Senator Rand Paul Signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American People

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Posted by ATR on Friday, April 24th, 2015, 11:56 AM PERMALINK

Today, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a candidate for the presidency of the United States, signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people. 

Senator Paul is the first candidate for the 2016 Republican nomination to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

The pledge is a written commitment to the American people to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

ATR has shared the Pledge with all candidates for federal office since 1986. In the 114th Congress, 49 U.S. Senators and 218 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. On the state level, 13 incumbent governors and approximately 1,000 incumbent state legislators have signed the Pledge.

In 2012, all candidates for the Republican nomination for president signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, with the lone exception of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Senator Paul signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge as a Senate candidate in the 2010 cycle and has kept his pledge to the people of Kentucky.

“By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people, Senator Paul continues to protect American taxpayers against higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Senator Paul understands that government should be reformed so that it takes and spends less of the taxpayers’ money, and will oppose tax increases that paper over and continue the failures of the past."

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The Tax Shelter Protection Pledge -- NO TAX SHELTER SHALL BE TERMINATED because it would raise taxes. "Death Over Life: Secret of Revelation: A Prophecy of America's Destruction"


Good stuff!

Advertising Deductions for Businesses Are Not Tax Loopholes

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Thursday, April 23rd, 2015, 11:22 AM PERMALINK

Some ideas in Washington never seem to die, no matter the lack of merits. One of these ideas is to eliminate (or, more commonly, to limit) the deduction for advertising expenses for businesses.

In our tax system, we tax profits. A profit is the difference between revenue generated and costs incurred. This is common sense. Companies can't pay taxes on what they don't have. A "cash flow" profits tax system is the ideal model, and one which tax policy should be moving toward (most notably by moving from depreciation to full expensing on business fixed investment).

Advertising is just one of many costs of doing business that firms are properly allowed to deduct. Other costs might include wages and other forms of compensation, travel, rent, etc. None of this is particularly exotic.

Yet there is a continued push to see advertising deductions curtailed in some strange and arbitrary way. The latest and most concerning iteration we've seen of this is from H.R. 1, the "Tax Reform Act of 2014." It proposed "amortizing" (deducting over several years) advertising costs. This raised a whopping $169 billion in taxes over a decade.

This is simply bad tax policy. Why would a cost not be deducted the year it is incurred? Why not have similar treatments for wages paid, rents paid, or the costs of staples and paperclips? The reason is simple--those are current costs, and current costs are deducted against current revenues to arrive at taxable profits.

Neither the Office and Management and Budget (OMB) nor the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) consider the advertising deduction a loophole, or in their parlance a "tax expenditure." Nor should they--it would be absurd to do so.

Congressional tax policy makers would be well advised to steer clear of such gimmicky tax policy as they struggle to construct pro-growth and pro-family tax reform.

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Conservative Groups Support Passage of Trade Promotion Authority

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015, 5:11 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform today joined with 25 other free market, taxpayer advocacy, and limited government grassroots and public policy organizations to urge Congress to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). As the letter states, TPA is an important step to promoting free trade, a key conservative public policy goal. See the full letter below. For a pdf version of the letter click here.

Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell:

On behalf of the free market, taxpayer advocacy, and limited government grassroots and public policy organizations listed below, we urge you to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) as soon as possible.

TPA is a necessary step to get Congress moving on a long-stalled trade agenda. Without it, there is little hope that this Congress will make any progress on advancing free trade, a conservative public policy goal which all our organizations support.

TPA gives the executive branch the authority needed to finalize trade agreements, while Congress retains a robust amount of control, oversight, and transparency; ultimately Congress has an up-or-down vote on every specific trade agreement.

By definition, the term of this TPA will extend beyond the current administration and into the next one—the goal here is to advance America’s free trade agenda this century, and not to be mired in the stalled trade failures of the recent past.

We believe that tariffs are taxes on trade, and ultimately would like to see a world free of government interference in international commerce. Passing TPA is a necessary step toward getting the ball rolling on that long term policy goal, and we therefore urge you to pass Trade Promotion Authority.

Amy Noone Frederick - 60 Plus Association
Dick Patten - American Business Defense Council​
Phil Kerpen - American Commitment
Dan Schneider - American Conservative Union
Stephen DeMaura - Americans for Job Security
Grover Norquist - Americans for Tax Reform
Kevin Waterman - Annapolis Center-Right Coalition​
Jeffrey L. Mazzella - Center for Individual Freedom
Chip Faulkner - Citizens for Limited Taxation
Iain Murray - Competitive Enterprise Institute
April Ponnuru - Conservative Reform Network
Thomas A. Schatz - Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
Steven J. Duffield - Crossroads GPS
Katie McAuliffe - Digital Liberty
Brian Baker - Ending Spending
George Landrith - Frontiers of Freedom
Louie Hunter - Georgia Center Right Coalition
Andrew Langer - Institute for Liberty
Tom Giovanetti - Institute for Policy Innovation​
Brian McClung - Minnesota Center-Right Coalition
Brandon Arnold - National Taxpayers Union
Lorenzo Montanari - 
Property Rights Alliance​
Lori Sanders - R Street
Paul Gessing - Rio Grande Foundation
David Williams - Taxpayers Protection Alliance 
Mike Thompson - Thomas Jefferson Institute For Public Policy​

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ATR Tackles Telecom Taxes in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire

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Posted by Dorothy Jetter on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015, 2:44 PM PERMALINK

Telecom Taxes are on the forefront in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.   Both states' legislatures are looking at bills would affect citizens in a immense way.  

The Pennsylvania State Legislature is considering a bill that would impose a 65% fee increase on wireless and VoIP customers. 

Grover Norquist, President, Americans for Tax Reform, wrote a letter urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to oppose House Bill 911.  Norquist explains:

"The 911-fee increase from $1.00 to a $1.65 will raise $114 million across all phone services, resulting in a $78 million increase on wireless customers alone. These taxes are not only disproportionate in relation to other taxes, but also in relation to Pennsylvania’s population."

Americans for Tax Reform opposes House Bill 911.

Conversely, New Hampshire House Bill 391, which implements a point of sale collection mechanism for New Hampshire's 911 fee on prepaid wireless customers has already passed the House.  The Senate will begin consider of the bill on Wednesday, April 22nd.  In a letter to New Hampshire State Senators, Americans for Tax Reform President, Grover Norquist, expressed support for this legislation:

" Point--of--sale tax collection for 9-1-1 taxes owed on prepaid wireless services is the most equitable way to collect these taxes.  Legislation that affects this type of assessment creates a new method of collection, but in our view does not raise taxes on the citizens of New Hampshire."

You can read Mr. Norquist's letter to the members of the Pennsylvania House here

You can read Mr. Norquist's letter to members of the New Hampshire State Senate here.  


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ATR Supports Health Insurance Freedom Act

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Monday, April 20th, 2015, 3:32 PM PERMALINK

Congressman John Culberson (R-Texas) recently introduced H.R. 1664, the “Health Insurance Freedom Act of 2015.” This legislation authorizes state insurance commissioners to give their residents the option of enrolling in group and individual health insurance plans that existed prior to the implementation of Obamacare. ATR endorses this legislation and urges all members of Congress to vote for and otherwise support this bill.

President Obama famously misled the American people with his comment, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it”. The Health Insurance Freedom Act will hold the President to his word and restore the rights of states to regulate their health insurance marketplace.

Specifically, H.R. 1664 allows health insurers to continue offering plans that were in effect in a group or individual market during 2013. These plans would be treated as grandfathered health plans for purposes of an individual meeting the requirement to maintain minimum essential health coverage, and would be offered outside of Obamacare exchanges.

Five years into Obamacare, Americans have been burdened by rising premiums, cancelled plans, and failed exchange websites. This legislation will help undo the damage caused by Obamacare and provide Americans with greater healthcare choice. ATR urges members of Congress to fully support this legislation. 

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H.R. 1664 allows health insurers to continue to fleece Americans....LOL typical Grover B.S.

ATR to Louisiana Lawmakers: Repeal the Inventory Tax

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Posted by John Beattie McEwan, Patrick Gleason on Monday, April 20th, 2015, 3:08 PM PERMALINK

The Louisiana legislature convened its 2015 session last week. Balancing the state’s budget, which faces a projected $1.6 billion deficit, is the top item on the docket this session. Aside from balancing the budget without raising taxes, Louisiana lawmakers could make their state more economically competitive this year by repealing local inventory taxes, which put the state at a tremendous disadvantage.

Recognizing this, Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to members of the Louisiana Senate Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Committee encouraging them to repeal the highly debilitating local inventory tax:

April 17, 2015

To: Members of the Louisiana Legislature

From: Americans for Tax Reform

Dear Members of the Louisiana Legislature,

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across Louisiana, I encourage you to keep taxpayers in mind as you work to balance the budget during the 2015 session. Aside from balancing the budget without raising taxes, one of the best things you can do for the state economy during the 2015 session is repeal the local inventory tax, which is one of the most distortive and anti-growth taxes a government can have on the books.

Inventory taxes are one of the most unsound and economically-damaging forms of taxation, which is why just over a dozen states have them and many states have repealed them in recent years. Rather than focus on maximizing commerce, inventory taxes force employers to instead make decisions based on minimizing their tax burden. Inventory taxes put some businesses at a disadvantage relative to others. They are particularly harmful to large retailers and any other Louisiana businesses that store large quantities of merchandise. Because of the inventory tax, businesses have a great incentive to shift inventory to shipping and storage facilities in other states.

As you know, to make up for the damage done by the local inventory tax, the state provides a state tax credit to businesses that pay it. Rather than have the state try to make up for bad tax policy at the local level, Louisiana legislators would better serve the state by repealing local inventory taxing authority, thereby eliminating the need for a state credit. Allowing local officials to make up the revenue through a less harmful form of taxation, spending restraint, or a combination of the two, would make Louisiana a more attractive place to locate a business, invest, and create jobs.

There will be many calls for higher taxes in the coming weeks. Avoiding tax increases isn’t just good politics, it’s good policy. Tax Foundation economist William McBride reviewed academic literature going back three decades and found that “while there are a variety of methods and data sources, the results consistently point to significant negative effects of taxes on economic growth even after controlling for various other factors such as government spending, business cycle conditions and monetary policy."

In McBride's survey of 26 studies dating to 1983, he found "all but three of those studies, and every study in the last 15 years, find a negative effect of taxes on growth." John Hood, chairman of the John Locke Foundation, analyzed 681 peer-reviewed academic journal articles going back to 1990 and concluded that keeping state and local tax and regulatory burdens as low as possible promotes economic growth. "Most studies find," Hood discovered, "that lower levels of taxes and spending, less-intrusive regulation correlate with stronger economic performance."

Your constituents have already been hit with the more than 20 federal tax increases signed into law by President Obama in recent years. Piling on with further tax increases at the state level will hinder economic growth and add insult to injury. I urge you to make the most of this session by eliminating the inventory tax and balancing the budget without raising taxes, both of which would greatly benefit individuals, families, and employers across Louisiana. Americans for Tax Reform will continue to follow these issues closely throughout the session and will be educating your constituents as to how you vote on this important matter. If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Gleason, ATR’s director of state affairs, at (202) 785-0266 or


Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform 

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MS-01 Special Election Update

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Posted by John Beattie McEwan, Adam Radman on Monday, April 20th, 2015, 1:03 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform released an updated list of United States Congressional candidates in Mississippi's first district who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to never raise their taxes. The list of candidates who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is as follows:


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Congress Should Enact Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Friday, April 17th, 2015, 9:00 PM PERMALINK

The House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Finance Committee have reached agreement on a very important building block to make progress on the free trade front. It is known as "Trade Promotion Authority," and Americans for Tax Reform urges all Members and Senators to support the initiative.

What is Trade Promotion Authority (TPA)? Put simply, TPA is an act of delegation from the Congress to the Executive. It is the Congress telling the Executive "go and negotiate free trade agreements for our country. We're going to give you limitations and rules that respect the rights and prerogatives of the Congress, but otherwise go negotiate. When you have a deal, Congress will vote it up or down."

​Why is TPA needed? TPA is extremely important to have if any further progress is going to be made on free trade. The executive branch must have the ability to tell negotiators from other countries that what is hammered out at the table is not going to be endangered by legislative shenanigans back home. Without TPA, other countries will be hesitant to concede anything since the executive is really only speaking for itself.

Why is free trade a good thing? Tariffs are taxes on imported goods. We pay these taxes when we buy something made abroad (increasing the cost of what we buy here), and we suffer the impact of those taxes when we sell something to another country (decreasing the profitability of our exports). There's a basic principle that if you want more of something, tax it less. If we want more trade among nations (which results in markets opening up abroad and better value for goods and services here at home), we have to lower tariffs. The way we lower tariffs (taxes on trade) is by enacting free trade agreements. The way to enact free trade agreements is to enact TPA.

Why should conservatives trust President Obama to negotiate? TPA is not about President Obama. If enacted, this TPA deal would last for three years, with an option for the Congress to continue it another three years.

That's 72 months of TPA.  President Obama will be out of office in 20 months. This TPA bill is about moving on from the disastrous free trade desert that the Obama administration has been.

For these reasons and others, ATR is a supporter of TPA and urges all free market conservatives on and off Capitol Hill to be as well.

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All Capital Gains Should Work the Same as Like Kind Exchanges

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Friday, April 17th, 2015, 8:32 PM PERMALINK

Congress is always on the hunt for "pay-fors"--tax increases and spending cuts which can be used to offset other tax increases or spending cuts.

Unfortunately, there's a treasure trove of tax increase "pay fors" in H.R. 1, the "Tax Reform Act of 2014," which was introduced last Congress by former Congressman and Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) One of these tax hike pay-fors is an elimination of so-called "like-kind exchanges."

This was the wrong idea, since like-kind exchanges are actually a good model of capital gains tax reform, not a loophole to be closed.

What is a like-kind exchange?

Suppose you are a business owner.  You bought a bunch of widgets (business assets, not inventory) a few years back for $1000. You now want to sell these widgets, and have a buyer for $1500.  In the normal course of events, when you sell the widgets you would have a capital gain of $500 (the sales price of $1500 minus the purchase price of $1000), and you would pay tax on that capital gain.

But you, the business owner, don't want to cash out. You want to buy a fresh set of widgets with your $1500. The tax code has a way for you to do that and defer paying the capital gains tax from that first sale. It's called a "like-kind" exchange. You set up an intermediary trust, which receives the $1500 you get when you sell those widgets. You then have 180 days to purchase a fresh $1500 set of widgets with the money. Your basis in the second set of widgets is the same as your basis was in the first set of widgets.

You can do this as many times as you want, provided the set of widgets you are buying are of a like kind to the widgets you are selling, and provided that you're using all the proceeds every time to buy more widgets.

Only when you decide to sell out of the widget business and cash out do you actually have a capital gain.  The gain is the difference between the final sale amount and the original tranche of widget purchases. The capital gain is embedded over the years in the business, and it becomes due when the business activity effectively ends.

A model for capital gains

All capital gains should work this way. If you buy a stock for $100 and sell it for $150, you should be able to plow that $150 into new stock purchases without having to pay tax along the way. Ditto for any type of capital gain you might have.

You know who agreed with this concept? None other than current Ways and Means Chairman Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) Back in 2007, he introduced H.R. 2796, the "Generate Retirement Ownership Through Long Term Holding (GROWTH) Act." It would have allowed something very much resembling a like kind exchange by default for capital gains generated within mutual funds.

When H.R. 1 decided to take away like kind exchanges (which would be a tax increase of over $40 billion over a decade), it implicitly labeled these sales as "tax loopholes." Nothing could be further from the truth. All capital gains should work this way, in fact. Imagine investors not having to report each and every stock and mutual fund transaction on their taxes every year, and instead having a deferred capital gain until sale, a kind of brokerage account version of an IRA.

That would not only simplify tax filing for millions of Americans, it also would make all capital markets--for everything--more efficient. Every time the government takes money out of the pool of capital investment, capital grows more slowly and we're all poorer than we otherwise would be. The key to wealth creation is to leave capital--unmolested by government--free to grow for as long as possible.

Congress should not be looking to restrict like kind exchange plans--they should be looking to do tax reform with them as a model.

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Ohio State House Republicans Push A Sound Tax Reform Agenda

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Posted by Will Upton on Friday, April 17th, 2015, 2:45 PM PERMALINK

Lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives have unveiled a substitute bill for House Bill 64 – the state budget. This plan greatly improves upon the original HB 64 by removing many of the base narrowing tax hikes, and instead focusing on broad-based pro-growth tax reform

The HB 64 substitute bill would lower state income tax rates by $1.2 billion over the next two years – providing a 6.3% across-the-board cut to taxes for income taxable in the year 2015. It would also make permanent the 75-percent small business deduction while lowering the top income tax rate to just below 5-percent.

The previous version of HB 64 provided net tax relief of only $500 million over two years and saw significant, job-killing tax hikes on oil and gas, small businesses (via the Commercial Activities Tax), and an increase in the state sales tax from 5-percent to 5.5-percent. It also contained an increase in the state cigarette tax – often a declining source of revenue – and an increase in the tax on products many people use for smoking cessation – namely e-cigarettes and vapor products. 

The House substitute bill is a serious improvement upon the original tax plan contained in the state budget and addresses many of the reservations that Americans for Tax Reform previously held. 

Americans for Tax Reform would urge all members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio State Senate to support this House substitute version of HB 64. 

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