Taxpayer-funded Multi-state Tax Commission lobbies for higher taxes, fights tax-free Internet

WASHINGTON – Surprisingly, American taxpayers are currently paying to support an organization that is aggressively lobbying for higher taxes, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) reports. The taxpayer-funded Multi-state Tax Commission (MTC) is right now lobbying against a permanent ban on Internet taxes.

An organization devoted to aggressive collection of taxes and stifling the tax-reducing competition between states, the MTC is funded by taxes from its 45 member states. The contributions taxpayers are forced to make to this group are determined in part by the amount that each state collects in taxes. This means that the more the MTC succeeds in getting taxes raised, the more it collects, and the more it can lobby.

"I\’m reminded of the reviled ancient Roman tax collectors," said Grover Norquist, taxpayer advocate and president of Americans for Tax Reform. "They were paid a percentage of the taxes they collected, so they became increasingly brutal to their victims-subjecting them to shakedowns at every opportunity. As one might expect, the somewhat similar MTC funding structure has resulted in a similar outlook towards taxpayers," he said.

Most Recently, ATR has been on opposite sides of the MTC on the fight over S. 150, the Internet Tax Non-Discrimination Act. The bill would permanently ban taxation of e-mail and other ways of accessing the Internet, but the MTC, the National Governors Association, and allies Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) have prevented a straight up or down vote.

As ATR has made the passage of S. 150 one of its top priorities this Congress, the MTC has made its defeat one of theirs. In making an argument that ATR has called self-serving, the MTC has gone so far as to produce numbers the National Conference of State Legislatures finds "not very believable." The Congressional Budget Office finds their numbers off by a magnitude of 100.

"This preposterous spiral of taxes has to end," said Norquist. "The MTC stuffs more taxpayer money into the states\’ coffers, so it receives more money to lobby for more taxes, and so on and so on. If state leaders care about their taxpayers or their business climates, they\’ll pull out of the MTC before we\’re all pulled down the drain."