Issue Position: Taxes and Free Enterprise

Issue Position

The federal government is running a deficit and rapidly accumulating debt--not because we are taxed too little, but because the Congress is spending too much. We cannot tax our way into prosperity. What the government takes from American taxpayers saps the vitality of the private sector, the dynamic engine that creates growth and new jobs. In order to thrive, private enterprise requires an abundance of free-flowing capital. Every dollar that is taken in taxes, every dollar that is confiscated from the private sector to fund the federal bureaucracy, is a dollar that cannot be put to better use by the entrepreneurs, small business owners, private companies, and individual citizens who invent, innovate, create wealth, provide jobs, and raise our standard of living.

Oppressive, enterprise-killing taxation is an especially acute problem in New York -- recently named by the Tax Foundation as having the second worst business tax climate in the nation -- and in the Hudson Valley, home to three of the highest-taxed counties in the country: Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam.

The Federal Government is Strangling our Economy

Compounding the challenges posed by living in a state with the nation's second highest state and local tax burden, federal taxes annually drain billions of dollars' worth of capital out of New York. According to the Tax Foundation, our state receives from the federal government less than 80 cents for every dollar we pay in federal taxes. The government is using proceeds from New York taxpayers to subsidize other states at a time when we need to keep capital here to stimulate our economy and create new jobs.

Taxes are Forcing Businesses Out of the Hudson Valley

Confiscatory taxes cost every single citizen of District 19 dearly. Unemployment has risen dramatically throughout the Hudson Valley as businesses, such as Watson Pharmaceutical in Putnam County, have reduced employment or left the area entirely. The combined burden of high taxes at both the federal and state levels reduces the amount of local capital available for investment, increases the cost of employment, weakens consumer demand, and exacerbates a cycle of economic deterioration. Oppressive taxes are one of the chief reasons that middle class families and businesses are fleeing New York, and the principal reason that states with lower aggregate taxation are growing and their economies expanding at a time when ours is shrinking.

For the sake of the Hudson Valley's economy and future generations of New Yorkers, it is imperative that we stem the outflow of capital from New York.

The Right Way to Stimulate our Economy

That's why I've signed the Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." I will oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and businesses; I will oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reductions in tax rates. I also support:

* permanent extension of the 2001 and 2003 federal tax cuts, which the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research estimates have saved New Yorkers more than $100 billion that would otherwise have gone to Washington. If these tax cuts are allowed to expire, New Yorkers will soon see the return of the marriage penalty tax, hikes in the capital gains tax, higher tax rates in all income brackets, the loss of child tax credits and the return of draconian death taxes.
* elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax,
* reduction of the capital gains tax, in order to incentivize investment in enterprise to create jobs,
* elimination of the estate tax, also known as the "death tax."

Some health care legislation under discussion in Congress would force some New Yorkers to pay 59% or more of their income in local, state and federal taxes. Instead of the Alternative Minimum Tax, Congress might be better off adopting an "Alternative MAXIMUM Tax," barring the combination of federal, state and local taxes from consuming more than 49% of a taxpayer's annual income. It's unconscionable that any American should have to surrender a majority share of his or her income to the government.

America is the greatest nation the world has ever known, the beacon of hope and opportunity around the world, because our Constitution has granted us unprecedented economic freedoms to earn, to keep, and to invest our wealth. We cannot allow government to become the majority owner of our lives. Strictly limiting taxation is the best thing that our government can do to empower our citizens to restore a thriving economy to the 19th Congressional District.