Russ Feingold on Taxes

Last Updated : Dec 17, 2010

Summary

Senator Feingold voted against the 2001 and 2003 "Bush Tax Cuts". He has voiced some support for a Fair Tax or a Flat Tax, and expressed opposition to a value added tax. In a 2010 debate, Senator Feingold noted his continued opposition to the Bush tax cuts and stated that they had failed.

In support of reducing wasteful spending, Senator Feingold has expressed support for the line item veto to be granted to the President. Senator Feingold has also introduced the Control Spending Now Act. This expansive legislation includes health care portions, tax portions, paygo, biannual budgeting, and and end to numerous subsidies.

 

Control Spending Now Act

In 2009, Senator Feingold released the Control Spending Now Act. This was an expansive piece of legislation meant to control spending and reform government allocation of finances. The outline of the legislation as presented by Senator Feingold is as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Reforming the Budget and Spending Process
    • Targeting Congressional Earmarks
    • Giving the President the Power to Eliminate Wasteful Spending (line item veto)
    • Restoring Strong Pay-As-You-Go Requirements
    • Reforming the Budget Process
      • Biennial Budgeting
  • Chapter 2: Making Government Tighten its Belt
    • Ending Automatic Pay Raises for Members of Congress
    • Cutting Spending on Congressional Offices
    • Improving Senate Efficiency and Transparency
    • Reducing Bureaucracy by Cutting Executive Branch Political Appointees
  • Chapter 3: Ending Corporate Welfare
    • Ending the Wall Street Bailout
    • Ending Subsidies for Private Student Loan Companies
    • Bringing Down Prices for Prescription Drugs by Permitting Drug Reimportation
    • Bringing Down Prices for Prescription Drugs by Extending 340B Discounted Drug Pricing to Managed Care Organizations
    • Bringing Down Prices for Prescription Drugs by Increasing the Medicaid Drug Rebate
    • Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for Exporters
    • Reducing Taxpayer Subsidies for Exporters of Agricultural Commodities
    • Making Companies Pay When they Fail FDA Quality Inspections
  • Chapter 4: Reducing Taxpayer Subsidies for Big Agribusinesses
    • Reforming Irrigation Subsidies
    • Reforming Crop Insurance Subsidies
    • Reducing Direct Payments to Large Landowners
    • Cutting Farm Subsidies for High-Income Individuals
    • Eliminating the Cotton Storage Subsidy
    • Ending Subsidized Grazing Fees
  • Chapter 5: Ending Taxpayer Subsidies for the Use of Public Resources and Government Services
    • Preventing Giveaways of the Public Spectrum
    • Eliminating Double Subsidies for Hardrock Mining on Public Lands by Repealing Percentage Depletion Allowances
    • Ending Subsidies for Hardrock Mining on Public Lands by Imposing Mining Royalties and Claim Fees
    • Reducing State Subsidies for Onshore Oil, Gas, Coal and Mineral Leases on Public Lands
    • Reducing Subsidies for Oil, Gas and Geothermal Energy Production on Public Lands
    • Reducing Aviation Subsidies
    • Targeting Medicare Prescription Drug Assistance to Those Who Need it Most
  • Chapter 6: Targeting Wasteful or Unnecessary Government Spending
    • Delaying a Lunar Mission
    • Eliminating the V-22 Osprey
    • Cutting C-17s
    • Ending Spending for High-Risk Satellites
    • Reducing Cost Overruns and Delays on Major Weapons Systems
    • Reducing Spending on Unneeded Defense Spare Parts
    • Reducing Overpayments to Defense Contractors
    • Ending the IRS Slush Fund
    • Rescinding Unspent Earmarks
    • Repealing the Rail-Line Relocation Program
    • Eliminating Radio/TV Marti at the Office of Cuba Broadcasting
    • Ending Support for the Colombian Military
    • Ending Wasteful Intelligence Spending
  • History: A Record of Deficit Reduction, a Commitment to Fiscal Responsibility

 

Line Item Veto

In a May 2010 op-ed, Senator Feingold reiterated his support for the line-item veto. He noted that the President's hands are tied when he receives legislation, and a line item veto would allow him to remove wasteful spending.

 

Townhall Question

At a town hall listening session, Senator Feingold was asked about people and companies that (legally) pay no taxes at the end of the year. In his response, he notes his possible support for the fair tax, the flat tax, and changing the tax system. He also states that he opposes the VAT tax.

 

The Bush Tax Cuts

During the last debate in the 2010 elections, Senator Feingold stated that he voted against the Bush tax cuts and that it is obvious that they have failed.

Voting Record

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. Russ Feingold voted against the amendment to exempt the AMT from PAYGO rules.

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

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

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted against repealing the AMT.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

Russ Feingold voted against 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Estate Tax and Extension of Tax Relief Act.

Russ Feingold voted against 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. Russ Feingold voted against ending the Death Tax.

Russ Feingold voted against 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005.

Russ Feingold voted against 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the Working Families Tax Relief Act of 2004.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002.

Russ Feingold voted against 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. Russ Feingold voted against the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.

Russ Feingold 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. Russ Feingold voted in favor of the amendment to eliminate the marriage penalty.

Russ Feingold voted in favor of the amendment to eliminate the marriage penalty.

Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000

In 2000, the senate attempted to pass the Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000. This act would have ended the marriage penalty by adjusting the 15% tax bracket accordingly. Most Republicans supported the act and most Democrats opposed it. The act passed the senate in a vote. The bill was eventually vetoed by the President. Russ Feingold voted against the Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000.

Russ Feingold voted against the Marriage Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2000.

 

Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

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.

User Comments