ATR Statement in Support of the No Regulation Without Representation Act

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, 4:57 PM PERMALINK

ATR and Digital Liberty Support Congressman Sensenbrenner’s No Regulation without Representation Act

Today, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R- Wisc.) introduced H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act, to address state regulations that tax businesses physically outside the borders of the state.

 In Quill v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court found that states are sovereign only within their own borders and that the Constitution prohibits state regulations from crossing state borders. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, states have regulated businesses outside the parameters of the state for decades. Sensenbrenner’s bill would codify this requirement in relieving small businesses from the heavy weight of government overreach and overregulation.

The following can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform:

"The No Regulation Without Representation Act reigns in government overreach by forbidding any state from 1) imposing a sales tax on businesses physically outside the boundaries of the state, and 2) prohibits any state from exporting regulations onto businesses in other states.

"Regulations can be as abusive as taxes. If the American Revolution was revisited today the slogan would certainly be 'No Taxation and No Regulations without Representation.'

 "I commend Congressman Sensenbrenner for introducing the No Regulation without Representation Act and I urge all members of Congress to support this important piece of legislation. "  

The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

"Over the past few years, state legislatures have crossed their bounds by regulating and taxing businesses physically outside the parameters of their own state.

"Regulations that constrict and tax businesses outside of state borders challenge state sovereignty and federalism while making it incredibly difficult for small businesses to flourish under the backbreaking weight of regulations. I commend Congressman Sensenbrenner for addressing this by introducing the No Regulation without Representation Act."

The full text of the bill can be found here

Photo Credit: BKL

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In Ukraine, Former Communist Statue Site May Be Replaced By Reagan Monument

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Posted by Caroline Sayers on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

The Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation has started the formal process of getting a permit to construct a monument to Ronald Reagan in the center of the capital, Kyiv. If approved, the Reagan monument would be placed on the former site of a statue of Communist criminal Dmytro Manuilsky. The statue was destroyed in 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity.

"Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation is looking to get permit to build a monument to Ronald Reagan in the Kyiv city center, on the place where the statue of former communist leader stood up until it was demolished during the 2014 Revolution of Dignity,” said Maryan Zablotskyy, President of the Ukrainian Economic Freedoms Foundation. “This is to underline the great impact Reagan had on the destruction of Communism. Reagan met Ukrainian diaspora and proclaimed: ‘your struggle is our struggle’. And we are forever thankful for that. Ukraine now has special laws in place that forbid the use of any communist regalia and symbols. We think this victory over totalitarianism should be polished with a monument to Reagan, who led the anti-communist movement globally. We have so far developed a concept of the monument with the help of locally known architect Kostyantyn Skrytytsky and will be going through necessary public debates and permit procedure.” 

Since 2011, 11 monuments to Reagan have been built across Eastern Europe, such as in SofiaBudapest, and Tbilisi. There are currently 150 domestic dedications in 32 states and the District of Columbia, and 17 international dedications in nine countries.

The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, founded by Grover Norquist, endorsed the project in a letter to the UEFF.

Placing the statue in the same location where the statue of the prominent leader of Communist party of Ukraine once was will serve as a reminder to Ukrainians of their unwavering independence. Zablotskyy has put the petition on the official website of the Kyiv City State Administration to demonstrate support of the Reagan statue. This petition gathered over 1,000 signatures in 90 days.

The site of the proposed Reagan monument is located at the intersection of Str. Lypska and Instytytska, right next to Parliament and government buildings. At the other side of street is a monument to the author of first Ukrainian constitution.

“So far we have developed a draft concept of the monument. The monument will represent a larger composition, which includes elevation to step up to Reagan,” said Zablotskyy. “This underlines the importance of Reagan. The height of statue itself is 2.4 meters (7 feet, 10 inches). Thus visitors will be able to go up a few steps, shake Reagan’s hand and take a photo while being slightly smaller in size compared to Reagan. Behind Reagan will be a small wall which will feature his quotes about Ukraine and Ukrainian diaspora, for example: ‘Your struggle is our struggle.’

Also this wall will have broken and melted symbols of USSR. Elements of the Berlin Wall will be used in construction.”

Photo Credit: 
Oregon Republican Party

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47 Conservative Groups and Activists: The Senate Should Repeal All Obamacare Taxes

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, 6:00 AM PERMALINK

The U.S. Senate should accelerate or maintain the tax relief in the House passed American Health Care Act, 47 free market groups and activists today wrote in a letter addressed to Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

Recent media reports suggest the Senate may delay or eliminate repeal of some of these Obamacare taxes. As the coalition notes, this would be a mistake:

“True repeal of Obamacare means repealing the Obamacare taxes and the Senate should resist the urge to deprive taxpayers of relief in order to pay for higher spending.”

As noted in the letter, repealing the Obamacare taxes will reduce taxes for businesses and families and help ensure a free market, patient-centered healthcare system:

 “The roughly one trillion dollars in new or higher taxes imposed by Obamacare directly hit middle class families and small businesses, raise the cost of healthcare, and reduce access to care.”

In addition, repealing Obamacare taxes will lead to stronger economic growth, helping President Trump’s goal of three percent economic growth:

“Obamacare taxes directly suppress economic growth. The best example of this is the 3.8 percent so-called Net Investment Income Investment Tax on capital gains and dividends… A related tax hike is the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on wages and self-employment income…”

The full letter can be found here and is below:

47 Conservative Groups and Activists: The Senate Should Repeal All Obamacare Taxes

June 13, 2017

The Honorable Orrin G. Hatch
Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Hatch:

As the Senate continues to make progress on legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, we urge you and your colleagues to include repeal of the nearly 20 taxes imposed by the law.

During a February 1 speech at the Chamber of Commerce, you declared, "All of the ObamaCare taxes need to go as part of the repeal process."

We agree.

Recent media reports suggest that the Senate may be wavering on repeal of these taxes. This would be a mistake. The final Senate repeal package should retain the broad tax relief that was included in the House passed American Health Care Act.

The roughly one trillion dollars in new or higher taxes imposed by Obamacare directly hit middle class families and small businesses, raise the cost of healthcare, and reduce access to care.

Obamacare taxes directly suppress economic growth. The best example of this is the 3.8 percent so-called Net Investment Income Investment Tax (NIIT) on capital gains and dividends. Historically, capital gains taxes have a significant negative impact on capital formation, productivity, and economic growth while raising little or even negative revenue. 

Repealing the 3.8 percent NIIT would return the capital gains tax rate to 20 percent, the rate agreed to by President Clinton and a Republican Congress in 1997.

A related tax hike is the 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on wages and self-employment income, the repeal of which was unfortunately delayed six years by an amendment in the House.  It should be repealed as expeditiously as possible.

Other Obamacare taxes directly impact the ability of Americans to meet healthcare costs, such as the income tax hike on families with high medical bills. Around 10 million families pay $200 to $400 in higher income taxes each year because Obamacare increases the threshold at which families can deduct medical expenses paid out of pocket.

Obamacare also makes it harder for individuals to save for their own healthcare choices. Roughly 20 million Americans use tax-advantaged Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to save for healthcare costs. Another 30 million use Flexible Spending Accounts. There are multiple taxes that restrict the ability of families to use these savings accounts, which limits the choice of consumers.

Other taxes hit certain healthcare industries, such as insurance providers, medical device and prescription drug manufacturers. Inevitably, these taxes are passed onto American families in the form of increased costs.

Finally, the tax associated with the employer mandate has limited millions of Americans to part-time work and the tax penalty associated with the individual mandate hit eight million Americans in 2014, with a family of four facing an income tax hike exceeding $2,000.

True repeal of Obamacare means repealing the Obamacare taxes and the Senate should resist the urge to deprive taxpayers of relief in order to pay for higher spending.

We commend you on your stance to repeal these Obamacare taxes and urge any final package accelerate or at least maintain the House-passed tax reductions.

Sincerely,  

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

James L. Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Steve Pociask
President, American Consumer Institute

Lisa B. Nelson
CEO, American Legislative Exchange Council

Ashley N. Varner
Executive Director, ALEC Action

Dan Weber
President, Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC)

Lindsay Boyd
Policy Director, Beacon Center of Tennessee

Norm Singleton
President, Campaign for Liberty

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeff Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Chuck Muth
President, Citizen Outreach (Nevada)

Twila Brase, RN, PHN
President and Co-founder, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom

Chip Faulkner
Executive Director, Citizens for Limited Taxation (Massachusetts)

David McIntosh
President, Club for Growth

Michael J. Bowen
CEO, Coalition for a Strong America

Thomas Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Katie McAuliffe
Executive Director, Digital Liberty

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

Richard Watson
Chairman, Florida Center-Right Coalition

Annette Meeks
CEO, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Grace-Marie Turner
President, Galen Institute*

Mario H. Lopez
President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Joseph Bast
President & CEO, The Heartland Institute

Heather R. Higgins
President & CEO, Independent Women's Voice

Donald P. Racheter, Ph.D.
Chair, Iowa Center-Right Coalition

Tom Giovanetti
President, Institute for Policy Innovation

Ryan Ellis
IRS Enrolled Agent

Seton Motley
President, Less Government

Colin A. Hanna
President, Let Freedom Ring

Stephen Waguespack
President and CEO, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry

Brett Healy
President, The MacIver Institute (Wisconsin)

Mary Adams
Chair, Maine Center-Right Coalition

Bryan Dench
Maine Conservative Activist

Tim Jones
Former Speaker, Missouri House of Representatives

Brian McClung
Chair, Minnesota Center-Right Coalition

Devon Herrick Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, National Center for Policy Analysis

Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President, National Taxpayers Union

Jeff Kropf
Executive Director, Oregon Capitol Watch Foundation

Jordan Harris & Josh Crawford
Co-Executive Directors, the Pegasus Institute (Kentucky)

Mike Stenhouse
Founder & CEO, Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Michael W. Thompson
President, Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Nancy Piotter
Executive Director, Virginians for Quality Healthcare

Gerrye Johnston
Founder/CEO, Women for Democracy in America, Inc.

Cc: United States Senators

*Organization listed for identification purposes only 

 

Photo Credit: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/132826082@N06/

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Norquist: GOP Tax Reform Will Change the World


Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Monday, June 12th, 2017, 12:51 PM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist appeared on CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield to tax reform. Norquist noted the establishment media has failed to mention that the House and Senate are meeting consistently, several times per week to advance tax reform.

Norquist said Trump and Congress are at a consensus on the major components of pro-growth tax reform:

This summer, this fall, by September, you'll have both the Obamacare repeal reform and significant tax reform. The consensus items are what's impressive: 15 or 20% corporate rate. 15 or 20% business taxes on people who pay through their individual taxes - the Subchapter S corporations or partnerships. A lot of small businesses pay taxes that way. The Death Tax - gone. The Alternative Minimum Tax – gone. Doubling the personal exemption for individuals and families.

Fredricka Whitfield, however, seemed doubtful that tax reform will pass. “Well, right, so those are the proposals. Those are the proposals.”

Norquist said: “Those are the ones the House, Senate, and the President agree on. “There are others where there isn’t agreement, but that alone, if you only pass those, it would change the world.”

Watch the full interview here.

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Rex Alphin Supported Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion in Virginia

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Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, June 12th, 2017, 12:07 PM PERMALINK

In Virginia's 64th House district, fiscal conservative Emily Brewer is squaring off against serial tax-hiker Rex Alphin.

Alphin has a record, and it's at odds with taxpayers. He has supported a costly expansion of Obamacare's Medicaid program for able-bodied adults, saying it was a "mistake" for Virginia to oppose Governor Terry McAuliffe's plan to expand the Medicaid rolls under Obamacare.

Listen to what Alphin said in a recent radio interview here. 

If Alphin had his way, Virginia taxpayers would have been on the hook for spending billions more on Obamacare to fulfill Terry McAuliffe's most costly campaign promise. If expanded, the additional Medicaid costs would have likely led to massive tax hikes in Virginia, further hurting jobs and economic growth.

Alphin is no stranger to fiscally irresponsible leadership. As chairman of Isle of Wight's Board of Supervisors, Alphin repeatedly voted for higher taxes.

Under his leadership, real estate taxes have gone up over 30% in three years. If that weren't bad enough, Alphin voted to raise the machinery & tools tax by over 500%, a punishing blow to business and jobs in a district where many residents are concerned with jobs leaving for nearby North Carolina.

In fact, his record on fiscal issues is so reckless that 15 leaders of his own party took the nearly unprecedented step of writing an open letter disavowing his candidacy, opining that, “Mr. Alphin has never seen a tax hike he did not like! With his constant tax-hike voting record, he is voting more like a Democrat than a Republican.”

Fortunately, taxpayers have a better choice in the race. Emily Brewer is a fiscal conservative who has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise to Virginia taxpayers to oppose tax hikes. Unlike Rex Alphin, Brewer opposed Obamacare expansion and has taken a strong stand against tax hikes and big government. 

 

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Americans for Tax Reform and The Center for Worker Freedom Support The Employee Rights Act (ERA)

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Posted by Olivia Grady on Monday, June 12th, 2017, 11:15 AM PERMALINK

Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) has introduced the Employee Rights Act (H.R. 2723), important legislation that would protect workers from union abuses and ensure fair representation in the workplace.

The ERA would include important revisions to current labor law, including:

1) Guaranteeing a secret-ballot vote in unionization elections

2) Requiring unions to regularly run for re-certification 

3) Forbidding union bosses from spending dues on anything besides collective bargaining without the express consent of the worker

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) president Grover Norquist praised the ERA, saying in a statement:  “For too long union bosses have been allowed to bully and intimidate people into voting for unionization.  Secret-ballot elections will help ensure union elections are actually free and fair.”

“These reforms are long overdue,” agreed Matt Patterson, executive director of the Center for Worker Freedom (CWF).  "Fewer than 10 percent of union members ever had a say in that representation.  Making unions go regularly before their members and earn their vote will make their leadership more honest and less political."

"This is not an 'anti-union' bill," assured Patterson.  "But it is an anti-bullying bill, in that the power of union bosses to stalk and intimidate would be greatly curtailed.  If unions win an election, fine, but let them do it fair and square."

The full text of the ERA can be read here.

***ATR and CWF applaud this legislation, and urge all Representatives to support it.***

The Center for Worker Freedom is a special project of Americans for Tax Reform

 

Photo Credit: Storm2k

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House Passes Financial CHOICE Act to Reform Dodd-Frank Regulatory Burden

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Monday, June 12th, 2017, 10:12 AM PERMALINK

Last week the full U.S. House of Representatives voted 233-186 to pass Representative Jeb Hensarling’s (R-Texas) Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10) to reform the regulatory burden and cost to taxpayers enacted by the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. The Financial CHOICE Act allows for more consumer protections and a freer market for smaller banks, which could not compete against the bigger banks with numerous amounts of red tape established by the 2010 law.

Dodd-Frank was a signed into law by former President Obama to “rein in Wall Street” after the 2007-08 financial crisis. However, as typical of sweeping regulatory legislation, Dodd-Frank ended up benefiting large banks and only served to hurt community banks, credit unions, and the consumers in general.

The law enshrines “too big to fail” institutions through the Finance Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) and the concept of Orderly Liquidation Authority (OLA), which allows the government to continue the use of bailouts with taxpayer money. It also created an independent agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This agency is completely unaccountable to Congress and the Director of the CFPB is a political appointee, therefore he cannot be fired by the President without an extensive showing of cause.

In total, the Dodd-Frank Act has imposed over $36 billion in costs along with 73 million hours of paperwork. According to the American Action Forum (AAF), these costs amount to approximately $112 per American taxpayer and over $300 per household.

Thankfully, the Financial CHOICE Act makes significant reforms including:

FSOC and OLA Reforms: The Act repeals the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s (FDIC) authority over orderly liquidation, which grants the FDIC authority to bailout institutions. Also, it repeals the authority of the FSOC to designate banks as systematically important financial institutions and puts in place new bankruptcy procedures.

CFPB Reforms: This unaccountable agency undergoes substantial changes in the new bill. The name is changed to the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency and restructures the agency as an Executive Branch agency with a Director removable by the President at will. Along with the structural changes, the Act would repeal the CFPB’s authority to arbitrarily designate any “act or practice” by the banking industry as unfair or abusive.

Fiduciary Rule Repeal: The Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule imposes heightened standard on certain financial professionals who deal with retirement planning or advice. It is estimated under the new standard that 7 million IRA holders could be disqualified from investment advice, and the number of IRAs opened annually would fall by up to 400,000. Under the CHOICE Act, this burdensome rule would be repealed.

Volcker Rule Repeal: Originally enacted under Dodd-Frank, the Volcker Rule limits the type of trading activities banks can engage in, specifically as it relates to proprietary trading. As a result, U.S. financial institutions have become less competitive globally while the cost of raising capital has increased. Recent, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker (the provisions namesake) has acknowledged proprietary trading did not lead to the financial crisis, calling the justification for the rule into question. The Financial CHOICE Act also repeals this stranglehold on U.S. financial institutions.

Overall, the Financial CHOICE Act is a great first step to the reform that is needed for Dodd-Frank and banking regulations. Now that it has passed the House, the Senate should take up the measure in order to begin making that step to relieving banks and the American people from unnecessary, harmful, and burdensome regulations.

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Coalition Urges Support for Increased Oversight Over CMMI

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Posted by Virginia Birkofer on Monday, June 12th, 2017, 9:00 AM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist today joined with six other free market, conservative groups urging increased oversight for the Obamacare Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI). 

CMMI is tasked with conducting demonstrations over new health care delivery and payment models in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program with the intent of reducing healthcare costs.

However, the agency is implementing tests with little, or no evidence that it would result in savings, while also strong-arming healthcare providers and patients into participating. Congress is also limited in its ability to conduct routine and necessary oversight.

Concurrently, the Congressional Budget Office has adjusted the budget baseline under the assumption that proposed CMMI demonstrations have already entered into effect and are successful. This only further binds the hands of lawmakers as any attempt to block a demonstration from being implemented is scored as increasing the deficit, even though these demonstrations are in their infancy.

The full letter can be found here and is pasted below:

June 12, 2017

The Honorable Tom Price
Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Secretary Price:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations, we write to reiterate our long-standing support for full repeal of Obamacare including repeal of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI).

In the meantime, we urge you to institute several common-sense guardrails around CMMI to prevent it from doing unnecessary harm to patients and providers.

As you know, CMMI was created when Obamacare was signed into law seven years ago. The agency was tasked with conducting demonstrations over new health care delivery and payment models in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program with the intent of reducing healthcare costs.

Although CMMI’s demonstrations were supposed to increase the efficiency of healthcare programs, the Obama administration pushed these tests with little evidence they would result in savings, while strong-arming healthcare providers and patients into participating.

The agency is also not under the normal appropriations process – Obamacare gave CMMI $10 billion every decade in perpetuity. As a result, Congress is limited in its ability to conduct routine, necessary oversight.

Concurrently, the Congressional Budget Office has adjusted the budget baseline under the assumption that proposed CMMI demonstrations have already entered into effect and are successful. This only further binds the hands of lawmakers as any attempt to block a demonstration from being implemented is scored as increasing the deficit, even though these demonstrations are in their infancy.

Given these facts, it is clear that the agency needs to be restrained. As such, we suggest four guardrails be implemented. 

First, CMMI demonstrations should be true tests and not forced changes to policy. One way to do this would be to limit the number of affected beneficiaries to a small amount, such as 10 percent of the total beneficiary population, while also limiting the time period that any demonstration occurs.

Second, Congress should be included in the CMMI decision-making process. Rather than top down control, CMMI should consult with Congressional leadership and Committee chairs from both parties to prevent surprises and unintended consequences and gather input from key policymakers.

Third, participation in CMMI projects should be voluntary, not mandatory. A mandatory demonstration project on a broad population for an indeterminate period of time is a policy change, not a controlled test. In essence, this gives unelected bureaucrats the ability to make broad policy changes with few, if any consequences or limitations.

Fourth, greater input should be required from stakeholders in CMMI projects. Health providers and patients should be consulted ahead of time to give the agency better insight on how a CMMI demonstration will impact Americans. Doing so would ensure that demonstrations are truly conducted based on sound evidence and with the goal of increasing efficiency.

As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, you conducted important oversight over CMMI. As Secretary of HHS, we encourage you to continue this work and ensure that CMMI is held accountable.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Tom Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

Carrie L. Lukas
Managing Director, Independent Women's Forum

Heather R. Higgins
President and CEO, Independent Women's Voice

Pete Sepp
President, National Taxpayers Union

Dr. Merrill Matthews
Resident Scholar, Institute for Policy Innovation

 

 

Photo Credit: 
Photo in the Public Domain, link:https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/65/Repeal_ObamaCare_%284527428186%29.jpg

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ATR Releases List of 2017 Virginia State Pledge Signers

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Posted on Friday, June 9th, 2017, 11:43 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform recognizes the Virginia incumbents and candidates who have taken the Taxpayer Protection Pledge ahead of tomorrow’s state primary election. The Pledge is a written commitment to hardworking Virginia taxpayers and to the American people to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

“By signing The Pledge, Virginia candidates and incumbents demonstrate that they will safeguard taxpayers from higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Pledge signers understand that government should be reformed in a way that it spends and takes less taxpayer dollars, and will oppose tax increases that prolong failures of the past.”

The following candidates and incumbents have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge:

Incumbents:

  • Dave Larock (House-33)
  • Chris Peace (House-97)
  • Tommy Wright (House-61)
  • Tony Wilt (House-26)
  • Michael Webert (House-18)
  • R. Lee Ware (House-65)
  • Israel O'Quinn (House-5)
  • Randy Michew (House-10)
  • Robert Marshall (House-13)
  • L. Scott Lingamfelter (House-31)
  • Steven Landes (House-25)
  • Tim Hugo (House-40)
  • Greg Habeeb (House-8)
  • Todd Gilbert (House-15)
  • Kirk Cox (House-66)
  • Mark Cole (House-88)
  • Ben Cline (House-24)
  • Kathy Byron (House-22)
  • Robert Bell (House-58)
  • David Albo (House-42)
  • Frank Ruff (Senate-15)
  • Jill Holtzman Vogel (Senate-27)
  • Bill Stanley (Senate-20)
  • Mark Obenshain (Senate-26)
  • Steve Newman (Senate-23)
  • Richard Black (Senate-13)
  • Amanda Freeman Chase (Senate-11)
  • Glen Sturtevant (Senate-10)
  •  

Open Seat Candidates: 

  • Nick Gregory Ignacio (House-54)
  • Adam Roosevelt (House-49)
  • Bill P. Haley (House-21)
  • Emily M. Brewer (House-64)
  • Ernesto Sampson (House-72)
  • George Goodin (House-56)
  • Suraya Dahkar (House-56)
  • Susan Stimpson (House-28)
  • Edward Whitlock (House-72) 

Pennsylvania Pension Reform Aims to Help Taxpayers and Beneficiaries

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Posted by Jared Crawford on Thursday, June 8th, 2017, 5:21 PM PERMALINK

There is good news out of the Keystone State. This week Senate Bill 1, legislation that will result in meaningful pension reform, passed through both chambers of the Pennsylvania Legislature and has been sent to the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf (D), who is expected to sign the measure into law.

If signed into law by Gov. Wolf, this reform would have all new state employees put into a hybrid pension system, as opposed to the current defined benefit system. Under this plan, approximately half of the pension would continue to be a defined benefit plan and therefore backed by the taxpayers, while the other half would go into a defined contribution retirement plan similar to a 401(k).

This hybrid plan would take effect for all new employees hired after January 1, 2018. While all new workers will automatically be enrolled in the hybrid pension plan, they can elect to have all retirement savings placed into a defined contribution plan. Additionally, all current employees would be given the option to enroll entirely in a 401(k)-style defined contribution plan.

The aim of this pension reform proposal is to shift risk away from taxpayers, while still providing adequate benefits, and working to pay off the debt racked up by the old system.

Currently, Pennsylvania has an unfunded pension liability of about $76 billion. While that is not the worst unfunded pension liability in the country, it is a significant amount of money that Pennsylvania taxpayers are ultimately on the hook for. According to the Pew Charitable Trust, SB 1 represents the largest shift in taxpayer risk of any state pension reform

The Commonwealth Foundation, which has previously outlined the necessity of pension reform in Pennsylvania, was one of the top voices highlighting the importance of this bill. “While this bill does not completely solve the pension problem SB 1 represents the type of structural reform that will put Pennsylvania on a path toward long-term fiscal stability while protecting public employees and taxpayers alike,” Commonwealth Foundation Vice President Nathan Benefield said, adding that the bill “brings transformative pension reform one step closer to reality in Pennsylvania”

Americans for Tax Reform supports SB 1 as a necessary first step towards addressing the state’s massive unfunded pension liability, for which taxpayers are on the hook, and urges Gov. Wolf to sign this important reform into law. 

 

Photo Credit: Jim Bowen

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