Carly Fiorina on Tax Reform
Republican primary challenger and former CEO
FIORINA: How long have we been talking about tax reform in Washington? For decades. We now have a 73,000-page tax code. There have been more than 4,000 changes to the tax plan since 2001 alone. There are loads of great ideas, great conservative ideas from wonderful think tanks about how to reform the tax code. The problem is, we never get it done. We need a leader in Washington who understands how to get something done. Not to talk about it, not to propose it, to get it done.
Q: You want to bring the 70,000 pages to 3?
FIORINA: That's right. Three pages. You know why three? Because only if it's about 3 pages are you leveling the playing field between the big, the powerful, the wealthy, and the well-connected who can hire the armies of lawyers and accountants and lobbyists to help them navigate their way through 73,000 pages. Three pages is about the maximum that a single business owner or a farmer or just a couple can understand without hiring somebody.
FIORINA: So we have a 75,000 page tax code today. And that complexity favors the wealthy and the big and the well-connected because they can hire the accountants and the lawyers and lobbyists to figure out how to make all that complexity work for them. My blueprint: lower every rate, close every loophole. Maybe there's one or two loopholes that really help the middle class, but most of these deductions and loopholes and complexities actually benefit the wealthy, the powerful, the well connected. Our tax code isn't competitive anymore. It's ridiculous to have the highest tax rate in the world when we're trying to attract jobs here.
FIORINA: The tax burden is already too high. The tax burden must be cut, must be lowered. That is the only way we can get our economy growing again by creating jobs, and that means cutting taxes and w must actually cut federal spending. Now, once again, this is an area where Tom Campbell and I apparently disagree fundamentally. In 1989, when he was a congressman, he proposed a gas tax increase in congress. In 1997, he was the only Republican to vote against tax cuts. Last year, he proposed a $16 billion tax increase for California. He has said that he wants to increase the gasoline tax by 32 cents a gallon to close the California budget deficit. We already have the highest gas tax in the nation at 65 cents.
CAMPBELL: That's absolute inaccurate. The NTU in the 102nd Congress rated me #1 most fiscally responsible based on the amount of net cuts that I co-sponsored. I have never proposed that taxes be increased to close the federal budget.
CAMPBELL: The reason is clear because, for example, suppose there is another airline crisis involving security and in order to beef up security we need to put a tax on airline tickets. Are you going to vote no if that money? Would you vote no on a special tax on airline tickets to beef up security on airlines?
FIORINA: I would, yes, and the reason I would vote no is because there is absolutely no reason that our federal government, which is now $12.5 trillion in debt, cannot trim spending from the waste bloat that sits in the federal government bureaucracy to deal with its most important priority, which is to protect the men and women of this country.
Q: Concluding remarks?
FIORINA: I will fight for every job; I will vote against every tax increase; I will champion reduced regulation, lower taxes and lower government spending. We must take our government back and make it work.
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