What priorities will you set for reforming the tax code? How should tax reform deal with the estate tax and capital gains taxes, two critical concerns for farmers and ranchers?
The tax code has become increasingly complicated and unfair. While many tax incentives serve important purposes, taken together the tax expenditures in the law are inefficient, unfair, duplicative, or even unnecessary. That’s why I’m calling for comprehensive tax reform. First, we must extend the middle class tax cuts for the 98% of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year. In fact, my proposal extends tax cuts for 97% of all small business owners in America. But at the same time, we need to ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share. I remain opposed to the extension of tax cuts for those with household income is above $250,000 and support the return of the estate tax exemption and rates to 2009 levels. These policies were unfair and unaffordable when they were passed, and they remain so today. Governor Romney would take the opposite approach – his tax plan would require an average tax increase of $2,000 on middle class families with kids, to pay for a new round of tax cuts for multi-millionaires, who would get an average break of $250,000.
My proposal would return the top tax rate on estates to 45% and reinstate the $7 million per-couple estate tax exemption, which exempts all but the wealthiest 3 in 1,000 decedents from the tax, but still helps us reduce the deficit. Independent experts estimate that under this plan, only 60 small farm and business estates in the entire country would owe any estate tax in 2013.
I’d also return capital gains taxes to the rates they were when Bill Clinton was president. But I’m calling for the permanent elimination of capital gains taxes on key small business investments.
We must pass fundamental tax reform that lowers tax rates, broadens the base, achieves revenue neutrality, and maintains the progressivity of the tax code. This will help jumpstart an economic recovery that will help create 12 million jobs in my first term in office. Regarding the estate tax and capital gains taxes, we must work to help all working families, including farmers and ranchers, keep more of what they earn. As president, I will eliminate the estate tax, helping keep family farms and ranches intact when businesses pass on from one generation to the next. I will also maintain the current 15% capital gains rate for wealthier Americans, while totally eliminating capital gains, dividend, and interest taxes for those who earn less than $200,000 per year. This will help middle-class families save tax free for long term costs like college tuition and retirement, and to generally enjoy the freedom that accompanies financial security.