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The Late Edition: April 2, 2013
Posted By:  - 04/02/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Pete Sepp discusses the proposed budgets of Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, and how each stacks up when shooting for budget balance in this article.

Cigarettes for $10.50 a pack?  NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed hiking the price of a pack of cigs to the highest in the nation, according to the Boston Herald

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The Late Edition: March 28, 2013
Posted By:  - 03/28/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Lee Schalk explores Oklahoma’s new tax reform plans.

NTU’s Michael Tasselmyer on medical device excise taxes.

The opposition to the Marketplace Fairness Act, including NTU, is still fighting the tax increase according to My Fox NY

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What “Conservative Split” on the Marketplace Fairness Act?!
Posted By: Douglas Kellogg - 03/22/13

There has been some confusion, with a hand from the pro-unconstitutional Internet sales tax folks, over a so-called “split” amongst conservatives on the “Marketplace Fairness Act” (MFA). The reality is however, that there are precious few (if any) legitimately fiscally conservative groups, or groups with serious tax policy chops, that favor MFA.

Let’s take a look at the rundown

Fiscally conservative groups opposed to MFA (a.k.a. unconstitutional Internet sales tax scheme):

American Commitment

Americans for Prosperity

Americans for Tax Reform

Campaign for Liberty

Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Center for Individual Freedom

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Digital Liberty


Heartland Institute

Heritage Action

Institute for Policy Innovation

Less Government

National Taxpayers Union


R Street

Rio Grande Foundation (New Mexico)

Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Credit is also deserved by Red State’s Erick Erickson who has courageously called out the interests behind this tax disaster.

After that list, what conservatives are even left to be enthusiastic about this bill?

Groups like American Conservative Union, sure, but where are the fiscally conservative tax wizards?:

American Majority

Americans for Job Security

Association for Christian Retail

Hudson Institute


The lists speak for themselves. Don’t fall for this talking point as the fight to protect the Internet, small businesses, the Constitution, and your pocketbook continues.

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The Late Edition: February 25, 2013
Posted By:  - 02/25/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU’s Pete Sepp explains why Congress should honor the spending cuts in the upcoming sequester, but should carefully choose which areas can best sustain the cuts instead of enacting across-the-board reductions. Read more from Stars and Stripes.

On Saturday, Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell put his stamp of approval on the largest tax hike in the state’s history, estimated to cost taxpayers $1.13 billion per year. Read more from Breitbart.

The recent payroll tax hike, combined with rising gas prices and persistently high unemployment, has hit lower-income Americans the hardest according to this article by WND Money.

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Virginia Gov. McDonnell’s Tax Hike Plan Reaches ‘Taxpayer Nightmare’ Status
Posted By: Lee Schalk - 02/20/13

Thanks to leaders in the Virginia House and Senate, Governor McDonnell’s transportation funding scheme has gone from bad to worse. Just weeks ago, I detailed why McDonnell’s billion dollar tax hike was a bad idea. Here’s how it just got worse.

Instead of scrapping the gas tax, the plan now includes a 3.5 percent wholesale gas tax and a 6 percent wholesale tax on diesel fuel. Additional car taxes abound – a $100 annual “fee” for Virginians with cars that run on alternative fuels and a motor vehicle sales tax hike from 3 to 4 percent. All retails sales will be taxed at a higher rate of 5.3 percent (the current rate is 5 percent).

In order for McDonnell and his cronies to make this multi-billion dollar tax hike a reality, they are relying on Congressional passage of dangerous online sales tax legislation to reach even deeper into taxpayers’ wallets. Passage of the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act would make Virginia part of a predatory tax collection scheme that will ultimately hurt small Internet-based businesses and, undermine the principles of tax competition that have benefitted the Commonwealth.

But what if this federal legislation fails to become law? Well, then taxes are going up…again. The latest proposal states that if the Marketplace Fairness Act fails, the wholesale gas tax will jump from 3.5 to 5.1 percent.

Governor McDonnell’s plan thankfully avoids an income tax boost, but given the bevy of tax increases it includes, this plan must be adamantly opposed by Virginia taxpayers. As leaders in states like Louisiana and North Carolina seek pro-growth, revenue-neutral tax reform, it is especially disconcerting to see Richmond pushing a 5-year, $6.1 billion tax increase.

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Money Walks, and Here's Proof
Posted By: Brandon Arnold - 02/19/13

Just a few weeks ago, Phil Mickelson made headlines when he said he might pack up his golf clubs and move out of California.  The reason for his possible move? In November, California voters approved a ballot measure that pushed its already high top income tax rate from 10.3 percent to 13.3 percent – now the highest in the nation.  This means that Mickelson might be one of many high-earners leaving the Golden State.

To better understand California’s problem, look at nearby states like Nevada and Washington where there is no state income tax. And to Arizona, where the top rate is a relatively low 4.54 percent.  These states have far better business tax climates than California, too.  The Tax Foundation says California’s climate is the third-worst in the nation. By contrast, Nevada’s is the third-best and Washington’s is the sixth-best.

What are the effects of this huge tax disparity between California and other states in the region?  Thanks to research by Travis Brown and his book, How Money Walks, we’re finding out.  Travis has tracked the flow of wealth and population over the past 15 years to find where people – and their bank accounts – are moving.

His research suggests to us that California’s high tax rates have had a significant impact on wealth migration and that Mickelson’s potential move would be part of an ongoing trend.  From 1995 to 2010, the Golden State has experienced a net wealth loss of $37.8 billion.  The bulk of that money is moving to states with low or no income taxes, like the aforementioned Nevada ($8.2 billion), Arizona ($6.3 billion) and Washington ($3.9 billion).  Even no-income tax states that are much farther away like Texas ($4.8 billion) and Florida ($2 billion) are drawing considerable wealth away from California.

Speaking of Florida, a state with no income tax and the fifth-best business tax climate, it has been a major beneficiary of poor tax policies in other states. Over the same 15 year period that witnessed an exodus of wealth and population from California, Florida gained $86.4 billion in wealth and more than 900,000 residents. The majority of these dollars and people are coming from high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and Illinois.

Across the country, many states are considering major tax reform measures in 2013.  Policymakers should study the research at before they enact any changes and learn about how low tax rates could help their state attract wealth.  

To learn more, please watch this brief video clip featuring NTU’s Pete Sepp and Travis Brown.

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Internet Tax Bill Would Undermine Constitution
Posted By: Brandon Arnold - 02/15/13

Did you buy something online for your Valentine yesterday? Perhaps some chocolates or flowers? Well, if some Members of Congress get their way, you could soon see the cost of these items – and everything else you purchase on the internet – increase significantly.

That’s because a group of bipartisan politicians just introduced the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act, which would enable state tax collectors to reach into the wallets of out-of-state consumers who make purchases on the Internet. This would run counter to the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government, not the states, the ability to regulate interstate commerce. This important provision means that the United States is essentially a huge "free trade zone." It’s the reason why you don’t have to pass through customs, declare your purchases and pay levies whenever you cross state lines. In short, the Commerce Clause and the accompanying free-flow of goods, services and people are key reasons why the United States has become the richest nation in the world. The MFA chips away at the very foundation of the Commerce Clause by granting state tax collectors with unprecedented authority to assess taxes in other states.

Supporters of MFA have argued that this is a matter of fairness and that individuals are taking advantage of a tax "loophole" by making purchases online. As my colleague, Nan Swift points out in a recent paper, these arguments are quite simply false. The so-called "loophole" is actually a safeguard that, as she states, "helps to protect taxpayers from many types of aggressive policies that could affect income, property and other taxes."

For more on NTU’s opposition to the MFA, please click here.

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Should Success Be Punished with Higher Taxes?
Posted By: Brandon Arnold - 02/01/13

ExxonMobil released some good news today – its profits have reached a five-year high. Exxon’s competitor Chevron also experienced a large fourth quarter bump in earnings.  But before employees and shareholders start popping champagne corks, they should keep a close eye on Washington DC.

Already, politicians are seizing upon this news as an opportunity to raise taxes on “Big Oil.”  Both White House press secretary Jay Carney and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have suggested that these just-announced profit figures could create a better political opportunity to raise taxes on the industry.

They would do so by eliminating a so-called tax loophole for oil and gas companies.  Of course, this loophole isn’t really a loophole at all. It’s a broad-based manufacturing tax deduction that is utilized by virtually every company in the Dow Jones index.  The deduction should probably be eliminated altogether as part of comprehensive tax reform in which credits and deductions are scrapped and the rate lowered for all companies.  But that’s not what the White House and Reid are talking about here.  Instead, they want to single out one industry to punish it for being successful.  They would keep the manufacturing deductuion for all companies except those in the oil and gas industry.

If the oil industry wanted to curry favor with tax-hike proponents, it would probably be better off losing scads of money and rocketing towards bankruptcy.  In that case, they might become the beneficiary of a large taxpayer-funded bailout.  Instead, they could see their taxes raised dramatically as a punishment for making profitable business decisions.

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Speaking of Taxpayers, Jan. 25: This is your Tax Code on “Obamacare”, with Dan Pilla
Posted By:  - 01/27/13

Subscribe to NTU's podcast "Speaking of Taxpayers" via iTunes!


Tax compliance expert and taxpayer advocate Dan Pilla joins the podcast to discuss tax complexity and his report detailing some of the new dangers "Obamacare" will throw at taxpayers this year; plus the Outrage of the Week!
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The Late Edition: January 24, 2013
Posted By:  - 01/24/13

Today’s Taxpayer News!

Check out this Huff Po article explaining the support of a wide range of groups, including NTU, for the The Mulvaney-Frank amendment which freezes Pentagon spending at current levels.

This commentary piece from Bloomberg takes a look at various actions Congress could take to simplify the tax process for businesses.

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