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Tom Ridge on Tax Reform

Secretary of Homeland Defense; Former Republican Governor (PA)


Cut taxes as governor by $2.6B

Ridgeís hallmark as governor has been cutting taxes: He pushed tax cuts in each of his first five years in office, and claims that altogether they cut taxes by $2.6 billion. In the process he cut state spending growth in half and increased the Rainy Day fund from $30 million to $700 million. In 1997 and 1998 he moved to cut the state income tax on lower-income families; there is now no state income tax on families of four with income under $25,000.
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics , Jan 28, 2000

60% legislative supermajority for raising taxes

In 1999 he pushed a package of $273 million in cuts in corporate taxes, the capital stock and franchise tax, the natural gas tax and the personal income tax. He even proposed a 60% legislative supermajority for raising taxes.
Source: National Journal, the Almanac of American Politics , Jan 28, 2000

No national sales tax or VAT.

Ridge adopted the National Governors Association policy:

Source: NGA Executive Committee Policy Statement EC-9 00-NGA1 on Feb 15, 2000

Let states independently determine estate taxes.

Ridge adopted a letter to Congressional leaders from 37 Governors:

We are writing to request equal treatment between states and the federal government on estate tax changes. Regardless of oneís view about phasing out the federal estate tax, the Governors are absolutely united in opposing any action that would discriminate against states in the phase-out of the state and federal estate taxes. This issue needs to be addressed before the Senate goes to conference with the House.

Governors believe that the ability of states to independently determine their own tax revenue policy is a basic tenet of federalism. Moreover, no federal tax bill should be enacted without close consultation with the states.

At the very least, there must be equity in the treatment of the state death tax credit in the tax bill the Congress considers with the proposed phase-out of the federal estate tax. Governors oppose provisions that impose disproportionate impacts on state revenue systems. The changes proposed by the Senate would have abrupt, significant adverse impacts on state revenues at a particularly onerous time for many states. The potential impact on states would begin next year and have a potential impact of between $50 and $100 billion over the next ten years.

We urge the leaders to respect those rights and to restore fairness.

Source: National Governor's Association letter to Congress 01-NGA19 on May 23, 2001

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Page last updated: Jul 12, 2013