Sarah Palin on Tax Reform
Republican Governor (AK); 2008 nominee for Vice President
A: I'm going to ask them if they think that we're taxed enough already. And if they say yes, I'm going to say well what are you going to do about it. Because really, we don't want to just hear the talk. We want to know that they walk the walk, either via a record that perhaps they can prove to us in other elected office they have had. But if they feel that they've been taxed enough already and that they make us a commitment that they are going to do something about it and if they just believe in that constitutional limited government [that's important. There are] things on the periphery that perhaps I wouldn't agree with very single aspect of their agenda, but they have got the basics down, I think it would be wise for us to be supportive.
At the time, Wasilla didn't even have a police force. The Alaska State Troopers had patrolled the area but said that Wasilla was big enough to support our own police department. Of course, we'd have to pay for it. There were two options on the table: increase property taxes or adopt a sales tax. I didn't like either, but raising propert taxes meant more government control over what residents owned. A sales tax would be fairer and more optional, with a broader base of support in a town like Wasilla, which is a hub for commerce and tourism.
So in the campaign I supported the 2% sales tax only if it correspondingly reduced property taxes. That got me off on the wrong foot with some local Republicans who heard the word "tax" and assumed I actually WANTED one.
When the polls closed, the sales tax had passed and I won.
Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession. He showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all. And if we really want to help the poor and middle class get through this recession, how about cutting their payroll taxes? Giving people control over more of the money they've earned: now that's real stimulus. Get federal spending under control, and then set aside and watch this economy roar back to life.
The way forward is full of promise. But it takes more courage for a politician to step back and let the free market correct itself than it does to push through quick fixes. Reagan showed courage when he stayed the course through the long recession of the early 1980s. Critics even in his own party told him to abandon his tax cuts. He was confident they would work. And they did.
THE FACTS: The estate tax, which some call the death tax, was not repealed under Reagan and capital gains taxes are lower now than when Reagan was president.
Economists overwhelmingly say the current recession is far worse. The recession Reagan faced lasted for 16 months; this one is in its 23rd month. The recession of the early 1980s did not have a financial meltdown. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent, worse than the October 2009 high of 10.2 percent, but the jobless rate is still expected to climb.
BIDEN: No one making less than $250,000 under Obama’s plan will see one penny of their tax raised. And 95% percent of the people making less than $150,000 will get a tax break. John wants to add new tax cuts for corporate America and the very wealthy while giving nothing to the middle class. We have a different value set. The middle class is the economic engine. They deserve the tax breaks, not the wealthy who are doing well.
Obama did not in fact vote to increase taxes on “families” making as little as $42,000 per year. What Obama actually voted for was a budget resolution that called for returning the 25% tax bracket to its pre-Bush tax cut level of 28%. That could have affected an individual with no children making as little as $42,000. But a couple would have had to earn $83,000 to be affected and a family of four at least $90,000. The resolution would not have raised taxes on its own, without additional legislation, and there is no such tax increase in Obama’s tax plan. (The vote took place on March 14 of this year, not last year as Palin said.)
A: There are in individual communities.
Q: But no state sales tax.
Q: And if I were a resident of Alaska, you would write me a check every year for $2,069?
A: Well, depending on how the stock market is doing. Over the last five years--that’s an average.
Q: And then you also gave recently an extra check for $1,200?
A: I did. Because the price of a barrel of oil is so high right now that state coffers are growing, but the family’s checkbook is being decimated because of the high cost of energy.
Q: I have to move to Alaska. New York taxes are killing me.
A: Well, what we’re doing up there is returning a share of resource development dollars back to the people who own the resources. And our constitution up there mandates that as you develop resources it’s to be for the maximum benefit of the people, not the corporations, not the government, but the people of Alaska.
A: Everybody does benefit when government takes less from the people, no matter what their income bracket is, because our businesses and our families are able to keep more of what they’re earning, reinvest in what they have as priorities. That’s how jobs are created. And that’s how we’re going to grow our economy.
But, let me talk really quickly about our opponent’s position on taxes. Barack Obama has had 94 opportunities to be on the side of the American taxpayer and 94 times he has chosen to be on the opposite. He could have either voted for tax cuts or at least not for tax increases. And 94 times he has chosen, I believe, the wrong position on those.
My sister Heather and her husband have just built a service station that’s now opened for business--like millions of others who run small businesses. How are they going to be any better off if taxes go up?
Or maybe you’re trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or Ohio ... or create jobs with clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia ... or keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota. How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?
Four years later, she was elected Wasilla’s mayor, knocking off three-term incumbent John Stein by promising tax cuts, spending reform, and a fresh face leading the city. Palin largely delivered on her promises.
The city clerk added that Ms. Palin had three major achievements as mayor She cut property taxes, increased the city sales tax by half a percent to support construction of an indoor ice rink and sports complex, and put more money into public safety, winning a grant to build a police dispatch center in town.
“As a former mayor and city council member, it is my belief that services are best provided at the most local level possible,” Governor Palin said. “I am pleased that Senate members have committed to fund municipal revenue sharing for the next three years. They took our proposal and made it better, and I appreciate them for working together to accomplish this.“
Under municipal revenue sharing, the state distributes funds to the municipalities of Alaska. The local entities have discretionary use of the funds, which can be used for a variety of purposes such as providing larger communities the ability to offer tax relief to its residents and providing smaller communities with funds to help support basic municipal services.
Sarah Palin now says she doesn’t feel comfortable with some aspects of the new law. She recently told tourism industry officials that if elected, she would work with them to “mitigate some of the impacts” of the law.
The new taxes and fees will generate at least $50 million a year in additional state revenue, according to recent estimates from the Alaska Department of Revenue. For the first time, the state also will put observers on cruise ships visiting Alaska to monitor the ships’ smokestack and wastewater emissions. And cruise lines will need to begin disclosing their sales commissions with on-shore vendors.
A: Unlike my opponents’ efforts in the past, I will not propose to take the people’s dividends or impose an income tax. Given our current revenue projections, I will focus my administration toward developing our natural resources and establishing an agreement to build a gas pipeline.
Q: Should the state consider using more Permanent Fund earnings to run government?
A: I don’t support state income taxes. There are circumstances where I could support a sales tax if applied seasonally.
Q: Are there sectors of the Alaska economy that are under taxed or overtaxed? Which ones?
A: As a fiscal conservative, I’m not enamored with additional taxes on anything. I believe it’s the governor’s job to make sure the state gets a fair return on the development of our natural resources.
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