Jorge Marin

ATR Supports House 2016 Budget Proposal

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, Jorge Marin on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, 5:13 PM PERMALINK

Today, ATR President Grover Norquist released a letter in support of the US House of Representatives budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016. This budget proposal puts forth a set of fiscally responsible solutions that balances the budget and reins in out of control federal spending by cutting trillions of dollars. At the same time the resolution preserves the landmark caps on spending which have kept government largess under control.

The budget proposal also calls for the full repeal of Obamacare, strengthening and securing Medicare and Medicaid, introducing lower and more competitive taxes, creating and protecting jobs and funding national security in a responsible way. See the full letter below:

Dear Chairmen Price:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, I write in strong support of the recently released U.S. House of Representatives budget proposal. The budget blueprint authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) will ensure that Washington lives within its means by balancing the budget in less than ten years and cutting $5.5 trillion in federal spending.

The budget proposal calls for a fairer, simpler tax code, reforms struggling entitlement programs, clamps down on inefficient and ineffective government programs, and lays the groundwork for strong economic growth. The plan also empowers the states to make their own decisions by restoring the principle of federalism.

By keeping to the proposed reforms, Congress stands to secure America’s economic prospects, protect jobs, and accelerate economic development to levels which would be unattainable given the current spending policies. Lower, flatter taxes plus a competitive international tax regime would enshrine our place as the world’s number 1 destination for entrepreneurship. Simply put, asking taxpayers to pay $160 billion per year is an undue burden that we can do without.

Notably, the House budget repeals Obamacare in its entirety and reforms the health care system to increase access to affordable care and provide patients with better medical choices. Repealing Obamacare would eliminate numerous job killing regulations including the employer mandate and the individual mandate. In place of this complex system, the House budget prioritizes a patient-centered approach that gives power back to the individual.

Repealing Obamacare will also put a stop to the raiding of the Medicare trust fund. In turn, this will help secure and strengthen Medicare so the program can continue to provide retirees with the care that they deserve. The budget will also build a new premium support program for Medicare that will further empower seniors to make their own choices.

Finally, the budget implements improvements to Medicaid. Specifically, it repeals the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and grants increased flexibility to the states, which will allow the states the opportunity to build a strong and sustainable system of Medicaid that suits their needs.

The House Budget maintains the spending restrictions mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011, ensuring the continuation of the savings from discretionary spending. In contrast to the White House budget, which ignores 2011 spending caps and raises spending through misleading promises, the House budget abides by federal law. The budget allocates funding to the DOD’s Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund to meet the complex and dangerous global threats, balanced by cuts to mandatory spending.

It is important to keeps the caps in place that have stabilized federal spending since 2011 and will lead to $1.79 trillion in savings through 2021. You should be congratulated for proposing a more fiscally responsible solution despite the urging of some of his more reckless colleagues to break spending caps and undo years of fiscal restraint.

We urge the House Budget committee to support this bold pro-growth proposal. It returns power to states and localities while making great, positive strides in the tax code.


Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform

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Don't Kill The Sequester

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

Congress is at a pivotal crossroad. The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget panels are preparing to unveil their plans for the nation’s budget this week; at stake are the $1.79 trillion dollars in savings scheduled through 2021.

On the one hand, there are the members of Congress who would like to get rid of the sequester caps on military spending; on the other are the legislators who wish to maintain the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) intact.

It looks like the Republican leadership will opt to preserve the budgetary restraint and save the American taxpayer trillions of dollars in the near future. Yes, that is correct, trillions. It all has to do with the stunning flat-line which the Sequester imposes on discretionary spending.

As a way to keep the folks on The Hill accountable for spending, the BCA placed hard caps on the amount of money that could be allocated for certain budgetary items. These were to come into place if lawmakers were unable to come to an agreement over a way to reduce federal deficits. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you are content with the Sequester), lawmakers failed to do so and the result was a sudden reduction in discretionary spending for the ten years following the BCA’s passage in 2011.

CBO projections reveal the effectiveness of the Sequester in halting spending:

                                               (Source: Congressional Budget Office)

Over time, discretionary spending was projected to continue rising in perpetuity; but thanks to the BCA, discretionary spending was brought under control.

That is one third of the national budget stabilized with no tax hikes needed. What is even more miraculous is that all of this was achieved while Republicans controlled only one chamber in Congress.

This key victory has already saved taxpayers $670 billion, but according to CBO projections an additional $1.79 trillion dollars in savings is set to occur through 2021. In other words, the best of the benefits is yet to come.

At the current trend line, the United States is slated to spend a record low amount on discretionary spending as a percentage of GDP at 5.5 percent by 2021. Overall this must be considered the seminal achievement of the conservative movement of the last five years. This gives our national finances breathing room for legislators to look for further reforms down the line.

Should Congress turn away from the Budget Control Act, they would trade $1.79 trillion dollars over the next five years for a couple billion dollars now. Let us hope that Congress has better math sense than to allow for that to happen.

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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:




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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:




  • 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)




  • 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)


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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:




  • 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)




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


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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.

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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:





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Contrasting Records a Feature of the North Carolina Senate Race

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Posted by Patrick M. 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

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Posted by Patrick M. 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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