More headlines: George W. Bush on Tax Reform

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)

Blueprint: Cut rates, marriage penalty, & death tax

Source: Blueprint for the Middle Class Sep 17, 2000

Expand charitable donation deductions all around

Source: ‘Issues: Policy Points Overview’ Apr 2, 2000

Keep charitable deduction as incentive for giving

McCain’s tax plan could cause charities, universities, & art museums to lose as much as $9 billion over 5 years, the Bush campaign charged. “Anything that would take money away from a charity is a step in the wrong direction,” Bush’s spokesman said.

According to McCain’s plan, people who give charitable contributions in the form of stock, real estate, bonds, or artwork could no longer take a tax deduction for the current, appreciated value of the gift. Instead, the donor could take a deduction only for the original cost of the asset. The McCain campaign describes this as closing a loophole for the very rich, while the Bush campaign says it would kill off incentives for giving.

“Wealthy Americans shouldn’t get a tax write-off for contributing a fancy painting or an overvalued stock,” said McCain’s spokesman. “Bush is protecting his wealthy donor base at the expense of the middle class.” By eliminating the deduction, the spokesman said, 25,000 additional working-class people would get a tax cut.

Source: Boston Globe, p. A12 Jan 22, 2000

Don’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor

Bush took aim at a proposal to send out Earned Income Tax Credit checks every month rather than once a year. “I don’t think they ought to be balancing their budget on the backs of the poor.”
Source: US News & World Report, p. 36 Oct 18, 1999

Allow IRA withdrawals for charitable contributions

Bush proposed allowing people age 59 and older to withdraw money from IRA accounts without penalty to contribute to charitable groups. And he said he would encourage states to take advantage of unused federal welfare dollars to offer individuals a tax credit for giving to charities that offer services related to welfare reform.
Source: Terry Neal, The Washington Post Jul 23, 1999

Tax plan will focus on jobs and inner cities

Bush said his tax plan would be aimed “to enhance productivity for high-paying jobs.” Another tax proposal is new incentives for investment in inner-cities beyond those already achieved by the Clinton administration.
Source: L.A. Times May 1, 1999

Eliminate certain sales and property taxes

Texas knows how to fund our priorities, balance our budget and cut taxes. I will propose consumer sales tax cuts to eliminate taxes on diapers, over-the-counter medicines and access to the Internet. I propose a small-business tax cut to provide relief to the small entrepreneurs who are the backbone of our state’s economy. I propose a research-and-development tax credit to foster innovation and keep Texas on the leading edge of new technology. Finally, I will propose a $2 billion property tax cut.
Source: 1999 State of the State Address, Austin TX Jan 27, 1999

Reduce homeowner property taxes

Local property taxes are the major source of funding for our schools, and they should not be. The Property Tax Cut Act will cut school property taxes for the average Texas homeowner by 40%. I propose a constitutional amendment to increase the homestead exemption for school property taxes by $20,000 from the current $5,000 to $25,000. I also propose a twenty-cent cut in the school property tax rate in every school district in Texas. [And] we must enact strong safeguards against property tax creep.
Source: 1997 State of the State Address, Austin TX Jan 28, 1997

Replace corporate property tax with sales tax

I propose we eliminate the corporate franchise tax and the school property tax on business inventory and replace them with a fair, broad-based Texas Business Tax -- a 1 1/4 percent tax on sales over $500,000, less cost of goods and less capital invested. The rate is low and should apply to all forms of business. To fund the balance [of school revenues lost from the business tax cuts], I propose a half-cent increase in the sales and motor vehicle tax.
Source: 1997 State of the State Address, Austin TX Jan 28, 1997

Gore’s targeted tax cuts apply to too few people

Bush asked the crowd. “How many of you own hybrid electric-gasoline engine vehicles? Raise your hands.” Not a hand in the crowd could be seen.

“Well,” Bush said, “not too many of you are targeted for that tax cut. Now how many of you own a rooftop photo-voltaic system?” Again, no hands.

“You’re beginning to get the drift of ‘targeted,’ ” Bush said. “It’s always the same in my opponent’s plans - it sounds good until you read the fine print.”

Source: Dave Boyer, Washington Times Nov 2, 2000

Gore’s convoluted “targeted cuts” exclude too many people

Bush sought today to make a mockery of Gore’s proposal for tax cuts, portraying it as a loopy marvel of convolution and asserting that his own, vastly more expensive plan was better. Bush said the conditions and qualifications layered into Gore’s $500 billion in “targeted” tax cuts would exclude too many taxpayers and give the government too much control over people’s lives.

Bush asked, “How many of you own hybrid electric-gasoline engine vehicles? That’s one of the criterion necessary to receive tax relief,“ referring to an element of Gore’s environment and energy plan that proposes to reward people who buy such vehicles with one-time tax credits of $1,000 to $6,000. ”How many of you own a rooftop photo-voltaic system?“ Bush then asked, ridiculing Gore’s suggested tax credit for people who put solar panels on the roofs of their houses or businesses. ”If you had one, you’d get tax relief.“

Source: Frank Bruni, NY Times Oct 25, 2000

Clinton/Gore couldn’t deliver on 1992 tax cuts

BUSH [to Gore]: A lot of folks are still waiting for that 1992 middle class tax cut. I remember the vice president saying, ‘Just give us a chance to get up there, we’re going to make sure you get tax cuts.’ It didn’t happen. And now he’s having to say it again. They’ve had their chance to deliver a tax cut to you. [Gore’s] plan is going to increase the bureaucracy by 20,000 people. His targeted tax cut is so detailed, so much fine print, that it’s going to require numerous IRS agents.

GORE: As for 20,000 new bureaucrats, as you call them, you know the size of the federal government will go down in a Gore administration. In the Reinventing Government Program, you just look at the numbers. It is 300,000 people smaller today than it was eight years ago. Now, the fact is you’re going to have a hard time convincing folks that we were a whole lot better off eight years ago than we are today. But that’s not the question. The question is, will we be better off four years from now than we are today?

Source: Presidential debate, Boston MA Oct 3, 2000

Don’t make Shermanesque promises on taxes like dad

Q: Why do you think your father lost in 1992?

A: It was a death of a thousand cuts, and it took a thousand to defeat him. He couldn’t get his base intact. And the cause of that was breaking the “read my lips” tax pledge.

Q: But didn’t his compromise on taxes help set groundwork for the recovery?

A: Some economists say it helped. I think the lesson is not to give a Shermanesque pledge during a campaign.

Q: But having made it, was he right to compromise later?

A: I would have advised him not to have done it, as political advice.

Q: But that’s making a policy for political reasons.

A: As I said, that would have been my political advice. There were other reasons [besides tax policy that] he lost. Perot. Third, there was the beginning of a generational change. Fourth, he did not wisely spend political capital earned from Desert Storm on domestic politics. Fifth, his campaign wasn’t designed well. And part of the reason he lost was history. He was at the end of a very long run.

Source: Interview with Time Magazine, Aug 1, 2000

Add targeted cuts to comprehensive tax cut

Since a March speech, Bush has said little about his 10-year, $1.6 trillion plan to cut income tax rates, a proposal he touted daily during the primary season. Instead, he has rolled out a series of targeted tax cuts aimed at helping people purchase private health insurance and housing and save for retirement. Bush’s principles include the belief that additional taxes paid as workers strive for the middle class-his favorite example is a singe mother earning $22,000-should be phased in more gradually
Source: Terry M. Neal, Washington Post, page A04 Jun 17, 2000

Polls against tax cuts don’t affect that they’re right

Q: Polls say voters aren’t demanding a huge tax cut and that they trust Al Gore more on the tax issue.
A: I don’t care what the polls say. I don’t. I think [my tax plan] is right for economic reasons. You’ve heard me talk about what’s wrong with this tax code. It’s wrong for people who are making $22,000 a year to pay a higher marginal rate on every dollar earned than someone making $200,000 a year. Polls are not going to change my opinion about what I think should happen.
Source: Press interview in Austin, TX Mar 15, 2000

Remove unfairness from the tax code

Q: What would you do about taxes? A: I have laid out a plan that. makes sure our economy continues to grow. That’s why I cut the rates on all people who pay taxes. I’ve got a plan that makes the code more fair. The marriage penalty is unfair. The death tax is unfair. The earnings tax on Social Security is unfair. I’ve got a plan that hears the call of people who live on the outskirts of poverty. By cutting the bottom rate from 15% to 10% we help people access the middle class.
Source: GOP Debate in Johnston, Iowa Jan 16, 2000

“A tax-cutting person” in TX, would do same for US

I led my state, in 1997, to the largest tax cut in Texas history. I laid out a plan that cut $1 billion of property taxes. And in the 1999 legislative session, I proposed [and enacted] the largest tax cut in our state’s history, replacing the $1 billion record with nearly $2 billion of tax cuts. I am a tax-cutting person. I know how to get it done. I have laid out a plan that is going to cut the rates on everybody in America; a plan that is conservative and a plan that is compassionate.
Source: GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

$1B “capital-friendly” tax cut in Texas

My plan proposed eliminating the corporate franchise tax on Texas businesses. and replacing it with a flat tax on business activity, and raising the sales tax by one-half cent. The net effect was a net $1 billion overall tax cut. Property taxes would have been cut by $3 billion a year.. The tax was capital-friendly, with a flat, low rate, a generous small-business deduction, and a 100% deduction for capital investment.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.126 Dec 9, 1999

Read my lips: I will cut taxes

America will be prosperous if we cut taxes. Reducing marginal tax rates will increase economic growth. By returning money to the taxpayers, we can also limit government.. Returning money to their pockets will allow them to strengthen their family finances. I support reducing the marriage penalty because the tax code should not conflict with our core values. I support reducing the death tax to make it easier to pass a family farm or small business on to the next generation.
Source: “A Charge to Keep”, p.237 - 238 Dec 9, 1999

Tax plan, helping poor & rich, gives economy “second wind”

Bush framed his tax proposal as an effort to grease the wheels of social mobility and provide relief to low-income families. [Bush noted] that it would exempt 1 in 5 American families with children from paying taxes. “We will take down the tollgate on the road to the middle class.” [Regarding higher incomes, Bush said], “Putting more wealth in the hands of the earners and creators of wealth -- now, before the trouble comes -- would give our current expansion a timely second wind.”
Source: By Richard W. Stevenson & Frank Bruni, New York Times Dec 2, 1999

Lower tax rate for poor as well as rich

Bush points out that high marginal tax rates can be more of a problem for a single mother working her way out of poverty than for an investment banker. As workers move up from lower income levels, they often lose all or part of tax breaks. The main policy idea behind “compassionate conservatism” is to help people in that kind of situation, probably through changes in the tax code that would allow low- to middle-income workers to take home more of what they earn.
Source: New York Times, p. A1 Oct 8, 1999

Tax relief will spur growth and help pay national debt

“My plan not only makes the system more fair, but it says if you’re a family of four making $50,000, you get a 50 percent cut in income taxes.” Tax relief, Bush continued, would promote further economic growth nationwide, resulting in a renewed federal government ability to pay down the national debt.
Source: Ian Christopher McCaleb, Aug 30, 2000

Tax cut for all is affordable and right thing to do

Gore said that Bush’s tax cut would plunge the country into deficits, and added that it would “wreck our good economy and make it impossible to modernize our armed forces and keep them ready for battle.”

Bush defended his tax-cut proposal. I’m not changing my opinion on it. It’s the absolute right thing to do for America. Bush’s plan would reduce federal tax rates across the income spectrum, lowering the highest rate to 33% from 39.6% and the lowest rate to 10% from 15%.

Source: (X-ref to Gore) Frank Bruni, NY Times Aug 23, 2000

The surplus is the people’s money-return it

The last time taxes were this high as a percentage of our economy, there was a good reason: We were fighting World War II. Today, our high taxes fund a surplus. Some say that growing federal surplus means Washington has more money to spend.

But they’ve got it backwards. The surplus is not the government’s money. The surplus is the people’s money. Now is the time to reform the tax code and share some of the surplus with the people who pay the bills.

Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

No one should pay more than 1/3 in taxes

Source: Speech to Republican National Convention Aug 3, 2000

It’s the people’s money, not the government’s

Bush’s proposal would cut taxes by $483 billion over 5 years and by about $1.3 trillion over 10 years. Its centerpiece is a gradual reduction in marginal income tax rates, meaning that everyone would get a tax cut.

Bush would also double the child tax credit to $1,000 a child, and increase the income level at which the credit phases out. He would allow two-income couples to take a deduction of up to $3,000, to reduce the marriage penalty, and would phase out the tax on large estates.

Bush argues that b giving a tax cut to the working poor, his plan would help people struggling to climb into the middle class. He also contends that the plan would appropriately return excess revenue to the people who had earned it in the first place.,

“We’re dealing with the people’ money, not the government’s money, and I want to give people their money back,” Bush said. “And if you’re going to have a tax cut, everybody ought to have a tax cut.”

Source: New York Times, p. 22 Feb 27, 2000

Biggest tax cuts to those who pay the biggest tax bills

Bush’s opponents contend that Bush’s plan allocates all or most of the excess revenues to tax cuts, and that it would give far too much of its benefits to the wealthiest taxpayers. One analysis shows 1/3 of Bush’s tax cut going to the wealthiest 1% of taxpayers-those with incomes of $319,000 or more-while the bottom 60% of taxpayers, those with incomes of less than $39,300, would get 11% of the benefits. Bush says his plan fairly gives the biggest tax cuts to the people who pay the biggest tax bills.
Source: New York Times, p. 22 Feb 27, 2000

Use prosperous times to get money out of Washington

I believe that cutting the taxes will encourage economic growth. I believe cutting all marginal rates will keep the economy growing. I believe we ought to get rid of the death tax. I believe we ought to get rid of the earnings test on Social Security. I believe we ought to mitigate the marriage penalty. I believe we ought to use this time of prosperity to get money out of Washington and into the pockets of the taxpayers.
Source: GOP Debate in Manchester NH Jan 26, 2000

Cut top tax rate to 33% while cutting lower income taxes too

Q: [to McCain]: You’ve said that 60% of Bush’s tax cut will go to the very wealthy. Are you are playing a class warfare game, pitting rich against poor?

McCAIN: I have never engaged in class warfare. [But] there’s a growing gap between the have’s and have-not’s in America and that gap is growing and it’s, unfortunately, divided up along ethnic lines. We ought to cut middle-income and lower-income taxes. But I’m not sure we need to give two-thirds of that tax cut [money] to the wealthiest 10% of America.

BUSH: I believe everybody ought to get a tax cut. I believe it’s important to cut the top rates. I think it’s important to drop the 39.6% [top tax rate] to 33%. I also know it’s important to make sure people who are on the outskirts of poverty get a tax cut as well. And my plan does both.

Source: (cross-ref to McCain) GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

Leaving money in Washington means bigger budget spending

McCAIN [to Bush]: For us to put all of the surplus into tax cuts. it’s a mistake. We should put that money into [making] sure their Social Security system will be there, that Medicare is helped and, most of all, let’s pay that $5.6 trillion debt we’ve laid on future generations.

BUSH: I have a plan that takes $2 trillion over the next 10 years & dedicates it to Social Security. My plan has been called risky by voices out of Washington. In my judgment what’s risky is to leave a lot of unspent money in Washington, because guess what’s going to happen. It’s going to be spent on bigger federal governments.

McCAIN: Your tax plan over the next five years not only spends all of the surplus, it spends $20 billion in addition to that. But this idea that somehow if the money is left. -- you don’t understand the role of the president. The president of the US will veto bills that spend too much. I’ll veto bills that force Congress to spend less. That’s what’s being president is all about.

Source: (cross-ref from McCain) GOP Debate in Michigan Jan 10, 2000

Put surplus into people’s pockets, not Washington’s pockets

McCAIN [to Bush]: I’m more concerned about the surplus gap [than Bush’s phrase, the “tax gap”]. It’s fiscally irresponsible to promise a huge tax cut that is based on a surplus that we may not have. My tax plan. is about the same as yours for middle-income and lower-income Americans. It places a top priority on saving Social Security. It offers a needed tax break for middle-income people and it begins paying down the national debt.

BUSH: In human terms, [a couple earning] $42,000 a year in income, under [McCain’s] plan, will receive a $200 tax cut. Under the plan that I proposed, they receive an $1,852 tax cut. The fundamental difference is that the additional $1,600 will go to Washington under your idea. And under my idea it goes into people’s pockets. There is enough money to take care of Social Security. There’s enough money to meet the basic needs of our government and there is enough money to give the American people a substantial tax cut.

Source: Republican Debate in West Columbia, SC Jan 7, 2000

Put surplus into people’s pockets, not Washington’s pockets

income, under [McCain’s] plan, will receive a $200 tax cut. Under the plan that I proposed, they receive an $1,852 tax cut. The fundamental difference is that the additional $1,600 will go to Washington under your idea. And under my idea it goes into people’s pockets. There is enough money to take care of Social Security. There’s enough money to meet the basic needs of our government and there is enough money to give the American people a substantial tax cut.
Source: Republican Debate in West Columbia, SC Jan 7, 2000

Proposes tax cuts of $483B over 5 years

Bush will lay out the centerpiece of his economic agenda, calling for sweeping cuts in income tax rates, a tax break for many married couples and an increase in the child credit, his aides said. The proposal [is] valued by the Bush campaign at $483 billion over five years starting in 2002. The tax-cutting package, which would be financed out of anticipated budget surpluses, would be larger than the tax cut passed by Congress last summer and vetoed by President Clinton.
Source: R.Stevenson, NY Times, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Dec 1, 1999

Lower tax rates to 10%-25%-33%; end inheritance tax.

Bush’s tax proposal would reduce taxes across the income spectrum gradually over 5 years. The wealthy would see the top income tax rate reduced to 33% from 39.6%. The 28% & 31% rates paid by many middle-class taxpayers would be consolidated and reduced to 25%. Lower-income families would benefit from the creation of a new 10% tax bracket that would apply to much of the income currently taxed at 15%.

The plan would double the child credit to $1,000 & allow more affluent families to claim the credit. It would benefit many married couples by reviving a deduction based on the lower-earning spouse’s income. And it would phase out over eight years the inheritance tax on large estates. The plan does not contain any reduction in taxes on capital gains.

“It’s a plan that will reduce the upper rate,” Bush said. “It’s a plan also that recognizes that our current system is not fair. If you’re a [poor] single mother with children, as you move toward the middle class, you pay an enormous rate.”

Source: R.Stevenson, NY Times, part of “Renewing America’s Purpose” Dec 1, 1999

Praises Congress’ $792 billion tax cut

Bush praised Republicans in Congress for passing a $792 billion tax cut bill. “Prosperity is not a given,” Bush said, “I’m for the tax cut, once we meet our basic needs, because I want our economy to continue to grow.”
Source: Av Harris, Reuters Aug 1, 1999

Vows to reduce marginal tax rates

Bush vowed to reduce marginal tax rates, but he didn’t say by how much.
Source: Boston Sunday Globe p. A-22 Jun 13, 1999

Reduce tax rates; return surplus to taxpayers

I’ll have a plan that reduces marginal rates to create jobs, but a plan that also helps struggling families on the outskirts of poverty. I believe that after we meet priorities, all that remains must be passed back to Americans, so it will not be spent by Washington.
Source: Candidacy Announcement speech, Cedar Rapids, Iowa Jun 12, 1999

Other candidates on Tax Reform: George W. Bush 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
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Social Security
Tax Reform
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts