Tax Reform

Q29: Do you support repealing changes to the federal tax code adopted in 2018, that benefits the wealthy, that eliminated most itemized deductions that benefit low and middle-income families?

Biden: Yes. We need to not only reverse the Trump tax cuts that disproportionately benefited the wealthiest Americans and corporations, but go farther to ensure that we are creating opportunity for all Americans by rewarding work.

As president, I will reverse Trump’s doubling of the estate exemption and push for the Obama-Biden proposal to return the estate tax to 2009 levels with a 45% top tax rate and an exclusion amount of only $3.5 million (vs. $11.4 million per taxpayer now). I will also end stepped-up basis, so wealthy individuals cannot avoid paying taxes on gains simply by leaving those assets to their heirs, and raise tax rates on investment income received by upper-income taxpayers. And, I will repeal other aspects of the tax cut that spent billions on ill-advised, unequal, and counterproductive tax breaks, such as cutting the corporate tax rate below 28% and cutting the top income tax rate to 37%.

It’s not enough to simply make the tax code more equal by rolling back egregious tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers, we need to ensure that low- and middle-class taxpayers get the tax breaks they need. As president, I will enact a series of pro-growth tax breaks for working Americans, such as a tax credit for contributions to retirement savings accounts, an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, repeal of the cap on deductible state and local taxes, and a tax break for caregivers.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will reverse Trump’s tax cuts for the highest-income households. He’ll impose an additional surtax of 5% on taxpayers with incomes above $5m, tax capital gains at the same rate as ordinary income for taxpayers above $1m, close loopholes (including the treatment of carried interest and stepped-up basis at death), curb avoidance, raise the corporate tax rate to 28% and more. Taxes should be fair. At the moment, they aren’t. Mike will put that right.

Buttigieg: Yes. Donald Trump’s tax reform bill provided enormous tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. We must repeal those tax cuts and ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share and also find ways to make deductions available to the rich also available to the working and middle class. But the problem is much larger than this administration’s tax cuts. Top tax rates have been too low for a long time, and have prevented the federal government from embarking on climate investments, education investments, and countless other programs that would make a real difference in our everyday lives. I will make the tax code more progressive in all aspects, including raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, taxing financial transactions, and shutting down corporate tax loopholes. I will not increase taxes on low and middle-income Americans.

De La Fuente: We want to reduce government spending, and use those taxes wisely. So we must implement a better tax system, a flat tax.

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar will repeal the regressive portions of 2017 Republican tax reform. In addition she will raise the capital gains rate for the wealthiest Americans, put the Buffet rule in place, and close the carried interest loophole.

Sanders: Yes. When Bernie is in the White House, we will repeal all of the Trump tax breaks that benefited the top one percent and large corporations. When Trump and Republicans in Congress handed out their $1 trillion tax cut to the rich and profitable companies like GM, they promised working people the return of manufacturing jobs with good benefits and competitive pay. Today the exact opposite is happening all over this country. Working people deserve better than to be tossed aside while corporate executives rake in profits. When Bernie is in the White House we are going to stand with working people, unlike Trump.

Steyer: Yes. Since 1980, almost all of the increase in income in this country — including the immense gains from skyrocketing productivity enabled by technology — has gone to corporations and the richest people in the country. Cutting health care and education to give tax cuts to the richest Americans and corporations makes absolutely no economic sense.

I have proposed a plan for a ​Middle Class Tax Cut​: working families making less than $250,000 per year — and individuals making less than $200,000 per year — will receive a 10% cut to their current tax rate funded by ending tax give-aways to the wealthy. It will benefit 95% of Americans, help stem widespread wealth inequality in this country and make the tax code fairer and more progressive.

Warren: Yes. I support reversing the portions of the 2017 tax bill that benefitted big corporations and the wealthy — and that hurt lower- and middle-income families.

Q30: Do you support reforming the tax code to reduce the number of loopholes, deductions, giveaways and preferences that allow corporations to substantially
lower their tax rates?

Biden: Yes. As president, I will close the loopholes hidden throughout our tax code that reward corporations, instead of their employees. As one example, I will fund my climate plan in part by closing corporate tax loopholes that encourage firms to send jobs and profits offshore and that subsidize fossil fuels.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike believes that the current tax system is deeply unfair. It taxes income from capital at a much lower rate than income from work, allows accumulated wealth to pass from generation to generation with little or no tax due and provides countless loopholes that the rich can exploit to reduce their taxes still further. The U.S. needs a simpler, fairer tax code, and it’s only right that high-income taxpayers pay for more of our vital national priorities. Mike’s tax plan will get that done.

Mike will make businesses pay their fair share by raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. He will raise the minimum tax on foreign income and apply it on a per-country, not global, basis. Mike will tighten rules on transfer pricing and reporting of foreign taxes, apply pressure to countries that set up as tax havens, and take the lead on cooperative international efforts to defeat profit-shifting

Buttigieg: Yes. I intend to reform the tax code to make it both fairer and more progressive. In addition to rolling back Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts, we will crack down on corporate loopholes. That means we will require large corporations to release all tax returns so we can see how they are gaming the system. We’ll crack down on the use of tax havens, so that profits can flow to the U.S. Treasury and not Bermuda. Instead of subsidizing oil and gas companies, we’ll invest more than $200 billion over the next decade to develop clean energy technologies.

De La Fuente: Yes. We should lower the tax rate for corporations but eliminate deductions and loopholes. We need a flat tax.

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar believes we have to make sure corporations are paying their fair share. She will repeal the regressive portions of the 2017 Republican tax reform. She will raise the corporate tax rate, raise the capital gains rate for the wealthiest Americans, put the Buffet rule in place, close the carried interest loophole and the big oil loophole, and prevent the outsourcing of jobs overseas by closing tax loopholes on corporations’ overseas earnings.

Sanders: Yes. As president, Bernie will raise up to $3 trillion over 10 years by repealing all of the disastrous corporate tax breaks enacted under Trump, closing corporate tax loopholes, and demanding that large corporations pay their fair share of taxes.

Of this revenue, $2 trillion will be used to help fund Bernie’s Green New Deal to combat climate change, rebuild our crumbling infrastructure to make it more climate resilient, and create millions of good-paying union jobs in the process. The rest will be used to help create an economy that works for all of us, not just the top 1 percent.

Under this plan, Bernie will:

  • Restore the corporate tax rate to 35 percent from 21 percent.
  • Ensure that corporations pay 35 percent by eliminating virtually all corporate tax breaks and loopholes.
    • This includes transitioning to economic depreciation for all investments, which partially offsets the tax advantage of investing in automation over labor.
    • This includes further limiting the interest deduction to 20 percent of adjusted taxable income and tightening related rules.
  • Eliminate the use of offshore tax havens by:
    • Applying the same tax rate on offshore and domestic income and applying a per-country limit on the foreign tax credit.
    • Eliminating inversions by limiting interest deductions to 105 percent of a corporation’s share of net interest expense over worldwide earnings, treating companies managed and controlled in the US as domestic corporations, and tightening the definition of inverted corporations to ones owned by 50 percent of the same shareholders after a merger.
    • Tightening other rules including limiting treaty shopping; reforming the base erosion and anti-abuse tax rate by lowering its threshold for application, raising its rate to 17.5 percent, and excluding deductible payments that give rise to includible US income; eliminating the tax break for foreign derived intangible income (FDII), and denying foreign tax credits for excise tax payments by oil, extractive, gambling, and other companies.
  • Requiring corporations with revenues over $25 million to publicly disclose significant portions of their tax returns and country by country financial information including earnings, financial accounts, and tax payments in other countries.
  • Eliminating the 20 percent deduction on pass-through business income and requiring large pass-through businesses to be subject to corporate taxes.
  • If this plan had been in effect last year, instead of paying nothing in federal income taxes:
    • Amazon would have paid up to $3.8 billion in taxes.
    • Delta would have paid up to $1.8 billion in taxes.
    • Chevron would have paid up to $1.6 billion in taxes.
    • GM would have paid up to $1.5 billion in taxes.

Steyer: Yes. We can no longer allow corporations to write the tax code. For years, they’ve rigged the system, built their own loopholes, and they continue to shirk their duty to pay taxes. I helped close a massive, $1 billion dollar corporate loophole with Proposition 39, otherwise known as the California Clean Energy Jobs Act. As a result, new revenue is being allocated to local education agencies to support energy efficiency and alternative energy projects, along with related improvements and repairs that contribute to reduced operating costs and improved health and safety conditions in public schools.

Warren: Yes. I have pledged to close loopholes that encourage companies to shift jobs overseas, and I have proposed a Real Corporate Profits Tax, which would ensure that big and highly profitable corporations pay federal income taxes — no exceptions, no loopholes.

Q31: Do you support retaining the earned income tax credit?

Biden: Yes. The EITC is one of the most effective strategies for helping low-wage workers achieve a living wage. I will also strengthen the EITC for low-wage older workers by allowing them to claim the EITC even after they turn 65.

Bloomberg: Yes. Mike will make work pay, by enhancing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). He will pay it monthly and pay more where it’s most needed.

Buttigieg: Yes. We will grow workers’ income by expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase incomes by an average of $1,000 per year for 35 million American families–as proposed in the Working Families Tax Relief Act. This $400 billion tax cut offsets income taxes and other taxes that eat into workers’ take-home pay. I am also interested in exploring changes to the tax code that acknowledge the particular burden on Black and Latino professionals and first-generation college graduates who must take care of parents, siblings, and other family members who have not perhaps reached similar levels of success and income, and see what is possible to provide relief.

De La Fuente: Yes

Klobuchar: Yes. Senator Klobuchar has bold plans to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC has a strong record of success in encouraging work and alleviating poverty. About 26 million Americans currently benefit from EITC, and it prevents close to 6 million people, including 3 million children, from living in poverty. As President, Senator Klobuchar will work to strengthen the EITC for workers in families with children by increasing the phase-in rate so the lowest-income workers reach the maximum benefit more quickly, increasing the maximum credit by about 30 percent and expanding eligibility for the credit so more workers will receive assistance. These improvements will more than satisfy the recommendation of the National Academy of Sciences report to strengthen the EITC, as part of putting our country on track to cut child poverty in half in the next decade and end it within a generation.

Sanders:. Yes. As President, Bernie will expand the Earned Income Tax Credit. Bernie is a strong supporter Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s BOOST Act to expand the EITC, remove the phase-in for the tax credit, lift millions out of poverty and provide much needed relief for low- and middle-income families.

Steyer: Yes. I will fight to put more of the money people earn into their own hands with the Working Families Tax Relief Act. This will increase both the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. This legislation makes the $2,000 tax credit per child fully refundable and provides an additional $1,000 credit for children under the age of 6. As an example, a single mother with two children making $30,000 a year would save an estimated $2,500 under my plan.

Warren: Yes. The EITC is a valuable and success