Posts Tagged ‘ATR’
The Arizona Legislature and Governor Brewer are trying to solve the budget crisis. It would have been “easy” if the legislature had just done what the Governor wanted – raise sales taxes. But a funny thing happened on the way to a budget deal. 38 legislators had signed the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform, a pledge that has been around for more than two decades and signed by literally thousands of state and federal candidates and office holders in that time span.
You see, ATR’s chief Grover Norquist deemed a referral of a sales tax as breaking the pledge. So legislators were very reticent to refer the tax without figuring out a way to do it within the confines of the pledge. They eventually found a way to do it and get ATR’s blessing – by coupling it with tax relief on family and business income.
This is why “special interests” have a role in public policy. ATR’s pledge means something, because if you break it, there could be consequences. And if you don’t take it, you may never be elected. And in this case, the “special interest” was taxpayers. So as a taxpayer, I want to thank ATR for getting us a better budget deal.
Figures this would happen. I came up with what I thought was a clever solution to Arizona’s budget crisis only to learn that it’s an idea that is already in place in eight other states! Who knew? This is from ATR’s Patrick Gleason’s blog:
Last week Sean Noble, author of the blog Noble Thinking, offered a solution for those that insist taxes must be raised in Arizona. Noble suggests “The Arizona Department of Revenue should expand the option of voluntarily paying more taxes by adding a form – let’s call it Form SITIC – for “stuff I think is critical.” Then, all these people who want to pay more taxes can check the box for what their additional contribution will fund.”
ATR supports Noble’s idea and notes that it is not without precedent. The solution Noble offers is a Tax Me More Fund. Arizona lawmakers can simply create a Tax Me More Fund so that people who feel they are under-taxed, like Gov. Brewer, Chuck Coughlin, and Randy Pullen, have a place to send their money. As it stands, 8 states already have a Tax Me More Fund in place.
The concept has it’s origins in the cradle of the liberty movement in America. According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability, Massachusetts led the way in developing a Tax Me More Fund proposal at the turn of the century. After Bay State voters passed a 2000 referendum to lower income taxes, the Voluntary Optional Tax Endowment (VOTE) was introduced as a way for opponents of the tax cut to voluntarily pay at the old rate. In 2001, the MA legislature added a checkbox on its state tax forms in 2001 that allows the taxpayer to decide which tax rate to pay.
ATR agrees that those who claim taxes in AZ aren’t high enough should be given the ability to put their money where there mouth is. ATR urges AZ lawmakers to introduce and pass a bill to create a Tax Me More Fund in the Grand Canyon State. The bill might be most appropiately titled “The Brewer-Coughlin Arizona Patriot Act.”
For a list of states that have enacted Tax Me More Funds, Click Here.
I find it pretty ironic that the first state to enact a Tax Me More fund was Massachusetts.
It didn’t take long for Americans for Tax Reform to react to the California budget deal, made possible by State Senator Abel Maldonado, who had previously signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Here is an excerpt from ATR’s press release:
Early today the California Senate passed a budget agreement that will raise taxes by $70 billion. Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) provided the deciding vote. The California Assembly approved the deal shortly thereafter.
In approving this massive tax increase Sen. Maldonado has violated a written promise he made to Californians that he would “oppose any and all efforts to raise taxes.” Other Golden State lawmakers who broke this same commitment today include Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Clovis) and Assemblyman Anthony Adams (R-Hesperia).
“It is a truly sad day for California taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “It is never good when a politician breaks a promise to constituents, but it is unconscionable when a broken promise results in a $70 billion tax hike in the middle of a recession .”