Jon Huntsman on Tax Reform

Republican UT Governor

Rip out $1.1T in loopholes from the corrupt tax code

Q: Where is the money going to come from for infrastructure investment?

HUNTSMAN: We've got to earn our way forward. There's no question about it. Governors learn how to pay the bills. In order to pay the bills, you've got to expand your economic base. And that's a problem we have in the US right now. We read about the jobs that have ticked upward in this country and we're all very happy about that. We're providing people more in the way of real opportunity. But think of where this country would be, if during the first two years of Barack Obama you had had a different president. I would have ripped open the tax code and I would have done what Simpson-Bowles recommended. I would have cleaned out all of the loopholes and the deductions that weigh down this country to the tune of $1.1 trillion. We've got a corrupt tax code. So you've got to say, how are we going to pay for it? We've got to stimulate some confidence in the creative class in this country. Right now they're sitting on their hands.

Source: WMUR 2012 GOP New Hampshire debate , Jan 7, 2012

Individual tax rates: 8%, 14%, 24%; corporate rate: 25%

You ought to be given a competitive tax code. We need to clear out the cobwebs. We need to clear out the deductions, the loopholes, the corporate welfare, and all the subsidies. And we leave it at 8%, 14%, 24%--those are the three rates that I think would work on the individual income side.

On the corporate side, I think we recognize the reality that a whole lot of companies can afford to have lobbyists and lawyers on Capitol Hill working their magic. Let's recognize the reality that they're all paying 35%. We need to lower that to 255. So let's phase out the corporate subsidies and clean out the cobwebs and leave it more competitive for the 21st century.

I can tell you, by doing that with our tax code--and I know, because we did it in a state that took us to the number-one job creator in this country--it will leave you and your generation a whole lot better off.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Eliminate loopholes & make code flatter & simpler

Rather than tinker with a broken and outdated tax system, I propose bold reform which eliminates loopholes, special interest carve-outs and subsidies, while lowering rates across the board to make our tax code flatter, fairer, simpler and more conducive to growth. My plan also eliminates burdensome regulations like Obamacare, promotes energy independence, and opens more global markets for American products by expanding free trade.
Source: www.jon2012.com, response to 2011 Jobs Speech , Sep 8, 2011

Let's take a pledge to not take any pledges, including taxes

Q: Everyone up here has taken a pledge not to raise taxes. Dangerous business to you?

HUNTSMAN: I'd love to get everybody to sign a pledge to take no pledges. I have a pledge to my wife, and I pledge allegiance to my country, but beyond that, no pledges. I think it diminishes the political discussion. I think it jeopardizes your ability to lead once you get there. And I started when I first ran for governor in 2004, as someone who wanted to pin me down on taxes, I said, no thanks, I'm not going to sign it. I didn't raise taxes. We had historic tax cuts in our state. So look at somebody's record. That's always a pretty good indicator and barometer of where they're likely to go.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

FactCheck: Created UT flat tax;but only top rate got 30% cut

At a NH campaign event, Huntsman said that as Utah governor, "We got a flat tax out of it; we cut income taxes by 30%; it was cost-neutral; we took out the deductions. And you know what? The state came to life in part because of that.''

How accurate is that claim? Huntsman's campaign explained that when Huntsman took office, there were six income tax brackets ranging from 2.3% to 7%. Ultimately, Huntsman and the Legislature approved a single rate of 5%. They created a much flatter tax, stripping away most of the deductions and credits. In general, most taxpayers ended up paying less in taxes.

Did Huntsman "cut income taxes by 30%"? We find that is a significant exaggeration: The statutory top tax bracket before and after the tax system declined fro 7% to 5%, which is a decrease of 28.6%. But that doesn't address the lower tax brackets. Remember, the lowest rate went up from 2.3% to 5%, but they got some tax credits. So Huntsman's 30 percent decrease in the statutory rate didn't apply to them.

Source: FactCheck on 2011 Presidential primary by PolitiFact.com , Jul 4, 2011

Pro-business agenda, including targeted tax cuts

As ambassador, he refuses to wade into the high-profile political fights of the day. But while serving as governor of Utah, he pursued an aggressively pro-business agenda--including targeted tax cuts and foreign-trade missions --that helped create the nation's second-fastest-growing economy over the last five years. And his current post as ambassador to China provides him with the street cred of a fully converted deficit hawk.
Source: Newsweek profile, "The Manchurian Candidate" , Jan 4, 2011

Historically high tax burden is now below national average

Thanks to the entrepreneurs, innovators and hard-workers of our State, personal income rose nearly ten percent last year, outperforming every state in the nation.

Our historically high tax burden is now below the national average. And we have the lowest tax rate since the implementation of the State income tax. Thank you members of the Legislature; you passed tax reform unanimously last session, and this month, it is a reality!

Source: Utah 2008 State of the State address , Jan 22, 2008

Removed half of the sales tax on food

Last year, together with the Legislature, we removed half of the State portion of sales tax on food and took an initial step in adopting a flatter, fairer, income tax that will help Utah keep its competitive edge. We established a dual tax system, now recognized nationally, that gives individual taxpayers the choice of either paying under our old income tax system or simply paying a flat 5.35 percent in income taxes. As a result of this action, every Utahn will receive income tax relief.
Source: Utah 2007 State of the State address , Jan 16, 2007

Restructure taxes to be more business-friendly

Source: Gubernatorial website, www.utah.gov/governor/ , Nov 11, 2006

$12B in federal economic stimulus as state block grants.

Huntsman signed $12B in federal economic stimulus as state block grants

The nation's governors urge you to include state countercyclical funding as part of your legislation to stimulate the economy. This would include $6 billion in Medicaid assistance by freezing scheduled federal FMAP reductions and increasing all states' F Congress approved $20 billion in assistance to states, including $10 billion in Medicaid and $10 billion in block grants. The governors' current stimulus proposal is essentially the same, with the exception that it is a total of $12 billion as opposed to $20 billion. This proposal can be enacted quickly, as there is precedent and it is timely, temporary and targeted.

Additionally, governors appreciate federal efforts to use tax policy to get additional money into the hands of consumers and businesses to stimulate the economy. When considering tax changes to spur economic growth, governors urge Congress and the Administration to follow the maxim of "Do no harm" by avoiding changes at the federal level that would diminish state tax revenues or force state actions that would undermine the effectiveness of federal efforts.

We look forward to working with you to enact the appropriate stimulus program.

Source: Letter from 37 governors to House & Senate Leadership NGA-0801TX on Jan 28, 2008

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Jon Huntsman on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Rocky Anderson(J)
Roseanne Barr(PF)
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Jill Stein(G)
Andre Barnett(Ref.)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2013