ATR Urges Support for Nebraska Tax Reform Measures
Nebraska has the opportunity to become the next state to carry the torch of tax reform as the state’s legislature gears up to debate a bill this Friday that, if enacted, would provide needed relief to taxpayers and improvements to Nebraska’s tax code.
LB 461, which recently passed out of committee, would lower the top personal and corporate income tax rates from 6.84% and 7.81%, respectively, to as low as 5.99% by 2029, so long as certain revenue triggers are met.
Across the country, recent years have proven to be a golden age for pro-growth tax reform. States like Texas, Tennessee, Arizona, Arkansas, Wisconsin, and especially North Carolina have all enacted policies that have resulted in lower taxes, allowing residents to keep more of their hard-earned income. States that fail to improve their codes and provide relief to taxpayers are being left behind in the competition for investment, employers, jobs, and people. By enacting LB 461, Nebraska legislators can ensure the Cornhusker State will not be left behind.
According to ALEC’s 2016 economic outlook index, Nebraska is dismally ranked 32nd in the nation. In fact, all of its neighboring states, from Wyoming (4) to Iowa (29), are ranked as more economically competitive. Passage of LB 461 will help Nebraska close this competitiveness gap. Today, Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter Nebraska lawmakers calling on them to enact rate reducing tax reform by voting Yes on LB 461:
Dear Members of the Nebraska Legislature,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our supporters across Nebraska, I urge you to support LB 461. Nebraska currently has a top personal income tax rate of 6.84% and 7.81%. LB 461, if enacted, would reduce those rates by 12.4% and 23.3%, respectively, taking both rates down to as low as 5.99 percent by 2028, so long as revenue triggers are met.
There is ample evidence that lower tax rates make states more competitive, and more conducive economic growth. John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, analyzed 681 peer-reviewed academic journal articles dating back to 1990. Most of the studies found that lower levels of taxation and spending correlate with stronger economic performance. When Tax Foundation chief economist William McBride reviewed academic literature going back three decades, he found “the results consistently point to significant negative effects of taxes on economic growth, even after controlling for various other factors such as government spending, business cycle conditions and monetary policy.”
As the Platte Institute has reported, Nebraskans face a higher burden than taxpayers in competing states:
“On average, taxpayers in Nebraska pay 52 percent more personal income tax per person, and 36 percent more corporate income tax. That’s $1,125 per person per year in Nebraska versus $541 in the five rival states [Texas, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Iowa] for personal income taxes.”
If that weren’t bad enough, your constituents have been hit with 20 federal Obamacare tax increases over the last eight years. As such, individuals, families, and employers across Nebraska are greatly in need of the sort of income tax relief that enactment of LB 461 would provide.
A reduction in the personal income tax would allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned income, while increasing the job-creating capacity of small businesses that file under the individual income tax system. Meanwhile, a corporate rate reduction would make Nebraska more attractive to employers, job creation, and investment. Corporate tax relief will benefit the broader populace, as the burden of corporate taxation is borne by people in the form of lower wagers, fewer job opportunities, and reduced returns on savings and investment. Enactment of the type of rate-reducing tax reform found in LB 461 would help Nebraska compete with the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona and other competitor states that already boast lower tax burdens and more hospitable business tax climates than Nebraska.
North Carolina provides a great example of how much progress can be made in a short period of time, and should inspire those seeking to provide relief to Nebraska taxpayers while improving the state tax code. Just four years ago, North Carolina had the highest personal and corporate income tax rates in the Southeast. Thanks to tax reform measures enacted in 2013 and 2015, North Carolina now has a flat personal income tax rate that is the lowest in its region, with the exception of Florida and Tennessee, which do not levy an income tax. North Carolina’s present corporate tax rate, at 3%, is now less than half of what it was just four years ago, and the personal income tax rate has been reduced by nearly 30%.
In addition to having the lowest personal income tax rate in the region, North Carolina now has the lowest corporate rate in the nation among states that levy such a tax. Going into 2013, North Carolina had the 44th ranked business tax climate in the country on the non-partisan Tax Foundation's business tax climate index. Thanks to the reforms enacted since 2013, North Carolina now has the nation’s 11th best business tax climate. This remarkable improvement in North Carolina’s tax code was achieved with the same sort of revenue triggers that LB 461 uses to provide tax relief for Nebraskans in a fiscally responsible fashion.
Americans for Tax Reform urges you to vote YES on LB 461. ATR will be educating your constituents and all Nebraskan taxpayers as to how lawmakers in Lincoln vote on LB 461 and other important fiscal and economic matters throughout the legislative session. Please look to ATR to as a resource on tax, budget, and other policy matters pending before you. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Gleason, ATR’s director of state affairs, at (202) 785-0266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform
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Gov. Jerry Brown Pushes Gas Tax Increase in High Tax California
The California Senate is gearing up to vote on SB 1, legislation championed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) that, if enacted, would impose a 12 cent per gallon gas tax increase, alongside further tax hikes, in order to raise a projected $52.4 billion over 10 years. If passed by the legislature and signed into law, California will become the highest gas tax state in the country, charging 30 cents per gallon overall.
Brown has attempted to justify this measure by claiming that the use of state roads is a privilege that all California taxpayers must be on the hook for. “This is a fee, a fee for the privilege of driving on our roads that the people pay for,” Brown stated. “And we've got to keep paying for them, otherwise, they're not going to work for us. It's just that simple.” Republican state legislators have continually pushed back against the bill, maintaining that the tax increase will further burden low and middle income Californians.
However, as Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist explained in a letter sent to California legislators today, Gov. Brown and others pushing for this tax increase are really admitting that transportation projects are their lowest priority:
“Gov. Brown and other gas tax proponents often claim they need to raise taxes again because transportation is a “top priority” for them,” writes Norquist. “However, Gov. Brown and other gas tax proponents, by claiming a tax hike is needed, are actually admitting that transportation needs are their last priority. Were that not the case, they would not have funded everything else in the budget first.”
As it stands, California legislators need a 2/3rds supermajority vote in order to impose higher taxes on their residents. Given the results of last year’s elections, however, Democrats in the state have surpassed that supermajority threshold and can now raise taxes on their own, without any Republican votes. The vote on Gov. Brown’s gas tax hike will be the first test on how easily California Democrats will leverage their supermajority status to raise taxes on a party line vote.
Below is a copy of the letter ATR sent to California legislators today, urging them to reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed gas tax hike:
“Dear Members of the California Senate,
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across California, I urge you to reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to impose yet another tax increase, this time on gas, in what is one of the most heavily-taxed states in the country.
California residents already contend with the nation’s sixth highest average state and local tax burden. On top of that, your constituents have been hit with more than 20 federal tax increases over the last eight years. The last thing individuals, families, and employers across California need is to have lawmakers in Sacramento pile on with further tax hikes at the state level, especially considering they live in what is already one of the most heavily-taxed jurisdictions in the world.
There is ample evidence that higher taxes make states less competitive, and harm economic growth. John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, analyzed 681 peer-reviewed academic journal articles dating back to 1990. Most of the studies found that lower levels of taxation and spending correlate with stronger economic performance. When Tax Foundation chief economist William McBride reviewed academic literature going back three decades, he found “the results consistently point to significant negative effects of taxes on economic growth, even after controlling for various other factors such as government spending, business cycle conditions and monetary policy.”
Gov. Brown and other gas tax proponents often claim they need to raise taxes again because transportation is a “top priority” for them. However, Gov. Brown and other gas tax proponents, by claiming a tax hike is needed, are actually admitting that transpiration needs are their last priority. Were that not the case, they would not have funded everything else in the budget first.
ATR will be educating your constituents and all California taxpayers as to how lawmakers in Sacramento vote on this and other important fiscal and economic matters throughout the legislative session. Please look to ATR to as a resource on tax, budget, and other policy matters pending before you. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Gleason, ATR’s director of state affairs, at (202) 785-0266 or email@example.com.
Grover G. Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform"
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Johnson Introduces Bill Urging Obamacare Repeal
Michigan State Representative Steven Johnson (R) recently introduced House Resolution 13, a state resolution calling on Congress to begin the process of repealing Obamacare.
HR 13 has been referred to the House Committee on Health Policy. By approving HR 13, Michigan would send an important message to Washington to repeal Obamacare, along with the 20 tax increases included within.
“I applaud Rep. Johnson for his leadership on this important issue,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Big government local politicians like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio frequently tell Congress what they would like them to do. As such, it’s important for pro-taxpayer state legislators to also make their voice heard in Washington, which Michigan can do by passing Rep. Johnson’s resolution.”
Other states are expected to introduce similar resolutions in the coming weeks urging Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare. As Congress tends to this issue over the coming weeks, Americans for Tax Reform encourages all states to follow Michigan’s lead in sending this important message to Washington.
Click here for a list of all 20 tax increases included in Obamacare.
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Government Continues its Path of Wasteful Spending
As 2016 finally comes to a close, it’s time to review how the Federal government continues to squander taxpayer dollars on various initiatives and programs. Unfortunately for the average American, the list of government waste is long and packed with numerous examples of needless spending projects.
Let’s look at one glaring example.
As Senator James Lankford (R-OK) demonstrates in his annual report “Federal Fumbles,” the NEH, NEA, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services came together to spend an irresponsible $495,000 on an exhibit titled, “A Sense of Beauty: Medieval Art and the Five Senses” earlier this year. This showcase was planned to include “130 works of art focusing on the senses created from the 12th to 16th centuries”, as it sought to provide attendees with a unique sensory glimpse into the medieval era.
Not only has this exhibit failed to open promptly (it was planned for fall of this year), there exists an entirely separate 85-day exhibition relating to the same topic that will feature before 2016 is over.
This is a perfect example of wasteful spending for a number of reasons.
To start, Congress has a huge overspending problem to focus on and taxpayer dollars should not be funding such a frivolous project that will have a minimal impact on their daily lives. Secondly, generating private donations to pay for it shouldn’t be a difficult feat to accomplish if there’s enough public interest. Lastly, even if this kind of spending could be justified, having three different agencies splashing taxpayer dollars on the exhibit would be extraordinarily wasteful; especially when one agency doing so would suffice.
Funding the arts may be an important element of the American tradition; but, when faced with an impending budgetary crisis that endangers the wellbeing of future Americans, funding an exhibit that highlights the smells of a historical period hundreds of years in the past should most certainly not be a priority of the Federal government. Although the cost of the program only totals to $495,000, this is just one of many different spending projects that will cumulatively seek to waste millions (or billions) of hard-working Americans’ tax dollars.
President-Elect Donald Trump claimed on the campaign trail that he seeks to curtail the “…tremendous waste, fraud, and abuse” that is present within government. Given the ever-increasing list of wasteful government programs that are enacted each year, this is hopefully not an empty promise.