NTU’s Stephenson Visits Colorado

John Stephenson from the National Taxpayers Union recently addressed Liberty In the Books in Denver.

Following are some of his remarks:

“We are the nation’s oldest, and one of its largest, grass-roots taxpayer advocacy groups.”

“We’ve been focused a lot on income and sales taxes over the years. We’ve also gotten involved in some discriminatory taxes — these are taxes on alcohol, “sinful” products.”

“I indicated to [Colorado lawmakers] that a government… lets the private sector do what it should, allows jobs to be created, allows revenues to grow, and allows people to prosper.”

“We’ve also been concerned that government is growing too big nationally, and needs to be checked a little bit.” [A “little bit?”]

“States that have reduced their influence on the economy, that have… kept themselves limited to a narrow focus, providing the essential services that the private sector cannot or should not provide, have weathered the recession best… They’ve let the private sector grow, and increase, and lift up the state…”

“A basic fee is not a bad thing… But when it’s a fee to pay for something else than that… that’s where I have a problem. Fees should be restricted to a specific use.”

“The federal government encourages states to spend more money, through Medicaid, through education, in order to get funding. One of the things we’re looking on are ways to adjust those formulas so that the state, rather than encouraged to spend, is encouraged to save.”

“Pension costs are going up in every state. Perhaps instead of a defined benefits plan, looking at a defined contribution plan… might be a way to save money.”

On the “Amazon Tax:” “A lot of affiliates have been talking to their elected officials here in Colorado about how that has cost them their livelihood, so there’s the potential that that could be fixed… Going after a private business just because they’re out of state, forcing them to do something they’re not constitutionally required to do, is just wrong.”