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Conservative Tax Reform - November 2017

Conservative Tax Reform - November 2017

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Senators hear educators' pleas for tax increases Officials warn of few supplies, crowded classes, laid-off teachers
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Press Release

Senators hear educators' pleas for tax increases Officials warn of few supplies, crowded classes, laid-off teachers

Democratic Senate leaders trooped in school superintendents and college presidents to Raleigh Monday to help drive home their call for either cigarette and alcohol tax increases or a lottery to balance the state's lopsided budget for next year. Senate leaders also warned their colleagues to start planning ahead because the state's fiscal problems turn catastrophic in the budget for the following year, 2004-05.

06/10/2003
CSE Weighs in on North Carolina Budget Battle
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Press Release

CSE Weighs in on North Carolina Budget Battle

This article originally ran in the Winston-Salem Journal. EDUCATORS UPSET OVER CUTS; BUDGET REDUCTIONS WILL BE FELT IN THE CLASSROOMS, OFFICIALS SAY RALEIGH -- Education leaders told state senators yesterday that they can't handle more cuts in public education. Anti-tax activists told them that taxpayers can't handle more tax increases.

06/10/2003
Taxes Won't Increase in Texas, but Many Fees Will
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Press Release

Taxes Won't Increase in Texas, but Many Fees Will

Jun. 10--AUSTIN, Texas--Putting an exclamation point on a legislative session that opened with lawmakers facing a $9.9 billion shortfall, the all-Republican leadership team gave itself a pat on the back for not raising taxes. "State leaders showed the kind of budgetary discipline families must show: We set priorities, separated wants from needs and stretched every dollar," Gov. Rick Perry said a day after lawmakers finished their business. "We protected the pocketbooks of Texas taxpayers while protecting vital programs, increasing funding for public education and health care."

06/10/2003
What Next? The State of Fundamental Tax Reform
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Press Release

What Next? The State of Fundamental Tax Reform

The following is a generalized summary of the speeches presented at the CSE Policy Watch on Fundamental Tax Reform held in the Rayburn House Office Building on Tuesday, June 10, 2003. These notes were taken by Brandon Schwartz, Citizens for a Sound Economy, intern: Dr. Daniel Mitchell: McKenna Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Heritage Foundation.

06/10/2003
Letter to Secretary John Snow
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Press Release

Letter to Secretary John Snow

The Honorable John Snow Secretary U.S. Treasury Department 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20220 Dear Secretary Snow: It was great to see you the other day, and thanks for asking for our input on the next steps for tax reform. We think you’re doing a great job, and we appreciate your leadership and hard work in support of meaningful tax relief for the American people.

06/10/2003
A Filibuster Without Precedent
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Press Release

A Filibuster Without Precedent

This op-ed originally ran in the Wall Street Journal on June 10, 2003.

06/10/2003
Texas Citizen Watchdog Groups Oppose Taxation Without Representation
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Press Release

Texas Citizen Watchdog Groups Oppose Taxation Without Representation

Among the almost 4,500 bills passed is one tax bill which is being opposed by citizen groups, including tax watchdog organizations Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE) and Texas Citizens Action Network (TexasCAN).

06/10/2003
CSE Opposes Senate Extension of the Child Tax Credit
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Press Release

CSE Opposes Senate Extension of the Child Tax Credit

Given the Senate’s action last week to expand the child tax credit, you might not realize that the 2003 Jobs and Growth Act completely eliminates federal income tax liability for three million taxpayers and dramatically expands the new ten percent income tax bracket for lower income earners.

06/10/2003
.C. Senate Democrats Sell Need for More Taxes
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.C. Senate Democrats Sell Need for More Taxes

BY Scott Mooneyham

Senate leaders continued their call Monday for additional taxes or lottery revenues to help balance the state budget, but saw a carefully scripted meeting undermined by anti-tax protesters. Senate Democrats had lined up a number of educators - including university system president Molly Broad and state community college system president Martin Lancaster - to speak about the destructive effects of more budget cuts at an afternoon meeting. But several dozen members of the anti-tax group Citizens for a Sound Economy greeted them, denouncing tax hikes and a lottery as unnecessary. "You have just about broken our backs," said Robin Stout, a CSE member from Orange County. "Please consider the taxpayers. We are watching." The Senate and House are locked in budget negotiations, with House leaders saying they have given as much as possible on the issue of taxes. The House and Senate have agreed to keep sales and income tax hikes adopted in 2001 as temporary measures in place for another two years. House budget negotiators have also agreed to a Senate proposal to make the sales taxes on soft drinks conform to the 4.5 percent for other nonfood items. Senate leaders, though, want additional revenue in the form of either alcohol or cigarette tax hikes, or a lottery. Despite a one-time federal infusion of $510 million, they say a weak economy and lower-than-expected tax collections means that projected revenue growth in a $15 billion state budget should be scaled back. Lower revenue projects, along with sluggish tax collections this year, means the state will have to plug a $600 million hole in the budget. House leaders look at the federal aid as largely fixing the budget problems for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Their plan does leave what is essentially a $200 million hole in the second year of the two-year budget by designating unspecified Medicaid savings. Sen. Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, said the state's taxpayers should be prepared for some unpopular budget cutting if they don't want to discuss additional steps to raise revenue. "I want to know what people think about cutting $600 million out of where we already stand," Rand said. "What, $360 million out of education. Is that OK?" Broad added that the university system, despite enrollment growth and money designated by lawmakers to meet it, has still seen its budget decline. "It is no longer achievable to protect the classroom with these budget cuts," Broad said. The House and Senate are trying to put together a budget deal before the July 1 start of the fiscal year. By doing so, the Legislature would prevent the 2001 tax hikes from expiring and eliminate the need to pass a separate revenue bill.

06/09/2003
Senate Seeks to Alter Lawmakers' Benefits
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Senate Seeks to Alter Lawmakers' Benefits

BY Steve Law

A bill OK'd Friday guts a preferred PERS status reserved for police and firefighters. How senators voted The Senate passed HB 2407-C by a 16-11 margin. The bill reduces lawmakers PERS benefits by paying them at the regular level, not the higher levels given to police and firefighters. Lawmakers who began serving before 1995 are exempt. Here is how local senators voted: Roger Beyer, R-Molalla: No Peter Courtney, D-Salem: Yes Jackie Winters, R-Salem: No Gary George, R-Newberg: Excused Charles Starr, R-Hillsboro: No What's next? The House will consider Senate amendments to HB 2407-C. The House likely will reject those amendments. Then a conference committee of House and Senate delegates will try to work out conflicting versions of the bill. BY STEVE LAW Statesman Journal The state House and Senate are at odds about whether lawmakers should remain in the state pension system. House members voted in March to yank lawmakers from the embattled Public Employees Retirement System and create a special 401(k) plan for them. Rejecting that idea, the Senate voted Friday to reduce lawmakers' PERS benefits, by eliminating their preferred benefits package normally reserved for police and firefighters. The Senate passed House Bill 2407-C by a 16-11 margin. "It's unjust enrichment" to keep getting benefits as if lawmakers were in public safety jobs, said Sen. Tony Corcoran, D-Cottage Grove, whose committee reworked the earlier House bill. Preferred PERS benefits for lawmakers often provokes howls of protest. It allows lawmakers to get the same pension after 25 years that most public employees take 30 years to earn. Police and firefighters get that treatment because of their hazardous jobs and earlier retirement age. In the past, some lawmakers determined that their long hours and low pay - $15,396 a year- merited the premium level. House members argued it's a conflict of interest for lawmakers to oversee a system that pays them benefits. Corcoran rejected that notion Friday. "My view is that there's nothing inherently wrong with us being part of PERS," he said. "We should live under the same rules as everybody else." Public servants should have a guaranteed benefit at the end of their careers, not a 401(k) account that offers no set pension, Corcoran added. Sen. Lenn Hannon, R-Ashland, who presided over the floor debate, declared he had a conflict of interest in the matter. Hannon also suggested lawmakers all had a conflict of interest "as a class." One provision in the bill illustrated why the issue stirs so much controversy. It exempts lawmakers who first served in the Legislature before 1995. That means six veteran lawmakers who voted for the bill won't see any reduced benefits: Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, Senate Democratic Leader Kate Brown, D-Portland, Sen. Frank Shields, D-Portland, Sen. Joan Dukes, D-Astoria, Sen. Avel Gordly, D-Portland and Sen. John Minnis, R-Wood Village. "They've exempted longtime serving members from having to switch," said House Majority Leader Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who championed the House bill. "It's the exact reason that legislators need to be removed from PERS completely, so they don't continue to deal themselves the best deal." A few days before Friday's vote, Courtney said he wasn't following Senate changes to the House bill and the issue hadn't come up for much discussion. "I think treating (lawmakers) like everybody else might be the way to go," he said. New PERS reforms signed into law will phase out the Money Match system. That means future pensions will be set by workers' final salary and years worked, not the size of their accounts. Police and firefighters get a pension equaling 2 percent of their final salary for every year on the job, or 50 percent of their final salary after 25 years. General service PERS members get 1.67 percent of salary per year worked, or 50 percent of final salary after 30 years. "To take them out of police and fire, I think, was a good idea," said Russ Walker, a PERS critic and Northwest director of Citizens for a Sound Economy. But no lawmakers should remain in PERS, he said. "There's a real loss of trust in government and most public officials, and this kind of thing, I don't know if it serves them well." Walker said his group will turn in an initiative petition next week that would scrap PERS for all public employees and replace it with a 401(k) plan.

06/09/2003

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