Will Upton

Where Have You Gone Congressman Kasich?

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Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, December 18th, 2014, 4:59 PM PERMALINK


Speaking today at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Gov. John Kasich has once again left political observers asking the question: Where have you gone Congressman Kasich? The differences between Congressman John Kasich – a firebrand anti-tax, anti-regulation conservative in the 1990’s – and John Kasich, Governor of Ohio, are stark.  

In today’s address, Gov. Kasich has resurrected the decrepit corpse of last year’s Mid-Biennium Review (MBR) – a plan that would have seen a drop in personal income taxes but at the cost of higher energy costs, an increase in the regressive state cigarette tax, taxes on tobacco harm reduction products like e-cigarettes and vapor products, and an increase in taxes on small businesses. The MBR called for a 15-percent increase in the state CAT tax, a tax on doing business in the State of Ohio measured by a business’s gross receipts. The CAT tax changes, at the time, would have amounted to a $743 million tax increase by 2017.

Ohio’s oil and gas industry, under the prior MBR proposal, would have seen the oil and gas severance tax rate increase to 2.75-percent of a producer’s gross receipts. Americans for Tax Reform noted at the time: “One of the most startling components of the oil and gas tax increase, however, is the divergence of 20-percent of severance tax revenue to local governments in shale oil and gas producing regions. The state monies would be overseen by a new government bureaucracy called the Ohio Shale Gas Regional Commission (a nine member board appointed by the Governor). On the positive side, Gov. Kasich is pushing for the elimination of severance taxes on small convention gas producers – less than 910,000 cu.ft/quarter). All-in-all, the severance tax increase would amount to an $874 million tax hike by 2017. 

The final tax increase component of last year’s MBR was an increase in taxes on tobacco products and e-cigarette and vapor products. Americans for Tax Reform noted at the time: Another troubling component of Gov. Kasich’s MBR is the regressive tax hike placed on tobacco consumers. Over a two year period Ohio’s tax on cigarettes would increase from $1.25 to $1.85 a pack. This tax increase will be borne primarily by lower-income earners. Even more important, tobacco taxes have repeatedly proven to be a declining source of revenue and an inadequate pay-for for permanent income tax reductions.”

“Along the same lines of the proposed tobacco tax increase, Gov. Kasich has proposed an equivalent tax on e-cigarette and vapor products.  Currently, under Ohio law, these products are not taxed in the same manner as tobacco products. The fact is, e-cigarettes and vapor products are not equivalent to tobacco products and are often used as a means to quit harmful combustible tobacco products.”

Gov. Kasich’s announcement today means that the major components of the MBR will once again dominate his legislative agenda, along with increased regulations on fracking and charter schools. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Kasich stated: “We are going to fix the lack of regulation on charter schools.” He went on to call for more regulation of the fracking method of oil and gas extraction that is fueling the state’s energy renaissance and providing new jobs.  Last year – when Gov. Kasich proposed his MBR – Americans for Tax Reform was clear, the plan was less than inspiring. It remains so.

Today’s Gov. John Kasich pales in comparison to the John Kasich of two-decades ago – a tax cutting, budget balancing Reagan conservative. After leaving the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C., John Kasich said: “When I left Washington, we actually had a balanced budget and we paid down the most amount of the national debt in modern history and cut taxes and created jobs. And I was the chief architect of that plan in '97.” What happened to that John Kasich?

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Brian Timmermeister

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JeffersonOh

Bye the way....What ever happened to the hundred million or so Ohio received from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement?

I was once a Kasich supporter but have moved away from him as he in turns moves left. I would consider him a moderate with zero chance of any Presidential nomination.


Gov. Brownback Proposes Efficiencies, Spending Restraint in New Budget Plan

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Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, December 9th, 2014, 3:50 PM PERMALINK


Kansas Governor Sam Brownback continues efforts to reform the Kansas state government, this time with a rollback in state spending and enacting efficiencies to state programs. The general fund allotment plan would address the state’s projected $280 million overspending problem in FY 2015.

The plan would enact a four percent reduction in spending to “Cabinet Level and Other SGF [State General Fund] Funded Agencies.” The Kansas Legislature would also be asked to vote on a four percent reduction in their spending as well. In addition to enacting spending restrain regarding state general funds, Gov. Brownback has proposed using efficiencies to find savings in non-general fund accounts including the Highway Fund.

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Gov. Brownback for continuing to engage in much needed fiscal reforms in Kansas and building on historic tax cuts. Additional reforms that could be pursued to reduce the state’s overspending problem include moving to a defined contribution pension plan, pushing for the adoption of zero-based budgeting, and the adoption of reforms recommended in the Kansas Policy Institutes model budget plan.

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Kansas City District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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Taxpayers Sweep Top Five Ballot Measures


Posted by Will Upton, John Kartch on Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, 3:34 AM PERMALINK


On Tuesday, taxpayers overwhelmingly prevailed in each of the top five binding tax related ballot measures:
 
53% – 47% in Massachusetts – Question 1: In deep blue Massachusetts, voters repealed a law that indexed the state gas tax to inflation – eliminating a vote-less backdoor tax hike on taxpayers. 
 
80%  20% in Wisconsin – Question 1: From now on, the state gas tax must only be used to fund Wisconsin’s transportation system. Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin’s legislature has raided the state’s transportation fund to the tune of $1.4 billion. 
 
80% – 20% in Nevada – Question 3: In Harry Reid’s home state, voters defeated a proposed two percent "margin tax" on businesses. The revenue from the new tax was to be granted to the state’s public school districts. 

66% – 34% in Tennessee – Amendment 3: Voters enshrined in the state constitution a prohibition on state and local income taxes. 

74% – 26% in Georgia – Amendment A: Voters enshrined in the state constitution a cap on the state income tax at the effective rate on January 1, 2015. Therefore the state legislature is now constitutionally prohibited from increasing the state income tax rate any higher.

Not only did voters directly reject tax increases, they rejected gubernatorial candidates who championed higher taxes — even in deep blue states such as Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland.
 

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Rednecksrule

And here is another tax voters don't want-- OPEN BORDERS! Did you know Norquist that surges of poverty from Central America that you support with your endless zeal for amnesty cost US taxpayers billions? You didn't win on Tuesday, American citizens who oppose guys like you did.


Brownback Win A Victory for Kansas Taxpayers

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Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, November 4th, 2014, 11:39 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform would like to applaud the victory of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback over Democrat challenger Paul Davis. Gov. Brownback’s win is a boon to Kansas taxpayers who will continue to see more money in their wallets and better job growth in the state.

Called one of the most important races in the country, the Kansas governor’s race became the epicenter of the low-tax fight. The Democrat Party and their spending-interest allies ran a misleading smear campaign against the governor and his efforts to reform the Kansas tax code to the state more competitive with its neighbors.

“Tonight the voters of Kansas returned a champion of the taxpayer to the Kansas governor’s office. Gov. Sam Brownback ignited the Mid-West tax rebellion and began and led the great 50 state race to a zero-percent income tax,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “With Gov. Brownback’s re-election, other governors have seen that the Kansas model is both politically practical and exportable. By 2050, all 50 states should be able reduce their state income taxes to zero.”

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UPDATE: Bill Walker Campaign Disputes Authorship of Pro-Income Tax Letter

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Posted by Will Upton on Monday, November 3rd, 2014, 3:15 PM PERMALINK


Alaska gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker’s campaign has disputed the authorship of a 2004 letter to the editor calling for a state income tax in Alaska. A man claiming to be another Bill Walker (identified by the Walker for Governor campaign as William C. Walker) has come forward on a Blogspot blog with the username “Mo ‘Poxy”, taking credit for the 2004 letter – though the user’s identity is unclear.

Ultimately it is up to the voters of Alaska to decide if candidate Bill Walker actually wrote the letter to the editor. They should be reminded, though, that Bill Walker, unlike Sean Parnell, has not ruled out higher taxes by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

You can read the original post with the full letter to the editor here.

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Alaska Governor Candidate Bill Walker Backed Creating State Income Tax

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Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 12:30 PM PERMALINK


What does Alaska gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker really believe? On October 11, He told the Alaska Dispatch News: “I have no intention to implement a statewide tax or paying for state government by reducing Permanent Fund dividend checks.  If we properly develop out natural resources and put in place a sustainable budget that should not be necessary.”

Yet, he is the same Bill Walker who wrote: “We must establish a state income tax.  With a tax, the people will pay closer attention as the state painfully spends our hard earned tax dollars.  Our legislators will be frugal knowing that they are spending their constituents’ tax dollars.  Our legislators will be frugal knowing that their constituents are paying attention.”

Alaskans should ask Walker, who has NOT signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge – a promise from elected officials to their constituents not to raise taxes – what he really believes. Given his shifting stance on a state income tax, it seems like Walker embodies the worst aspects of Washington, D.C.-style politics.

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David Shurtleff

Different Bill Walker--wasn't the candidate. I called them to ask. There are 13 different William Walkers listed as living in Alaska.

Payuk Deloria

Wait, what? Why has the Alaska media not reported on this? It explains why the Democrats and Alice Rogoff created this ticket and why public employee unions are backing it. Bigger government, more taxes, skimming off the top of Alaskans' way of life.

Jwstaser

Not the same Bill Walker!


Seven State Ballot Measures to Watch on Tuesday

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Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, October 29th, 2014, 4:56 PM PERMALINK


There are seven major state ballot tax fights that will be decided next Tuesday. Americans for Tax Reform has highlighted each of these ballot measures individually, but below, you can find a brief summary of each of the seven as well as a link to a more in depth description.

Massachusetts – Question 1 “Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing”: An initiated state statute, Question 1 could repeal a law passed this past legislative session indexing the Massachusetts state gas tax to inflation – eliminating a vote-less backdoor tax hike on taxpayers. For more information, click here.  

Washington State – Advisory Question 8: A non-binding advisory question, the ballot measure deals with the state’s recently legalized marijuana industry, specifically, the state legislature’s decision to deem the industry non-agricultural – exposing consumers to a higher tax burden than they would have with other agricultural products. All-in-all, consumers will face a $24.9 million tax increase over the next decade. For more information, click here.

Tennessee – Amendment 3 “No State Income Tax Amendment”: Tennessee Amendment 3 is a legislatively referred ballot measure that would prohibit the state government and local governments from instituting a state or local income tax. The passage of Amendment 3 would enshrine Tennessee’s position as a no-income tax state in the state constitution and require a much greater threshold to enact a state income tax. For more information, click here.

Nevada – Question 3 “The Education Initiative”: Despite the innocuous sounding name, Nevada’s Question 3 would implement a new 2% "margin tax" on businesses operating in the state of Nevada. The revenue from the new tax would be granted to the state’s public school districts. The Question was placed on the ballot via indirect initiative, meaning that a public petition was circulated and then sent to the legislature for approval to be placed on the ballot. For more information, click here.

Wisconsin – Question 1 “Creation of a Transportation Fund”: This legislatively referred constitutional amendment would legally dedicate revenues generated by use of the state transportation system, namely the state gas tax, to be used only for funding Wisconsin’s transportation system. Over the past 10 years, Wisconsin’s legislature has raided the state’s transportation fund to the tune of $1.4 billion. For more information, click here.

Illinois – Advisory Question “Millionaire Tax Increase for Education Question”: In Illinois, Advisory Questions can be placed on the ballot to gauge public opinion on potential legislation – although the ballot result is non-binding. In this specific case, voters are being asked whether they would support the legislature enacting an additional three percent tax on income greater than $1 million for the purpose of granting school districts additional revenue. This past legislative session, a “Millionaire” Tax bill failed to gain the necessary votes in the Illinois legislature. For more information, click here.

Georgia – Amendment A “To prohibit an increase in the state income tax rate in effect January 1, 2015 (Senate Resolution 415)”: The ballot measure is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would cap the state income tax at the effective rate on January 1, 2015. This would mean that the state legislature would be constitutionally prohibited from increasing the state income tax rate any higher. For more information, click here.

Americans for Tax Reform’s President, Grover Norquist, and State Affairs Manager William Upton recently released a podcast discussing these ballot measures below.

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Georgia Voters To Decide Whether to Cap State Income Tax Rates

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Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014, 5:00 AM PERMALINK


On November 4, Georgia voters will decide whether to adopt Amendment A: “To prohibit an increase in the state income tax rate in effect January 1, 2015 (Senate Resolution 415).” The ballot measure is a legislatively referred constitutional amendment that would cap the state income tax at the effective rate on January 1, 2015. This would mean that the state legislature would be constitutionally prohibited from increasing the state income tax rate any higher. The measure reads: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended to prohibit the General Assembly from increasing the maximum state income tax rate?” 

If passed, the Constitution of Georgia would be amended with the addition of Paragraph IV in Section 3 of Article VII reading: “Paragraph IV. Increase in state income tax rate prohibited. The General Assembly shall not increase the maximum marginal rate of the state income tax above that in effect on January 1, 2015.” This would have the effect of enacting a supermajority requirement to increase income taxes in Georgia as the state constitution would need to be again amended to do so.

David Shafer, the President Pro Tem of the Georgia State Senate and sponsor of the referendum, said of the effort to cap the state income tax: “It makes it clear that our income tax rate is not going up. It helps increase our competitiveness by pointing out to businesses making expansion decisions that while other states could increase their rates tomorrow our rates are constitutionally capped.” The Atlanta Journal Constitution quoted Jeffrey Dorfman, a professor of agricultural and applied economics at the University of Georgia, in support of Amendment A: “It’s the credibility thing: If businesses feel like they can trust you, then they’re more likely to create jobs in your community. So this cap signals to businesses, we promise we’re not going to become New York or California or Illinois. We’re going to stay a good place to do business.”

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Jack_Kennedy

obama sons won't like having their welfare capped ............ they be needing their increased welfare


Illinois Democrats Continue Push for "Millionaire" Tax on November Ballot

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Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014, 5:00 AM PERMALINK


Mike Madigan, the Democrat Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives, and Governor Pat Quinn continue their push for higher taxes via the Advisory Question: “Millionaire Tax Increase for Education Question.” In Illinois, Advisory Questions can be placed on the ballot to gauge public opinion on potential legislation – although the ballot result is non-binding. In this specific case, voters are being asked whether they would support the legislature enacting an additional three percent tax on income greater than $1 million for the purpose of granting school districts additional revenue. This past legislative session, a “Millionaire” Tax bill failed to gain the necessary votes in the Illinois legislature.

The ballot question reads, “Should the Illinois Constitution be amended to require that each school district receive additional revenue, based on their number of students, from an additional 3% tax on income greater than one million dollars?”

The Advisory Question comes on the heels of a hotly contested legislative session where a similar legislative measure was narrowly defeated – two other massive tax increases were also defeated. State spending interests are pushing the Question as a means of putting increased pressure on the legislature to enact the constitutional amendment during the 2015 legislative session.

When Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan pushed the ballot measure back in May, the Illinois Policy Institute noted: “Illinois’ message to job-creators is increasingly clear: the state’s political leadership wants to punish you for achieving success. At a time when Indiana, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas are welcoming new entrants from over-taxed states with open arms, Madigan is doubling down on economic failure and destruction to feed Springfield’s insatiable appetite for a larger share of your wealth and capital.”

“After years of having a stranglehold on Illinois politics, Speaker Mike Madigan is looking desperate as he tries again to push his failing tax and spend agenda,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “After failing to garner the votes for a Millionaire Tax, a Progressive Income Tax, and an extension of the 2011 income tax hike during the legislative session, Illinois Democrats have thrown up this last ditch effort to continue pushing Illinois down the road to serfdom.”

 

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Rednecksrule

Yes you care about millionaire taxes Norquist-- BUT let's have a tens of millions of illegals amnesty. Middle class tax payers have to pay for illegals you slimy toad. I dont' hear a word out of you concerning the most recent surges of poverty to the US that MIDDLE CLASS taxpayers already are carrying. You know you jagoff.. to pay for schools. Come to Fairfax county, home to tens of thousands of the recent surge and look at the cost of schooling. So I am not going to cry for millionaires to pay taxes when you want to foist millions of illegals onto me..


Pres. Obama Tries to Rally Support for Maryland Democrats, Taxpayers Flee

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Posted by Will Upton on Monday, October 20th, 2014, 2:11 PM PERMALINK


This past Sunday, President Obama rallied support for embattled Democrat gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. While the President spoke, rally goers seemed to lose interest with some getting up and leaving. Reuters reported on Sunday: “President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity.”

The flight of rally goers from President Obama and Lt. Gov. Brown’s event is a fitting metaphor for the flight of taxpayers and businesses from the Chesapeake Bay State over the past 8 years of tax hikes and crushing regulations imposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Since defeating Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich in 2006, O’Malley and Brown have enacted 40 tax hikes that will cost Maryland taxpayers $20 billion by 2018 according to Change Maryland. Between 2007 and 2010, IRS data shows that nearly 31,000 residents have left the state. According to Gbenga Ajilore, writing in the Washington Post, of the 31,000 residents leaving the state, “…nearly 11,500 individuals in taxpayer households, went to Virginia. The net loss to Maryland — and Virginia’s gain — is $390 million in annual incomes. A surprising close second in attracting former Marylanders is North Carolina. Combined, that amounts to almost $700 million in annual incomes streaming down the Interstate 95 corridor.” North Carolina enacted major tax reform in 2013, making the state an even more attractive destination for refugees from high tax states like Maryland.

Much like the disgruntled rally goers on Sunday, Maryland’s millionaires fled the state after a 2008 law was signed by Gov. O’Malley enacting a new; higher rate for incomes over a million dollars. The result? Roughly a third of the state’s millionaires left. The Wall Street Journal notes: “One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller's office concedes is a "substantial decline." On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year -- even at higher rates.”

Besides individual taxpayers fleeing the state, the radical tax and spend policies of O’Malley and Brown has caused a flight of businesses as well – resulting in thousands of jobs relocating outside of Maryland. Just one week ago, the Bechtel Corporation announced it would be moving a large chunk of jobs from Maryland to Virginia. Besides Bechtel, Maryland has seen operations from Northrop Grumman, Hilton Worldwide, SAIC, Volkswagen North America, Coventry, Constellation Energy, and Black & Decker either fold or leave the state. Change Maryland notes: “Since 2007… 6500 small businesses have left or shut down, the second-highest in the region, and just three Fortune 500 companies remain in the state. This is a sharp contrast to 24 large corporate headquarters in Virginia and 23 in Pennsylvania.”

When rally goers walked out on President Obama and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown this past Sunday, they showed that Marylanders are increasingly turning their backs on the radical tax and spend policies of the Democrats in Maryland and in Washington, D.C.

 

Photo Credit: Edward Kimmel

 

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