9th District Candidates Discuss Taxation at Saturday’s Debate

Over the weekend, the Hall County GOP held a debate between the candidates for the 9th congressional district seat held by Rep. Doug Collins. Collins faces primary challenges from former 10th district congressman Paul Broun, retired educator Roger Fitzpatrick, retired National Guard General Bernie Fontaine, and Lanier Tea Party Patriots founder Mike Scupin. Debate topics included taxes and the economy, national security, and ethics in government. This post deals with the tax and economy portion of the debate. The debate over national security is here, and debate over social issues, budgeting and more is here.

The candidates were asked what they would do to reform the federal tax code, and what to do about corporate taxation, especially for multinational companies that are required to pay taxes on profits earned at home and abroad.

Rep. Collins was asked about legislation addressing tax reform that was passed during his term in office. He said that Congress hasn’t been able to get anything done on tax reform because the Obama administration would rather increase taxes than cut them. Congress did pass a $600 billion tax cut at the end of 2015. He is trying to get more support for the FairTax.

Both personal and corporate tax reform is needed, according to Rep. Collins. He cited corporate inversions, where one company purchases another one that is headquartered overseas, and then moves the combined entity’s headquarters there, as another reason to pursue tax reform. According to Collins, any corporate CEO who voted to repatriate foreign profits could be sued for malpractice.

General Fontaine said the 76,000 page tax code requires lawyers to understand it. While he would be in favor of either the FairTax or a flat tax, his biggest concern is ensuring there will be enough funding for defense department and other vital programs. He pointed out that the 35% corporate tax rate on overseas profits is an illusion, since in reality companies don’t repatriate those profits.

Mr. Fitzpatrick said the current tax system penalizes those who have initiative and want to work hard, since hard work leads to higher tax rates and bigger tax bills. Rather than the current system, which he calls regressive, Fitzpatrick would prefer the FairTax. Fitzpatrick also favors a reform of the corporate tax system so that businesses will either keep their operations in the United States, or will bring operations back. This, he says, will increase the number of American jobs and lower the unemployment rate.

Mr. Scupin wants to eliminate the IRS because it has gone after American citizens “because it didn’t like what they stood for.” While he likes the FairTax he wants to be certain that the 16th Amendment, which authorizes an income tax, is completely repealed prior to implementing an alternate system. Scupin called the ideal of taxing corporations “ludicrous,” saying rather than corporations paying taxes, their customers and employees do. Eliminating the corporate income tax would be the needed incentive for corporations to relocate to the United States and bring jobs with them.

Beyond wanting to implement the FairTax, Dr. Broun says he will reintroduce his jobs bill, which would eliminate corporate taxes, the estate tax, and capital gains taxes. Because the bill would also allow businesses to write off capital investment, Broun says it would cause manufacturing jobs to return to the U.S. from overseas, and boost the economy. He pointed out that eliminating corporate taxes would also solve issues with corporate inversions.

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I know it’s early in the season, and I know that primaries for far-right parties bring out ultra-right candidates and voters, but damn, those are some unsophisticated and unrealistic proposals.