AFP Launches Major Effort Against “Border Adjustment Tax”

Feb 16, 2017 by AFP

Arlington, Va. – Americans for Prosperity held a call with reporters today to announce a major effort to educate the public about the problems a “border adjustment tax” would cause for consumers, and to mobilize grassroots against its inclusion in any federal tax reform package.

Leaders of the grassroots, free-market group explained their positions on the policy and outlined plans to advocate against it, which include applying grassroots pressure on the issue throughout this session of Congress.

These tactics include:

  • A digital video launched today, urging viewers to “Tell Congress: No border adjustment tax.”
  • A target of more than 10,000 calls from the public to lawmakers, sending a strong signal to House leadership that this is the wrong direction for tax reform.
  • Over 100 facilitated district-office visits around the country from concerned Americans.
  • Dozens of Capitol Hill office visits from AFP state directors travelling in from around the country this month, representing the grassroots forces in their states.
  • Key Vote Alerts on packages that include border adjustibility, which will factor into lawmakers’ grades on the AFP Scorecard (view more at www.afpscorecard.com).

Listen to audio from the call here.

Below is a roundup of comments from AFP leadership on the organization’s position and tactical plans. For direct interviews or additional information, reach Chris Neefus at Media@afphq.org or (703) 517-4504. 

Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips explained on the call that border adjustability is a deeply flawed approach to tax reform: 

“We are encouraged by the discussion to lower corporate tax rates and lowering and flattening rates for individuals. But we are deeply concerned by the border adjustment tax, which is really a consumer tax. It is a $1.2 trillion tax over 10 years that is going to be particularly difficult for folks who can least afforded it: the middle class, the working poor, and seniors on fixed incomes. We oppose it because of the devastating impact it is going to have on so many Americans. Instead of lower, flatter rates that treat all Americans the same, this plan would be another example of government picking winners and losers. For House Republicans— some in the leadership who are opposing this— this is where the disagreement lies.

“Do House Republicans really want to come home and explain to the folks there why they would pass a $1.2 trillion tax on consumers in the name of tax reform? That is not something they are going to want to explain to folks back home. This is a priority for us.”

AFP Chief Government Affairs officer Brent Gardner had the following to say:

“We’ve stood against this provision from the beginning. Our perspective is that this will be a devastating tax, not just for folks that have to pay for goods that are imported, but some of the impacts on fuel will increase the cost of transportation on all goods across the economy.  A consumer tax to pay for a corporate rate reduction is the wrong decision.

“We intend to key vote any type of border adjustment tax. Right now, we are beginning to activate our grassroots efforts across all of our state chapters. We will be putting extra pressure on about 21 members in the Senate in 15 states and the same in the House. We will continue to focus on Members of Ways and Means Committee who have an opportunity to, from the very beginning, remove this dangerous proposal and focus on what we’ve been talking about as a network for a long time: real solutions that include cutting government spending and looking at programs where we know we have an opportunity to offset reductions based on shrinking the size of government that continues to be a boot on the neck of this economy.”

Gardner on the administration’s tax plans: 

“We were encouraged by President Trump’s initial tax plan. We are keeping a watchful eye. We are hopeful they will remain consistent in not including something like this.

“This is a tax aimed squarely at the Trump voter, and I hope this is one the administration will reject.”

AFP Senior Regional Director Derrick Sontag laid out AFP’s grassroots strategy:

“We have hundreds of volunteers ready to make phone calls. Over the next few days, we will be connecting over 10,000 people directly with their members of Congress on this issue. Next week, we will be in the districts themselves holding office visits with members of Congress, and we have over 100 meetings scheduled– and counting. Complementing these efforts, AFP’s state directors will be on the Hill at the end of the month talking to their representatives about this issue and delivering the message they are hearing back at home in their districts about how the border adjustment tax is a huge tax on the American consumer.”