Paul Blair

Senator Pat Toomey: I Won't Violate Pledge to Pennsylvanians

Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 3:50 PM PERMALINK

In an interview this week with CNN's John Berman, Pennsylvania US Senator Pat Toomey demonstrated that he understands the right course of action for ongoing fiscal cliff negotiations.

The back and forth between Berman and Toomey was emblematic of many interviews of Pledge signers. It demonstrated that many in the media have never read the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and are working diligently to secure a headline about a certain Congressman willing to break their Pledge. Unfortunately for Berman and CNN, Toomey is a pro-growth conservative who intends on keeping his personal written commitment to Pennsylvania taxpayers.

Asked three separate times whether he would be willing to eliminate credits and deductions,  raising taxes, Toomey explained that he would only do so if a comprehensive tax package also included rate reductions. He will not violate his Pledge to Pennsylvania voters.

Berman: You would favor raising revenue by closing loopholes and reducing reductions?

Toomey: If we were lowering marginal rates at the same time and if we were going to do something meaningful about the actual problem we have which is spending and the entitlement programs.

Berman: Would you be in favor of closing loopholes and reducing deductions without the corresponding rate cut?

Toomey:  No. The revenue side isn’t where the problem lies in the first place. This is a side show to the real problem. The real problem that the President has refused to address: how we are going to put our entitlement programs on a sustainable path, how we are going to live within our means. If we're going to do something on the revenue side, by gosh sakes, let's at least not damage the economy any more than we have to and let's do it by lowering marginal rates.

Berman: Is there an income level where you would support raising the rates?

Toomey:  That’s not a constructive direction to go. We could keep adding brackets and burdens on people who are productive or have a couple of good years in their business but it discourages economic growth. It discourages risk taking. It discourages entrepreneurship. I’m in favor of  moving in the direction of a flatter tax system of fewer brackets and lower rates, simplicity where we get rid of the distortions that happen in the tax code, rather than speculating about how many different new brackets we can create.

Berman: On taxes again.. are you okay violating the Pledge?

Toomey: I don’t intend on violating the Pledge. My Pledge is not to support higher taxes. What we are faced with in a few weeks is a massive tax increase. If I can help ensure that we don't have that tax increase, than I believe I have fulfilled my Pledge to fight for the lowest possible taxes.

Top Comments

Grover Norquist: All Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Need To Be Public

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012, 5:53 PM PERMALINK

In a discussion today with POLITICO's Mike Allen, Grover Norquist explained that he is not concerned about losing the tax debate as part of fiscal cliff negotiations and urged all negotiations to be in public and online. This would permit the public to know who is being reasonable throughout the process.

Here's the story from POLITICO's Kate Nocera:

“I’m not planning on losing the tax debate we’re having right now. But the tax issue will be more powerful in 2014, 2016 than today,” he said.

“You need to have this conversation in public, you need to be online so you can have the moral the higher ground,” he said. “This is kind of a déjà vu all … with the debt-ceiling thing. And people asked, ‘Do you want to default?’ And I said, ‘No, I want to save two-trillion dollars.’ Which is, by the way, what we did. And, by the way, we won that fight. We got the spending cuts and didn’t get a tax increase.”

He suggested Republicans should push for a one-year extension of all the Bush tax cuts and then demand that Congress come up with comprehensive tax reform as part of any deal to avert the fiscal cliff.

Norquist said by having negotiations in public, Republicans would be able to “change the playing field” from raising taxes to holding Democrats’ feet to the fire over spending cuts. Republicans could have the upper hand by challenging the President on not cutting spending.

“We have a spending problem, not a failure to raise taxes problem,” Norquist said.

Still Norquist said that revenue could be achieved through tax reform and economic growth. Raising taxes, he said, would not solve the country’s economic woes.

“I’m all in favor of real revenue, not imaginary revenue,” he said.

Top Comments

History Shows Democrats Aren't Serious in Budget Deals

Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, 4:07 PM PERMALINK

On January 1, America faces the largest tax hike in history. At every turn throught the negotiation process, reporters salivate at the idea of a "grand bargain" where Republicans agree to raise revenue (taxes) on American families and employers. Missing from the conversation is that Democrats have not and will not offer an alternative plan to avoid the fiscal cliff that reins in entitlement spending.

For clues about Democrats' willingness to trade tax hikes in exchange for genuine spending cuts, Republicans need only pay attention to statements that Democrats have made about entitlement reform.

Any lawmaker willing to consider a "grand bargain" is poised to become another fool of history.

The 1990 Budget Deal:  Starting May of 1990, President George H.W. Bush huddled with Democrat House and Senate members at Andrews Air Force Base.

  • What was Promised:  Congressional Democrats convinced a number of Republicans to join them in a bipartisan deal promising $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. President Bush signed the deal on November 5, 1990.
  • What Actually Happened:  Every penny of the tax increases ($137 billion from 1991-1995) went through. Not only did the Democrats break their promise to cut spending below the CBO baseline by $274 billion—they actually spent $23 billion above CBO’s pre-budget deal spending baseline. 34 House Republicans broke their own Taxpayer Protection Pledges and went along with this one-sided “deal.”  As a result, Republicans lost 8 seats in the 1990 Congressional midterms, and President Bush only received 38% of the vote in the 1992 Presidential election.

The 1982 Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act: Rather than bring spending in line with declining revenues, overspending and the resulting deficit caused widespread hysteria regarding the country’s fiscal health in 1982.

  • What was Promised:  President Reagan signed the deal on September 3, 1982, agreeing to a budget deal with Congressional Democrats that promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes.
  • What Actually Happened:  The spending restraint never materialized – instead, the resulting tax hike made up almost 1 percent of GDP ($37.5 billion) and amounted to the largest peacetime tax increase in American history.

Moral of the story: When bipartisan deals are struck promising to cut spending and raise taxes, the spending cuts don’t materialize but the tax hikes do.

(Original blog post by Mattie Duppler can be read here)

Top Comments

ATR Congratulates New Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Steve Scalise

Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, November 16th, 2012, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday, Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise was elected to serve as the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee for the 113th Congress. As a former Taxpayer Protection Pledge Caucus Chair at the state level, Scalise will be the first Caucus Chair to head the RSC.

The Committee represents more than two-thirds of the House Republican conference. Scalise’s commitment to common sense conservative and limited government principles will guide his leadership of the Committee.

With uncertainty about the result of fiscal cliff negotiations, it is likely that legitimate tax, spending, and entitlement reform will be kicked down the road. The RSC will play an instrumental role in ensuring the House stands strongly opposed to the status quo.

As a former Taxpayer Protection Pledge Caucus Chair and Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer, Scalise is well-equipped to rally support behind policies that ensure more families and businesses get to keep their hard earned money.

“I want to congratulate Rep. Scalise on his election as Chairman of the Republican Study Committee. As a former Taxpayer Protection Pledge Caucus Chair, Scalise understands the importance of getting government spending under control without forcing taxpayers to fork over more of their hard earned money,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Standing strong in opposition to President Obama and Majority Leader Reid’s tax hiking and overspending agenda will be an important mission for the RSC in the coming months. Scalise is well-equipped to lead this group because of his commitment to limited government principles,” continued Norquist.

Top Comments

President Obama Neglects Small Businesses in Fiscal Cliff Talks

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, November 14th, 2012, 1:52 PM PERMALINK

Today, President Obama will meet with a dozen corporate CEOs at the White House to discuss the looming fiscal cliff. As he seeks to harness a consensus on his plan to raise taxes, the President has neglected to include a group hardest hit by his proposed tax hikes: small businesses.

In an effort to build a coalition in support of his tax hike plan, Obama recently met with big liberal labor groups like the SEIU and AFL-CIO. It should come as no surprise that union bosses like Richard Trumka praise the tax hike plan.

Today’s meeting with CEOs, however, seems like a desperate attempt to demonstrate to the American people that there is some sort of agreement within the “business community” for the President’s proposed $1.6 trillion tax hike plan. There is nothing further from the truth.

The Obama plan will raise taxes on a majority of small business profits and hit those companies which employ a majority of Americans who work for them. His plan to raise the top two marginal income tax rates (from 33 and 35 percent today to 36 and 39.6 percent, respectively) is a hike in America’s small business tax rate that doesn’t even include Obamacare’s 3.8 percent small business surtax.

Don’t be fooled. His plan does not simply target “millionaires and billionaires.” It targets successful small companies and according to Ernst and Young, it will kill 710,000 small business jobs.  Perhaps that explains why leaders from this community were not invited to the White House.

“The American public is not stupid. They may have given the President a second term but they certainly did not give him a mandate to kill 710,000 small business jobs,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “To continue to pretend that raising taxes on small business owners is a good idea that will create jobs and protect the middle class is disingenuous at best. No amount of tax hikes will fix Washington’s overspending problem.”

[PDF of Press Release]

Top Comments

Texas Democrat Party Makes Absurd Claim Against Republican Randy Weber

Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, November 1st, 2012, 3:48 PM PERMALINK

The Texas Democrat Party’s most recent attack against Republican Randy Weber is both proven-false and absurd. A mailer being sent to voters in Texas’s 14th Congressional District recycles a line of attack made against Republicans in 2010 which was rated as “blatantly false” by numerous independent organizations.

The claim is made on the mailer's front and back pages, and suggests that Weber has pledged to “protect” tax breaks for corporations that ship jobs overseas.” With the Texas Democrat party’s stamp of approval on the piece, it is clear that out of desperation lying is the only path left in attempting to defeat Weber.

When the same claim was levied against Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers in 2010, the Associated Press labeled the attack as “one of the wildest claims of the 2010 campaign.” Adding insult to injury, the non-partisan rated the attacks against the Pledge as “blatantly false.”

 The Taxpayer Protection Pledge that Randy Weber signed reads as follows:

 I, Randy Weber, pledge to the taxpayers of the 14th District of the state of Texas, and to the American People that I will:

 ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing taxes.

As 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.

In 2010, another independent fact-checking organization weighed in. To the accusation that the Pledge “protects” companies who ship jobs overseas, Politifact noted that the claim about the Pledge included a “spurious connection” that requires a “huge leap of logic,” concluding that the DCCC’s claim was “False.”

The claim is not new in this competitive Congressional race. Weber’s Democrat opponent, Nick Lampson used the same claim in a television ad his campaign paid for last month.

As a result of the false attacks, Texas’s 14th District is part of Americans for Tax Reform’s targeted multi-million dollar campaign. We have sent direct mail and are currently running online ads to combat the false-claims. Additionally, in the coming days we will be running live calls to voters to inform them that the Democrat claims are false.

“The Texas Democrat Party should be ashamed. Recycling a proven-false narrative about Randy Webber’s personal written commitment to Texans to oppose higher taxes is not only sadly dishonest but indicative of panic,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “This is the same idiotic claim that Democrat Nick Lampson put in a TV ad last month. The Party’s use of the claim demonstrates coordinated stupidity. Then again, telling the truth about their plan for higher taxes and more government spending probably didn’t poll very well,” continued Norquist.

[PDF of Press Release]

Top Comments

Americans for Tax Reform's 2012 Ads in California's 52nd Congressional District

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012, 3:42 PM PERMALINK

The ads are part of Americans for Tax Reform's $1.4 million investment in the district.

The first ad is entitled “Wrong Prescription." It begins by explaining that Democrat Scott Peters supports Obamacare, which includes over $700 billion in Medicare cuts nation-wide. Seniors can thank Democrats like Peters for $60 billion in cuts to the program in California alone.

The second ad highlights Scott Peters' record of extreme mismanagement and reckless decisions. Peters used his City Council vote to underfund the city pension system and to reward a city contract to a company that his wife was invested in. The ad is titled "Typical Selfish Politician."

The ads will run through Election Day.

Top Comments

Americans for Tax Reform's 2012 Ads in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012, 3:28 PM PERMALINK

The ads are part of Americans for Tax Reform's $1.3 million investment in the district.

The first ad is entitled “Wrong Prescription.”  It begins by explaining that Democrat Sal Pace supports Obamacare, which includes over $700 billion in Medicare cuts nation-wide. Seniors can thank Democrats like Pace for $6.6 billion in cuts to the program in Colorado alone.

When ATR announced our ad buy in the district, Pace seemed perplexed as to why we were targeting him. Our second ad explains that we have at least 25 reasons and is entitled "Napkin."

The ads will run up through Election Day.

Top Comments

Americans for Tax Reform's 2012 Ads in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, October 31st, 2012, 3:19 PM PERMALINK

The ads are part of Americans for Tax Reform's $321,400 investment in the district.

Although Ben Chander signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose higher taxes, he has broken his written commitment to the taxpayers of Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.

The first television ad: "Bankrupt"

The second ad: "Skyrocket"


The ads will run through Election Day.

Top Comments

Americans for Tax Reform's 2012 Ads in Georgia's 12th Congressional District

Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, October 22nd, 2012, 4:09 PM PERMALINK

The ads are part of Americans for Tax Reform's $840,000 investment in the district.

After a barrage of proven-false attack ads from the Democrat Super PAC Center Forward and other John Barrow allies, ATR began airing its first ad in the district, entitled "Simple Promise."

The second ad, entitled “Wrong Prescription,” targets Democrat John Barrow for his refusal to preserve and protect Medicare.

When John Barrow asked ATR why we got involved in the race, we provided the top four reasons. No word on whether the Barrow campaign is satisfied.

The third ad, entitled "B" tells Georgia voters to say Bye Bye to John Barrow.

The fourth ad airing in the district asks if in fact John Barrow's "support for President Obama is beside the point." The only way to stay safe from Barrow's bad policies are to vote against him.

Top Comments