How the Candidates Stand on Tax Policies

How the Candidates Stand on Tax Policies

The biggest difference between the Republican choices is which taxes they'd cut.

Most Republican presidential candidates have positions on tax reform. 

Ross Korves, Economic Policy Analyst, Truth about Trade and Technology, has gleaned information about their proposals from candidate websites and candidate authored opinion articles in newspapers.  Here he lists key points of major candidates in the order their proposed changes could substantially affect the current tax structure. 

Ron Paul

  • Repeal 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution providing for an income tax
  • Eliminate the estate tax
  • No tax on capital gains and Social Security benefits
  • Says Flat Income Tax (consumption based) and Fair Tax (national sales tax on final consumption) would be better than the current tax system.

Korves comments: "Will push to eliminate income tax and make major cuts in government spending."

Newt Gingrich

  • Make all Bush tax cuts permanent
  • Eliminate taxes on capital gains and estates
  • Provide an optional personal flat tax rate of 15%
  • Corporate tax rate of 12.5%
  • 100% expensing of investment in plants and equipments

Korves comments: "More farms may choose the corporate tax structure; 100% expensing of investment is the correct economic treatment; 15% flat tax may simplify tax compliance for some people."

Mitt Romney

  • Maintain personal tax rates and taxes on investment income as under current law
  • Families with annual adjusted gross income of $200,000 or less pay no taxes on interest, capital gains and dividends to encourage savings
  • Eliminate estate tax
  • Long term – flatter, simpler tax system drawing from work of Bowles-Simpson Committee, but no net tax increase
  • Maximum corporate tax rate of 25% to start, broaden tax base to further cut the maximum rate

Korves comments: "Removes uncertainty of tax rates for 2013; Encourages savings by middle class; Corporate tax about average for developed countries; Implements broad reforms over time."

Rick Santorum

  • Reduce taxes on individuals across the board, making the system simpler, flatter, and fairer
  • Cut corporate tax rate from 35% to 17.5% and to zero for all manufacturers
  • Tax capital gains and dividends at current rates
  • Eliminate the estate tax
  • Repatriate taxable income outside the U.S. with a tax rate of 5%

Korves comments: "Lower corporate tax rate important; Mostly would maintain the current tax system."



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