John Kartch

Taxpayers Sweep Top Five Ballot Measures


Posted by Will Upton, John Kartch on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 3:34 AM PERMALINK


On Tuesday, taxpayers overwhelmingly prevailed in each of the top five binding tax related ballot measures:
 
53% – 47% in Massachusetts – Question 1: In deep blue Massachusetts, voters repealed a law that indexed the state gas tax to inflation – eliminating a vote-less backdoor tax hike on taxpayers. 
 
80%  20% in Wisconsin – Question 1: From now on, the state gas tax must only be used to fund Wisconsin’s transportation system. Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin’s legislature has raided the state’s transportation fund to the tune of $1.4 billion. 
 
80% – 20% in Nevada – Question 3: In Harry Reid’s home state, voters defeated a proposed two percent "margin tax" on businesses. The revenue from the new tax was to be granted to the state’s public school districts. 

66% – 34% in Tennessee – Amendment 3: Voters enshrined in the state constitution a prohibition on state and local income taxes. 

74% – 26% in Georgia – Amendment A: Voters enshrined in the state constitution a cap on the state income tax at the effective rate on January 1, 2015. Therefore the state legislature is now constitutionally prohibited from increasing the state income tax rate any higher.

Not only did voters directly reject tax increases, they rejected gubernatorial candidates who championed higher taxes — even in deep blue states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
 

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Rednecksrule

And here is another tax voters don't want-- OPEN BORDERS! Did you know Norquist that surges of poverty from Central America that you support with your endless zeal for amnesty cost US taxpayers billions? You didn't win on Tuesday, American citizens who oppose guys like you did.


Farm Workers Facing Forced Unionization Seek Help from Gov. Brown

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, September 8th, 2014, 12:34 PM PERMALINK


Today the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) launched the first in a series of billboards in Sacramento designed to bring attention to Fresno farm workers who are being forced into a union against their will.

Workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming voted last November in a decertification election to rid their workplace of the United Farm Workers (UFW).  Union bosses at the UFW are trying to take three percent of the workers’ hard-earned pay, despite the fact that the union has negotiated no wages or working conditions for the workers in over twenty years.

But the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes from last fall’s decertification election in an outrageous violation of the Gerawan workers’ constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly.

Writing for Forbes on Labor Day, CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson notes that the California Governor has a unique responsibility - and opportunity - in the Gerawan situation:

For Governor Jerry Brown, who can make the ALRB count the votes, there is an opportunity to restore faith in our democracy to those who have come here seeking its protections.

The CWF digital boards are located on the West side of I-5, just South of Richards Blvd (facing South) and on US 50 half a mile West of Howe Ave (facing East) in Sacramento. They will rotate a variety of messages through September designed to alert Governor Jerry Brown to the plight of the Gerawan workers, while urging him to help them get their votes counted.

The first message (pictured below) shows Silvia Lopez, a Gerawan farm worker, with tape over her mouth labeled “ALRB” and reads:  “Freedom of Speech Includes Fresno Farm Workers.”



The second shows a picture of Gov. Brown and asks: “Dear Governor Brown, You Want Your Vote to Count, Why not Theirs?  Count the Votes at Gerawan.”



CWF is a special project of Americans for Tax Reform dedicated to educating the public about the costs and consequences of unionization.

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GoldStarDeputy

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Coming to a Friday News Dump Near You: The Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax Form

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Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Thursday, August 7th, 2014, 12:14 PM PERMALINK


The IRS recently released a batch of Obamacare-related draft tax forms for the 2014 tax year. Conspicuously absent from this collection is a form to calculate one’s penalty for noncompliance with Obamacare’s individual mandate.

ATR fully expects this draft tax form to be released in a Friday news dump during the dog days of the August recess.

It is clear from the new draft 1040 form already released that every American filing an income tax return will have to attest to their compliance with Obamacare’s individual mandate.

In the “Other Taxes” section of the draft 1040 form, line 61 reads: Health care: individual responsibility (see instructions) 

Line 61 is underlined in the graphic below:

The expected Friday-news-dump individual mandate compliance tax form will, at a minimum, contain:

  • The name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer.
  • The name and tax identification number of the health insurance company providing the “qualifying” coverage as determined by the federal government.
  • The number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan.
  • Whether or not the plan was purchased in one of Obamacare’s “exchanges.

 

When the draft tax form is finally released, it will be posted here. 

 

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John Kartch

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Today: Houston City Council Amendments Will Decide Fate of Uber, Lyft

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014, 9:07 AM PERMALINK


Today, the Houston city council will meet to consider a series of changes to Chapter 46 of the city code that would finally allow ridesharing services to legally operate. Though long overdue, the vote is a significant step forward for a city that earlier this year issued citations to Uber and Lyft drivers as part of a police sting operation. 

But threats loom. Some council members bent on shielding the city's entrenched taxi industry have loaded up the meeting agenda with regulation-laden amendments. 

As is, the reform package would promote much-needed competition in the Houston transportation marketplace. But the amendments, if passed, would severely kneecap new entrants and only serve to protect existing taxi companies fighting tooth and nail to preserve the status quo.

Click here to continue...

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Tom Steyer's Big Attack Ad on Joni Ernst Ruled FALSE. Again.

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014, 2:43 PM PERMALINK


Left wing billionaire Tom Steyer’s attack ad on Iowa U.S. Senate candidate Joni Ernst has been ruled “FALSE” by Politifact:

It’s back! A claim out of the Democratic Party that numerous fact-checkers debunked in 2010 has made its way to the 2014 Iowa Senate race.

A new ad attacks Republican candidate Joni Ernst, painting her as beholden to special interest groups because she signed a pledge. The ad comes from NextGen Climate Action Committee, a liberal political action committee.

The ad shows a dimly lit room, with two men looking at a picture of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, on a screen, while laughing in a slow, almost crazed manner. The screen switches to a picture of Ernst.

"We got her to pledge? Joni signed on the line," the ad says. "The tax breaks that thing protects are gold. Green light more outsourcing! China, Mexico. All the way."

Text on the screen says, "Ernst’s Pledge: Protects Tax Breaks for Companies that Ship Jobs Overseas."

Even though the ad is new, this claim -- that a person who signs the Americans for Tax Reform’s pledge is in favor of tax breaks that encourage outsourcing -- is not.

--

We rate this claim False.

The “ship jobs overseas” claim has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked (Associated Press: ADWATCH: With campaign ads, don't trust, verify; FactCheck.org: A False Tax Attack) since it first surfaced in 2010.

Steyer’s NextGen Climate Action Committee spent $2.6 million on the ad.

“Billionaire Tom Steyer has been cheated by his political consultants. He should sue them and kick himself in the pants for being a naive rich dilettante taken advantage of by hustlers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “His consultants claimed to write an ad attacking Iowa Republican Joni Ernst, but they simply plagiarized TV ads from four years ago that were found to be dishonest then. In school, when you turn in the same poorly researched and plagiarized paper twice, you get an F, Again. ” 

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Norquist Response to Lois Lerner "_ _ _holes" Email Revelation

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 3:43 PM PERMALINK


In response to the latest Lois Lerner evidence released by the House Ways and Means Committee, ATR president Grover Norquist released the following statement:

“Some jobs cannot be filled with political hacks: The director of the FBI, Secretary of State, and the head of the IRS.  Lois Lerner's exposed emails show the world she was and is a political hack driven by her own partisan agenda rather than a neutral public servant. The IRS has too much power and too much access to Americans’ private information for this position to be filled with a partisan activist.”

 

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Tom Steyer Cheated by His Consultants Who Sold Him a Plagiarized (and false) Attack Ad on Joni Ernst

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Posted by John Kartch, Adam Radman on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 12:49 PM PERMALINK


Left wing San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has been ill-used by consultants getting rich off his $100 million in campaign spending. The consultants have simply recycled and plagiarized ads from 2010 campaigns that they didn’t tell Steyer had already been debunked.  As shown by a newly launched false attack ad against Joni Ernst, Steyer is being cheated.

Ernst has made a written commitment to the people of Iowa to oppose tax hikes. The Pledge prevents politicians from raising taxes.

It seems Steyer’s consultants have stooped to rehashing provably false lines of attack against candidates who have sworn off higher taxes. Steyer’s ad makes a false claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by nonpartisan fact checking organizations:

Factcheck.org had this to say in 2010 about the same attack used against a candidate four years ago, in a previous election cycle:

But we find the ad to be false. The pledge only protects corporations from an increase in taxation overall. It explicitly allows elimination of any specific tax deduction or credit if matched dollar-for-dollar by an overall cut in rates. And it says nothing about jobs.

The fact check continues:

 To characterize his opposition to raising taxes as protecting tax breaks that send jobs abroad is wrong. Any tax benefit can be eliminated and offset by a rate cut or by other benefits without raising taxes overall, and without violating the terms of that pledge. This attack ad is false.

Politifact came to the same conclusion as Factcheck.org in a separate race in 2010:

But the fact that someone signed the pledge doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to closing loopholes for off-shore companies.

Our friends at FactCheck.org have been knocking down this claim since April, when the DCCC ran a TV ad against a Republican House candidate in Hawaii. They recently debunked the same claim in an ad in the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Here’s the problem: The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.

[The attack is] a huge leap of logic and it doesn’t prove Hurt supports the offshore loopholes. So we find the claim False.

“Tom Steyer needs to find honest and original consultants,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The plagiarized attack ads he’s running have already been proven false by several fact checkers four years ago, in 2010. Rather than attacking Joni Ernst, he should be praising her for her principled stand against higher taxes. Taxpayers in Iowa are looking for someone to stand up to the special interests in Washington and she is exactly the candidate to do that. Steyer deserves a refund from those who cheated him.”

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Stuart Isett/Fortune Brainstorm Green

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IRS "Loses" Years of Lois Lerner Emails

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, June 13th, 2014, 4:11 PM PERMALINK


Today, the IRS claimed to the House Ways and Means Committee that it has "lost" two years' worth of emails from notorious tea party harasser and disgraced IRS employee Lois Lerner.

In response, ATR president Grover Norquist said the following:

This is the worst attempt to blame technology in service of a cover-up since the infamous "18-minute gap" during the Nixon Watergate crisis. Only in this case the gap is not 18 minutes, but two years. This cover-up is far worse.

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Obamacare Taxes: Next Filing Season Could Be "one of the most chaotic in years."

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014, 10:25 AM PERMALINK


Problems with a key component of Obamacare will lead to unpleasant surprises for Americans during the 2015 tax filing season, according to testimony from a top tax expert before the House Ways and Means subcommittees on Health and Oversight today.

“I am here today to tell you that the upcoming tax filing season has the potential to be one of the most chaotic in years,” said Ryan Ellis, an IRS Enrolled Agent and Tax Policy Director at Americans for Tax Reform.

According to the testimony:

“One of the key elements of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” is the creation of advanceable tax credits for the purchase of exchange health insurance plans. 

Taxpayers applying for credit assistance must be evaluated by government entities ranging from the SSA to CMS to the IRS.  The goal is to have an educated estimate, based on the most immediately-available government documents (e.g. prior year tax returns, etc.), of the taxpayer’s probable income for the year--which in turn determines the size of the tax credit. 

In an effort to get this tax benefit out quickly, the estimated credit is advanced to the insurance company by the IRS, which applies it to customer premiums. 

This is an important point—the money has left the IRS’ hands up to over a year before the taxpayer actually calculates his final credit amount.  The insurance companies have collected it, and they are not required to pay it back. 

Press reports this month indicated that the government was having a hard time doing all this, with 1.2 million of the 6 million federal exchange applicants having to be asked for additional income verification information from CMS.   That is not surprising.   Applicants are asked to complete a detailed, confusing twelve-page application which asks for income, family size, etc.  It is rather like trying to fill out a 1040 on the fly.  Added to this is the lack of employer reporting requirements and the failure to complete the back-end of the web site. 

Inconsistencies--some of which are the result of failures of the healthcare.gov system, some of which are poor records from the government, and some of which are mistakes from the individual--are not surprising.  But they are a problem.  It is the middle of June, and many people have now been receiving inaccurate subsidies for six months.  To the public’s knowledge, not a single advanced tax credit has been adjusted this year.

So what happens if the flawed, confusing process results in a tax credit larger than what the law calls for?

A hypothetical example might help illustrate: a health exchange customer selects an Obamacare exchange plan.  The government estimates that this taxpayer will earn $30,000 this year, which makes her eligible for a $2000 tax credit.  This $2000 is paid to the taxpayer’s insurance company to help with premiums. 

The next spring, our customer/taxpayer is filling out her tax return.  Unfortunately, the government estimated the taxpayer earned too little and paid too large a credit.  She actually earned $40,000, and so only had a $1500 credit coming to her. 

Depending on the taxpayer’s income level and availability of verified affordable workplace insurance, she will have to pay back much or all of the $500 overage to the IRS.  This means skinnier refunds and maybe even liabilities, and it won’t be the taxpayer’s fault—it will be the government’s fault.

It is also inevitable that many people are receiving tax credits for which they are completely ineligible.  The firewall of the offer of employer sponsored insurance is a new concept — tax preparers will have difficulty figuring out how it works in operation. There is virtually no way to catch it on the front end — but come tax filing season, many people will end up owing thousands of dollars, and it will be a complete surprise.”

The hearing is now underway in 1100 Longworth and can be viewed live here.

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CBO: Four Million Americans to Pay Obamacare Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, June 5th, 2014, 3:39 PM PERMALINK


Four million American taxpayers will be forced to pay the Obamacare individual mandate non-compliance tax in 2016, according to a newly released analysis by the Congressional Budget Office.

The report, titled Payments of Penalties for Being Uninsured Under the Affordable Care Act: 2014 Update, includes a gingerly-worded reminder ​that Americans will be liable for the tax as part of their annual tax-filing process:

“Among the uninsured people subject to the penalty, many are expected to voluntarily report on their tax returns that they are uninsured and to pay the amount owed.”

The CBO data also show that the overwhelming majority of those liable for the tax are part of low-to-middle income households, a clear violation of President Obama’s promise against “any form of tax increase” on Americans making less than $250,000 per year.

It is worth reminding Americans of Obama’s broken pledge:

“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.”  [Video]

Oct. 3, 2008: During a nationally televised Vice-Presidential debate in St. Louis candidate Joe Biden said:

 “No one making less than $250,000 under Barack Obama’s plan will see one single penny of their tax raised whether it’s their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax.” [Transcript]

Feb. 24, 2009: In an address to a joint session of Congress President Obama restated the promise in forceful terms:

“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.” [Transcript] [Video]

April 15, 2009: During a White House press briefing, spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked if Obama’s tax pledge applied “to the health care bill.”  Gibbs replied:

 “The statement didn’t come with caveats.”  [Transcript] [Video]

Regardless of their eventual Obamacare tax liability, every American who files a tax return will be required to complete a new IRS form attesting to their “qualifying” health insurance status for each month of the year.

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