Katie McAuliffe

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: The Mobile Workforce State Income Simplification Act


Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Monday, September 19th, 2016, 2:43 PM PERMALINK


On Friday, September 6th, Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to Congressmen in support of the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act, HR 2315. ATR urges Congress to vote in favor of this bill to establish clear boundaries and presence standards based on a state’s physical border. As the digital world makes us increasingly more mobile, this bill will prevent states from taxing out-of-state residents.

The full letter can be found below, and here.

Dear Congressmen:

On behalf of American taxpayers, I write in support of the Mobile Workforce State Income Tax Simplification Act, H.R 2315, which establishes a clear and consistent physical presence standard for employee income tax reporting.

This legislation, introduced by Congressmen Mike Bishop and Hank Johnson, passed the House Judiciary Committee with a reported vote of 23 yeas and 4 nays.

It is important to establish a physical presence standard for the American workforce particularly as technology allows us to be even more mobile.  Establishing clear borders based on a state’s physical border will be even more important as technologies take us beyond telework and towards the possibilities of telemedicine and advanced education.

When an employee travels from one state to the next, there are varying rules throughout the 50 states as to when an employee’s income tax needs to be reported by an employer and paid by the employee.  

For example, Colorado will tax any income earned within the state if an individual has worked there at least one day.  Hawaii and Arizona require withholding for work that exceeds 60 days. Other states do not use a time requirement at all, but tax based on a specific dollar figure earned while in the state.

Most individuals are not aware of the varying non-resident state income tax filing rules, and employers incur extraordinary expenses to comply with withholding requirements.  

This is especially difficult for those able to offer support in the event of a natural disaster. People with specialized skills - doctors, nurses, electricians, arborists, decontamination crews, etc. - are in high demand following these events.  These skills are not bound by location; they can mobilize to accelerate healing and repairs for a community after a disaster.

H.R. 2315 establishes a clear physical presence standard for cross-border work by keeping states from taxing most nonresident employees until the employee is present and working in the state for more than 30 days during the year.  This minimizes bureaucratic hurdles, allows employees to keep more of their own paycheck, and simplifies tax compliance.

I encourage Congress to support American workers with clear consistent tax collection boundaries based on a state’s physical borders. 

If you should have any questions regarding this issue please contact me, or Katie McAuliffe at kmcauliffe@atr.org or 202-785-0266.

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist

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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: Business Income Taxes


Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Wednesday, September 14th, 2016, 1:26 PM PERMALINK


Today, Americans for Tax Reform sent an open letter to Congressmen in support of the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act (BATSA), HR 2584. ATR urges Congress to vote in favor of this bill to reiterate the fact that states do not have the authority to tax outside of their own borders, as well as to continue to take steps to strengthen the physical nexus standard.

 

The full letter can be read below, as well as here:

 

Dear Congressmen:

On behalf of American taxpayers, I write in support of the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act (BATSA), H.R 2584, which reiterates that states do not have the authority to tax outside of their own borders.

States are adopting policies that force new tax liability onto those with a mere “economic nexus.” Codified in many different forms across the country, the economic standard grants nebulous authority to force out-of-state, nonresidents to comply with a state’s tax code.

The gradual shift to economic nexus is an attempt by states to raise tax revenue beyond what their own economies and taxpayers can sustain. Economic nexus poses a direct threat to the principles of democracy and republican governance by the people, shifting the cost of government to non-residents.

BATSA promotes inter-state economic activity by eliminating the burden for businesses of having to comply with varying and complex state income tax laws. It establishes a clear physical presence standard for taxing multistate businesses engaged in cross-border transactions.

Congress has well-established Constitutional authority to protect against economically destructive state tax laws.

As Congress reiterates to wayward states that digital borders are no broader than physical borders, BATSA could not come at a more critical juncture. 

This legislation, introduced by Reps. Steve Chabot and Bobby Scott, passed the House Judiciary Committee with a reported vote of 18 yeas and 7 nays. 

I encourage Congress to avoid attempts to weaken the physical nexus standard, and to continue taking steps that strengthen physical nexus by passing the Business Activity Tax Simplification Act.

If you should have any questions regarding this issue please contact me, or Katie McAuliffe at kmcauliffe@atr.org or 202-785-0266.

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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: The Digital Goods and Services Fairness Act, H.R. 1643

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016, 2:26 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform today sent an open letter to Congressmen Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), and Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) praising their support for the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act (HR 1643) and urged all other members of Congress to do the same.

The full letter can be seen below, and here:

 

September 13, 2016

Dear Congressmen:

 

On behalf of American taxpayers, I write to thank you for your support of the Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act (HR 1643), and urge you to continue your steadfast advocacy for this measure. 

This legislation prevents double taxation and holds policy makers accountable for enacting new taxes by establishing digital tax borders across the fifty states. Given the interstate nature of ecommerce, it is important for Congress to clarify taxing authority.

Without a framework of digital borders for digital goods and services, the door remains open for a single consumer purchase to be taxed in multiple states. 

For example, a consumer based in Nebraska could purchase a digital good from a California company located on a server in Wyoming and could be subject to taxes from three separate jurisdictions for one purchase, if HR 1643 is not passed into law. 

Taxation of intangible goods is without precedent. As a result, a patchwork of varying laws for taxing digital goods, streaming services and apps have developed by administrative fiat rather than a vote from elected officials.  

Numerous states have expanded the definition of a good or service through the various departments of revenue or other administrative bodies, bypassing the elected state legislators altogether. There must be a mechanism in place to hold these policymakers accountable to their constituents. 

HR 1643 passed out of the House Committee on the Judiciary by voice vote.  We look forward to seeing this bill pass on the House floor.

If you should have any questions regarding this issue please contact me, or Katie McAuliffe at kmcauliffe@atr.org or 202-785-0266.

 

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist

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leowellsblog

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The Administration's Assault on Article 1

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Friday, August 12th, 2016, 9:35 AM PERMALINK


Whether Democrat, Republican, or Independent, as an American, you likely care about the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches. 

The Department of Commerce, via the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), is directly violating a law that forbids it from using funds to transfer the Internet Domain Name contract away from United States oversight.  

Congress should not enable an administration that picks and chooses which laws to follow. It should sue to enforce its Power of the Purse and reaffirm our system of checks and balances.

Americans for Tax Reform signed on to a coalition letter urging the United States Congress to do just that. 

The following can be attributed to Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist: 

“Congress has already won in court on the Obama Administration’s ‘inappropriate’ spending of funds to pay for the Affordable Care Act.  Congress did not appropriate the cost-sharing provisions and the Administration went ahead and spent the money - that was found to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. 

“Suing to enforce the appropriations rider, preventing the NTIA from spending funds towards the IANA transition and extending that rider through 2017, is important.  It is a key battle in the fight to protect constitutionally separated powers. 

“Both parties should have a real interest in protecting the Congressional Power of the Purse.  If legislation is no longer binding, Congress forfeits a basic check on Executive power.”

This administration is setting the precedent for all future presidencies.  The executive had bent, indeed broken, the rules and ignore Congressional protests.  The NTIA's action is another example. 

In order to allow some pre-existing issues to be settled, Congress forbade the NTIA from using congressionally appropriated funds to go towards the transition. However, in 2016, the NTIA released a report indicating they were looking into, and dedicating resources to the transition. This is in violation of federal law prohibiting the NTIA from using funds in the years 2015 and 2016 to further the transition of the IANA contract.

Regardless of the numerous concerns surrounding IANA stewardship and the security issues with the transition, the NTIA’s action presents a threat to our democracy. The executive is ignoring a congressional appropriation. This is a signal of disrespect to the Constitution and separation of powers.

Lawmakers should unite behind suing to enforce the power of the purse, it’s most basic constitutionally enumerated check. Otherwise, legislation in Congress will be viewed as non-binding and the legislative branch’s power to check the executive will be greatly diminished. 

The full text of the coalition letter can be found here.

Photo Credit: 
Kim Davies

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Financial Services Appropriations Bill Reins in Obama Government Agencies

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, Justin Sykes, Katie McAuliffe on Tuesday, June 21st, 2016, 1:10 PM PERMALINK


Later this week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 5485, the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Act, introduced by Congressman Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.). This legislation allocates 2017 federal funding for numerous agencies including the Treasury Department, the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FCC.

H.R. 5485 allocates this funding in a responsible, pro-taxpayer way and reins in out-of-control agencies to ensure they do not overstep their bounds and needlessly waste federal resources. ATR supports this legislation and urges all Members of Congress to vote for it when it reaches the floor.

Restrains IRS Overreach
H.R. 5485 contains several important policy riders to rein in the IRS. Under this administration, the agency has targeted non-profit organizations, families, and small businesses again and again in a concerted effort to limit free speech and harass taxpayers.

The legislation prohibits the IRS from implementing a new regulation on non-profit organizations, from giving bonuses or rehiring former employees without proper tax compliance measures, or from targeting individuals based on first amendment rights. In addition, the package implements extensive reporting on IRS spending to ensure the agency is wisely utilizing taxpayer resources.

Reins in SEC Funding and Improves Transparency
FSGG allocates $1.5 billion for the SEC, lowering the agency’s funding by $50 million from previous levels in fiscal year 2016. The legislation also creates new reporting requirements for the SEC, which would improve the transparency and fairness of the agency. One provision requires the SEC to report to Congress the cost associated with the regulatory burdens promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Act. 

The legislation also ensures First Amendment free speech is protected by prohibiting the agency from requiring the disclosure of political contributions in SEC filings. 

Responsibly Allocates IRS Funding 
The legislation provides $10.9 billion for the IRS, reducing their funding by $236 million compared to fiscal year 2016. In addition, the legislation funds the agency $1.3 billion below President Obama’s budget, which called for more than $1 billion in additional funding for the agency.

FSGG also allocates this funding in an efficient way. Of the $10.9 billion in funding, the legislation allocates $2.1 billion to taxpayer services and provides $290 million for the IRS to improve customer service, fight fraud, and improve cybersecurity.

Given the IRS's record of ineptitude and incompetence, the last thing the agency needs is more money. The agency’s woes are due to its management problems, not because of insufficient resources and this legislation will force the agency to spend its resources in a more responsible way.

Blocks Implementation of Obamacare
FSGG also contains important provisions that restrict the ability of the federal government to implement Obamacare. Specifically, this legislation stops transfer of funds between the Department of Health and Human Services and the IRS to fund Obamacare. Since passage of the law, the Obama Administration has funneled funds across agencies to hide the true costs of the law and pay out special interests at the expense of the American people.

Most importantly, the legislation restricts the use of funds to implement the individual mandate. Under current law, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. This year a family in the middle class will be forced to pay 2.5 percent of Adjusted Gross income or $1,390 if they do not have insurance. The Obama administration uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.  

Increases CFPB Oversight and Accountability 
This legislation provides increased oversight over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, by subjecting the agency to annual congressional appropriations process, something that has not occurred since the CFPB was created in 2010. By bringing funding for the CFPB under the congressional appropriations process, this legislation increases the accountability of the CFPB to congress and taxpayers. 

Further, H.R. 5485 temporarily halts the CFPB’s costly and overreaching arbitration rule by requiring the agency to study the use of pre-dispute arbitration before issuing such regulations. The CFPB has not adequately justified the need for rule, and enactment would increase the costs of products and reduce access for the very consumers it would supposedly protect.  

Restrains FCC
The FCC’s snowballing regulatory binge continues to tighten its grasp on basic functions of the Internet and the free market.  The FCC's dubious interpretations of "ambiguous" legal language, even at the protest of Congress, leave no other options but for Congress to restrain and direct FCC spending as Congress is statutorily required to do.

To enhance transparency and public participation, funds must be used for the agency to make all proposed regulations public three weeks before the final legally binding vote.  It constrains some of the agency’s overreaches on policy, by preventing the agency from using any appropriated funding for “Net Neutrality” regulations until court proceedings conclude. 

The dollars in the public pot are limited. While the agency does receive less money for operations than it asked for, and the is an overall decrease in funding of $25 million, the FCC maintains an ample budget of $315 million to aptly pursue its core functions and target waste fraud and abuse within its programs. 

 

Photo Credit: 
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ATR Response to Net Neutrality Ruling

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Wednesday, June 15th, 2016, 1:08 PM PERMALINK


The DC Circuit Court’s 2-1 decision in favor of the FCC’s Internet regulations represent a significant blow to the integrity of the Internet. The decision fails to address any meaningful issue and will serve to stifle innovation and investment in the future.

This decision also allows the FCC and the rest of the government to continue to overstep its authority and threaten the sovereignty of the private sector. 

Grover Norquist, the President of Americans for Tax Reform said:

“Treating the internet as a 19th century utility means putting it under political control, driven by backward looking bureaucrats. Such treatment will kill innovation, delay the future and abort thousands of new entrepreneurial efforts. This court decision must not stand.”

The spirit of the FCC’s regulations was to prevent Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from censoring free speech by charging different prices for different content. However, the dissent by Judge Williams makes clear that, while these rules were intended to promote growth, they will, more likely, slow innovation and investment.

The FCC’s regulations not only impose unnecessary burdens on existing ISPs by dictating their private pricing practices, it will undeniably deny smaller ISPs from being able to gain access to a greater share of the market. This will have the counterproductive effect of severely limiting competition.

As Judge Williams addressed in his eloquent dissent, the FCC’s regulations will put Internet on a trend towards incurable monopolies. Despite being created to prevent these sorts of economic conditions, the regulations will actually make them a reality. This is the “ultimate irony” of these rules.

Despite this obvious setback, we will continue to participate in the steps ahead to ensure that the Internet is able to return to a free-market approach that has fueled its thriving success. We also plan on being a voice in the coming discussion on how to ensure the Internet best serves the American people. We are optimistic that the value of the free market will shine through in this fight.

Photo Credit: 
Greg Elin

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Norquist Statement on Protecting Internet Freedom Act


Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Wednesday, June 8th, 2016, 10:16 AM PERMALINK


The following can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, regarding the United States' oversight role for Internet domain names:

“The power of the Internet should be free, open, and available for all Americans and all the people of the world.  It should not be taxed, over-regulated, policed and/or spied on by Washington bureaucrats or bureaucrats overseas.

“The Cruz-Duffy legislation raises important questions as to how we best protect the Internet which has delivered great progress, and promises more, both politically and economically.” 

This is a response to a proposed plan to transition the oversight of Internet domain names to a global multi-stakeholder community. The loosely designed plan has prompted many fears that authoritarian regimes will influence and undermine the goal of making the Internet more accessible to people around the globe.

Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) and Congressman Sean Duffy (Wis.) introduced companion legislation in both Chambers, entitled the Protecting Internet Freedom Act, which would ensure no such transition can take place without Congressional approval. 

As it currently stands, the US hands off oversight to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a non-profit based in California, which is meant to help facilitate the coming transition. The Commerce Department will review a full plan for the transition this month.

However, many lawmakers on the Hill, like Cruz, and Senators James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are not satisfied. Cruz has championed this bill as the “last chance to save Internet freedom.”

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Norquist Applauds the Continuing App Evolution

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, 2:18 PM PERMALINK


Today, Comcast announced the launch of its new ap that can replace the need for a cable box.  The app is currently available on Roku and Samsung Internet TVs, and is available to manufacturers and developers building any number of devices to show content on a television screen.  

The Federal Communications Commission is currently proposing rules that would require cable companies maintain the cable box, even if it could be replaced by an app. 

The following statement can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform:

"The FCC is trying to mandate old and outdated technology. Comcast has solved the problem that the FCC has decided to continue."  

Once again free market forces move faster than government.  The Federal Communications Commission is just now proposing rules that would require cable companies maintain the clunky cable box.  

This new development should clear some space on the FCC's calendar.  Now they can go back to working on getting more spectrum to the market for all of our tech devices.  That would be a real net benefit for consumers, and actually within the FCC"s job description.

 

 

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President Obama Agrees to Stop Internet Taxes

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Thursday, February 25th, 2016, 4:52 PM PERMALINK


The Internet Tax ban has always been widely supported, but because of its popularity for 18 years it could not escape other ball and chain initiatives.  Now it is Free!

Four major bipartisan trade bills have been signed into law this Congress under the leadership of Senator Hatch (R-Utah).  These bills help American job creators and workers compete in the global market.

There are more reasons than efficient trade enforcement and facilitation in this Act to celebrate.

Senator Hatch, along with allies Senator Ron Wyden, Chairman Kevin Brady, and Chairman Bob Goodlatee, included a permanent ban on Internet access taxes in the Trade legislation.

The Internet Access Tax was a threat that Congress held over the heads of the American people for 18 years.  The ban on these taxes was periodically extended, but without permanency it was always a bargaining chip that tax & spenders wouldn’t take off the table.  That threat is gone.

On Wednesday February 24th, President Obama signed the fourth of this suit of bills into law, the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act, with Senator Hatch at his side.

Americans can thank a bipartisan effort in both the Senate and the House to pass trade legislation and the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act.

Americans, can also thank President Obama for signing this legislation into law.

Like the permanent extension of the Bush tax cuts, the Permanent Internet Access Tax Ban is a win to celebrate.

In a time when it seems as though the partisan gridlock seems impossible to break, and American taxpayers see there taxes rising, we need to remember these victories.

These victories are not small.  These are battles we never have to fight again.

Photo Credit: 
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New Jersey State Senator Proposes Bill to Infringe on Ability to Buy Pets

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016, 1:42 PM PERMALINK


Senator Lesniak of the New Jersey State Senate recently introduced NJ SB. 63, which infringes on the right to conduct business via the Internet.  This bill specifically attempts to regulate an already regulated industry, animal breeding.  It is now a common practice to purchase a puppy of a specific breed or cross breeds online from a private breeder. 

The senator uses the rallying cry of animal abuse to shield the true nature of the bill, more intrusion and regulation of the internet on the part of the government.  Animal abuse should be taken seriously.  Americans level of awareness of “puppy mills” or other unsavory breeding methods for any pet has raised dramatically over the decades.  It is my belief that no one in search of that special pet wants their best friend or its relatives to have been abused in any way.

This problem of abuse and added regulation has already been addressed by Animal Plant Health Inspection Service through USDA in 2013.  The rule established that these “unseen sellers” must be federally licensed, thus allowing inspection by federal authorities.  The rule also encourages buyers to report inhumane conditions and sickness stemming from breeding mismanagement.  To put it simply, the New Jersey bill is there only to force regulation down the throats of small business owners while increasing government control. 

The bill, read to the letter, seems to completely ignore the need for service and emotional support dogs, which are often done via the Internet sometimes through unseen sellers.  Many people with mental and physical disorders, ranging from a child with autism to a veteran to PTSD, use service dogs to better their quality of life.  This bill has the potential to hurt those in need by limiting their access to available animals.  

Photo Credit: 
Jonathan Kriz

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