Democrats Call for Trillion Dollar Tax Hike

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018, 2:39 PM PERMALINK

Senate Democrats are proposing one trillion dollars in higher taxes over the next ten years including a nearly $600 billion income tax increase, a business tax increase, an increase to the death tax, and a capital gains tax increase.

These proposed tax increases would wipe out the benefits of tax reform, which include larger paychecks, salary bonuses, pay raises, increased employee retirement contributions, and utility rate cuts.

The Senate Democrat plan calls for raising the income tax rate to 39.6 percent and increasing the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) to pre TCJA levels, meaning millions of Americans would have to again pay this tax. According to 2015 IRS data, over 900,000 taxpayers in California and 500,000 taxpayers in New York paid the AMT prior to passage of the TCJA, which dramatically increased the threshold at which this tax applied.

Democrats also propose an $83 billion increase to the death tax. This tax increase would disproportionately fall on family-owned businesses and suppress jobs and wages.  76 percent of Americans support full, permanent repeal of the Death Tax, according to a poll by NPR. 

In addition, the proposal calls for increasing the corporate tax to 25 percent. Including state corporate tax rates, this would cause the U.S. rate to rise to 29 percent, above the worldwide average rate of 23 percent and the industrial average of 24 percent.

Finally, Democrats propose a tax increase on carried interest capital gains. A carried interest capital gains tax increase would reduce investment and savings and damage economic growth at a time when the economy is beginning to grow at 3 percent or higher.

Democrats have claimed that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) passed by Republicans in December was irresponsible because it would increase the deficit. Now, they are proposing to undo these tax cuts to finance more wasteful spending, proving they are not truly concerned about the deficit.

Regardless, tax reform is working. The law has resulted in 90 percent of Americans receiving more money in their paycheck and has resulted in at least four million workers receiving bonuses. Millions more have received salary increases, increased retirement benefits, and lower utility costs. The Senate Democrat tax hike proposal would wipe out these benefits.


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Norquist: Global Tariffs Are Counterproductive and Will Start Civil War in U.S. Economy

Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018, 2:30 PM PERMALINK

In a letter to President Trump, ATR President Grover Norquist urged the administration to reject global tariffs on steel and aluminum.

While Trump should be commended for his goal of helping American businesses and workers through better trade deals, global tariffs will be counterproductive to this aim.

Global tariffs risk starting a civil war within the U.S. economy by picking winners and losers among American workers and businesses.

Tariffs also threaten to undermine tax reform that will make America globally competitive and has increased wages and take-home pay for Americans across the country.

The full letter can be found here and is below:

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

 Dear President Trump:

 I write to urge you to ultimately reject the proposed effort to raise tariffs on aluminum and steel. Tariffs are taxes. Increasing them will, on net, hurt American manufacturing, its workers and their families, while undermining your administration’s success with its landmark tax reform.

We support your goal of helping American businesses and workers through better trade deals. However, we have strong concerns that imposing global tariffs will be counterproductive to this aim.

In the case of the proposed steel and aluminum tariffs, while there will be some winners – in this case the domestic industries that manufacture steel and aluminum – there will be far more losers. Every industry that uses these products as an input will see higher prices, leading to increased costs for consumers, and lower wages and fewer jobs for American workers.  Ironically, countries without these tariffs will be advantaged over the U.S.

New tariffs on these two metals will therefore have a net negative effect on American competitiveness and manufacturing. According to a study by Trade Partnership, imposing higher tariffs on steel and aluminum would create 33,464 jobs in domestic production, but cost 179,334 jobs through adverse negative economic effects.

We must avoid starting a civil war within the U.S. economy by picking winners and losers among American workers and businesses.  Consumers will be clear losers as they will see higher prices on everyday products like cars, soda, and beer. But the real trade war we have to fear is the war between different sectors of the U.S. economy. 

The U.S. government has tried increasing steel tariffs before, and the effort was counterproductive. In 2002, President George W. Bush increased tariffs on steel, a move which cost as many as 200,000 American jobs. This move also led to a trade war, with the European Union targeting the Florida orange industry in retaliation.  Today, the EU is threatening American automobiles and distilled spirits, among other industries.

Your administration has taken strong strides to make America competitive. The tax reform bill passed in December created a competitive territorial system of taxation and lowered the corporate tax rate to 21 percent. Your dramatic tax reform will have major effects on manufacturing and U.S. trade, but will take some time to bring about the realignment your Administration is targeting.

Before tax reform, we had the highest rate in the developed world and were one of six countries in the 35-member OECD with a worldwide system. This encouraged investment outside the U.S., suppressed the creation of new jobs and American manufacturing, and lowered wages. The old system caused more than $1.7 trillion in business assets to flow outside the country between 2004 and 2016, according to one study.  Your implementation of a globally competitive tax system will reverse these trends. But we must not allow these gains to be undermined by tariffs.

Tariffs also threaten to undercut the increased wages and greater take-home coming from tax reform. Ninety percent of Americans are seeing more money in their paychecks, while at least four million workers are seeing higher salaries or bonuses. Millions more are seeing increased wages, increased retirement benefits, and lower utility costs. We cannot risk these gains being undermined through higher tariffs.

We commend you for working toward better trade deals for American workers. Imposing tariffs puts this progress at risk. We believe that higher tariffs will result in far more American losers than winners and will hurt the creation of new jobs, higher wages, and, critically, undermine the success of tax reform.   


Grover Norquist, President
Americans for Tax Reform


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ATR Releases List of 2018 Texas State Pledge Signers (Primary Election)

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Posted by Christopher Abbott on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018, 12:02 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform recognizes the Texas incumbents and candidates who have taken the Taxpayer Protection Pledge ahead of the Mar. 6 primary election. The Pledge is a written commitment to hardworking Texas taxpayers and to the American people to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

“By signing The Pledge, Texas candidates and incumbents demonstrate that they will safeguard taxpayers from higher taxes,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “Pledge signers understand that government should be reformed in a way that it spends and takes less taxpayer dollars, and will oppose tax increases that prolong failures of the past.”

The following candidates and incumbents have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge:



-       Alma Allen (House 131)

-       Angie Button (House 112)

-       Bill Zedler (House 96)

-       Briscoe Cain (House 128)

-       Charles Anderson (House 56)

-       Cindy Burkett (House 113)

-       Dan Flynn (House 2)

-       Dan Huberty (House 127)

-       Dennis Paul (House 129)

-       Drew Springer (House 68)

-       Dwayne Bohac (House 138)

-       Four Price (House 87)

-       Gary Elkins (House 135)

-       Geanie Morrison (House 30)

-       James White (House 12)

-       Jason Isaac (House 45)

-       Jeff Leach (House 67)

-       Jim Murphy (House 133)

-       Jodie Laubenberg (House 89)

-       John Frullo (House 84)

-       John Kuempel (House 44)

-       John Smithee (House 86)

-       John Zerwas (House 28) 

-       Jonathan Stickland (House 92)

-       Kyle Kacal (House 12)

-       Lance Gooden (House 4)

-       Larry Gonzales (House 52)

-       Lyle Larson (House 122)

-       Marc Whyte (House 121)

-       Mark Keough (House 15)

-       Paul Workman (House 47)

-       Phil King (House 61)

-       Phil Stephenson (House 85)

-       Rick Miller (House 26)

-       Rodney Anderson (House 105)

-       Ronald Simmons (House 65)

-       Sarah Davis (House 134)

-       Scott Sanford (House 70)

-       Tan Parker (House 63)

-       Todd Hunter (House 32)

-       Tom Craddick (House 82)

-       Valoree Swanson (House 150)

-       Wayne Faircloth (House 23)


-       Brandon Creighton (Senate 4)

-       Brian Birdwell (Senate 22)

-       Charles Perry (Senate 28)

-       Dawn Buckingham (Senate 24)

-       Joan Huffman (Senate 17)

-       Konni Burton (Senate 10)

-       Robert Nichols (Senate 3)

-       Van Taylor (Senate 8)

Open Seat Candidates:

Lieutenant Governor-

-       Kerry McKennon


-       Amber Pearce (House 45)

-       Carlos Raymond (House 117)

-       Chad Carnahan (House 102)

-       CJ Grisham (House 55)

-       Dennis Allen Miller (House 4)

-       Dennis Paul (House 129)

-       Gail Stanart (House 126)

-       Jared Patterson (House 106)

-       Jill Wolfskill (House 13)

-       John Payton (House 89)

-       Johnny Arredondo (House 124)

-       Jonathan Strickland (House 92)

-       Keith Bell (House 4)

-       Marc Whyte (House 121)

-       Matt Savino (House 10)

-       Naomi Narvaiz (House 45)

-      Paul Bileyu (House 135)

-       Phil King (House 61)

-       Ronald Simmons (House 65)

-       Sam Harless (House 126)

-       Sam Tejas (House 133)

-       Scott Kilgore (House 102)

-       Susanna Dokupil (House 134)


-       Amy Lyons (Senate 5)

-       Craig Carter (Senate 30)

-       Konni Burton (Senate 10)


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ATR Supports Rep. Johnson's Legislation (H.R. 1917) to Block EPA Regulatory Interference

Posted on Tuesday, March 6th, 2018, 10:57 AM PERMALINK

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1917, the Blocking Regulatory Interference from Closing Kilns (BRICK) Act of 2017, legislation introduced by Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio). Americans for Tax Reform supports this bill because it stops the EPA from imposing costly and burdensome regulations that could later be overturned by a court.

The legislation requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to wait until legal challenges have been resolved before forcing manufacturers of brick and structural clay products or clay ceramics to comply with the Clean Air Act rules on national emission standards for hazardous air pollutants.

In 2002, for example, the EPA demanded that this same manufacturing industry follow the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule. The industry spent over $100 million in order to comply with this rule, and the rule could cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Despite spending all of this money complying with the rule, a federal court later vacated the rule in 2007, and the industry was forced to spend money removing the equipment that was bought to comply with the rule.

Further harming this situation is the fact that this industry is made up mostly of small businesses (about 75%) that cannot afford to spend money on costly regulations that are later found to be illegal. 

The EPA, therefore, needs to wait until the courts have decided the legality of these regulations before requiring compliance.

Given the high costs involved in these regulations, all Members of Congress should vote “Yes” on this legislation.

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Utah Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Monday, March 5th, 2018, 5:45 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican congress and signed by President Donald Trump, companies of all sizes are already giving bonuses and raises and expanding the scope of their operations. 

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Utah. (Additions to this list can be sent to

Larry H. Miller Group of Companies (Sandy, Utah) -- $1,000 bonuses for 10,000 employees:

Utah's first lady of business is sharing some of her good fortune with the people who are helping to build her family's empire.

About 10,000 employees of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies will be getting an extra $1,000 in their next paycheck courtesy of the owner and chairwoman, Gail Miller.

The company confirmed the gift authorization Thursday. David Blain, president of Saxton Horne Communications, the advertising and communications agency for the LHM Group, said the largesse is a token of Miller's gratitude toward the thousands of people who make the company so successful.

"Gail Miller took an opportunity to reward our front-end employees with a gesture of thanks," he explained. "Our vision for the company is to be the best place in town to work and the best place to do business. Because of their commitment to that vision, Gail wanted to reward the employees."

The LHM Group is comprised of more than 80 businesses operating in 46 states with over 10,000 employees and total assets valued at more than $2.6 billion — including 52 car dealerships.

The LHM Group joins a number of large corporations that have given back to its employee base in the wake of the new tax law passed by Congress in December. This year, scores of the nation's biggest companies — including Walmart and Walt Disney — have bestowed tax-cut windfalls on workers, primarily in the form of one-time bonuses as well as salary increases and retirement plan matches.


Some of the many LHM companies include the Larry H. Miller Dealerships, Vivint Smart Home Arena, Utah Jazz, Salt Lake Bees, Saxton Horne Communications, Salt Lake City Stars, Megaplex Theatres, the Zone Sports Network, Prestige Financial, Total Care Auto, Jordan Commons, Larry H. Miller Real Estate and Tour of Utah. -- March 1, 2018 Deseret News article excerpts

Dominion Energy, Utah – The utility will lower rates for customers because of tax reform:

As a result of federal tax cuts, Dominion Energy is passing on $17 million in savings to its consumers.

The Utah Division of Public Utilities announced that the energy company filed January 31, 2018, for the multi-millions in adjustments that enables customers to get a break on their gas bills.

According to the Division of Public Utilities, Utah utility customers will begin seeing savings from federal tax reform over the next few months.

A press release stated that the first wave of cuts should take effect in the next 30 days, providing $2.5 million in savings on infrastructure.

“Ever since federal tax reform legislation was passed, our Division of Public Utilities has been working closely with the Public Service Commission and utilities to determine the best method to pass on tax savings to Utah customers. Consumers should begin seeing lower gas bills soon and our Division will continue to ensure other tax cuts reach customer bills as quickly as possible,” stated Chris Parker, Division Director, in a press release.

Additional reductions will follow Dominion Energy’s gas cost filing later this spring. The Division is working with other agencies to immediately reduce base rates to customers by $14.5 million more, the press release stated. -- Feb. 5, 2018 KUTV CBS Salt Lake City article

SkyWest Airlines (St. George, Utah) -- Increased employee bonus and incentive program; increased 401(k) contributions; increased capital expenditures; increased charitable donations. Under the enhanced bonuses, "employees are expected to enjoy a nearly 17 percent increase in 2018 financial bonuses for every eligible employee."

The full internal memo is below:

 There have been numerous questions and much publicity surrounding recent significant tax reform becoming effective this year. As it has now been signed into law, SkyWest plans to ensure employees enjoy the legislation’s benefits through increased Performance Rewards and 401(k) discretionary contributions.

“Our employees are the foundation of everything we do,” said SkyWest, Inc. President and CEO Chip Childs. “This tax reform enhances our ability to maintain strong,sustainable careers and we’re pleased to recognize our people by passing its positive  impact throughout 2018 and beyond. Additionally, given the new long-term benefits of the reform, SkyWest plans to increase our charitable contributions, as well as reinvest  in our fleet and across our operation to provide even more confidence in our airline and future.”

SkyWest’s Financial Performance Rewards and other workgroup bonus programs pay employees on a percentage of the SkyWest Airlines net margin. Historically, these  programs have been modeled to neutralize any tax impact (which has been generally   negative) to employees. However, under new tax reform, the company will modify those models to pass the benefit on to employees. As a result, employees are expected  to enjoy a nearly 17 percent increase in 2018 financial bonuses for every eligible employee. Additionally, the company will increase its discretionary 401(k) contribution to all participating employees in 2018. This change will be effective January 1, 2018, and will be distributed beginning with the first 2018 Performance Rewards payout in late April 2018

Performance Rewards and profit sharing program payouts will remain on current  schedules based on each specific program; and the company will continue to evaluate each of our programs for economic impact and the most value to employees.

“This is not a one-time bonus, but will be an ongoing benefit to employees for the duration of the legislation. Becoming the partner and investment of choice is not possible without being the employer of choice,” continued Chip. “In today’s environment, it’s more important than ever that we recognize our people who take care of our customers. To our incredible team, I want to say thank you for the great work you do each and every day to take care of each other and our customers.”

Zions Bank (headquarters in Salt Lake City, with Utah branches in Huntington, Castle Dale, Price, Ephraim, Manti, Salina, Santaquin, Payson, Spanish Fork, Springville, Duchesne, Provo, and Fillmore) – Pay raises for more than 40% of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 80% of employees; increased charitable contributions:

Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ: ZION) announced today that as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, it will be increasing ongoing compensation for more than 40% of its employees as of January 1, 2018, and providing nearly 80% of employees with $1,000 bonuses during 2018, subject to certain conditions.

Additionally, Zions intends to contribute $12 million to the Zions Bancorporation Foundation, which is expected to benefit local communities in which Zions does business. In 2017, Foundation beneficiaries included the United Way, youth programs, food pantries, homeless shelters, affordable housing projects, and educational programs.

Zions expects to incur an increase in noninterest expense in the fourth quarter of 2017 of approximately $12 million as a result of the contribution to the Foundation, while compensation adjustments are expected to be incorporated into 2018 expense. -- Jan. 2, 2018 Zions Bancorporation press release

U-Haul (Utah locations: Centerville, West Valley City, Murray, Midvale, Salt Lake City, Bountiful, Cedar City, Beaver, Hurricane, Parowan, Hildale, Panguitch, Saint George, Enoch, Vernal, Moab, Blanding, Monticello, Loa, Salina, Mount Pleasant, Big Water, Washington, Nephi) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Lowe's -- 2,000 employees at 16 stores in Utah.  Employees will receives bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Walmart –  51 locations in Utah -- Over 12,500 Utah-based Walmart and Sam's Club employees are receiving wage increases as well as tax reform bonuses ranging from $200 - $1,000 for a state total of $5.7 million. The starting wage rate was raised for all hourly employees to $11. The company also announced expanded maternity and parental leave, and $5,000 for adoption expenses.

AT&T --  $1,000 bonuses to 423 Utah-based employees. The company also announced a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures nationwide.

Apple (Apple store locations in Farmington, Murray, Salt Lake City) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; Nationwide, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing.

Home Depot -- 22 locations in Utah, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Cintas Corporation (Multiple locations in Utah) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Comcast (Multiple locations in Utah) -- $1,000 bonuses; nationally, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Multiple locations in Utah) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; nationally, $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

Ryder (Utah locations: Salt Lake City, Clearfield, Hurricane) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Multiple locations in Utah) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

Fort Ranch (Promontory, Utah) - Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Note: If you know of other Utah examples, please email John Kartch at

The running nationwide list of companies can be found at

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Norquist: Tariffs Are Taxes

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Posted by Tom Hebert on Monday, March 5th, 2018, 1:41 PM PERMALINK

In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” Monday morning, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist expressed concern with President Trump’s proposal to levy global tariffs on steel and aluminum. 

“Tariffs are taxes,” said Norquist. “They are very disruptive. Trade wars are civil wars, and the losers are both Americans.”

While Trump should be commended for working to ensure the U.S. has better trade deals, using tariffs as leverage is a dangerous negotiating tactic.

"There is something to be said for … rattling the cages and disrupting things,” Norquist explained. “But more people get damaged than get helped in these tariff wars.”

Imposing tariffs steel and aluminum will increase the cost of numerous products and threatens American jobs and wages. These tariffs could offset the benefits to American families from the GOP tax bill. Since President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law, 90 percent of Americans have received more take-home pay, and over 400 companies have announced pay raises, bonuses, or additional benefits for employees.

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Coalition Urges Congress to Rein in FDA Overreach as Part of FY18 Spending Bill

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Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, March 5th, 2018, 11:22 AM PERMALINK

Today, Americans for Tax Reform and a coalition of center-right public policy organizations and think tanks sent a letter to Congressional leadership and the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees urging them to provide regulatory relief to thousands of small businesses that sell and millions of adult consumers that use vapor products in the United States. The Obama-era "Deeming Rule" stands to cripple a growing industry unless Congress acts to make a small staturoy change to the Tobacco Control Act for new products subject to the oversight given to the Food and Drug Administration by Congress in 2009. Inaction would not only strike a blow to innovation, but to public health as well. 

Below is a letter, which can also be read here

We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to provide regulatory relief from the Food and Drug Administration’s May 2016 “Deeming Rule” as part of the final FY18 omnibus appropriations package. Without a modernization of a provision of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, the Deeming Rule will kill tens of thousands of jobs in an industry that is helping many American adult smokers transition to lower risk alternatives to combustible to cigarettes.

Language and legislation sponsored by Congressmen Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) modernizes the “predicate date” for newly deemed tobacco products, providing regulatory certainty for small businesses against an onerous and retroactive pre-approval process imposed by the 2016 Rule. The Cole-Bishop Amendment to the current FY18 Agriculture Bill would provide additional substantive protections for adult consumers without preventing the FDA from imposing more appropriate regulations for the product category in the future.

Congressional action is necessary to prevent the loss of tens of thousands of jobs created in recent years. Most of these jobs are the result of domestic manufacturing and new retailers that are providing smokers with potentially effective smoking cessation and/or harm reduction choices that were not available ten years ago.

The Deeming Rule requires new products that did not exist on or before February 15, 2007 – the predicate date – to undergo a burdensome pre-market review process that achieves little in the way of protecting public health at a very high cost. The FDA’s own estimates found that the cost of completing and submitting the required Pre- Market Tobacco Application (PMTA) would exceed $300,000 per product and take at least 500 hours of time per application. At present, the deadline for the submission of PMTAs for each product manufactured in the United States is August 8, 2022.

When FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb extended the deadlines for the submission of PMTAs last year, he explained that it was done in part “to allow the FDA to encourage innovation that has the potential to make a notable public health difference—and to inform future policies and efforts that will protect kids and help smokers quit cigarettes.” Gottlieb has also argued that “there should be reduced harm products available to consumers to transition them off of combustible cigarettes,” consistent with the international consensus that vapor products are significantly less harmful than cigarettes. Without a statutory change to TCA by Congress, however, countless smoking cessation products currently on the market will be illegal in 2022. The ball is in Congress’s court and further inaction only stands to harm public health.

The onerous PMTA process required of every single vapor product on the market today was one that every single manufacturer of cigarettes in the U.S. avoided when the TCA was signed into law. Even if businesses could afford this investment, however, the process is designed to end in failure. Many small businesses produce hundreds of these products and would be forced to close their doors as a result of this retroactive federal rule.

The Cole-Bishop Amendment would not weaken the TCA or the ability of the FDA to impose additional product standards or regulations on new products in the future. In fact, the FDA is already moving forward on additional rulemaking for newly deemed products and this amendment would make the agency’s new regulatory objectives, which include preventing youth initiation, attainable. That is precisely why the efforts are bipartisan, because there is recognition that while regulations that protect consumers are important, the Rule imposed burdens that neither protect consumers, nor acknowledge that the consequence will be the new industry’s demise.

The millions of adult consumers who currently rely on these products as less harmful alternatives to smoking need your help today. The inclusion of the Cole-Bishop Amendment, as passed by the House Appropriations Committee, will provide significant regulatory certainty to tens of thousands of small businesses in the United States. We encourage Congress to adopt the language into the final FY18 omnibus budget.

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Illinois Examples of Tax Reform Good News

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Posted by John Kartch on Friday, March 2nd, 2018, 6:00 PM PERMALINK

Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the Republican congress and signed by President Donald Trump, companies of all sizes are already giving bonuses and raises and expanding the scope of their operations. 

Below are several examples of tax reform good news in Illinois. (Additions to this list can be sent to

Dot Foods (Mount Sterling, Illinois) -- $500 bonuses for 4,800 employees:

A Mount Sterling company is joining the growing ranks of businesses sharing the benefits of a tax overhaul with its employees.

All of Dot Foods’ nearly 4,800 full-time workers will get a $500 bonus.

The food industry redistributor said the bonuses will go to employees at all 12 Dot locations in the United States and both Dot Foods Canada locations. The one-time bonus will be paid in mid-March to those who were employed with Dot and Dot Transportation at end of 2017.

“We’re really happy to be able to give this bonus to our employees,” Dot Foods CEO Joe Tracy said. “We surprised them by announcing the bonus during our National Business Meeting in St. Louis in late January. Our people are Dot’s greatest asset, and the tax reform bill offered a great opportunity to reinvest in our employees.”

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent when President Trump signed it onto law in December. The bill also changed the way companies operating internationally are taxed.

“The tax legislation is good news for Dot and many other companies,” Tracy said. “It’s going to put us in a better position to compete internationally and continue to invest in our business. We owe our continued growth and success to our employees. Their hard work every day makes it possible, so it was an easy decision to recognize their efforts with this bonus when the opportunity arose.” – Feb. 17, 2018 Jacksonville Journal Courier article excerpt

Five Senses Spa, Salon and Barbershop (Peoria, Illinois) -- $500 bonuses for 20 employees; the company is also looking into additional employee benefits in 2018.

Paola Hinton’s hands were shaking in December as she pulled out bundles of cash and gave each of her 20 employees a $500 bonus. No one in the crowded back room at Five Senses Spa, Salon and Barbershop in Peoria had ever seen $10,000 in cash, and Hinton had it all in a little briefcase.

The employees’ faces lit up, recalled Hinton, who launched the business almost 12 years ago. She has never been able to give bonuses like this before, but the new federal tax law passed late last year made it possible, she said.


Hair stylist Breitanya Williams spent part of her bonus fixing the taillights on her Buick Rendezvous — the only vehicle she and her husband own that will fit all four of their young children.

Another portion of Williams’ extra money went toward subscribing to a workout program. “That’s like my life-changing part,” said Williams, 25. “I just had my fourth child in five years … (and I’m) trying to make my family and myself healthier.”

Williams’ colleague Laura Naven also put her bonus toward her family. She paid down hospital bills left over from when she gave birth to her 4-month-old and put some money into savings.

“I have two kids, so building up the savings is key right now,” said Naven, 33, general manager at Five Senses. -- Jan. 26, 2018 Chicago Tribune article excerpts

Griffith Trucking, Broadway Express, Heartland Peterbilt, Heartland Classics (Effingham and Newton, Illinois) – $1,000 bonuses:

In President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday evening, he made the case that his recent tax law is the reason why companies across the country have announced bonuses, wage increases and other benefits for their employees.

Tony Griffith, who owns three companies in Effingham, agrees wholeheartedly. So much so that this week he announced to his 65 full-time employees that he will be giving each of them a $1,000 bonus.


Husband and wife Kristi and Rich Stoddard, who both work at Heartland Peterbilt, are also excited about the bonuses. With three children, they say it's a more than welcome gesture.

“Anytime your paycheck increases, it’s definitely a good thing for your family," said Kristi Stoddard. "It’s nice to see they’re putting money back into the middle class."


For the Stoddards and others, every bit counts.

"We’ll be able to pay more bills," said Rich Stoddard. "We might be able to go out for dinner. Do the little things we might not be able to do until this kicks in. Honestly, your paycheck, you know where it’s going even before you get it. Now we have a little extra."Jan. 31 Effingham Daily News article excerpt

Dohrn Transfer (Rock Island, Illinois) -- $1,000 bonuses for approximately 1,200 employees; increased capital expenditures:

 At least one Quad-Cities company is already giving out bonuses due to the recent federal tax-cut savings.

Dohrn Transfer, with its corporate headquarters for trucking and a company warehouse in Rock Island, has mailed out $1,000 bonuses to all of its approximately 1,200 employees in six Midwest states. About 350 of those work here.

“It was from the tax plan,” Heather Dohrn, vice president of a sales and marketing, said Wednesday, referring to the tax cut signed into law Dec. 22 by President Donald Trump.

“It generated tax savings for our company, and we wanted to share it with our employees," she said. "Even our part-time employees (received the entire bonus).”

Employees began receiving the checks in the mail Monday.

“They were pretty excited,” Ms. Dohrn said. “One thousand dollars goes a long way with hard-working people. It’s exciting to hear what they are doing with it, and that they feel appreciated.

“It’s important for us to make sure we are compensating them and passing on those savings to them, because they are the ones that make us successful,” she added. “Our secret sauce is our employees, so we want to make sure that we are compensating them.”

Ms. Dohrn also said the tax reform was done to stimulate the economy, “so let's get it into the hands of the people that can use it and get it back in the economy and drive things in the right direction.”

The money in bonuses is in addition to the increases that the company will be doing for employees in 2018, she said.

“It’s not like this is a one-time thing,” Ms. Dohrn said. “We are going to continue to reinvest in our employees.”

Ms. Dohrn said additional money from the tax cut savings will be reinvested in equipment and infrastructure by the company to help it continue to grow in 2018.  Ms. Dohrn said the company expects about a 10 percent growth this year.” – Jan. 31 2018, The Dispatch/The Rock Island Argus article excerpt

Emkay, Inc. (Itasca, Illinois) -- Emkay is a fleet management company that gave $1,000 bonuses to 150 employees:

“EMKAY, Inc. has announced that all full-time employees will receive a $1,000 bonus in response to the tax reform that was just signed by President Trump. EMKAY, a privately-owned fleet management company, wasted no time in taking action to pass the benefits of this reform on to their team.

“With a brighter future for EMKAY and more profitable growth, naturally we are hopeful that these tax changes will become permanent.  And then, if so, we will be able to share even more of the tax cut benefits with you – our employees and most valuable asset,” EMKAY President Greg DePace said in a statement to EMKAY employees.” – Jan. 2018 Emkay Inc. statement

LincolnWay Community Bank (New Lenox, Illinois) – $1,500 bonus for 33 permanent employees:

“LincolnWay Community Bank today announced plans to award a one-time $1,500 bonus to most of its employees on February 6.

"We are pleased to be able to provide this additional reward to our employees for continuing to deliver outstanding service to our customers" said Mark Stevens, LincolnWay Community Bank President. "This investment in our employees was made possible by the new tax reform law."

LincolnWay Community Bank currently has 33 permanent employees, at three branches in New Lenox, Mokena and Chicago, who are eligible to receive the tax reform bonus.” -- Feb. 5, 2018 LincolnWay Community Bank announcement excerpt

Ameren Illinois (Chicago, Illinois) – Thanks to the tax cuts, utility customers will have lower bills:

Ameren Illinois electric customers could save an average of $2.50 to $3.00 per month in 2018 and natural gas customers could save an average of $1 per month if the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) approves the company's plan to pass savings from the recently approved federal tax cut legislation back to its customers.  Customers using both electricity and natural gas could see a combined savings.

In the proposal filed with the ICC today, the company is seeking approval to pass along federal tax savings to electric customers beginning this year.  A similar proposal was filed last week on behalf of Ameren Illinois natural gas customers. 

"Under the new tax plan, Ameren Illinois’ effective tax rate will decrease by nearly 13%,” said Richard Mark, chairman and president, Ameren Illinois. "The plan we have filed with the ICC gives us the ability to expedite the return of these savings to our customers."

The Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act of 2011 provides a mechanism to return these savings to electric customers, but without filing the petition customers would have to wait until 2020 to receive the benefits. If approved by the ICC, Ameren Illinois customers will begin seeing these savings in March. – Jan. 22 2018, Ameren Illinois press release

AT&T -- $1,000 bonuses to 10,775 Illinois-based AT&T employees. Nationwide, the company also announced a $1 billion increase in capital expenditures.

Lowe's -- 5,000 employees at 38 stores and one distribution center in Illinois. Employees will receive bonuses of up to $1,000 based on length of service; expanded benefits and maternity/parental leave; $5,000 of adoption assistance.

Home Depot -- 76 locations in Illinois, bonuses for all hourly employees, up to $1,000.

Wal-Mart – 162 locations in Illinois -- 34,600 Illinois-based Walmart and Sam's Club employees are receiving tax reform bonuses ranging from $200 - $1,000 for a state total of $13,720,800. More than 20,000 Illinois-based Walmart and Sam's Club employees are receiving wage increases, for a total of more than $32 million. The starting wage rate was raised for all hourly employees to $11. The company also announced expanded maternity and parental leave and $5,000 for adoption expenses.

U-Haul (Multiple locations in Illinois) – $1,200 bonuses for full-time employees, $500 for part-time employees.

Apple (Apple store locations in Lincoln Park, Michigan Ave, Deer Park, Main Place, Northbrook, Oakbrook, Orland Square Mall, Woodfield, Old Orchard) -- $2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; Nationwide, $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing.

Cintas Corporation (Multiple locations in Illinois) -- $1,000 bonuses for employees of at least a year, $500 for employees of less than a year.

Comcast (Multiple locations in Illinois) -- $1,000 bonuses; nationally, at least $50 billion investment in infrastructure in next five years.

Chipotle Mexican Grill (Multiple locations in Illinois) – Bonuses ranging from $250 to $1,000; increased employee benefits; nationally, $50 million investment in existing restaurants.

Ryder (21 locations in Illinois) -- Tax reform bonuses for employees.

Starbucks Coffee Company (Multiple locations in Illinois) – $500 stock grants for all retail employees, $2,000 stock grants for store managers, and varying plan and support center employee stock grants. Nationally, 8,000 new retail jobs; an additional wage increase this year, totaling approximately $120 million in wage increases, increased sick time benefits and parental leave.

Wells Fargo – 19 bank locations in Illinois; raised base wage from $13.50 to $15.00 per hour; nationally, $400 million in charitable donations for 2018; $100 million increased capital investment over the next three years.

AbbVie, Inc. (North Chicago, Illinois) -- permanent salary increases for all non-executive employees; increased profit sharing for employees; one additional holiday for U.S. employees.

American Community Bank & Trust (Woodstock, Illinois) -- $500 bonus to each employee; additional employees will be hired.

MB Financial, Inc. (Chicago, Illinois) – base wage increased to $15 per hour; tax reform bonuses; and $7.5 million additional charitable contributions:

  MB Financial, Inc., the holding company for MB Financial Bank, N.A. (“MB”), announced today that MB will raise the minimum wage paid to its employees, issue certain one-time bonuses, and donate $7.5 million to the disadvantaged communities in which it operates.

Mitch Feiger, President and CEO MB Financial, Inc., commented, “MB has long believed that our future is undeniably connected to our communities and employees. Because we hold this belief so closely it is only natural that we share the benefits of tax reform.”

As a result of the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 MB will contribute $7.5 million to the MB Charitable Foundation, specifically to help the most disadvantaged communities where MB operates for the creation of affordable housing, strong educational programs, vital community services, and to accelerate economic development. “Giving is a cornerstone of our culture,” said Rose Bouman, Executive Vice President of MB Financial Bank, “Our programs such as ‘MB on the Block’, wherein over 500 MB employees dedicate a day of service to the community each year, are at the heart of who we are.”

Also as a result of the new tax legislation, MB will raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour and pay certain one-time bonuses. It’s expected that nearly 75% of MB’s approximately 3,600 team members across the country will participate in these new compensation measures. “Our employees are truly different. Their passion sets them apart. It’s no wonder they go beyond every day for our clients, our communities, and each other. I’m thrilled we can pass along the benefits of tax reform to them,” commented Feiger. – Jan. 2 2018, MB Financial, Inc. press release

Turning Point USA (Lemont, Illinois) -- $300 bonuses to all 115 employees.

BancorpSouth Bank (insurance office is based in Itasca) –  pay raises for over 70 percent of employees; $1,000 bonuses for nearly 20 percent of employees: 

BancorpSouth Bank (NYSE: BXS) today announced an additional investment in its employees, which includes pay increases and /or one-time bonuses to nearly all non-commissioned employees.

The investment of over $10 million in 2018 will benefit 96% of the Company's non-commissioned workforce. Pay increases were effective January 1, 2018.

"We are proud to reward our team with this opportunity since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act should benefit everyone" said Dan Rollins, Chairman and CEO. "BancorpSouth's continued and future success is based on the economic vitality of the communities we serve and taking care of our teammates allows us to provide the very best service to our customers, communities and shareholders." – Jan. 3, 2018 BancorpSouth Bank press release


The increased compensation overall at BancorpSouth affected more than 70 percent of all employees, and provided a $1,000 bonus to nearly 20 percent of all employees.

BancorpSouth employs some 4,000 employees in more than 230 locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas, plus an insurance location in Illinois. – Jan. 4, 2018 Daily Journal/BizBuzz article

BMO Harris Bank (Chicago, Illinois) – base wage raised to $15 per hour; increased charitable donations:

“BMO Harris Bank has joined an increasing number of financial institutions in raising its minimum hourly wage to $15.

The bank cited the recent federal tax reform, which lowered the corporate income tax rate, in its decision to boost employee compensation.

The new rate is effective immediately, the company said Tuesday. BMO Harris, which is based in Chicago and owned by Toronto's BMO Financial Group, has more branches than any other bank in Wisconsin.

BMO Harris also said it will increase its level of philanthropic community giving by 10% in 2018.

“We’re pleased to share the benefits of the strong economic conditions, and the effects of the recent tax reform changes, with our employees and communities,” David Casper, president and chief executive of BMO Harris Bank, said in a statement. “Our success is tied directly to the communities we serve, and we’re proud of the exceptional job our employees do in providing a great customer experience.” – Jan. 31 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article excerpt

Boeing Company (Chicago, Illinois) -- $100 million for workforce development; $100 million for infrastructure and facilities; $100 million in charitable donations:

Boeing [NYSE: BA] Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg praised the tax bill passed by Congress and about to be signed into law as a critical driver of business, economic growth and innovation for the United States and for Boeing.

"On behalf of all of our stakeholders, we applaud and thank Congress and the administration for their leadership in seizing this opportunity to unleash economic energy in the United States," said Muilenburg. "It's the single-most important thing we can do to drive innovation, support quality jobs and accelerate capital investment in our country."

The simpler tax code and lower tax rate are closer to those enjoyed by Boeing's global competition and will have a clear and direct benefit to Boeing, its employees, and other stakeholders.

"For Boeing, the reforms enable us to better compete on the world stage and give us a stronger foundation for the investment in innovation, facilities and skills that will support our long-term growth," Muilenburg said.

While Boeing is still studying all of the provisions of the new legislation, Muilenburg announced immediate commitments for an additional $300 million in investments that will move forward as a result of the new tax law:

  • $100 million for corporate giving, with funds used to support demand for employee gift-match programs and for investments in Boeing's focus areas for charitable giving: in education, in our communities, and for veterans and military personnel.
  • $100 million for workforce development in the form of training, education, and other capabilities development to meet the scale needed for rapidly evolving technologies and expanding markets.
  • $100 million for "workplace of the future" facilities and infrastructure enhancements for Boeing employees.

"Each of these investments benefits Boeing's most important strength – our employees – and reflects the real-time impact and economic benefit of the reforms," said Muilenburg. – Dec. 20, 2017 Boeing Company press release

Kraft Heinz Company (Chicago) – $1.3 billion pre-funding of post-retirement benefit plans; $800 million in capital expenditures; $300 million in strategic investments:

“Since the HR-1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law, we have already taken actions and are accelerating key business initiatives. This includes approximately $300 million in strategic investments to build our capabilities, our people skills and our brands; more than $800 million in capital expenditures to improve quality, safety and capacity; as well as $1.3 billion to pre-fund our post-retirement benefit plans. – Feb. 16 Kraft Heinz statement by David Knopf, CFO

First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. (Itasca, Illinois) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour; $1,035 bonuses for 85% of employees; $2 million in additional charitable contributions:

First Midwest Bancorp, Inc. (“First Midwest”) (NASDAQ:FMBI), the holding company of First Midwest Bank, announced today expanded investments in its colleagues and communities.  These investments include the following:

  • An increase in our minimum pay rate to $15 for hourly employees;
  • A special bonus up to $1,035 to nearly 85% of our colleagues; and
  • A $2 million contribution to the First Midwest Charitable Foundation.

“As we celebrate 35 years as First Midwest, our continuing investment in our colleagues, communities and business stands at the core of our success.  I am therefore very pleased to take these important actions,” said Michael L. Scudder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of First Midwest.  “The growth of our Company as well as the expected benefits from tax reform position us to reward our colleagues for their commitment and hard work as well as expand our investment in the communities in which we live and work.” -- Jan. 11, 2018 First Midwest Bancorp, inc. press release

Central Bancompany, Inc. (locations in O'Fallon, Millstadt, and Columbia) – Bonuses to 2,500 employees: $1,000 bonuses for full time employees; $500 bonuses for part time employees:

In December 2017, U.S. Congress passed a comprehensive tax reform package to encourage economic growth across the nation. As a result of the federal tax reform, Central Bancompany plans to distribute a special bonus to its more than 2,500 employees residing across four states – Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Full-time employees will receive a $1,000 bonus and part-time employees will receive a $500 bonus.

“The economic development that should ensue as a direct result of the new tax reform legislation will positively affect the more than 66 communities we serve,” said Bryan Cook, Chairman and CEO of Central Bancompany, Inc. “We are excited for the opportunity to reward our dedicated and hard-working employees with this special bonus as a token of our gratitude for all that they do for our customers, businesses, and communities.” – Jan. 5, 2018 Central Bancompany press release

Wintrust Financial Corporation (Rosemont, Illinois) -- base wage raised to $15 per hour:

Town Bank is joining a growing list of Wisconsin and national banks in raising the minimum hourly wage for employees to $15.

Town Bank, a Hartland-based bank owned by Wintrust Financial Corp., of Rosemont, Ill., said Wednesday the decision to increase the pay rate for eligible staff "comes as a result of the recently enacted tax reform legislation and the bank’s continued commitment to its employees."

Wintrust said it expects that more than 600 employees will benefit from the pay raise across its family of more than 150 bank locations, including Town Bank's 19 branches in Wisconsin. -- Jan. 24 2018, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article excerpt

Discover Financial Services (Riverwoods, Illinois) – Base wage raised to $15.25 per hour; $1,000 bonuses for more than 15,000 non-executive employees; additional investments and charitable donations to be announced:

Discover today announced plans to raise its minimum hourly pay rate to $15.25 for virtually all of its full-time U.S. employees as a result of the recent corporate tax reductions after granting a $1,000 bonus to more than 15,000 non-executive employees earlier this month.

The new minimum rate will take effect later this year and ultimately will impact more than 7,000 employees.

 The company plans to make additional investments in its people and will increase corporate responsibility efforts in the communities in which it operates. – Jan. 24, 2018 Discover Financial Services press release

Bank of America (Multiple locations in Illinois) -- Illinois-based employees of Bank of America will receive $1,000 bonuses.

MainSource Financial Group (branch locations in Kankakee, Grant Park, Hoopeston, and Watseka) – Base wage raised to $15 per hour:

MainSource Financial Group (NASDAQ: MSFG) will raise the starting pay and minimum hourly rate to $15 an hour effective immediately for all of its non-exempt, non-commissioned employees. This announcement comes as a result of the recently passed tax legislation, which includes a reduction in corporate tax rates.

Approximately 1,000 associates are employed throughout the MainSource footprint in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The pay increase will affect over 200 employees.

Archie M. Brown, Jr., President and CEO, stated, "The recently passed tax legislation is anticipated to create significant savings for our company. We are pleased to direct a portion of this savings back to many of our employees with a meaningful increase in pay." – Jan. 3, 2018 MainSource Financial Group press release

Note: If you know of other Illinois examples, please email John Kartch at

The running nationwide list of companies can be found at

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More from Americans for Tax Reform

Congress Should Pass Rep. Jenkins' H.R. 4618

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Posted by Alex Hendrie on Friday, March 2nd, 2018, 5:03 PM PERMALINK

The medicine cabinet tax, a $5.3 billion tax on middle-class families and seniors, is one of Obamacare’s many taxes. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) has introduced commonsense, bipartisan legislation that mitigates the impact of this tax.

H.R. 4618 pauses the medicine cabinet tax for 2018 and 2019. The tax prohibits Americans from buying over-the-counter prescriptions with funds from health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs). The tax affects the 20 million Americans with an HSA, and 35 million Americans with a FSA.

HSAs and FSAs allow individuals to set aside pre-tax dollars that they can later spend on their own healthcare expenses. These accounts encourage a consumer driven healthcare model that empowers American families and small businesses to make their own healthcare decisions, without government interference.

However under Obamacare, individuals are not able to use the tax benefits associated with HSAs or FSAs to purchase over-the-counter medications unless they have a prescription for this medication from a doctor. This regulation needlessly complicates the decision-making of millions of HSA and FSA users, creates an unnecessary bureaucratic burden for doctors, and restricts access to commonly used medication.

Rep. Jenkins’ bill gives HSA and FSA holders the freedom to use pre-tax dollars to purchase over the counter medicines for their household. It makes no sense to restrict the ability of millions of American families to use their hard-earned income to purchase commonly used medication.

Congress should pass H.R. 4618 as a standalone bill or as part of a comprehensive package. ATR supports H.R. 4618, and urges all members of Congress to do the same.

[Read ATR's letter in support of H.R. 4618 here]

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Gun Tax Bill Doubles Federal Gun Tax, Quintuples Ammo Tax

Posted by John Kartch on Friday, March 2nd, 2018, 4:00 PM PERMALINK

Gun Tax Bill Sponsor: "I would like to outlaw them altogether."

Congressional Democrats have introduced a bill to radically increase the federal excise tax on guns and ammunition. The bill’s sponsor has acknowledged he would like to make guns cost prohibitive and “outlaw them altogether.”

The bill, H.R. 5103, does the following:

-Doubles the federal excise tax on pistols and revolvers, from 10 percent to 20 percent.

-Nearly doubles the federal excise tax on shotguns and rifles, raising it from 11 percent up to 20 percent.

-Nearly quintuples the federal excise tax on ammunition, raising it from 11 percent up to 50 percent.

The bill is sponsored by Chicago-area Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and has nine co-sponsors, all Democrats.

In an interview with Sirius XM Patriot’s Kerry Picket, Davis made shocking admissions: He wants to outlaw guns and doesn’t mind if low-income Americans are unable to have guns due to his gun tax increase:

Kerry Picket, Sirius XM Patriot:  “Now some would argue that then guns and ammunition would only be available to those with money, those who are wealthy. And that those who are in the lower classes as far as financial terms are concerned would not be able to afford such weapons. Tell me about that.”

Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.):  “Well I would be just as pleased if neither group were able to get them [guns]. So what I am saying is it doesn’t pose an issue for me because I would like to outlaw them altogether. I am saying I would like to make it where nobody except military personnel would ever have access to these weapons. So it wouldn’t bother me that one category of people couldn’t get them even if the other one was willing to pay the high price for them. Then we use that money for services that are needed and people could make use of them.”

Picket: “So rich people only could own firearms?”

Congressman Davis:  “So if rich people could only get firearms then only rich people would be able to pay the price. And if that could prevent some people from getting them, I would want to prevent all people from getting them. But if rich people were willing, and would continue to pay the high price then I’d be happy that we kept the other group from getting them.”

Needless to say, Americans for Tax Reform opposes the bill. “This bill, and the comments of its author, make clear that Democrats just want to tax the Second Amendment out of existence,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.



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