Americans for Tax Reform

State Of State Governments: Growing In Some States, Shrinking In Others

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, August 30th, 2019, 3:41 PM PERMALINK

Today Americans for Tax Reform released an updated list of states ranked by their size of state government, using state spending as a percentage of state GDP as the metric for comparison.

When looking at how the size of all 50 state budgets compares to the size of those state economies, ATR included both general fund spending and federal transfer funds included in state budgets, which comprised more than 30% of total state expenditures in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

In addition to looking at the size of all 50 state governments today, ATR examined how the size of all 50 state governments has changed over the past decade. 

50 States Ranked By Size (State Spending/State GDP)


1. West Virginia (23.3%)

2. New Mexico (20.8%)

3. Arkansas (20.3%)

4. Alaska (18.9%)

5. Mississippi (18.5%)

6. Oregon (17.7%)

7. Vermont (17.0%)

8. Hawaii (16.4%)

9. Kentucky (16.3%)

10. Rhode Island (14.9%)

11. Delaware (14.8%)

12. Montana (14.8%)

13. Wisconsin (14.6%)

14. Maine (13.4%)

15. North Dakota (13.2%)

16. Arizona (12.9%)

17. Alabama (12.6%)

18. Oklahoma (12.4%)

19. Iowa (12.4%)

20. Connecticut (11.9%)

21. Louisiana (11.9%)

22. Wyoming (11.8%)

23. South Carolina (11.1%)

24. Maryland (10.9%)

25. Michigan (10.8%)

26. Pennsylvania (10.7%)

27. Minnesota (10.6%)

28. Ohio (10.6%)

29. Colorado (10.5%)

30. Idaho (10.3%)

31. Massachusetts (10.3%)

32. Nebraska (10.0%)

33. New Jersey (9.9%)

34. Virginia (9.9%)

35. New York (9.8%)

36. Kansas (9.7%)

37. Tennessee (9.4%)

38. California (9.3%)

39. Indiana (9.1%)

40. North Carolina (8.9%)

41. Nevada (8.9%)

42. Georgia (8.8%)

43. Utah (8.6%)

44. Washington (8.6%)

45. South Dakota (8.5%)

46. Missouri (8.4%)

47. Illinois (8.2%)

48. Florida (7.8%)

49. New Hampshire (7.3%)

50. Texas (6.7%)

Fastest Growing State Governments Of The Past Five Years

These ten states had the greatest increase in state spending as a percentage of GDP from 2012-2017 (% growth in size of state government): 

  1.    Nevada (48.86%)                                             6.   Kentucky (12.17%)
  2.    New Mexico (26.65%)                                     7.   Arkansas (6.80%)
  3.    Arizona (22.96%)                                             8.   Connecticut (5.87%)
  4.    Oregon (14.41%)                                              9.   New Jersey (5.68%)
  5.    North Dakota (12.24%)                                   10.  Hawaii (5.44%)


Fastest Shrinking State Governments Of The Past Five Years 

These ten states had the greatest decline in state spending as a percentage of GDP from 2012-2017:

  1.    West Virginia (-26.21%)                                   6.   Maine (-12.83%)
  2.    Wyoming (-21.37%)                                         7.   South Carolina (-12.14%)
  3.    North Carolina (-21.15%)                                 8.   Tennessee (-11.94%)
  4.    Massachusetts (-20.11%)                                  9.   Alaska (-7.77%)
  5.    Pennsylvania (-19.20%)                                   10.  Utah (-6.54%)



Source of information: Bureau of Economic AnalysisNational Association of State Budget Officers

Photo Credit: Fourth Photography

Tate Reeves Wins Gubernatorial Primary In Mississippi, Remains Only Candidate In The Race To Rule Out Tax Hikes

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, August 28th, 2019, 5:15 AM PERMALINK

Mississippi Lt. Governor Tate Reeves won yesterday’s Republican gubernatorial primary runoff with 54% of the vote. Reeves now advances to the general election in November, when he will face the Democrats’ nominee, Attorney General Jim Hood.

“There will be a stark contrast at the top of the ballot in Mississippi this November,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “With Tate Reeves, Mississippi voters have a proven conservative, one who has already worked hard to enact pro-growth tax relief and committed to opposing any and all future efforts to hike taxes.”

While both Reeves and Hood are competing to succeed Governor Phil Bryant (R-Miss.), Tate Reeves is the only candidate in the race who has ruled out tax hikes like Governor Bryant has. Jim Hood, by contrast, has made it clear that tax hikes are on the table for Mississippi families and employers if he were to be elected this fall.

Tate Reeves is a signer of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment to Mississippi taxpayers that he will oppose and veto any and all efforts to hike state taxes if elected the next Governor of Mississippi. Hood refuses to make this same commitment to Mississippi taxpayers.

In addition to Lt. Governor Tate Reeves and Governor Phil Bryant, 10 other sitting governors are signers of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, as are 47 U.S. Senators and 160 current members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Pledge signers include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Photo Credit: Christopher Meredith

Norquist Praises Trump's Comments on Indexing Capital Gains Taxes

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019, 5:39 PM PERMALINK

American taxpayers should be encouraged by President Trump’s recent remarks on indexing capital gains taxes to inflation. As he said, “Indexing is something that a lot of people have liked for a long time and it is something that would be very easy to do. A lot of people have been talking about indexing for many years. It is something that I am certainly thinking about. I can say that a majority of the people in the White House, at the level that does this kind of thing, they like indexing. So it is something I’m thinking about.”

Indexing capital gains taxes to inflation will build on the success of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in growing the economy and increasing the wealth of American middle-class families. Taxing inflation is wrong and unfair.

ATR President Grover Norquist applauded President Trump’s comments today saying, “Today, President Trump endorsed a powerful action to further grow the American economy—to end the taxation of inflation on capital gains. This would greatly strengthen the American economy.”

There is already broad support among conservative groups for indexing capital gains. A coalition of 51 conservative groups sent President Trump a letter in January urging him to end the inflation tax on savings and investment saying “American families and job creators should not have to pay taxes on phantom income.”

Sen. Ted Cruz and twenty other Republican senators recently sent a letter that urged Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “eliminate inflationary gains from the Department of Treasury’s calculation capital gains tax liability.”

Trump has the authority to index cap gains, as shown by ATR’s legal memo here.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore- Flickr

More from Americans for Tax Reform

Tate Reeves Signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, July 31st, 2019, 6:58 PM PERMALINK

Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves, who is now running to be his state's next governor, signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge this week. By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Tate Reeves has made a principled, written commitment to all Mississippi taxpayers that, if elected governor this November, he will oppose and veto any piece of legislation that would impose a net tax hike.

“Lt. Governor Tate Reeves has already established himself as one of the nation’s top champions for pro-growth tax relief and conservative reforms. By signing The Pledge to the Mississippi voters, Reeves makes it crystal clear that he will protect individuals, families, and employers across Mississippi from efforts to raise their tax burden if he is elected to be governor this fall” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “Tate Reeves is one of the most hardworking public servants in the country. Thanks to Reeves’ leadership, Mississippi taxpayers have received much-needed income tax relief and the franchise tax, an absurd tax on capital that very few states impose because it is so harmful to economic growth, is on the path to elimination.”

Americans for Tax Reform asks all candidates for state and federal office to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Lt. Governor Reeves is the first and, as it stands, only candidate running for governor this year who has committed in writing to oppose any and all efforts to raise taxes on Mississippi families and employers.

"Lt. Governor Reeves’ leadership has already made Mississippi’s tax code more conducive to economic growth, job creation, and investment,” Norquist added. “Reeves’ has made it abundantly clear that he is respectful of taxpayers and recognizes what needs to be done to continue improving the Magnolia State’s tax and regulatory climate."

Governor Phil Bryant and 10 other sitting governors are signers of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, as are 47 U.S. Senators and 160 current members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Pledge signers include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

Photo Credit: Christopher Meredith

Happy Birthday, President Trump!

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, June 14th, 2019, 4:11 PM PERMALINK

Today is President Donald Trump’s birthday! Here are six reasons to wish President Trump a happy birthday:

  1. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

    • President Trump delivered the most far-reaching pro-growth tax reform legislation in a generation.

    • The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reduced taxes on American families at every income level and businesses and for businesses large and small. A family of four earning the median income of $73,000 is seeing a federal tax cut of $2,000, while overall tax liability has dropped by almost 25 percent, according to a report from H&R block. 

    • The TCJA also reduced the federal corporate rate from 35 percent (the highest in the developed world) to 21 percent and enacted a 20 percent small business deduction for businesses organized as passthrough entities. This rate reduction has made the U.S. competitive with other countries and has allowed businesses to invest in the economy and in American workers.

    • The Tax Cuts have also grown the economy. The unemployment rate is at 3.6 percent --- the lowest rate since 1969 – and has been below 4 percent for 15 consecutive months. Similarly, nominal average wages have grown by at or above 3 percent for the past 10 months. An average of 196,000 jobs have been created each month over the past year.

  2. The FIRST Step Act 

    • At the end of 2018, President Donald Trump signed the First Step Act, a broadly bipartisan set of prison and sentencing reforms, into law. The law is the product of nearly a decade of justice reform advocacy efforts and includes the most sweeping set of reforms since 2010.

    • The new law incentivizes recidivism reduction programming by providing time release credits to low-risk, non-violent offenders. Under the law, qualified inmates can receive 10 days of credits for every 30 days of recidivism reduction programming. Participants can cash out their credits by going to a halfway house or through in-home confinement. Now that the bill is law, thousands have the opportunity to complete recidivism reduction programming in exchange for time credits.

  3. Nominating Ajit Pai to the FCC

        4. Dismantling Obama's unlawful energy regulations

  • President Trump has been a leader in energy deregulation.

  • The Trump EPA began the process of replacing Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) by proposing their own regulatory framework, the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Plan.

  • Obama’s CPP was an economic nightmare. The CPP was projected to cause a 12 to 17 percent increase in electricity prices and would’ve decreased household spending power between $64 and $79 billion, with annual compliance costs projected to reach up to $73 billion. The economic impact on businesses and families would’ve been crippling.

  • According to the EPA’s estimate, replacing the CPP with the ACE rule will net $3.4 billion in benefits, including $400 million annually, and could save up to $6.4 billion in compliance costs.

           5. Modernizing NAFTA

  • Trump has put renegotiating trade deals with other countries at the forefront of his legislative agenda. The United States — Mexico — Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA) updates NAFTA to include new automotive rules, new protections for intellectual property rights, and modernizing agricultural trade to benefit American farmers.
  • According to the report, the USMCA would raise U.S. real GDP by $68.2 billion and create approximately 176,000 American jobs. The report estimates that the USMCA would have a positive impact on all U.S. industry sectors, with the manufacturing and services sectors experiencing the most gains.

6.  Providing greater flexibility and choice within the healthcare system

  • Earlier this week, the Trump administration finalized a rule to expand the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). This proposal, which was released jointly by the Treasury Department, Labor Department, and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will promote employer flexibility and choice in the healthcare system.
  • This rule will allow employers to offer HRAs to their employers to purchase insurance as an alternative to employer provided care. HRA funds are tax free to both the employer and employee and funds roll over year to year. 

  • More than 80 percent of employers currently offer their workers just one choice, and this rule will allow businesses more flexibility to offer their workers’ health insurance coverage. In fact, it is estimated that this new rule will help 11 million workers and 800,000 businesses.

Happy Birthday, President Trump!

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Norquist on Florida drug importation bill: “A bad idea that would damage healthcare”

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, April 22nd, 2019, 3:06 PM PERMALINK

Norquist: “It would damage our ability to innovate for drugs that would cure Alzheimer’s and cancer and heart disease”

Today on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Company, Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist noted the Florida drug importation bill is “one of Bernie Sanders’ ideas” that would cause harm to American healthcare.

Click here to watch Norquist's full interview. 

Norquist said:

For starters it is one of Bernie Sanders’ ideas. The only one of the 50 states that has passed anything like this is Vermont. And it would damage our ability to innovate for drugs that would cure Alzheimer’s and cancer and heart disease because it will import price controls which then make it difficult to get new products to the market.

The rest of the world has damaged their ability to invent new drugs. We invent the drugs. Then they put price controls on them. And some politicians in Florida want to bring those price controls into Florida, a Republican state.”

Instead, Norquist called for FDA reform so that Americans had easier, more affordable access to safe prescriptions:

“There is an important way we can reduce the cost of drugs in the United States and get them to people sooner and get more innovation and solve some of these health problems sooner. And that is to speed up the FDA’s efforts to get new drugs out once they are safe. We did this for AIDS, we’ve done it in the past, we should do it for Alzheimer’s and cancer and other drugs. That would reduce costs. That would get people more health care.”

Norquist urged Florida lawmakers to reject the importation bill:

“Focusing on quick fixes to temporarily reduce prices so that in the future there are fewer new drugs, that’s not only a bad idea that would damage healthcare, hurt healthcare outcomes, and make us less healthy – but it gets in the way of the other things. The opportunity cost of doing stupid things is that you don’t do the smart things like tort reform or speeding up the FDA.”

A recent Wall Street Journal editorial titled “Importing Bad Ideas on Drug Prices” also weighed in against the Florida bill:

“Democrats once pushed importation as disguised price controls, but Republicans who understand markets helped to stop it. With Republicans now aping Democrats, this is a dangerous moment for the world’s most productive and dynamic market for medicine.”

In the editorial, WSJ raised skepticism about the practicality of importation and whether or not it would actually result in savings:

“One question is why Canada would allow the U.S. to siphon its drug stocks. Canada’s drug supply for 37 million residents isn’t brimming with extra products to sell to 21 million Floridians, even on a limited scale.”

Click here to watch Norquist's full interview. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Dan Bishop Makes “No New Taxes” Promise in NC-09 Race

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, April 11th, 2019, 11:47 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) congratulates NC-09 candidate Dan Bishop for signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written commitment to the people of North Carolina to oppose higher income taxes. While signing the Pledge, Bishop broadened and strengthened the scope of his pledge to the voters of NC-09 by promising to “oppose and vote against any and all tax increases.”

Bishop joins Sen. Thom Tillis, Sen. Richard Burr, and all Republican members of the North Carolina congressional delegation in making this commitment to Tar Heel State taxpayers. 

Dan Bishop currently represents the 39th district, south-central Mecklenburg County, in the North Carolina State Senate. From 2015 to 2017, he served one term in the North Carolina House Representatives and two terms on the Mecklenburg County Commission. In addition to signing the federal Pledge, Bishop also signed the state Taxpayer Protection Pledge as a member of the NC State Legislature.

“The American people are tired of the tax-and-spend policies coming from Washington and they are looking for solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and grow the economy. Signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and holding the line on taxes is the first step in that process,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform.

Candidates running for public office like to say they will not raise taxes, but often turn their backs on the taxpayer once elected. The idea of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing. It is offered to every candidate for state and federal office and to all incumbents. Nearly 1,400 elected officials have signed the Pledge.

“We are ecstatic about Mr. Bishop’s commitment to the taxpayers of North Carolina. I challenge all candidates for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today,” continued Norquist.

Photo Credit: Dan Bishop for Congress

Norquist: No Gas Tax Hike

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, April 4th, 2019, 1:59 PM PERMALINK

Today on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co. Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist made the case against a gas tax hike.

Norquist said: 

"There has always been a call by the spenders in Washington, including some Republicans on Appropriations, to raise the gas tax. Here’s the challenge with that - 98 percent of the roads on this country are state and local. What is the federal government doing? Paving the part of the roads between the states? We’ve built the Interstate Highway System. That’s been built. The politicians in Washington who like to hand money out to get favors, they like having a big pot of cash that they can hand out. This money ought to stay at the local level, it ought to stay at the state level, we should be cutting the federal gasoline tax and letting state and local governments do it. They already divert much of what’s supposed to go to roads and bridges from the federal gas tax, instead it goes to subways, and light rail, which has nothing to do with roads, except they get in the way of roads. And they also pay for the Davis-Bacon overspending, which is completely unnecessary."

Watch the entire interview above or click here. 

Norquist: Do Not Raise Gas Tax

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, March 22nd, 2019, 10:44 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist was a guest on Fox Business Network’s Bulls & Bears on Wednesday. He made the case against a federal gas tax hike.

ATR's 2018 Naughty & Nice List

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, December 19th, 2018, 5:20 PM PERMALINK


Democrat congressman John Yarmuth, incoming House Budget Committee Chairman: for fantasizing about hiking the corporate rate from 21% up to 27%


87 Senators: for voting in favor of the First Step Act, a historic piece of legislation that would provide recidivism reduction programs for non-violent and low-risk offenders and create modest sentencing reforms.


Rep. Danny Davis: for introducing a gun tax that roughly doubles the federal tax on firearms and nearly quintuples the federal tax on ammunition, and for acknowledging he would like to make guns cost prohibitive and "outlaw them altogether."


Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon and the Program Review and Investigations Committee: for working to expose the truth behind the shady KentuckyWired contract which wasted taxpayer dollars. KentuckyWired is quickly becoming the most expensive infrastructure project in state history and when all is said and done, will not bring internet to a single Kentuckian who does not already have access to fast internet speeds.



Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards: for calling three special sessions this year until a roughly $450 million sales tax increase was imposed on Louisianans, on top of the $200-$300 million tax increase they will be facing from his decision to keep the new revenue the state will be collecting as an unintended consequence of federal tax reform.


Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds: for returning the excess revenue Iowa would have otherwise collected from federal tax reform to Iowa taxpayers in the form of the largest tax cut in state history.



NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo: for his former top-aide and "brother" being sentenced to prison for corruption; pushing through an absurd "opioid stewardship fee" which could make the crisis worse; and for extorting $1.5 billion from the Catholic Church on the sale of Fidelis, a non-profit health insurer. He's likely to become the highest paid governor in the country.


Reggie Bush: for asking, “This might be a dumb question so I’m apologizing ahead of time but who audits the IRS? How do we know exactly where our tax dollars go and that they are being used the right way?”


Andrew Gillum: for proposing a 40% increase in Florida’s corporate income tax rate.


Senator-elect Rick Scott: for enacting $10 billion in tax cuts, reducing more than 5,200 burdensome regulations, and creating 1.5 million new jobs during his time as the 45th governor of Florida.


Creepy left-wing protestors: for harassing Ted Cruz and his wife at a restaurant 


Senator Ted Cruz: for his unwavering support of tax cuts and for introducing the Student Opportunity Amendment to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act which expanded 529 savings plans to include k-12 tuition costs.  

(also nice: Senator Cruz's new beard)


Creepy left-wing protesters: for harassing Ajit Pai at his home, peeking into his windows, and targeting his children.


Ajit Pai: for keeping the internet free and open, slashing regulations, and making sure the U.S. is #5Gready.





Lindsey Graham 2.0

also nice: Benny Johnson for taking this photo


North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper: for urging voters to reject a strengthening of the state income tax cap, and for urging North Carolina lawmakers to block the personal and corporate income tax cuts scheduled to take effect on January 1.


North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, and their colleagues in the legislature: for enacting tax reform three years ago that will, thanks to revenue triggers, have the state’s personal and corporate income tax rates dropping again on January 1, 2019. The personal income tax rate will drop from 5.499 to 5.25% and the corporate rate will drop from 3.0%, already the nation’s lowest corporate tax rate, to 2.5%



Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: for many, many, things


Cardi B: for asking, “So you know the government is taking 40 percent of my taxes and Uncle Sam, I want to f******g know what you’re doing with my f******g tax money!”


Congressman Carlos Curbelo: For introducing a carbon tax while sitting in a comfortable armchair on a stage in DC, promising to "retrain" anyone who loses their job due to the tax. The  left-of-center Niskanen Center participated in the event. Curbelo went on to lose the November election, the latest in a long line of carbon-tax-induced losses around the world.


Washington State Voters: for firmly rejecting a carbon tax at the ballot box, for the second time in a row. 



This list is being continuously updated through Christmas Eve. Have a recomendation? Send it to with the subject line NaughtyNice2018. 

Photo Credit: Carlos