Bernie Sanders on Tax Reform
Democratic primry challenger; Socialist Senator; previously Representative (VT-At-Large)
Raise funds in a progressive way, for ObamaCare & everything
Q: Throughout your campaign, you said that taxes should go up on the rich, not the middle class. And yet, millions of Americans who chose not to get health care are forced to pay a tax penalty, up to $2,000 per year for failing to purchase coverage
under ObamaCare. Is it fair to put this tax burden on families?
SANDERS: No. It's not. But on the other hand, is it fair to not raise the revenue that we need to provide the kinds of benefits that we are providing? That is a way to do it.
I don't think it's a particularly good way. I disagree with Ted, who wants to give, according to the "Wall Street Journal" and many other publications, incredible tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. In the wealthiest country in the world,
we should raise funds in a progressive way, where the very rich are now doing phenomenally well--yes, I do believe they should be asked to pay more in taxes and I think we should use that money and other mechanisms to provide health care to all people.
Source: CNN 2017 Town Hall debates: Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders
, Feb 7, 2017
1980s: progressive property tax, plus Meals & Rooms tax
We became the first municipality in Vermont to develop progressive alternatives to the property tax. Every day, people flocked to the city in order to work, play and enjoy our active nightlife; it was right that they contribute to the city services
they enjoyed. We established the first municipal Meals and Rooms tax in the state. After a court battle, the utilities were forced to pay for the damage done whey they tore up our streets for utility work.
We addressed the inequities in the city's relationship to our large, tax-exempt institutions. We managed to get a substantial increase in payments in lieu of taxes from the University of Vermont and the Fletcher Allen Hospital for police & fire services.
The hospital also began to play a more active role in the health care needs of people in our lower-income communities. We also developed a plan that brought in more revenue from our municipally owned airport in South Burlington.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 35-6
, Nov 15, 2016
Tax code is rigged to favor top 2% of billionaires
For the past forty years, the billionaire class has rigged the tax code to redistribute wealth to the richest and most powerful people. At a time of massive wealth & income inequality, \we need progressive income tax reform based on the ability to pay.
On December 10, 2010, I spoke on the floor of the Senate for eight and a half hours, to express outrage at the proposed two-year extension of the Bush tax breaks for the top 2 percent. I thought it was profoundly unfair, economically unwise, and
politically wrong to provide hundreds of billions in additional tax breaks to the wealthiest people while the overwhelming majority were still suffering through the Great Recession.
The Bush tax breaks were in place for more than a decade, and the
private sector lost nearly half a million jobs and the deficit exploded. On the other hand, in 1993, when President Bill Clinton increased taxes on the top 2 percent, more than 22 million jobs were created, and we had a $236 billion budget surplus.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 263
, Nov 15, 2016
0.1% tax on Wall Street speculation
If we are serious about reforming our financial system, we have got to establish a tax on Wall Street speculators. We have got to discourage reckless gambling on Wall Street and encourage productive investments in a job creating economy.
By imposing a small financial transaction tax of just 0.5 percent on stock trades (that' just 50 cents for every $100 worth of stock), a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a
0.005 percent fee on derivatives, we would help tap the brakes on high-frequency speculative trading. And we would raise up to$300 billion a year, which I have proposed using to make public colleges an universities tuition-free.
During the financial crisis, the middle class bailed out Wall Street. Now it's Wall Street's turn to help the middle class.
Source: Our Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 312
, Nov 15, 2016
End loophole that allows zero taxes via Cayman Islands
There is a loophole such that these multi-billion dollar profitable corporations are putting billions of dollars into the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other tax havens. In a given year, do you know how much they're paying in taxes to the US government
in a given year? Zero. What I have said with regard to Boeing and GE and other multinationals that pay zero taxes, you know what we're going to do? We're going to end that loophole. They are going to pay their fair share of taxes.
Source: MSNBC Democratic primary debate in New Hampshire
, Feb 4, 2016
Wealthiest will pay more but not as much as under Eisenhower
Q: Let's get specific. How high would you go on tax rates? You have said before you would go above 50%.
SANDERS: We haven't come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90%.
I'm not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower. But we are going to end the absurdity, as Warren Buffet often reminds us, that billionaires pay an effective tax rate lower than nurses or truck drivers. That makes no sense at all.
There has to be real tax reform, and the wealthiest and large corporations will pay when I'm president.
Gov. O'MALLEY: May I point out that under Ronald Reagan's first term, the highest marginal rate was 70%.
And in talking to a lot of our neighbors who are in that super wealthy, millionaire and billionaire category, a great numbers of them love their country enough to do more again in order to create more opportunity for America's middle class.
Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa
, Nov 14, 2015
Tax increases may affect more than top 1%
Q: How do you pay for your proposed programs like tuition-free public college?
SANDERS: We have to tax Wall Street speculation. When you see the rich's effective tax rates is lower than the effective tax rates of truck drivers, then the wealthy have
got to pay more. We'll end the loophole that allows large corporations to stash their money in the Cayman Islands and avoid paying federal income taxes. We'll raise the estate tax so that billionaires end up paying more in taxes.
Previously, you said that 90% marginal rate is not too high. So how high are you willing to go on that top marginal rate?
SANDERS: We'll come up with that rate but it will be a lot higher than it is right now.
Q: But to pay for all of your programs,
Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz
, Oct 18, 2015
Increase tax on wealthy; close loopholes for corporations
If you look at my agenda, the wealthy people are not particularly supportive of it, because we are going to ask the wealthiest people in this country to pay substantially more in taxes, because we have a situation where they're earning almost all of
the new income.
We are going to ask large corporations, profitable corporations that, in some cases, pay zero in federal income taxes to start paying their fair share of taxes.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2015 interview by Bob Schieffer
, Sep 27, 2015
Raise top marginal income tax rate from 39% to over 50%
Q: Who are the "richest Americans" on whom you'd raise taxes?
A: These are the Americans who qualify for the top income tax bracket. Right now, the top tax bracket begins with money made beyond $400,000, and any additional money is taxed at 39.6%.
I heard Bernie wants to raise the top tax bracket to 90%. That seems too high.
A: Bernie has never said he wants to do that. He has recently said that he is "working right now on a comprehensive tax package, which I suspect will, for the top marginal
rates, go over 50%."
Q: But has it ever been that high?
A: Actually, yes. The top tax rate was over 90% from 1944 until 1964. The 39.6% tax is low compared to historical tax rates.
Q: How are capital gains and 'dividends related to this?
A: Capital gains and dividends are sources of income almost exclusively made by the wealthiest Americans. While historically these were taxed at similar rates to normal income, since the 1970's the tax rates have been lowered dramatically.
Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"
, Sep 5, 2015
Lower cutoff for estate tax from $5.4M to $3.5M
Q: What does Bernie think is wrong with the estate tax?
A: While for many years this tax unfairly affected middle-class farms, it has been significantly changed to only affect large estates, worth over several millions of dollars. The rate has been
lowered and the cap raised to such an extent that it has amounted to a huge tax break for the super-rich.
Q: So what is Bernie's answer to reforming the estate tax?
A: Bernie has proposed lowering the bar on estate taxes so that individuals who own
estates worth more than $3.5 million and couples who own estates worth more than $7 million will be taxed (at the moment the bar is set at $5.4 million and $11 million). This bill also increases the amount of tax on these estates, and closes loopholes
used to avoid paying these taxes.
Q: Shouldn't people be able to pass on money to their children?
A: They should--but even with Bernie's proposed new estate tax, 99.75% of Americans would not pay any more in estate taxes than they do today.
Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"
, Sep 5, 2015
Increase estate tax rates on inheritances over $3.5M
Sanders introduced legislation to increase estate tax rates on the top 3/10 of 1% of Americans. "The fairest way to reduce wealth inequality is to enact a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaires," Sanders said. Only the very wealthiest millionaires
would be effected by the Sanders plan; 99.75% of Americans would not pay a penny more in estate taxes. Sanders' bill does the following:
Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 41-3
, Jun 25, 2015
- Lowers the estate tax exemption level from $5.4 million to $3.5 million for individuals and from about
$11 million to $7 million for couples.
- Increases the marginal tax rate to 45% on estates between $3.5 million to $10 million, 50% on estates between $10 million and $50 million, and 55% on estates over $50 million.
- Creates a new billionaire
surtax of 10% that would only impact 530 billionaires who are worth a combined $2.6 trillion.
- Ends loopholes allowing billionaire families to set up dynasty trusts to avoid taxes.
- Protects family farms and conservation easements.
Double the capital gains tax for the wealthiest 2%
The current ranking minority member on the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders would nearly double taxes on capital gains and dividends for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. In addition, this year Sanders asked President Obama to use
executive action to close six tax deductions benefitting corporations and hedge funds. The Vermont senator would use some of the revenue gained from higher taxes on the rich to lower taxes for middle and lower class Americans.
Source: PBS News Hour "2016 Candidate Stands" series
, Apr 30, 2015
We need a progressive tax system based on ability to pay
At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system in this country which is based on ability to pay. It is not acceptable that major profitable corporations have paid nothing in federal income taxes, and that corporate
CEOs in this country often enjoy an effective tax rate which is lower than their secretaries. It is absurd that we lose over $100 billion a year in revenue because corporations and the wealthy stash their cash in offshore tax havens around the world.
Source: 2016 presidential campaign website, BernieSanders.com
, Mar 21, 2015
Real tax reform based on ability to pay
At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, we need a progressive tax system in this country which is based on ability to pay. It is not acceptable that major corporations have paid nothing in federal income taxes, and that corporate CEOs in this
country often enjoy an effective tax rate which is lower than their secretaries. We lose over $100 billion a year in revenue because the wealthy stash their cash in offshore tax havens around the world. The time is long overdue for real tax reform.
Source: 12 Steps Forward, by Sen. Bernie Sanders
, Jan 15, 2015
Filibustered against Obama-Republican tax deal
President Obama and the Republican leadership have reached an agreement on a very significant tax bill. In my view, the agreement they reached is a bad deal for the American people. I am here today to take a strong stand against this bill. You can call
what I am doing a filibuster; I am simply here today to enumerate some of the reasons I am opposed to this agreement.
This Nation has a recordbreaking $13.8 trillion national debt. We have been told not to worry too much because the extension of these
tax breaks for the wealthy will only last 2 years. Clearly, we have a number of Republicans who want to make that extension permanent. A 10-year extension would add $700 billion to our national debt.
This agreement also calls for a continuation of the
Bush era 15% tax rate on capital gains and dividends.
On top of all that, this agreement includes a horrendous proposal regarding the estate tax. Eliminating this estate tax completely would raise the national debt by $1 trillion over a 10-year period.
Source: The Speech: A Historic Filibuster, by Bernie Sanders
, Dec 10, 2010
Capital gains & dividend tax cuts are giveaways to the rich
Sanders says a new plan in Congress is a giveaway to wealthy people. A key part of the legislation being debated in Washington this week extends a rate reduction on capital gains and dividend income for another two years. Sanders opposed the measure
because he says 43 % of the tax benefits will go to individuals who earn at least a million dollars a year. Sanders says, “I think that that’s absurd. I mean this is again another example of President Bush and the Republican leadership leaning over
backwards to help people who really don’t need any help. These are the wealthiest people in this country who are doing extraordinarily well and the help for the middle class is minimum.“
Sanders says he also opposed the bill because he feels it will
increase the national debt. Sanders says, ”According to the non partisan CBO, the major reason that President Bush has presided over the largest deficits in our nation’s history is due to his tax policy and this will only make a very bad situation worse.
Source: Bob Kinzel series of interviews on Vermont Public Radio
, Jun 11, 2006
Cap the home mortgage interest deduction at $300,000
Could WE, the progressives in Congress, balance the budget in seven years in a way that was fair and would not hurt the kids, the elderly, the sick, or the poor? Damn right we could! I showed how we could save more than $800 billion over 7 years by
dealing with SOME of the giveaways in corporate welfare and tax breaks for the rich. This illustrative list gives some details.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 207-8
, Jun 17, 1997
- Repeal housing and wage exemptions for US citizens working abroad: increased income--$7.2 billion.
Tax capital gains at regular rate: increased income--$49 billion.
- Repeal exemption on income earned by US firms in Puerto Rico and other US possessions: increased income--$19.7 billion.
- Cap the home mortgage interest deduction at $300,000:
increased income--$34.8 billion.
- End US firms' delay of tax on income of foreign subsidiaries: increased income--$5.7 billion.
- Subject major foreign stockholders in US companies to capital gains tax: increased income--$7 billion.
Property taxes are highly regressive & hurt poor & seniors
[In the 1981 mayoral race] one of my most widely noticed positions was strong opposition to a huge increase in the property tax proposed by Mayor Paquette. He calculated that with only token resistance (mine), he could slip the tax hike by
without suffering any negative political effect. I kept stressing my opposition not only to this particular tax increase but also to the very concept of the property tax.
Property taxes are highly regressive and hurt, in particular, low- and moderate-income citizens, especially senior citizens.
During the campaign, I proposed that Burlington break its dependence on the property tax and develop a fair and progressive tax system to fund municipal services and local education.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 30
, Jun 17, 1997
1% room-and-meal tax instead of property tax
The property tax, the major source of funding for education and municipal services in VT, is regressive because it is not based on ability to pay.
Many senior citizens and working people were (and are) paying far more in property taxes than they can afford on their limited incomes. For 7 straight years I did not raise the general property tax for homeowners in Burlington.
At the same time, I fought hard for more progressive forms of taxation.
We did become the first municipality in Vermont to develop alternatives to the property tax.
After a major struggle against many of the restaurant owners, we implemented a 1% room-and-meal tax. We also passed a classification system of taxation which raised to 120% the tax rate on commercial and industrial property.
Source: Outsider in the House, by Bernie Sanders, p. 62
, Jun 17, 1997
Voted YES on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To put children ahead of millionaires and billionaires by restoring the pre-2001 top income tax rate for people earning over $1 million, and use this revenue to invest in LIHEAP; IDEA; Head Start; Child Care; nutrition; school construction and deficit reduction.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. SANDERS: The wealthiest people in the country have not had it so good since the 1920s. Their incomes are soaring, while at the same time the middle class is shrinking, and we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country. The time is now to begin changing our national priorities and moving this country in a different direction.
This amendment restores the top income tax bracket for households earning more than $1 million a year, it raises $32.5 billion over 3 years, and invests that in our kids, including
$10 billion for special education. OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KYL: The problem is we are spending the same dollar 3 or 4 times, it appears. The Sanders amendment is paid for by raising taxes another $32.5 billion, ostensibly from the rich; that is to say, by raising taxes on people who make over $1 million a year. Here is the problem with that. The budget on the floor already assumes the expiration of the current tax rates; that is to say, the rates on the highest level go from 35% to 39.6%, and that money is spent. If you took all the top-rate income, you would come up with $25 billion a year, not even enough to meet what is here, and that money has already been spent. The reality is somewhere or other, somehow, more taxes would have to be raised. I don't think the American people want to do that, particularly in the current environment. LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 43-55
Bill S.Amdt.4218 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S064
on Mar 13, 2008
Voted NO on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To exempt from pay-as-you-go enforcement modifications to the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) that prevent millions of additional taxpayers from having to pay the AMT.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. GRASSLEY: The Senate voted to make sure that middle-class America didn't pay the AMT, and we did it without an offset, by a vote of [about 95%]. So here we are again with an opportunity to say to middle-class America that we are not going to tax the people who were not supposed to be hit by the AMT. This amendment gives us an opportunity to get over that hurdle that is in this budget resolution that, under pay-go, you would have to have an offset for the AMT. Unless my amendment is adopted, the 25 million families who will be hit by the AMT increase will get a tax increase of over $2,000 apiece. They deserve a guarantee of relief.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:
Sen. CONRAD: If you want to blow a hole in the budget as big as all outdoors, here is your opportunity--a trillion dollars not paid for, a trillion dollars that we are going to go out and borrow from the Chinese and Japanese. That makes absolutely no sense. I urge my colleagues to vote no.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 47-51
Bill S.Amdt.4276 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S078
on Mar 13, 2008
Voted NO on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M.
CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To protect small businesses, family ranches and farms from the Death Tax by providing a $5 million exemption, a low rate for smaller estates and a maximum rate no higher than 35%.
SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. KYL: This amendment is a reprise of what we did last year in offering to reform the estate tax, sometimes referred to as the death tax. Now, in the budget itself, there is a provision to allow the death tax to be changed from the current law to a top rate of 45% and an exempted amount of $3.5 million, and there are some other features. My amendment would reduce that top rate to no higher than 35% so that if you had more than one rate, at least the top rate could not exceed 35%, and both of the two spouses would have a $5 million exempted amount before the estate tax would kick in. Now, the reason for my amendment is: current law [is] getting up to a high rate of 55% and an exempted amount of either $2 million or
$1 million, probably $1 million--a continued unfair burden on primarily America's small businesses and farms.
OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. CONRAD: This amendment would virtually eliminate the estate tax. Let me say why. Let me first say there is no death tax in the country. Of course, if you poll people and you ask them: Do you want to eliminate the death tax? they will say sure. But you are not going to pay any tax when you die unless you have $2 million. There is no death tax in America. There is a tax on estates. At today's level of $2 million, that affects only 0.5% of estates. When the exemption reaches $3.5 million in 2009, 0.2% of estates will be taxed. If the amendment is agreed to, we would be borrowing money in the name of 99.8% of the American people, borrowing primarily from China & Japan, to give it to the Warren Buffets, the Paris Hiltons, & others of enormous wealth in this country.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 50-50
Reference: Kyl Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.4191 to S.Con.Res.70
; vote number 08-S050
on Feb 13, 2008
Voted NO on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.
Amendment would accommodate the full repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax, preventing 23 million families and individuals from being subject to the AMT in 2007, and millions of families and individuals in subsequent years.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
This amendment repeals the AMT. Except for the telephone tax, the alternative minimum tax is the phoniest tax we have ever passed. The AMT, in 1969, was meant to hit 155 taxpayers who used legal means to avoid taxation, under the theory that everybody ought to pay some income tax.
This very year, more than 2,000 people who are very wealthy are not paying any income tax or alternative minimum income tax. So it is not even working and hitting the people it is supposed to hit. Right now, this year, 2007, the year we are in, there are 23 million families that are going to be hit by this tax. It is a phony revenue machine, over 5 years, $467 billion dollars.
We are going to have to have a point of order this year to keep these 23 million taxpayers from paying this tax. We might as well do away with it right now, once and for all, and be honest about it.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
The reality of the budget resolution is this may not have anything to do with eliminating the alternative minimum tax. The one thing it will do is reduce the revenue of the Government over the next 5 years by $533 billion, plunging us right back into deficit. Look, we can deal with the AMT. We have dealt with it in the underlying budget resolution for the next 2 years. There will be no increase in the number of people affected by the AMT for the next 2 years under the budget resolution, and that is paid for. Unfortunately, this amendment is not paid for. It would plunge us back into deficit. I urge my colleagues to vote no.
Reference: Grassley Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.471 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-108
on Mar 23, 2007
Voted NO on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million.
An amendment to raise the death tax exemption to $5 million; reducing the maximum death tax rate to 35%; and to promote economic growth by extending the lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
It is disappointing to many family businesses and farm owners to set the death tax rate at what I believe is a confiscatory 45% and set the exemption at only $3.5 million, which most of us believe is too low. This leaves more than 22,000 families subject to the estate tax each year.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
You can extend all the tax breaks that have been described in this amendment if you pay for them.
The problem with the amendment is that over $70 billion is not paid for. It goes on the deficit, which will drive the budget right out of balance. We will be going right back into the deficit ditch. Let us resist this amendment. People could support it if it was paid for, but it is not. However well intended the amendment is, it spends $72.5 billion with no offset. This amendment blows the budget. This amendment takes us from a balance in 2012 right back into deficit. My colleagues can extend those tax cuts if they pay for them, if they offset them. This amendment does not pay for them; it does not offset them; it takes us back into deficit. It ought to be defeated.
Reference: Kyl Amendment;
Bill S.Amdt.507 on S.Con.Res.21
; vote number 2007-083
on Mar 21, 2007
Voted NO 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.
Reference: Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act;
Bill HR 4297
; vote number 2005-621
on Dec 8, 2005
- 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)
Voted YES on providing tax relief and simplification.
Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004
Reference: Bill sponsored by Bill Rep Thomas [R, CA-22];
; vote number 2004-472
on Sep 23, 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:
- the tax credit for increasing research activities;
- the work opportunity tax credit;
- the welfare-to-work tax credit;
- the authority for issuance of qualified zone academy bonds;
- the charitable deduction for donations by corporations of computer technology and equipment used for educational purposes;
- the tax deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers;
- the expensing of environmental remediation costs;
- the designation of a District of Columbia enterprise zone
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 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 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 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 NO 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 NO 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 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 $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.
Sanders adopted the Progressive Caucus Position Paper:
The ProblemPresident 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 SolutionThe 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.
Source: Progressive Caucus Press Release, "Tax Relief" 01-CPC2 on Feb 8, 2001
|Comparison of Progressive Tax Plan & Bush’s Plan|
|The Wealthy||The Low Income|
|Progressive Caucus American Peoples Dividend||$300||$300|
|President Bush’s Tax Cuts||$$46,000||$0|
Rated 28% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes.
Sanders scores 28% 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 100% by the CTJ, indicating support of progressive taxation.
Sanders scores 100% by the CTJ on taxationissues
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CTJ scores as follows:
About CTJ (from their website, www.ctj.org):
- 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)
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:
Source: CTJ website 06n-CTJ on Dec 31, 2006
- 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
Minimum tax rate of 30% for those earning over $1 million.
Sanders co-sponsored Paying a Fair Share Act
Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012:
- Amends the Internal Revenue Code to require an individual taxpayer whose adjusted gross income exceeds $1 million to pay a minimum tax rate of 30% of the excess of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income over the taxpayer's modified charitable contribution deduction for the taxable year (tentative fair share tax).
- Establishes the amount of such tax as the excess of the tentative fair share tax over the excess of the sum of the taxpayer's regular tax liability, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) amount, and the payroll tax for the taxable year;
- Provides for a phase-in of such tax.
- Requires an inflation adjustment to the $1 million income threshold for taxable years beginning after 2013.
- Expresses the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact tax reform that repeals unfair and unnecessary tax loopholes and expenditures, simplifies the tax system, and makes sure that the wealthiest taxpayers pay a fair share of taxes.
Source: HR3903/S2230 12-S2230 on Mar 22, 2012
Page last updated: Jun 04, 2018