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

 

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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

 

 

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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. 

 

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Norquist: Tax Reform is the Most Important Issue of 2017

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Posted by Colin Combs on Thursday, June 8th, 2017, 2:54 PM PERMALINK

Grover Norquist has shown just how desperately America needs tax reform in his latest op-ed for Fox News. After eight years of Obama and one of the worst recoveries in recent memory, the American people need a new strategy to return to healthy economic growth. To do this, we need to get government out of the way.

As it stands today, the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, putting us at an economic disadvantage against foreign competitors. Grover explains:

Over the past decade, the economy has struggled at just two percent GDP growth – the worst recovery of the modern era. This lackluster recovery has cost families an average of $8,600 in annual income, according to the Joint Economic Committee. The Congressional Budget Office projects that two percent growth will continue into the next decade under current policies.

Today, American businesses are taxed at rates far exceeding the rates faced by foreign competitors. The average federal/state corporate tax rate in the U.S. is roughly 39 percent, while the average rate paid by foreign competitors is about 25 percent. Businesses organized as pass-through entities face even higher rates – above 40 percent, and even 50 percent when state tax rates are accounted for.

While the U.S. rate remains high, other countries have adapted to the global changes by aggressively reducing their rates. Today, only the U.S. and Chile have higher corporate tax rates than they did at the start of the century.

These high tax rates must ultimately be paid by the American people, meaning lower wages, less employment, and higher prices. And this, according to Norquist, is without even beginning to touch upon the sheer complexity of the tax code itself, which is filled with redundancies and arbitrary moves:

Under the current code, business owners cannot immediately expense the cost of purchasing equipment against their taxable income. Instead, they are required to deduct, or “depreciate,” these costs over several years depending on the asset they purchase, as dictated by complex and arbitrary IRS tables. These rules create needless complexity and increase compliance costs.

Moving forward, what America needs to see real economic recovery is for the market to be allowed to work and to remove the burdens and manipulations of government planning, and that begins with tax reform to stop punishing producers.

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


ATR Supports Proposals to Scale Back & Repeal Wisconsin's Minimum Markup Law

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Posted by Shane Otten on Thursday, June 8th, 2017, 12:49 PM PERMALINK

Wisconsin consumers may soon be paying less for gasoline, prescription drugs, and other merchandise. There are proposals in both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature that, if enacted, would scale back the state’s misguided minimum markup requirements.

Wisconsin’s minimum markup law, dubbed the Unfair Sales Act, was passed in 1939 with the intent to prevent predatory pricing. Wisconsin’s law prohibits all merchandise, unless in a clearance sale, from being sold below cost and requires alcohol and tobacco products be marked up 3 percent for wholesalers and 6 percent for retailers. Gasoline must also be marked up a minimum 9.18 percent. This misguided policy results in higher costs for all Wisconsin consumers. In fact, Wisconsin consumers have to pay more than other states on many things, such as “Back to School” specials and Black Friday deals.

Currently, 15 states have minimum markup laws that apply to most retail goods and an additional 8 states have gasoline-specific laws. If minimum markup laws were effective in achieving its stated goal, it would be expected that states without such laws would have relatively fewer small business retailers and gas stations. However, a comprehensive study conducted by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty analyzed data across the 50 states and found that minimum markup laws have no effect on the number of small business retailers or gas stations in a state.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has twice spoken against this law. In its more recent commentary on Wisconsin’s minimum markup law, the FTC said “the Act protects individual competitors, not competition, and discourages pro-competitive price cutting.” Along with disapproval from the FTC, economic literature demonstrates that predatory pricing is a rare event and is even less likely to be successful.

In the Wisconsin Assembly, Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) has a proposal that reduces the state’s markup law on gasoline from 9.18 percent down to 3 percent. However, his proposal contains a provision to include the state’s sales tax on all gasoline purchases. In the state’s upper chamber, Sen. Leah Vukmir (R-Brookfield) has introduced Senate Bill 263, which repeals minimum markup requirements for prescription drugs and merchandise not including alcohol, tobacco, gasoline, and groceries.

“Government shouldn’t be policing low prices,” Sen. Vukmir said. “Repealing this law and letting free markets bring down prices is in consumers’ best interest.”

Overall, minimum markup laws are a hidden price increase on all goods and a determinant to Wisconsin consumers. While full repeal of Wisconsin minimum markup law would be ideal, the proposed bills are a step in the right direction and would mitigate the harm caused by this misguided requirement.  

 

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Tax Reform Should Include Territoriality for Individuals

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Posted by Virginia Birkofer on Thursday, June 8th, 2017, 12:34 PM PERMALINK

Today, the U.S. is one of two countries that has citizenship-based taxation. This outdated system affects an estimated eight million Americans that live abroad. The final tax reform legislation should implement territoriality for individuals through the establishment of residence-based taxation.

In support of residence-based taxation, ATR submitted a statement for the record to the House Ways and Means official hearing entitled, “Increasing U.S. Competitiveness and Preventing American Jobs from Moving Overseas.” Urging the committee to ensure that residence-based taxation is implemented in the final tax reform legislation. [Read The Full Letter Here]

Implementing territoriality for individuals is crucial because under the existing system, American businesses are disadvantaged when competing with foreign competitors for they face double taxation and burdensome international rules.

However, the system of worldwide taxation is not limited to businesses. American citizens also face this system as they are taxed regardless of whether they reside in the U.S. or in a foreign country.

Under this system, American citizens residing abroad must comply with complex IRS rules and are double taxed on income - once when they earn it overseas and again by the U.S. government solely because they are citizens.

Moving to territoriality for individuals will end this needless double taxation. This reform will also increase job opportunities for Americans overseas and reduce the power of the IRS.

Currently, American citizens working overseas face a disadvantage compared to expatriates from other countries when applying for employment, as it is substantially more expensive for a business to hire an American under these tax laws. Implementing residence-based taxation will reduces compliance burdens associated with hiring Americans so that U.S. citizens working overseas are hired on a more level playing field and thereby increase job opportunities for Americans.

Moving to residence-based taxation has the added effect of diminishing the need for the IRS to act as a global police force. Because citizens residing abroad would (in most cases) no longer need to worry about paying U.S. taxes, this reform could reduce the size and scope of the IRS international division, allowing the agency to be streamlined.

It is vital that any tax reform legislation includes territoriality for individuals. Implementing a system where Americans are taxed based on their residence would make tax compliance far simpler and should be part of the effort to simplify the code for individuals.

 

 

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Financial CHOICE Act Reigns in Dodd-Frank Regulatory Burden

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Thursday, June 8th, 2017, 9:24 AM PERMALINK

The Great Recession of 2007-08 was the worst economic crisis the U.S. had seen since the Great Depression. In response, the Democratic Congress hastily and absent-mindedly passed a financial regulatory behemoth known as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, and on July 21, 2010 former President Obama signed it into law.

While the Dodd-Frank Act was supposed to target “Wall Street” the law instead has imposed burdensome regulations and costs on small financial institutions, consumers, and taxpayers. Here are a few ways Dodd-Frank slowed down economic recovery, increased government intervention into the market, and pushed the financial sector nearer to stagnation:

  1.  Enshrining “Too Big to Fail”. In the Dodd-Frank Act, a new agency was created called the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), which was made in order to determine when financial institutions become Significantly Important Financial Institutions (SIFI). By allowing the government to designate banks as “significantly important”, Dodd-Frank permits the use of bank bailouts with taxpayer money and ironically enshrines “Too big to fail.”
  2. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Dodd-Frank Act also created this independent and unaccountable agency. Since it is independent, it does not have any Congressional oversight and its executive is a political appointee, therefore he cannot be fired except by the President and only upon a showing of cause. It also has the power to ban bank products that it arbitrarily deems as “abusive”, which gives the government the ability to control what products banks may provide to their customers.
  3. The Crushing Dodd-Frank Compliance Burden and Costs. In total, the Dodd-Frank law has cost 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. AAF also found that according to agency calculations, it would take 36,950 employees working full time (2,000 hours annually) to complete a single years worth of Dodd-Frank Act paperwork.

Dodd-Frank has created a new era of government regulations meant to stymie the growth of the American economy. This law has not only imposed harm on small banks and credits unions on Main Street, but also consumers and American competitiveness as whole.

Thankfully there is legislation in the U.S. House sponsored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) called the Financial CHOICE Act, which repeals many of the harmful regulations proffered by the legislative disaster that is Dodd-Frank, while also providing relief to small financial institutions that are the country’s engine of economic growth.

The Financial CHOICE Act enables more competition and consumer protection within the financial services industry and will increase growth in a responsible manner. As the full House this week is set to vote on the Financial CHOICE Act, lawmakers should offer support for what will be one of the biggest steps forward in reigning in the regulatory regime that resulted from the Dodd-Frank Act. 

 

Photo Credit: John Williams


Seattle Passes Staggering New Beverage Tax Despite Opposition from Unions and Businesses

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

The Seattle City Council voted this week to impose a tax on soda and other sugary beverages. Although the excise tax is targeted specifically at sodas, the tax would also affect the price of fruit juice, energy drinks, sweet tea, and even Seattle’s favorite drink: coffee.

Seattle will collect $0.21 cents for every can of soda sold within city limits, or $5.04 for every case (24 cans). The Tax Foundation notes that at 1.75 cents per ounce, Seattle’s new soda tax is eight times higher than Washington’s tax on beer.

The vote comes as a defeat for the 209 local business owners who petitioned the city council to reject the tax. In a letter, these business owners implored:

Your tax stands to increase wholesale costs by more than 60 percent, which wipes out any money we might make and need to survive. Many of the products covered by this proposed tax are products that contribute considerably to the daily revenue we rely upon to help our employees live in the communities where they work, and allow for an equitable lifestyle for themselves and their families.

If we pass on this regressive tax to our customers, it will dramatically raise the cost of groceries for working families who are already spending a large portion of their paychecks on increased rents, property taxes and car tabs. Under this proposal, the $.99 two liter bottle would increase to $2.35. This is a huge hit to anyone’s budget and ultimately makes Seattle even less affordable, especially for those located in minority communities.

The legislation made unlikely allies of business owners and labor unions, who recognize that beverage taxes kill jobs in convenience stores, restaurants, and other industries. Rick Hicks, the Treasury-Secretary of Teamsters Local 174, writes, “We at the Teamsters cannot and do not support a tax that will put hardworking members of our communities out of a job.”

In 2016, Philadelphia enacted a similar tax, voting to tax soda products at a rate of 1.5 cents per ounce. Although this tax was smaller than Seattle’s tax and did not affect juice, tea, or coffee products, the Philadelphia tax still caused some local businesses to lay off as many as 20% of their employees. Philadelphia business owner Jeff Brown told Bloomberg, “I would describe the impact as nothing less than devastating."

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, however, is hopeful rather than fearful that the beverage tax will decrease consumer demand. In order to convince the city council to pass the legislation, Mayor Murray cited a Berkeley study that found soda taxes decrease soda sales by 10%. Apparently, Murray is unconcerned about how decreasing beverage demand will affect small business owners and their employees.

Perhaps the most onerous aspect of the new tax is the city council’s paternalistic attitude toward Seattle residents. By enacting a beverage tax, the city of Seattle has declared, “Citizens don’t know what’s good for themselves, so the government needs to change their behavior.” Certainly, there are healthier options than a Coke, an Arizona iced tea, or even a glass of Sunny D, but drinking these beverages affects only oneself. Along with costing jobs, imposing a beverage tax undermines individual agency by implying that personal nutrition is subject to government censure.

It is difficult to escape the irony of Seattle imposing a tax on Starbucks beverages. As the Tax Foundation’s Scott Drenkard tweeted:

 

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