State of Pennsylvania Archives: on Tax Reform


Tom Smith: Supports flat tax; remove loopholes but keep exemptions

Tom Smith released his economic-policy plan, calling for a "flat tax" on all earners. But he said a flat tax would be an improvement on the current tax code, which he described as full of "gimmicks" and "loopholes" and "10 times the length of the Bible without any of the good news."

"If you pay a flat tax, you know what your tax is going to be. The people who work and make more," Smith said, "they are paying more." Smith's flat tax would not be truly flat. He said he would allow exemptions for mortgage interest, charitable giving, and student-loan interest, all features of the current tax code beloved by the middle class.

He would do away with federal taxes on capital-gains investment income. He said he would consider having no tax for the poor, but declined to say what income level should qualify for such an exemption. That could depend "on how well we do in getting this debt under control," he said.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer on 2012 PA Senate debate Sep 6, 2012

Sam Rohrer: High taxation comes from ignoring the Constitution

Each of the candidates thought the federal debt is the nation's greatest threat. Rohrer said the federal debt merely is a symptom of other problems. Over time, he said, people have been elected to office who ignore the Constitution and use their positions for personal gain. As a result, over-regulation, bailouts, failure to enact an energy plan, and high taxation have followed.
Source: Williamsport Sun-Gazette on 2012 PA Senate debate Mar 23, 2012

Joe Sestak: No flat tax; focus on the working family, not Wall Street

Sestak and Toomey had agreed to debate on the economy, although only about half of the questions from the audience focused on that topic. "Well, it all relates to the economy," one audience member noted.

The two candidates found some common ground on questions geared toward the economy. Both said federal spending needs to be reduced.

"When I was (in Congress) I was fighting against the spending that was going on," said Toomey.

Sestak said he would like to see the government extend help to the group he says drives the economy--"The working family, not Wall Street"--by getting tax cuts to that group.

Sestak said he does not support the flat tax as he said Toomey does, and the government should look to guarantee community bank loans to entice borrowers.

Toomey said he believes in strengthening the economy through lower taxes, less spending and increasing domestic energy production.

Source: The Express-Times coverage of 2010 PA Senate debate Apr 11, 2010

Barack Obama: No tax increase if earning under $250K; tax cuts under $75K

Q: Can you make an absolute, read-my-lips pledge that there will be no tax increases of any kind for anyone earning under $200,000 a year?

CLINTON: I will let the taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year go back to the rates that they were paying in the 1990s.

Q: Senator Obama, would you take the same pledge? No tax increases on people under $250,000?

OBAMA: I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, Iíve been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes. We are going to offset the payroll tax, the most regressive of our taxes, so that families who are middle-income individuals making $75,000 a year or less, that they would get a tax break so that families would see up to $1,000 worth of relief.

Q: You both have now just taken this pledge on people under $250,000 and $200,000.

OBAMA: Well, it depends on how you calculate it. But it would be between $200,000 and $250,000.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Barack Obama: Raise capital gains tax for fairness, not for revenue

Q: You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, ďI certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.Ē Itís now 15%. Thatís almost a doubling if you went to 28%. Bill Clinton dropped the capital gains tax to 20%, then George Bush has taken it down to 15%. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down.

A: What Iíve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. The top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year--$29 billion for 50 individuals. Those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. Thatís not fair.

Q: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.

A: Well, that might happen or it might not. It depends on whatís happening on Wall Street and how business is going.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Absolutely no tax increase on people earning under $250K

Q: Can you make an absolute, read-my-lips pledge that there will be no tax increases of any kind for anyone earning under $200,000 a year?

CLINTON: I will let the taxes on people making more than $250,000 a year go back to the rates that they were paying in the 1990s.

Q: Even if the economy is weak?

CLINTON: Yes. And hereís why: #1, I do not believe that it will detrimentally affect the economy by doing that. We used that tool during the 1990s to very good effect and I think we can do so again I am absolutely committed to not raising a single tax on middle class Americans, people making less than $250,000 a year. In fact, I have a very specific plan of $100 billion in tax cuts.

Q: An absolute commitment, no middle-class tax increases of any kind.

CLINTON: No, thatís right. That is my commitment.

Q: Senator Obama, would you take the same pledge? No tax increases on people under $250,000?

OBAMA: Well, it depends on how you calculate it. But it would be between $200,000 and $250,000.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Perhaps raise capital gains tax, but at most to 20%

Q: You favor an increase in the capital gains tax, saying, ďI certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%.Ē Itís now 15%. Thatís almost a doubling if you went to 28%. Bill Clinton dropped the capital gains tax to 20%, then George Bush has taken it down to 15%.

OBAMA: What Iíve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.

Q: Sen. Clinton, would you say, ďNo, Iím not going to raise capital gains taxesĒ?

CLINTON: I wouldnít raise it above the 20% if I raised it at all. I would not raise it above what it was during the Clinton administration.

Q: ďIf I raised it at allĒ. Would you propose an increase in the capital gains tax?

CLINTON: You know, Iím going to have to look and see what the revenue situation is. We now have the largest budget deficit weíve ever had, $311 billion. We went from a $5.6 trillion projected surplus to what we have today, which is a $9 trillion debt.

Source: 2008 Philadelphia primary debate, on eve of PA primary Apr 16, 2008

  • The above quotations are from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Tax Reform.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Tax Reform:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014