Paul Blair

Pete Snyder Signs the Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Posted by Paul Blair on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013, 3:42 PM PERMALINK

Virginia entrepreneur Pete Snyder has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in his bid for the Republican nomination as Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The Pledge, sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, commits signers to oppose any and all efforts to increase taxes.

Americans for Tax Reform offers the Pledge to all candidates for state and federal office. Fourteen governors and over 1,000 state legislators have signed the Pledge. To date, six of seven Republican candidates for Lt. Governor have signed the Pledge. Pete Snyder joins Minister and veteran E.W. Jackson, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, State Senator Steve Martin, Prince William County Chair Corey Stewart, and Stafford County Board Chair Susan Stimpson as signers of the Pledge to Virginia taxpayers.

Pete Snyder signing the Pledge to Virginia taxpayers, putting his commitment to oppose higher taxes in writing.

The only candidate who refuses to put in writing her opposition to higher taxes is former Virginia state legislator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis.

Before the state Convention, ATR will publish a more detailed evaluation of each Republican candidate’s record and positions on taxes and government spending.   

“I want to congratulate Pete Snyder for taking the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Virginians deserve better than tax-and-spend policies that fall hard on the backs of hardworking families and small businesses. They want real solutions that create jobs, cut government spending, and incentivize more economic growth,” said Grover Norquist, president of ATR.

“By signing the Pledge, Pete Snyder has demonstrated that he understands the problems of hard-working taxpayers in Virginia.”

“By refusing to put in writing her opposition to higher taxes, Jeannemarie Devolites Davis is signaling that she’ll team up with Virginia Democrats for a higher tax and spend agenda that grows government and increases the burden of state spending on taxpayers. This is not new for Davis who was a prominent tax-hiker in the state legislature,” Norquist continued.


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NEW REPORT: Obama Has Spent 3.6% of His Total Work Time in Economic Meetings or Briefings

Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, April 29th, 2013, 3:24 PM PERMALINK

A new report published by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Institute (GAI) examined the president’s 1,532 days in office to figure out exactly how he spends his time. For those struggling to find work, the results may not be surprising.

From the report:

Key Findings:

• President Obama has spent 3.6 % of his total work time in economic meetings or briefings of any kind (assuming a six day, 10-hour a-day workweek) throughout his presidency

• President Obama has spent a total of 474.4 hours (or 47.4 10-hour workdays) in economic meetings or briefings of any kind throughout his presidency

• In 2013, President Obama has spent 6 total hours in economic meetings of any kind

• The number of days with some sort of economic meeting have declined significantly throughout President Obama’s time in office. Throughout 2009, President Obama had 140 days with economic meetings. By 2012, the number of days with a scheduled economic meeting decreased to 29 (an 79 % decrease)

• Throughout his time in office, President Obama has played 115 total rounds of golf and spent 86 days on vacation, for an estimated combined total of 976 hours

Sure, being the President has got to be a stressful job. Think, however, about your last four years. How have they stacked up? Have you had time to play 115 rounds of golf or take 86 days of vacation?

A Few Economic Facts:

  • 11.6 million people are unemployed, for a rate of 7.6%
  • The number of long-term unemployed (for +27 weeks) is 4.6 million people
  • The long-term unemployed account for nearly 40% of all unemployed
  • 663,000 dropped out of the workforce last month
  • The participation rate in the economy is the lowest since 1979
  • 23 million households in the United States are on food stamps, that’s 1 in 5
  • More people are on food stamps in America than live in Spain: 47,692,896


Understanding that the President is spending less and less time on the economy is disheartening. To accept that there isn’t much more work to do is unacceptable.

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Missouri Legislator Wants to Ban Seersucker Suits. Photo-Evidence Suggests That's A Bad Move

Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, April 26th, 2013, 3:02 PM PERMALINK

That’s right. A Democrat state senator from Missouri recently offered an amendment to a higher education funding bill to ban seersuckers for those above the age of 8.

He stated: “any person living in this state aged 8 and under may wear seersucker suits at their leisure.” The kids appreciate it. He went on, “Any person over the age of 8 living in this state may not wear seersucker suits because adults look ridiculous in seersucker suits…”

It was only a year ago when the US Senate killed Seersucker Thursday, a tradition created by former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

The Washington Post had a good writeup on the matter last June:

For much of our history, lawmakers lived in Washington for uninterrupted weeks at a time. Democrats and Republicans moved their families to Washington and socialized at card games or Georgetown salons. These interactions made rivals less likely to demonize each other in their official business and more likely to reach agreement. “It’s harder to give somebody a real hard time when you were out with them and their spouse the night before,” Lott reasons.

Now lawmakers disparage such clubby ways. They’ve given themselves virtually unlimited travel allowances, so they can leave their families in their home states and fly to Washington for three-day workweeks that leave no time to create personal bonds. It’s no coincidence that this change brought along with it stalemate and division over the nation’s wars and finances.

Photos rebut wild claims better than the written word. Here are pictures of people wearing seersucker suits. You decide if the Missouri Democrat was correct in claiming that these people look “ridiculous.”


Senator Trent Lott

Seersucker Thursday 2011

Seersucker Thursday 2006

Senator Trent Lott

Seersucker Thursday 2004

Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird

At the very least, seersucker suits provide for great bipartisan photo-ops.

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Top Five Reasons to Oppose Marketplace Fairness Act With GIFs

Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 3:59 PM PERMALINK

The internet sales tax mandate would be a major change in the way businesses operate especially around tax season. At the end of each year businesses are responsible for paying sales tax. They can choose to tax their customers at the point of sale or pay out what they owe in sales tax at the end of the year. Businesses therefore act as a tax collection arm for the state in which they do business. The internet sales tax mandate would force businesses to become sales tax collectors for all states.

So, here are the Top Five Reasons to Oppose the Marketplace Fairness Act:

  • Threatens Privacy - Business and state revenue boards with a track record of losing private information will have more chances to do so. Like this unsuspecting cat, you're not safe.

  • Slippery Slope - Opens the door for further government intervention in the internet and for states to reach across their borders for other taxes.

  • Too Confusing - Small businesses would be forced to accommodate over 9,000 highly variable state and local tax codes and be required to settle disputes with out of state revenue boards in out of state courts.

  • Discourages Tax Competition - Rather than competing to lower taxes and attract businesses, states will compete to raise taxes on residents of other states. This will be you.

  • Expands State Tax Authority - State Governments will be able to tax across their borders despite clear legal and judicial precedentarguing otherwise. Money Hungry States Like California and Illinois Will Come After You. You're the duck.

Essentially, if the Marketplace Fairness Act passes, this will be you:

Join our effort to prevent this from happening by clicking here: and signing our petition to tell Congress NO on a federal internet tax.

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With Return of Twinkies, Union Thugs May Rue the Day

Posted by Paul Blair on Thursday, April 25th, 2013, 2:21 PM PERMALINK

The Wall Street Journal has the scoop:

Chief Executive C. Dean Metropoulos said the company will pump $60 million in capital investments into the plants between now and September and aims to hire at least 1,500 workers. But they won't be represented by unions, including the one whose nationwide strike sparked the 86-year-old company's decision to shut down in November.

"We do not expect to be involved in the union going forward," Mr. Metropoulos said in an interview Wednesday.

If you recall, Hostess declared bankruptcy and had to liquidate thanks to a union debacle. The bakery union refused to accept concessions that would allow the company to stay open. Instead of accepting modest wage cuts, the union thugs representing Hostess bakers picked no jobs over paying-but-not-high-enough-for-union-pleasure-ones.

Math seemed hard. Faced with the fact that the company had lost over $300 million in 2012, the bakery union cared little for the simple truth that a company that doesn’t make a profit ceases to exist.

The result? Hostess Brands Inc. filed for bankruptcy, sold off its brands, and more than 18,000 jobs, 15,000 of which were union jobs, were nearly lost for good.

Since then, the unions insisted that under any sort of restructuring and reopening of bakeries, union employees would be the only ones that could be hired. New management disagrees.

Mr. Metropoulos and his son, Daren, the co-CEO of Pabst Brewing Co. who is also heading up the reborn Hostess's marketing strategy, expressed confidence they would be able to find skilled, nonunion workers near the four plants, which are in areas with high unemployment.

"We're trying to find the most qualified people in these local markets to come work for the company," Daren Metropoulos said.

If you’re looking for work and have some baking experience, the new Hostess plants are opening in Columbus, Georgia; Emporia, Kansas; Schiller Park, Illinois; and Indianapolis, Indiana.

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One Year Anniversary of US Having Highest Corporate Tax Rate in Developed World

Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, April 1st, 2013, 12:17 PM PERMALINK

The distinction is bestowed upon us thanks to a federal and state integrated rate of 39.2 percent.

For perspective, the average rate in the developed world (OECD) is only 25 percent. Our six major trading partners – Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, and France – all have a lower corporate rate than we do. As a result, capital and jobs continue to flow overseas, rather than staying here to create jobs, increase wages, fund pensions, invest in new business, or grow nest eggs.


Thanks, Mr. President, for a number one ranking that no one is happy about.

Reducing the corporate tax rate is about more than remaining competitive with our major trading partners. Reducing the rate from 39.2 to the average rate of 25 percent would create more than 580,000 jobs annually over the next decade. According to the Milken Institute, such a policy shift would boost GDP by 2.2 percent. For President Obama, whose recovery has been the worst of any recovery since World War II, this should be easy. 

This is about more than economic growth for the national economy. American families would also benefit. According to the Heritage Foundation, A typical family of four's after-tax income would rise on average by $2,484 per year with a 25 percent corporate tax rate.

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As Governor O'Malley Comes to South Carolina, His Liberal Record Follows

Posted by Paul Blair on Friday, March 22nd, 2013, 2:24 PM PERMALINK

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will keynote a Democrat Party conference this weekend in Charleston, in the midst of his state legislature’s 90-day session.  The trip to South Carolina further fuels the narrative that he’s running for his party’s nomination for 2016. The visit also provides an opportunity to briefly compare the northern governor’s record to that of Governor Nikki Haley’s.

On Tax Reform/Relief:

Governor Haley: signed millions of dollars of tax relief into law, helping make South Carolina a more business-friendly state. She also pursued tax reform on a number of occasions. Most recently, as ATR noted, Haley used her State of the State address to call for eliminating the state’s top income tax bracket. Haley has also said that she would like to see the state’s corporate and individual income taxes phased out and eventually eliminated.

Governor O’Malley: has consistently straddled taxpayers in the Old Line state with higher bills and fees. In fact, in an exhaustive examination, ATR found that O’Malley raised taxes and fees a whopping 19 times, accounting for $2.2 billion dollars. O’Malley has raised taxes on everything from alcohol to smokeless tobacco to the infamous “millionaires tax”, which seems to have caused a mass exodus of the state’s most successful individuals. He most recently proposed an $830 million dollar gas tax hike ($3.4 billion over 5 years).

Pension Reform/State Employees:

Governor Haley: has been a stalwart when it comes to saving taxpayer dollars. Recently, she created a stir among state bureaucrats when she asked them to contribute a small amount more for their taxpayer-funded benefits. Furthermore, in the previous legislative session, the Governor signed a sweeping pension reform bill into law which, according to Moody’s Investor Service, would reduce the state’s long term unfunded pension liability by over $2 billion dollars.

Governor O’Malley: has presided over a system in Maryland which veers the state in the direction of a fiscal train wreck. According to a report by the Pew Center on the States, Maryland’s unfunded pension liability has increased from $11 billion to around $19 billion in the past few years, rendering any previous attempts at pension reform obsolete. The fund’s assets will cover only 65% of its obligations. In spite of this, O’Malley has presided over a retirement fund that pays exuberant fees to Wall Street investors (with questionable return) at the expense of hard-working taxpayers. 

Given the facts, one can see that the differences between the governors are more than just regional. Gov. Haley has consistently put the taxpayers first, whereas O’Malley has consistently viewed their interest as his lowest priority, using their hard earned dollars to fund higher and higher spending.

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Norquist Slams Tennessee Pole Attachment Fee

Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, March 5th, 2013, 2:13 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) President Grover Norquist sent a letter to the Tennessee Legislature last week in opposition to legislation that would nearly double the “pole attachment fee” that utilities charge private telecommunications companies to run lines that attach to electric poles.

The bills, HB 1111 and SB 1222, would nearly double the existing attachment fee from $17 to $33 per attachment. The national average is $7 per attachment; this would give Tennessee a rate nearly five times the national average. This would result in nearly $20 million being passed on to Tennessee families in the form of higher cable and internet bills.

The following is an excerpt from Norquist’s letter to the legislature:

I write in strong opposition to House Bill 1111 and Senate Bill 1222, which would increase the rate paid by cable and telecommunications providers to government-run utilities. The 'pole attachment fee,' paid in exchange to use utility companies’ electric poles to run cable and telecommunications lines, would increase to $33 per pole under this legislation. That is nearly five times the national average rate of $7 per pole, and would result in $20 million in additional fees being passed on directly to consumers.

“Tennessee’s pole attachment fee is already 2.5 times the national average, at $17 per pole. These bills would nearly double that already exorbitant cost, raising telecommunications costs and stunting private investment. The private companies shouldering this burden are already struggling to invest in Tennessee, and to create jobs and spur development across the state. HB 1111 and SB 1222 represent massive barriers to private sector led growth.

“During these difficult economic times, Tennessee families simply can’t the additional fees that will be passed on to consumers as a result of this legislation. With four years of tax increases coming out of Washington via Obamacare and other federal action, state government should give the people some relief from the burden of government, not increase its cost.

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Three Tennessee Republicans Try to Pickpocket Tennessee Tourists

Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, March 4th, 2013, 3:44 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform has sent more than 25,000 pieces of direct mail into three Tennessee legislative districts in response to a legislative proposal in Nashville that would make booking hotels in Tennessee through online travel agents and agencies more expensive. ATR is working to make sure the sponsors of this dubious piece of legislation, Representative Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads), Representative Art Swann (R-Blount County), and Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville), are all aware of the adverse impact this legislation will have on commerce and pocketbooks of Tennessee residents.

Tennessee tourism sustains nearly 180,000 jobs and generates more than $15 billion annually, making it one of the most important source of jobs the state. By raising taxes on companies who help families and tourists travel, these legislators are penalizing Tennessee taxpayers simply looking for the best deal possible.

According to the US Travel Association, tourism sustains nearly 3,000 jobs and generates more than $10.2 million in local tax revenues for Blount County, the county Rep. Swann represents. For Blount and Sevier counties, which Sen. Overbey represents, it’s 20,000 jobs and $2 billion in annual revenue. In fact, 50 percent of jobs in Sevier County are the result of tourism.

Rep. McDaniel represents parts of four counties in a rural part of the state, where tourism generates more than $50 million annually for those counties. Though McDaniel’s support for this tax hike comes as less of a surprise when one recalls his support for a state income tax and his vote for a Democrat Speaker of the Tennessee House.

Click each legislator’s name for a copy of the mail piece that was sent to their constituents: Rep. McDanielRep. SwannSen. Overbey

“Governor Bill Haslam said it best when he noted that ‘In Tennessee, tourism equals jobs.’ To make it more expensive for Tennessee travelers to book hotels with the best deals possible seems contradictory to the mission of growing this important sector of the state economy,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “After the wave of Obamacare tax increases that hit Tennessee residents on January, the last thing Tennessee taxpayers need are more job-killing and income-reducing tax increases at the state level. Support for this ill-advised tax increase demonstrates either total ignorance of, or willful disregard for – either of which is unacceptable – just how important tourism is to the state economy. Americans for Tax Reform will continue to educate Tennessee taxpayers on this issue and urge legislators to reject this tax increase.”


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