Nathan Pick

Patricia Phillips signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in the Race for Virginia Senate District 33


Posted by Nathan Pick on Wednesday, March 30th, 2011, 2:00 PM PERMALINK

Patricia Phillips, Republican candidate for the 33rd Senate district has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR).  The Pledge is a commitment to constituents to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

To date, twenty-nine members of the Virginia legislature have signed the Pledge.  Additionally, 13 governors and over 1,250 state legislators across the country have signed the Pledge.

“Virginia taxpayers need leaders committed to fiscal responsibility and pro-growth economic policies,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.  “By signing the Pledge, Patricia demonstrates that she understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers in the 33rd district and around the Commonwealth.”

ATR encourages candidates and sitting legislators who have not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to make this commitment to taxpayers.  More on the Pledge can be found here.    

“I applaud Patricia Phillips for her leadership and dedication to the ideals of limited government, and for putting taxpayers’ wallets ahead of government coffers,” added Norquist.

For a PDF of the press release, click here.

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Charles Pia, Jr. and Monique Thomas sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in CT Special Election


Posted by Nathan Pick on Monday, March 28th, 2011, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

There are four candidates in the special election to fill Connecticut’s 148th State House district seat; but Republican candidate Charles Pia, Jr. and Independent candidate Monique Thomas are the only two who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  The Pledge is a commitment to constituents to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

To date, eighteen members of the Connecticut legislature have signed the Pledge.  Additionally, 13 governors and over 1,250 state legislators across the country have signed the Pledge.  To see those who have signed, click here

The special election for the 148th House seat will take place April 12, 2011. 

Connecticut's 148th House district needs a  needs a leader committed to fiscal responsibility and pro-growth economic policies.  ATR encourages candidates and sitting legislators who have not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to make this commitment to taxpayers.

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Bobbie Holsclaw Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in Kentucky Gubernatorial Race


Posted by Nathan Pick on Tuesday, February 15th, 2011, 12:30 PM PERMALINK

Bobbie Holsclaw, currently serving her fourth term as the Jefferson County Clerk, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race.  The Pledge is a commitment to constituents to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

To date, twenty-eight members of the Kentucky legislature have signed the Pledge.  Additionally, thirteen governors and over 1,200 state legislators across the country have signed the Pledge.

“Kentucky taxpayers need leaders committed to fiscal responsibility and pro-growth economic policies,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.  “By signing the Pledge, Bobbie Holsclaw demonstrates that she understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers nationwide, but especially the taxpayers of Kentucky.”

ATR encourages candidates who have not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to make this commitment to taxpayers.  To see a list of state-level officials who have signed the Pledge, visit http://www.atr.org/files/files/StateTaxpayerProtectionPledgeList_FINAL_2011(11).pdf.

“I applaud Bobbie for her leadership and dedication to the ideals of limited government and for putting taxpayers’ wallets ahead of government coffers,” added Norquist.


Virginia Free File: Thank Your Legislator for Moving the Commonwealth Out of Tax Preparation


Posted by Nathan Pick on Thursday, February 10th, 2011, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform supports the Virginia Free File program, and the principles of privatization and choice that brought it to fruition.

During the 2010 legislative session, House Bill 1349 was passed by the House (86-10) and the Senate (33-6); requiring the establishment of Virginia Free File.  This program is modeled after the IRS Free File program and offered at no cost to the Commonwealth of Virginia.  In order to create this program, leading online tax preparation and filing software companies donated their services for this project.  Using this program, a majority of Virginians can prepare and file their taxes for free. 

Before the passage of House Bill 1349, there was a government run online tax filing system offered by the state.  Online tax filing is a business that the state did not need to be involved in.  Governor McDonnell and the legislature recognized this fact and passed HB 1349.

Privatization and competition are good principles for state governments to open the doors to; and Virginia did well in embracing them with the creation of Virginia Free File.     

ATR encourages you to write in support of the Virginia Free File program.  You can write to Governor McDonnell and your legislators here

Click here to see the coalition letter sent by ATR and 6 other organizations in support of Virginia Free File.

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2011 North Dakota Legislative Session: Policy to Pursue and Policy to Reject


Posted by Nathan Pick on Thursday, February 3rd, 2011, 5:30 PM PERMALINK

Yesterday, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) sent a letter to the North Dakota legislature outlining three specific policy proposals that we support and one in particular that we would oppose. 

Those that ATR supports:

  • House Bill 1409, sponsored by Senators Oley Larsen and Margaret Sitte, and Representatives Jim Kasper, Roscoe Streyle, Blair Thoreson, and Dave Weiler:  This bill would eliminate both the corporate and personal income taxes.  Over the FY2009-2011 biennium these taxes are estimated to amount to $895 million in revenue taken from the pockets of North Dakotan families and businesses.  Among its neighbors, North Dakota would join only South Dakota in being free of corporate and personal income taxes. 
     
  • House Bill 1228, sponsored by Senators John Andrist, Tony Grindberg, and Joe Miller, and Representatives Bette Grande, Don Vigesaa, and Robin Weisz; and House Bill1258, sponsored by Senators John Andrist, Gary Lee, and Dave Oehlke, and Representatives  Bette Grande, Craig Headland, and Scott Louser:  These bills would create a new 401(k)-like defined contribution plan for new state employees.    

“North Dakota needs to use this session to reduce tax burdens and limit government.  Public employee pension liabilities will destroy state budgets if they are not addressed.  Now is the time to be visionaries and to address pending problems sooner rather than later,”said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.  “Additionally, tax cuts are something that legislators should pass this session.  North Dakota has an opportunity to eliminate both its corporate and personal income taxes, leaving this money in the pockets of people.”

There is also a rumored cigarette tax increase proposal in North Dakota that would raise the cigarette tax to $2.00 a pack.  ATR opposes this tax increase and any other tax increase that would be proposed. 

“With its robust budget surplus, North Dakota must reject tax increases and reduce the size of government.  On November 2, the electorate spoke loud and clear in favor of lower taxes and fiscal responsibility.”

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Ronald Reagan Legacy Project Launches New Website as 100th Birthday Nears


Posted by Nathan Pick on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011, 2:30 PM PERMALINK

Today, in preparation for the centennial birthday of Ronald Reagan, the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project (RRLP) unveiled its new website: www.RonaldReaganLegacyProject.org.  

The mission of RRLP is to honor the legacy of our 40thPresident through the naming of roads, schools, buildings, and other sites and by encouraging states to recognize Ronald Reagan Day each year on February 6.  The new website features a resource section where individuals can find more information on President Reagan including speeches, articles, and links to other organizations.  The site provides a map that is searchable for those looking for Reagan dedications and annual list of gubernatorial proclamations declaring February 6 as Ronald Reagan Day.  

“Every school, road, or courthouse that we name after Ronald Reagan becomes a teaching moment.  It will open the door for parents to explain to young children who Ronald Reagan was and to provide a catalyst for learning to those who were too young to remember him in their early years,” said Grover Norquist, chairman of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project.

The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project was created in 1997.  The first project and arguably the most notable project the RRLP has participated in is the naming of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in 1998.  There are currently 107 known dedications across the United States and 13 dedications overseas.

Join RRLP in remembering and honoring Ronald Reagan on his 100th birthday this February 6, 2011.

For a PDF of RRLP's press release, click here.

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Norquist's Letter to the Virginia Legislature re: 2011 Session


Posted by Nathan Pick on Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 5:45 PM PERMALINK

January 18, 2011

Virginia Senate

Virginia House of Delegates

Dear Legislator,

Now that the General Assembly has convened for the 2011 session, calls for tax increases are already arising.  I urge you to reject any and all tax increases that are presented to you.    There is never a good time for a tax increase, but now as you work to get this economy moving, it would be most detrimental to any prospect of economic growth and job creation.  On November 2nd, all over the nation and in the Commonwealth of Virginia the voters spoke resoundingly against higher taxes and spending; I would urge you to guard against forgetting their voices during the session.      

As you worked to erase an overspending problem in the 2010 session, I urge you to continue to address this problem in the 2011 session.  Currently, there are some pieces of legislation that would only be patching the problem with tax increases, rather than curtailing spending and eliminating inefficiencies.   Americans for Tax Reform stands firmly with Virginians all over the Commonwealth in firm opposition to any and all of these tax increases.  A couple of pieces of legislation raising concern are the following two, though this list is not comprehensive: 

  • House Bill 2341 sponsored by Delegate Morissey:  This bill would levy a twenty cent tax on plastic bags in the Commonwealth of Virginia and levy fines on retailers who do not comply with collecting the new tax.  This is an uncanny attempt to implement a social engineering project and eradicate plastic bags while also taking more money from the pockets of Virginians.  Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that plastic bag taxes improve the environment.
     
  • House Bill 1604 sponsored by Delegate Dave Albo:  This bill would change rules that relate to the collection of corporate income taxes.  This bill attempts to level the playing field between Virginia businesses and out-of-state businesses, but ends up being a net tax increase overall.  This bill could be fixed by amending it to be revenue neutral; one way this could be done is by cutting the corporate income tax rate.         

There are a couple other issues that I would like to address, one being Governor McDonnell’s transportation plan and the other being one of the ways he looks to fund the plan, namely through the partial privatization of ABC.

First, privatization of liquor industry is an important goal.  In principle, ATR fully supports privatization of ABC and other entities.  The current plan Governor Bob McDonnell is proposing would privatize the retail side of liquor sales.  From what has been released so far, this plan does not contain tax increases.  Eventually, total privatization of ABC should be the goal of the Commonwealth, but this ideal should not stand in the way of a step in the right direction.

Secondly, transportation is an ongoing issue in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in many states around the country.  Governor McDonnell is looking to borrow about $4 billion in order to fund his transportation plan.  It is fair to discuss whether or not this is good policy for the Commonwealth of Virginia, but I want to make clear that there is not a tax increase in this proposal.  However, if this new bonding moves forward, assurances need to be made that this new spending will not lead to tax increases in the future.  The Governor’s proposal does not include a net tax increase and would not violate the Pledge.

Please join the families of Virginia who are working to find ways to make due with less.  As they are finding ways to cut their budgets, I urge you to join them in doing the same.  If you have any questions, please contact Nathan Pick, state affairs manager, at 202.785.0266.  

Onward,

Grover Norquist

CC: Governor Bob McDonnell

For a PDF copy of the letter, click here.

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Victories for Virginia Taxpayers in Tuesday's Special Elections


Posted by Nathan Pick on Friday, January 14th, 2011, 5:00 PM PERMALINK

Delegate Greg Habeeb (R-District 8) and Senator Bill Stanley (R-District 19) won their respective special elections that took place on Tuesday.  Each candidate was the only candidate in his race to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  By signing the Pledge they committed to the constituents of their districts and the Commonwealth of Virginia to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.” 

To date, twenty-nine members of the Virginia legislature have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge.  Additionally, 13 governors and over 1,200 state legislators across the country have signed the Pledge.

“By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and making this commitment to the taxpayers of their districts and the Commonwealth of Virginia, these new legislators are showing true leadership,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.  “Their commitments are a sign to the tax and spend interests that tax increases are off the table this session and as they continue to serve in their respective offices.”

ATR encourages candidates and sitting legislators who have not signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge to make this commitment to taxpayers.  More on the Pledge can be found here.  

“This past Tuesday turned out to be not only victories for Delegate Greg Habeeb and Senator Bill Stanley, but more importantly a victory for the taxpayers of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” added Norquist.

For a PDF copy of ATR's press release, click here.

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Pledge Signers Running in Two Virginia Special Elections January 11th


Posted by Nathan Pick on Thursday, January 6th, 2011, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

On Tuesday, January 11th voters will be going to the polls for special elections in the 8th House district and the 19th Senate district of Virginia.  The 8th House district was recently vacated by Congress Morgan Griffith and the 19th Senate district was vacated by Congressman Robert Hurt. 

There is only one candidate in each race who has committed to the taxpayers of their respective districts to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes;” Greg Habeeb in the 8th House of Delegates district and Bill Stanley in the 19th Senate district.

In Virginia there are currently 27 member of the legislature who have signed the Pledge.  Nationwide, there are 14 governors and over 1,200 legislators who have made this commitment to taxpayers. 

By signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Greg Habeeb and Bill Stanley have both shown leadership in choosing to put taxpayers’ wallets ahead of government coffers.

To see a copy of the press release from ATR on Greg Habeeb’s signing of the Pledge, click here

To see a copy of the press release from ATR on Bill Stanley’s signing of the Pledge, click here.


Letter from ATR Regarding Virginia Privatization Proposal


Posted by Nathan Pick on Monday, September 27th, 2010, 1:45 PM PERMALINK

On September 8, 2010, a plan to privatize Virginia's ABC (state-owned liquor) stores was introduced to Governor McDonnell's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring (the plan can be found here).

There has been much speculation that the current privatization plan is a tax increase, but in actuality this is not the case.  Given the tax revenue projections, the current proposal does not result in a net tax increase.  This would NOT be a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge for those who have committed "to oppose and vote against any and all attempts to increase taxes."

To see ATR's letter to the legislature and analysis of the plan released on September 8th, click here.

Though the plan is not a net tax increase, there is room for improvement.  Namely, one problem that needs to be corrected is Virginia's onerously high excise tax on distilled spirits in the privatized system, a rate of $17.50 per gallon.  Just to give an idea of how high this rate is, according to Tax Foundation's 2010 Facts and Figures, Virginia would have the highest excise tax of any neighboring state in the region.  Rates of neighboring states and the District of Columbia include (per gallon): North Carolina at $13.39, West Virginia at $1.85, Tennessee at $4.40, Maryland at $1.50, and D.C. at $1.50.  ATR urges Governor McDonnell and the legislature to reduce the spirits rate to a reasonable level that is regionally competitive.

ATR encourages the privatization of ABC liquor stores in Virginia and across the country.  States should be looking to move out of business entities that the private sector would gladly operate. 

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