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ATR Releases List of 2014 State Pledge Signers Ahead of Elections in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington


Posted by Jorge Marin on Monday, August 4th, 2014, 4:21 PM PERMALINK


As the next round of states prepares to hold their election primaries, Americans for Tax Reform has released a new list of state legislative and state-wide candidates seeking office who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, and Washington. The individuals on this list have voiced their commitment to the taxpayers to oppose all efforts to raise the tax burden. ATR strongly encourages voters to consider these candidates when they go to the ballot box on August 5th, 2014. The list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and will be on the ballot Tuesday can be found in the following links:

Kansas

Michigan

Missouri

Washington

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Rednecksrule

The No Tax Pledge is all well and good but what I want is for you to sign the NO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION Pledge Norquist...

Let's not import poverty that middle class tax payers, NOT GROVER"S CORPORATIONS, will have to pay for.

How about that Norquist?


DC Charter Schools Sue City Over Funding Gap


Posted by Blake Neff on Monday, August 4th, 2014, 4:00 PM PERMALINK


A battle between charter schools and the nation’s capital continues to escalate.

Dozens of Washington, D.C. charter schools are launching a lawsuit against the District and Mayor Vincent Gray, claiming they have been systematically shortchanged in funding by a hostile city administration.

The D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools claims that the city has underfunded charter schools by more than $2,000 per student, per year compared to the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS). The total shortfall since fiscal year 2008, they claim, is over $770 million. The gap, the association says, is a violation of a Congressional command that charter schools receive the same amount of funding as ordinary public schools. It also materially disadvantages the charters, they claim, making them struggle to pay competitive teacher salaries.

The plaintiffs support their claims of a disparity with a study commissioned by D.C.’s own government. The study, released last January, found that public schools benefit from an indirect subsidy through millions of dollars in in-kind support offered by other branches of the D.C. government. For example, the city’s Department of General Services provided far more free facilities maintenance to regular public schools than it did to charters.

“These funding disparities are contrary to D.C. law,” the report concluded.

Other sources of unfairness proliferate, the lawsuit says. Charter schools have their per-pupil funds calculated exclusively on the basis of confirmed enrollments, while DCPS is allowed to rely on estimates of how many students will be enrolled in the coming school year. With DCPS seeing steadily declining enrollment, these estimates are often inflated, the charter advocates claim.

In the past, the city has defended some of these sources of the funding disparity by arguing that DCPS is hamstrung by the need to hire union labor and by the requirement that schools be able to enroll new students throughout the year, of any background. Charter schools do not have such limitations. The plaintiffs argue, however, that such arguments are irrelevant when contrasted with a clear Congressional mandate that charters and public schools be funded identically.

D.C.’s charter school program is one of the nation’s most ambitious, with its approximately 37,000 participating students comprising over 40 percent of all publicly-funded schoolchildren in the city.

The Center for Education Reform (CER), a pro-charter school group, said the lawsuit was an unfortunate necessity brought about by the city government’s failure to close a very obvious gap.

“Across the nation, charter schools continuously get cheated out of resources, even in places like the District of Columbia where charter schools currently serve as an educational lifeline for 44 percent of the public school population,” CER president Kara Kerwin said in a statement sent to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The lawsuit is the latest clash in a bitter history that dates back to 1996, when Congress amended the D.C. School Reform Act to establish a public charter school system in the District. Charter schools’ better test scores and higher graduation rates have led to a sharp decline in the number of students enrolling with DCPS, while charters have struggled to meet rising demand. DCPM has been compelled to close schools, and has fought to prevent the transfer of the closed school buildings to charter schools. Another source of friction has been with the Washington Teachers’ Union, which has long sought to undermine charter schools’ exemption from collective bargaining laws.

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Report Details Growing Middle Class College Squeeze


Posted by Blake Neff on Monday, August 4th, 2014, 3:41 PM PERMALINK


Americans still think college is a worthwhile investment, but they are getting more creative in their efforts to pay for it, a new report from Sallie Mae indicates.

That means paying for a greater share of college costs out of pocket, and trying to take out fewer loans.

In a reversal of trends stretching back several years, in 2014 42 percent of college costs were covered by out-of-pocket spending by either students or their parents, an increase from 38 percent in 2013 and the highest amount seen since 2010. Loans, meanwhile, covered 22 percent of the typical college students’ costs, down from 27 percent last year.

The poll shows a continuing squeeze for the middle class when it comes to college education, however. Those with middling incomes were the only group that paid over 25 percent of college costs through loans, while high-income families could rely more on out-of-pocket spending and low-income families attracted more scholarships and grants.

To save money, new students are increasingly exploiting alternatives to the standard college experience. More students than ever, for instance, are starting their college years at less expensive two-year schools rather than four-year ones. 34 percent of new students in the 2013-14 school year started at public two-year colleges (with a handful attending private two-years as well), up from 23 percent in 2010. Four-year schools, meanwhile, dropped from 73 to 63 percent of students.

Other frugal behaviors are on the rise as well. Compared to last year, students said they were more likely to take on extra roommates, accelerate their studies, or choose a school closer to home in order to cut down on expenses.

Despite costs that continue to rise faster than inflation, almost everybody continues to view college as a sound investment. Only 31 percent of surveyed individuals said they considered forgoing college due to its cost, while over 90 percent saw a degree as an investment in their future and over 85 percent said a degree was needed for the job they desired. 80 percent said it was better to borrow money than not attend college, and nearly 60 percent said it was worthwhile to attend college for the intellectual and social experience regardless of its effect on their future earnings.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, which interviewed about 1600 parents and students to assemble its data set.

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Rednecksrule

I am sure that illegal immigrant friendly Grover Norquist supports state tuition rates for illegals. This guy loves him some illegal immigrants... That means that the state taxpayers subsidize illegals. Grover is all for you, not his beloved corporations who pay this sleaze bag millions in lobbying fees, to pay taxes to support million of new entitlement users.


ATR Supports Transparent Airfares Act (and more...)


Posted on Monday, August 4th, 2014, 2:08 PM PERMALINK


The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch ran a piece by Quentin Fottrell delving into the Transparent Airfares Act of 2014.

Americans for Tax Reform, a non-profit organization founded by Grover Norquist, a conservative tax activist, supports the bill and argues that all-inclusive advertised prices hide government taxes and fees, and says the bill will inform fliers of the “true cost” of air travel. Airlines for America, an industry trade organization for U.S. airlines, welcomed the passage of the act. The vote is “welcome news for airline customers who deserve to know how much of their advertised ticket price is due to rapidly increasing federal taxes,” Airlines for America president and CEO Nicholas Calio said in a statement. Commercial aviation and its customers pay up to 17 different aviation taxes and fees, totaling more than $19 billion last year, he added.

Casey Given, with City A.M. wrote an article exploring the evolving results of the Kansas tax cuts.

Brownback loyalists point the finger at the federal government, which raised the capital gains tax in 2013. As Will Upton of Americans for Tax Reform points out, the Congressional Budget Office itself hypothesized that “higher-income taxpayers, anticipating changes in tax law, realized more income in 2012,” leaving states like Kansas with inaccurate revenue projections for forthcoming years.

In an editorial, Investor’s Business Daily  commented on the most recent scandal from disgraced former IRS employee Lois Lerner.

The latest batch of emails released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee contained more than a “smidgeon” of hatred and intolerance from the IRS chief of tax-exempt organizations already famous for singling out conservative Tea Party groups for enforcement scrutiny.

“Lois Lerner’s exposed emails show the world she was and is a political hack driven by her own partisan agenda rather than a neutral public servant,” said Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist.

In light of these emails, it’s impossible that any taxpayer can trust our government’s claims that it’s merely impartially enforcing the law. Not only is it not enforcing the law, it’s also breaking it.     

An editorial published by the Washington Free Beacon highlighting falsehoods in environmental activist Tom Steyer’s new attack ad.

“Tom Steyer needs to find honest and original consultants,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The plagiarized attack ads he’s running have already been proven false by several fact checkers four years ago, in 2010. Rather than attacking Joni Ernst, he should be praising her for her principled stand against higher taxes. Taxpayers in Iowa are looking for someone to stand up to the special interests in Washington and she is exactly the candidate to do that. Steyer deserves a refund from those who cheated him.”

Zack Colman of the Washington Examiner also wrote an article covering the inaccurate ad.

Ernst campaign spokeswoman Gretchen Hamel told the Washington Examiner that the push “proves Bruce Braley and his allies are desperate.”

“Unlike Bruce Braley who flip flops to suck up to billionaire environmental extremists, Joni is an independent leader who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes, even when people don’t agree with her,” she said. 

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Following Passage of State Income Taxes, Size of Government Increases


Posted by Miriah Olzweski, Alexander Bobroske on Monday, August 4th, 2014, 12:58 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform conducted research to see if the introduction of a state income tax leads to bigger state government. The most recent states to impose an income tax since 1967 are: Michigan, Nebraska, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Looking at the 10 years before and the 10 years after implementation of a state income tax, we compared the size of state government (measured as state spending as a percentage of Gross State Product). The source of state spending and tax rate information is derived from the U.S. Census Bureau and Gross State Product figures are derived from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Samuel H. Williamson, "The Annual Real and Nominal GDP for the United States, 1790 - 2013," and compilation at usgovernmentspending.com. The numbers show that the size of state government grew significantly faster in 10 years after imposition of the income tax than in the previous decade.

  • The size of government grew 4.64 percent faster on average in the decade after these states imposed an income tax. State spending on average was 4.78 percent of GSP 10 years prior, 5.99 percent on average at the time of income tax implementation, and 7.25 percent 10 years after.
  • Sans New Jersey, which is an aberration, the size of government grew 59.2 percent faster on average in the 10 years after income tax imposition compared to 10 years prior income tax. On average, government was 5.04 percent of GSP 10 years before the income tax, 5.92 percent at time of income tax implementation, and 7.33 percent 10 years after imposition.
  • Additionally, five of these nine states introduced a corporate income tax the same year: Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Maine and Ohio. Not surprisingly they saw the largest average growth in size of government.
  • Most of the states increased their tax rates 10 years after the income tax was introduced. This trend is similar to what was seen following passage of the federal income tax. The top tax bracket originally was 7 percent in 1913, swelled to 94 percent in the mid 1940s and currently sits at 39.1 percent.
  • Comparing spending in states with an income tax to those without, state spending per-resident was 49 percent greater in 2012 in states with an income tax. Average spending per resident was $2,491 in states without an income tax, while spending reached $3,702 per-resident in states with an income tax.
  • New Jersey, an aberration, introduced its income tax in 1976, at the end of the 1973-75 recession. The recession caused an additional increase in government spending followed by a temporary slowdown at the recession’s end by most states; New Jersey was no different. 10 years prior to passage of its income tax in 1966, New Jersey implemented a sales tax and witnessed a boom in tax revenue- increasing 125% (adjusted for inflation) to 826 million in 1976, paralleling New Jersey’s 138% increase in the size of state government. Unlike New Jersey, none of the other states introduced a sales or corporate tax in the ten years prior to the income tax.

In conclusion, size of these state governments grew at a greater rate following the institution of a state income tax. Additionally, once in place, these tax rates also tend to rise over time. When a new source of revenue is introduced, it is often abused by state spending addicts and only pumps into government faster. As Milton Friedman stated best, "Politicians will always spend every penny of tax raised and whatever else they can get away with."

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Paul from SA

The cost of the necessities of life (rent, food, elect., gas, etc., even beer!) correlate with a state's income tax -- the higher the tax, the higher the price. The tax is often hidden, unlike a sales tax (except gas).

Rednecksrule

You know what else leads to big government, Norquist, you sleaze bag? Supporting open borders like you incessantly do. Do you think that importing poverty is going to lead to smaller government.

This guy is a joke.


Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Collective Bargaining Law


Posted by Blake Neff on Friday, August 1st, 2014, 2:16 PM PERMALINK


Wisconsin’s ambitious collective bargaining law, which sparked a bitter recall campaign against Republican Gov. Scott Walker, was upheld in its entirety on Thursday by the state’s supreme court.

Act 10, passed in 2011, sharply limits the power of certain public employees in the state to engage in collective bargaining with the state government. The law also requires public unions to recertify every year, makes the payment of union dues voluntary, and increases the required contribution by public employees to their pension and health insurance plans.

In a 5-2 decision, the court ruled that Wisconsin public employees ”have no constitutional right to negotiate with their municipal employer on the lone issue of base wages, let alone on any other subject.” The court also ruled that the law did not constitute an illegal restriction on the free speech rights of public employees. The ruling was a reversal of a lower court decision that had found major components of the law to be unconstitutional. It also marks the end of the road for legal challenges to the law, which has also been upheld twice in federal court.

In a statement, Walker called the ruling a victory for Wisconsin’s taxpayers, who he said had saved over $3 billion under the law.

Madison’s teachers union, which brought the suit, released its own lengthy statement calling the decision “morally bankrupt” and blaming the outcome on a “coalition of the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, and the Wisconsin Club for Growth.” The group’s executive director, John Matthews, said that many members of the court should have recused themselves from the case due to the financial support they had received from business groups while running for a seat on the court.

“How those justices could not have seen that their participation in this case was unethical boggles my mind,” said Matthews.

Act 10 has sharply divided Wisconsin politics in the three years since it was first proposed. During the debate over its passage, thousands of protesters, including teachers skipping work, amassed in the state capitol, while Democratic legislators fled Madison in an effort to prevent a quorum needed to pass legislation.

After the law was successfully passed, a recall effort began against Gov. Walker as well as several Republican legislators. While Democrats eventually succeeded in retaking the state Senate after unseating several Republicans, Walker himself survived, and Republicans retook the Senate following the 2012 general election.

Thursday’s decision, along with another ruling by the supreme court upholding a state voter ID law, could bolster Walker’s effort to win reelection and a third endorsement from Badger State voters.

 

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Report: EPA Could Garnish Wages Over Minor Paperwork Infractions


Posted by Michael Bastasch on Thursday, July 31st, 2014, 11:51 AM PERMALINK


Make sure you correctly fill out all your forms when dealing with the Environmental Protection Agency, as people could see their wages garnished – meaning confiscated, with legal sanction — over paperwork infractions, according to a new report.

Facing public backlash, the EPA withdrew a rule giving them the power to garnish up to 15 percent of people’s wages for delinquent payments. But the threat of having your paycheck raided by environmental regulators is not gone, merely sidelined for now.

In light of this news, the American Action Forum (AAF) examined past EPA fines to gauge the potential impact to people’s paychecks if the agency’s wage garnishment rule is finalized. AAF found that the EPA has forced individuals and businesses $2.3 billion in fines for infractions that have nothing to do with “large facilities emitting tons of toxic pollutants annually.”

One of the most important findings in the AAF report is that individuals tended to pay their fines to the EPA on time — casting doubt on the need for a wage garnishment rule in the first place.

“In cases involving individuals, EPA primarily issues fines for violation of paperwork or legal disclosure requirements rather than significant environmental contamination,” the AAF report found. “Moreover, those fines are generally paid on time. EPA’s proposal to grant itself wage garnishment authority more closely resembles a power grab than an appropriate administrative step to rectify an observed issue in their fine repayment process.”

AAF found that at least 41 people have been forced to pay thousands of dollars for “relatively minor paperwork violations.” Fines for these seemingly innocuous crimes averaged “$12,300 or approximately 14 weeks of earnings for the typical American,” according to AAF.

“A review of EPA’s database reveals that the majority of fines for individuals involve paperwork infractions – not environmental contamination,” AAF reported.

“It is not just individuals that EPA recently fined,” as AAF “also found that the agency cited several churches, medical centers, elementary schools, small businesses, and daycares to the tune of $445,000 during the last six years.”

A major source of EPA fines is paperwork violations involving lead paint. AAF found that over the past six years, the EPA logged at least 35 lead paint paperwork violations, levying an average fine of $12,490 to the owners of large and small rental properties.

One person from Connecticut “omitted routine disclosure forms on the possibility of lead-based paint in his rental property.” The EPA fined him $11,000 per violation for 18 initial infractions, and $16,000 for the last violation on not providing information on lead paint. He was fined a total of $159,000 for paperwork violations, but was able to pay the EPA on time.

A couple from North Carolina was hit with $12,000 in EPA fines for leaving out an “EPA-approved lead hazard information pamphlet.” As part of their settlement, the couple had to pay the U.S. Treasury $1,517 every 90 days.

 

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Senate Committee Report Details Environmentalists' Inner Workings


Posted by Chris Prandoni on Thursday, July 31st, 2014, 11:35 AM PERMALINK


This story was originally posted on Forbes.com.

Over the past fifty years, America’s environmental movement has grown from college kids adorning flowers to a billion dollar industry. With huge budgets to employ lobbyists, lawyers, and public relations professionals, many of America’s leading environmental non-profits are unrecognizable from their modest beginnings. What may seem like an organic, disparate movement is actually a well oiled machine that receives its funding from a handful of super rich liberal donors operating behind the anonymity of foundations and charities, according to a new report out today by the Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW).

The EPW report titled The Chain of Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPAmeticulously details how the “Billionaires’ Club” funds nearly all of the major environmental non-government organizations (NGO), many media outlets, and supposed grassroots activists. The Billionaire Report continues by describing the cozy relationship many environmental groups have with the executive branch and the revolving door that makes this possible.

The most striking aspect of the Billionaire Report is the sheer amount of money that is in play. In 2011 alone, ten foundations donated upwards of half a billion dollars to environmental causes. Many of these foundations, whose assets are valued in the billions, meet and coordinate under the framework provided by the Environmental Grantmakers Association (EGA). Described as the “funding epicenter of the environmental movement,” EGA members doled out $1.13 billion to environmental causes in 2011. EGA’s membership is not public but its clout is self-evident given the amount of money its members direct to recognizable environmental NGOs.

Often times, EGA members will elect to indirectly fund organizations that are the face of the environmental movement. For example, instead of directly cutting a check to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) or the Sierra Club, the Hewlett Foundation or the Packard Foundation will contribute to the Energy Foundation. The Billionaire Report describes the Energy Foundation as “a pass through charity utilized by the most powerful EGA members to create the appearance of a more diversified base of support, to shield them from accountability, and to leverage limited resources by hiring dedicated energy/environment staff to handle strategic giving.”

Visit Forbes.com to find out more about how the far-left environmental movement is funded.

This story was originally posted on Forbes.com.

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PennState93

The latest for global warming scientist is now global extinction of animals. Scientist continue to find new ways or scares to get more government funding.

Remember, in the 1970's it was global freezing.

Rednecksrule

That's great Norquist, but how about the inner workings of the lobbyists who work for cheap labor corporations that want to turn the US into a third world country? Did you all know that the visas and amnesties that Grovie here supports would enable the entire populations of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to come the the US? You do know that your, not Grover's corporation's tax dollars will be paying for all that poverty come to roost in the US, right?


Norquist Response to Lois Lerner "_ _ _holes" Email Revelation


Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 3:43 PM PERMALINK


In response to the latest Lois Lerner evidence released by the House Ways and Means Committee, ATR president Grover Norquist released the following statement:

“Some jobs cannot be filled with political hacks: The director of the FBI, Secretary of State, and the head of the IRS.  Lois Lerner's exposed emails show the world she was and is a political hack driven by her own partisan agenda rather than a neutral public servant. The IRS has too much power and too much access to Americans’ private information for this position to be filled with a partisan activist.”

 

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Tom Steyer Cheated by His Consultants Who Sold Him a Plagiarized (and false) Attack Ad on Joni Ernst


Posted by John Kartch, Adam Radman on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014, 12:49 PM PERMALINK


Left wing San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer has been ill-used by consultants getting rich off his $100 million in campaign spending. The consultants have simply recycled and plagiarized ads from 2010 campaigns that they didn’t tell Steyer had already been debunked.  As shown by a newly launched false attack ad against Joni Ernst, Steyer is being cheated.

Ernst has made a written commitment to the people of Iowa to oppose tax hikes. The Pledge prevents politicians from raising taxes.

It seems Steyer’s consultants have stooped to rehashing provably false lines of attack against candidates who have sworn off higher taxes. Steyer’s ad makes a false claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked by nonpartisan fact checking organizations:

Factcheck.org had this to say in 2010 about the same attack used against a candidate four years ago, in a previous election cycle:

But we find the ad to be false. The pledge only protects corporations from an increase in taxation overall. It explicitly allows elimination of any specific tax deduction or credit if matched dollar-for-dollar by an overall cut in rates. And it says nothing about jobs.

The fact check continues:

 To characterize his opposition to raising taxes as protecting tax breaks that send jobs abroad is wrong. Any tax benefit can be eliminated and offset by a rate cut or by other benefits without raising taxes overall, and without violating the terms of that pledge. This attack ad is false.

Politifact came to the same conclusion as Factcheck.org in a separate race in 2010:

But the fact that someone signed the pledge doesn’t necessarily mean they are opposed to closing loopholes for off-shore companies.

Our friends at FactCheck.org have been knocking down this claim since April, when the DCCC ran a TV ad against a Republican House candidate in Hawaii. They recently debunked the same claim in an ad in the Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign.

Here’s the problem: The taxpayer pledge doesn’t prevent a signer from opposing any tax break as long as he or she finds a way to offset the resulting increase in taxes.

[The attack is] a huge leap of logic and it doesn’t prove Hurt supports the offshore loopholes. So we find the claim False.

“Tom Steyer needs to find honest and original consultants,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The plagiarized attack ads he’s running have already been proven false by several fact checkers four years ago, in 2010. Rather than attacking Joni Ernst, he should be praising her for her principled stand against higher taxes. Taxpayers in Iowa are looking for someone to stand up to the special interests in Washington and she is exactly the candidate to do that. Steyer deserves a refund from those who cheated him.”

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