Bill Weld on Tax Reform

Libertarian Party nominee for Vice Pres.; former GOP MA Governor; 2020 GOP Presidential Challenger


I never met a tax cut I didn't like

Q: Trump has delivered on cutting taxes. Do you agree on that?

Bill Weld: First of all, as governor, I never met a tax cut I didn't like. I cut taxes 21 times and I never raised them--so I'm not going to criticize a tax cut, although obviously it could have been more equitable. But this this president is not a fiscal conservative. He's gone along with his trillion dollar deficits every year. I was ranked the most fiscally conservative governor in the United States. And I was governor of Massachusetts after three terms of Michael Dukakis. So that took some doing. But no, we simply can't sit still for this guy who's a disgrace to the office almost every day

Source: Business Insider 2019 GOP presidential primary debate , Sep 24, 2019

Favors cutting spending, cutting taxes

Despite his more progressive social views, Weld is a traditional conservative when it comes to the economy, prioritizing cutting spending and cutting taxes.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Apr 15, 2019

Cut capital gains tax; look at flat tax on income

Federal taxes need serious adjustment downward. I favor repealing the federal death tax, for example, and cutting the capital gains tax rate to 10%. These taxes are not major revenue raisers, and they both have the perverse effect of penalizing people for a lifetime of hard work. Eliminating them will increase our aggregate national wealth, which should always be a key priority of the United States government.

But we also need to restructure our entire tax system. We don't need to choose between Robin Hood-style confiscatory taxation and deficit-creating tax cuts for the super-rich. We should instead take a good long look at some other models, such as a 19% flat tax on income, and the famous "post card" tax return. I have read extensively on the subject, and I believe the savings from the dramatic simplification of the Internal Revenue Code and the whole process of taxation would be enormous.

Source: Speech in New Hampshire by 2020 presidential hopefuls , Feb 15, 2019

I am releasing my returns and Trump should release his

HILLARY CLINTON We should demand that Trump release all of his tax returns so that people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships --

DONALD TRUMP: So ridiculous. I have a great balance sheet. When I did the old post office on Pennsylvania Avenue, the United States government because of my balance sheet, which they actually know very well, chose me to do the old post office between the White House and Congress.

Q [to WELD]: You successfully brought taxes down as governor of Massachusetts. Whose tax plan makes more sense to you?

BILL WELD: Advantage Trump on tax plans, though his is not detailed.

Q: What does it mean to you that Mr. Trump has not released his tax returns?

BILL WELD: Yes, of course he should make his tax returns public. (Two years of mine will be out next week).

Source: N.Y. Times on Second 2016 Presidential Debate , Oct 10, 2016

Cut taxes without abolishing the IRS

Q: You support the FairTax [a flat-rate consumption tax]?

JOHNSON: Imagine life in this country without the IRS. Greatly simplified. The more money you make, the more things you consume.

WELD: You know, I don't think you have to go so far as to abolishing the IRS. I think if you give the people the sense that taxes are only going to go down--they may not go down a lot, but they're not going to go up. And that's something both Gary and I did. He cut taxes 14 times, never raised them. I cut taxes 21 times, never raised them. The result was, in my case that when I took office, it was a recession, 1991. We had the highest unemployment rate of all 11 industrialized states. At the end of my first term, we had the lowest because businesses have the confidence to build that plant next door. So, you know, in terms of industrial policy, in my case, biotech, telecom, software: We grew those industries in Massachusetts by paying attention to them. And the same could happen at the federal level.

Source: CNN Libertarian Town Hall: joint interview of Johnson & Weld , Jun 22, 2016

1990s: Produced nine tax cuts as governor of Tax-achussets

A pre-campaign strategy in 1995 found negatives for Weld in the Republican Party. Weld was pro-choice; pro-gay rights; a creature of the eastern establishment and its core institution, Harvard, where Weld had graduated and received his law degree; he had been born with a silver spoon and had money; and he was from Massachusetts, which most people would assume meant he must be a liberal. All 5 reinforced each other and all came back to Massachusetts. The most effective way to handle the negatives was to meet them head-on and convert them to Weld's advantage. This could be done by building a message around Weld as the leader who changed the political culture of Massachusetts almost single handily in 4 years. In the state known for high taxes (Tax-achusetts, as it was sometimes called) and liberal social engineering, he had produced 9 tax cuts and started sweeping welfare reform. Who better to change the Washington political culture?
Source: The Choice, by Bob Woodward, p.115 , Nov 1, 2005

Cut taxes 15 times as governor

As he did in previous debates, Weld reminded voters that in his six years as governor, he has cut taxes 15 times, created 250,000 new jobs and fought for welfare reform.

Kerry disputed Weld's claims and said Democrats were "the ones that created 10 million jobs." Kerry said, "The tax cuts [Weld] proposed went to business or the wealthy."

Weld urged voters to look at the overall records of each candidate. "I've cut taxes for six years in a row," said Weld. "I'm 6-for-6. [Kerry is] 0-for-12."

Source: Harvard Crimson on Kerry/Weld debates , Oct 29, 1996

My across-the-board tax cuts exceeded $1 billion

Other questions focused on tax policy, a long-standing source of disagreement between the candidates. Weld reminded voters of the 15 tax cuts he has signed as governor. "They aggregate more than a billion dollars," said Weld, who supports the across-the-board tax cuts proposed by Republican presidential candidate Robert J. Dole. "I don't see why the government should have it instead of you."

Kerry painted a markedly different picture of Weld's tax policy, saying his opponent has helped mostly large businesses and the rich. "Republican tax cuts go to wealthy people," Kerry said. "I want you to get the tax cuts."

Source: Harvard Crimson on Kerry/Weld debates , Oct 19, 1996

Roll back more than $2 billion in recent tax increases

To emphasize his determination to reduce spending drastically, Weld endorsed Question 3, a ballot initiative (ultimately unsuccessful) to roll back more than $2 billion in recent tax increases. Budgets, he declared in May 1990, ought to start each year "from scratch: You assume no program is necessary; no bureaucrat's job is necessary; no line item in the budget is necessary." He cheerfully told editorial boards he would "blow up" unneeded state agencies and cited robust privatization as the key to shrinking "the beast"--his term for state government. "If the private sector can run something better and cheaper, and it isn't a core function of government, I say: More power to them."

He was scathing in his indictment of the Democrats who ran the State Senate and House of Representatives. "The Legislature," he said, "has proven itself incapable of restructuring state government."

Source: Jeff Jacoby in City Journal , Jan 1, 1996

Other candidates on Tax Reform: Bill Weld on other issues:
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Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
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Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

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CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
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Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
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V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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Page last updated: Feb 25, 2020