Dick Gephardt on Tax Reform

Democratic Representative (MO-3); Former Democratic Candidate for President

Supported Clinton 1993 tax plan, despite it being unpopular

Q: As president, what would be the least popular, most right thing you would do?

GEPHARDT: I will do what I did in 1993-the Clinton economic program wasn't popular. We raised taxes on the wealthiest Americans, we cut taxes on others, we cut spending in some areas that were tough to cut, and we raised spending and invested money in other areas. It was the proudest moment of my time in the Congress, because we lost the Congress because we did the right thing for the American people.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

No Bush Lite: get rid of tax cut and get health care done

LIEBERMAN: [Gephardt's health plan] does cancel the better parts of the 2001 tax cut which gave tax breaks to working Americans and middle-class Americans, reduce the marital tax penalty, and increase the child-care tax credit.

GEPHARDT: If we're going to win this election, we cannot be Bush Lite. We can't come along and say, `Well, I'll keep half the Bush tax cut,' or `I'll keep three quarters of the Bush tax cut.' The Bush tax cuts have failed. They are not making this economy better, they are not helping people get jobs, they're not covering anybody with health insurance. We've got to give the people a choice. I want to give the American people a choice. If you like George Bush's tax cuts, stick with him, vote for him. But if you want to finally solve this problem that's bedeviled our people for 100 years, let's get it done. Let's get everybody in this country covered with good health insurance. My plan will do it.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

Crazy to cut taxes without creating a budget first

Democrats were angered that the GOP leadership have pushed to get the tax cut bill through the House so rapidly, saying it makes little sense to draft a tax cut before creating a fiscal year 2002 budget resolution. “This is happening without a budget, without hearings, without input from anybody,” Dick Gephardt said, complaining that the debate structure laid out by the majority Republicans did no justice to a bill with a size & scope such as this one. “This is the biggest tax bill we have ever taken up in this Congress,“ he said. ”They’ve scheduled two hours debate on a $1 trillion tax cut. That’s crazy.“

A Democratic alternative that would have slashed taxes by some $600 billion over 10 years included a doubling of the standard deduction for married couples -- a facet not included in the Republican bill. The Republicans have said they wish to get the tax rate changes passed first, and they plan to return later to issues such as marriage penalty relief and elimination of the estate tax.

Source: CNN.com Mar 8, 2001

$900B tax cut protects other important interests

Democrats have a better plan, a balanced plan that treats the national budget the way you treat your household budget. Our plan provides $900 billion in tax cuts for all Americans. Our plan protects every dollar of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. It strengthens Medicare and adds an affordable prescription drug benefit so seniors don’t have to choose between food and medicine. It strengthens Social Security rather than subjecting it to a volatile stock market, so that it will be there, not only for the baby boomers, but for their children and their grandchildren.

Our plan enables us to keep paying down the national debt, the debt we ran up in the ‘80s, so we can keep interest rates low and keep our economy growing. And it invests in the future of our country, by making sure every child can get an excellent education at a first-rate public school. We can’t accomplish any of these goals if we spend the entire surplus on the president’s tax cut.

Source: Democratic reply to Bush’s Message to Congress Feb 27, 2001

Bush tax cut plan threatens our prosperity

Democrats contend that Bush’s tax cut plan already is too big and ineffectual as a stimulant. They say it would leave too little to overhaul Social Security and Medicare programs for retiring baby boomers.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt warned that Bush’s tax plan “threatens our prosperity and could return us to the big budget deficits of the 1980s. I, for one, have learned a valuable lesson from the 1981 Reagan tax cut. I do not intend to repeat that mistake.”

Source: MSNBC.com Feb 1, 2001

Targeted tax cuts for middle-class families

Despite this robust economy, millions of working families still struggle to make ends meet. We need targeted tax cuts to put more money back in the pockets of middle-class families.
Source: Congressional Democrats’ web site, “Families First” Jan 1, 2001

Require national referendum to raise federal income tax

My 10% Tax Plan includes a feature that will help guarantee the benefits of tax reform in the future. It’s a proposal for a national advisory referendum-a vote by all the citizens-before federal income taxes can rise again. This amounts to a promise that Congress won’t be able to undermine the integrity of the new system. We need to get our citizens more interested and involved in running their country, and giving them final say over [taxes and other] crucial issues is a sensible way to do this.
Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.173 Jul 2, 1999

10% Tax Plan: end loopholes, lower rates

I’ve come to believe it’s time to join the Republicans in their call to scrap the tax code and start over. I’ve authored a plan that I think can solve the problem. I call it the 10% Tax Plan. It’s really simple: Roughly three out of four taxpayers would end up paying no more than 10% of their income in federal income taxes. In addition, the other tax rates found in today’s code would be lowered dramatically. My plan would reduce the tax burden for 62% of US taxpayers. A family of four would pay no federal income tax on its first $27,500 in income and no more than a 10% rate on income up to $61,000.

I’d treat all income the same, [both earned and investment income]. By eliminating most tax preferences, we’ll dramatically simplify the tax code. A majority of taxpayers could actually choose not to file an income tax form at all through an enhanced system of voluntary withholding. And those who do file a tax form would find it no larger than an ordinary postcard.

Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.171-72 Jul 2, 1999

Remove special interests from tax code

We need a new tax system. Aren’t you sick of a tax system that does not work for anybody?

It is a mess of special interests. I have a tax plan that I think makes sense. Throw all the deductions out except one, the mortgage interest deduction, because it is the American dream to own a piece of the rock.

Second, if you do that, you can get a rate of 10% for 75% of the American people. Everybody earning $60,000 or less would have a 10% rate. If you do your withholding right, you would not even need to file a return. The only deduction left would be the mortgage interest deduction.

I am willing to urge Congress to pass a law that says before we ever raise taxes we have to have a national referendum of the American people to do it.

Source: United We Stand America Conference, p.262-63 Aug 12, 1995

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 so-called 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 $99.5B 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 $958B 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.

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 repealing the estate tax ("death tax").

Vote to pass a bill that would completely eliminate taxes on estates over a 10 year period at an estimated cost of $105 billion as well as $50 billion each year after the repeal of the tax is complete in 2010.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Dunn, R-WA; Bill HR 8 ; vote number 2000-254 on Jun 9, 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

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Dick Gephardt on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts