Anthem’s Exit Further Demonstrates Need to Repeal Obamacare

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Posted by Shane Otten on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017, 5:15 PM PERMALINK

As further proof of Obamacare’s collapse, last week Anthem announced that next year it will be pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges in Wisconsin and Illinois. Anthem, one of largest insurance providers in the nation, also stated earlier this month that it will leave Ohio’s individual insurance market. As the last statewide insurer in Ohio, the move will leave at least 18 counties and approximately 10,000 Ohioans without insurance options in the Obamacare exchanges.

With Obamacare continuing to self-destruct, Anthem joins Aetna, Humana, and other major insurers either completely exiting the market or drastically raising premiums. Until meaningful healthcare reform passes, this growing trend will only continue. Medica, the only insurer in most Iowa counties, just announced it will be increasing premiums by an average of 43.5 percent in 2018. Americans were promised that premiums would be lower under Obamacare, but as many predicted, the exact opposite is occurring. A new federal report states that 47 counties will be without any insurer while 1,200 will only have one option next year. Obamacare promised to increase insurance accessibility, but the law's many regulations and mandates have led to care that is unaffordable or out of reach for too many.

It was also promised that no American family earning less the $250,000 would pay higher taxes under Obamacare. However, this was another lie. Of the almost 20 new taxes from the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance tax is one of the most egregious, which will cost Americans $14.3 billion in 2018. The American Action Forum estimated that this tax will increase premiums by $5,000 over a decade, directly affecting millions of families and small businesses.

Last Thursday, the Senate Republicans released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, their version of health care reform. It includes measures that put people in charge of their healthcare decisions, like freeing Americans from the onerous individual and employer mandates and almost doubling the amount people can put in health savings accounts. In order to lower costs and expand choices, the Senate bill cuts the burdensome taxes imposed by Obamacare by $701 billion. The proposal also contains needed Medicaid reforms that phase out its expansion and provides states with the flexibility to best serve their citizens.

Republicans also need to fix the system as the public is anxious for reform. 64 percent of Americans, including 53 percent of Republicans, state that Trump and Congressional Republicans are responsible for any further problems with Obamacare. Anthem’s exit adds urgency to the cause and as millions of Americans struggle to find affordable health care under Obamacare, it is imperative that the system is reformed sooner rather than later.

 

Photo Credit: Dustin Gaffke

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Obamacare Repeal Bill Cuts Taxes $701 Billion

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Posted by John Kartch, Alex Hendrie on Monday, June 26th, 2017, 4:28 PM PERMALINK

The Senate’s healthcare bill repeals Obamacare taxes by $701 billion over the next ten years,  according to an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office released Monday.

Obamacare imposed a massive tax increase on the American people. As a presidential candidate in 2008, Barack Obama promised repeatedly that he would not raise any form of tax on any American earning less than $250,000 per year. But he broke the promise when he signed Obamacare. Passage of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act means tens of millions of middle income Americans will get tax relief from Obamacare's long list of tax hikes.

The Senate bill abolishes the following taxes imposed by Obama and the Democrat party in 2010 as part of Obamacare:

  • Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year. Combined with the Employer Mandate Tax listed immediately below, this is a $137 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax. Combined with the Individual Mandate Tax listed immediately above, this is a $137 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts. This is a $5.6 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans. This is a $18.6 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This is a $36 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax. This is a $100 million tax cut.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services. This is a $600 million tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax. This is a $144.7 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income. This is a $172 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax. This is a $19.6 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine. This is a $25.7 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare 0.9 Medicare payroll tax increase. This is a $58.6 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage. This is a $1.8 billion tax cut.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare remuneration tax increase on insurers. This is a $500 million tax cut.
  • The bill also delays (until 2026) the “Cadillac” tax on employer-provided insurance. This saves taxpayers $66 billion over the next ten years.

 

Here is a more detailed list of the Obamacare taxes abolished in the Senate Bill:

Individual Mandate Tax and Employer Mandate Tax: Under Obamacare, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2015, eight million households paid this tax. Most make less than $250,000. The Obama administration creepily used the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax. The Senate health bill repeals this tax and the employer mandate tax, saving Americans $137 billion over the next ten years.

For tax year 2016, the tax is a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four have 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

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Under Obamacare, the 20.2 million Americans with a Health Savings Account and the 30 - 35 million covered by a Flexible Spending Account are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using these pre-tax account funds. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $5.6 billion over the next ten years.

Flexible Spending Account Tax: Under Obamacare, 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. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $18.6 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: Under Obamacare, 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.

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.

The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $36 billion over the next ten years.

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: Under Obamacare, 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. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $100 million over the next ten years.

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 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. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $600 million over the next ten years.

Health Insurance Tax: In addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance through the individual mandate tax, Obamacare directly increases the cost of insurance through the health insurance tax.

The total revenue this tax collects is set annually by Treasury and is then divided amongst insurers relative to the premiums they collect each year. While it is directly levied on the industry, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, middle class families through higher premiums, seniors who purchase Medicare advantage coverage, and the poor who rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to the American Action Forum, the Obamacare health insurance tax will increase premiums by up to $5,000 over a decade and will directly impact 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The tax is also economically destructive – the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $144.7 billion over the next 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%.

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.

The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $172 billion over the next ten years.

Payroll Tax Hike: Obamacare imposes an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $58.6 billion over the next ten years.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: Under Obamacare, 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 Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $19.6 billion over the next ten years.

Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $25.7 billion over the next ten years.

Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The Senate health bill will abolish this tax, saving Americans $1.8 billion over the next ten years.

“Obamacare promised to reduce individual insurance premiums – a lot. Premiums rose – a lot,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Obama promised no tax hikes on anyone earning less than $250,000 – that was a lie. Taxes increased. Healthcare costs increased. Obamacare failed. By its own promised goals, it failed. It is time to repeal failure and reform healthcare to protect consumers, not bureaucracy.”

 

Photo by Marc Nozell used under a Creative Commons license

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ATR Urges Senate Lawmakers to Oppose PFC Increase

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Monday, June 26th, 2017, 12:58 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform this week released a letter urging members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to oppose any efforts to include an increase of the fee known as the Passenger Facility Charge (PCF) in the Senate's recently introduced bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The PFC program allows for the collection of PFC fees for enplaned passengers at commercial airports controlled by public agencies, with revenue going to fund airport improvement projects. The PFC is currently capped at $4.50 and maintaining the PFC at this level is a benefit to the traveling public. 

Revenue generated in recent years by commercial airports has been record breaking, in addition to record breaking amounts of revenue generated from the PFC. Thus it is wholly possible for airports to continue making improvements without incresing the cost of flying for passengers. 

The recently released Senate FAA reauthorization bill did not include any provisions to uncap or increase the PFC and Senate lawmakers should oppose any future efforts to amend the bill that would increase or uncap the PFC. 

Full text of the letter is below and can also be found here

June 26, 2017

Dear Chairman Thune and Ranking Member Nelson: 

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), and millions of taxpayers nationwide, I write to reiterate ATR’s long held opposition to efforts to increase the fee known as the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).

Proposals to allow for uncapping and increasing the PFC represent an unnecessary and unfair burden to airline passengers and should not be included in the Senate’s recently released bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Given the current record levels of revenue and PFC collections at airports, it is entirely possible for airports to continue making such improvements without increasing the cost of flying. 

According to recent financial reports filed with the FAA, US airports have over $12.7 billion in unrestricted cash and investments on hand, which equates to 362 days of liquidity. Additionally, the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) is at its highest level since 2001, with an uncommitted balance of $6 billion.

FAA reports show that U.S. airports brought in a record $27 billion in 2015 alone. This included record highs of $10.7 billion from airline rents and fees and $9.1 billion from non-airline revenues such as retail and food and beverage.

Government taxes and fees already overburden air passengers – taxes make up over 20% of the cost of an average domestic flight. In 2016 the PFC brought in a record high of over $3.1 billion and PFC revenue for 2017 is projected to increase to over $3.36 billion.

It is for these reasons Americans for Tax Reform urges members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee to oppose any efforts to include uncapping or increasing the PFC as part of the Senate FAA reauthorization bill.

Sincerely,                                   

Grover G. Norquist                                                         
President                                                                       
Americans for Tax Reform

 

Photo credit: Iulian Ursu

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ATR Urges Support for Davis-Cohen Airport Tax Amendment to House FAA Bill

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Monday, June 26th, 2017, 10:08 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform this week released a letter to House Transportation and Infastructure Committee members urging support for the bipartisan amendment being offered by Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) to the House FAA reauthorization bill (H.R. 2997).

The Davis-Cohen amendment would correct a long-standing issue with how revenue from the assessmenet of taxes, fees, and charges upon businesses located at commercial service airports is used. The problem the Davis-Cohen amendment would address is that often revenue generated from taxes and fees levied at commercial service airports is diverted and used for non-aviation purposes outside of the airport. 

The amendment being offered as part of the House's FAA reauthorization bill would resolve this issue by ensuring revenue from any tax, fee, or charge levied upon any business located at a commercial service airport remains at the airport and is used solely for aviation purposes. 

The full text of the letter is below and can also be found here

June 26, 2017

Dear Chairman Shuster, Ranking Member DeFazio, Chairman LoBiondo and Ranking Member Larsen:

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) urges your support for the bipartisan amendment being offered by Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) and Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN) to the House FAA reauthorization bill, H.R. 2997. 

The Davis-Cohen amendment offers a common sense solution to issues surrounding the manner in which revenue from the assessment of taxes, fees, and charges upon businesses located at commercial service airports is used.

It is often the case that revenue generated from taxes and fees levied at commercial service airports is diverted and used for non-aviation related purposes outside of the airport. This diversion of revenue generated at airports is wholly inequitable and deprives America’s airports of revenue that should be used solely for aviation related projects and infrastructure. 

The FAA Authorization Act of 1994 attempted to address this issue however local and state governments have utilized a loophole in the 1994 Act as it applies to the “exclusivity” requirement where such taxes may be imposed if a single business outside of the airport is also subject to the tax.

The amendment being offered by Representatives Davis and Cohen would resolve this issue, by ensuring that revenue from any tax, fee, or charge levied upon any business located at a commercial service airport remains at the airport and is used solely for aviation related purposes.

Americans for Tax Reform urges House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee members to support inclusion of the Davis-Cohen Airport Tax amendment in the House FAA reauthorization bill. 

Sincerely,                                   

Grover G. Norquist                                                         
President                                                                       
Americans for Tax Reform

 

Photo credit: Phil Roeder

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ATR Supports Representative Johnson's "No Bonuses for Tax Delinquent IRS Employees" Act

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Posted by Virginia Birkofer on Monday, June 26th, 2017, 8:00 AM PERMALINK

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration found in a 2014 report that the IRS is giving out bonuses to employees with outstanding tax obligations. This is not a hypothetical concern, the report found that the IRS has handed out over $1 million in bonuses, 10,000 hours in extra time off, and 69 step increase to more than 1,100 employees with tax problems. This report highlights the IRS’s continued misuse of funds, prompting the need for immediate reform within the agency.

These IRS employees are failing to comply with the very laws they were hired to enforce. The IRS and its employees cannot continue to be treated as above the law. To hold IRS employees to the same standards American taxpayers are obligated to follow, Representative Sam Johnson (R-TX) has proposed H.R. 1599, The “No Bonuses for Tax Delinquent IRS Employees Act.”

This legislation will prohibit the IRS from providing bonuses or other performance related award to IRS employees that have outstanding federal tax debt. In a show of support, ATR wrote to Congressman Johnson, stressing the importance of this legislation to all members of congress to ensure the IRS is held accountable to the American people.

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

June 20, 2017

The Honorable Sam Johnson
United States House of Representatives
2304 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Congressman Johnson:

I write in support of H.R. 1599, the “No Bonuses For Tax Delinquent IRS Employees Act.” This legislation prohibits the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from providing bonuses or other performance related award to IRS employees that have outstanding federal tax debt.

The concern that the IRS is giving bonuses to tax delinquent employees is not hypothetical. The agency has handed out over $1 million in bonuses, 10,000 hours in extra time off, and 69 step increases to more than 1,100 employees with tax problems, according to a 2014 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

These employees are failing to comply with the very laws they were hired to enforce. Taxpayers are expected to comply with federal law, and it is only reasonable to expect IRS employees to be held accountable to the same standard.

In recent years, the IRS has claimed it does not have enough taxpayer resources to properly do its job. At the same time, the agency has been found to have committed numerous improper activities, most notably when the IRS Exempt Organization Division led by Lois Lerner targeted non-profit conservative groups. This is just one of many instance the IRS has failed to do its job and there is clear need for reform within the agency.

Supporting the No Bonuses For Tax Delinquent IRS Employees Act is a matter principle. The simple fact is, IRS employees who are failing to comply with the tax laws they are employed to enforce should be held accountable. Members of Congress should support this important legislation and ensure the IRS is held accountable to the American people.

Onward,

Grover G. Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

 

 

Photo Credit: 
Photo in the Public Domain, link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/congressman-sam-johnson/4990298810/in/dateposted/

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Seattle Gun Tax Results? Violence Goes Up While City Hides Tax Revenue Data

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Posted by Elizabeth McKee on Friday, June 23rd, 2017, 1:42 PM PERMALINK

Seattle shootings have increased by 30% since the imposition of a city-wide gun tax, according to local news station KOMO TV. In August 2015, the Seattle city council imposed a $25 tax on firearms and a 5 cent tax on ammunition.

As reported by KOMO:

The city has seen a 17 percent increase in the number of police calls about shots fired compared with last year. Thirty-five people have been shot in Seattle so far this year -- a 30 percent increase.

The city refuses to disclose how much revenue the gun tax has generated, saying only that it has raised “less than $200,000.” Before its passage, the city claimed the tax would squeeze $300,000 to $500,000 from citizens purchasing guns.

As reported by Fox News, the tax revenue amount could be much lower:

Seattle officials refuse to say how much the tax brought in the first year, only giving the number “under $200,000.” Gun rights groups have sued to get the exact amount.

But Mike Coombs, owner of Outdoor Emporium, the last large gun dealer left in Seattle, said the actual tax revenue is almost certainly just over $100,000, a figure based on information he says the city shared with his lawyers.

Coombs said storewide, sales are down 20 percent while gun sales have plummeted 60 percent.

“I’ve had to lay off employees because of this,” Coombs said. “It’s hurting us, it’s hurting our employees.”

The hefty taxes are driving gun shop owners out of the city. One businessman, Sergey Solyanik, was forced to close his shop and move 18 miles away to Lynnwood, Washington. Solyanik told local news website MyNorthwest, “In fact, there will be a net loss for this city. This location brings in roughly $50,000 in sales tax revenue, so that is all going to be gone next year. And there is not going to be any revenue from the (gun) tax.”

“The Left is now weaponizing tax policy in its drive to destroy the Second Amendment rights of all Americans,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth, previously enacted a $1,000 gun tax, but a federal judge struck down the provision. The judge ruled, “The government need not arm the poor, but it cannot impose uncommon burdens on their ability to exercise their fundamental constitutional rights.”

As pointed out by Americans for Tax Reform throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton endorsed a 25% national gun tax. “I'm all for that. I just don't know what else we're going to do to try to figure out how to get some handle on this violence,” she said in testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in 1993. In June 2016 ABC’s George Stephanopoulos played the video of her endorsement and ask for her response. Clinton refused to disavow her gun tax endorsement.

The Seattle gun tax not only infringes upon Americans’ Second Amendment rights, it shows the futility of the progressive left’s view of taxation.

 

Photo credit: Andrew Malone

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Treasury Report Lays Plans for Financial Regulatory Reform

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Posted by Adam Johnson on Friday, June 23rd, 2017, 9:15 AM PERMALINK

President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13772 on February 2, 2017 in order to lay out core principles for regulators when creating regulations within the U.S. financial system. This order was an important step to streamlining the overly burdensome regulatory regime that has plagued the economic recovery after the Great Recession.

The Core Principles that President Trump listed out in the Executive Order are as follows:

  1. Empower Americans to make independent financial decisions and informed choices in the marketplace, save for retirement, and build individual wealth;
  2. Prevent taxpayer-funded bailouts;
  3. Foster economic growth and vibrant financial markets through more rigorous regulatory impact analysis that addresses systemic risk and market failures, such as moral hazard and information asymmetry;
  4. Enable American companies to be competitive with foreign firms in domestic and foreign markets;
  5. Advance American interests in international financial regulatory negotiations and meetings;
  6. Make regulation efficient, effective, and appropriately tailored; and
  7. Restore public accountability within Federal financial regulatory agencies and rationalize the Federal financial regulatory framework.


Within the order, President Trump requested the Secretary of Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, to give a report to the President on the extent to which current regulations, laws, guidance, and more, promote the Core Principles or inhibit them, along with subsequent reports.

This June Secretary Mnuchin released the first of many reports on the financial system’s regulatory burdens. The report covered the U.S. depository sector, which includes banks, savings associations, and credit unions. The Secretary mentions that it is of critical importance for banking regulation to align with the Core Principles. Therefore, the Secretary’s report lists out nine recommendations for regulatory reform within the depository system:

Addressing the U.S. Regulatory Structure: The current structure within the U.S. regulatory system is filled with duplication, overlap, and fragmentation, which can lead to ambiguity and repetitive regulations. This report suggests a number of changes to the function and structure of regulatory agencies in order to have greater coordination and to avoid regulatory overlap.

Refining Capital, Liquidity, and Leverage Standards: There is a heavy burden created by Dodd-Frank on banks when it comes to statutory stress testing. This report suggests raising the threshold of what is considered to be a big bank in order to ease these burdens.

Providing Credit to Fund Consumers and Businesses to Drive Economic Growth: The current regulatory burden has contributed to limited credit being passed onto consumers, which inhibits economic growth. The Treasury recommends increasing banks’ capacities to lend and their abilities to design and deliver lending products while maintaining safety standards.

Improving Market Liquidity: The many regulations implemented through Dodd-Frank have been limiting market liquidity within the banking system. By enacting significant changes to these regulations, including the Volcker Rule, the report suggests that it would support economic growth, avoid systemic risk, and minimize the risk of a taxpayer-bailout.

Allowing Community Banks and Credit Unions to Thrive: Ever since Dodd-Frank law was signed into law, community banks and credit unions have been burdened significantly with an average of one institution being shuttered daily. The report suggests exempting banks with assets under $10 billion from a number of regulatory provisions in order to ease this burden.

Advancing American Interests and Global Competitiveness: Many international regulatory standards create an unfriendly environment for banks of any size and form within the U.S. The Treasury suggests that all international standards imposed on U.S. banking agencies be reviewed in order to minimize negative economic consequences.

Improving the Regulatory Engagement Model:  With a lack of coordination and communication between governmental agencies and boards of banking organizations, there has been a decrease in effectiveness of regulations. A greater degree of inter-agency cooperation with themselves and boards of directors would allow for more transparency and accountability.

Enhancing Use of Regulatory Cost-Benefit Analysis: While Congress has imposed strict cost-benefit analysis requirements on regulatory agencies, the requirements are not uniform and consistent among the different agencies. Therefore, by adopting a more consistent and transparent cost-benefit analysis of regulations, there will be less confusion within the banking system.

Encouraging Foreign Investment in the U.S. Banking System: Foreign direct investment is an excellent way to diversify risk and expand economic growth. The report suggests increasing these investments in order to broaden international corporate investment in our banking system.

Photo Credit: Stephen Jaffe

 


PA Gov. Wants to Bring Back the “Tech Tax”

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Posted by Caroline Sayers on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 4:11 PM PERMALINK

Governor Tom Wolf wants to bring back the job-killing “tech tax.”

In more detail, this proposal – included in his 2017-2018 budget – would eliminate the sales and use tax exemptions in place for computer services and other industries, extending the 6 percent state rate and various local rates to data processing, hosting, and related services; custom computer programming services; computer system design services; and computer facilities management services.

Gov. Wolf’s proposed “tech tax” would not only put Pennsylvania in the same outlier category as the four states that currently tax such services, it would also make the Keystone State’s the most burdensome. Estimated to bring in about $349 million each year, the Governor Wolf’s “tech tax” would inflict a great deal of harm on taxpayers, consumers, and the state economy.

Pennsylvania has become a hub for technology businesses thanks, in large part, to its repeal of a similar “tech tax” six years ago through bipartisan effort. The Pittsburgh Technology Council found that 302,535 individuals in southwestern Pennsylvania are employed in the tech industry, making up 24 percent of the area’s workforce. But bringing back the “tech tax,” however, would put this sector of Pennsylvania’s economy at risk.

If the “tech tax” were brought back, businesses in Pennsylvania may be forced to offset the associated compliance costs by cutting wages, laying off employees or even moving to other states (Relocation is not hard for tech companies because they often have mobile business models). In that vein, the “tech tax” would also push business owners and selectors looking for a new place to launch or expand their operations away from Pennsylvania, as it suggests that lawmakers in the state care more about new ways to burden them with taxes than actually helping them grow. 

Along with chilling business growth and investment, the “tech tax” would have more immediate negative consequences in store for the people of Pennsylvania, as business would likely push at least part of the financial burden onto consumers.

Gov. Wolf’s tech tax would stifle a vibrant part of Pennsylvania’s economy. Overall, the tax would be detrimental to the people and businesses of Pennsylvania. If the legislators really care about their constituents they will reject this tech tax and prove that Pennsylvania is both pro-business and pro-growth. 

Photo Credit: 
Governor Tom Wolf

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ATR Applauds House FAA Bill for Not Including PFC Increase

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 12:28 PM PERMALINK

This week the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Chaired by Representative Bill Shuster (R-Penn.), released their version of a bill to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). 

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) applauds Chairman Shuster and the Committee for not including provisions that would increase or uncap the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).   

The PFC program allows for the collection of PFC fees for enplaned passengers at commercial airports controlled by public agencies. Airports use revenue generated from PFC fees to fund airport improvement projects that are approved by the FAA.

Currently the PFC is capped at $4.50 and maintaining the PFC at this level is a benefit to the traveling public. Given the current levels of revenue and PFC collections at airports, it is entirely possible for airports to continue making improvements without increasing the cost of flying for passengers.

According to FAA reports, U.S. airports brought in a record $27 billion in 2015 alone including record highs of $10.7 billion from airline rents and fees and $9.1 billion from non-airline revenues such as retail and food and beverage.

For 2016 PFC collections hit a new record high of over $3.1 billion according to FAA data, averaging roughly $260 million a month. FAA projections for 2017 show an additional increase of over $3.36 billion in estimated PFC collections. It is also the case that the Airport and Airway Trust Fund has reached its highest levels since 2001 with an uncommitted balance of over $6 billion. 

Government taxes and fees already overburden airline passengers – taxes make up over 20% of the cost of an average domestic flight. Given the record levels of airport revenue, billions in cash on hand, and PFC collections, there is simply no need to subject the traveling public to increased costs.

While Americans for Tax Reform looks forward to working with lawmakers on other provisions of the FAA reauthorization bill, the Committee's work to ensure that wholly unnecessary increases to the PFC are not included in the reauthorization bill is a positive step to benefit the traveling public. 

 

Photo credit: Jeff Slinker    

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Senate Bill Abolishes Obamacare’s Middle Class Taxes

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 10:52 AM PERMALINK

The Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill abolishes the many middle class taxes that were imposed by President Obama and the Democrat party in 2010. Obama promised repeatedly that he would never raise any form of tax on any household making less than $250,000 per year.

He lied.

Although you’ll never hear it from the establishment media, the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill:

  • Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits the 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and the 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This Obamacare tax imposed higher income taxes on households making an average of $53,000 per year.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax.
  • Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine.
  • Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage.
     

“Obamacare promised to reduce individual insurance premiums – a lot. Premiums rose – a lot,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Obama promised no tax hikes on anyone earning less than $250,000 – that was a lie. Taxes increased. Healthcare costs increased. Obamacare failed. By its own promised goals, it failed. It is time to repeal failure and reform healthcare to protect consumers, not bureaucracy.”

Photo credit: Sam Bowman

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