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The First Rule of Budget Holes: Stop Digging
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Blog

The First Rule of Budget Holes: Stop Digging

In a familiar storyline, Pennsylvania lawmakers are seeking to close a budget gap of some $3.2 billion by—you guessed it—raising taxes. To that end, Governor Ed Rendell has called for a “modest” hike of 16 percent in the state income tax rate from 3.07 to 3.57 percent for the next three years. Similar “temporary” tax hikes, implemented in 1983 and 1991, have yet to be fully repealed.

06/24/2009
Help Stop New Tax Hikes in California
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Press Release

Help Stop New Tax Hikes in California

Just over a month ago, Californians went to the polls and delivered a resounding “No tax hikes” to their state leaders.  Legislators have had four weeks to come up with a better plan that will work for the state and guess what their solution is?More tax hikes!  Take Action and tell your lawmakers more tax hikes are unacceptable.That’s right, more tax hikes.  Except that these are different tax hikes they think the public won’t see through, regardless of the fact that it’s always the same folks who end up footing the bill.  Tax proposals now on the table include $2.2 billion in various taxes on business, a 9.9 percent tax on oil extraction, and a massive $1.50/pack cigarette tax hike.California legislators must think the taxpayers are pretty gullible to swallow this new plan.  Taxing business, just when many are fleeing the high taxes of the state, when others are bleeding jobs and struggling in the current economy is a terrible idea. Taxing oil extraction falls in the same category.  It isn’t some faceless corporation that drills for energy – it’s people who could use those jobs.  And it isn’t just some entity in the sky that absorbs those high taxes – it’s people who will have to pay at the pump.Cigarette tax hikes are a selfish cash grab that tries to put the economic woes of a state on a small, often-targeted minority.  They also hurt small businesses as people go across statelines, or to the black market and internet for cheaper cigarettes.No one would deny that California is in a bind.  But this is a problem that can’t be taxed away.  When these tax sources dry up, and if history is any guide they certainly will, legislators will simply tax something else.  Legislators were elected to do a job and that means making tough decisions, not just creating more taxes for the group that drew the short straw that day.  Spending has far outpaced growth in the state.  In good years, California’s government spent as if the revenue would never end rather than keeping spending in line with priorities. Take Action and urge your legislators not to seek quick fixes that will only push the problem down the road a short ways, but to stop playing favorites with programs and benefits and do the real cutting that needs that be done.  During hard times, every family has to cut back.  There’s no reason why governments shouldn’t do the same.

06/23/2009
Stop Soda Tax for Government-Run Health Care
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Press Release

Stop Soda Tax for Government-Run Health Care

Whether you call it soda or pop, another tax scheme has just emerged from the House Ways and Means Committee to fund a massive government run health care scheme.  This time it’s a 10 cent tax on each can of soda.  That number sounds familiar because President Obama pledged as recently as February that no family earning less than $250,000 would see its taxes increased by “a single dime.

06/19/2009
500 Rally in Raleigh Against Tax Hikes
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Blog

500 Rally in Raleigh Against Tax Hikes

Over 500 people from all over North Carolina gathered on June 16 to protest the tax hikes being proposed in the state legislature.  So far the list includes a cigarette tax hike and a tax on web-advertising.  The group braved the rain to tell the legislators not to raise taxes.Check out all the great pictures below: 

06/18/2009
Help Stop a New Internet Tax Scheme in Louisiana
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Press Release

Help Stop a New Internet Tax Scheme in Louisiana

Politicians in Baton Rouge are quickly trying to rush through a new, multi-million dollar internet tax hike that proponents are claiming will help crack down on internet crimes such as child pornography and fraud.TAKE ACTION! HB 569 will impose a $.15 per month fee on bills from internet service providers to fund a new “Internet Crimes Investigation Fund.”  The bill recently passed the Louisiana House and will be heard in the Senate this week.Cracking down on crime, and particularly crimes involving children, is a noble cause indeed.  But HB 569 is the wrong approach.Lawmakers supporting this legislation are rushing to a big-government solution, even without allowing state law enforcement agencies adequate time to evaluate what they truly need.  No credible studies have been produced to justify the creation of this new fund and the tax increase it requires.  At the same time more localized efforts to combat online crimes have enjoyed success by better utilizing existing resources.  For example, the Northwest Louisiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has been extremely successful while operating on about $150,000 to $200,000 a year and relying on cooperation from a host of local law enforcement and district attorney’s offices in the region. Legislators need to think innovatively and prioritize projects instead of simply looking to expand government on the backs of hard-working Louisiana taxpayers.  The size of the proposed new Internet Crimes fund may seem modest at this point, but just creating it opens the door to a slippery-slope of new government spending.  We’ve all seen how bureaucracies can so easily grow out-of-control and as well-intentioned as they might be, turn into government slush-funds with taxpayers on the hook. Don’t let politicians use the idea of keeping children safe to cram more big government down your throat.  TAKE ACTION NOW before the Senate takes up HB 569 and tell them to oppose this new internet tax hike scheme!

06/15/2009
Help Stop Delaware Tax Hikes
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Press Release

Help Stop Delaware Tax Hikes

Delaware is the latest state to jump on the tax hike bandwagon with a plan to raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol to bridge a looming budget gap.  These so-called “sin taxes” seem to be the first place politicians go for some quick cash anytime they can’t pay the bills.  Take Action and urge your lawmakers to oppose tax hikes and pursue real long-term growth policies.A recent proposal would raise alcohol taxes by two cents per 12-ounce can of beer, three cents per 5-ounce serving of wine, and 15 cents per bottle of liquor. The state cigarette tax would see a $.45/pack hike.Delaware doesn’t need to go down the path of higher taxes that nickel-and-dime citizens.  State legislators need only look up I-95 to New Jersey to see the effect cigarette tax hikes have on the budget.  A Heartland Institute study shows that for two years running, the tax hikes have led to reduced revenues, not the millions the state was banking on.  New Jersey was left with a still gaping budget hole and businesses were hurt as smokers turned to the Internet, Indian Reservations, and the black market for lower priced cigarettes.  This is a common scenario when legislators go after a minority of citizens for the funding woes of a state.  The picture is the same when you look at alcohol taxes.  Raising those taxes hurts businesses as well.  Already, the hospitality industry is bleeding jobs during this economic downturn.  The last thing they need is higher taxes!Governor Markell is hoping these proposals bring in over $20 million, a drop in the bucket when Delaware is facing an $800 million gap for 2010.  But looking at other states who have tried the same tax and spend schemes, that money won’t be there and taxpayers will be again left holding the bag – only now with a much bigger price tag.  Take Action and tell your legislators to avoid these tax gimmicks altogether.  Delaware has a great history of tax competition and economic liberty that has allowed that state to thrive.  Keeping spending in check is a far better way to maintain long-term growth than going down the tax-hike road where other states have become stuck.

06/15/2009
A Flat Debate on the Flat Tax
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Blog

A Flat Debate on the Flat Tax

In comments to the Sacramento Bee late last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger magnanimously agreed to consider a proposal to maybe discuss a flat tax rate on income in California. Much like similarly surprising talk of ending marijuana prohibition, the news makes for great headlines, but taxpayers should avoid any real optimism for the time being.While Schwarzenegger cleverly pays lip service to what some consider the holy grail of tax code reform, at a suggested flat rate of 15 percent, he has actually proposed a massive tax increase. Currently, even the wealthiest Californians pay “only” 9.3 percent. In the seven states where a flat tax is already in effect, the average rate is just 4.1 percent.

06/10/2009
Help Kill the New York Soda Tax
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Press Release

Help Kill the New York Soda Tax

Like something out of a horror film, the New York soda tax that won’t die is once again rearing its ugly head.  It looks like Albany lawmakers are trying to take a few pages from the Obama-Pelosi-Reid playbook to pay for their pet projects with so-called “sin taxes.”  Or maybe it was Governor Patterson’s earlier plan that inspired the federal soda tax plan?  Well, no matter who started it – it’s a bad plan.Take Action and tell your elected officials they can’t nickel and dime New York taxpayers this way.Instead of doing the right thing by cutting spending, state lawmakers have proposed this new tax on non-diet soda to fund property tax relief.  What soda has to do with property taxes remains to be seen, but this is a prime example of government efforts to redistribute money and subsidize one favored program or group on the backs of others.  Governor Paterson and other state legislators have acknowledged that New York state, like many others across the country, is facing a massive budget deficit.  To most households that would mean cutting back, tightening some belts, and spending less.  That’s why it’s hard to understand why Paterson has proposed a budget with $1.4 billion in new spending!  Cash-strapped taxpayers can’t keep footing the bill.With ever increasing tax hikes on the horizon, many are already fleeing the state.  That doesn’t bode well for New York’s future.  Soon a smaller and smaller group of people will be asked to cough up more and more for the projects state leaders aren’t willing to let go of.  This is clearly an unsustainable course.Please take action and urge your lawmakers to oppose this soda tax hike once and for all.  Tax hikes stand in the way of New York’s prosperity and only continue to feed the growth of government.  Now is the time to cut spending, waste, and the regulations that stand in the way of long-term growth.

05/21/2009
As California Goes, So Goes New York
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Blog

As California Goes, So Goes New York

... Aaaand probably the federal government.Over at the Atlantic, Megan McArdle takes on the question "Is California too big to fail?" Short answer?  Nope.

05/20/2009
Another Tax Hike for Wisconsin?
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Press Release

Another Tax Hike for Wisconsin?

From the “no surprises there” file comes State Representative Terese Berceau’s plan to raise Wisconsin’s beer tax.  News like this just goes to show that once you start down the slippery slope of taxes and fees instead of pro-growth policies, there’s no stopping.  Take Action and tell your leaders you oppose this tax hike scheme.FreedomWorks members from the Dairy State know that we’ve been actively opposing a cigarette tax hike and other fees that have been on the legislative table.  In an email last month, FreedomWorks explained how that cigarette tax, which would make just the state taxes alone more than $2.52 per pack, wouldn’t begin to fill the budget holes.  And that in fact, if high taxes were the path to prosperity then Wisconsin should be doing great!It’s clear that some in Madison haven’t gotten the message and are now piling on even more tax hikes. The latest plan is a beer tax that would raise the cost of a six-pack by 50 cents.  That might not seem like a lot from a big desk in the capitol, but these days every penny counts.  The beer tax is a perfect example of why FreedomWorks fights to oppose all tax hikes, even ones that you might think won’t affect you.  That’s because without cutting spending and adjusting the state’s bottom line the money will never be enough. First, people will go across state lines, to the black market, the internet, and Indian Reservations to avoid the hefty tax.  Second, others will simply go without -  just because Wisconsin can’t stick to a budget doesn’t mean families don’t have to.  And soon small businesses, the glue of our economy, as well as those working in the hospitality industry like servers and bartenders, will begin to feel the pain the most as business dwindles.  Then before long, when the money doesn’t come rolling in, elected officials will start nosing around for the next thing to tax.It’s clear that tax hikes are something we should all oppose and we all need to vigilantly watch out for.  You may not smoke.  You may not drink beer.  Still, one way or another, everyone will have to pay for the tax and spend decisions that are made at the state capital.  Let’s try to stop these tax hikes once and for all. Please take action and tell your lawmakers you oppose this plan.  Wisconsin needs to stop spending and roll back the regulations that stand in the way of real growth.

05/20/2009

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