Billy Long on Tax Reform
Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing.
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate's constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.
Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.
Project Vote Smart infers candidate issue stances on key topics by summarizing public speeches and public statements. Candidates are given the opportunity to respond in detail; about 16% did so in the 2010 races.
Project Vote Smart summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax?'
[The ATR, Americans for Tax Reform, run by conservative lobbyist Grover Norquist, ask legislators to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge in each election cycle. Their self-description:]
In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. Since its rollout in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts. Today the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is offered to every candidate for state office and to all incumbents. More than 1,100 state officeholders, from state representative to governor, have signed the Pledge.
The Taxpayer Protection Pledge: "I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
Opponents' Opinion (from wikipedia.com):In Nov. 2011, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) claimed that Congressional Republicans "are being led like puppets by Grover Norquist. They're giving speeches that we should compromise on our deficit, but never do they compromise on Grover Norquist. He is their leader." Since Norquist's pledge binds signatories to opposing deficit reduction agreements that include any element of increased tax revenue, some Republican deficit hawks now retired from office have stated that Norquist has become an obstacle to deficit reduction. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, has been particularly critical, describing Norquist's position as "no taxes, under any situation, even if your country goes to hell."
Repeals the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
Congressional Summary: This bill imposes a national sales tax in lieu of the current income and corporate income tax, employment taxes, and estate and gift taxes. The rate of the sales tax will be 23% in 2017, with adjustments in subsequent years. U.S. residents receive a monthly sales tax rebate (Family Consumption Allowance) based upon family size and poverty guidelines. No funding is allowed for the operations of the Internal Revenue Service after FY2019. Finally, the FairTax terminates if the 16th Amendment to the Constitution (authorizing an income tax) is not repealed within 7 years.
Supporters reasons for voting YEA: Rep. MORAN: I am all on board on tax reform, but the best solution is not tinkering with the current system; it is an overhaul of the current Tax Code. The FairTax, in my view, brings two goals front and center: to pass on to the next generation of Americans the freedoms and liberties guaranteed by our Constitution, and the opportunity for every American to live the American dream.
Opponents reasons for voting NAY: (by FairTaxWarrior.com):
Heritage Action Summary: This bill would repeal the estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes, as well as cut the top gift tax rate.
Heritage Foundation recommendation to vote YES: (4/16/2015): Collectively, these measures repeal the pernicious double tax known as the "death tax," and result in a tax cut of $269 billion over 10 years. The death tax hurts economic growth and therefore limits the ability of Americans to prosper. Repealing the death tax would generate an average of 18,000 jobs annually and increase the overall net worth of American households by $300 billion a year. The federal government should encourage, not punish, Americans who work and pay taxes their whole lives, save enough to support themselves through retirement, and retain the ability to fulfill the American Dream by passing along a better life to their children.
Secretary of Labor Robert Reich recommendation to vote YES: (robertreich.org 6/4/2015): At a time of historic economic inequality, it should be a no-brainer to raise a tax on inherited wealth for the very rich. Yet there's a move among some members of Congress to abolish it altogether. Today the estate tax reaches only the richest 2/10 of 1%, and applies only to dollars in excess of $10.86 million for married couples or $5.43 million for individuals. That means if a couple leaves to their heirs $10,860,001, they now pay the estate tax on $1. The current estate tax rate is 40%, so that would be 40 cents. Yet according to these members of Congress, that's still too much. Our democracy's Founding Fathers did not want a privileged aristocracy. Yet that's the direction we're going in. The tax on inherited wealth is one of the major bulwarks against it. That tax should be increased and strengthened.
Legislative outcome: Passed by the House 240-179-12; never came to vote in Senate.
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Senate races 2021-22:
AK: Incumbent Lisa Murkowski(R)
vs.Challenger Kelly Tshibaka(R)
vs.2020 candidate Al Gross(D)
AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
AR: Incumbent John Boozman(R)
vs.Candidate Dan Whitfield(D)
AZ: Incumbent Mark Kelly(D) vs.CEO Jim Lamon(R) vs.Blake Masters(R) vs.A.G. Mark Brnovich(R) vs.Mick McGuire(R)
CA: Incumbent Alex Padilla(D)
vs.2018 Senate candidate James Bradley(R)
CO: Incumbent Michael Bennet(D)
CT: Incumbent Richard Blumenthal(D)
vs.Challenger Joe Visconti(R)
vs.2018 & 2020 House candidate John Flynn(R)
FL: Incumbent Marco Rubio(R)
vs.U.S.Rep. Val Demings(D)
vs.U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson(D)
GA: Incumbent Raphael Warnock(D)
vs.Navy vet Latham Saddler(R)
HI: Incumbent Brian Schatz(D)
vs.Former State Rep. Cam Cavasso(R ?)
IA: Incumbent Chuck Grassley(R)
vs.State Sen. Jim Carlin(R)
vs.Former U.S. Rep IA-1 Abby Finkenauer(D)
ID: Incumbent Mike Crapo(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
IL: Incumbent Tammy Duckworth(D)
vs.U.S.Rep. Adam Kinzinger(? R)
IN: Incumbent Todd Young(R)
vs.Challenger Haneefah Abdul-Khaaliq(D)
vs.Psychologist Valerie McCray(D)
KS: Incumbent Jerry Moran(R)
KY: Incumbent Rand Paul(R)
vs.State Rep Charles Booker(D)
LA: Incumbent John Kennedy(R)
MD: Incumbent Chris Van Hollen(D)
(no prospective opponents yet)
MO: Incumbent Roy Blunt(R) vs.Eric Greitens(R) vs.Scott Sifton(D) vs.Eric Schmitt(R) vs.Lucas Kunce(D) vs.Mark McClosky(R) vs.Vicky Hartzler(R) vs.Tim Shepard(D) vs.Billy Long(R)
NC: Incumbent Richard Burr(R,retiring)
Erica Smith(D) vs.Mark Walker(R) vs.Ted Budd(R) vs.Pat McCrory(R) vs.Cheri Beasley(D) vs.Rett Newton(D) vs.Jeff Jackson(D) vs.Marjorie K. Eastman(R)
ND: Incumbent John Hoeven(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
NH: Incumbent Maggie Hassan(D)
vs.Chris Sununu(R ?)
NV: Incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto(D)
NY: Incumbent Chuck Schumer(D)
OH: Incumbent Rob Portman(R,retiring)
Bernie Moreno(R) vs.Tim Ryan(D) vs.Jane Timken(R) vs.Josh Mandel(R) vs.JD Vance(R) vs.Mike Gibbons(R) vs.Morgan Harper(D) vs.Matt Dolan(R)
OK: Incumbent James Lankford(R)
(no prospective opponents yet)
OR: Incumbent Ron Wyden(D)
vs.QAnon adherent Jo Rae Perkins(R)
PA: Incumbent Pat Toomey(R,retiring)
vs.Everett Stern(R) vs.Jeff Bartos(R) vs.Val Arkoosh(D) vs.Carla Sands(R) vs.John Fetterman(D) vs.Malcolm Kenyatta(D) vs.Kathy Barnette(R) vs.Sharif Street(D) vs.Conor Lamb(D) vs.Sean Parnell(R) vs.Craig Snyder(R)
SC: Incumbent Tim Scott(R)
vs.State Rep. Krystle Matthews(D)
SD: Incumbent John Thune(R)
vs.State Rep. Billie Sutton(? D)
UT: Incumbent Mike Lee(R) vs.Allen Glines(D) vs.Austin Searle(D) vs.Evan McMullin(I)
VT: Incumbent Patrick Leahy(D)
vs.Lt.Gov. David Zuckerman(? D)
WA: Incumbent Patty Murray(D)
vs.Challenger Tiffany Smiley(R)
WI: Incumbent Ron Johnson(R) vs.Tom Nelson(D) vs.Sarah Godlewski(D) vs.Alex Lasry(D) vs.Chris Larson(D) vs.Mandela Barnes(D)
Senate Votes (analysis)
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