Americans for Tax Reform

Tax Reform Brings out the Good and Bad in Key States

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, June 22nd, 2017, 10:47 AM PERMALINK

With 50 laboratories of democracy in the U.S., some state legislatures provide examples of smart pro-growth policies that other states would be wise to emulate, while others serve as bad examples by enacting policies that other states should avoid.

Taxachusetts Lawmakers Help The Commonwealth Earns Its Nickname

The past week has underscored this dynamic, in particular when it comes to income tax reform. In Massachusetts, state lawmakers referred a measure to the 2018 ballot that, if enacted, would move the state from having a flat income tax, to a progressive structure with income over $1,000,000 subject to a 4% surtax on top of the commonwealth’s existing 5.10% flat income tax rate. Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Republicans who run the state senate and assembly announced a budget deal that will reduce personal and corporate income tax rates.

Maryland, which enacted a similar millionaires’ tax when Gov. Martin O’Malley was governor, provides a cautionary tale highlighting why Massachusetts voters should reject the surtax that will appear on their 2018 statewide ballot. A year after Maryland’s millionaire’s tax took effect, one-third of the state’s millionaires fled the state. A 2011 study, of migration patterns across the 50 states concluded that millionaires tend to leave states with high income tax rates for states with relatively lower income taxes. Enactment of a millionaires’ tax would be bad news for Massachusetts, but great news for neighboring New Hampshire, one the nine states that does not levy and income tax*.

19,600 Massachusetts tax filers would be affected by the tax increase, 900 of whom are projected to make $10 million annually and would contribute 53 percent of the revenues from the new tax. If just one-third of these 900 tax-filers left, the tax revenue lost would be about $750 million. It is not just the wealthy who would be hit by this tax hike. According to IRS data, over 10,000 Massachusetts small businesses would also be hit by this tax hike, since the majority of small businesses file under the individual income tax system.

The Beacon Hill Institute found that the surtax could cost the state more than 9,000 private sector jobs and $405 million in disposable income. While income tax hikes on the wealthy are often popular with voters, the fact is that the millionaires’ tax will hit small businesses with a 78% income tax rate hike, greatly reducing their job-creating capacity.  

In addition to making the Bay State less attractive to investment and job creators, Increased reliance on upper-income households will make Massachusetts’ revenues less stable, and budgeting more difficult. This is because increasing the progressivity of the tax code leads to greater volatility in revenue collections. One of the worst parts of this proposal is that, if it’s enacted by voters in 2018, there will be no way to amend it until the year 2023. So, if the tax ends up damaging the economy and chasing individuals, families, and employers out of state, like such tax hikes have in other states, lawmakers and voters will have to wait half a decade before they are able to rectify the problem.  

Tax Reform Train Rolls on in the Tar Heel State

Days after Massachusetts lawmakers voted to advance a massive income tax hike, North Carolina legislators announced a budget agreement that will take the Tar Heel State in the other direction by enacting another round of cuts to the personal and corporate income tax rates. Though the house and the senate rolled out similar plans with a $22.9 billion budget, there are some key differences between the proposals and how the budget is spent.

The budget deal announced by legislative leaders makes the following tax changes, which would take effect January 1, 2019:

  • Cuts the state’s flat personal income tax rate from 5.499% to 5.35%
  • Reduces the corporate tax rate from 3% to 2.5%
  • Increased the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly from $17,500 to $20,000

The budget with these reforms will pass both chambers of the legislature this week. Though the budget includes many of Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) priorities, it is unlikely he will sign this budget into law. Fortunately for North Carolina taxpayers, Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers of the legislature, and can enact this budget over Gov. Cooper’s objection.

In a year where 31 states are facing revenue shortfalls, North Carolina has a half a billion dollar surplus. In fact, this marks the third straight year that the state has realized a budget surplus.

These surpluses have occurred at the same time North Carolina lawmakers have approved multiple rounds of personal and corporate income tax rate cuts. In addition to the pro-growth tax changes enacted, the key to North Carolina’s fiscal and economic success has been spending restraint. Every year since Republicans took control of the state legislature, spending growth has been held before the rate of population growth and inflation. When it comes to models for pro-growth tax reform and spending restraint, other states and federal officials should look to the Tar Heel State for inspiration, and Massachusetts as an example of what not to do.    

Photo Credit: 
Murduck Rubbaduckie

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ATR Statement in Support of the No Regulation Without Representation Act

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, June 13th, 2017, 4:57 PM PERMALINK

ATR and Digital Liberty Support Congressman Sensenbrenner’s No Regulation without Representation Act

Today, Congressman Sensenbrenner (R- Wisc.) introduced H.R. 2887, the No Regulation Without Representation Act, to address state regulations that tax businesses physically outside the borders of the state.

 In Quill v. North Dakota, the Supreme Court found that states are sovereign only within their own borders and that the Constitution prohibits state regulations from crossing state borders. Despite the Supreme Court’s decision, states have regulated businesses outside the parameters of the state for decades. Sensenbrenner’s bill would codify this requirement in relieving small businesses from the heavy weight of government overreach and overregulation.

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

"The No Regulation Without Representation Act reigns in government overreach by forbidding any state from 1) imposing a sales tax on businesses physically outside the boundaries of the state, and 2) prohibits any state from exporting regulations onto businesses in other states.

"Regulations can be as abusive as taxes. If the American Revolution was revisited today the slogan would certainly be 'No Taxation and No Regulations without Representation.'

 "I commend Congressman Sensenbrenner for introducing the No Regulation without Representation Act and I urge all members of Congress to support this important piece of legislation. "  

The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

"Over the past few years, state legislatures have crossed their bounds by regulating and taxing businesses physically outside the parameters of their own state.

"Regulations that constrict and tax businesses outside of state borders challenge state sovereignty and federalism while making it incredibly difficult for small businesses to flourish under the backbreaking weight of regulations. I commend Congressman Sensenbrenner for addressing this by introducing the No Regulation without Representation Act."

The full text of the bill can be found here

Photo Credit: BKL

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ATR Releases List of 2017 New Jersey State Pledge Signers

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, June 5th, 2017, 5:36 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform recognizes the New Jersey incumbents and candidates who have taken the Taxpayer Protection Pledge ahead of tomorrow’s state primary election. The Pledge is a written commitment to hardworking Garden State taxpayers and to the American people to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

“By signing The Pledge, New Jersey candidates and incumbents demonstrate that they will safeguard taxpayers from higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Pledge signers understand that government should be reformed in a way that it spends and takes less taxpayer dollars, and will oppose tax increases that prolong failures of the past.”

The following candidates and incumbents have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge:

Incumbents:

  • Louis Greenwald (Assembly -6)
  • Holly Schepisi (Assembly -39)
  • Amy Handlin (Assembly -13)
  • Robert Clifton (Assembly -12)
  • Jon Bramnick (Assembly -21)
  • Michael Carroll (Assembly -25)
  • Sean Kean (Assembly -30)
  • Declan O'Scanlon (Assembly -13)
  • David Rible (Assembly -30)
  • Jay Webber (Assembly -26)
  • Anthony M.Bucco (Assembly -25)
  • Michael Patrick Carroll (Assembly -25)
  • Anthony Bucco (Senate- 25)
  • Diane Allen (Senate- 7)
  • Gerald Cardinale (Senate-39)
  • Michael Doherty (Senate-23)
  • Tom Kean Jr. (Senate- 21)
  • Shirley Turner (Senate- 15)
  • James Holzapfel (Senate-10)
  • Christopher Connors (Senate-9)
  • Joe Pennacchio (Senate- 26)
  • Dawn Addiego (Senate- 8)
  • Kevin Otoole (Senate- 40B)
  • Samuel D. Thompson (Senate- 12)

 

Challengers:

  • William "Hank" Lyon (Assembly - 26)

 

Open Seat Candidates: 

  • Nathan Orr (Assembly - 24)
  • Teresa Gordon (Assembly - 5)
  • Lewis Glowgower (Assembly - 18)
  • Rimma Yakobovich (Assembly - 15)
  • Robert Acerra (Assembly - 11)
  • Michael Alonso (Assembly - 31)
  • Lauren DiGiaro (Assembly - 31)
  • Bruce MacDonald (Senate- 14)

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ATR Statement in Support of Restoring Internet Freedom

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, May 18th, 2017, 2:16 PM PERMALINK

Washington, D.C. – Today, Thursday May 18th, The FCC voted on a Notice of Proposed Rule making entitled, Restoring Internet Freedom.

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

"Under the Obama Administration Title II was pushed through without transparency and without economic analysis. This time, under chairman Ajit Pai, the process is transparent and includes economics. This time we are doing it the right way."

The following can be attributed to Katie McAuliffe, Executive Director of Digital Liberty:

“We are encouraged that, not only was this notice presented transparently, but will also inject actual economic analysis into the FCC’s decision making.  The Obama Era Open Internet Order was called an ‘economics free zone’ by the FCC’s own economists.  By establishing the Office of Economics and Data within the FCC, Chairman Pai has shown dedication to preforming real cost-benefit analysis on this, and all FCC proposals going forward.

As has been said many times before and was stated today on the Senate floor by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), this is an area for Congress to decide.  The Telecommunications industry is now 16% of our economy – roughly the same amount as healthcare.  Regulation of this sector should not be decided by unelected bureaucrats.”

Learn more about Title II regulation of the Internet here:

 

Photo Credit: SEO

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Americans for Tax Reform Will Rate the Vote on AHCA, HR 1628

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, May 4th, 2017, 10:00 AM PERMALINK

 

Americans for Tax Reform WILL RATE a vote for passage of the American Health Care Act as a pro-taxpayer vote
 

ATR urges a YES vote
 

“The American Health Care Act is a $1 trillion tax cut and a $1.1 trillion spending cut over the next decade. It's passage makes fundamental tax reform possible this year. The AHCA block grants Medicaid and expands Health Savings Accounts. It will ensure states are able to implement a healthcare system that best fits their needs. The bill is a giant step forward in lowering taxes and reforming our nation's health care system,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

The American Health Care Act (HR 1628) being voted on today abolishes the following taxes imposed by Obama and the Democrat party in 2010 as part of Obamacare:

-Abolishes the Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax which hits 8 million Americans each year.
 This is part of a $270 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare Employer Mandate Tax. This is part of a $270 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax which hits 20 million Americans with Health Savings Accounts and 30 million Americans with Flexible Spending Accounts. This is a $6 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s Flexible Spending Account tax on 30 million Americans. This is a $20 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s Chronic Care Tax on 10 million Americans with high out of pocket medical expenses. This is a $126 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s HSA withdrawal tax. This is a $100 million tax cut.

-Abolishes Obamacare’s 10% excise tax on small businesses with indoor tanning services. This is a $600 million tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare health insurance tax. This is a $145 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare 3.8% surtax on investment income. This is a $172 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare medical device tax. This is a $20 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare tax on prescription medicine. This is a $28 billion tax cut.

-Abolishes the Obamacare tax on retiree prescription drug coverage. This is a $2 billion tax cut.

The AHCA Also Has Big League Spending Cuts:

Under AHCA, by 2021 federal spending on healthcare as a percentage of GDP is reduced from 6.9% to 6.3%. As time goes by, the spending reduction gets larger. See the first chart, below.

Under AHCA, by 2027 total federal spending as a percentage of GDP is reduced from 23.4% to 22.4%. See the second chart, below.

“In addition to abolishing Obamacare’s taxes, the AHCA reduces the total size of government permanently,” said Norquist.

Photo Credit: K. Kirugi
  

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ATR Statement In Support Of Title II Rollback

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, April 27th, 2017, 1:59 PM PERMALINK

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

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017, 12:31 PM PERMALINK

Today ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement in praise of President Trump’s 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

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017, 8:32 PM PERMALINK

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. 

Photo Credit: 
Virginian-Pilot Online

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Trump Budget Cuts IRS Funding by $239 Million

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, March 16th, 2017, 2:45 AM PERMALINK

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

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, February 3rd, 2017, 1:34 PM PERMALINK

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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