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Jorge Marin

Kurt Zellers Makes Passionate Case for the Taxpayer

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Tuesday, August 12th, 2014, 4:53 PM PERMALINK


Today is Minnesota’s gubernatorial primary and the fight for the Republican nomination has been heated. Voters have clearly contrasting choices when it comes to who is standing up for taxpayers. Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Kurt Zellers opted to make a case for his candidacy in a column in the Star Tribune. The former speaker of the Minnesota House is the only candidate who has made a personal written commitment to oppose higher taxes. Given the massive tax hikes signed into law by Democrat Governor Mark Dayton, Zellers has demonstrated he understands the problems of hardworking small businesses and families in Minnesota. In his column, Zellers explains that

 “In 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton and his DFL-controlled majorities in the Legislature raised taxes on hardworking Minnesotans by more than $2 billion. According to Dayton’s own Revenue Department, the tax increases forced every Minnesotan to pay more for government, and his tax bill actually hit the poorest Minnesotans hardest.”

With this he demonstrates an understanding of the past mistakes of Minnesota’s leaders, for this reason, he states

“That’s why I made a commitment not to raise your taxes, and my plan will move Minnesota out of the top 10 in taxes…

“There is a good reason for the Star Tribune’s Aug. 4 endorsement of Republican Jeff Johnson in the upcoming primary election. Johnson has said in numerous debates and forums that he is open to extending the sales tax to clothing and food, something I am unwilling to do.”

Zellers also has the necessary experience to make the much-needed changes to Minnesota’s tax system,

“When my colleagues elected me speaker of the Minnesota House in 2011, our state was in recession and faced an unprecedented $6 billion deficit. As speaker, I led efforts to turn that record deficit into a $3 billion surplus without raising taxes during tough economic times.”

Lastly, he explains the high stakes of the upcoming elections,

The next governor will have the opportunity to reform a union-centered education system that is failing low-income and minority students; bring billions of dollars and jobs to support responsible mining in northeastern Minnesota, and make our state globally competitive for building careers.”

Kurt Zellers is the candidate most committed to standing up for the Minnesota taxpayers. As the only Republican to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he has acknowledged that something must be done about the deep-seated spending culture in Saint Paul without increasing the tax burden on Minnesotans. Voters should remember this when they cast their vote in today’s primary.

Photo Credit: Kurt Zellers Facebook

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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Elections in Connecticut, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Monday, August 11th, 2014, 5:22 PM 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 Connecticut, Minnesota, Wisconsin. 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, August 12. 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:

Connecticut

Minnesota

Wisconsin

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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Elections in Hawaii

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Friday, August 8th, 2014, 4:55 PM PERMALINK


As the Hawaii primary approaches, Americans for Tax Reform has released a new list of state legislative and state-wide candidates seeking office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have shown a strong commitment to their state’s taxpayers by putting their convictions against new and/or higher taxes in writing. Please show your support at the ballot boxes on Saturday, August 9.

 

The list for Hawaii is as follows:

 

Incumbents:

 

  • Sam Slom (S-9)
  • Aaron Johanson (H-32)
  • Bob McDermott (H-40)
  • Cynthia Thielen (H-50)
  • Gene Ward (H-17)
  • Faye Pua Hanonano (H-4)

 

Challengers:

 

  • Miles Shiratori (Lt. Gov)
  • Ruth A. Brown (S-21)
  • Bronson Kekahuna Kaahvi (S-6)
  • Tercia Ku (S-21)
  • Julia Allen (H-20)
  • Frederick Fogel (H-3)
  • Victoria Franks (H-16)
  • Jonathan Hoomanawanui (H-14)
  • Bryan Jeremiah (H-41)
  • Carole Kauhiwai Kaapu (H-28)
  • Sam Kong (H-33)
  • Suk Moses (H-42)
  • Richard H. Pohle (H-12)
  • Emil Svrcina (H-37)
  • Kaimanu Takayama (H-48)

 

Photo Credit: Christopher Jetton

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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Elections in Tennessee

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Posted by Jorge Marin, Will Upton on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014, 4:11 PM PERMALINK


As the Tennessee primary approaches, Americans for Tax Reform has released a new list of state legislative and state-wide candidates seeking office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have shown a strong commitment to their state’s taxpayers by putting their convictions against new and/or higher taxes in writing. Please show your support at the ballot boxes on Thursday, August 7th.

The list for Tennessee is as follows:

 

Incumbents

 

  • Mae Beavers (S-17)
  • Jack Johnson (S-23
  • Bill Ketron (S-13)
  • Randy McNally (S-5)
  • Steve Southerland (S-1)
  • Harry Brooks (H-19)
  • Kevin Brooks (H-24)
  • Glen Casada (H-63)
  • Bill Dunn (H-16)
  • Jeremy Faison (H-11)
  • Steve Hall (H-18)
  • Beth Harwell (H-56)
  • Ryan Haynes (H-14)
  • Matthew Hill (H-7)
  • Curtis Johnson (H-68)
  • Kelly Keisling (H-38)
  • Jon Lundberg (H-1)
  • Steve McDaniel (H-72)
  • Steve McManus (H-96)
  • Dennis Powers (H-36)
  • Courtney Rogers (H-45)
  • Charles Sargent (H-61)
  • Tony Shipley (H-2)
  • Mike Sparks (H-49)
  • Terry Weaver (H-40)
  • Rick Womick (H-34)

 

Challengers

 

  • James R. “Jim” Finney (S-29)
  • Matt Swallows (S-15)
  • Dan Howell (H-22)
  • Tonya Miller (H-53)

 

Photo Credit: Corey Seeman

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Minnesota Republican Jeff Johnson’s ‘Read My Lips’ Problem on Taxes

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Posted by Paul Blair, Jorge Marin on Tuesday, August 5th, 2014, 3:29 PM PERMALINK


Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson seems to think that run-of-the-mill politician promises are enough to prove his bona fides for November’s election. In his bid to secure the Republican nomination he has refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to Minnesota voters. The Hennepin County Commissioner stated, “I’ve never voted for a tax increase… As governor, my philosophy will not change.”

Here lies the “Read My Lips” problem. He isn’t the first person claiming to reject higher taxes while refusing to put it in writing for voters. Take Virginia’s disgraced ex-governor Bob McDonnell. When he ran for governor in 2009, he said, “I’ve been a firm believer that I’m gonna tell you exactly what I think… that I’m going to stick to my word.” He went on to say, “I have no plans to raise taxes” after refusing to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The Washington Times questioned this approach. He went on to make a tax deal with Democrats and ended up being taken to the cleaners. He signed the largest tax increase in Virginia history into law during his final year in office.

Should voters really be concerned about Mr. Johnson though? In a recent interview with the Minnesota Post Johnson claimed that “[He] do[es] believe that we need to broaden the sales tax base and lower the sales tax rate.” Will it be revenue neutral? Or will taxpayers get sacked? Taking Jeff Johnson at his word isn’t something voters are likely going to do in this political environment. He should be careful that this does not become his “Read my lips moment.” It would be easier to believe that his reforms would be revenue neutral if he allowed taxpayers to have it in writing.

Sadly, it seems Mr. Johnson is unacquainted with the political realities of tax hikes.

And the father of all politicians who thought they could play fast and loose with their campaign promises, George Bush Sr. Not even a president is exempt from keeping his word. Though he was Reagan’s chosen successor, as well as the president who oversaw the downfall of the Soviet Union and the president during a popular war, it was his tax policy which doomed him. After foolishly signing on to a deal granting congressional Democrats their tax hikes in exchange for spending cuts which never materialized, Bush lost reelection to the charismatic Bill Clinton.

There is a pattern of failure for politicians who fail to act as responsible stewards of the taxpayers. Mr. Johnson should veer away from this tax tendency and pledge his support for Minnesota’s taxpayers. This will allow him to demonstrate his willingness to be held accountable for his actions.

Call Jeff Johnson at 763-703-5154 and tell him to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today.

Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack

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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Elections in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Monday, August 4th, 2014, 4:21 PM PERMALINK


As the next round of states prepares to hold their election primaries, Americans for Tax Reform has released a new list of state legislative and state-wide candidates seeking office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. The individuals on this list have voiced their commitment to the taxpayers to oppose all efforts to raise the tax burden. ATR strongly encourages voters to consider these candidates when they go to the ballot box on August 5th, 2014. 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:

Kansas

Michigan

Missouri

Washington

Photo Credit: Vox Efx

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Contrasting Records a Feature of the North Carolina Senate Race

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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.

Photo Credit: Mark Peterson

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Crewmax42

As the election approaches, the negative ads have begun. Already, Hagan ( at least the actors in her anti-Tillis fantasies) is having to resort to half truths to make charges against him. Waiting for the outright lies to begin.


NC Newspaper Issues Misguided Call for a Plastic Bag Ban

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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.

Photo Credit: Sergio Pani

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Michigan Takes Steps to Revive Manufacturing

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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.

Photo Credit: Astrid Westvang

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

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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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