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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Rep. Rick Crawford proposes tax on millionaires

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2012 at 6:46 AM

RAISE TAXES: Report says Rick Crawford will break from GOP and back millionaires tax.
  • RAISE TAXES: Report says Rick Crawford will break from GOP and back millionaires' tax.
The freshman Republican congressman from Jonesboro today unveils a plan calling for a tax increase on millionaires.

The social media is already buzzing with aggrieved howls from teabaggers and other Republicans.

Politico got the scoop on Crawford's big rollout this morning of a plan to make him look more like a man of the Delta than a tool of the fat cats.

Crawford will propose the additional tax— expected to be north of 2.5 percent — on individual income over $1 million as part of a broader fiscal responsibility package.

“He’s watched the Gangs of Six and 100 and deficit commissions, as well as leadership’s budget and tax plan, and he feels there will never be a deal that will pass the Senate without a revenue component,” a Crawford aide said, describing the legislation without attribution because it has not yet been officially announced.

The rollout will be on KAIT-TV in Jonesboro, the most influential media outlet in the sprawling 1st Congressional District, where Crawford will face the winner of a three-way Democratic primary in the fall. His poll numbers have consistently reflected vulnerability, enhanced by his votes with Republican agenda bills punitive to the poor and elderly in his district.

Crawford will catch hell from Grover Norquist and other party controllers undoubtedly. But, whatever the motivation here, let's say it: He's right as Robert Bartlett and other sane conservatives have been saying. Federal finances can't be fixed solely by spending cuts. Taxes, at their lowest point in years, must be raised, too.


According to a source close to the Arkansan, the lawmaker “feels that if were going to make any progress in addressing the deficit and the debt eventually, then we need to find compromise.”

A fellow Republican, Sen. Johnny Key, Twittered this morning that Crawford would tie his tax to a constitutional balanced budget amendment. I don't think that will be sufficient sop to the millionaires, particularly since it would be a long and uncertain road to a budget amendment, while a tax increase would presumably be now.

Here's more on Crawford's plan, which will go nowhere, most likely, though it could have some popular appeal. The millionaire tax — 5 percent on income above $1 million — would go away in 5 years if the balanced budget amendment didn't pass.

PS: Potential Democratic opponent Clark Hall rolls out the embarrassing record Crawford compiled before becoming a born-again tax increaser:

State Representative Clark Hall called on Congressman Rick Crawford to explain his repeated record of flip-flopping on tax policy today just as Rick Crawford reversed himself yet again leaving Arkansas unclear of where he stands on the issues. Hall challenged Crawford to a debate of his record.

“How do we know which Rick Crawford to believe? It’s time he comes clean. The people of Arkansas’s First Congressional District deserve a principled representative who they can trust. When Crawford voted against a $1,000 payroll tax cut on six different occasions and called it ‘irresponsible,’ he voted against hard working families struggling to pay for gas and groceries. When he called a 23 percent national sales tax an ‘interesting concept,’ he spoke against Arkansas families, Arkansas jobs, and fiscal responsibility,” Hall said.

Crawford previously called the dubiously dubbed “fair tax” an interesting concept and said that the flat tax proposal was “a good idea.”

“Rick Crawford thinks taking all sides of an issue and holding one’s finger up to the political wind will help his election chances. In reality, it’s political cowardice, and the only compromise Rick Crawford has shown willingness for is a compromise of his principles,” Hall said.

Hall challenged Crawford to a debate.

“You can’t hide convictions easily, especially in a debate. That's why I challenge Rick Crawford to a debate. He may bring anyone of his umpteenth and contradictory economic ideas. I will bring my proven record and steadfast conviction that serves Arkansas first,” Hall added.

Crawford Flip Flips Include:

FLIP on Fair Tax: Crawford Called Fair Tax An “Interesting Concept.” In 2010, Crawford called the Fair Tax, which would enact a 23% national sales tax on all goods and services sold at retail, an “interesting concept.” [Facebook, 4/30/10]

FLOP on Fair Tax: In October 2010, Crawford denied that he had ever suggested that the Fair Tax was worthy of discussion. “I don’t know that I would say that it’s an idea that is worthy of discussion, and I don’t know where that was attributed to. But I would say this, is I have never advocated for a Flat Tax, Fair Tax, anything like that,” [YouTube, accessed 2/15/12]

FLIP on Payroll Tax: In 2011, Crawford voted against the consideration of a payroll tax cut extension for working Americans 6 times and voted to block a bi-partisan Senate plan that would have extended a $1,000 Payroll Tax Cut to 160 Million Americans. With the expiration of the payroll tax cut, Arkansas workers would see a decrease in their take-home pay of $84 a month for those earning $50,000 annually. Additionally, an estimated 10,400 out-of-work Arkansans would lose long-term federal unemployment benefits by mid-February. [Southwest Times Record, 12/21/11; HR 3630, Vote # 946, 12/20/11; CBS News, 12/20/11; ABC News, 12/20/11; H Res 477, Vote #870, 11/30/11; H Res 479, Vote #889, 12/06/11; H Res 487, Vote #902, 12/08/11; H Res 491, Vote #918, 12/13/11; H Res 493, Vote #925, 12/14/11; H Res 502, Vote #944, 12/20/11]

FLOP on Payroll Tax: In 2011, Congressman Crawford eventually caved on payroll tax deal because of vulnerability. “Congressman Rick Crawford, likely feeling the heat of the Republican payroll tax cut fiasco, today decided to cave into political reality and called on Speaker Boehner to allow a vote on the Senate payroll tax cut extension plan. Crawford’s decision today caught the attention of the Washington Post’s ‘The Plum Line’ which called him a vulnerable freshman in a competitive district facing a real Democratic challenger.” [Talk Business, 2/17/12]

FLIP on Flat Tax: While running for Congress in 2010, Rick Crawford said the flat tax proposal was a good idea. According to the Center for Tax Justice, a similar flat tax plan would give the richest one percent at least a $272,730 tax cut. Recently, two Republican Presidential candidates have proposed changing the personal income tax by introducing a “flat tax” that is described as having a single rate at 15-20 percent. “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s $18.1 trillion tax plan would give the richest one percent of Americans an average tax cut of $391,330” and “Texas Governor Rick Perry’s $10.5 trillion tax plan would give the richest one percent of Americans average tax cut of $272,730.” [Center for Tax Justice, 1/6/12; YouTube, uploaded 3/9/10]

FLOP on Flat Tax: In October 2010, Crawford denied that he had ever suggested that the Flat Tax was worthy of discussion. “I don’t know that I would say that it’s an idea that is worthy of discussion, and I don’t know where that was attributed to. But I would say this, is I have never advocated for a Flat Tax, Fair Tax, anything like that,” [YouTube, accessed 2/15/12]

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