Patrick M. Gleason

President Obama Visits North Carolina, Where His Policies Have Taken a Heavy Toll


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011, 1:01 PM PERMALINK

President Obama will be using taxpayer dollars to do what is effectively a campaign event tomorrow in North Carolina, not coincidentally a place which many consider to be a must-win state for him in next year’s election. While in the Tar Heel State, President Obama will be touting his new "Jobs Act," which entails another round of “stimulus, but don’t call it stimulus” spending in excess of $400 billion, mostly funded by tax increases. In a recent column in The Daily, the NRO’s Reihan Salam laid out some good reasons as to why Obama’s new proposal, in addition to being simply more of the same, is the wrong prescription:

On Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on energy companies –

“Incredibly, the president used a jobs speech to make the case against ‘tax loopholes for oil companies.’ To translate this into language we can all understand, the president is calling for increased taxes on drilling new oil and gas wells. This is despite the fact that we’ve only just unlocked vast amounts of domestic shale gas, an energy source that could reduce our dependence on oil imports and spark a jobs boom. If the central problem facing our country is that we have too many blue-collar jobs in the energy sector and that we rely too heavily on domestic energy sources, one could make a strong case for closing these tax loopholes. But if the opposite is true, as I think it is, this is a counterproductive step.”

On Obama’s continuation of class warfare by calling for higher taxes on upper income households –

“The president reminded us that very rich Warren Buffett thinks the rich should pay higher taxes, for which the Sage of Omaha has won great praise. Yet it is important to remember that Buffett, like all investors, pays corporate income tax through the companies he owns. These taxes eat into Buffett’s vast fortune, and that’s just fine with me. But corporate taxes also eat into the wages of workers. While the Congressional Budget Office assumes that 100 percent of the burden of corporate taxes fall on the Buffetts of the world, a conservative estimate is that at least 40 percent is borne by labor.”

Salam concludes that “On almost every front, the president seems to be moving the United States in the wrong direction.”

It’s also worth noting that the President’s dubious new jobs plan comes on top his FY ’12 budget proposal, which entails a massive tax increase on small businesses, who create 64% of new jobs and are the drivers of economic growth, which both North Carolina and the nation desperately need. Earlier this year I explained in The Daily Caller the toll Obama’s budget would have on small businesses from Cashiers to Cape Hatteras and how, unfortunately for North Carolina entrepreneurs, Gov. Bev Perdue’s treatment of job creators is no better:

“….under Obama’s budget proposal, the top marginal rate at which most small business profits are taxed would increase 13%, from a rate of 35% to 39.6%, yielding a $709 billion tax increase on individuals and small businesses over the next ten years...According to IRS data, of the 4.2 million individual income tax returns filed in North Carolina in 2008 (the most recent year for which data is available), nearly 660,000 of them were small businesses, and that’s just sole proprietors.  Including the share of small businesses made up of S-Corps and partnerships, upwards of 825,000 small businesses file under the individual income tax system in North Carolina and would be adversely impacted by President Obama’s budget.  

Unfortunately for small businesses in the Tar Heel State, along with the hanging guillotine of higher taxes proposed by the White House, North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue has already hamstrung and taken her pound of flesh from employers, signing into law over a $1 billion in higher annual taxes, hitting small businesses with an individual income tax hike and the rest of the business community with an increase in the corporate rate.”

If that weren’t enough, Gov. Perdue is also running the White House ground game in North Carolina to prevent the legislature from blocking implementation of what many consider to be the most economically destructive policy to come out of Washington in the last two years – ObamaCare. To read more about Perdue’s efforts to ensure the implementation of ObamaCare and the $500 billion in higher taxes it entails, click here.

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Think Progress publishes lies about the Taxpayer Protection Pledge (shocker)


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Monday, August 29th, 2011, 6:24 PM PERMALINK

Think Progess has a post up today on a recent townhall event held by Congressman Dan Lungren and what they think is a scathing indictment from a hostile audience member - click here for the post.

As it would happen, what the folks at Think Progress find to be so damning is nothing more than an incorrect assumption, if not outright lie. During question time at the town hall, the aforementioned audience member incorrectly portrays the Pledge as a promise to Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. The spending interests on the Left repeatedly try to misinform the public with this tired and patently false claim. ATR noted the following earlier this year when similar lies were lobbed at Republican state legislators in California:

Critics wrongly contend that California legislators who signed the Pledge have vowed allegiance to some single person or organization. A quick read of the simple language of the Pledge proves such allegations to be false.

The same goes for Congressman Lungren; Taxpayer Protection Pledge that he signed is to his constituents. A pledge to one person or organization would be just plain silly and meaningless. Our previous response to such allegations at the state-level goes on to explain that the problem with such baseless attacks that we frequently see from opponents of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, like our friends at Think Progress, is due to an error in the way that, well, they think.

In fact, those who deride Pledge signers have a chicken-and-egg problem. Pledge signers are not opposed to raising taxes or referring higher taxes to the ballot simply because they signed the Pledge; the fact is that they signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge because they recognize that imposing more job-killing tax increases in one of the most onerously taxed jurisdictions on the planet is not a solution to California’s overspending problem.

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California Tries to Re-enact Internet Tax and Circumvent Voters


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason, Kelly William Cobb on Monday, August 29th, 2011, 11:36 AM PERMALINK

The following piece is crossposted from FlashReport. org.

Americans for Tax Reform is active in all 50 state capitals and from this perspective one thing is clear, when it comes to legislative creativity, lawmakers in Sacramento have every other state easily beat – no contest. Unfortunately for those currently contending with the state’s nearly 12% unemployment rate, California legislators only seem to use their creativity for the purpose of enacting job-killing tax increases and other measures that only serve to further depress the Golden State’s already flagging economy.

The latest exhibit of this unfortunate fact is Assembly Bill 155, legislation that, if Democrat lawmakers have their way, would “gut-and-amend” an existing bill to re-enact a sales tax on out-of-state and online purchases signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in June. The end goal of this legislation, pushed by the often misguided and incorrect Sen. Loni Hancock, is simply to block California voters from deciding the fate of the controversial online sales tax on the ballot. Gov. Brown has been stressing the need for job creation lately, yet let’s not forget that the application of his signature to that legislation cut off a vital source of income for many Californians, with 25,000 Golden State advertisers losing some or all of their business as a direct result.

Sacramento’s latest Internet tax plan is nothing more than an end-run around the will of the people and an effort to enshrine the enactment of an economically destructive tax increase into law. Fortunately this measure is subject to a two-thirds vote requirement, and as such, Republican lawmakers can block it if they keep their commitment to their constituents.

This morning ATR sent a letter to all California legislators making clear that AB 155 is a violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, and strongly urging opposition to this ill-advised legislation. For a copy of the letter, click here.

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The case for Corbett's stand


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 8:47 AM PERMALINK

Today's Philadelphia Inquirer features the following op-ed by ATR director of state affairs Patrick Gleason:

Gov. Corbett's greatest success in his first six months in office was closing a more than $4 billion budget gap without further soaking the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, who already contend with the nation's 10th-highest state and local tax burden.

Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which Corbett signed, is often denounced as too "rigid," and the governor has been criticized for signing it. But the state budget that went into effect this month highlights the efficacy of the pledge in promoting fiscal restraint and helping politicians focus on government's real problem: overspending.

Even Corbett's fellow Republicans in the legislature chafed at his refusal to consider tax increases. Yet in taking higher taxes off the table, he sent a message to lawmakers that the state has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

The budget Corbett signed into law represents a year-over-year reduction in state spending of about 3 percent. The last time that happened, the Phillies were preparing to move into a brand new facility called Veterans Stadium.

To continue reading, click here.

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What Capitol Hill Republicans can Learn from the California GOP


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Friday, July 1st, 2011, 11:01 AM PERMALINK

In today's POLITICO, ATR explains the lesson that Republicans at the federal level should take away from the recently concluded California budget standoff:

This week marked a huge victory for the GOP in the deficit reduction debate — but in California, not in Washington.

Gov. Jerry Brown has spent the past six months trying to get Republicans to sign on to a renewal of the largest state tax increase in U.S. history. But he finally gave up earlier this week and agreed to sign a budget that attempts to put expenditures in line with revenues, without further soaking California families and employers already contending with one of the highest tax burdens in the nation.

What the GOP was able to accomplish in California should serve as a model for its Republican counterparts on this side of the Potomac. As is the case on Capitol Hill, Republican votes are required to raise taxes in California — where a two-thirds vote is required to pass tax hikes or refer them to the ballot.

Click here to continue reading.

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ATR: Oppose House Bill 641, Internet Tax and Physical Nexus


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Friday, June 24th, 2011, 10:08 AM PERMALINK

[PDF Version]

June 14, 2011

Louisiana State Senate

RE: Oppose House Bill 641, Internet Tax and Physical Nexus

Dear Senator,

I write in strong opposition to House Bill 641, which would establish an Internet tax
and loosen Louisiana’s physical nexus standard for tax collection. HB 641 intends to
require out-of-state retailers to collect and remit sales tax on products purchased by
residents. Yet, the legislation will do more to harm in-state businesses and make out-of-state
retailers think twice about investing in Louisiana.

HB 641 attempts to partially dissolve the physical nexus standard for tax collection and
pushes the long arm of the tax collector past its appropriate state boundary. The U.S.
Supreme Court’s ruling in Quill v. North Dakota forbids states from forcing out-of-state
businesses with no physical presence to collect and remit sales taxes. HB 641 attempts to
circumvent this law by presuming a company has a nexus if business is solicited through a
third-party advertiser in the state or if an out-of-state retailer takes even a very small
ownership stake of a company in Louisiana. The measure flies in the face of the Supreme
Court’s ruling and is currently undergoing legal challenge in New York.

HB 641 will inadvertently punish Louisiana businesses and deter outside investment.
If having in-state advertising affiliates creates a nexus for out-of-state retailers, they will
simply terminate agreements with Louisiana businesses to avoid unconstitutional tax
collection, as has occurred in at least four other states. Furthermore, it will make out-ofstate
retailers hesitant to invest in Louisiana by forcing the investing company to also
become a tax collector, even if they themselves lack a physical presence.

Despite its objective, HB 641 will not level the tax collection playing field with brick-andmortar
stores. Since retailers will sever advertising and other ties to avoid the
unconstitutional tax, they will have no nexus for tax collection in Louisiana, as confirmed by
the measure’s fiscal note. The likely outcomes of this bill make for bad tax policy and
the intent – leveling the playing field – irrelevant.

Poor enforcement of “use tax” law is no justification for unconstitutional legislation,
especially if it negatively impacts Louisiana businesses. We urge you to reject House Bill
641, and any effort to tax Internet sales or reach outside of Louisiana for tax collection. If
you have any questions, please contact Kelly William Cobb or Patrick Gleason at (202) 785-
0266.

Onward,

Grover Norquist
President, Americans for Tax Reform

CC: The Honorable Bobby Jindal, Governor

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In California: The Right Veto for the Wrong Reason


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Friday, June 17th, 2011, 12:25 PM PERMALINK

The following was originally published in today's Flash Report:

Although Gov. Brown did the right thing in vetoing the horrendous and irresponsible budget passed by legislative Democrats this week, praise must be withheld given the reason for his veto: he wishes to extend the largest state tax increase in U.S. history.

The Democrat budget passed on Wednesday represents the height of fiscal fantasy – forgoing debt repayment, delaying payment of other bills, illegally requiring out-of-state businesses to collect and remit the state sales tax, and assuming salvation in the form of more cash from a federal government that is $14 trillion in the hole itself. The Los Angeles Times referred to the Democrat budget as “clever accounting.” I went to public school, but the last time I checked, “clever” was not a synonym for “fraudulent.” Senate President Darrell Steinberg unbelievable remarked that this sham budget was “worthy of the governor’s signature.” Jerry Brown should take great offense to Steinberg’s affront of his John Hancock. By passing this irresponsible, unrealistic, and unconstitutional budget, legislative Democrats have proven that they are nothing more than self-serving agents of the unsustainable Sacramento status quo.

To continue reading, click here

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One would think Louisiana Republicans and California Gov. Jerry Brown wouldn't have much in common


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Friday, June 10th, 2011, 4:33 PM PERMALINK

Next time your elected officials try to tell you that a tax increase will be temporary, don’t buy it.

In California, Gov. Jerry Brown has made extending that largest state tax increase in U.S. history his top legilsative priority. The higher rates on sales, cars, and income, sold as temporary and signed into law by then Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2009, are scheduled to expire at the end of this month (the higher rate on income actually expired in January). Gov. Brown is pressing lawmakers to put a five year extension on the ballot. With Brown’s budget calling for a 27% increase in spending in just the next three years, don’t think for a second that Brown and legislative Democrats have any designs on letting those tax hikes expire in five years.  In fact, California Democrats’ ultimate plan is to do away with the two-thirds majority requirement to raise or refer taxes to the ballot, at which time the tax floodgates will open in the Golden State.

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, arguably one of the most economically illiterate governors in the nation, imposed a sales tax increase two years ago under the auspices that it would be temporary. Going back on her word, the budget proposed by Perdue this year relies on an extension of that sales tax hike. Reports indicate that in the next day or two she will veto the bipartisan budget recently passed by the legislature because it does not extend her “temporary” sales tax hike.

However, rejection of the notion that there is such a thing as “temporary” taxes is bipartisan, as the Republican controlled Louisiana legislature recently demonstrated by passing HB 591, legislation that would block the scheduled sunset of a “temporary” four cent tobacco tax. Although most proponents of HB 591 refuse to admit it, prevention of the scheduled expiration of a tax is, in fact, a tax increase. Gov. Bobby Jindal, unlike too many members of the legislature, is staying true to his pledge to constituents to oppose and veto any and all efforts to raise taxes and, as such, has promised a veto. Only one “aye’ vote in the House would need to be flipped to sustain Jindal’s pending veto.

It was once said that the sun never set on the British Empire. As lawmakers is state houses across the country are demonstrating, today the same can be said of “temporary” taxes the US.

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Austin & Sacramento Media Elite: Smug Birds of a Feather


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Thursday, May 26th, 2011, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

The Texas legislature is nearing completion of a budget for the next biennium that, like the two spending plans approved in the House and Senate, does not raise taxes and does not touch the Rainy Day Fund. In fact, the final product will likely represent a decrease in All-Funds spending from the previous biennium, the first time this will have happened in over 50 years.

While this is good news for taxpayers and employers in the Lone Star State, the establishment press is none too happy. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility recently highlighted some journalistic disdain for taxpayers who think that government should do what families and businesses must by putting expenditures in line with revenues. In the Texas Tribune’s weekly podcast, Managing Editor Ross Ramsey had the following to say:

"The voters don't -- I'm going to say this gently -- the voters don't know what's going on here. They don't know the details of this [budget debate] and they don't understand the particulars of this, and yet the legislature is taking all of its advice from a public that is not informed on this stuff."

Michael Quinn Sullivan, President of Texan for Fiscal Responsibility, gives a good summary of Ramsey’s sentiment:

“…voters like you are ‘children’ who legislators need to tell to ‘shut up’ and force higher taxes upon.”

This is just the latest in a long history of instances in which the establishment media slipped up and vocalized their antipathy for taxpayers who believe that the state has plenty of revenue to work with and should be right-sized to live within it’s means. The Sacramento Bee editorial board, which does not consist of a single right-of-center view point, published a similar outburst in 2009 when California voters resoundingly rejected a two year extension of the largest state tax increase in U.S. history:

HEADLINE: "You did it! Uh, so what now?"

TEXT: Good morning, California voters. Do you feel better, now that you've gotten that out of your system?

You wanted to show the state's politicians just how mad you are at them. And you did. Boy, did you ever. ...

... you're sick and tired of all this political mumbo-jumbo. So you showed those politicians who's in charge. You. You're now officially in charge of a state that will be something like $25 billion in the hole for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

So, now that you've put those irksome politicians in their place, maybe it's time to think about this: Since you're in charge, exactly what do you intend to do about that pesky $25 billion hole in the budget?

After realizing that tone probably wasn’t the best way to convince readers to renew their subscriptions, the SacBee removed that editorial from its website.

While the legislative majorities in control of California and Texas couldn’t be more different, the media elite that reside in Sacramento and Austin would get along just great.

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State governments are cutting spending without raising taxes - California should be among them


Posted by Patrick M. Gleason on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011, 4:23 PM PERMALINK

The following piece by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, was published in California's leading political website, FlashReport.org.

During my visit to Sacramento today, in addition to paying the highest sales tax in the nation, I’ll get the opportunity to personally thank Republican legislators for their commitment to California taxpayers.  As it stands, Republican legislators in the Senate and Assembly are the only force preventing a tragic sequel to the largest state tax increase in U.S. history.

It’s not lost on me that legislators who signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge are frequently accused by Democrats and the establishment media (same thing, really) of pledging their allegiance to me or the organization that I run, Americans for Tax Reform.

Please CLICK HERE to read more.

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