Indiana Republican House Speaker Bosma Pushing for Gas Tax Hike Again

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Posted by Miriam Roff on Monday, January 9th, 2017, 3:12 PM PERMALINK

New Year, New Me? Not if you’re Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-88). For the second year in a row, the Speaker is pushing a hike in the state’s gas tax.

House Republicans unveiled a series of tax hikes last Wednesday in an effort to raise about $800 million in new funds for the state’s transportation infrastructure over the next two years. The plan would not only slap Indiana taxpayers with a 10 cents per gallon gas tax hike but it would also index the tax to inflation, and increase the special fuel and motor carrier surcharge tax.

From the new revenue generated, the state would allocate roughly $300 million in new dollars to state roads in fiscal year 2018 and between $480 million and $540 million the following year. The proposal would also redirect the remaining 4.5 cents of the sales tax on gasoline that is currently diverted to the general fund to the state highway fund, starting in 2019.

The proposal also imposes a new annual $15 fee on every vehicle registered in the state and a $150 per-year fee on electric vehicles. These taxes are projected to generate $92 million per year and would be allocated to local roads.

As detailed above, the proposed solutions to the state’s transportation needs are only focused on raising taxes and not reforming government or reallocating currently collected resources. By allowing the gas tax rate to increase automatically every year, lawmakers are placing tax hikes on autopilot and are stripping from the budget process the responsibility and accountability that come with annual decisions about tax rates.

Second, gas tax revenue will continue to be diverted to the state’s general fund until 2019. If transportation funding were truly a priority, lawmakers would immediately use gas tax revenue for its intended purpose: roads. Legislators would also permanently codify the earmarking of gas tax revenue to new and existing transportation projects.

Third, the gas tax is not a user fee. Consumers must be presented with a choice of either purchasing the service from the government (by paying the fee) or purchasing the services from a private business in order to qualify as a true user fee. Because anyone who purchases gasoline in Indiana is forced to pay the tax, they are not considered user fees. Gas tax increases are tax increases in the same way that income and sales tax increases are. Road tolls, however, are an example of user fees. Tolls are user fees because commuters have the option of using the roads they are imposed upon or not.  

Now that hardworking Hoosier families can finally afford to fuel their cars and heat their homes, legislators should not strip them of economic opportunity by making gas increasingly unaffordable. Reasonably and low-priced gasoline allows people to spend more money on groceries and other necessities, including long-term investment savings. Americans for Tax Reform will closely monitor this issue as it develops in the coming weeks and working to educate taxpayers of where their legislator stands on tax hikes and government reform.



Photo Credit: 
Dan Goldblatt/WFIU

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ATR Urges Passage of S.Con.Res.3, The Obamacare Repeal Resolution

Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Monday, January 9th, 2017, 7:00 AM PERMALINK

Passage of Repeal Resolution is First Stage in Passing A Trillion Dollar Tax Cut

Congress is expected to soon vote on S.Con. Res. 3, a budget resolution providing for repeal of Obamacare. The “repeal resolution” is step one in undoing the legacy of broken promises under the Barack Obama presidency which have led to higher healthcare costs, cancelled plans, lost doctors, and more than $1 trillion in tax increases which hit millions of middle class families.

All members of the House and Senate should vote “yes” on the repeal resolution. The record of Obamacare is one of broken promises and failed policies. Poll after poll has shown the law is unpopular with the American people. Republicans campaigned on repealing Obamacare and this resolution will allow them to fulfill that promise.

Members of the Senate should also vote “no” on the numerous amendments expected to be offered during consideration of the repeal resolution. The purpose of this budget resolution is to allow for an expedited process to repeal Obamacare through budget reconciliation. These amendments will slow down the process and are largely an attempt for members to play political games.  

Passing the repeal resolution will allow members of Congress to pass the first of many tax cuts over the next four years by repealing the more than $1 trillion in higher taxes over a decade. Obamacare’s tax hikes directly hit middle class families, in violation of President Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise any tax on any family earning less than $250,000 per year. Passing the repeal resolution will allow members of Congress the opportunity to pass the first of many tax cuts over the next four years by repealing these taxes.

The Obamacare law imposed taxes on Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts and imposed an income tax increase on Americans with high medical bills. Obamacare levied a new tax on health insurance, a tax on medical devices, a tax on employer provided care, a steep “indoor tanning tax” and even a tax for not buying “qualifying” government-mandated insurance.

[Full List of Obamacare’s One Trillion Dollars in Tax Hikes]

Passing the repeal resolution will also allow Congress to undo a long list of wasteful subsidies including the risk corridor and reinsurance programs as well as the Prevention and Public Health slush fund. Each of these programs and agencies have seen billions in taxpayer dollars wasted on partisan activities at a time when the federal government already spends far too much.

Support for S.Con. Res. 3 is the first step toward enacting a conservative, patient-centered, fiscally responsible healthcare system and eliminating the broken promises, wasteful spending, and higher taxes of the Obama years. 


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I read the resolution and can't get past the budget increases of almost $1T/year. Am I missing something?

State Overspending May Be A Significant Problem for Vapers in 2017

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017, 8:09 AM PERMALINK

As the 2017 legislative session kicks off in states across the country, three-fifths of states face overspending problems that will force serious discussions about currently collected tax revenue and future spending levels. More commonly but incorrectly referred to as budget shortfalls, states across the country face a conflict between anticipated revenue levels and out of control budget growth. It should come as no surprise to consumers of vapor products that this presents the threat of new product taxation in states where sin taxes have not yet been imposed.

Electronic cigarettes and vapor products are used by millions of consumers in the United States as a means to quit smoking combustible, or traditional cigarettes. The mounting evidence suggests that these smoking cessation products are at least 95 percent less harmful than cigarettes. That, however, hasn’t deterred lawmakers from targeting the growing multi-billion dollar industry and its consumers with tax hikes.

By sheer number of threats in recent years, vapor products have been the number one targets for tax hikes of any product or type of tax imposed by states, including cigarettes. And while lawmakers have succeeded at raising or phasing in more increases in state cigarette taxes (15 times since 2013), the imposition of entirely new sin taxes on vapor products in 6 states (plus once by voters) is a trend we at ATR will continue to monitor.

In each of the seven states that will impose an excise tax on vapor products in 2017, six came about as part of a tax package between 2012 and 2016 that also increased the state cigarette tax rate. The trend of considering tax increases on both products at the same time mirrors a national problem the vapor industry and its consumers face; the incorrect perception that the products are similar because vaping looks like smoking and thus a natural extension of a cigarette tax hike is an e-cigarette tax hike as well.

Related: Cigarettes: A Case Study in the Slow Rise of Excise Taxes  

Until the emergence of vapor products, cigarettes were the number one targets of tax hikes in the states. Between 2000 and 2016, 48 states and the District of Columbia passed 135 state cigarette tax increases, five times the number of tax hikes passed on liquor. 

Below is a summary of legislative tax changes imposed last year alone. As you can see, state tobacco tax hikes represent the second largest type of tax hike from FY17. 

Cigarettes are a popular scapegoat for overspending and shortfalls because the taxes can bring in somewhat significant revenue quickly without much opposition from consumers, even if it the money may be short-lived, cause budget volatility, lead to black markets, and punitively punish the poor. Regardless, cigarettes remain a top target for tax-hungry politicians.

In an era (post-2010 GOP gains across the country) of opposition to broad-based tax increases (a win for most taxpayers), sin taxes are an easy target for politicians in tough economic times who wish to raise as much money as possible from as few voters opposed. Though misguided, it’s the reality. As such, with more than half of U.S. states facing overspending problems (shortfalls), 2017 may be a tough year for lawmakers, “sinful” product consumers, and small businesses across numerous industries.

To preview the states where new vapor product taxes may be a real risk, I’ve compared the states with budget shortfalls (MultiState rundown here) to those that have passed a cigarette tax increase in recent years. In most cases, states that have passed a cigarette tax in the last four years are unlikely to do so again this year and new standalone vapor taxes will be rare, though possible.

Overspending problems aren’t the only things that cause tax hikes; some politicians are simply addicted to your money. As such, I’ve also included a number of states where budget discussions and the political climate lend itself to a real threat that a vapor product tax may be sent to the governor’s desk regardless of a stable budget outlook.

Click here for a larger version of the map. 

States with a defined overspending problem in 2017 where cigarette taxes have not been raised in the last four years (2012-2016), and the projected budget gap:

  • Alaska: $4 billion;
  • Colorado: $119 million;
  • Delaware: $350 million;
  • Illinois: greater than $10 billion;
  • Indiana: $378 million;
  • Iowa: $132 million;
  • Maryland: greater than $175 million;
  • Missouri: greater than $200 million;
  • Nebraska: nearly $1 billion;
  • New Mexico: $69 million;
  • New York: $689 million;
  • North Dakota: $310 million;
  • Oklahoma: $868 million;
  • Virginia: $861 million;
  • Washington: $474 million;
  • Wisconsin: $693 million;
  • Wyoming: $156 million.


States with an undefined but possible shortfall and no recent cigarette tax hike:

  • Montana – governor has already called for a tobacco tax hike;
  • South Dakota;
  • Texas: lackluster forecast. 


States with a budget shortfall, cigarette tax hike in last four years, and possible vapor tax:

  • Alabama: greater than $40 million;
  • Connecticut: greater than $1.3 billion;
  • Massachusetts: nearly $300 million;
  • Oregon: $1.7 billion;
  • Rhode Island: $112 million;
  • Vermont: greater than $40 million.


States without a budget shortfall but possible vapor tax:

  • Ohio – vapor tax proposed by current governor in prior years;
  • Hawaii – the state with more tobacco bills annually than anywhere else.


States without a shortfall or reason to believe there will be a successful effort to impose a vapor tax in 2017 include Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah.

Summary, in case you skipped to the bottom: A lot of states have overspent tax dollars in recent years, quickly forgetting (or neglecting) the impact of slow recession-era growth on budgets and state governments. Unfortunately for consumers, targeted excise taxes on products like cigarettes and a misconception that vaping is smoking by another name has put consumers of life-saving products like electronic cigarettes in the crosshairs of the ever-present threat of tax increases at the state level.

Americans for Tax Reform opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle and will continue to monitor and fight efforts to subject life-saving products like vapor products to new and higher taxes.

To keep up to date on all of Americans for Tax Reform’s work on vapor issues at the local, state, and federal level, subscribe to our newsletter, Vapor News and Views, by clicking here

Publisher's note: The assessments made in this post are based predominantly on the fiscal conditions of states in 2017. It is quite possible that additional states, like Utah and Nevada, will consider proposals to tax vapor products despite a nonexistent need to balance the state budget beyond projected tax collections and spending rates. It is also possible that states labeled possible threats will not consider excise taxes on vapor products as smarter alternatives such as spending restraint is considered instead. This map and post simply serves as a suggestion that where tax hikes are considered, history can be a strong but not guaranteed indicator of future outcomes.  

If you’re interested in more information on 2017 state budget conditions, read the National Association of State Budget Officers most recent “Fiscal Survey of States.”

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Marsha Benda

TAXES, TAXES TAXES.....cut welfare reform, food stamps division to able bodied workers from 21-50 years old and cut the national debt.....stop your budget wastes and government over-reach to cut costs...can't ANY of you learn from your past mistakes and failures? Put people to work doing something....picking up liter off the highways, helping out in community activities, clean up their own neighborhoods, paint houses, DO SOME WORK....stop the HANDOUTS TO MANY WHO CAN DO SOMETHING....and stop taxing, taxing, taxing the working middle class!!! WE ARE SICK OF IT!!!

Lawmakers Must Repeal Obamacare’s Health Insurance Tax

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017, 7:00 AM PERMALINK

President-elect Donald J. Trump, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have all promised repeal of Obamacare will come in early 2017. As part of this commitment made to the American people, they must repeal the Obamacare tax on health insurance and all of Obamacare’s one trillion in higher taxes.

Obamacare contains numerous taxes that directly impact middle class families including taxes on Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts, an income tax increase on high medical bills, and even a tax for failing to buy “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the federal government.

In addition, Obamacare directly increases the cost of healthcare through the health insurance tax. This tax is projected to cost taxpayers – particularly those in the middle class – $130 billion over the next decade. 

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 was suspended in 2017, the tax will total $14.3 billion in 2018 and will increase in subsequent years.  Those effects will start to be felt in the next several weeks as businesses start to renew coverage that will extend into 2018.

While the negative impacts of the Obamacare health insurance tax are partially obscured from taxpayers, it undoubtedly hurts the economy and disproportionately impacts middle class families and small businesses. If lawmakers are serious about upholding their commitment to eliminating Obamacare, they must repeal the health insurance tax together with the nearly 20 other Obamacare taxes early in 2017.

Obamacare’s Health Insurance Tax is Bad Policy

Ideal tax policy should meet several criteria. One goal should be for taxes to be applied with a broad base so as not to pick winners and losers. This allows economic decisions to be made with the fewest distortions present which in turn promotes the efficient allocation of capital and creation of jobs.

On this measurement, the Obamacare health insurance tax fails. Not only is it levied in the form of a discriminatory excise tax on one product, the health insurance tax falls only on fully insured plans and thus exempts large corporations and labor unions who are almost universally self-insured.

Tax policy should also be transparent so that taxpayers – and voters – are fully aware and able to make educated decisions on the cost and size of government. If a certain tax is obscured from the view of taxpayers, it is far easier for politicians to raise that tax without any accountability.

On transparency, the health insurance tax fails too. Because the costs of the health insurance tax are baked into  health insurance premiums the negative impacts of the tax are obscured.

The Costs of the Tax are Passed on to the Middle Class, Seniors and the Poor

Despite its indirect nature, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, and middle class families through higher premiums. In addition, the tax impacts the care received by seniors through Medicare advantage coverage and low-income Americans that rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to the 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 Health Insurance Tax Hurts the Economy and Suppresses Job Creation

Typically, small businesses purchase insurance through the small group insurance market, while larger employers have the scale to provide healthcare through self-insured plans, which are excluded from this tax. 

Because it falls disproportionately on small businesses, the health insurance tax hits a key driver of American growth and jobs.

Small businesses account for half of all jobs in the US and two-thirds of new jobs in recent decades so this tax will mean businesses across the country can spend less investing in new equipment, hiring new workers, or providing higher wages.

One estimate, conducted by the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and reduce small businesses sales by $33 billion through 2023.

Photo Credit:

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ATR Statement on Obama's Offshore Ban

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, December 22nd, 2016, 11:31 AM PERMALINK

Washington – ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement this week in response to President Obama’s announcement that he will indefinitely ban new oil and gas offshore drilling leases in vast areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans:

“President Obama’s announcement this week that he will ban oil and gas drilling leases in large parts of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans is an unprecedented and ideologically driven move to appease far left environmentalists undertaken in the waning hours of his administration.   

“Obama’s move to ban oil and gas drilling chokes off the vast economic potential these areas would offer the American economy through increased energy production and the creation of good paying jobs. In the Arctic alone, these areas are estimated to hold 27 billion barrels of oil and over 130 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

“Obama’s actions are all too typical of a president concerned only with ‘green’ vanity at the expense of American prosperity. ATR looks forward to working with President-elect Trump to undo this and a number of other economically disastrous policies put forth under the Obama administration.”  


Photo credit: DCBlog

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Katie Calahann

This is just another childish move to try to tie our new President Trump's hands. I am sure he has a smart person to unravel this

ATR Statement on Puerto Rico Economic Growth Report

Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016, 7:49 PM PERMALINK

The Congressional Task Force on Economic Growth in Puerto Rico yesterday released its recommendations to lawmakers. Most importantly, the report acknowledged the need to implement tax policy that encourages and strengthens investment, jobs, and economic growth.

While legislation passed earlier this year by Congress addressed the short-term debt crisis of Puerto Rico, more needs to be done over the long term to ensure the island can recover and thrive. Moving forward, any solution to Puerto Rico's economic woes must include permanent, pro-growth tax policies that encourage competition and investment as acknowledged in the report. 

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Out of Touch Oregon Governor Kate Brown Proposes Bevy of Tax Hikes in Her First Budget

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Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, December 21st, 2016, 8:30 AM PERMALINK

In her first-ever proposed budget, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has called for hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes and spending over the next two years. This comes on the heels of the announcement that the state faces a $1.7 billion overspending problem and a rejection by voters of a union-pushed ballot measure in November that would have raised taxes by $3 billion per year on Oregon businesses.

Brown’s tax hikes include:

  • Elimination of “Partnership Pass-through,” which allows for lower tax rates for S-corps as well as the IC-DISC dividend subtraction. This is personal income tax hike of more than $183 million.
  • Restructuring the Hospital Assessment tax. Currently, hospitals pay the state a portion of patient revenue to garnet matching federal dollars and get the money back after the money comes in from D.C. Turning the assessment into a higher “true tax” would raise taxes by $379 million (and game the system further).
  • Reinstating the recently expired insurance and managed care tax: $151 million;
  • Increase in cigarette tax of 85 cents per pack from $1.33 per pack to $2.18 per pack: $21.5 million;
  • Other Tobacco Products tax hikes across the board (from 65% to 75%) and specifically on products like cigars (+0.50/cigar) and moist snuff (+$0.89/oz): $13.7 million;
  • Liquor tax hike of 50 cents per bottle and a 100% increase in liquor licensing fees: $39 million;


Oregon taxpayers have an important protection from politicians like Gov. Kate Brown, with a supermajority requirement in the legislature to raise taxes. Three-fifths of legislators in both chambers must vote to raise taxes for passage, meaning Brown will need the support of both Democrats and Republicans to get her way.

Republican leadership seems to be hesitant to take her approach. In a statement, House GOP leader Mike McLane said:

“Until we are willing to … address the root of our budget problems, we will continue to experience the same kind of budget challenges we are facing today.”

The root cause? Overspending.

Oregon’s general fund and lottery revenues are expected to increase by more than $1.3 billion over the next two years. But even that isn’t enough to keep up with the out of control rate of spending in the state. What are among the main drivers of spending growth over the next two years, according to the Governor herself?

  • Obamacare’s misguided Medicaid expansion: nearly $1 billion;
  • Increased public education spending: $781 million;
  • Public pension payments: $354 million.


Each of these cost-drivers are best addressed through reforms that have been implemented successfully elsewhere, as opposed to the “Oregon Way” of throwing money at everything and hoping no one asks questions about outcomes. This budget represents a 9 percent increase in spending, more than three times population growth and inflation. 

The failure of labor unions in November to convince voters to approve a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on Oregon businesses, which would have made it the most burdensome and highest tax in the nation, has forced an important debate in the state. Without the billions of dollars Measure 97 would have taken from consumers and businesses alike, the state must now address the underlying problem in Salem: overspending.

Gov. Brown, who supported the Measure 97 tax hike, clearly didn't get the November memo that taxpayers aren't interested in raising taxes; they prefer spending restraint instead. The legislature should heed the will of voters though, buy rejecting Gov. Brown's tax hikes when they return for session next year. 

Photo Credit: 
Oregon Department of Transportation

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LOL. Progressive. LOL


I wish we could deport her back to her home state of Minnesota.


Maybe they will learn from their mistakes.

ATR's Naughty and Nice List for 2016

Posted by ATR on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016, 3:00 PM PERMALINK


President-elect Donald J. Trump

For proposing a big, beautiful tax cut that will increase take-home pay for all income levels and Make America Great Again



Hillary Clinton

For proposing a $1,000,000,000,000 tax hike on the American people.


Clinton campaign senior staff

For failing to send their candidate to Wisconsin and Michigan during the final stretch of the campaign. 


Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady

For leading the charge for pro-growth tax reform.



Sedgewick County in Wichita, KS

For naming a building after Ronald Reagan for the very first time in the Sunflower State.



Tom Steyer

For funding campaigns to tax e-cigs and vaping devices.



Ron Swanson



Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval

For pushing yet another tax hike, this time to pay for an NFL stadium.



Cook County, IL Board of Commissioners, and San Francisco and Boulder, CO voters

For approving soda tax hikes. As Senator Bernie Sanders has correctly pointed out, “a tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families.”


Hillary Clinton

For proposing to increase the Death Tax to 65%



Sierra Club and other green groups

For opposing a ballot measure that would’ve imposed a revenue neutral carbon tax, and in so doing making it crystal clear that environmental groups care more about growing government than supposed reductions in emissions.



IRS Chief John Koskinen

For stonewalling the investigation into Lois Lerner/IRS abuse of conservative grassroots groups.



San Diego voters

For rejecting a massive hotel tax hike that would have been funneled to an NFL stadium



The United Nations

For launching an assault on IP through its Access to Medicines report.



The World Health Organization

For recommending that all countries impose a soda tax.



NRSC staff and Chairman Roger F. Wicker

For holding the Senate majority



Hillary Clinton

For refusing to offer any income tax rate reduction for any American family or business.



Fairfax County voters

For rejecting the “Meals Tax”



The United Kingdom Courts

For upholding plain packaging laws that are a clear violation of IP rights



President Obama

For continuing to break his no middle class tax hike pledge by vetoing Obamacare repeal.



Voters in Iceland

For overwhelmingly choosing the Center-Right Independence Party in this year’s elections.



Sen. Elizabeth Warren

For pushing for government controlled tax preparation.What could possibly go wrong?


IRS Chief John Koskinen

For skipping his own impeachment hearing.



The India Property Rights Alliance

For hosting its 2nd annual conference that helped with the global launch of the International Property Rights Index.



President Obama

For proposing a $3.4 trillion tax hike in his final budget.



EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager

For retroactively taxing US companies based on the argument that competitive taxation constitutes “illegal state aid”.



Dr. Tom Price

For his work holding CMMI accountable.




For wasting $12 million in taxpayer funds on an unusable email system.



President Obama

For imposing new, complex, unconstitutional regulations on Americans.



President-elect Donald Trump

For promising to repeal Obamacare and its massive tax hikes.



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

For signing into law a bill that prohibits people from advertising their property online for short-term rental.



House Speaker Paul Ryan

For his “Better Way” plan to get the economy working again by cutting taxes, reining in regulations, and repealing and replacing Obamacare.



Congressman Rob Bishop

For passing legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis without a taxpayer funded bailout.



CFPB Director Richard Cordray

Out of control, unaccountable imposition of nearly 50 rules since CFPB creation just five years ago.



Congressman Peter Roskam

For his oversight of the IRS and illegal Obamacare subsidies.



Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

For massive tax hikes.


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler

For opening the door for taxing the internet.



Congressman Warren Davidson

For fighting back against Obama’s unilateral Death Tax hike.



Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D)

For pushing a capital gains tax hike on investment partnerships​.



Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens 

For his opposition to use of taxpayer funds to build a soccer stadium in St. Louis



Rep. Tom MacArthur (R)

For pushing hard for pro-growth tax reforms in Puerto Rico.



Congressman Mark Walker and Sen. Ben Sasse

For fighting against the billion dollar Obamacare Reinsurance bailout.
































Bill Clinton

For acknowledging the need to cut the uncompetitive corporate rate, despite his wife's hostile position on the issue.



State Senator Mark Green

For making Tennessee a true no income tax state by leading the successful effort to pass legislation getting rid of the state’s six percent tax on investment income.



House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)

For working to protect consumers and American businesses by pushing Congress to reform the costly and burdensome Dodd-Frank Act.

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Highlights of The Sharing Economy

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Posted by Laurens ten Cate on Monday, December 19th, 2016, 5:26 PM PERMALINK

Recently the Federal Trade Commission brought out a report on the Sharing Economy. This very positive report included almost two thousand (2000!) individual comments submitted by Americans participating in this new style of economy. People use the sharing economy as a way to thrive and survive in the slowest recovery of a recession since the Great Depression and this sentiment is felt in almost all comments in this massive database.

In the midst of holiday cheer it’s good to spend some time thinking about not just why more choice for people and how flexibility in setting your own hours is good but also how the Sharing Economy has impacted the thousands of Americans working in it. I went through most of the by the FTC collected comments and picked out some of the most warm, heartfelt and inspiring quotes found among them.

Susanne Warfied from New Jersey talks about how she felt safe and empowered to invite guests to stay at her apartment through Airbnb’s platform and how this has helped her pay for the enormous increases in her healthcare premium through Obamacare.

“I joined AirBNB in March of this year as I was having problems making ends meet. I am self-employed and have been struggling to make mortgage payments and maintain my association management company and pay for the so-called Obamacare. The impact of Obamacare alone has raised my personal health care premium by over $300 a month! I thought it was supposed to help small business owners?”

Ridesharing was praised for reducing drunk driving deaths and tragedy for thousands every year.

“May 26, 2015

To Whom it May Concern, 

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has had great success since our founding in 1980 in reducing the number of drunk driving fatalities. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go. In 2013 over 10,000 people were killed due to a drunk driver. This accounts for almost one-third of all traffic deaths. While the best way to stop drunk driving is to couple strong drunk driving laws with strong DUI enforcement and educating the public on the consequences of breaking these laws, it is also important for those over the age of 21 to have a safe ride should they go out to consume alcoholic beverages. To that end, MADD supports new ridesharing platforms and alternative means of transportation that use new and emerging technologies to enable more transportation options throughout the country. MADD knows that the Federal Trade Commission is holding a workshop on the sharing economy and wanted to weigh in support of new rideshare programs and platforms which include companies like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar. Of particular interest to MADD is the potential for these new alternatives to take drunk drivers off the road and provide a safe alternative. Due to the competition that Uber has introduced into the market, people can now get a safe and cash-free ride home at the touch of a button. Please consider the tremendous social value that ridesharing companies offer as you put together your June 9 workshop. We urge you to take into consideration the issue of drunk driving as you continue to debate this issue.

Thank you and best wishes, J.T. Griffin”

And finally, Carlton Timeus regales the story of how he once saved a young man’s life.

“There was a night, a young man requested for ride while he was in a very bad area in Miami. He cried that I came quickly because he feared for his life. When I arrived, 3 guys were getting ready to jump him for his watch and wallet. So I quickly pull my car between him and those 3 guys. That's just one story.”

These are just three of the two thousand comments on the Sharing Economy collected by the FTC.

The Sharing Economy has empowered thousands of people with the opportunity to make their lives better. For Americans working in the Sharing Economy the case seems clear, they overwhelmingly like it. The report by the FTC found that over 90% of the two thousand comments were positive and of the 10% negative comments, many came from existing industry players such as hotels, bed and breakfasts and taxi companies.

For innovation to be possible, disruption of old incumbent industries needs to be allowed. The Sharing Economy is just another example of that. The market has spoken and they overwhelmingly shouted in favor. The Sharing Economy is here to stay. 

Photo Credit: 
Mark Warner,

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Jeremy Wales

This Sharing Economy ideal sounds like a common sense pro-idea

Obamacare Individual Mandate Devastates Families and Businesses

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Thursday, December 15th, 2016, 11:12 AM PERMALINK

When it was passed into law in 2010 Obamacare created more than $1 trillion in higher taxes on American families and businesses over the course of 10 years. Of the trillion dollars, seven of Obamacare’s tax increases directly hit Americans making less than $250,000 a year, violating President Barack Obama’s “firm pledge” to not raise taxes on the middle class. One of the seven tax increases, the individual mandate, has proven one of the most burdensome for Americans.

The individual mandate  will cost $43.3 billion over the course of the next 10 years and prove devastating for taxpayers. The tax penalty gave Americans a choice - purchase “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services – or pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2016, the annual fee was $695 for an individual, and $2,085 for a family of four, or 2.5% of your household income, whichever is higher, for “noncompliance.”

In order for Obamacare to work, there needs to be a significant portion of young healthy people to offset the cost of older, less healthy people. For a sustainable Obamacare, 40% of all enrollees need to be in the “golden” 18-34 age. However, Obamacare does not have its 40%. According to HHS, only 28% of enrollees are in this “golden” age range. Because of high costs and one-size-fits all insurances that does not suit the needs of young people, the economics of Obamacare are setup to fail.

For many Americans, going uninsured is a more financially feasible option for their families than paying the skyrocketing costs of Obamacare premiums. Close to 7.5 million taxpayers, or six percent of all filers, opted to pay the individual mandate tax in 2014, more than 25 percent higher than the administration’s highest estimate. As of the fall of 2015, this number increased by 3 million, to 10.5 million Americans.

The lack of healthy, young people on the Obamacare exchanges means insurers are unable to break even and are being forced to pull out of the system. This economic instability of Obamacare caused 1.4 million Americans to have their insurance terminated this year. Major insurance companies, like Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group, Inc., and other regional carriers have pulled out of the individual insurance markets. In addition, 17 of the 23 Obamacare exchanges have collapsed leaving millions more without health insurance and putting taxpayers on the hook for $1.8 billion.

According to a HealthDay/Harris Poll, 64% of respondents said that they would like to see the individual mandate provision of Obamacare repealed. The poll revealed that the individual mandate is overwhelmingly unpopular and creates a needless headache for millions of Americans.

Luckily for Americans, Republicans in Congress and President-elect Trump finally have an opportunity to repeal Obamacare and the individual mandate and take the burden of the disastrous healthcare law off of millions of American families.

Sign the petition and tell Congress and President-election Trump to repeal Obamacare in the first 100 days in office.

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