PAWLENTY: I did agree to the cigarette fee. I regretted that.
Q: [to Bachmann]: You opposed the tax, but in the end, you voted for it. Now you promis never to raise taxes. Why would you compromise then, but not now?
BACHMANN: I fought against that tax. The problem is, Gov. Pawlenty cut a deal with the special interest groups and he put in the same bill, a vote to increase the cigarette tax as well as the vote that would take away protections from the unborn.
PAWLENTY: Rep. Bachmann didn't vote for that bill because of a stripping away of pro-life protection, she voted for it and is now creating that as the excuse.
BACHMANN: If a member casts a vote one way, they would be increasing the cigarette tax. If they cast a vote another way, they would not be voting for the pro-life protection. It was a choice. The governor put us in that box and I chose to protect human life.
A: No. I don't believe in raising taxes. And as governor I cut taxes 19 times and didn't raise taxes. Let's step back and talk about the first part what you said. I was fortunate enough to be a governor that got an increase in the credit rating in my state. Republicans and Democrats worked together in Massachusetts to cut spending. I came in, we had a huge deficit. We cut spending. Every single year I was governor we balanced the budget. That kind of leadership is what allowed us to get a credit upgrade from Standard & Poor's. And that's the leadership we finally need in the White House.
PAWLENTY: No. On financial management, the CATO institute gave only four governors in America their highest grade, an "A" grade. I was one of those governors. As to the circumstance that you mentioned, I had the first government shutdown in 150 years. We did put together a package, but I balanced the budget every time in Minnesota that I was governor. In fact, my last budget ended June 30 of this year with a surplus. I did agree to the cigarette fee. I regretted that. As it turns out the courts later held it to be a fee. But nonetheless, it was an increase in revenues. It turns out we had a new budget forecast a few months later. And we didn't even need it.
For Iowa's employers, this is important as there should not be a choice between hiring another employee and paying the tax bill.
Failure to act on commercial property taxes, and failure to cap residential property taxes, will amount to a $1.3 billion tax increase during a time of economic uncertainty.
A: Because withdrawing a tax cut is a tax increase and I am not for tax increases.
Q: What about the budget deficit?
A: I would say in alignment with the Laffer curve, lower taxes, increase revenue.
Q: Why have lower taxes?
A: Because of out of control spending in Congress.
A: I believe that we’ve got to simplify the tax code. But one of the first areas we’ve got to go after is the alternate minimum tax, which is going to eat in to 20 million American families if we don’t eliminate it, and very quickly. Look, when we found out that Congress could not close a single military base when we had a huge number of them, we appointed a commission and they said we would close so many bases, and Congress votes up or down. I would find [someone like former Federal Reserve Chairman] Alan Greenspan. I’d say, “Give us your recommendations.” We’ll pass a law, and we will vote on Alan Greenspan and his commission’s recommendations, yes or no, up or down. That’s the way you’re going to simplify the tax code, which now requires $140 billion of American families’ income to prepare their tax returns.
McCain’s campaign said that the senator was drawing his figures from a 2005 report by the President’s Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform. The panel cited a total compliance cost of $140 billion. But that figure wasn’t just for “families,” it included individual and business taxes. The cost attributed to individuals was $65 billion. And even that figure is not an estimate for the amount of “American families’ income” spent to prepare taxes, but assigned a dollar value to preparation time. The IRS calculates time burden separately from cash outlay. For 2000, it puts the latter at $19 billion, a fraction of the figure McCain used.
McCain would have been correct to say that it is estimated that American families spend more than $20 billion of their income on preparing tax returns, plus hours of their valuable time.
A: I absolutely support the FairTax. And part of the reason is, the current system is one that penalizes productivity. If we could have the FairTax, you take $10 trillion parked offshore, bring it home, you rebuild the “Made in America” brand, you free up people to earn money, to work, you don’t penalize them for taking a second job, you don’t penalize them for investing, you don’t penalize them for savings.
Today, our tax system doesn’t need a tap of the hammer, a twist of the screwdriver, it needs a complete overhaul. And what the FairTax does, it ends the underground economy. No more illegals, no more gamblers, prostitutes, pimps and dope dealers will be able to escape the tax code. It’s the single great thing that will help this country [achieve a] revitalized economy.
A: It’s good, but it’s not that good. There are a lot of features that are very attractive about a FairTax. Getting rid of the IRS is something we’d all love. But the truth is, we’re going to have to pay taxes. Completely throwing out our tax system and coming up with an entirely new one is something we have to do very, very carefully. The president’s commission on tax reform looked at this and said: Not a good idea. Some of the reasons are the FairTax, for instance, charges a 23% tax, plus state sales tax, on a new home, when you purchase a new home. But if you buy an old home, there’s no tax. Think what that might do to the construction industry. We need to thoroughly take it apart before we make a change of that nature. That’s why my view is, get rid of the tax on savings and let middle-income people save their money tax-free
A: I would say the most sensible thing to do is to simplify the tax code, reduce taxes, keep taxes low. I think the flat tax and the FairTax are both very intriguing. And if we were starting off at the very beginning with taxation, the first argument I would make is let’s not have any taxes. The second argument I would make is the FairTax or the flat tax would probably be a better way to go.
Q: But you’re not for the FairTax now, correct?
A: It would be too complex to get there. And somebody would have to show me how we’re going to make that transition. And, also, the thought that there wouldn’t be an IRS with the FairTax--well, who is going to administer the sales tax? And who’s going to administer the people that are exempt from the sales tax? And who is going to administer what items might be exempt from the sales tax?
A: I think we need to move toward an optional flat tax. I think we need to go to flat taxes. And let me just say why. We’ve got a problem with the current tax code and we’ve tried to take it out. And every time you try to take it out, everybody comes to defend it that has something in it. You can put an optional flat tax in the tax code and let people choose. And it will create economic growth. That’s why 16 countries have already gone to a flat tax: It creates growth. Growth is the key for us in this economy for us to get things moving forward.
Q: OK, but you’re against the fair tax
A: The reason why we absolutely need to go to something like a FairTax--and I am a co-sponsor. And by the way, if you don’t understand how it would work, I would suggest to you that you read Neil Boortz’s book and John Linder’s. It’s a perfect explanation of how it works. But the most important reason to move from an income tax to a FairTax is because an income tax is designed to manipulate behavior. It gives the government the power to manipulate your behavior. “I reward you for the things I want you to do by giving you a tax cut. I penalize you for the things I don’t want you to do by raising your taxes.” That is too much power for the federal government. It is always going to be an overreach of power.
DEAN: The first priority is balancing the budget. What we will do is lay out a plan to balance the budget and include some sort of plan to increase corporate taxes, just as Lieberman has suggested, because corporate taxes are now at the lowest level since 1934, which means the rest of us are paying the rest of the tax burden and that’s not fair.
KUCINICH: Dean takes the position that he’s going to balance the budget, but he said repeatedly that he won’t touch Pentagon spending. Half the discretionary budget of the US goes for the Pentagon. The solution is get out of Iraq, cut the bloated Pentagon budget by 15%, and stop the tax cuts that are going to the wealthy.
DEAN: There are an enormous number of needs in defense that aren’t getting met: special operations, an anti-terrorist task force, human intelligence; cyber intelligence; soldiers aren’t paid properly. What I will do is leave the Pentagon budget alone.
A: Cutting payroll taxes is not a bad idea. It’s certainly something we’re going to look at. Under no circumstances will we take the money to cut payroll taxes out of the Social Security trust fund. That would be absurd. If we end up cutting payroll taxes, which is the most regressive tax there is for low- and moderate-income workers, it will come out of the general fund in the form of a tax credit. We will not touch Social Security.
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.
DEAN: If you make over $1 million, you’ve got a $112,000 tax cut. 60% of us got a $304 tax cut .
FACTCHECK: Actually, half of all US households got MORE than $470 according to the Tax Policy Center. Dean arrives at his figure by averaging in the cuts received by the bottom 60% of households, which includes all those who paid no taxes in the first place and thus got no cut. But that’s just as misleading as averaging in the cuts received by the TOP 60%, which produces a figure of $1,948. By Dean’s logic, President Bush could claim that 60% of us got nearly $2,000 and he’d be just as correct as Dean. Which is to say, not very.
DEAN CAMPAIGN: Factcheck’s objection is that the Governor did not say explicitly that he was referring to the bottom 60%, rather than the top 60%. The Governor is contrasting the huge tax break for the wealthy with the relatively small average cut for most Americans.
MOSELEY BRAUN: The tax cuts were absolutely a travesty and they ought to be rolled back. That’s just very clear. Their economic leadership gives voodoo economics a bad name. It is not even trickle down. It doesn’t even reach most people, and not even the wealthy are doing really well with this leadership. Nobody is doing well with this economy. What I would do specifically?
This president has passed the largest tax cut in American history. He’s given $1.7 trillion to his corporate friends like Ken Lay, and added $10,000 worth of debt to every child in America. We can do better than that.
|2016 Presidential contenders on Tax Reform:|
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)