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Jim Risch on Tax Reform

Republican Challenger; former Governor


High priority on keeping lower individual tax rates

Q: Please identify which option comes closest to your philosophy on federal tax policy?

A: Taxes should be assessed at the lowest possible level to both adequately fund the federal government and encourage savings, investment and economic growth.

Q: Would you vote to make permanent the lower individual tax rates enacted in 2001 and 2003, which benefit small businesses that pay the individual rate, without offsetting tax increases (PAYGO)?

A: Yes; this is one of my highest priorities.

Source: BIPAC 2008 Senate Candidate Questionnaire , Nov 1, 2008

Eliminate capital gains tax & estate tax

Q: Would you vote for the permanent repeal of the estate tax without offsetting tax increases (PAYGO)?

A: Yes.

Q: Would you vote to make permanent the current lower rates on dividend income from individuals without offsetting tax increases (PAYGO)?

Q: Would you vote to make permanent the current lower rates on individual capital gains income without offsetting tax increases (PAYGO)?

A: Yes.

Source: BIPAC 2008 Senate Candidate Questionnaire , Nov 1, 2008

I’ll drop out if I got $53,000 in undisclosed tax relief

Jim Risch said he would drop out of the race if an accusation over property taxes made by challenger Larry LaRocco turned out to be true. The issue is whether Risch got $53,000 in tax relief last year.

LaRocco said, “When he was governor he passed a property tax relief bill where he personally benefited at least $53,000, but he never disclosed it to the people of Idaho,” said LaRocco.

“Well, if I got $53,000 out of that bill, I’ll drop out of this race and if you’re wrong you should do the same,“ said Risch.

NewsChannel 7 took a look; we found 13 pieces of property that would fall under the 2006 tax relief umbrella. According to LaRocco’s property valuation, Risch totaled $53,295 in tax breaks. But some of Risch’s property falls under Idaho’s agricultural exemption which means it’s used for farming or grazing--and that makes the property value much lower. Using the same math with the lower agriculture value numbers, Risch actually got a relief of little more than $5,000.

Source: 2008 Idaho Senate Debate reported on KTVB Idaho News , Oct 22, 2008

Top priority: make Bush tax cuts permanent

Q: Do you support or oppose the policy: “Make taxes more progressive”?

A: Support. My biggest priority is working to make the 2001/2003 tax cuts permanent.

Source: Email interview on 2008 Senate race with OnTheIssues.org , Jun 8, 2008

Earned nickname “taxpayers friend” by fighting tax increases

As governor I called a special session of the legislature to put a stop to skyrocketing property tax increases. After years of effectively fighting tax increases in the state senate I have earned a name I am proud of “the taxpayers friend.”
Source: 2008 Senate campaign website, www.Risch4Idaho.com, “Issues” , May 2, 2008

Phase out sales tax on groceries & food

Gov. Risch outlined his plan to remove the sales tax from food. Risch said removing the sales tax on groceries is the right thing to do. It is estimated that $100 is spent per Idahoan each year in sales tax on groceries. “This is something I worked on when we lowered property taxes & increased the sales tax by a penny,” said Risch. Risch’s proposal calls for a phase out of the sales tax on groceries over a 6-year period. The net cost of the proposal would be $30 million for each of the next 6 years
Source: Press release, “Removing Sales Tax On Food” , Dec 13, 2006

Taxpayer Protection Pledge: no new taxes.

Risch signed Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge"

Politicians often run for office saying they won't raise taxes, but then quickly turn their backs on the taxpayer. The idea of the Pledge is simple enough: Make them put their no-new-taxes rhetoric in writing.

In the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, candidates and incumbents solemnly bind themselves to oppose any and all tax increases. While ATR has the role of promoting and monitoring the Pledge, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge is actually made to a candidate's constituents, who are entitled to know where candidates stand before sending them to the capitol. Since the Pledge is a prerequisite for many voters, it is considered binding as long as an individual holds the office for which he or she signed the Pledge.

Since its rollout with the endorsement of President Reagan in 1986, the pledge has become de rigeur for Republicans seeking office, and is a necessity for Democrats running in Republican districts.

Source: Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" 10-ATR on Aug 12, 2010

Keep reduction of capital gains tax.

Risch signed Amendment to Jobs Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act

A bill to repeal the sunset on the reduction of capital gains rates for individuals and on the taxation of dividends of individuals at capital gains rates.

Repeals the termination date in the Jobs Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 for provisions reducing individual tax rates on capital gains and dividend income.

Source: S.567 2009-S567 on Mar 11, 2009

Other governors on Tax Reform: Jim Risch on other issues:
ID Gubernatorial:
Butch Otter
ID Senatorial:
Michael Crapo

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Contact info:
Email Contact Form
Mailing Address:
Senate Office SR-483, Washington, DC 20510
Phone number:
(202) 224-2752

Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011