ATR Submits Comments on Need for Tax Reform to Senate

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Monday, July 17th, 2017, 4:13 PM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist today submitted comments to Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in response to the Committee’s June 16 request for feedback on tax reform.

[The full document can be found here]

Pro-growth tax reform has not been signed into law since 1986. Today, the code is outdated, complex, and burdensome. U.S. tax policy is also restricting economic growth and impeding the ability of American businesses to compete internationally.

The tax code is more than 75,000 pages long, and has almost tripled in size in the past three decades. Americans spend more than 8.9 billion hours and $400 billion complying with the code every year. This complexity makes it difficult, if not impossible, for Americans to file their taxes by themselves.

In addition, the code suppresses the economy by restricting the growth of new jobs, increasing the cost of capital, and discouraging innovation.

Over the past decade, the economy has struggled at just two percent GDP growth as the country has experienced the worst recovery in the modern era. The Congressional Budget Office projects that under current policies, two percent growth will continue into the next decade.

The outdated tax code also places American businesses at a disadvantage relative to foreign competitors. According to one study, the U.S. business climate is so uncompetitive that American companies have suffered a net loss of almost $200 billion in assets over the last decade.

Foreign companies are able to expand at a far greater pace, largely because they are based in countries with tax codes that are more favorable to investment and innovation. If the corporate rate was just ten points lower, U.S. companies would have instead experienced a net gain of $600 billion in assets over the same period.

Tax reform is an opportunity to address all of these problems, and reach economic growth of at least three percent. Reforms that should be implemented include:

  • A 15 percent tax rates for all businesses.
  • Tax cuts and simplification for families.
  • Moving to a territorial tax system for individuals and businesses.
  • Implementing full business expensing.
  • Repeal of the death tax and gift tax.
  • Lower capital gains taxes.
  • Expanding tax-preferred savings accounts.
     

[ATR’s full submission can be accessed here]

Photo Credit: Shawn Clover

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Over 65 Groups Against Obama FCC Internet Regulations

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, July 17th, 2017, 12:32 PM PERMALINK

Today, more than 65 organizations and individuals concerned about government overreach joined a coalition urging the FCC to turn away from stifling Title II regulation and return to a light touch regulatory framework for governing the Internet. 

Think tanks, advocacy organizations, and individuals from across the country joined together in opposition to these rules, including: Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Governor Paul LePage, ALEC, TechFreedom, Alabama Policy Institute, The Buckeye Institute, Citizen Outreach, Florida Center Right Coalition, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, Granite State Taxpayers, The Heartland Institute, Independence Institute, Maine Center Right Coalition, Maryland Taxpayers Association, Montanans for Tax Reform, Montana Policy Institute, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition, Public Interest Institute, Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, and Rio Grande Foundation.

The coalition wrote:

Imposing Title II regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) means the Internet experience will no longer be shaped by consumers — but instead by government.  Rather than being able to respond to what American households want and need in terms of content, advances in technology, information access, and delivery methods, the Internet experience would be determined by regulators who would have control over rates, types of services, and service footprints. Title II also opens the door to new meddling by state and local governments. Congress created the “information service” classification in Title I precisely to avoid this outcome.”

Innovation and investment require that government’s role be clear, consistent and limited. The “general conduct standard” invented by the Title II order is hopelessly vague. When asked what this standard meant, Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler simply said: “we don't really know." This is really no standard at all, because it leaves the regulator with unchecked discretion. No business can plan its investments under such uncertainty or threat of arbitrary enforcement.

Low barriers to entry increase competition and thereby promote reliable Internet access. Far from “clamping down on big guys,” looming legal uncertainty about how the FCC will regulate the Internet hurts small Internet providers most — those that connect people in unserved and underserved areas. The coming next few years will see the deployment of 5G wireless technology, which avoids the huge expenses of wiring the “last mile.” This could fundamentally change the competitive dynamics of the broadband market, erasing the line between wireless and wireline services, and driving an unprecedented level of competition, at least in most markets. Discouraging such new entry would only harm consumers. 

We urge the FCC to return to the demonstrated success of the light touch regulatory model. The Internet thrived nearly twenty years under a “Hands off the Net!” bipartisan consensus against Internet regulation.  We urge the FCC to return to that approach. Ultimately, it is Congress alone that should decide how to update communications law.”

Click here to see the full list of signatories and text of the coalition comments submitted to the FCC.

Photo Credit: SEO

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Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce Audit the Pentagon Act of 2017

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Posted by Kyle Loeber on Monday, July 17th, 2017, 10:24 AM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist and a team of bipartisan lawmakers have introduced the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2017. The legislation calls for a clean audit of the Department of Defense, aiming to bring its finances in line with the rest of the federal government.

At a press conference on June 27th, the bipartisan group called for government accountability while expressing their full support of the armed services. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said in a statement, “No one can justify wasting the dollars that should be spent on our men and women in uniform, and the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2017 will ensure that we are able to efficiently and effectively support our military at home and abroad.”

Last week Norquist and Rep. Burgess have released an op-ed in USA Today explaining the situation facing the DOD. With a budget of $600 billion, the American people deserve to know where their taxpayer dollars are going. This new legislation will ensure government commitment to military readiness while also providing answers to the public.

Efforts to audit the Pentagon have seen renewed enthusiasm after the 2016 election. DOD’s new Undersecretary of Defense, David Norquist, testified in his Senate confirmation hearing that he supports a full audit.

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

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How Many People Pay Obamacare Tax In Your State?

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Friday, July 14th, 2017, 11:48 AM PERMALINK

 

[See Also: List of Obamacare Taxes Repealed in Senate Health Bill]

Over 8 million Americans are hit with Obamacare's individual mandate tax, according to official IRS data. 20 million Americans are hit with Obamacare's taxes on Health Savings Accounts. 30 million Americans are hit with Obamacare's taxes on Flexible Spending Accounts. The Senate GOP health bill repeals these Obamacare taxes and many others. A state-by-state breakdown is below:

Alabama

  • 102,080 Alabama households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 62,867 Alabamans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 54,026 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Alaska

  • 23,390 Alaska households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 28,818 Alaskans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 5,623 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Arizona

  • 183,690 Arizona households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 296,519 Arizonans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 51,977 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Arkansas

  • 78,780 Arkansas households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 74,462 Arkansans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 37,317 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

California

  • 1,000,600 California households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 709,106 Californians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 263,510 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit withObamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Colorado

  • 145,120 Colorado households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 307,466 HSA Coloradans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 37,974 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with​Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Connecticut

  • 57,000 Connecticut households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 318,065 Connecticuters have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 27,599 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with​Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Delaware

  • 17,380 Delaware households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 25,311 Delawareans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 8,106 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with​ Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Florida

  • 631,410 Florida households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 711,485 Floridians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 145,992 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit withObamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Georgia

  • 261,510 Georgia households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 379,389 Georgians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 95,367 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Hawaii

  • 13,870 Hawaii households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 354 Hawaiians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 10,690 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit withObamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Idaho

  • 51,570 Idaho households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 58,702 Idahoans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 17,320 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Illinois

  • 273,640 Illinois households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 1,351,691 Illinoisans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 99,432 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit withObamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Indiana

  • 176,850 Indiana households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 281,018 Indianans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 65,953 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Iowa

  • 60,170 Iowa households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 193,955 Iowans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 25,295 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Kansas

  • 65,780 Kansas households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 71,267 Kansans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 25,823 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Kentucky

  • 93,650 Kentucky households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 153,519 Kentuckians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 50,928 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Louisiana

  • 135,510 Louisiana households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 190,118 Louisianans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 57,502 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with​Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Maine

  • 39,120 Maine households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 106,180 Mainers have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 15,430 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with​Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Maryland

  • 104,340 Maryland households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 390,838 Marylanders have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 48,410 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with​Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Massachusetts

  • 70,560 Massachusetts households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 261,183 Massachusettsans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 57,028 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Michigan

  • 209,320 Michigan households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 148,411 Michiganders have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 108,726 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Minnesota

  • 94,440 Minnesota households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 908,711 Minnesotans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 45,298 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Mississippi

  • 77,980 Mississippi households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 34,891 Mississippians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 35,802 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Missouri

  • 143,220 Missouri households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 211,477 Missourians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 59,973 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Montana

  • 34,250 Montana households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 91,675 Montanans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 8,415 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Nebraska

  • 47,150 Nebraska households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 173,582 Nebraskans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 15,690 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Nevada

  • 87,780 Nevada households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 65,230 Nevadans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 18,886 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

New Hampshire

  • 37,240 New Hampshire households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 94,317 New Hampshirites have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 13,708 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

New Jersey

  • 221,150 New Jersey households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 541,837 New Jersians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 67,792 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

New Mexico

  • 50,750 New Mexico households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 32,648 New Mexicans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 15,633 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

New York

  • 427,100 New York households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 703,454 New Yorkers have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 140,724 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

North Carolina

  • 251,530 North Carolina households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 183,628 North Carolinans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 93,615 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

North Dakota

  • 20,460 North Dakota households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 20,174 North Dakotans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 4,363 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Ohio

  • 235,570 Ohio households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 801,198 Ohioans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 127,596 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Oklahoma

  • 95,910 Oklahoma households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 120,333 Oklahomans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 38,595 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Oregon

  • 92,310 Oregon households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 120,031 Oregonians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 36,505 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Pennsylvania

  • 244,290 Pennsylvania households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 407,456 Pennsylvanians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 130,911 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Rhode Island

  • 23,540 Rhode Island households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax
  • 13,213 Rhode Islanders have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 11,710 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

South Carolina

  • 122,750 South Carolina households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 76,381 South Carolinians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 37,279 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

South Dakota

  • 18,970 South Dakota households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 34,051 South Dakotans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 6,086 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Tennessee

  • 159,080 Tennessee households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 527,030 Tennesseans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 66,043 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Texas

  • 1,066,360 Texas households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 1,707,591 Texans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 272,632 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Utah

  • 78,530 Utah households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 163,958 Utahans have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 22,238 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Vermont

  • 15,490 Vermont households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 52,930 Vermonters have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 7,021 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Virginia

  • 184,290 Virginia households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 428,677 Virginians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 58,578 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Washington

  • 154,460 Washington households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 410,064 Washingtonians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 55,899 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

West Virginia

  • 45,250 West Virginia households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 19,948 West Virginians have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 20,823 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Wisconsin

  • 115,500 Wisconsin households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 227,138 Wisconsinites have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 50,609 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Wyoming

  • 19,600 Wyoming households paid the Obamacare individual mandate tax.
  • 15,034 Wyomingites have a Health Savings Account. All are subject to Obamacare’s HSA taxes.
  • 4,570 school-aged children have disabilities. Flexible Spending Accounts are hit with Obamacare taxes that are especially harmful to special needs families.

 

Sources

Individual Mandate tax data: official IRS data for tax year 2014, the most recent year available.

HSA data: https://www.ahip.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/2016_HSASurvey_Draft_2.14.17.pdf

Special needs data: https://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/acsbr10-12.pdf

Click here for a printable version of this list.

 

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List of Obamacare Taxes Repealed in Senate Health Bill

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, July 13th, 2017, 5:01 PM PERMALINK

 

[Click here for a printable version of this list.]

The new Senate health bill abolishes the following Obamacare taxes:

  • Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year. 
     
  • Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax. 
     
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax, which hits 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts. This is a $5.6 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans. This is an $18.6 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This is a $36 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax. This is a $144.7 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax. This is a $19.6 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine. This is a $25.7 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on Medicare Part D retiree prescription drug coverage. This is a $1.8 billion tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax. This is a $100 million tax cut.
     
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services. This is a $600 million tax cut.
     
  • The Senate bill also delays (until 2026) the “Cadillac” tax on employer-provided insurance. This saves taxpayers $66 billion over the next ten years.
     
  • The Senate bill also doubles the maximum HSA contribution from $3,400 to $6,550 for individuals and from $6,750 to $13,100 for families. According to CBO, this saves taxpayers $18.6 billion.
     
  • The Senate bill also allows Americans to use Health Savings Account funds to pay for health insurance premiums. The option to use HSA funds, which are pre-tax, for insurance premiums will provide significant tax relief to millions of households. The CBO has not yet released a score for this tax cut. It is set to go into effect in 2018.

 

Reminder: President Obama had promised repeatedly that he would not raise any form of tax on any American earning less than $250,000 per year, but he broke the promise when he signed Obamacare. Passage of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act means tens of millions of middle income Americans will get tax relief from Obamacare's long list of tax hikes.

Here is a more detailed list of the Obamacare taxes abolished in the Senate bill:

REPEALED: Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax and Employer Mandate Tax: Under Obamacare, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay a steep tax to the IRS. In 2015, eight million households paid this tax. Most Americans stuck with this tax are from low and middle income households. The IRS uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.

This tax is a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four have to pay a minimum of $2,085. Americans pay these amounts or 2.5% of their AGI, whichever is higher. The Senate health bill repeals this tax and the employer mandate tax.

REPEALED: Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Under Obamacare, the 20.2 million Americans with a Health Savings Account and the 30 million covered by a Flexible Spending Account are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using these pre-tax account funds. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $5.6 billion over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax: Under Obamacare, the 30 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face an Obamacare-imposed cap of $2,500. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $18.6 billion over the next ten years.

Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap. Now, parents looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. Needless to say, this tax especially impacts middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap is particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. Families with special needs children often use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase limits the options available to these families.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 2.8 million special needs children nationwide. As noted by the Neurological and Physical Abilitation Center, this Obamacare tax "will especially hurt parents of special needs kids because many use FSAs to pay for special needs education."

REPEALED: Obamacare Chronic Care Tax: Under Obamacare, this income tax increase directly targets middle class Americans with high medical bills. The tax hits 10 million households every year. Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed an income tax deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income.

According to the IRS, approximately 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction each year before Obamacare. Almost all were middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually in 2010. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family hit with this Obamacare tax is $200 - $400 per year.

The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $36 billion over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: Under Obamacare, this provision increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $100 million over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: The Obamacare 10 percent tanning tax has wiped out thousands of small businesses, many owned by women. This Obamacare tax increase was the first to go into effect (July 2010). This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax hits both the business owner and the consumer. Industry estimates show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. 

The ten percent tax is steep and its complexity is especially burdensome to employers. Adding insult to injury, the Obama IRS didn't bother to provide compliance guidelines after three quarterly tax payment deadlines had passed. The Obama IRS was called out by the Treasury Inspector General, who wrote: "By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters. Late filing of these returns would result in the taxpayer owing the unpaid tax, plus interest and penalties."

The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $600 million over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare Health Insurance Tax: In addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance through the individual mandate tax, Obamacare directly increases the cost of insurance through the health insurance tax.

The total revenue this tax collects is set annually by Treasury and is then divided amongst insurers relative to the premiums they collect each year. While it is directly levied on the industry, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, middle class families through higher premiums, seniors who purchase Medicare advantage coverage, and the poor who rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to American Action Forum, the Obamacare health insurance tax will increase premiums by up to $5,000 over a decade and will directly impact 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The tax is also economically destructive – the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $144.7 billion over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: Under Obamacare, this law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax on all sales of medical devices. The tax applies even if the company has no profits in a given year. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $19.6 billion over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $25.7 billion over the next ten years.

REPEALED: Obamacare Elimination of Deduction for Medicare Part D Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $1.8 billion over the next ten years.

Also of note:

The Senate health bill doubles the annual contribution limit for HSAs, raising the maximum contribution from $3,400 to $6,550 for individuals and from $6,750 to $13,100 for families. Under this law, taxpayers will be able to set aside more of their income as pre-tax savings. The CBO estimates this provision will save taxpayers $18.6 billion over the next ten years.

The Senate health bill expands HSAs so that Americans can use these pre-tax funds to pay for insurance premiums. The CBO has no yet released a score for this tax cut.

Click here for a printable version of this list.

 

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Norquist Statement on Obamacare Taxes in Senate Health Bill

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Thursday, July 13th, 2017, 1:12 PM PERMALINK

Today Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist issued the following statement on the newly released Senate health bill:

“All Obamacare taxes should be repealed. The Trump tax reform plan, the House health bill, and the original Senate health bill abolished the Obamacare 3.8% Net Investment Income Tax. Given the most recent language leaves some of the taxes in place, it is important for Senate Leadership to make it clear that those taxes will be abolished in tax reform this year.”

 

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Stop the IRS from Reading Your Emails

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, July 13th, 2017, 10:40 AM PERMALINK

Statement of Support for Congressman Yoder's Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Legislation:

Congressman Yoder's Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Legislation will prevent the IRS, CFPB and SEC from using funds to attempt to read Americans emails and other digital content without a warrant. Until the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is updated by passage of the Email Privacy Act, the ECPA has a loop hole that some government agencies claim allow them to dig into a person's private documents without a warrant. This is not what was intended by the Fourth Amendment.  Americans for Tax Reform & Digital Liberty support the inclusion and passage of Congressman Yoder's Amendment.

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Pennsylvania’s Budget Funding Quandary

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Posted by Shane Otten on Wednesday, July 12th, 2017, 9:12 AM PERMALINK

On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) announced he will let the $32 billion budget, approved by both legislative chambers on June 30th, pass into law without his signature. Before Gov. Wolf’s decision, Pennsylvania was one of seven states without a budget for the new fiscal year. However, the Pennsylvania legislature is not finished with their new budget, as no measure to fund it has been approved, marking the second consecutive year Gov. Wolf has allowed a budget to become law without a way to pay for it.

Pennsylvania legislators are split on how to address the Keystone State’s $2.2 billion deficit, also known as a $2.2 billion overspending problem. Back in February, Gov. Wolf introduced a $1 billion tax package, including an expanded sales tax and a tax on natural gas production. House Republicans have rejected these tax hikes and instead have proposed various measures to grow state revenue without raising taxes.

Proposals to raise revenue without raising taxes include allowing 40,000 slots-style video game terminals (VGT) in bars, bowling alleys, and other establishments across the state, which could raise over $500 million once fully implemented. Other proposals call for selling more liquor licenses and permitting online gambling as well as allowing online sales of state lottery tickets. However, Senate Republicans have expressed opposition to VGTs. As Pennsylvania is second only to Nevada in total gambling revenue, some in the legislature are worried that VGTs could take revenue away from the state’s casinos. 

House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana) recently expressed his disagreement with Gov. Wolf and others who are calling for higher taxes to balance the budget. "Look, there's two sides to credit problems. One is not just more taxes, one is less spending," Reed said.

Both sides do agree on borrowing $1.5 billion from master tobacco settlement funds to close the shortfall. Settlement funds bring in approximately $350 million per year. Until the revenue portion of the budget is balanced, lawmakers plan to withhold $563 million of funding from four state universities. Gov. Wolf’s failure to offer sustainable budget solutions is creating a ripple effect that hurts the whole state.

ATR is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to reject balancing the budget with tax increases, such as the tax hike on online travel agents now being demanded by Gov. Wolf. Pennsylvania already has the nation’s 11th highest state and local tax burden. If that weren’t bad enough, Keystone State taxpayers have been hit with more than 20 federal Obamacare tax increases over the last eight years. As the Commonwealth Foundation has documented, it is clear that Pennsylvania’s budgetary problems are found on the spending side of the ledger. If Pennsylvania lawmakers had kept spending in line with population growth and inflation over the last three years, the state would have increased spending by $1 billion and the budget would be balanced.

IRS data shows that citizens are voting with their feet and leaving Pennsylvania. From 2014-15, the most recent year for which data is available, Pennsylvania experienced a net loss of over 16,000 residents, who took $1 billion in income with them. Tax hikes like what Gov. Wolf has called for will only exacerbate this exodus and make it even more difficult to compete with the likes of North Carolina, Texas, Florida, and Tennessee, states that are enacting tax relief and keeping spending in check. Rather than balance the budget with job-killing tax increases, Pennsylvania should put spending in line with revenues, pass a budget that does not include tax increases, and go on summer vacation. 

 

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ATR Supports Section 236 of FY18 Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act

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Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017, 4:41 PM PERMALINK

In the FY18 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act offered by Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), guarantees for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) would no longer be backed if they were tied to a controversial energy efficiency loan program known as the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. Americans for Tax Reform supports this language because residential PACE programs not only put taxpayers at risk but the program fast-tracks alternative energy mandates inherent in energy sources such as solar.

The language can be read here:

SEC. 236. None of the funds made available under this Act for new guarantees of mortgages insured under the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund may be used to guarantee or insure any mortgage on a property that is subject to a loan or other obligation, including those billed as taxes or assessments, for the purpose of financing any improvements under a Property Assessed Clean Energy or substantially similar program, if any portion of such loan or obligation is or has the potential to be in a lien position superior to the mortgage to be insured or guaranteed under the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund.

Residential PACE is a government-backed and managed loan program used by private property owners to finance energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades. In the case of most residential programs, this involves a complicated financing scheme where municipalities create energy assessment districts and local governments issue bonds to loan providers. The loans can be issued by third parties, but are secured by a property tax lien and collected through municipal tax bills, attaching the loans to the property and not the person.

The first PACE program was implemented in Berkeley, California in an effort to address climate change by providing a no-cost up-front option for homeowners to make alternative energy upgrades to their property.

Senator Tom Cotton has called PACE “a scam,” and has offered federal legislation with Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.) aimed at addressing some of the consumer protection concerns that have arisen as residential PACE loans have grown rapidly in recent years.

PACE loans can be used for a wide range of property upgrades, ranging from HVAC systems to solar panels.  As a federal mandate, PACE loans don’t currently require credit-checks and they make it easier for a property owners to qualify for high interest loans for energy systems that are highly subsidized by taxpayers nationally. Additionally, through solar “net metering” policies and other generous tax credits, many of the upgrades being financed by local governments are those that take advantage of crony capitalism in the energy market. PACE exacerbates the problems inherent in alternative energy systems.

To read ATR’s full primer on PACE financing in the United States, click here.

ATR supports Section 236 of this Act and urges Congress to adopt it for FY18.

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CFPB Arbitration Rule A Boon for Trial Lawyers, Not Consumers

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017, 1:36 PM PERMALINK

This week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new rule that prevents certain financial firms from using clauses in agreements with consumers, known as arbitration clauses, to stop litigation complaints. Some of these arbitration clauses require complainants to undergo mediated arbitration with these companies instead of class-action lawsuits. The new rule also requires companies to pay correspondence fees if their arbitration administrators do not pay the full amount of financial settlements.

This rule was not confirmed or enacted by any group of elected officials, it was agreed upon by a small group of political bureaucrats appointed by former President Obama. This is one of many regulations that the bloated Obama-era CFPB has imposed on the financial sector. It is an overreach by the government and while it is a burden on financial companies, it is extremely harmful to the consumer.

It may seem as if by allowing consumers to enter class-action lawsuits with these financial companies and banks they would have a better chance to right the wrongs of alleged fraud and abuse. This could not be further from the truth.

The arbitration clauses that the CFPB and the Director, Richard Cordray, claim are making it “impossible” for consumers to seek proportional compensation and restitution are actually a benefit to American consumers. Within these clauses it allows for settlements to be made that on average award more money than litigation would.

In their own study, the CFPB even confirms that typically payouts to consumers after litigation was less than $2.00 a person, which is significantly lower than the amount awarded during the arbitration process. In the same study, it states that only 20 percent of class-action lawsuits are approved and among those the average wait time for a settlement is around 3 years. This is compared to the arbitration process where the wait time is only 6.9 months.

By issuing this rule, the CFPB forces consumers to forego the less stressful and more beneficial process of arbitration. These unchecked and unnecessary regulations do not help consumers, but are a boon for trial attorneys.

The CFPB claims this new rule will help consumers, but like most of the regulations and rules it churns out, it puts an even larger chokehold on Americans under the guise of protecting them.

 

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