E-Cigarette Tax Hike Press Conference and Drinks This Sunday at Bridget Foy's in Philadelphia

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Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, December 5th, 2014, 2:57 PM PERMALINK


The Philadelphia City Council is considering a new tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products on the heels of a $2-per-pack cigarette tax hike that recently went into effect. Join Philadelphia vapers, e-cigarette users, and local small business owners for a panel discussion on the harmful impact of a new tax hike on a growing industry. 

Americans for Tax Reform and members of the vapor consumer and industry advocacy community will discuss the tax hike over drinks at Bridget Foy's in Philadelphia at 3PM on Sunday, before the Eagles game. 

Speakers will include - 

  • Amit Fridman, Owner of Sababa Vapes
  • Cynthia Cabrera, Executive Director of the Smoke Free Alternatives Trade Association
  • Paul Blair, State Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform
  • Gregory Conley, President of the American Vaping Association
  • Joe Barnett, Board Member of The Vaping Militia
  • Alex Clark, Legislative Director of the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association

 

Moderated by Patrick Gleason, Director of State Affairs at Americans for Tax Reform. 

Free Drinks, Especially for the Press! 

RSVP to Paul Blair at pblair@atr.org. 

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FlPatriot98

Taxing so called "bad behavior" is pure socialism dressed as capitalism!! All they want is more control of your behavior. Meanwhile they fail to condemn the animistic behavior of the mobs in Ferguson because it fits their narrative. Only white people are racist. What an out and out lie!!!!

Some Rabbit

So it was never about the dangers of tobacco, it's just about raising revenue.


Speaker Boehner Holds Line against Internet Sales Tax

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Posted by Matthew Bruno on Thursday, December 4th, 2014, 5:03 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday, Speaker Boehner stood firm against an Internet sales tax. Speaker Boehner said the Marketplace Fairness Act (MFA) will not come to the floor this Congress, preventing the Internet sales tax (IST) mandate from coming to a vote during the lame-duck session of the 113th Congress.

We expect that his statement also means that IST will not come to the House floor as part of a package either.

The Marketplace Fairness Act sought to impose one state’s sales tax on the residents of a different state during cross-border online transactions. This mandate would have unfairly subjected citizens of one state to the taxation whims of another.

Furthermore, MFA would have allowed for potential audits of businesses and individuals from other states.

Finally, MFA would have implemented unnecessary and expensive costs associated with the software required to correctly calculate the sales tax in over 10,000 different jurisdictions.

This inherently unbalanced mandate would undermined federalism while giving states the power to enforce their ideology on others.

Opponents of Internet freedom have attempted to force MFA through Congress by attaching MFA to the expiration of the Internet access tax moratorium. This agglomeration, known as the Marketplace and Internet Tax Fairness Act (MITFA), is an attempt to bundle the Internet sales tax mandate with a 10-year ban on taxing access to the Internet. This is a cheap political ploy to force through the controversial MFA while holding hostage the widely supported Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (PITFA). Since the Internet Tax Moratorium is set to expire on December 11th, it is vital that Internet freedom be extended.

It is crucial that Speaker Boehner was able to dispel any hopes of passing MFA in this Congress. It is now essential that Congress pass a permanent Internet Tax Moratorium in order to end this attempt to inhibit digital liberty once and for all. 

Photo Credit: 
Matthew Bruno

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Rick

Yay! A huge setback for big-box retail proponents who have thrown tens of millions per year in lobbying for this.

bubba60609

Don't worry - give it a week and Boehner will cave. That's all he knows how to do.

Kenny

F*ck John Boehner!


U.S. National Debt More than Doubles under Obama’s Wasteful Watch

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Posted by Matthew Bruno on Thursday, December 4th, 2014, 9:30 AM PERMALINK


The U.S. publicly held debt has ballooned by over 50% under President Obama to now approach almost $13 trillion. With no signs of slowing, a debt this monstrous will have disastrous effects upon the growth of our country.

When Barack Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the publicly held debt stood at $6.307 trillion. Contrasting a presidency of lows, Obama grew the publicly held debt to a record high of $12.922 trillion this week. How could Obama have reached such an historic level, accomplished so much change, and harmed America’s future so dramatically in just under six years?

Federal debt held by the public currently stands at about 74% of GDP. This is the highest it has been since the end of WWII. Debt was as low as 35% of GDP as recently as 2007. The CBO projects debt as a percent of GDP will rise to 77% by 2024. This prolonged high level of debt is unhealthy for the U.S. economy.

There are two sides to the issue of government debt: spending and taxation. Debt increases when the government spends more than it takes in. Historically, federal revenues are about 18% of GDP, while federal spending is about 20.5% of GDP. Under Obama, revenue has been steady around 18%. Although taxes could always be lower, lack of revenue is not what is driving the debt problem. Rather, outlays as a percentage of GDP have begun to drift past 21% towards 22%. Furthermore, the CBO projects spending rates to increase past 30% by 2062 and past 36% by 2089. Clearly, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem, when it comes to solving the debt situation. U.S. debt is at a record high due to Obama’s spending problem.

The Obama legacy will be defined by crippling our economy through more than doubling our nation’s debt. A failure to see the devastating effects of out of control spending and stifling taxation will hurt our country for decades to come.

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StockMonkeys.com

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Rednecksrule

Hey Grover you support Obama's amnesty right, given your past stance on let's open the border. Do you know Grover, that illegal immigration is importing surging poverty and amnesties have proven over time to only encourage more surging poverty to come to the US to take advantage of the US welfare state? Nooo, I bet you didn't know that did you, you tool for corporate cheap labor...


Grover Norquist Discusses Gas Tax on CNBC's "Squawk Box" (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014, 3:35 PM PERMALINK


Matthew Belvedere of CNBC covered Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist’s appearance on “Squawk Box,” where Norquist discussed the federal gasoline tax.

Norquist agrees that something needs to be done to fix America’s aging infrastructure, but the federal government should play little part in it. “This is a bait and switch that politicians play all the time. President Obama spent $800 billion with a stimulus package, which was supposed to pave all the highways.”

That did not work, Norquist said. “We should push down to governors and mayors the responsibility for raising their own taxes and building their own roads.”

Grover Norquist wrote an op-ed for USA Today regarding tax extender legislation.

Making the pro-growth extenders permanent will give businesses certainty in planning investment, avoiding the loss of jobs and growth that higher taxes would bring, and end the political game of holding temporary tax hikes hostage. Politicians should not raise taxes as part of a return to honest accounting and an end to playing games with the tax code.

Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs at Americans for Tax Reform, wrote an op-ed for Forbes, detailing a low-tax environment trend among NHL free agents.

The 57 percent of NHL free agents who went to teams with lower tax burdens will take home over $7.9 million more in income than if they had stayed with their previous teams in higher tax jurisdictions. It’s bad enough that the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, but this new report also shows how U.S. states are becoming less competitive in vying for talent compared to Canadian provinces due to relatively high personal income tax rates.

Forbes published an op-ed written by Americans for Tax Reform federal affairs manager Chris Prandoni, about costly carbon taxes.

The reason Americans and Congress oppose carbon taxes and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is because they are enormously expensive, kill jobs, increase electricity prices, and decrease economic growth. Intuitively this makes sense, forcing Americans to use more expensive electricity means that the cost of electricity will increase.

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Andrew Taylor

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ATR Supports H.R. 647, the ABLE Act

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014, 6:32 PM PERMALINK


On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider H.R. 647, the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act of 2014. ATR is supportive of this legislation and urges Members to vote for it.

H.R. 647 is a net tax cut.

At its heart, the ABLE Act creates a brand new tax-advantaged savings account vehicle. A new form of 529 college savings plan is authorized under tax law. They would work much like existing 529 plans: money goes in after tax, and grows tax free for the intended purpose of the account.

The difference is that ABLE accounts, unlike 529 plans, are not intended for college savings. Rather, ABLE accounts would be used to help pay for the disability expenses of those classified as disabled before age 26. Qualified expenses include: education, housing, transportation, employment training and support, assistive technology and personal support services, health, prevention and wellness, financial management and administrative services, legal fees, expenses for oversight and monitoring, funeral and burial expenses.

The balance in an ABLE account cannot exceed $100,000 for practical purposes. Annual contributions are limited to the gift tax limit.  As a result, these accounts are a modest aid to the target population of the bill, and are not intended as a significant wealth accumulation vehicle.

Put simply, an ABLE account is to a child with a disability what a 529 plan is to a child who has college in his future. Not only is an ABLE account a good way to increase tax-free savings for families (always a good thing), it's a compassionate way for families with special needs children to save for the needs of the most vulnerable.

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ATR Statement on Tax Extenders Package

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014, 2:01 PM PERMALINK


This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider a one-year "tax extenders" package. The U.S. Senate will soon follow suit. This bill would move the expiration date of some 55 tax relief provisions from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2014.

This $45 billion tax hike avoidance package contains both good and bad tax policy.  

On the positive side of the ledger is a host of cost recovery provisions. Headlining these is a 50 percent partial expensing rule which allows businesses to write off half the cost of new investments in the year of purchase, with the remaining basis subject to multi-year depreciation. There's also a research and experimentation tax credit which firms can use to recoup these costs. Small businesses can expense most to all of their business fixed investment.  There's also accelerated depreciation for restaurants, lease holders, Indian tribes, and others.  Put together, these cost recovery provisions are a majority of the value of the extenders package.

All of these represent an important down payment toward a vital tax policy goal for conservatives--full business expensing of all business inputs. Under any consumption base/cash flow tax model (which has universal support on the Right), all business costs would be deducted in the year of purchase.  Losing the extenders package's large steps toward this vision would be a big setback for the cause of fundamental tax reform.

There are also a dozen "personal" extenders which affect families.  These include the ability to deduct state and local sales taxes, tuition and fees, and teacher classroom expenses.  Families will not have to pay taxes on forgiven mortgage debt in the event of a foreclosure on their home. Retirees will be able to shift IRA dollars directly to churches and other charities.  These, too, are important to consider as tax filing season gears up after the holidays.

Finally, there are two extenders which prevent double taxation of income earned abroad by U.S. companies--a "look-through" for controlled foreign corporations, and an active financing exemption from double taxation by the IRS.  These are important placeholders as tax reform contemplates moving toward a territorial tax system and away from our antiquated worldwide tax regime.

On the negative side of the ledger are a few crony capitalist tax provisions which should not exist in an ideal tax code.  Topping the billing here is the wind production tax credit, which is both a wasteful K Street giveaway and a sop to the big green lobby of the Left.  It is regrettable that Wind "PTC" is part of this extenders package.

Nevertheless, the good clearly outweighs the bad here.  Members of Congress and senators are encouraged to vote for this one-year tax extenders package.  Next year, they should come back to work ready to make the best parts of the tax extenders permanent, and then proceed to tax reform.

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Grover Norquist Discusses Freshmen Legislators (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, December 1st, 2014, 1:06 PM PERMALINK


The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal ran an op-ed co-written by Americans for Tax Reform director of state affairs Patrick Gleason regarding discrepancies with the method used to calculate the cost of Medicare.

For Wisconsin, failure to pass a permanent doc fix would reduce access to care for seniors. Wisconsin currently has 15 practicing physicians per 1,000 Medicare beneficiaries, which is below the national average. If Congress does not act, the result will be a 24% across-the-board pay cut for caregivers treating Medicare patients. Forty-seven percent of Wisconsin’s physicians are already over 50, the age at which surveys show many physicians begin to consider cutting back on patient care activities. The scheduled provider cuts will only exacerbate Wisconsin’s current problems with access to care.

Rob Garver of the Fiscal Times wrote a piece detailing criticism of CBO director Douglas Elmendorf.

While dynamic scoring might be the biggest issue for conservatives, it’s not the only problem they have with Elmendorf. Among other things, Norquist notes, is that Elmendorf’s CBO delivered a favorable ruling on the costs of the Affordable Care Act. This has become a potent issue lately because of the discovery of videotapes in which MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, a key figure in the development of the law, suggested that the law’s architects, in addition to relying on “the stupidity of the American voter” also worked hard to game CBO’s rules in search of a good budget score.

Jennifer Kerns of the Blaze interviewed Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist about his impressions of the newly elected members of Congress.

Among his favorites this season are Congresswoman-elect Mia Love, whom Norquist says as the first black female Republican to serve in Congress is good for the Republican Party, good for taxpayers, and good for the Mormon Church as it broadens their diversity.

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ThatMakesThree

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Earmark Ban Essential for Taxpayers in New Congress

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Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, November 26th, 2014, 12:38 PM PERMALINK


Congress will soon wrap up its business for the year and go home for Christmas.  Soon after returning, the budget and appropriations cycle will dominate life on Capitol Hill.

Americans for Tax Reform remains committed in the new Congress to preserving the House ban on spending earmarks.  Getting a culture of corruption and influence peddling out of the legislative process has been a keystone achievement of the Republican majority.

Earmarks have an obvious character.  They are spending programs tucked into appropriation or authorization bills by Members of Congress in order to "bring home the bacon."  ATR has had a long history of not agreeing that tariff or tax revenue measures are germane to the otherwise essential earmark ban.

We would agree with others, too, that legal settlements made by the United States government and approved through legislation are neither part of the letter nor the spirit of the earmark ban.  These legal settlements have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in litigation costs and denied windfalls to the trial lawyer bar. They ultimately result in less government spending, not more.  They do not benefit particular Members of Congress like wasteful pork barrel earmarks do.

The earmark ban is too important to be bogged down in unintended consequences and mission creep.  ATR looks forward to working with Congress to keep the earmark ban strong for many years to come.

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Rednecksrule

Another ban critical to tax paying middle class Americans is the ban on illegal immigration which will cost American taxpayer trillions. How come you don't understand this Norquist? You think importing poverty from around the world is not going to cost middle class taxpayers billions at all levels of government... Oh that is right, importing cheap labor is great for your corporate masters who control the strings on your hands and the stick up your fundament...


Grover Norquist Discusses CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf (and more...)

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Posted by Zoe Crain on Monday, November 24th, 2014, 3:00 PM PERMALINK


Damian Paletta of the Wall Street Journal highlighted criticism of CBO director Douglas Elmendorf.

Grover Norquist, president of conservative antitax group Americans for Tax Reform, said he sent a letter to House and Senate GOP leaders on Friday calling for Mr. Elmendorf to go. He criticized the CBO director’s economic scoring models for the Affordable Care Act and the 2009 economic stimulus law. He also ticked through a number of CBO decisions, including its analysis of a 2013 immigration bill, alleging the agency hasn’t been consistent or transparent.

In the Hill, Bernie Becker detailed more of Norquist’s criticism.

Norquist also charged that Elmendorf only used dynamic scoring- which projects that large fiscal or tax changes can affect economic growth- on the Senate’s immigration bill in 2013. Norquist and top GOP lawmakers, like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have called dynamic scoring little more than common sense, and want to use it to help ease the path for tax reform as well.

Newsmax’s Greg Richter covered an op-ed published by Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist and director of state affairs Patrick Gleason.

In an opinion piece for Reuters, Norquist and Patrick Gleason, both of Americans for Tax Reform, say Walker’s fight against public unions and advocacy for lower taxes mirror Coolidge’s own background.

Coolidge, who was president from 1923 to 1929, would be “a smart model for the party,” the two wrote. “He reined in spending and reduced tax rates at a time when it was as needed as it is today. President Ronald Reagan admired Coolidge so much that he hung a portrait of the 30th president in his Cabinet Room”

Mary Spicuzza and Matthew DeFour of the Wisconsin State Journal also wrote about this op-ed:

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, penned a Thursday opinion piece for Reuters focused on why Walker would be a good choice for the GOP presidential nominee in 2016. In it, he argued that when looking forward to 2016, Republicans should look back- way back- to former President Calvin Coolidge, who served from 1923 to 1929.

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The Case Against Doug Elmendorf at CBO

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Posted by ATR on Friday, November 21st, 2014, 12:22 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist sent an open letter today to House and Senate GOP Leadership laying out seven reasons not to reappoint Doug Elmendorf as Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

Elmendorf’s CBO Got Grubered.  It was Doug Elmendorf who adopted the scoring models for Obamacare given to him by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber.  These inaccurate models were key to CBO’s assertion that Obamacare would be good for health insurance markets and reduce the deficit.  That would be the same Jonathan Gruber who said that lying to the American people was necessary to pass Obamacare because Americans are stupid.

Elmendorf’s CBO Pushes Failed Keynesian Economic Analysis.  As Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute has pointed out, “the CBO – over and over again – produced reports based on Keynesian methodology to claim that Obama’s so-called stimulus was creating millions of jobs even as the unemployment rate was climbing….CBO also radically underestimated the job losses that would be caused by Obamacare…CBO has produced analysis asserting that higher taxes are good for the economy, even to the point of implying that growth is maximized when tax rates are 100 percent…When purporting to measure loopholes in the tax code, the CBO chose to use a left-wing benchmark that assumes there should be double taxation of income that is saved and invested…[and] on rare occasions when CBO has supportive analysis of tax cuts, the bureaucrats rely on bad methodology.”

Elmendorf’s CBO “Can’t” Score Obamacare.  On June 17, 2014, CBO Director Doug Elmendorf issued a blog post on CBO’s website where he explains that CBO cannot any longer estimate the budgetary impact of Obamacare: “Attempting to construct a counterfactual benchmark for the budget that excluded [Obamacare] would raise significant challenges and would go beyond CBO’s traditional role in the budget process.”  This was another way of saying that CBO had given up the Gruber-led façade that Obamacare would reduce the deficit, but was not willing to show their math in getting there.

Elmendorf chooses to not make CBO's analysis fully transparent.  CBO does not disclose—in detail, and for peer review—their scoring methodologies.  If they did, there would be a lot more pressure on them to incorporate macroeconomic analysis into their scores.  This was a conscious choice of Doug Elmendorf’s.

Elmendorf’s CBO Used Dynamic Scoring Only Once—to Help the Obama Administration. The whole history of the CBO is one of opposition to so-called “dynamic scoring,” which is nothing more than incorporating common sense assumptions about changes to the economy resulting from large fiscal policy shifts.  There is one notable exception—the 2013 Senate immigration bill.  There and only there, Elmendorf’s CBO used both halves of its brain and produced a dynamic score.  It just so happens that this immigration bill was a priority of the Obama administration, and producing a score here (as opposed to killing the death tax, or repealing Obamacare, or cutting the capital gains tax rate) would advance to the administration’s agenda.

Elmendorf is a liberal Democrat appointed by former Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) under a Democrat Senate majority. It’s a longtime rule of the U.S. Congress that the majority party gets to pick their own staff.  That’s what Senate Democrats did when they appointed one of their own, Doug Elmendorf. It’s absurd to say that Democrats have that right, but that Republicans are not free to pick their own CBO Director when they are in the majority.

Elmendorf served on President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors and in the Clinton Treasury Department.  He was a senior fellow at the liberal establishment Brookings Institution.  He even got a Ph.D. from Harvard under the dissertation guidance of former Clinton Treasury Secretary Larry Summers.  There is no doubt that he is a career Man of the Left.

The Bottom Line: Reappointing Doug Elmendorf Is an Endorsement of CBO’s Practices. The CBO under Doug Elmendorf adopted all the bad practices of his predecessors, acquired some new ones (for example, a disturbing discontinuity between Obamacare’s baseline score and CBO’s long term fiscal outlook), and has not implemented needed reforms to CBO.  Reappointing Elmendorf would be validating the status quo.

 

Photo Credit: 
Gerold R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan's photostream

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Rednecksrule

Doesn't Doug support massive illegal immigration and amnesties like you Grover? What is not for you to like?

newsel

Re-appoint? Why not fired for lying to the public? The Heritage Foundation has published rebuttals to the majority of the CBO numbers over the past 6 years. Knock, knock, anyone at home?


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