John Kartch

Grover Norquist to Robert Reich: You were wrong on welfare reform and you are wrong on Obamacare repeal


Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, March 14th, 2017, 5:36 PM PERMALINK

On CNN Monday night, ATR president Grover Norquist debated Bill Clinton labor secretary Robert Reich. The topic: Obamacare repeal.

Norquist pointed out that the Trump/GOP Obamacare repeal bill cuts taxes by almost $900 billion and cuts spending by $1.2 trillion. Many of Obamacare¹s tax hikes hit millions of Americans hard in the pocketbook.

Norquist ended the segment by reminding Reich: "Robert, you were wrong about Bill Clinton¹s welfare reform. You are wrong again."

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Obamacare Repeal Bill Cuts Taxes $883 Billion


Posted by John Kartch on Monday, March 13th, 2017, 4:28 PM PERMALINK

AHCA will repeal Obamacare’s tax hikes on tens of millions of middle income families

The American Health Care Act will repeal Obamacare's tax hikes on tens of millions of middle income families. The repeal bill's net tax cut: $883 billion over the next ten years, according to Congressional Budget Office numbers released today.

The repeal bill will abolish Obamacare’s individual and employer mandate tax, abolish numerous taxes on Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts, eliminate the chronic care income tax hike, the health insurance tax, the medical device tax, the tax on prescription medicines, and a raft of other new or higher Obamacare taxes.

“Repealing Obamacare’s taxes will provide much needed relief to the paychecks of families across the country,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Repealing Obamacare will also undo Barack Obama’s broken promise not to sign ‘any form of tax increase’ on any American making less than $250,000. Obamacare, from the start, was a trillion-dollar collection of tax hikes with a stethoscope stapled to the top. The CBO, which understated Obamacare's costs and exaggerated its ‘benefits’ now with hindsight can tell us the actual size and scope of the taxes we will now repeal with passage of the AHCA,” said Norquist.

The repeal bill abolishes Obamacare's tax increases:

Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax: Under Obamacare, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2015, eight million households paid this tax. Most make less than $250,000. The Obama administration uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.   

For tax year 2016, the tax is a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four have to pay a minimum of $2,085.

 

Households w/ 1 Adult

 

Households w/ 2 Adults

Households w/ 2 Adults & 2 children

 

2.5% AGI/$695

 

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that repealing this tax would decrease spending by $311 billion over ten years.

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Under Obamacare, the 20.2 million Americans with a Health Savings Account and the 30 - 35 million covered by a Flexible Spending Account are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using these pre-tax account funds. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. This tax costs FSA and HSA users $6.7 billion over ten years.

Flexible Spending Account Tax: Under Obamacare, the 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face an Obamacare-imposed cap of $2,500. This tax will hit Americans $32 billion over the next ten years.

Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap. Now, parents looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. Needless to say, this tax especially impacts middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap is particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Families with special needs children often use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase limits the options available to these families.

Chronic Care Tax: Under Obamacare, this income tax increase directly targets middle class Americans with high medical bills. The tax hits 10 million households every year. Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed an income tax deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income. This income tax increase will cost Americans $40 billion over the next ten years.

According to the IRS, approximately 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction each year before Obamacare. Almost all were middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually in 2010. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit is about $200 - $400 per year.

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: Under Obamacare, this provision increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: The Obamacare 10 percent tanning tax has wiped out an estimated 10,000 tanning salons, many owned by women. This $800 million Obamacare tax increase was the first to go into effect (July 2010). This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

Health Insurance Tax: In addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance through the individual mandate tax, Obamacare directly increases the cost of insurance through the health insurance tax. The tax is projected to cost taxpayers – including those in the middle class – $130 billion over the next decade. 

The total revenue this tax collects is set annually by Treasury and is then divided amongst insurers relative to the premiums they collect each year. While it is directly levied on the industry, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, middle class families through higher premiums, seniors who purchase Medicare advantage coverage, and the poor who rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to the American Action Forum, the Obamacare health insurance tax will increase premiums by up to $5,000 over a decade and will directly impact 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The tax is also economically destructive – the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

Employer Mandate Tax: Under Obamacare, this provision forces employers to pay a $2,000 tax per full time employee if they do not offer “qualifying” – as defined by the government -- health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Employer Mandate Tax raises taxes on businesses by $166.9 billion over the ten years.

Surtax on Investment Income: Obamacare created a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 for singles). This created a new top capital gains tax rate of 23.8% and increased taxes by $222.8 billion over ten years.

The capital gains tax hits income that has already been subjected to individual income taxes and is then reinvested in assets that spur new jobs, higher wages, and increased economic growth. Much of the “gains” associated with the capital gains tax is due to inflation and studies have shown that even supposedly modest increases in the capital gains tax have strong negative economic effects.

Payroll Tax Hike: Obamacare imposes an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. This tax increase costs Americans $123 billion over ten years.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: Under Obamacare, this law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax on all sales of medical devices. The tax applies even if the company has no profits in a given year. The tax was paused for tax years 2016 and 2017. Under Obamacare it was scheduled to cost Americans $20 billion by 2025.

Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. This is a $29.6 billion tax hike over the next ten years.

Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The elimination of this deduction is a $1.8 billion tax hike over ten years.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives: This deduction limitation is a $600 million tax hike over ten years.

Goodbye Obamacare tax hikes. You will not be missed.

 

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Repeal Bill Abolishes Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, March 13th, 2017, 11:24 AM PERMALINK

AHCA provides middle class tax relief for the 30 – 35 million Americans with a Flexible Spending Account and the 20 million Americans with a Health Savings Account

-The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax violated Obama’s middle class tax pledge. Obamacare imposed a $1 trillion tax hike on the American people, and violated President Obama’s own “firm pledge” not to raise any form of tax on any middle class American. One of the most widespread Obamacare taxes is the Medicine Cabinet Tax.

-The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax hits tens of millions of Americans. The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax hits the 20 million Americans with a Health Savings Account and the 30 – 35 million Americans with a Flexible Spending Account.

-Under Obamacare’s Medicine Cabinet Tax, Americans are forbidden from using pre-tax funds to buy over the counter medicines. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicines, children’s fever relievers, chest rubs, aspirin and baby aspirin, allergy medicines, menstrual cramp relief medication, feminine personal care treatments, and hundreds of other common medicine cabinet necessities.

-The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax is a $6.7 Billion Tax Hike. By forcing Americans with FSAs and HSAs to use post-tax dollars to purchase these necessary items, Obamacare raised taxes on these households by $6.7 billion over a ten year period. 

-The Repeal Bill Abolishes the Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax, providing significant tax relief for middle class households. The repeal bill gives HSA and FSA holders the freedom to use pre-tax dollars to purchase over the counter medicines for their household -- cold, cough, and flu medicines, children’s fever relievers, chest rubs, aspirin and baby aspirin, allergy medicines, menstrual cramp relief medication, feminine personal care treatments, hemorrhoid cream, and hundreds of other common medicine cabinet necessities.

“The Obamacare Medicine Cabinet Tax raised the cost of health care, directly hit middle income Americans, and made us worse off,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “The AHCA repeals Obamacare and ends the Medicine Cabinet Tax once and for all.”

 

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Keep the Earmark Ban! Norquist Praises Sen. Jeff Flake Letter to President Trump

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Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, March 7th, 2017, 4:03 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist today commended Sen. Jeff Flake for spearheading a letter to President Trump urging opposition to any return of congressional earmarks.

“Earmarks are the ‘broken windows’ of federal overspending, the currency of congressional corruption, and the price of bad votes for more spending,” said Norquist. “I commend Sen. Flake for his continued leadership on behalf of the American taxpayer.”

The letter – also signed by Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, John McCain, Rand Paul, and Ben Sasse -- reads in part:

President Reagan vetoed a highway bill in 1987 because it was larded up with 152 earmarks.  Escalating exponentially, the over-budget transportation bill signed into law in 2005 contained more 6,300 earmarks.  Earmark proponents are trying to reassure that this time will be different, promising fewer projects and even rebranding them as “congressionally-directed spending.”  With the serious fiscal problems facing our nation, processing thousands or even hundreds of pork requests will only distract and delay addressing pressing national needs and push spending decisions once again into the murky shadows.

We respectfully urge you to make it clear that you will veto any bill Congress sends to you containing earmarks within the legislative text or the accompanying report.  We look forward to working with you to make Washington more accountable and stop wasteful spending where it starts, which is often right here in Congress.

The full text of the letter is below and the signed PDF version of the letter is here.

President Donald J. Trump

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

With our national debt set to top $20 trillion within days and growing at a rate of over half-a-trillion dollars a year, bringing fiscal sanity to the federal budget requires immediate attention and action.  We write today to urge opposition to any efforts by Congress to return to earmarking.

While cutting unnecessary and wasteful spending may be commonsense to most taxpayers, behind every dollar spent is a boisterous special interest group with the loudest being Congress itself.  Even with a full agenda that includes repealing Obamacare, reforming the tax code, easing the regulatory burden and strengthening our nation’s security, some lawmakers are focused on reviving the corrupt practice of earmarking that was ended in 2011 after what seemed like an endless series of corruption scandals.

Fondly described as a “favor factory” by a lobbyist convicted of exchanging gifts for government grants, earmarks represent the pay-to-play culture you have pledged to end.  It is unfathomable to those of us who fought to end earmarks and witnessed our colleagues go to jail for corruption that pork barrel politics would return, especially at this time when Americans are clearly fed up with business-as-usual. However, despite the success of the current moratorium enacted in both chamber of Congress, there are efforts underway seeking to revive the disdainful practice.

President Reagan vetoed a highway bill in 1987 because it was larded up with 152 earmarks.  Escalating exponentially, the over-budget transportation bill signed into law in 2005 contained more 6,300 earmarks.  Earmark proponents are trying to reassure that this time will be different, promising fewer projects and even rebranding them as “congressionally-directed spending.”  With the serious fiscal problems facing our nation, processing thousands or even hundreds of pork requests will only distract and delay addressing pressing national needs and push spending decisions once again into the murky shadows.

We respectfully urge you to make it clear that you will veto any bill Congress sends to you containing earmarks within the legislative text or the accompanying report.  We look forward to working with you to make Washington more accountable and stop wasteful spending where it starts, which is often right here in Congress.

Sincerely,

Jeff Flake

Mike Lee

John McCain

Rand Paul

Ted Cruz

Ben Sasse

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

More from Americans for Tax Reform


Repeal Bill Abolishes Obamacare Tax Increases


Posted by John Kartch, Alex Hendrie on Monday, March 6th, 2017, 6:34 PM PERMALINK

The Obamacare repeal bill is out and it abolishes Obamacare's taxes:

Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax: Under Obamacare, anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2015, eight million households paid this tax. Most make less than $250,000. The Obama administration uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.   

For tax year 2016, the tax is a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four have to pay a minimum of $2,085.

 

Households w/ 1 Adult

 

Households w/ 2 Adults

Households w/ 2 Adults & 2 children

 

2.5% AGI/$695

 

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that repealing this tax would decrease spending by $311 billion over ten years.

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Under Obamacare, the 20.2 million Americans with a Health Savings Account and the 30 - 35 million covered by a Flexible Spending Account are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using these pre-tax account funds. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. This tax costs FSA and HSA users $6.7 billion over ten years.

Flexible Spending Account Tax: Under Obamacare, the 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face an Obamacare-imposed cap of $2,500. This tax will hit Americans $32 billion over the next ten years.

Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap. Now, parents looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. Needless to say, this tax especially impacts middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap is particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Families with special needs children often use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase limits the options available to these families.

Chronic Care Tax: Under Obamacare, this income tax increase directly targets middle class Americans with high medical bills. The tax hits 10 million households every year. Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed an income tax deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income. This income tax increase will cost Americans $40 billion over the next ten years.

According to the IRS, approximately 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction each year before Obamacare. Almost all were middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually in 2010. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit is about $200 - $400 per year.

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: Under Obamacare, this provision increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: The Obamacare 10 percent tanning tax has wiped out an estimated 10,000 tanning salons, many owned by women. This $800 million Obamacare tax increase was the first to go into effect (July 2010). This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

Health Insurance Tax: In addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance through the individual mandate tax, Obamacare directly increases the cost of insurance through the health insurance tax. The tax is projected to cost taxpayers – including those in the middle class – $130 billion over the next decade. 

The total revenue this tax collects is set annually by Treasury and is then divided amongst insurers relative to the premiums they collect each year. While it is directly levied on the industry, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, middle class families through higher premiums, seniors who purchase Medicare advantage coverage, and the poor who rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to the American Action Forum, the Obamacare health insurance tax will increase premiums by up to $5,000 over a decade and will directly impact 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The tax is also economically destructive – the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

Employer Mandate Tax: Under Obamacare, this provision forces employers to pay a $2,000 tax per full time employee if they do not offer “qualifying” – as defined by the government -- health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Employer Mandate Tax raises taxes on businesses by $166.9 billion over the ten years.

Surtax on Investment Income: Obamacare created a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 for singles). This created a new top capital gains tax rate of 23.8% and increased taxes by $222.8 billion over ten years.

The capital gains tax hits income that has already been subjected to individual income taxes and is then reinvested in assets that spur new jobs, higher wages, and increased economic growth. Much of the “gains” associated with the capital gains tax is due to inflation and studies have shown that even supposedly modest increases in the capital gains tax have strong negative economic effects.

Payroll Tax Hike: Obamacare imposes an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. This tax increase costs Americans $123 billion over ten years.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: Under Obamacare, this law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax on all sales of medical devices. The tax applies even if the company has no profits in a given year. The tax was paused for tax years 2016 and 2017. Under Obamacare it was scheduled to cost Americans $20 billion by 2025.

Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. This is a $29.6 billion tax hike over the next ten years.

Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The elimination of this deduction is a $1.8 billion tax hike over ten years.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives: This deduction limitation is a $600 million tax hike over ten years.

Goodbye Obamacare tax hikes. You will not be missed.

The bill also prevents the "Cadillac" tax from taking effect -- the bill delays it another five years, to 2025.

 

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List of Obamacare Tax Hikes

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Posted by John Kartch on Thursday, February 23rd, 2017, 6:57 PM PERMALINK

It is time to repeal each and every one of Obamacare's tax increases. The 20 Obamacare tax hikes are a $1 trillion net tax increase on the American people. The full list is below:

Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax: Anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by the Obama-era Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2015, eight million households paid this tax. Most make less than $250,000. The Obama administration uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.   

For tax year 2016, the tax is a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four have to pay a minimum of $2,085.

 

Households w/ 1 Adult

 

Households w/ 2 Adults

Households w/ 2 Adults & 2 children

 

2.5% AGI/$695

 

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that repealing this tax would decrease spending by $311 billion over ten years.

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Under Obamacare, the 20.2 million Americans with a Health Savings Account and the 30 - 35 million covered by a Flexible Spending Account are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using these pre-tax account funds. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. This tax costs FSA and HSA users $6.7 billion over ten years.

Flexible Spending Account Tax: The 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face an Obamacare-imposed cap of $2,500. This tax will hit Americans $32 billion over the next ten years.

Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap. Now, parents looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. Needless to say, this tax especially impacts middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap is particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Families with special needs children often use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase limits the options available to these families.

Chronic Care Tax: This income tax increase directly targets middle class Americans with high medical bills. The tax hits 10 million households every year. Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed an income tax deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income. This income tax increase will cost Americans $40 billion over the next ten years.

According to the IRS, approximately 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction each year before Obamacare. Almost all were middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually in 2010. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit is about $200 - $400 per year.

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: This provision increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: The Obamacare 10 percent tanning tax has wiped out an estimated 10,000 tanning salons, many owned by women. This $800 million Obamacare tax increase was the first to go into effect (July 2010). This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

“Cadillac Tax” -- Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans: In 2020, a new 40 percent excise tax on employer provided health insurance plans is scheduled to kick in, on plans exceeding $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Cadillac tax will hit 26 percent of employer provided plans by 2020 and 42 percent of employer provided plans by 2028. Over time, this will decrease care and increase costs for millions of American families across the country. 

Health Insurance Tax: In addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance through the individual mandate tax, Obamacare directly increases the cost of insurance through the health insurance tax. The tax is projected to cost taxpayers – including those in the middle class – $130 billion over the next decade. 

The total revenue this tax collects is set annually by Treasury and is then divided amongst insurers relative to the premiums they collect each year. While it is directly levied on the industry, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, middle class families through higher premiums, seniors who purchase Medicare advantage coverage, and the poor who rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to the American Action Forum, the Obamacare health insurance tax will increase premiums by up to $5,000 over a decade and will directly impact 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The tax is also economically destructive – the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

Employer Mandate Tax: This provision forces employers to pay a $2,000 tax per full time employee if they do not offer “qualifying” – as defined by the government -- health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Employer Mandate Tax raises taxes on businesses by $166.9 billion over the ten years.

Surtax on Investment Income: Obamacare created a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 for singles). This created a new top capital gains tax rate of 23.8% and increased taxes by $222.8 billion over ten years.

The capital gains tax hits income that has already been subjected to individual income taxes and is then reinvested in assets that spur new jobs, higher wages, and increased economic growth. Much of the “gains” associated with the capital gains tax is due to inflation and studies have shown that even supposedly modest increases in the capital gains tax have strong negative economic effects.

Payroll Tax Hike: Obamacare imposes an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. This tax increase costs Americans $123 billion over ten years.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax on all sales of medical devices. The tax applies even if the company has no profits in a given year. The tax was recently paused for tax years 2016 and 2017. It will cost Americans $20 billion by 2025.

Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. This is a $29.6 billion tax hike over the next ten years.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”: This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. This costs taxpayers $5.8 billion over ten years.

Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The elimination of this deduction is a $1.8 billion tax hike over ten years.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives: This deduction limitation is a $600 million tax hike over ten years.

 

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Norquist Statement Urging Support of Betsy DeVos Nomination

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, January 16th, 2017, 5:46 PM PERMALINK

ATR President Grover Norquist sent the following letter urging senators to approve the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education:

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, I write you to urge your committee and the full United States Senate to approve the nomination of Betsy DeVos to become the Secretary of Education.

Betsy DeVos has been a leader in providing innovative solutions to bring higher quality education to children throughout the United States who are most lacking in educational options and opportunity.

As chairperson of the American Federation for Children, Mrs. DeVos assisted organizations and lawmakers in dozens of states to promote and adopt policies to enable students, particularly from high-need communities, to have equal access to schools that best meet their educational needs.

Thanks in part to Mrs. DeVos, more than half the states have tax policies that encourage charitable donations to scholarship funds to help students from low-income families, or encourage support for students with disabilities, or enable parents to choose schools that best meet the needs of their children.  More than 40 states now have charter school laws.

The specific approach of education tax credits to encourage increased charitable support for scholarship funds has been especially effective in providing children from low-income families a financial pathway to attend a quality school – something that upper income parents already can provide for their children.  At present, 17 states have a donation tax credit law for scholarships, which serve as models for Congress to consider adopting nationally so that many more children can be empowered to attend schools that will provide the education they need and deserve.

Thanks to the leadership and encouragement of Betsy DeVos, there are millions of students who have an education that puts them on a quality-of-life trajectory to become productive citizens. 

It is this kind of national leadership that has made a positive difference in the lives of so many students that warrants your approval for Betsy DeVos to become the next Secretary of Education.
 

Grover Norquist

President, Americans for Tax Reform

Photo Credit: betsydevos.com


Good Riddance to Obamacare’s Tax Hikes

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, John Kartch on Monday, November 14th, 2016, 10:54 AM PERMALINK

When it was signed into law six years ago, Obamacare imposed more than $1 trillion in tax hikes on the American people over a ten year period. There are seven Obamacare tax increases that directly hit Americans making less than $250,000, a violation of President Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise any form of tax on such households.

Obama broke his promise to the American people. Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and Donald Trump can now abolish these taxes.  

The list of tax hikes is below -- the first seven directly hit Americans making less than $250,000:

Individual Mandate Non-Compliance Tax: Anyone not buying “qualifying” health insurance – as defined by President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services -- must pay an income surtax to the IRS. In 2014, close to 7.5 million households paid this tax. Most make less than $250,000. The Obama administration uses the Orwellian phrase “shared responsibility payment” to describe this tax.   

Starting this year, the tax was a minimum of $695 for individuals, while families of four had to pay a minimum of $2,085.

 

Households w/ 1 Adult

 

Households w/ 2 Adults

Households w/ 2 Adults & 2 children

 

2.5% AGI/$695

 

2.5% AGI/$1390

2.5% AGI/$2085

A recent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that repealing this tax would decrease spending by $311 billion over ten years.

Medicine Cabinet Tax on HSAs and FSAs: Since 2011 millions of Americans are no longer able to purchase over-the-counter medicines using pre-tax Flexible Spending Accounts or Health Savings Accounts dollars. Examples include cold, cough, and flu medicine, menstrual cramp relief medication, allergy medicines, and dozens of other common medicine cabinet health items. This tax costs FSA and HSA users $6.7 billion over ten years.

Flexible Spending Account Tax: The 30 - 35 million Americans who use a pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs face an Obamacare-imposed cap of $2,500. This tax will hit Americans $32 billion over the next ten years.

Before Obamacare, the accounts were unlimited under federal law, though employers were allowed to set a cap. Now, parents looking to sock away extra money to pay for braces find themselves quickly hitting this new cap, meaning they have to pony up some or all of the cost with after-tax dollars. Needless to say, this tax especially impacts middle class families.

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap is particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  Families with special needs children often use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at special needs schools can run thousands of dollars per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax increase limits the options available to these families.

Chronic Care Tax: This income tax increase directly targets middle class Americans with high medical bills. The tax hits 10 million households every year. Before Obamacare, Americans facing high medical expenses were allowed an income tax deduction to the extent that those expenses exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI). Obamacare now imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. Therefore, Obamacare not only makes it more difficult to claim this deduction, it widens the net of taxable income. This income tax increase will cost Americans $40 billion over the next ten years.

According to the IRS, approximately 10 million families took advantage of this tax deduction each year before Obamacare. Almost all were middle class: The average taxpayer claiming this deduction earned just over $53,000 annually in 2010. ATR estimates that the average income tax increase for the average family claiming this tax benefit is about $200 - $400 per year.

HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike: This provision increases the tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Ten Percent Excise Tax on Indoor Tanning: The Obamacare 10 percent tanning tax has wiped out an estimated 10,000 tanning salons, many owned by women. This $800 million Obamacare tax increase was the first to go into effect (July 2010). This petty, burdensome, nanny-state tax affects both the business owner and the end user. Industry estimates show that 30 million Americans visit an indoor tanning facility in a given year, and over 50 percent of salon owners are women. There is no exception granted for those making less than $250,000 meaning it is yet another tax that violates Obama’s “firm pledge” not to raise “any form” of tax on Americans making less than this amount.

“Cadillac Tax” -- Excise Tax on Comprehensive Health Insurance Plans: In 2020, a new 40 percent excise tax on employer provided health insurance plans is scheduled to kick in, on plans exceeding $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Cadillac tax will hit 26 percent of employer provided plans by 2020 and 42 percent of employer provided plans by 2028. Over time, this will decrease care and increase costs for millions of American families across the country. 

Health Insurance Tax: In addition to mandating the purchase of health insurance through the individual mandate tax, Obamacare directly increases the cost of insurance through the health insurance tax. The tax is projected to cost taxpayers – including those in the middle class – $130 billion over the next decade. 

The total revenue this tax collects is set annually by Treasury and is then divided amongst insurers relative to the premiums they collect each year. While it is directly levied on the industry, the costs of the health insurance tax are inevitably passed on to small businesses that provide healthcare to their employees, middle class families through higher premiums, seniors who purchase Medicare advantage coverage, and the poor who rely on Medicaid managed care.

According to the American Action Forum, the Obamacare health insurance tax will increase premiums by up to $5,000 over a decade and will directly impact 1.7 million small businesses, 11 million households that purchase through the individual insurance market and 23 million households covered through their jobs. The tax is also economically destructive – the National Federation for Independent Businesses estimates the tax could cost up to 286,000 in new jobs and cost small businesses $33 billion in lost sales by 2023.

Employer Mandate Tax: This provision forces employers to pay a $2,000 tax per full time employee if they do not offer “qualifying” – as defined by the government -- health coverage, and at least one employee qualifies for a health tax credit. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Employer Mandate Tax raises taxes on businesses by $166.9 billion over the ten years.

Surtax on Investment Income: Obamacare created a new, 3.8 percent surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 for singles). This created a new top capital gains tax rate of 23.8% and increased taxes by $222.8 billion over ten years.

The capital gains tax hits income that has already been subjected to individual income taxes and is then reinvested in assets that spur new jobs, higher wages, and increased economic growth. Much of the “gains” associated with the capital gains tax is due to inflation and studies have shown that even supposedly modest increases in the capital gains tax have strong negative economic effects.

Payroll Tax Hike: Obamacare imposes an additional 0.9 percent payroll tax on individuals making $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. This tax increase costs Americans $123 billion over ten years.

Tax on Medical Device Manufacturers: This law imposes a new 2.3% excise tax on all sales of medical devices. The tax applies even if the company has no profits in a given year. The tax was recently paused for tax years 2016 and 2017. It will cost Americans $20 billion by 2025.

Tax on Prescription Medicine: Obamacare imposed a tax on the producers of prescription medicine based on relative share of sales. This is a $29.6 billion tax hike over the next ten years.

Codification of the “economic substance doctrine”: This provision allows the IRS to disallow completely legal tax deductions and other legal tax-minimizing plans just because the IRS deems that the action lacks “substance” and is merely intended to reduce taxes owed. This costs taxpayers $5.8 billion over ten years.

Elimination of Deduction for Retiree Prescription Drug Coverage: The elimination of this deduction is a $1.8 billion tax hike over ten years.

$500,000 Annual Executive Compensation Limit for Health Insurance Executives: This deduction limitation is a $600 million tax hike over ten years.

Photo Credit: Kevin Spencer, http://bit.ly/2fr8ZJM

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State Tax Ballot Measure Roundup

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Posted by John Kartch, Laurens ten Cate on Wednesday, November 9th, 2016, 2:15 PM PERMALINK

Taxpayer Wins:

Washington state rejects carbon tax - Initiative 732 got rejected by a 58.5% to 41.5% margin. The initiative 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.

Colorado rejects payroll and income tax hike – By a 79.9% to 20.3% margin, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 69, a massive tax increase that would have imposed a 10% payroll tax and a 10% tax on all non-payroll income.

Oklahoma rejects 22 percent sales tax hike  -  State Question 779 got rejected by a 59.4% to 40.6% margin. State Question 779 would have hiked the sales tax by 22% (from 4.5% to 5.5%).

Oregon rejects business tax increase - By a 59.2% to 40.8% margin, Oregon voters rejected Measure 97 which would have implemented a 2.5% gross receipts tax on all corporate sales exceeding $25 million.

Colorado rejects tobacco tax increase - By a 53.7% to 46.3% margin, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 72, which would have increased the tobacco excise tax by $1.75 per 20-pack. Additionally, all other tobacco products excluding e-cigarettes would have been taxed at 62 percent of the manufacturer's list price.

Missouri rejects 23-cent cigarette tax increase - Missouri voters rejected Proposition A by 55.3% to 44.7% margin, which would have increased the cigarette tax by 23 cents per pack by 2021. Further, all other tobacco products would have been subject to an additional 5% sales tax.

Missouri rejects 60-cent cigarette tax increase  - By a 59.2% to 40.8% margin, Missouri voters rejected Constitutional Amendment 3, which would have raised the cigarette tax by 60 cents per 20-pack in 15 cent increments by 2020. Additionally, an 'equity assessment fee' of 67 cents per pack would have been imposed on manufacturers who did not sign the Tobacco Masters Settlement Agreement (TMSA) of 1998.

North Dakota rejects Tobacco Tax Increase - North Dakota voters rejected Initiated Statutory Measure 4 by 61.7% to 38.3%, which would have increased the state tobacco tax from 44 cents to $2.20 per pack. Also, it would have raised the tax on other tobacco products (including liquid nicotine and electronic vapor products) from 28 percent to 56 percent of the wholesale purchase price. 

Illinois safeguards gas tax funds – The Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment passed by a vote of 78.9% to 21.1%. The Amendment will prevent lawmakers from using transportation funds for projects other than their stated purpose.

New Jersey safeguards gas tax funds - By a 53.6% to 46.4% margin, New Jersey voters passed Public Question 2, which dedicates all gas tax revenue to transportation projects, so politicians will be unable to raid it for their pet purposes.

San Diego, California, rejects hotel room tax increase - By a 57% to 43% margin, San Diego voters rejected Measure C, which would have raised the city's effective hotel room tax by 60% (from 10.5% to 16.5%). The tax hike funds were to be funneled to the construction of a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers. 

Taxpayer Losses:

California extends income tax hike – California Proposition 55 passed by a vote of 62.1% to 37.9%, extending the “temporary” income tax rates hike approved by voters in 2012, on incomes exceeding $250,000 a year.

California passes Tobacco tax increase  - By a 62.9% to 37.1% margin, California voters passed Proposition 56, which increases the state cigarette tax by $2.00 per pack to a total of $2.87 per pack. This increase is also applied to all other tobacco-derived products including e-cigarettes.

Missouri extends sales tax – By a 80.1% to 19.9% margin, Missouri voters passed Amendment 1, which extends a 0.1 percent sales and use tax for another ten years.

Too Close to Call:

Maine Question 2 - Maine residents voted on Question 2, a 40% tax hike (from 7.15% to 10.15%) on household incomes exceeding $200,000 per year. At this point the result is too close to call.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey, http://bit.ly/2exvKYo

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Tax Policy Center Data: Trump Tax Plan Beats Clinton with Higher Take-Home Pay for All Income Levels

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, John Kartch on Monday, October 31st, 2016, 1:07 PM PERMALINK

Left of center group’s own numbers show after-tax income under Trump plan is higher than Clinton’s plan for all income levels

Donald Trump’s tax cut plan would increase after-tax income more than the Hillary Clinton’s tax plan regardless of income quintile, according to data published by the left-of-center Tax Policy Center.

As noted in the center-left Tax Policy Center’s data, the middle quintile of income earners would see a 1.8 percent increase in after tax-income under the Trump plan but would receive just 0.2 percent increase in after-tax income under the Clinton plan. The Trump tax cut in this income range is nine times the size of Clinton’s.

Clinton’s tax plan offers no income tax rate reduction for any American of any income level. No rate reduction for any business or any individual, regardless of size.


Data Source: Tax Policy Center

Clinton’s overall tax plan raises taxes by $1.4 trillion. Americans for Tax Reform is tracking all of Clinton’s tax hikes at www.HighTaxHillary.com

Photo Credit: Lorie Shaull, http://bit.ly/2e5NoCw

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