Matthew Adams

South Dakota and the Constitutionally of Their Internet Sales Tax

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, 4:58 PM PERMALINK

Earlier this month, South Dakota’s Attorney General Marty Jackley petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on the state’s internet sales tax that the state Supreme Court struck down this September.

In what may become a landmark decision, the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of an internet sales taxes, hopefully ruling in favor of taxpayers and in support of federalism.

In March of 2016, Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota signed the massive sales tax into law. 

Senate Bill 106, required out-of-state sellers to collect a sales tax on South Dakota’s buyers, and then forced these sellers to hand over those tax dollars to the state of South Dakota. 

Worst of all, under the law, the seller didn’t even need to have a physical presence in state, yet, were still subject to the overbearing measure.

Under the law, businesses were strong-armed into taking on the role of tax collector. In shifting the tax burden onto business owners, they were required to file dozens of complicated reports detailing their transactions- wasting money, time, and, resources, making it even harder for less advantaged mom-and-pop shops to compete.

With that, the law raised the prices on consumer goods, subjecting hard-working South Dakotans to greater financial struggle.  

To great concern, similar measures have been proposed in the U.S. Congress, mainly the Marketplace Fairness Act, championed by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-V.A.).

In 1992, the court ruled in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota that it was unconstitutional to require retailers with no in-state presence to collect and remit a sales tax.

If they do take up the case, the court will either decide to overrule this previous precedent, opening the floodgates to massive tax increases across the board, or, choose to prioritize the rights and sovereignty of American taxpayers by upholding the 1992 ruling. 

Photo Credit: Angela N.

Updates from the Stop Obamacare Taxes Road Crew

Posted by Matthew Adams, Justin Sykes on Friday, October 6th, 2017, 4:36 PM PERMALINK

Allowing more Obamacare taxes to take effect in 2018 must be out of the question. If Congress fails to act the Obamacare Health Insurance Tax (HIT) will hit Americans on January 1, 2018. This tax alone could cause premiums to increase by $5,000 over a decade. ATR launched the “Stop Obamacare Taxes” bus tour in late September to keep pressure on Congress to delay and repeal all Obamacare taxes.

Continuing the march across the country, on Tuesday, October 3, the “Stop Obamacare Taxes” bus tour made its second stop in Denver, Colorado at the Pepsi Center before the WWE “Smackdown Live.”  The stadium seats over 18,000 people and was packed to the brim. The parking lot where the ATR tour bus was positioned was just as packed. As WWE fans headed into the stadium, many stopped to take pictures of the bus and to read about the pending Obamacare Taxes soon to take effect.

Many concerned citizens interested in learning about the looming tax hikes were asked to write their Congressmen urging a repeal of ALL Obamacare taxes. And those who really wanted to drive the message home about the need for repeal, received a camo koozie and a t-shirt that reads, “You can’t hide from Obamacare tax increases.”

ATR staff fielded questions from those in attendance, explaining how the trillions of new and enacted taxes under Obamacare will affect their lives, taking more hard-earned dollars out of their paychecks.

Numerous people opened up and shared their own stories about how Obamacare has already negatively impacted them, raising their premiums sky-high. 

Moving from Denver, the tour headed north through Fort Collins, Colorado into Wyoming, stopping along the journey to spread awareness to American taxpayers.

At an impromptu stop in Wheaton, Wyoming, dozens of residents approached the tour to share their own personal experiences under the law, and they were horrified to hear about the coming tax increases once the other Obamacare tax provisions take effect.

One story that stuck out was that of Robert Parks, an Air Force Veteran, retiree, and Wyoming resident who told ATR staff and fellow citizens about how his premiums used to be just slightly over $50, yet, after retirement and post-Obamacare, his premiums skyrocketed to over $500! Unfortunately, Mr. Parks is not alone, millions of Americans find themselves in the same situation, having to foot the bill for the exorbitant tax-hikes under the ACA.

After their departure from Wyoming, the crew headed to South Dakota, arriving in Rapid City on Wednesday. Throughout the day, over two dozen residents approached the tour to share stories regarding how Obamacare has negatively impacted their lives.

ATR Federal Affairs Manager, Justin Sykes, also did an interview in front of the bus for Rapid City’s KOTA News Station. See the video above.

The next stop for the “Stop Obamacare Taxes” bus will be in Wisconsin, stay tuned for more details!

Photo Credit: Justin Sykes

More from Americans for Tax Reform

McCain and Lee Move to Eliminate Jones Act Trade Barriers on Puerto Rico

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Friday, September 29th, 2017, 4:24 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced Senate Bill S.1894, permanently exempting Puerto Rico from trade restrictions under the Merchant Marine Act of 1920, commonly known as the Jones Act.

Their action comes in response to the massive devastation from Hurricane Maria that made landfall on the island earlier on September 20th; some estimates show damages upwards of $95 billion. In his relief efforts, President Trump granted a 10-day waiver of the Jones Act for Puerto Rico to allow much needed supplies and resources to flow into the ailing territory. This is a good step, but it only hints at the obvious damage done by a harmful protectionist measure.

Under the law, only U.S. flagged ships are allowed to deliver goods between U.S. ports. The archaic law is rooted in faulty protectionism that does more harm than good for America’s economic interests. With that, research has shown that consumers foot the bill for the higher cost of shipping caused by the law. Further, the U.S. International Trade Commission has estimated that its repeal could save the United States $15 billion annually.

In a statement, Sen. Lee said: “The Jones Act is just another example of a federal regulation that harms American consumers, gives foreign corporations an edge over American businesses, and makes disaster response harder. It is far past time to repeal it.”

Beyond pressures from Senators McCain and Lee, this week, members of the House wrote to acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, requesting a one-year exemption on the ban to further relief efforts, expressing their discontent with the law and its devastating effects.

While the exemption undoubtedly helps, it is simply insufficient, and a permanent exemption is the only solution to get Puerto Rico the help it so desperately needs. That being said, the McCain-Lee legislation would be a positive first step in ending the mercantilist law that keeps us locked in a 20th century import barrier economy, that never worked in the first place, and facilitate a trade environment that will allow us to compete competitively in a modern global economy that requires free and open commerce. 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Watchdog Report Shows Tennessee Misused $100K in Asset Forfeiture Funds on Catering

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Tuesday, September 19th, 2017, 11:23 AM PERMALINK

The Tennessee Department of Safety wrongly paid for food totaling over $110K with funds collected through civil asset forfeiture, the Inspector General reported last Thursday.

Passed in 1984, the Comprehensive Crime Control Act established the Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Program (AFP) which allows law enforcement to seize assets from individuals suspected with involvement in illegal activity, even if there are no formal charges.

Under the AFP, the Equitable Sharing Program was established allowing state and local law enforcement agencies involved in federal crime crackdown efforts to claim a portion of any seized money and property. This allows local police forces to ignore state property protections in favor of lower federal standards

While civil asset forfeiture comes under greater scrutiny in recent years, there are some limits set on the scope in which seized funds can be spent on, barring agencies from purchasing bayonets, grenade launchers, food, and other extravagant expenses.

Between 2014 and 2016 Tennessee’s Department of Safety spent $112,614 of seized cash on catering, banquet tickets, and retail food purchases, a clear violation of the limits established by the Department of Justice.

When the Inspector General presented this finding to the department its Controller said “that he did not know these expenditures were unallowable”.

Beyond that, the agency further neglected to adhere to DOJ rules, failing to file receipts of requested funds, and even filed their FY 2014 report 19 days late.

It’s clear that DOJ efforts to reign in and prevent abuse of the Equitable Sharing Program have failed, and the problem lies in the fundamental flaws surrounding the Asset Forfeiture Program as a whole where due process and presumption of innocence are blatantly ignored in favor of big-government draconian policies.

These developments are just another example of countless abuses resulting from the program. The men and women of law enforcement are entrusted with enforcing the rule of law, yet civil asset forfeiture undermines their ability to do so by taking advantage of the communities they are sworn to protect. In an age of great divisiveness, the last thing our police need is greater scrutiny and condemnation due this government program that only furthers the polarization and makes their jobs harder.

This leaves it upon state legislatures and the federal government to end civil asset forfeiture as a practice so that innocent Americans should no longer have to fear that their property will be taken away without due process.

The full report can be found here: Audit of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Equitable Sharing Program Activities Nashville, Tennessee

Photo Credit: Michael Galkovsky

Bipartisan Lawmakers Introduce the Protecting the American Process for Election Results Act

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Friday, September 15th, 2017, 4:20 PM PERMALINK

On Friday, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist wrote to Rep. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Rep. James Langevin (R.I) expressing his support for their bill, HR 3751, the Protecting the American Process for Election Results (PAPER) Act. If enacted, the PAPER Act would take the necessary steps to secure and strengthen the nation’s election security system.

In an age of heightened security risks from nations like North Korea and Iran trying to disrupt our nation’s elections, this bill is the first step in ensuring that American voters exercise their right without interference from those hoping to undermine our democratic institutions. Our representational democracy is built upon a reliable election process, and this must be safeguarded at all costs.

In a press release on the bill, Rep. Meadows said, “the PAPER Act would be a major step forward in securing our election process, updating the security of our voter logs, and allowing for efficient and effective audits of election results”.

Mr. Norquist urges all of Rep. Meadows’ and Rep. Langevin’s colleagues to “support this important common-sense measure”.

The full letter can be found here

Photo Credit: Michael R.

The IRS Fired Agents for Snooping, Then Re-Hired Them!

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Tuesday, August 15th, 2017, 2:34 PM PERMALINK

The IRS has a long history of taxpayer abuse and utter incompetence, and the latest Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report shows this is still the case. Throughout January 2015 to March 2016, the IRS rehired more than 200 employees who were previously employed by the agency, but fired for previous conduct or performance issues.

One would hope that the tax collecting arm of the federal government would hire employees of the upmost character and work effort “given the substantial threat of identity theft and the magnitude of sensitive information that the IRS holds”.  In the hopes of ensuring that the IRS holds themselves to high standards, and exposing them when they don’t, TIGTA audits the IRS and makes policy recommendations, compiling their findings in reports submitted to Congress.

According to their report:

  • 86 of the 213 employees rehired were previously fired for abuse of absence/leave, workplace disruption, or a failure to follow instructions
  • “27 former employees failed to disclose a prior termination or conviction on their application, as required, and were rehired by the IRS”
  • Four former employees were rehired after they “separated while under investigation for unauthorized accesses to taxpayer information”
  • “One rehired employee had several misdemeanors for theft and a felony for possession of a forgery device”
  • “Another rehired employee had threatened his or her co-workers”
  • A number of other rehired employees “willfully failed to meet their Federal tax responsibilities”


Prior TIGTA reports identified the same issue at hand in years past, but found that despite pressure for reform, the IRS did not update any hiring procedures, resulting in another year of continued practices of hiring incompetent employees, setting the stage for taxpayer neglect and abuse.

Much in line with their track record of targeting conservative media outlets, and their destruction of a hard drive containing 24,000 Lois Lerner emails, they have yet again failed to show taxpayers the respect they deserve, refusing to improve their rampant disregard for the law. One must hope that the next TIGTA report shows some degree of progress, however unlikely that may be. 

Photo Credit: Ray Tsang

Grover Podcast: The U.S. Senate Should Repeal all Obamacare Taxes

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, 5:32 PM PERMALINK

On this week’s episode of The Grover Norquist Show, Grover discusses one of the biggest issues on the GOP’s summer legislative agenda, Obamacare repeal.

Grover Norquist: “Talk to your Congressman and Senators if you see them and say: “Hey, are you gonna get rid of all the Obamacare taxes or just some? … Because they all really did say that they would get rid of all of these taxes”

To make good on repeal, Congress should eliminate the nearly 20 Obamacare taxes that equate to roughly $1 trillion dollars pulled straight from the pockets of American families and businesses.

In hopes of accelerating this process, 47 free market groups and activists recently signed onto a letter urging Senate Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to eliminate all of the Obamacare taxes. The coalition letter can be found here: 47 Conservative Groups and Activists: The Senate Should Repeal All Obamacare Taxes

To learn more, listen to Grover’s latest podcast and be sure to subscribe to the weekly Grover Norquist show to stay updated! 

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

The Marketplace Fairness Act: a Huge Internet Sales Tax

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017, 9:47 AM PERMALINK

Failed Vice-Presidential nominee, Sen. Tim Kaine (Va.) has reintroduced a bill, the Marketplace Fairness Act (S.976), in the U.S. Senate that would impose an internet sales tax on Americans. Under the proposed legislation, states would be able to tax across their borders, and businesses would become tax collectors beholden to the states.

As it stands, you pay no sales tax when purchasing from a business that has no physical presence in your state. But that would change under this latest revenue grab.

This carries a litany of issues. It subjects a business of one state to the tax laws of another state- one they have no political representation in. What happened to no taxation without representation?

It shifts the tax burden onto businesses as they would now have to collect a sales tax in these types of transactions and report and file to dozens of other states. This all results in taking even more money out of your pocket. 

Worst of all, it discourages tax competition and business incentives amongst the states, and instead encourages higher tax rates.

While presented as a protector of America’s small businesses, the bill would only subject our already struggling mom-and-pop shops to a greater regulatory and tax burden.

If the objective of the bill is to help small businesses, it clearly misses the mark. In fact, it’s clear the bill only serves big box stores wishing to stomp competition, and state and local governments who want more money in the piggy bank to fund big government.

The bill is bad for small businesses and consumers alike, more like the "Marketplace Unfairness Act".

#KilltheBill #NoNetTax

Photo Credit: Negative Space

In Support of Rand Paul and the REINS Act (S.21)

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Posted by Matthew Adams on Monday, May 22nd, 2017, 9:45 AM PERMALINK

A new regulatory killer will soon make its way to the Senate floor.

Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) "Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act" (REINS Act) made it through committee this week, putting our ever-growing bureaucratic behemoth in its sights. 

The REINS Act would reassert Congressional authority over governmental agencies and organizations by requiring every new regulation that will have an annual economic impact over $100 million dollars to be authorized by Congress.

As of late, Congressional Republicans have utilized the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to eliminate Obama era regulations. Signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, the CRA gives the legislative branch the ability to overrule regulations set by executive agencies. However, Democrats have scrutinized its use, arguing that its current use is not how it was intended. This May, Sen. Corey Booker (D-N.J.) has gone as far as introducing a bill that would repeal the CRA. 

Regardless, the REINS Act sole purpose is to put an end to reckless bureaucratic nonsense, continuing the efforts made by Congress in the past few months. It would undoubtedly reign in the overbearing regulatory mess by mitigating needless spending and opening up our economy to a freer and more productive atmosphere. Between the cost of the regulatory burden, and its negative impact on the free market, the REINS Act is a common sense solution to shrinking the size of government.

Accompanying the REINS Act is the Regulatory Accountability Act which is much less extensive, but takes a step in the right direction, requiring federal agencies to run cost/benefit analyses on new regulations. A floor vote is expected soon.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore