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Affiliates and Friends News Roundup for April 16, 2014


Posted on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 12:00 AM PERMALINK


Property Rights Alliance: The EU overregulation of Interchange Fees hurts the average card holder and consumers in Europe READ

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CA-07 Update: GOP Candidates Make Written Commitment to Oppose Higher Taxes


Posted by Adam Radman on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 5:09 PM PERMALINK


Americans for Tax Reform congratulates CA-07 candidates Elizabeth Emken, Doug Ose, and Igor Birman for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to oppose any and all income tax hikes. All three candidates are vying for the opportunity to challenge Rep. Ami Bera (D-Calif.) in November.

Cook Political Report rates this a “Toss Up” race with a PVI of EVEN while the Rothenberg Political Report rates this race “Lean Democrat.” First-term incumbent Bera defeated Dan Lungren in 2012 (51%-49%) after redistricting altered the district. 

The NRCC rates all three Republican challengers as Contenders in their Young Guns program. Reaching the level of Contender means, “candidates have completed a stringent program of metrics and are on the path to developing a mature and competitive campaign operation.”

Candidates running for office like to say they won’t raise taxes, but often turn their backs on the taxpayer once elected. The Pledge requires them to put their rhetoric in writing and provides an additional layer of accountability to the taxpayer.

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Obamacare’s Top Five Middle Class Tax Hikes


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 3:53 PM PERMALINK


President Obama and his Democrat allies often claim they want to raise taxes only on those Americans they deem “rich.” What they forget to mention is that among the 20 new or higher taxes in Obamacare, at least seven directly hit families making less than $250,000 per year.  Below are the top five worst:

1. Obamacare 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 a new Obamacare cap of $2,500. This will squeeze $13 billion of tax money from Americans over the next ten years. (Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap.) Now, a parent looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces will find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they would have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. 

Needless to say, this tax will especially impact middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Nationwide there are several million families with special needs children and many of them 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 will limit the options available to these families. 

2. Obamacare High Medical Bills Tax: Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed a 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 take advantage of this tax deduction each year.  Almost all are middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit will be $200 - $400 per year.

3. Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax:  Because of Obamacare, since 2011 millions of Americans have not been able to purchase non-prescription, 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.

4. Obamacare 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. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that six million American families will be liable for the tax, and as pointed out by the Associated Press:  “Most would be in the middle class.”

Americans liable for the tax will pay a percentage of their adjusted gross income or a set dollar figure, whichever is higher:

 

1 Adult

2 Adults

3+ Adults

2014

1% AGI/$95

1% AGI/$190

1% AGI/$285

2015

2% AGI/$325

2% AGI/$650

2% AGI/$975

2016 +

2.5% AGI/$695

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

5. Obamacare 10 Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning:  This Obamacare tax increase has the distinction of being the first to go into effect (July 2010). Slipped into the bill by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) behind closed doors in the middle of the night, this tax hike replaced the planned Obamacare “Botax” on cosmetic surgery.  This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user.  Industry estimates from the Indoor Tanning Association 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.

Making matters worse: According to a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report, the Obama IRS didn’t bother to issue compliance guidelines until three quarterly filing deadlines had passed:  “By the time [IRS] notices were issued, tanning excise tax returns had been due for three quarters."  This was an early warning sign that the Obama administration was ill-prepared for Obamacare implementation.

Photo credit: Barack Obama

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101 Years of the Federal Income Tax


Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, 12:45 PM PERMALINK


The 101-year history of the federal income tax has been marked by more and more taxpayers paying higher and higher amounts of tax.

"The American income tax is perhaps the most dramatic example of how government grows at the expense of liberty," said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  "Slowly. Constantly. Inexorably."

As Americans finish yet another tax filing season, let’s take a look at how the income tax became the raw deal it is today:

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ATR Urges Missouri Lawmakers to Vote Yes on Right to Work


Posted by Will Upton on Monday, April 14th, 2014, 1:01 PM PERMALINK


Today, Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to the Missouri House of Representatives urging lawmakers in Jefferson City to support HB 1770 - legislation that would place Right to Work on the ballot via initiative.

An excerpt from the letter:

Don’t give in to the scare tactics of out-of-state union lobbyists. What they don’t want you to know is that Right to Work is supported by the people of Missouri.

A survey by American Viewpoint found that 63-percent of Missouri voters support Right to Work. Nearly 50-percent strongly support Right to Work – for a significant number of Missouri voters, Right to Work is a signature issue. A poll by the Adam Smith Institute found that – again – 63-percent of Missouri voters would vote YES on a Right to Work ballot initiative. Wilson Perkins Allen found, in October of 2013, that 65-percent of voters support Right to Work – with 51-percent strong supporting.

You can read the entire letter here.

Photo Credit: 
Danielle Kellogg

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Steve

Make every state and the federal government "right to work" and unemployment will fall sharply and wages will rise.

Ralph Murphy

atr is baloney

Ralph Murphy

out of state is right! you people are liars!


Minnesota Lawmakers Aim to Sack Taxpayers


Posted by Jorge Marin on Monday, April 14th, 2014, 10:46 AM PERMALINK


Although the roof collapsed at the Minnesota Viking’s former stadium,that has not stopped blitzing lawmakers from trying to raise the roof on taxes.

Minnesota lawmakers have decided to tap into NFL fans for more revenue. House Bill 7173 was introduced into the state House of Representatives last week. The measure would impose a 50 percent gross receipts tax on “the sale of stadium builder’s or seat licenses in the stadium.”

The 2013 law being amended with this bill taxed the rental of suites and skyboxes at 10 percent. Hungry for more money, now, individually licensed seats throughout stadium would be taxed at 50 percent. Sadly, not even the gridiron is safe from greedy politicians.

Far from being a cash-strapped state, Minnesota has the 7th highest state and local tax burden in the nation according to the Tax Foundation. However, rather than trying to boost the competitiveness of their state, legislators are seeking even more revenue to line Saint Paul’s pockets. In one of the most uncompetitive tax environments nationally this is clearly unsportsmanlike conduct.

While states across the country are getting serious about their own tax rates, Minnesota must stop playing games with their tax and spend policies before residents decide to take their hard earned money to where it will be more respected. Already Wisconsin has used its surplus to cut rates and Tennessee is poised to eliminate the last vestiges of their income tax altogether. Clearly these states have the future growth of their communities in mind.

In a year with a budget surplus, it’s incomprehensible that legislators would look to raise taxes on football fans instead of exercising more fiscal restraint.  ATR urges Minnesotans to contact their representatives and oppose this ridiculous attempt at extracting more money from taxpayers. Please contact your legislator at 651-296-8338 to voice your opposition to this unfair tax hike.

Photo Credit: TBoard

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RHO1953

Fifty percent? Wow. Betcha the democrat voters get on board with it though. They never get enough taxation to keep 'em happy.

remy hafertepe

That is the biggest pile of GOP ( good old propaganda ) crap ever. It is not the workers of Missouri that are pushing this law. The wages in the construction industry are almost half in rtw states but the accident rate is MUCH higher.
The poorest states in the country are right to work. ST. Louis has several companies that are among the biggest in the country and they got that big paying union wages.
The construction industry is already starting to boom again. 2014 is gonna be a great year for Missouri workers unless rtw passes.

Fizzycist

I left a State with plenty of local and state taxes years ago....in terms of taxes, cost of living, housing, etc. over the years I've saved myself plenty of money...


Obama has Proposed 442 Tax Hikes Since Taking Office


Posted by Max Velthoven, John Kartch, Ryan Ellis on Monday, April 14th, 2014, 6:00 AM PERMALINK


Since taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama has formally proposed a total of 442 tax increases, according to an Americans for Tax Reform analysis of Obama administration budgets for fiscal years 2010 through 2015.

The 442 total proposed tax increases does not include the 20 tax increases Obama signed into law as part of Obamacare.

“History tells us what Obama was able to do. This list reminds us of what Obama wanted to do,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The number of proposed tax increases per year is as follows:

-79 tax increases for FY 2010

-52 tax increases for FY 2011

-47 tax increases for FY 2012

-34 tax increases for FY 2013

-137 tax increases for FY 2014

-93 tax increases for FY 2015

Perhaps not coincidentally, the Obama budget with the lowest number of proposed tax increases was released during an election year: In February 2012, Obama released his FY 2013 budget, with “only” 34 proposed tax increases. Once safely re-elected, Obama came back with a vengeance, proposing 137 tax increases, a personal record high for the 44th President.

In addition to the 442 tax increases in his annual budget proposals, the 20 signed into law as part of Obamacare, and the massive tobacco tax hike signed into law on the sixteenth day of his presidency, Obama has made it clear he is open to other broad-based tax increases.

During an interview with Men’s Health in 2009, when asked about the idea of national tax on soda and sugary drinks, the President said, "I actually think it's an idea that we should be exploring."

During an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood in 2010, Obama said a European-style Value-Added-Tax was something that would be novel for the United States.”

Obama’s statement was consistent with a pattern of remarks made by Obama White House officials refusing to rule out a VAT.

“Presidents are judged by history based on what they did in power. But presidents can only enact laws when the Congress agrees,” said Norquist. "Thus a record forged by such compromise tells you what a president -- limited by congress -- did rather than what he wanted to do.”

The full list of proposed Obama tax increases can be found here. 

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Mike Alan

wait a second. There are 20 new taxes in Obamacare? How is that possible? He said he wouldnt raise taxes a damn dime to pay for the piece of crap.

James

His teleprompter lied to him.

Kilgore Trout

Obama's whole point is to tax the middle class into non-existence; this is the way of all Communists. Progressive taxation = totalitarian rule. VOTE FOR CONSTITUTIONALISTS ONLY!


Conservatives Unite Behind Senator Ron Johnson's Obamacare Lawsuit


Posted by Ryan Ellis on Thursday, April 10th, 2014, 3:09 PM PERMALINK


Nearly two-dozen conservative organizations today sent a letter to all U.S. Senators urging them to sign onto an amicus brief.  The brief, related to a pending lawsuit by Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) against the Office of Personnel Management, calls for Obamacare to be enforced as written.

The case in question involves the illegal rule by OPM which extends Obamacare subsidies and other matters to Congressional elected officials and staff in direct contravention of the Obamacare law as written.

The full text of the letter can be found here.  Letter text and signers below:
 

On behalf of the citizen activists we represent, we urge you to add your name to an amicus brief in the case of Johnson v. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  This amicus brief is open only to Members of Congress and United States Senators.  
 
The case in question involves the illegal rule by OPM which extends Obamacare subsidies and other matters to Congressional elected officials and staff in direct contravention of the Obamacare law as written.
 
The amicus brief makes two main points:
 
The unlawful enhancement of Congressional health benefits at issue here reflects a growing trend of executive lawlessness.  It’s the duty of the President to make sure that laws are faithfully-executed.  When it comes to Obamacare, there have been many breaches of this principle.  The Galen Institute has estimated that there have—to date—been no fewer than 21 executive fiat changes to Obamacare.  It’s Congress’ job to write the laws, and it’s the President’s job to enforce them as written.  If the law isn’t working, it’s the prerogative of Congress—not the President—to change the law.
 
Lawmakers and their staff have standing to challenge the illegal distortion of their health benefits.  The OPM rule harms Congressional Members and staff because it alters the health benefits the law calls for them to have.  This denies them equal treatment under the law, since staff and Members receive OPM subsidies that other Americans cannot get.  Even worse, the impossible situation this creates for staff in particular forces them (very understandably) to be complicit in a conspiracy to violate the law as written.  
 
It’s time that the executive overreaches seen under this Administration be held in check by the courts.  Signing onto Senator Ron Johnson’s amicus brief is one way you can fight back.  We urge you to do so.
 

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Michael A. Needham, Heritage Action for America
David Christensen, Family Research Council
Grace-Marie Turner, Galen Institute
Heather Higgins, Independent Women’s’ Voice
George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom
David Williams, Taxpayers Protection Alliance
Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
Jim Martin, 60 Plus Association
Phil Kerpen, American Commitment
Timothy Lee, Center for Individual Freedom
Naomi Lopez-Bauman, Illinois Policy Institute
Amy Ridenour, National Center for Public Policy Research
Sabrina Schaeffer, Independent Women’s Forum
Brian Baker, Ending Spending
Gregory T. Angelo, Log Cabin Republicans
Jacob Huebert, Liberty Justice Center
Ken Hoagland, Restore America’s Voice Foundation

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tedshepherd

I quit reading this article when I found this in it: "This amicus brief is open only to Members of Congress and United States Senators." The United States Senate is part of Congress. Its members are Members of Congress as surely as members of the House of Representatives are. The notion that only the House of Representatives is Congress is simply mistaken, though popular with those who do not read or remember what the United States Constitution says. Our Congress is bicameral. So we all learned (didn't we?) in high school.

Bambie Tibon

Find out how you can turn Obamacare into an opportunity. No reason to fear it because this video in freedomcarebenefits.com will show you a smart way to deal with it.


Ben Sasse Health Reform Plan Free of Tax Hikes


Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014, 6:06 PM PERMALINK


The Nebraska Senate race features a spirited Republican primary with good news for taxpayers—all the major candidates have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, so primary voters won’t have to worry about whether they are voting for a tax hiker on May 13th.

We were alerted recently that one of these candidates, Ben Sasse, might have proposed a net tax increase in his health care reform plan.  We’ve had a chance to review the plan, and we can assure voters that this isn’t the case.  Here’s what the plan would do on taxes:
 

Create a new personal tax deduction for the purchase of health insurance (with all existing tax benefits for health insurance preserved).

Encourage greater portability of health insurance plans, removing any tax code impediments to this.

Expand health savings accounts (HSAs) by increasing the contribution limit, broadening the scope of what HSAs can pay for, and increasing the number of Americans eligible to open an HSA


That’s pure tax relief, plain and simple.  There’s not a tax increase anywhere in there.

Some have argued that another proposal in the plan—to means-test Medicare for affluent seniors—is a tax increase.  Hogwash.  That’s a spending cut.  Taxes are when the government takes income away from people.  This proposal simply reduces the benefits government is giving to people who can afford to pay their own way.  If that’s a tax increase, so is cutting the federal budget.  It’s absurd.

There are plenty of meaningful differences among the major candidates in the Nebraska Senate GOP primary.  Whether Ben Sasse is raising taxes via his health care plan is not one of them.

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ATR Applauds Virginia Speaker Bill Howell's Fight Against Medicaid Expansion


Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, April 9th, 2014, 12:33 PM PERMALINK


The budget showdown in Virginia continues as Democrats have refused to pass a clean budget that does not include Medicaid expansion. Though disagreements between the House and Senate regarding the actual budget are small, if not non-existent, the state Senate has insisted that Medicaid expansion be a part of this year's budget. 

Republicans control 68 out of 100 seats in the House of Delegates and under the leadership of House Speaker Bill Howell have rejected all efforts to expand Medicaid this year. ATR President Grover Norquist sent a letter to the Speaker today thanking him for his commitment in this important fight. 

Dear Speaker Howell,

On behalf of our supporters, millions of Virginia taxpayers, and taxpayer advocates, I write to thank you for your leadership in the fight against Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Virginia.

As a candidate for governor, Terry McAuliffe was asked about the use of Obamacare as a negotiation tactic during last year’s federal budget impasse. He opined, “These things should never be used as bargaining chips for our budget.” Under your leadership, Republicans have rightfully held Democrats in Richmond to this standard. I would urge continued strength on this matter.

Medicaid expansion in Virginia would be disastrous for several reasons. First, Medicaid expansion will not save taxpayers money.  Over the past thirty years, the program has grown by 1,683 percent. Adjusted for inflation, growth has still been roughly 700 percent, now comprising nearly a fourth of the state budget at $8.1 billion. Cost per recipient has also increased by roughly 6 percent per year to $6,500 per enrollee.

Medicaid will continue to be an ever-growing financial burden to the state. As far as the federal match, Congressman Paul Ryan’s warning is telling:

“The fastest thing that’s going to go when we’re cutting spending in Washington is a 100 or 90 percent match rate for Medicaid. There’s no way. It doesn’t matter if Republicans are running Congress or Democrats are running Congress. There’s no way we’re going to keep those match rates like that.” 

Second, the dramatic and unsustainable growth of Medicaid in Virginia crowds out funding for other budget priorities like transportation, education, and public safety. Adding hundreds of thousands of more enrollees to the state system will decrease the quality of care already provided to individuals enrolled in the program now. It will do this while forcing the legislature to cut costs in other areas of the budget to fund a program that provides sub-par quality of care to Virginians in need.

Third, the state Medicaid system needs serious reform. Though that task falls within the purview of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, or MIRC, the legislature would be wise to take the issue head on in the next 12-16 months. Reform should not be a precursor to expansion; it should be the only alternative Republicans are willing to accept. Ken Cuccinelli was a leader in exposing the waste, fraud, and abuse that runs rampant throughout Medicaid and an independent audit would be a good start and would potentially save Virginia taxpayers millions of dollars.

Virginia should begin to follow in the footsteps of other states that are beginning reform the way they provide health care through Medicaid. For example, pilot programs in Florida have saved the state roughly $100 million per year by enrolling poor and disabled patients in private health insurance.

We applaud your leadership and commitment to stop Medicaid expansion and look forward to working with you and the legislature going forward. If you have any questions, please contact state affairs manager Paul Blair at 202-785-0266 or by email at pblair@atr.org.

Grover Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

If Democrats insist on Obamacare's Medicaid expansion in Virginia and refuse to decouple it from the budget, the Virginia state government will shut down on July 1, something the governor is prepared to do

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WorkingMomof4

The idiocy has spread to my home state~heaven help us! Can we not pass a clean budget and deal with Medicaid expansion as a separate issue?


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