Onorato is currently lobbying the legislature for higher energy taxes; this despite the fact that studies confirm that such a tax increase will reduce job-creating activity in the commonwealth, where unemployment nears double digits.

President Obama and congressional Democrats have raised taxes on net by more that $352 billion in the last 21 months. In light of this it’s imperative that the next governor not pile on with further job-killing tax increases at the state level. Tom Corbett is the only candidate in the race who has made clear that, if he is elected governor, Pennsylvanians wouldn’t have to worry about their already onerous tax burden rising any higher for the next four years. Standing in stark contrast is Dan Onorato’s agenda, which looks like Ed Rendell’s third term.

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Governors Who Have Left Higher Taxes on the Table By Not Signing the Pledge

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, October 5th, 2010, 9:30 AM PERMALINK


Bob Riley




Jan Brewer




Mike Beebe








Bill Ritter




M. Jodi Rell




Sonny Perdue




C.L. “Butch” Otter




Pat Quinn




Chet Culver




Mark Parkinson




John Baldacci




Martin O’Malley




Deval Patrick




Jennifer Granholm




Dave Heineman




John Lynch




Bill Richardson




David Paterson




Ted Strickland




Brad Henry




Ted Kulongonski




Ed Rendell




Donald Carcieri




Mike Rounds




Phil Bredesen




Jim Douglas




Jim Doyle




Dave Freudenthal


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What's the matter with Pennsylvania Republicans?

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, September 27th, 2010, 6:52 PM PERMALINK

In today's Daily Caller, Patrick Gleason, ATR's director of state affairs, highlights the current push by Republican Leadership in the Pennsylvania Senate to pass tax hikes and trial lawyer bonanzas just prior to a crucial election in which the GOP is looking to take back the State House and governor's mansion:

Republican candidates for federal and state office across the country are espousing low taxes, limited government and free-market principles as they seek to recapture the U.S. House of Representatives, flip more than a dozen state legislative chambers, and gain control of the majority of the nation’s governors’ mansions. Yet in the Pennsylvania Senate, the only state legislative chamber controlled by the GOP in the northeast, the Republican majority is busy mucking up the message that their partisan counterparts across the country are trying to send to voters heading into the home stretch of this crucial campaign season.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is one of the few state legislatures still in session at this point in the year. Lawmakers returned to the state capitol in Harrisburg this past week to pass a new tax on natural gas companies, the state’s most promising industry when it comes to job creation.

To read the full article, click here.

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Why Won't Sam Blakeslee Rule Out Higher Taxes in California

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, August 12th, 2010, 6:24 PM PERMALINK

With next Tuesday’s special election for the 15th district Senate seat just around the corner, Americans for Tax Reform continues to call on all candidates in the race to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Currently, Mark Hinkle is the only candidate in the race to have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and in doing so, is the only candidate to commit to opposing further tax increases on Golden State residents.

Most noticeably absent from the list of Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers is Sam Blakeslee. Currently, all Republicans in the state Senate have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Sam Blakeslee has been a Pledge signer during his tenure in the Assembly; however he has yet to commit to continuing the fight against higher taxes if elected to the Senate next Tuesday.

“It is quite odd that Sam Blakeslee refuses to take tax increases off the table in his bid to move to the state’s upper chamber. It’s one thing if you’re from a low-tax state like Texas or Wyoming, but if you can’t rule out higher taxes in a place like California – with a tax burden so high and tax climate so hostile that employers and families are fleeing the state in droves – where can you?” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.“You’re only as strong as your weakest link. Senate Republicans are currently standing strong in lockstep opposition to attempts to impose more job-killing tax increases on the California economy and are the only thing standing in the way of that happening. Having Blakeslee, who remains open to tax increases, join the caucus would add a dangerously weak link to the chain.

In addition to Meg Whitman and every Republican in the California Senate, nine sitting governors and nearly 1,100 state legislators across the country have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Additionally, 34 U.S. Senators and 174 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge.

“It’s no secret that Democrats in the California legislature want to continue to drive more businesses and taxpayers out of the state with further tax increases. The budget plan unveiled last week by Speaker John Perez and Senate President Darrell Steinberg entails billions of dollars in new taxes. In light of this, and the fact that Californians got hit with the largest state tax increase in U.S. history just last year, it’s troubling that only one candidate in the 15th district Senate race has committed to standing up for Golden State taxpayers and putting an end to business as usual in Sacramento,” added Norquist.“I applaud Mark Hinkle for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and urge all other candidates to join him in his commitment to restore fiscal sanity to California.”

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Obama's Tax Pledge -- Documentation

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010, 4:22 PM PERMALINK

“I can make a firm pledge.  Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.  Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

--Candidate Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2008

“No family making less than $250,000 will see their taxes increase.”  


“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime.  I repeat: not one single dime.”

--President Barack Obama, Feb. 24, 2009

“The statement didn’t come with caveats.” 

--Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, April 15, 2009, when asked if the pledge applies to healthcare

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California Senate Committee to Hold Hearing on Bag Ban Legislation

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, August 2nd, 2010, 12:08 PM PERMALINK

The following piece was originally published by the Flash Report, the preeminent source for the most significant political news in California:


Patrick Gleason, Americans for Tax Reform

August 2, 2010

The California Senate Appropriations Committee is set to hold a hearing today on Assembly Bill 1998, legislation that would ban all plastic and paper shopping bags statewide. Never mind the 880 pound gorilla in the room that is the state’s $20 billion dollar overspending problem – lawmakers in Sacramento prefer to spend time ramming through an ill-advised bag prohibition. 

If passed, plastic and paper bags would be prohibited at all grocery stores, convenience stores, and other retailers statewide. AB 1998 effectively levies a new tax that Golden State residents must pay on every trip to their neighborhood grocer. Californians who are not able to or forget to bring their own bags to the store would be required to purchase either a reusable bag at checkout or pay no less than a nickel for a recycled paper bag.

To continue reading, CLICK HERE

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The Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, June 28th, 2010, 2:11 AM PERMALINK

“This card is a tangible reminder that Obama has deliberately broken his central campaign promise not to raise any form of taxes on Americans earning less than $250,000. The last President to break his tax pledge – Bush 41 – served only one term.” – Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform

Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card

Back of the Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card

Please use the form below to get your Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card

You may have noticed that President Obama has broken his central campaign promise – a “firm pledge” that Americans making less than $250,000 would not see “any form of tax increase.” He first broke this pledge sixteen days into his presidency when he signed a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco. And Obamacare contains 21 tax increases – several of which violate his “firm pledge”.

To protect you from these tax hikes, Americans for Tax Reform presents the “Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card”. The card fits neatly in your wallet and contains a list of the tax hikes signed into law by President Obama that violate his tax pledge, as well as a few other taxes that have been threatened: a European-style Value-Added Tax, Cap and Trade taxes, and even a federal soda tax.

Fill out the form below to get your Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card. If you're interested in sending us a video on how you used the card, please click here.

How to use the card:

Step 1: Present the card to merchants, employers, and tax authorities.

Step 2: If challenged, pleasantly ask: “Are you calling President Obama a liar?”

Click here to find out of your member of Congress voted for these taxes

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

--Candidate Barack Obama, Sept. 12, 2008

“If your family earns less than $250,000 a year, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime.”

--President Barack Obama, Feb. 24, 2009

“The statement didn’t come with caveats.”

--Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, April 15, 2009, when asked if the pledge applies to healthcare 

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Use Your Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card for these Taxes

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, June 28th, 2010, 2:00 AM PERMALINK

[PDF Version]

TheTax on Indoor Tanning Services takes effect July 1, 2010:  This provision of Obamacare imposes a new 10 percent excise tax on Americans using indoor tanning salons.  The tax was tucked into the bill behind closed doors at the last minute, replacing the previous “Bo-Tax” – a proposed tax on plastic surgery.  The 30 million Americans who visit tanning facilities are getting a lesson in the petty, nanny-state nature of Obamacare – every time they walk through the door.  Not to mention the business owners and employees who are threatened by the tax.  (Page 373 of Manager’s amendment/$2.7 billion)

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” takes effect Jan. 1, 2011: Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).  (Page 1997/Sec. 9003/$5 billion)

TheSpecial Needs Kids Tax” takes effect Jan. 1, 2011:  This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit).  There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education.  Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year.  Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.  (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$14 billion)

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike takes effect Jan. 1, 2011: This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.  (Page 1998/Sec. 9004/$1.3 billion)

TheMedical Itemized Deductions Cap takes effect Jan. 1, 2013:  Currently, those facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction if the total cost if the expenses reduces the filer’s income by 7.5%.  This provision of Obamacare imposes a threshold of 10%.  This new tax will most adversely affect early retirees and the catastrophically ill.  (Page 2034/Sec. 9013/$15.2 billion)

The Obamacare Individual Mandate Excise Tax takes effect Jan. 1, 2014: Anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance must pay an income surtax according to the higher of the following (page 71 of manager’s amendment updates Reid bill): (Page 324/Sec. 1501)



2 People

3+ People


$95/1.0% AGI

$190/1.0% AGI

$285/1.0% AGI


$325/2.0% AGI

$650/2.0% AGI

$975/2.0% AGI


$695/2.5% AGI

$1390/2.0% AGI



The Obamacare Medical Prosthetics and Devices Tax took effect in January of 2010:

This Obamacare tax raises the price of all medical prosthetic devices, such as pacemakers and artificial limbs. Consumers of these devices will end up paying more for these life-saving items.  ($20 billion)

The Obama Tobacco Tax Hike took effect April 1, 2009

Obama first broke his tax pledge sixteen days into his presidency when he signed into law a 156 percent increase in the federal excise tax on tobacco.  At that time, Obama was rightly called out by Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press in a piece titled “Promises, Promises: Obama Tax Pledge Up in Smoke”  Use your Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card – or else be prepared to pony up an extra 62 cents per pack of cigarettes.

Potential Obama Tax Hike to Watch Out For:  A Federal Soda Tax

In an interview with Men's Health published in September of 2009, President Obama said that a tax on soda and sugar-laden beverages was "an idea that we should be exploring."  So, keep your Obama Tax Hike Exemption Card handy at all times!  With this President, you never know when the other shoe will drop!

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Cut the cigarette tax for the children

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, March 22nd, 2010, 9:49 AM PERMALINK

In the following Op-Ed published in yesterday's Washington Examiner, ATR director of state affairs Patrick Gleason explains why the DC City Council needs to cut the cigarette tax if it is serious about improving the health of children in DC public schools:  

When the D.C. City Council raised the cigarette tax by 50 cents, city officials claimed it would generate a windfall of additional tax revenue for government coffers. However, in a letter to Mayor Adrian Fenty last month, D.C. Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi informed him that the council's calculations were $15 million off.
New revenue projections released in February show cigarette tax revenue coming in below initial projections by more than 30 percent. Not only did the tax increase miss the projected revenue mark, it turns out the increase actually resulted in a loss of revenue for the District, coming in at approximately $7 million below pre-increase levels.
While the decline in revenue came much to the shock and chagrin of D.C. Council members, it comes as no surprise to those familiar with tobacco tax increases and their implications. The same thing happened when New Jersey raised its cigarette tax by 17.5 cents in 2007. That tax increase brought in $52 million less than Garden State lawmakers expected and $22 million less than was generated by the pre-increase rate.
Click Here for the full article.


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Study: Health Care Legislation Will Cost up to 700,000 Jobs by 2019

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, March 17th, 2010, 10:21 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform Foundation today released a study conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute on the job losses that will result from the passage of President Obama’s healthcare plan. 

The study uses standard practices to evaluate the job loss, but assumes more realistic policy outcomes (for example, the Medicare “doc fix” is assumed to be re-enacted by Congress every year).
From the Executive Summary:
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, has urged passage of the massive health reform plan moving through Congress as a way to create up to 400,000 jobs. Speaker Pelosi bases her claim on a report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) in which the Center estimates that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would create 250,000 to 400,000 jobs per year over 10 years. 
This estimate by CAP amounts to a hurried effort to add academic heft to the claim that national health care reform offers a collateral benefit in the form of an economic “stimulus.” It turns out, however, that its methodology, stripped of unsupportable claims about savings in health care costs, shows just the opposite of what CAP intended. PPACA is a job killer, not a job creator.
The result is a loss of between 119,000 and 698,000 jobs between enactment of the bill this year and 2019. A breakdown is below:
Agriculture, mining and construction
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
Wholesale trade
Retail trade
Transportation and communication
Transportation and warehousing
Financial Activities
Professional and business services
Educational services
Leisure and hospitality
Other services

Click here for a PDF of this press release

Click here for a printable PDF of the full study


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