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The Center on Budgets and Taxes at The Heartland Institute seeks to stop tax increases at the national, state, and local levels and help elected officials find ways to reduce spending and balance their budgets. It seeks to convince elected officials that lowering taxes and reducing government spending is good policy and good politics.

We help governments lower taxes and spending by exploring opportunities to privatize poorly delivered services. We actively oppose junk science and the use of scare tactics in the areas of public health and environmental protection. And we champion constitutional tax and spending limits for state and national governments.

The national government currently faces a national debt of $18 trillion. National entitlement programs are all on paths to bankruptcy, some as soon as this year. Many states and cities face their own impending financial cliffs as years of over-promising wages and benefits to public workers collide with chronic under-funding of public pension funds. Government debt is a “ticking time bomb” that threatens to destroy people’s savings, the economy, and America’s leadership in the world. The regulatory state is similarly out of control.

In order to stop tax hikes and compel elected officials to control spending, free-market advocates must first prove that lower taxes, privatization of public services, and tax and spending limitations yield stronger economic growth and prosperity. Legislators armed with good information can win debates and get their legislation passed, persuade constituents, and mobilize interest groups that benefit from good policy choices.

The Heartland Institute is especially good at marketing good ideas to elected officials. Everything we do is aimed specifically at meeting the information needs of elected officials. We reach them directly, repeatedly, and with the most persuasive information available. First, we change their minds, and then they change policy.


Title: Highlights: An Economic Assessment of the Fair Tax in Illinois
Description: Three famous economists - Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D., Stephen Moore, and Erwin J. Antoni, Ph.D - present their new paper for The Heartland Institute titled "Will the Last Taxpayer in Illinois Please Turn Out the Lights: An Economic Assessment of the Illinois ‘Fair Tax’." The report: This video is just 15 minutes of highlights of their remarks. See the full 52-minute presentation here: The economists’ research says passage of the so-called "Fair Tax" ballot initiative, which voters will decide on November 3, would:  hit small businesses with annual profits as low as $250,000;  slow job growth by an estimated 566,000 over the next decade, effectively eliminating about one in 10 current jobs;  result in 1.4 million people leaving Illinois for better economic opportunities, setting outmigration from Illinois at about nine times faster than the current alarming rate;  reduce the state's GDP by $20.5 billion over the next decade;  reduce home value appreciation by about 10.4 percent over the next decade;  make Illinois one of the five highest tax jurisdictions in the world, with only New Jersey and some Third World nations having a higher tax on corporations.

Taxes Experts Team

The Heartland Institute's experts on tax policy are available for legislative testimony, speaking engagements, and media interviews.

Staff & Fellows Policy Experts