Sanders and Tarrant differ on federal tax policies

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(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders and Republican US Senate hopeful Rich Tarrant have very different views about federal tax policies.

Sanders says a new plan in Congress is a gift to wealthy people – Tarrant strongly disagrees and says the plan will bring additional revenue into the federal Treasury.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports:

(Kinzel) A key part of the legislation being debated in Washington this week extends a rate reduction on capital gains and dividend income for another two years. It’s strongly backed by President Bush.

The vote in the U.S. House on the bill was highly partisan – just two Republicans voted against it -and only 15 Democrats voted for it.

Congressman Bernie Sanders opposed the measure because he says it’s a giveaway to rich people. Sanders says 43 % of the tax benefits will go to individuals who earn at least a million dollars a year.

(Sanders) “I think that that’s absurd. I mean this is again another example of President Bush and the Republican leadership leaning over backwards to help people who really don’t need any help. These are the wealthiest people in this country who are doing extraordinarily well and the help for the middle class is minimum.”

(Kinzel) Sanders says he also opposed the bill because he feels it will increase the national debt.

(Sanders) “According to the non partisan CBO, the major reason that President Bush has presided over the largest deficits in our nation’s history is due to his tax policy and this will only make a very bad situation worse.”

(Kinzel) Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rich Tarrant supports the extension of these tax rate reductions. Tarrant says the rate cuts have encouraged individuals to buy and sell stock and the result has been an increase in federal revenue:

(Tarrant) “The capital gains tax rate reduction and the dividend tax rate reduction were hugely successful. It’s clear that the capital gains and the dividend tax rate cuts worked. It generated a lot more tax revenue, a ton more tax revenue.”

(Kinzel) Tarrant says Sanders’ belief that the plan will add to the national debt is dead wrong:

(Tarrant) “Count up the money, you know. Count it up one dollar at a time. It is in the treasury now. There’s no room for debate. It worked. The dollars are there. But Mr. Sanders is a broken record on this and he will never admit to having been wrong.”

(Kinzel) The legislation also includes a provision to exempt several million middle class taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax. Both Sanders and Tarrant say they support this part of the bill.

For Vermont Public Radio I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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