Joshua Culling

ATR Welcomes Maine Governor Paul LePage


Posted by Joshua Culling on Wednesday, January 5th, 2011, 4:42 PM PERMALINK


Today Paul LePage was sworn in as Maine's 74th governor. Gov. LePage is one of 14 governors nationwide who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

Gov. LePage's life story is incredible. Born a native French speaker into a family of 18 children, he was homeless for two years at age eleven. He barely got into college because of the language barrier, but worked multiple jobs while he was there and excelled.

He now has promised to get Maine back on track through a bold agenda of tax, spending and regulatory reform. Gov. LePage, like a number of other Republican governors this cycle, was given the gift of Republican majorities in both chambers of his legislature on Election Day. The skids are greased for monunmental progress in improving Maine's business climate, which Forbes recently ranked the nation's worst.

Removing the prospect of tax increases to balance the state budget makes lasting spending reform possible; this is precisely what Gov. LePage has done in signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Maine stands on the cusp of dramatic progress, and may soon be a beacon of light in the midst of New England's economic stagnation.

An excerpt from the governor's inaugural address today follows, with a shout out to the profit motive:

Maine is the hardest place in the country to start and grow a business.  Consequently, we earn just 80% of the national per capital income and we are failing to make the investments needed to grow our tax base.

Only the private sector can create the jobs and investment we need to move Maine forward.  Profit is not a dirty word.  In fact it is the direct and indirect solution to all of our challenges.

The search for profit is what drives investment and innovation.  Without profit, no one has an incentive to create jobs or build our tax base.  Profit is what will keep our young people from leaving Maine in search of better opportunities.

Profit is what makes the public sector possible.  Without profit, we do not have economic activity, we do not have income and we do not have a tax base.  Profit pays the bills for every sector of society. 

Profit leads to more competition.  And through competition “We the People” end up with more choice and greater value.

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ATR Congratulates Governor Scott Walker


Posted by Joshua Culling on Monday, January 3rd, 2011, 7:24 PM PERMALINK


Today, Scott Walker was sworn in as the 45th governor of the State of Wisconsin. Having signed and campaigned on the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he was given a clear mandate in November to take tax increases off the table in dealing with the state's $3.3 billion overspending problem. To that end, Gov. Walker won his first political showdown last month when outgoing legislative Democrats were unsuccessful in ratifying a number of public employee contracts that would have hamstrung his ability to cope with the budget hole.

Walker is one to keep your eye on. He is young, accomplished and principled, having eschewed tax increases as Milwaukee County Executive, turning deficits into surpluses through fiscal restraint. In addition to winning the governor's mansion, Republicans flipped both chambers of the state legislature in Wisconsin in 2010, potentially giving the governor a clear path to serious, lasting reforms.

It is only a matter of time until we are comparing the accomplishments of a number of incoming Pledge signer governors in the Midwest and elsewhere, including John Kasich, Tom Corbett, Paul LePage, Rick Scott, and Walker.

An instruction excerpt from Gov. Walker's inauguration speech follows:

Let me be clear on one thing: Increasing taxes is off the table—as it will counter our efforts to provide economic growth. Instead, we will make tough, but compassionate decisions to balance the next state budget in a way that will get Wisconsin working again. Under our administration, state government will do only what is necessary – no more, no less.

We will fight any action that keeps our employers from creating more jobs. But we will not abandon our fundamental responsibilities to protect our families and our property, provide for a high-quality education for our children, ensure care for the most vulnerable among us, and enhance the quality of life for our citizens.

A high quality of life; however, is not the result of a bigger, ever-expanding government.

As President Ronald Reagan said in his farewell address: "There's a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts."

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ATR Finds that Big Government is to Blame for Massachusetts's Eroding Congressional Clout


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 3:09 PM PERMALINK


Today the Census Bureau announced that Massachusetts will lose one Congressional seat as part of the decennial reapportionment process. An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing seats, finding that gainers had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

Massachusetts’s top personal income tax rate is 5.3 percent, while the average among reapportionment gainers is only 2.8 percent. Half of the states gaining seats do not levy a personal income tax at all. Government spends $6,794 per Massachusetts taxpayer, 70 percent higher than the average among gainers. And Massachusetts is a forced unionization state, where an employee can be required to join and contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. All but one of the states gaining Congressional representation, by contrast, are Right to Work states.

Massachusettswill now have 9 Congressional seats, down from a peak of 16 in 1910. ATR’s study on Massachusetts follows:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government Spending

Right to Work States

Average

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

7 of 8

Massachusetts

 

5.3 percent

$5,377

$6,794

NO

Difference

89 percent

$1,858

$2,786

 

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ATR Finds that Big Government is to Blame for Michigan's Eroding Congressional Clout


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 3:05 PM PERMALINK


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Today the Census Bureau announced that Michigan will lose one Congressional seat as part of the decennial reapportionment process. An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing seats, finding that gainers had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

Michigan’s top personal income tax rate is 4.35 percent, while the average among reapportionment gainers is only 2.8 percent. Half of the states gaining seats do not levy a personal income tax at all. Government spends $4,397 per Michigan taxpayer, 10 percent higher than the average among gainers. And Michigan is a forced unionization state, where an employee can be required to join and contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. All but one of the states gaining Congressional representation, by contrast, are Right to Work states.

Michiganwill now have 14 Congressional seats, continuing a steady decline from a peak of 19 seats in 1970. Governor-elect Rick Snyder would be wise to part with the big government legacy of Jennifer Granholm and embrace the brand of small government espoused in states that created jobs and attracted population over the past decade. ATR’s study on Michigan follows:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government Spending

Right to Work States

Average

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

7 of 8

Michigan

 

4.35 percent

$3,694

$4,397

NO

Difference

55 percent

$175

$389

 


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Census Data Show that Big Government is to Blame for Iowa's Eroding Congressional Representation


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 2:57 PM PERMALINK


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Today the Census Bureau announced that Iowa will lose one Congressional seat as part of the decennial reapportionment process. An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing seats, finding that gainers had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

Iowa’s top personal income tax rate is 8.98 percent, while the average among reapportionment gainers is only 2.8 percent. Half of the states gaining seats do not levy a personal income tax at all. Government spends $5,372 per Iowan, 34 percent higher than the average among gainers. Perhaps stemming further population loss, Iowa is a Right to Work state, where an employee is not required to join and contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. All but one of the states gaining Congressional representation do not employ forced unionization.

Iowawill now have 4 Congressional seats, continuing a gradual decline from a high mark of 11 in 1920. ATR’s study on Iowa follows:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government Spending

Right to Work States

Average

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

7 of 8

Iowa

 

8.98 percent

$3,589

$5,372

YES

Difference

221 percent

$70

$1,364

 

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Census Data Show that Big Government is to Blame for New Jersey's Eroding Congressional Clout


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 12:41 PM PERMALINK


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Today the Census Bureau announced that New Jersey will lose one Congressional seat as part of the decennial reapportionment process. An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing seats, finding that gainers had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

New Jersey’s top personal income tax rate is 8.97 percent, while the average among reapportionment gainers is only 2.8 percent. Half of the states gaining seats do not levy a personal income tax at all. Government spends $5,609 per every man, woman and child in New Jersey, 40 percent higher than the average among gainers. And New Jersey is a forced unionization state, where an employee can be required to join and contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. All but one of the states gaining Congressional representation, by contrast, are Right to Work states.

New Jerseywill now have 12 Congressional seats, a decline from its high of 15 seats in 1960. Luckily, Gov. Chris Christie has presented a serious change in direction on fiscal and economic policy, which is crucial to the state reversing the outflow of jobs and population to more business-friendly states. ATR’s study on New Jersey follows:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government Spending

Right to Work States

Average

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

7 of 8

New Jersey

8.97 percent

$6,610

$5,609

NO

Difference

220 percent

$3,093

$1,601

 

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Census Data Show that Big Government is to Blame for New York's Eroding Congressional Clout


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 12:18 PM PERMALINK


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Today the Census Bureau announced that New York will lose two Congressional seats as part of the decennial reapportionment process. An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing seats, finding that gainers had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

New York’s top personal income tax rate is 8.97 percent, while the average among reapportionment gainers is only 2.8 percent. Half of the states gaining seats do not levy a personal income tax at all. Government spends $5,955 per New Yorker, 49 percent higher than the average among gainers. And New York is a forced unionization state, where an employee can be required to join and contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. All but one of the states gaining Congressional representation, by contrast, are Right to Work states.

New York will now have 27 Congressional seats, marking a seventy years of decline from its high of 45 seats in 1930. Without a serious change in direction on fiscal and economic policy, the state shows no signs of reversing the outflow of jobs and population to more business-friendly states. ATR’s study on New York follows:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government

Spending

Right to Work States

Average

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

7 of 8

New York

8.97 percent

$6,419

$5,955

NO

Difference

220 percent

$2,370

$1,947

 


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Census Data Show that Big Government is to Blame for Ohio's Eroding Congressional Representation


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 12:02 PM PERMALINK


PDF Copy.

Today the Census Bureau announced that Ohio will lose two Congressional seats as part of the decennial reapportionment process. An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing seats, finding that gainers had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

Ohio’s top personal income tax rate is 5.925 percent, while the average among reapportionment gainers is only 2.8 percent. Half of the states gaining seats do not levy a personal income tax at all. Government spends $4,942 per Ohioan, 19 percent higher than the average among gainers. And Ohio is a forced unionization state, where an employee can be required to join and contribute financially to a union as a condition of employment. All but one of the states gaining Congressional representation, by contrast, are Right to Work states.

Ohiowill now have 16 Congressional seats, continuing a steady decline from its high of 24 seats in 1960. Governor-elect Kasich and others in the legislature who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge have committed themselves to stopping the outflow of jobs and population to states with an economic advantage in terms of taxes, spending and unionization. ATR’s study on Ohio follows:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government Spending

Right to Work States

Average

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

7 of 8

Ohio

 

5.925 percent

$4,049

$4,942

NO

Difference

112 percent

$530

$934

 


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Lower Taxes, Less Government in States Gaining Congressional Seats


Posted by Joshua Culling on Tuesday, December 21st, 2010, 11:34 AM PERMALINK


PDF Copy.

An updated study by Americans for Tax Reform compared states gaining and losing Congressional seats in the decennial reapportionment process and found that states gaining seats had significantly lower taxes, less government spending, and were more likely to have “Right to Work” laws in place. Because reapportionment is based on population migration, this is further proof that fiscally conservative public policy spurs economic growth, creates jobs, and attracts population growth.

The Census Bureau announced today that eight states will gain at least one Congressional seat. Texas will gain four seats and Florida will gain two. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will gain one seat each. The biggest losers will be New York and Ohio – both will lose two seats – while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania will lose one seat each.

The average top personal income tax rate among gainers is 116 percent lower than among losers. The total state and local tax burden is nearly one-third lower, as is per capita government spending. In eight of ten losers, workers can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. In 7 of the 8 gainers, workers are given a choice whether to join or contribute financially to a union. The details of ATR’s study follow:

 

Average Top Personal Income Tax Rate

Per Capita State and Local Tax Burden

Per Capita Government

Spending

Percentage Right to Work States

Reapportionment Gainers

2.8 percent

$3,519

$4,008

87.5 percent

Reapportionment Losers

 

6.05 percent

$4,534

$5,117

20 percent

Difference

116 percent

$1,015

$1,109

67.5 percent


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WI: Scott Walker's First Victory


Posted by Joshua Culling on Thursday, December 16th, 2010, 12:17 PM PERMALINK


Or perhaps more aptly, the first victory in a long time for Wisconsin taxpayers.

After legislative Democrats convened a lame duck session at the behest of outgoing Gov. Doyle to ratify 17 public employee contracts, it was assumed they had the 11th hour votes. They were effectively tying the hands of Governor-elect Scott Walker and the incoming Republican legislative majorities, who rightly insisted on maximum flexibility in dealing with the state's $3.3 billion overspending problem.

Until a shocking twist late last night:

Stunned Democrats stripped Senate Majority Leader Russ Decker of his leadership position after he abruptly turned on them and voted against new contracts for state workers.

The deals looked all but dead after Decker's about-face late Wednesday night. Senate Democrats planned to reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, but they can't approve the contracts without the Weston Democrat's support.

An unlikely hero, Decker, who convened the Senate special session in the first place, voted the 17 contracts out of committee but then joined Sen. Jeff Plale (D-Milwaukee) in crossing the aisle and killing the bills.

This was far from the only bizarre aspect of the lame duck. The Democrats actually negotiated to get Rep. Jeff Wood (I-Chippewa Falls) out of jail briefly to provide the decisive aye vote for the contracts. Thankfully, Wisconsin's revolving door policy for convicted legislators was not enough to ram this legislation through.

Scott Walker secured his first legislative victory last night. He'll be able to pursue his principled agenda, bereft of tax increases, without any last-minute tampering from a defeated majority.

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