Patrick M. Gleason

Arizona House Considers Rental Car Tax Increase

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Monday, February 22nd, 2010, 12:23 PM PERMALINK

While much attention has been paid to Gov. Brewer’s sales tax increase and the Phoenix food tax, Arizona taxpayers should keep an eye on legislation (HB 2736) currently moving through the Arizona House that would raise the already high rental car tax in Maricopa County and impose a new tax on ticket sales for all Cactus League spring training tickets sold in Maricopa County. Funds from these tax increases would be used to keep the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. While this is certainly a desirable goal, raising the rental car tax, or any tax for that matter, is the wrong way to go about it.

Considerable costs are already heaped upon car rentals at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport with the five taxes and fees that are currently applied. For example, these taxes and fees already add over 38% to the four day rental base price for a midsize SUV. Also keep in mind that the 18% sales tax hike that will be on the ballot in the May already threatens to substantially jack up the cost of renting a car. 

While proponents of this tax hike may claim that this bill mainly affects out of state visitors, that is most certainly not the case. Arizonans renting replacement vehicles would be subject to this tax increase. Given the fact that replacement vehicles represent the majority of the car rental business, this tax increase would be paid mostly by Arizona residents. 

HB 2736 would also have a negative economic impact on the local economy. One study shows that a recent localized rental car tax hike led to a 9% reduction in car rentals and as much as an 86% reduction in the number of days cars were rented. Likewise, HB 2736 will lead to reduced demand for rental cars and likely not meet revenue projections. 

Additionally, the Goldwater Institute has pointed out that raising taxes to benefit a single sports franchise, as HB 2736 would do, may very well violate the Arizona constitution. Furthermore, Goldwater Institute also points out that this bill would grant a sports authority a level of power that may constitute an improper delegation of legislative authority. 

ATR is asking lawmakers to reject HB 2736, which is simply bad policy and worse, violates the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Five Pledge signers are listed among the bill’s sponsors. ATR urges those lawmakers (Sen. Verschoor and Reps. Adams, Nichols, Tobin, and Yarborough) to reconsider their support.

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Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons is fibbin....Again

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Thursday, February 18th, 2010, 11:10 AM PERMALINK

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons has called for a special session of the legislature next week. The purpose: raise taxes on Nevada families and employers. 

However, Gibbons is either in denial or refuses to admit that his proposals are tax increases. The short answer: they clearly are and in pushing them Gov. Gibbons is breaking his pledge to not raise taxes, just as he did last year.
The mining industry is a major target under Gibbons’ tax plan. Gibbons wants to eliminate tax deductions that the mining industry has factored into its business plans and calculations for years. Under Gibbons’ proposal the mining industry would see their tax burden rise by more than 90% over the next biennium.
The other plank of Gibbons’ tax plan is to apply the state sales tax to online purchases from out of state retailers. This same policy has been implemented in a number of states across the country. However, the Gibbons administration clearly hasn’t studied the results from the states that have tried this. Had they, they would have seen that it is simply bad policy and does not raise revenue. Further proof can be found that administration has not done its homework in yesterday’s Las Vegas Sun, in which the Director of State Taxation Department was asked how much the online sales tax would raise. His answer: he has no clue. A more honest answer is that the online sales tax will raise no revenue. Just ask the Rhode Island Division of Taxation. In fact, this measure has been proven to kill jobs and reduce income tax revenue coming into the state (*was the case in NC, however NV has no income tax). And just when you thought this proposal couldn’t be worse, it’s most likely unconstitutional.
During Gibbons’ recent State of the State address he issued the following remarks:
“In this tough economy, we cannot ask our citizens to pay new taxes. They have nothing left to give. We cannot ask our businesses to pay more taxes. Many of them are struggling just to stay open ... I reaffirm my word to you tonight: As long as I serve as your governor, I will not raise taxes.”
However, Gibbons is asking NV legislators to do just that in next week’s special session. Fortunately, the June 8 Nevada Republican primary is fast approaching and Nevada taxpayers will soon enough have an opportunity to hold Gibbons’ accountable for his actions. Americans for Tax Reform looks forward to reminding voters of Gibbons’ doublespeak throughout the campaign season. 

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Candidates for Texas Legislature Sign Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Monday, February 15th, 2010, 6:40 PM PERMALINK

The March 2nd Texas primaries are just over two weeks away but Texans will begin casting ballots as soon as tomorrow morning, which marks the start of early voting in the Lone Star State.

CLICK HERE for a list of all state level incumbents and challengers who have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise to oppose any and all efforts to raise state taxes. If you don't see your representative or preferred candidate on the list, call them and ask that they sign the Pledge and make it clear that they will stand up for Texas taxpayers and employers.

ATR will continue to update this list between now and the primary.

Post-Primary Update**

For a list of incumbents and challengers who have signed the Pledge and advanced to the general election: Click Here

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Colorado Senate Debates "Dirty Dozen" Tax Package

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Monday, February 8th, 2010, 2:36 PM PERMALINK

The “Dirty Dozen” tax hike package that was recently approved by the Colorado House of Representatives now heads to the Senate floor after it was passed out of the Senate Finance Committee on a 4-3 party line vote last week.

The package is scheduled for its second reading in the Senate today and, given the sizable Democrat majority in that chamber, is expected to receive final approval by week’s end. Colorado Republicans remain in lockstep opposition to the package.

ATR has repeatedly pointed out that these measures will send jobs out of state, as similar measures have in other states, and will fail to rectify the state’s budget deficit, as has been the case in other states that have imposed similar measures. The tax increases on online purchases and downloads are guaranteed to destroy high-paying tech sector jobs. The tax hikes on items such as soda, candy, doggy bags, and napkins will hit those least able to afford it the hardest.

As has been previously pointed out, the state constitution’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) requires that these tax increases be sent to the ballot for voter approval, yet Colorado Democrats have no intention to honor this requirement. For information on the Colorado Supreme Court case that has enabled this tax package to move forward and the effort to remove the Justices responsible for that ruling, visit Clear the Bench Colorado’s website.

Governor Ritter and legislative Democrats insist tax increases are needed to close the state’s budget shortfall. However, Senate Republicans laid waste to that claim by recently releasing an alternative budget that closes the state’s budget deficit without raising any taxes. That plan, which ATR supports, entails a .25% reduction in state payroll spending in the current budget and a 4.4% reduction for the coming fiscal year that begins in July.

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Van Taylor, candidate for Texas State House, Signs Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Saturday, February 6th, 2010, 5:35 PM PERMALINK

Van Taylor, a Republican running in Texas’s 66th State House District, recently signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). By signing the Pledge, Taylor has made a written commitment that he will oppose any and all efforts to raise taxes in the Lone Star State. 

To date, Governor Rick Perry, four state senators and 29 members of the Texas House of Representatives have signed the Pledge. Additionally, seven governors and over 1,100 state legislators across the country have signed the Pledge.
“Texans, and all Americans, are desperately searching for candidates and lawmakers that will protect their pocketbooks and put taxpayers and employers ahead of government’s coffers,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.
Van Taylor has been endorsed by Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, Young Conservatives of Texas, and Congressman Jeb Hensarling. 

“Fiscal restraint and a commitment to limited government are the reason why Texas is the nation’s economic powerhouse and is why Texas has not followed the likes of California, Michigan, and New York into financial ruin. Van Taylor has proven that he intends to continue Texas’s commitment to pro-growth policies by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” Norquist continued. “I urge all candidates for federal and state office to make the same commitment to taxpayers by signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge today.”


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Good Evening Arizona Pledge Breakers

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 5:38 PM PERMALINK

The Arizona Senate, moments ago, voted to send Gov. Brewer’s long sought sales tax increase to a May 18 special election ballot.  

The bill, SCR 1001, now heads to the House where it will face staunch opposition.
In this afternoon’s vote, four senators broke their Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a promise they made to their constituents to oppose “any and all efforts to raise taxes.” The senators who broke their commitment to constituents are as follows:
Bob Burns (R-Peoria)
Linda Gray (R-Phoenix)
Barbara Leff (R-Paradise Valley)
Jay Tibshraeny (R-Chandler)
“Its always unfortunate when lawmakers prove that they made a central campaign promise for reasons of political expediency, only later to demonstrate, much like Obama’s pledge not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000 a year, that the commitment was hollow,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.
Americans for Tax Reform applauds those senators who stayed true to their promise to constituents today by opposing the referral. Those senators include:
Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu)
Chuck Gray (R-Mesa)
Jack Harper (R-Surprise)
John Huppenthal (R-Chandler)
Russell Pearce (R-Mesa)
Thayer Verschoor (R-Gilbert) 

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Brewer Sales Tax Hike Passed out of Senate Committee

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 2:45 PM PERMALINK

 This morning the Arizona Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee voted in favor of the 18% sales tax hike referral that Gov. Jan Brewer has doggedly advocated since early last year. The lone vote in opposition came from Sen. Amanda Arguirre (D-Yuma). 

Although many lawmakers who were initially opposed to the sales tax referral now appear to be on board, Americans for Tax Reform’s position in opposition to the sales tax referral remains unchanged and will continue to urge lawmakers to vote “No.” 

Arizona has been one of the states hardest hit by the economic downturn. A recent report commissioned by the Goldwater Institute and conducted by the Beacon Hill Institute found that Brewer’s sales tax increase would only delay recovery. The report concluded the following: 

“a $1 billion dollar sales tax increase would cost 14,400 private sector jobs. That is roughly the equivalent of every worker at PetsMart, Circle K, Harkins Theaters, Starbucks and UPS in Arizona losing their job.”


“raising the sales tax by 18 percent would cut the state’s real economic output by $1.2 billion. Arizonans would see their total after-tax income, already hit hard by recession, fall by an average of $300 per household.” 

The Arizona Republic recently reported that there is also a “Third Way” budget proposal working it’s way around the copper dome that would include Brewer’s sales tax hike, some permanent tax increases, as well as some future tax cuts. The Republic notes that “no one is claiming ownership,” of the new package at this point.

And just in time for the special session, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform will be in Arizona this Thursday. Grover will be the featured guest at this month’s Politics on the Rocks event. For details on this event, click here.

Vulnerable Colorado Democrats Vote for Higher Taxes

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 10:33 AM PERMALINK

Following up on yesterday’s passage of the bulk of the “dirty dozen” tax package by the Colorado House, it’s worth noting that not a single Republican voted for any of the tax increases. In fact more interesting to look at is the People’s Press Collective’s January 30th breakdown of the House Democrats who appear to be most vulnerable this November as well as their analysis on how they voted on the tax package yesterday.

PPC contributor Ben DeGrow points out that of the Democrats considered most vulnerable, the following voted in favor of every single tax increase yesterday:
Rep. Dianne Primavera (33)
Rep. Max Tyler (23)
Rep. Jeanne Labuda (1)
Rep. Sara Gagliardi (27)
Two of those who voted for the whole package, Gagliardi and Primavera, are ranked by DeGrow as the two most vulnerable Dems and Labuda is considered to be the Republicans best shot for a pick up in Denver County. A number of other vulnerable Dems voted for most of the package. Reps Scanlan and Kefelas were a “Nay” on the affiliate nexus tax and Rep. Apaun (17) voted for everything but the tax increases on soda and candy.
Americans for Tax Reform looks forward to educating all those voting in the districts represented by the aforementioned lawmakers as to how they voted on this tax package during the 2010 campaign season.

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Colorado House Signs Off On Tax Package

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Monday, February 1st, 2010, 5:35 PM PERMALINK

 The Colorado House of Representatives gave final approval today to a host of tax increases on everything from soda, to candy, to software, to online purchases, to energy, and more.

Not only will these tax hikes delay economic recovery in Colorado, they will not close the state’s deficit. For example, the House voted today to impose the state’s sales tax on online purchases from out of state retailers. Commonly referred to as “the Amazon tax,” this measure will not generate the projected revenue and will, in fact, have a negative impact on state coffers. Rhode Island passed affiliate nexus tax legislation last year, yet the RI House Finance Committee projected it would generate zero dollars due to legal and enforcement issues and the state's Division of Taxation confirmed as much. North Carolina passed similar legislation last year. The result there was that online retailers cancelled all contracts with affiliates in the state, contributing to a decline in state income tax revenue.

Equally egregious as the adverse economic effects of this legislative monstrosity is the fact that it is being rammed through in direct violation to the state constitution’s Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR). TABOR, which has been the law of the land in Colorado since it was passed in 1992, requires that any “tax policy change directly causing a net tax revenue gain” must be subject to a vote of the people. Despite the fact that the fiscal notes for this legislation clearly point out that they raise taxes and will result in a net revenue gain to the state government, Colorado Democrats have no intention to seek voter approval.

These bills now head to the Senate, where debate is expected to begin next week. ATR will continue working with allies and lawmakers in Colorado to defeat this legislative package.

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Colorado House Finance Committee Passes Cadre of Tax Hikes

Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Thursday, January 28th, 2010, 6:15 PM PERMALINK

The Colorado House Finance Committee worked late into the evening last night as they took up a package of bills that, through the elimination of credits and exemptions, would raise taxes on everything from software, to candy, to online purchases, to soft drinks, and in what is sure to cause an explosion of resentment in Colorado's ranching community, even bull semen.Yes, bull semen

As lawmakers in Denver  face a budget that is $150 million in the hole for the current budget and projected to be over a billion dollars in the red for the next fiscal year, which begins in July, Finance Committee members approved the tax increase largely along party lines.

The only Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer to vote in committee yesterday, Rep. Kent Lambert (R-District 14), opposed all of the tax increases voted on yesterday. For breaking updates on these bills and other legislative issues in Colorado, follow Rep. Lambert on Twitter: For a list of all Pledge signers in the Colorado legislature, click here.

ATR will continue to urge lawmakers to oppose these measures as they head to the House floor.

For a breakdown of how each Finance Committee member voted, click here. For a list of the tax hikes that passed out of committee last night, along with a description, and fiscal impact, click here.

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