Updates from the Stop Obamacare Taxes Road Crew


Posted by Matthew Adams, Justin Sykes on Friday, October 6th, 2017, 4:36 PM PERMALINK

Allowing more Obamacare taxes to take effect in 2018 must be out of the question. If Congress fails to act the Obamacare Health Insurance Tax (HIT) will hit Americans on January 1, 2018. This tax alone could cause premiums to increase by $5,000 over a decade. ATR launched the “Stop Obamacare Taxes” bus tour in late September to keep pressure on Congress to delay and repeal all Obamacare taxes.

Continuing the march across the country, on Tuesday, October 3, the “Stop Obamacare Taxes” bus tour made its second stop in Denver, Colorado at the Pepsi Center before the WWE “Smackdown Live.”  The stadium seats over 18,000 people and was packed to the brim. The parking lot where the ATR tour bus was positioned was just as packed. As WWE fans headed into the stadium, many stopped to take pictures of the bus and to read about the pending Obamacare Taxes soon to take effect.

Many concerned citizens interested in learning about the looming tax hikes were asked to write their Congressmen urging a repeal of ALL Obamacare taxes. And those who really wanted to drive the message home about the need for repeal, received a camo koozie and a t-shirt that reads, “You can’t hide from Obamacare tax increases.”

ATR staff fielded questions from those in attendance, explaining how the trillions of new and enacted taxes under Obamacare will affect their lives, taking more hard-earned dollars out of their paychecks.

Numerous people opened up and shared their own stories about how Obamacare has already negatively impacted them, raising their premiums sky-high. 

Moving from Denver, the tour headed north through Fort Collins, Colorado into Wyoming, stopping along the journey to spread awareness to American taxpayers.

At an impromptu stop in Wheaton, Wyoming, dozens of residents approached the tour to share their own personal experiences under the law, and they were horrified to hear about the coming tax increases once the other Obamacare tax provisions take effect.

One story that stuck out was that of Robert Parks, an Air Force Veteran, retiree, and Wyoming resident who told ATR staff and fellow citizens about how his premiums used to be just slightly over $50, yet, after retirement and post-Obamacare, his premiums skyrocketed to over $500! Unfortunately, Mr. Parks is not alone, millions of Americans find themselves in the same situation, having to foot the bill for the exorbitant tax-hikes under the ACA.

After their departure from Wyoming, the crew headed to South Dakota, arriving in Rapid City on Wednesday. Throughout the day, over two dozen residents approached the tour to share stories regarding how Obamacare has negatively impacted their lives.

ATR Federal Affairs Manager, Justin Sykes, also did an interview in front of the bus for Rapid City’s KOTA News Station. See the video above.

The next stop for the “Stop Obamacare Taxes” bus will be in Wisconsin, stay tuned for more details!

Photo Credit: Justin Sykes

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TPC Study Based on Flawed Assumptions, Fails to Use Accurate Scoring

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie, Olivia Grady on Friday, October 6th, 2017, 10:30 AM PERMALINK

[Full PDF of this Document Can be Found Here]

Since President Trump and Republicans in the House and Senate released their joint tax reform framework last month, many have rushed to judge the plan. While this plan is an excellent first step, it is still just a framework that will further be developed by the Committees of jurisdiction, as noted in the document. The next step in the process is to move through regular order:

 “This unified framework serves as a template for the tax-writing committees that will develop legislation through a transparent and inclusive committee process.”

Despite this, some have decided to prematurely analyze the tax framework using their own assumptions. Exhibit A amongst these biased analyses is the study published by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the left-leaning Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. 

This study fails to take into account numerous issues.

First, it does not take into account any dynamic macroeconomic effects of the tax changes. Instead, it analyzes tax changes solely on the static revenue lost or gained as if every tax cut or tax increase is the same and has no effect on behavior.

Second, it assumes numerous details that have not been decided yet. The framework did not include the income ranges for the individual brackets or the size of the expanded child tax credit. Both of these will be decided by Committees of jurisdiction. The Tax Policy Center study included income ranges and the size of the credit despite this.

[The Full Document is Also Available Here] 

Dynamic Scoring is Key to Any Realistic Analysis of The Tax Reform Framework

The analysis conducted by the Tax Policy Center fails to use dynamic scoring to analyze the benefits of the plan. Instead, it uses static scoring to downplay the positive economic effects of the plan.  Realistic scoring of tax proposals must use dynamic scoring for several reasons, as outlined by the Tax Foundation. 

First, static scoring does not take into account the changes to the economy and specifically economic growth that a tax change might cause. With dynamic scoring, however, representatives can understand the real benefits and costs of a tax change proposal. Dynamic scoring, therefore, is simply more accurate scoring. 

A high tax rate will discourage some people from working as much because if the government is taking away most of the money from an additional hour that they’ll work, it won’t be worth it to work. However, if the government only takes a small percentage, more people will choose to work to i.e. save up for a vacation or their child’s college tuition. Dynamic scoring reflects these behavioral changes, while static scoring does not.

Second, many tax changes made in the GOP framework are designed to promote economic growth. Because this is the goal, lawmakers need to understand how the change will affect economic growth. Static scoring does not show economic growth. It assumes that the gross domestic product will remain the same.

The Unified Framework is a plan to grow the economy and increase the number of jobs. In fact, economic growth is one of President Trump’s goals for tax reform. Using static scoring makes it impossible for policy analysts to determine how much economic growth and how many jobs this framework will create.

Finally, static scoring does not show all the benefits of tax cuts. It downplays how much additional money the Treasury will see from economic growth due to the tax cuts. Therefore, the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) estimates were often very far off from reality before the office started using dynamic scoring. Despite how far off the estimates were, the analysis by the CBO and JCT did determine whether a tax change passed.

Due to these reasons, Congress passed the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act of 2013, requiring the CBO and the JCT to use dynamic scoring. However, both the CBO and the JCT do not use as robust scoring as they should.

An example of how their scoring isn’t robust enough is one provided in Curtis Dubay’s 2015 Heritage article, “JCT Dynamic Score of Bonus Depreciation: Highly Flawed.” His example was bonus depreciation, a policy that allows businesses to deduct 50 percent of their investments in the year that they purchased them. The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) said this policy would only grow the size of the economy by .2 percent over ten years using dynamic scoring, while the Tax Foundation argued that the economy would grow by 1.1 percent over ten years.

Despite this flaw, the scoring by the CBO and JCT is more accurate than if they used static scoring.

While there are clear reasons for using dynamic scoring, the Tax Policy Center surprisingly examined the effects of the Congressional Republican’s proposal, the “Unified Framework for Fixing Our Broken Tax Code” using static scoring. The Center now claims that the framework would reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over ten years. In addition, those with the largest income would see the biggest tax cuts, and some would experience a tax increase under this plan.

The United States has historically seen large economic growth after tax cuts, and economic growth is one of the main purposes for this tax cut. If you think that there isn’t going to be growth after a tax cut and the taxes have been reduced, it is not a surprise that federal revenue decreases and deficits increase. The Wall Street Journal pointed this out in a recent article and predicts that if GDP growth increases to 3% a year with this tax cut, the Treasury would see an additional $2.5 trillion. 

Efforts to Attribute Distributional Effects to the Framework Are Premature

As the framework notes, specific details, such as the income threshold for the consolidated tax brackets, will be developed by the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees. Given this, any detailed modeling including distributional tables is premature and based on assumptions on details that have yet to be decided.

Despite this, the report by the Tax Policy Center conducted a detailed analysis of the changes to the framework, based on their own assumptions they claim that there would be little to no benefit for many Americans.

These conclusions are very different from those reached by the Tax Foundation. Tax Foundation Senior Analyst Scott Greenberg explained in an article, ”What Would the “Big Six” Framework Mean for Lower-Middle Income Households?” how the plan would affect lower-middle income households. 

Greenberg says that the GOP individual tax proposal would reduce federal revenue by $209 billion on a static basis. The plan would benefit taxpayers in the 20% to 80% income group most, while the highest earners would pay more in taxes due to the elimination of most itemized deductions. The bottom 20% would gain from the increased standard deduction and child tax credit.

Similarly, Ryan Ellis, Senior Tax Advisor for the Family Business Coalition, found that the TPC was understating the benefits of the tax reform framework. In a recent Forbes column, he describes three typical scenarios. All three median scenarios will allow the individuals or families to invest in the economy, instead of “investing” in poorly performing government programs that were created to help politicians stay in power.

His first scenario is a family of four. The family has two children under the age of 14. The family earns the median income for a married couple, $87,000, according to the Census bureau. While the larger standard deduction reduces the family’s taxable income substantially, the lack of a personal exemption makes the family’s taxable income larger after the deductions have been taken. However, once the child tax credit is accounted for, the family receives a tax cut of $1223. This is a substantial decrease for a family that owes $4560 under the new tax plan.

The second scenario is a single mother with two small children. She earns the median income of a female head of household, $41,000. Once again, her taxable income after only the larger standard deduction has been applied is larger than her taxable income after the current standard deduction and the personal exemption have been applied. This changes again when the larger child tax credit is used. Her tax cut is $498. Under the new plan, she not only doesn’t have to pay $258 in taxes, she is given $240 by the federal government.

The final example is that of a single person who earns $36,000. She also benefits from the framework. However, once the larger standard deduction has been used, her taxable income decreases even without the personal exemption. Her taxes decrease from $3,374 to $2,880, and she receives a tax cut of $494.

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The Promised Land of Trump's Tax Plan?

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Posted by Grover Norquist on Friday, October 6th, 2017, 9:26 AM PERMALINK

This article originally appeared on OZY

The White House and congressional Republicans unveiled their unified framework for tax reform they expect to pass before the end of 2017. So will tax reform meet the same fate as Obamacare repeal — failing because three Republican senators break rank? Is this just a replay of Reagan’s supply-side 25 percent across-the-board reduction in marginal tax rates? Or is it closer to the bipartisan 1986 Tax Reform Act that was revenue neutral — not a net tax cut — and simplified the code by culling deductions and credits and reducing individual tax rates?

THE RATES

The outline presented last week by the White House does call for lower marginal tax rates for all Americans who pay taxes. The seven rates — from 10 to 39.6 percent — will be reduced to four: zero, 12, 25 and 35 percent. The standard deduction will double from $6,000 to $12,000 for an individual and from $12,000 to $24,000 for married couples. Your first $24,000 is taxed at the zero rate, and the larger standard deduction means that a whopping 95 percent of Americans will not have to itemize, compared to the third who itemize today.

THE OPPOSITION

Forty-five of the 48 Democrat senators wrote a letter to the GOP — before the framework was unveiled — saying they would oppose any tax reform that actually cut taxes, that cut tax rates for all Americans or that did not receive at least eight Democrat Senate votes. That was a not-too-subtle way of saying they would oppose any Republican tax reform.

And they will. But that was expected. No one has ever assumed a single Democrat vote. The Democrat opposition today is the same as its opposition to all tax cuts — they say they benefit the rich. So look out for “studies” saying the Trump/GOP tax cut will benefit high-income earners. Since the plan is only in outline form, much of these early assertions are based on assumptions by critics. But the fact is that this battle will be won or lost by winning (or failing to win) 50 Senate Republicans on the benefits of growth — not by asking for Democrat votes.

FOSTERING GROWTH

So how will this stack up against the 2.2 percent average of the Obama recovery, the 3 percent average growth after World War II or the 4.8 percent rate following the Reagan tax cut? The plan claims to boost growth with three new approaches. First, the corporate rate will drop from 35 to 20 percent. At 35 percent, we have the highest business tax rate of all our significant competitors — China’s 25 percent, Russia’s 20 percent and Canada’s 15 percent. Because the corporate capital gains tax rate is the same as the regular corporate rate, reducing the corporate rate from 35 to 20 percent also slashes the capital gains tax rate and is expected to encourage companies to sell trillions of dollars of long-held land and other appreciated assets.

The corporate tax will also shift from a worldwide tax system — we now tax all earnings by American firms both here in the United States and abroad — to one used by most other countries: a territorial system, where each country only taxes economic activity inside its borders. Moving to a territorial system will start with allowing much of the $2.5 trillion to $3.5 trillion in American earnings to return to the United States, paying a one-time hit of perhaps 8 percent on cash, but with all future repatriation being tax-free. Today’s high 35 percent rate and worldwide taxation makes any American multinational firm more valuable if purchased by a foreign company. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of U.S. firms have moved to or been bought by foreign businesses because of this self-inflicted wound. This change is expected to attract capital from around the globe and end inversions (relocating a firm’s headquarters to a country with lower taxes) and tax-driven purchases of U.S. firms.

The second growth factor? The move from long depreciation schedules for business investment to immediate and full business expensing. Today if you buy a plant and equipment and you expense the cost that year — not depreciating it over 10 or 20 years — it reduces the cost of new investment. Expensing is scheduled as a temporary five-year measure, but everyone understands that expensing would, like the research and development tax credit, be extended and eventually made permanent.

This tax reform is focused on growth through reducing business taxes, rather than the Reagan 1981 focus on reducing high — 70 percent — tax rates on individual income and the 2003 Bush tax cuts that slashed capital gains and dividend taxes paid at the individual level. Trump and the Republicans have added a new twist, focusing on the 30 million Americans who own “pass through” businesses, where they pay individual tax rates on their business earnings. (These are sole proprietorships, partnerships and subchapter S corporations.) The top rate for pass throughs is higher today than the top rate for corporations. These, usually smaller firms, employ half of the U.S. private sector workforce and earn half of American business income; corporations employ and earn the other half. But past tax cuts have ignored this rather large number of businesses. This time the top rate for pass throughs will drop to 25 from 39.6 percent, the same percentage reduction corporations got when their top rate fell from 35 to 20 percent.

WILL IT PASS IN 2017?

Republicans do know how to do one thing: cut taxes. There is a consensus in the GOP on all the major parts of the tax cut — ending the death tax and the Alternative Minimum Tax, reducing rates on all business income, and simplifying and reducing personal taxes. And the business community from Silicon Valley to the Rust Belt manufacturers are strongly in support of lower rates and expensing. One suspects that 30 million small business men and women and their spouses are a heretofore untapped reservoir of support for tax reduction/reform.

The GOP failed to deliver on the repeal of Obamacare. So they will face voters in 2018, not with the double-barreled “we ended Obamacare and cut taxes” slogan but with one visible, measurable accomplishment: tax reform. The incentives are strong to make it big, pro-growth and to have it fully in effect by Jan. 1, 2018, nine months before Election Day on Nov. 6, 2018.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Energy

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Speaker Paul Ryan Explains How Tax Reform Makes Your Taxes Simpler Next Year


Posted by Satyajeet Marar on Thursday, October 5th, 2017, 5:35 PM PERMALINK

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan recently sat down for a Facebook Live chat with ATR President Grover Norquist to discuss plans to radically reform America’s cumbersome and uncompetitive tax system - making it simpler and fairer for American families, workers, and businesses.

Speaking to Grover, Ryan flagged a number of reforms including the doubling of the standard deduction and consolidating the current 7 tax brackets into just 3 – 12, 25 and 35 percent. The change will bring income earners into lower brackets, allowing workers in all brackets to take home more of their own money. Many of those on low incomes will fall into the 0% bracket and won’t need to pay income tax at all. With so many lower and middle income Americans shouldering an ever-growing tax burden, the changes offer respite to those who need it the most.

But the reforms also radically simplify the system. 9 out of 10 US taxpayers currently need to enlist accountants to complete their taxes. Removing complex itemized deductions in favor of a simple doubled standard deduction allows taxpayers to replace complicated, multiple-page forms with a simple postcard-sized return. These returns can be filled out in minutes rather than days, with no professional help. 

Grover also asked Speaker Ryan about his commitment to ATR’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge – a written commitment to taxpayers to oppose and vote against all income tax increases. Over 1,400 officials nationwide have taken the pledge. Ryan, a signatory since 1998, noted that the reforms are consistent with his commitment by ensuring that no individuals or businesses are worse off as all deductions and credits eliminated are met or exceeded by a matching tax cut.

Speaker Ryan and the current administration should be commended for making badly needed tax reform a priority. These timely changes will attract investment, create jobs, foster competition and grow the paychecks of working people nationwide.  

A brief summary of the uniform tax reform framework can be viewed here.

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Republicans Have Come Up With a Tax Plan That Will Work

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Posted by Grover Norquist on Thursday, October 5th, 2017, 5:13 PM PERMALINK


This article originally appeared in the Orange County Register

We have arrived at the tipping point.

The Republican Congress and the White House have announced the framework for reducing and simplifying the federal tax code.

The battle to enact tax reform over the next three months will decide two questions.

One, can America return to her historic annual growth rate of 3 percent plus and leave behind the anemic 2 percent growth rate of the Obama “recovery”? Or not?

The Washington-based pundits have begun proclaiming that 2 percent growth is the “new normal.” China can grow at 7 or 8 percent, but Americans, we are told, must get used to 2 percent growth, the European growth rate befitting a sclerotic welfare state past its prime.

These predictions/assertions would be more depressing if one failed to remember that this is exactly what the very same “experts” announced in the late 1970s when Jimmy Carter’s policies also led to “malaise” and negative growth rates. There were “limits to growth” said all the beautiful people on network television. We should stop trying to grow faster. Limit our hopes for the future and for our children.

And then Reagan cut taxes and growth rates shot up to 4 percent a year and we created 4 million new jobs in 1983 — the first year of the Reagan tax cuts.

The second question we are about to answer is: “Can the thin Republican majorities in the House and Senate combine with the White House to govern against a Democrat Party determined to filibuster and delay any and all Republican successes so they can denounce the Republicans as incapable of governing?”

The good news for the country is that the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.”

The tax plan will pass by mid-December and it is powerful enough to kick-start the present economy that has been damaged and weakened by eight years of tax hikes, “stimulus” spending, the doubling of the national debt, swelling unfunded liabilities and new and expensive regulations.

The tax reform plan outlined by the Big Six — House and Senate leaders and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House economic advisor Gary Cohn — has three major drivers of economic growth.

First, it reduces the business tax, the corporate income tax rate of 35 percent down to 20 percent. Our present corporate income tax rate of 35 percent is higher than any other major nation. China has a 25 percent tax rate. How did we expect to create jobs and opportunities here at home weighed down by taxes higher than a communist country? Russia’s top corporate rate is 20 percent. Canada’s is 15 percent (federal rate). The European average is just above 20 percent. This rate cut makes America competitive in the world once again.

President Trump does remind us that he wanted — and still wants — a top rate of 15 percent. While I hope he is successful in driving the rate down to 15 percent during his presidency, 20 percent is a very, very good start.

Tax rates on business income paid by the 30 million smaller “pass through” businesses that pay taxes through the personal income tax code — sole proprietorships, partnerships, Subchapter S corporations — will see their top rate fall from 40 percent to 25 percent.

Half of business income is earned by larger corporations, and half is earned by “pass through” businesses. Half of Americans work for a major corporation and half for smaller “pass-throughs.”

Finally these smaller firms will see their taxes reduced.

The second big bang for job creation will be moving from long depreciation schedules for new business investment in plant and equipment to full and immediate business expensing. Buy a million dollars of new equipment to make your employees more productive and you expense that million — it does not count as taxable income because you just spent it. This greatly reduces the cost of new investment.

The Republican plan introduces full expensing for five years. Then it goes away like Cinderella’s stagecoach. But I will bet you dollars to donuts that the powerful pro-investment, pro-growth effects of full and immediate expensing will convince Congress to extend the expensing provision just as Congress repeatedly extended the Research and Development Tax Credit. Eventually expensing, like the R&D tax credit, will be made permanent.

Third, tax reform will allow businesses that have earned and parked more than $2.5 trillion overseas to bring those dollars back without the stiff tax penalty demanded by present law. In the future all American earnings abroad would be taxed once by the overseas nation and then they could repatriate their earnings without penalty. One or two trillion dollars would return to the United States next year bringing reductions in debt, new investments, jobs and growth. A real stimulus program, not one run by politicians, but by men and women who earned that money in the first place.

Increasing the cash flow of every major company in America, repatriating trillions in overseas earnings back to the U.S. and lifting the tax burden on 30 million smaller businesses is a recipe for growth, new jobs and wealth creation.

But wait. There is more.

On the individual side the personal income tax standard deduction will increase from $6,000 to $12,000 and for married couples increase from $12,000 to $24,000. The first $24,000 of income for a married couple is free of federal income tax. The tax rate is zero.

The plan collapses the present seven rates that go as high as 39.6 percent down to four rates: Zero, 12 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent. The present 10 percent rate moves to zero.

The death tax is finally put to rest. Those foolish enough to die will no longer be taxed.

The Alternative Minimum Tax — invented by Ted Kennedy and Richard Nixon in 1969 — was supposed to hit 115 millionaires who paid little in taxes and now catches millions in its web. This tax is eliminated.

So who benefits most from the tax cut?

Answer: Those Americans who could not find a job during the Obama years. The unemployed and underemployed. The biggest winners will be the millions of Americans who enter the work force for the first time in their lives or re-enter after giving up during the lean years.

But can the Republicans pass tax reform? It will be a large bill with many moving parts. They came one vote short in the Senate of repealing much of Obamacare. Might that happen again?

The good news is that cutting taxes is a consensus issue in the modern Republican Party. Ronald Reagan did that. It took time. The Taxpayer Protection Pledge shared with all candidates by Americans for Tax Reform has been signed by more than 90 percent of congressional Republicans. Republicans will not raise your taxes (though they may invade small countries they cannot pronounce) and they will cut taxes when possible.

The House will hold hearings and put the outline into legislative language by the end of October. The Senate will go to work and put together its version by Thanksgiving. And then the two versions go to conference and a final bill will be signed by President Trump before Christmas.

The politics of this three-month battle to cut taxes will define the 2018 elections. Democrats will now spend three months attacking the very idea of reducing taxes on 30 million small businessmen and women. They vote. They have spouses and families. Every week will bring an announcement by the Fortune 500 companies about how much money they are bringing back to the United States and how they will invest it. All Americans who pay taxes will see their take-home pay increase, their rates reduced and their standard deduction doubled. And then the increasing employment numbers will be released every first Friday of the month from January 2018 through the November election. We can see the future from here and it looks good.

Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform. Twitter: @GroverNorquist

Photo Credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

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Colorado Senators Show Courage, Keep Promises by Rejecting SB 267 in Committee

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Posted by Americans for Tax Reform on Thursday, October 5th, 2017, 9:07 AM PERMALINK

Colorado state lawmakers convened for a special session this week to address what has been referred to by Gov. John Hickenlooper as “technical errors” in Senate Bill 267, legislation that significantly weakened Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR).

Passed in 1992, TABOR subjects tax increases to a vote of the people and caps spending increases at the rate of inflation plus population growth. If the state collects revenue in excess of the TABOR cap, it must be refunded to taxpayers, unless Colorado residents vote to allocate the revenue elsewhere. SB 267, passed during the regular session, significantly weakened TABOR by removing hospital tax revenue from the TABOR cap, making it more difficult to hit the cap and trigger taxpayer refunds—and did so without a vote of the people. Thanks to passage of SB 267, which a few treasonous Republican legislators joined with the Democrats to enact, Colorado will be allowed to tax and spend more than would’ve otherwise been the case.

The Independence Institute, a Denver-based free-market think tank, explained in this column for the Denver Post why Republicans who joined with Democrats to pass SB 267 massively betrayed their constituents and all Colorado taxpayers:

“The ‘grand compromise’ of SB 267, something worse than Ref C and Ref D (2005 ballot measures that temporarily suspended TABOR, resulting in Coloradans having to pay an additional $16 billion in higher taxes) and without a public vote, is the largest ‘grand betrayal’ from Republicans I have ever witnessed in my more than 25 years in Colorado politics. And that says a lot,” Caldara wrote. “The SB 267 scheme was hatched to go around us voters with the false narrative of ‘rural hospitals.’ Because it’s just impossible to find money for hospital in a state budget that has more than doubled in a decade.”

The so-called “technical errors” were caused because SB 267 changed the way in which it taxes recreational marijuana. Prior to its passage, marijuana sales were subject to a 2.9% local sales tax, identical to other consumer goods. Additionally, marijuana was assessed a special 10% state tax—resulting in combined rate of 12.9%. SB 267 eliminated the 2.9% local sales tax, and increased the overall taxation of marijuana to 15%.

By doing so, however, Gov. Hickenlooper and legislators inadvertently stopped certain special taxing districts from reaping marijuana sales tax revenue, which localities did not expect. The result? Organizations such as the Denver zoo, the Museum of Nature & Science, and other nonprofits have unexpectedly lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and they have demanded that lawmakers return their funding. Their outcry is what led to this week’s special session.

Early on Monday of this week, first day of the special session, Republicans, who control the state senate with a one vote majority, rejected legislation to reinstate the sales tax, AKA “the fix,” by 3-2 margin. The following day, another bill to reinstate the sales tax, without a vote of the people and in violation of TABOR, was passed out of the Democrat-controlled House, only to subsequently be rejected by Republicans in the Senate Transportation Committee once again.

House Majority Leader K.C. Becker, a Boulder Democrat who sponsored the tax hike that died yesterday expressed disappointment following his failure to raise taxes in violation of the state constitution.

"I don’t think when people passed TABOR, they meant to tie the hands of legislators,” Rep. Becker said. Actually, Rep. Becker, that is exactly what TABOR is meant to do and is why Colorado voters approved it and continue to support it.

Although many Coloradoans were rightfully outraged when a few Senate Republicans went against their word and joined with Democrats to pass SB 276 during the regular session, the resolve shown by Republican legislators this week to fight for hardworking taxpayers is commendable. Hopefully, this renewed resolve to defend Colorado taxpayers will continue into the 2018 session.

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ATR Supports EPA Administrator Pruitt's Work to Rein In RFS

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, 12:18 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist this week commended EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's work to reign in the harmful impacts of fuel mandates put in place under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). 

"EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's work to address problems inherent with the Renewable Fuel Standard mandates will benefit American energy consumers and should be commended by conservatives and lawmakers.

"This year Administrator Pruitt has taken the first steps to begin reducing statutory requirements for the 2018 biomass based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes under the RFS. Administrator Pruitt is also working to put in place reductions in the 2019 volume requirements.

"Under the former Obama-EPA the RFS program represented protectionist policy at its worst, negatively impacting everything from the cost and efficiency of fuel, to food prices and even the environment.

"The EPA's approach to the RFS and it's volume requirements under Administrator Pruitt is a positive step forward for U.S. energy, consumers and the environment."

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KEY VOTE: ATR Urges Passage of House FY 18’ Budget Resolution


Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017, 8:00 AM PERMALINK

The first step toward achieving tax reform in 2017 is passage of the budget resolution

ATR urges a YES vote on H.Con.Res. 71 as a pro-taxpayer vote

“The Republican tax reform plan will turbo-charge the economy, create millions of new jobs and make America the best place in the world to invest, build and create” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. "The first step toward passing this tax reform plan is for congress to pass a budget resolution that unlocks reform."

It is imperative that the Trump tax reform plan is signed into law in 2017. The first step toward achieving this goal must be passage is a budget resolution.

Without a budget resolution, Congress is unable to move forward with tax reform as almost every Senate Democrats has already ruled out supporting Trump’s tax reform plan. The only path forward is through budget reconciliation which avoids a Senate filibuster before moving to a regular order process that involves Committees of jurisdiction drafting legislative text.

Support for this budget resolution should be viewed as support for the Trump tax reform plan.Opposition to the budget resolution equals opposition to tax reform.

All Members of Congress should vote “Yes” on H.Con.Res. 71.

The Trump Tax Reform Framework proposes tax cuts and simplification for individuals and businesses:

-Folds the existing seven tax brackets into three (12%, 25%, 35%).

-Doubles the standard deduction (The first $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for families will not be taxed).

-Expands the child tax credit so that families have been take home pay.

-Simplifies the code by repealing unnecessary deductions and credits but preserves home mortgage and charitable deductions.

-Repeals the death tax and AMT.

-Reduces taxes on all business by 42 percent – The corporate tax rate is reduced to 20 percent, and the tax rate on pass-through entities is reduced to 25 percent.

-Enacts 100 percent, full business expensing for at least five years to stimulate new investment in the economy.

-Replaces the outdated worldwide system of taxation with a system of territoriality so that American businesses operating overseas can compete.

-Allows trillions of dollars’ worth of after-tax income to come back to the U.S. to be reinvested in the economy after a one-time repatriation rate.

 

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Free Market Solutions to Music Licensing Problems

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Posted by Bret Baker on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, 4:50 PM PERMALINK

Americans for Tax Reform released a letter to Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) encouraging a private sector solution to the complicated and confusing issue of paying artists for using their musical works. Congressman Sensenbrenner’s proposed Transparency in Music Licensing and Ownership Act is a well-intentioned attempt to address the current challenges to paying musical artists. However, the legislation in its current form gives oversight of a database of music licenses to the Library of Congress, which has repeatedly shown that it is incapable of managing such a large and frequently updated system. Given their digital track record, it would be unwise to give them oversight of a database of music copyrights and their transfers.

Decreasing liability concerns and encouraging collaboration between artists and outside groups are desirable outcomes of an improved music license system. An easily accessible database of various music copyrights would both foster creativity and lower the cost of doing business for local business owners and artists. Supporting a private solution that has market incentives to cater both to the needs of artists and paying businesses would be the best way for this project to work in the long term, and not return the industry to its current state of confusion after a few years of inadequate management by the Library of Congress.

It is clear that there is disconnect in the current music licensing market, but rather than proposing public agencies fix this incongruity, encouraging a private solution that has incentive to meet the needs of both artists and local business owners is best for the music industry, local businesses, and taxpayers going forward.

Photo Credit: BipHoo Company

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"Stop Obamacare Taxes" Bus Triggers Colorado Campus

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Posted by Paul Blair on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, 4:41 PM PERMALINK

On Saturday, September 29th, Americans for Tax Reform kicked off its “Stop Obamacare Taxes Tour” in Las Vegas, with an event at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as part of campaign aimed at generating awareness about scheduled future tax hikes including in Obamacare, set to go into effect on January 1. 

In preparation for our second event in Denver, Colorado at WWE Smackdown at the Denver Pepsi Center, staff members arranged accommodations at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Denver Downtown, just minutes from the venue. Upon checking into our hotel on Monday afternoon, we were told to park our StopObamacareTaxes RV in the alley parking lot behind the hotel, which runs parallel to 11th Street between Walnut and Auraria, where we were told the cost to park was $29/ day. 

The RV is wrapped with a graphic which says “Stop ObamaCare Taxes Tour” with a website and information on taxes currently in effect and coming into effect, such as the Obamacare Health Insurance Tax, which hits on January 1 of 2018. 

At 11:30AM today, October 3rd, we were notified by the SpringHill Suites Manager via a warning at the front desk and call to my cell phone that the RV had to be moved because the “college campus does not allow vehicles (including RVs) with ‘political messages’ on them on campus.”

Next to the hotel is the Auraria Higher Education Center, which hosts a Denver campus for the University of Colorado, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and the Community College of Denver. 

In claiming that the college does not permit political messages on campus, the hotel manager revealed that she was either personally triggered (as we were paying the hotel $29/night to park where they advised us to) OR that the college campuses, publicly funded by taxpayers, oppose political and free speech.

In response to my bringing awareness to this issue, Marriott informed us that this “is not a Marriott policy” and apologized for the “miscommunication.” There was no miscommunication; we were kicked off the property because college students or a SpringHill Suites manager were triggered. 

The RV is currently parked at the Pepsi Center in Denver, in preparation for our second Stop Obamacare Taxes Tour event at WWE Smackdown, where we will ask attendees to send emails to their Congressmen urging a repeal of Obamacare taxes, including the forthcoming health insurance tax. And try as they may to hide from our message, as our t-shirts explain, there is no hiding from Obamacare taxes. 

Photo Credit: Paul Blair

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