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Jorge Marin

Contrasting Records a Feature of the North Carolina Senate Race


Posted by Patrick Gleason, Jorge Marin on Monday, July 21st, 2014, 10:00 AM PERMALINK


Most state legislatures have wrapped up their 2014 sessions and the November elections will be here sooner that many realize. North Carolina is one of the top political battlegrounds this fall, with embattled Senator Kay Hagan (D) fighting for her political life against her Republican opponent, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. Politico reported last week faces one of the toughest reelection races for any Senate Democrat this year, a true toss-up fight against North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis.”

Hagan has made clear that her campaign strategy is to score political points by painting Tillis as a conservative zealot whose record in the legislature is extreme. However, a look at the facts about Tillis’s top achievements as Speaker’s shows his record to be anything but extreme, and very much in line with pro-growth policies. Here are the highlights of what has been accomplished in the North Carolina legislature under the leadership of Thom Tillis:

  • Historic, rate reducing tax reform: last year Speaker Tillis helped bring the income tax rate down from a top rate of 7.75 percent to a flat rate of 5.75 percent, reducing taxes for all income levels. This pro-growth tax package relieved North Carolina of the dubious distinction of having the highest income tax in the Southeast and will provide North Carolinians with $6.475 billion in tax relief over the next 6 years. Tillis also cut the state corporate tax, one of the most economically damaging forms of taxation, from 6.9 percent to 5 percent. If revenue targets are met, the rate will go down to 3 percent by 2017.
  • Full repeal of death tax
  • Balanced the budget every year he has been Speaker
  • Since becoming Speaker in 2011, unemployment in North Carolina has gone from well above the national average to below it, from  9.7 percent to 6.4 percent.
  • North Carolina’s GDP grew by an average of 4.73 percent since Tillis became Speaker, while the nation as a whole grew by only 2.17 percent during the same period.
  • Last August, North Carolina enacted much-needed regulatory reform, which removed many of the state’s antiquated and burdensome regulations on businesses.
  • Tillis helped to shepherd through an expansion of the state’s school voucher program which has helped over 2,100 children escape failing schools and get a better education.

 

With a list of accomplishments like this, it’s going to be hard for Hagan to paint Tillis’s record as extreme, but it seems she is going to try. However, it’s not surprising that Hagan wants to focus on Tillis and not her own top legislative achievement, which is her vote for Obamacare and the 20 federal tax increases it imposed on North Carolinians.

A rally for Tillis supporters was held in Raleigh this past weekend (link). With state budget negotiations coming to a conclusion, North Carolina Republicans are now able to turn their attention to addressing the misinformation being spread by the Hagan campaign. Not all North Carolinians can keep their doctor under Obamacare, contrary to what President Obama and Sen. Hagan claimed. The good news is that they can elect a new senator this November.

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NC Newspaper Issues Misguided Call for a Plastic Bag Ban


Posted by Patrick Gleason, Jorge Marin on Tuesday, July 8th, 2014, 4:59 PM PERMALINK


Good intentions on the part of government officials often fail to beget good policy. Plastic Bag bans and taxes are no exception. While no statewide bag ban or tax has been imposed in the U.S., over 190 local bag taxes or outright prohibitions have, with Los Angeles being one of the most recent cities to go after plastic bags (never mind the City of Angels’ $7.7 billion unfunded liability).

This week the Raleigh News & Observer’s editorial board called on the Raleigh city council to impose either a tax or a ban on plastic shopping bags. Raleigh Councilman Bonner Gaylord recently indicated openness to a plastic bag ban or tax in North Carolina’s capital city. Such a proposal is misguided for a host of reasons that have been well-documented in other localities that have imposed such a policy.

Proponents of the plastic bag ban argue that by switching over to cheap reusable bags consumers can cut both costs and help preserve the environment. What they neglect to mention are the risks associated with the same reusable bags and the lack of connection between bag taxes and bans and litter reduction

A study on reusable shopping bags conducted by University of Arizona researchers found “Large numbers of bacteria were found in almost all bags and coliform bacteria in half,” posing an obvious health risk to consumers. The problem? Only 3 percent of respondents reported to washing their bags on a regular basis. Giving the documented failure on the part of many to wash reusable bags whose use the New Observer’s proposal would either mandate or incentivize, The News & Observer’s dubious proposal would expose many to a new source of potential bacterial infection.

While the coercive utopians on the News & Observer editorial board consider limiting consumer choice for the benefit of our surroundings, there is actually very little evidence that plastic ban or tax would actually reduce litter, which is the stated goal of the proposal.

After San Francisco issued its own plastic bag ban, the first city in the country to do so, the amount of bag litter as a share of all trash actually increased according to a city-wide litter audit from 20 to 24 percent. Ireland, a model of plastic bag taxing, provides one of the more glaring examples of failure to mitigate plastic bag use. While it seems like there was some negligible improvement in the amount of plastic litter, plastic bag consumption actually went up by 20 percent as households switched to heavier plastic bags to use around their homes. Meanwhile paper bag litter increased by an astounding 400%.

The thing is, the single use plastic bags that the News & Observer claims to be a scourge to the city (with no supporting evidence) are anything but single use. Plastic shopping bags are not just used to carry around groceries; most people reuse them for all sorts of activities, such as lining bins, cleaning up after the family pet and transporting lunch and gym clothes. By making it more difficult to procure these little industrial marvels, Raleigh might simply be making their city less accommodating to low income families rather than more friendly to seagulls and fishes.

The fact is that a bag tax would disproportionately harm low and middle income Raleigh families, yet the News & Observer’s proposal has been met with silence by groups like Blue NC and legislative Democrats, who fashion themselves and defenders of the downtrodden.

For these reasons, the Raleigh City Council would be wise to discard the News & Observer’s advice. Even California Democrats, who usually love such stupid and onerous policies, weren’t so foolish.

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Michigan Takes Steps to Revive Manufacturing


Posted by Jorge Marin on Saturday, July 5th, 2014, 12:00 PM PERMALINK


 Michigan has been a state in decline for a long time. Thanks to decades of unbroken big-government politics, a state which once claimed to be “The Arsenal of Democracy” now resembles a boneyard of industry. Fortunately, the state is taking steps to change course and pass legislation aimed at stimulating business instead of punishing it. One such change, Proposition 1 will be put to a popular vote on August 5 ballot.

Proposition 1 would eliminate Michigan’s antiquated Personal Property Tax (PPT) and provide much needed tax relief to Michigan’s entrepreneurs and job creators. The PPT levies a tax on each piece of equipment bought by a busniness and continues to charge a fee every year the equipment in operation. This has the effect of dis-incentivizing business expansion as owners think twice about adding an extra tax burden.  According to Detroit News, surrounding states have already eliminated their own PPT’s. Michigan should repeal this ungainly tax to make itself more attractive to business investment and expansion.

Repeal of the PPT will go a long way to relieving Michigan’s battered state economy. How Money Walks calculates that from 1992-2011, Michigan has lost about $17.85 billion in Adjusted Gross Income to other states in the nation. Along with all that revenue, 440,000 people have absconded from the Great Lakes State from 1985-2011.

Should Michigan voters pass Prop 1, they would provide a $500,000,000 tax cut to businesses while guaranteeing a steady source of revenue for local municipalities. Since the tax will be phased out until 2023, and certain tax credits eliminated, local governments will have plenty of help adjusting to the new revenue structure. Michigan will once again be a competitive state in one of the nation’s most hurt regions.

With the unprecedented number of taxes passed at the federal level over the last few years, it is heartening to see states taking it upon themselves to act responsibly on behalf of their constituents. Though state budgets are stretched thin throughout the country, there will be no reprieve from the current economic malaise if states don’t implement pro-growth tax measures. Michigan voters should vote YES on Proposition 1 when it comes to a vote on August 5.

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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Elections in Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Utah


Posted by Jorge Marin, Will Upton on Thursday, June 19th, 2014, 3:17 PM PERMALINK


With the primary elections of several states slated to take place Tuesday, Americans for Tax Reform has released an updated list of incumbents and challengers for state legislative and state-wide office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for the states of Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, and Colorado. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. ATR strongly encourages taxpayers to consider those who have made this commitment when they vote on Tuesday, June 24. The list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and will be on the ballot Tuesday can be found in the following links:

Colorado

Maryland

Oklahoma

Utah

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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Primaries in Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota


Posted by Will Upton, Jorge Marin on Monday, June 2nd, 2014, 10:53 AM PERMALINK


As the next round of state primary elections approaches, Americans for Tax Reform is proud to release a new list of candidates, both challengers and incumbents, who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for the states of Iowa, Montana, New Mexico, and South Dakota. The candidates on this list have announced their strong commitment to the taxpayers of their states and districts and pledged to oppose any and all efforts to increase the tax burden on their constituents. ATR urges taxpayers to consider the individuals who have staked their career to protecting the interests of the American citizen when they cast their ballots on Tuesday, June 3. The list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Tax payer Protection Pledge and will be on the ballot Tuesday can be found in the following links:

Iowa

Montana

New Mexico

South Dakota

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It is Time to Retire Pennsylvania’s Antiquated Liquor Monopoly


Posted by Jorge Marin on Friday, May 30th, 2014, 4:59 PM PERMALINK


In Forbes today, ATR’s Patrick Gleason exposes the failings of Pennsylvania’s flawed liquor monopoly. The following is an excerpt from Patrick’s article:

“Pennsylvania is the only state, other than Utah, where the government has total control of liquor and wine wholesale and retail operations within its borders. The results of this system – which Reason Foundation Director of Government Reform Leonard Gilroy describes as a “Soviet liquor monopoly,” – are higher costs and reduced selection for consumers. According to price comparison research by the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation, ”Average wine prices were lower in all six border states.”

Convenience is also greatly reduced under Pennsylvania’s state-run liquor and wine monopoly. Pennsylvania has one spirits retail outlet per 10,000 adults, whereas the typical state has three outlets per 10,000 adults.

In Pennsylvania, as Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist recently explained in USA Today, “you have this Bulgaria 1956 retail system for liquor,” adding, “all they (the stores) lack is the picture of El Supremo.” A survey of Pennsylvanians commissioned by the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board itself found that most are not happy with the arcane status quo. Seventy percent of those surveyed did not believe Pennsylvania’s government-run wine and spirits stores are competitive with privately operated stores in neighboring states. Over half of those surveyed did not believe prices were affordable at state-run stores.”

To read the piece in its entirety, click here.

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Offshore hosting

Jorge Marin, you deserve praise keep up the good work, will look forward for your future work!


ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Primaries in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, and Pennsylvania


Posted by Jorge Marin on Friday, May 16th, 2014, 2:01 PM PERMALINK


With the primary elections of several states slated to take place Tuesday, Americans for Tax Reform has released an updated list of incumbents and challengers for state legislative and state-wide office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for the states of Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon and Pennsylvania. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes. ATR strongly encourages taxpayers to consider those who have made this commitment when they vote on Tuesday, May 20. The list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and will be on the ballot Tuesday can be found in the following links:

Arkansas

Georgia

Idaho

Kentucky

Oregon

Pennsylvania

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Tax Increases Enacted by Democrat Governors Since 2011


Posted by Jorge Marin, Max Velthoven on Friday, May 9th, 2014, 11:30 AM PERMALINK


In a new report released today, Americans for Tax Reform has compiled all of the state tax increases enacted under Democrat governors since 2011. Key findings include the following:

  • Democrat governors have enacted over $58 billion in higher taxes since 2011.
  • This stands in stark contrast to Republican governors, who have signed over $38 billion in tax cuts into law since 2011.
     
  • By signing into law over $27 billion in higher taxes, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is the biggest tax hiker among Democratic governors.
     
  • Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is the second biggest tax hiker among Democrat governors, having raised taxes on Maryland residents by over $3 billion since 2011, and more than $11 billion since 2008.
     

For the compilation of tax increases enacted by Democratic governors since 2011, click here.

At the end of 2013, Americans for Tax Reform released the list of state tax cuts signed into law by Republican governors following the 2010 wave election that gave the GOP total political control of 24 states, and Democrats total control of 13 states. Republican governors have signed over $36 billion in tax relief into law since 2011. Meanwhile, during that same time, Democrat governors have enacted over $58 billion in higher taxes.  

Below is a list of the tax increases signed into law by Democrat governors over the last three years. It should be noted that many, but not all, Democrat governors have raised taxes. In fact, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) recently went against the Democratic governor grain by signing a corporate tax cut into law this year.

However, in general, Democrat governors have been increasing taxes in their states, while Republican governors have been moving in the opposite direction. With some of the politicians on this list considering a White House run, this is a compilation worth saving.

This figure includes the 2012 tax increases championed by California Gov. Jerry Brown, but approved by voters. When counting only tax increases that were signed into law without voter approval, Democratic governors have enacted $40 billion in higher taxes since 2011.

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DC Wash

Nah, I'd rather not. The proof is in the pudding. Show me the source of your statistics and I'll whip out my FactoidChecker-stamp of approval.

Dana

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett is facing a tough re-election campaign, but he inherited a state budget with a serious deficit looming and, with the help of a Republican-controlled state legislature, balanced the budget without raising taxes.

DC Wash

Show me the source of your statistics and I'll whip out my FactoidChecker-stamp of approval.


Paycheck Protection Legislation Advances In Louisiana


Posted by Jorge Marin on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014, 4:22 PM PERMALINK


The Louisiana House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee today took up House Bill 451, legislation introduced by Rep. Alan Seabaugh that would give workers say over what they do with their paychecks. Currently, union dues are automatically deducted from government worker paychecks using taxpayer resources. Rep. Seabaugh's Paycheck Protection bill would get the government out of the business of collecting political dues for unions and put workers back in control of their hard-earned income. ATR strongly supports HB 451 and has sent a letter to Louisiana legislators to encourage them vote Yes on this pro-taxpayer, pro-worker, commonsense measure.

An excerpt from the letter:

HB 451 recognizes the right of workers to organize, but ensures that workers have freedom of association and are not forced to join and fund a union against their will. If passed, HB 451 will end the use of state resources to collect union dues via paycheck withholding. With passage of this important reform, no employee will be forced to see his or her money used to support a political cause he or she does not believe in.

You can read the letter in its entirety here

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School’s Out, Jobs are Gone


Posted by Jorge Marin on Friday, April 25th, 2014, 4:23 PM PERMALINK


The spirit of the nation is fueled by the youth, but the policies enacted under the Obama administration are doing their best to shut that spirit out of the job market. Thanks to a historically unpredictable regulatory environment, a massive culture of over taxation, and a proven record of anti-job decisions, young college grads are being subjected to one of the driest job markets in recent memory. 2014 does not paint a rosy picture for recently graduated job-hunters.

Sadly, the dearth of jobs has an unacceptable number of new college graduates stuck in a seemingly endless loop of underemployment and unemployment. What students can expect to find upon graduation is a whopping 10.9 percent unemployment rate. These are highly educated individuals who stand to see their professional skills atrophy and whither in the face of low paying jobs.

Couple this with an average student loan debt of $27,000 and the picture gets much bleaker. Young people will necessarily have to change course to deal with ballooning student debts, at the expense of later success.

It is not just that there are few jobs out there; a big part of the problem is the actual work to be found. The Associated Press reports that “41 percent of graduates from top universities and 48 percent of those from other schools could not land jobs in their chosen field after graduation.” To be fair, however, there is not much that can be expected of an administration which attempts to raise taxes over 400 times. That kind of anti-growth tax record is bound to discourage businesses from hiring or expanding.

The hopelessness is beginning to seep into the politics of younger voters, a key Democratic constituency. According to Gallup, 49 percent of voters under 30 approve of the president, a significant 4 percent drop from their previous poll. While it is unlikely that these dissatisfied customers will rush to the polls to vote for Republicans, the drop is still represents a dark omen for Democrats in the 2014 elections.

Powerbrokers in Washington are failing the young. Without a major course-correction, increasing numbers of educated Americans will see dimmer future job prospects. With any luck politicians will reverse their over regulatory, over taxing, and over spending policies in favor of true pro-growth agendas. Or else, midterms are soon, and yesterday’s voters could find a reason to stay home to work on their resumes.

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