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Paul Blair

In Pennsylvania, DCCC Beats Dead Horse With Lies About Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, September 7th, 2012, 4:44 PM PERMALINK


The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently released an ad, attacking Republican Keith Rothfus in his bid to defeat incumbent Democrat Mark Critz. Lying about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge isn’t a new tactic for the DCCC, nor is ignoring the fact that independent organizations have called them out on their fallacious claims.

The DCCC suggests that as a Pledge signer, Keith Rothfus has promised to “protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.” Unfortunately, when the same claim was levied against Pledge signers in 2010, the Associated Press labeled the attack as “one of the wildest claims of the 2010 campaign.” Adding insult to the DCCC injury, the non-partisan FactCheck.org rated the attacks against the Pledge as “blatantly false.”

As FactCheck.org has noted, “[The Pledge] leaves ample room for the elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this “protects” a particular provision is simply untrue.” The overall goal of Pledge signers is to reduce the size of the government by focusing on spending alone.

Despite the DCCC’s pledged financial support for the Critz campaign, he should denounce this proven false claim so that both he and Rothfus can focus on what Pennsylvania voters care most about: curbing rising gas prices, unsustainable government spending, and the looming tax hikes that take effect on January 1st of next year.

“I applaud Keith Rothfus for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Taxpayers in Pennsylvania have clearly shown their displeasure with tax-and-spend policies coming out of Washington, policies that the DCCC champions,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The most recent false claims by this group further demonstrates the difficult time national Democrats are going to have defending the Democrat ‘plan’ for economic recovery: higher taxes and more government spending,” continued Norquist.

[PDF of Press Release]

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Anna Little Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, August 16th, 2012, 4:50 PM PERMALINK


Former Highlands Mayor Anna Little has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in her race for New Jersey’s 6th Congressional seat. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to “oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses … and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

ATR has offered the Pledge to all candidates for federal office since 1987. To date, 41 U.S. Senators and 238 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, thirteen governors and over 1,200 state legislators have signed the Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Mrs. Little for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. The American people have clearly shown their displeasure with the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and get the economy going again,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Anna Little demonstrates that she understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of New Jersey.”

“I challenge all candidates for federal office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” Norquist continued.

[PDF of Press Release]

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Wisconsin Taxpayers Real Winners with Tommy Thompson


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, August 16th, 2012, 2:59 PM PERMALINK


Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson won Tuesday’s GOP Senate Primary in a four-way matchup against Eric Hovde, Mark Neumann, and Jeff Fitzgerald. Among the four Republicans, Thompson, Neumann, and Fitzgerald signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose higher taxes. With Thompson’s victory, Wisconsinites are well positioned for another statewide election between two clearly contrasting candidates on the issue of higher taxes.

Americans for Tax Reform highlighted Eric Hovde’s refusal to make a written promise to Wisconsin taxpayers by publicizing Hovde’s admission that he had “no problem” with higher taxes. Hovde doubled down on his tax hike agenda by admitting that he was open to a compromise with Democrats on higher taxes.

In the weeks leading up to the primary, ATR made over one hundred thousand voter contacts. Tuesday’s results demonstrate that voters took notice of who makes promises and what it takes to get serious about cutting government spending: signing the Taxpayer protection Pledge.

“I want to congratulate Tommy Thompson on winning Tuesday’s Republican primary in Wisconsin,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Republican primary voters clearly took their displeasure with Washington to the ballot box and rewarded the candidate who took the Pledge to stand with them against a tax and spend agenda,” continued Norquist.

“Wisconsinites value the concrete written promise that is the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. When Governor Scott Walker signed it, he kept it. As a result, voters fought back against a union-led recall to give him more time to enact necessary reform. Tommy Thompson’s pledge to oppose tax hikes puts him in a good position to debate Tammy Baldwin on the merits of a genuine need to cut spending without raising taxes.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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John Quiñones Leaves the Door Open to Tax Hikes


Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, August 10th, 2012, 4:33 PM PERMALINK


Today, the John Quiñones for Congress campaign said that they will not be signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for the GOP nomination in Florida’s 9th Congressional District.  Republican candidates Julius Melendez and Mark Oxner have signed the Pledge.

Without a concrete written promise to taxpayers in the district, Quiñones is leaving the door open to higher taxes. For voters familiar with Quiñones’s record as a state legislator, this may not come as a surprise.

State Senator Quiñones voted in support of transportation bill, SB 1350, that included higher taxes. The bill targeted tourists by imposing a $2-a-day tax on rental car customers. Then Republican Governor Jeb Bush vetoed the legislation, noting that the “taxes will be paid disparately by tourists visiting Florida, consequently creating taxation without representation on a large scale.”

Perhaps even more troubling than his support of tax hikes as a Florida legislator are the looming tax hikes that America faces at the beginning of next year.  On January 1, 2013, America faces the largest tax increases in US history.

The cost of Taxmageddon on Florida taxpayers is estimated at over $34 billion in higher taxes. Although Quiñones would not take office until after January 1, the risk of giving him a seat at the negotiating table should leave Florida taxpayers scared.

“The voters in Florida have a right to know where a candidate stands on the issues before electing them to Congress,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “It’s only logical to assume that if Quiñones won’t sign the Pledge then he has plans to raise taxes.”

“The promises that Quiñones makes about creating jobs, cutting spending, and restoring fiscal conservatism to Washington mean little without the backing of a concrete written promise to oppose higher taxes. Only by signing the Pledge, can Florida taxpayers be certain that Quiñones has learned the error of his ways on higher taxes.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Gary Aubuchon Leaves the Door Open to Tax Hikes


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, August 9th, 2012, 4:28 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform calls on Congressional candidate Gary Aubuchon to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for the GOP nomination in Florida’s 19th Congressional District.  Currently, every other Republican candidate in the race has signed the pledge, including Chauncey Porter Goss, Paige Vanier Kreegel, Trey Radel, Byron Donalds, and Joe Davidow.

Voters in Florida’s 19th Congressional District deserve to know the truth on where Gary Aubuchon stands on taxes. Without a concrete written promise to taxpayers in the district, Aubuchon is leaving the door open to higher taxes.

The worst part about the fact that Aubuchon has left tax hikes on the table by refusing to sign the Pledge to Florida taxpayers is that on January 1, 2013, America faces the largest tax increases in US history.

The cost of Taxmageddon on Florida taxpayers is estimated at over $34 billion in higher taxes. Based on 2010 Congressional district boundaries, the average taxpayer in Florida’s 19th district will have to fork over an additional $6,631 every April to Uncle Sam. In terms of tax hikes, the 19th District will be the hardest hit Congressional district in Florida with an average tax increase of 6.6 percent per tax return.  

Although Aubuchon would not take office until after January 1, the risk of giving him a seat at the negotiating table should leave Florida taxpayers scared.

“The voters in Florida have a right to know where a candidate stands on the issues before electing them to Congress,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “It’s only logical to assume that if Aubuchon won’t sign the Pledge then he has plans to raise taxes.”

“The promises that Aubuchon makes about creating jobs in southwest Florida, cutting spending, and restoring fiscal conservatism to Washington mean little without the backing of a concrete written promise to oppose higher taxes. Only by signing the Pledge, can Florida taxpayers be certain that Aubuchon stands with them in the fiscal fight of our lifetime.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Tim Kaine Suffers Amnesia on Failed Tax Hike Attempts


Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, August 9th, 2012, 3:16 PM PERMALINK


Yesterday, Democrat Tim Kaine asked his Republican opponent to join him in taking a “balanced” approach to avoiding the looming sequestration cuts. Unfortunately Tim Kaine seems to suffer amnesia on his attempt to implement the same kind of “balanced” approach while he served as Virginia’s Governor. Such an approach included billions of dollars in new and higher taxes.

Kaine called on George Allen to “set aside his Pledge,” and work for a “responsible path forward.”

Translated, what Tim Kaine means is that he’s asking Allen to break his written commitment to Virginia taxpayers and join with him in an approach that raises taxes.

When George Allen signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he made a promise to Virginia taxpayers to get serious about reining in Washington’s out of control spending. He promised to do this by focusing on spending cuts instead of tax hikes. If Tim Kaine read the Pledge, he would know that.

Unfortunately, Virginians know too-well the dangers of sharing the same tax policy as Tim Kaine. As Governor, he proposed around $4 billion in new or higher taxes. Fortunately for Virginians, Pledge-signers and conservatives in the Virginia state legislature prevented such tax hikes from being enacted.

“As Governor, Tim Kaine proposed billions of dollars in higher taxes. He left Virginia nearly 2 billion dollars in debt. He is now asking for Virginians to forget about his fiscal irresponsibility as Governor and put him in the U.S. Senate to enact what he calls ‘responsible” policies,” “said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “When Tim Kaine suggests that George Allen should set aside his Pledge, he’s really asking George Allen to disregard his conservative principles.”

“The recent success of the Virginia economy is largely attributable to the success of conservative pro-growth policies that came out of Richmond once Tim Kaine left. If anyone needs to evolve on the tax policy front, it is certainly Tim Kaine."

[PDF of Press Release]

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Hovde's Attacks Fail to Distract from His Tax Hike Agenda


Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012, 2:52 PM PERMALINK


Today, Eric Hovde called into a radio show for an interview with Wisconsin radio show host Jerry Bader. When asked about why he would not join with other Republican Senate candidates in Wisconsin by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, he attempted to distract voters with attacks against Americans for Tax Reform and the Pledge itself.

Bader began the interview by asking Hovde why he wouldn’t sign the Pledge. His response? An attack against Grover Norquist and the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which can be read here.

Contrary to Hovde’s distortions about the effect that the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and Americans for Tax Reform has on tax reform, one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress strongly disagrees with Hovde’s claims.

Dave Camp, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the committee tasked with tax reform legislation, had this to say:

Americans for Tax Reform is really the flagship organization when it comes to tax reform. And as we continue to move toward a comprehensive reform plan, this organization will be a critical ally in the fight to advocate tax relief for individuals, for families, and for job creators of all sizes.

When asked directly why Hovde would not sign the Pledge, he claimed that “it locks in high rates and doesn’t get rid of corporate welfare.”

Similar to the claims made by Democrats in 2010, the non-partisan FactCheck.org would likely agree that this claim is also blatantly false.

According to FactCheck.org, the Pledge “leaves ample room for elimination of any number of special tax breaks so long as the overall level of taxation is not increased. To claim that this "protects" any particular provision of the tax code is simply untrue.”

In an effort to uncover the truth about Eric Hovde’s tax hike agenda, Jerry pressed further. He asked, "What do you say to those, though, Eric, who say that 'closing tax loopholes’ is liberal code for ‘raising taxes on corporations?’”

His answer? A convoluted rant about offshore accounts and thoroughbred racehorses.

Eric Hovde has refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to Wisconsin voters to oppose higher taxes. He has gone on the record as saying that he would support a tax hike deal with Democrats. He has hit the radio interview circuit and is calling for higher taxes on corporations. All of these things leave voters wondering whether Eric Hovde ran in the wrong primary.

[PDF of Press Release]

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WTAQ-AM Radio Interview Transcript with Eric Hovde


Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, August 8th, 2012, 1:49 PM PERMALINK


Jerry Bader: "I know there are a lot of things that you want to address, but I’m gonna start with the latest, and that is that Grover Norquist -- and for those who aren’t aware -- Grover Norquist and his organization have gone to Republican candidates, conservative candidates, and asked them to sign a no tax increase pledge. There are those on the left who say it’s that pledge that’s responsible for the gridlock in Washington. They say it’s made Republicans who signed it inflexible, they can’t negotiate, they can’t moderate, they can’t reach across the aisle. The other three men in this race have signed, including the one perceived by many as the moderate, Tommy Thompson. If it was good enough for them, Eric, why isn’t it good enough for you?"

Eric Hovde: "Because the problem with the Grover Norquist pledge [is] it locks in high rates and doesn’t get rid of corporate welfare. Behind the story with Grover Norquist is he’s funded by giant corporations that have created loopholes in our tax system. I’ve ran ads talking about [how] we have the highest corporate tax rate, at 35%, in the world. We are the most uncompetitive country from our tax system. We need to lower the rates, but we also have to get rid of the corporate welfare. How is a small business going to compete if they’re trying to compete against General Electric, that in some years, GE pays nothing because they can buy off Washington politicians. Or how about Apple Computer? [If] you want to be the next Apple Computer -- small company to go up and compete -- Apple’s paying 9%; you’re paying 35%. President Reagan would never sign that pledge because he talked about tax expenditures and corporate welfare. He’s the last one who gave us meaningful tax reform. I believe we need to lower rates, which that pledge does not talk about. My pledge that I went around the state -- two months ago, I was up, actually, at Brown County Taxpayers Association talking about the fact that we need to lower rates and get rid of the crony capitalism and corporate welfare in the system. And these guys just sign off on it, they check a box, and they don’t even understand [that] what they’re doing is locking in special favors for those that have access to Washington politicians."

Jerry Bader: "What do you say to those, though, Eric, who say that 'closing tax loopholes’ is liberal code for ‘raising taxes on corporations?’"

Eric Hovde: "Listen, as long as you’re lowering the rates and getting rid of those deductions -- Jerry, let me just give you a few different examples. [Did] you know that you can depreciate a thoroughbred racehorse that’s under two years old in our tax code? Now, who bought off that one? Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm that just abused the American public, has 84 offshore corporations, can make billions of dollars and pay nothing in tax. Why should they get away with that when small and medium-sized businesses, which are job creators, are paying at 35%? My belief: you lower the rate from 35% to 25% -- hopefully lower -- and you get rid of all the corporate welfare. It’s very easy to fix. But -- the reason -- the dirty little secret in Washington, D.C. -- and behind Grover Norquist -- and the dirty little secret is that it’s giant companies and special interests that want to keep the tax code this way, and politicians want it because that’s how they get their campaign contributions."

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Eric Hovde Needs a History Lesson in "Grand Compromises"


Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, August 7th, 2012, 3:15 PM PERMALINK


When Eric Hovde claims that he “pledges” to support reducing tax rates, he is really hoping that voters ignore prior statements where he has promised otherwise. Hovde has told Wisconsin voters that he would accept a tax hike deal with Democrats as part of a grand compromise.

According to Politifact, Hovde “has told voters that he would accept a budget-balancing deal that gets $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in new revenue.”

Hovde’s admission leaves voters wondering if he understands the basic premise of a budget “compromise.” Perhaps Eric Hovde is not aware that budget compromises between Republicans and Democrats do not work. He should examine the 1982 and 1990 budget “compromises.”

In 1982, President Reagan was promised three dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in tax increases. Whether Hovde remembers this or not, Congressional Democrats never delivered on their promise to cut spending.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush was promised two dollars in spending cuts for ever one dollar in tax increases. He fell for the bait and violated his Pledge to not raise taxes. After a $137 billion tax hike, spending actually rose by $22 billion.

If the 2011 debt-ceiling deal taught us anything it is that when Republicans hold the line on taxes, spending cuts occur. John Boehner understood this and it is a shame that Eric Hovde does not.

“Eric Hovde’s willingness to negotiate with Democrats like Harry Reid on tax hike ‘compromises’ further proves that he is not the conservative leader he claims to be,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “If thirty years of so-called ‘compromises’ have taught American taxpayers anything it is that at the end of the day, they are stuck paying more taxes with no realized spending cuts. It is a shame Eric Hovde is leaving tax hikes on the table.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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Eric Hovde Refuses to Make Written Commitment to Oppose Tax Hikes


Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, August 6th, 2012, 4:18 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform calls on U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde to tell Wisconsin voters what taxes he intends on raising. In his bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, Hovde is the only Republican candidate to refuse to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, leaving the door open to higher taxes on Wisconsin families and small businesses. 

In a 2009 interview with CNBC, Eric Hovde admitted that he had “no problem” getting charged higher taxes. Such rhetoric today is mainstream among D.C. Democrats but in 2009, Eric Hovde was further left than the narrative of even Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  They did not begin their tax hike crusade until after they lost control of the House in 2010. 

It seems puzzling that in the interview where Hovde asserted that America was steadily descending into a Depression, he claimed that higher taxes were completely acceptable. Candidate Hovde has attempted to walk back his 2009 admission, but what remains clear is that he has refused to make the written commitment to Wisconsinites to oppose higher taxes if elected to the U.S. Senate.

“When you go on a nationally syndicated business network television show and tell the world that you are open to tax hikes, you better anticipate those statements following you,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “By refusing to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Eric Hovde is only confirming the accusations being made against him this election.”

“Without the written commitment to oppose higher taxes, it only seems logical that Hovde’s plans are to join with Democrats to implement dangerous tax reform that includes higher taxes on everyone. Wisconsin voters should be aware both of Hovde’s rhetoric on higher taxes and his refusal to commit to Wisconsin taxpayers that he won’t raise their taxes. This lack of commitment should scare both the business community and Average Joe taxpayer.”

[PDF of Press Release]

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