Americans for Tax Reform

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Americans for Tax Reform is an national grassroots organization that seeks to reduce the overall level of taxation in the United States, at the federal, state and local level. Its founder and president is Grover Norquist, an influential Republican lobbyist.


Americans for Tax Reform was founded in 1985 by future Attorney General Bill Barr to organize grass-roots support for President Ronald Reagan's 1986 Tax Reform Act. Grover Norquist was offered the title of director.

Involvement with ballot measures

ATR has donated money to ballot measure campaigns in states around the country; these include:


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: national and state. According to an August 15, 2006, news release by the group (pdf), President George W. Bush, 47 U.S. senators, and 223 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed the pledge, as well as six governors and over 1,300 state legislators.

ATR also 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, and regulations by federal and state governments." [1]

Global warming

ATR was a member of the Cooler Heads Coalition, which promoted skepticism about the effects of global warming.

Support for amnesty

Grover Norquist and ATR have openly supported amnesty for the nation's 12-20 million illegal immigrants. In a statement issued February 9, 2005, Grover Norquist called for Congress to "support President Bush's common-sense plan" to give "foreign laborers [i.e., illegal immigrants] guest worker cards" and "to match willing [foreign] workers with willing employers."[2]

In another statement issued in May of 2006, ATR declared that it would consider a vote against S. 2611, the 2006 amnesty proposal, to be a vote against taxpayer interest. The release stated:

"ATR reserves the right to vote for final passage, a procedural motion, or any amendment to this bill. In particular, amendments that seek to dilute the comprehensive nature of the bill will be strongly-considered. These include but are not limited to measures to restrict the temporary worker program or measures to make it more difficult for illegal workers to earn legal status. ATR is also sensitive to amendments which put onerous restrictions on employers without giving them the ability to acquire a legal workforce sufficient to meet labor needs."[3]

Quotes by Grover Norquist

  • On Pat Robertson's 700 Club, Grover Norquist] said the following about the Bush Administration, “We is them, and they is us. When I walk through the White House, I recognize as many people as when I would walk through the Heritage Foundation.”
  • “My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
  • “I want to reduce the size of government in half as a percentage of GNP [gross national product] over the next 25 years. We want to reduce the number of people depending on government so there is more autonomy and more free citizens.”
  • “Every time you cut programs, you take away a person who has a vested interest in high taxes and you put him on the tax rolls and make him a taxpayer. A farmer on subsidies is part welfare bum, whereas a free-market farmer is a small businessman with a gun.”
  • “In the old days, George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway and told children they could not come in. Today, the foes of school choice stand in the doorway and say to the grandchildren of George Wallace's victims, “You cannot get out.”

External links