John McCain on Tax Reform

Tax plan: $238B over 5 years; $500B over 10 years

McCain’s tax cut plan is valued at $238 billion over five years; and $500 billion over 10 years. Its centerpiece is an expansion of the lowest income tax bracket, the 15% bracket, to cover higher incomes.

Under the plan, the ceiling for the 15% bracket would rise to $70,000 from $43,050 for married couples filing jointly, and to $35,000 from $25,750 for single taxpayers. The effect is to give a $3,504 tax cut to a couple with taxable income of $70,000 or more.

Source: New York Times, p. 22 Feb 27, 2000

Double child tax credit; add family incentives

McCain’s tax plan would double the child tax credit to $1,000 a year, expand tax incentives for savings and investment, reduce the tax on large estates, and reduce the marriage penalty for some people increasing the standard deduction for couples. McCain would offset a portion of the tax cuts by closing corporate tax loopholes. One analysis shows most tax cuts would go to the middle class, those earning between $39,000 & $130,000. The plan would do almost nothing for taxpayers with incomes below $39,000.
Source: New York Times, p. 22 Feb 27, 2000

“Balanced approach”, and starts a flat tax system

McCain’s pitch is that his tax cut plan is modest enough in size that it leaves plenty of money from the surplus tax revenues to deal with other needs. By expanding the 15% bracket to cover millions of additional taxpayers, he says, his plan amounts to a start on creating a system of flatter tax rates.

“I want a balanced approach,” McCain says. “I put a whole lot of money into Social Security, Medicaid, and paying down the debt [and less] money into tax cuts.”

Source: New York Times, p. 22 Feb 27, 2000

Reagan Republican: simplify taxes; cut waste

Source: Television ad, “Proud Reagan Republican” Feb 26, 2000

Big money interests fear closing loopholes

McCain said that his proposal to eliminate provisions in the tax code that enable corporate investors to write off billions of dollars in deductions had “met with fierce opposition” from big-money interests. And, as he presses the case against loopholes in his campaign, he said the mood in that monied “establishment has gone from concern to fear.” McCain added, “Loopholes. make the tax code 44,000 pages long. And everybody agrees [it] is a cornucopia of good deals for special interests and a nightmare for average citizens.“ McCain said there was a ”direct relation“ between his tax proposal and his efforts to limit special interests’ influence in campaign finance. ”These people,“ he said, ”clearly have an excessive, inordinate influence.“
Source: Boston Globe, p. A31 Jan 30, 2000

Remove charitable deduction; it only benefits rich

McCain’s tax plan could cause charities, universities, & art museums to lose as much as $9 billion over 5 years, the Bush campaign charged. “Anything that would take money away from a charity is a step in the wrong direction,” Bush’s spokesman said.

According to McCain’s plan, people who give charitable contributions in the form of stock, real estate, bonds, or artwork could no longer take a tax deduction for the current, appreciated value of the gift. Instead, the donor could take a deduction only for the original cost of the asset. The McCain campaign describes this as closing a loophole for the very rich, while the Bush campaign says it would kill off incentives for giving.

“Wealthy Americans shouldn’t get a tax write-off for contributing a fancy painting or an overvalued stock,” said McCain’s spokesman. “Bush is protecting his wealthy donor base at the expense of the middle class.” By eliminating the deduction, the spokesman said, 25,000 additional working-class people would get a tax cut.

Source: Boston Globe, p. A12 Jan 22, 2000

Replace employer-provided benefits with a tax cut

Q: As part of your plan to pay for your tax cuts, you say we ought to eliminate what’s called employer-provided benefits to workers. Isn’t that a $40 billion tax increase? A: For the first time since President Eisenhower, we got a surplus and the question is what do you want to do with it? I want to give it to low- and middle-income Americans as a tax cut. I want to give them the benefits from this that they need that lower- and middle-income Americans need.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

Middle-class tax cut: expand 15% tax bracket

McCain will present today his first comprehensive plan for apportioning the spoils of the nation’s current prosperity, calling for a middle-class tax cut. The plan’s centerpiece is in expansion of the 15% income tax bracket, the lowest, to cover higher income levels. It would also double the child credit, to $1,000, reduce the so-called marriage penalty paid by many two-income couples, create new tax incentives for savings, and cut the inheritance taxes on multi-million dollar estates.

His tax plan largely tracks a proposal he made last summer. New details include a proposal to pay for much of his tax cut by closing $150 billion worth of specific corporate tax loopholes over the next 5 years. Under McCain’s plan, the ceiling for the 15% tax bracket would rise to $70,000 for couples filing jointly and to $35,000 for single people. Its primary benefits would therefore go to people currently in the 28% tax bracket, couples earning over $43,050 and single people earning over $25,750

Source: New York Times, p. A21 Jan 11, 2000

Don’t promise tax cuts from future surpluses we may not have

McCAIN [to Bush]: I’m more concerned about the surplus gap [than Bush’s phrase, the “tax gap”]. It’s fiscally irresponsible to promise a huge tax cut that is based on a surplus that we may not have. My tax plan. is about the same as yours for middle-income and lower-income Americans. It places a top priority on saving Social Security. It offers a needed tax break for middle-income people and it begins paying down the national debt.

BUSH: In human terms, [a couple earning] $42,000 a year in income, under [McCain’s] plan, will receive a $200 tax cut. Under the plan that I proposed, they receive an $1,852 tax cut. The fundamental difference is that the additional $1,600 will go to Washington under your idea. And under my idea it goes into people’s pockets. There is enough money to take care of Social Security. There’s enough money to meet the basic needs of our government and there is enough money to give the American people a substantial tax cut.

Source: Republican Debate in West Columbia, SC Jan 7, 2000

1st step to simplify taxes: close special interest loopholes

FORBES [to McCain]: Cutting the capital gains tax is key to a prosperous future. In New Hampshire you indicated support for a flat tax and I was wondering if you might put flesh on those bones and tell us what you have in mind for tax reform?

MCCAIN: I want to thank you for your efforts on behalf of a flat tax. I think we’ve got to eliminate the marriage penalty, the earnings test, raise the 15% tax bracket, put a level of $5 million on the inheritance tax. But this tax code is 44,000 pages long. It’s an abomination. It’s a cornucopia of good deals for the special interests and it’s a nightmare for American citizens. We’ve got to get rid of the special interest loopholes that are right in this tax code. That’s the first step in cleaning it up to reach your goal of a simplified tax system. I appreciate your efforts. But until the day arrives when we remove the influence of the special interests, we’re not going to be able to achieve your goal.

Source: (cross-ref. from Forbes) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

Supports flat tax; stop complexity by special interests

Q: Do you favor a flat tax? A: Sure, I’m for a flat tax. I’m for a tax system where average Americans can fill out their tax return on a postcard and send it in and not have the fear of an audit. But do you know why the tax code is 44,000 pages long? Do you know why it’s a nightmare, a chamber of horrors for average citizens and a cornucopia of good deals for the special interests? It’s because every time we pass a tax bill we add another special loophole and a special deal for the special interests.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College Oct 29, 1999

Keep lump-sum earned income tax credit

McCain said that Congress shouldn’t “tamper with a much-needed tax credit for working Americans” and suggested cutting special interest subsidies would be a better way to meet budget targets. McCain called the proposal an “accounting gimmick” to produce $8 billion in savings by spreading the earned income tax credit over 12 monthly payments rather than the lump sum now paid with tax refunds. “If our goal is to have lower-income Americans lifted up into the middle class, this is the wrong way to do it.”
Source: Will Lester, AP/LA Times Oct 1, 1999

Cut marriage tax, inheritance tax, & earnings test

Source: Candidacy Declaration Speech, Nashua NH Sep 27, 1999

Taxes should be flatter, lower, and simpler

McCain believes the vast majority of Americans pay an excessive amount of their hard-earned income and accumulated wealth in taxes -- at all levels of government. McCain [believes] that tax relief and smaller government go hand-in-hand. He is committed to creating a better tax system, which is flatter, fairer, and only taxes income one time. It should be simple and reduce the time and money needed to prepare tax returns, from days to minutes, and from thousands of dollars to pennies.
Source: “Position Papers” 5/24/99 Apr 30, 1999

Voted YES on eliminating the 'marriage penalty'.

Vote on a bill that would reduce taxes on married couples by increasing their standard deduction to twice that of single taxpayers and raise the income limits on both the 15 percent and 28 percent tax brackets for married couples to twice that of singles
Bill HR.4810 ; vote number 2000-215 on Jul 18, 2000

Voted YES on phasing out the estate tax ("death tax").

Vote on a bill that would eventually eliminate the tax imposed on estates and gifts by 2010 at an estimated cost of $75 billion annually when fully phased in.
Bill HR 8 ; vote number 2000-197 on Jul 14, 2000

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