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Duncan Hunter on Tax Reform

Republican Representative (CA-52)


FactCheck: Cost of IRS compliance is $150B,not $250B

Hunter overstated the compliance burden of the federal tax system, saying we pay “$250 billion-plus each year not to the federal government or the Treasury, but to prepare our taxes, defend our taxes, and for the massive cost of the IRS. That’s all overhead--250 billion-plus dollars.”

We’re not sure where Hunter gets that figure. The President’s Advisory Panel on Tax Reform puts total compliance costs at around $140 billion per year, a figure that includes the value of individual taxpayer’s time spent filling out forms, which strictly speaking is not money “that we pay.” Add to that the “more than $10 billion” that the government spends to administer the tax system, and the figure comes to $150 billion, not $250 billion. The advisory panel report says other estimates of compliance costs fall between $100 billion and $200 billion.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 Des Moines Register Republican debate Dec 12, 2007

The IRS and current tax system cost too much

The tax that we’re all paying that doesn’t help anything--it doesn’t go to defense, the roads, medical care--is the $250 billion-plus that we pay each year not to the federal government, to the Treasury, but to prepare our taxes, defend our taxes, and for the massive cost of the IRS. What we ought to do is have a system--the fair tax system is a good one, or a flatter tax or a simpler tax, because that young couple that pays 1,450 bucks in taxes may pay $450 to their tax preparer. That’s a second tax.
Source: 2007 Des Moines Register Republican Debate Dec 12, 2007

Would be wrong to pledge never to raise taxes

Q: Would you promise to the people watching this right now, that you will oppose and veto any efforts to raise taxes as long as you’re president?

A: I probably voted for more tax cuts than anybody here; but, I think it would be wrong to say, “Absolutely, I would pledge to Grover Norquist that I would never raise taxes.” Could have a national emergency.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

Sponsored FairTax proposal

Q: Tell us about your FairTax. You’re going to get rid of the IRS. You’re going to have basically a consumer tax. If you put a tax on spending, won’t that encourage people to hoard their money rather than spend it, and hurt the economy?

HUCKABEE: Nothing’s going to discourage Americans from spending money! No, the FairTax does something that is absolutely phenomenal for the economy. It untaxes productivity. It untaxes those things which we export.

HUNTER: I’m a sponsor of the FairTax.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan Oct 9, 2007

Alternative minimum tax is creeping up & must be reformed

The alternative minimum tax is creeping up to grab income. That tax must be reformed.
Source: 2007 IAFF Presidential Forum in Washington DC Mar 14, 2007

Voted NO on extending AMT exemptions to avoid hitting middle-income.

Congressional Summary:Amends the Internal Revenue Code to:
  1. increase and extend through 2008 the alternative minimum tax (AMT) exemption amounts;
  2. extend through 2008 the offset of personal tax credits against AMT tax liabilities; Reference: Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act; Bill H.R.6275 ; vote number 2008-455 on Jun 25, 2008

    Voted YES on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends.

    Vote to reduce federal spending by $56.1 billion over five years by retaining a reduced tax rate on capital gains and dividends, as well as.
    • Decreasing the number of people that will be required to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
    • Allowing for deductions of state and local general sales taxes through 2007 instead of 2006
    • Lengthening tax credits for research expenses
    • Increasing the age limit for eligibility for food stamp recipients from 25 to 35 years
    • Continuing reduced tax rates of 15% and 5% on capital gains and dividends through 2010
    • Extending through 2007 the expense allowances for environmental remediation costs (the cost of cleanup of sites where petroleum products have been released or disposed)
    Reference: Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act; Bill HR 4297 ; vote number 2005-621 on Dec 8, 2005

    Voted YES on providing tax relief and simplification.

    Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004
    • Extension of Family Tax Provisions
    • Repeals the scheduled reduction (15 to 10 percent) for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2005, of the refundability of the child tax credit.
    • Extends through 2005 the increased exemption from the alternative minimum tax for individual taxpayers.
    • Extends through 2005 the following expiring tax provisions:
      1. the tax credit for increasing research activities;
      2. the work opportunity tax credit;
      3. the welfare-to-work tax credit;
      4. the authority for issuance of qualified zone academy bonds;
      5. the charitable deduction for donations by corporations of computer technology and equipment used for educational purposes;
      6. the tax deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers;
      7. the expensing of environmental remediation costs;
      8. the designation of a District of Columbia enterprise zone
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Bill Rep Thomas [R, CA-22]; Bill H.R.1308 ; vote number 2004-472 on Sep 23, 2004

    Voted YES 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 YES on permanently eliminating the 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 YES 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 YES on $99 B 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 YES on Tax cut package of $958 B 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 YES on eliminating the Estate Tax ("death 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 YES 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 YES 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

    Phaseout the death tax.

    Hunter co-sponsored the Death Tax Elimination Act:

    Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to phaseout the estate and gift taxes over a 10-year period.

      Summary: Repeals, effective January 1, 2011, current provisions relating to the basis of property acquired from a decedent. Provides with respect to property acquired from a decedent dying on January 1, 2011, or later that:

    1. property shall be treated as transferred by gift; and

    2. the basis of the person acquiring the property shall be the lesser of the adjusted basis of the decedent or the fair market value of the property at the date of the decedent's death.

    3. Requires specified information to be reported concerning non-cash assets over $1.3 million transferred at death and certain gifts exceeding $25,000.

    4. Makes the exclusion of gain on the sale of a principal residence available to heirs.

    5. Revises current provisions concerning the transfer of farm real to provide that gain on such exchange shall be recognized to the estate only to the extent that the fair market value of such property exceeds such value on the date of death.

    6. Provides a similar rule for certain trusts.

    7. Amends the special rules for allocation of the generation-skipping tax (GST) exemption to provide that if any individual makes an indirect skip during such individual's lifetime, any unused portion of such individual's GST exemption shall be allocated to the property transferred to the extent necessary to make the inclusion ratio for such property zero; and

    8. if the amount of the indirect skip exceeds such unused portion, the entire unused portion shall be allocated to the property transferred.

    9. Provides that, if an allocation of the GST exemption to any transfers of property is deemed to have been made at the close of an estate tax inclusion period, the value of the property shall be its value at such time.
    Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR8 on Mar 14, 2001

    Rated 58% by NTU, indicating "Satisfactory" on tax votes.

    Hunter scores 58% 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

    Rated 0% by the CTJ, indicating opposition to progressive taxation.

    Hunter scores 0% by the CTJ on taxationissues

    OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CTJ scores as follows:

    • 0% - 20%: opposes progressive taxation (approx. 235 members)
    • 21% - 79%: mixed record on progressive taxation (approx. 39 members)
    • 80%-100%: favors progressive taxation (approx. 190 members)
    About CTJ (from their website, www.ctj.org):

    Citizens for Tax Justice, founded in 1979, is not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organization focusing on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact upon our nation. CTJ's mission is to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws. Against the armies of special interest lobbyists for corporations and the wealthy, CTJ fights for:

    • Fair taxes for middle and low-income families
    • Requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share
    • Closing corporate tax loopholes
    • Adequately funding important government services
    • Reducing the federal debt
    • Taxation that minimizes distortion of economic markets
    Source: CTJ website 06n-CTJ on Dec 31, 2006

    Repeal marriage tax; cut middle class taxes.

    Hunter signed the Contract with America:

    [As part of the Contract with America, within 100 days we pledge to bring to the House Floor the following bill]:

    The American Dream Restoration Act:
    A $500-per-child tax credit, begin repeal of the marriage tax penalty, and creation of American Dream Savings Accounts to provide middle-class tax relief.
    Source: Contract with America 93-CWA7 on Sep 27, 1994

    Other candidates on Tax Reform: Duncan Hunter on other issues:
    CA Gubernatorial:
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    D,VA-11:Connolly
    D,PA-3:Dahlkemper
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