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Cantwell, Murray explain yes votes on tax deal

Post by lesblumenthal on Dec. 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm with 6 Comments »
December 13, 2010 3:47 pm

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Monday cleared the way for a final vote on a $858 billion tax package that will allow Washington residents to deduct the sales tax they paid on their 2010 and 2011 federal returns.

Both Washington state senators, Democrats Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, supported the controversial package, while some of their colleagues on Capitol Hill continued to attack it as providing billions of dollars in unnecessary tax relief for the nation’s wealthiest.

The compromise package of tax cuts, negotiated by the Obama White House and Republican leaders with congressional Democrats mostly on the sidelines, would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two years for all taxpayers regardless of income. Extending those tax cuts for all was a top Republican priority.

The plan provides for 13 months of extended unemployment benefits, a top Democratic priority, and temporarily reduces the payroll tax on workers. But the measure also reduces the estate tax from 45 percent to 35 percent on individual estates of more than $5 million. That provision has drawn the ire of Democrats who argue it is way too generous.

Even so, Cantwell and Murray supported a motion to cut off debate and bring the bill to a vote. The final vote in the Senate could come midweek, and in the House by the end of the week.

Murray said Republicans had held the tax cuts for the middle class “hostage” in order to secure tax cuts for the richest Americans.

“The Republican game plan is simply irresponsible,” Murray said. “Extending benefits to those who need them least and adding to our deficit is wrong. But I could not sit back and allow taxes to be raised on Washington state families who are just struggling to get by.”

Among the few provisions in the bill Murray liked were the extension of unemployment benefits and state sales tax deductions.

“Unfortunately, protecting the vast majority of Washington families came with an unnecessary and irresponsible provision for a few Americans who aren’t facing the same hardships,” she said.

Cantwell also cited the sales tax deduction as a reason for her support.

“The legislation includes measures important to Washington state, particularly a two-year extension of the sales tax deduction, which delivers tax fairness and keeps nearly a billion dollars in Washington state’s economy over the next two years,” she said in a statement.

The sales tax deduction saves Washington state’s roughly 1 million taxpayers between $350 million and $500 million annually on their federal returns. By some estimates, the deduction has put an average of $600 more per year in the pockets of Washington state taxpayers. It was set to expire at the end of this year.

The deduction was eliminated in 1986 when the federal tax code was simplified.
Taxpayers who lived in states with an income tax, however, were allowed to continue deducting state income tax on their federal returns. Washington state does not have an income tax.

The sales tax deduction was restored in 2004, but Congress has refused to make it permanent.

Congress, Taxes
Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. AreYouHighOrWhat says:

    SERIOUSLY? I expect the apologist Les to offer up a pile like this, I expect SOMEONE at the TNT to at least have some class about what they print. It’s WELL DOCUMENTED all over the internet, Cantwell sold her vote (and Murrays) for renewable energy credit earmarks. Disgusting. Unamerican. Repulsive. Just like the ethanol subsidies tagged onto the bill.

  2. DubyaFTW says:

    Murray and Cantwell know tax increases in a recession are disasterous, but keeping taxes the same changes nothing. The reason they support them is because they and the media have been saying “tax cuts” for two years, which they are not. Soon, they’ll be able to say, “See, tax cuts for the rich didn’t stimulate the economy! We told you so!”, while avoiding the wrath of the electorate if they were to throw us into double-dip recession with more taxes.

  3. uratroll says:

    Can’t believe Murray was reelected. Ugh!

  4. …and Cantwell is up for re-election–a worthy motive!!!

  5. bradypaul says:

    Murray said. “Extending benefits to those who need them least and adding to our deficit is wrong.

    Allowing someone to keep the money they’ve earned is not “extending benefits”.

    Murray’s ignorance never ceases to amaze me.

  6. seabecker says:

    “… the [sales tax] deduction has put an average of $600 more per year in the pockets of Washington state taxpayers.”

    Your bias is showing. Why not say, “… the deduction has saved an average of $600 more per year from being taken out of the pockets of Washington state taxpayers.”?

    Such deductions do NOT put anything into our pockets, they keep the gov’t from picking our pockets as much as they’d like.

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