Jim Jeffords on Tax Reform
Independent Jr Senator (VT, retiring 2006)
$1 trillion is right size for tax cut; Bush is too high
Sen. Jim Jeffords, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which writes tax legislation, said he would push to lower Bush’s 10-year, $1.6 trillion dollar tax cut. “Right now the size of it, I think, is too high, so I would vote to cut it,” Jeffords
said. “I think it’s not oriented as well is it could be for those who need it, especially the low-income people needing health insurance and others who need funds just to live, so I think it’s oriented the wrong way and I think it’s a little
bit too big.“ With the Senate committees split evenly, each vote on the committee is crucial to passing tax legislation. Jeffords, who said he favors a tax cut no higher than $1 trillion, said there are enough votes on the committee to block the
president’s proposal. ”I will be working to try and moderate a tax cut in a way that I think will benefit more the people that need it and not have quite as big because I am more pessimistic about the future than the president is,“ he added.
Feb 9, 2001
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.
Proponents of the motion say:
- We already pay enough taxes over our lifetimes We are taxed from that first cup of coffee in the morning to the time we flip off the lights at bedtime. If you are an enterprising entrepreneur who has worked hard to grow a family business or to keep and maintain that family farm, your spouse and children can expect to hear the knock of the tax man right after the Grim Reaper.
- In the past, when Congress enacted a death tax, it was at an extraordinary time of war, and the purpose was to raise temporary funds. But after the war was over the death tax was repealed. But that changed in the last century.
The death tax was imposed and has never been lifted.
- The death tax tells people it is better to consume today than to invest for the future. That doesn't make sense.
Opponents of the motion say:
Reference: Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act;
Bill HR 8
; vote number 2006-164
on Jun 8, 2006
- Small businesses and farms rarely--if ever--are forced to sell off assets or close up shop to pay the tax. Under the current exemption, roughly 99% of estates owe nothing in estate taxes. By 2011, with a $3.5 million exemption, only two of every 100,000 people who die that year would be subject to the estate tax.
- Today's vote is on a motion to proceed to a bill to repeal the estate tax. Not to proceed to a compromise or any other deal--but to full repeal. I oppose full repeal of the estate tax. Our Nation can no longer afford this tax break for the very well off. Permanently repealing the estate tax would add about $1 trillion to our national debt from 2011 to 2021.
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
- $25.4 billion for procurement
- $17 billion for Army operation and maintenance
- $4.5 billion for Marine Corps operation and maintenance
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.
- Decreasing the number of people that will be required to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
- Allowing for deductions of state and local general sales taxes through 2007 instead of 2006
- Lengthening tax credits for research expenses
- Increasing the age limit for eligibility for food stamp recipients from 25 to 35 years
- Continuing reduced tax rates of 15% and 5% on capital gains and dividends through 2010
- Extending through 2007 the expense allowances for environmental remediation costs (the cost of cleanup of sites where petroleum products have been released or disposed)
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:
- Extension Of Expiring Provisions: for business expenses, retirement savings contributions, higher education expenses, new markets tax credit, and deducting state and local sales taxes.
- Provisions Relating To Charitable Donations, and Reforming Charitable Organizations
- Improved Accountability of Donor Advised Funds
- Improvements in Efficiency and Safeguards in IRS Collection
Opponents of the bill recommend voting NAY because:
- Health care for children (among many other things) should come before tax cuts for the wealthy.
- The 2-year cost of the extensions on capital gains tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is $20 billion. So if we defer the tax break the administration is pushing for the wealthiest people in
America, we would have enough money to provide basic health insurance for every uninsured child in America, and we would eliminate 20% of the uninsured Americans with that single act alone.
Proponents of the bill recommend voting YEA because:
Reference: Tax Relief Act of 2005;
Bill S. 2020
; vote number 2005-347
on Nov 18, 2005
- The largest provision in the bill--about $30 billion of tax relief--amounts to half of the net tax package and is designed to keep 14 million people out of the Alternative Minimum Tax. The AMT is terrible and should be repealed.
- College tuition benefits for families who send their kids to college -- by definition, this benefit goes to middle-income families.
- The small savers' credit -- for low-income folks that save through an IRA or pension plan.
- Many small businesses use the small business expensing benefit to buy equipment on an efficient after-tax basis. It is good for small business. It is good for economic growth.
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.
; vote number 2003-196
on May 23, 2003
Voted NO 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
Bill HR 1836
; vote number 2001-112
on May 17, 2001
Voted NO 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%.
Bill HR 1836
; vote number 2001-114
on May 17, 2001
Voted YES 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
; vote number 2000-215
on Jul 18, 2000
Voted YES 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
Implement socially fair, broad-based tax cuts.
Jeffords adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership issue stance:
Not only has the Republican-led Congress achieved a balanced budget for the first time since 1969, but it has also created a budget surplus -- a feat not previously even imaginable. It is currently projected that the Fiscal Year 1999 budget surplus will be along the order of some $80 billion, of which $66 billion is earmarked for Social Security. This envious state of affairs would seem to indicate that equitable, far-reaching tax reductions may be in order -- not as an ideological or political strategy, but as a primary element of an economic growth policy and a legitimate tool for holding down unnecessary government growth in times of surplus.
The United States is enjoying steady economic prosperity thanks in no small measure to prudent fiscal policies implemented by the Republican-led Congress. However, we must look not only at the positive side of the economy but also at the problems the economy faces -- at the present time and into the twenty-first century. Limiting government spending (i.e., spending caps) is a good beginning to address some difficulties. In addition, current and future Congresses should maintain a balanced federal budget, pay down the national debt (which will help protect Social Security for current and future generations), redefine the federal government's role in the society and, finally, think about fair tax reductions for the American people and the businesses that drive our economy. [We need] an evaluation of implementing tax cuts based on their social fairness.
Source: Republican Main St. Partnership Issue Paper: Fiscal Policy 98-RMSP6 on Sep 9, 1998
Page last updated: Nov 22, 2009