Americans for Tax Reform
ATR Statement In Support Of Title II Rollback
ATR & Digital Liberty support FCC Chairman Pai's proposal to roll back title II regulations on the Internet
On Wednesday FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced a plan to roll back government micromanagement of the internet based on a tenuous claim evoking a half-century old monopoly telephone regulation. In contrast to the shadow politics of the FCC under the prior administration, the current Chairman has released to the public the plan for a new framework well ahead of the next FCC Open Meeting.
Contrary to longstanding, bipartisan tradition, the most recent prior FCC leadership loudly dismissed the call for transparency, and ultimately passed an Order without giving the public opportunity to comment. Restoring the prior openness of the Commission, Chairman Pai said "you may disagree with what is in the proposed rule-making, but, this time, you will know what is in it."
The following can be attributed to Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform:
The Telecommunications industry is now 16% of our economy – roughly the same amount as healthcare. The Obama Administration wanted government control of communications just as it wanted to control our healthcare choices through Obamacare and capital flows through Dodd-Frank.
Because of deregulation, the internet has grown into the creative and economic engine that has kept America at the forefront of worldwide innovation without meddling government bureaucrats.
But in 2015 the Obama administration claimed government control was better than consumer control and competition. They ignored existing competition and innovation and imposed utility regulations based on a law designed for the economy of the Great Depression, known shorthand as Title II.
Customers should be able to access what they want online. Title II moves us away from this goal, not towards it. Government created utilities – a nice word for monopolies – operate like all monopolies in history. Poorly.
Thank you to Chairman Pai for taking the steps to roll back excessive regulation.
The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:
By rolling back Title II regulations from the Obama era, Chairman Pai’s plan, unveiled today, focuses on keeping the internet free, protecting online privacy and preventing government micromanagement of communications infrastructure. This paves the way for revitalized investment in American broadband infrastructure that will bring more jobs and economic benefits to Americans everywhere.
Chairman Pai's proposed rulemaking suggests we restore the same bipartisan approach under Clinton and Gingrich, who agreed that the aggressive regulation of the 1930 copper wire telephone network was inappropriate for the future. They were right. Since then, competition and innovation engendered by the Internet has dramatically changed every aspect of American life.
We all agree access to online content should be preserved. We firmly disagree that this heavy-handed Title II nonsense achieves that, or anything good for that matter. Laws should be made in Congress, not at the FCC.
Photo Credit: The Hill Events
Norquist Statement in Praise of Trump Tax Reform Announcement
“President Trump has re-energized the drive for fundamental tax reform that creates growth and jobs. The plan cuts taxes for businesses and individuals and simplifies the code so Americans can file on a postcard. Reducing taxes on all businesses down to 15% will turbocharge the economy.
The Trump administration has made it clear that spending on infrastructure will be kept separate from tax reform. This will allow tax reform to lower tax rates, abolish the Death Tax, and move to a territorial tax system that will allow us to compete internationally.”
List of Tax Hikes Supported by Virginia Candidate for Lieutenant Governor Glenn Davis
In the contested race for the Republican nomination as Lieutenant Governor this year in Virginia, voters should beware: Delegate Glenn Davis has a history of raising taxes and growing government.
Here are just a few of the billions of dollars in tax hikes he has supported during his time as a Delegate to the General Assembly and City Council-member:
Sales Tax Hikes
Six Percent Sales Tax Increase Statewide (HB 2313, 2013);
Twenty Percent Sales Tax Increase in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads (HB 2313, 2013);
Gas Tax Hikes
Statewide Gas Tax Increase (HB 2313, 2013);
Targeted Hampton Roads Gas Tax Increase (HB 2313, 2013);
Wholesale tax on motor fuels increased by additional 2.1 percent beyond statewide level for Hampton Roads;
Real Estate Tax Hikes
Northern Virginia Real Estate Recording Tax Increase (HB 2313, 2013);
15 cents per $100 of property value added to the real estate recording fee On real property where a deed, instrument, or writing is recorded;
Virginia Beach Real Estate Tax Increase (Virginia Beach’s 2013 City Budget);
6-cent tax rate increase tied to state funding on top of the city’s existing 89 cents per $100 of assessed value tax (Virginian-Pilot, 10/5/13);
Hotel Tax Hikes
Two Percent Hotel Occupancy Tax Increase (HB 2313, 2013);
Car Tax Hikes
Car Titling Tax Increase from 3 to 4.14 Percent (HB 2313, 2013);
Personal Property Tax Increase on Cars from $3.70 to $3.80 per $100 of Value (James Spore, Resource Management Plan, 2010);
New Internet Taxes
New Tax on Internet Purchases (HB 1501, 2017);
Davis filed legislation this year to tax internet sales, a move that could have raised taxes by more than $250 million a year (Fiscal Impact Statement, Department of Taxation).
But wait, there’s more. Delegate Glenn Davis supported Obamacare expansion in Virginia. When his colleagues were rejecting the misguided expansion of Medicaid for able-bodied adults, Davis was penning op-eds and spending his time arguing, “We take the money, or it goes someplace else.”
Delegate Glenn Davis is not a mainstream conservative. He's out-of-touch with the real needs of taxpayers.
Unlike the last Republican Lt. Governor, Davis refuses to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to you, Virginia voters, to oppose even more tax increases. Can taxpayers trust Davis as the leader of the Virginia state Senate? On June 13th, you’ll have the chance to decide. Taxpayers deserve better.
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Trump Budget Cuts IRS Funding by $239 Million
President Donald Trump's 2018 budget blueprint is out, and it wisely cuts IRS funding by $239 million.
The blueprint states:
“Diverting resources from antiquated operations that are still reliant on paper-based review in the era of electronic tax filing would achieve significant savings, a funding reduction of $239 million from the 2017 annualized level.”
Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist praised the cut: "President’s Trump’s first budget outline makes it clear. He is governing as Reagan did. Tax cuts. De-Regulation. Spending restraint and reduction. And this time he has a Reagan Republican House and Senate at his side—not Tip O’Neil and Howard Baker tossing marbles at his feet."
The IRS has failed to spend taxpayer resources wisely. IRS boss John Koskinen and other IRS officials have claimed the agency is underfunded. One even claimed that the agency was “struggling to keep the lights on.” But the facts say otherwise – the IRS has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted to wisely spend taxpayer dollars.
In fact, the IRS is unable to justify its spending decisions, according to a report by the independent National Taxpayer Advocate:
“the IRS has come under scrutiny by external oversight organizations who have questioned the IRS’s rationale for its budget decisions. They have not been satisfied with the IRS’s response to their inquiries.”
This has not stopped agency officials from complaining, or from making further poor spending decisions. The IRS has also been caught wasting over 500,000 hours, or $23.5 million a year on union activities, and gave 57 contracts worth a total of $18.8 million to corporations that had federal tax debt or a felony conviction.
The IRS also made the costly (and perhaps illegal) decision to hire a litigation-only white shoe law firm for over $1,000 an hour over an audit of Microsoft. As noted by Congressional investigators, the agency has 40,000 employees dedicated to enforcement efforts and access to the IRS office of Chief Counsel or a Department of Justice attorney for audits. Instead the agency chose to hire an expensive law firm for at least $2.2 million.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore
ATR Supports President Trump’s Plan to Halt DOL Fiduciary Rule
Washington – ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement this week in support of President Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to halt the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule and his instruction to DOL officials to pursue regulatory action to undo the rule:
“President Trump’s announcement this week that he will delay the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule and pursue regulatory action to undo the rule is a positive first step to protect low-and-middle income Americans, small businesses, and employees from increased retirement savings costs and reduced access to investment advice.
“The Fiduciary Rule put forth by the DOL under President Obama was set to take effect in April of this year. The rule would have greatly reduced the ability of financial advisors to give advice to IRA and 401(k) holders, essentially putting the federal government between Americans and their retirement savings decisions.
“Estimates show the Fiduciary Rule could have disqualified up to 7 million IRA holders from investment advice, and reduced the number of IRAs opened annually by between 300,000 and 400,000.
“I applaud President Trump’s leadership on this important issue and his willingness to work quickly to protect Americans and their retirement savings decisions. ATR looks forward to working with President Trump to undo this harmful and costly rule.”
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore
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Vote Yes on New Jersey Public Question 2
Americans for Tax Reform Urges New Jersey Taxpayers to Vote Yes on Public Question 2
Americans for Tax Reform, a non-profit taxpayer advocacy organization founded in 1985 at the request of Ronald Reagan, announced today it is urging New Jersey voters to support Public Question 2, a ballot measure whose fate will be determined on November 8.
Public Question 2, if approved by voters, would dedicate all state gas tax revenue to the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund. Under current law only 10.5 cents of the 13.5 cent per gallon gas tax is dedicated to the transportation fund.
Diversion of gas tax revenue to non-transportation purposes is a problem in many states. Approval of Question 2 by New Jersey voters will implement a taxpayer safeguard ensuring that gas tax revenue goes toward building and maintaining roads, as opposed to being diverted to non-transportation purposes. Approval of Question 2 would also alleviate pressure to raise gas taxes in the future. Similar transportation funding safeguards are in place in both Maryland and Wisconsin.
“The legislation that abolished the state death tax, cuts the state sales tax and reduces income taxes on retired New Jersey voters as well as increasing the gas tax is overall a net tax cut over the next ten years. That is a victory for taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
“But another victory is that finally New Jersey taxpayers will be protected from politicians stealing from gas tax revenues and spending them on politics as usual. If New Jersey passed Public Question 2 that protects our gas tax monies from politicians looking to fund special interests. Limiting gas taxes to building roads and transportation projects is giant step in reducing corruption in New Jersey,” said Norquist.
Koskinen’s IRS: Meet the Shredder that Destroyed Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will appear before the House Judiciary Committee to defend himself against impeachment charges following his role in the Lois Lerner targeting scandal.
Koskinen was appointed to lead the IRS after promising to bring transparency and openness to the embattled agency. He has failed.
Lois Lerner’s hard drive met its end in the amoral maw of an AMERI-SHRED AMS-750 HD shredder, according to testimony submitted last year by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
In 2011, after an IRS-contracted Hewlett Packard technician serviced Lerner's laptop and determined the hard drive "more than likely crashed due to an impact of some sort," and after a different technician in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division noted there was “some scoring on the top platter of the drive,” the hard drive made its way to a recycling facility in Florida operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
The testimony states:
“We determined by obtaining the certificate of destruction dated April 16, 2012, interviews with the facility manager, and a search of the facility, that this shipment of hard drives was destroyed using an AMERI-SHRED AMS-750HD shredder. TIGTA agents observed the shredder in operation and noted that the shredder cut the inserted hard drives into quarter-sized pieces, and according to the facility manager, those pieces are then sold for scrap.”
Video footage of the 7.5 horsepower, 2,700-lb. shredder in action can be found here:
Democratic Platform Calls for Carbon Tax
The 2016 Democratic Party platform endorses a carbon tax on the American people. The carbon tax language, added at the last minute, states:
“Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean economy and help meet out climate goals.”
The move by Democrats to impose a carbon tax comes in clear contrast to the 2016 Republican Party platform opposition to any carbon tax:
“We oppose any carbon tax.”
Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, predicts the Democrat call for a carbon tax will have electoral consequences: “When counting to 270 – the number of electoral votes needed to win the presidency – the Republicans may have already won the election in five short words: ‘We oppose any carbon tax.’ Note the overlap between new fracking states – Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Colorado – and the swing states to reach 270 for any candidate.”
Photo credit: Jim Hutchison
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ATR Statement on New Jersey Assembly-Passed Tax Reform Plan
Americans for Tax reform is pleased to endorse the tax reform package, A 12, passed by the New Jersey State Assembly on Tuesday.
The reform package is consistent with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge signed by pro-taxpayer legislators.
The tax reform package is not a tax hike; the increase in the gasoline tax of a maximum of 23 cents per gallon is combined with a rollback of the previous one percent sales tax hike such that the sales tax now at 7 percent would be reduced to 6.5 percent on January 1, 2017 and 6 percent on January 1, 2018.
The package also removes the state income tax on pension income over a four-year period for all income below $100,000. That phase in takes place in equal parts over four years.
Taxpayers would have been well served if the gas tax hike was also matched with reforms in the state's prevailing wage law.
The November ballot measure that would require that all gas tax revenue go only to transportation will further protect NJ taxpayers.
The statement can also be read here.
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Norquist: “Hillary is on the Wrong Side of History on the Gig Economy”
ATR President Grover Norquist was a guest on CNBC’s Squawk Box today. He pointed out Hillary Clinton’s threat to “crack down” – her words -- on independent contractors in the sharing economy.
“Hillary is on the wrong side of history on the gig economy, the sharing economy. She wants everyone in America to have a boss. And what Trump and the others who are advocating for the sharing economy and for Uber drivers and Lyft drivers and Airbnb and TaskRabbit -- all the various ways that people are choosing to organize their lives. It gives them more flexibility so they can work when they want to. Not everybody punches in 8:00 – 5:00. Not everybody wants to spend $1,000 of their income every year paying union dues to some guy who is supposed to be smarter and better than they are. They want to run their own lives and make their own deals. And that’s what Uber and companies like Uber have given to people.
And what Hillary has announced, she wants to take away with her ‘cracking down’ on independent contractors which makes Uber illegal. As they just tried to do in Austin. Watch Austin, that’s the opening shot by the Left against the sharing economy.”