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Eric Oldfather

Jessica James Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 4:32 PM PERMALINK


Political consultant and realtor Jessica James has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in her bid for Alabama’s 1st Congressional seat. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, 39 U.S. Senators and 219 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Mrs. James for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The American people have clearly shown their displeasure with the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Jessica James demonstrates that she understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of Alabama.”

“I challenge all candidates for federal office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued.

[PDF of Press Release]

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Update: Special Election Underway in Alabama's 1st District


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 4:30 PM PERMALINK


*This post has been updated to reflect businesswoman Jessica James's signing of the Pledge

Last month, Republican Rep. Jo Bonner (AL-01) announced plans to resign in mid-August to accept a new position in the University of Alabama system. As a result, the 1st District seat is now up for grabs in a special election. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has yet to decide the official primary date.

Politics1 lists Bradley Byrne, Randy Davis, Chad Fincher, James Halland, Quin Hillyer, Jessica James, and Dean Young as the current Republican candidates. Other potential entrants include Ben Brooks, Tucker Dorsey, Bill Hightower, Connie Hudson, Tripp Pittman, and Robert Wilters.

The 1st District, anchored in Mobile County, is comprised of a fairly reliable conservative electorate. The Cook Political Report rates the crowded race as “Solid Republican” with a Partisan Voter Index of R+15. In the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney won 54% of the district’s overall vote.

Once the official primary date is announced, ATR will release an official list of candidates who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Conservative journalist Quin Hillyer, former State Senator Bradley Byrne, and businesswoman Jessica James were the first candidates to provide their signatures, and others are expected to follow suit. When it comes time to vote, the people of Alabama’s 1st District will know which candidates are committed to protecting them from higher taxes.

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Bradley Byrne Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Thursday, June 13th, 2013, 5:08 PM PERMALINK


Former State Senator Bradley Byrne has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for Alabama’s 1st Congressional seat. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, 39 U.S. Senators and 219 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Byrne for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The American people have clearly shown their displeasure with the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Bradley Byrne demonstrates that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of Alabama.”

“I challenge all candidates for federal office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued.

[PDF of Press Release]

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Quin Hillyer Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Tuesday, June 11th, 2013, 2:06 PM PERMALINK


Conservative journalist Quin Hillyer has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for Alabama’s 1st Congressional seat. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, 39 U.S. Senators and 219 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Hillyer for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The American people have clearly shown their displeasure with the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Quin Hillyer demonstrates that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of Alabama.”

“I challenge all candidates for federal office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued.

[PDF of Press Release]

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Alex X. Mooney Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Friday, June 7th, 2013, 1:37 PM PERMALINK


Former Maryland State Senator Alex X. Mooney has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional seat. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, 39 U.S. Senators and 219 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, fourteen governors and over 1,200 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Mooney for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The American people have clearly shown their displeasure with the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Alex X. Mooney demonstrates that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of West Virginia.”

“I challenge all candidates for federal office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued.

[PDF of Press Release]

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Labor Unions Turn Against Obamacare


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Tuesday, May 21st, 2013, 3:48 PM PERMALINK


A chorus of opposition to Obamacare has been growing ever since Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) warned that it is headed for a “huge train wreck.” According to a recent article in The Hill, even labor unions are beginning to realize the disastrous consequences that are just around the bend:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.

Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”

UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.

UFCW President Joe Hansen explained why much of their concern is based on how Taft-Hartley health care plans will be treated under Obamacare:

“You can’t have the same quality healthcare that you had before, despite what the president said,” Hansen said. “Now what’s going to happen is everybody is going to have to go to private for-profit insurance companies. We just don’t think that’s right. ... We just want to keep what we already have and what we bought at tremendous cost.”

“I was pretty blunt about it,” said Hansen. “I told them it was a very serious issue. That it was wrong. Taft-Hartley plans should be deemed as qualified healthcare providers and I also said it’s going to have political repercussions if we don’t get this fixed.”

“When [the Obama administration] started writing the rules and regulations, we just assumed that Taft-Hartley plans — that workers covered by those plans, especially low-wage workers — would be eligible for the subsidies and stay in their plans and they’re not,” Hansen said.

Unfortunately for labor leaders, it gets worse. What they may not realize (or state publicly) is that out of Obamacare’s 20 tax hikes, at least five are direct violations of President Obama’s middle class tax pledge. Combined with complicated new rules and regulations, these all add up to an ugly bill that is rightfully losing support across the political spectrum.

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Obama Tax Hike Tourney Finalists Announced


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Monday, April 8th, 2013, 4:50 PM PERMALINK


It all comes down to this. Which of President Obama’s tax hikes is the absolute worst? As the Louisville Cardinals face off against the Michigan Wolverines, so will the Individual Mandate Penalty and the Payroll Tax Hike. ATR’s Obama Tax Hike Tourney has given taxpaying bracketologists a chance to win prizes like gift cards, autographed books, and a basketball signed by Grover Norquist.

The Payroll Tax Hike and the Employer Mandate Penalty Tax both coasted their way into the “Foul Four,” but the latter was unable to qualify for the championship. On the other side of the bracket, the Death Tax Hike’s exciting run came to an end as it was trumped by the Individual Mandate Penalty. This set the stage for a contentious matchup on April 9 between two tax hikes

If paychecks seem smaller this year, it is no coincidence. The Payroll Tax Hike, which took effect on January 1, 2013, will cost small business owners and their employees an additional $86 billion. The Individual Mandate Penalty will not take effect until next year, but it will also cost taxpayers billions of dollars. The excise tax applies to anyone who does not purchase “qualifying” health insurance, as defined by a group of Obama-appointed bureaucrats in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Participants can receive an additional entry for the prize drawing by correctly picking the worst Obama tax hike. Which one will it be? Make your pick at www.atr.org/taxtourney by midnight on Tuesday, April 9.

Obama Tax Hike Tourney

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Obama Tax Hike Tourney: Round 2 Recap and "Foul Four" Preview


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Friday, April 5th, 2013, 4:40 PM PERMALINK


This weekend, Louisville, Wichita State, Michigan, and Syracuse will compete in Atlanta for the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship.  The “Foul Four” of ATR’s Obama Tax Hike March Madness Tourney is also set, and there is still time to make picks and be eligible for prizes.

In the Obamacare bracket, the Health Insurance Tax Plan’s 40 percent excise tax on comprehensive first-dollar health insurance plans was no match for the Individual Mandate Penalty, as the IMP moved on easily with 73 percent of the vote. The final Saver and Investor bracket matchup was much closer. The Capital Gains Tax Hike (from 15 to 20 percent after the Obama fiscal cliff) suffered a tough 51 to 49 percent loss to the Death Tax Hike.

On the other side of the bracket, small business owners and middle class workers both had tough choices to make. First, the Payroll Tax Hike cruised to victory with a 72 to 28 percent win over the Special Needs Kids Tax Hike.  Then, the Employer Mandate Penalty Tax closed out the “Expensive Eight” by defeating the 4.6 percent Small Business Tax Rate Hike by a 63 to 37 margin.

To summarize, this weekend’s “Foul Four” matchups will be the Individual Mandate Penalty vs. the Death Tax Hike and the Employer Mandate Penalty vs. the Payroll Tax Hike. Voting closes at midnight on April 7. Decide which of these terrible tax hikes will make the finals at www.atr.org/taxtourney.


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Eight Taxes Easily Advance After Round 1 of Obama Tax Hike Tourney


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013, 3:32 PM PERMALINK


The 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament started with 68 teams, and the field is now down to the Final Four. With most of the country’s brackets already busted, ATR is giving bracketologists another chance to win great prizes, including gift cards, autographed books, and a basketball signed by ATR President Grover Norquist. If you did not get a chance to make predictions in the first round of the Obama Tax Hike Tourney, here is what you missed:

First up was the Obamacare Bracket, which contains taxes directly responsible for the rising costs of health care. The Medicine Cabinet Tax was unable to get a waiver from the Individual Mandate Penalty, losing a lopsided matchup 91 to 9 percent. 38 percent of the participants also decided that the Medical Device Tax, while costly, was not nearly as bad as the Health Insurance Plan Tax. The HIPT, which advanced with 62 percent of the vote, imposes a massive 40 percent excise tax on comprehensive first-dollar health insurance plans.

The next pair of matchups was in the Saver and Investor Bracket. The Obama fiscal cliff raised the tax rates on both dividends and capital gains from 15 to 20 percent. Those who invested their pick in the Capital Gains Tax Hike were rewarded by a 30 percent margin of victory. The second matchup saw similar results as the Death Tax Hike (from 35 to 40 percent) outlasted the Saver Surtax on income from savings by top earners.

In the Small Employer Bracket, the fiscal cliff’s Small Business Tax Rate Hike narrowly edged out Obamacare’s Small Business Surtax for the dubious distinction of worst new tax hike on small business profits. Participants must not have been too worried about the 10 percent excise Tanning Tax with summer around the corner. It was handily defeated 92 to 8 percent by the Employer Mandate Penalty Tax, which forces all employers with at least 50 employees to either establish a “qualified” health plan or face a steep fine.

Finally, the Broken Middle Class Promises Bracket highlighted 4 violations of Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign pledge to not raise taxes on households making less than $250,000 a year. The $0.61 per pack Cigarette Tax Hike got smoked by Obamacare’s $2,500 cap on workplace flex accounts used to finance tuition for special education. The Special Needs Kids Tax moved on with 73 percent. In the last matchup of the first round, voters selected the 2 percent Payroll Tax Hike over the High Medical Bills Tax, which complicates medical expense deductions for middle class taxpayers.

Now that the Elite Eight is set, new and returning players are encouraged to make revisions to their bracket. Each correct pick is worth one entrance into the drawing for dozens of prizes. Picks will be locked in at midnight on April 4, so get them in here before it is too late.

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Taxpayer Protection Pledge Signers Dominate South Carolina Republican Primary


Posted by Eric Oldfather on Monday, April 1st, 2013, 3:30 PM PERMALINK


The results are in from the March 19 South Carolina special election primaries, and the crowded Republican field has been narrowed down to two candidates. Former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford will face former Charleston County Council Member Curtis Bostic in a runoff election on April 2.

Sanford finished in first with 37 percent of the nearly 54,000 votes cast. Bostic narrowly edged State Senator Larry Grooms for second place by less than 1 percent, which triggered an automatic recount. Grooms conceded defeat the next day, and the recount confirmed the results.

The top 5 leading vote-getters all had at least one thing in common: They signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Like former Rep. Tim Scott (who vacated the 1st District seat when he was appointed to replace Jim DeMint in the U.S. Senate), 10 of the 16 total Republican candidates made a written commitment to South Carolinians to oppose new tax increases. Together, they impressively drew a combined 86 percent of the vote.

The Cook Political Report currently rates the race as “Lean Republican” with a Partisan Voter Index of “R+11.” The winner of the runoff will face Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the general election on May 7. Regardless of the outcome of the April 2 runoff, 1st District voters will be fortunate to have at least one candidate who will fight to protect their families from harmful tax hikes.

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