The Hill highlights the collapse of the Gang of Six: “Grover Norquist: The anti-tax advocate had been pressuring Coburn to leave the talks, arguing that Democrats would only agree to a deal if it contained tax increases. Coburn has denied he caved, calling the head of the Americans of Tax Reform (ATR) a ‘fly on the wall.’ He has also continued to say a deficit solution will require something on ‘revenue,’ a phrase that could mean he is open to tax hikes — the very thing Norquist, the keeper of the ATR Taxpayer Protection Pledge — has worked to prevent. Love him or hate him, Norquist wields a ton of clout. MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell has called Norquist the ‘most powerful man in America who does not sleep in the White House.’
ATR’s Ryan Ellis answers to criticism from John Hart, Sen. Coburn’s spokesman, in The Hill: “Hart… appeared to criticize the large number of credits and deductions in the tax code, while lashing out at Norquist in the process. ‘Grover’s definition of a ‘tax increase’ is a defense of tax earmarks, tax complexity and progressive activist government in which special interest lobbyists are paid to keep the code complex and government intrusive,’ he said. But ATR’s Ryan Ellis dismissed that line to The Hill on Friday, saying his group also believes many tax credits and deductions should be shown the door. ‘We agree that they have bad economic outcomes. He just needs a tax cut offset,’ Ellis said. ‘Failure to keep the action revenue neutral results in more money going to the appropriation committees to spend.’”
On Newsmax.com, Grover Norquist discusses Sen. Jon Kyl’s recent remarks: “Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., firmly and decisively took tax increases off the table in any debt limit negotiations. Instead, he wisely called for a separate discussion on fundamental, pro-growth tax reform. This discussion should be about lowering tax rates and broadening the tax base in a way that is (at worst) tax-revenue neutral. [An excerpt] from his remarks: ‘We are going to have to act on the debt ceiling in the next couple of months or so. The question is, How should we deal with our ballooning deficits and debt in order to warrant increasing the debt ceiling above what it is today? The answer, of course, is to reduce spending, not raise revenues or increase taxes.’”
Bernie Becker for The Hill writes: “A collection of conservative groups is calling on lawmakers to totally remove tax increases from the debate over the budget and the debt ceiling, saying that will help spark needed discussions on spending and entitlements. Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and roughly 30 other conservative outfits, in a letter to all senators, said the House GOP had completed that feat. The letter also says that “grand budget compromises” historically mean tax hikes without the related spending cuts, a line Norquist has employed before. ‘The limited government movement is united around the unavoidable fact that Washington spends too much money, and that’s what has put our nation in debt,’ the letter says. ‘Higher taxes will simply fuel yet more spending, as it has in the past. Only when tax increases are no longer part of the conversation can the debate in Washington turn to where it squarely belongs — the Beltway’s addiction to spending.’”
Jason Millman from POLITICO reports: “High-profile conservative groups, including Let Freedom Ring and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, are calling on state governors and insurance commissioners to seek waivers from the Obama administration for two major health reform provisions. In a letter Thursday morning, the groups urged state officials to seek exemptions, the so-called mini-med waivers, from the law’s annual benefit limit, and to opt out of the medical loss ratio requirements, which regulate how much insurers must spend on providing care… ‘Whether or not you support the health care overhaul as a whole, applying for waivers from these provisions is a common-sense step that every governor should take,’ the groups wrote.”
In Roll Call, ATR’s Ryan Ellis discusses proposed repatriation: “The proposal would allow companies to temporarily bring back to the United States overseas profits for a fraction of the cost in taxes. Ryan Ellis, who is the tax policy director at Norquist’s group, said the repatriation tax holiday has gained a collection of unusual supporters this time around, too, because ‘it's literally money out of the sky.’ ‘Everybody's looking for a way to fix this international corporate tax system,’ he added. ‘We aren't in agreement as to how to do it. Repatriation would at least temporarily provide an escape hatch.’ Ellis disagrees that passing a repatriation measure alone would lessen the chances for overall tax reform. ‘If that's your attitude, then you'll never get anywhere,’ he said. ‘You could be waiting for the rest of your career.’"
Byron Tau and Ben Smith from POLITICO discuss the unorthodox approaches to tax policy in the Republican primary season: “The Republican field is filled with potential candidates who have called for radical overhauls of the tax code, the abolition of the IRS, an end to the Federal Reserve central bank— and even a return to the gold standard. ‘Part of it is the very high level of unhappiness about taxation,’ said longtime tax reform advocate and Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist. ‘And therefore people are looking for radical changes.’”