Welch, Beaudry Differ On Bush Tax Cut Extension

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(Host) Extending the so called "Bush tax cuts" is a key issue in Vermont’s U.S. House race.

Incumbent Democratic Congressman Peter Welch wants to limit the tax cuts to families with incomes below $250,000.

But his Republican opponent, Paul Beaudry, says Welch’s plan will hurt efforts to stimulate the economy.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) The tax cuts implemented during the Bush Administration will expire at the end of this year.  So the question in Congress is – should these tax cuts be extended to everyone, regardless of their income, or should they be targeted at families with incomes under a quarter of a million dollars.

It’s become a highly partisan issue in Washington.  Most Democrats oppose a tax cut for the wealthy because they say it’s too expensive, while many Republicans support it because they say it will stimulate the economy.

Democrat Peter Welch says the tax cut should be limited to those who need it:  

(Welch) "So I think extending tax cuts basically to working families, the middle class that makes sense. They’re up against the wall, they’re going to spend the money that’s going to go into the economy and this is a bad time to raise their taxes."

(Kinzel) Republican U.S. House candidate Paul Beaudry has a very different point of view.

(Beaudry) "If you start taxing the rich even more they’re the ones that actually have the money to spend and they’re going to just save it instead of going out and stimulating the economy. So I’m really opposed to repealing any of the tax cuts."

(Kinzel) Welch says the price tag for extending the tax cuts to families who earn more than $250,000 is roughly $700 billion. He says the country simply can’t afford to do this:

(Welch) "And that includes, by the way, some folks who have made literally billions of dollars. The average beneficiary would receive $100,000 and they are doing fine. They’ll be able to pay their bills, they’ll be able to invest and do what they want. But if we extended them to that top 2% it’s a $700 billion chain around the necks of our kids and grandchildren, so it really aggravates the deficit."

(Kinzel) Beaudry says he’s amused by Welch’s sudden concern for the size of the deficit after Welch voted for a massive stimulus package:

(Beaudry) "I wish he was fiscally conservative when it comes to passing all these bills he’s passed in recent years without any regard whatsoever to where they’re going to get the money."

(Kinzel) The House is expected to wrap up its current session by the end of next week. It’s not clear if the tax cut issue will emerge during this time period.  If it doesn’t, Democratic leaders say they’ll bring it up in a lame duck session after the November election.

For VPR News, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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