Will Upton

Republican Governor Tax Cuts Since 2011

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, January 2nd, 2014, 12:35 PM PERMALINK

Writing in Forbes, ATR's Patrick Gleason notes it will be governors’ races that tell the tale of a GOP revival in 2014. It has been on the state level that the GOP has been able to enact transformative and pro-growth reforms. Since the Republican election wave in 2010, 19 GOP governors have reduced taxes in their state, amounting to a net $38.33 billion in total tax relief. On the other hand, Democrat governors have increased the tax burden in their states by $43 billion. 

Americans for Tax Reform has produced a full breakdown of tax relief legislation passed by 19 Republican governors. Click here to view a pdf of the breakdown.

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Taxpayers Win Big in Kansas City, Missouri

Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, November 6th, 2013, 3:47 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday voters in Jackson County, Missouri (including the voters of Kansas City) went to the polls faced with Question One. The ballot question would have increased the county sales tax by .5-percent amounting in an $800 million tax hike over the next 20 years. The revenue would go to fund new research facilities for local hospitals – something that, as opponents noted, in the past would have been funded through federal and state grants, along with private fundraising.

In a landslide victory for taxpayers, Question One was defeated with 86-percent of voters against and only 14-percent in favor. The ballot measure drew strong opposition from community and taxpayer groups alike – even drawing sharp criticism from the less-than-taxpayer-friendly Kansas City Star:

To urge a “ no” vote is not a happy place for this newspaper. It’s easy to root for a major translational research hub and the talented researchers it may draw. We simply don’t see an additional tax on one county’s shoppers, be they individuals or businesses, as the primary path to that goal…

Voters need to make it a point to get to the polls, reject this tax initiative, and then the community can pull together to find more equitable funding to advance this worthwhile effort.

With voters rejecting a massive tax increase in Colorado by a 2 to 1 margin, the defeat of Question One in Jackson County, Missouri serves as yet another example that voters are souring on the tax and spend philosophy touted by Democrats across the nation.

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Take Action: Stop the PA Medicaid Expansion

Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, September 17th, 2013, 5:38 PM PERMALINK

Pennyslvania Governor Tom Corbett has reversed course and is now pushing for Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in the Keystone State. ATR needs your help to convince Gov. Corbett that Obamacare is bad for Pennsylvanians. If enacted, the expansion could crater the state budget, leading to higher taxes and reduced services for the people of Pennsylvania.

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ATR Needs Your Help to Override Gov. Nixon's Tax Cut Veto

Posted by Will Upton on Friday, September 6th, 2013, 3:40 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform needs your help in pushing for tax relief for struggling Missouri families and businesses. With neighboring states like Kansas and Oklahoma enacting pro-growth tax reform, the Missouri legislature passed its own tax reform plan, House Bill 253. Unfortunately, Missouri’s Democrat governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill! If Gov. Nixon gets his way, Missouri businesses will be left at an economic disadvantage – neighboring states have been cutting taxes all across the board.

The Missouri House of Representatives has a chance to override Nixon’s veto. I urge you to contact your representative by filling out the form below and demanding they vote to override Gov. Nixon’s veto.

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ATR Calls on Missouri Legislature to Override Gov. Nixon's Veto of HB 253

Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, September 4th, 2013, 1:37 PM PERMALINK

Today Americans for Tax Reform issued a letter to members of the Missouri House of Representatives calling on them override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 253, legislation that would begin the process of reforming Missouri’s tax code. With neighboring states like Kansas and Oklahoma moving towards lower, more competitive tax rates, lawmakers in Jefferson City must begin their own process of reform to keep Missouri economically competitive and encourage job creation.

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our members across Missouri, I write today in support of HB 253 and urge you to OVERRIDE Gov. Nixon’s veto of this important piece of legislationHB 253 would represent a significant reduction of the tax burden on Missouri businesses and families. Currently, Missouri’s tax climate is a hindrance to economic growth and job creation. HB 253 would take important steps towards keeping Missouri competitive with her neighbors, many of whom have enacted large tax cuts in the past several legislative sessions.

Presently, the corporate income tax rate that businesses in Missouri face is 6.25%. HB 253 would nearly cut this in half over a ten year period, reducing it to 3.25%. In addition, the top individual rate would be brought down to 5.5% over the same ten year window. Under HB 253, these measures are only to be implemented if the state is collecting revenues that rise by $100 million or more annually. Contrary to claims, HB 253 takes tax cuts from future growth in state revenue, and returns it to businesses and hard-working taxpayers.

HB 253 represents not only an important step forward for the Show-me-state, but also a very critical move in order to remain economically relevant in an increasingly competitive region. Neighboring states such as Kansas and Oklahoma have significantly reduced the tax burden on businesses and taxpayers. Iowa, Nebraska and Indiana have enacted tax cuts as well, and many of them are just getting started. In order to stay on pace with her neighbors, Missouri must allow businesses to keep more capital so that they may invest further and create jobs. Taxpayers, too, would be accorded more take home pay under HB 253.

ATR urges you to support HB 253 and override Gov. Nixon’s veto.  Legislators in Jefferson City should continue to focus on policies that allow the private sector to grow and create jobs; reducing the tax burden that they face is an excellent way to do so. ATR will be following this issue closely and educating your constituents as to how their legislators in the House of Representatives vote on this important matter.

You can read the full letter here.


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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell's Transportation Tax Hike Takes Effect Today

Posted by Will Upton on Monday, July 1st, 2013, 5:31 PM PERMALINK

Virginia taxpayers will take a hit to their wallets today as the state-wide sales tax will rise from 5-percent to 5.3-percent. Residents of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will see an even greater sales tax hike, from 5-percent to 6-percent. In addition, the state gas tax of 17.5-cents per gallon will be eliminated and replaced with a 3.5 –percent sales tax on wholesale gasoline and 6-percent on diesel.

While the new gas tax should lead to lower gas prices, many suspect that gas prices will in fact not go down, instead remaining at the current price or jumping up even higher heading into the summer travel months. 

In total, House Bill 2313 amounts to a $5.9 billion tax increase on Virginians – including a provision to enact an internet sales tax pending congressional approval of the Market Place Fairness Act.  The tax hike was pushed by Governor Bob McDonnell and Speaking Bill Howell, along with Democrat lawmakers in Richmond during this past 2013 legislative session. 

“Governor Bob McDonnell should have known better. He walked down a dark alley with tax and spend Democrats and got mugged. His legacy as Governor is backing the largest tax hike in Virginia history,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

Norquist continued, “This is the third major tax increase that has been ushered through the Republican House of Delegates by Speaker Bill Howell. Today, Virginians will begin to feel the cost of failed leadership in Richmond.” 

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Maryland: Gasoline tax hike and toll increases take effect

Posted by Will Upton on Monday, July 1st, 2013, 5:02 PM PERMALINK

Maryland residents are facing the consequences of tax and spend policies coming out of Annapolis today, as the state’s gasoline tax rises by nearly 4 cents, and tolls throughout the state are rising by as much as 50%. Furthermore, things will only get worse for motorists in the coming years, with the gasoline tax set to go up by 42 cents by 2016, amounting to a $3.4 billion dollar tax increase.

Such policies come as no surprise to hardworking taxpayers in the Old Line State. Today’s tax and fee increases mark the 54th time that Governor O’Malley has raided their wallets to the tune of $2.8 billion dollars to finance more government spending. These policies will have a disastrous effect on business and taxpayers, who will be forced to tighten their belts to cover the increased costs of their commutes.

“Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has left a legacy of higher taxes and higher fees for Maryland residents. With the help of Democrat lawmakers in Annapolis, he has raised the tax burden on Maryland families by nearly $2,000 per household. Now he has his eyes on taking his liberal tax and spend policies that are choking Maryland to the White House,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

Norquist continued, “Maryland has become an example of how not to run a state. Just days before the July Fourth holiday, O’Malley and his liberal allies have made it more expensive to travel around the state. Under their poor governance, Maryland has continued down the path to economic ruin.”

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Stand with Senator Lamping

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, May 16th, 2013, 4:48 PM PERMALINK

The Establishment in Missouri is pushing an $8 billion tax hike. Use the web contact form below to show your support of Sen. Lamping's filibuster efforts.

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ATR Urges Virginia Candidates to Support Repeal of Gov. McDonnell's Tax Hike

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, May 16th, 2013, 4:10 PM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform issued an open letter to candidates for state office in the Commonwealth of Virginia asking them to support the repeal of Governor Bob McDonnell's $5.9 billion tax hike. With the state Republican Convention kicking off this weekend, it is important for delegates to know where their candidates stand on Gov. McDonnell's massive tax hike - the largest in Virginia history.  Click here for a PDF copy of the letter. 

May 16, 2013

Dear Candidate,

Just a few days ago, Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of the Commonwealth of Virginia. With a price tag of at least $5.9 billion, the tax hike will undeniably harm Virginia’s economy, meaning less money in taxpayers’ wallets and less jobs for Virginians seeking work. I urge all candidates for state-wide office and the House of Delegates to support the repeal of this onerous burden on taxpayers. 

A coalition of spending interests and their political allies – including Governor Bob McDonnell, Speaker Bill Howell, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, and Senator Frank Wagner – are working hard to fleece the taxpayers of Virginia. The repeal of HB 2313, Governor McDonnell’s tax hike, would send a message to Virginia voters and taxpayers that you are serious about protecting their interests, not the special interest spending lobby in Richmond. 

With the tax hike now law, Virginians will see hikes in their diesel fuel taxes and the gas tax will rise with higher gas prices and inflation. Residents of Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads will see increases in the local sales tax from 5 to 6 percent and Northern Virginia will see additional increases in taxes on homes sales, and increased hotel taxes. The rest of the state will experience a sales tax hike from 5 to 5.3 percent. Eventually, every region of Virginia could be subject to a 6 percent sales hike.

In addition, the legislation puts into place a regime set to collect internet sales taxes if Congress passes the Marketplace Fairness Act – currently in the House of Representatives. If Congress is unable to pass an internet sales tax bill, Virginia residents will see fuel taxes raised even higher to make up for the promised tax collections. Even worse, the Marketplace Fairness Act would subject Virginia’s small businesses to over 9,000 taxing jurisdictions in all fifty states.  Imagine a small business man from Virginia having to appear in a tax court in cash strapped California or Illinois.

In the end, Governor McDonnell’s tax hike is nothing more than a transfer of money from the taxpayers pocket to the spending interests in Richmond. The tax hike must be repealed. 

This burdensome and economically destructive tax hike won’t relieve congestion on Virginia roads, it won’t pave Virginia’s roads, and it won’t fill the pot holes. It will line the pockets of the spending interests and lobbyists in Richmond. This tax hike must be repealed. 

As a candidate for elected office in the Commonwealth of Virginia, I urge you to publically call for and work to repeal HB 2313, Governor McDonnell’s $5.9 billion tax increase. 


 Grover G. Norquist


Americans for Tax Reform

Click here for a PDF copy of the letter. 

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New Tobacco Tax Hike One of Many Shards of Glass in Obama Budget

Posted by Will Upton on Friday, April 5th, 2013, 4:04 PM PERMALINK

Though the President will not officially release his 2014 budget plan until next Wednesday, details of the plan are already starting to materialize.

Leaked on the day Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed job creation in March was less than half of what economists had expected, the plan is expected to outline a bevy of crippling tax increases.

Notably, the President is proposing once again to fund expansions of federal programs through tax hikes on tobacco products.

The plan will propose an increase in the federal excise tax to fund an expansion in pre-k programs. Without details, it is impossible to know what kind of price tag this proposal carries. However, the progressive Center for American Progress has estimated such a program could cost $100 billion over ten years.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated last year that a 50 cent increase on cigarettes would net less than half that amount in new revenue. What's more, one only needs to look to the states to see that tobacco taxes are a declining revenue source. Washington, D.C. raised its cigarette tax by $.50 in 2009 only to see an 11 percent net decline in cigarette tax revenue. South Carolina added $.57 to each pack of cigarettes in July 2010. Despite the rate increase, records show a decline in cigarette tax revenue in South Carolina since that time.  With tobacco tax revenue showing steady signs of permanent decline, tobacco taxes just act as placeholders for future tax increases.

It is important to note that these overwhelming costs would hit the populations least able to afford it. A tobacco tax falls squarely on the shoulder of lower-income Americans. With millions of Americans either unemployed or under employed, it is important to remember that this is a tax increase that will hit people making on average only $36,000 a year.

This is just one in what will be a litany of proposals to increase the size of government. We'll have the full rundown of the President's proposal when it is finally released.

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