The love story of North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and the Koch brothers gets more epic by the day, now spanning multiple years and issues and with millions spent to cement their political union. Earlier this year, the Kochs’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity, even held a series of rallies proclaiming their admiration for Tillis and his extreme policies, most especially the tax breaks for the state’s uber-wealthy that he helped shepherd into law.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the initial 2013 wave of those tax cuts reduced state revenue this year by $500 million, possibly more. Last year’s Tillis budget also cut education funding by approximately the same amount. Faced with a teaching force whose pay ranks 48th in the nation, the state legislature is “struggling” to give its teachers a much-deserved raise, which would cost $400 million, according to the report. Thanks to the budget deficit caused by the tax breaks, all of the scenarios where teachers get a raise also entail laying off thousands of their teacher assistants and cutting back Medicaid assistance for working families in the state. All while the state’s wealthiest are enjoying a sizable tax break that’s scheduled to get even bigger on January 1, costing the state another $300 million.

The Observer implores Tillis and the legislature’s leadership to stay these further tax cuts in favor of education funding in the state. But the Kochs have so far gotten an excellent return on their investment in their partner Thom Tillis. Will he yet again choose the Koch brothers over the thousands of underpaid teachers in his state?

If it’s a day that ends in ‘y,’ you can bet the Koch brothers and their political entity, Americans for Prosperity, are looking for opportunities to alter the tax code in order to further line their own pockets. Most recently, AFP and other ultra-conservative groups have been urging lawmakers to support bonus depreciation, which in addition to being a key tenet of AFP’s tax reform proposal, is what the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities deems “fiscally irresponsible” policy.

In addition to this relatively obscure provision, AFP’s tax reform manifesto includes numerous other changes that would tilt the tax code in favor of the super rich at the expense of working class Americans. According to CBPP, the plan includes a massive cut to the tax rates on corporations’ foreign profits and on the income tax paid by top earners, repeal of the estate tax and the removal of limits on individual contributions to retirement funds. CBPP boils down AFP’s 37-page tax plan to “a very large drain on federal revenues and a very large tilt toward the nation’s wealthiest individuals.” To add injury to insult, these Koch-endorsed provisions would be “injurious to working and middle-class Americans” who would likely see higher taxes and major cuts to entitlements in order to fund a tax structure so advantageous to corporations like Koch Industries and the extremely wealthy, e.g., the billionaire Koch brothers.

The Kochs and AFP continue to clamor in favor of permanent bonus depreciation — originally a temporary, recession policy — because they hope it will become a slippery slope leading to the enactment of a litany of self-serving provisions that would further skew the tax code in service of their bottom line.

AFP Defends Unpatriotic Business Practice As Symptom Of Unfair Corporate Tax Rate

The Koch brothers are always fighting for the people. And by people, in this case, of course they mean big companies who reincorporate overseas to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

The Koch brothers and their political groups like Americans For Prosperity are constantly pontificating about the necessity to slash taxes and overhaul the current tax code. But as we’ve shown time and time again, their goal isn’t so much to help people like you as it is to help people like them. They support plans that would amount to massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, while shifting greater tax burden to working families.

Well, they’re at it again. In the midst of an ongoing economic recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression, with too many working families still struggling to get by, what is the biggest concern for the Kochs and AFP? Perhaps it’s expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit or providing credits to incentivize companies to hire the long-term unemployed?

Of course not. AFP argues that we need slash the corporate tax rate, and in doing so, they defend corporations who redomicile in other countries to avoid paying American taxes. Legislation has been proposed to crack down on that practice. But to nobody’s surprise, AFP would rather use the opportunity to champion huge tax cuts for big corporations like Koch Industries than display any semblance of patriotism.

Earlier this year, Americans for Prosperity made waves when it came out that the organization — the political arm of the Koch brothers — plans to spend $125 million influencing this fall’s midterm elections. Turns out this huge sum, unprecedented for a private group in a midterm election, is actually an underestimate, according to AFP’s President Tim Phillips.

Phillips told the Washington Post that the report pegging AFP’s spending at $125 million “understates the actual amount they will spend” on the midterms. Although he does not specify how much exactly of an understatement it is, Phillips notes that in addition to heavy spending on political ads (which are notoriously misleading), voters can expect AFP to have an expanded on-the-ground presence in several states, like Louisiana. According to Phillips, the group will also continue to interfere with local ballot initiatives, like the Columbus Zoo tax levy.

AFP’s latest revelation serves as another reminder that for the self-serving Koch brothers and their allies, no price is too high for the chance to buy political outcomes that benefit their bottom line.

North Carolina Film Tax Incentives: The Kochs Strike Back

The outfit that brought you NC Film Tax Incentives: Thom Tillis’ Epic Flip-Flop last month is already out with a sequel and it’s even more packed with hypocrisy than the original. Americans for Prosperity, political arm of the billionaire Koch brothers, released a statement yesterday urging North Carolina lawmakers to oppose the extension of tax credits for the successful film and television industry in the state, building on a June ad campaign railing against the program.

AFP’s vocal opposition to the incentives managed to woo House Speaker Thom Tillis, so it’s hardly surprising that the group continues to clamor over the program. What is noteworthy about the latest statement is AFP’s insistence that the tax program be discontinued in favor of “improving educational options in the state.” AFP suggests that the funding for tax incentives instead be applied to a taxpayer-funded program that pays for North Carolina students to attend private or parochial schools. This group coming out in favor of education spending might seem paradoxical, given the tremendous resources (over $8 million so far this year) AFP has put behind Speaker Thom Tillis’ Senate candidacy after he stripped over $500 million in state education funding over two years. But this is no plot twist — just another Koch-funded attempt to undermine public education.

The statement concludes that “School choice reform is the civil rights struggle of our day.” Interesting choice of words from a group that has hobnobbed with a noted racist.

Texas Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott has a good thing going on with the Kochs. As we previously wrote, much to the delight of the Kochs, Abbott actually acted to limit standards for public chemical disclosure even in the wake of the deadly explosion in West, Texas.

And Wayne Slater of Dallas Morning News reported that the move came after massive contributions from the fertilizer industry who stands to benefit from the relaxed chemical rules. Donations that included $75,000 from the Kochs, including $25,000 from Charles Koch’s son, Chase, who heads the fertilizer division of Koch Industries.

The Kochs have proven time and time again that they really don’t care about how people’s safety is affected by the work of their oil conglomerate, so long as they are maximizing profits. In fact, according to Daniel Shulman’s book, Sons of Wichita, a former Koch Industries pipeline manager “testified in a deposition that the company had taken a shockingly cavalier approach to pipeline safety.”

Abbott took heat for limiting chemical disclosure, but he stood strong with special interests and against the safety of his constituents. And for that, it appears the Kochs will continue to reward him. They just dropped another $25,000 into his campaign.

The Kochs have had affection for Greg Abbott for a while. This headline is from last September: When Greg Abbott needs an airplane who does he call? The Koch brothers. It appears their relationship is only growing sweeter.

Last week, we examined Generation Opportunity, the Kochs’ efforts to indoctrinate college students using keg parties and creepy carnivals. Turns out, for the past several years, the family — led by Charles G. Koch — has been endeavoring to start this process even earlier, with high school students. According an exhaustive report from the Huffington Post, since 2009, the Kochs and their allies have been using a program called Youth Entrepreneurs to “impart Koch’s radical free-market ideology to teenagers.” The report estimates that the initiative reached about 1,000 Kansas and Missouri students last school year.

Where Generation Opportunity’s gambit is creepy and ridiculous, the strategy and execution of Youth Entrepreneurs is subversive and unsettling. The classes are seemingly similar to a high school business course, but teachers receive training at Koch Industries’ headquarters, use class materials created by Koch-funded think tanks and are even required to read Charles’ book, according to the Huffington Post. Some of the messages teachers are expected to convey include “the minimum wage hurts workers and slows economic growth,” “low taxes and less regulation allow people to prosper” and that “government, in short, is the enemy of liberty.” All extreme stances espoused by the Kochs and their political arm, Americans for Prosperity.

Like any other Koch effort, Youth Entrepreneurs’ primary instrument of persuasion is money. The article notes that in order to recruit students into the class and to participate in related activities, YE promises scholarship money after graduation or potential funds for a start-up venture. Moreover, according to the Huffington Post, the program deliberately targets at-risk youth in underfunded schools, where students, teachers and administrators alike are unlikely to be in a position to turn down free support or resources. The tactic is even more craven when considered with the Kochs’ stance on education funding. Beyond buying elections for extreme conservatives who have slashed education funding in their states, like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, the Kochs have advocated for the abolishment of the federal Department of Education, and with it, all federal education funding. As the Kochs would have it, public education funds should be slashed and the opportunity to influence hearts and minds awarded to the highest bidder.

In case you’re somehow not yet convinced of the nefariousness of the Kochs’ self-serving YE endeavor, after yesterday’s Huffington Post report, a website with elements of the curriculum was unceremoniously deleted.

Tell Me More About Education, Guy Who Wants To End All Federal Funding For Education

As part of the Koch brothers new “well-being initiative,” which is nothing more than another apparatus to push their self-serving anti-government agenda, The Charles Koch Institute is hosting an education forum in Nashville.

The Koch brothers hosting a forum on education is ironic at best and offensive at worst. Consider that Koch-supported governors and budgets have already wreaked havoc, gutting education funding in states like Wisconsin and North Carolina. But slashing funding is only one step toward their ultimate goal…

When David Koch ran for vice president in 1980, his Libertarian ticket called for abolishing the Department of Education and ending ALL federal funding for education.

So this is the Kochs view of how to increase “well-being” — by eliminating federal funding for education. It’s all part of their self-serving crusade against government that would privatize everything from education to social security and eliminate environmental regulations that keep our air safe to breathe and our water safe to drink.

The Koch agenda is bad for the well-being of working families, and we don’t need a new initiative or an education forum to figure that much out.

Background after the jump.

David Koch calls AFP’s misleading ads “quite true”

Today’s Kansas City Star features a rare interview with one of the typically reclusive Koch brothers, David. The piece primarily focuses on the many institutions and edifices that bear his name, but in a noteworthy passage at the end of the article, David discusses the barrage of TV ads coming from the Kochs’ political arm, Americans for Prosperity.

David lauds AFP’s ads criticizing the Affordable Care Act, glowing that “these ads are very well done” and that the campaign is “really quite informative and… quite true.” PolitiFact would beg to differ with David’s assessment of AFP’s anti-ACA ads, having rated the claims in several of these spots to be false. What’s more, David specifically praises the ads’ demonstration of “real people who have real medical problems,” yet the ads in AlaskaLouisiana and Colorado all used paid actors.

The gravity of his comments — and the false ads themselves — is underscored by a report today from the Sunlight Foundation that AFP and other Koch-affiliated groups have already bought airtime for their ads on over 100 TV stations nationwide. With AFP alone planning to spend $125 million influencing this fall’s mid-term elections, TV viewers across the country can expect a deluge of Koch-backed misinformation over the next few months.

David Koch’s characterization of AFP’s lies as “quite true” has us wondering — when you lie about a lie, does that make you a meta-liar, or just pants on fire?

The Kochs want to make Colorado the next North Carolina

Earlier we had a rundown of Americans for Prosperity’s new, hypocritical ads attacking a trio of Colorado State Senators for their support of a [Republican-sponsored!] bill establishing health care exchanges. Slate’s Dave Weigel has two words for why the billionaire Koch brothers’ political arm is going after these Colorado legislators, months out from Election Day: North Carolina.

Weigel recaps AFP’s return on investment in North Carolina in 2012, including the ability to shut Democrats out of the redistricting process and, subsequently, Republican control of both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. Ultra-conservatives Speaker Thom Tillis and Governor Pat McCrory have since been able to run the table, ramming through extreme policies like tax breaks for the wealthy and severe cuts to education funding in the state. A report earlier this year from Bridge Project has more details on the Koch-approved agenda that their cronies have made law in return for the millions of dollars AFP and allied groups have poured into electing Republicans in the state.

As Weigel notes, now that AFP has bought Republicans “in fully command’ in North Carolina, the group is setting their sights on Colorado, with the aim of pouring in huge sums of money to achieve a similar sweep. It’s not hard to understand why the Kochs and AFP want to replicate their North Carolina model — they’ve gotten what they paid for and then some with their yes men in the state legislature and Governor’s mansion.

Paid for by American Bridge 21st Century Foundation