Americans for Tax Reform
Overview
 
Americans for Tax Reform is an advocacy group
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

 and taxpayer group whose stated goal is "a system in which taxes are simpler, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today. The government's power to control one's life derives from its power to tax. We believe that power should be minimized." It is best known for its "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which asks candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases.
Encyclopedia
Americans for Tax Reform is an advocacy group
Advocacy group
Advocacy groups use various forms of advocacy to influence public opinion and/or policy; they have played and continue to play an important part in the development of political and social systems...

 and taxpayer group whose stated goal is "a system in which taxes are simpler, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today. The government's power to control one's life derives from its power to tax. We believe that power should be minimized." It is best known for its "Taxpayer Protection Pledge," which asks candidates for federal and state office to commit themselves in writing to oppose all tax increases. Its founder and president is Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist
Grover Glenn Norquist is an American lobbyist, conservative activist, and founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform...

, a conservative tax activist.

Taxpayer Protection Pledge

Since 1986, ATR has sponsored the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge", a written promise by legislators and candidates for office that commits them to oppose tax increases. There are two versions, one each at the national and state level. In the 112th Congress serving from 2011-2, 238 members of the U.S. House of Representatives - a majority of that body - as well as 41 members of the U.S. Senate have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. All except 13 sitting Republicans have signed the pledge, while three Democrats have signed it (Sen. Ben Nelson
Ben Nelson
Earl Benjamin "Ben" Nelson is the senior U.S. Senator from Nebraska. He is a member of the Democratic Party and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000....

 (NE) and House members Robert Andrews
Rob Andrews
Robert Ernest "Rob" Andrews is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1990. He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes most of Camden County and parts of Burlington County and Gloucester County....

 (NJ) and Ben Chandler
Ben Chandler
Albert Benjamin "Ben" Chandler III is the U.S. Representative for , serving since a special election in 2004. He is a member of the Democratic Party.-Early life, education and career:...

 (KY)).

ATR's president Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist
Grover Glenn Norquist is an American lobbyist, conservative activist, and founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform...

 has written about the importance of the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" for many publications including Human Events
Human Events
Human Events is a weekly American conservative magazine. It takes its name from the first sentence of the United States Declaration of Independence...

in June, 2010. In this article, Grover writes,
"Raising taxes is what politicians do when they don’t have the strength to actually govern. The taxpayer protection pledge was created in 1986 by Americans for Tax Reform as part of the effort to protect the lower marginal tax rates of Reagan’s Tax Reform Act of 1986. It has grown in importance as one of the few black-and-white, yes or no, answers that politicians are forced to give to voters before they ask for their vote."


Author and political commentator Dick Morris
Dick Morris
Dick Morris is an American political author and commentator who previously worked as a pollster, political campaign consultant, and general political consultant....

 repeatedly wrote about the value of the "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" during the 2010 election cycle. He first began writing about the Pledge in April while discussing his book 2010: Take Back America-A Battle Plan. Morris argued that the most vital issue to America in 2011 would be fighting the deficit. He wrote,
"Here is where the Republicans’ new Congressional majorities must hold the line. Every single GOP member of the House and the Senate must make a firm commitment to oppose any and all tax increases. In the coming Congressional and Senatorial primaries, it is our duty as voters to support only those Republicans who sign the no-tax pledge of the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR.org)."


Morris also used the Pledge as the deciding reason for his endorsement of Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina
Carly Fiorina is an American business executive and a former Republican candidate for the United States Senate representing California. Fiorina served as chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005 and previously was an executive at AT&T and its equipment and technology spinoff,...

 in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in California. Morris wrote an open memo to Republican candidate Tom Campbell asking him to sign the Pledge. After Campbell's refusal, Morris endorsed Fiorina on Fox News with Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity
Sean Hannity is an American radio and television host, author, and conservative political commentator. He is the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show that airs throughout the United States on Premiere Radio Networks. Hannity also hosts a cable news show, Hannity,...

.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is the Democratic Hill committee for the United States House of Representatives, working to elect Democrats to that body. They play a critical role in recruiting candidates, raising funds, and organizing races in districts that are expected to yield...

 and individual Democratic candidates began attacking "The Taxpayer Protection Pledge" and its signers during the 2010 cycle with charges that it protected tax breaks for companines shipping jobs overseas. The first appearance of the argument arose in the HI-01 special election. Americans for Tax Reform responded by calling the attack ad "blatantly false." They pointed out that the Pledge does not prohibit any deduction or credit from being eliminated. It only prevents individuals and/or businesses from experiencing an overall increase in income taxes and allows for revenue-neutral tax reform.

The non-partisan, nonprofit Factcheck.org reviewed the DCCC's ad and agreed with ATR that the ad was "blatantly false." The director of Factcheck.org, Brooks Jackson, wrote, :"It was called 'blatantly false' by Americans for Tax Reform, the Republican-leaning group that got Djou’s signature on its anti-tax pledge. We agree. ATR’s tax pledge does protect corporations in general — but only from an overall increase in taxes. It says nothing about jobs at all. More important, it does not rule out an overhaul of the tax code. Signers agree to oppose any "net" reduction of deductions or credits "unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."

Ronald Reagan Legacy Project

Created in 1997, ATR's Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, has worked toward seeing each county in the United States commemorate the former president in a "significant" and "public" way, such as the naming of a public building. The project has also supported efforts to place Reagan on the ten-dollar bill
United States ten-dollar bill
The United States ten-dollar bill is a denomination of United States currency. The first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, is currently featured on the obverse of the bill, while the U.S. Treasury is featured on the reverse. The United States ten-dollar bill ($10) is a...

. The project has also encouraged state governors declare February 6 to be "Ronald Reagan Day"; as of 2006, 40 governors have done so.

Center for Fiscal Accountability

Since 2008, ATR has sought to encourage transparency and accountability in government through the Center for Fiscal Accountability. The organization's mission includes supporting the creation of searchable online databases of government spending, among other initiatives.

Cost of Government Day

ATR sponsors the calculation of "Cost of Government Day", the day on which, by its calculations, "Americans stop working to pay the costs of taxation, deficit spending
Deficit spending
Deficit spending is the amount by which a government, private company, or individual's spending exceeds income over a particular period of time, also called simply "deficit," or "budget deficit," the opposite of budget surplus....

, and regulations by federal and state governments." Since 2008 the event has been sponsored by the Center for Fiscal Accountability.

Property Rights Alliance

The "Property Rights Alliance" is a project of Americans for Tax Reform. It produces the International Property Rights Index
International Property Rights Index
The International Property Rights Index is produced annually by Americans for Tax Reform's Property Rights Alliance. The index investigates and ranks the individual's rights and ability to own private property in countries worldwide.-Property rights index:...

 annually, ranking individual rights to own private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 in countries worldwide.

Other projects

ATR has several special project lines dedicated to specific issues including The American Shareholders Association (ASA), Alliance for Worker Freedom (AWF), and The Media Freedom Project (MFP).

In October 2010 ATR began mailing fliers to voters in Florida directing them to call Florida governor and Independent candidate for Senate, Charlie Crist. ATR's mailers included pictures of Crist with Obama and quotes from right wing authors.

Wednesday meetings

Shortly after Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

's 1992 election, ATR headquarters became the site of a weekly, off-the-record get-together of conservatives to coordinate activities and strategy. The "Wednesday Meeting" of the Leave Us Alone Coalition
Leave Us Alone Coalition
The Leave Us Alone Coalition is an idea popularized by conservative/libertarian activist Grover Norquist for a wide-ranging and loose collaboration among various elements of U.S. politics, united by a common desire for minimal involvement with and restrictions from government, especially the U.S....

 soon became an important hub of conservative political organizing. Participants each week include Republican congressional leaders, right-leaning think tanks, conservative advocacy groups and K Street lobbyists. George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 began sending a representative to the Wednesday Meeting even before he formally announced his candidacy for president in 1999, and continued to send representatives after his election in 2000.

ATR has helped to establish regular meetings for conservatives nationwide, modeled after the Wednesday meetings in Washington, with the goal of creating a nationwide network of conservative activists to help support initiatives such as tax cuts and deregulation. There are now meetings in 48 states and more internationally, with meetings in Canada, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The significance of the Wednesday meeting has influenced liberals and Democrats to organize similar meetings to coordinate activities about their shared agenda. In 2001, USA Today reported that Rep. Rosa DeLauro
Rosa DeLauro
Rosa L. DeLauro is the U.S. Representative for , serving since 1991. She is a member of the Democratic Party.The district is based in New Haven, and includes most of that city's suburbs.-Early life, education and career:...

 initiated such a meeting at the urging of then-House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, even holding it on a Wednesday.

Political positions

The primary policy goal of Americans for Tax Reform is to reduce the percentage of the GDP consumed by the government. ATR states that it "opposes all tax increases as a matter of principle." Americans for Tax Reform seeks to curtail government spending by supporting Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
The Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a concept advocated by conservative and free market libertarian groups, primarily in the United States, as a way of limiting the growth of government...

 (TABOR) legislation and transparency initiatives, and opposing cap-and-trade legislation and Democratic efforts to overhaul health care.

ATR is a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition
Cooler Heads Coalition
The Cooler Heads Coalition was originally a project of the National Consumer Coalition in the United States, a project of the nonprofit organization Consumer Alert. The Cooler Heads Coalition is now financed and operated by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Its objective is described as...

, which takes the position in the global warming controversy
Global warming controversy
Global warming controversy refers to a variety of disputes, significantly more pronounced in the popular media than in the scientific literature, regarding the nature, causes, and consequences of global warming...

 that "the science of global warming is uncertain, but the negative impacts of global warming policies on consumers are all too real". ATR supported the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006 and continues to favor a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

ATR has called for cuts in the defense budget in order to reduce deficit spending.

Involvement with Jack Abramoff

According to an investigative report from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee on the Jack Abramoff scandal
Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal is a United States political scandal relating to the work performed by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Indian casino gambling interests for an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon...

, released in June 2006, ATR served as a "conduit" for funds that flowed from Abramoff's clients to finance surreptitiously grass-roots lobbying campaigns. Records show that donations from the Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 and Kickapoo tribes to ATR were coordinated in part by Abramoff, and in some cases preceded meetings between the tribes and the White House.

See also

  • Americans for Fair Taxation
    Americans For Fair Taxation
    Americans For Fair Taxation , also known as FairTax.org, states it is the United States' largest, single-issue grassroots organization and taxpayers union dedicated to fundamental tax code replacement...

  • Citizens for Tax Justice
    Citizens for Tax Justice
    Citizens for Tax Justice is a non-profit research and advocacy think tank based in Washington, DC. CTJ’s work focuses primarily on federal tax policy...

  • National Taxpayers Union
    National Taxpayers Union
    National Taxpayers Union is a taxpayers advocacy organization and taxpayers union in the United States, founded in 1969 by James Dale Davidson. NTU advertises that it is the largest and oldest grassroots taxpayer organization in the nation, with 362,000 members nationwide. It is closely...

  • Tax Foundation
    Tax Foundation
    The Tax Foundation is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank founded in 1937 that collects data and publishes research studies on tax policies at the federal and state levels. The organization is broken into three primary areas of research which are the Center for Federal Fiscal Policy, The and the...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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