The Koch-Tillis Agenda

Minimum Wage

The Koch Brothers Want to Eliminate Minimum Wage Altogether and Oppose Raising It

Charles Koch

Charles Koch: Minimum Wage Is An “Obstacle” And “We’ve Got To Clear Those Out.”  According to the Wichita Eagle, “In his interview he [Charles Koch] emphasized several times that he believes his ideas on economics will help disadvantaged people. Government regulations – including the minimum wage law – tend to hold everyone back, he said. […] ‘Anything that people with limited capital can do to raise themselves up, they keep throwing obstacles in their way. And so we’ve got to clear those out. Or the minimum wage. Or anything that reduces the mobility of labor.’” [Wichita Eagle, 7/9/13]

Wichita Eagle On Koch’s Description of $200,000 Media Campaign In Wichita: “ Government Regulations – Including The Minimum Wage Law – Tend To Hold Everyone Back, He Said.”  According to The Wichita Eagle:

“The effort beginning this week will cost the Charles Koch Foundation about $200,000 and run as a media campaign in Wichita for four weeks, he said. If people like it, he said, he might expand it to other cities.  The point of it, Koch said, is that he believes prosperity grows where economic freedom is greatest, where government intervention in business affairs is kept to a minimum. He hopes his ideas will help the country grow, he said. In his interview he emphasized several times that he believes his ideas on economics will help disadvantaged people. Government regulations – including the minimum wage law – tend to hold everyone back, he said.”  Wichita Eagle, 7/9/13

Americans for Prosperity

AFP: “Raising The Minimum Wage Does More Harm Than Good.” According to a “Legislative Alert” on Americans For Prosperity’s website, “A minimum wage hike is simply an ineffective way to help Americans rise out of poverty. It only reaches half of those it is intended to help and not in a positive way. Increasing employment opportunity gives low-skilled workers the best chance of finding employment and climbing up the economic mobility ladder. Raising the minimum wage does more harm than good.” [, 12/19/13]

AFP Foundation: Minimum Wage Represents “Failed Government Intervention”; “Policymakers Should Let Individuals And Businesses Freely Decide What Wage Levels Are Appropriate.” According to the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, “The history of minimum wage laws in the United States tells the story of a failed government intervention into the economy. Minimum wage laws have the unintended consequence of increasing unemployment and reducing opportunities for young and low-skilled job seekers. Despite these discouraging outcomes, politicians have continued to press for a higher minimum wage. For too long, this has hindered Americans in their quest for prosperity. Instead of creating more labor market barriers, policymakers should let individuals and businesses freely decide what wage levels are appropriate.” [, March 2012]

Clark-Koch Proposed Abolishing All Minimum Wage Laws

Politico: “Clark And Koch Promised To Abolish Social Security, Corporate Taxes, Minimum-Wage Laws.”  According to Politico: “Koch ran with Libertarian presidential candidate Ed Clark in 1980, against Republican Ronald Reagan and Democrat Jimmy Carter. Clark and Koch promised to abolish Social Security, corporate taxes, minimum-wage laws. “ [Politico, 4/14/14]

Clark-Koch: “We Should Abolish The Minimum Wage Laws.” In the book, “A New Beginning,” Clark-Koch wrote: “We should abolish the minimum wage laws and licensing laws so that people can once again be free to compete and to work, so that no bureaucrat or politician backed by special interested can ever again stand between a human being and a chance to work for a living, bringing with it the dignity of self-reliance, not the dehumanizing dependency of helpless poverty and unemployment.” [A New Beginning, p. 97, August 1980]

Thom Tillis Questioned The Existence Of A Federal Minimum Wage And Called A Minimum Wage Increase A “Dangerous Idea”

Tillis Questioned Whether A Federal Minimum Wage Should Exist

Tillis Said The Government Should Not Set The Minimum Wage. According to Under The Dome, “The Republican went even further to suggest government shouldn’t set a minimum wage, labeling it an ‘artificial threshold.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis Said The Minimum Wage “Drives Up Costs And It Could Harm Jobs.” According to Under The Dome, “‘I have serious concerns with the discussion around minimum wage because it drives up costs and it could harm jobs,’ Tillis said after making his bid official at the State Board of Elections in Raleigh. ‘Obviously we want people to be paid a wage that could help make ends meet, but when you increase artificially the cost of labor to do a job, then often times those jobs will just go away.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis Did Not Answer What He Thought A Living Wage Was, But Said The Market Should Define What It Was. According to Under The Dome, “Asked what he considered a living wage, Tillis dodged. He pivoted to say private industry ought to answer the question. ‘I think for the most part the market needs to define that,’ he answered. ‘When we create artificial thresholds then you run into a big problem. And I think we need to know that a segment of the population relies on minimum wage, but there are a lot of jobs that go beyond the minimum wage.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis Opposed Raising The Federal Minimum Wage

Tillis Said He Opposed Raising The Minimum Wage And Said It Was A “Dangerous Idea.” According to Under The Dome, “U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis on Wednesday said he opposes President Barack Obama’s plan to increase the federal minimum wage, calling it a ‘dangerous idea.’” [Under The Dome, 2/26/14]

Tillis’ Spokesman Said Tillis Wanted Minimum Wage To Stay At $7.25. According to McClatchy, “Asked if the minimum wage should be done away with, Tillis replied: ‘Yeah, I think you should consider anything that frees up the market to create more jobs, but the reality is you can’t un-ring that bell, and you have to look at whether it creates destabilization in a market that’s already destabilized.’ His spokesman, Jordan Shaw, said Tillis wants the wage to stay at $7.25.” [McClatchy, 3/20/14]

Tillis Would Not Take Stance On Minimum Wage Increase In MSNBC Interview. According to the Huffington Post, “North Carolina’s new GOP Senate candidate, Thom Tillis, was unable to answer a very simple question on Wednesday: Would he support raising the minimum wage in his state? The yes-or-no question came from MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, who’s made a healthy habit of questioning Republican politicians over their stances on the minimum wage. In the past week, Todd has teased qualified support for minimum wage hikes out of both former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.), both former GOP presidential candidates. But when it came to Tillis, the North Carolina House speaker who’s hoping to unseat Democrat Kay Hagan in the U.S. Senate, Todd couldn’t coax Tillis into taking a position at all in an interview on ‘The Daily Rundown.’” [Huffington Post, 5/7/14]

Tillis Opposed Raising The State Minimum Wage

In A 2010 Questionnaire From The North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation, Tillis Opposed Raising The Minimum Wage. According to the Hill, “State House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) wouldn’t say whether or not he supports raising North Carolina’s minimum wage in a Wednesday interview, but in 2010 he said he opposed it. The newly-minted GOP Senate nominee, responding to a North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation candidate questionnaire four years ago, circled ‘disagree’ when asked on the survey if he thought North Carolina’s General Assembly should raise the minimum wage. Unlike other questions on the survey, he didn’t write in any caveats or explanations.” [Hill, 5/8/14]

In May 2014, Tillis Refused To Answer Whether or Not He Supported Raising The State Minimum Wage In A TV Interview. According to the Hill, “In his first national media interview the next morning, Tillis repeatedly refused to say whether the state’s minimum wage should be increased, though he reiterated that he opposed raising it on a national level. ‘I believe that minimum wage decisions need to be made by the state. That Barack Obama and Kay Hagan think that the minimum wage needs to be the same in the mountains of North Carolina and the city of Boston makes no sense to me. It’s a decision that needs to be made with the people closest to the situation, and I think that’s state legislators,’ he said. The legislative leader then refused in a series of follow-up questions to say whether or not the state’s minimum wage should be increased.” [Hill, 5/8/14]

On MSNBC, Tillis Said That Minimum Wage Should Be Left Up To State Legislatures, Host Chuck Todd Pointed Out That Tillis Was The Speaker Of State House. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Tillis didn’t help himself during his primary victory lap Wednesday when he stumbled through an answer about raising the minimum wage during an interview with Chuck Todd on MSNBC – saying the decision should be left to state legislatures but then dodging when Mr. Todd reminded him that he is the speaker of the North Carolina state house.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/8/14]

Tillis Believed North Carolinians Should Earn Lower Wages Than People In Massachusetts

Tillis Said That It Made No Sense To Him For The Minimum Wage To “Be The Same In The Mountains Of North Carolina And The In City Of Boston.” According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis said on MSNBC Wednesday paying workers in the North Carolina mountains the same minimum wage as workers in Boston ‘makes no sense.’ He made the comments in an interview on The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd. ‘I believe that minimum wage decisions need to be the made by the state. Barack Obama and Kay Hagan think that the minimum wage needs to be the same in the mountains of North Carolina and the in city of Boston it makes no sense to me,’ Tillis said on the show. ‘It’s a decision that needs to be made closest to – with the people closest to the situation. And I think that’s states legislatures.’” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 5/7/14]

Renewable Energy

The Koch Brothers Wanted to Eliminate Renewable Energy Standards, Wind Energy Tax Credits

Renewable Portfolio Standards

AFP Opposed State Renewable Portfolio Standards,  “Only The Markets Can Dictate” Action On Renewable Energy Goals “In An Efficient, Cost Effective Manner.” According to Americans for Prosperity Foundation, “Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are state efforts to either mandate or set a goal for utility companies to acquire some of their energy from ‘renewable’ energy sources. […] Renewable mandates’ poor record serves as a warning to states that assume the government can create sufficient incentives for renewable technologies. Renewable energy goals are rarely met, energy prices increase dramatically, and massive subsidies are required for jobs and operation of facilities. Only the markets can dictate such action in an efficient, cost effective manner.” [Americans For Prosperity, October 2012]

Renewable Fuel Standards

Americans For Prosperity Strongly Supported Permanently Eliminating RFS. According to testimony from Christine Harbin Hanson, Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Prosperity, during a public hearing by the Environmental Protection Agency, “AFP strongly supports efforts to permanently eliminate the RFS.” [Christine Harbin Hanson – Public Hearing Testimony, 12/5/13]

Wind Energy Tax Credits

Americans For Prosperity Opposed Renewing Wind Production Tax Credit (PTC). According to a legislative alert from Americans for Prosperity, written by AFP Federal Affairs Manager Christine Harbin Hanson, “As I discussed recently in The Hill, the wind industry has failed to produce much in terms of long-term job creation and energy affordability, and Congress should let the wind production tax credit (PTC) expire at the end of the year as scheduled. […] AFP will continue to fight for a free market energy policy, and we’ll do it with our 100+ coalition partners. Now is the time to stop propping up special interests like those in the wind industry. Instead, we should let energy technologies compete for American consumers’ dollars on the open marketplace.” [Christine Harbin Hanson – Americans for Prosperity, 12/12/13]

Americans For Prosperity Opposed Extending The Wind Production Tax Credit. According to a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, Americans for Prosperity National Issue Campaign Manager Christine Harbin Hanson said, “On behalf of more than two million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I write to express our strong opposition to extending the wind production tax credit (PTC). We are encouraged by your decision to exclude this handout for the wind energy industry from the tax reform discussion draft you introduced earlier this year. We encourage your continued opposition to extending the PTC as your committee considers tax extenders legislation. […] Sincerely, Christine Harbin Hanson, National Issue Campaign Manager, Americans for Prosperity.” [Americans for Prosperity, 4/10/14]

AFP-Iowa Director Mark Lucas Wrote Op-Ed In Des Moines Register Opposed to Wind Production Tax Credit.  According to Mark Lucas:  “Hardworking Iowans didn’t elect our members of Congress to enact policies that distort the energy market — but that’s exactly what Congress is about to do. The main federal support for wind energy is scheduled to expire at the end of 2012, but there is a proposal in Congress to extend it. Iowa’s own Sen. Chuck Grassley added language to a bill coming out of the Senate Finance Committee that would extend and dramatically expand the wind production tax credit.  Republicans try to paint the picture that they are the party of limited government and fiscal restraint, but many of their policies do exactly the opposite. Grassley’s long-time support for wind energy incentives is a prime example. Extending the production tax credit would cost taxpayers $12 billion in 2013 alone.”  [Des Moines Register, 9/29/12 via Nexis; Link to Reproduction On Wind Watch ]

AFP-Iowa Director Mark Lucas Criticized Iowa’s Renewable Energy Mandate That Required Purchase of Wind Power.  According to Mark Lucas:    Wind gets an enormous amount of subsidy for very little production, compared to other forms of electricity generation. Of the total federal financial support for electric power in 2010, 42 percent went to wind power, even though it generates only 2.3 percent of our electricity.  State governments support wind energy, too. Like many other states, Iowa has a purchase mandate, meaning that power grids are required by law to buy certain amounts of electricity from wind power and other renewable energy sources. Iowa’s forced usage of renewables began in 1983. Now utilities in Iowa have to maintain 105 megawatts of renewable generating capacity. In 2001, then-Gov. Tom Vilsack set a voluntary goal of 1,000 megawatts on top of this standard.”  [Des Moines Register, 9/29/12 via Nexis; Link to Reproduction On Wind Watch ]

Tillis Wanted To Eliminate Requirements For Companies To Develop Alternative Sources Of Energy, Despite The Clean Energy Sector’s Importance To The State Economy

Tillis Supported Bill Reversing State Requirement That Power Companies Develop Alternative Sources Of Energy. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “The Republican-sponsored bill to roll back the requirement that power companies develop alternative energy sources is interesting in light of the fact that the governor’s administration is promoting the state’s success with renewable energy. The bill squeaked through its first committee meeting last week with two key Republicans voting against it, although Speaker Thom Tillis says he expects their concerns will be resolved and the legislation will advance. It has three more committees to clear, and then faces an uncertain reception if it reaches Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk. It could be awkward if McCrory signs a bill weakening the state’s program to promote renewable energy in light of the fact that his commerce department last week sent out a news release touting the 10th Sustainable Energy Conference later this month in Raleigh. ‘The state’s clean energy sector has been identified as one of the top national growth trends, vaulting North Carolina into a top-tier state for clean energy jobs and lifting the entire Southeast with it,’ Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said in the press release.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 4/7/13]

  • Opponents Of The Bill Argued That It Would “Virtually Eliminate The Market For New Renewable Energy Projects” And “Show That Clean Energy Investments Are No Longer Welcome Here.” According to a press release obtained via PR Newswire, “Betsy McCorkle, director of government affairs, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association said: “If H298 passes, it will virtually eliminate the market for new renewable energy projects, since a free market does not exist where clean energy can compete head to head with the utilities. This will mean no new investments or jobs from clean energy in North Carolina. We will lose our competitive advantage with other states, and the jobs and investments will start going to our neighbors in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. House Bill 298 signals that the rules are changing and clean energy investments are no longer welcome here.’” [PR Newswire, 4/15/13]
  • McCrory’s Commerce Secretary Said That North Carolina’s Clean Energy Sector Was A “Top National Growth Trend.” According to a Press Release From the North Carolina Department of Commerce, “‘The state’s clean energy sector has been identified as one of the top national growth trends, vaulting North Carolina into a top-tier state for clean energy jobs and lifting the entire Southeast with it, said N.C. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker. ‘Energy activity and issues will continue to dominate the state’s economic development landscape and will be front-and-center at our annual Sustainable Energy Conference.’” [North Carolina Department of Commerce, 3/14/13]
  • The Renewable Standards Had Spurred $1.4 Billion In Investments And Created 21,000 Jobs In Five Years. According to the Associated Press, “Business leaders and advocates for the alternative energy field warned legislators that changing the rules in midstream would hurt the industry. A study by Research Triangle International and an outside consultant for the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association said the state’s clean energy and energy efficiency programs have helped spur $1.4 billion in project investments and created or retained more than 21,000 jobs over the past five years.” [Associated Press, 4/4/13]
  • Switching To Clean Energy Would Save Ratepayers $173 Million By 2026. According to the Associated Press, “A switch to clean energy will save ratepayers $173 million by 2026, said Ross Loomis with RTI.” [Associated Press, 4/4/13]

Department of Education

The Koch Brothers Want to Eliminate Department of Education

2011 – AFP Wanted to Eliminate Department of Education

Americans for Prosperity Proposed Eliminating The Department of Education As “Wasteful Federal Department.”  [Americans for Prosperity Policy Paper, October 2011]

Americans for Prosperity Headline –  “Happy Birthday, US Dept of Education, Now Go Away!”  [Americans for Prosperity, 10/19/2011]

Americans for Prosperity – TX Director Peggy Venable Called Department of Education “Boondoggle.”  According to Americans for Prosperity: “The U.S. Department of Education is 32 years old. Many of us remember when then-President Carter separated Education from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It was yet another Carter boondoggle.”  [Americans for Prosperity, 10/19/2011]

Americans for Prosperity: “We Know The Federal Government Has No Role In Education,” “School Systems Are The Last Big Monopoly In The Country.” According to Americans for Prosperity:   “We know the federal government has no role in education, and that the states have responsibility for education. Moreover, school systems are the last big monopoly in the country.  We have seen funding increase far beyond the increase in student population and inflation, and student performance has not soared proportionately.”  Americans for Prosperity, 10/19/2011]

1980–Clark-Koch Supported Abolishing The Department Of Education

Clark-Koch: “The Department Of Education Is Another Expensive Intrusion Into Our Freedom To Choose, And I Would Abolish It.” In the book, “A New Beginning,” Clark-Koch wrote: “But I think the Department of Education is a big mistake. As the New York Times editorialized, ‘The supporters of a separate department speak vaguely of the need for a Federal policy on education. We believe that they misunderstand the nature of American education, which is characterized by diversity.’ The Department of Education is another expensive intrusion into our freedom to choose, and I would abolish it.” [A New Beginning, p. 71, August 1980]

Thom Tillis Wanted To Eliminate The Department Of Education

Tillis Said He Would Eliminate The U.S. Department Of Education. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “The candidates all favored smaller government. Each named different federal departments they want to eliminate: Tillis said the Department of Education and Mark Harris said Education, Energy and Commerce, Grant said the Environmental Protection Agency and Greg Brannon named four departments, Health and Human Services, Education, the Federal Reserve and the Internal Revenue Service.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 4/22/14]

  • Tillis Said That “We Existed For More Than A Century Without One.” According to Politico, “Tillis said he opposes Common Core and he identified the U.S. Education Department when asked to identify a federal cabinet agency he would eliminate. ‘We existed for more than a century without one,’ said Tillis, offering a nuanced explanation. ‘That’s the first department I’d look at … At some point, I’d wonder whether or not it needs to exist in its current form.’” [Politico, 4/22/14]

Climate Change Denial

The Koch Brothers Fund Climate Change Denial And Personally Deny Connection to Human Actions

Koch Industries Is Among “Top Ten Air Polluters” In America, Called “Kingpin Of Climate Science Denial.” According to the New Yorker, “In a study released this spring, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute named Koch Industries one of the top ten air polluters in the United States. And Greenpeace issued a report identifying the company as a ‘kingpin of climate science denial.’ The report showed that, from 2005 to 2008, the Kochs vastly outdid ExxonMobil in giving money to organizations fighting legislation related to climate change, underwriting a huge network of foundations, think tanks, and political front groups.” [New Yorker, 8/30/10]

Jeffrey Toobin: Koch Industries Viewed The Regulation Of Global Warming As “An Existential Threat” And “Will Spend What They Can To Stop It.” According to a column by Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer for the New Yorker, “To those in the carbon-producing business (like Koch Industries and the oil companies), the regulation of global warming is seen as an existential threat; they will spend what they can to stop it. For everyone else—that is, those merely affected by climate change—the threat is (at least for now) largely diffuse or abstract.” [Jeffrey Toobin -New Yorker, 6/10/14]

Jeffrey Toobin: The Koch Brothers Were “In The Forefront Of Anti-Climate-Change Activism.” According to a column by Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer for the New Yorker, “But it’s clear that in the forefront of anti-climate-change activism are the Koch brothers, who have invested huge amounts in politics and political candidates since Citizens United. (Jane Mayer has written about the brothers’ efforts.)” [Jeffrey Toobin -New Yorker, 6/10/14]

Jeffrey Toobin: The Kochs Were The “Gatekeepers For Republican Politics.” According to a column by Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer for the New Yorker, “The Kochs are so prominent that they have become, in effect, gatekeepers for Republican politics.” [Jeffrey Toobin -New Yorker, 6/10/14]

Jeffrey Toobin: “Climate-Change Denial Is Now The Price Of Admission To The Charmed Circle Of Republican Donors.” According to a column by Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer for the New Yorker, “Climate-change denial is now the price of admission to the charmed circle of Republican donors.” [Jeffrey Toobin -New Yorker, 6/10/14]

Jeffrey Toobin: Americans For Prosperity Created A Pledge For Elected Officials To Sign Which Promised That They Would Not Support Legislation Related To Climate Change That Increased Government Revenue. According to a column by Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer for the New Yorker, “Indeed, Americans for Prosperity, an organization heavily supported by the Kochs, has created a pledge for officeholders to sign, which promises that they will not support any legislation related to climate change that increases government net revenue.” [Jeffrey Toobin -New Yorker, 6/10/14]

David Koch Said He Wasn’t Sure If Humans Caused Global Warming And That It Would Have Positive Effects Anyway

David Koch Said He Was Not Sure if Global Warming Was Caused by Humans, Said Heating of Planet Was Good News.  According to New York Magazine: “Koch says he’s not sure if global warming is caused by human activities, and at any rate, he sees the heating up of the planet as good news.”  [New York Magazine, 6/25/10]

David Koch Said Longer Growing Seasons Would Make Up for Trauma Caused by Migration Away from Coastlines, That “The Earth Will Be Able To Support Enormously More People Because A Far Greater Land Area Will Be Available To Produce Food.”  According to New York Magazine:  “Lengthened growing seasons in the northern hemisphere, he says, will make up for any trauma caused by the slow migration of people away from disappearing coastlines. ‘The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food,’ he says.”   [New York Magazine, 6/25/10]

Koch Industries

Richard Fink, Koch Executive Vice President Attacked Science That Proved Global Warming

Koch Executive Vice President Richard Fink  Said Programs to Address Global Warming Were “Kneejerk Reaction to “Relatively Small But Well-Connected Group Of Alarmists And Special Interests.”  According to Fink:  “Programs and policies such as these have been the kneejerk reaction of politicians to a relatively small but well-connected group of alarmists and special interests.”  [Discovery Newsletter, April 2008]

Koch Executive Vice President Richard Fink Said Efforts to Explain Climate Change to Elementary School Students Was “Discredited Science,” “Exaggerated Scares,” “Propaganda.”  “Objective efforts to present various points of view are the foundation of both science and  education in a free society. Unfortunately, concerted efforts to present a one-sided approach to climate change have already reached even the elementary schools across our nation.  Much f this “information”  is discredited science and exaggerated scares.  This is far more propaganda than education and should be vigorously opposed by every parent.”  [Discovery Newsletter, April 2008]

Koch Executive Vice President Richard Fink Said Global Warming Needed “Fundamental Reexamination,” Recommended Book by Known Global Warming Denier.  According to Fink: The issue of global climate change has become so politicized and propagandized that it needs a fundamental reexamination. (Lawrence Solomon’s book, The Deniers, is a helpful place to start.)  [Discovery Newsletter, April 2008]

Koch Executive Vice President Richard Fink Said Mistake Polices to Address Global Warming Were Already Affecting Lives, Said Renewable Fuel Subsidies and Mandates Were Causing Environmental Harm.   According to Fink:  “Mistaken policies to address global climate change are already affecting our lives.  Today’s renewable fuels subsidies and mandates, for example, have already caused significant increases in food and commodity prices as well as environmental harm. The worst is yet to come.”  [Discovery Newsletter, April 2008]

Koch Executive Vice President Richard Fink Said That Without Alternatives to Global Warming Science, We Would Face “ ‘Cures’ That Are Certain To Be Far Worse Than The Supposed Disease.”  According to Fink:  “Despite the many attempts to shout down alternative views and legitimate scientific challenges to global warming claims, every citizen should have the courage to stand up for free speech and scientific inquiry, and take a serious  look at competing analyses. Otherwise, we face even more climate change “cures” that are certain to be far worse than the supposed disease.”  [Discovery Newsletter, April 2008]

Koch Industries Official Newsletter Questioned Science of Global Warming

Koch Industries’ Discovery Newsletter: “Why Would A Reasonable Society Rush To Implement Far-Reaching (And Costly) Climate Change Policies Based On Such Shaky Understanding Of The Science?” According to an article from Discovery Newsletter on the Koch Industries website, “We are often told our planet will be devastated unless we immediately make drastic reductions in man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The list of possible climate catastrophes caused by GHGs seems endless.Interestingly enough, all of these claims have been disproven or grudgingly retracted.  So why would a reasonable society rush to implement far-reaching (and costly) climate change policies based on such shaky understanding of the science?” [, 1/1/10]

Koch Industries’ Discovery Newsletter: Climate Extremists Are Trying To Shout Down Any And All Dissenters… On The Mistaken Assumption That ‘The Science Is Settled.’” According to an article from Discovery Newsletter on the Koch Industries website, Rather than encouraging open and honest scientific enquiry and debate about the issue, climate extremists are trying to shout down any and all dissenters. All of this should be a warning flag for anyone proposing actions to respond to climate change on the mistaken assumption that ‘the science is settled.’” [, 1/1/10]

Thom Tillis Believed That Climate Change Was Not A Proven Fact

In First GOP Debate, Tillis Said That Climate Change Was Not A Proven Fact. According to Talking Points Memo, “Fittingly, all four Republican candidates in the North Carolina Senate race were asked on Earth Day if they believed climate change is a proven fact. And all four candidates said ‘no.’ The question was asked during a GOP primary debate on Tuesday night. The candidates, House Speaker Thom Tillis, Rev. Mark Harris, Dr. Greg Brannon, and nursing practitioner Heather Grant, in response to the question, said ‘no.’” [Talking Points Memo, 4/22/14]

  • Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Tillis Does Not Believe In Climate Change, A Position That Is “Almost Laughable.” According to an editorial by the Raleigh News & Observer, “Oh, and the four major GOP candidates also don’t believe in climate change, which has the credibility of many illustrious scientists behind it. This is a national and state Republican position, and it’s almost laughable: Were the Atlantic’s waves lapping up around Grandfather Mountain, the GOP still would deny climate change.” [Editorial – Raleigh News & Observer, 4/23/14]

Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

The Koch Brothers Endorsed Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

AFP Scored At Least Eight Votes Reducing Taxes For The Wealthy As Key Votes. According to AFP’s congressional scorecards for the 111th and 112th Congresses, as well as the AFP Scorecard website, AFP took a position in favor of cutting taxes for the wealthy at least eight times. Six of those are the House and Senate votes on House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan’s FY 2012, FY 2013 and FY 2014 budgets – 2013 House vote 88, 2013 Senate vote 46, 2012 House vote 151, 2012 Senate vote 98, 2011 House vote 277 and 2011 Senate vote 87. The seventh was AFP’s backing of the FY 2012 Republican Study Committee budget – 2011 House vote 275 – while the eighth was AFP’s backing of Sen. Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) FY 2013 budget resolution: 2012 Senate vote 99. [AFP Scorecard for the 112th Congress, 2/1/13; AFP Scorecard for the 111th Congress, 1/10/11; AFP Scorecard website, viewed 5/2/14]

In At Least Five Votes, AFP Opposed Raising Taxes On The Wealthy. According to AFP’s congressional scorecards for the 111th and 112th Congresses, AFP took a position against raising taxes on high-income earners at least five times: 2012 Senate vote 184, 2012 Senate vote 251, 2010 Senate vote 258, 2010 Senate vote 259 and 2010 House vote 604. [AFP Scorecard for the 112th Congress, 2/1/13; AFP Scorecard for the 111th Congress, 1/10/11]

AFP Scored At Least Four Votes Repealing Or Reducing The Estate Tax As Key Votes. According to AFP’s congressional scorecards for the 111th and 112th Congresses, as well as the AFP Scorecard website, AFP took a position in favor of repealing or reducing the estate tax at least four times: 2013 Senate vote 67, 2010 Senate vote 213, 2009 House vote 929 and 2009 Senate vote 146. [AFP Scorecard for the 112th Congress, 2/1/13; AFP Scorecard for the 111th Congress, 1/10/11; AFP Scorecard website, viewed 5/2/14]

Americans for Prosperity Opposed Raising Capital Gains Tax.  According to Americans for Prosperity:  “It is a simple fact of economics that capital formation is a critical feature of long term economic growth. Through capital formation, new industries are forged and jobs are created, subsequently providing a higher standard of living for all of society. If this is true, then why would the Obama Administration insist on raising taxes on investment income through capital gains and dividends? By increasing the tax rate on investments—like that of capital gains from 15% to 20% before the new ObamaCare surcharge of 3.8% on high income earners–our recovery will more than likely remain at a lethargic crawl.”  [Americans for Prosperity, 12/11/12]

AFP Opposed Bill That Would Have Increased The Bush Tax Cuts’ Capital Gains And Qualified Dividend Rates For Only The Top Earners. In July 2012, AFP supported a bill that, according to the Tax Policy center, would have extended for one year the “0 percent tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends for those who would otherwise be in the bottom two tax brackets; and 15 percent tax rate on capital gains and qualified dividends for those who would otherwise be in the 25, 28, or 33 percent tax brackets. The rate would be 20 percent for those in the top two tax brackets.” The bill – which addressed income tax, capital gains and dividend taxes, some tax credits from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and an Alternative Minimum Tax “patch” – passed the Senate by a vote of 51 to 48 on July 25, 2012, but it was never acted on by the House. [Senate Vote 184, 7/25/2012; New York Times, 7/26/12; Tax Policy Center, Viewed 7/23/13; AFP Scorecard for the 112th Congress, 2/1/13]

Washington Post: Low Capital Gains Taxes “Disproportionately Benefits The Ultra-Wealthy.”  According to The Washington Post:”What is clear is that the capital gains tax rate disproportionately benefits the ultra-wealthy. Most Americans depend on wages and salaries for their income, which is subject to a graduated tax so the big earners pay higher percentages. The capital gains tax turns that idea on its head, capping the rate at 15 percent for long-term investments. As a result, anyone making more than $34,500 a year in wages and salary is taxed at a higher rate than a billionaire is taxed on untold millions in capital gains.  While it’s true that many middle-class Americans own stocks or bonds, they tend to stash them in tax-sheltered retirement accounts, where the capital gains rate does not apply. By contrast, the richest Americans reap huge benefits. Over the past 20 years, more than 80 percent of the capital gains income realized in the United States has gone to 5 percent of the people; about half of all the capital gains have gone to the wealthiest 0.1 percent.”[The Washington Post, 9/26/11]

Thom Tillis Slashed Taxes For The Wealthy And Corporations

Tillis Plan Shifted The Tax Burden “From The Rich And Corporations To Middle-And Low-Income North Carolinians”

Tax Reform Package Cut Personal And Corporate Taxes, Eliminated Estate Tax. According to WRAL, “The package will reduce both personal and corporate income taxes. It also eliminates the estate tax and preserves the ability of most nonprofits to get refunds of what they pay in sales taxes.” [WRAL, 7/15/13]

Raleigh News & Observer Editorial: Tillis Passed Tax Reform Bill That Would Create “A Shift In The Tax Burden From The Rich And Corporations To Middle- And Low-Income North Carolinians.” In an editorial, the Raleigh News & Observer wrote: “The new tax law is deceptively billed as a tax cut for everyone while the reality is that it is a shift in the tax burden from the rich and corporations to middle- and low-income North Carolinians. The change is being justified as yet another version of trickle-down economics that supposedly will help the people it hurts by magically creating a rush of new jobs by ‘job creators’ freshly unburdened of paying their fair share. ‘We’ve moved toward action; people are hurting,’ the governor said. What they moved was the tax burden, but he’s right about the people.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/24/13]

Video: Tillis Agreed That His Tax Plan To Reduce Corporate and Personal Income Taxes By Broadening The Sales Tax Base Would “Invariably” Mean A Tax Increase For Low Income People. During an interview with Chris William on Carolina Business Review, William asked: “Let’s go back to the point you made about regressive taxes, and you want to be regressive sensitive, I understand that, but still, wouldn’t you be worried that if you broadened the base and lowered the rate, that you would still be raising taxes on some of those folks? TILLIS: “Invariably if you broaden the base. By definition it means things are going to be taxed that haven’t been taxed before. So then the question becomes, is it rational or is it fair? And that may serve as a basis for some future exemptions.” [Carolina Business Review, 10/31/12]

Tillis’ Tax Plan Did Not Cut Taxes Extensively For The Middle Class, But Gave Huge Tax Cuts To The Wealthy

Tax Reform Package Produced Largest Tax Cuts For “High-Income Earners And Those Without Children,” Including High-Income Single Individuals. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “Most taxpayers would get a tax break with the largest cuts reserved for high-income earners and those without children. A married couple with two children making $60,000 would save $84, a legislative analysis showed, while a single person earning $250,000 would save $4,000 a year.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/15/13]

Greenville Daily Reflector Editorial: Berger And Tillis Agreed On Tax Reform Plan That Produced “A Massive Tax Break That Benefits The Wealthiest Individuals And North Carolina’s Corporate Citizens Above All Others.” In an editorial, the Greenville Daily Reflector wrote: “Most North Carolina voters who elevated the Republican Party to a legislative majority and elected Pat McCrory governor sought changes to the state’s tax code. They may be disappointed, however, to see an attempt at real reform of an antiquated tax system was jettisoned in favor of a massive tax break that benefits the wealthiest individuals and North Carolina’s corporate citizens above all others.” [Greenville Daily Reflector, 7/24/13]

Tax Reform Package Cut Taxes By Just $80 For Married Couple With Two Children Earning $40,000 Annually, While Cutting Taxes By Over $2,400 For Married Couple With Two Children Earning $250,000 Annually. According to WRAL, “According to an analysis by the legislature’s nonpartisan staff, taxpayers at both ends of the income spectrum will pay less. For example, a married couple filing jointly with two children who make $40,000 a year will pay $80 less under this tax plan. The same couple filing jointly with two children who make $250,000 will pay $2,434 less.” [WRAL, 7/15/13]

Tax Reform Package Would Cut Taxes By $12,300-$18,800 For A Married Couple With Two Children Earning $1 Million Annually, And Cut Taxes By $78,000 Annually For A Married Couple With Two Children Earning $4 Million Annually. According to the Raleigh News & Observer, “For a married couple with two children making a combined $1 million, the income tax break is between $12,300 and $18,800, a roughly 20 percent cut. The same family making $4 million a year can get a cut up to $78,000, the analysis found. Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, used the figures to show the top 1 percent of taxpayers would proportionally get the biggest income tax break. ‘This is a bill that is helpful if you are millionaire; it does not help you if you are in the middle class,’ Luebke said.” [Raleigh News & Observer, 7/16/13]

Medicaid Expansion

The Koch Brothers Opposed Medicaid Expansion In North Carolina

Americans For Prosperity’s North Carolina Chapter Applauded North Carolina’s Refusal To Accept Medicaid Expansion In The State. According to AFP North Carolina, “Raleigh, NC – Americans for Prosperity – North Carolina praised Governor Pat McCrory for his decision not to set up a state health care exchange and for choosing not to expand the state Medicaid program. Americans for Prosperity President Tim Phillips offered the following statement: ‘On behalf of the one hundred and fifty thousand members of Americans for Prosperity-North Carolina, and all federal taxpayers, we congratulate Governor Pat McCrory for signing Senate Bill 4, which will reject the unwise expansion of Medicaid and a state based exchange. The Governor and General Assembly leaders are trying to save American taxpayers from the federal government and the federal government from itself. They know the federal government is effectively bankrupt and someone must put us on a more responsible course. Today Governor McCrory, along with the General Assembly, helped do that.’ AFP-NC State Director Dallas Woodhouse added: ‘Unlike some other state executives, McCrory ignored the siren call of ‘free’ federal money and recognized the problems with expanding Medicaid and creating a state health care exchange in North Carolina. We applaud him for this principled and prudent decision.’” [AFP North Carolina, 3/6/13]

Thom Tillis Blocked Medicaid Expansion In North Carolina

Tillis Refused Federal Money For Medicaid

Tillis Said That Under His Leadership North Carolina “Refused Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion And Refused To Build A State Exchange To Implement Obamacare.” According to Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, “As the leader of the conservative reform movement to overthrow Democrats in Raleigh in the 2010 elections, Tillis made the rejection of Obamacare his first order of business as Speaker of the House. Under Tillis’ leadership, North Carolina has refused Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and refused to build a state exchange to implement Obamacare in North Carolina. ‘My campaign to beat Kay Hagan is the key to a new conservative majority that will repeal Obamacare and balance the budget,’ Tillis said. ‘It is a badge of honor to be attacked by Harry Reid and I will work night and day to beat Kay Hagan and overthrow his majority in the U.S. Senate.’” [Thom Tillis for U.S. Senate, 12/5/13]

Tillis Issued A Statement Saying That Expanding Medicaid In North Carolina Would Cost Taxpayers Too Much Money, And Activists Should Be “Protesting Obamacare” Instead Of Advocating Medicaid Expansion. According to a press release found via, “Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) and House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) issued the following joint statement Monday in response to a handful of representatives from liberal special interest groups calling for an expansion of Medicaid. The activists hosted a press gaggle which was as well attended by political reporters as by protesters. […] ‘An expansion of Medicaid would cost North Carolina taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars through 2021. How do these Democratic party front groups suggest we pay for it – how many teachers are they willing to fire? How high are they willing to raise the sales tax on groceries and medicine? How much are they willing to cut doctors’ and hospitals’ reimbursement rates? ‘If these liberal activists were truly serious about reducing the cost of health insurance, they would be in Washington protesting Obamacare – an abomination that has caused insurance premiums to skyrocket for working families.’ [, 10/28/13]

Medicaid Expansion Would Have Covered 500,000 More People In North Carolina

The Federal Government Would Have Paid For 100% Of A North Carolina Medicaid Expansion For Three Years. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, The federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost to expand Medicaid to those newly eligible Medicaid recipients for the first three years of expansion. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, and North Carolina lawmakers did just that.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 10/27/13]

Medicaid Expansion Would Have Covered An Additional 500,000 In North Carolina. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Expansion of Medicaid would have covered an additional 500,000 people in North Carolina. As federal reimbursements decline, hospitals in the state will continue to care for the uninsured.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 10/27/13]

North Carolina Medicaid Background

North Carolina Medicaid Did Not Cover Low-Income Childless Adults Unless They Were Disabled. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “Currently, Medicaid in North Carolina only covers certain categories of low-income people including pregnant women below a certain income level, children of low-income families, parents of children younger than 18 if their income is less than half of the federal poverty rate and the elderly and disabled. It does not provide coverage to childless adults unless they are disabled.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 10/27/13]

There Was A Gap Between Who Was Already Covered By North Carolina Medicaid And Who Was Eligible For Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Exchange Coverage. According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, “The Affordable Care Act included a provision to cover anyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty level by expanding Medicaid. […]For those who fall below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, the Affordable Care Act specifically prevents them from getting subsidies that will be available to other low income and moderate income people buying insurance on the Health Insurance Marketplace.” [Asheville Citizen-Times, 10/27/13]

Refusal To Expand Medicaid Would Cost State An Estimated $51 Billion

Refusal To Expand Medicaid Would Cost North Carolina $51 Billion Over 10 Years. According to the Associated Press, “The decision by Gov. Pat McCrory and Republican lawmakers not to expand Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act will cost North Carolina $51 billion in lost federal money and thousands of jobs over the next decade, according to a new report.” [Associated Press, 8/18/14]

State Was Projected To Lost $11 Billion For Reimbursements For Hospitals And $40 Billion In Medicaid Funding. According to the Associated Press, “The study issued by the non-partisan Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute says the state will lose nearly $40 billion in Medicaid funding and more than $11 billion in reimbursements to North Carolina hospitals if the state continues to forgo expansion through 2022.” [Associated Press, 8/18/14]

Hospitals Had To Lay Off Around 2,000 People Because Of Failure To Expand Medicaid

North Carolina Hospital Association Estimated That At Least 2,000 Employees Had Been Laid Off As A Result Of Decision To Not Expand Medicaid. According to the Associated Press, “The North Carolina Hospital Association estimates the state’s 109 acute care facilities have laid off at least 2,000 employees as a result of the decision to forgo Medicaid expansion, coupled with other state and federal cuts to the entitlement program. Conversely, expanding Medicaid would create an estimated 20,000 new jobs statewide.” [Associated Press, 8/18/14]

Editorial: Tillis’ Statement That Expanding Medicaid Would Cost Taxpayers More Was False

Raleigh News-Observer Editorial: Tillis Statements On Medicaid Expansion Were False. According to an editorial by the Raleigh News-Observer, “State Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis were even harsher. Their statement said, in part, ‘An expansion of Medicaid would cost North Carolina taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars through 2021.’ Not true. That statement is based on the GOP’s wishful thinking that the federal government would renege on the promise to pay all costs. The statement also said that ‘liberal activists’ should be ‘protesting Obamacare, an abomination that has caused insurance premiums to skyrocket for working families.’ That’s also not true. Some, typically those with the best coverage or those who have been paying rock-bottom prices for high-deductible policies not permitted under reform, have seen their premiums go up, but to say there have been skyrocketing prices across the board is just wrong.” [Editorial, Raleigh News-Observer, 10/31/13]

  • Raleigh News-Observer Editorial: “Republican Leaders In North Carolina Don’t Want To Hear How Changing Polices Could Help People.” According to an editorial by the Raleigh News-Observer, “It doesn’t matter, of course. Republican leaders in North Carolina don’t want to hear how changing policies could help people. They don’t want to acknowledge that ‘Obamacare,’ in forcing people to get coverage, will probably lower premiums for many.” [Editorial, Raleigh News-Observer, 10/31/13]
  • Raleigh News-Observer Editorial: “They’re Perfectly Content To Let The Poor Crowd Into Emergency Rooms Or Go Without Medicine And Continue To Suffer.” According to an editorial by the Raleigh News-Observer, “They’re perfectly content to let the poor crowd into emergency rooms or go without medicine and continue to suffer.” Editorial, Raleigh News-Observer, 10/31/13]

Falsified State Medicaid Audit

NC Health News Reported That McCrory Officials Eliminated Audit Information About The State’s Medicaid Program, Including That “Budget Overruns Were In Large Part A Function Of Under-Budgeting By The General Assembly.” According to NC Health News, “Documents obtained by North Carolina Health News through a public records request show that in January, incoming Sec. Aldona Wos and Medicaid head Carol Steckel eliminated detailed explanations of alleged high administrative costs, management problems and budget overruns in past years. The resulting document accepts the criticism in Wood’s assessment wholesale and paints the health care program that covers 1.6 million North Carolinians as ‘broken.’ The criticisms contained in the audit have yielded talking points used by Wos, Stickle and McCrory for the past eight months as justification for turning down a federal expansion of the program under the Affordable Care Act and proposing to privatize the program. […] Incoming administration officials also deleted whole sections explaining that budget overruns were in large part a function of under-budgeting by the General Assembly.” [NC Health News, 10/8/13]