Chris Buki

Mary Landrieu's Vote for Obamacare May Cost Louisiana 35,000 Jobs


Posted by Chris Buki on Wednesday, February 5th, 2014, 3:18 PM PERMALINK


Earlier this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report which shows that Obamacare may cost the economy the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs by 2024. That is a lot of lost income and economic growth for the nation. Today, ATR released analysis of the CBO report and Bureau of Labor Statistics data that breaks down the impact by state.

Louisiana, home to one of top 2014 battleground races for United States Senate, may lose 35,701 jobs over the next decade thanks to Obamacare. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Senator Landrieu defends casting the tie-breaking vote in support of this job-killing law that includes 20 different tax increases. As recently as December, Senator Landreiu said that if given the chance, she would vote for Obamacare again.

Representative Bill Cassidy is likely to face Landrieu in the general election. In stark contrast to Senator Landrieu, Rep. Cassidy, himself a medical doctor, has fought vigorously to repeal Obamacare at every chance possible.

Votes matter, and Mary Landrieu’s vote for Obamacare is likely to be the central issue of the 2014 Louisiana Senate race. For the full breakdown of Obamacare job losses by state, click here.

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ATR Supports Tax Cut Legislation in Missouri


Posted by Chris Buki on Thursday, January 30th, 2014, 1:48 PM PERMALINK


Grover Norquist, President of ATR, sent a letter to legislators in Missouri today voicing support for several pieces of legislation currently pending before the General Assembly. HB 1253 would reduce the corporate income tax rate over a five year period to 3.125%, compared to its current rate of 6.25%. HB 1295 would lower the individual income tax rate to 5%, from its current 6% rate, contingent on certain revenue targets being met. The text of the letter is as follows: 

       Dear Members of the Missouri General Assembly,

I write today in strong support of HB 1253 and HB 1295, pieces of legislation which would reduce the tax burden on hardworking Missourians. HB 1253 would gradually reduce the corporate tax rate over the next several years, whereas HB 1295 would reduce the individual income tax rate.  

Currently, Missouri assesses a 6.25% tax rate on corporations. HB 1253 would bring this rate down to 3.125% by 2018, representing a tax cut, when fully phased in, of $347 million. In addition, this legislation includes a 50% income tax deduction for business owners on pass through income. Therefore, business owners would see an individual income tax rate cut from 6% to 3% over five years. 

HB 1295 would reduce the individual income tax rate from 6% to 5% over a ten year period, contingent on increases in available state revenue. This would represent $698.6 million in tax relief not only for individuals, but for the thousands of small businesses, limited liability partnerships and S Corporations who file under the individual income tax. ATR would strongly advise combining these two pieces of legislation into one bill, so that lawmakers may pass a single, comprehensive tax relief package. 

To view a complete PDF copy of the letter, click here. 

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Oklahoma Set to Take Up Tax Cuts in 2014 Session


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, 9:53 AM PERMALINK


Legislators in Oklahoma are set to descend upon the state capitol in the beginning of February to gavel in the start of another legislative session in Oklahoma City. Already, however, there are several important pieces of legislation that have been filed which would reduce the tax burden on Oklahomans and allow them to keep more of their hard earned dollars. SB 1849 and HB 3291 would gradually lower the state’s individual income tax, eventually bringing it down to 4% by 2018 – keeping the state relatively competitive with the rate reductions in neighboring Kansas.

Currently, Oklahoma asses a levy of 5.25% on its citizens, and a reduction in this rate would lead to employees incurring greater take home pay, and businesses having more capitol to grow, expand and create jobs. Gov. Mary Fallin has indicated that she supports the idea of an income tax cut, and enacting such pro-growth changes to the tax code should be a ‘no brainer’ for legislators in the Sooner state.

A much smaller income tax cut passed last session was recently declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court due to the legislation not being single subject. The legislation contained an appropriations provision, funding the restoration of the State Capitol building. 

Changes to Oklahoma’s income tax are important in the context of competition amongst the states, as SB 1849’s sponsor, State Senator David Holt rightfully points out: “We find ourselves in an income-tax sandwich between Texas, which has no income tax, and Kansas, which has lowered its rate below ours.”

This assessment by Senator Holt is spot on. If Oklahoma wishes to remain competitive with her neighbors and continue to attract new businesses, it is important that legislators in the state continue to foster an environment which is conducive to economic growth and prosperity. It is no coincidence that in the past decade the states which do not levy an income tax at all experienced far greater growth in employment, GDP, and migration then those which still do.

SB 1849 and HB 3291 would move Oklahoma in the right direction and ensure that she remains economically relevant in an increasingly competitive region. 

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ATR Supports Legislation to Reduce Virginia's Corporate Income Tax


Posted by Chris Buki on Monday, January 20th, 2014, 2:53 PM PERMALINK


With the legislature back in session in Richmond, Delegate Ben Cline has introduced legislation (HB 1243) that would reduce the corporate income tax from 6% to 5%, effective Jan 1, 2015. Reducing the corporate income tax is not, in fact, a handout to greedy corporate fat cats, as those on the left often try to paint such efforts. After all, corporations are composed of people: those who the company employs, and those who are shareholders (401 K owners, IRA owners, pensioners, etc.) who own the company. It is these individuals who pay the corporate income tax. In fact, economists estimate that 60 cents out of every $1 taken for the corporate income tax is paid for in the form of lower wages, while the other 40 cents out of the dollar is paid for by lower returns to shareholders. A reduction in the state’s corporate income tax would mean more take home pay for workers and larger returns for shareholders.

Currently, Virginia holds a ranking of 26th in the Tax Foundation’s “Business Tax Climate Index”. A reduction in the corporate income tax would surely improve this score, and thus create a better climate for businesses to grow and create jobs. Furthermore, cutting the corporate income tax in Virginia is becoming increasingly important in the context of competition amongst the states. This past spring, Republicans in North Carolina General Assembly passed a historic tax reform package which includes a cut in the state’s corporate tax rate. The rate will be lowered to 5% by 2015, and if certain revenue targets are met, the rate could go as low as 3% by 2017. Thus, it is even more important that elected officials in Virginia work to cut the corporate income tax, so that the state remains an attractive place to start, grow, or relocate a business. HB 1243 is a simple and effective place to start and ATR urges all Virginia legislators to support it. 

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ATR Supports Effort to Eliminate the Income Tax in South Carolina


Posted by Chris Buki on Friday, January 17th, 2014, 12:02 PM PERMALINK


With the college football bowl season behind us, South Carolinians are turning their attention to other matters, such as the start of the 2014 session of the South Carolina state legislature. One of the most noteworthy bills for taxpayers to look at in this early stage in the session is (S. 901), legislation introduced by state senator Katrina Shealy that would gradually scale back the income tax over a 5 year period and eventually do away with it all together. ATR supports this legislation, which, if passed, would make South Carolina more competitive with her neighbors, and conducive to job-creation, investment, and economic growth.

The benefits of being a no income tax state are well known. In the past ten years, states without an income tax have experienced higher GDP growth, greater gains in employment, and increased migration in comparison with their counterparts who still impose an income tax. Currently, South Carolina is ranked by the Tax Foundation as imposing the 13th highest income tax burden in the nation and also ranked 37th out of 50 in terms of Business Tax Climate. Doing away with the income tax would make the state a far more attractive place to live, start a business and create jobs, to the betterment of all citizens.

If S. 901 is enacted, it would provide $560 million in tax relief in the first year alone. At a time when South Carolinians have seen 20 federal tax hikes imposed on them by the Obama administration, it is now more imperative than ever that legislators in Columbia work to enact pro-growth tax reform to counteract these job-killing policies coming out of Washington and boost the state economy. Recently, neighboring North Carolina enacted a pro-growth tax reform plan that is sure to increase their competitiveness not only in the region, but in the nation as a whole. By 2015, North Carolina will have one simple, flat income tax bracket of 5.75%, compared to South Carolina’s rate of 7% for any income over $14,250. If South Carolina wishes to remain competitive with her neighbors, eliminating the income tax would be an excellent step towards doing so. Governor Haley has indicated that she supports this legislation, and all state legislators should do the same.

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North Carolina's Tax Reform Benefits All Income Groups


Posted by Chris Buki on Friday, January 17th, 2014, 9:16 AM PERMALINK


The John Locke Foundation released a new report today highlighting how North Carolina’s tax reform package of 2013 will provide relief to taxpayers of all income levels.

The key findings of the report are as follows:

  • The average North Carolina family will see their tax burden reduced thanks to the 2013 tax reform act, no matter what tax bracket they fall into
  • In 2015, households earning less than $25,000 will save a total of $79 million and those earning less than $50,000 will save $147 million
  • Those of the lowest income bracket (earning around $12,500 or so) will see their taxes go down by about $135 in 2015

The John Locke Foundation Roy Cordato explains how the 2013 tax reform act isn’t the only tax relief provided by North Carolina Republicans:

"Much of today's political debate focuses solely on the latest tax reform legislation, as if lawmakers made their decisions about those reforms in a vacuum," Cordato said. "But that makes no sense. The tax reform law adopted in 2013 followed Republicans' important decision in 2011 to reject Democrats' efforts to keep a higher state sales tax rate in place. Taxpayers benefit greatly from both of these decisions from the Republican-led General Assembly."

By preventing Gov. Perdue and legislative Democrats’ attempt to maintain a higher sales tax, Senator Phil Berger, Speaker Thom Tilliis, and the rest of the Republican caucus in the NC Senate & House provide $350 million in tax relief to low and middle income households.

This new study by John Locke is important because it debunks the biggest canard being told by North Carolina Democrats, which is that the 2013 tax reform bill only benefits the rich. This new report lays waste to that falsehood. 

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Millions Left Vulnerable to Obamacare Cyber Attacks


Posted by Chris Buki on Thursday, January 16th, 2014, 1:26 PM PERMALINK


Things just got worse for those who managed to sign up for Obamacare via healthcare.gov. Reuters has revealed that the Obama administration’s officials failed to properly secure the glitch prone website, leaving it vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber experts quoted in the report have stated that the fixes they recommended to the government after the site went live on October 1st have yet to be repaired. This means that users’ personal information could be compromised or edited. One of the cyber experts quoted, Kevin Johnson, stated that the site is “fundamentally flawed in ways that make it dangerous to people who use it”. Johnson and several others are set to testify today about the grave security risks before the House Space, Science and Technology Committee.

While the above information is and should be alarming to citizens, it should also come as no surprise, given the Obama administration’s track record of distortion regarding the healthcare law over the past several years. Starting with “If you like your plan you can keep it”, which Politifact rated as the “Lie of the Year”, to creating fraudulent and exaggerated numbers of enrollees for Obamacare. We now know that not only is Obamacare bad medicine, but it is also hazardous for your personal financial security.

Americans for Tax Reform joined a broad coalition of conservative groups last week in sending a letter to the US House of Representatives applauding efforts to protect Americans from the cyber security risks associated with the healthcare exchanges. The efforts in question would require the Department of Health and Human Services to contact any citizen within two business days in the event that any of their personal information had been compromised through the faulty Obamacare website and the second measure would require the Health and Human Services Secretary to provide weekly updates to the American people on the enrollment numbers of Obamacare, in the interest of transparency.

To read the full report from Reuters, click here.

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ATR Announces Ohio Legislative Scorecard for 2014 Session


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, 4:05 PM PERMALINK


As Ohio legislators begin the 2014 legislative session, Americans for Tax Reform will be tracking and issuing “key votes” on important bills up for consideration. Voters in search of a legislator’s record on taxes, spending, and regulatory matters will be well equipped to judge elected officials on their records instead of their rhetoric.

The first factor considered on ATR’s 2014 Ohio Scorecard will be whether or not a legislator has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Pledge is a written commitment to voters to “oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

ATR offers the Pledge to all candidates for elective office. To date, fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge, including 22 in the State of Ohio. Additionally, 39 U.S. Senators and 219 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge.

“Ohio has taken some steps in the right direction on tax reform, but a lot of work still needs to be done. The 2014 legislative session is the perfect opportunity to put Ohio on the right track towards job growth and a competitive tax code,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“Our 2014 scorecard will track legislators’ willingness to put their name on and vote for legislation that begins to rein in state spending, cut taxes, and help small businesses thrive. Voters deserve easy access to a politician’s record on these issues and to know whether their legislative record matches their campaign rhetoric,” continued Norquist. 

[PDF of Press Release]

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ATR Announces Missouri Legislative Scorecard for 2014 Session


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, 4:03 PM PERMALINK


As Missouri legislators begin the 2014 legislative session, Americans for Tax Reform will be tracking and issuing “key votes” on important bills up for consideration. Voters in search of a legislator’s record on taxes, spending, and regulatory matters will be well equipped to judge elected officials on their records instead of their rhetoric.

The first factor considered on ATR’s 2014 Missouri Scorecard will be whether or not a legislator has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Pledge is a written commitment to voters to “oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

ATR offers the Pledge to all candidates for elective office. To date, fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge, including 29 in the State of Missouri. Additionally, 39 U.S. Senators and 219 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge.

“Last year, a few Republicans broke with the majority of their party and aided Do Nothing Democrats in preventing the House from overriding HB 253 – a step in the right direction for tax reform in Missouri. With neighboring states looking to reduce and reform their state tax codes, Missouri must continue to make a serious effort to do the same,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“Our 2014 scorecard will track legislators’ willingness to put their name on and vote for legislation that begins to rein in state spending, cut taxes, and help small businesses thrive. Voters deserve easy access to a politician’s record on these issues and to know whether their legislative record matches their campaign rhetoric,” continued Norquist. 

[PDF of Press Release]

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ATR Urges Tennessee Legislators to Repeal the Tax on Investment Income


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014, 2:29 PM PERMALINK


Today, as Tennessee lawmakers gaveled in for the state legislature’s 2014 session, Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, sent a letter to Volunteer state representatives and senators, urging them to support SB 1427, legislation introduced by Senator Mark Green that would gradually reduce the Hall Tax, the state’s six percent tax on investment income. The text of the letter is as follows: 

 

​Dear Members of the Tennessee Senate,

I write today in strong support of SB 1427, legislation introduced by Senator Mark Green. This legislation is a pro-growth reform that would draw down one of the few remaining items impeding Tennessee from reaching its full economic potential: the 6% tax assessed on investment income, known as the Hall Tax. The Hall Tax represents a form of double taxation that lawmakers should do away with during the 2014 session for a host of reasons.

Repealing the Hall Tax would provide significant tax relief to over 400,000 Tennesseans who, according to IRS data, reported receiving dividends totaling $2.2 billion in investment income in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available. The majority of these taxpayers are senior citizens who are living on fixed income. In fact, SB 1427 would mainly provide tax relief to middle and lower income citizens. According to IRS data, 56% of Tennessee taxpayers who reported receiving dividends were households earning less than $75,000 a year. 40% of the households that would receive a tax cut under SB 1427 are households that earn less than $50,000 per year.

Eliminating the Hall Tax is a simple step that you can take to make Tennessee more economically competitive and do so at little cost to the state. Drawing down the Hall Tax would not result in a significant loss of revenue to the state. Once fully phased in, this near repeal of the Hall Tax would cost the state just $157 million annually. To put this into perspective, that amount represents just 1.3% of Tennessee’s $11.8 billion general fund, and 0.47% of the state’s $33 billion in total outlays, both comparable to a rounding error. This small loss of revenue is basically a rounding error that can easily be offset with very modest spending restraint or economic growth.

The positive benefits of being a no income tax state are well known. States with no income tax have seen far higher economic growth and job growth in the past decade than those states which still impose an income tax. While Tennessee considers itself to be a no income tax state, the Hall Tax forces an asterisk to be put next to her name. SB 1427 would gradually phase out nearly all of this tax over a four year period, providing meaningful relief for Tennessee taxpayers.

States are working tirelessly to out-compete one another for jobs and investment. Neighboring North Carolina just enacted a massive income tax cut and lawmakers in Raleigh plan to come back and fully phase out their income tax in the coming years. Georgia lawmakers, too, have indicated an interest in phasing out their income tax and may very well take up tax reform that moves in that direction this year. Clearly, this is no time for Tennessee lawmakers to rest on their laurels.

Over the past several years, Tennesseans have seen 21 new or higher federal taxes imposed on them from Washington. In light of this, it is imperative now more than ever that the legislators in Nashville work to counteract these job killing policies. As such, I urge you to support SB 1427, and enact legislation that will cut taxes for a large number of your constituents and promote economic growth. Americans for Tax Reform will be educating your constituents as to how their representatives in the Senate vote on this important matter.

Onward,

Grover Norquist

 

To view a PDF copy of the letter, click here.

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