THE INTERNET TAX MORATORIUM EXPIRATION

COUNTDOWN

Tell the Senate
to Make the
Moratorium
Permanent.
Click Here to Sign the Petition Before It's Too Late.
00
DAYS
00
HOURS
00
MINUTES
00
SECONDS

Another Tax Revolt in Massachusetts?

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, October 9th, 2014, 5:00 AM PERMALINK


Massachusetts voters could scrap a new law that indexes the state gas tax to inflation.

Question 1: “Eliminating Gas Tax Indexing” – An initiated state statute, Question 1 could repeal a law passed this past legislative session indexing the Massachusetts state gas tax to inflation – eliminating a vote-less backdoor tax hike on taxpayers. The initiative reads “This proposed law would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gasoline tax, which was 24 cents per gallon as of September 2013, (1) be adjusted every year by the percentage change in the Consumer Price Index over the preceding year, but (2) not be adjusted below 21.5 cents per gallon.” Voters are told: “A YES VOTE would eliminate the requirement that the state’s gas tax be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index. A NO VOTE would make no change in the laws regarding the gas tax.”

In addition to the ballot language, voters are also presented with an argument in favor of eliminating the gas tax indexing, as well as an argument against. The initiative has the support of several legislators and Jeffrey T. Kuhner (President of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal) who notes in The Washington Times: “…the law is more than a corrupt attempt to hike taxes through the back door. It represents a fundamental assault on the very basis of our constitutional republic: No taxation without representation. This law does the very opposite. It enshrines the pernicious principle of taxation without representation. Democratic lawmakers have given themselves a free pass from voting for any future gas tax increases. This violates the basic precept of self-government – namely, that elected representatives can only raise the people’s taxes with their explicit consent through a vote in the legislature. The precedent is ominous. Today, it is gas taxes that will be hiked automatically. Tomorrow, it will be property, sales and income taxes. It is liberal corruption at its worst – a one-party regime that doesn’t even pretend to care about democratic accountability and government transparency.”

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


More Support Rolls In for Ridesharing Companies

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, 4:55 PM PERMALINK


Following a successful summer defense against regulatory challenges in major cities across the country, ridesharing companies now have more good news. This week, The Initiative on Global Markets Economic Experts Panel, hosted by the University of Chicago, unanimously agreed that allowing ridesharing companies, like Uber, Lyft and, Sidecar to operate without oppressive regulations increases consumer welfare. In short: stop suing Uber, and start using it instead. This is welcome news in the nation’s capital, where this week, cab drivers are protesting against Uber, while failing to realize that spending all day not working in protest just gives even more incentive for DC consumers to request an Uber instead.

When asked whether they agree or disagree that “letting car services such as Uber or Lyft compete with taxi firms on equal footing regarding genuine safety and insurance requirements, but without restrictions on prices or routes, raises consumer welfare,” an overwhelming majority “strongly agreed” or “agreed.” Specifically, 56% “strongly agreed,” while 37% “agreed.” 0% were uncertain, disagreed, or strongly disagreed, while several panelists abstained.

The panel includes 43 top economists from institutions such as MIT, Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Yale and Princeton, who vote weekly on a series of socially, politically, and culturally relevant statements. As share economy companies have grown and expanded to provide more ease and function to their users, they’ve also become the prime target for regulators, who see them as disruptive and threatening.

In his comments, University of Chicago professor and IMG panelist Steven Kaplan wrote, “new technology/information more than offset any net benefits of regulation.”

Certain city councils, on the other hand, disagree. Over the past few months, large cities held hostage by entitled cab companies and transportation networks sent cease-and-desist letters, issued fines, and even banned the ride-sharing services completely. In response, the share economy geared up to push back against the punitive proposed regulations, encouraged by thrilled consumers.

In Austin, for example, the city began issuing cease-and-desist orders to ride share companies. In response, Uber offered completely free rides throughout the city during the South by Southwest Interactive festival, which attracts over 30,000 attendees per year (at the time, there were only 270 cabs in the city’s entire fleet.) Naturally, people were thrilled, and Austin is now implementing a pilot program to lead towards embracing ride-share companies.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Peterson Institute for International Economics senior fellow Justin Wolfers writes,

“The latest survey asked these economic experts about ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft. These services are popular with customers, but are despised by their competitors. The incumbent taxi and limousine services have largely eschewed trying to compete with lower prices or better service, instead working behind the scenes to persuade regulators to banish ride sharing. Their arguments dress their naked self-interest in the guise of public policy concerns. But do the economists buy it? Should regulators restrict the prices, the number of drivers or the available routes available to Uber and its brethren?

                In a word: No.”

ATR’s John Kartch writes in a Forbes op-ed that Republicans and center-right groups need to take advantage of this upswing, and use it to develop a new generation of pro-innovation, free-market voters.

“The votes of sharing economy participants are up for grabs. Feeling a personal stake in public policy, a critical mass of voters will be open to calls to rein in the tax and regulatory excesses that get in the way of their pursuit of happiness.”

Looks like the pursuit of happiness is now just a quick Uber ride away.

Photo Credit: 
Alfredo Mendez

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments

JJinTX

Wow, short sighted, one sided, and not entirely accurate. As a conservative in support of tax reform, I am rather appalled by some of these opinion columns I have read in recent months.


Liberal Trial Lawyer Mike Woelfel Promises to Raise Taxes in Bid for West Virginia State Senate

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, 4:23 PM PERMALINK


In his bid to become the next state Senator from West Virginia’s 5th district, trial lawyer Mike Woelfel has promised voters that if elected, he will raise taxes.

Click here to listen.

“I’m the first politician that says I’ll raise your taxes.” -Mike Woelfel

Hold your wallets. Promising to raise taxes is far from a forward thinking plan for pulling West Virginia out of decades of fiscal decline. West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research estimates that by 2030, the state will lose another 20,000 residents. Raising taxes will expedite this process.

Liberal Democrat Mike Woelfel clearly doesn’t understand what’s going on in West Virginia. Hundreds of thousands of people have moved from high tax states to low-tax ones. For decades, the Democrat-run legislature has sat idly by as billions of dollars in investment and opportunities have leapt over the Mountain State. Even for a proud Progressive, this should be troubling.

The WVU study noted, “Positive changes to the state’s business or policy environment…could attract migration into the state.” Higher taxes aren’t the answer.

The Republican in the race for the 5th district is a businesswoman who understands this. Vicki Dunn-Marshall has created thousands of jobs and understands that too many people have left the state because of the kinds of policies that Mike Woelfel supports. Not only does Vicki Dunn-Marshall oppose higher taxes, she put it in writing to voters by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.

By signing the Pledge, Vicki Dunn-Marshall has demonstrated that she is the only candidate in the 5th district that stands with taxpayers and against special spending interests in Charleston. Voters should remember that when they head to the ballot box on Election Day.

Click here to find out where to vote in West Virginia. 

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Taxpayer Funds Spent on Union Activities (and more...)

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Zoe Crain on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014, 2:05 PM PERMALINK


Center for Worker Freedom executive director Matt Patterson was quoted in a Washington Examiner article written by Sean Higgins regarding the massive amount of taxpayer funds spent on union activities.

Matt Patterson, executive director of the conservative Center for Worker Freedom, said the cozy relationship between public-sector unions and federal agencies was suspect at best.

“People are under the impression that tax dollars go to pay public employees to do public , but that’s not always so,” Patterson said. “It all amounts to a huge public payoff from elected officials to their Big Labor campaign contributors.”

An op-ed written by Americans for Tax Reform director of state affairs Patrick Gleason was highlighted in Eric Boehm’s Watchdog.Org article regarding California’s plastic bag ban.

As Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform pointed out in a 2011 National Review article about the San Francisco plastic bag ban: “I don’t know about you, but bags from the store I usually keep to reuse again, to line waste bins, clean up after a pet, etc., so when you don’t have a stockpile built up and aren’t saving those bags, you have to go buy new ones. This goes together with the nonsensical nature of this policy, which has no positive impact on the environment. What’s the point of discriminating against bags on one side of the checkout from bags on the other?”

Julie Gunlock of the Independent Women’s Forum wrote a piece highlighting funds being taken away from breast cancer research and funneled into wasteful, redundant projects.

Mattie Duppler of the Cost of Government Center made this point in a recent post for The Hill newspaper, where she explains that “since 2000, nearly $170 million in grants has been doled out to focus on researching one chemical- bisphenol A (BPA)… despite regulators around the world insisting BPA is safe.” Duppler also points out the paradox that exists in these funding streams- while the agency declares a product safe, it simultaneously funds anti-chemical activist groups that are trying to ban BPA and release dubious studies that claim it’s unsafe for human contact.  

Photo Credit: 
401(k)2012

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Sen. Mark Udall Wants to Raise Taxes on Colorado Families

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Adam Radman on Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, 3:53 PM PERMALINK


Rep. Cory Gardner and Sen. Mark Udall are locked in one of the most highly contested senate races in the country. According to the Real Clear Politics Average, Gardner leads Udall by less than one percentage point. While the polls couldn’t be closer, their positions on taxes are miles apart.

During yesterday’s debate, the moderator asked Sen. Udall to respond to Rep. Cory Gardner’s comments on taxes. Whereas Gardner said he didn’t believe higher taxes were necessary to reform the tax code, Udall came out in support of the Simpson-Bowles commission:

You all know, and I’ve worked with you and many of you in this room that I’ve been a longtime proponent of the Simpson-Bowles proposal…

This is the typical response one expects of a Senator who votes with President Obama 96% of the time. Not only is the Simpson-Bowles proposal a terrible idea, it has an explicit revenue target of 21 percent of GDP. Historically, tax revenues have averaged 18% of the economy (GDP). What Simpson-Bowles wants to achieve is a federal tax burden hitherto unheard-of in American history, and keep it there forever. To get an idea of the tax hike’s size, raising tax revenue by 1% would equate to a roughly $180 billion tax hike in the first year. 

Let’s not forget, Sen. Udall already voted for a trillion dollars in higher taxes with Obamacare. President Obama’s “signature” piece of legislation contains 20 new or higher taxes; including 5 that specifically target the middle class:

1. Obamacare Flexible Spending Account Tax

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax

3. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax

4. Obamacare Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax

5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning

Below is a transcript of Rep. Gardner’s response to the question of higher taxes. His response is the appropriate and classic pro-taxpayer response. The government doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. There is no reason to raise taxes:

Moderator: One of the issues that you’ll have to deal with in the next Congress, Congressman Gardner, is taxes. The business community is of course concerned about that issue. But in 2009, you also signed Grover Norquist’s no tax increase pledge. While you have advocated for tax reform, would you oppose any tax reform deal that includes a dime of a net revenue increase from taxes?

Gardner: I don’t think increasing taxes is the answer. I think the federal government has plenty of money. We ought to focus on ways that we can actually reduce spending, make the federal government balance its own books, make sure the government is spending its money wisely the way it should be doing, before it turns around and asks the people of Colorado for one more dime of their hard earned dollars.

Look, if you just look at the bill that I introduced on wasteful spending, over two hundred billion dollars could be saved simply because we eliminated duplicative and overlapping programs. I support a balanced budget amendment to our Constitution. We must make sure that we are reducing spending, reforming taxes. We have to reform taxes; we have to make sure that small businesses are able to keep more of their own dollars in their own pockets to invest into job creation.

That’s why I support comprehensive tax reform. That’s why I believe that we can allow Coloradans to invest more money into their own ideas and their own families if they’re allowed to keep that money. Now, Senator Udall has voted for the largest estate tax increase in the history of our country, he’s voted for higher taxes time and time again. He had a balanced budget amendment that exempted a great degree of spending.  He likes to call himself a fiscal hawk, but Senator Udall I think you plucked the fiscal hawk when you voted for the stimulus bill.

Photo Credit: 
Jeffrey Beall

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


Grover Norquist Speaks on Hot Issue GOP Candidates Will Face in Next Presidential Election (and more...)

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Loren Long on Monday, October 6th, 2014, 4:40 PM PERMALINK


In a Daily Beast article written by Olivia Nuzzi, Grover Norquist is quoted emphasizing that he thinks criminal justice reform will be a hot topic for Republicans vying for the GOP nomination in the next presidential election:

Grover Norquist, the libertarian tax activist and noted Burning Man attendee, told The Daily Beast: “By the time we get to the caucuses, every single Republican running for president will be versed on this, and largely in the same place… Some guys will be playing catchup ball, but I do believe that, largely, this will become a consensus issue within the center-right.”

In an article from California Watchdog written by Eric Boehm, ATR staff member Patrick Gleason is quoted talking about the nonsensical concept behind the idea of banning plastic bags at checkout, which California has made a law:

As Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform pointed out in a 2011 National Review article about the San Francisco plastic bag ban: “I don’t know about you, but bags from the store I usually keep to reuse again, to line waste bins, clean up after a pet, etc., so when you don’t have a stockpile built up and aren’t saving these bags, you have to go buy new ones. This goes together with the nonsensical nature of this policy, which has no positive impact on the environment. What’s the point of discriminating against bags on one side of the checkout from bags on the other?”

Quoted in a Chattanooga, Tennessee Times Free Press article, written by Mike Pare, Center for Worker Freedom executive director Matt Patterson speaks about Volkswagen breaking its own rules by allowing workers to use paid time on the job to vote on behalf of union organization:

However, the Center for Worker Freedom said that plant management have told superviors that some workers will be allowed to take time off to vote in the election without being charged vacation time.

The Center said this is a violation of the company’s own policy, which is known for its strict accounting of employee time away from the job.

“This is yet another example of Volkswagen managment bending over backward to make it easier for the UAW to organize in Chattanooga, despite their promises to remain neutral in the matter,” said CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson in a statement. “In effect, VW would be paying employees to do union activity if they allow this to happen.”

Photo Credit: 
The UpTake

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


IRS Does Not Need More Money

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Loren Long, Margaret Mire on Friday, October 3rd, 2014, 4:55 PM PERMALINK


A recent report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reveals that the IRS collected more revenue in the fiscal year 2013 for the third consecutive year despite funding reductions made by Republicans.

Though the IRS conducted fewer audits, its gross collection peaked at $2.9 trillion in fiscal year 2013 while enforcement revenues increased by $3.1 billion between fiscal year 2012 and fiscal year 2013. Additionally, an increase in tax return fillings and gross accounts receivable, now $400 billion, was also reported.

Regarding delinquent accounts, the TIGTA report concluded that the IRS’collection function received more delinquent accounts than were closed.

An increase in revenue combined with a lack of control of delinquent accounts makes it apparent that the IRS has no problem enforcing its policies on hardworking American people, yet has no solid internal regulation of its own.

As the IRS budget continues to decrease due to a Republican-led Congress, the revenue continues to expand at a horrifying rate. The report of increasing IRS revenue comes at a time when frustrations with the IRS’ regulatory process are also continuing to grow. The Freedom of Information Act failures, coupled with the Breitbart investigation and Lois Lerner scandal prove that despite collecting more money than ever before, the IRS is rapidly losing the very-little internal regulation it had to begin with.

Unfortunately, with programs like ObamaCare, the IRS will continue to grow its revenue while becoming more intrusive and oppressive upon hardworking American taxpayers.

Will the IRS ever learn that an increasing budget does not equal more bureaucratic bias and government intrusiveness?  The continuous unraveling of the regulations of the Internal Revenue Service make it clear that, in fact, the agency does not need more money.

Photo Credit: 
Robyn

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments

JD

More rich people are being audited...that's why Grover's crying about this...


Grover Norquist says Kansas' gubernatorial race is "most important" in 2014 election cycle (and more...)

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Loren Long on Friday, October 3rd, 2014, 3:29 PM PERMALINK


A United Liberty article by Matthew Hurtt highlights why Grover Norquist calls Kansas’ gubernatorial election “the most important race in the 2014 cycle”. Hurtt writes extensively about Grover’s support for Brownback and his achievements.

The genius of Brownback’s 2013 legislation to abolish the income tax over time is that the law now states that each year that state revenue comes in above a two percent increase—and this happens in a normal period of modest growth—all the additional revenue is used to permanently reduce the state personal income tax. Beginning in 2019, after the first round of tax rate reductions are enacted, every year the personal income tax rates will fall until they hit zero. Then the corporate income tax rate will be brought down year by year to zero. Lastly, Kansas has a banking tax that will then be reduced to zero. The tax rates will ratchet down every year there is modest growth in state revenues.  Kansas can—and now by law will—fund necessary government expenses out of the revenues from growth over time and use those to replace the personal and business income taxes.

 

In a Fox News Politics article, Barnini Charaborty writes about the tight Senate race in North Carolina, stating that key conservative groups have spent $14 million to elect Republican Thom Tillis to fill incumbent Kay Hagan’s seat and are also increasing vocal support for Tillis.

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, followed with a simple message: “We are low maintenance. We are a ‘leave us alone’ coalition.”

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


EPA Clean Power Plan to Disproportionately Affect Seniors

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Cassandra Carroll on Friday, October 3rd, 2014, 3:01 PM PERMALINK


The EPA itself has predicted that their proposed Clean Power plan will cause electricity rate prices by 2020 to go up an average of 5.9% - 6.5%, or even 10%-12% in some regions. The cost of this will be hard enough for the average working American to shoulder, but could be devastating for the approximately 27 million senior households in the United States, who already only have a median pre-tax income of $33,848. A recent study from the 60+ Association details these disturbing predictions as well as others for young and elderly Americans alike. Among the findings are:

  • The Census Bureau reports that the median pre-tax household income of 65+ households in America was $33,848 in 2012, 41% below the $57,353 median income of younger households.
  • More than 40% of America’s 65+ households had gross annual incomes below $30,000 in 2012, with an average pre-tax household income of $17,032, or $1,419 per month.
  • The prices of all essential consumer energy products – electricity, natural gas and gasoline- have increased at rates exceeding both the CPI and Social Security COLAs for the past decade, and these trends are expected to continue.
  • The average annual electric bill for 65+ households, $1,164 in 2009, represented 61% of total residential energy bills.
  • Energy costs are adversely impacting lower-income seniors afflicted by health conditions, leading them to forego food for a day, reduce medical or dental care, fail to pay utility bills, or become ill because their home was too cold. (APPRISE, 2009).

    The Clean Power Plan will have no significant effect on global carbon emissions as it is. There is no way to justify a regulation that stands to do so much harm to some of the most vulnerable among us.
Photo Credit: 
DonkeyHotey

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


DC Tax Reform to Take Effect

Share on Facebook
Tweet this Story
Pin this Image

Posted by Damien Salamacha on Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 2:19 PM PERMALINK


In July, the DC Council approved tax reform based on recommendations made by the District of Columbia Tax Revision Commission.  The shortcomings listed by the commission on DC’s tax code were the relatively large share of income that DC’s middle class had to pay, the high business taxes, and a narrow tax base.  Acting on the advice of the commission, the DC Council enacted tax reform that cuts income and business taxes, expands the low-income tax credit, and broadens the tax base through the sales tax. 

The base broadening aspects of the tax reform became effective yesterday.  Now, previously exempt items such as bottled water delivery, storage rentals and leases, carpet and upholstery cleaning, car washes, bowling alleys and billiard parlors, and among the most controversial, health club and tanning services, will be affected by the 5.75 percent sales tax.  It is important to note that no special fitness tax was included in the tax reform.  Rather, the local sales tax is now simply applied to yoga and gym classes, along with other previously exempt services.  The income tax cut amount will far exceed the higher sales tax collection that this base broadening measure will generate. 

The rest of DC’s tax reform will take effect in 2015. According to the Tax Foundation, here is what to expect from the rest of the reform:

  • Middle-income taxpayers (those between $40,000 and $350,000) will see their tax rate drop from 8.5 percent to 7 percent next year, then 6.5 percent the year after that. Those earning up to $1 million will see their tax rate drop from 8.95 percent to 8.75 percent.
  • All taxpayers will see more generous standard deductions and personal exemptions, as they will be increased to match federal levels.
  • Childless low-income workers will see a larger Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), from 40 percent of the federal credit to 100 percent of the federal credit.
  • The District’s hefty business tax will drop from the current 9.975 percent to 9.4 percent (2015), 9 percent (2016-17), 8.5 percent (2018), and then to 8.25 percent (2019), and the District will adopt single sales factor apportionment.
  • The estate tax threshold will be recoupled to federal laws

Americans for Tax Reform has previously applauded the DC City Council for restoring this much needed tax relief for District residents.  By lowering the rate of taxation for both businesses and middle-income earners DC residents can finally get some much needed relief.  This will surely boost economic activity by leaving more money in the pockets of those that have earned it.  DC is moving in the right direction by lowering tax rates on individuals and business, as well as by broadening the tax base.  It is nice to see actual tax reform occurring in our nation’s capital.

Photo Credit: 
Andy Nelson

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Top Comments


hidden