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Ryan Ellis

ATR Supports the "Small Business Investment Promotion Act"

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 1:04 PM PERMALINK

ATR is proud to support a new bill by Senator Jeff Flake, the "Small Business Investment Promotion Act."  We urge all senators to support and co-sponsor this pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-taxpayer legislation.

The bill increases the dollar amount of business assets that a small employer may expense (as opposed to depreciate) under Section 179 of the I.R.C.  Under the bill, businesses may expense up to $250,000 in business tangible personal property, with a phaseout starting at $800,000 of such property purchased in a year.  These dollar amounts would be indexed to inflation.  Computer software and certain real property would also be eligible for 179 expensing on a permanent basis.

This is a huge improvement over current law.  If Congress does nothing, the amount of property that can be expensed will fall to just $25,000 in 2014 and onward. 

Any property not immediately-expensed under Section 179 would be subject to complex depreciation rules.  For example, if a business purchased a computer for $1000, under depreciation that entire cost cannot be subtracted from the business' taxable income in the year of purchase.  Rather, it would be subject to partial deductions each year until the full cost was recovered (in the case of a computer, this takes--in effect--six calendar years, longer than the life of any computer). 

Not only is depreciation a needless complexity in our tax system--it involves the tax system in picking winners and losers.  A company can write off the full cost of hiring a new employee, the full cost of going on a business trip, the full cost of buying a box of staples--but not the full cost of buying a computer under depreciation rules.  That distorts business decisions for non-business reasons.

The "Small Business Investment Promotion Act" gets small- and mid-sized firms out of this trap.  By allowing the first $250,000 of business tangible personal property to be expensed, family-owned and operated employers can recover the cost of new business fixed investment in year one.  Ideally, all businesses of any size should be able to fully expense property, but this is a good first start.

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ATR Supports H.R. 2009, the "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013"

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 3:04 PM PERMALINK

ATR is pleased to announce its support for H.R.. 2009, the "Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013."  The bill is sponsored by medical doctor and Congressman Tom Price (R-Ga.)  We would urge all Congressmen to co-sponsor and support the bill.

GAO has reported that there are 47 new powers the IRS has acquired under the Obamacare law.  We here at ATR have pointed out time and again the 20 new or higher taxes that are contained in Obamacare.  With a new scandal coming out of the IRS seemingly every day, the last thing that agency should be doing is snooping into the personal health care lives of over 300 million Americans.

Yet that's just what the IRS is about to do.  They will be the agency tasked with implementing the individual mandate and the employer mandate.  They will force all of us to disclose our personal health identification information to them when we file our 1040s every April.  They will be talking to our insurance companies and the Department of Health and Human Services about our health insurance packages. 

This is outrageous.  The IRS should have nothing to do with our health care.  Passage of H.R.. 2009 would ensure that the agency which gave us Star Trek videos and Tea Party harassment keeps its hands off our health care.

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ATR Supports the "Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013"

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 4:56 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform today sent the following letter to Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) in support of their new legislation, the "Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013":

The death tax is unfair.  It’s not fair to tax savings twice or even three times, as the death tax does.  It’s not fair to tax (again and again) the life work of a job creator, putting all he built and helped at risk.  And it’s certainly not fair to impose a top death tax rate as high as 40 percent, as our current system does.

The death tax is unpopular.  There are now nearly two decades of public opinion polls which show public support for full and immediate death tax repeal at between 70 and 80 percent.  The time has come to end the death tax.

The death tax is a jobs killer.  According to research from the Tax Foundation’s Steve Entin, killing the death tax would result in $1 trillion of higher economic growth over the next decade.  Small employers have to spend billions of dollars per year to plan around the death tax.  How many hundreds of thousands of Americans are out of work because of the mere existence of this tax?

The death tax is an immoral tax on small employers and families.  Imposing a tax rate as high as 40 percent on savings is not just bad for the economy—it’s unfair to families that have scrimped, saved, and built job-creating small businesses in their local communities.  Families should not have to visit the undertaker and the local IRS office at the same time.

The death tax is easier to repeal than ever.  According to CBO, the death tax will collect about $20 billion per year over the next decade.  That’s less than one-half of one percent of all federal tax revenues collected in that period.  Surely we can cut spending or find a tax revenue offset which does far less damage to jobs than the death tax does.


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IRS Obamacare Power of the Day: Community Organizer Subsidy

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, June 18th, 2013, 12:46 PM PERMALINK

Throughout the summer, Americans for Tax Reform will be highlighting the most outrageous new powers that the IRS will have under the Obamacare law.  According to a report from GAO, the IRS is tasked with nearly four dozen new powers under that law.  Each day, one will be selected for a brief review.

The Obamacare law provides for “walking around money” payments to ACORN-like community organizers to sign people up for Obamacare (and likely to vote).

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IRS Obamacare Power of the Day: Nosey Uncle Sam

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Friday, June 14th, 2013, 9:26 AM PERMALINK

Throughout the summer, Americans for Tax Reform will be highlighting the most outrageous new powers that the IRS will have under the Obamacare law.  According to a report from GAO, the IRS is tasked with nearly four dozen new powers under that law.  Each day, one will be selected for a brief review.

Obamacare says that the IRS and HHS must share personal health ID information about every American participating in Obamacare.

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IRS Obamacare Power of the Day: Profit Cap

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013, 9:26 AM PERMALINK

Throughout the summer, Americans for Tax Reform will be highlighting the most outrageous new powers that the IRS will have under the Obamacare law.  According to a report from GAO, the IRS is tasked with nearly four dozen new powers under that law.  Each day, one will be selected for a brief review.

Obamacare puts a price control on how much money health care companies can make.  This will result in rationing of health care for all of us.

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IRS Obamacare Power of the Day: Equal Outcomes Matter

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Monday, June 10th, 2013, 9:53 AM PERMALINK

Throughout the summer, Americans for Tax Reform will be highlighting the most outrageous new powers that the IRS will have under the Obamacare law.  According to a report from GAO, the IRS is tasked with nearly four dozen new powers under that law.  Each day, one will be selected for a brief review.

IRS Obamacare Power #1: Equal Outcomes Matter

Obamacare requires that everyone in a workforce have the same “quality” health coverage as everyone else. 

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Anyone Still Think the IRS Should Prepare Your Tax Return?

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Monday, May 13th, 2013, 10:07 AM PERMALINK

One of the perennial canards that float around Washington, DC is that "life would be so much better if the IRS prepared most people's tax returns."  Every April 15th, you can count on multiple mainstream media stories parroting this Beltway truism (this year, NPR and the left-wing Pro Publica, among others, paid the annual homage).  This money-grab is pushed by innocuous sounding liberal organizations like the "Sunlight Foundation."

It's all a ruse to hide their real agenda: collecting more tax dollars for the government by forcing taxpayers to fight City Hall if they want to disagree with the IRS-prepared return.

ATR swats down these stories every spring.  We point out, among other things:

IRS tax return preparation invites a conflict of interest.  The IRS' job is to collect tax revenues, and measures success or failure on this basis.  To let the IRS also determine the liability of tax is a clear conflict of interest.

IRS tax return preparation is a solution in search of a problem.  Since 2003, sixteen private sector tax software providers have voluntarily banded together to provide free tax preparation services to low- and moderate-income families with simple tax situations.  70 percent of all taxpayers—more than 100 million families—have access to this voluntary, private sector initiative.  To date, 37 million tax returns have been processed by Free File, saving taxpayers $129 million in administrative costs.

The IRS can't handle preparing people's taxes.  The IRS is a hulking and bumbling bureaucracy that routinely loses paperwork, takes months to process inquiries, and makes wasteful Star Trek videos. 

They are tasked with implementing no fewer than 47 different Obamacare provisions, including 20 new or higher taxes.  They are going to ask intrusive information about your personal health identification information starting next year.

Now, we have found out that they are guilty of a conspiracy to disenfranchise Tea Party and other limited government conservatives by preventing them from forming 501(c)(4) organizations.

Are these the people you want doing your taxes?


If you don't want the IRS to be preparing your taxes next year, like us on Facebook or Tweet this article to your friends.

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Every Conservative Fiscal Group Opposes "Chained CPI" Tax Hike

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Friday, April 26th, 2013, 3:08 PM PERMALINK

The following letter was sent today to Capitol Hill:

(Full letter PDF)

Dear Congressmen:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write today to express strong concerns about the tax revenue component of the so-called “Chained CPI” proposal.

Changing the way the government measures inflation has both spending cut and tax increase effects.  This letter strictly speaks to the latter.  It’s important to note that Chained CPI can be restricted to just the spending side of the federal budget.

Chained CPI would, among other things, slow down the growth rate of individual income tax brackets.  Over time, American families and small employers will find themselves facing a higher marginal income tax rate than they would absent the change to Chained CPI.  Additionally, other tax provisions such as IRA and 401(k) contribution eligibility, etc. would grow more slowly if Chained CPI were adopted.   In its first decade of implementation, President Obama’s FY 2014 budget projects Chained CPI would raise taxes by $100 billion.

We are not opposed to Chained CPI under any circumstances.  In the context of bracket-flattening tax reform which is revenue-neutral or a net tax cut, Chained CPI may be an acceptable component.  But as a standalone tax measure, Chained CPI is a $100 billion tax increase in the first decade alone.

For these reasons, we oppose Chained CPI as a standalone tax policy measure because of the fact that it is a $100 billion tax increase on the American people.


Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Andy Roth, Club for Growth
Mike Needham, Heritage Action for America
James Valvo, Americans for Prosperity
Wayne Brough, Freedom Works
Duane Pardee, National Taxpayers Union
Phil Kerpen, American Commitment
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association


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Conservatives Support Repeal of Obamacare Slush Fund

Posted by Ryan Ellis, John Kartch on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013, 11:52 AM PERMALINK

The House is voting today on H.R. 1549, the “Helping Sick Americans Now Act.” This legislation enjoys broad support across the conservative movement, including from those organizations most active in Obamacare repeal efforts.

Independent Women’s Voice organized a coalition letter of twenty-one conservative organizations and leaders who support H.R. 1549, including Americans for Tax Reform, National Taxpayers Union, FreedomWorks, Let Freedom Ring, Tea Party Nation, Richard Viguerie, and Grace-Marie Turner.

H.R. 1549 defunds an ACORN-style slush fund in Obamacare controlled by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and uses that money to enroll the sickest Americans in health insurance plans.

The full text of the letter and list of signatories is below:


Dear Leader Cantor and Congressman Pitts,

We want to thank you for drafting, and offering to call up in the House, a bill that allows

Members to choose between continuing to have part of the so-called Affordable Care Act fund

lobbyists, activist organizations, and ad campaigns to raise taxes and restrict freedom, as it is

presently doing, or redirecting some of those funds to make insurance more affordable for

Americans with pre-existing conditions, while reducing overall spending. That’s the decision

the House will face when it considers your H.R. 1549, the Helping Sick Americans Now Act. It

should be an easy choice.


We fully support repealing – and short of that fully defunding – ObamaCare, and in a perfect

world that is what we’d have already done and would do again tomorrow. Collectively, we

represent millions of Americans who recognize the harm ObamaCare will do to medical choice,

access, and affordability, and know there are far better ways to improve health care. As long as

we face the reality of this President and a Senate controlled by Democrats, we recognize that

repeal will take time. We work every day to build awareness of the false promises and real harms

of this dreadful law, and support for defunding, de-authorizing and ultimately repealing it. As

we work toward repeal, we want to ensure that we protect innocent Americans from the worst

aspects of the law, and mitigate the law’s damage to our country.


That’s why we support the Helping Sick Americans Now Act. It would redirect money that’s

currently being used to implement some of the worst aspects of the existing law to the Pre-

Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP, a federal high-risk pool insurance program that

helps provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, but which the Administration

closed to new enrollees earlier this year due to funding constraints. The bill takes $4 billion from

an Obamacare slush fund and reallocates part of it to helping sick people the President has

turned his back on. The remainder, about $1 billion, goes to deficit reduction. To be clear: this

bill defunds Obamacare.


The American people need to hear about the failure and hypocrisy of this Administration, and

the Helping Sick Americans Now Act will help to get this message out. First, the Administration

sold ObamaCare as a vehicle for helping those with pre-existing conditions, but knowingly

poorly designed and underfunded the primary program serving that most vulnerable group.

Once the consequences of that under-funding became clear, instead of reallocating existing

slush funds to support it, they shut the door to the program on an estimated 40,000 sick

Americans, causing real hardship for many Americans who currently have no better alternatives.


This didn’t have to happen. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has the authority under the Patient

Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to transfer money from the so-called Prevention

and Public Health Fund (“Prevention Fund,” or “Slush Fund”) to the PCIP. But she has

knowingly refused to take this simple, compassionate step, because politics takes preference

over the people this Administration no longer needs to pretend to care about. H.R. 1549 would

therefore require HHS to transfer approximately $4 billion in FY 2013-2016 funding from the

Prevention and Public Health Fund to PCIP. This would allow CMS to enroll sick Americans

who have been denied coverage because of the Administration’s decision.


In addition to prioritizing sick Americans, H.R. 1549 would also eliminate four years of funding

from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, one of ObamaCare’s worst programs, which is rife

with waste and abuse. For example, the “Prevention” fund has financed pet neutering

campaigns, bike/park signs, and gardening, and more disturbingly lobbying campaign – in some

cases directly funding lobbyists in violations of federal law – to enact fast food construction

moratoriums and soda taxes (included polling to test messages for higher soda taxes).


Reallocating the Prevention and Public Health Fund resources would at least be a more

constructive use of funds rather than pouring more money down into the bottomless maw of an

unworkable bill. If this funding is not reallocated to PCIP then it will continue to go to

implementing ObamaCare. In fact, the Administration has tapped $54 million from the

Prevention Fund to pay individuals and community groups to sign people up for ObamaCare

exchanges (and simultaneously check if they are registered to vote). Just last week, the

Administration announced that it plans to use $304 million for enrollment and advertising

campaigns for Obamacare. The Prevention Fund is one of the last sources the Administration

has to use for 2014 implementation of its $1 trillion “train wreck” of an exchange program.


H.R. 1549 would also make the PCIP function better by eliminating the rule that requires

already sick individuals to go without coverage for six months in order to gain eligibility for the

program. While PCIP could be improved further, and should in fact be replaced with smarter

programs, it makes sense to prioritize funding for vulnerable Americans over slush funds for the

remainder of 2013. Preliminary estimates also show that H.R. 1549 will reduce the deficit by

approximately $1 billion.


This bill represents the first opportunity that our congressional allies and we have had, since the

health care law's enactment three years ago, to show what we are for – and whom we are for –

and not just what we are against.


Of all the bills considered in the House to date, to repeal, defund, or dismantle ObamaCare, this

bill is the first to point towards the kinds of market-oriented reforms that most conservatives

would replace ObamaCare with. If enacted, the bill would help to slow down the law's

implementation, a significant achievement. The simple act of debating the bill will give

conservatives the opportunity to highlight all that’s wrong with ObamaCare, and with the

Administration's misuse of funds and callous attitude toward those with pre-existing conditions.


The bill is a win-win for conservatives and the American people. The law's implementation is

already chaotic – in the words of Senator Baucus, a “train wreck.” This bill will make it harder

for the Administration's engineers to get that destructive train back on track.


Even after this bill has been debated and sent to the Senate, we will continue to fight for

full repeal – this year. Three years of ObamaCare is enough. We must end this law before

January 1st, when it is scheduled to take full effect. We appreciate your leadership on this

important issue, and look forward to working with you as we continue toward our shared

mission of repealing ObamaCare – while creating a better health care system that benefits all

Americans – this year.




Heather Higgins, Independent Women’s Voice

Phil Kerpen, American Commitment

Dean Clancy, FreedomWorks

Ryan Ellis, Americans for Tax Reform

Grace-Marie Turner, co-author, Why ObamaCare is Wrong for America

Pete Sepp, National Taxpayers Union

Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring

Richard Viguerie, ConservativeHQ.com

Judson Phillips, Tea Party Nation

Jim Backlin, Christian Coalition of America

Jim Martin, 60 Plus

Jim Capretta

Ken Hoagland, Restore America’s Voice Foundation

Dee Hodges, Maryland Taxpayers Association

Randy Kendrick

Seton Motley, Less Government

C. Preston Noell III, Tradition, Family, Property, Inc.

Amy Ridenour, National Center for Public Policy Research

Alex St. James, Republican National Policy Committee

Wes Vernon, columnist

Daniel Weber, Association of Mature American Citizens

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