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John Kerry on Tax Reform

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Abolishing state income tax would be calamitous

Kerry slammed Beatty’s support of Question 1 on the state ballot, the proposal to abolish the state income tax. “My prayer is that Jeff Beatty’s position will be soundly rejected by this state. To do what Jeff Beatty says we should do would be calamitous,” he said.

But Beatty said the abolition of the state income tax would act as an economic stimulus for families and businesses and would bring more jobs and opportunities to the state.

Source: 2008 MA Senate Debate reported in the Boston Herald , Oct 20, 2008

The middle class has seen their tax burden go up under Bush

The American middle-class family isn’t making it right now. The tax cuts has been wiped out by the increase in health care, the increase in gasoline, the increase in tuitions, the increase in prescription drugs. The take-home pay of a typical American family as a share of national income is lower since 1929 and that of the richest 0.1% of Americans is the highest since 1928. Under Bush, the middle class has seen their tax burden go up and the wealthiest’s tax burden has gone down. That’s wrong.
Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ , Oct 13, 2004

Support the part of Bush’s tax cut given to the middle class

Q: Alan Greenspan suggested to cut benefits or to raise the retirement age. You’ve promised no changes. Does that mean you’re just going to leave this as a problem, another problem for our children to solve?

A: We put together a $5.6 trillion surplus in the ‘90s that was for the purpose of saving Social Security. If you take the tax cut that Bush gave to Americans in the top 1 percent of America-just that tax cut that went to the top 1 percent of America would have saved Social Security until the year 2075. Bush decided to give it to the wealthiest Americans in a tax cut. I support Bush’s tax cut for the middle class, not that part of it that goes to people earning more than $200,000 a year. When I roll it back and we invest in the things that I have talked about to move our economy, we’re going to grow sufficiently, it would begin to cut the deficit in half, and we get back to where we were at the end of the 1990s when we balanced the budget and paid down the debt of this country.

Source: Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ , Oct 13, 2004

Pledges not to raise taxes on earnings under $200,000

Q: Would you be willing to look directly into the camera and, using simple and unequivocal language, give the American people your solemn pledge not to sign any legislation that will increase the tax burden on families earning less than $200,000 a year during your first term?

KERRY: Absolutely. Yes. Right into the camera. Yes. I am not going to raise taxes. Now, I’m going to restore what we did in the 1990s, ladies and gentlemen: pay as you go. We’re going to do it like you do it. The president broke the pay-as-you-go rule. I’m pledging I will not raise taxes; I’m giving a tax cut to the people earning less than $200,000 a year. Now, for the people earning more than $200,000 a year, you’re going to see a rollback to the level we were at with Bill Clinton, when people made a lot of money. And looking around here, at this group here, I suspect there are only three people here who are going to be affected: the president, me, and, Charlie [Gibson, the moderator], I’m sorry, you too.

Source: Second Bush-Kerry debate, St. Louis, MO , Oct 8, 2004

More tax cut for all people earning less than the $200,000

The highest 1% of income-earners in America got $89 billion of tax cut last year. One percent of America got more than the 80 percent of America that earned from $100,000 down. Bush thinks it’s more important to fight for that top 1% than to fight for fiscal responsibility and to fight for you. I want to put money in your pocket. I have a proposal for a tax cut for all people earning less than the $200,000. The only people affected by my plan are the top income-earners of America.
Source: Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

Enron received $254 million after the Bush tax cut

Q: How will either one of you cut the deficit by a half in four years?

BUSH: Well look at the budget. One is to make sure Congress doesn’t overspend. But let me talk back about where we’ve been. The stock market was declining six months prior to my arrival. It was the largest stock market correction - one of the largest in history, which foretold a recession. Because we cut taxes on everybody - remember, we ran up the child credit by a thousand, we reduced the marriage penalty, we created the 10 percent bracket - everybody who pays taxes got relief.

KERRY: Most of the 2001 tax cut went to the wealthiest people in the country. Bush came and asked for a tax cut. We wanted a tax cut to kick the economy into gear. You know what he presented us with? A $25 billion give-away to the biggest corporations in America, including a $254 million refund check to Enron.

Source: [Xref Bush] Second Bush-Kerry Debate, in St. Louis MO , Oct 8, 2004

Homeland security should come before tax cut for the wealthy

What kind of mixed message does it send when you have $500 million going over to Iraq to put police officers in the streets of Iraq, and the president is cutting the COPS program in America? What kind of message does it send to be sending money to open firehouses in Iraq, but we’re shutting firehouses who are the first- responders here in America. Bush hasn’t put one nickel, not one nickel into the effort to fix some of our tunnels and bridges and most exposed subway systems. That’s why they had to close down the subway in New York when the Republican Convention was there. 95 percent of the containers that come into the ports, right here in Florida, are not inspected. Civilians get onto aircraft, and their luggage is X- rayed, but the cargo hold is not X-rayed. Does that make you feel safer in America? Bush thought it was more important to give the wealthiest people in America a tax cut rather than invest in homeland security. Those aren’t my values. I believe in protecting America first.
Source: First Bush-Kerry debate, Miami FL , Sep 30, 2004

Offer tax cuts that will help the middle class families

We will provide new tax cuts to help families meet the economic challenges of their everyday lives. We will offer tax credits to help families afford health care, including tax credits for small business; a tax credit to make 4 years of college affordabl to all Americans. Specifically, we will offer a tax credit on $4,000 of tuition for all 4 years of college; and a tax credit to make child care more affordable, cutting taxes by $800 for a typical middle-class family with 2 children in child care.
Source: Our Plan For America, p. 22 , Aug 10, 2004

More tax cuts for people who make less than $200,000

Let me tell you what we won’t do: we won’t raise taxes on the middle class. You’ve heard a lot of false charges about this in recent months. So let me say straight out what I will do as President: I will cut middle class taxes. I will reduce the tax burden on small business. And I will roll back the tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals who make over $200,000 a year, so we can invest in job creation, health care and education.
Source: Acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention , Jul 29, 2004

Keep child tax credit, and new 10% tax bracket

Q: Which of the tax cuts enacted in 2001 would you change, if any?

A: I will roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. However, I don’t believe that we should be raising taxes on the middle class. Specifically, I want to protect the increases in the child tax credit, the reduced marriage penalty, and the new 10 percent tax bracket that helps people save $350 on their first level of income.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Taxes” , Jan 25, 2004

Kerry vs. Bush on taxes is a fight we deserve to have

Q: In your career, you voted to raise billions of dollars in taxes. What will you say when President Bush says, “Senator Kerry is going to raise your taxes and I am not”?

That’s a fight I look forward to, because if George W. Bush wants to stand there beside me and defend raising taxes for people who earn more than $200,000 a year, which are the only people who might be argued will have a tax increase by rolling back the Bush tax cut that they rushed through, instead of giving all of America health care and education so we truly leave no child behind, that’s a fight we deserve to have in this country. That’s a fight we will win. I am going to protect the middle class.

And in the course of my career, I have voted for countless numbers of tax cuts. When I arrived in the US Senate, the highest marginal rate was 72%. We took it down to 28%. I voted for cutting the capital gains tax, I voted for tax incentives for businesses.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Debate at St. Anselm College , Jan 22, 2004

GOP tax policy comforts the comfortable

This administration has made its top wartime priority the easing of the tax burden on its wealthiest citizens-the citizens least likely to face sacrifices at home or abroad in a time of war. The president has all but endorsed the most invidious conservative policy of our time: that cutting taxes for the people who least need help, turning budget surpluses into deficits, and piling debts on our children are all useful strategies because they will effectively paralyze our own government- the instrument of our democracy-by denying it the revenues to pay for progress. Using tax dollars to comfort the comfortable while starving the commonwealth has become an item of orthodoxy for the Republican party.
Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 14 , Oct 1, 2003

10% bracket in Bush tax cuts was Democrats’ idea

The 10% bracket [in the Bush tax plan] wasn’t Bush’s idea. It was our idea. It was in keeping with the spirit of the Democratic party to try to help the average American get ahead. Increasingly, average Americans are getting stomped on; there’s an unfairness in the workplace; corporate executives are walking away with millions and sticking the average American with the bill. We can cut the deficit in half, we can be fiscally responsible, but we don’t have to do it on the backs of the middle class.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Bush tax cuts reach 32 million in middle class

Q [to Kerry]: Dean suggested he will roll back the increases in some middle-class tax benefits [in the Bush tax cuts]. You have suggested that anyone who walks away from the middle class is not a true Democrat.

KERRY: We Democrats fought hard to put those tax cuts in place. Those represent trying to reach the middle class of America. I think Governor Dean is absolutely wrong. And he’s wrong on his facts. The fact is that 32 million American couples get about $1,000 out of the tax cut. The fact is that 16 million American families get $1,500 to $3,000 from it.

DEAN: With all due respect to Senator Kerry that voted for these tax cuts, this is exactly why the budget is so far out of balance. The fact of the matter is that 60% of Americans at the bottom got $325. That is not a tax cut. Tell the truth: We cannot afford all of the tax cuts, [all the programs we want], and balancing the budget. Let’s call this one right. Let’s be fiscally responsible and balance the budget.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

We’re tired of being trickled on--Middle class tax cuts now

The Republicans promised with their first tax cut a million jobs would be created. A million were lost. Now they come with another tax cut; they accelerate the highest rate cuts for the wealthiest Americans and wait for the trickle down. Well, a lot of hard working Americans who are tired of getting trickled on. We want to create jobs now by giving a middle class tax cut; by restoring confidence in our economy with fiscal responsibility; and putting Americans back to work now.
Source: Keynote Speech to Massachusetts Democratic Issues Convention , Jun 7, 2003

Trade a tax cut for the huge cuts in student loans

I’m fighting for Massachusetts working families. Weld stands for those who want to trade a tax cut for the rich for huge cuts in student loans, no minimum wage hike and massive cuts to education programs.
Source: Dust settles hard on Kerry/Weld debate, s-t.com , Sep 18, 1996

They’re not Bush tax cuts, they’re Democrat tax cuts

Q: To balance the budget, wouldn’t you have to cut Social Security & Medicare?

DEAN: I’m a strong supporter of Medicare. The rest of our Social Security is not on the table. I’m a strong supporter of Social Security. What you need to do is get rid of every dime of the Bush tax cuts. Some say we should keep the middle-class tax cuts. What middle-class tax cuts? On the average, 60 percent of the people in this country got a $304 tax cut. One percent, which are rapidly writing $2,000 checks to George Bush, got a $26,300 tax cut.

KERRY: When Dean said, “What middle-class tax cut,” let me tell him. The Burnett family earned $70,000. But under his plan, they are going to pay $2,178 more in taxes because they lose the child credit, they pay a penalty for being married again because he puts it back, and they lose the 10 percent bracket. Those aren’t Bush cuts, those are the Democrat cuts that we worked hard to put in place to protect the middle class.

Source: Democratic Presidential 2004 Primary Debate in Detroit , Oct 27, 2003


John Kerry on Voting Record

FactCheck: No, Kerry did not vote 350 times to raise taxes

BUSH_CHENEY CLAIM: “Kerry supported higher taxes over 350 times.”

CNN FACT CHECK:Kerry has not cast 350 votes in the Senate to actually increase taxes. Many of the votes were to leave taxes unchanged (in opposition to Republican-proposed cuts), or in support of Democratic tax cut packages instead of larger Republican packages. This could be characterized as “supporting higher taxes,” but it’s more accurate to say that he opposed lowering taxes, or supported the smaller of two tax cut proposals.

Source: CNN FactCheck on 2004 statements by Bush and Kerry , Oct 29, 2004

I supported or voted for tax cuts over 600 times

BUSH: I believe the role of government is to stand side by side with our citizens to help them realize their dreams, not tell citizens how to live their lives. Kerry talks about fiscal sanity. His record in the United States Senate does not match his rhetoric. He voted to increase taxes 98 times and to bust the budget 277 times.

KERRY: I have supported or voted for tax cuts over 600 times. I broke with my party in order to balance the budget, and Ronald Reagan signed into law the tax cut that we voted for. I voted for IRA tax cuts. I voted for small-business tax cuts.

BUSH: Kerry voted to violate the budget cap 277 times. You know, there’s a main stream in American politics and you sit right on the far left bank. As a matter of fact, your record is such that Ted Kennedy, your colleague, is the conservative senator from Massachusetts.

Source: [Xref Bush[ Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ , Oct 13, 2004

Voted YES on increasing tax rate for people earning over $1 million.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To put children ahead of millionaires and billionaires by restoring the pre-2001 top income tax rate for people earning over $1 million, and use this revenue to invest in LIHEAP; IDEA; Head Start; Child Care; nutrition; school construction and deficit reduction.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. SANDERS: The wealthiest people in the country have not had it so good since the 1920s. Their incomes are soaring, while at the same time the middle class is shrinking, and we have by far the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country. The time is now to begin changing our national priorities and moving this country in a different direction.

This amendment restores the top income tax bracket for households earning more than $1 million a year, it raises $32.5 billion over 3 years, and invests that in our kids, including $10 billion for special education. OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KYL: The problem is we are spending the same dollar 3 or 4 times, it appears. The Sanders amendment is paid for by raising taxes another $32.5 billion, ostensibly from the rich; that is to say, by raising taxes on people who make over $1 million a year. Here is the problem with that. The budget on the floor already assumes the expiration of the current tax rates; that is to say, the rates on the highest level go from 35% to 39.6%, and that money is spent. If you took all the top-rate income, you would come up with $25 billion a year, not even enough to meet what is here, and that money has already been spent. The reality is somewhere or other, somehow, more taxes would have to be raised. I don't think the American people want to do that, particularly in the current environment. LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 43-55

Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4218 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S064 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted NO on allowing AMT reduction without budget offset.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To exempt from pay-as-you-go enforcement modifications to the individual alternative minimum tax (AMT) that prevent millions of additional taxpayers from having to pay the AMT.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. GRASSLEY: The Senate voted to make sure that middle-class America didn't pay the AMT, and we did it without an offset, by a vote of [about 95%]. So here we are again with an opportunity to say to middle-class America that we are not going to tax the people who were not supposed to be hit by the AMT. This amendment gives us an opportunity to get over that hurdle that is in this budget resolution that, under pay-go, you would have to have an offset for the AMT. Unless my amendment is adopted, the 25 million families who will be hit by the AMT increase will get a tax increase of over $2,000 apiece. They deserve a guarantee of relief.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO: Sen. CONRAD: If you want to blow a hole in the budget as big as all outdoors, here is your opportunity--a trillion dollars not paid for, a trillion dollars that we are going to go out and borrow from the Chinese and Japanese. That makes absolutely no sense. I urge my colleagues to vote no.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 47-51

Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4276 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S078 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted NO on raising the Death Tax exemption to $5M from $1M.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY:To protect small businesses, family ranches and farms from the Death Tax by providing a $5 million exemption, a low rate for smaller estates and a maximum rate no higher than 35%.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. KYL: This amendment is a reprise of what we did last year in offering to reform the estate tax, sometimes referred to as the death tax. Now, in the budget itself, there is a provision to allow the death tax to be changed from the current law to a top rate of 45% and an exempted amount of $3.5 million, and there are some other features. My amendment would reduce that top rate to no higher than 35% so that if you had more than one rate, at least the top rate could not exceed 35%, and both of the two spouses would have a $5 million exempted amount before the estate tax would kick in. Now, the reason for my amendment is: current law [is] getting up to a high rate of 55% and an exempted amount of either $2 million or $1 million, probably $1 million--a continued unfair burden on primarily America's small businesses and farms.

OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. CONRAD: This amendment would virtually eliminate the estate tax. Let me say why. Let me first say there is no death tax in the country. Of course, if you poll people and you ask them: Do you want to eliminate the death tax? they will say sure. But you are not going to pay any tax when you die unless you have $2 million. There is no death tax in America. There is a tax on estates. At today's level of $2 million, that affects only 0.5% of estates. When the exemption reaches $3.5 million in 2009, 0.2% of estates will be taxed. If the amendment is agreed to, we would be borrowing money in the name of 99.8% of the American people, borrowing primarily from China & Japan, to give it to the Warren Buffets, the Paris Hiltons, & others of enormous wealth in this country.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment rejected, 50-50

Reference: Kyl Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.4191 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S050 on Feb 13, 2008

Voted NO on repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Amendment would accommodate the full repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax, preventing 23 million families and individuals from being subject to the AMT in 2007, and millions of families and individuals in subsequent years.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

This amendment repeals the AMT. Except for the telephone tax, the alternative minimum tax is the phoniest tax we have ever passed. The AMT, in 1969, was meant to hit 155 taxpayers who used legal means to avoid taxation, under the theory that everybody ought to pay some income tax.

This very year, more than 2,000 people who are very wealthy are not paying any income tax or alternative minimum income tax. So it is not even working and hitting the people it is supposed to hit. Right now, this year, 2007, the year we are in, there are 23 million families that are going to be hit by this tax. It is a phony revenue machine, over 5 years, $467 billion dollars. We are going to have to have a point of order this year to keep these 23 million taxpayers from paying this tax. We might as well do away with it right now, once and for all, and be honest about it.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

The reality of the budget resolution is this may not have anything to do with eliminating the alternative minimum tax. The one thing it will do is reduce the revenue of the Government over the next 5 years by $533 billion, plunging us right back into deficit. Look, we can deal with the AMT. We have dealt with it in the underlying budget resolution for the next 2 years. There will be no increase in the number of people affected by the AMT for the next 2 years under the budget resolution, and that is paid for. Unfortunately, this amendment is not paid for. It would plunge us back into deficit. I urge my colleagues to vote no.

Reference: Grassley Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.471 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-108 on Mar 23, 2007

Voted NO on raising estate tax exemption to $5 million.

An amendment to raise the death tax exemption to $5 million; reducing the maximum death tax rate to 35%; and to promote economic growth by extending the lower tax rates on dividends and capital gains.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

It is disappointing to many family businesses and farm owners to set the death tax rate at what I believe is a confiscatory 45% and set the exemption at only $3.5 million, which most of us believe is too low. This leaves more than 22,000 families subject to the estate tax each year.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

You can extend all the tax breaks that have been described in this amendment if you pay for them. The problem with the amendment is that over $70 billion is not paid for. It goes on the deficit, which will drive the budget right out of balance. We will be going right back into the deficit ditch. Let us resist this amendment. People could support it if it was paid for, but it is not. However well intended the amendment is, it spends $72.5 billion with no offset. This amendment blows the budget. This amendment takes us from a balance in 2012 right back into deficit. My colleagues can extend those tax cuts if they pay for them, if they offset them. This amendment does not pay for them; it does not offset them; it takes us back into deficit. It ought to be defeated.

Reference: Kyl Amendment; Bill S.Amdt.507 on S.Con.Res.21 ; vote number 2007-083 on Mar 21, 2007

Voted NO on supporting permanence of estate tax cuts.

Increases the estate tax exclusion to $5,000,000, effective 2015, and repeals the sunset provision for the estate and generation-skipping taxes. Lowers the estate tax rate to equal the current long-term capital gains tax rate (i.e., 15% through 2010) for taxable estates up to $25 million. Repeals after 2009 the estate tax deduction paid to states.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

The permanent solution to the death tax challenge that we have today is a compromise. It is a compromise that prevents the death rate from escalating to 55% and the exclusion dropping to $1 million in 2011. It also includes a minimum wage increase, 40% over the next 3 years. Voting YES is a vote for that permanent death tax relief. Voting YES is for that extension of tax relief. Voting YES is for that 40% minimum wage increase. This gives us the opportunity to address an issue that will affect the typical American family, farmers, & small business owners.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Family businesses and family farms should not be broken up to pay taxes. With the booming economy of the 1990s, many more Americans joined the ranks of those who could face estate taxes. Raising the exemption level and lowering the rate in past legislation made sense. Under current law, in my State of Delaware, fewer than 50 families will face any estate tax in 2009. I oppose this legislation's complete repeal of the estate tax because it will cost us $750 billion. Given the world we live in today, with clear domestic needs unmet, full repeal is a luxury that we cannot afford.

To add insult to this injury, the first pay raise for minimum wage workers in 10 years is now hostage to this estate tax cut. We are told that to get those folks on minimum wage a raise, we have to go into debt, so that the sons and daughters of the 7,000 most fortunate families among us will be spared the estate tax. We must say no to this transparent gimmick.

Reference: Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act; Bill H.R. 5970 ; vote number 2006-229 on Aug 3, 2006

Voted NO on permanently repealing the `death tax`.

A cloture motion ends debate and forces a vote on the issue. In this case, voting YES implies support for permanently repealing the death tax. Voting against cloture would allow further amendments. A cloture motion requires a 3/5th majority to pass. This cloture motion failed, and there was therefore no vote on repealing the death tax.
Reference: Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act; Bill HR 8 ; vote number 2006-164 on Jun 8, 2006

Voted YES on $47B for military by repealing capital gains tax cut.

To strengthen America's military, to repeal the extension of tax rates for capital gains and dividends, to reduce the deficit, and for other purposes. Specifically, a YES vote would appropriate $47 billion to the military and would pay for it by repealing the extension of tax cuts for capital gains and dividends to 2010 back to 2008. The funds wuold be used as follows:
Reference: Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act; Bill S Amdt 2737 to HR 4297 ; vote number 2006-008 on Feb 2, 2006

Voted NO on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains & dividends.

Vote to reduce federal spending by $56.1 billion over five years by retaining a reduced tax rate on capital gains and dividends, as well as.
Status: Bill passed Bill passed, 66-31
Reference: Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act; Bill HR 4297 ; vote number 2006-010 on Feb 2, 2006

Voted NO on extending the tax cuts on capital gains and dividends.

This large piece of legislation (418 pages) includes numerous provisions, generally related to extending the tax cuts initiated by President Bush. This vote was on final passage of the bill. The specific provisions include:
  1. Extension Of Expiring Provisions: for business expenses, retirement savings contributions, higher education expenses, new markets tax credit, and deducting state and local sales taxes.
  2. Provisions Relating To Charitable Donations, and Reforming Charitable Organizations
  3. Improved Accountability of Donor Advised Funds
  4. Improvements in Efficiency and Safeguards in IRS Collection
Reference: Tax Relief Act of 2005; Bill S. 2020 ; vote number 2005-347 on Nov 18, 2005

Voted NO on $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years.

H.R. 2 Conference Report; Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. Vote to adopt the conference report on the bill that would make available $350 billion in tax breaks over 11 years. It would provide $20 billion in state aid that consists of $10 billion for Medicaid and $10 billion to be used at states' judgment. The agreement contains a new top tax rate of 15 percent on capital gains and dividends through 2007 (5 percent for lower-income taxpayers in 2007 and no tax in 2008). Income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and planned to take effect in 2006 would be accelerated. The child tax credit would be raised to $1,000 through 2004. The standard deduction for married couples would be double that for a single filer through 2004. Tax breaks for businesses would include expanding the deduction that small businesses could take on investments to $100,000 through 2005.
Reference: Bill HR.2 ; vote number 2003-196 on May 23, 2003

Voted YES on reducing marriage penalty instead of cutting top tax rates.

Vote to expand the standard deduction and 15% income tax bracket for couples. The elimination of the "marriage penalty" tax would be offset by reducing the marginal tax rate reductions for the top two rate bracket
Reference: Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-112 on May 17, 2001

Voted YES on increasing tax deductions for college tuition.

Vote to increase the tax deduction for college tuition costs from $5,000 to $12,000 and increase the tax credit on student loan interest from $500 to $1,000. The expense would be offset by limiting the cut in the top estate tax rate to 53%.
Reference: Bill HR 1836 ; vote number 2001-114 on May 17, 2001

Voted NO on eliminating the 'marriage penalty'.

Vote on a bill that would reduce taxes on married couples by increasing their standard deduction to twice that of single taxpayers and raise the income limits on both the 15 percent and 28 percent tax brackets for married couples to twice that of singles
Reference: Bill HR.4810 ; vote number 2000-215 on Jul 18, 2000

Voted NO on across-the-board spending cut.

The Nickles (R-OK) Amdendment would express the sense of the Senate that Congress should adopt an across-the-board cut in all discretionary funding, to prevent the plundering of the Social Security Trust Fund
Status: Amdt. Agreed to Y)54; N)46
Reference: Nickles Amdt #1889; Bill S. 1650 ; vote number 1999-313 on Oct 6, 1999

Voted NO on requiring super-majority for raising taxes.

Senator Kyl (R-AZ) offered an amendment to the 1999 budget resolution to express the sense of the Senate on support for a Constitutional amendment requiring a supermajority to pass tax increases.
Status: Amdt Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
Reference: Kyl Amdt #2221; Bill S Con Res 86 ; vote number 1998-71 on Apr 2, 1998

Rated 14% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes.

Kerry scores 14% by NTU on tax-lowering policies

Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote’s effect. NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All Members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a Member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers. The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the Member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring Members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower. A Member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the Member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform.

Source: NTU website 03n-NTU on Dec 31, 2003

Rated 100% by the CTJ, indicating support of progressive taxation.

Kerry scores 100% by the CTJ on taxationissues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CTJ scores as follows:

About CTJ (from their website, www.ctj.org):

Citizens for Tax Justice, founded in 1979, is not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organization focusing on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact upon our nation. CTJ's mission is to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws. Against the armies of special interest lobbyists for corporations and the wealthy, CTJ fights for:

Source: CTJ website 06n-CTJ on Dec 31, 2006

Other candidates on Tax Reform: John Kerry on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Bill Weld
Charlie Baker
Dan Wolf
Deval Patrick
Don Berwick
Martha Coakley
Marty Walsh
Steve Grossman
Tom Menino
MA Senatorial:
Brian Herr
Bruce Skarin
Ed Markey
Elizabeth Warren
Gabriel Gomez
Martha Coakley
Mo Cowan

MA politicians
MA Archives

Retiring in 2014 election:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Retired as of Jan. 2013:
AZ:Kyl(R)
CT:Lieberman(D)
HI:Akaka(D)
ME:Snowe(R)
ND:Conrad(D)
NE:Nelson(D)
NM:Bingaman(D)
TX:Hutchison(R)
VA:Webb(D)
WI:Kohl(D)
Senate Retirements 2014:
GA:Chambliss(R)
IA:Harkin(D)
MI:Levin(D)
MT:Baucus(D)
NE:Johanns(R)
OK:Coburn(R)
SD:Johnson(D)
WV:Rockefeller(D)

Senate races Nov. 2014:
AK: Begich(D) vs.Miller(R) vs.Treadwell(R) vs.Sullivan(R)
AL: Sessions(R,unopposed)
AR: Pryor(D) vs.Cotton(R)
CO: Udall(D) vs.Gardner(R) vs.Baumgardner(R) vs.Buck(R) vs.Hill(R) vs.Stephens(R)
DE: Coons(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
GA: Nunn(D) vs.Perdue(R) vs.Kingston(R) vs.Gingrey(R) vs.Handel(R) vs.Broun(R)
HI: Schatz(D) vs.Hanabusa(D) vs.Cavasso(R)
IA: Braley(D) vs.Ernst(R) vs.Whitaker(R) vs.Clovis(R)
ID: Risch(R) vs.Mitchell(D)
IL: Durbin(D) vs.Oberweis(R) vs.Hansen(L) vs.Truax(R)
KS: Roberts(R) vs.Tiahrt(R) vs.Wolf(R) vs.Taylor(D) vs.Orman(I)
KY: McConnell(R) vs.Bevin(R) vs.Grimes(D)
LA: Landrieu(D) vs.Cassidy(R) vs.Maness(R)
MA: Markey(D) vs.Herr(R) vs.Skarin(I) vs.Gomez(R)
ME: Collins(R) vs.D`Amboise(R) vs.Bellows(D)
MI: Land(R) vs.Peters(D) vs.Wiedenhoeft(R)
MN: Franken(D) vs.McFadden(R) vs.Abeler(R) vs.Ortman(R)
MS: Cochran(R) vs.Childers(D) vs.McDaniel(R)
MT: Walsh(D) vs.Daines(R) vs.Edmunds(R) vs.Bohlinger(D)
NC: Hagan(D) vs.Tillis(R)
NE: Sasse(R) vs.Domina(D) vs.Haugh(L) vs.Osborn(R)
NH: Shaheen(D) vs.Brown(R) vs.Smith(R) vs.Rubens(R) vs.Testerman(R) vs.Martin(R)
NJ: Booker(D) vs.Bell(R) vs.Sabrin(R)
NM: Udall(D) vs.Weh(R) vs.Clements(R)
OK-2: Lankford(R) vs.Johnson(D) vs.Shannon(R)
OK-6: Inhofe(R) vs.Silverstein(D)
OR: Merkley(D) vs.Wehby(R) vs.Conger(R)
RI: Reed(D) vs.Zaccaria(R)
SC-2: Scott(R) vs.Dickerson(D) vs.Wade(D)
SC-6: Graham(R) vs.Hutto(D) vs.Ravenel(I) vs.Stamper(D) vs.Mace(R) vs.Bright(R)
SD: Rounds(R) vs.Weiland(D) vs.Pressler(I)
TN: Alexander(R) vs.Carr(R) vs.Adams(D)
TX: Cornyn(R) vs.Alameel(D) vs.Roland(L) vs.Stockman(R)
VA: Warner(D) vs.Gillespie(R) vs.Sarvis(L)
WV: Capito(R) vs.Tennant(D) vs.Raese(R) vs.McGeehan(R)
WY: Enzi(R) vs.Cheney(R) vs.Hardy(D)
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Fax Number:
202-224-8525
Mailing Address:
Senate Office SR-218, Washington, DC 20510
Phone number:
(202) 224-2742

Page last updated: Aug 08, 2014