On Dec. 31, the federal tax cuts passed from 2001 to 2003 are scheduled to expire. They include an increase in every personal income tax rate, higher taxes on marriage and family, the return of the inheritance tax (which was eliminated for this year only), and higher taxes on personal savings and investment. Allowing the taxes to expire would constitute the largest tax increase in American history.
Carolina Journal editorial intern Amanda Vuke contacted the North Carolina candidates running in Districts 7-13 for the U.S. House of Representatives, asking each the following questions:
Would you vote for legislation that extended the tax cuts indefinitely? For a set period of time? Would you instead propose and support a different tax policy? Or would you allow the tax cuts to expire as scheduled?
The unedited replies from the candidates or their spokesmen follow. The responses from the candidates for the U.S. Senate and House Districts 1-6 can be found here.
• House District 7
Ilario Pantano, Republican:
“Letting the tax cuts expire is a disaster unless you think killing small business is a good idea. If you do then have at it. Bringing back the death tax is especially despicable. It’s tough on farmers and family-owned small businesses, which are the heart and soul of the economy in the this district and across the nation.
“These cuts offer tax relief to just about everyone who pays taxes. Letting the tax cuts expire will result in a $1 trillion tax increase. Anyone who has set through Economics 101 knows you don’t raise taxes during a recession, especially when this may just be the lull between a double or triple dip.”
Rep. Mike McIntyre, a Democrat who was elected in 1996, did not respond.
• House District 8
Harold Johnson, Republican. Communications Director Matt Mercer replied:
Harold wants to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts indefinitely at a minimum. As you said, allowing them expire with the return of the inheritance tax and capital gains tax to previous levels would be the largest tax increase in history and we can’t allow that to happen. Harold signed the ATR pledge to permanently repeal the Death Tax. Harold also favors helping businesses by cutting the corporate income tax to 25% from its current level.
Thomas Hill, Libertarian:
First, I would vote to extend the tax cuts indefinitely. Then I would propose shrinking government enough to fit it back into the Constitution so we could eliminate the personal income tax forever.
If we are to have a government bound by the “consent of the governed,” we should allow each citizen to exercise their natural right to choose which services they want to pay for.
Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat who was elected in 2008, did not respond.
• House District 9
Rep. Sue Myrick, a Republican, was elected in 1994. Research Assistant Denyse Evans Chacaltana responded:
Sue would vote to have them extended.
Jeff Doctor, a Democrat, did not respond.
• House District 10
Neither Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Republican who was elected in 2004, nor Jeff Gregory, a Democrat, responded.
• House District 11
Neither Rep. Heath Shuler, a Democrat who was elected in 2006, nor Jeff Miller, a Republican, responded.
• House District 12
Rep. Mel Watt, a Democrat who was elected in 1992, voted against the tax cuts. His office would not identify the changes in tax policy he would support.
Greg Dority, Republican
I support extending the tax cuts indefinitely and would be pleased to vote for such legislation. We are not going to be able to tax our way out of this economic debacle and the more money left on the table for citizens of all brackets, the more efficiency in spending we will see.
I have been a firm believer in the deflation scenario for a number of years and now see this dynamic in play. The overwhelming debt levels created by the last credit boom are defaulting faster than the government can generate new units of artificial money — and get them through the system. The magnitude of this credit collapse will dwarf any government attempts to manage the recovery. Increasing taxes in a deflationary economic collapse is suicide as credit evaporates and production grinds to a halt — in essence, there is no money.
We need to be thinking about additional tax cuts before government revenue streams simply vanish.
Lon Cecil, Libertarian
I strongly oppose letting the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire! Due to our lame duck congress, however, I see little chance there will be enabling legislation passed before February 2011, at the very earliest. The expiration is going to be an effective 4% or greater tax increase on everyone that works and/or reports income. It will benefit the Progressive agenda of more money to spend in January 2011, for the same reasons that Clinton was able to essentially balance the budget on the backs of people that got trapped into AMT.
Next year there will be a lot more taxpayersc subject to AMT, since that is now down into the pay scales of blue-collar laborers with 3 or 4 kids and a wife.
The Death Tax or Inheritance Tax will simply wipe out even more of our small businesses and family farms, unless the elderly parents die before Christmas 2010.
If Americans want jobs and a vibrant economy, we must reduce the tax burden on people, even if it means some non-working, non-retired people may have to lose their free Government checks.
• House District 13
Bill Randall, Republican:
1. Reinstate the tax cuts (as warranted).
2. Significantly slash or eliminate (obsolete, redundant or wasteful) bureaucratic programs & agencies.
3. Reduce/eliminate regulations & taxation that stymies commerce and the free markets.
James Hardesty, Independent
I am deeply concerned that Obama and this current Congress will try to pass cap-n-trade and a VAT tax before the new Congress is seated. We also know the indications are that they will raise the capital gains tax too and many other taxes. To answer your question specifically, at the very least the new Congress should extend the Bush tax cuts until a new simpler and lower tax system can be developed. There is great consensus that the current tax system is too complex, too costly to comply with, and too much — that is: too many taxes and too high taxes. This situation chokes off economic activity. I prefer the entire current system be repealed and move to a one tax system or as close to it as we can get given our deficit problems. That system can be either some version of the fair tax or the flat tax but not both. I have several suggestions to this effect on my website < a href=http://hardestyforcongress.org>hardestyforcongress.org under the platform tab.
I am opposed to the concept of “progressive” taxation because it is anti-democratic in the extreme. It says that some are more equal than others and such policies lead to divisions and class warfare. I prefer one national retail sales tax (not a VAT) because then everyone has skin in the game and the taxes they pay are in direct proportion to the resources they consume as opposed to a tax on income or wealth which are disincentives to work and growth.
With all that being said, it needs to be noted that the states and local governments are doing the same things as the federal government in terms of too many taxes and too high taxes. When all three levels of government are combined the list of taxes and fees exceeds 50 different taxes and fees for many people exceeding forty and fifty percent of their incomes. The American Revolution started over a tea tax and we are far beyond that now in terms of taxation. The situation has to change.
Rep. Brad Miller, a Democrat who was elected in 2002, did not respond.