Bill Nelson on Taxes

Last Updated : Oct 25, 2012

Summary

The Bush Tax Cuts

In 2001, Senator Nelson voted against and opposed the first of the two pieces of legislation that made up the Bush tax cuts. He stated that he could not in conscience nor in substance vote for the bill as it was the height of fiscal irresponsibility. He noted that in order to make the tax cut fit into the limits of $1.35 trillion over 10 years imposed by the budget resolution, this bill suspends the tax cuts in the ninth year, reverting to the status quo of current law with no tax cuts in the tenth year. He added that the legislation greatly increases the likelihood that the Federal Government will use up all of the projected surplus and there will not be any left over to pay down the national debt without raiding the Medicare and Social Security trust funds.

Sentor Nelson also voted against the second round of the Bush tax cuts in 2003. In 2012, Senator Nelson voted against a resolution to continue all of the Bush tax cuts, but in favor of a resolution to continue all of the cuts except for the higher earners.

The Death Tax

In 2005, Senator Nelson supported legislation to end the estate tax within a decade. He stated that it was time we permanently repeal the tax on possessions that people leave to their children.

Entitlement Programs and Taxes

In 2011, Senator Nelson called for tax reform to remove what amounted to tax benefits for certain indutries and companies. He noted the inherent problems with accountability with this system.

 

Opposition to the Bush Tax Cuts

In May of 2001, Senator Nelson spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to the proposed legislation that made up the first Bush tax cut. He opposed the legislation based upon the need to balance spending and revenue.

 

Support for Ending the Death Tax

In September of 2005, Senator Nelson released a press statement noting his support for legislation to end the estate tax. 

 

Florida Sales Tax Exemption

In August of 2006, Senator Nelson issued a press statement noting that he was going to fight to get back the Florida sales tax exemption.

  

Tax Expenditures are Entitlment Spending

During a committee in September of 2011, Senator Nelson spoke about tax benefits and stated that tax cuts for specific interests amounted to entitlement spending for those who qualified.

Voting Record

Continue Bush Tax Cuts for all Except top Earners

On July 25, 2012 the Senate voted on legislation to extend all of the Bush tax cuts with the exception of those earning more than $200,000 or couples earning more than $250,000. The measure passed 51-48 along mostly party lines. It was largely symbolic as tax bills are not legal unless they originate in the House. Bill Nelson voted in favor extending the Bush Tax Cuts for all except the highest earners.

Bill Nelson voted in favor extending the Bush Tax Cuts for all except the highest earners.

Continue All Bush Tax Cuts

On July 25, 2012 the Senate voted on an amendment to legislation to extend all of the Bush tax cuts. The measure failed 45-54 along mostly party lines. It was largely symbolic as tax bills are not legal unless they originate in the House. Bill Nelson voted against extending all Bush Tax cuts.

Bill Nelson voted against extending all Bush Tax cuts.

The Alternative Minimum Tax

The alternative minimum tax was created to ensure that a few of the richest Americans did not exploit loopholes to avoid paying any taxes. It was never intended to be a method of taxing the general population. Unfortunately, the amount that a person earns before the tax goes into effect was not indexed to inflation. Therefore, each year Congress must enact a "fix" to adjust the amount. Occasionally, a larger increase is proposed than inflation adjustment. Income from the tax was accounted for in the 2009 budget. According to the rules of PAYGO (Pay As You Go), a decrease in the amount of money taken in must be offset by a reduction in spending. This amendment sought to exempt the AMT from that rule, to more accurately reflect the purpose of the tax. The amendment failed with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it in a 47-51 vote. Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to exempt the AMT from PAYGO rules.

Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to exempt the AMT from PAYGO rules.

The Estate Tax

The estate tax is a tax levied on the assets or estates of wealthy individuals when they pass away. The tax collects a percentage of the estates which are valued above a given amount. This amendment sought to raise the value of the estates affected from $1 Million to $5 Million, and to lower the maximum rate at which the estate can be taxed from 45% to 35%. The argument for the change was that many small farms now fell under this tax. The opposition stated that not enough revenue would be collected is the amount was raised, as the tax would affect only 0.2% of estates instead of 0.5% under the current limits. The amendment failed in a 50-50 vote with most Republicans supporting the amendment and most Democrats opposing it. Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to raise the value of the estates affected to $5 Million and to lower the maximum rate to 35%.

Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to raise the value of the estates affected to $5 Million and to lower the maximum rate to 35%.

The Estate Tax

In 2007, an amendment was proposed which would have raised the value of applicable estates to $5 Million and set the maximum rate at 35%. This amendment would have also made the 2006 extended rates for capital gains and dividends permanent. The amendment was supported by most Republicans and opposed by most Democrats and failed in a 47-51 vote. Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to raise the value of applicable estates to $5 Million and set the maximum rate at 35%.

Bill Nelson voted against the amendment to raise the value of applicable estates to $5 Million and set the maximum rate at 35%.

Full Repeal of AMT

In 2007, congress made and attempt to repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT) completely. The legislation was defeated in a 44-53 vote with most Republicans supporting the legislation and most Democrats opposing it. Bill Nelson voted against repealing the AMT.

Bill Nelson voted against repealing the AMT.

Pension Protection Act of 2006

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 addressed regulations governing employer-sponsored pensions and acted to make the portions of the 2001 act which allowed higher contributions to IRAs. with the support of both parties. The bill got wide support from both parties and passed 93-5. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act

In 2006, the senate voted on theEstate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act. This bill would have increased the estate tax exclusion to $5,000,000, effective 2015, and repealed the sunset provision for the estate and generation-skipping taxes. It would also have lowered the estate tax rate to equal the current long-term capital gains tax rate for taxable estates up to $25 million and repealed the estate tax deduction paid to states. The bill failed to pass in a 56-42 vote. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act.

Death Tax Repeal Permanancy Act

In 2006, the Senate voted on legislation that would have permanantly repealed the "Death" or Estate Tax. The legislation was rejected on a 57-41 vote. Most Republicans supported the legislation and most Democrats opposed it. Bill Nelson voted in favor of ending the Death Tax.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of ending the Death Tax.

Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005

The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 extended previously lowered dividend income and capital gains through 2010, and made an increase to the AMT exemption. It also eliminated income restrictions on high-income taxpayers for converting traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to Roth IRAs. Most Republicans supported the legislation and about 1/3 of teh Democrats supported it. The bill passed in a 66-31 vote. with the support of both parties. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

American Jobs Creation Act of 2004

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 allowed individuals to claim a deduction for state and local sales taxes paid, in lieu of deducting state income taxes. It also increased tax credits for business investment abroad, and temporarily increased the expensing provisions for corporations. The bill passed 69-13 '); echo('with the support of both parties. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.

Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004

The Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004 extended the 10 percent bracket on income tax created in the 2001 legislation, doubled the child tax credit, extended the previous AMT exemption and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit. The legislation was widely supported and passed 92-3. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004.

Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003

In the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief reconciliation Act of 2003 tax rates on realized capital gains received by individual shareholders were reduced from 10 percent (for taxpayers in tax brackets where the ordinary income tax rate was 15 percent or below) and 20 percent (for all other brackets) to 5 percent and 15 percent, respectively, through 2007 and to 0 and 15 percent in 2008. It also adjusted the AMT exemption limit, expanded the child tax credit, and accelerated some of the earlier aspects of the previous laws. The conference report was agreed to in a 50-50 vote with most Republicans supporting it and most Democrats opposing it. Bill Nelson voted against the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

Bill Nelson voted against the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002

The main provision of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002 was to create a bonus depreciation. This bonus depreciation allowed firms to claim extra deductions for depreciation of a long-term physical capital investment during the early years. This reduces corporate profits and therefore taxes. The act got wide support from both parties and passed 85-9. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002.

Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001

The first piece of legislation was passed in 2001 as the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 The act was especially sweeping. Its two most prominent changes were a phased-in reduction in income tax rates and a reduction and eventual repeal (at the beginning of 2010) of the estate tax. It also provided a wide range of tax breaks for education, families with children, married couples, and contributions to certain kinds of savings accounts. While all republicans voted in favor of this legislation, most democrats opposed it. Bill Nelson voted against the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

Bill Nelson voted against the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

The Marriage Penalty

In 2001, an amendment was put forth to expand the 15% tax bracket and eliminate the "marriage penalty". The offset would be accounted for by reducing the marginal tax rate reductions for the top two rate brackets. The amendment was supported by most of the Democrats and opposed by most of the Republicans. The amendment failed in a 44-56 vote. Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment to eliminate the marriage penalty.

Bill Nelson voted in favor of the amendment to eliminate the marriage penalty.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-S 506; Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act - Cosponsor

Amends Internal Revenue Code provisions relating to tax shelter activities to: (1) establish legal presumptions against the validity of transactions involving offshore secrecy jurisdictions (i.e., foreign tax havens identified in this Act and by the Secretary of the Treasury); (2) impose restrictions on foreign jurisdictions, financial institutions, or international transactions that are of primary money laundering concern or that impede U.S. tax enforcement; (3) treat certain foreign corporations managed and controlled primarily in the United States as domestic corporations; (4) increase the period for Internal Revenue Service (IRS) review of tax returns involving offshore secrecy jurisdictions; (5) require tax withholding agents and financial institutions to report certain information about beneficial owners of foreign-owned financial accounts and accounts established in offshore secrecy jurisdictions; (6) disallow tax advisor opinions validating transactions in offshore secrecy jurisdictions; (7) subject dividend equivalents and substitute dividends to the 30% tax on foreign income; and (8) impose reporting requirements for transactions involving a passive foreign investment company.

Session-110; Bill Number-S 871; Savings for Working Families Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

A bill to establish and provide for the treatment of Individual Development Accounts, and for other purposes.

Session-111; Bill Number-S 181; Permanent Marriage Penalty Relief Act of 2007 - Cosponsor

Makes provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 that eliminate the marriage penalty in the standard deduction, the 15-percent tax bracket, and the earned income tax credit, permanent.

Session-109; Bill Number-S 420; Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005 - Cosponsor

Provides that the sunset provisions of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (i.e., December 31, 2010) shall not apply to the repeal of the Federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax (thus making such repeal permanent).

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