The Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) proposed by Congress is intended to change how business income is taxed giving it features of a Value-Added-Tax (VAT), a cash-flow tax, and a consumption tax. The idea is to make the corporate income tax function as a quasi-VAT and less as an income tax on the earnings of U.S. producers. Clearly, violative of free trade principles affecting the U.S., the practice should be made the subject for U.S. trade re-negotiation, a challenge fully backed by the new Administration. This is a fair trade problem, not a problem about income taxation. The BAT “solution” makes for new problems. On several fronts, a BAT for the U.S. is likely to make matters worse. The driving force behind the BAT is the expectation that it will generate considerable tax revenue… Continue reading
Taxing all income the same opens the door to a far-reaching revolutionary reform. Under the single-rate FreedomTax, the tax will be levied, collected, and paid at the source of payment in the case of many forms of income – dividends, … Continue reading
The Death Tax is a product of the politics of envy and notions of wealth redistribution. As a killer of economic and job growth, the Death Tax deserves a speedy execution. Its confiscatory nature amounts to a government grab of … Continue reading
The history of taxing capital gains as income stems from a dubious, and at the time much criticized, Supreme Court decision that reversed prior Supreme Court decisions holding capital gains not to be income. Job changes are not “income” transactions. Nor, are changes in capital. Income is what “comes in” from having the job, just as it’s what “comes in” from having the investment of capital; e.g., dividends, interest, rents, and including business income. Indeed, capital gains are not considered to be income by economists, who exclude them from their computations of GDP. The exclusion is because capital gains are not income in the economic sense. Continue reading
An Enemy of Income Tax Reform: The “Business Transfer Tax” (a/k/a “Business Activity Tax” and “Business Flat Tax”)
The “Business-Transfer Tax” in all its forms is a proposal for a dual-tax system, to have a value-added tax built upon a rejiggered income tax. This second tax comes disguised as income-tax reform with the VAT label avoided. Sad to say this ill-conceived proposal amounts to a cover-up and remedy for the failure of U.S. trade negotiators to insist that VAT nations abide by the principles of free trade. But, two wrongs don’t make a right. As an enemy of real income-tax reform, it would make the income tax even more disjointed and difficult to unscramble into a simple, tax-neutral, low-rate income tax. Continue reading
The FreedomTax would have a design structure freeing most Americans from ever having to file a tax return again, not even a postcard. In most cases, the income tax would be collected at the source of payment. It would substantially reduce income-tax compliance burdens. It would end the present tax system’s drag on the economy and on job and wage growth. It would save the Treasury billions in tax administration costs, and the IRS would be massively downsized into a little-noticed ministerial tax-collection agency. Continue reading
The recently passed federal highway bill, Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or the FAST Act, creates a new section of the U.S. tax code, 7345, entitled, “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.” No matter how you look at the two IRS power grabs, it spells trouble for the taxpayer. Whether you’ll become a prisoner in your own country by being denied a passport, or harassed by unethical and ruthless IRS sanctioned private debt collectors to settle an alleged tax debt, the Republican leadership in Congress delivered this anti-liberty, big government reality to your doorstep after voters gave them the keys to the Capitol to do just the opposite. Continue reading
The Fair Tax does not really abolish the IRS. BUT, the FreedomTax would achieve this goal for nearly everyone. As a simple, tax-efficient income tax providing for the at-source taxation of most income, the FreedomTax would end the universal personal-return filing requirement. This reform will result in most people never again having to file a personal tax return to pay their personal tax to the IRS. The FreedomTax will result in a dramatic down-sizing of the IRS, effectively abolishing it from our lives. Continue reading
The IRS now requires nearly 95,000 employees and an annual operating budget of almost $13 billion to administer a taxation system having a design based upon over 77,000 pages and 5 million words of incomprehensible tax law. The FreedomTax would have a simple and less-burdensome tax design, estimated to reduce the size of the present Tax Code by 95%. Continue reading
Both federal and state lawmakers are discovering tolls are just as unpopular as a gas tax hike and that they’re far more expensive for taxpayers than a gas tax funded highway system. The U.S. Senate tried to expand interstate tolling in its draft of the federal highway bill only to have it slapped down by a coalition of anti-toll groups, with Alliance for Toll-free Interstates leading the charge. The U.S. House is contemplating the same expansion and is running afoul of the same angry taxpayers. Continue reading
A new agency would be created to administer and oversee the Fair Tax, the Sales Tax Bureau (“STB”). It would be vested with audit and collection powers similar to those of the IRS, as would the state sales-tax authorities working with the STB to run the system. The Fair Tax bills introduced in Congress contain provisions to establish a toll-free telephone violation-reporting system and create a rewards program for private parties who assist the STB authorities in discovering or prosecuting Fair Tax evaders. Continue reading
Proponents of the FairTax zealously claim it will abolish the IRS, creating a simpler system that is easier to comply with and less intrusive. But abolishing the IRS the FairTax way creates a whole new big bad monster – the Sales Tax Bureau (STB)! The headaches of the “income tax return” are merely being replaced with the headaches of the “family consumption allowance” application. Continue reading
Even though the Plan proposes many significant changes to the income tax, these changes are not such to make the Plan a serious income-tax reform proposal. The Plan’s retention and addition of new tax breaks would leave the tax base too narrow to permit a simple, efficient, and low-rate income tax. The Plan even seems oblivious to the corrosive effect which embedded tax breaks have upon the integrity of an income tax system. Like graffiti, they beacon the addition of more tax breaks, fueled by high tax rates giving them value. Continue reading
Tolling existing free lanes should be off the table in the Lone Star State that claims to be the beacon of freedom and boasts of a low tax burden. Tolling the main lanes of a highway and downgrading the free option to frontage roads is highway robbery and a means to force drivers to pay tolls to get anywhere. Texas taxpayers are adamant that this abuse come to an end. Continue reading
Cruz is wise to champion a flat tax early on in the presidential race for the White House, it may be enough to tip some undecided Republicans over to him, especially non-social conservatives who have not yet warmed up to him. He has a long history of advocating for a flat tax. And if he does become president, Cruz is the aggressive, gutsy type of leader who will make it happen. Continue reading
Anti-toll advocates seem to have the momentum as both Governor Greg Abbott and the Lt. Governor Dan Patrick campaigned on many of these reforms. But taking nothing for granted, the ‘Toll-free Texas’ grassroots coalition sacrificed their time and dime to come to the Capitol anyway, realizing toll entities, local governments, and transportation boards want the status quo and will lobby hard to water-down and defeat needed reforms.
On Monday, March 23rd, I had the pleasure of taking part in another Liberty University (LU) convocation. During this event, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz announced his candidacy for president of the United States.
Texas voters recognize the shell game and now consider tolls a tax, which has become the most expensive way to fund roads, and they’re holding their elected officials accountable for the runaway taxation placed in the hands of these unelected commissions and toll authorities.
I worked for several years in my first wife’s family business started by her father. It was an enterprise that spanned generations, as all his children were involved in running the operation. The left’s idea of inheritance is that there is no connection between…
The euphoria lawmakers felt last year after placing a Constitutional amendment on the ballot for Texas voters to decide if they wanted to raid half of the state’s oil and gas severance tax on new oil wells and divert those revenues to the State Highway Fund, without ending existing diversions of the gasoline tax…
Something smells fishy when two Democrats gleefully stand in front of a photo of Ronald Reagan to invoke a 15 cent per gallon hike in the federal gasoline tax (currently at 18.4 cents a gallon). The bill, HR 3636, was introduced last year by Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, but it apparently hasn’t gotten much traction. So he and other supporters, Sen. Tom Carper (D- Delaware) and Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wisconsin, whose term is up in January) held a press conference to bring attention to the proposal – this time using Reagan for political cover. Blumenauer filed the bill last year on the exact date – December 3, 2013 and held a press conference, this time with Reagan ‘behind’ him, pushing the tax hike again on December 3, 2014.
Texas State Rep. Kolkhorst asks for AG legal opinion on use of gas tax revenue to subsidize more toll roads – seeks clarity over Prop 15
As voters overwhelmingly embrace a move away from toll roads with the election of anti-toll Greg Abbott as the new Texas Governor there remains an open question about whether or not the voters approved the use of the state gasoline tax, and any other money available to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), for toll roads when they approved Proposition 15 back in 2001. Some state leaders believe the voters approved the use of gas taxes to build toll roads with passage of Prop 15, but the ballot language never mentions a word about gas taxes nor all funds available to TxDOT being used for toll roads – which constitute a double tax.
Abbott will get two new appointees to the Transportation Commission right out of the gate in February. Together with the current Commissioner, Victor Vandergriff, who’s been an outspoken critic of the agency’s practices and ill-conceived toll projects, Abbott will have a majority…
It is bewildering that so many on the right, particularly normally fiscally prudent libertarians, continue to advocate for toll roads. In fact, some are even criticizing conservatives who oppose them. Terri Hall, founder of the group TURF (Texans United for Reform and Freedom), found herself under fire by a libertarian magazine in August. Reason’s Robert Poole wrote an article labeling Hall and those who oppose toll roads as “right-wing populists.” He was worried that Hall has been effective ginning up opposition to toll roads, both in her home state of Texas as well as influencing a prominent article that recently ran in The Weekly Standard.
An out of control Texas Department of Transportation has discovered how to self-fund its agency with unlimited taxation through tolls. Texas taxpayers have had little luck controlling TxDOT and its lust for toll roads, so this notion that handing TxDOT control will mean more free highway lanes just won’t materialize.
That about sums up both the political and literal reality for Texans in most metropolitan areas of the state. Neither Congress nor the Texas legislature have addressed the structural road funding shortfall for the last decade, both turning to toll roads and massive debt financing to kick the can down the road. But Texas is now facing a fiscal cliff – it leads the country in road debt and it’s maxed out its proverbial credit card. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) says it needs $4 billion more per year just to keep pace with congestion. Even worse, its $10 billion annual budget will experience an additional gaping $2-3 billion hole in 2015 as the borrowing that’s been propping up its budget disappears.
Under Dewhurst’s leadership, Texans experienced a massive shift away from an affordable gas- tax-funded freeway system to a reliance on tolling. The Perry-Dewhurst regime brought us the Trans-Texas Corridor, quick-take eminent domain, tolling existing freeways, handing our public roads to private toll corporations who charge Texans 95 cents a mile to drive, and using gas taxes and a host of public money to subsidize and guarantee the loans on toll roads. They took Texas from zero debt for roads to now the highest road debt in the nation at $31 billion.
Stop using road money (paid for by motorists) for transit, rail, and bike paths that motorists don’t use. That goes for diverting both federal and state gas tax revenues. The Texas Mobility Fund is being used to build street cars, toll roads, and dredge our ports, when it should be used to fix our freeways and keep them toll-free. Adopting a transportation policy of ‘pay-as-you-go’ would be more fiscally responsible.
Transportation industry professionals gathered in Washington D.C. on November 21 at a summit called Infrastructure of the Future—Sustainable Pathways to Meet America’s Transportation Challenges sponsored by two big-money lobbyists, the American Highway Users Alliance and the Volvo Group. Continue reading
Hate to say it, but we told you so.
For more than three years, Republicans in Congress, conservative activists and allied interest groups have sought in vain to defeat ObamaCare. They likewise were unsuccessful in trying to prevent the reelection of the eponymous author of that program in 2012. Their lack of success with both endeavors did not breed resignation or despair. Rather, with key parts of ObamaCare set to take effect on the same day that funding for much of the federal government would expire, conservatives sought to tie the two together and defund ObamaCare.
Close on the heels of news that Interstate 69 (I-69) is underway in Texas, the Indiana Finance Authority and highway department (INDOT) has selected four private developers to submit proposals for a public-private partnership (P3) on segment 5 of I-69 from Bloomington to Martinsville. The final selection is expected this fall.
The second called special session of the Texas legislature began with all eyes on Texas’ fetal pain bill after a filibuster scuttled it – transportation appearing an afterthought, but this one ended in yet another flop. Texas Governor Rick Perry immediately called a third special session 30 minutes later to address transportation funding. State lawmakers had initially agreed on a road funding bill at the end of the first special session and took up the same bill in the second.
For most of its existence, the Republican Party has championed rigorous fiscal conservatism. Balanced budgets, aversion to federal debt, “pay-as-you-go” government: These were the mainstays of Republican governance at both the federal and state level for over a century. Republican leaders who became heroes of their party made fiscal responsibility a hallmark of good government.
Should anyone doubt the purpose of these recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative Tea Party and patriotic grassroots groups such as the Glenn Beck inspired 9/12 groups seeking tax-exempt status from the government? Cast all skepticism aside. Be advised there was a single purpose to this act of unmitigated government tyranny…
In the midst of the federal “sequester” spending cuts last month, was the Obama Administration’s furlough of air traffic controllers really necessary? Some politicians insist that they were, but here are four facts that lead to a resounding “NO.”
The Texas House joined the Senate in voting for SB 1730 to hand 20 Texas highways to private corporations in controversial contracts called public-private partnerships (P3s) or comprehensive development agreements (CDAs), despite public opposition.
While the Texas House and Senate are busy competing over which chamber can come up with the most funding for public schools, another top priority of state government has taken a back seat – roads.
If anything has united Republicans and the conservative movement in recent years, it has been their staunch opposition to so”called Obamacare, the chief policy initiative of President Barack Obama. Formally known as the Affordable Care Act, this sweeping overhaul of America’s health”care system galvanized conservative activists…
It sounds like something you’d hear on April Fools’ Day, but in Texas, Governor Rick Perry and his highway department are quite serious.
Texans from across the state recently converged at the capitol in Austin to stress the need for Texas Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, Speaker Joe Straus, and House and Senate budget writers to prevent the most fiscally sound, long-term road funding solutions from being held hostage to more tolls, debt, and tax hikes.
Houston, we have a problem. Well, actually, it’s a nationwide problem. Gas tax, the primary user fee that funds our national Interstate Highway System, hasn’t been raised in 20 years. The same is true for the gas tax in most states, where gas tax is the primary source of revenue to fund each state’s highway system.
The eighth annual Texas Transportation Forum hosted by the Texas Transportation Institute and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) recently held in Austin had all eyes on the future – the future of international trade in light of the anticipated Panama Canal expansion, the future of road funding, and even the future of driving (like driverless cars).
Texas leads the nation in road debt as Perry solicits ideas for tax relief: Groups say nix toll taxes
In his State of the State speech, Texas Governor Rick Perry asked Texans how they’d like to see tax relief implemented in the new 83rd biennial legislative session (January 8 – May 27/140 days).
There was a time when the United States government ran on hooch. Hard up for cash, taxes on whiskey and beer funded the Civil War.
The spirit of Texas law says you can’t slap tolls on freeways, but the letter of the law has loopholes large enough to drive a Mac truck through it.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell headlined the second day of the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) 7th Annual Texas Transportation Forum at the Grand Hyatt in downtown San Antonio.