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Dennis Kucinich on Tax Reform

Democratic Representative (OH-10); Democratic Candidate for President


Keep child tax credit, and extend it to more families

Q: Which of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 would you change?

A: I will repeal the tax cuts to the very wealthy, restoring the top two and a half income brackets and taxes on investments and estates (modifying the estate tax to protect small farms). I will retain the child tax credit expansion and extend it to the low-income families who were left out. I will retain the elimination of the marriage penalty.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Taxes" Jan 25, 2004

Fact Check: Says $40K earners pay same as $400K -not really

FACTCHECK on Taxes: Kucinich gave a distorted picture of who bears the tax burden.

KUCINICH: When you consider that a steelworker who's making $40,000 a year has virtually the same tax burden as someone who's making $400,000 a year, you see that there are inequities.

FACTCHECK: That's generally untrue even after the two Bush tax cuts. Even counting Social Security and Medicare taxes along with federal income taxes, households with between $40,000 and $50,000 in income pay an average, combined tax rate just under 19%, much LESS than the nearly 27% rate paid by those whose income falls between $200,000 and $500,000 a year. It is true that a rich person who gets most or all their income from stock dividends and capital gains, and little or nothing from salary or other sources, would pay a lower tax rate than the sort of working person Kucinich mentioned. That's because the rate on capital gains income was cut to 15%. However, such examples are not the rule and it's incorrect to imply otherwise.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Repeal tax cuts for wealthy to fund public higher ed

Q: To repeal the Bush tax cuts, is that a tax hike on those who've seen a reduction?

KUCINICH: No, actually the tax cuts that go to people in the top brackets ought to be repealed and ought to be put into a fund to provide for universal college education, free tuition for the 12 million American students who are currently attending public colleges and universities.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit Oct 27, 2003

Top 272,000 taxpayers got as much benefit as bottom 129M

Q: [When criticizing tax cuts for the rich], who's rich and who's in the middle class?

KUCINICH: Well, I think it's defined when you consider that the top 272,000 taxpayers are getting as much of a benefit under the Bush tax cut as the bottom 129 million. So I think that what's happening in this society is, there is a maldistribution of the wealth.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Voted NO on making permanent an increase in the child tax credit.

Vote to pass a bill that would permanently extend the $1,000 per child tax credit that is scheduled to revert to $700 per child in 2005. It would raise the amount of income a taxpayer may earn before the credit begins to phase out from $75,000 to $125,000 for single individuals and from $110,000 to $250,000 for married couples. It also would permit military personnel to include combat pay in their gross earnings in order to calculate eligibility for the child tax credit.
Reference: Child Credit Preservation and Expansion Act; Bill HR 4359 ; vote number 2004-209 on May 20, 2004

Voted NO on permanently eliminating the so-called marriage penalty.

Vote to pass a bill that would permanently extend tax provisions eliminating the so-called marriage penalty. The bill would make the standard deduction for married couples double that of single taxpayers. It would also increase the upper limit of the 15 percent tax bracket for married couples to twice that of singles. It also would make permanent higher income limits for married couples eligible to receive the refundable earned-income tax credit.
Reference: Marriage Penalty Relief; Bill HR 4181 ; vote number 2004-138 on Apr 28, 2004

Voted NO on making the Bush tax cuts permanent.

Vote to pass a bill that would permanently extend the cuts in last year's $1.35 trillion tax reduction package, many of which are set to expire in 2010. It would extend relief of the marriage penalty, reductions in income tax rates, doubling of the child tax credit, elimination of the estate tax, and the expansion of pension and education provisions. The bill also would revise a variety of Internal Revenue Service tax provisions, including interest, and penalty collection provisions. The penalties would change for the failure to pay estimated taxes; waive minor, first-time error penalties; exclude interest on unintentional overpayments from taxable income; and allow the IRS greater discretion in the disciplining of employees who have violated policies.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Lewis, R-KY; Bill HR 586 ; vote number 2002-103 on Apr 18, 2002

Voted NO on $99.5B economic stimulus: capital gains & income tax cuts.

Vote to pass a bill that would grant $99.5 billion in federal tax cuts in fiscal 2002, for businesses and individuals.

The bill would allow more individuals to receive immediate $300 refunds, and lower the capital gains tax rate from 20% to 18%.

Bill HR 3090 ; vote number 2001-404 on Oct 24, 2001

Voted NO on Tax Cut Package of $958B over 10 years.

Vote to pass a bill that would cut all income tax rates and make other tax cuts of $958.2 billion over 10 years. The bill would convert the five existing tax rate brackets, which range from 15 to 39.6 percent, to a system of four brackets with rates of 10 to 33 percent.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Thomas, R-CA; Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-118 on May 16, 2001

Voted NO on eliminating the Estate Tax.

Vote to pass a bill that would gradually reduce revenue by $185.5 billion over 10 years with a repeal of the estate tax by 2011.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Dunn, R-WA; Bill HR 8 ; vote number 2001-84 on Apr 4, 2001

Voted NO on eliminating the "marriage penalty".

Vote on a bill that would reduce taxes for married couple by approximately $195 billion over 10 years by removing provisions that make taxes for married couples higher than those for two single people. The bill is identical to HR 6 that was passed by the House in February, 2000.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Archer, R-TX; Bill HR 4810 ; vote number 2000-392 on Jul 12, 2000

Voted NO on repealing the estate tax ("death tax").

Vote to pass a bill that would completely eliminate taxes on estates over a 10 year period at an estimated cost of $105 billion as well as $50 billion each year after the repeal of the tax is complete in 2010.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Dunn, R-WA; Bill HR 8 ; vote number 2000-254 on Jun 9, 2000

Voted NO on $46 billion in tax cuts for small business.

Provide an estimated $46 billion in tax cuts over five years. Raise the minimum wage by $1 an hour over two years. Reduce estate and gift taxes, grant a full deduction on health insurance for self-employed individuals, increase the deductible percentage of business meal expenses to 60 percent in 2002, and designate 15 renewal communities in urban rural areas.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Lazio, R-NY; Bill HR 3081 ; vote number 2000-41 on Mar 9, 2000

American People's Dividend: Give $300 to every person.

Kucinich adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:

The Problem

President Bush argues that upper income people pay a larger share of the taxes, therefore they should get a larger tax cut. We disagree. These people have significantly benefited from the economic boom of the 1990s, while those in the bottom range of incomes have received little benefit. It’s these folks that we must help. President Bush’s plan is “Reaganomics” revisited and it’s fiscally irresponsible. Despite spending $1.6 trillion or more, the President’s tax plan gives little to nothing for those with little income. In fact, anyone below 140% of the poverty line, will get a zero tax cut.

The Solution

The Progressive Caucus believes that tax relief must flow to those who need it the most, the working class and people with limited incomes. We have endorsed an idea called the American People’s Dividend. We’ll give a dividend to every American, because every American is an equal shareholder in America. We estimate the total cost to be about $900 billion over 10 years. The plan will give to every person about a $300 refundable tax credit. A married couple with 3 children will receive $1500, $300 for each member of the family. This plan is simple, easy to administer, and progressive. The plan could provide an economic stimulus since it would put money in people’s pockets immediately. Unlike the Bush proposal, which reserves 40% of the tax benefits for the wealthiest 1% of the population, our proposal gives the wealthiest 1% exactly 1% of the tax relief. This makes the bulk of tax relief available for the bulk of the population. The American People’s Dividend is payable every year the federal budget is in surplus.
Comparison of Progressive Tax Plan & Bush’s Plan
The WealthyThe Low Income
Progressive Caucus American Peoples Dividend$300$300
President Bush’s Tax Cuts$$46,000$0
Source: Progressive Caucus Press Release, "Tax Relief" 01-CPC2 on Feb 8, 2001

Rated 29% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes.

Kucinich scores 29% by NTU on tax-lowering policies

Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote’s effect. NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All Members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a Member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers. The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the Member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring Members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower. A Member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the Member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform.

Source: NTU website 03n-NTU on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

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Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
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