POLITICS

Mitt Romney Refuses To Say Which Tax Deductions He Would Eliminate

08/23/2012 09:55 am ET

In a wide-ranging interview with Time Magazine, Mitt Romney declined to say which deductions he would eliminate from the tax code in order to make his plan to cut tax rates across the board revenue-neutral.

"I know our Democrat friends would love to have me specify one or two so they could amass the special interest to fight that effort," Romney told managing editor Richard Stengel when asked to specify which deductions he would eliminate. He then launched into a general discussion about ways to limit deductions, saying the choice would be made "in consultation with Congress" -- in other words, after the election.

He added that he would maintain the mortgage-interest deduction, health care and charitable contribution deductions, the first two of which are the most expensive. All three deductions are popular.

Romney has been specific about which deductions he would limit -- in private. In April, he told donors that he would probably eliminate the second-home mortgage interest deduction and limit state and local property tax deductions for high-income earners, according to NBC News.

The problem is, those deductions don't come close to covering the costs of his tax plan. Eliminating those deductions might raise $40 billion a year over the $400 billion per year that the Romney plan would cost, according to The New York Times.

A much-publicized study by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center analyzed Romney's tax plan and concluded that if he wanted it to be revenue-neutral, he would have no choice than to limit the more popular and expensive deductions, therefore raising taxes on middle-class earners. Romney has dismissed that study, calling it "garbage."

In the interview with Time, he maintained that he would not raise taxes on middle-class earners and said that cutting taxes would encourage economic growth, an idea the TPC dismissed, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates.

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