How Obamacare Screwed Up 800,000 Tax Returns

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Friday, February 20th, 2015, 1:00 PM PERMALINK

The Associated Press is reporting today that an "erroneous" glitch in Obamacare tax forms is causing filing season to come to a halt for 800,000 taxpayers.  Tens of thousands of these families have actually already filed and will need to file amended returns redundantly.

Americans for Tax Reform can shed some light on what the "erroneous" problem is.  The affected form for enrollees is known as an IRS Form 1095-A.  It documents health insurance coverage obtained through the federal exchange.  It reports premiums charged by month.  It is supposed to also report the amount of a tax credit advanced from the IRS to the covered family's insurance company.  Finally, a middle column is supposed to say what the average premium amount was for the second lowest-cost silver plan (the poetically-named "SLCSP").

All three inputs--monthly premium cost of the health insurance plan, the SLCSP, and the advanced premium tax credit amount--are vital to calculating the accurate tax credit a taxpayer is entitled to under the Obamacare law.  Without even one of these inputs, the calculation is thrown off.  It would therefore also be impossible to determine whether the advanced tax credit was too generous (in which case the taxpayer may owe the IRS money), or too stingy (in which case the taxpayer claims the remaining credit amount on his 1040 filing).

ATR has obtained two 1095-A tax forms issued to customers.  In each case, the silver plan column each month had an entry of "$0.00."  No data was provided.  It was impossible for these taxpayers to even make a guess of what their tax credit for the year was supposed to be, or if they were due a tax credit at all.  

It is ATR's belief that these 800,000 taxpayers were similarly issued 1095-As without the absolutely vital SLCSP numbers.  Until those numbers are provided by the dysfunctional bureaucracy, it will not be possible for these taxpayers to complete their income tax filing accurately. They will not be able to determine if any advanced tax credits they received were too generous or too stingy.  

800,000 families are literally caught in limbo until gets its act together.

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Norquist on Obamacare Tax Debacle: “How many Obama appointees will get fired?”

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, February 20th, 2015, 11:50 AM PERMALINK

With the AP reporting the Obama administration sent 800,000 customers the wrong tax information, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement: 

"800,000 or more Americans are having their lives disrupted and damaged by the Obama administration’s incompetence and overreach. They said they could run our lives better than we can. They were wrong. They can’t even get this one piece right. How many Obama appointees will get fired? My guess: Zero."

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Gage Skidmore

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Flashback: Navigators Warned Not to Leave Tax Returns on Fax Machines

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, February 20th, 2015, 11:08 AM PERMALINK

The Associated Press is reporting that "800,000 customers the wrong tax information, and officials are asking those consumers to delay filing their 2014 taxes.” 

The Obama administration says it is "still investigating the root cause of the problem.”

[Norquist on Obamacare Tax Debacle: "How many Obama appointees will get fired?"]

Taxpayers got an early warning that Obamacare’s interaction with the tax code was going to be a debacle. In 2013, the official Obamacare Navigator manual warned navigators not to leave Americans’ personal tax information laying around “on printers and fax machines”:

The Department of Health and Human Services has a helpful tip for the program's so-called Navigators: “Do not leave documents that contain PII [Personally Identifiable Information] or tax return information on printers and fax machines.”

The warning is contained in Section 2.4.3 of the 207-page Health Insurance Marketplace Navigator Standard Operating Procedures Manual.

The same section asks navigators to “double-check” the fax number before faxing Obamacare enrollee’s tax returns:

“When faxing PII or tax return information, double-check that the recipient’s fax number is correct and that someone is able to pick up the faxed information immediately.”

Because the key components of Obamacare are being enforced by the IRS, navigators will have access to highly sensitive identifying information. The Navigator manual describes Personally Identifiable Information as follows:

  • Identifying information such as consumers’ names, addresses, or SSNs
  • Information about consumers’ incomes, personal finances, debts, deductions and exemptions
  • Any action taken by the IRS against consumers, such as investigations or penalties
  • Any private written agreements (such as a pricing agreement) with the IRS and any background information about these agreements
  • Relevant information, even if not found on the return (e.g., expenses)

Additional excerpts from the Navigator Manual:

  • No fake smiles: "Do not pretend to smile, or produce a false smile; these are easy to spot and send the wrong messages." – Section 2.2.1
  • Listen: “By not listening you can become very frustrating to consumers.” – Section 2.2.3
  • Apologize: “Apologizing when things go wrong demonstrates that you care about consumers and their experiences.” – Section 2.2.4
  • "Be Memorable - For the Right Reasons." – Section 2.2.6

The Navigator manual can be found here.

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Abhisek Sarda

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Crossing the Delaware

The Obama administration says it is "still investigating the root cause of the problem.”

Obama called - he found the problem. Bush did it.


Well then lets get Bush back to FIX THIS DISASTER.

Other things Bush can fix are:

*Obama losing Iraq
* high priced Obama gas
* getting jobs back

PRESIDENT Reagans bones could do a better job than O'Muslim, at least his bones are more American!


This ACA program, popularly known as Obamacare, is the biggest joke that has ever been perpetrated on the American people and we've had plenty of jokes perpetrated on us in recent years. I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist or some other form of nut-job but there can be no question that this Obama administration has no purpose other than to destroy American and what she stands for. Obama himself is not smart enough to singularly pull that off or, for that matter, dream up the idea in the first place. Who then? George Soros of course and the really sad thing about it is that the vast majority of Americans have no idea who he is or have never even heard of him.

Illinois Nanny State Candy Tax Takes Aim at Small Business and Consumers

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Posted by Dorothy Jetter on Wednesday, February 18th, 2015, 5:23 PM PERMALINK

In 2009, the state of Illinois implemented a serious of tax increases on several items, including alcohol, soft drinks, personal hygiene products, and candy.  

The Candy Tax is one of many examples of the government interfering in the lives of Americans by trying to influence what they may choose to purchase.  In doing so, politicians have interfered where they shouldn't-- making the tax code unmanageable for both retailers and consumers.   

The Illinois Tax Code defines candy as:

“a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients or flavorings in the form of bars, drops, or pieces. Candy does not include any preparation that contains flour or requires refrigeration.”

 Mike Wynne, a former counsel for the Illinois Department of Revenue, explains the frivolous nature of the tax, "If you put yogurt on a piece of fruit, it becomes a candy, but if you put it on a pretzel [which contains flour], it's food."
“Candy” Tax seems to be all the rage among states in recent years.  Similar efforts have been made in Washington, Colorado, and Connecticut.  Because of how the term candy is defined, confusion has ensued for retailers across the country.   In Washington State, Butterfingers are taxed while Kit Kats are not.  In Colorado, Kit-Kats are also untaxed, but Twix bars are subject levies. 

The Wall Street Journal predicts:

“More than a dozen states have passed or proposed some sort of candy or soda tax in the 2010 legislative session, and most of them are bound to face some sort of confusion.”

 Perhaps the most concerning part of this confusing code is that retailers are expected to implement the tax increases appropriately.  Because of this “candy” tax, small business owners will be forced to commit their limited resources to correctly following the law. These ridiculous tax increases are not just bad for consumers, they are bad for business in general. 
Arthur Paris, owner of Carnival Foods in Lincoln Park, explained how he predicted his small business would suffer:

"I anticipate having to make some arbitrary choices about what a high tax is and what a low tax is.  It is virtually impossible for a one-horse shop like me to get this right." 

Art Potash, another small business owner, added:

"Good luck explaining this to customers.  Then we're the bad guy because we can't explain it to them sufficiently. ... It's a nightmare on many levels."

Because of this excise, Illinoisans are taxed an additional 5.25% on certain items, which adds up to 10.25% in sales tax for a candy bar.  Certainly, it is practices like this one that have earned Chicago the title, “highest taxed city in the nation.”


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Moyan Brenn

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ATR Supports “Health Freedom for Seniors” Act

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015, 12:37 PM PERMALINK

Last week, H.R. 975 the “Health Freedom for Seniors Act” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation will reform health savings accounts (HSA) to empower seniors to save money for their own health care. ATR endorses this legislation and urges members of Congress to support this bill.

H.R. 975, introduced by Representative Bill Huizenga (R- Mich.) will help ensure seniors are able to use their hard earned savings for retirement.  Under current law, Americans who reach age 70 and one-half are required to begin making “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) from IRAs and 401(k) plans. The accounts must be drawn down, regardless of whether the taxpayer has other funds with which to support themselves.

H.R. 975 would put a stop to this absurd law by permitting seniors a tax-free rollover of their RMD into a HSA.  Because HSA dollars have no required distributions, this allows savings to be preserved for things like long-term care insurance, Medicare premiums, and other health needs as one gets further into retirement. 

With healthcare costs spiraling out of control, seniors need this common sense reform now more than ever to help pay for their healthcare expenses. ATR supports this legislation and urges Congress to bring this legislation forward for a vote.

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Grover Norquist Endorses Susan Stimpson in Bid to Defeat Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015, 10:44 AM PERMALINK

Today, ATR president Grover Norquist released a statement endorsing Susan Stimpson in her bid to defeat Virginia House Speaker Bill Howell in House District 28.  

"In signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Susan Stimpson has demonstrated that she understands the problems of hardworking taxpayers in Virginia. Her written commitment to Virginia voters helps differentiate her candidacy from that of her opponent, Speaker Bill Howell."

Click here to view Susan Stimpson's Pledge to Virginia voters. 

"Speaker Howell is a serial tax-hiker. Ever since he took the helm as the top ranking Republican in Richmond in 2003, Howell has been a major force behind every major tax hike in Virginia.

Under Democrat Governor Mark Warner in 2004, Bill Howell could have prevented a $615 million tax hike. Instead, he convinced Republicans who opposed the tax to take a hike, allowing the vote to proceed and eventually be signed into law."

As PolitiFact Virginia noted, "The bill survived a hostile House committee because Howell persuaded four conservative allies to skip the vote. "

Norquist continued, "The Speaker was even more involved in tax hikes in 2007 under Democrat Governor Tim Kaine. Howell sponsored legislation that raised taxes and fees by $500 million and authorized regional tax hikes amounting to more than $600 million annually. The Supreme Court struck down the regional tax hikes as unconstitutional. 

Speaker Howell’s involvement in both of these tax hikes allowed Kaine and Warner to run for U.S. Senate campaigning as moderates who could work across the aisle with Republicans. Thanks largely to Bill Howell, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine are now U.S. Senators.

Bill Howell wasn’t done. In 2013, Howell sponsored the largest tax hike in Virginia history. He raised the sales tax, property taxes, hotel taxes, hybrid vehicle taxes, and the gas tax all for special spending projects like light rail in Northern Virginia."

The 2013 vote on Speaker Howell's transportation tax hike, House Bill 2313, cost two powerful 20-year incumbents their seats that year. Americans for Tax Reform was proud to support Dave LaRock in particular, in his primary challenge to House Transportation Chair Joe May. 

Norquist concluded, "Howell embodies the type of politician who raises taxes instead of reforming government. For more than a decade, he has caved to special interests by raising taxes instead of using a Republican majority to benefit Virginia taxpayers and small businesses with a pro-growth and limited government agenda.

That is why I am proud to endorse Susan Stimpson in her bid to defeat Bill Howell in Virginia House District 28."

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Dean Fetterolf

Stimpson takes credit for everything, accomplishing nothing in her 2.5 years on BOS except clearly demonstrating she has no clue how to govern. The $7 balance in the Stimpson Stafford Leadership PAC tells us everything you need to know about her leadership skills. She is just running around the state self promoting just like her failed Lt Gov race.

Dean Fetterolf

So you don't even know Stimpson's real record. How much is she paying for the ATR and Norquist endorsement? Or will that be listed as a consultation fee or advertisement in the campaign finance reports?

Dean Fetterolf

Guess you are a paid Stimpson supporter.

ATR Joins ACLU and Institute for Justice in Support of Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform in Virginia

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Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, February 17th, 2015, 9:28 AM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia and the The Institute for Justice in support of Virginia House Bill 1287, which would require a criminal conviction before law enforcement may seize and keep an individual’s private property. The legislation, sponsored by Delegate Mark Cole (R-Va.) passed the full House of Delegates by a vote of 92-6 two weeks ago and is up for a vote in the Senate Finance Committee today.

Click here to read the full letter.

In a recent hearing of the U.S. House subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security, and investigations, chairman Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) noted, “The government is seizing billions of dollars of cash and property from Americans, often without charging them with a crime.”

There is a bipartisan consensus on this problem. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said, “The size of these amounts helps put into focus the tension between our property and due process rights on the one hand, and the government’s interest in maintaining this funding stream on the other, often relying on civil forfeiture procedures involving the low standard of proof…Unfortunately, it is increasingly apparent that our laws are not sufficient in this regard.”

The Virginia Beach Police Department seized $6 million in assets between 2008 and 2013. The city Commonwealth’s Attorney said, “it allows us to be able to afford equipment and training for officers and prosecutors.”

As we note in the letter to the legislature, “policing should be based on public safety, not supplementing local law enforcement department budgets.”

Virginia’s civil asset forfeiture laws are among the worst in the nation. The Institute for Justice gave Virginia a D- because of the low burden of proof in forfeiture cases. The state’s laws are ripe for abuse, with countless examples in Virginia of lives being ruined as a result of seize first and make the defendant prove their innocence next protocols.

As the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s A. Barton Hinkle points out, Mark Cole’s legislation “would have saved a lot of misery for people such as Mandrel Stuart, who couldn’t afford to keep his Staunton barbecue business going after police seized more than $17,000 from him in a minor traffic stop. Unlike many in such straits, Stuart did not agree to settle for half his money back and a promise not to sue. He won in court, but still lost his business."

The burden of proof should not be on private property owners to prove to law enforcement officials that their assets were obtained legally; it should be the other way around. 

ATR joins the ACLU and Institute for Justice in urging the Virginia state Senate to pass House Bill 1287.

Click here for a PDF of the letter. 

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Disgraced Gov. Kitzhaber Wasted $350 Million on Unusable Obamacare Website

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Friday, February 13th, 2015, 2:16 PM PERMALINK

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber is running out of friends. On Thursday, Senate President Peter Courtney and House Speaker Tina Kotek – both Democrats – told the Governor he should resign immediately. The governor is facing intense scrutiny over the ethics scandal and criminal investigation into whether “First Lady” Cylvia Hayes improperly used her political influence for financial gain.

Governor Kitzhaber has become embroiled in controversy over allegations that he and his girlfriend misused the office of the governor to further her consulting business. The governor has attempted to cover up his crimes and has been caught trying to destroy thousands of his personal emails even as the governor promised to be “open and honest” with Oregonians. State employees refused to follow his request, rightly recognizing that destroying public records is a criminal offense.

The Governor’s office has already proven its ineptitude with technology.

His administration was responsible for the Cover Oregon fiasco – the State Obamacare exchange website that cost taxpayers $350 million only for the state to then go back to the federal program. The website failed to enroll any Oregonians online weeks after its launch date and instead forced taxpayers hoping to enroll to complete a 20 page paper application.

After failing to create a useable website after two years work and over $300 million in funding, the Kitzhaber administration decided to flee back to the federal exchange – but not after spending millions more in taxpayer funding to do so.

It appeared that the Governor would step down yesterday and Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown would succeed him (Oregon does not have a Lieutenant Governor). The Governor requested Secretary Brown return from Washington DC immediately, only to tell her that he would not resign, in a “brief” meeting that Brown described as “bizarre”.

Given the governor’s record of mismanagement and corruption, he should resign immediately. Unfortunately, he appears stubbornly determined to remain in office even as his colleagues and the public insist for his resignation.

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Good News

The Governor has announced he's resigning.


Can you hang the entire Cover Oregon thing around Kitzhaber's neck? Not really. Cover Oregon was a grand plan to try and get everyone in our state signed up for healthscare, as now required by Federal law. Or something. What isn't clear, is whether there'll be a prison term associated with refusing to sign up for this insurance-stuff. At the end of the day, the insurance industry is a very lucrative business to be in, and also investor-friendly. And, that's where it gets interesting, because when you're telling me that not only do I have to carry auto insurance, by law, and car insurance companies are publicly traded and pay dividends, but now you're going to do the same thing to me with medical stuff, well...screw me once, screw me twice, screw me all over again? There's a lot of poor people in our state, and some high-cost, high-maintenance hospitals, too. Poor people can't get into the hospital without some kind of money, typically provided by the state through the Oregon Health Plan. Tax dollars are used to fund the Oregon Health Plan. Insurance payments are chiefly used to fund the stock market, and there's all kinds of exclusions and pre-existing conditions and doctors carrying million in malpractice insurance and other signs of the world of medicine long since having been prostituted out as a lucrative investment opportunity, and the public now forced to participate, so, a de-facto medical tax, and if you'd taken that same couple-hundred million and just spent it directly on providing 'free'(taxpayer-funded) healthcare, a lot more people would have been helped. Instead, Oracle's now trading at 43 bucks a share, likely in no small part due to Oregon's giving them a real financial shot in the arm and thus immunizing them against bankruptcy and honest work of any kind, but not only that, not only that, NOW Oracle has hired attorneys, and wants ANOTHER 23 million in 'unpaid bills' from our state.

So, regardless of whether Dr. K quits or not, can we please have a full, unbiased(as much as possible) accounting of WTF, and also a report on whatever happened to that lady that fled the state in the wake of all this? CO has laid off half their employees, and legislators are gettin' ready to swing the axe. We really care about your health, citizen. No, really, we care lots! Like, 250 million worth. :)))) Your tax dollar, at play!

Senate Introduces Legislation to Keep Internet Access Tax Free

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Posted by Dorothy Jetter on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, 2:01 PM PERMALINK

On February 10, Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced S. 431, a bipartisan bill to permanently extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act.  This bill would permanently ban internet taxation in order to ensure the benefits of internet access are readily available.  Last month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) introduced the companion bill, Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, H.R. 235, in the House.  

Senator Thune explains:

“For successful 21st century innovators and entrepreneurs, the Internet is their lifeblood. We should be celebrating their success, not taxing the tools they use to achieve it. Our bill, which would permanently ban Internet taxation, would encourage more American innovators and entrepreneurs to use broadband to develop the next big thing, while keeping the Internet open and accessible to consumers across the country. Senator Wyden and I look forward to working with Leader McConnell to bring this bill to the Senate floor.”     

Senator Wyden added:

“I co-wrote the Internet Tax Freedom Act to protect the openness and viability of the Internet as a platform for commerce, speech, and the exchange of ideas.  Without ITFA, access to information would no longer be tax-free. Access to online communication would no longer be tax-free. Access to the global marketplace so crucial to America’s economic future would no longer be tax-free. The cost to consumers could easily be hundreds of dollars a year per household. Now is the time to make this law permanent.”

Americans for Tax Reform supports both S. 431 and H.R. 235 and urges Congress to act swiftly to ensure internet access remains untaxed.   

Co-Sponsors of S. 431 include:

  • Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)                        
  • John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
  • Roy Blunt (R-Mo.)
  • John Boozman (R-Ark.)
  • Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)
  • Christopher Coons (D-Del.)
  • Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.)
  • Dan Coats (R-Ind.)
  • Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
  • Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
  • Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
  • Deb Fischer (R-Neb.)
  • Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)
  • Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
  • Dean Heller (R-Nev.)
  • Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
  • Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)
  • Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
  • Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
  • Mike Lee (R-Utah)
  • Edward Markey (D-Mass.)
  • John McCain (R-Ariz.)
  • Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
  • Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
  • Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
  • Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
  • Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
  • Gary Peters (D-Mich.)
  • Rob Portman (R-Ohio)
  • Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
  • Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
  • Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
  • Tim Scott (R-S.C.)
  • Jon Tester (D-Mont.)
  • Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)
  • David Vitter (R-La.)


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Ministerio TIC Colombia

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Americans for Tax Refrom Supports the Mississippi Taxpayer Pay Raise Act

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Posted by Patrick Gleason on Wednesday, February 11th, 2015, 1:04 PM PERMALINK

In a new Forbes column, ATR's Patrick Gleason highlights a pro-growth tax reform proposal unveiled in Mississippi yesterday by Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R). Read Gleason's piece below to find out how Lt. Gov. Reeves' proposal, if approved by legislators, would make Mississippi more economically competitive, would increase the job-creating capacity of in-state employers, and would allow Mississippi taxpayers to keep more of their hard earned income.


Forbes: Tax Reform Continues To Sweep Through The South

By: Patrick M. Gleason

Today, Mississippi Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) introduced a plan, dubbed the Taxpayer Pay Raise Act, that would reform the state’s tax code in a manner that makes the state more competitive, fosters economic growth, and allow individuals, families, and employers across Mississippi to keep more of their hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The plan is projected to save taxpayers $400 million per year once fully phased in.

One of the most pro-growth aspects of Lt. Gov. Reeves’ proposal is its phase out of the state’s franchise tax, one of the most economical damaging taxes a state could have on its books. David Brunori, professor of public policy at George Washington University and Forbes contributor, explains why franchise taxes are so harmful and even worse than traditional corporate taxes:

“The Mississippi tax is essentially a tax on capital. That is ludicrous in a global economy. Companies in Mississippi pay $2.50 per $1,000 of capital or property, whichever is greater. There is no limit. The more capital employed, the higher the tax.”

Click here to read the rest of the column on

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Boomer Brown

Reducing taxes incents spending and investing which is good for all.


This is not the global economy, it's America....something Grover forgot about...You give more and more to Corporations and they just move it over seas....Where is it we live again Grover?