Americans for Tax Reform

104 Years of the Income Tax: Then and Now

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, April 13th, 2017, 11:40 AM PERMALINK


As Americans finish yet another tax filing season, let’s take a look at the 104-year history of the income tax:

  • In 1913 the top marginal income tax bracket was 7% -- today it is 39.6%.
  • In 1913 the marginal income tax bracket range was 1% - 7%. Today the range is 10% - 39.6%.
  • In 1913 there were 400 pages in the tax code. Today there are 74,608 pages in the code.
  • In 1913 the family standard deduction was $98,425.45 in today’s dollars. The family standard deduction now is just $12,600.
  • When the income tax started in 1913, only 358,000 Americans had to file a 1040. Today 148,606,578 Americans file 1040s.



"The American income tax is perhaps the most dramatic example of how government grows at the expense of liberty,"

said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "Slowly. Constantly. Inexorably."

Photo Credit: Chris Potter

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Las Vegas EPA Caught Using Taxpayer Funds for 24-Hour Gym Memberships

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017, 12:02 PM PERMALINK

Documents show government credit card charge for $14,799 for "Super Sport" 24-hour gym memberships for Vegas EPA employees

Newly obtained documents show the EPA’s Las Vegas office used a government purchase card to charge nearly $15,000 for 24-hour gym memberships for employees. Courtesy of U.S. taxpayers.

The documents show the EPA office on the campus of UNLV charged U.S. taxpayers $14,799.63 on April 11, 2016 for 37 “1 Year Super Sport” packages at 24 Hour Fitness, which touts its facilities as “the ultimate daily retreat” complete with “thousands of square feet of spectacular workout space, complete with premium gym equipment, unmatched amenities and some of the best studio classes around.”

This basketball court is part of the "spectacular workout space" offered at the EPA's preferred gym.

The Las Vegas EPA office made the purchase even though employees have access to the nearby state of the art 165,465-square foot fitness center on the UNLV campus. Local lifestyle magazine Vegas Seven named the UNLV facility as “Best Fitness Center” in the city and noted that it is “available not only to UNLV students but also Clark County residents.” The magazine praised the “large cardio center facing multiple television screens, a lap pool and spa, all kinds of weight machines, a 200-meter indoor running track, a four-court gym, and a café and juice bar.”

But this was apparently not good enough for the EPA.

According to the EPA Inspector General, this and several other agency purchases failed to comply with internal controls and procedures, “enough to warrant an audit because of noncompliance with existing controls.” The failures are documented here.

The EPA's preferred gym encourages clients to see the club as the "ultimate daily retreat."

“The corruption and waste in the EPA ends now,” said Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist. “Those apologists who pretend that reducing waste and corruption in the EPA is an attack on Mother Earth stand exposed as the frauds they are. Ending corruption and self-enrichment is good for the environment and other living things.”

During his eight years in office President Barack Obama made the Environmental Protection Agency wholly unaccountable to American taxpayers. In doing so he fostered a culture of bureaucratic superiority within the agency such that EPA officials and employees were more concerned with reaping the newfound benefits of unchecked power and less about maintaining the integrity of their taxpayer funded activities, leading to historic levels of waste and abuse with taxpayers footing the bill.

The Las Vegas gym incident highlights the level of blatant disregard the EPA has for American taxpayers. It is representative of a culture of mismanagement from EPA officials in D.C. that has permeated federal and state operations.

The EPA’s actions in Nevada are only one example of myriad wasteful and improper employee actions that have been recorded ranging from drug use to timecard fraud. For instance, a senior EPA official was caught watching up to six hours of pornography on his government-issued computer during work hours, and had been doing so for almost four years during the Obama presidency. That official ironically received a number of performance awards during his time at the EPA.

The former Director of the EPA’s Office of Administration under Obama was caught selling jewelry and weight loss pills out of her office using her government e-mail account. That same employee hired 17 of her family members as paid interns, and paid her daughter, also an EPA employee, directly from her agency’s budget account. She was somehow given the Presidential Rank Award in 2010 under Obama for which she also awarded $35,000.

Spacious locker-rooms are just one of many "unmatched amenities" for EPA employees courtesy of their taxpayer funded "Super Sport" gym memberships.

The culture of mismanagement and unaccountability at the EPA, and resulting waste of taxpayer funds, was promulgated under Obama and allowed to fester throughout his tenure.

Since taking office President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt have vowed to get the EPA back to its core mission, and rein in government overreach and wasteful spending.

Photo Credit: 24 Hour Fitness, Texas GOP Vote

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

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Friday, March 24th, 2017, 11:40 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 -- to start -- a $1 trillion tax cut and a $1.15 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’s 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.

Chart by Strategas Research Partners using OMB and CBO data

Chart by Strategas Research Partners using CBO data

Governors Declare February 6th Ronald Reagan Day

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Monday, February 6th, 2017, 9:50 AM PERMALINK

Each year the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project sends requests to governors from all 50 states to issue a proclamation declaring February 6 "Ronald Reagan Day." This year, to celebrate Reagan's 106th birthday, 32 states -- three with Democrat governors -- signed official proclamations recognizing the late president.

Grover Norquist founded the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project in 1997. The project is committed to preserving the legacy of the 40th President of the United States throughout the nation and abroad, and also works to encourage the naming of buildings, roads, landmarks, and schools after the late President. There are currently 151 domestic dedications in 33 states and the District of Columbia, and 17 international dedications in nine countries. 

Norquist said: “Reagan reduced the size and scope of government, cut taxes for all Americans, and laid the foundation for economic prosperity. By the time he left office, America was freer, safer, and stronger in every way. And although he has been out of office for over a quarter of a century, he remains the leader his successors should emulate.”

The following 32 Governors have issued proclamations declaring today as Ronald Reagan Day in their states:

  • Alabama- Robert Bentley (R)
  • Arizona- Doug Ducey (R)
  • Arkansas- Asa Hutchinson (R)
  • California- Jerry Brown (D)
  • Colorado- John Hickenlooper (D)
  • Florida- Rick Scott (R)
  • Georgia-Nathan Deal (R)
  • Idaho- Butch Otter (R)
  • Illinois- Bruce Rauner (R)
  • Indiana- Eric Holcomb (R)
  • Iowa- Terry Branstad (R)
  • Kansas- Sam Brownback (R)
  • Kentucky- Matt Bevin (R)
  • Maine- Paul LePage (R)
  • Maryland- Larry Hogan (R)
  • Massachusetts- Charlie Baker (R)
  • Michigan- Rick Snyder (R)
  • Mississippi- Phil Byant (R)
  • Nevada- Brian Sandoval (R)
  • New Hampshire- Chris Sununu (R)
  • New Jersey- Chris Christie (R)
  • New Mexico- Susana Martinez (R)
  • North Dakota- Jack Dalrymple (R)
  • Ohio- John Kasich (R)
  • Oklahoma- Mary Fallin (R)
  • South Dakota- Dennis Daugaard (R)
  • Tennessee- Bill Haslam (R)
  • Texas- Greg Abbott (R)
  • Vermont- Phil Scott (R)
  • West Virginia- Jim Justice (D)
  • Wisconsin- Scott Walker (R)
  • Wyoming- Matt Mead (R)

Norquist Praises Emerging Consensus on Tax Reform

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, January 26th, 2017, 4:51 PM PERMALINK

ATR president Grover Norquist released the following statement in response to remarks made today by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer:

“Spicer just announced that border adjustability – once thought to be a sticking point for coming to agreement on fundamental tax reform – is now a consensus item. This statement means we are very close to enacting fundamental tax reform. The Trump team and congress have been moving towards each other for months. And this continues. So today’s comment about the wall was actually an extremely newsworthy story about how close we are to enacting fundamental tax reform  that creates jobs, increases wages, and promotes strong economic growth. The entire package is a dramatic reduction in taxes and therefore certainly not a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”


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ATR Statement in Support of Steven Mnuchin for Treasury Secretary

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017, 1:14 PM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement today in support of President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Steven Mnuchin for Secretary of the Treasury:

“Americans for Tax Reform supports Donald Trump’s nomination of Steven Mnuchin to be the next Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Mnuchin truly understands the importance of tax reform and its positive impact on economic growth and job creation. He has extensive experience in housing, finance, banking, and trade, as well as a far-reaching comprehension of financial markets.

“Mr. Mnuchin has committed to passing pro-growth tax reform in 2017. It has been more than thirty years since tax reform was last signed into law and our tax code is woefully outdated and uncompetitive. Pro-growth reform will ensure higher wages, more jobs, and a stronger economy while also helping our businesses compete with the rest of the world.

“Under President Obama Americans have seen the role of government in the market increase exponentially with regulatory regimes such as the Dodd-Frank Act. While Dodd-Frank was supposed to target Wall Street, impacts of the law have instead fallen heaviest on Main Street, reducing small business lending, shuttering credit unions and community banks, and growing the number of unbanked Americans.

“Mr. Mnuchin has made it clear that reforming the Dodd-Frank Act will be his ‘number one priority on the regulatory side’ once he becomes Secretary of the Treasury.

“I know that Mr. Mnuchin will be a leader in his role as Treasury head, and will work to ensure American consumers and taxpayers are protected, while also working to foster a regulatory climate that allows business to grow and prosper.” 

Photo credit:


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ATR's Naughty and Nice List for 2016

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, December 20th, 2016, 3:00 PM PERMALINK


President-elect Donald J. Trump

For proposing a big, beautiful tax cut that will increase take-home pay for all income levels and Make America Great Again



Hillary Clinton

For proposing a $1,000,000,000,000 tax hike on the American people.


Clinton campaign senior staff

For failing to send their candidate to Wisconsin and Michigan during the final stretch of the campaign. 


Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady

For leading the charge for pro-growth tax reform.



Sedgewick County in Wichita, KS

For naming a building after Ronald Reagan for the very first time in the Sunflower State.



Tom Steyer

For funding campaigns to tax e-cigs and vaping devices.



Ron Swanson



Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval

For pushing yet another tax hike, this time to pay for an NFL stadium.



Cook County, IL Board of Commissioners, and San Francisco and Boulder, CO voters

For approving soda tax hikes. As Senator Bernie Sanders has correctly pointed out, “a tax on soda and juice drinks would disproportionately increase taxes on low-income families.”


Hillary Clinton

For proposing to increase the Death Tax to 65%



Sierra Club and other green groups

For opposing a ballot measure that would’ve imposed a revenue neutral carbon tax, and in so doing making it crystal clear that environmental groups care more about growing government than supposed reductions in emissions.



IRS Chief John Koskinen

For stonewalling the investigation into Lois Lerner/IRS abuse of conservative grassroots groups.



San Diego voters

For rejecting a massive hotel tax hike that would have been funneled to an NFL stadium



The United Nations

For launching an assault on IP through its Access to Medicines report.



The World Health Organization

For recommending that all countries impose a soda tax.



NRSC staff and Chairman Roger F. Wicker

For holding the Senate majority



Hillary Clinton

For refusing to offer any income tax rate reduction for any American family or business.



Fairfax County voters

For rejecting the “Meals Tax”



The United Kingdom Courts

For upholding plain packaging laws that are a clear violation of IP rights



President Obama

For continuing to break his no middle class tax hike pledge by vetoing Obamacare repeal.



Voters in Iceland

For overwhelmingly choosing the Center-Right Independence Party in this year’s elections.



Sen. Elizabeth Warren

For pushing for government controlled tax preparation.What could possibly go wrong?


IRS Chief John Koskinen

For skipping his own impeachment hearing.



The India Property Rights Alliance

For hosting its 2nd annual conference that helped with the global launch of the International Property Rights Index.



President Obama

For proposing a $3.4 trillion tax hike in his final budget.



EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager

For retroactively taxing US companies based on the argument that competitive taxation constitutes “illegal state aid”.



Dr. Tom Price

For his work holding CMMI accountable.




For wasting $12 million in taxpayer funds on an unusable email system.



President Obama

For imposing new, complex, unconstitutional regulations on Americans.



President-elect Donald Trump

For promising to repeal Obamacare and its massive tax hikes.



New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

For signing into law a bill that prohibits people from advertising their property online for short-term rental.



House Speaker Paul Ryan

For his “Better Way” plan to get the economy working again by cutting taxes, reining in regulations, and repealing and replacing Obamacare.



Congressman Rob Bishop

For passing legislation addressing Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis without a taxpayer funded bailout.



CFPB Director Richard Cordray

Out of control, unaccountable imposition of nearly 50 rules since CFPB creation just five years ago.



Congressman Peter Roskam

For his oversight of the IRS and illegal Obamacare subsidies.



Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards

For massive tax hikes.


Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler

For opening the door for taxing the internet.



Congressman Warren Davidson

For fighting back against Obama’s unilateral Death Tax hike.



Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D)

For pushing a capital gains tax hike on investment partnerships​.



Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens 

For his opposition to use of taxpayer funds to build a soccer stadium in St. Louis



Rep. Tom MacArthur (R)

For pushing hard for pro-growth tax reforms in Puerto Rico.



Congressman Mark Walker and Sen. Ben Sasse

For fighting against the billion dollar Obamacare Reinsurance bailout.
































Bill Clinton

For acknowledging the need to cut the uncompetitive corporate rate, despite his wife's hostile position on the issue.



State Senator Mark Green

For making Tennessee a true no income tax state by leading the successful effort to pass legislation getting rid of the state’s six percent tax on investment income.



House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas)

For working to protect consumers and American businesses by pushing Congress to reform the costly and burdensome Dodd-Frank Act.

ATR Praises Nomination of Okla. Attorney General Scott Pruitt to Lead EPA

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, December 8th, 2016, 11:09 AM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement today in praise of President-elect Donald Trump's nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

"Americans for Tax Reform supports Donald Trump's nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA. Pruitt will ensure American taxpayers and businesses are no longer subject to abusive EPA overreach and unconstitutional regulatory diktats.”

"Under President Obama the EPA is a political agency which uses arbitrary permitting delays, litigation, and red tape as a federal road block to economic investment and job creation. Since 2009 the EPA has published nearly 4,000 new rules and regulations that threaten millions of American's livelihoods and the prosperity of our country.

"As Attorney General of Oklahoma, Mr. Pruitt has been a champion of the rule of law, the free market, and limited government. He has worked to protect American taxpayers and businesses from an out-of-control EPA and an ever increasing regulatory burden.

"I know Mr. Pruitt will continue this great work as head of the EPA, and ATR looks forward to working with him and President-elect Trump to begin undoing the economic damage of the EPA under President Obama."

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore 

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ATR Opposes Lifting Earmark Ban

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Tuesday, November 15th, 2016, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform opposes the resurrection of earmarks. The following statement can be attributed to ATR president Grover Norquist:

“Earmarks are the ‘broken windows’ of federal overspending, the currency of congressional corruption, and the price of bad votes for more spending.”

Washington State Rejects Carbon Tax

Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 3:47 AM PERMALINK

True-blue Washington state voters rejected a carbon tax by a vote of 58.6% to 41.4%.


Initiative 732 would have phased in a $25 per metric ton carbon tax over a period of two years. After reaching $25 it would have continued to increase by 3.5% plus the rate of inflation until the tax reached $100.