Monday, January 21, 2008

Survey of Republicans supports Walz AMT position

Tim Walz expressed concern about his vote against HR 3996 – the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2007 -- "It's an ad made in heaven for them".
My response was that the First District finally had a Fiscally Responsible Congressman.

Congressman Walz may be at ease … Republicans and Democrats support his position.

A survey of 1,527 likely voters conducted December 10-13, 2007 of the most competitive 65 congressional districts – 25 held by Democrats and 40 by Republicans - (which I presume included Minnesota’s First District) revealed an interesting response …. Not from supports of Democrats, but from Republican supporters.

Although Sleaze and Smear will be his opponent in next November’s election, his job will be to educate the voters on what the vote really concerned. The newspaper headlines were that millions of middle class taxpayers would be affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
Fear was working overtime.
But the question was not should the AMT be changed, but what about the lost revenues ?
The House Democrats had one idea … a fiscally responsible idea. In the end, Walz could have caved to re-election concerns and joined the Republicans or he could do --- what he did do – the right thing.

Read the following questions and you will see the real debate and how people responded.

Q.49 As you may know, last month the House of Representatives passed a tax cut bill. It protects 23 million middle income taxpayers from paying the Alternative Minimum Tax, saving them up to $2,000 in taxes. It also makes more families eligible for the child tax credit and makes combat pay tax deductible. And it allows those using the short form to deduct their local property taxes. To pay for the lost revenue, the bill increases taxes on hedge fund managers and investors who currently pay a tax rate half that applied to ordinary income. Do you favor or oppose this bill?

Democrats favored this bill 64 to 23; while Republicans favored it 61 to 21.

Q.50 Now let me read you some statements about this bill passed by the House of Representatives. After I read them, please tell me whether you agree more with the first statement or the second statement, even if neither is exactly right.
The Democratic candidate says, this bill provides critical tax relief for 55 million middle class and working class taxpayers at a time of a weakening economy and growing financial pressures on families. I support it because the bill does not increase the deficit. It is paid for by closing tax loopholes and asking wealthy hedge fund managers to pay the same tax rate as those with ordinary income.
The Republican candidate says, this bill abuses the legitimate goal of protecting those about to be hit by the AMT, but it is packed with special interest goodies and raises taxes on investors that will hurt our economy at a time of uncertainty. I am opposed to any tax increases at this time. This country can't afford politically motivated tax increases that could push us into recession.

Democrats supported the Democratic position 63 % and the Republican position 33 %.
Republicans supported the Democratic position 54 % and the Republican position 40 %.

The Senate took a different approach, so the survey asked this question :

Q.52 As you may know, recently the Senate passed a tax cut bill. It protects 23 million middle income taxpayers from paying the Alternative Minimum Tax, saving them up to $2,000 in taxes. To avoid raising any taxes to pay for the lost revenue, the bill will increase the deficit by $50 billion next year. Do you favor or oppose this bill?

Democrats narrowly favored this bill 45 to 44 while the Republicans opposed the bill 44 to 52.

That’s right, people especially Republicans are concerned about the deficit.
If Walz was concerned about questions for re-election, the question need to addressed to Norm Coleman, Michele Bachmann, and John Kline -- “Why are you voting to run up the deficit against the wishes of Republicans?”

Two points.
First, the AMT problem has not gone away. The bill that was passed fixed 2007 but not 2008. Now is the time to address it. There is no doubt that some of the stock market concern relates to the uncertainty of the AMT. A quick resolution will stabilize the situation. PAYGO is the only way that makes sense. Walz is right.
Second, as Congress considers a stimulus package, attention must be given to the deficit. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is a Republican appointed by President Bush, said longer-run tax measures could actually hurt the economy. "A fiscal program that increased the structural budget deficit would only make confronting those challenges more difficult." Foolish suggestions like Michele Bachmann’s misleading titled Middle Class Job Protection Act HR 4995 that uses the current economic climate to push the long standing objective of lower corporate tax rates makes no sense.

No comments: