Chris Buki

ATR Urges California State Senators to Oppose Billion Dollar Tax Hike


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, 3:52 PM PERMALINK


Grover Norquist, President of American for Tax Reform, sent a letter to State Senators in California today, weighing in on a piece of legislation, AB 1500, that would raise taxes by over a billion dollars a year in the already over-taxed and regulated state, and work as an incentive against job creation and investment in the Golden State. Among other things, Mr. Norquist stated: 

"It’s a fact that AB 1500 would amount to a more than $1 billion per year tax increase on employers that are vital to the state’s economy. In light of California’s already onerous tax burden, which has made the state economically uncompetitive, contributed to the state’s double-digit unemployment rate, and outmigration of both jobs and people, it’s shocking that a majority of the members in the California legislature are so economically inept as to think that imposing even higher taxes to further reduce the job-creating capacity of companies who employ Californians is a recipe for success". 

To read a complete copy of the letter, click here.

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Coalition of Governors Blast Obama's Tone Deafness on Energy Policy


Posted by Chris Buki on Friday, August 10th, 2012, 2:47 PM PERMALINK


This week, a coalition of seven governors from around the country sent a letter to President Obama slamming the federal officials’ lack of communication with the coastal states in crafting the Department of Interior’s 2012-2017 Proposed Final Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program.

The Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition are correct in their criticism of the new five year OCS plan and the administration, which appears more concerned with the demands of fringe left wing groups, and not average American citizens, who overwhelmingly support more oil and natural gas development. 

Given the uptick in unemployment this past month to 8.3%, it is unconscionable that the Obama administration would choose to leave these jobs on the table, and not just any jobs, but high paying jobs. In fact, the average salary for a non-gas station employee in the oil and gas industry is more than $116,000, which is over 180% higher than the national average of $41,673.

The letter was signed by Governors Perry, Haley, Jindal, Bentley, Parnell, Bryant and McDonnell.

For a copy of the letter, click here.

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NC Unemployment Numbers Highlight Absurdity of Walter Dalton's Support for Tax Hikes


Posted by Chris Buki on Monday, July 30th, 2012, 11:50 AM PERMALINK


North Carolinians have been hit hard by the Obama-Perdue economy. According to last Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 84 out of North Carolina’s 100 counties saw an increase in unemployment. The state unemployment rate remains at 9.4%, well above the still abysmal national average of 8.2%. This dim economic outlook for North Carolina makes Democratic gubernatorial candidate Walter Dalton’s recent proclamation that he is open to higher taxes even more egregious.

ATR noted Dalton’s statement last week:

“North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the NC Democratic Party’s nominee for governor, confirmed today what many voters in the Old North State already suspected: if elected, more job-killing tax increases will certainly be a possibility. 

This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Dalton's record. Walter Dalton has a long history of supporting tax hikes, even in the midst of a recession. He did so as a state Senator, as Lieutenant Governor, and now as a candidate for Governor.”

It's disconcerting that Walter Dalton wants to increase uncertainty for businesses and investors who are already forced to make contractionary preparations to cope with the massive federal tax increases scheduled for the end of this year with the expiration of the ‘01/’03 tax rates and the implementation of the 20 tax hikes in Obamacare.

Apparently Walter Dalton doesn’t think that’s enough, and wants to add the threat of higher state taxes to the mix. The fact that Dalton's top policy priority for 2012 has been lobbying for Bev Perdue's sales tax hike speaks volumes. That’s no way to attract businesses and the much-needed jobs they create to the Tar Heel State. Dalton’s approach is even more misguided in light of the fact that North Carolina’s neighbors in the region are moving in the opposite direction, making their states more economically competitive, both regionally and globally, by reducing tax rates and eliminating unnecessary and onerous regulations.

For footage of Dalton admitting his openness to job-killing tax increases, despite an incredibly weak economy, click here. 

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Walter Dalton Leaves the Door Open to Billions in Tax Hikes


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012, 5:02 PM PERMALINK


Voters in one key battleground state are facing the prospect of billions in state level tax increases on top of the massive federal tax hikes scheduled to take effect at the end of the year with the implementation of ObamaCare and the expiration of the '01/'03 tax rates. North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, the NC Democratic Party’s nominee for governor, confirmed today what many voters in the Old North State already suspected: if elected, more job-killing tax increases will certainly be a possibility. 

This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with Dalton's record. Walter Dalton has a long history of supporting tax hikes, even in the midst of a recession. He did so as a state Senator, as Lieutenant Governor, and now as a candidate for Governor. Just this past session he was advocating Gov. Perdue's proposal to raise the state sales tax, a move that would disproportionately hurt the engine of job creation in NC - small businesses.

North Carolina already has one of the most poorly designed and burdensome tax codes in the nation and even more so relative to neighboring states. North Carolinaians know they cannot afford another four years of the same tax and spend policies championed by Bev Perdue and Walter Dalton. The choice for North Carolina voters this November could not be more clear.

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Pat McCrory Hits The Right Note On Obamacare's Mandated Medicaid Expansion


Posted by Chris Buki on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012, 9:28 AM PERMALINK


Some good news came out of the campaign trail last week in the gubernatorial race in North Carolina.  Last Wednesday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory stated that if elected, he will join with his Republican counterparts in governor’s mansions across the country who have indicated that they will not go along with the fiscally reckless Medicaid expansion mandated by Obamacare. McCrory’s statement allies him with prominent conservative governors such as Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and others.

Nationwide, Medicaid costs are growing at an unsustainable rate, with taxpayers as always being on the hook for covering the soaring tab. According to a study by the John Locke Foundation, total federal and state Medicaid spending has ballooned from $70 billion in 1990 to approximately $400 billion today- -a budget busting 571 percent increase.

Yet, instead of reforming Medicaid in a way that takes this program off the path to insolvency, Obamacare proposes that states expand the Medicaid program by adding individuals to the rolls, sans any effort to reduce costs.

Perhaps Gov. Perry of Texas put it best when he said that the Medicaid expansion mandated by Obamacare would not be unlike “adding one thousand people to the Titanic”. Except in the case of North Carolina, it would not be one thousand people, but 600,000. According to the John Locke study, this would cost taxpayers in the state an annual rate of $4 billion dollars.

Medicaid spending in North Carolina is already increasing twenty times faster than state spending on education and ten times faster than state spending on transportation. In total, Medicaid represents nearly a quarter of state spending, having risen from just around 10 percent as recently as the early 1990’s. At this rate, health care costs will result in a budget squeeze that diverts resources from priorities, such as education.

Faced with these facts, Pat McCrory’s decision to reject Obamacare mandated Medicaid expansion was both courageous and fiscally prudent, putting the interests of North Carolinians above the politics of giving more individuals a government handout.

As outlined above, Medicaid is on an untenable trajectory, and we applaud the decision of Republican governors who have indicated they would opt out of this unconscionable explosion of entitlement spending.

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Dueling Budgets in the Carolinas


Posted by Chris Buki, Joseph Shanahan on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012, 4:44 PM PERMALINK


This summer has seen a fair amount of state budget wrangling in the Carolinas, which has put the pronounced differences in the policies being put forth by SC Gov. Nikki Haley and NC Gov. Bev Perdue on full display.

After a week-long state budget stand-off between the NC Legislature and Democratic Governor Bev Perdue, the Legislature gathered enough votes last week for a bi-partisan override of Gov. Perdue’s budget veto for the 2nd year in a row. Perdue’s veto came as the result of her insistence on a sales tax increase.

Another pro-growth piece of legislation that the North Carolina Legislature approved despite Gov. Perdue’s veto was a bill to permit hydraulic fracturing and drilling within the state. With North Carolina’s 9.7 percent unemployment rate (the 4th worst in the nation), Gov. Perdue needlessly attempted to derail job-creating legislation in the Tar Heel State by vetoing this bill to throw a bone to far-left special interests.

This political pandering by Perdue is in stark contrast to her counterpart to the South, Governor Nikki Haley.

Governor Haley has aggressively championed and pursued pro-growth reforms and policy initiatives that will attract employers to South Carolina and make it a more competitive state to do business and create jobs in the process. Where as Perdue and her would be successor, Walter Dalton, are dead set on raising taxes, Gov. Haley is taking South Carolina in the opposite direction.  Most recently, Gov. Haley signed into law a continuing resolution (H. 5418) that would lower the income tax rate for small businesses from 5% to 3% over the next three years. This amounts to $20 million per year in tax relief for the engines of job creation in the Palmetto State- small businesses. By contrast, Gov. Perdue vetoed small business tax relief passed by North Carolina legislators. Gov. Haley has issued line item vetoes that eliminate over $67 million dollars of wasteful spending in South Carolina’s budget.

Tax relief such as this represents an important first step in the right direction for small businesses who are struggling under the burden of over-regulation and over-taxation advanced by the Obama administration. In addition, South Carolina’s budget also puts aside $100 million into a reserve fund, instead of spending more on government expansion. Governor Haley’s achievements are an excellent first step toward comprehensive pro-growth tax reform. They are especially noteworthy when contrasted with the efforts of her counterparts in the North, Bev Perdue, and the man hoping to replace her, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton, who have both come out in support of a sales tax hike.

This November’s gubernatorial election in North Carolina will decide whether North Carolina will continue the tax-and-spend approach of Barack Obama, Bev Perdue and Walter Dalton, which has made the state less competitive regionally and globally, or whether the state will make an attempt to keep up with its neighbors who are improving their business tax climates, such as South Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee. 

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