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GOP Senate Candidate Revives Mitt Romney Tax Cuts

06/18/2014 02:14 pm ET | Updated Jun 18, 2014
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The aggressive high-end tax cuts from Mitt Romney's much-derided 2012 tax plan appear to be enjoying an unlikely renaissance thanks to GOP Senate candidate Monica Wehby.

Webhy, who is running against Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), released a set of tax proposals in late April calling for aggressive corporate and individual tax cuts for the wealthy. The plan has only vague suggestions about how to prevent such an overhaul from ballooning the federal budget deficit. Like Romney, she suggested reducing the top corporate income tax rate to 25 percent, and she goes further than Romney in calling for a top personal rate of 25 percent. (Romney had proposed a modest-by-comparison 28 percent while he was in the presidential race.)

"We need to reform both the individual and corporate tax systems in a comprehensive manner to provide lower rates with fewer deductions and credits and transition towards a territorial system for international businesses," the Wehby document reads. "For example, reducing corporate and individual tax rates to 25% would create million [sic] of private sector jobs and increase wages for American workers."

Romney's plan ran into trouble when he said his proposed income tax rate cuts could be financed by eliminating loopholes and special preferences in the tax code. Nonpartisan, independent experts concluded that this was mathematically impossible.

Wehby's plan isn't quite as specific as Romney's. Romney had called to cut all income tax rates by 20 percent, meaning the 35 percent rate for the highest-earning Americans would fall to 28 percent, while those too poor to pay taxes would see no benefit. Wehby's plan doesn't get more specific than a top rate of 25 percent, which would result in a tax cut for every individual making more than $89,350 and married couples making $148,850, although the benefits would be most significant at the upper end of the spectrum.

Her proposals to pay for the cuts are less clear. She calls to "simplify and eliminate loopholes" and "balance the budget." This could be accomplished, of course, by dramatically cutting federal spending -- a perennial GOP target. The Wehby proposal does call for spending cuts, but does not get any more specific than "rooting out waste, fraud and abuse." Economists concluded that the rate cuts called for in Romney's plan would have cost the government $360 billion in revenue. The price tag would likely be higher for Wehby's proposals, since she calls for a deeper cut to the individual income tax rate at the top end.

Wehby's campaign was not immediately available for comment. Romney endorsed her in May.

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