CBO: Dem Healthcare Policies Will Kick Millions of their Healthcare Plans, Increase Deficit

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021, 3:35 PM PERMALINK

The health care policies being pushed by House Democrats in the reckless, multi-trillion dollar tax and spend reconciliation bill will kick 2.8 million Americans off of their current health plans and force them into government run healthcare, according to a recent letter from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  These policies will also increase deficits by a whopping $553 billion at a time that the debt remains out of control.

Democrats are attempting to expand premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available for health insurance under Obamacare. Additionally, they would include the creation of a federal Medicaid program for states that have not expanded Medicaid under Obamacare. These provisions would cost $553 billion, nearly $14,200 per person, per year. This is twice the cost of the average employer-sponsored plan.  

House Budget Committee Republican Leader Jason Smith (R-Mo.), House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), House Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas), and House Education and Labor Committee Republican Leader Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sent a letter to the CBO on October 5th requesting that the office reveal the cost and coverage impact of the health care provisions included in the reconciliation bill draft. 

The CBO found that Democrats’ plan would result in at least 2.8 million Americans losing their employer-sponsored health plans and, instead, being pushed onto government health insurance.  

The Ways and Means Committee Republicans released a statement detailing several of the CBO’s other findings:  

  • “The permanent expansion of Obamacare’s advanced premium tax credit (PTC) subsidies will cost American taxpayer’s roughly $210 billion over 10 years and cement approximately 3.4 million Americans into a government program – this includes 1.6 million Americans who were previously covered by employer plans.   
      
  • The subsidies will overwhelmingly benefit wealthier Americans more than the vulnerable. $26 billion will go towards individuals making more than 700% of the federal poverty level (FPL) or roughly $90,000 per year.   
      
  • The subsidies are untargeted: roughly $200 billion in PTC spending – over 77 percent – is dedicated to those who benefit from Democrats eliminating means-testing on Obamacare subsidies and those who are already insured.   
      
  • Further mandates on job-creators would cost $11 billion in taxpayer dollars and lead to approximately 300,000 employees losing their existing job-based health plans.   
      
  • Extending premium tax credit subsidies to those receiving unemployment will cost roughly $11 billion over 10 years and further discourage individuals to return to work.   
      
  • A new “Federal Medicaid” program will cost taxpayers $323 billion over 10 years to force 3.8 million people onto a new government-controlled health care program, paving the way for a “public option.”” 

 

In addition to these health care policies, Democrats are also pushing for the inclusion of H.R. 3 in the reconciliation bill, legislation that would create a 95 percent excise tax on manufacturers and impose an international reference pricing scheme that directly imports foreign price controls into the U.S.   

This legislation would stifle innovation, limit Americans’ access to new cures and treatments, would cost high-paying jobs across the country, and would reduce the United States’ global dominance in medical innovation. It would lead to a 29.2 to 60 percent reduction in R&D spending, which translates to 167 to 324 fewer new drug approvals.  

Additionally, the pharmaceutical industry directly or indirectly accounts for over four million jobs across the U.S and in every state, according to research by TEconomy Partners, LLC. This includes 800,000 direct jobs, 1.4 million indirect jobs, and 1.8 million induced jobs, which include retail and service jobs that are supported by spending from pharmaceutical workers and suppliers. The average annual wage of a pharmaceutical worker in 2017 was $126,587, which is more than double the average private sector wage of $60,000. H.R. 3 would threaten these existing, high-paying jobs by imposing taxes and price controls on American businesses.

The healthcare policies being pushed by Democrats will end up hurting families and patients. It will increase the federal deficit, reduce access to lifesaving cures, and kick millions off their healthcare coverage. To be clear, this is just one of many reasons to oppose Democrats’ reconciliation bill - the legislation also imposes crippling tax hikes, a radical expansion of welfare, Green New Deal climate policies. These reckless policies should be rejected.

Photo Credit: "Health Insurance Claim Form" by Franchise Opportunities is licensed under

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To Protect Due Process, Lawmakers Should Reject the False Claims Amendments Act

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021, 1:15 PM PERMALINK

Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a markup on S. 2428, The False Claims Amendments Act of 2021, legislation introduced by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). This bill would flip due process on its head by modifying the burden of proof in False Claims Act (FCA) cases so that companies would be required to prove their innocence, instead of requiring the government to prove its own case against defendants. Lawmakers should reject this proposal.

Specifically, the legislation requires defendants to disprove the plaintiff’s contention with a heightened “clear and convincing” standard of proof. In this way, the defendant’s burden to prove their innocence is higher than the plaintiff’s burden of proof to prove the defendant’s guilt. To make matters worse, this would apply retroactively to any FCA case that is pending on the date of enactment.  

FCA cases are taken up when the government suspects a company has falsely billed the government, over-represented the amount of a delivered product, or under-stated an obligation to the government.  

Adopting this new evidentiary standard ignores the views of an unanimous Supreme Court. Universal Health Servs. v. U.S. ex rel. Escobar explained that the FCA materiality element is “demanding” and “rigorous” because of its potentially penal application, detailing that the FCA “is not ‘an all-purpose antifraud statute’ or a vehicle for punishing garden-variety breaches of contract or regulatory violations.”   

In this case, the Court required the government to prove that the alleged false claim “went to the very essence of the bargain,” but imposed no additional burden on defendants in these cases. Imposing a higher burden of proof for defendants than for plaintiffs in these cases is the opposite of what the SCOTUS attempted to achieve in Escobar

While this amendment makes it more difficult for companies to defend themselves, it also shifts the cost of government discovery to defendants. It would require defendants to pay the government’s attorney fees and discovery costs unless the defendant proves that the information sought is “relevant, proportionate to the needs of the case, and not unduly burdensome.” As the National Law Review notes, this would “effectively require defendants to pay for the costs of government discovery in nearly every case because of the practical impossibility of proving a negative – the absence of an undue burden on the government.”  

The Grassley-Leahy bill would establish an evidentiary standard that is antithetical to both the aforementioned 2016 SCOTUS case and the principles which guide the function of our court system. If lawmakers are serious about protecting defendants’ presumption of innocence, a principle core to this country’s judicial system, they should reject this legislation. 

Photo Credit: "Tower of Light" by Victoria Pickering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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VIDEO: Americans Oppose IRS Snooping on Their Bank Account

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Posted by John Kartch on Wednesday, October 20th, 2021, 9:05 AM PERMALINK

Today Americans for Tax Reform released a video compilation of on-the-street interviews from local news reports showing firm, categorical opposition to the concept of IRS snooping on their bank accounts. The Democrats' new $10,000 threshold changes nothing.

Excerpts from the video:

“I don’t see what business it is of anyone’s what I spend out of my bank account."

“No, it’s not their business. I already tell them enough.” 

 “I don’t feel that’s appropriate, that the IRS should be looking into people’s bank accounts.”

“They’re trying to get in to see every little thing you’re doing.”

“It could be a little invasive.” 

“It’s kind of over the top and I just think that it’s an invasion of privacy.”

“Our bank accounts, you’d think would be somewhat private if you’re just a regular Joe Schmo making money week-to-week.”

“I do not think the government should be intervening in individual bank accounts.”

“It is personal information, that’s why we file taxes, too. You know, they should not have access to all that stuff.”

“I don’t think it’s right, it’s not their business what’s in my bank account.” 

Click here or below to view:

Photo Credit: Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA, CC BY 2.0


ATR Leads Coalition Letter Opposing Sen. Warren's "Stop Wall Street Looting Act"

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Posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform led a coalition letter in opposition to Senator Elizabeth Warren's (D-Mass.) Stop Wall Street Looting Act, which is being reintroduced in the wake of the Senate Banking Economic Policy Subcommittee's upcoming hearing titled “Protecting Companies and Communities from Private Equity.”

Senator Warren's bill would increase taxes, hurt private investment, eliminate jobs, and threaten the lifesavings of countless Americans. ATR's letter was signed by 20 other organizations.

You can read the letter below or here:

October 19, 2021

Dear Senators Warren & Kennedy, 

We are writing to express our concern about the upcoming hearing in the Senate Banking Economic Policy Subcommittee titled “Protecting Companies and Communities from Private Equity.” More specifically, we are strongly opposed to legislation like Senator Warren’s Stop Wall Street Looting Act, which would increase taxes, stifle private investment, eliminate jobs, and threaten the life savings of Americans across the country. We urge the Committee to reject this legislation and any similar legislation that would harm workers, retirees, and pensioners. 

It appears that Senator Warren is using this subcommittee hearing as an opportunity to reintroduce and highlight her Stop Wall Street Looting Act, a dangerous bill that could crush thousands of businesses at a time when the economy is still trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill is concerning for a number of reasons: 

  • Tax increases on investment: By sharply raising taxes on long-term capital gains, the bill would dampen returns of universities, startup ventures, and pensioners. Raising taxes on carried interest is part of a long-running campaign by some to raise taxes on all capital gains investment. A recent study found that raising taxes on carried interest could eliminate up to 4.9 million jobs and cost pension funds up to $3 billion per year. The bill also creates a 100% surtax on certain fees and denies legitimate interest deductions for disfavored private companies.   
      
  • Imposes new mandates: The bill penalizes private investment based entirely on the ownership structure of the underlying businesses. The legislation would impose new and onerous legal liabilities on private investors and managers that do not exist for other investors, including through a radical rewrite of the bankruptcy code. These liabilities would make it exceedingly difficult to invest in struggling businesses.   
      
  • Penalizes workers & retirees: These new regulations would make it harder for pension funds to generate stronger returns for the teachers, fire fighters and public-sector workers whose retirements depend on the performance of these investments. The bill could also cost investors as much as $3.36 billion each year, with almost half of the loss accruing to pension fund retirees.   
      
  • Eliminates jobs: Senator Warren’s legislation would erase anywhere from 6 to 26 million jobs from the American economy and reduce federal, state and local tax revenue by as much as $475 billion each year, according to a study by the United States Chamber of Commerce. 

 

As we have seen time and time again throughout history, when you tax and overregulate an activity, you get less of it. Unfortunately for workers and retirees across the country, the result of the Stop Wall Street Looting Act would hurt the livelihoods of the 11.7 million workers directly employed by private equity-backed companies. 

In 2019, when Senator Warren introduced the Stop Wall Street Looting Act, the Wall Street Journal noted that “every policy she proposes would increase government control over the private economy.” Unfortunately, the newest version of the bill stays the course. Instead of attacking private sector employers with legislation like the Stop Wall Street Looting Act, we urge the Subcommittee to focus on solutions that will empower workers.

Sincerely,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

Phil Kerpen
President, American Commitment

Krisztina Pusok, Ph. D.
Director, American Consumer Institute

Brent Wm. Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer, Americans for Prosperity

Ryan Ellis
President, Center for a Free Economy

Andrew F. Quinlan
President, Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeffrey Mazzella
President, Center for Individual Freedom

Tom Schatz
President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

Iain Murray
Vice President, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Matthew Kandrach
President, Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

Adam Brandon
President, FreedomWorks

George Landrith
President, Frontiers of Freedom

Garrett Bess
Vice President, Heritage Action for America

Andrew Langer
President, Institute for Liberty

Seton Motley
President, Less Government

Tom Hebert
Executive Director, Open Competition Center

Bryan Bashur
Executive Director, Shareholder Advocacy Forum

Saulius “Saul” Anuzis
President, 60 Plus Association

Jim Martin
Founder/Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Karen Kerrigan
President & CEO, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

David Williams
President, Taxpayers Protection Alliance

CC: Full Senate Banking Committee 

Photo Credit: "Elizabeth Warren" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Guy Nohra signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 2:21 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform commends Guy Nohra, candidate for Governor of Nevada, for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to Nevada taxpayers that, if elected, he will oppose and veto any and all efforts to raise taxes. 

Guy Nohra has made it clear that he will maintain Nevada’s 0% income tax rate. With Nohra’s signing of the taxpayer protection pledge, Nevada households can rest assured that state taxes will not go up during a Nohra administration. 

“I’m proud to be the first and only candidate for Nevada Governor to sign the Americans for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge. As Governor, I want Nevada taxpayers know that I will always have their back,” Nohra said.  

By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents make a written commitment to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is made to a candidate’s constituents, who deserve to know where candidates stand on the tax issue. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which they signed the Pledge. 

“I want to congratulate Guy Nohra for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, A written commitment to Nevadans, who deserve better than tax-and-spend policies that fall hard on the backs of hardworking families and small businesses. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and make Nevada a more attractive place to live and raise a family,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR. 

 “By signing the Pledge, Guy has demonstrated that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers in Nevada. Steve Sisolak has made it clear he will continue to pursue a higher tax and spend agenda that grows government and increases the burden of state spending on taxpayers. Nevadans deserve better” Norquist continued. 

Today, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state and federal office and to all incumbents. Nearly 1,400 elected officials, from state representative to governor to US Senator, have signed the Pledge.  

New candidates sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge regularly. For the most up-to-date information on this race or any other, please visit the ATR Pledge Database. 

Candidates for governor can still make this important commitment to voters by visiting: www.atr.org/take-the-pledge  

Photo Credit: Guy Nohra Facebook Page

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5 Times Sen. Kyrsten Sinema Voted Against Carbon Taxes

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 11:20 AM PERMALINK

Senate Democrats are pushing a carbon tax that would increase the cost of gasoline and household electricity bills in order to raise revenue for President Biden’s multi-trillion dollar tax and spend blowout, a clear violation of Biden’s pledge to not raise any form of tax on anyone making less than $400,000 per year.

According to reporting from Politico this morning, the new push for a carbon is facilitated by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona), whose opposition to other proposed tax increases has caused her Democrat colleagues to come up with additional options to pay for their progressive wish list.

Democrats are reportedly considering a carbon tax that starts around $20 per ton and ramps up every year thereafter. The Congressional Budget Office has previously estimated that a $20 per ton carbon tax would increase taxes by $1.2 trillion over a decade while the center-left Tax Policy Center found a $20 per ton carbon tax reduces the pre-tax income of households in the lowest income quintile by nearly one percent.

However, Sen. Sinema has a long and consistent voting record opposing all forms of a carbon tax, as Americans for Tax Reform documents below. If Sen. Sinema were in fact to support a carbon tax, it would be a clear reversal of her Congressional voting record to date.

Below are five instances Sen. Sinema voted against a carbon tax and the regulation of carbon emissions.

1.  2013 – Sinema votes to block the Obama Administration from unilaterally implementing a carbon tax.

In 2013, Sinema was one of twelve House Democrats voting in support of an amendment to the REINS Act (Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2013) that required the Administration to receive approval from Congress before implementing a carbon tax.

Notably, the amendment backed by Sinema inserted language into the bill that stated, “as a tax on carbon emissions increases energy costs on consumers, reduces economic growth and is therefore detrimental to individuals, families and businesses, the REINS Act includes in the definition of a major rule, any rule that implements or provides for the imposition or collection of a tax on carbon emissions.''

2.  2016 – Sinema votes in support of Steve Scalise’s anti-carbon tax resolution

As a member of the House of Representatives in 2016, Sinema voted in support of Republican Whip Steve Scalise’s anti-carbon tax resolution. Sinema was one of six House Democrats that joined with House Republicans in support of  H.Con. Res.89, which stated “a carbon tax will fall hardest on the poor, the elderly, and those on fixed incomes,” and “a carbon tax will increase the cost of every good manufactured in the United States.”

3.  2018 In the midst of her Senate campaign, Sinema again votes in support of the Scalise anti-carbon tax resolution

In July of 2018, while she was in the heat of a tight election for her current Senate seat, Sinema again voted in support of Republican Whip Steve Scalise’s anti-carbon tax resolution. Sinema was one of seven Democrats that joined with House Republicans in support of H.Con.Res.119 which stated “a carbon tax will mean that families and consumers will pay more for essentials like food, gasoline, and electricity,” and “American families will be harmed the most from a carbon tax.”

4.  April 2021 – Sen. Sinema introduces legislation to prevent the regulation of livestock emissions

Sen. Sinema and Sen. John Thune (R- South Dakota) introduced legislation in April to prevent the EPA from regulating carbon and methane emissions from livestock production.

“Cutting unnecessary regulations frees Arizona cattlemen from costly permit fees and keeps prices affordable for Arizona families,” said Sinema in a press release accompanying the introduction of her legislation.

A carbon tax would be levied on agricultural emissions, including those from livestock production and require regulation from the EPA.  

5.  August 2021 – Sen. Sinema votes to prohibit new methane requirements on livestock

In August, Sinema voted in favor of an amendment to “establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting or limiting the issuance of costly Clean Air Act permit requirements on farmers and ranchers in the United States or the imposition of new Federal methane requirements on livestock.”

Americans for Tax Reform opposes any effort to impose a carbon tax and urges Sen. Sinema to maintain her long and consistent record opposing a carbon tax.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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Democrats’ Taxes on Investment will Harm Start-Up Businesses

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Posted by Bryan Bashur on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 11:17 AM PERMALINK

Democrats have proposed numerous tax increases on investment. President Biden’s budget called for doubling the tax rate on capital gains from 23.8 percent to 43.4 percent while the House Democrats $3.5 trillion tax and spend bill proposed raising the capital gains tax to 28.8 percent. However, under the House Democrat proposal investors in small private companies will be hit twice because of the repeal of the tax exclusion on qualified small business stock (QSBS). 

Currently, the tax code allows for individuals and pass-through entities to exempt up to 100 percent of gains made on the sale of qualified small business stock if it was acquired at issuance, and held for at least five years in a C corporation with aggregate gross assets of $50 million or less. Individuals or pass-through entities can sell up $10 million, or “10 times the investor's basis in the stock,” in QSBS and still qualify for the tax exclusion. 

If this exclusion is repealed individuals would pay a 25 percent tax on capital gains from the sale of QSBS. In addition, they would pay the 3.8 percent Obamacare net investment income tax and could pay the 3 percent surtax for individuals making more than $5 million. 

In addition, taxpayers would have to pay state capital gains taxes. In California, for instance, they would have to pay an additional 13.3 percent tax resulting in a staggering tax rate of 45.1 percent.

This would be significantly higher than the tax rate charged by foreign competitors. For instance, the capital gains rate in Communist China is 20 percent, so the United States would be far less competitive.

If an investor knows they are going to lose nearly half of the gain on their stock when they sell, they may likely decide to reel back investment or invest in a different country with lower tax rates.

According to a memorandum prepared by RSM, there are clear benefits that come from the section 1202 tax exemption. RSM states that the 100 percent exclusion has “spurred interest in investments into start-up and other small businesses.”  Additionally, Patrick Smith of CliftonLarsonAllen, makes a similar statement about the impact of section 1202. In a quote he provided to the Angel Capital Association, he states that, “Section 1202 stock is one of the most powerful tools Congress has ever provided to small businesses.”

Notably, this tax increase proposed by House Democrats could reduce competition. By eliminating the section 1202 tax advantage, Democrats are threatening to reduce a vital source of capital for small businesses. According to Fred Tannenbaum at Gould & Ratner, section 1202 has provided low-cost access to capital for small businesses that are aspiring to “to be the next Amazon, Google or 10X Genomics.”

The proposal, as drafted in the House Ways and Means Committee title of the budget reconciliation bill, could drastically diminish competition and bolster market share for large companies.

Congress should reject efforts to raise taxes on investment including through the repeal of section 1202. Maintaining this provision will help ensure private capital can continue to flow to small businesses for years to come.  

Photo Credit: "US Capitol" by kidTruant is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0


Some States Demonstrate the Best Way to Replenish Unemployment Insurance Funds, Others Show What Not to Do

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Posted by Drew Carlson on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 11:02 AM PERMALINK

Across the country, states have depleted their unemployment insurance funds responding to the massive job losses precipitated by last year’s lockdown-driven economic downturn. Some states have since replenished these trust funds, but lawmakers in most states still need to take action to do so, otherwise businesses will be hit with payroll tax hikes that make it even more expensive to hire new workers.  

The Tax Foundation notes that “states have paid out $175 billion in unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic, with the federal government providing an additional $660 billion.” Because of this, “taking debt into account, state trust funds now have a negative aggregate balance of -$11 billion and are $115 billion shy of minimum adequate solvency levels.” 

Fortunately for governors and lawmakers in these states, they have approximately $95 billion in federal cash from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) available to them that can be used to refill unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds and repay UI related federal debt. However, instead of using federal aid to replenish these funds, governors in several states would rather foot the bill through payroll tax hikes. 

As the Illinois Policy Institute note, "the two ways states can fund their trusts are by either increasing employer payroll taxes or cutting benefits for the unemployed.” 

Unfortunately for Illinois taxpayers, their governor seems set on paying the state’s UI debt through the former, even though there are billions in federal funds available that could be tapped as an alternative to higher taxes on employers. Illinois took out a $4.2 billion federal loan last year to refill its unemployment fund. Illinois last month missed the deadline to repay this debt, “which leaves Illinois taxpayers on the hook to pay $60 million in annual interest on that loan,” notes IPI. notes IPI.  

Similarly in New Jersey, it was recently reported that “Gov. Phil Murphy remains noncommittal about using federal COVID relief money to offset millions of dollars that New Jersey small businesses must pay to replenish the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) fund.”.  

New Jersey has $6.2 billion in federal aid available, more than enough to cover the $885 million needed to replenish the fund. With the economic hardships brought on by the lockdowns and record unemployment levels, higher taxes are the last thing businesses need. To raise taxes instead of using readily available ARPA funds is inexcusable.  

In contrast to Illinois and New Jersey, where Democratic governors are declining to use readily available federal funds to replenish UI funds instead of resorting to state tax hikes, lawmakers in Texas are refilling their UI trust fund and pay off day with the federal funds that ARPA made available to the state. Before the Texas Legislature’s special session ended early this morning, the lawmakers approved Senate Bill 8, which applies more than $7 billion in federal funds toward the state’s UI trust fund. Unlike in Illinois and New Jersey, Texas lawmakers are using ARPA funds for their designed purpose and avoid employer tax hikes in the process.  

Raising taxes to refill the unemployment funds is inexcusable when state lawmakers and governors have billions in federal funds that can and should be used for that purpose. Congress sent states hundreds of billions of dollars to help them pay for pandemic-related expenses. For state officials not to use those funds to refill their UI funds, and to raise taxes instead, is a betrayal of taxpayers. As the aforementioned states are demonstrating, some states, like Texas, will take the optimal approach, while states like Illinois and New Jersey will serve as examples of what not to do, just as they do with so many other policy matters.  

Unfortunately for Illinois taxpayers, their governor seems set on paying the state’s UI debt through the former, even though there are billions in federal funds available that could be tapped as an alternative to higher taxes on employers. Illinois took out a $4.2 billion federal loan last year to refill its unemployment fund. Illinois last month missed the deadline to repay this debt, “which leaves Illinois taxpayers on the hook to pay $60 million in annual interest on that loan,” notes IPI. notes IPI.  

Similarly in New Jersey, it was recently reported that “Gov. Phil Murphy remains noncommittal about using federal COVID relief money to offset millions of dollars that New Jersey small businesses must pay to replenish the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) fund.”.  

New Jersey has $6.2 billion in federal aid available, more than enough to cover the $885 million needed to replenish the fund. With the economic hardships brought on by the lockdowns and record unemployment levels, higher taxes are the last thing businesses need. To raise taxes instead of using readily available ARPA funds is inexcusable.  

In contrast to Illinois and New Jersey, where Democratic governors are declining to use readily available federal funds to replenish UI funds instead of resorting to state tax hikes, lawmakers in Texas are poised to refill their UI trust fund and pay off day with the federal funds that ARPA made available to the state.  

The Texas legislature is advancing Senate Bill 8, which applies more than $7 billion in federal funds toward the state’s UI trust fund. Unlike in Illinois and New Jersey, Texas lawmakers are preparing to use ARPA funds for their designed purpose and avoid employer tax hikes in the process.  

Raising taxes to refill the unemployment funds is inexcusable when state lawmakers and governors have billions in federal funds that can and should be used for that purpose. Congress sent states hundreds of billions of dollars to help them pay for pandemic-related expenses. For state officials not to use those funds to refill their UI funds, and to raise taxes instead, is a betrayal of taxpayers. As the aforementioned states are demonstrating, some states, like Texas, will take the optimal approach, while states like Illinois and New Jersey will serve as examples of what not to do, just as they do with so many other policy matters.  

Photo Credit: “Hearne TX - storefront.jpg” by Matthew Rutledge is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Ways and Means Republicans Discuss Danger of Dem’s Socialist Drug Price Controls

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Tuesday, October 19th, 2021, 10:10 AM PERMALINK

Last week, Ways and Means Committee Republicans held a meeting to discuss the Democrats’ socialist drug price-setting plan, which House Democrats have included in their $3.5 trillion tax and spend reconciliation bill. This plan, H.R. 3, creates a 95 percent excise tax on manufacturers and imposes an international reference pricing scheme that directly imports foreign price controls into the U.S.  

This legislation would stifle innovation, limit Americans’ access to new cures and treatments, would cost high-paying jobs across the country, and would reduce the United States’ global dominance in medical innovation. 

As noted by Ways and Means Committee Republican Leader Kevin Brady (R-Texas), this dangerous proposal would lead to the development of hundreds of fewer lifesaving cures and treatments: 

The Democrats’ policies set up a dangerous trade-off: lower prices for some drugs for some people in the short-term in exchange for hundreds of fewer cures in the long-term. It also puts Washington in control of Americans’ medical decisions. As Republicans, we reject that premise. Every analysis of this price setting policy says it will result in Americans getting fewer cures. Every single analysis… 

According to the University of Chicago, Democrats’ price setting scheme would destroy up to 60 percent or, to put a number on it, 342 cures in research and development, including for devastating diseases like Alzheimers, Parkinson’s, ALS, and diabetes. The very diseases that every family is acquainted with in some way, and I think all are praying and hoping for a cure. The truth is — one lost cure is one too many” 

This is not surprising, as foreign countries that utilize price controls suffer through less medical innovation, leading to fewer cures and healthcare shortages for American patients.

The U.S. is currently a world leader when it comes to medical innovation. According to research by the Galen Institute, 290 new medical substances were launched worldwide between 2011 and 2018. The U.S. had access to 90 percent of these cures, a rate far greater than comparable foreign countries. By comparison, the United Kingdom had access to 60 percent of medicines, Japan had 50 percent, and Canada had just 44 percent.

Amicus Therapeutics’ CEO John Crowley, who testified at the meeting noted that is daughter and son, Megan and Patrick Crowley, were diagnosed with Pompe disease, a neuromuscular genetic disease. Doctors told Crowley that his children were unlikely to live past the age of two.

Crowley left his job in finance and created Amicus Therapeutics, a company which researches and develops drugs for those with rare diseases. Thanks to the successful development of new treatments, both of Crowley’s children are thriving adults. However, Crowley expressed concern that H.R. 3 would mean the next generation of lifesaving cures would never be developed: 

“[This plan] would lead to more death and more suffering. Maybe not immediately, but in the days and years and decades ahead. I think about future families who would have a child born with a rare, devastating disease, and they're going to ask the same questions we did 23 years ago. Where is the research? Who has an idea? What can we do for our child? And I'm afraid, if any of this legislation passes and price controls are put on the industry... that would drain research and development dollars. I’m afraid… that would be a mistake for the ages.” 

Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), explained that the “Democrats have presented our country with a false choice. They say that to bring the cost of drugs, we have to take back government control of prices. That we must sacrifice our world-leading innovation in treatments and cures to lower costs at the pharmacy counter for seniors.” 

H.R. 3 would harm American patients and degrade America’s world-leading role in medical innovation. ATR applauds the Ways and Means Committee Republicans for highlighting the importance of medical innovation and fighting against the Democrats’ socialist health care agenda.  

Photo Credit: "Kevin Brady" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Jake Evans Makes “No New Taxes” Commitment in GA-06 Congressional Race

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Posted by Adam L. Radman on Monday, October 18th, 2021, 1:00 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) commends attorney Jake Evans for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his race for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District seat. The Pledge is a written commitment to Peach State taxpayers that he will oppose and vote against all income tax hikes.

Candidates running for public office like to say they will not raise taxes, but often turn their backs on the taxpayer once elected. The idea of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing, so the promise is much harder to break.

“Georgia voters are looking for solutions that get Americans back to work and grow the economy. I commend Jake Evans for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and promising to hold the line on taxes. It’s the first step in jump-starting the economy,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

There are currently 178 Pledge signers in the U.S. House and 44 Pledge signers in the U.S. Senate. 85% percent of all congressional Republicans have made the written commitment to oppose higher taxes. In contrast, ZERO congressional Democrats have made that promise.

President Biden has been championing a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill, which includes the largest tax increase since 1968. These tax hikes will disproportionately hurt workers, retirees, consumers, and small businesses.

“Voters have a right to know where candidates stand on taxes before heading to the voting booth. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a simple litmus test that tells voters I’ll work to protect your wallet. I encourage all candidates for elected office to make this commitment today,” continued Norquist.

New candidates sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge regularly. For the most up-to-date information on this race or any other, please visit the ATR Pledge Database.

Photo Credit: Jake Evans for Congress

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