Cameron’s Tax Pledge “had significant cut-through,” says Founder of Britain’s TaxPayers’ Alliance

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, May 8th, 2015, 12:43 PM PERMALINK


The founder of Britain’s leading taxpayer advocacy group says David Cameron’s tax pledge against increases in the income, VAT, and national insurance taxes “had significant cut-through.” 

Announcing the tax pledge in an April 29 address, Cameron asked the voters:

When you're standing in the polling booth, ask yourself: on the things that matter in your life who do you really trust? When it comes to your tax bill, do you trust the people who have taxed you to the hilt when they were in power and still haven't come clean about the taxes they want to increase next time round? Or do you trust the Conservatives, who have cut income taxes for 26 million people and who will cut your taxes again next time.

Following the Conservative victory, Matthew Elliott — Founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance — said:

A month out from Election Day, Prime Minister David Cameron's campaign was widely deemed to be faltering - the Conservative Party hadn't overtaken the centre-left Labour Party in the polls, and there was a feeling that a strong, believable case needed to be made to convince a skeptical electorate that his Government deserved re-election. A key announcement was the Tax Pledge - a pledge not to raise the key taxes on ordinary, hard-working families in the UK. This Pledge had significant cut-through, because it proved to voters that the Conservatives' plans for taxation were real, and concrete, as opposed to the illusionary promises from the other parties. Now the Prime Minister has an overall majority in Parliament, this Pledge will become an important part of Britain's fiscal debate. It's certainly works for taxpayers in the US, and it'll work here in Great Britain. 

NRO’s John Fund agrees:

This British election was supposed to revolve around post-Thatcher worries about income inequality and resentment against the rich. A recent study by the London School of Economics found that 62 percent of Britons felt inequality had reached    unsustainable levels and that 74 percent believed the rich should pay more taxes. Bart Cammaerts, the author of the study, wrote that it showed the country moving toward  'a renewed politics of redistribution.'

Goodbye to all that, for this election at least. If anything, British voters were motivated to turn out in support of Prime Minister David Cameron’s last-minute support of a version of America’s famous anti-tax pledge. Just last week, Cameron pledged that if the voters gave him a second term, he would push legislation blocking any increases in Britain’s national-insurance, income, or value-added taxes (the lattermost, a form of sales tax). 'We know it’s your money, not government money. You’ve worked for it, you’ve earned it, you should be able to keep it,’ he told voters.

Finally, in an item titled U.K. Conservatives’ Tax Stances Could Resonate in U.S., Politico Pro’s Katy O’Donnell writes: 

Taxation was a prominent theme in the election: Conservative Chancellor George Osborne pledged to cut taxes for low-income workers and, late in the campaign, Prime Minister David Cameron promised a five-year 'tax lock' — legislation banning any increases to the country’s Value Added Tax, income taxes and national insurance taxes. A Labour Party spokesman dismissed the idea as a 'last-minute desperate gimmick.'

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MaxineH20Sux

When USA voters are at the booth I hope they ask themselves if they are better off than they were 8 years ago...

Jack Meeoff

It seems as thought the worlds leftist have lied enough......here and in Great Britain. Of course the Greeks STILL are clueless.

Valmont

But without new taxes, how can the UK continue to indulge their luxury taste for importing demanding Third World parasites?


The Obama Administration's Internet Take Over

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Friday, May 8th, 2015, 12:17 PM PERMALINK


Chairman Wheeler’s recent speech at his alma matter, Ohio State University, did not tell the full story about the Federal Communications new Open Internet Order.

The Open Internet Order will increase costs, decrease investment, and increase regulatory uncertainty. Put simply you are going to see costs rise and choices diminish.

Chairman said that special interests in Washington would not sway his decisions, but Washington DC special interest did contribute a great deal to his transition away from light-touch 706 regulations and heavy-handed Title II regulation.  

The Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations (funded by billionaire George Soros) were huge funders of the pro-Internet- regulation organizations.  In its Open Internet Order, the FCC cited Soros and Ford Foundation funded groups 206 times. This is clearly disproportionate to free-market proponents who were cited five times (four citations to TechFreedom and one to the Free State Foundation).

Its hard to say whether the FCC even considered other points of view.  When the FCC asked for public comments on its proposal in May 2014, the proposal focused on Section 706 regulation, not Title II.  This gives opposing views no ability to submit research and comments about Title II effects, when they believe the question is something completely different.  As a result, many experts believe the FCC could have violated the administrative Procedures Act by failing to give adequate notice of the rules it adopted.

When Wheeler says “Open Internet,” that’s code for public utility regulation. The Chairman will try to tell you different, but broadband reclassification as a Title II telecommunications service by definition equals rate regulation.  Plus, under the FCC’s general Internet conduct standard, the FCC explicitly invites consumer rate complaints, which upon receiving these complaints, the FCC welcomes the opportunity to engage in rate regulation to determine whether the rates charged are ‘just and reasonable’.

Chairman Wheeler would have you believe that Title II is some kind of Net Neutrality light-touch regulation. Title II is not Net Neutrality, which includes the basic principles of no blocking, non-discrimination of content, and transparency.  It is Public Utility regulation established in the 1930s.

Wheeler positions our choices as Title II public utility style regulation, or “we can have the people who operate the networks making the rules for the Internet.” This is a false choice.  The FCC had a choice to implement a basic set of rules using light-touch regulation under Section 706, or an onerous set of rules under a Title II framework. It chose the latter.  The FCC’s original net neutrality rules were based on Section 706 authority – not Title II.

He says, “we can have an Open Internet and light-touch regulation that encourages innovation and consumer choice.”  We can have that, but we won’t because the regulations the FCC has passed will discourage innovation. With its 1934 monopoly era rules and micromanagement practices, with many regulations yet to be determined, nothing about Title II is ‘light-touch’.  It is heavy-handed and onerous regulation of one of the most dynamic and innovative inventions in history.

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Update: MS-01 Special Election Update

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Posted by John Beattie McEwan, Adam Radman on Thursday, May 7th, 2015, 5:33 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform recently released an updated list of U.S. congressional candidates in Mississippi's first district who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. These candidates have made a written commitment to their constituents to "oppose and vote against higher taxes." The list of candidates who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is as follows:

Candidates

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Oklahoma Slashes Mandatory Minimums

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Thursday, May 7th, 2015, 1:26 PM PERMALINK


This week Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin signed HB 1518, a bill to reform the state’s minimum mandatory sentencing guidelines.

Far from giving a break to dangerous offenders, the Safety Valve Act gives judges discretion to give low level offenders less severe sentences on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the act allows judges to place certain offenders into the mental health or drug treatment systems.

By allowing for this kind of sentencing nuance, the Sooner State hopes to rein in one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation. At 659 prisoners per 100,000 residents, Oklahoma has the third highest proportion of its population behind bars of any state.

There is a growing chorus of Red states reforming their prison systems. When Texas passed its own prison reforms in 2007, it saw a decline in their prison population, a massive decline in their crime rate, and savings of $2 billion. Not a bad start from any perspective. Likewise, Georgia saved hundreds of millions after its own reforms.

Combined with the recent easing of occupational licensing rules, Oklahoma now joins these states in the front lines of criminal justice reform.  In her statement, Fallin assured Oklahomans that “Violent criminals will continue to be incarcerated, but the fact is that one in eleven Oklahomans serve time in prison at some point in their lives,” underscoring the urgency of prison population reduction.

Many of our current inmates,” Fallin continued, “are nonviolent offenders with drug abuse and alcohol problems; others have mental health issues. For some of these offenders, long sentences in state prisons increase the likelihood of escalated criminal behavior. This bill gives our judges the freedom they need to divert people who need treatment, rehabilitation and supervision to the appropriate facilities and programs.

Americans for Tax Reform would like to congratulate the Oklahoma legislature, which passed the reform by overwhelming margins, for their historic success. Hopefully, more states will follow suit as the modernization of America’s prisons continues.

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Carly Fiorina Signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American People

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Posted by ATR on Thursday, May 7th, 2015, 6:45 AM PERMALINK


Carly Fiorina, a candidate for the presidency of the United States, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people. 

The pledge is a written commitment to the American people to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.” 

Previously, Fiorina signed the Pledge as a U.S. Senate candidate from California in 2010. “Carly has a long history of supporting and defending taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Among declared 2016 GOP presidential candidates, Fiorina joins Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz in signing the Pledge.

ATR has shared the Pledge with all candidates for federal office since 1986. In the 114th Congress, 49 U.S. Senators and 218 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. On the state level, 13 incumbent governors and approximately 1,000 incumbent state legislators have signed the Pledge.

In 2012, all candidates for the Republican nomination for president signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, with the lone exception of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

“By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to the American people, Carly Fiorina continues to protect American taxpayers against higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Fiorina understands that government should be reformed so that it takes and spends less of the taxpayers’ money, and will oppose tax increases that paper over and continue the failures of the past."

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IRS Refuses to Fire Employees Who 'Willfully Violate Tax Law"

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, 5:04 PM PERMALINK


The IRS is failing to fire employees who have willfully violated tax law, according to a report released today by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).

Under the Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 (RRA 98) the IRS is legally required to terminate employees that have committed acts of misconduct including willful violations of tax law. However, TIGTA’s review of IRS practices found that the agency is failing to terminate these employees despite the serious nature of their transgressions. As the report states:

“Our review of a judgmental sample of 34 cases found that some employees, who management had concluded were not credible, with significant and sometimes repeated tax noncompliance issues, or a history of other conduct issues, were not terminated.”

In fact, as the reports notes, only a fraction of the employees found to have willfully violated tax law were fired. The majority of employees received far more lenient punishments:

“More than 25 percent, or 400, of the willful employee tax noncompliance cases resulted in termination of the employee…. More than 60 percent of employees, or 960, with willful tax noncompliance cases had their discipline mitigated to a penalty lower than termination.”

If that were not bad enough, many of these same employees received bonuses and promotions from the IRS within a year after their noncompliance case. As the reports says:

“In addition to not being terminated for willful tax violations, some IRS employees also received promotions, performance awards, and permanent pay increases within one year after their willful tax noncompliance case was closed.”

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Americans for Tax Reform’s Katie McAuliffe Appointed to FCC Consumer Advisory Committee

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Posted by Dorothy Jetter on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, 3:37 PM PERMALINK


Katie McAuliffe, Federal Affairs Manager, Americans for Tax Reform has been appointed to the FCC Consumer Advisor Committee.  According to the FCC:

“The mission of the Committee is to make recommendations to the Commission regarding consumer issues within the jurisdiction of the Commission and to facilitate the participation of consumers (including underserved populations, such as Native Americans, persons living in rural areas, older persons, people with disabilities, and persons for whom English is not their primary language) in proceedings before the Commission.”

As a staff member at Americans for Tax Reform, McAuliffe understands the important roles of free market economics as they apply to evolving technology.  She looks forward to ensuring these ideas are well represented among her colleagues on the Consumer Advisory Committee.

 

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The New Budget: Hits and Misses

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Posted by Jorge Marin on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, 3:29 PM PERMALINK


Last week congressional Republicans reached an agreement on the budget for the year going forward. The proposal calls for reforms to struggling entitlement programs, clamps down on inefficient and ineffective government programs, and lays the groundwork for strong economic growth.

The most important aspect of any budget is whether it is balanced. The FY2016 conference agreement brings spending restraint to the federal government and creates a $32 billion surplus by 2024—meanwhile no new taxes are levied on individuals. This stands in stark contrast to the $1.44 trillion in new taxes requested in the president’s FY2016 budget.

The new Republican budget agreement also maintains the most important conservative victory in the last five years: the sequester caps. The FY2016 Budget maintains the spending restrictions mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011, ensuring the continuation of the savings from discretionary spending. Here again the Republican budget agreement stands in stark contrast to the White House budget, which ignores 2011 sequester spending caps and raises spending through misleading promises, the Senate budget abides by federal law. It is important to keep these caps in place; caps that have stabilized federal spending since 2011 and will lead to $1.79 trillion in savings through 2021.

Moreover, the economic benefits of the agreement would help spur our sluggish economy. In total, $400 billion would be added directly into the economy over the next ten years, according to The Congressional Budget Office. After years of lackluster growth, it is time to enact fiscal policies that put the economy back to work.

Unfortunately, not everything about the deal is perfect. In order to appease some of the more hawkish legislators, the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund (OCO) has gotten a very generous increase. OCO is the fund that the pentagon uses to fund overseas engagement…theoretically. Though the Pentagon has requested $50.9 billion for OCO, the budget sets aside $96 billion for the same fund. This extra money will go to pad military budgets without ensuring an equivalent offset somewhere else in the budget.

Examples of OCO’s largesse abound. FY2016 has over $500 million set aside for construction projects that would only be relevant to fighting ISIS if the Air Force were to literally drop buildings (presumably flown over by multiple F-35s) on top of Mosul.

Using the Overseas Contingency Operations Fund as a way to skirt the Budget Control Act’s caps is disingenuous and unfair to taxpayers. Fortunately, there are redeeming qualities to be found in next year’s budget.

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Michigan Tax Hike Measure Goes Down in Flames, 80-20


Posted by Will Upton on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, 10:54 AM PERMALINK


Michigan voters overwhelmingly rejected a sales and gas tax increase on Tuesday, defeating Prop. 1 by an 80 – 20 margin. The coalition of spending interests pushing the tax increase outspent their opponents 17 – 1 yet still suffered a historic defeat. 

Proponents, including Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, sold the tax hike measure as a means of funding “roads and bridges."

“The tax and spenders and their advocates in the media thought they had finally found the secret sauce: hold highway spending hostage to higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The verdict is now in from Michigan. A big No.” 

According to Gongwer News Service, the abysmal support for the tax hike is the "lowest percentage of the vote for a constitutional amendment since the adoption of the 1963 Constitution.”

The latest available numbers from the Secretary of State’s office show a vote breakdown as follows:

YES:                 349,813

NO:                  1,405,716

According to public filings, pro-tax hike forces raised $9,049,010 while tax hike opponents raised $519,138.

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Congress Must End the Export-Import Bank

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015, 9:30 AM PERMALINK


For the last 80 years, the Export-Import Bank has subsidized American business operations overseas by financing international investments for US firms.The bank has earned a reputation as the poster child for crony capitalism and corporate welfare. Fortunately for supporters of free enterprise, there exists a window of opportunity to put an end to the irresponsible subsidies when the bank’s charter expires on June 30.

Congress can do the right thing by simply doing nothing and allowing the bank’s charter to expire. Not only does the bank leave taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars each year, it distributes these funds in an unfair and irresponsible way to big business.

While the bank purportedly exists to help American business compete overseas, in reality the bank assists a tiny fraction of businesses. In fact, the bank overwhelmingly favors large, well-connected, and well-funded corporations that simply do not need this money. Recent data has found that less than 1 percent of 1 percent of small business benefit from subsidies distributed by the bank.

Not only are these subsidies unnecessary, they are also reckless. The Ex-Im bank’s business model is based on irresponsible loans and poor accounting which leave taxpayers on the hook. According to the Congressional Budget Office, reauthorizing the Ex-Im bank will cost taxpayers a $2 billion over the next decade.

In an effort to end the Ex-Im bank once and for all, ATR recently joined with 55 other free-market organizations to urge Congress to put a stop to this irresponsible corporate welfare. As the letter states, taxpayers deserve a system based on free enterprise, not political favoritism:

America deserves an international trade policy that is based on free-market mechanisms, not paying foreign companies to buy exports from large corporations with political connections.

While Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has fought hard to end the bank, he faces resistance from members on on both sides of the political spectrum who are eager to preserve the status quo. Speaker John Boehner recently said he will support any plan that Chairman Hensarling has.

If ever there was a time for fiscal discipline, it is in today’s tight climate of federal deficits and tight budgets. Quite simply, taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize this icon of crony capitalism any longer.

Urge your Congressman to oppose reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank by calling 202-224-3121

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