Americans for Tax Reform

Norquist Praises Trump Tax Cut Plan as Huge Help To Truckers

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017, 5:13 PM PERMALINK

Ahead of President Trump’s tax reform rally in Pennsylvania with truckers, ATR president Grover Norquist praised the GOP plan as a huge benefit to small businesses and pass-through companies. Such businesses will see a 42% tax rate cut.

Norquist discussed the pass-through rate with Fox Business Network host David Asman, the host of After the Bell:

Norquist: “The 30 million Americans who have small businesses – self-employment income, pass-through income -- they will all benefit because their business tax rate goes down as well.”

David Asman, host: “That’s who the President is appealing to with the truckers today. Because the truckers mostly are these pass-through kind of companies. Working class Americans that have a little business of their own which is a trucking business and that represents as you say 30 million Americans. That’s a strong lobbying force.”

Norquist: Many of them are married, they’ve got spouses, they have children, they have brothers and sisters and employees. That is a huge number. Half of Americans work for pass-throughs, half for corporations. And that group has been ignored going back the last thirty years. We haven’t focused on entrepreneurs and bringing those tax rates down.”

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Colorado Senators Show Courage, Keep Promises by Rejecting SB 267 in Committee

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, October 5th, 2017, 9:07 AM PERMALINK

Colorado state lawmakers convened for a special session this week to address what has been referred to by Gov. John Hickenlooper as “technical errors” in Senate Bill 267, legislation that significantly weakened Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).

Passed in 1992, TABOR subjects tax increases to a vote of the people and caps spending increases at the rate of inflation plus population growth. If the state collects revenue in excess of the TABOR cap, it must be refunded to taxpayers, unless Colorado residents vote to allocate the revenue elsewhere. SB 267, passed during the regular session, significantly weakened TABOR by removing hospital tax revenue from the TABOR cap, making it more difficult to hit the cap and trigger taxpayer refunds—and did so without a vote of the people. Thanks to passage of SB 267, which a few treasonous Republican legislators joined with the Democrats to enact, Colorado will be allowed to tax and spend more than would’ve otherwise been the case.

The Independence Institute, a Denver-based free-market think tank, explained in this column for the Denver Post why Republicans who joined with Democrats to pass SB 267 massively betrayed their constituents and all Colorado taxpayers:

“The ‘grand compromise’ of SB 267, something worse than Ref C and Ref D (2005 ballot measures that temporarily suspended TABOR, resulting in Coloradans having to pay an additional $16 billion in higher taxes) and without a public vote, is the largest ‘grand betrayal’ from Republicans I have ever witnessed in my more than 25 years in Colorado politics. And that says a lot,” Caldara wrote. “The SB 267 scheme was hatched to go around us voters with the false narrative of ‘rural hospitals.’ Because it’s just impossible to find money for hospital in a state budget that has more than doubled in a decade.”

The so-called “technical errors” were caused because SB 267 changed the way in which it taxes recreational marijuana. Prior to its passage, marijuana sales were subject to a 2.9% local sales tax, identical to other consumer goods. Additionally, marijuana was assessed a special 10% state tax—resulting in combined rate of 12.9%. SB 267 eliminated the 2.9% local sales tax, and increased the overall taxation of marijuana to 15%.

By doing so, however, Gov. Hickenlooper and legislators inadvertently stopped certain special taxing districts from reaping marijuana sales tax revenue, which localities did not expect. The result? Organizations such as the Denver zoo, the Museum of Nature & Science, and other nonprofits have unexpectedly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they have demanded that lawmakers return their funding. Their outcry is what led to this week’s special session.

Early on Monday of this week, first day of the special session, Republicans, who control the state senate with a one vote majority, rejected legislation to reinstate the sales tax, AKA “the fix,” by 3-2 margin. The following day, another bill to reinstate the sales tax, without a vote of the people and in violation of TABOR, was passed out of the Democrat-controlled House, only to subsequently be rejected by Republicans in the Senate Transportation Committee once again.

House Majority Leader K.C. Becker, a Boulder Democrat who sponsored the tax hike that died yesterday expressed disappointment following his failure to raise taxes in violation of the state constitution.

"I don’t think when people passed TABOR, they meant to tie the hands of legislators,” Rep. Becker said. Actually, Rep. Becker, that is exactly what TABOR is meant to do and is why Colorado voters approved it and continue to support it.

Although many Coloradoans were rightfully outraged when a few Senate Republicans went against their word and joined with Democrats to pass SB 276 during the regular session, the resolve shown by Republican legislators this week to fight for hardworking taxpayers is commendable. Hopefully, this renewed resolve to defend Colorado taxpayers will continue into the 2018 session.

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By Not Overriding Gov. Kasich's Veto, Ohio Senate Protects Buckeye Taxpayers

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017, 4:15 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform commends members of the Ohio Senate for declining to override Gov. John Kasich’s line-item-veto of a misguided effort to raise taxes on health insurance plans. The budget provision vetoed by Kasich would have had the state asking the federal government for permission to reinstate a tax on health insurers, and raise the rate from 5.85% to 7.2%, an effective 24% tax hike.

Some local government officials, hungry for more revenue that this tax hike would have funneled to them, are angry. But Ohio senators are right to stand up for taxpayers by allowing Kasich’s veto to stand. Ohio taxpayers have been hit with 20 federal Obamacare tax increases over the last eight years, along with the massive insurance premium hikes cause by President Obama’s signature achievement. Going hat in hand to Washington to request permission to pile on to this with another tax hike at the state level would add insult to taxpayer injury, and send the wrong message to employers and investors about Ohio.

Local governments should not be looking to blame Columbus for their bad spending plans. Instead, they should be making tough, but efficient spending decisions that favor taxpayers and the business climate of Ohio. Greg R. Lawson, research fellow at the Buckeye Institute, explains why the Senate’s decision to not override this veto was the right thing to do:

“This is not the time to raise taxes on health insurance plans, but it is time for local governments to justify their local spending to local taxpayers.”

 In addition to ATR, the Ohio business community has been urging legislators to not override Kasich’s veto of this tax hike. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, in a joint letter, stressed the negative effect this tax hike would have had on Ohio employers:

“If the additional tax were to be approved by CMS and subsequently implemented, the potential cost impacts are worrisome…Health insurance costs continue to rise year after year. They are consistently a top concern of most employers. In fact, in 2016 the average annual premium for an HMO plan with family coverage significantly increased. Employers can’t just absorb higher premium costs due to government interference in the marketplace.”

“It was unfortunate that the Ohio House of Representatives advanced this effort to raise taxes on hard-working Ohioans,” said Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist. “Thankfully the Senate stepped up to stop it from moving forward. I applaud Senate President Larry Obhof, Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Peterson and their colleagues standing up for and protecting Ohio taxpayers.”

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ATR Supports Trump's Protection of American Intellectual Property

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017, 5:19 PM PERMALINK

In a recent announcement from the White House, President Donald Trump has followed through on his promises to protect American intellectual property rights. As a candidate, President Trump claimed that protecting intellectual property rights could “save millions of American jobs.” The recent Presidential Memorandum signing directs the United States Trade Representative to examine whether China should be investigated for “unreasonable or discriminatory policies that may harm American IP rights, innovation, or technological development.”

Americans for Tax Reform sent out a letter praising President Trump for his commitment to intellectual property rights. Americans for Tax Reform, along with 69 other groups, have agreed upon principles of which are the utmost importance in preserving intellectual property rights both at home and abroad. These principles include that IP rights are vital to job growth and economic competitiveness. We believe China has been particularly brazen in coopting American innovation and profiting from American investment in research, development, and intellectual capital. Practices by China to restrict market entrance and technology transfer have been a particular hindrance.

To see the letter ATR signed on to click here

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ATR Launches Campaign to Stop Health Insurance Tax, Reinforce Need for Repeal of All ObamaCare Taxes

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, August 16th, 2017, 4:48 PM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform launched a significant campaign across a number of different electronic media, highlighting the need to stop those Obamacare taxes that haven't yet taken effect - particularly the Health Insurance Tax - while we work toward the repeal of all Obamacare taxes.

We need to get rid of all Obamacare taxes. Allowing more Obamacare taxes to go into effect should simply be out of the question.

The effort to fully abolish the Obamacare tax burden on families and businesses should be divided into two steps:

In the short-term, Congress must quickly act to ensure that the health insurance tax and medical device tax are delayed. Failing to act will mean both taxes go into effect at the end of 2018, which will cause costs to skyrocket even higher.

At the same time, lawmakers must continue to press for the repeal of all of the Obamacare trillion dollars in new or higher taxes. These taxes have increased healthcare costs, restricted access to care, and harmed economic growth. Since its inception, Obamacare has imposed numerous taxes on the American people including a tax for failing to purchase government approved health insurance, a tax on innovative medicines, multiple taxes on Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts, and even a tax on families with high medical bills.

All of these taxes impact the middle class - either directly hitting families' paychecks or by increasing the cost of healthcare goods and services. On the other hand, repealing these taxes will reduce the federal government's control over healthcare and return power to caregivers and patients.

While all Obamacare taxes should be repealed, lawmakers must also act quickly to ensure that they do not allow a tax hike to go into effect under their watch. If they fail to act, the medical device tax and health insurance tax will become law on January 1, 2018, resulting in higher premiums and higher costs for middle class families, seniors, and small businesses.

The Obamacare health insurance tax hits 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. Half of this tax is paid by those earning less than $50,000 a year and it is responsible for increasing premiums by an average of $5,000 per family over a decade according to research by the American Action Forum.

The health insurance tax also hits 1.7 million small businesses, costing an estimated 286,000 small business jobs and $33 billion in lost sales.

The $30 billion medical device tax is similarly harmful to businesses. It could cost as many as 25,000 lost jobs by 2021 if it is not delayed, and because it is levied as an excise tax on medical devices, the costs of this tax are almost entirely passed onto consumers in the form of higher products, as noted by the Congressional Research Service.

Obamacare's taxes have already driven costs up, reduced choice, and needlessly punished American families with higher taxes. The last thing that taxpayers need or deserve is even more damaging Obamacare taxes to go into effect.

Instead, Congress should work on healthcare reform that is focused on lower costs that includes repeal of Obamacare taxes -- first by ensuring that the health insurance tax and medical device tax do not go into effect -- and then working to repeal all trillion dollars of the law's taxes. 

Over 65 Groups Against Obama FCC Internet Regulations

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, July 17th, 2017, 12:32 PM PERMALINK

Today, more than 65 organizations and individuals concerned about government overreach joined a coalition urging the FCC to turn away from stifling Title II regulation and return to a light touch regulatory framework for governing the Internet. 

Think tanks, advocacy organizations, and individuals from across the country joined together in opposition to these rules, including: Americans for Tax Reform, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Governor Paul LePage, ALEC, TechFreedom, Alabama Policy Institute, The Buckeye Institute, Citizen Outreach, Florida Center Right Coalition, Freedom Foundation of Minnesota, Granite State Taxpayers, The Heartland Institute, Independence Institute, Maine Center Right Coalition, Maryland Taxpayers Association, Montanans for Tax Reform, Montana Policy Institute, New Hampshire Center Right Coalition, Public Interest Institute, Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, and Rio Grande Foundation.

The coalition wrote:

Imposing Title II regulations on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) means the Internet experience will no longer be shaped by consumers — but instead by government.  Rather than being able to respond to what American households want and need in terms of content, advances in technology, information access, and delivery methods, the Internet experience would be determined by regulators who would have control over rates, types of services, and service footprints. Title II also opens the door to new meddling by state and local governments. Congress created the “information service” classification in Title I precisely to avoid this outcome.”

Innovation and investment require that government’s role be clear, consistent and limited. The “general conduct standard” invented by the Title II order is hopelessly vague. When asked what this standard meant, Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler simply said: “we don't really know." This is really no standard at all, because it leaves the regulator with unchecked discretion. No business can plan its investments under such uncertainty or threat of arbitrary enforcement.

Low barriers to entry increase competition and thereby promote reliable Internet access. Far from “clamping down on big guys,” looming legal uncertainty about how the FCC will regulate the Internet hurts small Internet providers most — those that connect people in unserved and underserved areas. The coming next few years will see the deployment of 5G wireless technology, which avoids the huge expenses of wiring the “last mile.” This could fundamentally change the competitive dynamics of the broadband market, erasing the line between wireless and wireline services, and driving an unprecedented level of competition, at least in most markets. Discouraging such new entry would only harm consumers. 

We urge the FCC to return to the demonstrated success of the light touch regulatory model. The Internet thrived nearly twenty years under a “Hands off the Net!” bipartisan consensus against Internet regulation.  We urge the FCC to return to that approach. Ultimately, it is Congress alone that should decide how to update communications law.”

Click here to see the full list of signatories and text of the coalition comments submitted to the FCC.

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Stop the IRS from Reading Your Emails

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, July 13th, 2017, 10:40 AM PERMALINK

Statement of Support for Congressman Yoder's Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Legislation:

Congressman Yoder's Amendment to the Financial Services Appropriations Legislation will prevent the IRS, CFPB and SEC from using funds to attempt to read Americans emails and other digital content without a warrant. Until the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is updated by passage of the Email Privacy Act, the ECPA has a loop hole that some government agencies claim allow them to dig into a person's private documents without a warrant. This is not what was intended by the Fourth Amendment.  Americans for Tax Reform & Digital Liberty support the inclusion and passage of Congressman Yoder's Amendment.

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Three Illinois House Members Break Taxpayer Protection Pledge With Vote In Favor 32% Income Tax Hike

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017, 5:53 PM PERMALINK

Shortly after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a budget that imposes large, permanent increases in the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates, the state senate held a July 4th vote in which they overrode Gov. Rauner’ veto. The House is set to follow suit on Thursday. If the House votes to override, as is expected, the state’s personal income tax will increase by a whopping 32%, taking the rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. Illinois’ corporate tax rate would rise from 5.25 percent to 7 percent, a 33% increase.

Among the 15 Republicans who voted in favor of this massive tax hike when it originally passed out of the House, three are Taxpayer Protection Pledge signers. One Democratic lawmaker also broke their Taxpayer Protection Pledge by voting for this income tax hike. The House members who broke their commitment to oppose any and all efforts to raise taxes include: Rep. John Cavaletto (R-107), Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-70), and Rep. Reggie Phillips (R-110), (Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia (D-83). 

Gov. Rauner describe the permanent income tax hike as “a two-by-four across the forehead.” Enactment of this budget is a terrible deal for Illinois taxpayers. In addition to imposing large tax increases that will drain resources from the private sector, this budget contains none of structural reforms Illinois desperately needs to put state spending in line with revenues, fix its pension crisis, and become more attractive to new residents, employers, and investors.

Illinois is already losing more residents than any other state. This huge income tax hike will only further the exodus of individuals, families, and employers from the Land of Lincoln.

(Update: a planned Thursday session in which the Illinois House is planning to override Gov. Rauner's veto has been delayed after a woman threw an unidentified powdery substance into the Governor's office. The Illinois capitol has been locked down, with legislators and staff ordered to shelter themselves until the matter is resolved). 

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Roy Cooper Uses Same Obstructionist Playbook As Washington Democrats, But Taxpayers Win With Veto Override

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, June 30th, 2017, 12:57 PM PERMALINK

Some positive news came out of North Carolina this week for taxpayers in the state, where Republicans who control the state legislature enacted a new two year budget that will allow their constituents to keep more of their hard-earned income. North Carolina’s new budget, enacted with a bipartisan super-majority vote overriding Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) veto, makes the following changes to the state’s tax code, which will take effect January 1, 2019:

  • Cuts the state’s flat personal income tax rate from 5.499% to 5.25%
  •  Reduces the corporate tax rate from 3% to 2.5%
  •  Increases the standard deduction for married couples filing jointly from  $17,500 to $20,000
  •  Cuts the franchise tax rate for S-Corporations

Gov. Roy Cooper, in explaining the justification for his veto, portrayed the budget approved by both chambers of the North Carolina General Assembly as a giveaway to the wealthy. Unfortunately for Cooper, the facts show the opposite about the new budget.

The new budget approved over Cooper’s objections provides tax relief for 99% of North Carolinians. In fact, the burden of total income tax liability is transferred more from middle and low income earners to high income earners. After the reduced income tax rates go into effect in 2019, households earning less than $100,000 annually will contribute a lower percentage of total income tax collections, while those making more than $100,000 will contribute a greater share.

Another smart reform included in the new budget is the creation of the “Personal Education Savings Account” program for students with disabilities. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) allow parents of students with special needs to customize their child’s education to best fit their needs. Each account will receive $9,000, which can be used for school tuition, books, and other education expenses. North Carolina joins Arizona, Nevada, Mississippi, Florida, and Tennessee as the handful of states with active ESA programs.

Republicans in North Carolina inherited a $2.7 billion deficit, along with the highest personal and corporate income tax rates in the region when they took over the General Assembly six years ago. Since then, Senate President Phil Berger, Speaker Tim Moore, and their colleagues have worked hard to put the state on sound financial footing, while implementing pro-growth tax reform that has made the state more attractive to job creators and investors. In addition to the pro-growth tax changes enacted in recent years, beginning with the landmark 2013 tax reform act, North Carolina lawmakers have kept growth in spending in check, and built up the largest rainy day fund in state history. In every year since Republicans took control of the state legislature, spending growth has been held below the combined rate of population growth and inflation.

“It’s unfortunate that Gov. Roy Cooper has decided to use the same obstructionist playbook as Nancy Pelosi and Washington Democrats. Fortunately for North Carolina taxpayers, Republican legislators are using the veto-proof majorities awarded to them by voters to provide further relief to North Carolina taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Individuals, families, and employers across North Carolina have been allowed to keep billions of dollars more of their hard-earned income thanks to the multiple rounds of tax reform enacted by Republican state legislators in recent years. This latest personal and corporate income tax cuts will make the state even more conducive to economic growth and job creation.”

ATR and Digital Liberty Support Brendan Carr for FCC Commissioner

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, June 29th, 2017, 3:05 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday, President Donald J. Trump signaled his intent to nominate Brendan Carr as Commissioner to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the remaining term ending in June 13, 2018 and an additional term of 5 years expiring June 13, 2023. Carr has served at the Commission for five years and currently serves as the General Counsel of the FCC where he is the chief legal advisor to the FCC.

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

“I congratulate Brendan Carr for his upcoming nomination to the FCC. Throughout his past five years at the Commission, Carr has created a distinguished record as top advisor to then Commissioner Ajit Pai and as the General Counsel to the Commission. Carr will be a strong asset to the Commission. I applaud the president’s choice for FCC Commissioner and I urge the Senate to confirm his nomination.”

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

“Brendan Carr has a distinguished record at the commission throughout his past five years of service in his various roles including his position as the Commission’s General Counsel.  I congratulate him on his coming nomination.

“His knowledge of wireless policy and public safety will aid the Commission in making key decisions within the FCC’s broad jurisdiction. Carr’s elevation to Commissioner ensures that there are 5 in-the-weeds experts directing the FCC’s activity, eliminating the learning curve and demonstrating the Presidents understanding of how important the telecommunications industry is to our country’s economic future. I applaud the President’s intent to nominate Carr to serve as an FCC Commissioner and I urge all Senators to confirm his nomination.”

Traditionally, Presidents nominate at least one Commissioner from the other party and are voted on and confirmed in the Senate together. Since no party can have more than a one vote majority, President Trump also recently nominated Jessica Rosenworcel who served as the Democratic commissioner until 2016. If confirmed, FCC leadership would have five members, filling all remaining commissioner seats at the FCC.   

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