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Jeff Merkley on Tax Reform

Democratic Jr Senator (OR)


Supports raising taxes on earnings over $250,000 per year

Asked about the Bush tax cuts, in particular how Smith could defend them in light of the current economic crisis, Smith said, “I believe in pro-growth tax cuts.” He said that Oregonians today were paying lower federal taxes because of him, but higher state taxes because of Merkley’s work in the state Legislature.

Merkley addressed Smith directly: “The fact is, Gordon, you’ve voted for taxes 67 times.” Merkley said he would support Obama’s proposed plan to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year.

Taxes came up again when both candidates were asked whether it was smart to cut taxes during a time when the national debt is growing. Merkley hung the blame on Smith’s shoulders. “Do you understand that our children are going to have to pay back the debt you are running up?” he asked.

“So what would you have me do?” Smith asked. Much of the money he’s asked for, Smith said, has been because state senators, representatives and others back home have asked him for it.

Source: 2008 Oregon Senate Debate reported by AP on KATU , Oct 9, 2008

Repeal $18 billion in tax breaks given to big oil companies

When oil companies were reporting historic profits and the price of gas was squeezing families and businesses, Gordon Smith voted in favor of providing billions of taxpayer dollars to pad big oil’s bottom line. Merkley will work to repeal more than $18 billion in tax breaks given to big oil companies and invest those funds in creating new green-collar clean energy jobs with good wages.
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.JeffMerkley.com, “Issues” , Jul 12, 2008

No state sales tax

Q: Do you support implementing a state sales tax?

A: No. I support equalization between individual and corporate kicker.

Source: Oregon State 1998 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1998

Minimum tax rate of 30% for those earning over $1 million.

Merkley co-sponsored Paying a Fair Share Act