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News Taxes Wednesday, Sep 9 2015

Jeb’s Tax Plan: Another Round Of Bush Tax Cuts For The Wealthy

Sep 09, 2015


TO:                 Interested Parties
FROM:           Jessica Mackler, President, American Bridge 21st Century
DATE:            September 9, 2015

After first getting advance sign off from Wall Street and the same trickle-down clowns that endorsed his brother’s policies, Jeb Bush is set to roll out his tax plan in North Carolina today, hoping to bring a much needed high-energy “jumpstart” to his campaign.

But as another out-of-touch and out-of-date Republican who puts the interests of Wall Street and his billionaire backers ahead of middle class families, Jeb’s tax plan is sure to be nothing more than a repackaged version of the failed policies he championed as governor and his brother pushed as president.

Jeb has a long record of cutting tax cuts for the rich and special interests, which he did at every opportunity as governor of Florida. On the presidential campaign trail, Jeb claims these tax cuts led to economic and job growth in Florida, a claim that’s been rejected by data and economists.

In addition to Jeb’s record, his selection of the Koch brothers’ “model state,” North Carolina, to unveil his tax plan is a poorly-veiled wink and nod that he’ll back tax policy that benefits billionaires and special interests like them at the expense of middle-class and working families across the country.

On top of everything else, Jeb’s tax plan is sure to be far from a fresh perspective and more likely a repackaging of his brother’s ideas especially when he shares a top advisor, Glenn Hubbard, with George W. Bush’s budget-busting tax cuts that primarily benefitted the wealthy.

In Florida, Jeb’s Tax Cuts Lined The Pockets Of The Wealthy

Jeb argues that he cuts taxes in Florida by $19 billion, which drove economic and job growth in the Sunshine State. Nope. In reality, Jeb’s tax cuts benefited the rich and corporations.

One way that Jeb helped reduce the tax burden for the rich was reducing Florida’s tax on intangible assets, things like stocks and investments that are largely held by the well-off. Starting in 1999, Jeb pushed to incrementally reduce the intangibles tax, also called a “wealth tax,” and eventually signed a full repeal of the tax, taking millions from Florida’s budget and returning it to the wealthy and powerful.

For those in the Jeb era in Florida, it’s no secret that his tax plan looked out for the wealthy and corporations: A 2003 St. Petersburg Times editorial argued that under Jeb, the tax burden was “lightened only for the wealthiest, who were taxed the least to begin with.” Furthermore, a 2007 Carl Hiaasen column in the Miami Herald blasted Jeb for his tax breaks that “chiefly benefited corporations and the well-to-do.”

At the same time, spending soared under Jeb. Total spending ballooned by $21 billion – 45 percent – while the Florida general fund spending rose by $10 billion – 57 percent.  It’s hardly a good look for Jeb’s claim that he’s a “severely conservative” candidate.

While Jeb says his new tax plan will create 19 million jobs and get economic growth to 4 percent, his record in Florida tells a different story. Despite Jeb’s claims, economists say tourism, population growth, and home buyers were larger drivers of economic growth than Jeb’s tax cuts. Jeb also credits his tax cuts for driving job growth, but the fact is job growth in Florida under Jeb was lower than the previous five governors.

Alternate Headline: Model AFP Candidate Rolls Out AFP-Friendly Tax Plan In AFP Model State

It’s no coincidence that Jeb picked North Carolina to roll out his tax plan. Over the past several years, the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity, and other allies led by Koch-crony Art Pope, have poured millions into North Carolina, working to craft it into their “model state.”

And the Kochs have seen the fruits of their efforts – Governor Pat McCrory and then-Speaker Thom Tillis rubber-stamped the Koch agenda in Raleigh including cutting education while lowering taxes for the rich, rejecting health care for half a million North Carolinians through Medicaid expansion, slashing jobless benefits, and more. The Kochs then spent millions buying Tillis a U.S. Senate seat– and are set to spend big to bail out McCrory, even as he tries and tries to convince the world he’s “steppin’ on toes” as the legislative session drags on.

Close with the billionaire Koch brothers for decades, Jeb has spent serious time over the course of his campaign wooing the Kochs in hopes that they’ll spend a piece of the $900 million they plan to spend of this election propping up his campaign. And the tax plan he’s rolling out, which benefits billionaires and special interest corporations, is sure to get the Koch seal of approval.

The Kochs have turned North Carolina into Koch Country at the expense of North Carolinians, and Jeb handpicked the state to roll out his tax plan, a plan that’s sure to benefit billionaires like the Kochs.

Jeb’s tax plan is sure to be nothing more than another round of Bush tax cuts for the wealthy — a plan that’s good for billionaires like Jeb’s friends, the Koch brothers and other corporate special interest types that he first previewed his plan to, and bad for middle class and working families. Check out the research below complied by American Bridge.

Bush’s Tax Cuts Primarily Benefited The Wealthy And Businesses

Sun-Sentinel: Jeb Bush Pushed For Tax Cuts That “Chiefly Benefited Business And The Wealthy.” According to the Sun-Sentinel, “A policy wonk, Bush pursued an agenda so frenetic that even his efficiency czar resigned in protest. ‘I’ve always felt, if you can do something today, why wait? It’s just my nature,’ said Bush, 53, who grew grayer and slightly stouter in Tallahassee, but never slackened his pace, even during his final days. He championed tax cuts that chiefly benefited business and the wealthy, trimmed the state payroll, stripped job protection from thousands of mid-level civil servants, gained more power over the judiciary, exploited his Washington connections to prevent the closing of military bases and launched the nation’s first statewide private school voucher program.” [Sun-Sentinel, 12/31/06]

Carl Hiaasen Column: Jeb Bush Pushed Tax Breaks Which Mainly “Benefitted Corporations And The Welll-To-Do.” According to a column by Carl Hiassen and published by the Miami Herald, “In Tallahassee they talk of the Bush legacy as an historic shift in power from the Legislature to the governor’s office; of the more than 250 judges that he appointed; of the overhaul of the state’s university system, now run by political appointees instead of by an independent Board of Regents; of $19 billion in taxcuts. The rest of Florida won’t remember Bush for his policy initiatives or power-building, abstractions to ordinary folks. Same goes for the tax breaks, which chiefly benefited corporations and the well-to-do. The image of Jeb that will remain in the public consciousness is of a sober, steady presence during all those hurricanes that mauled the state during his tenure.” [Miami Herald, 1/7/07]

St. Petersburg Times: Tax Burden Was “Lightened Only For The Wealthiest, Who Were Taxed The Least To Begin With.” According to an editorial published by the St. Petersburg Times, “In his inaugural address four years ago, Gov. Jeb Bush complained about the ‘crushing weight’ of Florida taxes. He has prided himself on cutting taxesevery session since then. But for most Floridians, the state and local tax burden has become heavier still. It has been lightened only for the wealthiest, who were taxed the least to begin with.” [Editorial – St. Petersburg Times, 1/12/03]

Orlando Sentinel: During Eight Years Under Bush, The Legislature Approved A Cumulative $19 Billion In Tax Cuts That Mostly Helped Wealthier Floridians And Corporations. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “During eight years under former Gov. Jeb Bush, the Legislature approved a cumulative $19 billion in tax cuts that mostly helped wealthier Floridians and corporations.” [Orlando Sentinel, 3/2/08]

Jeb Bush Reduced Florida’s Intangibles Tax, Benefiting Wealthy

Intangibles Tax Mostly Affected Wealthy

Intangibles Tax Placed A Tax On Intangible Property Such As Stocks And Bonds.  According to Zacks, “Ethereal though it may sound, intangible personal property, as deemed by Florida Statutes Chapter 199, refers to those assets that do not have physical attributes yet hold value. These include investments like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. They do not include certificates of deposit, cash or personal retirement funds.” [Zacks, Accessed 5/28/15]

Tax For Individuals Was $1 Per Every $1,000 In Assets From $20,000 To $100,000 And $2 Per Every $1,000 Above That. According to Zacks, “For non-bank businesses, that meant paying $2,000 in intangible tax for every $1 million of taxable income; for individuals, the first $20,000 was exempt, and above that — up to $100,000 — $1 was incurred out of every $1,000 in assets. Above $100,000, $2 per $1,000 was collected.” [Zacks, Accessed 5/28/15]

Demand Media: Intangibles Tax “Mostly Affected The Well-To-Do.” According to Demand Media, “Though it had an illustrious history dating back to the 1930s, the so-called Florida intangible personal property tax was gradually diminished since 1999 until it was finally rescinded in 2007. Called a ‘wealth tax,’ because it mostly affected the well-to-do who held certain types of assets, the intangible tax was one of the ways that Florida, which does not tax personal income, raised revenues for state programs. While the tax, or its repeal, for that matter, did not affect most Florida residents, because they were never required to pay it, its legacy can still be felt in some quarters.” [Demand Media, Viewed 7/17/15]

Jeb Bush Reduced, Eliminated Intangibles Tax

Florida Incrementally Reduced Intangibles Tax Since 1999. According to the Miami Herald, “The much maligned intangibles tax, born during the Depression in a state where income tax was outlawed, is now dead. Of course, it’s been a slow death, with the Legislature chipping away at it since 1999, cutting the tax rate from $2 per $1,000 of taxable value to 50 cents. It also hiked exemptions, so that in the end the tax only hit individuals with more than $370,000 in taxable assets and couples with more than $620,000.” [Miami Herald, 1/1/07]

Bush Signed Budget That Included Repeal Of Intangibles Tax Starting In 2007.  According to the St. Petersburg Times, “The budget didn’t include everything Bush wanted. Lawmakers ignored his push for nearly $1-billion in property tax cuts, opting instead to pump the money back into education. But in many other areas, the governor won: The state’s intangibles tax on stocks and investments, worth about $131-million annually, has been eliminated starting in 2006-07; the budget includes money to provide merit pay for teachers; and it sets aside $390-million for Bush’s economic development initiatives.” [St. Petersburg Times,  5/26/06]

Bush Credited Taxes For A Strong Economy, Evidence Showed Otherwise

Economists Said Economic Growth Was Due To Other Factors

Jeb Bush boasted that his conservative revolution had led to a $5 billion plus surplus in state revenue and an unemployment rate of 3 percent; Economists credited population growth, home buyers, and tourism for the robust economy. According to a column by David Colburn, “Beyond such political and structural developments, Bush enjoyed eight years of prosperity during which he was able to reduce taxes without disrupting state services. Bush boasted that his conservative revolution had led to a $5 billion plus surplus in state revenue and an unemployment rate of 3 percent. Economists, however, credited population growth, home buyers and tourism for the robust economy.” [Orlando Sentinel – David Colburn Column, 12/10/06]

Job Growth Under Jeb Bush Was Lower Than The Previous Five Governors

Strong Job Growth In Florida During Jeb Bush’s Tenure Was Lower Than That Of The Previous Five Governors. According to the Miami Herald, “A strong state and national economy fattened Florida’s budget by 45 percent — from $49 billion when he took office to more than $71 billion this year. Bush credited his tax cuts for strong job growth, although the rate was the lowest of Florida’s past five governors.” [Miami Herald, 12/17/06]



Published: Sep 9, 2015

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