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Ireland's Proposed Tax Changes Could Destroy Its International Competitiveness, Push Business Away


Posted by Lorenzo Montanari on Monday, September 8th, 2014, 4:43 PM PERMALINK


Since the 1950s, Ireland has used its corporate tax rate to attract business, which at 12.5% is much lower than the OECD average of 25% and the US rate of 35%. Now, international pressure has forced the Irish government to review modifications to its corporate tax system ahead of a planned international overhaul of global tax rules.

The review was prompted after the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) began a review of global tax rules because of concerns amongst world leaders that corporations were deploying aggressive strategies to minimize their taxes. The OECD review will conclude in November 2015, at which point a binding multilateral proposal to overhaul global business taxation will be considered.

Central in Dublin’s review is a proposal to phase out the “double Irish” tax mechanism, beginning in the upcoming October budget. The mechanism attracted controversy in the U.S. after a Senate hearing on Apple’s use of the system to minimize its corporate income tax rates. Although the Irish government has defended its corporate tax system in the past, increasing political pressure from Washington and elsewhere has begun to take its toll. Several groups including the Irish Tax Institute, the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies and Washington-based Tax Executives institute have contacted the Department of Finance to express their concern over the proposed changes. A change in tax policy would see a reduction in foreign investment, as corporations that have structured their business models based on assumptions around the current policy are forced to make changes and downsize their presence. Ireland, which has long benefited from its pro-business tax policy, would seriously damage the vitality of its economic recovery and threaten the jobs of the 130,000 Irish that are employed by foreign corporations.


According to American Chamber of Commerce, Ireland Chief Executive Mark Redmond, ‘Ireland has for a very long time identified a corporate tax regime as being really important to attracting direct foreign investment.’ The policy has caused significant economic benefits, by promoting an entrepreneurial culture in the country, and being a source of significant tax revenue to the government– US based companies alone contribute between €3 and €5 billion a year to the Irish Exchequer.

Despite these concerns, critics of the current tax system are increasingly anxious about Ireland’s international reputation and want to begin a gradual phasing out immediately. Just last week, EU officials hinted that their commitment to providing a package for Ireland’s debt repayment is linked to a removal of pro-business tax mechanisms and an Irish trade mission to Australia faced criticism over perceptions that Ireland encourages tax avoidance.

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Merica

I like it when america has all the say they know whats best

Bob

Sorry bud but my wallet is not your fair share.

JD

I have a idea...If a US company doesn't want to pay it's share of US taxes then they shouldn't be allowed to do business here....Grover's a corporate lackey who will do or say anything for a buck...


EPA Seeks Backdoor Regulation of Fracking

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Monday, September 8th, 2014, 4:32 PM PERMALINK


The EPA has released new ham-fisted and highly inaccurate set of White Papers regarding methane emissions from the oil and natural gas industry. As is to be expected, the EPA seeks to lower methane emissions from the industry by mercilessly regulating them, primarily going after methane emissions from the process of hydraulic fracturing. Undoubtedly the agency is grasping at straws after failing repeatedly to prohibitively regulate fracking. In a recent open letter to EPA officials, Senator James Inhofe has this to say:

“I have serious concerns with these White Papers. First, the White Papers demonstrate that EPA lacks a fundamental understanding of the industry’s practices and inner workings. They also reveal that EPA believes it has the capacity to actually help oil and natural gas companies operate more efficiently and profitably by mandating more guidelines and regulations; no regulatory body should have this perspective.  Further, the White Papers are handicapped by inaccurate and outdated data estimates of industry-wide emissions. I have personally addressed this practice with Administrator McCarthy, yet the EPA’s use of faulty data persists and will yield nothing but inappropriate policy discussion and decisions by the agency. I urge the EPA to gather more information, revise the White Papers, and allow and official, robust comment period prior to engaging in any policymaking discussion that could impact the oil and natural gas industry.”

As Inhofe points out, the EPA even goes so far as to mis-define and misuse industry terms in order to help make the rate of emissions seem worse, such as by putting leaks, venting, and normal emissions all under the category of “leaks”.

“The same White Paper also inappropriately, and quite causally, labels unconventional resource development as hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is a specific component of the completion process of many unconventional oil and natural gas wells; however, it cannot be used to refer to the entire process. It is also unclear whether EPA wants to use the data on methane emissions from the completion process to address new sources, existing sources, or recompletions. EPA’s definition of what actually constitutes a “leak” also needs revision; it is unclear whether the EPA is referring to leaking, venting, or normal emissions because all are referred to by EPA as leaks.

A lack of clarity over definitions raises questions about whether data sets within the White Papers overlap one another. If they do, it raises questions about EPA’s policymaking intent and whether it is interested in sound policy development or if it has predetermined to regulate methane and is simply building a case to do so, however crude it may be. EPA must revise its White Papers to reconcile any data overlaps and work with industry to clarify misunderstandings about standard industry practices.”

Inhofe hits the nail on the head: It really is hard to believe that the EPA is trying to create good policy when their own White Papers are full of inaccuracies that they’ve been informed of time and time again.

You can read Inhofe’s full comments to the EPA here. 

Photo Credit: 
Daniel Foster

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Silicon Valley Sees Red (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, September 8th, 2014, 3:20 PM PERMALINK


Evan Halper of the Los Angeles Times wrote an article highlighting the conservative support for Silicon Valley tech companies.

Creativity and hard work also describe conservatives’ efforts to make inroads with the Bay Area’s innovation economy. Republicans, after musing about the possibility for more than a decade, have finally found a footing in Silicon Valley, ingratiating themselves with tech entrepreneurs who had long eschewed politics in general, conservative politics in particular.

Americans for Tax Reform director of budget and regulatory policy, Mattie Duppler, wrote an op-ed for Inside Sources detailing the intrinsic issues with new regulations proposed by the Department of Education.

The Department of Education’s rule would judge whether an institution can qualify for federal aid by mandating an average rate of repayment of student loans as measured against graduates’ income. Rather than applying to all higher learning, however, the regulation would apply primarily to private sector institutions. Non-degree, vocational programs at community colleges and other public institutions would be excluded, but not career-oriented degree programs at for-profit colleges.

The short-sightedness of such a metric is obvious; this arbitrary ratio may reflect bureaucrats’ prejudices, but not the quality and value of the education offered at schools. This will force private, career-focused institutions to evaluate potential students on their ability to pay back their loans, not on their needs or ability to succeed in their coursework. Thus, the rule unfairly targets populations who require assistance the most, further pushing higher education out of reach for undeserved communities.

The Los Angeles Register ran an op-ed by Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom, in which he detailed the continued fight of California farm workers against the state’s oppressive Agricultural Labor Relations Board.

The workers, led by Silvia Lopez, a 15-year Gerawan employee (where she has worked alongside her daughters and parents) said No. They said you don’t deserve our money. They said we don’t need anyone to speak for us. They said to the union, We don’t need you.

The only legal way to get rid of a union under state agriculture labor law is decertification. So Silvia gathered signatures from her co-workers.

The California Agricultural Labor Relations Board, the state agency that oversees these matters, told her she didn’t have enough names. So she went back and collected more. At last the board relented and agreed to a decertification election; voting took place last November.

But those ballots have not been counted. They sit in a safe in some bureaucrat’s office.

Photo Credit: 
Christian Rondeau

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Farm Workers Facing Forced Unionization Seek Help from Gov. Brown

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, September 8th, 2014, 12:34 PM PERMALINK


Today the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF) launched the first in a series of billboards in Sacramento designed to bring attention to Fresno farm workers who are being forced into a union against their will.

Workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming voted last November in a decertification election to rid their workplace of the United Farm Workers (UFW).  Union bosses at the UFW are trying to take three percent of the workers’ hard-earned pay, despite the fact that the union has negotiated no wages or working conditions for the workers in over twenty years.

But the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes from last fall’s decertification election in an outrageous violation of the Gerawan workers’ constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly.

Writing for Forbes on Labor Day, CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson notes that the California Governor has a unique responsibility - and opportunity - in the Gerawan situation:

For Governor Jerry Brown, who can make the ALRB count the votes, there is an opportunity to restore faith in our democracy to those who have come here seeking its protections.

The CWF digital boards are located on the West side of I-5, just South of Richards Blvd (facing South) and on US 50 half a mile West of Howe Ave (facing East) in Sacramento. They will rotate a variety of messages through September designed to alert Governor Jerry Brown to the plight of the Gerawan workers, while urging him to help them get their votes counted.

The first message (pictured below) shows Silvia Lopez, a Gerawan farm worker, with tape over her mouth labeled “ALRB” and reads:  “Freedom of Speech Includes Fresno Farm Workers.”



The second shows a picture of Gov. Brown and asks: “Dear Governor Brown, You Want Your Vote to Count, Why not Theirs?  Count the Votes at Gerawan.”



CWF is a special project of Americans for Tax Reform dedicated to educating the public about the costs and consequences of unionization.

Photo Credit: 
GoldStarDeputy

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IRS Bullies Try to Steal Silicon Valley's Lunch

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Posted by Matthew Bruno on Thursday, September 4th, 2014, 1:02 PM PERMALINK


Comprehensive free cafeterias in Silicon Valley offices are just one of the numerous factors that make positions at companies such as Google, Apple, and Facebook some of the most sought after jobs in the world. However, the IRS is attempting to tax these culinary perks, claiming that they are fringe benefits that should be taxed the same as wages.

Google’s Mountain View campus is home to 29 eateries, provided free of charge in order to increase productivity and encourage workers to stay at headquarters longer while spending less time traveling to and from off-site restaurants. The diversity and convenience of Google’s many restaurants is just another of the countless benefits offered by the company in order to attract the best and brightest minds. But is this free food “just another benefit” and should be taxed as such? Or is it an aspect of the office that improves the work environment, such as a scenic park or a comfortable break room?

Congress decided a generation ago to exclude employer-provided meals from the tax definition of wages, and for good reason. If employees, for example, have to work through lunch, it’s unfair to tax the pizza delivery as if it were some sort of wage bonus. These meals clearly fall under the category of de minimis fringe, meaning that they are negligible services which need not be taxed. The tax code explicitly states that operation of any eating facility by an employer shall be treated as de minimis (untaxed) if the facility is located on the premises of the employer and the revenue normally derived from the facility exceeds the direct operating costs of the facility. The dining rooms provided by Silicon Valley companies meet both of these standards and are therefore clear-cut examples of de minimis fringe.

Although the tax code has clearly described these perks as being tax-free the IRS is seeking to pinch every last penny from Silicon Valley. In the case of these companies, the culture is one of long hours, odd meal times, and lots of computer programming.  These incentives increase the convenience and efficiency of the office by allowing workers to transfer from work to meals and back to work as quickly and seamlessly as possible. This ease has contributed towards making the atmosphere at these tech giants and other startups one of tenacity as well as teamwork in order to rise to the top of the industry.

The IRS’s attempt to tax one of the more attractive features of leading American businesses reflects their commitment to seeking out American exceptionalism and trying to glean tax revenue from the profits of private businesses. These free lunchrooms possess and attract some of the most intelligent and ingenious minds in the world. Supporters of American growth should be encouraging the expansion of such practices, not finding excuses to take from the most successful of American enterprises. 

Photo Credit: 
TaxCredits.net

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Rednecksrule

What complete and utter baloney... Sillicon Valley gets whatever it wants... it wants more visas for the nonsensical shortage of programmers that Grovie here wants too..

Don't worry Silicon Valley... Grovie is coming with an illegal amnesty and more HB1 visas for you!!!


State and National Coalitions Support the Internet Tax Moratorium

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014, 1:15 PM PERMALINK


Dozens of State and National organizations have come together asking the Senate to pass a clean and permanent extension of the Internet Tax Moratorium.  For the sake of continued growth and innovation through the internet, we request that the Senate pass S. 1432, the Internet Tax Freedom Forever Act.  This legislation will protect Americans from being financially barred from the opportunities and benefits offered by having reliable internet access. 

You can see their letter in full here.

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TaxCredits.net

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Bring CEA's Putting Policymakers To Work For You Panel to SXSW 2015

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014, 2:51 PM PERMALINK


Friday, September 5th is the last day to cast your vote for the CEA's Putting Policymakers To Work For You panel at SXSW 2015! This pro-innovation regulation panel organized by Michael Petricone of the Consumer Electronics Association will feature four dynamic speakers including himself, ATR's Grover Norquist, Adrian Fenty from Perkins Coie, and Julie Samuels of Engine Advocacy. Don't forget to cast your vote and help make this happen! See here for details.

Photo Credit: 
Andrew Feinberg

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Dramatic Coverage of E-Cigarettes Has Negative Policy and Public Health Implications

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Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014, 3:38 PM PERMALINK


Pundits with little concern for public health have developed clickable narratives about e-cigarettes and vapor products that miss the fact that they are an innovation that should be celebrated. The fact that annually, more than 400,000 people die prematurely from smoking tobacco cigarettes is rarely a focal point for articles about e-cigarettes or vapor products. And unlike the latter, tobacco cigarettes can have negative health effects if used as directed.

Perhaps the stories about tobacco cigarettes have grown old since everyone knows they cause deadly diseases. Perhaps the “newness” of e-cigarettes, which have a similar appearance to tobacco ones, makes comparing them an easy task. But to neglect that not a single person has died to date from properly using an e-cigarette or vapor product is a disservice to our duty to celebrate technological innovation.

New technology often hits small bumps in the road, especially when electricity is involved. Take Tesla, for example. This year the company recalled 29,000 wall adaptors for the Model S after a cord or wall outlet caught fire. The recalls occurred in the midst of a federal investigation into three of the cars bursting into flames after running over something on the road. After the investigation, Tesla made modifications to ensure the risk was minimized.

Fortunately for consumers, legislators and bureaucrats weren’t clamoring to tax the products out of existence as a result of the supposed risk of spontaneous combustion. E-cigarette and vapor product consumers aren’t as lucky.

More than 17 states in the past year have tried to impose onerous and unnecessary taxes on e-cigarettes and vapor products. Proposals ranged from adding a 95% wholesale tax in Washington to adding a 5-cent per mL of e-liquid tax in North Carolina. These taxes were on top of the sales tax, which the products are already subject to.

Like the Model S, a few of these products have had improper use issues. But, the dramatization of minor incidents has serious public policy implications. The public is still being introduced to the product, but is now bombarded by headlines at Mashable like “E-Cigarettes Liquid Nicotine: Toxic, Unregulated, and Overhyped” and “Deadly E-Cigarette Explosions Add to Health Hazards of Vaping.” Both headlines employ a common rationale used against market-disrupting products: until there are hundreds of scientific studies concluding the products are absolutely and unequivocally safe, scare tactics (and headlines) will be a popular press coverage tool, despite the negative policy or health consequences.

In Congressional hearings, proponents of more regulations, like Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa.) have used the “fear of the unknown risk” argument to urge for Congressional and bureaucratic action to limit the industry’s growth. But while there isn’t much actually being accomplished in Washington, D.C., at the state level, countless legislators have jumped to action, to the detriment of those looking for an easier and healthier way to quit smoking.

If focus is going to be given to a few mishaps with overheated batteries, perhaps some context is necessary. After all, lithium ion batteries like the ones contained in many vapor products have a storied history that plays straight into the need for dramatization.

Less than 10 years ago, recalls from nearly every laptop manufacturer in the United States were issued when a small number of batteries overheated. No one called for an additional $1000 tax to be tacked onto Apple’s iBooks, or wrote about the toxic nature of computer usage. The failure of a select few products was fairly attributed to the need for technological tweaks in the batteries selected for use, not the utter failure of laptops to provide a safe environment for Internet cruising and gaming. 

The same isn’t true for e-cigarettes and vapor products. Federal regulators and state legislators are pushing for massive tax hikes that will cripple the industry and stymie growth, to the detriment of public health.  That is because vivid news headlines have an influence over public policy.

It’s time the press, pundits, and lawmakers give e-cigarettes a fair shot at helping cigarette smokers quit. To do this, the press needs to tone down the dramatization of product mishaps. Lawmakers should end the needless and illogical efforts to kill the industry with new tax hikes that treat these products as “other tobacco products.” Millions of lives are on the line. 

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PhilTheCapitalistPig

The bureaucrats are seeing their tobacco tax receipts decline, so its time to find another goose to cook. It was never about public health, it was always about the almighty dollar. Then on the other hand you have the people in the general public who just want to make sure you can't enjoy yourself if its something they don't personally enjoy.

vapelyfe

The United States is a college of businesses disputed by the bylaws of industry.

PhilTheCapitalistPig

Not to mention Big Tobacco absolutely has their hand in this. This whole situation reminds me of something out of "Atlas Shrugged." More cronyism than you can shake a stick at. Especially while I was living in Kentucky and watching Steve Beshear stand up there with Big Tobacco Execs and pretend that all this heavy-handed regulation of ecigs was about public health.


President of National Black Chamber of Commerce Lambasts EPA Clean Power Plan

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Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014, 3:37 PM PERMALINK


Harry Alford, co-founder and president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce published a piece recently highlighting the damage the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan stands to inflict on African-Americans with small businesses and those with low incomes. It is already clear that the Clean Power Plan stands to drastically increase energy costs for all consumers. According to Alford’s piece, enrollment in LIHEAP (the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) has been steadily increasing each year already, even without the burden of the Clean Power Plan. It only stands to get worse if the plan is implemented.

Alford also points out that the Clean Power Plan will destroy many thousands of jobs in one fell swoop, without much promise for creating new ones. With unemployment rates for African Americans already averaging at double the rate for whites, the plan will disproportionately harm many African Americans who are already down on their luck. In closing, Alford ponders, and justifiably so, the investments that African-Americans have made, and how the Clean Power Plan hints at a distinct unwillingness on the government’s part to give back;

“African-American businesses were being created at a steady rate prior to the economic crash in 2008. We have worked to get back to that level of growth, driven by both the desire to both contribute to our own communities and to help rebuild the broader U.S. economy, but not without sacrifices or toil. However, even before any action has been taken by the EPA on their latest proposal, energy costs continue to increase, while the median household income has decreased for African-American families. Our members have invested in their businesses, and in their employees; shouldn't our government be willing to make the same investments in us?”

You can read his entire piece here.

Photo Credit: 
Dan Lurie

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Union, Anti-Union Forces Clash in Fresno

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Posted by Center for Worker Freedom on Tuesday, August 26th, 2014, 10:16 AM PERMALINK


VISALIA, CALIF. -- Farm workers will gather in Visalia, California on Tuesday to protest their treatment by state labor officials. 

Workers at Fresno-based Gerawan Farming Inc, led by Silvia Lopez, do not want to be forced to pay three percent of their wages to the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Last November Gerawan workers held a decertification election, but the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) is refusing to count the votes in a flagrant attempt to help the UFW rob the workers of their hard-earned money.

Ms. Lopez will speak at a protest held at the ALRB regional offices in Visalia beginning at 3:00 p.m. today, August 26.  Supporters of the United Farm Workers were also expected to have a presence, though Center for Worker Freedom Executive Director Matt Patterson says he hopes the proceedings will unfold without incident.

"The Gerawan workers have a positive message that they want to deliver peacefully: They just want their votes counted," said Patterson. "We hope the union, and the ALRB, will allow Ms. Lopez and her colleagues to speak their mind."

Lopez is also challenging the ALRB in court, suing individual board members including Genevieve Shiroma, Cathryn Rivera-Hernandez, and J. Antonio Barbosa in Federal District Court for violating her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. 

Lopez attorney Paul J. Bauer explained:

"In order to protect the rights of the farmworkers, we filed a lawsuit in federal court against the ALRB board members and regional director for violating their civil rights.  The farmworkers' due process rights and First Amendment rights are being trampled by a group of people that will stop at nothing to keep the votes from being counted."

Recently U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill allowed the suit to move forward.

Who

Fresno farm workers, their families and supporters

What

Protest rally against the California Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB), led by worker Silvia Lopez

Where

ALRB
Visalia Regional Office
1642 West Walnut Avenue
Visalia, CA 93277-5348

​When 

Tuesday August 26 from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Photo Credit: 
goldstardeputy

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