NC Legislature just plain Sucks, and this proves it.

April 28th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives One Response

North Carolina has one of the 15 worst tax environments for small businesses in the country and the worst in the South, the Washington, D.C.-based Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council says in a report released Tuesday.

The Business Tax Index 2010 lumps North Carolina in with the likes of New York, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts due to the Tar Heel State’s relatively high tax rates on personal income and corporate profits. North Carolina also was penalized for having unemployment and gasoline taxes higher than most states. If not for the 12th lowest property tax rate as a percentage of household income in the United States, North Carolina would have ranked even lower.

North Carolina’s neighbors fared much better in the rankings, which assesses 16 different tax measures and combines those into one tax score that allows the 50 states and District of Columbia to be compared. South Carolina placed 12th in the rankings with a score of 29.646. Tennessee followed in the 13th spot with a score of 30.858, and Virginia wasn’t far behind, landing at No. 15 with a score of 32.393.

In comparison, North Carolina’s score was 42.473, the 15th highest on the list.

The Business Tax Index found the 10 best state tax systems to be 1) South Dakota, 2) Texas, 3) Nevada, 4) Wyoming, 5) Washington, 6) Florida, 7) Alabama, 8) Alaska, 9) Ohio, and 10) Colorado.

The 10 worst state tax systems were determined to be: 42) Massachusetts, 43) Oregon, 44) Vermont, 45) Iowa, 46) Maine, 47) New York, 48) California, 49) Minnesota, 50) New Jersey, and 51) the District of Columbia.

“We applaud the political leaders of states who have refrained from raising taxes on the nation’s job creators,” said SBE Council President and CEO Karen Kerrigan. “Sales have been down and business owners continue to struggle with rising costs such as health care coverage. States that have kept taxes low will reap rewards as their businesses recover more quickly and shore-up durability for the long term. Low-tax states will become even more competitive for investment and business relocation.”

The Letter from Amazon to its NC Customers

April 20th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses

This is about the Affiliate Program that Amazon had to stop because of the scumbags in Raleigh. This takes money out of the pockets of those that are making money using affiliate programs. Our state leaders have got to be run off.

Here it is…

We regret to inform you that the North Carolina state legislature (the General Assembly) appears ready to enact an unconstitutional tax collection scheme that would leave Amazon.com little choice but to end its relationships with North Carolina-based Associates. You are receiving this e-mail because our records indicate that you are an Amazon Associate and resident of North Carolina.
Please note that this is not an immediate termination notice and you are still a valued participant in the Associates Program. All referral fees earned on qualified traffic will continue to be paid as planned.
But because the new law is drafted to go into effect once enacted – which could happen in the next two weeks – we will have to terminate the participation of all North Carolina residents in the Amazon Associates program on or before that same day. After the termination day, we will no longer pay any referral fees for customers referred to Amazon.com or Endless.com nor will we accept new applications for the Associates program from North Carolina residents.
The unfortunate consequences of this legislation on North Carolina residents like you were explained in detail to key senators and representatives in Raleigh, including the leadership of the Senate, House, and both chambers’ finance committees. Other states, including Maryland, Minnesota, and Tennessee, considered nearly identical schemes, but rejected these proposals largely because of the adverse impact on their states’ residents.
The North Carolina General Assembly’s website is http://www.ncleg.net/, and additional information may be obtained from the Performance Marketing Alliance at http://www.performancemarketingalliance.com/.
We thank you for being part of the Amazon Associates program, and we will apprise you of the General Assembly’s action on this matter.
Sincerely,
Amazon.com

Amazon.com sues North Carolina over customer-data demand

April 20th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives One Response

Amazon.com has filed a lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Revenue, seeking to block the state’s demand for the “name and address of virtually every North Carolina resident who has purchased anything from Amazon since 2003, along with records of what each customer purchased and how much they paid.”

The online retail giant says disclosure of the data would “invade the privacy and violate the First Amendment rights of Amazon and its customers on a massive scale.”

The North Carolina Department of Revenue says it’s still studying the Amazon complaint.

“We learned of the lawsuit just late yesterday afternoon. The North Carolina Department of Revenue received the official legal documentation this morning,” said agency spokeswoman Beth Stevenson. “We are currently reviewing that information and looking into what the complaint actually involves. It would be premature for us to comment on any specifics until we have proper time to review the documents.”

The lawsuit appears to be part of a broader struggle between Amazon and North Carolina over sales tax collection. North Carolina sought unsuccessfully to get Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) to collect sales tax on Web purchases in the state. Now the state is auditing Amazon’s compliance with state sales and use tax laws.

Here’s a copy of the Amazon lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle (pdf, 14 pages).

According to Amazon’s complaint, North Carolina in December requested information on sales to customers in the state between Aug. 1, 2003, and Feb. 28, 2010, as part of the audit process. The company said it provided North Carolina with data to meet that request, including product codes for each item purchased. But Amazon said it did not hand over the “name, address, phone number, e-mail address or other personally identifiable information of any customer.”

Amazon said it had “fully cooperated” with North Carolina, adding:

“But the DOR has no business seeking to uncover the identity of Amazon’s customers who purchased expressive content, which makes up the majority of the nearly 50 million products sold to North Carolina residents during the audit period, let alone associating customers’ names and addresses with the specific books, music, and video content that they have purchased during the past seven years.”

Amazon objects to disclosing “sensitive, personal, controversial or unpopular content” ordered by North Carolina customers, including such works as “Lolita,” “Brokeback Mountain,” and rapper Eminem’s “The Marshall Mathers LP.”

Amazon says North Carolina revenue agents visited its Seattle offices in mid-March.

North Carolina last year was one of several states that sought to force Amazon to collect sales tax based on its use of affiliate Web sites. The idea was that these affiliates, which link to Amazon products, give Amazon a physical “nexus” in the state that requires the company to collect sales tax just like a brick-and-mortar retailer. Amazon, in response, closed its affiliate program in North Carolina, ending the basis for any sales tax collection.

“The best-case scenario for customers would be where the North Carolina Department of Revenue withdraws their demand because they recognize that it violates the privacy rights of North Carolina residents,” said company spokeswoman Mary Osako.

The 2010 Winston-Salem Tax Day Tea Party was an amazing success!

April 19th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses

The 2010 Winston-Salem Tax Day Tea Party was an amazing success! Based on the crowd estimations from the Wake Forest University Police we had 1500+ attendees on Davis Field. I am glad to know that we have so many Patriots in our community that care about Limited Government, Lower Taxes, Eliminating Wasteful Government Spending, Free Markets and Individual Responsibility.

I want extend a special thank you to our guest speakers.

As our focus moves from protest to electoral activism we must remember the principals that have brought us all together. Don’t let the momentum die. Find the candidates that you can support and support them. There is a campaign volunteer and or contributor in all of us. If we all work hard “WE WIN in 2010”

April 15th Tea Party at Wake Forest University

April 14th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 23 Responses

We are announcing the 2010 Winston-Salem Tax Day Tea Party!

The event will be held April 15th at Wake Forest University on Davis Field (See Map) beginning at 5:30pm.

View April 15, 2010 Winston-Salem Tax Day Tea Party in a larger map

Come make your voice be heard as we speak out against out-of-control government taxation, wasteful spending and loss of individual liberties. Enjoy the band and several speakers addressing issues that you are concerned about, including a physician who will discuss health care reform.

Bring your signs, chairs, friends and neighbors.

Wake Forest University Event Rules:

    • No Alcohol is allowed at this event.
    • Signs without poles or sticks are welcome.
    • We expect great turnout so please carpool to conserve parking spaces.

Brad Miller, David Price and Bob Etheridge are in La-La Land

April 12th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 6 Responses

These fine men think there will be no ramifications of a corrupt and disastrous Health Care Bill that was quite literally shoved down our throats. Let us all let their pictures and what they did to us sink in so we remember to get rid of them in November. Let’s send Larry, Curly, and Moe packing!

Read it here…

CARY — The Triangle’s three Democratic congressmen said Friday that they were not expecting a political backlash against the recently enacted health care law in the fall elections.

They said GOP efforts to repeal the law would likely fall flat because the law will make health insurance more widely available and affordable to more people, including those with chronic illnesses, those laid off, seniors, college students and others.

“I don’t think there will be any more going back on this than there would be on Medicare or Social Security,” said Rep. Brad Miller, whose remarks were echoed by Reps. David Price of Chapel Hill and Bob Etheridge of Lillington

A statewide poll released this week by the Civitas Institute, a conservative Raleigh group, found that 39 percent support the changes, 50 percent oppose it, and 11 percent are not sure. (The survey of 600 voters was conducted by Tel Opinion Research and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.)

Republicans have sought to capitalize on that skepticism. They have lobbied Gov. Bev Perdue and Attorney General Roy Cooper, both Democrats, to join a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality. GOP state legislative leaders plan to introduce a bill exempting North Carolina citizens from the requirement that they buy health insurance.

The Democratic congressmen chalked up the opposition to partisan politics.

Miller said the bill that passed Congress is very similar to past Republican health insurance proposals.

“This is the Howard Baker, Bob Dole, Mitt Romney health insurance plan,” Miller said, referring to two former GOP Senate majority leaders and the former Massachusetts governor.

“Massachusetts has something very much like this, and 70 percent of the people who voted in that [Massachusetts Senate election] said they wanted to keep what they had.”

Price said it would be a hard sell for Republicans to argue for repeal. He said many parts of the health care overhaul will be popular: allowing people with pre-existing conditions to get health insurance, allowing parents to keep their children on their insurance policy until 26 years of age, providing tax breaks to small businesses that provide insurance to their employees.

“Take that away: How viable is that as a political position?” Price asked.

“I know there is a certain hard-line element that are going to hold the Republicans’ feet to the fire and they have to be dogmatic about it.”

Etheridge said Republicans have been playing partisan politics around the issue.

“The party bosses in Washington have introduced legislation to repeal it,” Etheridge said.

“These are the same forces who a couple of years ago decided we were going to gamble with Social Security on Wall Street. How would you have liked to have had your money on Wall Street the last couple of years?”

Dallas Woodhouse, state director of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative organization that has sponsored rallies against the health care bill, said he believed the new law would rebound against Democrats who supported it.

“It’s hard to believe politically this is a plus [for Democrats] because so much of the pain is uploaded and so much of the perceived benefits come later – and I’m not sure much of the benefits will come through,” Woodhouse said. “I think, politically, it is damaging.”

The congressmen were praised by Bob Jackson, state director of AARP-North Carolina.

But outside the community center, there was one lone picket, Dave Burton of Cary, who carried a sign with a quotation from the late Sen. Paul Tsongas: “If anyone thinks the words government and efficiency belong in the same sentence, we have counseling available.”



How much does Obama’s “Stimulus Plan” cost you?

April 12th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives No Responses

In February 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In early 2009, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Recovery Act’s combined spending and tax provisions would cost $787 billion. In early 2010, CBO updated its estimate of the cost of the Recovery Act. It now estimates that the Recovery Act will cost $75 billion more than originally estimated – CBO now anticipates that the 2009 Stimulus will increase deficits by $862 billion over ten years.

Find out how much this costs you by clicking here.

NC Tea Party groups move from protests to politics

April 12th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 5 Responses

RALEIGH, N.C. — Best known for vociferous protests and confrontational placards, members of tea party groups across North Carolina are starting to channel their energy into more traditional political efforts: choosing candidates for upcoming elections.

After building a movement fueled by vocal gatherings, they are embarking on a quick civics tutorial. As they exchange articles on political strategy, economics and other policy issues, they are learning from each other the nuances of organizing.

“We all realized that rallying for the sake of rallying had run its course, and that in order to make a political change we would have to enter the political realm,” said Erika Franzi, a 37-year-old mother of four from Weaverville who founded the Asheville Tea Party.

“If you’re not effecting change at the ballot box, there’s no teeth in what you’re saying.”

It’s a potentially transformative moment for the nascent movement, which in large part prides itself on a lack of prominent leadership and its support for limited government power and spending.

At least one expert says there’s a risk as tea party chapters evolve into directed political advocacy organizations: Exchanging some of the thrill and informality of protests for chores usually performed by political parties or special interest groups could deflate the passion that built the movement.

“This is very much a classic problem for social movements,” said Kenneth Andrews, a sociology professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who has researched how civil rights and environmental movements have found staying power. “You may be trading one type of influence for another.”

Nearly a year after the conservative protest effort took off at tax-day rallies nationwide in April 2009 to express ire at federal bailouts, the tea party remains largely a bottom-up movement in North Carolina.

There are dozens of mostly autonomous local groups with a combined membership in the thousands, based on the size of their e-mail lists. At least 20 groups plan to hold “tax day” rallies this month – evidence of a loose confederation with “loosely assembled common goals,” said Nathan Jones, a 37-year-old Winston-Salem resident who is the primary organizer for the NC Tea Party, with membership mainly in the Triad and areas west.

The more established groups, tired of only being known for airing their grievances in city parks or outside county courthouses, are shifting focus to specific political races as May 4 primary elections approach. Several members are running for Congress and local offices themselves.

NC Freedom, with its 5,000-strong e-mail address list appearing to be the closest thing to a statewide tea party organization, recently held a forum in Raleigh for candidates in three congressional races. Organizer David DeGerolamo said it won’t issue endorsements.

Next weekend, the Cape Fear Tea Party and other southeastern North Carolina groups plan to gather at a Wilmington library to match its 200 members to work with candidates. To prepare for the election season, members have been reading up on policy and political strategy.

“We’re vetting the candidates, finding out who’s who,” said Tom Naramore, a 44-year-old high school civics teacher from Burgaw and Cape Fear Tea Party leader who is helping with the research.

The Asheville group held a debate last month with the six Republican candidates seeking the 11th Congressional District seat held by Democratic Rep. Heath Shuler, who was invited but didn’t attend.

Some Asheville Tea Party leaders researched debate rules and watched old presidential debates to find a template. About 175 party members graded the candidates and endorsed Murphy ophthalmologist Dan Eichenbaum. He’ll be getting a contribution from the Asheville group’s political action committee.

Other groups are avoiding endorsements and instead asking candidates to fill out questionnaires to help members decide who best represents tea party ideals, organizers said. While adherents include registered Democrats, former Libertarians and unaffiliated voters, leaders acknowledge their views align most closely with tenets of the Republican Party.

Several conservative-leaning groups are putting on “tea party summits” next month to teach political newcomers how to run phone banks and organize get-out-the-vote efforts, but tea party activists remain intensely independent. Members argue they have been burned before by Republican leaders who ran up the national debt when the GOP held the majority in Congress.

“We’re not falling behind some dynamic, charismatic leadership,” said Robert Cressionnie, a 52-year-old Rocky Mount resident who helped found the Tar River Tea Party, which held its first meeting late last month. “We don’t want some slick-talking politician co-opting the whole movement.”

Now a Value-Added Tax?

April 7th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives 7 Responses

This has to be the last straw, time to push and fight harder than ever.

The U.S. should consider using a European-style value added tax to help bring the deficit down, said White House adviser Paul Volcker in response to a question from CBS MoneyWatch.com at a panel discussion in New York City Tuesday night. “We have to think about really revamping the tax system,” said Volcker, who’s best known for successfully beating down inflation while serving as Ronald Reagan’s Federal Reserve chairman. The VAT, a levy on all the goods and services you consume, is not a “toxic idea,” he added.

White House adviser Paul Volcker

(Credit: AP)

Until recently, discussion of a U.S. VAT had been limited to the back rooms of think tanks and cocktail hours of high-minded conferences. But nearly every other industrialized nation has one, and the idea is beginning to spread. In addition to Volcker, the head of the Senate Budget Committee, Kent Conrad (D-N.D), has mused that a VAT has “got to be on the table,” and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has murmured sweet nothings about it. In fact, interest in a VAT is cropping up all along the ideological spectrum (albeit more often along the leftish end).

The case for a VAT is simple: The U.S. government’s fiscal gap is widening by the hour. The deficit for 2009 alone was a cool $1.4 trillion, and it’s projected to hit $1.6 trillion this year. By the end of the year, the Office of Management and Budget says the gross federal debt will stand at $13.8 trillion. As Bruce Bartlett, a former Reagan economic advisor who supports a VAT, puts it, “The U.S. needs a money machine.” A VAT, because it touches every transaction, is just that: The Congressional Research Service estimates that each one percent of a value-added tax would raise $50 billion. That’s real money.

To be sure, no one expects a VAT to join the tax code this year or next. But what about by 2020? The odds narrow sharply. “There’s very little chance in the next few years,” says Brian Harris, a senior research associate at Brookings, a left-of-center think tank, “but a substantial chance in the next decade or so.” And Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at the right-of-center Americans for Tax Reform, who loathes the idea, says of the VAT, “I think it’s coming, in the next five to 10 years certainly.”

What’s to Love and Hate About a VAT?

About 150 countries have a VAT. It comes in different shapes and sizes, ranging from 5 percent in Japan to 25 percent in Sweden. It’s easy to see why it’s popular: As a broad-based tax that’s easy to collect and hard to see, a VAT can rake in a lot of money.

A VAT can be assessed in several different ways. In the most common method, the VAT is assessed on a good at each stage of production and distribution — when the raw material is sold, when the product is manufactured, when a store stocks up, and when the consumer buys it. When a business calculates its VAT payment, it deducts the tax paid at the previous stage, based on records every company along the chain keeps. That’s one reason the VAT is considered highly efficient — it’s hard to dodge since each link in the VAT chain keeps an eye on the rest.

This process effectively hides the VAT from open view — unlike state sales taxes, the VAT is buried in the price of the good, not assessed at the cash register. But make no mistake: a 10 percent VAT would raise the cost of everything 10 percent. (High VAT taxes back home are one reason that Europeans love to shop in the U.S.) A VAT is also relatively simple to administer, so its “dead weight” — the distortion it imposes on the economy above and beyond the price of the tax itself — is minimal.

The VAT’s efficiency in raising money is also why some oppose it. Even if a VAT started at a low level, say 5 percent, it’s easy to increase the rate, as Europe has proved time and again. And its very simplicity and lack of visibility — no tax returns, no obvious hurt at the cash register — raises suspicions that a VAT is a stalking horse for higher spending. “I think America has prospered because the general level of taxation has been lower than Europe,” says Chris Edwards of the libertarian Cato Institute, who prefers spending cuts to new taxes. “I don’t think we should go in this direction.”

The VAT also comes under attack for being regressive. Because lower income people spend a higher portion of their earnings, it may hit them particularly hard.

The Best of the Bad?

Despite long-standing political opposition, the VAT is starting to get attention for the simple reason that it may be the best among several bad options. A useful rule of economics is that if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. Current U.S. fiscal trends are unsustainable. At some point, even Congress will recognize this fact and be forced to act. It has three options.

  • Tax the rich: Always a popular idea, but the math doesn’t add up. Top tax rates are already likely to go up to almost 40 percent. An increase much above that is counterproductive, reducing incentives to work and invest while creating incentives to find tax shelters and other ways to avoid paying. And the income tax well is neither wide nor deep enough to fill more than a small piece of the $13.8 trillion hole. Ditto for taxing big business more heavily. The U.S. corporate tax rate (35 percent) is already among the highest in the world. Raising that is an excellent way to reduce competitiveness.
  • Cut spending: If government spending were brought into line with revenues, new taxes wouldn’t be needed. But that isn’t happening. Ellis, of Americans for Tax Reform, points out that even if federal tax revenues return to their 40-year average of 18 to 20 percent of GDP (in 2009, it dipped to about 15 percent), the spending promises on the books for 2010 and beyond start at some 25 percent of GDP. That number is hard to knock down because the majority of federal spending is for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all of which are set to grow briskly as baby boomers retire. No one in either party seems interested in taming these leviathans. “It is almost literally impossible to close the gap on spending alone,” says Michael Linden, associate director of Tax and Budget Policy for the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
  • Find new sources of revenues: If more juice cannot be squeezed from the income and corporate tax code, the logical alternative is to tap a wider base. And the logical way to do that is to pass a VAT. Alan Greenspan, for one, considers the VAT “the least worst way” to narrow the budget gap.

Neither party shows enthusiasm for taxing you if you are not a plutocrat. President Obama has pledged no tax increases for 95 percent of the population, and most Republicans flinch at the “T” word in any form. (Interestingly, though, many GOP economists favored a VAT in the 1980s, and it was Margaret Thatcher who introduced one to the U.K.). But crisis can create opportunities for reform, and America’s fiscal position is close to crisis. This may be the opportunity to take another real crack at our complicated and inefficient tax code, something last done in 1986.

A VAT could be a useful part of a larger reform. For example, in his book, 100 Million Unnecessary Returns, Columbia law professor Michael Graetz proposes a 10 to 14 percent value-added tax, but earners making less than $100,000 would pay no income tax at all, and other income and corporate taxes would be reduced. That’s just one idea. Press the buttons of almost any tax wonk in Washington and a different plan spits out; a VAT is part of most of them.

Americans as a whole did not squawk when spending rose during the Bush administration, and in electing Barack Obama, they voted for bigger government. At some point, the politics we have voted for have to be paid for. A VAT is likely to be part of the answer.

Mainstream Media is after the Tea Party Folks

April 5th, 2010 by NC Tea Party Staff Categories: Archives One Response

Click picture to watch the video.

It is obvious that the Tea Party movement stills scares the living hell out of the Democratic Party and the Mainstream Media. Why else do people attack in such a vile and energetic way, they are scared to death. And they should be because this is one of the principles that founded this country and it is how it should operate… with government being scared of it’s people. That is in essence what we are all about, surrounding our government, keeping our leaders in check and being sure they know who they work for.

Keep spreading the word about our site, we need more members and we cannot spread the word by ourselves, we need you fellow Tea Party’rs. So please tell everyone you know about the site. We need old folks, young folks, black folks, white folks, dems, repubs, liberals, libertarians, etc.

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