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Tierney Blasts Tisei Over Tax Cuts

The tax debate looks to be a prominent issue in the 6th District race.

It seems to be the debate without an end -- what to do about tax rates for high-income Americans -- and on Capitol Hill it's become political theater.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives voted to keep existing tax rates in place -- including the "Bush tax cuts" former President George W. Bush signed into law in 2001 and 2003 -- through 2013. The vote may be symbolic, since President Obama has promised to veto such a measure and it would likely never make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate anyway. And the Senate recently passed a bill that would allow tax cuts for the top 2 percent of incomes to expire.

Congressman John Tierney, D-Salem, voted against the Republican-backed House and called on Republican leadership to pass an alternative bill to pass a bill similar to the one passed in the Senate.

“Speaker Boehner should stop catering to the extreme right wing of his party and pass the common sense, compromise bill that the Senate approved last week," Tierney said. "That proposal would extend tax cuts for all taxpayers on the first $250,000 of their income, regardless of overall wealth, while not extending additional special tax cuts for income exceeding that threshold. Rather than once again getting caught up in political games, let’s pass a bill that both sides agree on and that provides all families tax relief."

After the vote, the Tierney campaign turned his attacks on his opponent, Richard Tisei, once again attempting to paint him as a right-wing extremist. Tisei is challenging Tierney for the Sixth Congressional District seat, which represents Hamilton and Wenham in Washington.

“Richard Tisei’s Tea Party-inspired position on taxes will hurt middle-class families in the 6th District," Tierney Campaign Communications Director Grant Herring said. "Tisei wants to protect millionaires and billionaires from paying their fair share. When it comes to taxes, the differences in this election could not be clearer. John Tierney wants to lower taxes for middle class families and Mr. Tisei wants them to pay more. The middle class cannot afford more of Tisei’s agenda that coddles the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans."

Tisei, who has long advocated for low tax rates, did not seem ruffled by the attacks.

"In December 2009, when the economy was in a better place, President Obama said 'it's not time to raise taxes on anyone,'" Tisei said. "I agreed with him then and stand by that pro-growth vision today."

The Tierney campaign also cited an interview on NECN last November in which Tisei discussed tax policy and opposed extending the payroll tax cut.

"Tisei has stated publicly that he thinks the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans pay too much in taxes and believes that middle-class Americans need to pay more (NECN, 11/16/11)," A Tierney press release reads.

In that interview, Tisei said he opposed the extension of the payroll tax cut because it was a temporary fix to a tax code he saw as permanently flawed. He also advocated for a flatter tax rate policy, which would mean lower incomes paying more and higher incomes paying less, citing the fact that now the top earners pay about half of all taxes and lower earners pay none.

But Tisei has also refused to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge -- a pledge to not vote to raise taxes -- saying that he wants the option to close tax loopholes which would effectively raise taxes on people taking advantage of those loopholes.

What do you think should be done with federal income tax rates? Leave a comment below and discuss.

Paul E. Keith August 04, 2012 at 10:41 AM
I noted, in a recent "Scott Brown Report" on the radio that the Senator bemoaned the "40% decline in wealth" among middle-class workers, making the argument for the Republican position on continuing tax breaks for so-called "job creators". What he didn't mention, however, was the rest of the CBO report on income disparity that shows the top 1% increased their wealth over the same period by +/- 253%. This small, 1% group, of "job creators" now control about 53% of the total wealth of this country. So, they've had the tax breaks for years and "trickle down economics" has been the Republican mantra since the Reagan days - but then where are the jobs? Overseas? Lost through greater "efficiencies"? (i.e., fewer people doing more work?) Romney and Brown and the rest are not at all for the working class - let alone the unemployed - but cater to the 1% who continue to amass wealth that never "trickles down" except perhaps to their low paid yard workers, domestic help, and p/r staff. When the 1% is challenged on this we're accused of engaging in Class warfare. Well, folks, I don't think fighting back against the oligarchs of wealth is anything but self-defense before we in the middle are crushed altogether. The non-partisan CBO (Congressional Budget Office) report is easily available on-line for any who care to read it.
Paul E. Keith August 04, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Sorry, I meant to include the link to the Report mentioned, above. I didn't make these numbers up! http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43302
Sean Murphy August 04, 2012 at 06:37 PM
John should stop just spewing the party line. He should come up with his own ideas. He knows the Senate version was not a compromise, one sided Dem supported bill. House versions attracted 20 Dems. It is a political gimmick. At least it is only that, with Dirty Harry Reid in the gutter, out right lying, we ought to be lucky this bill is only political theatre, and not an outright deception on the American people. And let's say this tax hike was passed, would it be ear marked to pay down the deficit, nothing more, not more spending? I think not. They are trying to destroy the very fabric of this country, but they will not succeed.

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