Martin O`Malley on Tax Reform
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.
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.
Since that time, the O'Malley-Brown Administration has used the challenge of these times to make our government more efficient, and more effective. We have cut spending by $9.1 billion dollars. Today, we now have the smallest executive branch since 1973--and the budget I presented to you last week puts us on a track to totally eliminate that structural deficit without the need for any new fees or taxes.
We remain one of only seven states that has maintained a triple-A bond rating all through the recession, and to this day. We have built up our Rainy Day Fund to $800 million dollars, and we have placed this year in our general reserve an operating surplus of $37 million dollars.
O'MALLEY: We've lowered them on the 85%.
Q: Right, the other 85% went down. You supported the Dream Act, and you're looking at an increase in the minimum wage.
O'MALLEY: Well, I believe that the people of our state and, also, the people of our country, want us to make choices on their behalf that yield results, results that make our economy grow by making our middle class grow.
Q: But those are policies which we used to call liberal agenda.
O'MALLEY: Yes. And I'm proud of each of those things. But, also, these things are also good for an economy. These things are good for building an innovation economy and attracting the most talented workforce. I think they all go together. What the people of our country want is not ideology, not trickle-down economics, but middle-out economics, where we strengthen our middle class to grow our economy & to give our kids a better future.
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.
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