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John Edwards on Tax Reform

Democratic Nominee for Vice President; NC Jr Senator


Bush has made millionaires pay a lower tax rate than others

Under what the Bush administration has put in place and wants to put in place, a millionaire sitting by their swimming pool, collecting their statements to see how much money they're making, make their money from dividends, pays a lower tax rate than the men & women who are receiving paychecks for serving on the ground in Iraq. They may think that's right. Kerry and I don't. We don't just value wealth, which they do. We value work in this country. It's a fundamental value difference between them and us.
Source: Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

For more tax cuts for middle class, not multimillionaires

CHENEY: They talk about the top bracket and going after only those people in the top bracket. Many of our small businesses pay taxes under the personal income taxes rather than the corporate rate. And about 900,000 small businesses will be hit if you do, in fact, do what they want to do with the top bracket. That's not smart because seven out of 10 new jobs in America are created by small businesses. You do not want to tax them. It's a bad idea to increase the burden on those folks.

EDWARDS: Kerry has voted or co-sponsored over 600 times tax cuts for the American people. We are for more tax cuts for the middle class than they're for, have been for the last four years. But we are not for more tax cuts for multimillionaires. They are. And it is a fundamental difference in what we think needs to be done in this country.

CHENEY: Yesterday, Bush signed an extension of middle-class tax cuts, the 10 percent bracket, the marriage penalty relief and the increase in the child tax credit.

Source: [X-ref Cheney] Edwards-Cheney debate: 2004 Vice Presidential Oct 5, 2004

Offer tax cuts that will help the middle class families

We will provide new tax cuts to help families meet the economic challenges of their everyday lives. We will offer tax credits to help families afford health care, including tax credits for small business; a tax credit to make 4 years of college affordabl to all Americans. Specifically, we will offer a tax credit on $4,000 of tuition for all 4 years of college; and a tax credit to make child care more affordable, cutting taxes by $800 for a typical middle-class family with 2 children in child care.
Source: [Xref Kerry] Our Plan for America , p. 22 Aug 10, 2004

More tax cuts and tax credits for 98% of Americans

We're going to help you pay for your health care by having a tax break and health care reform that can save you up to $1,000 on your premiums. We're going to help you cover the rising costs of child care with a tax credit up to $1,000. If your child wants to be the first in your family to go to college, we're going to give you a tax break on up to $4,000 in tuition. We are going to keep and protect the tax cuts for 98% of Americans. We're going to roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention Jul 28, 2004

New tax cuts to 95% of Americans

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

A: I will repeal the Bush tax cuts that benefit only the top 2 percent of Americans. I will also impose a new tax on unearned income for the top 1 percent. At the same time, I will offer new tax cuts to 95 percent of Americans.

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

AdWatch: claims millionaires pay more than cops-not really

EDWARDS: This president should be made to explain why a multimillionaire sitting beside his swimming pool should be paying a lower tax rate than a teacher, than a police officer, than a secretary.

ANNOUNCER : John Edwards' plan has been called the best platform of all the candidates. Repeal tax breaks George Bush created for wealthy investors, and target tax cuts to the middle class. Source: Ad-Watch analysis by Fact Check.org Dec 5, 2003

Repeal tax cuts for earners over $200,000

Q: Will you work to repeal the Bush tax cuts?

I voted against the Bush tax cuts. I believe we should repeal the tax cuts for those that earn over $200,000 a year, and close a group of corporate tax loop holes. I would not raise taxes on middle class working families because I believe they are the engine of our economy and it would be a mistake and would inhibit long-term economic growth.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 7, 2003

Federal match for middle-class savings up to $1000 per year

I would reduce further [than the Bush tax cuts] the taxes on middle class working families by helping them make a down payment on their first home, creating incentives for them to invest and become part of the investor class and helping them save by matching savings up to dollar for dollar up to $1000 per family per year.
Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A Nov 7, 2003

Shift tax burden from taxing work to taxing wealth

What Bush is doing is trying to shift the tax burden in America from wealth to work. He wants to eliminate the capital gains tax, the dividends tax, the estate tax, all the taxation of wealth or passive income on wealth, and shift that tax burden to people who work for a living. It's an enormous mistake. What we ought to be doing instead is empowering [middle-class] families, helping them buy a house, helping them invest, lowering their capital gains rate. So we expand the investor class in America.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Revise the capital gains tax rate

What I would do as president is stop President Bush's tax cuts for the top two income tax brackets--people who make over $200,000 a year--close a whole group of corporate tax loopholes to generate revenue that will get us back on the path to fiscal responsibility. We also ought to actually raise the capital gains rate for those who earn over $300,000 a year, so that the rate is more in line with the income tax rate paid by people who work for a living.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Tax cuts to working people-stop Bush's War On Work

To get this economy going again [we need to] crack down on corporate cheating so that business actually works for employees. And we need to stop President Bush's war on work. We need to stop these tax cuts for multi-millionaires who invest, and instead give tax cuts to working people to help them buy a house, to help them educate their kids, to help them get health care, to help them save. That's the kind of tax cut that's going to actually help middle class working families.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Millionaires should not pay lower taxes than nurses

Tax Reform to Reward Work. Edwards believes a millionaire should not pay lower taxes on his unearned income than a nurse pays for working overtime. While restoring fiscal discipline, Edwards will offer tax breaks to help working families own a piece of the rock-buy a home, save for retirement, or invest in stocks.
Source: Real Solutions For America, campaign booklet by John Edwards Aug 6, 2003

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

Rated 22% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes.

Edwards scores 22% 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

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Other candidates on Tax Reform: John Edwards on other issues:
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Erskine Bowles
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Lauch Faircloth
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