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Will Upton

Take Action: Stop MD Legislators from Raising Taxes on Alcohol


Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, April 7th, 2011, 1:32 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform urges the Maryland House of Delegates to vote against SB 994 – an unprecedented 50 percent hike in the sales tax on alcohol. 

The proposed tax hike would up Maryland’s current 6 percent tax to 9 percent.  Democrats in the state Senate planned for the tax hike to occur over three years with a 1 percent hike each year.   

Revenues generated from the 1 percent hike in the first year would overwhelmingly go to off-set modest cuts made to education aid in Prince George’s County, Allegany County, Garrett County, and to pay for retired teachers’ healthcare in Baltimore.  In the first year, alcohol taxes would be raised by an estimated $30 million – by the third the increase could exceed $85 million.  

“Vice” taxes do not work.  Last year’s cigarette tax hike in Washington, D.C. actually caused revenues to decrease by 20 percent!  Additionally, these taxes hurt small business owners and the poor the most – a new tax hike on alcohol will only further Maryland’s economic stagnation.  

ATR encourages you to write your Maryland House delegate and tell them to vote no on SB 994.  You can write to your delegate here:

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Daily Media Spotlight December 14, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010, 4:06 PM PERMALINK


Grover Norquist is in Politico’s ‘Arena’ discussing the minefield that sits between today and the 2012 elections: “Unlike 2006, the only potential presidential candidate who must vote on such compromises is South Dakota’s John Thune. All the other possible Republican candidates, including the new governors in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, etc., are free to oppose such compromises, signaling the (obvious and largely irrelevant ) point that if they were president, such a compromise would have been settled much to the right. True… But not terribly useful in discussing how one constructs the frustrating, but necessary “deals” between now and 2012 when, Republicans expect, the presidency and the Senate majority fall into their hands.”

From Business Wire and The Daily Caller, “The Daily Caller to Co-Host Republican National Committee’s Chairmanship Debate with Americans for Tax Reform on January 3rd.”  Here is Grover’s take on the event:  “‘We are pleased to host this debate with The Daily Caller. The actual vote for RNC Chairman will be made by the 168 members of the Committee, but the impact will be felt by all,’ said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. ‘Therefore, every activist should play a role in questioning the candidates and communicating with RNC members who cast votes...just like lobbying your Congressman and Senators.’”

ATR friend and ally Christopher Freind expresses a grave concern in The Philly Post over the prospects that the GOP may not have a viable candidate to challenge and tax-and-spend (and tax some more) Senator Bob Casey in 2012: “You would think that with Pennsylvania’s Republican roots, which have run especially deep over the last several decades, freshman Democratic senator Bob Casey would be vulnerable in 2012… You would be wrong… Incumbents don’t lose unless they’re challenged by viable, first-tier candidates, as the Senate elections in Nevada and Alaska proved…”

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Daily Media Spotlight December 13, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Monday, December 13th, 2010, 4:29 PM PERMALINK


The Daily Beast says he is, “The One Man Who Can Sink Obama’s Tax Plans.”  When it comes to President Obama’s debt commission proposal, which may raise taxes by $1 trillion, $2 trillion, or $3 trillion depending on who you ask, ATR’s Grover Norquist stands athwart yelling stop!  So does the proposal have a chance? “Not if Grover Norquist has anything to say about it. The longtime face of the GOP’s anti-tax wing has been leading a crusade against the commission’s fragile progress through his group Americans for Tax Reform, and budget experts are openly fretting that he’ll sink their proposals before they get anywhere near Congress.”

Warner Todd Huston has a great post at Publius’ Forum taking on the notion that business extenders are earmarks.  He argues, “Many on the left are saying that the business extenders in the deal are pork, or are an earmark, or are even ‘costing the government.’ Ryan Ellis explains why these claims are incorrect re the business extenders… The first thing he mentions is that business extenders aren't new to this tax deal and that they've been around for a long time… In any case, whatever else is wrong with this idea -- such as the pork that is being added every other hour at this point -- the business extenders are not a detraction here.”

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All Formally Declared Candidates for RNC Chairman Confirmed for January 3 Debate


Posted by Will Upton on Monday, December 13th, 2010, 1:07 PM PERMALINK


All four of the formally declared candidates for the Chairmanship of the Republican National Committee (RNC) have confirmed their participation in the Monday, January 3 debate at the National Press Club.  Hosted by Americans for Tax Reform and The Daily Caller, the debate will begin at 1:00 p.m. ET.

As of today at Noon, the formally declared candidates are Saul Anuzis, Maria Cino, Reince Priebus, and Ann Wagner. 

The event details are as follows:

When:   Monday, January 3, 2011 from 1:00 pm – 2:30 p.m. ET (Doors open at Noon).

Where:  National Press Club (529 14th St. NW), 13th Floor, Ballroom

RSVP Required:  debate@atr.org

Hosted by:  Americans for Tax Reform and The Daily Caller

Additional co-sponsors:  The Susan B. Anthony List

Metro, driving directions, and parking information: Click here

Debate Website:  You are encouraged to submit and vote on questions to be asked during the debate at www.RNCdebate.org

Note: ATR hosted a similar debate on January 5, 2009.  The dedicated website for the event – RNCdebate.org – allowed activists to propose and vote on debate questions.  The site drew 60,000 votes on 925 different questions. 

The C-SPAN coverage of the 2009 debate can be viewed by clicking here.

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Daily Media Spotlight December 9, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, December 9th, 2010, 3:34 PM PERMALINK


ATR president Grover Norquist asks in Human Events: “Will Taxes Doom Obama In 2012?”  He concludes, “…the 'deal' is a truce, not a peace treaty.  Every part of the 'deal' lasts exactly two years.  All the moving parts of the “deal” will be front and center in the 2012 election.  Nothing has been solved.  Every conflict of vision, of policy, of ideology, has been deferred.  Two years… He put the Democrats weakest issue—taxes—front and center in 2012.  And he has made all the tax cuts temporary so as to minimize their help in bringing down unemployment… Evidently he is now getting strategic advice from the folks who thought up Harriet Miers.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman notes, “Tax Proposal Wins Norquist Seal of Approval… With so many Republicans signing Americans for Tax Reform’s ‘no new taxes’ pledge, the judgment of ATR President Grover Norquist matters for the fate of the tax deal cut between Republican congressional leaders and President Barack Obama… And the judgment is, the deal does not raise taxes… ‘We’ve been supportive of it,’ said Ryan Ellis, head of tax policy for Americans for Tax Reform.”

“Estate tax proposal draws fire from conservatives who want full repeal,” is the headline of Russell Berman’s piece in The Hill, “Americans for Tax Reform, the group run by conservative activist Grover Norquist, is supporting the overall Obama-GOP agreement and does not consider the estate-tax provision a tax hike… ‘It’s not a tax increase relative to 2011 in current law,’ Ellis said. He added that like most conservatives, Americans for Tax Reform supports ending the estate tax permanently. Of the broader tax package Republicans are signing onto, Ellis said Americans for Tax Reform is ‘very supportive of it.’… ‘It is not perfect, but it is pretty damn good, and we like it,’ Ellis said.”

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Daily Media Spotlight December 7, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, December 7th, 2010, 5:07 PM PERMALINK


Get to know Grover in The Harvard Crimson’s “15 Questions with Grover G. Norquist.”  Some highlights:  “Bush turned around and spent too much, and Obama turned around and said, ‘All those stupid things Bush is doing, we’re going to do 10 times that much.’ So he did stupid on steroids… I want to drop the government in half over the next 25 years, and then drop it in half again. The government’s about 33 percent of GDP, 33 percent of the economy. We want to take it down to 16 and a half percent, then take it down to eight percent, all of which would take us to where we were at the turn of the century.”  

ATR’s own Mattie Corrao is in The Daily Caller proposing a mandated wait period before voting on legislation: “One proposal that is listed in the pledge is a waiting period for legislation, one of the fourteen ways Americans for Tax Reform has suggested the government reduce spending… Putting pending legislation online serves as a warning to policymakers that taxpayers are watching…and reading to see what Congress thinks they can get past the American public.”

In The Wall Street Journal Grover Norquist points out the highs and lows of President Obama’s new tax proposal: “‘The good news is that taxes won’t be increasing on January 1. The bad news is that the uncertainty is simply moved forward two years,’ Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, said in an email to Washington Wire. His group’s website features a ‘Countdown to the Biggest Tax Increase in American History.’ ‘Okay, businessmen and women of America: make long term plans with this uncertainty,’ Mr. Norquist wrote.”

Is putting off the tax debate until 2012 really that smart for Democrats?  The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin asks ATR’s tax policy director Ryan Ellis: “To say that Republicans are triumphant would be an understatement. They won the philosophical point (tax hikes impede economic growth) and, candidly, are more than delighted to have a repeat of this debate for the presidential campaign in 2012. Ryan Ellis of Americans for Tax Reform, which strenuously pushed for extension of the Bush tax cuts, tells me, ‘If 2012 is a referendum on Obamacare and tax hikes, we win.’ Well, there will be lots of other issues, and 2012 in political terms is a long way off. Still, I see his point.”

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Daily Media Spotlight December 6, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Monday, December 6th, 2010, 4:56 PM PERMALINK


Grover Norquist and Rep. Joe Barton argue for controlling spending to reign in and balance the budget in Roll Call.  “Memo to the 112th Congress: Want to fix what’s wrong? It’s really simple and really difficult: Spend less, balance the budget, grow more… The true cost of government to the American people is the total amount of spending. And the only way to reduce total government spending is to do less of it, starting soon… Want to put things right in America again? Get control of government spending, balance the federal budget and restart the economic growth.”

Billy Gribbin, a federal affairs associate at Americans for Tax Reform is in The Daily Caller, “GIPSA chief is finger lickin’ bad…A trial lawyer, Mr. [J. Dudley] Butler is now serving as the Administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), an agency of the USDA tasked with regulating the trade of poultry, livestock, and other agricultural products… Butler took the lead in… whittling down the evidence required to establish that “undue preference” has been shown by meat companies in buying from one small producer or another. This translates into an easier and more profitable job for the plaintiff’s attorneys … The cost of fighting and protecting against such suits will inevitably be passed down to the consumer. J. Dudley Butler operates under what is fast becoming the watchword of the Obama administration: if you can’t beat ’em, regulate ’em.”

ATR friend and ally Chris Freind appears in The Philly Post announcing that “Marcellus Shale Is Not An NBA Player… It's the key to Pennsylvania's future.” Freind continues, “If lame duck Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and his protégé, failed gubernatorial candidate Dan Onorato, had their way, the Marcellus Shale industry would have died before ever getting off the ground. Those politicians wanted to impose a severance (extraction) tax on natural gas, as high as ten percent… Thankfully, Governor-elect Tom Corbett, with a No-New-Tax promise being the cornerstone of his campaign, trounced Onorato. In doing so, he slammed the door shut on the catastrophic failure that will forever be known as the Rendell Legacy, and opened a portal to opportunity not seen in Pennsylvania for generations.”

More government intrusion? ATR’s Patrick Gleason explains in The Daily Caller, “Fed up Americans recently united in telling the government not to touch their collective junk and the message appears to be getting through, at least somewhat, as the Transportation Security Administration is reportedly reevaluating the new enhanced pat-down procedure in response to public outcry. But the TSA’s taxpayer-funded grope-a-thon is not the only unpopular policy that received public rebuke last month… One of the most exemplary and least discussed manifestations of this sentiment on election night was voter backlash against soda taxes and the lawmakers who voted for them… A clear trend has emerged and soda taxes have become a prominent example of the public’s disdain for unnecessary government intrusion in their lives and livelihoods. After last month it should be clear to all incumbent and incoming lawmakers that soda taxes are bad policy, bad politics, and should be quickly dismissed.”

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Daily Media Spotlight November 30, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, 5:01 PM PERMALINK


Grover Norquist appears in The American Spectator with ‘Tea Timing Republicans’: “The Tea Party movement is the fifth major wave of immigration into the modern Republican Party since World War II. The Tea Party movement became the party of opposition and then grafted itself to the backbone of the modern Republican Party as it approached the 2010 elections. The Tea Party movement has proved it strengthens the Center-Right… In contrast to the observation of the results of Stalin's purge trials where it was said there would now be fewer, but better, communists, the Tea Party activism in Republican primaries and the November 2 election will result in more and better Reagan Republicans.

The Providence Journal’s Edward Achorn highlights a recent study by ATR’s own Josh Culling, noting that, “Failing states have Americans voting with their feet… states likely to gain U.S. House seats this decade through growing population and congressional reapportionment — Texas, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington — have significantly lower taxes, less government spending and greater employment freedom than those losing power at the federal level.”

From The Washington Times, a few observations on the evolving race for RNC Chairman: “Behold, a new set of virtues for the Grand Old Party: "Efficient, relevant, professional and credible." So says Ann Wagneron announcing her bid to chair the Republican National Committee… the second declared aspirant to replace current chairman Michael S. Steele. The other hopeful at this point is former Republican chairman from Michigan, Saul Anuzis…” The Washington Times goes on to note, for those remaining undeclared, “Everyone better hustle, though. The Americans for Tax Reformcandidate debate at the National Press Club is just 34 days away.”

In U.S. News and World Report, Peter Roff asks, ‘What Happens If the Bush Tax Cuts Expire?’  Well?  “The folks at Americans for Tax Reform, a non-partisan coalition of taxpayers and taxpayer groups who oppose all tax increases, released… a helpful reminder of just what is at stake in the debate over extending the current tax rates, which are set to expire at year’s end… If Congress doesn’t act, everyone who pays taxes will see a tax hike in their first paycheck of the year,” ATRsays. ‘The tax hike will hit the small business sector especially-hard, since small businesses pay taxes at the individual tax rates. You can’t raise taxes on people without also raising taxes on small employers.’”

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Daily Media Spotlight November 18, 2010


Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 3:54 PM PERMALINK


ATR friend and ally Charles Freind writes in The Philly Post, “Re-Elect Nutter? Philly Gets What It Deserves!  … For decades, Philadelphia’s mayors, including Nutter, have shown their terrible table manners by pigging out at the public trough… Finally, that slovenly feast is coming to an end. But if Philadelphia is to ever regain its former glory, if it is to become a lean-and-mean center for innovation and prosperity, then its citizens must first shed their defeatist attitude that an ingrained Business As Usual Mayor can lead them there… Anything less is just … stupidity.”

Jon E. Dougherty at Newsroom America highlights a study done by ATR’s own Josh Culling, “Study Finds Americans Leaving High-Tax, Union-Dominated States… [the] study by Americans for Tax Reform, said ‘the state and local tax burden is nearly a third lower in states with growing populations,’ and that, as a result, per capita government spending is also lower… ATR also noted in its study that ‘in eight of ten losers, workers can be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. In 7 of the 8 gainers, workers are given a choice whether to join or contribute financially to a union.’”

“Save the Date,” from The Washington Time’s ‘Inside the Beltway’: “What with all the handwringing over Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele's future in the party, this drama could rival ‘The Secret Storm.’ Or maybe ‘Survivor.’ Those who aspire to replace Mr. Steele will strut their stuff in six weeks at the National Press Club, when Americans for Tax Reform will host a debate among candidates for the chairmanship on Jan. 3… [Grover Norquist] urges bloggers and activists to come up with pivotal questions for the hopefuls, who include former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, Republican National Committee Political Director Gentry Collins and maybe - or maybe not - Mr. Steele himself.”

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