Show Notes: What the Election Results Mean for American Taxpayers

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Posted by Alec DiFruscia on Monday, November 14th, 2016, 3:41 PM PERMALINK


On Election Day, voters made a choice: they chose freedom. Republicans across the country swept into office. The GOP now holds the Presidency, Senate, House, 33 governorships, and 2/3 of State Legislatures. Congress can finally repeal Obamacare and pass tax reform, two items that Speaker Paul Ryan, Sen. Mitch McConnell and President Trump all agree on.

The threats to the Second Amendment, the sharing economy, the Supreme Court, and vaping are gone, and now it’s time for a bold conservative agenda for the next four years. 

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AmandaTrebiano

Hold down the CTRL key and push the PLUS + key and it enlarges the page by zoom, the minus/hyphen - key shrinks it back down.

jaeger8383

It would be really nice if we could actually read more than half the text on that map.


Good Riddance to Obamacare’s Tax Hikes

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, John Kartch on Monday, November 14th, 2016, 10:54 AM PERMALINK


When it was signed into law six years ago, Obamacare imposed more than $1 trillion in tax hikes on the American people over a ten year period. There are seven Obamacare tax increases that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000, a violation of President Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise any form of tax on such households.

Obama broke his promise to the American people. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump can now abolish these taxes.  

The list of tax hikes is below -- the first seven directly hit Americans making less than $250,000:

Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax: Anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2014, close to 7.5 million households paid this tax. Most make less than $250,000. The Obama administration uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.   

Starting this year, the tax was a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four had to pay a minimum of $2,085.

 

Households w/ 1 Adult

 

Households w/ 2 Adults

Households w/ 2 Adults & 2 children

 

2.5% AGI/$695

 

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that repealing this tax would decrease spending by $311 billion over ten years.

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Since 2011 millions of Americans are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts dollars. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. This tax costs FSA and HSA users $6.7 billion over ten years.

Flexible Spending Account Tax: The 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face an Obamacare-imposed cap of $2,500. This tax will hit Americans $32 billion over the next ten years.

Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap. Now, parents looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. Needless to say, this tax especially impacts middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap is particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Families with special needs children often use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase limits the options available to these families.

Chronic Care Tax: This income tax increase directly targets middle class Americans with high medical bills. The tax hits 10 million households every year. Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed an income tax deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income. This income tax increase will cost Americans $40 billion over the next ten years.

According to the IRS, approximately 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction each year before Obamacare. Almost all were middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually in 2010. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit is about $200 - $400 per year.

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: This provision increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: The Obamacare 10 percent tanning tax has wiped out an estimated 10,000 tanning salons, many owned by women. This $800 million Obamacare tax increase was the first to go into effect (July 2010). This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

Employer Mandate Tax: This provision forces employers to pay a $2,000 tax per full time employee if they do not offer “qualifying” – as defined by the government -- health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Employer Mandate Tax raises taxes on businesses by $166.9 billion over the ten years.

Surtax on Investment Income: Obamacare created a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 for singles). This created a new top capital gains tax rate of 23.8% and increased taxes by $222.8 billion over ten years.

The capital gains tax hits income that has already been subjected to individual income taxes and is then reinvested in assets that spur new jobs, higher wages, and increased economic growth. Much of the “gains” associated with the capital gains tax is due to inflation and studies have shown that even supposedly modest increases in the capital gains tax have strong negative economic effects.

Payroll Tax Hike: Obamacare imposes an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. This tax increase costs Americans $123 billion over ten years.

“Cadillac Tax” -- Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans: In 2020, a new 40 percent excise tax on employer provided health insurance plans is scheduled to kick in, on plans exceeding $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Cadillac tax will hit 26 percent of employer provided plans and 42 percent of employer provided plans by 2028. Over time, this will decrease care and increase costs for millions of American families across the country.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax on all sales of medical devices. The tax applies even if the company has no profits in a given year. The tax was recently paused for tax years 2016 and 2017. It will cost Americans $20 billion by 2025.

Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. This is a $29.6 billion tax hike over the next ten years.

Tax on Health Insurers: Annual tax on health insurance providers imposed relative to health insurance premiums collected that year. This is a $130 billion tax hike over the next ten years.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”: This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. This costs taxpayers $5.8 billion over ten years.

Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The elimination of this deduction is a $1.8 billion tax hike over ten years.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives: This deduction limitation is a $600 million tax hike over ten years.

Photo Credit: 
Kevin Spencer, http://bit.ly/2fr8ZJM

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Wri8terofWrongs

Trump just better sign it.


Map Shows Depth of GOP Dominance in the States


Posted by ATR on Friday, November 11th, 2016, 1:23 PM PERMALINK


-In 2017, Republicans will have full control of the legislative and executive branch in 26 states.

-In 2017, Democrats will have full control of the legislative and executive branch in 4 states.

Click here for a full size version of the map below.

Population of GOP-controlled states: 162,286,110

Population of Dem-controlled states: 45,661,696

 

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Lawmakers Should Oppose the CREATES Act

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Friday, November 11th, 2016, 9:00 AM PERMALINK


Before the end of the year, Congress is expected to consider S. 3056, the “Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples Act” (CREATES Act) as a pay-for in H.R.6, the 21st Century Cures Act. While the intent of the CREATES Act is to streamline the system of medical innovation, it would ultimately cause more problems than it would solve. The legislation would cause severe damage to a regulatory system that ensures the safe development of life-saving and life-preserving medicines. It should be opposed by all members of Congress.

The CREATES Act modifies an FDA regulatory process known as Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). This process applies to a small set of potentially dangerous drugs and is carefully balanced to promote safety, innovation, and access. This flawed legislation would upend this system in a reckless way that undermines these principles.

If passed into law, the CREATES Act would endanger patient and researcher safety, undermine intellectual property rights protections, open the door to unjustified litigation, and suppress innovation. 

Undermines Intellectual Property Rights: Patent exclusivity has been carefully enshrined in law to ensure that creativity, innovation, and medical growth are not undermined. It is also not unlimited or unreasonable in length because doing so would allow the creation of a monopoly and limit access to medicines at reasonable prices.

The CREATES Act creates a new litigation system with the aim of ensuring bad actors do not abuse the regulatory system to extend patent protection. However, it does so in a backwards way that gives generics the power to force innovators to hand over their IP at threat of litigation.

While supporters of the legislation argue that billions could be saved by modifying the regulatory process, this would come at the cost of suppress innovation, resulting in the slowed development of innovative new medicines and higher long-term costs.

Upends a Carefully Balanced, Working Regulatory System: REMS is a special regulatory process that affects a small set of about 40 highly advanced, yet potential dangerous drugs. This process is necessary because of the volatile nature of these medicines, and ensures they are efficiently developed and administered in a way that carefully balances property rights, safety, and access.

The CREATES Act upends this system by allowing generics to bypass FDA procedures that exist to ensure REMS medicines are safely developed. Under the proposal, a generic manufacturer is not required to include adequate safeguards for patients and researchers as a condition of authorization, and FDA is limited in its ability to deny or modify an authorization request.

Opens Door to Unjustified Litigation: If enacted into law, the CREATES Act would open the door to bad actors in the industry launching petty, unjustified litigation. This would be a handout to monied trial lawyers at the expense of innovators, consumers, and the broader healthcare system.

This legislation creates a new litigation system that leaves allows competitors seeking samples from an innovator the ability to launch litigation just 30 days after negotiation has begun --  essentially forcing innovators to hand over their IP or go to court. At its most extreme, the legislation’s lack of protections may even leave innovators responsible for actions taken by a reckless generic competitor.

Not the Solution to Lower Drug Prices: Supporters of the legislation, like Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) claim that the CREATES Act is a solution to high price of medicines. If anything this proposal would do the opposite – increase the price of medicines by creating a more burdensome, litigious regulatory system.

Costs associated with medical development are already significant. On average it costs $2.6 billion and more than a decade of research time for each new medicine that hits the market. By opening the door to more litigation in a way that shifts the burden onto innovators, the CREATES Act will undoubtedly increase these costs. 

Photo Credit: 
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamiesrabbits/

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President Trump Plans to "Dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act"

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, November 10th, 2016, 2:08 PM PERMALINK


In a statement released today President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team made it clear that one of Trump’s first priorities will be dismantling the massive 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

Trump has repeatedly criticized the Dodd-Frank Act for the economically disastrous impact it has had on the American economy, killing community banks, reducing access to credit, and increasing the regulatory burden on American businesses.

The statement issued on the Trump transition team website reads:

“The Dodd-Frank economy does not work for working people. Bureaucratic red tape and Washington mandates are not the answer. The Financial Services Policy Implementation team will be working to dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with new policies to encourage economic growth and job creation."

Among some of the items President-elect Trump has set his sights on as it relates to the Dodd-Frank Act are ending the Volcker Rule and reining in and reforming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The Trump team will have a legislative head start once they take office in January as House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) has already laid out a Dodd-Frank reform blueprint with his Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 5983), which passed out of Committee recently.  

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

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President Trump Will Rein In CFPB

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Posted by Johnathan Sargent on Thursday, November 10th, 2016, 12:40 PM PERMALINK


The results of the election combined with the ruling by the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals all but ensure that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will be facing “bigly” changes very soon. With a Republican controlled Congress and executive branch beginning next year, the CFPB’s robust rulemaking will undoubtedly be reined in.

In the 5 short years since being established the CFPB has become a symbol of Washington’s regulatory mindset. By ignoring the voice of the American people, it has become the fastest rulemaking body in the federal government. In total nearly 50 regulations have been implemented by the agency that have led to billions of dollars in additional costs for American consumers and severely impacted small businesses across the country.

In October the agency was dealt a massive blow when the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that its’ structure was unconstitutional. Overnight one of the most powerful and autonomous agencies in the federal government was forced to comply with extensive oversight as a part of the U.S. Treasury Department. 

As head of the executive branch, President Donald Trump will have no shortage of options as to how to deal with the CFPB. Currently, the agency must “ensure the benefits of their proposed regulations outweigh the costs”, but under a Trump Presidency he can further curtail the CFPB by firing its director and nominating a more pro-consumer one in his place.

If Trump requires additional options he can look to pending legislation in Congress. In September the House Financial Services Committee approved H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act. Introduced by Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), the Financial CHOICE Act significantly reduces the regulatory burden felt by American consumers and small business, and restructures the CFPB. It replaces the sole director of the agency with a 5-member bipartisan board and subjects it to oversight by Congress. Originally thought to be an uphill legislative battle, thanks to the election passage of the Financial CHOICE Act now looks within reach.  

After he officially takes the oath of office in January, President Trump will have the tools necessary to help American consumers and small business across America. The critical first step in doing so will be to rein in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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2packs4sure

Just a note for the record.
Trump has NEVER said "bigly",,,, it's "Big League".
I think either way is pretty goofy but "Big League" is less so,,,, AND,,, let's at least be accurate here.....
I expect accuracy when i come to ATR,, cuteness is ok too at times but not not at the expense of facts.


Justice for All: Oklahomans Vote to Reform the State’s Criminal Justice System

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Posted by Krista Chavez on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 4:15 PM PERMALINK


On Tuesday night, Oklahoma State Questions 780 and 781 to reform the state’s criminal justice system prevailed against pushback from the state’s district attorneys.

Question 780 reclassified certain property offenses and simple drug possessions as misdemeanor crimes, and Question 781 used money saved by this reclassification to fund rehabilitation programs to help those in need of substance abuse and mental health treatment.

“Today, Oklahoma’s voters have spoken loud and clear: it’s time to take a smarter approach to public safety and finally reform Oklahoma’s criminal justice system,” said former Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele, who led the effort to get these measures passed. “Because of the tremendous support we’ve received from Oklahomans everywhere, Oklahoma will take a major step toward reducing our prison population and investing in rehabilitation and treatment services to address the root causes of crime and better invest in public safety. This new approach is good for taxpayers, is good for small businesses, is good for public safety, and is good for families."

Red states have proven that these policies work time after time. Their success has inspired a strong movement in DC to overhaul America’s broken justice system.

Americans for Tax Reform congratulates Steele and Oklahoma for passing these common-sense reforms that will prevent people from entering prison unnecessarily and help taxpayers keep money in their pockets. 

On Tuesday night, Oklahoma State Questions 780 and 781 to reform the state’s criminal justice system prevailed against pushback from the state’s district attorneys.

Question 780 reclassified certain property offenses and simple drug possessions as misdemeanor crimes, and Question 781 used money saved by this reclassification to fund rehabilitation programs to help those in need of substance abuse and mental health treatment.

“Today, Oklahoma’s voters have spoken loud and clear: it’s time to take a smarter approach to public safety and finally reform Oklahoma’s criminal justice system,” said former Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele, who led the effort to get these measures passed. “Because of the tremendous support we’ve received from Oklahomans everywhere, Oklahoma will take a major step toward reducing our prison population and investing in rehabilitation and treatment services to address the root causes of crime and better invest in public safety. This new approach is good for taxpayers, is good for small businesses, is good for public safety, and is good for families."

Red states have proven that these policies work time after time. Their success has inspired a strong movement in DC to overhaul America’s broken justice system.

Americans for Tax Reform congratulates Steele and Oklahoma for passing these common-sense reforms that will prevent people from entering prison unnecessarily and help taxpayers keep money in their pockets. 

Photo Credit: 
Pete Zarria

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San Diego Rejects NFL Stadium Tax Hike

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Posted by Patrick Gleason on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 3:06 PM PERMALINK


On the same night that Californians approved tax hikes on income, tobacco, and soda, voters in San Diego rejected two proposed hotel tax hikes - Measures C & D - which proposed a massive hotel tax increase to fund a new football stadium for the San Diego Chargers.

Measure C was rejected by 58% of voters, while 60% voted NO on Measure D. The rejection of these hotel tax hikes is even more impressive when considering that the rate increases were falsely advertised to voters as much lower than they really were.

Approval of Measure C would’ve imposed not a six percent tax increase, as it was described in the official ballot language, but a six percentage point increase, taking the rate from 10.5 to 16.5%. This is a distinction with a major difference. Instead of a 6% hike, Measure C represented a nearly 60% increase in San Diego’s hotel tax rate. Measure D was deceptively worded in a similar fashion on the official ballot language. San Diego voters were smart to reject such a massive increase in the city’s hotel tax bite. 

Photo Credit: 
janie hernandez, http://bit.ly/2fDghZM

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State Tax Ballot Measure Roundup

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Posted by John Kartch, Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 2:15 PM PERMALINK


Taxpayer Wins:

Washington state rejects carbon tax - Initiative 732 got rejected by a 58.5% to 41.5% margin. The initiative would have phased in a $25 per metric ton carbon tax over a period of two years. After reaching $25 it would have continued to increase by 3.5% plus the rate of inflation until the tax reached $100.

Colorado rejects payroll and income tax hike – By a 79.9% to 20.3% margin, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 69, a massive tax increase that would have imposed a 10% payroll tax and a 10% tax on all non-payroll income.

Oklahoma rejects 22 percent sales tax hike  -  State Question 779 got rejected by a 59.4% to 40.6% margin. State Question 779 would have hiked the sales tax by 22% (from 4.5% to 5.5%).

Oregon rejects business tax increase - By a 59.2% to 40.8% margin, Oregon voters rejected Measure 97 which would have implemented a 2.5% gross receipts tax on all corporate sales exceeding $25 million.

Colorado rejects tobacco tax increase - By a 53.7% to 46.3% margin, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 72, which would have increased the tobacco excise tax by $1.75 per 20-pack. Additionally, all other tobacco products excluding e-cigarettes would have been taxed at 62 percent of the manufacturer's list price.

Missouri rejects 23-cent cigarette tax increase - Missouri voters rejected Proposition A by 55.3% to 44.7% margin, which would have increased the cigarette tax by 23 cents per pack by 2021. Further, all other tobacco products would have been subject to an additional 5% sales tax.

Missouri rejects 60-cent cigarette tax increase  - By a 59.2% to 40.8% margin, Missouri voters rejected Constitutional Amendment 3, which would have raised the cigarette tax by 60 cents per 20-pack in 15 cent increments by 2020. Additionally, an 'equity assessment fee' of 67 cents per pack would have been imposed on manufacturers who did not sign the Tobacco Masters Settlement Agreement (TMSA) of 1998.

North Dakota rejects Tobacco Tax Increase - North Dakota voters rejected Initiated Statutory Measure 4 by 61.7% to 38.3%, which would have increased the state tobacco tax from 44 cents to $2.20 per pack. Also, it would have raised the tax on other tobacco products (including liquid nicotine and electronic vapor products) from 28 percent to 56 percent of the wholesale purchase price. 

Illinois safeguards gas tax funds – The Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment passed by a vote of 78.9% to 21.1%. The Amendment will prevent lawmakers from using transportation funds for projects other than their stated purpose.

New Jersey safeguards gas tax funds - By a 53.6% to 46.4% margin, New Jersey voters passed Public Question 2, which dedicates all gas tax revenue to transportation projects, so politicians will be unable to raid it for their pet purposes.

San Diego, California, rejects hotel room tax increase - By a 57% to 43% margin, San Diego voters rejected Measure C, which would have raised the city's effective hotel room tax by 60% (from 10.5% to 16.5%). The tax hike funds were to be funneled to the construction of a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers. 

Taxpayer Losses:

California extends income tax hike – California Proposition 55 passed by a vote of 62.1% to 37.9%, extending the “temporary” income tax rates hike approved by voters in 2012, on incomes exceeding $250,000 a year.

California passes Tobacco tax increase  - By a 62.9% to 37.1% margin, California voters passed Proposition 56, which increases the state cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack to a total of $2.87 per pack. This increase is also applied to all other tobacco-derived products including e-cigarettes.

Missouri extends sales tax – By a 80.1% to 19.9% margin, Missouri voters passed Amendment 1, which extends a 0.1 percent sales and use tax for another ten years.

Too Close to Call:

Maine Question 2 - Maine residents voted on Question 2, a 40% tax hike (from 7.15% to 10.15%) on household incomes exceeding $200,000 per year. At this point the result is too close to call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: 
DonkeyHotey, http://bit.ly/2exvKYo

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Washington State Rejects Carbon Tax


Posted by ATR on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 3:47 AM PERMALINK


True-blue Washington state voters rejected a carbon tax by a vote of 58.6% to 41.4%.

Wow!

Initiative 732 would have phased in a $25 per metric ton carbon tax over a period of two years. After reaching $25 it would have continued to increase by 3.5% plus the rate of inflation until the tax reached $100.

Pwned!

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