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Joseph Lieberman on Tax Reform

Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


New tax cuts to 95% of taxpayers

Q: Which of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 would you change, if any?

A: Here's what I'll do: Repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy; maintain the tax cuts for the middle class, including the increase in the child tax credit and elimination of the marriage penalty; cut taxes for 98 percent of taxpayers; restore the dividend tax that Bush repealed; reform the estate tax that Bush repealed; eliminate wasteful corporate loopholes and subsidies that Bush has protected.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Taxes" Jan 25, 2004

Tax the richest 2% to pay for a tax cut to the other 98%

I have come out for genuine tax reform, not only to protect the middle-class tax cuts that middle-class families did get in the last three years, but to pass a tax cut for 98% of the income tax payers and to pay for it by raising taxes on the [other] 2%. That may make some of the higher-income people unhappy, but it's the right thing to do for the middle class and for our economy.
Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College Jan 22, 2004

Fresh Start on tax cuts for 98% of all taxpayers

In a new 30-second TV ad, Lieberman says that the campaign should be about "expanded access to health care, tax cuts for 98% of taxpayers and deficit reduction to protect Social Security. That would be a fresh start," Lieberman says.

The ad is the 3rd of his campaign. As in the others, Lieberman talks directly into the camera while sitting in a diner. Lieberman's earlier ads touted his reputation for moral certitude, criticized Republicans' tax proposals and assailed Bush's postwar policies in Iraq.

Source: Liz Sidoti, Associated Press in Washington Post Nov 14, 2003

Tax fairness & tax relief for the middle class, not the rich

Q: What will you do with the Bush tax cuts?

A: Unlike some of my Democratic opponents I would not repeal all of the Bush tax cuts. I would keep the ones that help the middle class and those trying to get into it including the child care tax credit and the reduction in the marital tax penalty. But I would repeal the tax cuts on higher income Americans. I am the only candidate who is proposing tax reform and tax fairness and that means a new tax cut for 98% of income tax payers, which is most of the middle class that really needs help today. Unlike Bush, I would favor these tax cuts by putting a surtax on the highest income Americans. That would be real tax fairness and tax relief for the middle class.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 3, 2003

Repeal Bush tax cuts on highest income Americans

Q: No new taxes under a Lieberman administration?

LIEBERMAN: No, [no such promise]. And immediately as president, I would attempt to repeal the Bush tax cuts on the highest income Americans, they don't need it. It sent us in a deficit that will cost the middle class, and our children and grandchildren, all sorts of money in the future.

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

Gore’s tax credits acknowledge existing needs

CHENEY [to Lieberman]: Especially in the area of taxation, we want to make certain that the American people have the ability to keep more of what they earn and then they get to decide how to spend it. Gore’s proposal, basically, doesn’t do that. It, in effect, lays out some 29 separate tax credits. And if you live your life the way they want you to live your life, if you do in fact behave in a certain way, then you qualify for a tax credit and at that point you get some relief.

LIEBERMAN: This is an important difference between us. We’re focusing our tax cuts on the middle class, in the areas where they tell us they need it. One of those many tax credits for the middle class that Dick just referred to, includes a $500 tax credit for stay-at-home moms, just as a way of saying we understand that you are performing a service for our society, we want you to have that tax credit.

Source: Vice-presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Exciting tax credits for health, elder care, & retirement

Source: Vice-presidential debate Oct 5, 2000

Tax cuts for working families, not the wealthy

This is a question of priorities. Our opponents want to use America’s hard-earned surplus to give a tax break to those who need it least at the expense of all our other needs. Under their plan, the middle class gets a little... and the wealthy get a lot. Their tax plan operates under that old theory that the best way to feed the birds is to give more oats to the horse. We see the surplus through a different set of eyes the eyes of working middle-class families.
Source: Speech to the Democrat Convention Aug 16, 2000

Cut capital gains tax; it has helped economy

Because I have always believed that tax policy can influence economic behavior and I was troubled by the lack of capital investment in our economy during the late 1980s and early 1990s, I supported a cut in the capital gains tax. I co-sponsored the capital gains tax cut which finally passed in 1997. I believe the record shows it has helped to keep the American economy growing.
Source: Excerpt from “In Praise of Public Life”, p.132-3 May 2, 2000

$792B tax cut is premature and unrealistic

Sounding an alarm about the harmful impact a major tax cut could have on the US economy at this time, Lieberman [opposes] the $792 billion tax cut.. Lieberman, a long-time supporter of reducing taxes, said this tax cut is premature, premised on unrealistic budgetary assumptions, and could take the government back into lasting deficits. As a result, Lieberman will offer an amendment to strike all of the language in the Republican tax bill and postpone any tax cut until at least next year.
Source: Press Release, “Postponing Tax Cuts” Jul 28, 1999

Voted NO on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years.

H.R. 2 Conference Report; Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would make available $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years. It would provide $20 billion in state aid that consists of $10 billion for Medicaid and $10 billion to be used at states' judgment. The agreement contains a new top tax rate of 15 percent on capital gains and dividends through 2007 (5 percent for lower-income taxpayers in 2007 and no tax in 2008). Income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and planned to take effect in 2006 would be accelerated. The child tax credit would be raised to $1,000 through 2004. The standard deduction for married couples would be double that for a single filer through 2004. Tax breaks for businesses would include expanding the deduction that small businesses could take on investments to $100,000 through 2005.
Bill HR.2 ; vote number 2003-196 on May 23, 2003

Voted NO on cutting taxes by $1.35 trillion over 11 years.

Vote to pass a bill that would reduce all income tax rates and make other tax cuts totaling $1.35 trillion over 11 years. The bill would increase the standard deduction for married couples subject to the 15% bracket to double that of singles by 2005
Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-165 on May 23, 2001

Voted YES on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates.

Vote to expand the standard deduction and 15% income tax bracket for couples. The elimination of the "marriage penalty" tax would be offset by reducing the marginal tax rate reductions for the top two rate bracket
Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-112 on May 17, 2001

Voted YES on increasing tax deductions for college tuition.

Vote to increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from $5,000 to $12,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from $500 to $1,000. The expense would be offset by limiting the cut in the top estate tax rate to 53%.
Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-114 on May 17, 2001

Voted NO on eliminating the 'marriage penalty'.

Vote on a bill that would reduce taxes on married couples by increasing their standard deduction to twice that of single taxpayers and raise the income limits on both the 15 percent and 28 percent tax brackets for married couples to twice that of singles
Bill HR.4810 ; vote number 2000-215 on Jul 18, 2000

Voted NO on phasing out the estate tax ("death tax").

Vote on a bill that would eventually eliminate the tax imposed on estates and gifts by 2010 at an estimated cost of $75 billion annually when fully phased in.
Bill HR 8 ; vote number 2000-197 on Jul 14, 2000

Voted NO on across-the-board spending cut.

The Nickles (R-OK) Amdendment would express the sense of the Senate that Congress should adopt an across-the-board cut in all discretionary funding, to prevent the plundering of the Social Security Trust Fund
Status: Amdt. Agreed to Y)54; N)46
Reference: Nickles Amdt #1889; Bill S. 1650 ; vote number 1999-313 on Oct 6, 1999

Voted NO on $792B tax cuts.

This vote was on a motion to waive the Congressional Budget Act against the Gramm (R-TX) amendment which would reduce taxes by $792 billion over 10 years by reducing all income tax rates by 10%, effectively eliminating the so-called "marriage penalty".
Status: Motion Rejected Y)46; N)54
Reference: Motion to waive Congressional Budget Amendment in regards to the Gramm Amdt #1405; Bill S. 1429 ; vote number 1999-230 on Jul 29, 1999

Voted NO on requiring super-majority for raising taxes.

Senator Kyl (R-AZ) offered an amendment to the 1999 budget resolution to express the sense of the Senate on support for a Constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority to pass tax increases.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
Reference: Kyl Amdt #2221; Bill S Con Res 86 ; vote number 1998-71 on Apr 2, 1998

Voted NO on FY99 tax cuts.

Senator Coverdell (R-GA) offered an amendment to the 1999 budget resolution to reduce revenues by $101.5 billion over the next 5 years, to provide middle-class tax reflief
Status: Motion Rejected Y)38; N)62)
Reference: Motion to waive CBA Re: Coverdell Amdt. # 2199; Bill S Con Res 86 ; vote number 1998-55 on Apr 1, 1998

Rated 15% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes.

Lieberman scores 15% by NTU on tax-lowering policies

Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote’s effect. NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All Members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a Member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers. The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the Member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring Members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower. A Member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the Member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform.

Source: NTU website 03n-NTU on Dec 31, 2003

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Joseph Lieberman 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
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Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts