Matthew Haynie

Muriel Bowser's Anti-Science Policies Are Costing Her Constituents Their Lives

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Posted by Matthew Haynie on Thursday, August 5th, 2021, 3:25 PM PERMALINK

Despite the fact that every American has access to a safe, effective Coronavirus vaccine, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has re-instituted a mask mandate in the District- including for vaccinated individuals. This action is in direct contrast to the words of the leader of Bowser’s party, Joe Biden, who said: “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in an ICU unit, and you’re not going to die.” Bowser’s mandate demonstrates a mistrust in the effectiveness of the vaccine which is contrary to settled science. This is just one of many anti-science actions taken during Muriel Bowser’s tenure. On July 21, 2021, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser officially banned the sale of flavored Tobacco. Bowser’s mandate and ban call into question the Mayor’s priories, as murders and crime ravage the District at record rates.    

Bowser has attempted to paint the ban as a victory for communities of color.  However, her actions will have the opposite effect. They will actually harm communities of color, as “smokers who use sweet-flavored vapor products were 43% more likely to quit smoking than those who used unflavored or tobacco flavored vapor products.” Reduced risk tobacco alternatives, such as personal vaporisers, have been overwhelmingly proven to be 95% safer than combustible cigarettes, and at least twice as effective as more traditional nicotine replacement therapies, leading to the sharpest declines in both adult and youth smoking on record. So, by banning flavored tobacco products, Bowser is eliminating a commonly used and effective pathway to overcoming nicotine addiction. 

Overregulation of tobacco products creates black market demand, causing smokers to use riskier, totally unregulated forms of tobacco.  For example, in Minnesota, where tobacco taxes are 7 times higher than neighboring states, 35% of all tobacco consumed comes from illicit sources.  Bowser’s ban will likely create a similar effect, putting her constituents at rick of consuming harmful, unregulated tobacco products.  Furthermore, most tobacco smuggling is operated by multi-million dollar organized crime syndicates that also engage in human trafficking, money laundering, and have been shown to use their profits to fund terrorism.  As a result, the US State Department has explicitly labeled tobacco smuggling as “a threat to national security”.   

By giving her attention to ineffective tobacco policies, Bowser has proven herself derelict in her duty to protect the people of her city. So far in 2021, there have been 234 homicides in and around Washington DC, with the vast majority of victims being people of color. If Bowser were serious about protecting communities of color, she would focus on stopping the record-setting crime in her city instead of banning life-saving products. 

Bowser’s priorities are obviously out of whack. The Mayor’s anti-science policies are costing her constituents their lives.   

Ohio Special Election: Carey, Cooperrider, Edmonds, Hood, Hwang, Peterson Commit to Oppose Tax Hikes

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Posted by Matthew Haynie on Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021, 10:57 AM PERMALINK

Ohio voters deserve to know where a candidate stands on taxes and spending. The good news is five Republican candidates, in their bid to become the next Congressional Representative of the 15th District of Ohio, have done just that by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge: a written commitment to voters that, if elected, they will “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”  

Mike Carey, Thad Cooperrider, Ron Hood, Ruth Edmonds, Thomas Hwang, and Senator Bob Peterson have all signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in their bids to replace former Representative Steve Stivers. In making this principled written commitment to Ohio voters, all five candidates recognize that the problem is not that hardworking Ohioans are taxed too little, it’s that the government spends too much.    

“I commend Carey, Cooperrider, Hood, Edmonds, Hwang, and Peterson for making it crystal clear to voters that there will be no tax increases under their watch if elected,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “Ohio voters have been hit with several tax hikes in recent years. They deserve an ally in the legislative branch, now more than ever, who will not raid their bank accounts. Instead, these candidates have committed to focus on making government more efficient, so Ohio becomes a more attractive place to live, invest, and do business.”  

Anyone can say they are against tax hikes, but only those who are firm in their beliefs will make that commitment in writing. Just ask the 223 members of the United States Congress, and 13 Governors—all of whom have joined approximately 1,000 state legislators across the country in signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.   

Americans for Tax Reform asks all candidates for state and federal office to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Candidates for Congress can still make this important commitment to voters ahead of their primaries by visiting:   

New candidates sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge regularly. For the most up-to-date information on this race or any other, please visit the ATR Pledge Database.  

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

More from Americans for Tax Reform

States Get a Win in Lawsuit Over Blue State Bailout’s “No Tax Cut” Mandate

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Posted by Matthew Haynie on Friday, July 23rd, 2021, 2:20 PM PERMALINK

Infamously, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) included language that barred states from “directly or indirectly” reducing tax burdens with the federal money they received. This vague, over-broad restriction left it unclear whether any state tax cut that occurred after the bailout could be challenged by the federal government.

This spurred lawsuits from coalitions of states over the ‘no tax cut’ mandate. On July 2nd, a federal judge sided with Ohio in a lawsuit over restrictions in the American Rescue Plan – a big victory for taxpayers.  

Ohio and Arizona have spearheaded separate legal challenges, joined by other states to the language in the blue-state bailout package. This comes at a time when Americans need tax relief as the country returns to work after the pandemic.  

The Ohio lawsuit asserts that the federal government overstepped its bounds by issuing the “tax mandate” in the ARP.  The judge agreed, ruling that the prohibition of tax cuts with relief funds “falls short of the clarity required by Supreme Court precedent”. Further, the Judge ruled that the tax mandate meets the requirements for injunctive relief, meaning the law will, at least temporarily, no longer apply.  This comes as a win to Ohio taxpayers, and signals that other states may find success in their efforts to cut taxes with ARP funds.   

Arizona has also filed suit against the ARP’s tax mandate. After receiving over $4.9 billion dollars from the ARP, Arizona cut the state’s income tax by $1.9 billion dollars, putting much needed cash back in the hands of hardworking Arizonans. In the currently pending case, Arizona is arguing that the Federal Government offers a coercive amount of money in the ARP and is attempting to commandeer the state’s policy making process through the tax mandate.   

The court victory for Ohio taxpayers is a positive signal for Arizona’s lawsuit to protect their taxpayers. The tax mandate is a display government overreach, as the ARP attempts to interfere in the constitutionally prescribed domain of the states. This ruling is vital for protecting the states from the federal government trying to micromanage their budgets.   

Photo Credit: Flickr - Ohio Attorney General

More from Americans for Tax Reform

AZ Sports Betting Proposal Features Good Tax Rates, Bad Rules on Stats & Data

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Posted by Matthew Haynie on Thursday, July 8th, 2021, 3:16 PM PERMALINK

In April, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed a bill legalizing both retail and online sports betting.  This legislation makes available a total of twenty sports betting licenses, ten of which are reserved for tribes.

 Arizona will tax retail sports gambling at 8% and online sports gambling at 10%.  These modest rates encourage Arizonans to support the new industry as shown by a Copenhagen Economics study concluding that tax rates of 15% and higher reduce betting activity. 

Furthermore, low taxes on sports betting reduces the incentive of placing a bet for a lower fee on the $150 billion black market for sports betting, rather than through legal means. 

Arizona’s proposed rates are competitive, but setting a tax rate lower than 8% could help Arizona compete with neighboring states such as Nevada, where bets are taxed at 6.75%. 

Despite many positive aspects of the Arizona Department of Gaming’s proposal, the language regarding the regulation of league data usage could amount to a giveaway to sports leagues.  The Department’s regulations state that official league statistical data must be used for in-game betting unless the sports book proves that the use of other data is “necessary”.  Sports books should not have to justify the use of non-official data as necessary as long as the information is good and comparable. 

The department says even though they are making sports books use “official” data, that they will make sure the costs are “commercially reasonable.” Yet, they would interfere in the market, which would determine commercially reasonable prices for free – if allowed to function. This language should be eliminated from the regulations, or at minimum, be rewritten to allow sports books to use statistics which are sufficient for integrity, rather than defaulting to using league-approved data.   

A low tax approach deserves support, and should provide optimism for consumers and the industry’s economic prospects. With most states not mandating using league-approved statistics, and not facing any unique integrity issues as a result, there is little justification for requiring operators use that data only for in-game betting.  

For California Dems, Gas Prices Can Never Be Too High

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Posted by Matthew Haynie on Wednesday, July 7th, 2021, 1:46 PM PERMALINK

Boasting an 80 billion dollar surplus, the California State Government is flush with cash, yet Democrats still want more. In a Tuesday statement, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy highlighted that “...Governor Newsom collected $26 billion in federal aid from Speaker Pelosi’s Blue State Bailout, all while bragging about California’s surplus.” Despite this hefty surplus, Democrats introduced a 10% excise tax on handguns in the past legislative session and an 11% excise tax on long guns, gun parts, and ammunition, and a 16.8% wealth tax, among other efforts to pad their already well-lined pockets. Possibly the most egregious of these efforts is an increase in the California gas tax.  

Although California already burdens taxpayers with the highest gas prices in the nation, the state gas tax rose to 51 cents per gallon on July 1st. The tax hike will cost drivers at least an additional 83 million dollars, while the average Californian family of four already pays over 800 dollars in gas taxes each year.  

California Republicans introduced a gas tax holiday to temporarily suspend gas tax collection for the end of the fiscal year. This holiday would have provided much-needed relief to families. In a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Republican Caucus said: “It is time to give Californians a break from the high cost of living that includes the state’s high taxes and gas prices.”  

This measure was supported by the people of California. A business owner who spends over two thousand dollars each week on gasoline said: “It’s expensive… any reprieve would be wonderful”. Yet despite widespread support, Democrats remained uninterested in providing relief at the pump to working Californians. They unilaterally passed a budget without any holiday.  

Even when completely unnecessary, California Democrats’ compulsive need to raise taxes highlights the urgent need for change in Sacramento. California residents cannot afford the already highest gasoline prices. Programs such as the gas tax holiday, the full deductibility of PPP loan expenses, attempts to shield Californians from tax liability for unemployment benefits and other tax-saving efforts were all proposed this session. Yet despite bipartisan support, Sacramento leadership killed them all.  

Fortunately, California residents have begun to push back against the Democrats’ tax and spend policies by petitioning to recall Governor Newsom. Among the frontrunners to replace Newsom is Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer Kevin Faulconer, who introduced the “largest middle class tax cut in California history.” Faulconer’s plan would eliminate the state income tax on individuals making less than 50 thousand dollars per year, and households making less than 100 thousand dollars per year. These cuts would go a long way toward alleviating the massive tax burden currently crushing the California middle class. 

Photo Credit: Alpha Stock Images