John Kartch

As Senator, Obama Voted to Make 529 College Savings Plans Permanent

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Posted by John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Monday, January 26th, 2015, 10:21 AM PERMALINK


On August 3, 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama voted to make the current tax treatment of 529 college savings plans permanent.

President Obama’s recently proposed tax plan, however, reverses this vote on 529 plans.

The vote on H.R. 4 — the Pension Protection Act of 2006 — took place in the second session of the 109th Congress, vote #230.

H.R. 4 made permanent the 529 plan expansion in the otherwise temporary 2001 Bush tax cut package (the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 — EGTRRA). The vote for H.R. 4 enshrined into permanent law the current tax-free growth of these college savings plans if used for tuition and fees. The 529 provision was in Section 1304 of the legislation.

The Obama administration has now proposed raising taxes on 529 plans, reversing the vote Senator Obama took in 2006. The administration now criticizes 529 plans as “upside down,” and “ineffective."

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Steve Jurvetson

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Obama Tax Hike on College Savings Plans Breaks Middle Class Tax Pledge

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Posted by Ryan Ellis, John Kartch on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015, 11:56 AM PERMALINK


Tonight, in his State of the Union address, President Obama will propose a series of tax increases on the American people. One of these tax increases is indisputably an income tax hike on middle class families with children. 

Under Obama’s plan, earnings in “Section 529” (named for its location in the Internal Revenue Code) college savings plans will face full income taxation upon withdrawal.

Under current law, earnings growth in 529 plans is tax-free if account distributions are used to pay for college tuition and fees. The Obama plan will tax earnings in these accounts even if they are used to pay for college tuition and fees.

These accounts are commonly used by middle class families. There are about 12 million 529 accounts open today, and they have an average account balance of approximately $21,000. Most 529 plans permit monthly contributions as low as $25 per month.

This middle class income tax increase is a clear violation of President Obama's “firm pledge” against “any form of tax increase” on any family making less than $250,000. This promise to the American people is documented below:

Speaking in Dover, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, 2008, candidate Obama said:

“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]

During a nationally televised Vice-Presidential debate in St. Louis on Oct. 3, 2008, 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]

In an address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24, 2009, 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]

"Rather than raise taxes on middle class families trying to save for their children’s education, Obama should abolish the seven tax increases in Obamacare that directly hit middle-income Americans,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

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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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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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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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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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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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