Obhof Leaves Ohio Senate with Legacy of Conservative Leadership

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Posted by Matt Owens on Friday, January 22nd, 2021, 1:43 PM PERMALINK

With 2020 coming to an end, now-former Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof has left a conservative legacy on a broad section of issues, from education, and criminal justice, to tax and regulatory policy.

Sen. Obhof led on regulatory reform that would prevent the growth of the regulatory state, and eliminate 30% of state regulations currently in place. Late last session, the final plank of that plan passed the House in Ohio Sb1.

Senator Obhof stated “This is perhaps the most sweeping regulatory reform in modern Ohio history…Now, we all know that some regulations are necessary for health and safety and the environment, but many of these restrictions create unnecessary hurdles for Ohio’s small businesses. We don’t need 100,000 more regulations than other states.”

On school choice, Senate bill 89 will expand the ability for parents to put their children in the best school possible through voucher programs. This bill offers low income scholarships to underserved communities. Obhof championed the bill and was a key player in ensuring it passed.

Under Obhof’s leadership, the Senate enacted multiple occupational licensing reforms. Ohio in 2019 had over 18 percent of their work force licensed in order to operate. SB 255 reduced this number dramatically, allowing fewer barriers to entry in competition across many industries. This served as a blessing particularly for low income residents as licensing fees and costs of education can keep those eager to compete out of the game entirely. According to a report from the Institute for Justice in 2019, Ohio Was losing almost 68,000 and $6 billion in inefficiency due to these burdensome licensing hurdles.

Obhof has also helped protect Ohio taxpayers from aggressive tax increases, and found ways to trim burdens. “Let me save you some time on this. There is 0% chance @OhioSenateGOP will raise income taxes,” Obhof tweeted last year in response to progressive groups.

On criminal justice reform, the Obhof-led Senate saw passage of a significant drug sentencing reform bill, SB3. The Senate put in the hard work of adjusting the bill over nearly two years, which led to its overwhelming passage. Unfortunately, despite the House likely having the votes to pass the bill as well, leadership ducked holding a floor vote.

With a House chamber in turmoil following an FBI investigation of one speaker, and forcing his resignation, which only gave way to Larry Householder and his ensuing mass bribery scandal, the Ohio Senate has had to often stand alone in putting taxpayers first.

Senator Obhof’s leadership and accomplishments have kept hard-earned dollars in the pockets of Ohio families, and made the state a leader on licensing and regulatory reform, so it is now easier to work and do business in the state. There is more to be done, and if both chambers follow this example, more conservative reform will get done.

Photo Credit: Ohio Senate

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Five Reasons to Oppose H.R. 1, Democrats’ Attempt to Consolidate Power

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Posted by Isabelle Morales on Friday, January 22nd, 2021, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Rather than pushing policies that will help the economy recover, the top priority for Congressional Democrats is legislation that will dramatically alter the American political system and consolidate power in the hands of the Left.

This legislation, designated H.R.1 in the House and S. 1 in the Senate, has been given the misleading name “For the People Act.” This proposal would fundamentally transform how elections are conducted in the United States, would politicize the Federal Elections Commission, and would directly violate constitutional mandates like free speech and states’ freedom to determine their own election laws.  

This 800 page bill is packed with alarming proposals that should be rejected by Congress. Here are five reasons to oppose H.R. 1.

1)  H.R. 1 Shows Democrats Care About Consolidating Power More Than Rebuilding the Economy. Each Congress, “H.R. 1” or” S. 1” is reserved for whatever bill is the biggest priority for the party that controls the House or Senate. At a time where millions of Americans are out of work, it is telling that Democrats’ priority is to overhaul election law. This policy would do nothing to help the economy recover or to help the country fight to Coronavirus pandemic.

2)  H.R. 1 Would Politicize the Federal Elections Commission (FEC). Under current law, the FEC is comprised of a six-member bipartisan committee: three Republicans and three Democrats. In order to move forward with any prosecution of alleged campaign violations or investigations, the FEC needs four votes. This law would limit the member number to five, therefore including two Republicans, two Democrats, and one “independent” from a minor political party. Under this rule, a president could appoint a Bernie Sanders-style “independent” to serve as the fifth member of the FEC. To make matters worse, under this law, a president could also pick the Chairman of the FEC, all but ensuring total presidential control of the Commission. 

3)  H.R. 1 Creates Taxpayer-Funded Candidates. The legislation implements a 600% match for certain political contributions to congressional and presidential candidates, forcing taxpayers to subsidize political campaigns – even campaigns that they may disagree with. Provisions like this have been abused in the past several times. In addition to being a poor use of taxpayer money, this attempt to end political corruption actually creates greater opportunity for corruption.  

4)  H.R. 1 Would Invalidate Numerous State Election Laws. Article I Section IV of the U.S. Constitution empowers states to determine the “Times, Places and Manner of holding elections…” H.R. 1 would make significant strides in stripping states of this power. It would force states to implement early voting, automatic voter registration, same-day registration, online voter registration, and no-fault absentee balloting. Additionally, the bill would invalidate voter identification laws all across the country by allowing voters to simply sign a statement affirming their identity as they enter their polling place.  

5)  H.R. 1 Would Suppress Free Speech. This law would implement a “public file” requirement for any person or organization spending over $500 in a calendar year, forcing them to identify the name, address, and contact information of ad sponsors that are not candidates or with the campaign. It also invents a new regulation called “PASO,” an overbroad standard that asks whether political speech “promotes,” “attacks,” “supports,” or “opposes” a candidate or official.  

In addition, H.R. 1 undoes the FEC’s “internet exemption” which excludes the internet from regulation of political speech, exposing online communication to the same scrutiny as traditional advertisements. This even includes any communication an organization makes on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, including paid staffers managing the platforms. The bill expands the “stand by your ad” disclaimer in video advertisements, forcing organizations to identify their top five donors at the end of advertisements. With the incredible rise in partisanship, cancel culture, and doxing, it is more important than ever to protect donor privacy. This isn’t a matter of transparency; rather, it is a new tool to chill speech. 

H.R. 1 is a dangerous piece of legislation. This legislation would suppress free speech, invalidate state laws, create taxpayer-funded candidates, and do nothing to help the economy or fight the Coronavirus pandemic. This Democrat power grab should be rejected.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

State Lawmakers Take Action To Protect Churches From Unwarranted Property Tax Assessments

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, January 22nd, 2021, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

In 2018, nearly 500 churches hosting homeschool groups in all 50 states, specifically those hosting Classical Conversations communities, received letters informing pastors that they were breaking the law. By accommodating these homeschool groups, the letter-writer accused the churches of violating the IRS’s 501(c)(3) income tax exemption, thereby jeopardizing not only their nonprofit status but also making them vulnerable to property tax liability.

In response to this threat, many churches no longer permit any outside groups to utilize their facilities. However, some state lawmakers are beginning to take action in response, passing legislation to clarify that churches can host homeschool groups without jeopardizing their tax exempt status. That’s what lawmakers in Oklahoma did in 2020. Their counterparts in other state legislatures should follow suit in 2021.

The issue at hand is not whether a group using the property is a for-profit or nonprofit organization. The issue is whether the use of the property by the group is an exempt or nonexempt purpose.

In order to avoid unnecessary restrictions on facilities that can be used by homeschooling groups, state lawmakers should amend their tax codes to clarify that the use of exempt church property may be utilized by for-profit organizations for educational purposes. Existing state laws generally support such usage, but some laws have more ambiguous language that could cause tax assessors to make inconsistent or incorrect evaluations.

Clarification legislation here would provide property tax assessors more guidance as they do their work and significantly reduce the possibility that a church could lose its property tax exempt status under state law for allowing a homeschool group to use its property.

State lawmakers in Oklahoma have already successfully amended their tax codes with such clarifying language. The clarification bill in Oklahoma, HB 2504, was enacted in May 2020. This clarification has brought peace of mind and confidence to several Oklahoma church leaders who now allow homeschool groups to use their church buildings again.

Americans for Tax Reform encourages governors and lawmakers in other states to follow Oklahoma’s lead by enacting similar clarification legislation protecting churches and other places of worship from unjust and incorrect property tax assessments.

Top 5 Reasons Why DSTS Are a Bad Idea

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Posted by Epiphany Ramirez on Thursday, January 21st, 2021, 5:35 PM PERMALINK

The European Union has promised to impose Digital Services Taxes (DSTs) targeted at American tech companies. The EU is attempting to restrain American success through these DSTs. If the EU successfully passes this unprecedented international tax, America’s innovative future is at serious risk.  

Here are the top 5 reasons why DSTs are a bad idea. 

  1. 1. DSTs might lead to double taxation.  

Traditionally, businesses pay income tax on actual profit. With DSTs, companies will have to pay a revenue tax on any earning gained through search energies, social media services, and online marketplaces. Companies will now pay both income and revenue tax, a double taxation.  

  1. 2. DSTs will ultimately hurt consumers and workers – in the U.S. and abroad

Large tech companies will have to increase overall costs in response to losing significant profit to DSTs. Workers will directly feel the impact of these increased costs through decreased pay and jobs. Third-party sellers, in partnership with large tech companies, will have to increase their prices to remain competitive. This will lead to consumers being charged more for services.   

  1. 3. DSTs could lead to a trade war.  

By passing this unprecedented tax, it will soon become the norm. The EU will have the green light to impose escalating tariffs on America continuously. This will compromise jobs and businesses on a global scale.  

  1. 4. The EU will target more American companies.  

At the moment, DSTs are targeting large tech companies. By imposing DSTs, smaller American businesses will be open to EU overreach. If the EU can directly steal from giant corporations, they will indeed find a way to tax smaller tech companies. This will put at risk American innovation and competitiveness.  

  1. 5. Profit from DSTs will line the wallets of the EU.  

The EU is using DSTs as an easy source of money. The profit they will gain from taxing large American tech corporations will be invested in EU competitiveness. This money grab will surely benefit the EU at the expense of American business.  

The Trump administration has fought to protect American innovation by opposing an international tariff system. The Biden administration needs to continue this sentiment. DSTs are both an economic and diplomatic liability. Rejecting DSTs ensures the prosperity of America’s financial and innovative success.

Photo Credit: The Left

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Gov. Kim Reynolds Wants to Deliver Tax Relief in 2021

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Posted by Sheridan Nolen on Thursday, January 21st, 2021, 4:03 PM PERMALINK

Taxpayers across the country are very likely to face a number of federal tax increases in the coming year. At least for taxpayers in Iowa, they can rest assured that they will not be facing any tax hikes at the state-level.

In her Condition of the State Address, Gov. Kim Reynolds assured Iowans that they would not see any state tax increases this year. “And remember, that unlike many states we’re starting from a good financial position,” explained Gov. Reynolds. “We aren’t looking at tough budget cuts and we’re certainly not looking at raising taxes.”

And making that promise even better, Gov. Reynolds said she would like to build on her pro-taxpayer reputation by delivering more tax relief. In 2018, Gov. Reynolds signed the largest state tax cut in Iowa history into law. Once fully implemented, that pro-growth tax reform package will provide Iowans with $2.1 billion in tax relief.

That tax law reduced the rate of every single one of Iowa's nine individual income tax brackets. This has been a huge win for individual taxpayers and families, as it allowed them to keep more of their hard-earned paychecks. It was also a big victory for small businesses, which file their taxes under the individual code, as it allowed them to invest more resources in jobs and higher wages.

In 2023, that law could do even more to help taxpayers and make Iowa a more attractive place to live, invest, and do business. Once fully implemented, it will reduce the number of individual income tax brackets from nine to four and lower the top rate from 8.53 percent to 6.5 percent. The catch here is that this component of the bill is subject to certain revenue triggers being met. While official projections have Iowa coming very close to reaching those triggers, if they fall even the slightest bit short, the tax cuts will be delayed.

Gov. Reynolds would like to guarantee that relief is provided and maybe go even further. “If anything, we need to continue the conversation about cutting taxes, and we can start by getting rid of the unnecessary triggers that were put in place in 2018,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Let’s make Iowa more competitive and guarantee our taxpayers that they can keep more of their hard-earned money.”

At present, Iowa’s top marginal individual income tax rate – the part of the income tax that is most commonly used to make decisions about investment – is in the top 10 highest in the country. To ensure that Iowa definitely becomes more competitive, Gov. Reynolds, at minimum, would like to remove the triggers to make sure the promised cuts take effect.

Even better news for Iowans is that newly elected Senate President Jake Chapman has always viewed tax relief as a top priority. In a recent interview with The Gazette, President Chapman explained:

“Now more than ever is when we need to be implementing tax cuts. We need to stir our economy as never before, and one of the ways we do that is through tax cuts. I’m talking about individual tax cuts, I’m talking about people who are paying capital gains, who are wanting to bring their business back or start a business. This is the time to really focus on how we can begin to implement tax cuts that will lead to the total elimination of income tax. My hope is that we do focus on how we can reduce taxes and eventually eliminate the income tax.”

Reducing and phasing out the state income tax would be a huge win for all Iowans. Putting the income tax on the path to zero would allow Iowa to compete with more states for businesses looking to expand, investors looking for growing economies, and families looking for better opportunities – all of which would bring new jobs and higher wages to the state.

Photo Credit: Iowa Public Radio Images

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Pete Buttigieg Puts Gas Tax Hike “On the Table” During Confirmation Hearing

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Thursday, January 21st, 2021, 3:32 PM PERMALINK

Only two days in office and the Biden administration is already considering breaking President Biden’s campaign promise that “anyone making less than $400,000 a year won’t pay a penny more” in taxes.

During his Senate confirmation hearing for Transportation Secretary, Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg told members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that a gas tax increase is “on the table” as a means to pay for infrastructure spending.

When asked directly by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) if he supported increasing the gas tax and by what amount, Buttigieg replied, "I think all options need to be on the table, as you know, the gas tax hasn't been increased since 1993 and it's never been pegged to inflation."

“There are several different models, in the short to medium term that could include revisiting the gas tax, adjusting it, and or connecting it to inflation," Buttigieg continued when pressed by Sen. Scott to provide more detail.


Support for a federal gas tax increase would be a clear violation of President Biden’s pledge to not raise any taxes on any American making less than $400,000 per year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the tax rate on gasoline would “impose a proportionally larger burden, as a share of income, on middle- and lower-income households,” while also imposing “a disproportionate burden on rural households.” Biden must immediately disavow a gas tax hike if he wants to stay in compliance with his pledge to the American people. 

Buttigieg’s consideration of a gas tax increase also directly contradicts other statements issued by President Biden on the campaign trail. 

“I’ve tried this before, we’re not going to be able to raise the gas tax,” President Biden said at an infrastructure forum in Las Vegas in February. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to raise the gas tax from what it is now to what it would be had it been raised for inflation,” Biden continued.

During today’s hearing, Buttigieg also raised the possibility of creating a new “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT) tax that would charge drivers based on a per-mile tax but cautioned that the technology might not be ready to support implementing this policy while also raising privacy concerns.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Massachusetts' Flavor Ban Disaster

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Posted by Tim Andrews on Thursday, January 21st, 2021, 10:49 AM PERMALINK

When Massachusetts implemented a ban on all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes and flavored smokeless tobacco, in the middle of 2020, experts predicted it would have no impact upon smoking rates despite what proponents of the ban claimed. Critics of the ban predicted that while failing to curb smoking, the ban would impose serious cost to the Commonwealth in the form of plummeting tax revenue caused by cross-border purchases and the creation of a booming black market.

With six months of data now available, these predictions have proven accurate. As a direct result of the ban, the Bay State is losing more than $10 million a month in tax revenue to neighboring states and criminal black-market syndicates, while smoking rates remain unchanged.

The data is undisputed. Since the flavored tobacco products ban took effect, Massachusetts retailers have sold 17.7 million fewer cigarette packets compared to the same six months in the prior year, while neighboring Rhode Island and New Hampshire have combined to sell 18.9 million more as Massachusetts residents stock up across state lines. The loss to the state, already in the midst of a fiscal crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, has thus far been a staggering $73,008,000. Given fewer than $5 million of the over $500 million the state collects in tobacco excise is spent on smoking cessation programs, the remainder allocated to the general fund, this shortfall will likely lead to further tax increases, hurting struggling families and businesses at the time the can afford it least.

While the states of Rhode Island and New Hampshire have been some of the biggest beneficiaries of Massachusetts’ ban, collecting close to $50 million in additional revenue, criminal syndicates have also benefited. Even prior to the ban, illicit tobacco accounted for over 20% of tobacco consumed in Massachusetts. Contrary to popular belief that tobacco smuggling a victimless crime consisting of  someone purchasing a few extra cartons across state lines, in reality most tobacco smuggling is run by multi-million dollar organized crime syndicates. These networks, who also engage in human trafficking & money laundering, have also been used to fund terrorist and the US State Department has explicitly called tobacco smuggling a “threat to national security”.

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is not the only loser, however. Thousands of Bay State small business owners operating convenience stores and gas stations, many of whom are already struggling amid the pandemic-driven downturn, are losing even further as they are unable to sell products their competitors across the state line are able to offer, or that can be found from an illegal seller.

In addition to lost revenue and the financing of criminal activities, another adverse effect of these bans is the disproportionate harm it inflicts upon minority communities. Approximately 80% of blacks and 35% of Latinos who choose to smoke prefer menthol cigarettes, and black adults are 60% of cigarillo and non-premium cigars smokers, with these products often flavored. For this reason, civil liberty organizations such as the ACLU and the Law Enforcement Action Partnership oppose flavor bans as they “disproportionately impact people and communities of color.”

With flavor bans failing to reduce smoking in Massachusetts (as they have failed in multiple other jurisdictions), it is time for regulators to look for a better way to reduce smoking rates.  Fortunately, one exists. Reduced risk tobacco alternatives, such as personal vaporisers, have been overwhelmingly proven to be 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, and at least twice as effective as more traditional nicotine replacement therapies, leading to the sharpest declines in both adult and youth smoking on record. For this reason, they are and endorsed by 32 of the world’s leading medical bodies and promoted as a quit smoking aid by government agencies such as Public Health England. Extrapolating from a large scale analysis by the US’s leading cancer researches and co-ordinated by Georgetown University Medical Centre, if a majority of Massachusetts smokers made the switch to vaping, close to 150,000 lives would be saved; nationally the number would be 6.6 million

The ban on flavored tobacco in Massachusetts has done nothing to reduce smoking rates or youth uptake, but has led to a sharp plunge in tax collections and done unnecessary harm to small businesses. Massachusetts is a cautionary tale for other states, demonstrating the unintended negative consequences that ill thought out bans result in.


Photo Credit: Lindsay Fox

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Five Reasons to Oppose Biden’s Plan to Raise the Corporate Tax Rate

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, 3:05 PM PERMALINK

President Joe Biden has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent as part of his plan to raise taxes by as much as $4 trillion over the next decade.

Any effort to raise taxes on businesses should be rejected. It will prolong the economic downturn and harm workers and businesses. It will make America a less competitive place to do business and could see a return of corporate inversions and an increase in foreign acquisitions. It will also harm Americans that have their savings in a 401(k) or IRA or have begun investing in the stock market.

Here are five reasons to reject efforts to raise the corporate tax hikes:

1. Raising the corporate rate will prolong the economic downturn

Now is the worst time to raise taxes on businesses because the economy is weak and millions of Americans are out of work. Raising the corporate rate will make it harder for businesses to hire new Americans, prolonging the economic downturn.

Because of government mandated lockdowns and restrictions, 140,000 jobs were lost in December according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While 11 million jobs have been recovered since the peak of the pandemic, this represents just half of the total jobs lost.

Make no mistake - there is significant work to be done in order for the economy to fully recover. In the meantime, businesses and workers remain vulnerable. Rather than pushing tax increases, we should be pushing policies that encourage investment and job creation.

Even former President Barack Obama has warned against tax increases during an economic downturn. As Obama noted:

"The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy and put businesses in a further hole."

2. Raising the corporate rate will harm workers and families

Biden’s plan to raise the corporate rate will harm workers and families, with the costs of the tax passed down to them.

Numerous studies have found that between 50 percent and 70 percent of the corporate tax is borne by workers with the remaining being borne by shareholders. This means that increasing the corporate tax rate harms workers and reducing the tax benefits workers.

Not only is the correlation between worker wages and business taxes seen in economic studies, it has been seen in the strong economic conditions following the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

After the TCJA was signed into law, American workers saw unprecedented prosperity.

The unemployment rate hit 3.5 percent in 2019, a 50-year low.

Median household income increased by $4,440 or 6.8 percent – the largest one-year wage growth in history. Average hourly earnings grew by 3 percent or more for 20 consecutive months between 2018 and the start of 2020, according to BLS.

The bottom 25 percent of wage earners saw 4 percent or greater annual monthly wage growth for 26 consecutive months under President Trump, according to the Atlanta Fed. This wage growth was greater than the top 25 percent of wage earners in every month. 

Under this economy, there were more job openings than job seekers for 24 consecutive months. In March 2018, the ratio of unemployed persons to job openings dropped to 0.9. This ratio remained below 1.0 until the pandemic when it began to rise in March 2020.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to this strong economy. However, the benefits in the years and months after the TCJA was passed are clear.

3. Raising the corporate rate will make the U.S. less competitive.

Biden’s plan to raise the corporate rate to 28 percent, which would be about 32 percent after state taxes, would give the U.S. one of the highest rates in the developed world.

The U.S. rate would be higher than key competitors such as the United Kingdom (19 percent), China (25 percent), Canada (26.5 percent), Ireland (12.5 percent), Germany (29.9 percent) and Japan (29.74 percent), according to data compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Many countries also have lower rates for certain industries to encourage innovation and investment. For instance, China has a 15% rate for industries including high tech enterprises, while the United Kingdom has a 10 percent “patent box” rate for businesses that depend on patented inventions and innovations.

The U.S. is already lagging behind when it comes to promoting innovation. According to a Manufacturing Leadership Council study, the U.S. ranks 26th in research and development tax incentives when ranking the 36 developed countries in the OECD.

4. Raising the Corporate rate could lead to a return of foreign inversions and acquisitions

If Biden raises the corporate rate, it could cause a return of corporate inversions and see a surge in foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses.

Concern over inversions grew during Obama’s second term because a number of large American businesses with combined assets of $319 billion announced plans to invert in 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Inversions occur when a U.S. business merges with, or acquires, a foreign business with the intent of incorporating the new, combined entity overseas. This happened because the U.S. tax code was uncompetitive and businesses were moving to countries with more competitive tax codes.

The inversion problem was solved when the TCJA was signed into law. In fact, after the TCJA, companies began to come back to America. The inversion problem was just one indicator of American uncompetitiveness. Prior to the TCJA, American businesses were vulnerable to foreign acquisitions.

According to a study released by EY, American companies also suffered a net loss of almost $510 billion in assets between 2004 and 2017. This was because the high U.S. rate and worldwide tax system meant non-U.S. companies could outbid U.S. companies.

If the corporate rate was lower between 2004 and 2017, the study estimates that U.S. companies would have acquired a net of $1.2 trillion worth of assets, meaning that more than $1.7 trillion in assets were lost because of the uncompetitive U.S. rate.

5. Raising the corporate rate will harm Americans with a 401(k) or invested in the stock market

Biden’s plan to raise the corporate rate will also harm the life savings of millions of Americans that are invested in the stock market or that are saving for retirement through a 401(k) or IRA. Raising the corporate tax rate will reduce the value of stocks, reducing the value of these life savings.

This has the potential to impact Americans across the country. According to recent data, 80 to 100 million Americans have a 401(k),  while 46.4 million households have an individual retirement account.

A majority of the assets in these accounts are invested in stocks. 401(k)s hold $6.2 trillion in assets and almost 70 percent of these assets (or $4.3T) are in stocks. 

Similarly, 53 percent of the more than $11 trillion in IRA savings are held directly in stocks while another 18 percent of savings are invested in funds that comprise stocks.

This is not the only source of life savings that could be reduced by Biden’s tax increase. 19 million Americans rely on public pension funds for their retirement and roughly half of the $4 trillion in savings is invested in stocks. 

This could also impact younger Americans that have begun investing in the stock market to increase their savings. Half of Gen-Zers and Millennials have begun trading in stocks as a way to increase their life savings, according to recent reports. Across the entire country, as many as 53 percent of American households’ own stock, according to the Federal Reserve. In addition, over 70 percent of households in the “upper-middle income group” owned stocks and the median value of these portfolios was over $40,000.

Photo Credit: Matt Bargar

Fond Farewell to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai

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Posted by Katie McAuliffe on Wednesday, January 20th, 2021, 1:52 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform would like to express our gratitude for the important work that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai accomplished throughout his tenure. 

The following statement can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform:  

"During the Trump Administration, Ajit Pai’s nomination as Chairman of the FCC was second in importance only to Neil Gorsuch. Chairman Pai stood up to doomsayers prophesizing the destruction of the internet if the government didn't exert more control over the internet's infrastructure. Guess what — It didn’t happen. Even under the added stress of the pandemic, the internet not only worked, it thrived. Congratulations to Chairman Pai's many successes at the helm of the Commission, and I wish him well in his future endeavors."

The following statement can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty and Americans for Tax Reform’s Director of Federal Policy

"Chairman Pai led the most transparent and productive FCC in years. No longer are DC insiders the only ones to know beforehand what the Commission is doing. Under his direction, proposed orders and rulemakings had to be publicly available three weeks in-advance of an FCC vote. Before, items were not public until after the Commission voted on them. For daring to remove excessive regulations on the internet, Chairman Pai faced harassment and threats of violence against him and his family. But it was those actions nonetheless that kept the internet working, while connecting more Americans than ever to broadband, throughout this pandemic. I thank him for his service and look forward to what the future has in store for such a dedicated public servant."

The Pai FCC has a long list of accomplishments ranging from internal agency reforms to deregulatory policies that maximized benefits to all Americans. 

During the Pai FCC, the Commission doubled its productivity from previous ones. The average Commission meeting under Chairman Pai voted on 6 items while previous ones ranged 2 – 4. The Pai FCC did this while reaching record levels of bipartisanship as well.   

Chairman Pai remarked that when he was just a staffer at the FCC, he was told dozens of times that agenda items could not be made public before Commission meetings. As Chairman, he changed that policy in the first two weeks to increase transparency. The result was that the American people now have the same access to agency plans that only lobbyists or DC insiders had before. 

Chairman Pai also ensured the FCC would have access to sound economic analysis for agency decision making. During his tenure he advocated for the creation of the Office of Economics and Analytics at the FCC. This new office consolidated economists across the agency which increased independence and added to the professionalism of their work. 

In 2018, the Pai FCC passed the Restoring Internet Freedom (RIF) Order, which repealed short-lived Obama-era regulations on internet-service providers. Activists on the left scare mongered that this would bring “an end to the internet” or that the internet would populate one word at a time. These claims were absolutely baseless. In actuality, in the two after passage of RIF, we saw increases in broadband investment, increases in network speeds, and 10x times the number of cell sites deployed than in previous years. This occurred despite the COVID-19 pandemic where internet traffic dramatically increased. In places like Europe where they held onto their utility-style regulation, they saw decreases in speeds, and had to take preventative measures to prevent networks collapsing.  

The Pai FCC also took unprecedented steps to repurpose spectrum. Spectrum is a finite resource that is necessary for wireless communications. Repurposing spectrum is a must be done, but it can be immensely difficult. To quote the Chairman, “there is no more greenfield spectrum available. That means there are no easy solutions. Whenever you explore new uses for spectrum, you’re going to draw battles with incumbents or others worried about harmful interference.” In 2018 Chairman Pai promised to make more spectrum available for 5G over the next 3 years than what was already available. And he did it. The Pai FCC opened up almost 5,000 megahertz of spectrum for use by 5G technologies. 

Americans now rely on the internet more than ever to go to work, go to school, and receive healthcare. The Pai FCC laid the groundwork to reverse-auction billions in funding to develop rural broadband and telehealth programs; ensuring that American tax dollars will be put to their best use in bridging the digital divide.  

These accomplishments are just a handful of many that will improve the lives of American citizens and businesses in ways obvious, and no-so-obvious ways for a generation to come. We wish the Chairman the very best of luck on what the future has in store for him. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Despite Yellen Claim, Biden and Harris have called for Elimination of TCJA at Least 22 Times

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, January 19th, 2021, 11:40 AM PERMALINK

Janet Yellen, Joe Biden's nominee for Treasury Secretary, said during today's Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing that Biden has "been very clear that he does not support a complete repeal of the 2017 tax law."

However, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have said at least 22 times that they want to repeal the entire Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.